Theo Jansen is a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci. Calling himself a Kinetic Sculptor, the dutch engineer turned artist has been creating these fantastic wind-powered creatures for the past 15 years. His Strandbeests are mechanical skeletons built entirely from lightweight plastic tubes, which allows them to be powered from the smallest breeze.
I accidentally informed my dutch teacher (in dutch) by email that I would rather take a lethal injection than come to her class. Fortunately she realised that it was just a blunder and I didn’t mean any such sentiments.
It’s usually very difficult to get an interesting or original shot of city architecture. Everything is rigid and unchanging. One has to somehow find a new perspective in order to make such a scene his own. Photographer Alisdair MacDonald got this great shot by taking advantage of the changing environment, with multiple exposures:
t could almost be a stairway to heaven. This remarkable picture of the full moon was taken by photographer Alisdair Macdonald from the South Bank this week after 20 years of trying. It is not a montage but one picture exposed 10 times.
Mr Macdonald shot it with traditional film and said: “I had to sweat overnight until I could take it to be developed.
“When I saw it I just said ‘Yes!’ It’s a lovely feeling when you know you have got it. I’ve tried many times to get the shot but I always messed it up or a cloud would come along.
“This time there was not a cloud in the sky. Tourists stopped to see what I was photographing. Then they all tried with their little cameras. I was thinking ‘Good luck!’”
Mr Macdonald used an 80mm lens on his Nikon mounted on a tripod. The nine hundredth-ofasecond exposures are all four minutes apart. For the final shot he captured the buildings with a two-second exposure.
The clock on St Paul’s Cathedral captures the time of the final exposure: 5.45pm.
One is a book of comics by the director Alan Parker (called Will Write And Direct For Food) which makes fun of (to put it lightly) the film industry. It’s a really sharp and funny book – loads of great observations and perspectives.
The other one is a book called The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. It’s a massive tome exploring the theory that all stories comply to one or more of seven basic plot outlines, and also man’s obsession or need for stories and storytelling throughout history. I haven’t read much of it yet, but it seems pretty good so far. Obviously the premise of the book is very interesting to me – but it was really the astoundingly relentless praise on the back cover which convinced me to buy it in the first place.
Learning about the customs of other countries is sometimes amusing or shocking, but always fascinating! Here’s a great page on wikipedia about the various Faux Pas one might encounter around the world.
In particular, I thought the Nicaraguan ones were great:
# Knocking softly on someone’s front door. One should knock loudly on the door so that one can easily be heard.
# Referring to the United States as ‘America’. To Nicaraguans, they too are ‘Americans’. The USA should be referred to as ‘Los Estados Unidos’, and in adjective form as ‘estadounidense’.
# Not heeding the advice of Nicaraguans urging you not to shower when you are hot, or agitado would be considered poor form.
# Not heeding the advice for women not to sit on rocks… it’s said to reduce their ability to procreate (the rocks are hot).
# Calling someone a “cochón”(homosexual), when you really want to buy a “colchón” (mattress)
Reminds me of a Faux Pas I learned of in Belgium (from another dutch-language Student) over the summer (which isn’t featured on this list). In Indonesia, it is extremely impolite to say “no” to any question. They have many (twelve or more) ways of saying no which literally mean “yes”.
Hey. See that black speck in the leftmost third of the picture?
The massive golden sphere in the background is the sun!
This marvelous photo is by astronomer Phil Jones.
The composited image was taken through a telescope equiped with an H-alpha filter that narrowly transmits only the red light from hydrogen atoms. Such images emphasize the solar chromosphere, the region of the Sun’s atmosphere immediately above its photosphere or normally visible surface.
Ogi Ogas gives a fascinating first-hand account of how he deployed tricks and ideas from his education and research in neuroscience to tackle the gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
The first technique I drew upon was priming. The priming of a memory occurs because of the peculiar “connectionist” neural dynamics of our cortex, where memories are distributed across many regions and neurons. If we can recall any fragment of a pattern, our brains tend to automatically fill in the rest. For example, hearing an old Madonna song may launch a cascade of linked memories: your high school prom where it was the theme song, your poorly tailored prom outfit, your forgotten prom date, the stinging embarrassment when you threw up in the limo.
And him describing how he felt when the host revealed that he had won 500,000 dollars (after playing a nasty bluff for a moment):
My neurohormones whipped from black misery to shining ebullience, saturating my brain in a boiling cauldron of epinephrine and endorphins. I gaped at the azure screen in front of me as the ultimate question coalesced in hot white font.
The IFI in Dublin sells movie posters, postcards, books, dvds and also shows films from all over the world including all the finest current movies.
It also sells cake and coffee.
Filmbase! Picture courtesy of some shitty Dublin-tourism website!
There’s also a place right beside the IFI called Filmbase, where they offer classes in things like Film Appreciation, Filmmaking, Acting, Editing (with final cut pro), etc. They also hire out and sell filmmaking equipment, like cameras, booms, etc. You can rent a super 8 camera for €10 a day – awesome!
Here are some great concept paintings of potential space colonies, created in the seventies.
A couple of space colony summer studies were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. Colonies housing about 10,000 people were designed. A number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made. These have been converted to jpegs and are available as thumbnails, quarter page, full screen and publication quality images.
Here is the link to the site. With lots more pictures, and much bigger versions of the pictures.
…so this guy noticed that Garfield comics make just as much sense if you throw random panels together, and sometimes are actually pretty funny. He got a cease and desist letter. So he made the code available for people who wanted to try it for themselves. Here we go!
Here’s one combination that I found amusingly coherent and funny in its own right:
It’s fascinating to consider, upon playing with this thing, how we can create a narrative structure that isn’t there, in order to help us try to better understand information that we are presented with.
ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE – moving the “music” icon to the “recycle bin” icon… In spite of having just made a copy of my music folder to my brand new sexy external hard drive. ;)
This morning my computer threw a tantrum and complained that it didn’t have enough space to bound about in. So I went and got a WD MyBook external harddrive. That’s 250gb extra storage space now. Which is a lot, considering that, before, I only had 130gb altogether. So now I have a pretty impressive 370gb storage! And an adorable little electronic book-shaped box beside my computer.
It’s a great idea to have external storage. Not only for hoarding music and movies and pictures, but also for security purposes. If my main machine dies or is raped by viruses or something, then I still have all my e-valuables on this device.
Swedish Furniture Design company FRONT has discovered a novel use for Rapid Prototyping. Watch as their interactions with their environment are converted into a 3d map and then “printed” in three dimensions – to create real furniture from their sketches.
In Darren Arfonsky’s (Requiem for a dream, pi) latest film, he set himself the task of creating outer space scenes without using any CGI mumbo jumbo. What a marvellous idea!
One of Aronofsky’s primary ambitions was to create outer-space environments without using CGI, and he succeeded brilliantly with the help of a microphotographer in England named Peter Parks who lives in a 400-year-old cowshed and created luminous, Blake-like visions of exploding nebulae for “The Fountain” using curry powder, baby oil, shrimp larvae, and other wacky substances, magnifying them with a device called the microzoom optical bench that employs both Victorian prisms and state-of-the-art digital cameras. (The Parks stuff is near the end of my article).