April 29th, 2008

Dear Mr. Nighstalker…


Radar magazine has a terrific article online, featuring a written correspondence between pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart and various notorious incarcerated killers (and other influential figures).

What’s so fascinating is that Bill posed as ten year old “Billy”, and asked each of these people (including such famous murderers as Charles Manson, the Unabomber and “Nightstalker” Richard Ramirez) moral questions such as “should I stay in school?”. Their responses range from alarmingly sensible and responsible words of wisdom, to crazy gibberish.

To his surprise, replies soon started pouring in. Everyone from Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (on tree-fort diplomacy) to Oprah Winfrey, Mister Rogers, Janet Reno, and members of the Supreme Court had words of wisdom for Billy. (“I like the Egg McMuffin,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas when asked about his favorite McDonald’s food. “Actually, I like almost everything there.”) Responding to Billy’s idea for a “Hustler for kids,” Larry Flynt wrote back encouraging the fourth grader to “Hang in there. You’ll be 18 before you know it.”

As it turns out, no group hates to disappoint a child more than convicted killers, all of whom responded promptly to Billy’s questions about dropping out of school.

I highly recommend you read the full article. (via boingboing)

April 29th, 2008

Dag, Vrienden Van De Poëzie

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April 29th, 2008

Study: Nearly 80% of Roommates…

I have thought this to be true for a long time, and now here it is, in black and white.

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April 27th, 2008



Palabea.net is a website which serves as a virtual classroom, and a medium through which language learners can work together in order to improve their language proficiency. I have signed up but have yet to really put the site through its paces. It seems like a really great idea though. I’m excited to see if I can benefit from it.

New online language learning service Palabea has just launched an innovative way to learn the world’s langauges from the comfort of your home.

Palabea offers an innovative and interactive way to learn languages by collaborating with others using audio and visual learning materials.

Palabea’s online learning community brings people together through uploaded video lessons and podcasts that help improve language skills. The virtual classrooms also enable people from all over the world to communicate with each other.

The service is free to use and easily accessible; all you need is an internet connection, a valid email address, and ideally, a webcam and microphone.

Palabea makes foreign languages familiar languages.

Sign up for free if this concept interests you.

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April 27th, 2008

Pentagon Black Propaganda Scandal… Covered by the BBC in 2002.

Above, George Orwell!

Turns out it’s old news:

The Pentagon is toying with the idea of black propaganda.

As part of George Bush’s war on terrorism, the military is thinking of planting propaganda and misleading stories in the international media.

A new department has been set up inside the Pentagon with the Orwellian title of the Office of Strategic Influence.

It is well funded, is being run by a general and its aim is to influence public opinion abroad.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has asked a team of lawyers to check the proposals’ legality.

The Pentagon is forbidden from spreading black propaganda in the American media, but there is nothing to stop an American newspaper picking up a story carried abroad.

The Pentagon is well versed in what it calls “psyops”, dropping leaflets and using radio broadcasts to undermine enemy morale.

But these kind of activities have always been confined to the battlefield, such as Afghanistan.

Using covert tactics on media outlets of friendly countries is much more controversial.

Well i’ll be jiggered.

April 25th, 2008

how camera lenses are made

Well I never.

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April 25th, 2008

Be Still!

Video via ScienceBlogs.de

From the youtube comments:

Beating Heart by Billy Chasen. Displayed at the AHA’s 2008 Heart of New York Gala, which took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Check out Billy’s website, too. His other works are equally inventive! I particularly like his self portrait.

His blog is also very interesting!


Above is a photograph of his, from a post on his blog called New York Impatience.

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April 23rd, 2008

Luxembourgish 101

As someone who’s learning Dutch and German, these lessons in Luxembourgish are quite a novelty. The language comes across as a bizarre mixture of Dutch and German, with the occasional French influence. Fascinating!

April 23rd, 2008


This site has some amusing comics. I can’t post them here because they’re massive and would stretch the page. I like these two in particular:


Perspective Man

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April 23rd, 2008


I finally have some money. I’ve been invited to go to Amsterdam for a few days in the second week in May, and that seems like a great idea. For all my love of the dutch language and people, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to travel that far in to the Netherlands.

On the subject of Amstedam… Here’s a funny advert for a cross-media conference that was held in Amsterdam in 2006.

I fear my trip will be somewhat less homoerotic and lecherous. ;)

Video via ScaryIdeas (cool site! lots of clever/funny advertisements).

April 22nd, 2008

American Politics

Why aren’t British politics quite so exciting?

Here are some rather more grim but equally excellent videos on the subject of American politics that I stumbled upon today:

Bill Hicks’s routine is still pretty fresh huh?

Now we know where Zeitgeist got most of their script ideas from? Hehe.

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April 21st, 2008

Christiaan Postma’s Clock


Dutch designer Christiaan Postma came up with this brilliant clock design. At first it seems quite complex but actually, it works quite simply. I think I’d like to make one of these myself (if I can find some place that sells dirt cheap watches).

Via Neatorama.

April 20th, 2008

Stapelfahrer Klaus

Wickedly funny short German film about a forklift driver’s first day on the job. English subtitles. IMDB. Via Neatorama

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April 19th, 2008

Zum Beispiel, Fritz Lang

Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang, part 1/5

I came across this great interview with Fritz Lang when I was um… doing some research… (procrastinating wildly)… for my presentation on Wednesday about Fritz Lang’s first talkie – “M”.

This documentary is one of the special features on the “ultimate edition” dvd of M, that I bought last year in Berlin during my visit to the Film Museum there in Potsdamer Platz (highly recommended!).

There are no subtitles on this so it’s only any good if you can understand German. But if you can, you’re sure to find Mr. Lang’s sparkling anecdotes fascinating. At one stage he gets up from his chair to physically relive his memories of the time he was summoned to Hitler. It makes my heart glad to see that he was as cool a cucumber as one would come to expect from his filmography. As someone commented on youtube “Fritz Lang war schon eine coole Sau.”

April 19th, 2008

sleep in my tent, but clean my horse

Since 1951, more than 40,000 travelers, poets and writers have slept among the books at Shakespeare and Company. In exchange for their bed George, [92], asks them to write a short autobiography.

An enchanting documentary (“Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man” by Benjamin Sutherland and Gonzague Pichelin with Sycamore Films) about the Shakespeare & Co bookstore in Paris, run by 92 year old George Whitman. Found via Growabrain.

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April 19th, 2008

Hairy Hair

Starring Michael J. Fox as LeekClock. A funny little animation by GreyClock.

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April 18th, 2008

High Tech Noon

Darryl Gold is responsible for this clever edit of High Noon. Via Neatorama.

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April 18th, 2008

An Old Fashioned English Fry-Up

The first part of Stephen Fry’s newest BBC documentary (more below).

Here’s a roundup of Stephen Fry stuff that’s caught my attention today. But before I go on, might I add that I don’t go trawling the web for Fry News every day – today it all just fell in my lap, starting with an invitation to join a group called “The Trinity College Dublin Alliance to Attract the Presence of Stephen J. Fry”. Stephen is apparently a big fan of Oscar Wilde, who studied at Trinity College.

Firstly, Stephen is dabbling with podcasts (he’s apparently quite a technosavvy gentleman). Except “podcast” isn’t quite classy enough for Mr. Fry: You can catch his third (and latest) Podgram here and check out the rest here if that tickles your fancy.

Also worth checking out is his official blog. Here’s a great quote from an article he wrote for the guardian concerning the poll to find the “greatest living Englishman”:

Who is the greatest living Englishman? It would be hard to argue against the merits of Tim Berners-Lee, the sole begetter and inventor of the world wide web, an organism whose initials, www, have (in some languages, including our own) three times more syllables than the phrase they’re abbreviating, which is perhaps the only flaw in Berners-Lee’s grand design.

Lastly, via Kottke, you can catch his latest BBC documentary, The Machine That Made Us, online. In the documentary Stephen sets out to investigate how and under what circumstances the Gutenberg press came into being and to create a working replica of the original press. It’s available for free on BBC’s iPlayer, if you’re located in the UK. Otherwise, it’s also on youtube (but probably not for long!). The first clip is above. You can probably find the rest of the clips yourselves – you must be really smart if you’re reading my blog.

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