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January 31, 2011

Gareth Pugh Spring/Summer 2011

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An inflatable wrap aside, this is a very commercial - very accessible - collection. This is a transition from last year's art school graduate fashion-as-architecture to this year's quite possibly the next Alexander McQueen.

This latest promotional effort for Gareth Pugh is directed once again by Ruth Hogben.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

Science is fun

I need to make my way to London and tour the Science Museum properly (video at the link).

Science is fun. Honest. That seems to be the message from the Science Museum, whose latest wheeze is to dress visitors up as cockroaches and lead them on a ‘humerous tour’ of the building’s treasures.
Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Mythago Morris - Our Henry

With its ravines, Toronto is a natural environment for Morris dance. Must look into arts council grants for beer funding to import this tradition and make it an integral part of our rich cultural tapestry.

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

Hendingarna: Veli

Posted by the Flea at 06:52 AM

January 29, 2011

Fort-da game

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It turns out the Alien prequel may have life in it yet.

"They’ve built the ‘space jockey’ cockpit at Pinewood as seen in the original Alien film, so it definitely takes place in the same world as Alien", they told us.

"Despite that press release that seemed to indicate there were no aliens in the movie, the familiar HR Giger-style aliens do appear. Big ones apparently."

More, including potential plot spoilers, shooting location details and Micahel Fassbender at the link.

This bullshit that you think is so important, you can just kiss all that goodbye!: For serious spoilers, go here instead. This latest monstrosity is going to be in 3D btw.

Posted by the Flea at 05:48 AM

William Buckley Interviews Hugh Hefner on Firing Line (1966)

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In which William Buckley pronounces the word "libidos".

Posted by the Flea at 05:44 AM

Pukka Orchestra: Listen to the Radio

Posted by the Flea at 05:43 AM

January 28, 2011

Brand stretching

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Frst impressions suggest this is brand stretching done properly. Provided Lotus Originals keeps its price point high and limits distribution carefully, a fashion and lifestyle line should not hurt the marquee.

If seconds turn up in Bicester, it's fine; if they turn up in Target, it's not.

Famed British sports car marque Lotus has a super-stylish history, with the likes of James Bond and Steve McQueen among its best known enthusiasts. Now the storied firm, founded in 1952 by Colin Chapman, is looking to reclaims some of that former glory with a new lifestyle brand set to launch in February. Dubbed Lotus Originals, the diverse offerings will include everything from leather jackets and blue blazers to bags and backgammon sets.

I am waiting for the site to open so I can find out what they want for the cardigan.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

Femen deploy topless weapon

The Femen are supreme in that quality the ancients called "spannungsbogen", the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of reaching out to grasp that thing.

---> Images at the link. <---

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Signaling mechanisms

Matthew Shaffer interviews "philosopher-CEO" Peter Thiel on the state of play in economics, technology and education.

The higher education bubble, for example.

You know, we’ve looked at the math on this, and I estimate that 70 to 80 percent of the colleges in the U.S. are not generating a positive return on investment. Even at the top universities, it may be positive in some sense — but the counterfactual question is, how well would their students have done had they not gone to college? Are they really just selecting for talented people who would have done well anyway? Or are you actually educating them? That’s the kind of question that isn’t analyzed very carefully. My suspicion is that they’re just good at identifying talented people rather than adding value. So there are a lot of things about it that are very strange.

The Great Recession of 2008 to the present is helping to bring the education bubble to a head. When parents have invested enormous amounts of money in their kids’ education, to find their kids coming back to live with them — well, that was not what they bargained for. So the crazy bubble in education is at a point where it is very close to unraveling.

Much more at the link, including a brief discussions of the next libertarian dream: Seasteading.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

Shirley and Company: Shame Shame Shame

Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

January 27, 2011

Moebius is the result of my duality

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I am going to start a new religion where I quote from French dystopian graphic novels and wear Asher Levine.

Bande-dessinée related: To the French, comic books are serious business.

France's experimental-comic-book movement, OuBaPo, has been trying to revolutionize the genre for two decades.

OuBaPo's members produced one book that could be read back-to-front; another that boiled down the 4,300 pages of Marcel Proust's voluminous "In Search of Lost Time" to six drawings; and one that told a single story—of how a man went to get something from the refrigerator—in 99 different ways.

Trouble brewing at the link.

Yet more related: Moebiuswear.

Posted by the Flea at 09:08 AM

Battlestar 90210

Details of Blood & Chrome, i.e. Syfy’s next furball, have been made public.

Set during the 10th year of the First Cylon War, Blood and Chrome follows an inexperienced young viper pilot who finds himself assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet … the Galactica. A recent academy graduate, Adama is described as a cocky and fearless jock akin to Tom Cruise’s character in Top Gun. The young version of Edward James Olmos’ character was portrayed by Nico Cortez in the 2007 television movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor.

We have at least been spared the pod racing portion of Adama's biography.

Related: Thrill to Blood & Chrome concept art.

Posted by the Flea at 09:07 AM

RUSH - Setting Up Neil Peart's Drums - Red Rocks, Denver

From the comments.

how does he get into a kit that makes a full circle? i guess he descends from heaven
Posted by the Flea at 09:04 AM

She & Him: Don't Look Back

"Today...no performance can be without its control screen video...its goal is to be hooked up to itself...the mirror phase has given way to the video phase. What develops around the video or stereo culture is not a narcissistic imaginary, ...but an effect of frantic self-referentiality, a short-circuit which immediately hooks up like with like, and, in doing so, emphasizes their surface intensity and deeper meaninglessness."
— Jean Baudrillard (America)

Hat tip to Mr. Taylor.

Posted by the Flea at 09:03 AM

January 26, 2011

Possible 484 at Sunset and Ivar

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Rockstar Games L.A. Noire: The first trailer.

Much more after the jump.

L.A. Noire: Game play.

L.A. Noire: Technology.

The second trailer.

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Sometimes you wake up

Somtimes the fall kills you. And sometimes when you fall, you fly.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

Simulation and commentary

"Part of the reason I find Game Dev Story so frustrating (and fascinating) is because of how it seems to teeter on the border between simulation and commentary."

Game Dev Story is as meta as videogames come these days. At first glance, it’s a game about making games. At length, it’s a grueling simulation so surprisingly effective that it seems to evoke a form of interactive commentary on the politics of today’s electronic entertainment. But more importantly, it’s convinced me of one thing: I will never, ever work in the videogame industry.

Take away thought: Perhaps the mistake is the think the video game industry is about companies rather than expertise. Think instead of your company as the flag you fly for the life of a project or, if you are fortunate, the life of your IP. The brand you need to sell isn't your company's, it's your own.

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

What's my Line? Mamie Van Doren

You're welcome.

Also: "Sometimes."

Posted by the Flea at 08:53 AM

Rough Trade: High School Confidential

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

January 25, 2011

Deus ex machina

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It turns out God is a Cylon: The Jaguar C-X75 Concept (images at the link).

Posted by the Flea at 06:08 AM

Solar prominence eruption

Wow.

Posted by the Flea at 06:07 AM

How do you know we are not living in the Matrix?

The films would be better.

[Keanu] Reeves revealed that he met with the Wachowskis around Christmas. They told him that they completed script treatments for two more "Matrix" installments. They are planning to make the films in 3D and have already met with James Cameron to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.
Posted by the Flea at 06:04 AM

The Minister of Chance

Another addition to the Whoniverse is on the way.

The arrival on my doorstep today of a Fortean Times-style newspaper called 'Radio Static' (coincidentally also the name of a PR company!) shed the final bit of light on a what appears to be a new Doctor Who-related spin-off called The Minister Of Chance, which even features two of the former Doctors - though they do not appear to be playing the Time Lord himself on this occasion, if you believe the cast-listing.
Posted by the Flea at 06:03 AM

This is how real men do tequila shots

Posted by the Flea at 06:02 AM

Portlandia: Dream of the 90s

Posted by the Flea at 06:01 AM

January 24, 2011

Ser Isaac of Clarke

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EA unveils Dead Space-inspired armor and weaponry fans I will be able to port over to Dragon Age 2.

While EA has undoubtedly cooked up some reasoning for a glowing health bar to appear on the back of the "Ser Isaac of Clarke" suit of armor (likely involving demons and/or sorcery), we're sure of two things. One; that it'll be completely unbelievable, and two; most folks won't care because it looks so bad-ass.
Posted by the Flea at 06:19 AM

All these worlds are yours

The standard caveat does not preclude Rhea.

Saturn’s icy moon Rhea has an oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere that is very similar to Earth’s. Even better, the carbon dioxide suggests there’s life – and that possibly humans could breathe the air.

Hopefully related: NASA has deployed a solar sail in orbit.

Posted by the Flea at 06:18 AM

Crime doesn't take a vacation. But we do.

I would embed Lazy Teenage Superheroes here because it deserves the widescreen treatment at the link.

-Created, directed, edited, and visual effects by Michael Ashton for $300.

Lazy Teenage Superheroes follows Ty as he tries to get his new "super" friends, Mitch, Cal, and Rick, to put down the video games, get off the couch, and use their powers to help save the world, instead of themselves.
Posted by the Flea at 06:17 AM

Flight of the Conchords: Albi

Hat tip to Ben.

Posted by the Flea at 06:14 AM

January 23, 2011

Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave

There's a cave in France where no humans have been in 26,000 years.

The walls are full of fantastic, perfectly-preserved paintings of animals, ending in a chamber full of monsters 1312-feet underground, where CO2 and radon gas concentrations provoke hallucinations.
Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM

Richard Einhorn and Anonymous 4: Voices of Light - Pater Noster

Posted by the Flea at 12:24 PM

January 22, 2011

If the United States of America were to attack China

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I would surrender... and open the path to them.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

The pleasures and sorrows of work

Tyler Brûlé interviews Alain de Botton (video at the link).

From the art of travel to the architecture of happiness, author Alain de Botton's writings filter everyday life through a philosophical lens. Monocle Editor-in-Chief Tyler Brûlé met with Alain de Botton at his London home to talk about his latest book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, a lucid and detailed exploration of the workplace - from office to factory, fishing boat to call centre.
Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

Occulto Tv - Il Codice Voynich

It turns out the Italian New Age is founded on much the same principles as the rest of Italian television.

Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

Lulu feat. David Bowie: The Man Who Sold The World

At last, we know why civilization in the West is winding down. All remaining style was depleted for the creation of this single, final Gesamtkunstwerk. We have been running on fumes since.

Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

January 21, 2011

Ian Fleming - Interview with Raymond Chandler (1958)

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In 1958, Ian Fleming interviewed Raymond Chandler for the BBC in London.

In conversations with fellow Bond fans, especially those of the literary 007, we have observed that most of us have an appreciation for the “Philip Marlowe” stories of American mystery writer Raymond Chandler. As did Chandler and Ian Fleming for each other — Chandler was one of the first Americans to praise Fleming’s Casino Royale; Fleming mentioned in his novels that Bond (and his boss, ‘M’), were regular readers of the hard-boiled novelist.

A .pdf formatted transcription of the interview may be found at the link.

Part II, Part III, Part IV.

Posted by the Flea at 11:58 AM

Steampunk Palin

"Picture in your mind the most insane possible story that could be contained in a book named Steampunk Palin. Go ahead, take ten seconds or so to imagine it perfectly in your mind's eye. Use this cover image for help."

(With a tip of the hat to Minicapt.)

Posted by the Flea at 11:57 AM

Dependence Day

I was going to call this piece by Mark Steyn a tour-de-force but can't, it is a masterpiece.

If we are very lucky there will still be scholars in India down the road who care to read history in English.

Posted by the Flea at 11:54 AM

Andy Samberg and Pee Wee Herman on the town

Watch it before NBC lawyers it.

Posted by the Flea at 11:53 AM

Stereolab: Harmonium

Posted by the Flea at 11:52 AM

January 20, 2011

Adhuc Vivo!

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Est: News the lost tomb of Caligula has been found.

The tomb of Caligula has been unearthed in Italy almost 2,000 years after his death, it has been claimed.

Italian police said the discovery was made after a man was arrested trying to smuggle abroad a statue of the Roman emperor which had been stolen from the site.

Non est: Unfortunately, historical evidence suggests that this cannot be so.

Caligula was assassinated in his palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome in 41 AD. According to Suetonius' Life (chap 59), his body was taken to the horti Lamiani, the site of an imperial pleasure gardens on the Esquiline Hill. There he was quickly cremated and buried a light covering of turf. Later on his sisters returned, to cremate and bury it properly.

There is no suggestion whatsoever, so far as I know, that this burial was at Nemi, or that it was a grand tomb (the Latin just says "buried", sepultum). True, Caligula had a big villa there, but it is almost inconceivable that this assassinated symbol of imperial monstrosity would have been given a grand monument, plus a big statue there.

Pictured: Helen Mirren.

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Posted by the Flea at 07:08 AM

If the Zombie Apocalypse is a real concern for you (and it should be)

Ask yourself: Who do you sue for damages after the zombie apocalypse?

Given the number of exclusion clauses currently being inserted into many homeowners’ insurance policies, the chance that you are covered in the event of a zombie uprising is steadily decreasing.

What, then, is an innocent party, suffering damage due to zombie uprising, to do?

A variety of common law tortfeasors at the link. Your specific quanta of damages will vary (hat tip to Agent C).

Posted by the Flea at 07:07 AM

George Lucas: Writer. Director.

Genius.

George Lucas sits down and seriously proceeds to talk for around 25 minutes about how he thinks the world is gonna end in the year 2012, like, for real. He thinks it. He’s going on about the tectonic plates and all the time Spielberg is, like, rolling his eyes, like, ‘My nerdy friend won’t shut up, I’m sorry…’”
Posted by the Flea at 07:04 AM

Vending Machine Dress

Aya Tsukioka's urban camouflage was inspired by ninjas.

While British women might prefer to take self-defence classes, Miss Tsukioka said: 'It is just easier for Japanese to hide. Making a scene would be too embarrassing.'

She added: 'These ideas might strike foreigners as far fetched, but in Japan, they can become reality.'
Posted by the Flea at 07:03 AM

Feindflug: Ersatzteil

Posted by the Flea at 07:02 AM

January 19, 2011

We come not to praise the Xenomorph, but to bury it

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The Alien prequel, we are told, is dead. Still, better nuke that script from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Well, that's it, it seems, for the highly-anticipated return of Ridley Scott to the Alien franchise. The 73 year-old director has worked so extensively on the script by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and many other sources of input that the famous movie monster, known for a complicated life-cycle, has evolved itself into...nothing. The Alien Paradise project, rumoured to have an Avatar-style jungle-vibe, is now a new and original SF movie called Prometheus, starring Noomi Rapace.

Much more at Shadowlocked. As the piece suggests, there is no word on what this change of plan means for H.R. Giger's involvemnet in the project.

Posted by the Flea at 09:48 AM

We can reboot it for you wholesale

Colin Farrell is reported to star in Total Recall, a second film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. Producer Neal Moritz claims it will be more faithful to the original story than was the Schwarzenegger version by the same name.

That said, his diabetes enducing enthusiasm is somewhat less than encouraging.

“I think the world that Len Wiseman is creating is incredible. It’s a real world, a real future world, where the cities have just gotten so overcrowded that the cities are just built up, up, up, up. It’s just everything I see on the movie, every pre-vis I see on the movie, every conceptual drawing on this movie that I see just makes me more and more excited. We’re playing it like a real world, but there’s all these technological advancements to the real world, and it’s just really, it’s cool. It’s an awesome movie. I’m dying—as a fan of movies, more than anything, it’s a movie that I’m just dying to see.”
Posted by the Flea at 09:47 AM

A container at Mobistar

Rogers, you're next.

Posted by the Flea at 09:43 AM

UNKLE: Follow Me Down

NSFW due to gothique.

Posted by the Flea at 09:42 AM

January 18, 2011

Do Not Print

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The Rat Pack is a limited-edition volume by Reel Art Press. Nate Jackson describes it as "a sprawling compilation of visual footnotes" from what passed as everyday life for Frank Sinatra and friends (via Luxist).

In the public eye, they lived a fantasy that mere mortals could only dream of. But between the ellipses of Rat Pack lore existed a carnival of leisure, stress, politics, starlets, heartache and happiness. For decades, some of the only photographic evidence was stashed in a cardboard box labeled "Do Not Print." That is, until now.
Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

De gustibus non disputandum est

Soon, my dream of a mammoth burger may be realized for true.

Japanese scientists are set to create a living woolly mammoth that died thousands of years ago by using cloning technology. The researchers will revive the ancient species in the next five years by obtaining tissue from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian research laboratory.

Under the plan, the nuclei of mammoth cells will be inserted into an elephant's egg cell from which the nuclei have been removed, to create an embryo containing mammoth genes.

Not to be confused with mastadon burgers.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

Béla Bartók: The Wooden Prince (prelude)

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

January 17, 2011

Fear of the Unknown (2008)

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Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, S.T. Joshi, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Andrew Migliore, Robert M. Price and Peter Straub hold forth on H.P. Lovecraft in Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. The entire documentary is available online at the link.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is Fear of the Unknown.

“H.P. Lovecraft was the forefather of modern horror fiction having inspired such writers as Stephen King, Robert Bloch and Neil Gaiman. The influence of his Cthulhu mythos can be seen in film (Re-animator, Hellboy, and Alien), games (The Call of Cthulhu role playing enterprise), music (Metallica, Iron Maiden) and pop culture in general.

But what led an Old World, xenophobic gentleman to create one of literature’s most far-reaching mythologies? What attracts even the minds of the 21st century to these stories of unspeakable abominations and cosmic gods?

The trailer.

Posted by the Flea at 06:58 AM

A solar powered air conditioner

But wait, there's more.

China's first solar-powered air conditioner that can also send excess electricity to the power grid began rolling off a Gree Electric Appliances production line Wednesday.

The first 50,000 units will be sold in the American market. After that, the units will also be available for purchase in China, according to company sources.
Posted by the Flea at 06:57 AM

Best of Giant Bomb Quick Looks Volume 10: Don't Shake the Baby

Posted by the Flea at 06:54 AM

iamamiwhoami: y

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

January 16, 2011

Joie de vivre and success

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Scarlett Johansson is the face of Moët & Chandon Champagne.

No one could ever really accuse the sultry and mysterious Scarlett Johansson of being bubbly.

Except when it comes to some delicious champagne of course, and that's when the actress proved she has more than enough fizz.

Scarlett Johansson's leg at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

Arvo Pärt: Spiegel im Spiegel

"I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener."

"Tintinnabuli (singular. tintinnabulum) (from the Latin tintinnabulum, a bell) is a compositional style created by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt."

Pärt first introduced this new style in two works: Für Alina (1976) and Spiegel Im Spiegel (1978). This simple style was influenced by the composer's mystical experiences with chant music. Musically, Pärt's tintinnabular music is characterized by two types of voices, the first of which (dubbed the "tintinnabular voice") arpeggiates the tonic triad, and the second of which moves diatonically in stepwise motion. The works often have a slow and meditative tempo, and a minimalist approach to both notation and performance.
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

January 15, 2011

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream

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"James Birkbeck is one of those people who loves to transform himself."

Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM

Two spacers

"Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong."

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM

The new Zodiac

And what it means for you.

You thought you were a modest and shy Virgo, but it turns out you’re really a Libra with a tendency to overreact and cry for no apparent reason. So what does all this mean?

In short, your whole life and every event and trait that made you who you are was wrong. Likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths – all a hollow sham brought on by the universe. How did this happen and what is going to change?
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM

Brian Eno & David Byrne: Strange Overtones

A short film by Jon Yeo (hat tip to Mr. Liddle).

Posted by the Flea at 08:52 AM

January 14, 2011

You say Sidereal, I say Tropical

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Presumably hoping to finance a digital surround system, the Minnesota Planetarium Society (MPS) has been making non-news this week with the "revelation" our astrological signs are out of alignment with the sky overhead.

Stargazers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society (MPS) have revealed the alignment of the stars has been pushed out by about a month because of the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth. This means that most of those born under the sign of Virgo are now Leos, and those born between November 29 and December 17 could belong to a new sign altogether.

The 13th sign - known as Ophiuchus - represents a man wrestling a serpent and was discarded by the Babylonians because they only wanted 12 constellations.

Such are the hazards of running a five thousand year old longitudinal correlational study and expecting journalists to follow the bouncing ball. Though, in fairness, the Daily Mail is doing a much better job with the problem than the Minnesota Planetarium Society.

What the astromers are failing to understand about claims made by Western astrology is that the stars are meant to be placeholders for cosmological influences and not, for example, to literally represent two fish swimming (not) swimming overhead for people born under the sign of Pisces. If a Pisces discovers she is literally "Aquarius" it means her Pisces behaviours and tendencies should technically be renamed Aquarius behaviours and tendencies, not astrologers believe she was somehow magically born at an earlier time of the year (unless they are practicing Hindu astrology in which case it may be another kettle of fish).

Pace my speculation as to the motives of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, I am also not clear why any of this is suddenly news. Devotees of Aleister Crowley are all familiar with the Precession of the Equinox and the heralding of this New Age of Horus people are always on about.

Though I would be happy to tell people I was an Ophiuchus.

Posted by the Flea at 09:58 AM

The Trashmaster

A feature length film made entirely in Grand Theft Auto IV.

French filmmaker Mathieu Weschler has created what might be the first full-length feature film developed solely using the Grand Theft Auto IV engine. Weschler's 90-minute The Trashmaster still features the model of Niko Bellic, but in a very different role.

In The Trashmaster, Niko is a garbage man that cleans his city of more than discarded banana peels and stale bagels. As the "trashmaster," Niko also spends his time as a vigilante hunting down criminals whenever they happen to cross his path as he's pumping gas.

This is GTA IV directed by Luc Besson. It is humbling it is so brilliant; storytelling through editing, lighting, scene blocking and sound. The clinchers for me were the vaguely French accents - and diction - and existentialist narrative arc. With the exception of one or two cinematics borrowed from the game - and one special effects shot (of a spreadsheet) - Weschler never "cheats" but shoots the entire film in game.

This is more than a cute trick or pumped up "machinima", this is a proper feature film shot in Liberty City. It is a testament to what a real director can do and to the remarkable achievement of Rockstar Games' engine. Click through to Dailymotion and be certain to watch it full screen and in HD if your bandwidth will manage.

Aussi: More by Mathieu Weschler.

Posted by the Flea at 09:57 AM

Misjudged effects

An alternate ending to The Return of the Jedi.

Also: Should you find yourself vacationing on Endor having strayed from the protection of Imperial forces, a few words of Ewokese may keep you from the cooking pot.

We first learn about the Ewok species in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. They are also featured in a television movie, The Ewok Adventure, and a 26 episode cartoon series called Ewoks. Their language was developed by Ben Burtt. Ben Burtt talks about that process in his Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide. Ewokese is based on Tibetan, Kalmuck, and a small amount of North American Lakota. Ben Burtt says in Bantha Tarcks #17 August 1982:

"For the Ewoks, I was inspired by a recording on a BBC documentary of an elderly woman speaking Tibetan. It was very high-pitched and sounded like a good basis for Ewokese to me. Eventually then, what evolved was a pidgin, or double talk version of words from Tibetan, Nepali and other Mongolian languages. Huttese was created by the same process."
Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM

Brian Tyler: Inama Nushif ("She is Eternal")

"Through the tempest be it deluge or sand a singular voice speaks through the torrent."

Posted by the Flea at 09:52 AM

January 13, 2011

Plot hacks

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Martin Anderson considers a number of plot obstacles contronting an Alien prequel.

The problem with sequels is that they have to make sense of stuff which was thrown into the originals that spawned them mostly by dint of being 'cool' or intriguing. Thus Neo's powers of flight, which made such a cool end to the original The Matrix had to be embarrassingly persistent in the sequels; and Michael J. Fox's girlfriend being immediately 'knocked out' by Doc Brown at the start of Back To The Future Part II; and even the walk-on parts in the original Tremors getting their own Tremors sequel.

You kind of have to project backwards and force it to make sense post facto. This might be problematic for an Alien prequel for many reasons…

Not least the space-jockey himself.

Anderson reviews a number of approaches to the before of the Pilot (aka Space Jockey) offered by a variety of Alien spin off novels and graphic novels. Which, while interesting - and handy from a teaching point of view - are also quite beside the point. The main problem with the various answers to the Space Jockey’s back story is not that they are incoherent or even uninteresting but that they are offered at all.

To wax Caprican for a moment.

Diego: “This is troubling.”
Holy Mother: “Only if you try to explain it.”
Diego: “I’m sorry, Mother, I don’t understand.”
Holy Mother: “Secrets have answers. Now mysteries, they don’t have answers. That’s why I love them, they’re full of endless possibilities and permutations like God Himself, but if you solve a mystery, what are you left with?”
Diego: “A secret.”
Holy Mother: “Exactly. So ordinary.”

What do we know about the Space Jockey? He (she? it?) was killed by a Xenomorph and... that’s it. We know nothing else. This is precisely why this is one of the story's most compelling characters.

This is, in fact, the whole point of the character. The Space Jockey lends depths and a terrifying mystery to the story. Answering the question of his origins, his culture and his end diminishes a mystery by transforming it into a secret. An answer, no matter how well conceived or executed not only ruins the character but undermines the original film and, by extension, the whole franchise.

Posted by the Flea at 12:28 PM

In praise of the sci-fi corridor

"There's a moment in every geek's life when one goes for the 'communal hug' on a pet-subject and finds oneself unexpectedly out in the cold." (via Reddit).

The piano player stops playing. The landlord shakes his head as his eyes head heavenward, and he slinks away to rearrange the crisps. The lonely sound of a misdirected dart is all that haunts the otherwise silent pub. And it's definitely time to get your anorak.

"You like what...?"

Corridors in science-fiction movies. I love them.
Posted by the Flea at 12:27 PM

The King's Speech (Trailer deutsch HD)

This is how to do it correctly (hat tip to Ben).

Posted by the Flea at 12:24 PM

Coco Moon: There's A Change (Submarine Session)

Posted by the Flea at 12:23 PM

January 12, 2011

Phantom Ray

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Lost in all the media coverage of video showing the Chengdu J-20 taxiing along the runway last week and taking to the air this week was another video suggesting fifth generation fighters may soon be made effectively irrelevant.

Defensetech hosts video of Boeing’s Phantom Ray stealth UAV being shipped to Edwards Air Force Base in California aboard the old 747-based Space Shuttle Transporter (video at the link).

The Phantom Ray is part of Boeing’s internally-funded effort to develop stealthy, combat UAVs. It piggybacks on the company’s old X-45 offering for the Navy’s competition to develop an unmanned combat air system. That plane lost the Navy contest to Northrop’s X-47.

More background on various iterations of the X-45 Phantom Ray.

Air dominance stealth UAVs would provide two advantages to the USAF in taking on an hypothetical peer competitor such as the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force. UAVs can be built for previously unmatched combat tolerance and performance specifications, for example, making high gravity turns which would kill a pilot. And perhaps even more important given today's sensititivities, unmanned drones can be deployed in contexts where the life of a pilot would not be risked.

The Phantom Ray is not only a platform for testing UAVs in an air dominance role, however, but a harbinger of a more profound change to come. This is not only intended to be an unmanned aircraft but an unmanned and autonomous aircraft.

Skynet, here we come.

Unlike earlier generation drones serving with the military in hot spots such as Afghanistan, where the aircraft is remotely controlled from the ground by a pilot using a joy stick, the Phantom Ray is capable of completely autonomous operation without the need for anyone to be at the controls, according to Boeing.

It’s more fly-by-mouse than fly-by wire. You upload a mission profile to the Phantom Ray’s onboard computer and the aircraft runs the entire mission from takeoff through mission and landing without the needs for human intervention or control unless the need arises to make changes in the mission profile.

Corollary: We are building our own peer competitor.

Cylon_Raider.jpg

All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.

One of my favourite micro-genres: Defense industry corporate videos. They have a stilted quality you can't fake.

Posted by the Flea at 06:59 AM

Henry Purcell Incassum, Lesbia, Incassum Rogas

An Elegy On the Death of Queen Mary, 1695, here performed by a tenor, Douglas Nasrawi. I will also point you to the same piece as performed by the exquisite Anne Sofie von Otter. Sadly, the video won't open in Canada due to unspecific licensing restrictions.

The more inventive among you will find a work around, otherwise it is available as part of Von Otter's Lamenti, disc 40 in the 111 Years of Deutsche Grammophon: 55 CD Anthology (worth every penny).

Posted by the Flea at 06:53 AM

January 11, 2011

What it takes to be a leading man

A Cary Grant tribute narrated by Michael Caine (hat tip to Ben).

Related: Michael Caine does Michael Caine. Also, the Michael Caine sat nav needs work.

Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

The propinquity of nomenclature

Australian steampunks have better handles than the rest. Zero Absoulossal Frog is my new hero (hat tip to Pocket War Comics).

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

How to make a BristleBot

Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Equiloud and Leisure-B: fret_1

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

January 10, 2011

Rice Krispyhenge

This is an aerial shot of the mysterious Rice Krispyhenge.

Background Eddie Izzard explains henges.

And: The Spinal Tap account is as accurate as 99% of published archaeology on the subject..

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Jenni Vartiainen: Missä muruseni

Hat tip to Mr. Percifield.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

January 09, 2011

Extra half ration of Victory Gin announced

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Proles grateful, doff caps.

Pubs will be allowed to stay open until 1am on two consecutive nights to celebrate Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton, it emerged today.

Drinkers will be able to stay out late on both the night of the wedding, Friday April 29, and the following night as the nation celebrates the union.
Posted by the Flea at 09:34 AM

Eliza Doolittle: Fuck You

I like Xbox and Atari.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM

January 08, 2011

The ultimate bachelor pad

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Gaius Baltar's house is available for rent.

That said, if money were no object, I would be after Daniel Graystone's house from Caprica (pictured above, more at the link). I enjoyed the series but found my lust for a place to call my own got in the way. At 12 million, it would most likely take a lottery win...

Posted by the Flea at 10:48 AM

The Red Book of Westmarch

Elijah Wood is set to reprise his role as Frodo Baggins, appearing at the beginning of each of two installments of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit. While Frodo does not appear in the book, Tolkien readers will most probably not object. Some role as narrator is easy to imagine given Frodo's co-authorship with his uncle Bilbo (and Sam Gamgee, at the very end) of The Red Book of Westmarch, the tale re-told by Tolkien as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

[A]ccording to the official fan site TheOneRing.Net, plans are for Frodo (who is the nephew of Hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins) to appear at the beginning of each of the two installments of The Hobbit as a sort of framing device for the narrative. As we’ve already seen from the return of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel — who also doesn’t appear in Tolkien’s original Hobbit tale — Jackson clearly seems comfortable taking a few liberties with his adaptation, like he did with The Lord of the Rings.

Galadriel is a bit of a stretch but as it's Cate Blanchett I am fully prepared to suspend my disbelief.

Also: Martin Freeman is an excellent choice for Bilbo Baggins. If you have yet to see Sherlock (2010), by all means do so and, yet more important, if you have never read The Hobbit, do that before you see the film too.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM

Film integrity

Threee BluRay releases of "Star Wars" have been announced, one collecting the "original" series, one the prequel abominations and one goes the full retard. You can stop holding your breath, it's not the real Star Wars.

Lucas did note that all the movies will be the "special editions," since restoring the original versions (from the 80s) would "cost too much" and take too much time.

Too expensive. Right. This is the same studio which at one point claimed the original films no longer exist. And a man who once testified before Congress that colorizing black & white films compromised their integrity.

Posted by the Flea at 10:44 AM

Habitat'67 in Montreal

While I am celebrating the architecture of Vancouver, Montreal deserves a moment as well.

This artificial hillrange on the Saint Lawrence river is composed of the futuristic homes of the universal exposition Expo 67. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, modular, interlocking concrete forms define the space.

In The Disappearance (1977), dir. Stuart Cooper - an architectonically ambitious movie - Habitat'67 serves as the home of (guess who?) a professional hitman, played by Donald Sutherland. It is the stage on which a fairly brittle relationship of the hitman and his wife is enacted. David Warner also stars. Another remnant of Expo 67 can also be seen, Richard Buckminster Fuller's famous geodesic dome.

Edited to the tunes of Am Eulenturm by Dagobert Böhm.
Posted by the Flea at 10:43 AM

Nero: Innocence

Posted by the Flea at 10:42 AM

January 07, 2011

Looking awry

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The Bronze Age of Blogs remembers a "weird little experiment" by Marvel UK, The Titans, a landscape format comic book. What was Marvel thinking?

With Marvel UK it was always best not to ask questions, as they seemed to come up with new formats and ideas practically every couple of months, all to disguise the fact that what you were buying was still an inferior black & white reprint.

It all must have seemed a bit crap if you were stuck with second rate product - black and white reprints at two compressed pages per landscape page - and whatever random issues of the real thing made their way across the Atlantic. To a North American eye, however, these look collectible. Sure, there are UK specific heroes to be found in books like the Marvel Overkill anthologies but this landscape title is worth it for the cover art alone.

Posted by the Flea at 07:49 AM

Science as a candle in the dark

Charlie Rose hosts Carl Sagan for his last interview.

Part II and Part III.

Carl Sagan gave his last interview with Charlie rose on May 27th 1996. He discussed pseudo-science, religion, unfounded claims, his personal love affair with science and his struggle with myelodysplasia as well as other elements of his last book: The Demon-Haunted World.
...
"Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy."
Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Valeria: Girl I Told Ya ft. Aria

Borrowing this from doubleplusundead. Click through for Helen Mirren.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

January 06, 2011

Factus lux

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Italian architects Italcementi used "i.ight", a form of transparent cement, to build the Italian pavilion at last year’s Expo in Shanghai.

Italcementi used i.light for around 40 per cent of the 18-metre high Expo pavilion, or 3,774 transparent panels and semi-transparent panels made from 189 tonnes of the product.

In each transparent panel there are approximately 50 holes, leading to about 20 per cent transparency. The semi-transparent panels were around 10 per cent see-through and were created by ‘modulating the insertion of the resins’.
Posted by the Flea at 06:28 AM

An expanding English mahogany picnic chest and games table

This is what civilization looks like.

Posted by the Flea at 06:27 AM

The world's best universities

DirJournal Info Blog combines tuition fees and employer reputation to produce a list of the world's top 30 universities, sure to raise blood pressure at Lancaster and York.

As a former guest of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, I can say their on campus catering is excellent too.

Why employer reputation? It’s simple. Employers are the ones doing the hiring of new graduates. As a class, the new graduates over the last few years are having a very hard time finding employment. Experienced, highly trained individuals with years of experience are competing for the same jobs that would normally go to new graduates. Employers who think favorably of a university will be seeking these graduates regardless of the economic conditions. If companies want these students, they will be seeking them out – a nice change for those who have struggled to get even menial jobs in this current climate. Using tuition is straightforward – the less it costs, the more value associated with that desirable degree.
Posted by the Flea at 06:24 AM

Making truth itself appear like falsehood

A notorious study linking autism to childhood vaccination was the product of "elaborate fraud" (via doubleplusundead, click through for robust comment).

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.
...
Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May. "Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession," BMJ states in an editorial accompanying the work.

More than ten years later and the truth has only now got its pants on. It is difficult to imagine how many deaths Wakefield, and credulous parents, should have on their conscience.

Posted by the Flea at 06:23 AM

Ralph Vaughn Williams: The Lark Ascending

Eleonora Turovsky, violin. Stunning.

Posted by the Flea at 06:22 AM

January 05, 2011

Divide by zero

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The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant is set to marry the Georgia Moffett, daughter of the fifth Doctor, Peter Davison.

Update: To summarize.

Paradoxically, this means that Davison and Tennant came together as both individuals and the same person, while one was the father of the future daughter of the other.

The remainder at the link.

Posted by the Flea at 10:08 AM

Palladium is the metal

Hiroshi Kitagawa of Kyoto University has announced he and his team have artificially produced a metal similar to palladium.

The world--and particularly the Japanese--may be in a frenzy over China's newly announced 35% cut in rare earth exports, those used to produce many high-tech devices, in the first half of this year. But a Japanese scientist has found one answer: Create the metals artificially.
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM

Barbariana, Queen of the Savages (Part I)

Barbariana: Queen of the Savages is an epic 5-part Weak Nights miniseries event. In this Part 1, Helen, Queen of the Savages, is overthrown by her treacherous sister Heather. To finish her off once and for all, Heather seeks to recruit the most savage warrior in the realm. Will he accept her dastardly mission?
Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM

S.C.U.M: Amber Hands

Posted by the Flea at 10:02 AM

January 04, 2011

Your Tron got in my goth!

Fiber-Optic-Illuminated-Heels.jpg

Your goth got in my Tron!

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM

I'm not a guido, I'm a guidette

The New York Post offers highlights from Nichole "Snooki" Polizzi's A Shore Thing, available from fine booksellers this week.

Now wondering what I could have asked to ghost this thing. Feed me Jägerbombs and I can do juicehead.

* "Yum. Johnny Hulk tasted like fresh gorilla."

* "Any juicehead will get some nut shrinkage. And bacne. They fly into a 'roid rage, it is a 'road' 'roid rage."

* "Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky."

Fair dues, Tony “Trouble” Troublino is an inspired character name.

Posted by the Flea at 07:45 AM

Adrian Belew: Electronic Guitar (Part I)

Posted by the Flea at 07:44 AM

Shootingallstars - Flashman

With this suit I could stride about the Annex confronting evil.

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM

Warpaint: Stars

Posted by the Flea at 07:42 AM

January 03, 2011

Listen to film


Stéphane Lerouge discusses cinema scores on Musique Matin. Subsequent poking around lead me to this lecture.

Stéphane Lerouge est enseignant, programmateur musical du festival Musique et Cinéma d’Auxerre et concepteur de la collection discographique "Écoutez le cinéma !" (Universal Jazz). Il a publié "Conversations avec Antoine Duhamel" en 2007 (Éd. Textuel).

His argument is holistic, all elements that make up a film - the writing, the cinematography and the music - do not enjoy "un vie propre" independent of one another. Much like a score for a ballet, film music is properly understood in its context. More than this, the film score exists as a counterpoint to the imagery it is created to support.

Fair dues. Though I am not certain where the argument takes us beyond a frankly banal observation that might just as well be made for, say, opera. And if performative context is at issue, one might equally argue you have to be at the symphony to properly enjoy a symphonic score.

Does Siegfried's Funeral March from the close of Twilight of the Gods impart the same meaning when it is reproduced on YouTube and abstracted from its home at Bayreuth (after several days of numb Nibelungenbum)? Obviously, intuitively, it does not. But does it lose its emotive power even for those who have never heard of Wagner, let alone know the ins-and-outs Brunnhilde's romantic life? Perhaps ironically, the fact this piece is reproduced again and again in film and advertising suggests the opposite.

Posted by the Flea at 09:28 AM

A tempest in a D cup

The buzz at this month's Consumer Electronics Show was all about a new breakthrough in the field of high-resolution 3-D graphics (hat tip to Quotulatiousness).

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM

The Heroic Trio (1993)

Starring Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui and Maggie Cheung.

The all-female Heroic Trio are Tung (Wonder Woman), Chat (Thief Catcher), a mercenary, and Ching (Invisible Woman). Initially, they're on opposing sides - the invisible Ching is kidnapping newborn male babies for her evil master, Tung is trying to solve the crime (rather more effectively than her policeman husband, who is unaware of her secret identity), and Chat, who was formerly employed by Ching's evil master, is trying to sell her services and inside knowledge to the police. But all three have something in common buried deep in their past...
Posted by the Flea at 09:24 AM

David Bowie: Breaking Glass (extended single)

Posted by the Flea at 09:22 AM

January 02, 2011

Little windows

Post-It_Cthulhu.jpg

Don Kenn Gallery.

Born in Denmark 1978. I write and direct television shows for kids. I have a set of twins and not much time for anything. But when I have time I draw monster drawings on Post-It notes... It is a little window into a different world, made on office supplies.
Posted by the Flea at 10:33 AM

Detroit in ruins

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre document the - heart breaking - ruins of an American city. There is nothing inevitable about the American dream. This is disaster by design.

Posted by the Flea at 10:28 AM

Yes, folks

The comments are still broken. Thanks. When I find someone to shift me over to WordPress they will be done away with altogether.

Posted by the Flea at 10:27 AM

Kate Bush talks to Desmond Morris

Be still my heart.

Posted by the Flea at 10:24 AM

Johann Strauss: The Blue Danube Waltz

Herbert von Karajan conducts.

Posted by the Flea at 10:23 AM

January 01, 2011

Technology for paid liars

It is barely 2011 and I have already been exposed to new technology that makes me want to stab and kill.

Ommwriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, reinvindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

Better to build a shrine to some definitive old school technology for getting angry.

First it was Cormac McCarthy, then Jack Kerouac. Now, Harlan Ellison, a self-identified blue-collar fantasist who has written over 1,000 short stories, screenplays, essays, and criticisms, has listed his Remington noiseless portable for $40,000.

Meanwhile, Joe Konrath can't wait for his books to go out of print.

When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple Inc.'s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he'll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion.

If you can hang on long enough, sometimes you find whatever enjoyment is to be found in outliving your enemies.

Happy New Year.

Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM

Labyrinth (with sock puppets)

What Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman get up to when they have some time on their hands.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM

Holy Ghost!: I Know, I Hear

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM