- RT @LarkinQuotes: One man restlessly waiting a train / While round the streets the wind runs wild 11 hours ago
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- Hasselhoff Supercut: David sings the theme to ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’
- Lewandowskis of note: Naked, late and pointless
- Photomicography – it’s a small world after all. Best viewed large.
- Vissi d’arte
- Since EVERYONE seems to either have a cold or be talking about having a cold…
- Blade Runner – Film Noir
- Excerpts from the Collected Letters of Julian Assange (The New Yorker)
- What fun this must have been to make
- Most insane batshit crazy video I’ve seen ALL DAY!
- Best reaction ever
- Atlas Update (yeah I’ve seen Elysium) – C3POMG
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- 56 best/worst similes used in high school exams...
- The Guy Quote - Robert Mitchum
- There are men too gentle to live among wolves
- The guy quote - Henri Cartier-Bresson
- Spring Breakers monologue - is this 2013's answer to The Breakfast Club?
- What I won't miss, what I'll miss (Nora Ephron)
- Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante ("Elvira Madigan")
- Starvation, cannibalism and madness - The Raft of the Medusa
- Richard Feynmann - the pleasure of finding things out
- The Guy Quote - Pablo Picasso
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Well, this is just incredible. Translate, tilt, rotate…all sorts of things with an amazing technique.
MIT Media Lab is clever. Read about this technique here (it’s worth a look).
(ps – flânerie is strolling, with all oits accompanying associations of lounging, idly loafing and so on, thankyouwikipedia)
Instagram has created a new kind of voyeurism — in which you can look into the carefully curated windows of the rich, famous and stylish — and a new kind of lifestyle envy.
“The department store is the last promenade for the flâneur,” wrote Walter Benjamin, the German critic, whose impossible project — “The Arcades Project,” more precisely — documented street life in Paris after the Industrial Revolution. He wrote of gleaming wants, windows gazing back at him, shoppers and wanderers alike becoming reflections of their desires. “The crowd,” he wrote, “is the veil through which the familiar city beckons to the flâneur as phantasmagoria — as a landscape, now as a room. Both become elements of the department store, which makes use of flâneurie itself to sell goods.”
This flâneuring took place when Paris was the capital of the 19th century. Its arcades — high iron-and-glass arches sheltering individual blocks lined with shops — numbered over 300 (under 30, now). Manhattan, capital of the 20th, replaced arcades with department stores and made spectator art of window displays. What is the new Paris, the new Manhattan, the arcade in the age of digital reproduction? It is Instagram: the app built to make you covet your neighbor’s life.
Only now your own personal Joneses are hundreds of miles away in L.A., or on the Greek island of Patmos, or in Milan. Doesn’t matter — all it takes is two clicks for today’s flâneurs, renamed “followers,” to float onto Margherita Missoni’s balcony. That is, a small and square and semipermanent display of Margherita Missoni’s balcony that makes you wonder if an antique rocking horse isn’t the outdoor seating solution you’ve been waiting for, although you do not have a balcony, or even a patio, and cannot in fact remember the last time you were outdoors.
If Twitter is the street, Facebook the suburban-sprawl mall, and Pinterest some kind of mail-order catalog, Instagram is the many-windowed splendor of a younger Bergdorf’s, showing all we possess or wish for, under squares of filtered glass, each photographic pane backlit 24/7. Each pane is, or intimates, an entire landscape or room. Follow enough of the international lifestyle-setters, and you’ll see: women’s fashion, men’s fashion, home or apartment décor, beautiful food, art, color-coordinated books and magazines. Of course, the tags for these old categories are updated: #birthdaylove for a many-braceleted hand holding a pink Nat Sherman; #nodiets for an aerial view of Ibérico ham on a plate.
Clockwise from top left: Instagram images of Claridge’s, London, by Jessica Diehl; a private home in Gloustershire by Amanda Brooks; a Parisian composition by Laura Bailey; a Manhattan self-portrait by Stephanie LaCava; spectators’ shoes at the Giambattista Valli show in Paris by Lisa Marie Fernandez; and a pool in Puglia, Italy, by Rafael de Cárdenas.
All elements must be carefully staged to look happenstance. Only the crassest Instagrammer snaps a new pair of shoes in a box, or plainly on a floor. The cannier, cinematic one will instead make a display of the shoes, arranging her feet on a shabby-chic desk next to a Grolsch bottle of daisies atop a stack of French translations. The writer Stephanie LaCava snaps her snakeskin Pradas opposite Audrey Gelman’s funny bunny slippers at Paris Fashion Week. A few cobblestoned streets away, the swimwear designer Lisa Marie Fernandez shows off her white Manolo Blahniks next to her friend’s yellow pair of Gianvito Rossis. Such Instagrams are mimetic: the contents, the casually rarefied setting, the off-kilter composition. What each says is not “this is a good shoe” or “these shoes look good on me,” but “these shoes look good in my life,” which is what Benjamin meant when he said goods are sold by flâneurie.
What feels new with Instagram is the mode of photography that feels most akin to the window display. Rafael de Cárdenas, the architect, shows off Biarritz by way of melons and Marlboros on a snowy white cloth. Jessica Diehl, Vanity Fair’s style and fashion director, snaps her stay in Claridge’s, the five-star hotel in London. The model-slash-writer Laura Bailey comes home from a trip with — she writes — “Paris in my bag”: a strand of Chanel pearls, a Chanel stylo eyeliner, a black diamanté hairpin and a handwritten note, all displayed too well and too brightly to make anyone believe these items have ever seen the inside of a clutch.
These are technically still lifes, but in spirit they are actually the new self-portraiture. It isn’t strange to say, or to hear, from an acquaintance run into on the street, “I recognized you” — not by your face or your body, but by your “style.” Meaning: a hand with carmine nails holding a copy of Anne Carson’s “Red Doc.” A pair of Illestevas resting on the edge of a Café Gitane plate, beneath it a new issue of The Journal. “The arrangement was the meaning,” Joan Didion writes in “Blue Nights.” The same is as true of objects as of words, and the small compositions of personal belongings so recognizable as “Instagram” are, simply, selfies without a face.
Similar compositions can also represent others. One of my favorite recent Instagrams, by the Los Angeles artist David Kitz, is of bandages, Motrin and other supplies for an injury from CVS, all heaped together on a plain white bedspread; the tag is #anklesprain, the caption is “Got the best girl in the world,” and the heart melts. This is my kind of lifestyle envy. For the more aspirational, there is Amanda Brooks, the American socialite who now lives in Oxfordshire, England, with two kids and a million horses. In lieu of a family portrait, Brooks will Instagram four pairs of kayaking sandals on a dock. Instead of photographing her scads of friends, she ‘grams a plate heaped high with packets of quince paste, which she has made to give as gifts. In the comments, a stranger asks her for the recipe.
Belongings being so easily conflated with belonging, Instagram induces a longing to be on a scene, the scene, the next one, a better one. Some hours you can scroll without end as a long block of squares lights up in unison, every frame swinging open to a new angle on the same scene: the same Jay Z performance at Pace Gallery in Chelsea, the same Delfina Delettrez presentation in Paris, the same Ken Okiishi paint-balling robots at the Frieze Art Fair in London.
“There it was,” says the kid in the Willa Cather story “Paul’s Case,” looking up at a wonderland of glowing panes, “what he wanted — tangibly before him, like the fairy world of a Christmas pantomime.” Close observers of Instagram may have noticed the recent rise of a conscious-or-not homage to Walter Benjamin, a snap of the modern flâneur: taken alone on the street, while looking through a store window — the most reflexive of surfaces — at oneself.
I wonder if you remember David Lewandowski’s bizarre naked rubber man animation? Fabulously weird and a must-see for anyone with an ounce of internetishness. Well he’s done a sequel.
“Late for meeting” tells the story of… is about a… well… maybe just watch it and make your own mind up:
Ah! But I promised Lewandowskis plural. Well then you need to visit Josh Lewandowski, who is drawing a pointless diagram for every day of the year. Of his project, he says: “The drawings appear meaningful without actually being helpful. Some might seem to reference real things or show some sort of relationship between things, but this is merely accidental. Enjoy.”
History doesn’t yet relate whether these Lewandowkis are related, nor indeed if they are related to The Brothers Lewandowski (Bruno, Max and David), who used to sell lingerie to aristocrats, notably Her Majesty Queen Maria Therese of Bavaria, Princess Adalbert of Bavaria, Princess Ludwig Ferdinand and Infanta Eulalia of Spain, but it’s nice to think so.
Colonial plankton organism, Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), magnified 250x by Wim van Egmond, of the Micropolitan Museum, Berkel en Rodenrijs, Zuid Holland, Netherlands.
The Atlantic always finds the best pictures. Here it shows the winners of the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Started back in 1974, the contest invites photographers and scientists to submit images of all things visible under a microscope.
First place this year went to a 250x view of a marine diatom by Wim van Egmond (above), showing the complexity and stunning detail of its fragile helical chain. Other entries included close-up views of ladybug feet, mollusc radula, dinosaur bones, nerve structures in embryos, and much more. Enjoy a journey into mini things by clicking here. Needless to say, best viewed large!
“Vissi d’arte” is a soprano aria from act II of the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. It is sung by Tosca as she thinks of her fate and how the life of her beloved, Mario Cavaradossi, is at the mercy of Baron Scarpia.
Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,
I lived for art, I lived for love,
The Land of Counterpane – Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
I believe you are a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film. I do not believe it is going to be positive for me or the people I care about. I believe that it is going to be overwhelmingly negative for me and the people I care about …. It is contrary to my interests, and to those of my organization, and I thank you for your offer, and what I am sure of is your genuine intent, but I must, with inexpressible regret, turn it down.
—An excerpt from Julian Assange’s letter to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Assange in the film “The Fifth Estate,” written in reply to Cumberbatch’s request for a meeting.
Thank you for the offer of a burrito. My assistants have communicated your offering, and I have given it a lot of thought, and examined memories of previous burritos, which I was fond of, and were of the chicken and beef variety.
I think I would enjoy meeting you and meeting this burrito and shoving it in my mouth. The bond that develops between a political refugee and a burrito is significant. But I must speak directly.
I believe this burrito to be a potentially delicious burrito, but I do not believe that this burrito will sit well in my stomach. I hope you do not take this as an unkindness. It is, rather, a statement of fact. It is for this reason I must regretfully turn down your offer of treating me to lunch at Chipotle.
I believe you are well intentioned, but surely you can see it is a bad idea for me to get off of this elliptical machine even though I have been on it for more than the allotted thirty minutes.
Consider the consequences of me leaving this machine. My paunch will grow at a rate faster than the greed of your corrupt government. My abs, no longer rock hard, will permit my lily-white stomach to pillow over the waistband of my bluejeans. It is most toxic and I cannot allow it.
I must question the choices and motives behind your desire: the opportunism to weaken a body that has grown strong; the desire to climb hill after hill on a fat-burn setting; the wish to listen to Lady Gaga remixes while softly peddling a machine that is neither bike nor stair.
Equinox is an extremely wealthy organization, with ties to powerful interests in the U.S. government, and a most excellent 7 P.M. Wednesday spin class that pumps me up so I feel like a living god, an albino Sun Ra.
But I cannot heed your claims that I have been on this machine for too long. There is work to be done, and, in the interest of truth, lean muscles, and a tight little butt, I must push forth.
I cannot accept this T-shirt that has been shot out of a cannon into the stands of a basketball game.
I believe this is a quality shirt, a hundred per cent cotton, the fabric of our lives.
I believe that this shirt would not naturally wish to harm good people who are trying to enjoy the Harlem Globetrotters.
In other circumstances, I may have accepted this shirt, but since it has been shot in my general direction against my will I cannot accept its having landed in my lap. Especially when the woman next to me was waving her arms and screaming like a horrible banshee.
T-shirt guns are the most powerful and insidious shapers of enthusiasm at exhibition basketball games. I merely wish to watch these players complete trick-filled layups and enjoy their good-natured alley-ooping while downing a super-salty pretzel dog.
You are being used as a hired gun to propel cotton projectiles out of cannons not meant to injure but to gift people with apparel. Not because you want to, of course you don’t: I imagine the wages are negligible, the level of enthusiasm you must muster unfathomable, and the synchronized clapping, if I may be frank, disgusts me. You do it because, in the end, you are a jobbing T-shirt gun wielder.
It is contrary to my interests, and I thank you for the offer of this XXXL T-shirt, but I must, with inexpressible regret, turn it down. I will give it to this woman next to me, who has more or less already torn it out of my hands.
I like the credits too. All-in-all a remarkably friendly short. Worth watching b i g
Wait a minute… was that a balloon?
An increasing number of people I know seem to be slipping headlong down the conspiracy-theory route. The topic seems unimportant. The usual pattern is that a friend of a friend of a friend has put a self-serving article onto Facebook – say, Fukushima’s radioactive water the Pentagon being bombed on September 11 or businesses owned by Monsanto (an astonishing array of hokum topics) – only rather than look into it or question it or even read the whole thing, they get stuck at the headline, write comments like “oh babe, terrible”, and then repost.
Intellectually, this is incredibly lazy. These are the same types who are first to complain about how the media isn’t to be trusted, and yet they’re doing the equivalent of telling people about an amazing article they read in The Onion. What worries me is that they’re listening to cranks, and agreeing with them. Rather than applying a little intellectual rigour and asking for proof, there is instead a mute acceptance, almost an expectation. Is it that being able to tap one’s nose and say “well, of course it’s all about the oil” makes one feel somehow profound? All too often the instant reaction is to agree rather than challenge. And you can challenge without calling someone a liar: it’s simple curiosity.
There’s an incredibly sad bit in Jon Ronson’s excellent book “The Psychopath Test“, in which he tells how a victim of 7/7 was so upset by repeated accusations – in fact whole networks of websites – saying that it didn’t happen, that she was a government shill, even that she didn’t exist, that she went to a meeting of conspiracy theorists, desperate to show herself to them, to make them see her and say it to her face (how could they, having met her)…they don’t part on good terms.
The scene is Parkland Memorial Hospital, where the dying Kennedy was rushed within minutes of the shooting. (The new movie Parkland, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti, takes the hospital as its focus.) Over the following few hours, as news of the assassination began to envelop the planet, the switchboard room at Parkland started receiving hundreds of crank calls. The Army Signal Corps had commandeered Parkland’s outgoing lines, but that still left the incoming ones to be handled by the regular switchboard operators, who were soon overwhelmed. Manchester writes:
Already UPI bulletins were stimulating cranks all over the world. In the next two hours one girl, Phyllis Bartlett, would log conversations with England, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, France, and Mexico. She wrote: “Every call coming in long distance is urgent and everyone seems to have a title that demands priority.”
Some of the titles were legitimate. Most weren’t. Genuine insiders went through Signals, as Ethel Kennedy had. The bulk of the direct-dial long-distance calls came from the curious, the disturbed, the downright demented. A woman in Toledo identified herself as ‘The Underground’; she asserted that she had occult powers which would keep Kennedy alive. A man said, ‘You nigger lovers, you killed our president.’ Another man threatened an operator: ‘I know who you are, and you’d better be careful when you start your car.’ Most disquieting was a young boy who called three times, talking to a different operator each time. His approach never varied. ‘I want to talk to my Daddy,’ he would begin plaintively. Asked who his father was, he would say, ‘My Daddy – President Kennedy.’ Then he would giggle and ring off.
So, what am I saying? Simply that not all the theories you hear come down to the illuminati shrouding the truth. That there are malicious people who delight in disinformation, and that misinformation gives them oxygen to spread further unease. That you have a brain, a good one. Use it to make things better, not worse. Be rigorous in your approach to information, and if you can’t do that, be balanced.
AIR AND LIGHT AND TIME AND SPACE
”– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
Via Brain Pickings
Seriously. Press play, close your eyes. Imagine.
Antonio Pompa-Baldi plays Moszkowski Etude Op. 72 #2
Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed. Instead, it can cause them to underachieve.
By ASHLEY MERRYMAN
NY Times: September 24, 2013
AS children return to school this fall and sign up for a new year’s worth of extracurricular activities, parents should keep one question in mind. Whether your kid loves Little League or gymnastics, ask the program organizers this: “Which kids get awards?” If the answer is, “Everybody gets a trophy,” find another program.
Trophies were once rare things — sterling silver loving cups bought from jewelry stores for truly special occasions. But in the 1960s, they began to be mass-produced, marketed in catalogs to teachers and coaches, and sold in sporting-goods stores.
Today, participation trophies and prizes are almost a given, as children are constantly assured that they are winners. One Maryland summer program gives awards every day — and the “day” is one hour long. In Southern California, a regional branch of the American Youth Soccer Organization hands out roughly 3,500 awards each season — each player gets one, while around a third get two. Nationally, A.Y.S.O. local branches typically spend as much as 12 percent of their yearly budgets on trophies.
It adds up: trophy and award sales are now an estimated $3 billion-a-year industry in the United States and Canada.
Po Bronson and I have spent years reporting on the effects of praise and rewards on kids. The science is clear. Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed. Instead, it can cause them to underachieve.
Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that kids respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they’re talented, smart and so on. But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again.
In recent eye-tracking experiments by the researchers Bradley Morris and Shannon Zentall, kids were asked to draw pictures. Those who heard praise suggesting they had an innate talent were then twice as fixated on mistakes they’d made in their pictures.
By age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies. They are surprisingly accurate in identifying who excels and who struggles. Those who are outperformed know it and give up, while those who do well feel cheated when they aren’t recognized for their accomplishments. They, too, may give up.
It turns out that, once kids have some proficiency in a task, the excitement and uncertainty of real competition may become the activity’s very appeal.
If children know they will automatically get an award, what is the impetus for improvement? Why bother learning problem-solving skills, when there are never obstacles to begin with?
If I were a baseball coach, I would announce at the first meeting that there would be only three awards: Best Overall, Most Improved and Best Sportsmanship. Then I’d hand the kids a list of things they’d have to do to earn one of those trophies. They would know from the get-go that excellence, improvement, character and persistence were valued.
It’s accepted that, before punishing children, we must consider their individual levels of cognitive and emotional development. Then we monitor them, changing our approach if there’s a negative outcome. However, when it comes to rewards, people argue that kids must be treated identically: everyone must always win. That is misguided. And there are negative outcomes. Not just for specific children, but for society as a whole.
In June, an Oklahoma Little League canceled participation trophies because of a budget shortfall. A furious parent complained to a local reporter, “My children look forward to their trophy as much as playing the game.” That’s exactly the problem, says Jean Twenge, author of “Generation Me.”
Having studied recent increases in narcissism and entitlement among college students, she warns that when living rooms are filled with participation trophies, it’s part of a larger cultural message: to succeed, you just have to show up. In college, those who’ve grown up receiving endless awards do the requisite work, but don’t see the need to do it well. In the office, they still believe that attendance is all it takes to get a promotion.
In life, “you’re going to lose more often than you win, even if you’re good at something,” Ms. Twenge told me. “You’ve got to get used to that to keep going.”
When children make mistakes, our job should not be to spin those losses into decorated victories. Instead, our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss, and to help them graciously congratulate the child who succeeded when they failed. To do that, we need to refuse all the meaningless plastic and tin destined for landfills. We have to stop letting the Trophy-Industrial Complex run our children’s lives.
This school year, let’s fight for a kid’s right to lose.