Monday, May 31, 2010

Douglas Adams: Parrots the Universe and Everything

I saw this on the Pharyngula blog today. This may well be one of the best lectures I have ever seen.

BP Advertisement from 1999

Gotta love the irony.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Donald Judd's Personal Library

There is always something a little voyeuristic about looking through someone's personal library. You can tell a lot about the person just by the books they choose to own. I was interested to see that the minimalist sculptor, Donald Judd, whose own artwork is so exact and austere would have such a wide variety of interests in books.

The Donald Judd Foundation has meticulously photographed the artist's entire personal library, shelf-by-shelf exactly as he left it when he died in 1994. On the foundation's website you can peruse each of the shelves, and if you mouse-over the books, it gives you the title, author, publisher and date of  each and every book in the library.
Here is the link to the webpage.

Friday, May 28, 2010


These videos of natural organisms are beautiful beyond words. From Synaptic Stimuli.

'Corynactis viridis' from MORPHOLOGIC on Vimeo.

'Oyster Vision' from MORPHOLOGIC on Vimeo.

'Preener' from MORPHOLOGIC on Vimeo.
'Cleaner' Pt. 2 from MORPHOLOGIC on Vimeo.

Los Angeles Time Lapse Photography

Beautiful time lapse photography of roadways around Los Angeles, but something is conspicuously missing... I suppose this is what L.A. would look like if there were no cars or people. I also assume this took quite a bit of time in the editing process.

Running on Empty from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion's free culture

A great TED talk on the absurdity of copyright law in the digital age using the copyright-free fashion industry as a model.

TEDtalksDirector May 25, 2010 Copyright law's grip on film, music and software barely touches the fashion industry ... and fashion benefits in both innovation and sales, says Johanna Blakley. At TEDxUSC 2010, she talks about what all creative industries can learn from fashion's free culture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Late Night Music with Supersilent

Since nobody is watching this anyway, I thought I would post one of my favorite bands that nobody likes.
I am a big fan of Supersilent. I think the band would be best described as an improvisational free jazz band who incorporates the analog sounds of obscure 1970's science fiction/ art film soundtracks.
This is the beginning segment of Supersilent 7 .

Albums by Supersilent usually begin fairly quiet, but build and then lull and build into a riotous cacophony taking the audience on a roller-coaster ride.
Here is the fourth track from their 7th album, creatively named 7.4
Supersilent - 7.4 from boyrobot on Vimeo.
From Wikipedia:
Supersilent was formed when the free jazz trio Veslefrekk (Arve Henriksen on trumpet, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, and Jarle Vespestad on drums) played a concert with producer, live electronics artist and self-described "audio virus" Helge Sten (a.k.a. Deathprod).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rewriting History: "a Christian land governed by Christian principles"

The Texas State Board of Education would simply be misinformed, superstitious, comical backwards boneheads if they weren't the ones deciding what goes into the textbooks of 5 million children for at least the next ten years. But as it is they are infuriating and scary... They must have slept through government and history class themselves because they seem to think our founders wanted America to be founded as a christian nation. That would be false, but here are two things that our founders did agree upon: 
First Amendment
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,"
 The Treaty of Tripoli
Art. 11. "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,"

TXFreedomNetwork May 21, 2010Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar opens debate on new social studies standards with a politically divisive prayer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TED Talk: Can we eat to starve cancer?

This TED talk was amazing. It is a view on cancer and obesity prevention that I had never heard of. It involves reducing the growth of new capillaries that feed the blood supply to cancer cells or fat cells so that they never grow in the first place. It turns out that certain foods are much better at inhibiting the growth of new capillaries than others.

William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game. William Li heads the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

RDF TV - The Search For Hidden Dimensions - Brian Greene

A very nicely produced video by the Richard Dawkins Foundation.

richarddawkinsdotnet May 17, 2010 — Brian Greene explains how extra dimensions may solve several problems in physics, and gives his stance on the possibility of a "multi-verse".

Saturday, May 15, 2010


As a kid, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Mark Gonzales were my personal heroes. People who could do amazing feats of balance, climbing, gymnastics and general ass-kicking were the ones I looked up to. I did my fair share of skateboarding, breakdancing and karate, but I think the thing I was always best at was getting on top of buildings in the most unconventional means possible. Whenever I was climbing, it felt as natural as walking.

But I am feeling like an old man lately. I am dealing with a knee condition called bursitis and my knee has swollen to the size of a grapefruit, most likely due to an old knee surgery and years of abuse. Not being able to bend your knee makes even putting on your shoes a task, much less climbing a building.

Anyway, I ran across this clip from a Luc Besson film called District 13. This chase sequence involves a recent athletic movement called Parkour or Free Running, which involves physically negotiating obstacles in the most efficient way possible. If I were about twenty years younger and had the knees that I did then, I would be all about this stuff. Although I get the feeling that these guys will be saying the same thing twenty years from now... ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's

I don't normally post political things on this blog, but Lewis Black was on fire with this one... You've probably already seen it, but if you haven't, this is really good...
Glenn Beck plays "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," except there's just one degree and Kevin Bacon is Hitler.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Buzzcocks- Running Free

This song was always my inspiration for escaping full time employment... Self employment may even be more time spent, but now it's my time and it's directed toward what I want to be doing.

Minutemen- Corona

I was speaking with Will last night and it reminded me of one of my favorite songs of all time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jiří Barta- The Last Theft

A few weeks back I posted a Nurse With Wound song that had a video which was a mashup of clips from the Czech animator and filmmaker, Jiří Barta. This is the original short film from which most of those clips come. I have to say, this film makes my inner goth smile... So light a black candle, sit back and enjoy.

The Last Theft- Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Michael Moore vs Westboro Baptist Church

Michael Moore makes pastor Fred Phelps look like a complete idiot.
Well deserved....

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Tale of Two Drum Solos

I am not a drummer nor am I even a musician, so take this commentary with a grain of salt if you know more than I do about drums. But I tend to think that Neil Peart is one of the most overrated drummers ever. I mean, if all you listen to is classic rock and prog rock, then he is definitely a standout. But the minute you turn to jazz, he just seems way overproduced and laughably predictable.

Let's grab two videos from you tube and put them side by side.

Neil Peart has a gigillion piece drum set that completely surrounds him, a spectacular light show and a gigantic stadium screen behind him showing the audience his every move. Yet everything he does on this gigantic drum set falls squarely and predictably within a 4/4 time signature. Everything about this seems slick, clean and tame.
UPDATE: Case in point, the video was taken down from you tube for a copyright violation. It seems that Rush and Atlantic Records' astronomical profit margin from the DVD sales just isn't wide enough, so they've decided you can't even see a low quality version of it. Well, here is a website that still has it until the Atlantic copyright sharks take that one down as well.

Jim Black is a jazz drummer who has a simple trap set and is playing to a small crowd in a nightclub. There is no light show and the camera angle doesn't show much. I have no idea if the guy is sticking to one time signature because I can't count it out in the first place. It is chaotic, unpredictable and dirty, yet he stops and starts on a dime with millisecond timing. Chaos becomes silence and then chaos again within one single second. I love it at the end where he tosses all of the drumsticks onto the kit and the sound of them hitting everything becomes part of the piece. At that point, the audience can't even tell when the piece ends (in a John Cage, "sound is music" sort of way).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flocking Behavior in Schools of Fish

A big influence on my artwork is a group behavior among social animals called flocking. Whether it is schools of fish, flocks of birds or swarms of ants; there really is a group intelligence at play that is reminiscent of both neurons in the brain as well as traffic patterns in cities... Although I do think that the fish have cars beat hands down as far as elegantly working together as a group.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Real News: The Age Of Science And Discovery

Another great TED talk. This one is very short, but really good.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Choose Privacy: video from the American Library Assoc

Choose Privacy Week Video from 20K Films on Vimeo.

How to Build a TED Talk

If you're not familiar with TED talks, then you should certainly look into it because you're in for a world of enlightening and entertaining lectures by some of the worlds brightest thinkers.

This particular TED talk, however, is a very funny tongue-in-cheek lecture about how to give a successful TED talk according to the statistics of the user ratings of previous TED talks. I do love infinite feedback loops.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Albert Ayler

Albert Ayler has always been one of my heroes in the jazz world... His sax playing is somewhere between spirituals, folk songs and complete outright chaos on the tenor saxophone...
New Grass is my favorite album cover of his, but the list of his great albums is too long to mention.

This is a really good NPR story on him...

And here is a recording of him doing the classic song, Summertime...  This may very well be the most toned-down you will ever hear Albert Ayler.