Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There's no such thing as a jellyfish

By all accounts, jellyfish are creatures that kill people, eat microbes, grow to tens of meters, filter phytoplankton, take over ecosystems, and live forever. Because of the immense diversity of gelatinous plankton, jelly-like creatures can individually have each of these properties. However this way of looking at them both overstates and underestimates their true diversity. Taxonomically, they are far more varied than a handful of exemplars that are used to represent jellyfish or especially the so-called "true" jellyfish. Ecologically, they are even more adaptable than one would expect by looking only at the conspicuous bloom forming families and species that draw most of the attention. In reality, the most abundant and diverse gelatinous groups in the ocean are not the ones that anyone ever sees.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Surfers brave the "biggest day ever" at world's craziest wave: Tasmania's Shipstern Bluff

When skateboarding we might break an ankle or something mundane like that.... This is something completely different.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Albert van Veenendaal - The Spy & the Vampire

While we're on the subject of John Cage, here is a current artist named Albert van Veenendaal doing amazing things with a prepared piano.

A History of Silence

John Cage wrote the piece,  4'33" , in 1952, which consisted entirely of rests. The performers were expected to follow along the time signature diligently and turn the notation pages at the appropriate times yet not play a single note, the point of the piece was to showcase the ambient sound of the audience as music in and of itself.

Here is John Cage talking about the piece in an interview in 1982.

Apparently, the Beatles were very influenced by the book by John Cage titled Silence, published in 1961. His experimental  ideas on the blurring of the distinctions between sound and music were to have a big impact on the Beatles' later work. This piece, Two Minutes Silence is an obvious nod to John Cage's 4'33".

Ironically, Soundgarden included a song called One Minute of Silence on their album, Ultramega OK and credited John Lennon for "writing" it. The fact that John Cage is not credited , yet John Lennon could actually be credited for "writing" the piece speaks volumes for the broken copyright system we currently find ourselves in.

 And now it seems that the Hitler meme even has something to say about John Cage.

On a final note, did you notice that the elapsed time on each of these videos divided approximately in half as they went from one to the next? Does this say something about our attention span? Probably just coincidence...

Monday, May 23, 2011

RiP! A Remix Manifesto

This a full-length documentary spotlighting the abuse of copyright control. I am very interested in this topic and this is by far the most comprehensive thing I've seen on it.

After The Rapture

This video is a little bit snarky, but I found it funny.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rapture

A bit of advice for those concerned about the 21st of May.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Newt Gingrich gets glittered by protester for his anti-gay politics

From NPR:
Saying that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich needs to "feel the rainbow ... stop the hate, stop anti-gay politics!" a protester showered the former House speaker and his wife with glitter Tuesday at a book-signing in Minneapolis.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stupid people - #@%& everything about them!

From the title, it should be pretty obvious that this is not safe for work.

Well, That Was Fast - Comcast/NBC Merger

Disney requests a trademark for the name "SEAL Team 6," and the FCC approves the Comcast/NBC merger.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Flashes Light Up Sky Over Fort Worth

From NPR:
"I was really scared," amateur photographer Brian Luenser tells The Huffington Post about the footage he recorded. The local electric company tells Huffington that what you're seeing are flashes created when lightning hit "feeder" lines that carry electricity to neighborhoods.
There were hundreds of lightning strikes in the area Tuesday night, Fort Worth's Star-Telegram reports. And there were several thousand power outages, as you might imagine.

Is The Bible Still Relevant Today? (1/4)

I don't own a television for a very good reason (because 99% of it is crap), but this is a good illustration as to why British television is more interesting than American.

Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins: Who Says Science Has Nothing to Say About Morality?

 I finished reading the book "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris a few months ago, and initially I was very skeptical of the entire premise. At first, the idea that science could determine human values seemed entirely Utopian and totalitarian in the vein of "Brave New World" or even as bad as "1984"... But I think Sam Harris really does understand those fears and goes to great lengths to confront them head-on.

This video is a great short synopsis of what is contained in the book.

Friday, May 13, 2011

American Arts and Crafts Furniture

I've been more and more interested in the American Arts and Crafts style of furniture and architectural design in recent years. It seems the perfect synthesis between the baroque ornamentation of the Victorian era and the austere clean geometry of the Bauhaus movement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bin Laden Is Dead & We're Mad As Hell

Red State Update: Jackie and Dunlap celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden. OR DO THEY?

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Four Horsemen

I hadn't seen this video in a few years and it's been nice to go back and revisit some of the topics they discuss.

On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by RDFRS and filmed by Josh Timonen.

All four authors have recently received a large amount of media attention for their writings against religion - some positive, and some negative. In this conversation the group trades stories of the public's reaction to their recent books, their unexpected successes, criticisms and common misrepresentations. They discuss the tough questions about religion that face the world today, and propose new strategies for going forward.

This video is provided free online by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) and http://RichardDawkins.net . If you would like to support our work and help us provide more videos like this, please purchase the DVD through our online store http://richarddawkins.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&... and/or consider donating to RDFRS: http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/foundation,donations

Books by these authors:
"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins
"The End of Faith" by Sam Harris
"Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris
"God is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens
"Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" by Daniel Dennett

Filmed and Edited by Josh Timonen