Friday, September 21, 2007

Carny photos

better'n mine too

Carny photos: "Picture 1-105

Notley Hawkins let me know about his carnival photos. They are far superior to mine. Check them out on his Flickr account. Link


(Via Boing Boing.)

Zwigoff and Clowes will build "$40,000 Man" movie

played by Steve Austin's evil twin no doubt

Zwigoff and Clowes will build "$40,000 Man" movie: "Terry Zwigoff will rewrite and direct 'The $40,000 Man' with Dan Clowes, with whom he collaborated on 'Ghost World,' according to an item in the Hollywood Reporter: Link. The tale centers on a famous American astronaut who is badly injured in a car wreck, and is then rebuilt by the government to be a 'bionic man' -- but on a skimpy budget of $40,000, he's one cheap cyborg. (thanks, Susannah Breslin!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

5 Myths About Terrorism

interesting read

5 Myths About Terrorism: "Six years after 9/11, all too many Americans still have only a vague idea of what does -- and doesn't -- motivate terrorists. It doesn't help that many politicians exploit the anxiety that terrorism evokes to promote their own agendas. Here are five key urban legends:"

(Via Digg.)

Going Gray

Island of Terror (1966), still not on dvd - sigh

Going Gray: "

Carole Grays gonna gitcha!

Carole Gray had a face made for horror: hair the color of midnight, a seemingly bone-white complexion, a wide, ravenous mouth and eyes that sparkled with a lethal combination of desire and madness



web zen: arrgh! 'tis pirate zen 2007

eternal pirate foo

web zen: arrgh! 'tis pirate zen 2007: "

talk like a pirate day

british hq

how to talk like a pirate

jobby roger



undercover pirate

hide the rum

rum reviews

pirate pots

pirates vs. ninjas 01

pirates vs. ninjas 02


yo ho ho! pirate zen 2006

yar! this be pirate zen 2005

yar! 'tis pirate zen 2004

yar! this be pirate zen 2003

and for a limited time...

david byrne's pirates

(this will disappear on 09.20.07)

Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Magazine back issues on DVD

i have FF and Spiderman

Magazine back issues on DVD: "200709140913
In 1997 National Geographic published an archive of all its back issues on CD-ROM. Some writers and photographers sued National Geographic, claiming the magazine didn't have the right to do that. This scared other magazine publishers from selling digital versions of their back issues.

But in June, two US Appeals Courts ruled that National Geographic did have the right to sell back issues on CD-ROM. The said digital archives were like library microfiches, which freelancers never got paid for either. (More about this here.)

I'm not going to argue for or against the courts' decision. I'm just glad that I'll be able to start buying complete back runs of famous magazines. I already have the complete run of Mad, and am looking forward to getting the the complete run of National Lampoon (all 246 original magazines from 1970 through 1998), and the complete runs of Silver Age Marvel comic books.

In a couple of days, Bondi Digital Publishing (which published the complete run of The New Yorker as a DVD set and as portable hard drive) will release a DVD of all the 1950s issues of Playboy and all 40 years of The Rolling Stone.

Other magazine and comic back issues I'm hoping will soon be offered on DVD: Scientific American, Popular Science, Harvey Kurtzan's Trump/Help/Humbug, Carl Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

09/06/2007 - Toon #1077

heh heh

09/06/2007 - Toon #1077: "

Toon #1077


(Via PC Weenies - RSS2.)

"When Pigs Fly?" [Pic]

"When Pigs Fly?" [Pic]: "I guess I should start saying 'when hell freezes over' now..."

(Via Digg.)

$28,000 keyboard needs to go on sale a few hundred times

but if you just sell one...

$28,000 keyboard needs to go on sale a few hundred times: "


I guarantee that there is absolutely nothing a keyboard could possibly offer that would justify a $28,000 price tag. But hey, that isn't stopping a company named Fairlight from trying, as that's exactly how much their new XYNERGI keyboard will set you back.

At that price, they aren't really targeting normal consumers, but rather media professionals like video editors who would appreciate having customizable keys and a fancy screen on the top of their keyboard. What makes it so fancy is that all the keys have little screens on them, switching up based on whatever function they're representing. It's certainly slick, and probably useful to editors, but $28,000 worth of useful? Somehow I doubt it.

Engadget, via Crave


(Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)

Extermiknit: knit your own Dalek

xtrta kewt

Extermiknit: knit your own Dalek: "

Exterminknit is a (delightfully named) pattern for knitting your own Dalek.


(via Making Light)

See also:

HOWTO build a working Dalek

Crocheted Dalek

Dalek cake

Record-breaking Dalek gathering in Manchester

HOWTO make mechanized Dalek-o-lantern

HOWTO bake a chocolate Dalek


(Via Boing Boing.)

Google Lunar X Prize: $30MM prize to put robot on moon

i'm in like flynt

Google Lunar X Prize: $30MM prize to put robot on moon: "

Welcome to Moon 2.0. Snip from announcement coverage at Wired News:

Google will award $30 million to the first private team to put a robot on the moon, the company and the X Prize Foundation announced at Wired NextFest in Los Angeles Thursday. Members of the public will also get the chance to send digital mementos to the moon. In this advance from the October issue of Wired magazine, contributing editor Spencer Reiss explains what's behind the Google Lunar X Prize, and what it will take to win it.

Link, here's more about today's announcement.


(Via Boing Boing.)

Giant web woven by a variety of spider families

Giant web woven by a variety of spider families: "Scientists report that the massive 200-yard spider web recently discovered in Texas's Lake Tawakoni State Park was woven by spiders from many different species working collaboratively. Thousands of spiders have rebuilt the web three times after it's been torn up by rain and wind. Texas A&M University entomologist Allen Dean has identified spiders from such families as funnel web weavers, sac spiders, orb weavers, mesh web weavers, wolf spiders, pirate spiders, and others working on the web. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (photo from Tx. Parks & Wildlife Dept.):

 Spdest Findadest Parks Lake Tawakoni Media Images Web 600X450

The motive may well be food, researchers say. The larger the web, the more flies and bugs get stuck, providing an abundant food supply for the spiders.

'Spiders generally are cannibalistic and keep their webs distinct,' Dean said. 'We're not sure what started the initial webbing ... but there probably have been thousands of spiders working on the web.

'With the amount of rain that has occurred this year and the huge food supply available, it just created the right condition for all of this.'

Link to Star-Telegram, Link to Texas Entomology site about the web

Previously on BB:

• Massive spider web Link


(Via Boing Boing.)

Disney toys made under conditions that violate Chinese labor laws

Disney toys made under conditions that violate Chinese labor laws: "A contractor that manufactures Disney toys in China has been caught violating China's own labor laws -- which are hardly regarded as exemplary throughout the world.

Workers at a Chinese factory making Disney toys are overworked, underpaid, exposed to dangerous toxins and forced to live in filthy conditions, a labour rights group said in a report Wednesday.

The study, released on the second anniversary of the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, said factory workers complained they were forced to work 28 days a month and up to 15 hours a day.

Staff at Haowei Toys in southern China also are not allowed to take time off during peak seasons, according to the report released by the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM).

'The conditions at Haowei reflect the failure of the Disney system to monitor and respond effectively to violations of the Disney code of conduct and the workers' rights the code professes to defend,' the report said.


(Thanks, Shelby!)


(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Watch the Iron Man Trailer!

looks like a goodie

Watch the Iron Man Trailer!: "In what may be a first, we've got an item about a commercial for a trailer to a movie that won't be coming out until next May."

(Via Rotten Tomatoes: News.)

The Art of Horror and the Horror of Art: An Interview with Christian Jankowski (Part One)

The Art of Horror and the Horror of Art: An Interview with Christian Jankowski (Part One): "

Last Spring, I ran two blog posts which described the curious process by which my decapitated head (or at least a replica thereof) ended up being used in a low budget horror film, featured in an experimental movie, and displayed in art galleries in London and New York City.

The man who pulled me (and my head) into this fine mess was Christian Jankowski, a contemporary multimedia artist who largely works in video, installation, and photography. He has created a number of television interventions, including 'Telemistica' (1999), in which he asks Italian television psychics if his new art work will be successful (the video he then created is comprised of recordings of these psychics answering his question), and 'The Holy Artwork' (2001), in which he collaborated with a televangelist pastor. One of his early works, 'The Hunt,' is currently on display at Boston's Institute for Contemporary Art: in this video, he takes a bow and arrow into a grocery store, vowing to live only on food that he shoots himself.

My head was one of the featured attractions of 'The Violence of Theory,' part of The Frankenstein Set, a larger exhibit of his works which explored Horror films, their fans, and their theorists.

Given my rather intimate involvement in this particular exhibit, not to mention its clear relevance to those of us interested in fan culture and on the relationship between high and popular art, I had long hoped to feature an interview with him here about the work. Until now, his schedule has not allowed him to respond to my questions. But, now, as he is preparing the printed catalog for the exhibit, he has taken some time out to talk about the work, including his own version of the travels and tribulations experienced by my prosthetic head. A fuller version of this interview will be published as part of the exhibit catalog.

Some of what follows may scare you. Some of what follows may shock you. But all of what follows is true. This interview is not for the weak of heart. Nurses are standing by to attend to anyone who faints as a result of reading this blog.

The exhibition The Frankenstein Set (Lisson Gallery, UK. Sept. 2007) consists of three artistic interventions in and around Horror film culture. Can you describe your relationship to the horror genre? Were you a fan before you began this project? What drew you to do a series of works based on the horror genre? (*Note: the US exhibition title at The Kitchen in NYC was 'Us and Them').

When I begin working on an art project, it can start with a fascination about something I know little about, or am ambiguous about - but then it normally sucks me in. This time it was horror and I guess you can say now I'm a horror fan.

Although thinking more about it, bits of the horror genre were present in my life early on. When my parents first started dating they were shooting a horror short on 8mm in their spare time, a kind of thriller. They co-wrote the story, acted in it, and filmed it. I grew up in Göttingen, a little university town in Germany where the Brothers Grimm were once professors and my mother put me to sleep reading their folk tales of children being eaten by witches and of a little boy who went out into the world to learn about fear. Later, as a teenaged electric-guitar player, I wore black leather and used kohl eyeliner to shock my parents and teachers. My favorite book back then was Freaks and Monsters (which also inspired my first band name „The Freaks'), and I loved H.R. Giger and of course, Hieronymus Bosch. Some of the first films they showed us in art school were The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Un Chien Andalou. I also think the photographs I saw then from the Orgien Mysterien Theater of Hermann Nitsch and the other bloody performances of the Vienna Actionists may have guided me in the direction of performance art - which is still the base of what I'm doing today.

The horror project started when I attended a lecture of yours at MIT on horror imagery in Matthew Barney's work. There was this high level of interpretation given to these super-popular horror images. To my mind Barney took horror visuals and used freakish characters like a woman with a prosthetic leg or even himself as a Satyr and then filmed a big budget art movie in the Guggenheim Museum. I thought it'd be more interesting to do something closer to actual horror film productions, infiltrate their vocabularies and work within their world.

Historically, many would have regarded horror as one of the most debased of entertainment genres. What do you see as the implications of incorporating this genre into your work for a gallery exhibit? What relationship are you positing here between popular culture and high art?

'Low culture' and popular culture have been a source of inspiration for many contemporary artists, so I don't think that distinction between low and high necessarily stands in the art world any more.

I'm not interested in putting horror on an intellectual, 'high', bloodless level. The work has to be sensual experience combined with an intellectual way of seeing things that you might not have seen before. I thought in this overlap between theory words and gruesome images, something surprising could happen. It's a kind of collage.

You could say The Blair Witch Project is a fiction disguised as a horror documentary, and Angels of Revenge is a documentary disguised as horror fiction. Normally it's all fiction that the horror fans watch and like. In Angels of Revenge though, they get to see their own fantasies and real life stories entering this half-documentary, half-fiction movie. Of course, you're never quite sure where the 'real' and 'fiction' begins and ends in their stories, because these fans are so influenced by horror film characters they follow.

One of the Angels of Revenge cast members organized to have the film shown at this year's Fangoria 'Weekend of Horror' convention, so in a way the work now has a life in two worlds: the world of the galleries and the world of horror films.


(Via Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Idiocy From NBC

More Idiocy From NBC: "

John Bergmayer, back on July 17, on NBC Universal’s push for the U.S. government to establish content-based filters on Internet traffic:

NBC’s comments (read them here) are filled with ludicrous claims. Art already blogged about its position that file-sharing hurts the American farmer. It also claimed that the open Internet is like a FedEx or UPS delivery service for contraband—wouldn’t the government do something, they ask, if 70% of FedEx’s payload was stolen goods or illegal drugs?


(Via Daring Fireball.)

Thinking of buying this $150,000 turntable? Kill yourself.

Thinking of buying this $150,000 turntable? Kill yourself.: "


No, this isn't a reject from this summer's Transformers movie; it's a turntable. And not just any turntable, either: an idiotically expensive turntable aimed at lobotomized, overmonied audiophiles.

Yes, it's the 'Work of Art' (yes, that's the product name) from Basis Audio, and it'll set back guys who drive Bentleys and vacation in Dubai $150,000. What drives the price so high? Well, beyond the fact that people are out there who are willing to pay that much, it also has some fancy anti-vibration technology, and, well, a wacky design. I'm sure it'll make your old Eagles records sound way better than they do on your 30-year-old Technics player, but I somehow doubt it'll make them sound $150,000 better.

Born Rich, via Crave


(Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Roller-Walker robot changes modes on the go

Roller-Walker robot changes modes on the go: "


Robots are finding new ways to get around. The four-legged Roller-Walker has a wheel at the end of each leg, allowing it to switch between its two modes of transportation on the fly — rolling and walking. As it strolls around, each wheel is positioned flat against the ground like a circular foot. When the Roller-Walker deploys its wheels, however, it uses its segmented body to propel itself forward in a graceful, swaying manner that's really a treat to behold.

Being able to switch between walking and skating helps the Roller-Walker move over flat surfaces swiftly, but still gives it options when traversing more difficult terrain. Hirose-Fukushima Robotics Lab has a few videos of the 'bot in motion.

Roller-Walker, via Technabob


(Via SCI FI Tech Blog.)

Short links breakfast breadbasket

Short links breakfast breadbasket: "

  • Unicorn crossing! Link.

  • Project on Government Oversight (POGO) slams US Department of Energy (DOE) over repeated computer security breaches at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), gives the federal nuke site a 'failing grade' on security matters. PDF Link.

  • Video footage of Chewie, stormtroopers, Leia, Boba Fett and a few Rebels invading the Oakland airport to hand off Luke's Return of the Jedi movie lightsaber prop to NASA, en route to the Houston Space Center. Link.

  • Utterly over-the-top fake nails to be worn with fancy kimonos. Link (via).

  • An oral history of Nerve, the online 'literate smut' nexus: Link, appears as part of their tenth anniversary feature: Link.

  • Newspaper in Sri Lanka hates on The Gays: Link.

  • Italian motion picture actress Asia Argento wants to make porn for women: Link.

  • Tentacle hentai burfday cake: Link.

  • Images of wind turbines on the Bahrain World Trade Center, a twin tower construction with three turbines on the struts between the towers. Link.

  • Stephen Hawking in legos: Link.

  • Miss South Carolina 'maps' t-shirt: Link.

  • 'My other house is a yurt.' Link.

  • Cat Laine says, 'I met this Australian artist, Stephen Ives at this year's Burning Man and he had the most beautiful steampunk goggles and face mask. I especially appreciated how the 3M logo is still prominently visible.'

    (Thanks, Susannah Breslin, Samantha, Rufus Griscom, Ange, Leo, Philip Proefrock, Jon, Bonnie)


    (Via Boing Boing.)

  • Defense Contractor comix: triumph of the robotic will

    Defense Contractor comix: triumph of the robotic will: "

    Defense contractor Northrop Grumman has published a comic book promoting drones and 'nintendo warfare' for kids. Special Ops 5: UAS STRIKES! tells the story of a group of pinned-down US soldiers who extricate themselves by invoking satellites, robots, and drones that chase of balaclava-clad swarthy terrorists.


    (via Danger Room)


    (Via Boing Boing.)

    Bush's alien overlord peeks through window during speech

    Bush's alien overlord peeks through window during speech: "k"

    (Via Boing Boing.)

    William Gibson WashPo interview "one of the best ever"

    William Gibson WashPo interview "one of the best ever": "Bruce Sterling calls Joel Garreau's Washington Post interview with William Gibson, 'One of the best William Gibson interviews ever.' Garreau interview Gibson about Spook Country, his new novel that is so futuristic, it could only have been set in the recent past, and digs into the meaning and purpose of sf and literature in general, and how it ties into a world of technological change and splintering subculture. Garreau pinged Bruce for good, meaty Gibson questions, something I did for my 1999 interview with him for the Globe and Mail (Bruce said, 'Ask him about the shoes'). It's good advice -- the Sterling questions evoke some of the most interesting material in this piece.

    'Every hair is being numbered -- eBay has every grain of sand. EBay is serving this very, very powerful function which nobody ever intended for it. EBay in the hands of humanity is sorting every last Dick Tracy wrist radio cereal premium sticker that ever existed. It's like some sort of vast unconscious curatorial movement.

    'Every toy I had as a child that haunted me, I've been able to see on eBay. The soft squeezy rubber frog with red shorts that made 'eek eek' noise until that part fell out. I found Froggy after some effort on eBay, and I found out that Froggy was made in 1948 and where he was made and what he was made of. I saw his box, which I'd long forgotten. I didn't have to buy Froggy, but I saved the jpegs. So I've got Froggy in my computer.

    'This is new. People in really small towns can become world-class connoisseurs of something via eBay and Google. This didn't used to be possible. If you are sufficiently obsessive and diligent, you can be a little kid in some town in the backwoods of Tennessee and the world's premier info-monster about some tiny obscure area of stuff. That used to require a city. It no longer does.'


    (via Beyond the Beyond)

    (Photo credit: cropped, downsized thumbnail ganked from a larger image credited to Pouya Dianat -- The Washington Post.)

    See also:

    BoingBoingBoing #15: William Gibson

    William Gibson's Spook Country

    Original proposal for William Gibson's Spook Country

    William Gibson explains why science fiction is about the present

    William Gibson on writing in the age of Google


    (Via Boing Boing.)

    Eels with Alien-like double jaws

    excellent - science following alien art

    Eels with Alien-like double jaws: "Scientists have discovered that Moray eels have a second set of mobile jaws behind the skull. The eel's regular jaws grab its prey and then, in a move reminiscent of the Alien mother, the secondary jaw shoots forward and pulls the meal back for swallowing. Researchers from UC Davis captured the amazing sequence using ultra-highspeed video and x-rays and are now studying how the jaws may have evolved. They published their discovery in this week's issue of the scientific journal Nature. From News@Nature:

     Wp-Content Uploads 2007 09 Fig1

    Unlike Sigourney Weaver's big-screen nemesis, these moray eels cannot extend their second set of jaws out beyond their first. But the ability to deliver not one but two bites is still a potent weapon in helping the eels feed, say Rita Mehta and Peter Wainwright of the University of California, Davis, who made the discovery...

    Many fish species have extra jaws in their throats, which can function to filter food from water or to grind prey when swallowing. But the eel's extendable jaws are the first throat jaws known to be adapted to help catch prey, rather than simply to help swallow it, the researchers explain in Nature1 this week...

    (Mark Westneat of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago) says the discovery harks back to an age when scientists discovered natural phenomena, rather than developing theories and testing them. He calls it 'a classic example of discovery-based science, stemming from a 'wow' moment'.

    Link to News@Nature, Link to video,
    Link to UC Davis press release

    Previously on BB:

    • Nessie down under Link

    • Unagi implant Link


    (Via Boing Boing.)

    Photos of "anti-socials"

    Photos of "anti-socials": "Picture 2-71

    Alex Sturrock took these photos of ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) for Vice.

    Last year I travelled up and down Britain for six months to meet and take photographs of people with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. In case you didn’t know, an ASBO is something invented by the Labour government to give out to people who are seen as a menace to the community they live in. I decided to do this because at the time there was so much coverage on things like ‘chavs’ and ‘ASBOs’ in the tabloid press that I wanted to find out what life was really like for the people who’d been labelled ‘anti-social’ by the government. Originally, only a limited number of ASBOs were meant to be handed out and then only under very special circumstances. Once they started making front page headlines, however, the government started chucking them out like they were lottery tickets. When I began the project, over 9,853 people had ASBOs. At one point the rate of increase was so dramatic that if it had continued most of the country would have their own personal ASBO by the end of the decade. I wonder what mine would have been for?

    Above: 'Billy is from Dagenham in Essex. He has an ASBO for hoarding rubbish and livestock in his house. When the council cleaned his house they removed over 20 tons of rubbish in 700 bin bags.'



    (Via Boing Boing.)