Saturday, May 28, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star

I'm watching Video Killed the Radio Star, a UK TV program about the making of a series of MTV videos from the beginning and the eighties. Fun to see, but what also strikes me, watching this show in HD, is how huge the difference is between Broadcast Quality then and Broadcast Quality now. Every time they cut from today's interviews to one of the music videos, you'd think somebody had thrown a bowl of pea soup over your nice big TV. They look just awful compared to what they shoot and broadcast today. And I must assume that since it's all of them looking like that, that it is how they looked, not just a result of being copied via a home video camera off somebody's 14-inch TV.

You'd also think that somebody had saved those videos somewhere in some format (film?) which had a higher quality than could be shown on TV back then. But it seems not, otherwise surely a big TV production like this could get hold of them.

Apple versus people's dirty minds

Playboy is not giving up, now it is coming to iPad via a web app.

Apple has a difficult row to hoe trying to keep the iScreens clean: it has recently removed the iPhone version of ChatRoulette, because some people are exposing themselves on the random-chat service. But when we start banning tools for the potential they have, we are on shifty ground. Just go into a normal wood workshop and try to find one tool which can not be used to maim or kill a person.

When you download any of the dozen different web browsers available for the iPad/iPhone, you have to OK a message that it might contain objectionable content. So how come we don't have to do that when buying the device, since Apple's own web browser Safari is already installed?

Apparently, even vaguely suggestive is too much for Apple. That's ridiculous. I'm glad I cancelled the development of the app I had a commissioned for Domai: smiling Domai models, cropped just above the breasts. I cancelled it for other reasons (linking to Domai might get it banned), it had never occurred to me that pictures not even showing breasts could be considered pornographic. Shows what I know after 14 years in the biz!

Objects and bullets

Photographing bullets passing through things has been done before, but Alan Sailer is good.

He uses a home-made (??) one-millionth second flash gun. An ordinary one is too slow, he says it's about 1/1000th second. (I thought they were rather faster than that, like 1/10.000th sec, depending on exposure.)

Only in Japan

They seem to be real. Although if you see the other videos, you wonder where the girl below is hiding the bigger parts of the head gear, not the least the forehead electrode.

It's funny how Japan is obsessed with cute-n-funny. Must be the balance to the seriousness of their culture... they have nearly no petty criminality, because you get no second chances; you dedicate your life to a company; suicide is a common way to deal with any failure...

Hentai said...
Suicide is not a way to deal with failure. It's a way to deal with shame.

Attention spans

I don't remember the last time I relaxed for hours with just a book. I'm not sure I even could anymore. I don't even finish films in one sitting these days.
It seems to be a general development for all ages, shortening of attention span.
How much of it is the Internet's "fault"? What other causes might there be?
Is it a problem? How so and how big?
What's your personal experience?

Making a splash: Water droplets frozen in high speed

[Thanks to Carter]

Making a splash: Water droplets frozen in high speed photographs by Markus Reugels, photo feature.

For this image, called Big World in a Little Drop, Markus placed a map of the world behind the water splash

This one is amazing, how the heck would water decide to move that way?:

So long, Roger Born

My old pal Roger Born died this morning after long struggle with cancer. Au revoir.

Roger wrote on religion, he wrote SF, and he wrote philosophy.
He also wrote about computing and was a Mac fan. Here's an article of his, and this one he wrote for my site.

Some friends of his, including me, gave him an iPad last year, I know he enjoyed that a lot.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Esther O'Connor

TCGirl found this roof fire with good music.

Many musicians are so yummy. 

I was thinking (while watching Jeff. Airplane one day) that if a band is on tour and they are of mixed genders, there's just no way in hell that some of them are not sleeping with each other. Start with that it tends to happen even with pimply salesmen, and add to it that musicians are often more attractive or at least seen as so, and that they are under quite a lot of stress, and often counteract that with alcohol and other substances.

"Just The Way You Are" by Applegirl (Bruno Mars Cover)

Also a good video:

(Really nice drawings.)

SF history chart graphic

[Thanks to Carter.]

Here is a graphic representation of the historic and genre relationships of important works and authors in science fiction. (Big graphic, zoom in.)
I'm surprised that even though I have not been actively following SF for years, I actually know or know of most of what's mentioned on this chart.

Cryoshell, DK

Alex mentioned Danish band Cryoshell. Not bad at all.

A funny thing I've noticed about Danish bands since about the millennium: They don't sound "Danish" anymore. Might be a reason for the bigger international success.

Bobcat is the top-cat

[Thanks to Henry]

Bobcat climbs cactus to evade Mountain Lion.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child By Tina Fey (updated)

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child By Tina Fey, article.

Refreshing web design too. Sad how rare that is, when on the web, the sky is the limit, really. Back in the nineties, Monty Python's entire web site was in black and white, not even grey tones. Wonderful! Haven't see it since.

AAAand the site is called "Write in Color". I like that too.
It was not in color, but I still fondly remember an SF novel by damn, whazname... didn't write all that many books... anyway, the book had "illustrations", but not in the usual kind, they were abstract, and they enhanced the intellectual ideas and the emotional impact of the story. Why do we never see that? It's not like it's technically hard to do!

... Ah! Alfred Bester! Thanks god for wiki, and for SF writers being so few that I could scan the list in a minute.
I think the book was The Demolished Man. Very experimental work, even the letters were arranged unusually on the page to show how conversation would look to multiple telepaths conversing simultaneously! Very daring.

My super-SF-genius friend Morten S says the book was Golem 100.
Reviewers say:

"There's a lot of dark humor in Golem 100, and some of it may not be to everyone's liking - if you're offended by necrophilia jokes don't read this book. If you can stomach some VERY graphic violence (with innards all over the place), twisted humor and a plot that involves mutants, demons and radioactive drugs, read this book. While not a masterwork, it's a very original, inventive, thrilling read."
"This is the first Bester book I have read - I've always disliked the juxtaposition of humor and horror, so there is much for me to dislike in Golem100."

Sounds good enough to me.

The CIA Plan to Use Cats as Spies

The CIA Plan to Use Cats as Spies, article. v. funny.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"My View on Coed Sleepovers"

"My View on Coed Sleepovers", article about the paradoxes of gender-separation.

My father was one of those people, though liberal and laid-back, who could not imagine a man and a woman hanging out without sex on the menu.
Once, my sister, then in her twenties, had a male friend sleep over. There was no correcting my dad's assumption that they had had sex, so I guess nobody even tried. (I remember though this guy being apparently so hot that my sister said she had to leave the room when he stripped to his Speedos.      :-)

When I was in twenties, I had an art exhibition in Copenhagen. My dad and his girlfriend came by. By nice coincidence, a lovely friend came by, on rollerskates and everything, and all were introduced, it was a nice afternoon.  Later when talking to dad, it was clear that he took it for granted that she and I were an item. I did nothing to disabuse him of the idea.


We are always told that men can't multi-task, but women can. Well, it certainly seems I can't, but is there evidence women are better at it? It may be another reason for a sex change.

Big-screen camera wanted

It suddenly struck me that I hadn't even tried the cameras yet in my iPad 2... So I did. And it's true, they are not great cameras. Barely useable for anything but video chat. (Adjoining pic is from the front camera, less than one megapixel.) Probably because of the thinness of the device, no space for a good lens or sensor.

But: I really like composing the pictures on such a large screen!

So I hope somebody will make a really good camera (say a lens and sensor in the class of the Fuji X100), and put for  instance a seven-inch screen on it. It will be no pocket camera of course, but I think people will find that they pay a lot more attention to what's in the frame, and composing becomes a lot easier.
The user-interface on a 7-inch touch-screen could also be a LOT better than the interfaces we have on today's 3-inch screens on cameras.
And of course it must have focus by touch-screen, and shoot by touch-screen, like the new Panasonic Lumix cameras, that works really well.

Hands On with the Fuji x100

Hands On with the Fuji x100, post.

Aelita Andre, young painter

At two I am a bit in doubt, but at four she is clearly working very deliberately.
Not that I don't feel the pain of the guy who says on youtube: "i'm a starving artist and i'm not amused by this shit." The art world is not fair, and probably never will be.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Cashback" and Sean Ellis

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Fine Print Blurs Who’s in Control of Online Photos

Fine Print Blurs Who’s in Control of Online Photos, NYT article.
World Entertainment News Network, a news and photo agency, announced this month that it had become the “exclusive photo agency partner” of Twitpic, a service with over 20 million registered users that allows people to upload images and link to them on Twitter. The deal allows the agency to sell images posted on Twitpic for publication...

A likkle wedding joke

On her wedding day, the bride's mother took her aside and gave her some advice about getting through her big day. "When you get to the Church," she said, "You'll see the aisle: you have to walk sedately up the aisle." The girl nodded obediently and made a mental note: "Aisle." "Then," her mother continued, "when you walk up the aisle, you reach the alter: you must be poised and composed at the altar." The girl nodded dutifully, making a second mental note: "Altar." "Finally," the lady concluded, "You will stand beside him at the altar." The girl made a third mental note: "Him." "Got it!" she said, and all the way through her big day she kept repeating to herself "Aisle. Altar. Him."

Amateur engineers will not be denied!

[Thanks to Mark F]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Math: turning a sphere inside-out

Marcelo found the full video.

Philocalist said:
On the subject, several years ago, probably 10 years or more, I was doing a lot of reading and research about savants, specifically autistic savants, and some of the things these people could accomplish were absolutely mindbending: one little girl (before her third birthday!) was found and filmed riding her bicycle, unassisted.
Nothing much very strange about that, agreed ... apart from the fact that she was almost two metres off the ground, riding along the top of a fence less than an inch (2cms) wide, completely relaxed, totally balanced and in full control! Think about it ... HOW did she get up there (WITH her bike!) in the first place, let alone perform such a balancing act? The ride itself was later repeated in front of scientific investigators, at a much lower level, so is a matter of record, but there was never an explanation given for her appearance on top of the fence .....

However, my favourite bit ... as part of a carefully controlled observation / experiment (held in London, under laboratory conditions, in front of film cameras) several children were being 'observed' ... a mix of nationalities.
Several 'unusual' occurences were observed / recorded, though one little boy (of Iraqi descent) spent the entire time apparently very withdrawn, simply sat bouncing a tennis ball off the floor, onto a wall and then catching the rebound.
After the 'subjects' had left the area, the ball was found as the room was tidied up ... it was inside out!
Totally intact, without any puncture or damage, but inside out ... and this was attested to by both Dunlop (the manufacturer of the ball) and the scientists present ... it was all a metter of certified public record then, so I guess it still exist today in some archive?
And the little boy? Not found at the address given, and untraced ever since ...

Thanks, Peter. I love things that show that the universe is not what it appears. My friend author Carol Howe told me about how she and a friend were in a long car ride, and they were admiring and talking about a beautiful full harvest moon coming up behind the car for a good part of the ride. The next evening they took out deck chairs to admire the moon again, but... it never came. They checked the calendar, and there was no full moon that week!