Archive for September, 2009

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YouTube As A Musical Instrument

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on September 30, 2009 by admin in Music

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

My wikiphiliac ways lead to the strange discovery that not only is YouTube a musical instrument, but Ohio is a piano.

Although clearly not as epic a project as the incredible Kutiman – who remixed hundreds of YouTube music clips to create mindblowing mashups – Audiogravity is still pretty cool. It’s just a bunch of YouTube clips embedded in a single page, but you can start and stop any of them at the same time for some simple atmospheric “jazz”. Created by Darren Solomon of New York musical collaborative Science for Girls, Audiogravity is an extension of his Bb project, which (in a fashion similar to Jazzy Japanese Pop Band Sour’s fan-driven video) relies on user-submitted clips for the finished product. Solomon’s “band” Science for Girls is, in his words, “melodic electronica with roots in jazz and Brazillian music”, and their debut album features an eclectic group of guest vocalists from NYC’s indie music scene. Solomon’s blog is also pretty interesting; where else would I have learned about the Turkish instrument called a Cumbus? Which of course Solomon had to turn into a Cumbusfest. Which in turn led me in that Google-distracted, wikiphiliac fashion to discover today’s favorite waste of time:, where I learned that not only is YouTube a musical instrument as we’ve seen here, but Ohio is a piano. Read the rest of this entry »

If You Liked Boxing Helena, You’ll Love Hisss

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on September 29, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

For once the hissing at a Jennifer Lynch film may be coming from the screen rather than the audience.

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that ophiophiliac friend of yours, search no more. Slated for release on December 25, 2009 is director Jennifer Lynch’s Hisss. Starring Bollywood’s Mallika Sherawat and shot on location in India, the film is only Lynch’s second in the 15 years since Boxing Helena. Which isn’t surprising; Boxing Helena was like watching a film version of the Aristocrats joke. At the time it was rolled out as a brilliant and edgy film by David Lynch’s daughter, and in an incredible bait-and-switch, turned out to be one of the worst movies of the 90′s, winning a Golden Raspberry Award in 1994 for worst director. In fact, it was so horrible that it was comical, and actually left you wondering if that was its intention in the first place. It also was worthy of note as one of the first films that established actor Julian Sands’ presence in a film as a warning sign that the film would be horrifically awful. I sometimes wonder though if Boxing Helena wasn’t just ahead of its time; the movie Teeth managed to walk that same line with blackly humorous results in 2007. Hisss was originally titled Nagin, after the Indian myth of a vengeful snake woman. The film was perhaps retitled because there are two older Bollywood films called Nagin, rather than for American marketing, as some sources have suggested. Read the rest of this entry »

One Laptop Per Starving Child

[ Comments Off ]Posted on September 28, 2009 by admin in Technology

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Although it seems like a positive program on the surface, there might be better uses for the money spent providing Kenyan schoolchildren with laptops from the One Laptop Per Child program.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could easily provide schoolchildren in Kenya with cheap, solar-rechargeable laptops? Of course it would. But you might want to feed them first. While on the surface, it may seem like the recent delivery of One Laptop Per Child devices to Kenya would be a fantastic thing, this article sums up some of the many reasons why, in fact, it really might not be. At a time when Kenya is suffering one of the worst droughts in years and continuing to absorb tens of thousands of Somali refugees, making sure all the kids have Facebook access is probably a low priority. While I’d like to put some sort of positive spin on the OLPC program in Kenya, I simply can’t; although this concept may be an excellent idea in other countries with better-established educational infrastructure, at this point in time in Kenya, it’s kind of like giving a starving man a microwave. The unfortunate thing in a case like this is that people who understand the flaws in this kind of top-down rather than sustainable approach were offering intelligent criticism as early as 2005. There are lots of examples of this feelgood approach to aid in struggling countries; if you really want to do good in Kenya, consider giving to smaller, hands-on NGO’s like Amara Conservation or sustainable programs like Kiva. Read the rest of this entry »

God vs. Atheism: Um, Are There Maybe Other Choices?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on September 27, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Is it just possible that science is as much a faith as religion? Or that there’s a place between atheism and biblical literalism?

It’s interesting how theism vs. atheism has become such a hot topic over the past decade or so. It’s such a heated topic for some people that I, for one, am pretty sure I have a couple of friends who aren’t speaking to me because they don’t take the time to understand why I think rigid atheism is as ignorant and dangerous as religious fundamentalism. The WSJ piece Man vs. God – in which Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins take turns discussing their respective beliefs – is one of the most rational discourses I’ve read in a while. As a person who believes in reason and science but who also has a certain sort of belief in a greater consciousness that I find convenient to call “God”, I’m repeatedly befuddled by the two extremes of this debate. If you’re taking a truly rational, scientific point of view, you simply cannot legitimately deny the existence of God, or even Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, for that matter. You simply cannot prove empirically that they don’t exist. That doesn’t mean you have to believe in them, it’s just a simple fact that you can’t absolutely deny their existence. And if you’re using science as the basis for your beliefs, you’ll also have to accept the fact that the theory of evolution is just that: A THEORY. On the other hand, if you’re a rabid creationist or some other kind of fundamentalist, you’re kind of in luck, because with your utter lack of reason and magic fairy thinking, ANYTHING is possible. Heck. You might even believe you’re Jesus and get away with it when your concept of reason is that lax. So what do you think? Absolute Atheist? Somewhere in Between? Or Was The Earth Absolutely Created In Seven Days? Take the poll below… Read the rest of this entry »

Best Sites For Watching TV On Line

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on September 26, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Video Killed The Radio Star, but NOTHING seems to be able to kill TV. If you’re ready to surrender, here are 7 great sites for watching TV on line.

Although in general I might rather watch TV On The Radio than watch TV on the Internet, I still do it on occasion. The convergence of The Web and television is an idea that’s been around for ages (anybody remember Microsoft’s early feeble attempt?) but has taken a remarkably long time to catch on. My first bet was on Joost, one of the first web TV services that worked exceptionally well right out of the gate. Alas, America always makes weird choices driven by marketing rather than logic (anybody remember Betamax vs. VHS?) so one of the first pervasive services stateside was Hulu. If you really want to watch a TV show (or even full-length movies) bittorrents might be the way to go, but you have to be a bit of a nerd to figure the whole thing out, and if you want to watch the content as a stream or if you have any respect for those arcane documents that comprise copyright law, bittorrents probably aren’t for you. So back to the point: where can you watch TV on line? Below is a list of sites that actually have worthwhile content and seem to function reasonably well. If you have trouble with getting decent streams on any of these major services, check a few things before you start blaming the service. Aside from having enough RAM or a decent video card, you might try checking your firewall settings, updating your version of Flash, or get your butt off of sites like Facebook that hog system resources and bandwidth. Read the rest of this entry »

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