Archive for March, 2010

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Life Is Short – Films Should Be Too

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 31, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The internet is one big film festival, and you can be the judge.

Tokyo/Glow Is Gorgeous, Simple, and Short

One of my only disappointments regarding the recent Ann Arbor Film Festival was that I didn’t catch enough of it. Which is a little amusing, since I had a press pass*, and it’s a festival comprised largely of short films. Which are coincidentally kind of a fetish of mine, largely because of my goldfish-like media attention span. I regrettably missed winner’s night, but was confident that I could cleverly find a lot of the films online like I had with some of the opening night entries. How wrong I was. What I quickly learned googling the festival winners was that there are two distinct schools of thought on distribution of these festival-oriented works: one that believes in the new economy of “release it free and cash in later” (as in Chris Anderson’s book Free), and one that maintains its cachet mainly via scarcity of distribution. Ah well. I guess I’ll just have to spend more time in real theaters, watching real films! Until then though, there’s a never-ending film festival online. The biggest problem ultimately is sorting through the astounding number of indy shorts out there to find that genuine gem. Which is – as I just learned – precisely one of the reasons to go to a festival. So with all my complaining about being short on time, it’s rather ironic that I spent as much time as I did to find some sites to share with you. Of the dozens of sites I perused, two that I found that seemed to have the highest density of quality films were probably and CoffeeShorts. My search is only just beginning though; if you have any suggestions, feel free to share. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes It’s The Little Things – The REALLY Little Things…

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 30, 2010 by admin in Technology

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Software Catastrophes, Cosmic Rays, Nanotech & Your Fleeting Memories

The ISO warning sign for ionizing radiation
is probably scarier than the radiation itself

…like neutrinos, nanoparticles, and your failing memory. No, I’m not referring to the fact that because of your ongoing stimulation overload that you’ll immediately forget most of what you’ve read in this article and the links it contains. I’m referring to things like cosmic rays, nanotechnology, and data loss. It used to be that things like soft errors in your computer caused by things like cosmic rays or math errors in Intel processors would only make your rocket crash or oil rig sink or something, but now, it’s getting personal, and affecting the accelerator in your car. Either that or Toyota is getting desperate. Which in any case got me thinking about how we think of digitally stored and manipulated information as somehow perfect and eternal, when nothing could be farther from the truth. As well as the the aforementioned catastrophes (see more here) there’s the fact that your memory isn’t what you think it is. Your digital memory, that is. Aside from the occasional hard-drive crash (if you’ve never experienced one, I’m happy for you) there’s the rather limited longevity of CD’s and DVD’s. Although we think of them as a very reliable form of long-term data storage, the discs you burn probably only have a reliable life of 2-5 years. And although commercially burned discs have a much longer predicted life expectancy, even they are prone to disc rot and decay. And with device makers moving away from hard disc drives to solid state drives, the longevity of your personal computer’s data will diminish a bit too. At least the data will be a little easier to tote around while it’s dying. So you may as well enjoy the moment, because as cosmic rays help your data decay, they may be slowly killing you as well. Never mind the 50 trillion neutrinos passing through your body every day, it’s the gamma rays you have to watch out for. Or the nanoparticles. Or if you’re Arthur Firstenberg of Santa Fe, there’s the neighbor’s wifi to consider.

Bottled Water Battle Picks Up Steam

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 29, 2010 by admin in Clean & Green

Monday, March 29th, 2010

The bottled water industry is drunk on their profits, but if you still have a bottle in front of you, consider a frontal lobotomy.

America has a strange relationship with its beverages. Not too long ago I was at a business meeting, and on one side of me sat a woman drinking decaf coffee. On the other side, a man drinking ├ívitae caffeinated water. This was amusing enough on its own, but then I looked at the sippy-cup-like top on the woman’s coffee, and back at the man’s bottled energy water, and it suddenly hit me: we’re a nation of toddlers and infants that will stick just about anything in our mouth if given the chance. Which may go a long way toward explaining America’s irrational love affair with bottled water. We’ve touched on the rather significant negative impact of letting yourself get insanely gouged by paying up to $21.00 per gallon for water that is no better than your local tapwater before, but Thinking Outside The Bottle seems to be picking up some steam. You may already be hip to how stupid and evil bottled water is, but if not, learn more by watching the eight minute video The Story of Bottled Water (video also below). Or read Bottlemania, which explains in detail how – when tap water has become better than ever before – bottlers like Coca-Cola have built a $60 billion business by convincing consumers that bottled water was better. There are dozens of resources if you’re more of an activist, but for a couple of broader starting points it doesn’t matter if you Think Outside The Bottle or Inside The Bottle. If you want to get more specific, there are campaigns like Getting States Off The Bottle , or the Start A Lie social network smearing tool. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Tie Optional, Excessive Etiquette Discouraged

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 28, 2010 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Has America’s sense of style and manners eroded to the point that black tie optional really just means no-one will laugh if you drink the finger bowl?

Sure. Have Fun. Just don’t
drink the finger bowl, okay?

What does “black tie optional” mean? Well, there was a time when it meant a bunch of rich jerks standing around in tuxes they actually owned, pointing fingers behind their hand at the inept doofus who was wearing a rental. As I learned recently though, it now means “we have delusional pretensions of class and style from another era, and think you should too“. Attending a few formal events over the past month or two, I was surprised by the range of interpretations of what the terms Black Tie and variants of Black Tie Optional mean in today’s style and social continuum. Although part of me recoils at the idea of people wearing uniforms to identify their social standing, another part of me recoils even more at the idea of maintaining a tradition of that sort and then failing to enforce it properly. The biggest distinction I noticed between “black tie” and “black tie optional” events was a higher incidence of people at the black tie functions who knew how to hold their fork and not drink the finger bowl. The “black tie optional” events were more complicated in their interpretation of style, but easy to break down: you could tell a man was over 50 if he actually wore a tux, and under 50 if he was wearing anything from a Nehru jacket to Dockers and a sport coat with a turtle-neck. With a high likelihood that whoever wasn’t wearing a tie was wearing a Rolex, playing with his iPhone, and drinking the finger bowl. Not that I’m laying claim to being part of some elite old money crowd (although I love things like country clubs that keep garish ties on hand for guests that arrive under-dressed), in fact one of my early major fashion failures was when I was in my twenties and dating a graduating law student*, and she asked me to be her date at a black tie event in Chicago. At the time I didn’t own a tux and was still in the depths of my occasionally rather debilitating alternative style addiction. I thought I’d be clever and jar convention a bit by wearing a Spencer-cut tux. It looked kind of hip in a “White Prince on the Purple Rain Tour” kind of way, but it took me awhile to figure out why all the arrogant little lawyers-to-be kept asking me to get them another drink. Which I think highlights a pet theory of mine, which is that the lack of class and style that seems so prevalent the last few decades is a result of the perversion of an older class structure, driven by the rapid acquisition of wealth by the former underclasses. Which I think has contributed to a sense of a slowly crumbling sense of order and comfort in our culture, something I reference a lot. What do you think? Do a sense of class and style matter as much as affluence and personal expression?

Earth Hour: Switch Off The Lights For A Brighter Future

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 27, 2010 by admin in Clean & Green, Holidays

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

If you’re still in the dark about Earth Hour, just stay that way ’til 9:30 tonight and you’re covered.

Now here’s a holiday that shouldn’t stress you out. It requires little or no preparation, and only takes an hour of your life. All you have to do to celebrate Earth Hour and make a stand against climate change is turn off your lights for one hour starting at 8:30pm tonight (your local time). Earth Hour began in 2007 in New Zealand as a project created by the World Wildlife Federation. That year, 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses participated, and the event has grown steadily since then; in 2008, an estimated 50 million participated worldwide, in 2009, hundreds of millions took part, and if things keep growing at the same rate, there may be more than a billion people taking part this year. Support is also being shown in a big way by governments and businesses around the globe, by turning out the lights on major landmarks including the Empire State Building in New York, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the pyramids near Cairo, and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. So while it may not be as much fun as Global Orgasm Day, why not turn off your lights for an hour tonight to show your support. In the right circumstances, you might get the same results.

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