Friday, May 30, 2014

Has a tech entrepreneur come up with a product to replace our meals?

from Boing Boing:

The New Yorker says, "I thought you would be interested in Lizzie Widdicombe's piece in this week's issue of The New Yorker, in which she meets the founder of Soylent, a synthetic meal replacement, and—in part, by subsisting on it herself—looks at how it could someday revolutionize humanity’s approach to food."
In the May 12, 2014, issue of The New Yorker, in “The End of Food” (p. 28), Lizzie Widdicombe meets the founder of Soylent, a synthetic meal replacement, and—in part, by subsisting on it herself—looks at how it could someday revolutionize humanity’s approach to food. In 2012, a young Bay Area entrepreneur named Rob Rhinehart and his roommates were living off the last remaining funding for a failed technology startup. In a bid to save money, Rhinehart attempted various inexpensive—and unsustainable—diets. Having begun to see food itself as an engineering problem, he “took a break from experimenting with software,” Widdicombe writes, compiled a list of nutrients required for survival, ordered them from the Internet—mostly in powder or pill form—and poured everything into a blender, with some water. “The result, a slurry of chemicals, looked like gooey lemonade,” Widdicombe writes. He called the mixture Soylent, a term borrowed from a science-fiction novel from the nineteen-sixties. Rhinehart started living on it and shared his findings in a blog post called “How I Stopped Eating Food,” in which he championed the physical effects (clearer skin, thicker hair) and noted that his food costs had dropped from four hundred and seventy dollars a month to fifty. The positive response that the post received convinced Rhinehart and his roommates to enter the synthetic-food business. “Last week, the first thirty thousand units of commercially made Soylent were shipped out to customers across America,” Widdicombe writes. In addition to crowd-funding money, its production was financed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Widdicombe writes that, in her own experience, Soylent kept her satiated, though it did point out how much of our time revolves around food. “U.S. military and space programs have asked to run trials on Soylent, for possible future use,” Widdicombe writes. Rhinehart, who has been living almost entirely on Soylent for more than a year, hopes to figure out how to source all of Soylent’s ingredients—carbohydrates, protein, lipids—from algae. “Then we won’t need farms,” he says, adding that a Soylent-producing “superorganism” would eliminate the need for factories, too. To help a village full of malnourished people, Rhinehart tells Widdicombe, “you could just drop a shipping container” full of Soylent-producing algae. “It would take the sun’s energy and water and air, and produce food.” Then all we’d have to do is fix the world’s housing problem, “and people could be free.”

The End of Food in The New Yorker

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Led Zeppelin: Their very first time on TV, 1969

from Dangerous Minds:


There’s only so much hyperbole one can use when describing music (“rip-snorting,” “mind-blowing,” “tearing-up the house”) before the reader becomes inured and thinks, “Yeah, well, okay…” and moves on to something with more nouns and verbs and fewer adjectives (or just plays the music). However, this early Led Zeppelin concert recorded for Danish TV just six months after their first gig (where they were billed as “The Yardbirds”) deserves every hyperbolic phrase going, as it gives a powerful intimation of why Zeppelin were set to become the greatest live band of the 1970s.

Recorded at the Gladsaxe Teen Club, Denmark, for TV Byen/Danmarks Radio on March 17, 1969, Led Zeppelin perform “Communication Breakdown,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” and “How Many More Times.” Impressive and tight, it is a cracking showcase.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Want a revolution? Left unchecked, parasitical capitalism WILL produce one

from Dangerous Minds :


If you’ve been (wisely) keeping yourself away from the greater mainstream media miasma, you may not have heard about the book that’s been causing “conservatives” and Libertarians to foam at the mouth and in general go pretty fuckin’ apeshit. French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a match to dry drought-brush causing a veritable meme-fire, chasing out rats and other rodents from their hiding places.

It’s been fun to watch their worldview get annihilated by facts. Numbers don’t lie—but politicians do. The likes of Rep. Paul Ryan have no cover anymore. They’re holding their shticks, so to speak.

>Piketty’s story makes effective use of graphs, data and highly quantitative analysis, with his conclusion being about as blunt and straightforward as a two-by-four to the back of Rush Limbaugh’s giant butter-sculpture of a head. To put it succinctly, Piketty has proven what we probably already knew: Economic growth, in developed countries like the US, has become increasingly “owned” and funneled into the gaping maws of the 1%, and is largely fueled by increasing levels of debt for all the rest of us. In other words, for the last couple of decades we’ve moved into a sort of flesh-eating bacteria version of economics that isn’t floating anyone’s boats except for a tiny minority, who are using their economic power—their capital—to grab all the benefits of growth for themselves.

But this isn’t too surprising and it’s not really what has both left and right flipping out about. The REALLY BIG STORY is about inherited wealth. In other words, that 1% we keep talking about aren’t the God-annointed uber-successful genius entrepreneurs that the Fox News types always claim they are. They aren’t the hallowed Atlas shrugging “job creators,” either. Nope: That 1% consists overwhelmingly of people who inherited their wealth, and are now using that vast amount of capital to grab any additional growth for themselves, locking out the “little guy” out in the process.

Great system we’ve got here: One baby is born with barely a pot to piss in, but another one—well 1% of babies at least—hits the fucking jackpot through an accident of birth. The other 99% are on their own!

Since the Reagan era relaxed financial and banking laws have made it ever and ever easier for enormous globs of capital to attract even more enormous globs of capital—often without doing any real “work” or creating much of anything save for more money, while smaller players got knocked out, sent to work at Walmart or some non-unionized service industry where they will never be able to accumulate enough capital themselves to ever start their own business again. With a de-capitalized and unempowered middle class, there’s not a lot of real growth around so the uber-wealthy have worked very hard to “own” what little growth there is out still out there to siphon off, stripmining the rest of the economy for whatever else they can using a mindboggling array of debt instruments: Leveraged buyouts and private equity along with consumer credit cards, mortgages, student loans, CDOs, CMOs and all sorts of other debt that funnels even more capital to the 1% without creating any real growth. They’re using your credit card debt, your mortgage and your student loans to make you work for their enrichment.

Job creators? Bullshit.

The middle class are the job creators and they are rapidly going off line for lack of access to capital. Their would be customers are broke, too. Nobody wins except for you-know-who!

This is why the Tea party has been programmed to despise the Fed’s quantitative easing program: The 1% that is largely an inheritor class don’t really care about real economic growth all that much. In fact, they don’t like it at all: Growth often comes with inflation, which for an increasingly wealthy middle class isn’t a problem as long as wealth is increasing more quickly than prices. (In fact, most economists believe that some inflation is probably necessary in order to achieve optimal growth.) But if you are a Romney or Koch or Walton who inherited a giant ball of capital, you certainly don’t want to see any inflation because that reduces your standing. I mean, it’s not like trust fund kids create REAL jobs, is it? Any of those shitty minimum wage jobs that “capitalists” crow so proudly of having created probably came about because they eliminated many more higher-paying jobs, by using their vast (and otherwise useless, ‘cause they CAN’T spend it all) capital to buy politicians and twiddle the laws in their favor.

Anyway, this grabbing of the growth by the inheritor class manifests itself in all sorts of heinous abuses of the political and economic system, but one obvious way that pops into my mind is in the real estate market. In major markets like New York and London, rents and housing costs have skyrocketed, completely out of proportion to average wages. And why? Because the uber-wealthy have so much extra cash that they dump it into real estate that neither they nor anybody else uses. Indeed, fancy neighborhoods in London like Mayfair are becoming veritable ghost towns, filled with empty houses and apartments (unless the squatters, God bless ‘em, get in there!). I remember looking at an apartment on Prince Albert Road and the doorman complained that the entire building was usually empty. But the point is that all that useless money is in effect getting speculatively dumped into real estate and the result is… nothingness. Empty neighborhoods. The oligarchs aren’t even eating in the local ritzy restaurants, because they’re someplace else. They also forced out the merely “rich”!

To sum up: Capital has become so concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of people that those who own it can never make use of it efficiently. How could they? They inherited it after all which means they may have no business sense whatsoever aside from hiring the right people to work the system into vomiting out more capital into their cupped hands and opened mouths.

As a result, real growth (ie, not driven by middle class debt or the other myriad pyramid schemes of the super rich) has plummeted and the vast majority of middle class people have seen their standard of living slide backwards and access to the capital and tools with which in times past they may have enriched themselves has been forcibly pulled from having any practical possibility of enriching their lives! This goes way beyond mere “fairness” after all, as the new overlord “rentier” class increasingly block access to that which the middle class needs to have in order for real overall wealth to grow!

The “lumpen capitalists” have absolutely no interest in your social advancement, Jack.

>In 19th century China something similar happened, and the consequences were dire indeed. Arable land (which is in effect “capital” in an agrarian society) was increasingly concentrated into the hands of a shrinking number of people. Eventually, everyone was so damned poor that by the end of the Qing dynasty even the long-suffering Chinese had had enough: 50 years of revolution later and Mao and his posse were large and in-charge. And aside from the fact that there are some who argue that Mao’s minuses (eg, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution) eventually outweighed his pluses, just getting there was no picnic.

Is that what we really want? Lots of folks say they want a revolution until they discover what living through one is actually like. Put in another way, we need some redistributive schemes now—Piketty says nothing short of an 80% wealth tax, enforced globally, will do it—or else the redistributive schemes twenty years from now will probably be far less pleasant for everyone concerned.

Below, Thomas Piketty speaks about his work with Justin Vogt, deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

update: Since I posted this story I have been sent links and opinions it may not be researched well and may be inaccurate, so keep this in mind if you decide to read any further, and please also do some of your own research. Thank you!

from Zero Hedge:

In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as "channel stuffing", of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning?


Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die (courtesy of Vincent Lewis' Unsold Cars)

Above is just a few of the thousands upon thousands of unsold cars at Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Please do see this on Google Maps....type in Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Look to the west coast, below River Thames next to River Medway. Left of A249, Brielle Way.

Timestamp: Friday, May 16th, 2014.

There are hundreds of places like this in the world today and they keep on piling up...


Houston...We have a problem!...Nobody is buying brand new cars anymore!  Well they are, but not on the scale they once were.  Millions of brand new unsold cars are just sitting redundant on runways and car parks around the world.  There, they stay, slowly deteriorating without being maintained.

Below is an image of a massive car park at Swindon, United Kingdom, with thousands upon thousands of unsold cars just sitting there with not a buyer in sight. The car manufacturers have to buy more and more land just to park their cars as they perpetually roll off the production line.

There is proof that the worlds recession is still biting and wont let go.  All around the world there are huge stockpiles of unsold cars and they are being added to every day.  They have run out of space to park all of these brand new unsold cars and are having to buy acres and acres of land to store them.


The images on this webpage showing all of these unsold cars are just a very small portion of those around the world.  There are literally thousands of these "car parks" rammed full of unsold cars in practically every country on the planet.  Just in case you were wondering, these images have not been Photoshopped, they are the real deal!

Its hard to believe that there are so many unsold cars in the world but its true.  The worse part is that the amount of unsold cars keeps on getting bigger every day.

It would be fair to say that it is becoming a mechanical epidemic of epic proportions.  If anybody from outer space is reading this webpage, we here on Earth have too many cars, why not come and buy a few hundred thousand of them for your own planet! (sorry but this is all I can think of)

Below is shown just a few of the 57,000 cars (and growing) that await delivery from their home in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. With Google Maps look South of Broening Hwy in Dundalk for the massive expanse of space where all these cars are parked up.

The car industry would never sell these cars at massive reductions in their prices to get rid of them, no they still want every buck.  If they were to price these cars for a couple of thousand they would sell them.  However, nobody would then buy any expensive cars and then they  would end up being unsold.  Its quite a pickle we have gotten ourselves into.

Below is shown an image of the Nissan test track in Sunderland United Kingdom.  Only it is no longer being used, reason...there are too many unsold cars parked up on it!  The amount of cars keeps on piling up on it until its overflowing.  Nissan then acquires more land to park up the cars, as they continue to come off the production line.

UPDATE: Currently May 16th, 2014, all of these cars at the Nissan Sunderland test track have disappeared? Now I don't believe they have all suddenly been sold.  I would guess they may have been taken away and recycled to make room for the next vast production run.

Indeed next to that test track and adjacent to the Nissan factory, they are collating again as shown on the Google Maps image below.  So where did the last lot go? This is not an employees car park by the way.

None of the images on this webpage are of ordinary car parks at shopping malls, football matches etc.  Trust me, they are just mountains and mountains of brand spanking new unsold cars. There is no real reason why you should be driving an old clunker now is there?

The car industry cannot stop making new cars because they would have to close their factories and lay off tens of thousands of employees.  This would further add to the recession.  Also the domino effect would be catastrophic as steel manufactures would not sell their steel. All the tens of thousands of places where car components are made would also be effected, indeed the world could come to a grinding halt.

Below is shown just a small area of a gigantic car park  in Spain where tens of thousands of cars just sit and sunbathe all day.

They are also piling up at the port of Valencia in Spain as seen below.  They are either waiting to be exported to...nowhere or have been go nowhere.

Tens of thousands of cars are still being made every week but hardly any of them are being sold.  Nearly every household in developed countries already has a car or even two or three cars parked up on their driveway as it is.

Below is an image of thousands upon thousands of unsold cars parked up on a runway near St Petersburg in Russia.  They are all imported from Europe, they are all then parked up and they are all then left to rot. Consequently, the airport is now unusable for its original purpose.

The cycle of buying, using, buying using has been broken, it is now just a case of "using" with no buying. Below is an image of thousands of unsold cars parked up on an disused runway at Upper Heyford, Bicester, Oxfordshire. They are seriously running out of space to store these cars.

It is a sorry state of affairs and there is no answer to it, solutions don't exist.  So the cars just keep on being manufactured and keep on adding to the millions of unsold cars already sitting redundant around the world.

Below are parked tens of thousands of cars at Royal Portbury Docks, Avonmouth, near Bristol in the United Kingdom. If you look on Google Maps and scan around the area at say 200ft you will see nothing but parked up unsold cars. They are absolutley everywhere in that area practically every open space has unsold cars parked up on it.

Below is that same area in Avonmouth, UK, but zoomed out. Every gray space that you see is filled with unsold cars.  Anyone want to hazard a guess at how many are there...

As it is, there are more cars than there are people on the planet with an estimated 10 billion roadworthy cars in the world today.

We literally cannot make enough of them. Below are seen just a few of the thousands of Citroen's parked up at Corby, Northamptonshire in England. They are being added to daily, imported from France but with nowhere else to go once they arrive.

So there they sit, brand spanking new cars, all with a couple of miles on the clock that was consummate with them being driven to their car parks.  Below is the latest May 2014 Google Maps image of unsold cars in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Manufacturing more cars than can be sold is against all logic, logistics and economics but it continues day after day, week after week, month after month, year in year out.

Below is shown a recent (April 2014) screen grab from Google Maps of the Italian port of Civitavecchia.  All those little specks are a few thousand brand new unsold Peugeots.  Just collecting dust and maybe a bit of salty sea spray!

Below, all nice and shiny but with nowhere to go.  Red and white and black and silver, purple, pink and blue, all the colors of the rainbow and be they all brand new.  Indeed all the colors of the rainbow are down there on those cars, making pretty mosaics, montages of color and still life.  Maybe that is all they will now ever be, surreal urban art of the techno production age.  Magnificent metal boxes, wasting space and saving grace, all sitting still, because its business at mill.

All around the world these cars just keep on piling up, there is no end in sight.  The economy shouts out quite loud that nobody has the money anymore to spend on a new car. The reason being that they are making their "old" cars go on a lot longer.  But we cannot stop making them, soon we will run out of space to park them.  We are nearly running out of space to drive them that's for sure!

Below, more cars mount up in the port of Valencia in Spain. They will not be exported as there is nowhere for them to go, so they just sit and rot in their colorful droves.

Gone are the days when the family would have a new car every year, they are now keeping what they have got.  It may be fair to say that some  families still get a new car every year but its the majority that now do not.

The results are in these images, hundreds of thousands if not millions of cars around the world are driven from their factories, parked up and left.

Could we say that these cars have been left to rot!  Maybe, as these cars will certainly rot if they are not bought, driven and cared for.  It does not look like they will be sold any day soon, many of them have been standing for over 12 months or even longer and this is detrimental to the car.

Below, as far as the eye can see, right into the background, cars, cars and more cars. But what's beyond the horizon?  Have a guess...Yes that's right...even more cars!  All brand new but with no homes to go to.  Do you think they will ever start giving them away, that may be the only radical solution.  Who knows, you could soon be getting a free car with every packet of cornflakes.

When a car is left standing idle, all the oil sinks to the bottom of the sump, and then corrosion begins to set in on all the internal engine parts where the oil has drained away.

Cold corrosion is when condensation builds up in the cylinders and rust forms in the bores. The engines would then start to seize and would need to be professionally freed before they could be started.  Also the tires start to lose air and the batteries start to go flat, indeed the detrimental list goes on and on.

So the longer they sit there the worse it slowly becomes for them.  What is the answer to this?  Well they need to be sold and that just isn't happening.

The epidemic is not improving, it is getting worse.  Car manufactureres are constantly coming out with new models with the latest technology in them.  Hence prospective buyers of, for example, a new Citroen Xsara Picasso want the latest model, not last years model.  Hence all the unsold Citroen Xsara Picasso cars from the previous year will now have even lesser chance of being sold.

The problems then just keep on mounting up.  In the end, the unsold cars that are say 2 years old will have no alternative but to be either crushed up, dismantled and/or their parts recycled.

Some car manufacturers moved their production over to China, General Motors and Cadillac are examples of this.  They are then shipped over in containers and unloaded at ports.  However they are now being told to put a big halt in their import into the U.S.A. as they just can't sell them in the quantities they would desire.  Consequently Chinese car parks are now filling up with brand new American cars.  Well nobody in China can afford them on their meagre pittance wages, so there they will stay until our economy improves...which it might do in a few generations.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Skateboarding - Visualtraveling - South Asia

Visualtraveling presents 'Holy Cow' a short ten minute piece summarizing a month long journey through the chromatic & chaotic countries of South Asia.

Pushing and on board were Walker Ryan, Laurence Keefe, Michael Mackrodt and Kenny Reed.

Directed, filmed & edited by Patrik Wallner

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pranksters make a Crass logo crop circle, oblivious ‘astronomologer’ attempts to interpret it

from Dangerous Minds:

In 2011 some ambitious punks made this crop circle of the Crass logo not too far from Stonehenge. If that doesn’t already give you a giggle, take a look at what mega-earnest “Astronomologer” Donna Provancher, interpreted from it! (Astronomology, by the way, is defined by Donna as “the practice of astrology using astronomy to build the chart and supply new insights,” so while it’s not entirely clear why crop circles fall in her professional purview, my guess is something to do with aliens or Wicca.)

You know those pictures of the Gods and Goddesses with eight or eighteen or a thousand arms? That’s what we are when we work together. You can tack thousands of pairs of eyes and ears to that image while you’re at it. Nothing escapes our notice.

Roving Astronomologer eyes and ears (thanks again Solar Ophiuchus Raya King—that makes two Gold Stars for you) directed my attention early this morning to a new crop circle reported June 20, 2011 near Stonehenge.Crop Circle Connector is calling this area “Stonehenge (1)” whatever that means. I have a Facebook Wall ping out to Philip Peake (visit his blog my longtime Friend (with a capital F), Web Host and Webmaster who is from the U.K.  Maybe he can tell me where this is in relation to the megaliths. The map wasn’t revealing of that little detail.

Something about the above photo immediately bothered me. My first instinct was to want to walk around the circle until I found up, down, left and right. So you know me. I couldn’t leave it alone—I had to tweak it.

To her credit, at this point Donna rotates the logo to match the cover of Christ: The Album! Well done, Donna! From there though, her interpretations go back to indecipherable New Age esoterica.

Oh yes, this is definitely it!

—As Above, So Below (opening greeting)

—An equal-armed or Tau-Cross (the balancing of Earth’s energies)

—A double-headed serpent wrapped around one of the axial poles of the planet — we’ll have to assume it’s the poles of the planet since East-West doesn’t have an axial pole.  The piece on top (the double-headed serpent) is bolted to the Tau-Cross, so at this point, Raya’s vision of the Staff of Asclepius is partially correct; she just didn’t finish it.

The 2-headed King-snakes I used to see at the San Diego zoo had tails. This one isn’t like that. But then it’s not imitating a snake, it’s picturing a new concept. The new Planetary Caduceus. It needs to be finished. This is something else I haven’t discussed yet but it looks like this is one more Agenda Item on the Table I’ll put this on my To-Do list to discuss. What else is on there?  Ophiuchus and Solar Physics since Gloria Prophet requested that I share more on this topic [see Solar Physicists Stymied—Sky & Telescope News Blog].

Oh Donna, no one knows what you’re talking about, but I’ll be damned if you’re not adorable. Say what you will about her lack of punk rock cred, when you see a New Age lady on the subway, you know she’s going to smell good—like patchouli—can you say that for your average crust punk?


Friday, May 23, 2014

Ian and I working on a document

A few months ago Ian came up with this great idea to film him and I talking about some of the stories behind the pictures, that most people (if any) have never heard, and that he even wanted to hear from me. I also thought it could be a nice accompaniment to the new book I am working on, since in the book itself the captions are kept to a minimum.

I mentioned it to my film maker friend Eric Matthies and he thought it was a great idea and was happy to make the project a reality for us. So a few weeks ago we finally were able to make it down to DC at the same time and shoot the raw conversation. We had a really great time and spent an entire afternoon mulling over nearly every image in the book.

Eric's been working on various other projects since, but in the mean time he just sent over two still 35mm film pictures he took, of Ian and I talking over the pages, and one out in front of Dischord House.

I'll be sure to post what ever comes of this as soon as it's done, should be cool.


Eric's pic's above and below:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oliver Percovich of Skateistan at TED in Sydney

I have blogged about Oliver's Skateistan several times over the last several years. click on this LINK to hear an interesting talk from it's founder... I would post the video here but now embedding code has yet been provided for this talk.

Oliver Percovich first skated in an empty pool at the age of six, while growing up in Papua New Guinea. In 1995 he competed in the Mystic Cup, an international skateboarding contest in Prague. Prior to a life-changing move to Kabul, Oliver worked at the Centre for Risk and Community Safety on emergency management projects for various Australian government departments. In 2007 Oliver moved to Afghanistan from Australia when his girlfriend took a job in Kabul. Bored, he would skate the beleaguered city, and became a sort of pied half-piper, attracting street kids who would follow him around and ask for rides. Shortly after, Oliver founded Skateistan, a grassroots 'Sport for Development' project on the streets of Kabul. Today, Skateistan has more than 50 employees worldwide and is an award-winning international organisation with projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. The organisation is the first international development initiative to combine skateboarding with educational outcomes. Skateistan is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds, offering both skating and general education classes for over 1000 boys and girls each week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Incredible interview with Tom Araya of Slayer
by 7th graders

from "Kids Interview Bands"
Here's the epic interview Olivia and Connie did with Tom Araya, singer/bassist of thrash legends Slayer at The LC in Columbus, Ohio on November 17, 2013.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A History of the Devil

from Dangerous Minds:
The Devil first appeared in early Christian iconography as a blue angel assisting Jesus on judgment day separating the goats from the sheep, as described the gospel according to Matthew (25, 31-33):
When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
A 6th century mosaic of the last judgement in Ravenna, in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Italy, clearly shows Jesus flanked on the right by an angel of light, in red; and on the left by an angel of dark, in blue. This is the Devil, who was seen in early medieval times as little more than a low-ranking bureaucrat, who was working for God.

Gradually, as the Catholic/Christian religion extended its power, the Devil began to take on a more sinister form. The blue angel sprouted horns, and slightly resembled a dragon. Interestingly, Hell at this time was not yet the fiery furnace it is depicted as today, the river of flames would be first painted with the last judgment mural at Torcello Cathedral in Venice, produced during the 11th century

The Devil slowly changed color to red, and took on elements from other mythical gods and creatures: firstly Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, and then another Greek god Pan, who was originally the god of shepherd. (His name meant “to pasture.”) It was Pan who gave the Devil his goat’s legs and cloven hooves. Our vision of the Christian Devil owes more to artists than it does to any descriptive verse in the Bible.

By the 1600s, this horned red Devil was used as a means to oppress and enforce the rule of the Catholic/Christian church. Anyone who spoke out against the church was a heretic and in league with the Devil. For if the church was God on earth, then those against the church were on the Devil’s side. This led to the brutal and horrific slaughter of thousands of innocent people.

Today, the Devil is still used to oppress and inspire fear. Most recently, the American government, under President George W. Bush, declared war on an “Axis of Evil,” while at the head of the US military were men who literally believed they were waging war on the Devil.

This documentary examines the creation of the Devil from mythical gods to source of terrorism and fear.

Monday, May 19, 2014

How schools got desegregated ... and then resegregated

"In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened."

please click on the link in the paragraph below to read the article.

The rise and fall of desegregation efforts in the three generations since Brown v. Board. Incredible work by Nikole Hannah-Jones at ProPublica, following the school careers of James Dent, his daughter, and granddaughter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
from Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Skateboarding - Visualtraveling - Meet The Stans

Not much is known to the world about the bizarre countries within Central Asia all ending with 'stan. 'Meet the Stans' documents the journey of a group of various skateboarders traveling along the ancient Silk Road traversing China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

Featuring Dave Bachinsky, Jimmy McDonald, Laurence Keefe, Dan Zvereff, Stas Provotorov, Gosha Konyshev, Walker Ryan, Kenny Reed and Michael Mackrodt.

Directed, Filmed & Edited by Patrik Wallner

Friday, May 16, 2014

10 other Things You Probably Didn’t Know
About New York City

50. From 1904 to 1948 there was an 18th Street station on the 4/5/6 line. It’s abandoned now, but you can still see it on local 6 trains. 


51. The narrowest house in NYC is in the West Village: 75 1/2 Bedford Street is just over 9 feet wide. 


52. In 1906, the Bronx Zoo put an African man on exhibit in the monkey house. 
53. Credit card minimums ARE legal in the city. In 2010, Congress passed a law saying up to a $10 minimum was legal.  
54. It would cost about $17,000 to take a cab from NYC to L.A. 
55. In 1922, there was a Straw Hat Riot. It was an unofficial rule in NYC that straw hats weren’t allowed to be worn past Sept. 15, but some unruly kids started snatching people’s hats a few days before that causing an uprising that lasted a few days.
56. Eating a New York bagel is equivalent to eating one-quarter to one-half a loaf of bread. 
57. NYC buries its unclaimed bodies on an island off the coast of the Bronx called Hart Island. Since 1869, nearly a million bodies have been buried there. The island is not open to the public. 

58. There’s a 150-foot-deep hole (15 stories) on Park Avenue between 36th and 37th streets. 
59. The price of a slice of pizza and the cost of a single ride on the subway has been nearly equal for the past 50 years.  
60. The scary nitrogen gas tanks you see on the corners of streets are used to keep underground telephone wires dry. 

Via Flickr: nep

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Carol Kaye - Bassist extraordinaire

here's a short version:

and here's if you really want to know what's up:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hell Unltd’: Filmmaker Norman McLaren’s powerful anti-capitalism, anti-war animation

from Dangerous Minds:


This year marks the centenary of the birth of pioneering filmmaker Norman McLaren, whose multi-award-winning animations inspired generations of filmmakers including Francois Truffaut, George Lucas and Michel Gondry.

McLaren’s best-known for his work with the National Film Board of Canada, for whom he made his Oscar-winning 1952 short Neighbours, which mixed pixilation, stop-frame animation and live action to create a powerful anti-war message. The film reflected McLaren’s mixed feelings about the Korean War as he had just returned from China where he had been greatly impressed by the way the Communist country was progressing. He found his own experience of Chairman Mao’s China at odds with its representation in the West during the war.

McLaren was born on April 11th, 1914 in Stirling, Scotland. He attended the Glasgow School of Art, where he decided filmmaking rather than painting was the future of art. He started making short animations by painting and scratching directly onto the film. His first experiment proved so successful that the film was worn-out through continual screenings. His next film Seven Till Five (1933) told the story of a day-in-the-life of the art school. The film used various techniques such as montage and editing-in-camera lifted from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. McLaren followed this with Camera Makes Whoopee (1935), which covered the celebration of a student party. Again, the film is now best-known for McLaren’s innovative use of camera effects.

In 1936, McLaren collaborated with fellow student, sculptor Helen Biggar on a far more ambitious and political project, an anti-war film called Hell Unltd.. McLaren was a pacifist and, at this time, also a Communist, who believed he could change people’s attitudes through his films. Together with Biggar he created a highly imaginative (if politically simplistic) anti-capitalist take on the cause and effect of war and profiteering from it. The film mixes stop-frame animation with filmed and archival footage, captions and rostrum camera work. It’s a powerful little film and one that showcases many of the talents that made Norman McLaren a dynamic, imaginative and brilliant film-maker.



Bonus: Norman McLaren’s Oscar-winning film ‘Neighbours’ made for the National Film Board of Canada in 1952.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How science fiction influences thinking about the future

from Boing Boing:
Eileen Gunn writes, "What's science fiction good for? The May issue of Smithsonian magazine has an essay on the relationship between science, science fiction, and the future by Boing Boing buddy Eileen Gunn. Major writers -- Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow and others -- talk about why science fiction likes to think about the future and how SF can be used to help scientists think about the uses and ethics of their inventions. The rest of the issue covers science and ethical issues of the near future."
Kim Stanley Robinson—the best-selling author of the Mars trilogy, 2312 and Shaman—shares this fear, and sees it manifested in the popularity of Suzanne Collins’ novel The Hunger Games, in which a wealthy governing class uses ruthless gladiatorial games to sow fear and helplessness among the potentially rebellious, impoverished citizens. “Science fiction represents how people in the present feel about the future,” Robinson says. “That’s why ‘big ideas’ were prevalent in the 1930s, ’40s and partly in the ’50s. People felt the future would be better, one way or another. Now it doesn’t feel that way. Rich people take nine-tenths of everything and force the rest of us to fight over the remaining tenth, and if we object to that, we are told we are espousing class warfare and are crushed. They toy with us for their entertainment, and they live in ridiculous luxury while we starve and fight each other. This is what The Hunger Games embodies in a narrative, and so the response to it has been tremendous, as it should be.”

For his part, William Gibson believes that to divide science fiction into dystopian and utopian camps is to create a “pointless dichotomy.” Although his seminal 1984 cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer, depicts a gritty, scarcity-driven future, he does not consider his work pessimistic. “I’ve only ever wanted to be naturalistic,” he says. “I assumed I was being less than dystopian in the 1980s, because I was writing about a world that had gotten out of the cold war intact. That actually seemed unrealistic to many intelligent people at the time.”

The distinction between dystopian and utopian may often seem to hinge on whether the author personally has hope for a better future. Robinson, for instance, consistently has taken on big, serious, potentially dystopian topics, such as nuclear war, ecological disaster and climate change. He does not, however, succumb to despair, and he works out his solutions in complex, realistic, well-researched scientific detail. Of his own work, he says, “Sure, use the word utopian.”
How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future [Eileen Gunn/Smithsonian]

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Skateboarding - Visualtraveling - The Persian Version

this will be the first for the next few Sundays where I post Skateboarding Visual Traveling films from Patrik Wallner. Some fucking great stuff!

Skateboarding has once again taken us to a bizarre part of the world. Never thought we would be filming tricks in downtown Tehran, Iran if you asked me a couple years ago.

Very pleased to present 'The Persian Version'. Enjoy a journey from Iran to Turkey via the usual land transportation in our continuous trek zigzagging around the Eurasian peninsula.

Featuring Laurence Keefe, Michael Mackrodt, Kenny Reed, Tobias Ulbrich, MJ Rahimi, Gosha Konyshev, Walker Ryan, Phil Zwijsen and Denny Pham.

Directed, Filmed and Edited by Patrik Wallner
Music Coordination by Benoit Florencon
Production Assistance by Kirill Korobkov
Illustrations by Jesper Lindgren
Director's Assistance by Derek Flood

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dirty Old New York - Subway Special

A mix of clips of the New York City subway system on film, mostly from the '70s and early '80s, when graffiti was a mainstay on train cars and everything underground was, for the most part, grittier and more worn than it is today. The exact date range is 1966 to other words, Lindsay to Koch.

Friday, May 9, 2014

And even more Things You Probably Didn’t Know
About New York City

41. Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Bryant Park used to be cemeteries.  
42. There are 20,000 bodies buried in Washington Square Park alone. 
43. The original Penn Station was considered to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world but was torn down because of declining rail usage. 

Ewing Galloway/Hulton Archive / Getty Images 

44. NYC garbage collectors call maggots “disco rice.” 
45. In 2010, 38% of all 911 calls in NYC were butt dials. 
46. Times Square is named after the New York Times. It was originally called Longacre Square until 1904 when the NYT moved there. 
47. The entire world’s population could fit in the state of Texas if it were as densely populated as New York City. 
48. In 1975, the city of New York sold a private island in the East River for $10. 

Courtesy of the NYC Audubon / Via

49. The winter of 1780 was so harsh in New York that New York harbor froze over. People could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island on the ice.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Animal Architecture,' an awesome new photo book about the structures critters create

from our friend Xeni at Boing Boing:

'Animal Architecture," by Ingo Arndt and J├╝rgen Tautz, with a foreword by Jim Brandenburg, is a beautiful new science/photography book exploring the mystery of nature through the "complex and elegant structures that animals create both for shelter and for capturing prey."

Arndt is a world-renowned nature photographer based in Germany, whose work you may have seen in National Geographic, GEO and BBC Wildlife.

Above, a grey bowerbird's bower in Australia's Northern Territory. "The grey bowerbird goes to extreme lengths to build a love nest from interwoven sticks and then covers the floor with decorative objects. The more artful the arbor, the greater the chance a male has of attracting a mate."

"Arndt’s photographs display wonders such as the colourful mating arenas of bowerbirds in West Papua and the fantastic nests created by ants in Africa," says publisher Abrams and Chronicle.

"Studio photographs supplement the images from Arndt’s journey and offer close-up views of the nests, mounds and webs constructed by the animals. Features both breathtaking photography and scientific insight into animal behavior."

I spotted the book via a Guardian photo gallery, which you should check out here.

I have ordered myself a copy on Amazon!

More photos below, all by Ingo Arndt.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bringing back extinct species

In recent years, the possibility of reviving extinct species by recreating their genomes has become a reality. First on deck for "de-extinction" are the woolly mammoth and passenger pigeon. But is this a good idea? KQED's QUEST takes a look: "Reawakening Extinct Species"
Using new genetic technologies, scientists are trying to bring back extinct species. Meet researchers working to revive the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in the world, and the woolly mammoth, which they say could slow down the melting of Arctic permafrost. It may be possible, but is it right to turn back the clock?

Learn more on our website:

thanks, Boing Boing

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bob Hoskins, one of my favorite actors, died last week.

from Dangerous Minds
The actor Bob Hoskins, best known for his roles in The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mermaids and Twenty Four Seven has died from pneumonia at the age of 71.

Hoskins died in hospital surrounded by his family. In a statement, his wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack said:
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob.

“We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support.”
There was a humanity and warmth about Hoskins that made him incredibly likable—something that can be seen by the current outpouring of condolences on Twitter. I was fortunate to meet Hoskins briefly once, at the premier of his first major movie The Long Good Friday. Having grown-up watching him on TV in the sit-com Thick As Thieves, the educational series On the Move (which was a reading program for adult literacy, but was a must watch because of Hoskins’ removal man), and Dennis Potter’s Pennies for Heaven, where he was unforgettable as a music sheet salesman, Arthur Parker, playing opposite Cheryl Campbell.

Then came The Long Good Friday where he played one of cinema’s greatest gangsters, Harold Shand, an ambitious and brutal villain who falls foul of the IRA. It was the Irish issue that led some fools to boo the film at its premiere in Edinburgh. As I was leaving the cinema, I found myself beside Hoskins and director John MacKenzie as we walked down the stairs and out onto the foyer. He turned and started talking to me as if we were mates who had gone to the cinema to watch the film. He asked me whether I thought the film was pro-IRA? I said “no” and then we talked a bit about the movie and Edinburgh. I was more keen to tell him how great the film and superb his performance, and he was humble and gracious, but deflected the praise by asking where he could find a good pub?

Back then there were fewer TV channels and hardly any inane reality shows clogging up all the air-time. This meant the bar was far higher and the quality of shows undeniably better. That’s how the country was able to see Hoskins as Iago in Jonathan Miller’s BBC production of Othello. It confirmed that Hoskins as an actor could do anything and successfully, which is what he went on to do over the next three decades.

Bob Hoskins was born on 26th October 1942. His father was a Communist, who brought Hoskins up as an atheist. He later said it was his mother who gave him “confidence”:
“My mum used to say to me, ‘If somebody doesn’t like you, fuck ‘em, they’ve got bad taste.’”
Hoskins left school at fifteen and undertook a variety of jobs (including time at a kibbutz, and working in a circus) before accidentally auditioning and winning his first acting role. Hoskins had been accompanying an actor friend for moral support, when he was asked to audition himself. From this first role, he went on to star in a range of television and stage productions, before achieving success with the series Pennies from Heaven and then The Long Good Friday.

During the 1980s he appeared in The Cotton Club, Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, and the film that made him an international star Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.

More recently Hoskins showed his support for young talented film-makers by appearing in Shane Meadows’ Twenty Four Seven and A Room For Romeo Brass. Of course, he also made a few stinkers, but then that’s the nature of cinema. But no matter what film he appeared in, Bob Hoskins’ performance was often the best thing about it.

In 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement form acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

R.I.P. Bob Hoskins 1942-2014

Here’s the first part on the making of The Long Good Friday, written by Barrie Keefe, which starred Bob Hoskins.

part 5 seems to be missing on YouTube . . .

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dirty Old New York aka Fun City
part 5

The conclusion of DIRTY OLD NEW YORK AKA FUN CITY. This segment begins with a recap of the previous installments; this includes scenes that are unique to Part V, but are connected by motif to scenes collected in DIRTY OLD NEW YORK SUBWAY and Parts I - IV. As with the other videos, I've attempted to connect the scenes by location, film, actor, or theme.
This video contains some nudity so it may be NSFW depending on where you work.
You will also notice my continued pre-occupation / obsession with analog, often obsolete, phones, turntables, tube television sets, 3/4" video tapes, VCRs, etc.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Even more Things You Probably Didn’t Know About NYC

31. There was one homicide on 9/11, and it remains unsolved. 
32. There are “fake” buildings in the city that are used for subway maintenance and ventilation. The building below in the middle, located in Brooklyn, has a fake facade. There is no brownstone within. 

Google Maps 

33. Chernobyl is closer to New York than Fukushima is to L.A. 
34. There are more undergrad and graduate students in NYC than Boston has people. 
35. New York City’s 520-mile coastline is longer than those of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined.  
36. The Empire State building has its own zip code. 
37. The East River is not a river, it’s a tidal estuary. 
38. There is a secret train platform in the Waldorf Astoria hotel. 

Charles Mostoller / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

39. When the Dutch first arrived to Manhattan, there were massive oyster beds. In fact, Ellis Island and Liberty Island were called Little Oyster and Big Oyster Island.