Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Films of Mitchell Rose

Andrew pointed me to this brilliant collection of shorts by filmmaker Mitchell Rose. Each one is a little mockery of modern dance and performance art - and so, so damn funny. Watch them all. Seriously, find time.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Some Color for your Day

Three... Extremes

Last night, as part of our 1-year anniversary celebrations (more on that later), Kalei and I went to a Seattle Film Festival screening of the Asian Horror Trilogy "Three... Extremes," with short films by Chan-wook Park, Takashi Miike, and Fruit Chan. It was a midnight screening at the Egyptian, with plenty of Seattle technogeeks at hand. In front of us sat That Guy Who Dyes His Hair And His Clothes Bright Orange, and to our right sat a pair of large perepetually unimpressed ladies wielding SIFF uber-passes slung on Sundance neckstraps.

Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" is an entertaining and severely disturbing story of a Hong Kong lady searching for eternal youth in potstickers - and going beyond the bounds of humanity in the process. Stunning imagery, if you can stomach it. "Cut" is everything "Saw" should be - smart, creative, and weirdly funny. Chan-wook Park must have laughed as he filmed it. "Box" reminded me of all the other Japanese horror films I've seen (think Ring), with far more creative characters and much less dialogue.

"Three... Extremes" did sneak a couple bad dreams into my sleep last night, so it deserves credit as a film-that-will-creep-the-shit-out-of-you. If you are even mildly sensitive about babies, fingers, or fire: be warned. You may not sleep as well as I did.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The LifeStraw

like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera are among the world's leading killers; and yet, they can readily be destroyed by proper sanitation. They stem largely from a lack of safe drinking water. By equipping a straw with a set of cheap filters, however, the problem can be neutralized at an affordable and individual level. Instead of relying on a community supply of purified or boiled water, the LifeStraw allows any person of any age to dip down to a lake or irrigation ditch and drink without fear of deadly infectious disease. It also provides a supply of much-needed iodine. From the site:
What first meets the water when sucked up is a pre-filter of PE filter textile with a mesh opening of 100 micron, shortly followed by a second textile filter in polyester with a mesh opening of 15 micron. In this way all big articles are filtered out, even clusters of bacteria are removed. Then the water is led into a chamber of iodine impregnated beads, where bacteria, viruses and parasites are killed. The second chamber is a void space, where the iodine being washed off the beads can maintain their killing effect. The last chamber consists of granulated active carbon, which role is to take the main part of the bad smell of iodine, and to take the parasites that have not been taken by the pre-filter or killed by the iodine. The biggest parasites will be taken by the pre-filter, the weakest will be killed by the iodine, and the medium range parasites will be picked up by the active carbon. The main interest to everyone is the killing of bacteria, and here our laboratory reading tells us that we have a log. 7 to log 8 kill of most bacteria. This is better than tap water in many developed countries.
This is a beautiful, brilliant application of cheap and simple technology that has the potential to save lives. For the impoverished of the world, it doesn't get much better than that.

Crying, While Eating

Oh, my. So depressing.

Cryingwhileeating.com has collected videos of people weeping over food. The mix of emotion and comedy kills.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Google Will Eat Itself

Here's another movement along the same lines as my earlier post about the European reaction to Google: Google Will Eat Itself (GWEI) is a clever project by Hans Bernhard and Alessandro Ludovico that intends to buy out Google with funds generated from Adsense.

Their website is disguised as a generic "Global Web-Marketing & E-Business Information Magazine," but is instead intended to hijack hits and generate revenue through their ads. With every Adsense click, they get a small micropayement, which will then be invested in Google shares. Bit by teeny bit, Google is being bought with its own system.

Similar to the European plan, this is obviously a reaction to Google's percieved information monopoly. Once they "gain control," GWEI will turn the company over to GTTP: Google to the People! Right.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Crustacean Rainfall

On April 28, at the Summit residential development in La Jolla, California, it rained shrimp. Real shrimp. From the clouds. According to Bob Burhans, Scripps Institution of Oceanography curator, the shrimp were sucked up by wind to be dropped over the land. From the San Diego Tribune:
When the weather gets rough, juvenile shrimp at the ocean surface tend to gather in large numbers in the shallows, Burhans explains.

"There were warnings of potential sea spouts a couple of hours before that storm came in," says Burhans, adding that a sea spout can travel a mile or two, or even farther.

Monday, May 09, 2005

RIAA Queen Hillary Rosen Appeals To Consumer Rights

Former RIAA CEO and chairwoman Hillary Rosen has spoken out (on the brand-spanking-new celeb blog Huffington Post, no less) against Apple and their policy of DRM-ing their mp3s, allowing limited access and playable only on the iPod. The irony is killing me. If you don't know, this is the same woman who would have liked to see us mere mortals paying every time we hear RIAA music, no matter what we play it on. DRM exists because of the RIAA's fear of losing rights over shared music. She then complains about the viruses that come with mp3s downloaded from pirate sites. Viruses that she once hired people to create and distribute across the p2p networks. From her post:
But keeping the iTunes system a proprietary technology to prevent anyone from using multiple (read Microsoft) music systems is the most anti-consumer and user unfriendly thing any god can do.

Well, if she wants more music, I guess she could just rip some CDs, right? Oh, wait.

Europeans Go After Google

With over 50 percent of the market share, Google is now the most used search engine on the net and is increasingly the place to satisfy the rest of your net needs: news, maps, mail, and even blogs are now hosted through the Google "portal." Last year, Google announced plans to digitize and put online the library collections of Stanford, U. Michigan, Harvard, Oxford and the NY Public Library. As profits soar and capabilities grow, Google looks unstoppable.

Europe, ever wary of the American culture flood, is worried. Google Print raises questions of culture: integrity, history, and destiny. What is the future of the Western intellectual heritage if online libraries lie in the hands of Google? Jean-Noel Jeanneney, cheif librarian of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, cautions that Google Print will anglicize the world's knowledge, calling for a French digitization effort in response. Chirac has given the green light. Last week, nineteen national libraries moved to form a massive pan-European digital library to counter the Google-powered American hegemony. Then, a couple of days ago, EU culture ministers and hundreds of artists and intellectuals met in Paris to close the deal and issue a continent-wide directive to preserve cultural heritage, starting with digitization.

This may indeed turn out a valuable project, being a civic effort where Google Print is largely a commercial one. The Europeans might bring full electronic editions instead of searchable scans - annotated, structured, and employing other scholarly resources. I hope.

Anyways, there'll be tons more information online. And that's cool.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Get Perpendicular

My friend Andrew just sent me a link to this incredibly geeky made by Hitachi about their proposed method for organizing bits on a hard-drive. What kills me is that someone had to have spent a good day creating that animation, and some band actually had to perform that song - which, by the way, has everything from old-fashioned jazz crooning to disco, rap, Barry White, and the Supremes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

En Ete

It's official, it's summer, it's warm, it's green, and I'm back. From Montreal, that is, finished with finals and half moved into the house on Cherrier. Flew back on Monday drinking bottle after bottle of water. Had a great weekend with Dad.. on Saturday we went up to Quebec City, which was all European and grey stone and big ramparts. We ate plenty of great food over the last few days, too.. Sushi again at that place under the Marriot, Thai on Crescent, Santropol, and Schwartz's. On Sunday we had to deal with those ridiculous ex-tenants, but it all worked out. As far as I know, they've moved out and left a nice big empty house for our summer subletters.

This is the first I've had proper computer time since at least Thursday, so sorry for the lack of updates. Moving out is damn hard. Oh, but did I mention that everyone went out to St. Sulpice for an end-of-the-year party on Friday night? Incredible! Of course, I was the only sober person there, but that didn't matter. Drunk people don't care! So there were lots of happy goodbyes, and I have the numbers of a few B.C.ers who want me to visit over the summer. Um, that's about all I can say about the last week in Montreal. Hectic.

Seeing Kalei and my family has of course been my reward at the end of all this. Time to relax, get a job, and settle down for a warm four months in Seattle.