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June 2009

Friday Ephemera

Small actions, repeated often. // Giant crop circle jellyfish. // Enormous actual jellyfish. Up to 200 kg. // Animals of Africa. (h/t, Coudal) // Unfortunate unicorn tattoos. (h/t, Anna) // 10 striking movies. // Take the quake quiz. Are you ready to rumble? // Meat, fish and bugs, all canned for tasty freshness. // Lego candles. // Made with light. (h/t, Dr Westerhaus) // Low altitude pass of lunar surface. // Nebula panorama. // Saddam’s palaces. // In B flat. // Height and happiness. // Tunnel networks of note. // Atlas Obscura. Modern wonders. // The Heinz Beanzawave. // And, via The Thin Man, it’s the ghoulish stylings of Hayseed Dixie

Mixtape (6)

A few minutes ago, this site was visited for the millionth time. Blimey. Here’s some music from the ephemera archives.

Henry Hall: Hush, Hush, Hush (Here Comes the Bogey Man). (Circa 1930s)

Keiichi Suzuki: Japanese “It’s Alright” Song. (1991)

Tony Hatch: The Champions. (1968)

Count Basie: Kingston Calypso. (1965) 

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson: Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine? (1944)

The Chordettes: Mr Sandman. (1954)

Doris Day: Sentimental Journey. (1945)

Jeff Beal: Rome. (2005) 

John Barry: You Only Live Twice. (1967)

Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby: Well, Did You Evah! (1956)

Feel free to add your own. Previous mixtapes: 12345

Reheated (4)

For newcomers, three more items from the archives:

Spooky Action.

Jim Schnabel’s charmingly bizarre film about Cold War research into extrasensory perception as a tool of espionage. By turns intriguing and hilarious.

Rebellion, Revisited

Classroom impropriety and the grooming of young minds.

Even if we set aside the not insignificant issue of whether professors of, say, literary criticism have any business trying to “win over” their students and mould their political outlook, reasonably or otherwise, there is another problem. Is the student-professor relationship sufficiently equal and reciprocal to ensure evidence and reason prevail? Is there no pressure on students to defer, to please? Can we simply assume that improper leverage will never be brought to bear – for instance, in terms of grading or more subtle signs of displeasure? And isn’t there an unavoidable air of… predation?


A Guardian writer asks, Am I Fit to Breed? Other, less hesitant souls long for human extinction.

Explore the greatest hits.

Avert Your Eyes

The Guardian’s George Monbiot is feeling a little dirty, a little compromised. In a typically understated piece, titled Newspapers Must Stop Taking Advertising from Environmental Villains, Mr Monbiot ponders “the extent to which newspapers should restrict the advertisements they carry.”

Readers will doubtless be shocked to hear that newspapers, and their columnists, depend on advertising...

It pays my wages. More precisely, it provides around three-quarters of newspapers’ income. Without it, they would not exist: certainly not in their current form, almost certainly not at all. For all their evident faults, newspapers perform a crucial democratic service: without professional reporting, it is impossible to make informed decisions.

And here’s a small compendium of the Guardian’s “professional reporting,” without which “it is impossible to make informed decisions.”

The problem at hand, at least for Monbiot, is this. Advertising is bad, you see. All of it. Very, very bad.

I believe that advertising is a pox on the planet. It is one of the forces driving us towards destruction, as it creates needs that did not exist before and promotes consumption way beyond sustainable levels. I believe that it is also socially damaging, turning ours into a more grasping, more atomised society, focused on material display rather than solidarity and community action.

Sadly, no evidence is offered to support this tangle of emphatic supposition. Though questions do spring to mind. Exactly how would one go about measuring the alleged “atomising” and “socially damaging” effect of an advert for cheap flights or a car, or for something more mundane - say, a nice pair of shoes? Exactly how much shoe advertising, or shoe consumption, constitutes wickedness? Is there a preferred, morally elevated, level of shoe ownership?

[Adverts] generate behavioural norms, telling us, in effect, that the goods and services which are destroying the biosphere are acceptable, even beneficial. I believe that their presence in the newspapers makes hypocrites of all those of us who write for them. Our editorials urge people to reduce their impacts. Our advertisements urge people to increase them.

Actually, the charge of hypocrisy isn’t dependent on accepting adverts for things readers may want and for which they’re willing to pay. The prodigious hypocrisy of Monbiot’s employer, Alan Rusbridger, has previously been noted, and in Monbiot’s case there are other, more immediate, reasons to mutter “hypocrite.” Not least the amount of air travel the columnist indulged in to promote his book on the unacceptability of air travel, an activity he saw fit to equate with child abuse

Continue reading "Avert Your Eyes" »

Friday Ephemera

You’ll want one of these. // Buy your own private island. // An 11-kilo lead balloon. // Spot the Moon. // Dubious demo tapes. // 80s pop goes ragtime. // How to make a nacho hat. (h/t, Coudal) // Bizarrely unlucky people. // Title sequences for Hulk and The Incredible Hulk. // Hyperfins. // Mining sulphur. // Religious structures reclaimed by nature. // Roadside architecture. // The joys of neon signage. // Expialidocious. // A history of beer cans. // School lunches from around the world. (h/t, Ace) // The Apprentice versus Cassetteboy. (h/t, Dr Westerhaus) // And, via The Thin Man, it’s Mr Tony Pastor & The Clooney Sisters.

Tempted by Sunlight

“I’ve always had this really strong appreciation for… dark.”

I think you’ll like this. Here’s the trailer for Jeanie Finlay’s Goth Cruise, a documentary following 150 Goths on a five day sea journey from New Jersey to Bermuda and back again. With 2,500 “Norms” for company. Brace yourselves for some coloured hair and collective non-conformism.

“I’m really not Goth. I enjoy the aspect of the music… and the dressing up. But when it comes down to it, I don’t think I fit the Goth template.”

If you possess black lipstick and a counter-cultural attitude, you’ll be thrilled to hear this year’s outing takes in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.

Via Coudal.