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June 2009
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August 2009

July 2009

Friday Ephemera

Lightning. // Lolly pies. // Nicolay Aldunin’s miniatures. // Touch screens with temporary bumps. // Humungous 3-D projection. (h/t, Andy) // How to listen to satellites. (h/t, Coudal) // The Russian Space Museum. // Robot baseball. // Brain surgery with sound. // “Transparent aluminium.” // Luminescent trainers. // Remember Tron…? // 1980s sax solos, rated and compared. // Cat ladders. (h/t, Freeborn John) // Slime moulds. // Infrared trees. // And, via The Thin Man, it’s The Comedian Harmonists

The Wrong Kind of Cruelty

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP and “acknowledged expert on peace issues,” displays her usual clarity of thought:

I am delighted that European foreign ministers have finally approved a ban. It’s a real victory for the global campaign against animal cruelty, and a victory for democracy… By closing the door on fur and other seal products, the EU has taken meaningful action to reduce the scale of commercial seal killing and prove to governments that barbaric annual displays of animal cruelty will no longer be tolerated.

Barbaric. Cruel. No longer tolerated. Got that?

In an aside to this, it’s also worth noting that the Green MEPs were keen to ensure that products from traditional hunts by indigenous peoples in Canada and Greenland will not be covered by the ban.

Ah. Evidently, the barbarism, cruelty and refusal to tolerate depend not on the act itself but on who’s doing it and how traditional and indigenous they are. Traditional, indigenous cruelty is, it seems, something Dr Lucas can live with. In fact, her colleagues are “keen” to do so. Those deemed sufficiently indigenous and traditional will no doubt be immune to the activity’s “de-humanising” effects.

(h/t, sk60)

Friday Ephemera

Something big hit Jupiter. // The data sent out with Voyager. Earthlings in sound and pictures. // Total solar eclipse, Japan. // Radio telescopes of note. // Faces made with clothing. // Invading vintage postcards. // Measuring snails. // Antelope Canyon. // Taung Kalat. Buddhist elevation. // Matchstick oil rig. // Electric mountains. // Lyrebird mimicry. // Pandaphants. // BMW concept car. // Bellies. // 10 ancient cities. // Little clay worlds. // Star Wars uncut. // Cinema Museum. (h/t, Coudal) // And, via The Thin Man, it’s the proto-rap stylings of Mr Gilbert Bécaud

Slip of the Tongue

Writing in the Guardian, the controller of BBC drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, is very excited about his job:

Making drama is the best job in the world - the privilege of working with writers with a unique vision, the spine-tingling spirit of camaraderie between a production team, the privilege of broadcasting into the nation’s front-rooms. What could be better than that? But what I love about it the most is how passionate the people who work in drama are. Working in TV drama isn’t a nine-to-five job; it is a wonderful, all-consuming lifestyle. It gobbles up everything. It is glorious.


And with passion comes debate, discussion, tension, disagreement. If we didn't all think differently, have different ideas of what works and what doesn’t, wouldn’t our lives, and more importantly our TV screens, be less interesting?

Indeed. Without “debate, tension and disagreement,” drama would scarcely be drama at all. However, the above is immediately followed by this:

We need to foster peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking.

Not left-field thinking, note, but something more specific:

We need to foster… left-of-centre thinking.

A slip of the keys, perhaps? Something missed on proof reading? Or an inadvertent admission of something we already know? Perhaps Mr Stephenson imagines the two things – left-of-centre and left-field - are interchangeable. But what’s “peculiar” or “idiosyncratic” about being “left-of-centre” in a drama department very often regarded as a broadcasting arm of the Guardian?

Ben Stephenson has been described, by the Guardian, as “the most important man in TV drama.”

Footprints on the Moon

40 years ago today, some hairless apes did a very daring and clever thing. Around half a billion other hairless apes watched it happen on TV. Such was the daring and cunning involved, and such was the uncertainty of the outcome, it’s worth reposting this. Here’s David Sington’s 2007 documentary, In the Shadow of the Moon, in which the surviving Apollo crew members recount their remarkable, at times moving, experiences. There’s previously unseen mission footage, an excellent score by Philip Sheppard, and keep an eye out for Kennedy’s extraordinary speech, about 13:20 in.

Related: Freefall, CratersAstronomical Odds.

Untooned (2)

I was invited… to offer a piece for a show titled “Monsters?” I looked at the list of invites and then imagined all of the usual takes on what a monster is thought to be. Perhaps some will be cute, some ugly. I went in another direction. What if I were to paint a realistic version of something usually thought of as cute and benign? 

Further to Pixeloo’s “detooning” of Homer Simpson, here’s Tim O’Brien’s oil painting of Charlie Brown.


I think it’s the eyes that do it. There’s tragicomedy, sure, but with just a hint of potential serial killer...  Via Drawn!