November 11th, 2008 | photography
Video from a keepers’ drill at Tokyo Zoo.
Oh, it’s Monday all right.
(via Coming Anarchy, who add: “it scares me to think about what the authorities have in mind for when a major earthquake happens.”)
November 10th, 2008 | brainjuice
November 9th, 2008 | brainjuice
November 8th, 2008 | brainjuice
November 8th, 2008 | researchmaterial
* Upheld: in South Korea, you can still be sent to prison for having an extramarital affair. Extra comedy value: the law is said to have been written for the protection of women in a male-dominated society. Actress Ok So-Ri, now off to clink, presumably feels differently. South Korea, regarded by the CIA Factbook as a "fully functioning modern democracy," continues to shine as the West’s partner in Asia — when the government isn’t threatening its newspapers with legal punishment for doing their jobs, anyway.
* This headline reads: "Humanoid robots have been used to show that that functional hierarchy in the brain is linked to time as well as space." Which may not sound too scary. BUT WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THEY’RE TAUGHT TO HUNT IN PACKS?
* Here’s an idea that grows more terrifying the more you consider it: more than fourteen billion light years away, unknown structures are dragging everything in the universe towards them at two million miles an hour. This is called dark flow.
* "WaterAid estimates that 5,000 children around the world die each day as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation and that 0.8 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, while a further 2.5 billion live in conditions lacking adequate sanitation."
November 7th, 2008 | brainjuice
I’m currently listening to LABYRINTHITIS, the new piece by Jacob Kirkegaard, and I want to reproduce a bit of the blurb at Touch for you, because the idea behind this is kind of fascinating:
LABYRINTHITIS relies on a principle employed both in medical science and musical practice: When two frequencies at a certain ratio are played into the ear, additional vibrations in the inner ear will produce a third frequency. This frequency is generated by the ear itself: a so-called “distortion product otoacoustic emission” (DPOAE), also referred to in musicology as “Tartini tone”.
By arranging the tones from his ears in a composition and playing them to an audience, the artist evokes further distortion effects in the ears of his listeners. At first, each new tone can only be perceived "intersubjectively": inside the head of each one in the audience. Kirkegaard artificially reproduces this tone and introduces it, "objectively", into his composition. When combined with another distorting frequency, it will create another tone… until, step by step, a pattern of descending tonal structure emerges whose spiral form mirrors the composition of resonant spectra in the human cochlea.
Paradoxical as it may sound: we can listen to our own ears. The human hearing organ – still often perceived as a passive unidirectional medium – does not only receive sounds from the outside, it also generates its own sound from within itself. As a matter of fact, it can even be “played on”, just like an acoustic instrument.
LABYRINTHITIS rewards perseverance: the first couple of minutes are very much what I imagine tinnitus to be like, and I think dogs all over the area were howling and covering their ears with their paws. And those early tones do do something strange to your brain. But within three minutes, the promised tonal structure begins to materialise (depending, I find, on your position in relationship to your speakers — haven’t tried it on earbuds yet), and big cathedral organ notes will echo around the vaulted chambers of your head.
Anyway. Just wanted to get the blurb down, really. Interesting, no? No? Oh, please yourselves…
November 7th, 2008 | aeropiratika
Ah, the 3 Mustaphas 3, a veritable gang of related musicians trained in the unforgiving and terrible mire of the Crazy Loquat Club in the Balkan town of Szegerely. They might never have been discovered if not for their canny and dubious Uncle Patrel Mustapha, who had them illegally transported inside refrigerators to London in the summer of 1982…
None of which was remotely true, of course, but it was a good story. The Mustaphas — I don’t think there were ever less than six of them, and sometimes they appeared to be an army of probable mental patients — were in fact a bunch of musicians with a Britsh core in love with what was not yet called "world music." These were people who could go from klezmer to five different African styles to Cajun to Mexican songs sung in Hindi in the space of… three or four minutes, frankly, which could occasionally make them a challenging listen. The three albums I know of were berserk world tours of music.
This medley from the album HEART OF UNCLE is pretty much as slow and sober as the Mustaphas ever got, but I think it’s also one of the loveliest things they ever did.
(Usual rules apply: mp3 vanishes in seven days, provided for review purposes only, if you need it gone before then email at degaussing at googlemail com and it shall be done)
November 7th, 2008 | researchmaterial
* Laurent Nkuda’s Tutsi rebel forces have driven 35000 people from their eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Kiwanja in order to "search" it after taking it from the Pareco Mai-Mai Hutu militia. Nkuda maintains that Pareco is backed by the DR Congo government. There’s at least a quarter of a million displaced people in play in DR Congo at this point. It’s an incredible, awful tangle of events, and worth reading up on. God knows I need to.
* Help the American Department of Defense create a pack of robots that hunt humans. No, really. Help the American defense industry design ROBOTS THAT HUNT HUMANS.
* White supremacist groups are attempting to mainstream themselves in order to expand memberships in middle America. Hence the Keystone State Skinheads have become Keystone United, and Stormfront has reinvented itself as a social network system.
* ROBOTS THAT HUNT HUMANS IN PACKS AAAAAAA
November 7th, 2008 | people I know
* Ben Templesmith’s signing schedule for Wizard World Texas and Comic Asylum from today to Sunday. Don’t give him shit about FELL — we’re working on it, but we are both busy with other things. I am busy trying to wake up, and he is busy trying to take over the world.
* Against all odds, Corey Lewis is continuing to update his webcomic SEEDLESS. It is clearly, as you might expect, the product of a mental case.
* Debauchette has moved to debauchette.com.
I saw a local news report the other day that said this was the last year that NYC would vote on its mechanical lever voting machines. The report said that the machines were fifty years old, and that we were the last place in the country that still used them…
…I’m proud that I’m able to make the last vote on this machine from the past be one for the future.
November 6th, 2008 | researchmaterial
* Ghana may well have become a narcocracy while people were looking elsewhere — or, as their parliamentary minority leader phrases it, "we have allowed ourselves to be ’cocalised’." If Ghana has become the secure hub for a multinational narco-zone, West Africa is basically in deep shit.
* "Most of waste management companies in Russia don’t burn the trash but dump it around major Russian cities, so you can go and visit the place where all the used stuff goes."
* "We cut little pieces and swallowed them like pills" — Dominican migrants talk about their decision to turn to cannibalism, trapped on a stalled boat in the Mona Passage for more than two weeks.
* Assassinations, bombings, abductions, potshots taken at military helicopters and tv stations, assaults against law enforcement officers up by 103.4 percent — Ingushetia’s on fire. Why do you care? Because Ingushetia has borders with Russia, Chechnya, North Ossetia and Georgia. It’s not a place where you want to see fire, or, for instance, angry people with guns talking a lot about Sharia law. Except that that, too, is happening.
* Snake bites still kill more people per annum than dengue fever or skin cancer.
* New Zealand cult leader Brian Tamaki intends to build a holy city in South Auckland for the followers of his Destiny Church. Tamaki, who thought his church would actually be running NZ by now, takes ten percent of his 7000+ followers’ gross incomes per year, and envisions using the cash to construct a walled citystate that church members would never have to leave. Notably for a Christian cult, Destiny Churches have no crosses on display — only photos of Tamaki and his family. So that’s going to end well, then.