Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sexy Economists

Continuing in my ugly economist's hat mode, I feel compelled to share this little discussion about John Maynard Keynes. What? You mean you're not up on your economic theory, and can't remember who Keynes is? Well he just happened to be a British economist, responsible for 'Keynesian' economics (funny that), which was the basis for Macroeconomics, got made a baron, and etc etc... Don't worry, I forgot too. He was an important, influential economist. He liked numbers. Alot. He also liked men. Yes, Keynes was an unabashed comrade pillow-biter (Gosh, I don't mean to insult his memory, economists probably wouldn't like to be called 'comrade'). He found a way to combine two of the things he liked very much, numbers and sex with men. He kept diaries, with detailed statistics of his conquests. Now all this has been common knowledge for some time - he never really hid is sexuality, and one of his diaries is pretty straight forward. It just lists his relationships and the dates they lasted, referring to his partners by initials or nicknames, making the people easy to determine.

It's the second diary that gets economist's in the know all giggly. The second one is presumed to be a record of his anonymous sexual encounters, and its in code. It quantifies certain of his sexual activities over periods of time, using three codes, 'C' 'A' and 'W'. No-one, it seems, can agree on exactly what they are. Most people agree that 'A' is probably for anal. When you start trying to work out the others though, and people have analysed the numbers and dates to great length, you start to even question if you made the right assumption for 'A'. You see if we assume 'C' is cock-sucking and 'W' is wanking, then it might seem logical, but he participated in a lot more 'C' then he did 'W'. Or maybe it's mutual wanking. This is where the arguments about what sort of sex he was having plus how often he was likely to be having it get into full gear. Then of course you have all your nomenclature arguments about what those acts were called nearly a century ago now, and whether the letters still fit. Whoever said economics was boring?

So be a dear and check out the article over here, which has a more detailed analysis of the Keynesian figures, and then tell me what your opinion is. I'm going with A=anal, C=cock-sucking and W=wanking, mutually. So lets here your take on the numbers, its about time you people put a few more comments on here!

Jimmy Kimmel's Response

I always intend not to post so many video's on this blog, but sometimes I cant help it. (Anyway, quit complaining, you're not at work any more so you can watch them... yes, you know who you are!) Like with this clip of Sarah Silverman's boyfriend responding to her clip 'I'm fucking Matt Damon' which I posted before. Enjoy. :D

US Mortgage Crisis Explained

I look quite silly when I have my economist's hat on, so I don't wear it very often. Consequently I couldn't really tell you what is happening with mortgages in the USA, other then its something bad. And if it is effecting the US economy, the rest of the world is screwed too. Fortunately these dandy stick figures do an excellent job of explaining it all. Not only is it entertaining, its informative too!
Go here to see the whole series.

RoboPhone

They were just regular, down to earth, hard working mobile phones. Then one day they were shot in the line of duty, and their bodies secreted away for nefarious experiments. When they were switched back on they found they were no longer regular phones, they were Robo-Phones!



These are actually working mobiles from Japan. The robot arms and legs, optional extras that you stick to the phone, were produced as a promotion for a new Japanese TV drama called Ketai Sousakan 7. All I know is that ketai means mobile phone, beyond that I've no idea what its about. I don't know if this beats that other Japanese TV show promo product, green tea flavoured bread-in-a-can from a vending machine, but I do know that I won't be having nightmares about bread-in-a-can. At least I hope not! :|

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Youtube in the News?

Aside from the irony of this clip being shared on YouTube, it's also pretty funny.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Upcoming Exhibition Openings

Don't say I never do anything for you. Here is a list of exhibition openings and other arty events in Adelaide for the next few weeks.

Wednesday 27 February – 5.30 to 7pm
Ivan Navarro Exhibition
Greenaway Art Gallery, Kent Town


Thursday 28 February – 5 to 7pm
Penumbra Exhibition
Samstag Museum, UniSA City West
(This one requires an RSVP)


Thursday 28 February – 6 to 8pm
ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers) Exhibition
EAF Lion Arts Centre.


Thursday 28 February – 6 to 8pm
Last Riot + Autogenic Exhibitions
JamFactory, Lion Arts Centre, Morphett St


Thursday 28 February – 6pm
to walk on a sea of salt
CACSA, Parkside


Friday 29 February – 4 to 6pm
Elisa Sighicelli Exhibition
Flinders Uni City Gallery, State Library, North Tce


Friday 29 February - 6pm
Adelaide Biennale Exhbition -
Art Gallery of South Australia, North Tce
(No entry without an invitation)


Sunday 2 March – 1 to 3pm
Artists Week Keynote Address: Doug Aitken
Elder Hall, Adelaide Uni


Sunday 2 March – 5.30pm
GRL Opening / ANAT Filter Launch
Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre


Tuesday 4 March – 7pm
Graffiti Research Lab Throwie Workshop
Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre


Wednesday 5 March – 6pm
This Everything Water Exhibition
Kaurna Building, SASA, UniSA City West


Thursday 6 March – 2.30 to 5pm

Light Is A Messenger Forums
Elder Hall, Adelaide Uni


Thursday 6 March – 6 to 8pm
Adelaide Ink Exhibition
– Nexus , Lion Arts Centre, Morphett St


Tuesday 26 March – 6pm
Small Token Exhibition
Liverpool Street Gallery, SASA, UniSA City West

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Brain Games

My brain is a little frazzled, its been a long day and I'm tired. So I might not be in the best state to use this new tech, but it only exists as a prototype, so there's no danger. However, the company hopes to have a consumer version released in time for xmas. Its a headset from Emotiv, that works as a game control device by reading your brain waves. It uses a clever combination of software and hardware to figure out what you want the object on screen to do. Hopefully they will develop some interesting games for it. For now though I'm relieved I don't have one, I think I would have already crashed the computer several times.


Monday, 18 February 2008

Sony Ericsson X1

I want this phone. If you cared for me at all, you would get me this phone. It's so shiny. Shiny! Why don't you love me enough to get me this phone? Why?! I could send emails with the cool slide out keyboard, and take pictures on the 3.2 megapixel, carl-zeiss lensed camera and force strangers to watch videos of Spanish drag midgets with it! Don't deprive the world, (ie me)!!



Giant Lasers are Cool


How can this quote not make you wet your pants? I mean really... "If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory." As if that weren't enough, the article then goes on to say "In addition to medical uses, intense laser beams like these could help researchers explore new frontiers in science. At even more extreme intensities, laser beams could potentially "boil the vacuum," which scientists theorize would generate matter by merely focusing light into empty space."
Let's hope Microsoft don't invest in this technology, because it would bring Bill one step closer to his Death star...

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Getting Ink Done or Getting Done by Ink

Tattoos may eventually be good for you. According to German scientists, vaccines delivered by a vibrating needle just under the skin, like a tattooist's needle, rather then an injection, are significantly more effective at delivering the vaccine into the body. I've considered getting a little tattoo from time to time, and it's nice to think that they could have a medicinal purpose. If you happen to be one of the people feature on the blog Horrible Tattoos, you might be thankful for the excuse 'It was life or death, I had to get a tattoo!' The pics on that blog range from simply amusing, to the downright bizarre like this


The tattoo on the blog I found most amusing, is NSFW so here's the link. To paraphrase the blog, "I found Jesus! Guess where!"

Friday, 15 February 2008

Garden of Unearthly Silent Disco

The Garden of Unearthly Delights pre-empted the Fringe this evening, opening with fireworks, fairy-lights and volumes of people in various states of attractiveness. Amongst all this was a fascinating display, a highly engaging activity, damn it, a piece of art - it was the Silent Disco. When you first stumble upon it, there is a brief moment of confusion. Fenced off from the rest of the crowd is a dance floor full of people gyrating in sync, in silence. Then you notice they are all wearing headphones, all tuned in to the same syncopating frequency. Amusing, surreal, endearing and enticing, its mesmerising to watch. It's not a sensation of deafness, for there are plenty of sounds - the milling crowd, the shuffling, the odd lyric from the mouths of the dancers. Rather there is a strange sense of incapacitation, like some sense you forget you had is no longer working. The primal 'group-think' part of your brain feels drunk and bewildered.

Then you fork over your $5 (plus $10 deposit on those radio headphones) and immerse yourself in it. Suddenly you're part of the group, and you get it. It being primarily an eclectic mix of Euro-disco-rock-pop-dance. As a bystander it was amusing to watch all those silly dancers, but on the dance floor you feel sorry for the bystanders, you chuckle at their exclusion. You are part of the group, and they will never understand. They may think it's funny to see you do the twist silently, but only you know it is actually the twist.

Many people take photos or record videos on their cameras, and in this exercise it becomes apparent just how unique the experience is. The footage would be much akin to film of a regular disco with the volume turned down, but the experience itself is vastly different. I'm of the generation that tends to place audio-visual recordings of events on equal footing as the events themselves, given that is how so much of our world is experienced. We snap and click away, eager to save what we fear our memories may cast aside. While it may seem that film can always capture the essence of an event (at least subjectively), in the case of the Silent Disco it is woefully inadequate. You simply have to actually experience it. This revelation was startling, the concept so eloquently tangible, far more so then many contemporary pieces of installation/interactive/performance art.

If you get the chance, don't hesitate to dive in to the Silent Disco.

Girls ready to hand out headphones when you enter.
(Thanks to Will and his not-as-crap-as-mine camera phone for the pic)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Aussie Steakhouse of Death

When I was living in Japan on occasion I would have a meal at the 'Outback Aussie Steakhouse'. The establishment was recommended to me by Japanese students because it was 'Australian', though I can't say I was overwhelmed with nostalgia when I ate there. It's actually a chain of cheesy American dinners with lots of kitsch Australiana on the walls and nothing remotely Australian on the menu, other then steak, and we don't really own that, do we? Now Men's Health magazine has declared one of their dishes the worst food in America. The cheesy fries with ranch dressing starter (sooo Aussie) apparently has triple the recommended calories for a single meal. And its just a starter. Mmm, cheesy fries. Oh well, they didn't mention anything about the deep fried blossoming onion. Damn that was good.

Spongebob Classics

Spongebob Squarepants is apparently gay, and therefore an evil influence on children. So if you dub the voices of Spongebob characters over classic films, but keep the dialogue exactly the same, does that make them gay too? I'm not sure, but it certainly is funny.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The Great Scientology War

Oooh, this is so exciting. The trumpets have been sounded in the War of Scientology. Let's start with the background info. There was a 'report' on Fox 11 'News' about a hacking group called 'Anonymous'. I'm inclined to not even believe the Fox clip is real, it's so hyperbolic. Who can tell the difference between a subtle parody of attempts to induce hysteria, and actual attempts these days? This clip would fit perfectly on The Colbert Report. Here it is:



Then here is where it gets kind of cool-fun. The group Anonymous, which has apparently been around for quite a while, released a declaration of war on Scientology. See their call to arms clip below.



The theatrics of the clip are delicious, but it could easily have been lost in the quagmire of net vids. Or maybe not. They also seem to actually be organised, having set up various wikis to co-ordinate people in their attack. I wonder how many of their brethren died in order for them to obtain the secret plans to the Scientology Star? In the last day, coordinated on the net by Anonymous, hundreds of people have protested outside Scientology centres, including in Sydney, London and LA. The day was chosen because the 10 of February marks the death of Lisa McPherson who died in the care of the Church of Scientology in 1995. All this has obviously garnered some media attention, one of the better articles being this one at Newsweek. Check out the coverage here and here too. There is also an interesting take on the situation at Spiked which I will respond to later. The Spiked article almost seems to sum up a particular attitude in the media that sparked the following response vid from Anonymous.



So there you have it. I won't get into the Anonymous vs Scientology debate just yet, although I'm sure you can guess I have an opinion. Rather I'll just wallow in how terribly interesting the whole situation is, waiting to see what unfolds next with bated breath. The melodrama on both sides is so distinctively Hollywood, only far more entertaining then anything they've actually intended to produce in ages. I've been blabbing-on recently about Hollywood marketing and telling a story across multiple media, and well, what if we are witnessing just that? What if the whole existence of Scientology is just the mother-of-all marketing campaigns, building up a multi-layer story across print and screen for years, so that everyone on earth turns up for the opening of a shaky, hand-held 'documentary' of Xenu invading earth to destroy all the Anonymous followers. I really would worship Scientology if that were true!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

La Pequeña Prohibida

So there's this mid- Ok, well, it's in Spanish, and... Um, what is sequins in Spanish. She's wearing a wi- No, he. Is that padded? What is that song?! What the hell?
There are no words to describe this.

Japanese Paper Space Planes

From infinity to beyond on a paper plane? Research into space flight technology is taking an interesting detour as Japanese scientists test the resistance of specially treated paper to 250 degree heat and wind, so that they can make paper planes able to withstand re-entry into the atmosphere. The theory is that being lighter the paper planes would escape the worst of the friction and heat regular space shuttles endure. Of course they are only considering the technology for short unmanned flights, but you never know... In a few years we might be seeing the launch of Richard Branson's Virgin Origami.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Bond, Bond, Bond, Bond, Bond, James Bond!!

Behind the scenes footage of the new James Bond film Quantum of Solace. Did someone say Daniel Craig...




Why did two AI pioneers take their lives?

Artificial Intelligence is a complex discipline which takes a unique mind to grasp. I've always thought AI was fascinating, drawing on vast a disparate fields of knowledge, and if I'd stayed studying programming when I first started uni, AI is the field I would have liked to go into. There is a wonderfully in-depth article on Wired about two AI trail-blazers, Chris McKinstry and Push Singh, that left me with chills. It touches on the little reported fact that MIT has quite a high suicide rate, which makes me wonder about the connections between innovate thinking, particularly in abstract field like science, technology and mathematics, and mental imbalance. Thinking about thinking all day cannot be helpful to someone who is bi-polar, but that might also be what makes them good at it. In a strange, sad way its almost as if researchers on the cutting edge of AI are putting their mental well-being on the line in the noble pursuit of science.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Important MIT Research into Foil Hats

Worried about your brain. I know I am. Worried about your brains that is. You'll be pleased to know that researchers over at MIT have conducted a study into the effectiveness of aluminium hats, favoured by paranoid conspiracy theorists, for protecting the brain from radio waves. This excerpt is from the conclusion of the report. "It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC. We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings." There's a current helmet craze? I totally missed that, but then I guess I'm not in the loop with what's cutting edge like those MIT researchers.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Improv in New York Grand Central Station

This is in no way related to the Improv show I happen to be doing at the Fringe in a few weeks (every Sunday night from the 24th of Feb btw :P ) but i just love this little event staged by a couple hundred improvisers in NYC. Public intervention is fun, particularly if it confuses the crap out of everyone. I love that all the passers-by clap at the end too.

New M. Night Shyamalan Trailer

I loved Signs. For a lot a lot of people Sixth Sense Shyamalan's first, is favourite, and though I love that film, Signs has to be one of my favourite ever horror films. It's the defining standard of what a slow monster-reveal should be in a film. For that I forgave Shyamalan The Village, which was awfully tepid, but had its moments. However, Lady in the Water just got such resoundingly bad reviews, after my Village experience I couldn't bring myself to watch it. And there's his next film, The Happening. It's looks good, really good. But then so did the trailer for The Village. This is only a teaser, and I don't really anything about the plot, but I do know, if nothing else, Shyamalan is good at getting me intrigued. Damn good.

Maya Angelou reads Gay Personals Poetry

Maya Angelou may not be as well known over here, but this clip transcends cultural boundaries...


Monday, 4 February 2008

Arrested Development Movie

After the writer's strike is resolved, an Arrested Development movie may go into production. Jason Bateman has confirmed the waters have been tested with the cast about interest in shooting a film, though nothing is confirmed yet. I guess I should get around to watching the actual show then...

Computer Booting Chocolate

Who says New Media art doesn't make sense? Look, its chocolate! Chocolate always makes sense. Actually, if you could explain the meaning of this work I'd be quite greatful. (click the pic for the site)

Sufjan Stevens


Ok, so I finally listened to Illinoise. *sigh* It's very easy to get me to like a piece of music, just stick some harmonies or choral backing in there, and BAM you've got me. Hah! I see right through it now. What does Sufjan qualify as anyway, "folksy/epic"? He's just so 'indie-movie starring Zac Braff sound track look at me aren't I cute and quirky'. Look at that picture, all it's missing is the shirt-matching wallpaper in the background. But that's not to say I don't like indie movies. Did he just say all the glory the Lord has made? He didn't really just say he cried himself to sleep last night? Oh, how poetic. No really, I like it. Despite the somewhat cloying lyrics, I have no doubt I'll find myself humming along with them. The instrumental bits are quite pretty too. I guess. I'm not really in love with the place in Sufjan's mind, but I wouldn't mind popping in for a cup of tea every now and then.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Celebrity Gossip

What better to do on a warm weekend afternoon then to get your celeb on. Here's a round up of some bits and sordid pieces of celebrity gossip.

~ Britney is undergoing forced psychiatric evaluation and a judge has put her father in charge of her welfare. Does that mean she won't be posing for paps anymore?

~ Alfie Allen, 21 year old brother of Lily Allen (you remember the song) has taken over Daniel Radcliffe's role in Equus, and is baring all to London audiences like his predecessor.

~ Justin Timberlake and Timbaland are going to appear in the up coming film clip for Madonna's new single that they co-wrote, called 4 Minutes to Save the World. So which one gets the nick-name 'Timbo" then?

~ Rumour is that the following blind item is referring to Michael C Hall from Six Feet Under and the new HBO show Dexter. "This cable B list actor who is now getting a shot at the big time wanted everyone to believe that his separation from his wife was all about not getting along and not making their schedules work. The actual problem was that he couldn't get away from his boyfriend enough to make his wife happy."
As much as I love a good gay rumour, I just can't believe it's so, and I want to believe so very much....

Sarah Silverman is brilliant...

I love Sarah Silverman. She takes squirm humour to a whole new level and throws in a bunch of absurdity just for kicks. I can see why Jimmy Kimmel has been dating her for 5 years, I'll bet he loved this.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Stairway to Bootleg Heaven

Mash-Ups (the smushing up of one or more songs) are great fun. The infamous one from a few years ago by DJ Soulwax, Smells Like Teen Booty, mixed Nirvana and Destiny's Child, and like most mash-ups was deliriously confusing and catchy, as if you can't quite get the two halves of your brain to sync. I'd always thought of mash-ups as a ingenious, but gimmicky. That was until I heard Stairway to Bootleg Heaven by DJ Earworm, which is now one of my all time favourite songs. It's given me new found admiration for Dolly Parton (apparently, being gay, it was only a matter of time before this happened), mixing her with Annie Lennox, Pat Benetar even the Beatles. It's so beautifully familiar yet strange, haunting but not maudlin. It builds exquisitely, interweaving the various vocals deftly, and, well, I just get chills at the 6 minute mark. I won't go on any more, just listen to it...
<BGSOUND src="Stairway to Bootleg Heaven">

Mobile Phone Books R GR8

Do U like 2 txt? Maybe you're only a few thumb twitches away from being a famous author then. There is a fascinating article over on the NYT (via Clive on Collision Detection) relating how of the top 10 selling books in Japan last year, 5 were 'cellphone' books. (I hate that American term, what does it even mean, they're mobile phones damn it!) That means they were written on mobile phones. More then a few cellphone books have been punched out by Japanese teenagers on the train and in between classes. Cellphone books have grown into a whole sub-genre of Japanese literature, which stylistically reflect their creation. They tend to have much less flowery descriptions and long-winded prose, apparently a staple of classical Japanese literature, and are more dialogue heavy. The style is distinctive and popular enough, that people are writing cell phone books on their computers now, and some even in long hand.

I'm not sure I could stomach a whole book written that way, but I imagine the differences between proper and texting language are more subtle in Japanese. I know that I'm not as fussed NEmore when I see txting language away from the mobile screen, which is becoming more common. What is really cool about these books is that the technology has influenced the way we write. Technology has always affected the way we produce our culture, but because it changed at such a drastically slower rate, no one really noticed that much. Think about the stylistic influence of the hand-held camera. Once the technology allowed for film-making to go mobile, we eventually got used to the 'shaky' style in documentaries, such that now the shaky aesthetic is associated with greater realism. I wonder what aspect of our cultural expression will evolve next thanks to technological change?