Archive for December 19th, 2010

December 19, 2010

Paprika

Paprika is a 2006 Japanese animated science fiction film, based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 novel of the same name, about a research psychologist who uses a device that permits therapists to help patients by entering their dreams. The film was directed by the late Satoshi Kon, animated by Madhouse Studios, and produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film’s music was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who also composed the soundtrack for Kon’s award-winning film, Millennium Actress, and equally lauded television series, Paranoia Agent. The soundtrack is significant for being the first film to use a Vocaloid (a singing synthesizer) for various tracks.

The protagonist of the film is, Atsuko, a psychiatrist who uses advanced technology to study the human mind. She has developed a machine that will allow her to enter the dreams of her patients and study their psyches from the inside. Atsuko also does double duty as Paprika, a high-tech detective who uses this new innovation to find out the truth about what the people she’s trailing really think. However, Atsuko falls victim to a thief who steals the one-of-a-kind machine, and Paprika sets out to find it as a wave of psychological instability tears through the city.

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December 19, 2010

View of the World from 9th Avenue

The New Yorker cover (March 29, 1976) ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue,’ has come to represent Manhattan’s telescoped interpretation of the country beyond the Hudson River. The cartoon showed the supposedly limited mental geography of Manhattanites. The image shows Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and the Hudson River (appropriately labeled), while the top half depicts the rest of the world. The rest of the United States is drawn as a square, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing New Jersey, the names of five cities (Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Chicago) and three states (Texas, Utah, and Nebraska) are scattered among a few rocks for the U.S. beyond New Jersey.

The Pacific Ocean, perhaps twice as wide again as the Hudson, separates the U.S. from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan, and Russia. The illustration, depicting New Yorkers’ self-image, inspired many similar works, including the poster for the 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson; that movie poster led to a lawsuit, Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), which held that Columbia Pictures violated the copyright that Steinberg held on his work. Another homage was created for the cover of The Economist newspaper’s March 21–27, 2009 issue entitled ‘How China sees the world.’

December 19, 2010

Calavera

c3p0 by rich hemsley

The word calavera, Spanish for ‘skull,’ can refer to a number of cultural phenomena associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls Day. Calaveras de azúcar (‘sugar skulls’) are used to adorn altars and can be eaten. Calaveras are poems, written for the Day of the Dead but intended to humorously criticize the living. Calavera can refer to any artistic representations of skulls, such as the lithographs of José Guadalupe Posada.

December 19, 2010

Shock Diamond

shock diamond

Shock diamonds (also known as Mach diamonds, Mach disks or dancing diamonds) are a formation of stationary wave patterns that appears in the exhaust plume of an aerospace propulsion system, such as a supersonic jet engine, rocket, ramjet, or scramjet when it is operated in an atmosphere.

Shock diamonds are formed when the supersonic exhaust from a nozzle is slightly over or under-expanded, meaning that the pressure of the gases exiting the nozzle is different from the ambient air pressure. A complex flow field results as the shock wave is reflected back and forth between the free fluid jet boundary and a visible repeating diamond-shaped pattern is formed which gives the shock diamonds their name.

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December 19, 2010

Sonic Boom

sonic boom

sonic boom

A sonic boom is created when an object travels faster than the speed of sound. When an airplane reaches the speed of sound, it makes such an explosive noise it can be seen with the naked eye. The visible part of a sonic boom is actually air that becomes compressed by sound waves. The thunder that a storm makes is also a sonic boom caused by lightning forcing air to move faster than the speed of sound.

The first plane to travel at the speed of sound was the Bell X-1 in 1947 and was piloted by Chuck Yeager. The cracking sound a bullwhip makes when properly wielded is, in fact, a small sonic boom. A bullwhip tapers down from the handle section to the cracker. The end of the whip, called the cracker, has much less mass than the handle section. When the whip is sharply swung, the energy is transferred down the length of the tapering whip.

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December 19, 2010

Captain Harlock

Captain Harlock is a fictional character created by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto. Harlock is the archetypical romantic hero, a space pirate with an individualist philosophy of life. He is as noble as he is taciturn and rebellious; he stoically fights against totalitarian regimes, whether they be earthborn or alien.

The character was introduced in Adventures of a Honeybee (1953), but did not debut as a lead character until 1978’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Since then, he has appeared in numerous animated TV series and films, the latest of which re-imagines him as an Iron Cross fighter pilot and a gunslinger in the American Old West.

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December 19, 2010

Interstella 5555

interstella 55551

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem’ is a 2003 feature-length Japanese animated musical film set to French duo, Daft Punk’s second studio album, ‘Discovery.’ The film depicts the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was produced by Daft Punk and Toei Animation, under the supervision of famed managa and anime artist, Leiji Matsumoto. The film has no dialogue and minimal sound effects. Daft Punk’s concept for the project involved the merging of science fiction with entertainment industry culture and was further developed with their collaborator Cédric Hervet.

All three brought the album and the completed story to Tokyo in the hope of creating the film with their childhood hero, Leiji Matsumoto. Many elements common to Matsumoto’s stories, such as a romanticism of noble sacrifice and remembrance of fallen friends, appear in ‘Interstella 5555.’ Daft Punk revealed in an interview that ‘Captain Harlock’ was a great influence on them in their childhood. They also stated, ‘The music we have been making must have been influenced at some point by the shows we were watching when we were little kids.’

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December 19, 2010

ALDI

ALDI, short for ‘Albrecht Discount,’ is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany founded by brothers Karl Albrecht and Theo Albrecht in 1913. Karl has since retired and is Germany’s richest man. Theo was Germany’s second richest man until his death in July 2010. The Aldi group operates about 8,210 individual stores worldwide. A new store opens every week in Britain alone.

Originally Aldi stores were ridiculed as being cheap shops selling low-quality goods, and that Aldi’s customers were mostly people who could not afford to shop elsewhere. Gradually many German consumers discovered that the poor reputation of Aldi’s products was either undeserved or economically justifiable. This shift in public perception was boosted by actions like a series of cookbooks that only used Aldi ingredients, which led to the emergence of a kind of Aldi fandom into parts of the German mainstream.

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December 19, 2010

Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia [fahy-broh-mahy-al-juh] (latin for muscle and connective tissue pain) is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (pain in response to something that should not cause pain, like a light touch). It is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female to male incidence ratio of approximately 9:1, but is considered a controversial diagnosis, due to lacking scientific consensus to its cause. Not all members of the medical community consider it a disease because of a lack of abnormalities on physical examination and the absence of objective diagnostic tests.

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