Archive for March 8th, 2011

March 8, 2011

A Clockwork Orange

alex

A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. The novel contains an experiment in language; Burgess creates teenage slang of the not-too-distant future called Nadsat. In a prefatory note to ‘A Clockwork Orange: A Play with Music,’ Burgess wrote that the title was a metaphor for ‘…an organic entity, full of juice and sweetness and agreeable odor, being turned into an automaton.’ and the ‘title would be appropriate for a story about the application of Pavlovian or mechanical laws to an organism which, like a fruit, was capable of color and sweetness.’

The title alludes to the protagonist’s positively conditioned responses to feelings of evil which prevent the exercise of his free will. To reverse this conditioning, he is subjected to a technique in which his emotional responses to violence are systematically paired with a negative stimulation in the form of nausea caused by an emetic medicine administered just before the presentation of films depicting violent, and ‘ultra-violent’ situations.

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March 8, 2011

Le Grand Saut

Michel Fournier (b. 1944) is an adventurer and retired French Air Force colonel. He has been involved in planning several attempts to break freefall jumping height records, but has yet to be successful. In 1998, the French space agency chose Fournier to conduct a record jump to test the ability of astronauts to survive reentry without a space craft. This project was quickly canceled. In 2003, Fournier attempted his first privately-financed jump but the balloon ripped while being filled. ‘The New York Times’ reports that Fournier has spent nearly $20 million on his two private attempts.

Fournier was scheduled to carry out the Grand Saut (Big Jump) project in 2008, which would have seen him ascend to 40 km (25 mi) in a balloon and freefall 34 km (21 mi) to earth before opening his parachute at 6 km (3.7 mi). In the process he was expected to break the sound barrier, and reach speeds upward of 1,000 miles per hour. His freefall was expected to last 15 minutes. Joseph Kittinger set the previous parachute record by jumping from 31,333 meters (102,799 ft) in 1960 (with a small parachute for guidance) under Project Excelsior. Roger Eugene Andreyev from the Soviet Union holds the longest freefall record of 24,483 meters (80,325 ft) in 1962.

March 8, 2011

Yves Rossy

jetman

Yves Rossy (b. 1959) is a Swiss pilot and inventor. He is the first person to achieve sustained human flight using a jet-powered fixed wing strapped to his back. This jet pack has led to his being nicknamed Airman, Jetman, Rocketman and, later, Fusionman, according to his project steps. Rossy developed and built a system comprising a backpack with semi-rigid carbon-fiber wings with a span of about 2.4 metres (7.9 ft), powered by four attached Jet-Cat P200 jet engines modified from large-model, kerosene fueled, aircraft engines.

His first flight occurred in 2006, lasting nearly six minutes and nine seconds. Yves later successfully flew across the English Channel in 2008 in 9 minutes 7 seconds, reaching a speed of 299 km/h (186 mph) during the crossing. Later in 2008, he made a flight over the Alps, reaching a top descent speed of 304 km/h (189 mph) and an average speed of 124 mph.

March 8, 2011

Paul Rand

paul rand logos

eye bee m

Paul Rand (1914 — 1996) was an American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs, including the logos for IBM, UPS, Enron, Westinghouse, and ABC. He was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design, which emphasizes cleanliness, readability and objectivity.

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March 8, 2011

Graphic Design

Graphic design is the art of communication, stylizing, and problem-solving through the use of type, space, and image. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.

Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), publications (magazines, newspapers and books), print advertisements, posters, billboards, website graphics and elements, signs and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as images, shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design, especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements.

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March 8, 2011

Saul Bass

saul bass

vertigo

Saul Bass (1920 – 1996) was an American graphic designer and filmmaker, best known for his design on animated motion picture title sequences. During his 40-year career he worked for some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers, including most notably Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese. His most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict’s arm for Preminger’s ‘The Man with the Golden Arm,’ the text racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of the UN building in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest,’ and the disjointed text that races together and apart in ‘Psycho’ (1960).

Saul Bass designed the sixth AT&T Bell System logo. He also designed AT&T’s ‘globe’ logo after the breakup of the Bell System. Bass also designed Continental Airlines’ 1968 ‘jetstream’ logo which became the most recognized airline industry logo of the 1970s, and several other major corporate logos.

March 8, 2011

Alex Ross

alex ross

Alex Ross (b. 1970) is an American comic book artist. He is praised for his realistic, human depictions of classic comic book characters.  Since the 1990s he has done work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics (e.g. Marvels and Kingdom Come, respectively), as well as being involved in creating independent works featuring superheroes (e.g. Astro City and Project Superpowers).

Because his painting style is time-consuming, he primarily serves as a plotter and/or cover artist. Ross’ rendering style, his attention to detail, and the perceived tendency of his characters to be depicted staring off into the distance has been satirized in Mad magazine.

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March 8, 2011

Chip Kidd

aiga nebraska poster by Donovan Beery

jurassic park

Chip Kidd (b. 1964) is an American author and graphic designer, known for his innovative book covers. He is currently associate art director at Knopf, an imprint of Random House. He first joined the Knopf design team in 1986,  as a junior assistant. Kidd also supervises graphic novels at Pantheon.

His output includes cover concepts for books by Bret Easton Ellis, Haruki Murakami, Dean Koontz, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller, Alex Ross, David Sedaris, John Updike and others. His design for Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel was carried over into marketing for the film adaptation. Oliver Sacks and other authors have contract clauses stating that Kidd design their books. Kidd is currently working with writer Lisa Birnbach on True Prep, a follow-up to her 1980 book The Official Preppy Handbook.

March 8, 2011

Glycemic Index

wonderbread

The glycemic index or GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI.

The concept was developed by Dr. David J. Jenkins and colleagues  in 1980 at the University of Toronto in their research to find out which foods were best for people with diabetes.

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March 8, 2011

Kwaito

kwaito

Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the late 1990s. It is house music combined with local African sounds. Typically at a slower tempo, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples, deep bass lines, and vocals. Although bearing similarities to hip hop music, a distinctive feature of Kwaito is the manner in which the lyrics are often shouted, ‘blabbered,’ and chanted. American music producer, Diplo described Kwaito as ‘slowed-down garage music,’ popular among the black youth of South Africa.

The word kwaito riginates from the Afrikaans word kwaai, which traditionally means strict or angry, although in its more common and contemporary use, the word is a translation of the loose English term ‘cool.’ Despite the fact that the Afrikaans language is associated with the apartheid regime and racial oppression, Afrikaans words are often drawn into the indigenous vocabulary, typically reshaped and used in a related or new context.

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March 8, 2011

Shebeen

A shebeen [shuh-been] was originally an illicit bar or club where alcoholic beverages were sold without a licence. The term has spread far from its origins in Ireland, to Scotland, Canada, the US, England, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Namibia, and South Africa. In South Africa and Zimbabwe, shebeens are most often located in black townships as an alternative to pubs and bars, where under apartheid and the Rhodesian era, black Africans could not enter a pub or bar reserved for whites. Originally, shebeens were operated illegally, selling homebrewed and home-distilled alcohol and providing patrons with a place to meet and discuss political and social issues.

Often, patrons and owners were arrested by the police, though the shebeens were frequently reopened because of their importance in unifying the community and providing a safe place for discussion. During the apartheid era shebeens became a crucial place for activists to meet. They also provided music and dancing, allowing patrons to express themselves culturally, giving rise to the musical genre kwaito. Currently, shebeens are legal in South Africa and have become an integral part of urban culture, serving commercial beers as well as umqombothi, a traditional African beer made from maize and sorghum

March 8, 2011

Jamaican Jerk

jerk festival

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, lamb, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called ‘pimento’ in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (similar in heat to the habanero pepper). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.

The term jerk is said to come from the word ‘charqui,’ a Spanish term of Quechua origin for jerked or dried meat, which eventually became jerky in English. The term jerk spice (also often commonly known as Jamaican jerk spice) refers to a spice rub. The word jerk refers to both the spice rub and to the particular cooking technique.

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