Archive for July 8th, 2011

July 8, 2011

Max

max

Max is a visual programming language for music and multimedia developed and maintained by San Francisco-based software company Cycling ’74. During its 20-year history, it has been widely used by composers, performers, software designers, researchers, and artists for creating innovative recordings, performances, and installations.

The Max program itself is highly modular, with most routines existing in the form of shared libraries. As a result, Max has a large userbase of programmers not affiliated with Cycling ’74 who enhance the software with commercial and non-commercial extensions to the program.

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July 8, 2011

Kid Loco

Kid Loco

Jean-Yves Prieur (b.1964), aka Kid Loco is a French electronic musician, DJ, remixer and producer. His style has been compared to Air and Dimitri from Paris. His best-known album is ‘A Grand Love Story’ (1997), and he has also compiled and mixed a DJ mix album for the ‘Another Late Night’ series on Azuli Records.

He has worked with Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp), with Italian band The Transistors (Maurizio Mansueti and Luca Cirillo) and Glasgow bands A Band Called Quinn and Mogwai, and produced the album ‘Too Late To Die Young’ by the British group, Departure Lounge.

July 8, 2011

Dr. Octagon

dr octagon by kellee101

Dr. Octagon was a fictional character created by American rapper Keith Thornton, better known as Kool Keith. First appearing on Thornton’s 1996 debut solo album, ‘Dr. Octagonecologyst,’ Dr. Octagon is an extraterrestrial time traveling gynecologist and surgeon from the planet Jupiter. Thornton performed and released three albums under the alias. The character was murdered by another of his characters, Dr. Dooom on Thornton’s 1999 album ‘First Come, First Served,’ and was briefly revived before once again being killed on Thornton’s 2008 album ‘Dr. Dooom 2,’ in response to the release of ‘The Return of Dr. Octagon,’ an album largely produced without Thornton’s involvement.

In Dr. Octagonecologyst, Dr. Octagon is described as having yellow eyes, green skin, and a pink-and-white Afro. Further tracks detail a list of services offered by Octagon, who claims to treat chimpanzee acne and moosebumps, and relocate saliva glands. Octagon is described as being incompetent, as many of his surgery patients die as he conducts his rounds. He often engages in sexual intercourse with female patients and nurses. Octagon’s uncle, Mr. Gerbik, is described as being half shark, having the skin of an alligator, and is 208 years old.

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July 8, 2011

Perverse Incentive

fossil

A perverse incentive is an incentive that has an unintended and undesirable result which is contrary to the interests of the incentive makers. Perverse incentives are a type of unintended consequences. For example, 19th century palaeontologists traveling to China used to pay peasants for each fragment of dinosaur bone (dinosaur fossils) that they produced. They later discovered that the peasants dug up the bones and then smashed them into many pieces, greatly reducing their scientific value, to maximise their payments. In Hanoi, under French colonial rule, a program paying people a bounty for each rat pelt handed in was intended to exterminate rats. Instead, it led to the farming of rats. Funding fire departments by the number of fire calls made is intended to reward the fire departments that do the most work. However, it may discourage them from fire-prevention activities, which reduce the number of fires.

In 1696, the English Parliament adopted a tax under which dwellings were to be assessed according their number of windows. Although the tax was intended to be progressive in that it exempted houses with fewer than ten windows from the bulk of the assessment, in operation it exacerbated the gap in living conditions between rich and poor as landlords were incentivized to brick up tenement windows to reduce their tax liability, leaving working-class tenants with insufficient light and ventilation. In 2007, the Bangkok, Thailand police switched to punitive pink armbands adorned with the cute Hello Kitty cartoon character when the tartan armbands that had been intended to be worn as a badge of shame for minor infractions were instead treated as collectibles by offending officers forced to wear them.

July 8, 2011

Cobra Effect

unintended consequences

backfire

The cobra effect occurs when the solution to a problem, makes the problem worse.  The term is used to illustrate the causes of wrong stimulation in economy and politics. The term stems from an anecdote set at the time of British rule of colonial India. The British government was concerned about the number of venomous cobra snakes. The Government therefore offered a reward for every dead snake. Initially this was a successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually however the Indians began to breed cobras for the income.

When this was realized the reward was canceled, but the cobra breeders set the snakes free and the wild cobras consequently multiplied. The apparent solution for the problem made the situation even worse. A similar incident occurred in Hanoi, under French colonial rule, where a program paying people a bounty for each rat pelt handed in was intended to exterminate rats. Instead, it led to the farming of rats.

July 8, 2011

Moody Street Irregulars

Jack Kerouac

Moody Street Irregulars (subtitled ‘A Jack Kerouac Newsletter’) was an American publication dedicated to the history and the cultural influences of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. Edited and published by Joy Walsh, it featured articles, memoirs, reviews and poetry. Published from Clarence Center, New York, it had a run of 28 issues from Winter 1978 to 1992. The title of the publication derives from the Baker Street Irregulars, a group of street urchins often employed by Sherlock Holmes in the novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The magazine’s approach is indicated by the contents of issue number 9 (1981), a special ‘Vanity of Duluoz’ (Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novel) issue including essays and articles by Gregory Stephenson, John Clellon Holmes, Carolyn Cassady, plus an interview with William S. Burroughs by Jennie Skerl. Issue number 11 (Spring/Summer 1982) was a special ‘French Connection’  issue, featuring articles and essays about Kerouac, his French-Canadian ancestry and his popularity in Quebec.

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July 8, 2011

The Doors of Perception

Aldous Huxley by Edan Duarte

The Doors of Perception is a 1954 book by Aldous Huxley detailing his experiences when taking mescaline, a hallucinogen found naturally in the peyote cactus.

The book takes the form of Huxley’s recollection of a drug trip which took place over the course of an afternoon, and takes its title from William Blake’s poem ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.’ Huxley recalls the insights he experienced, which range from the ‘purely aesthetic’ to ‘sacramental vision.’ He also incorporates later reflections on the experience and its meaning for art and religion.

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July 8, 2011

Beatnik

Moody Street Irregulars

Beatnik [beet-nik] was a media stereotype of the 1950s and early 1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish misrepresentation of the real-life people and the spirituality found in Jack Kerouac’s autobiographical fiction. Kerouac spoke out against this detour from his original concept. Kerouac introduced the phrase ‘Beat Generation’ in 1948, generalizing from his social circle to characterize the underground, anti-conformist youth gathering in New York at that time. The name came up in conversation with the novelist John Clellon Holmes who published an early Beat Generation novel, ‘Go’ (1952), along with a manifesto in The New York Times Magazine: ‘This Is the Beat Generation.’

The word ‘beatnik’ was coined by columnist Herb Caen in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1958. Caen coined the term by adding the Russian suffix -nik after Sputnik I to the Beat Generation. Objecting to Caen’s twist on the term, Allen Ginsberg wrote to the New York Times to deplore ‘the foul word beatnik,’ commenting, ‘If beatniks and not illuminated Beat poets overrun this country, they will have been created not by Kerouac but by industries of mass communication which continue to brainwash man.’

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July 8, 2011

Counterculture

stonewall

steal this book

Counterculture is a term used in psychology and sociology to describe a set of views that are not of the mainstream. It is a neologism attributed to American historian Theodore Roszak. Although distinct countercultural undercurrents have existed in many societies, here the term refers to a more significant, visible phenomenon that reaches critical mass and persists for a period of time.

A countercultural movement expresses the ethos, aspirations, and dreams of a specific population during an era—a social manifestation of zeitgeist. The term came to prominence in the news media, as it was used to refer to the social revolution that swept North America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand during the 1960s and early 1970s.

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July 8, 2011

Gurn

gurn by matt halloran

A gurn or chuck is a distorted facial expression, and a verb to describe the action. A typical gurn might involve projecting the lower jaw as far forward and up as possible, and covering the upper lip with the lower lip. Another common form of gurning is the ‘duck face’ which is characterized by outwardly splayed lips. Gurn has also been defined as ‘to snarl as a dog; to look savage; to distort the countenance.’ The derivation may originally be Scottish, related to ‘grin.’ In Northern Ireland, the verb ‘to gurn’ means ‘to cry,’ and crying is often referred to as ‘gurnin’.’

Gurning contests are a rural English tradition. By far the most notable is that held annually at the Egremont Crab Fair, which dates back to 1267 when King Henry III granted the fair a Royal Charter. The competitions are held regularly in some villages, with contestants traditionally framing their faces through a horse collar — known as ‘gurnin’ through a braffin’.’ The World Gurning Championship takes place annually at the same crab fair in Egremont, Cumbria. Those with the greatest gurn capabilities are often those with no teeth, as this provides greater room to move the jaw further up. In some cases, the elderly or otherwise toothless can be capable of spectacular gurns covering the entire nose.

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