Archive for July 12th, 2011

July 12, 2011

Purple Drank

big moe

Purple drank is a slang term for a recreational drug popular in the hip hop community in the southern United States, originating in Houston, Texas. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine. Cough syrup is typically mixed with ingredients such as Sprite soft drink or Mountain Dew and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy. The purplish hue of purple drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup. Producer DJ Screw popularized the concoction in the 1990s, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the ‘chopped and screwed’ style of hip hop music. However, musician Big Hawk claims it was consumed as early as the 1960s and 1970s.

DJ Screw died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose in 2000. Purple drank is confirmed or suspected to have caused the deaths of several prominent users. Respiratory depression is a potentially serious or fatal adverse drug reaction associated with the use of codeine, but mainly the danger lies in the much more potent and CNS-depressing phenothiazine-related antihistamine promethazine.

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July 12, 2011

Rumspringa

rumspringa by paul richard james

Rumspringa [room-spring-uh] (German: ‘jumping around’) generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community. The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church.

Not all Amish use this term, but in sects that do, Amish elders generally view this as a time for courtship and finding a spouse. Wenger Mennonites youth go through a period of rumspringa between ages 16 and 18. It is sometimes referred to as a period to ‘sow wild oats.’ As is the case in many societies, Amish adolescents may engage in rebellious behavior, resisting or defying parental norms. In many cultures, enforcement may be relaxed, and misbehavior tolerated or overlooked to a degree.

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July 12, 2011

Hug Machine

A hug machine, or squeeze box, is a deep-pressure device designed to calm hypersensitive persons, usually individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The therapeutic, stress-relieving device was invented by professor of animal science Temple Grandin in 1965. 

Autism and autism-spectrum disorders have profound effects upon both social interactions and sensitivity to sensory stimulation in persons with such conditions, often making it uncomfortable or impractical for them to turn to other human beings for comfort. Grandin solved this by designing the hug machine so both she and others could turn to it for sensory relief, whenever needed or simply desired.

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July 12, 2011

Bionic Contact Lens

google contact lens

Bionic contact lenses are being developed to provide a virtual display that could have a variety of uses from assisting the visually impaired to the video game industry. The lenses require organic materials that are biologically safe and also use inorganic material for the electronic circuits. The electronic circuits are built from a layer of metal a few nanometres thick. The light-emitting diodes are one third of a millimetre across. A grey powder is sprinkled onto the lens. Then a technique called microfabrication or ‘self-assembly’ is used to shape each tiny component. Capillary forces pull the pieces into their final position.

Wireless communication, radio frequency power transmission and solar cells are expected in future developments. The prototype does not light up or display information; however, it is proof that it is possible to create a biologically safe electronic lens that does not obstruct a person’s view. Engineers have tested the finished lenses on rabbits.

July 12, 2011

Artist’s Shit

piero manzoni

Artist’s Shit (Italian: ‘Merda d’artista’) is a 1961 artwork by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni. The work consists of 90 tin cans, each 30 grams, with a label in Italian, English, French, and German stating: ‘Artist’s Shit; Freshly preserved; Produced and tinned in May 1961.’ At the time the piece was created Manzoni was producing works that explored the relationship between art production and human production, Artist’s Breath (‘Fiato d’artista’), a series of balloons filled with Manzoni’s breath, being an example.

A tin was sold for €124,000 at Sotheby’s in 2007. The cans were originally to be valued according to their equivalent weight in gold — $37 each in 1961 — with the price fluctuating according to the market. One of Manzoni’s collaborators, Agostino Bonalumi, claimed that the tins are full not of faeces but plaster; but some cans have leaked and confirmed they are indeed faeces — though whether human or animal has not been verified.

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July 12, 2011

Garry Kasparov

kasparov

Garry Kasparov (b. 1963) is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time. Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22. He held the official FIDE world title until 1993, when a dispute with FIDE led him to set up a rival organization, the Professional Chess Association. He continued to hold the ‘Classical’ World Chess Championship until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. He is also widely known for being the first world chess champion to lose a match to a computer under standard time controls, when he lost to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997. 

After his retirement from chess in 2005, Kasparov turned to politics and created the United Civil Front, a social movement whose main goal is to ‘work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia.’ He has vowed to ‘restore democracy’ to Russia by ousting Vladimir Putin, of whom he is an outspoken critic.

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July 12, 2011

Façade

facade

Façade is a 2005 artificial-intelligence-based interactive story created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, and exhibited at several international art shows. Façade puts the player in the role of a close friend of Grace and Trip, a couple who invited you over for cocktails.

This pleasant gathering, however, is somewhat damaged by the clear domestic confrontation between your hosts. Making full use of the incorporated language processing software, the game allows the player to type sentences to ‘speak’ with the couple, either supporting them through their troubles, driving them farther apart, or being thrown out of the apartment.

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July 12, 2011

Phosphene

Phosphene

A phosphene [fos-feen] is an entoptic (visual) phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye. The word phosphene comes from the Greek words ‘phos’ (‘light’) and ‘phainein’ (‘to show’). Phosphenes are flashes of light, often associated with optic neuritis, induced by movement or sound.

They can be directly induced by mechanical, electrical, or magnetic stimulation of the retina or visual cortex as well as by random firing of cells in the visual system. Phosphenes have also been reported by meditators (commonly called nimitta); people who go for long periods without visual stimulation (also known as the prisoner’s cinema); or those who are using psychedelic drugs.

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July 12, 2011

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko by Mr Florey

Donnie Darko is a 2001 American psychological thriller written and directed by Richard Kelly, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The film depicts the reality-bending adventures of the title character as he seeks the meaning and significance behind his troubling Doomsday-related visions. In October 1988, teenager Donnie Darko has been seeing a psychiatrist because of his troubled history. Donnie sleepwalks, and he has visions of Frank, a menacing, demonic-looking rabbit. On October 2, Frank draws Donnie out of his room to tell him, in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds, the world will end. While Donnie is outside, a jet engine crashes through his bedroom. The next morning, Donnie wakes up on a golf course. He returns home to find police and firemen inspecting the wreckage. No one knows where the jet engine has come from, since there were no planes flying in the vicinity, and no airline reported losing an engine.

Music is used heavily in the film. One continuous sequence involving an introduction of Donnie’s high school prominently features the song ‘Head over Heels’ by Tears for Fears, Donnie’s sister’s dance group, ‘Sparkle Motion,’ performs with the song ‘Notorious’ by Duran Duran, and ‘Under the Milky Way’ by The Church is played after Donnie and Gretchen emerge from his room during the party. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Joy Division also appears in the film. The opening sequence is set to ‘The Killing Moon’ by Echo & the Bunnymen.

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July 12, 2011

Richard Kelly

usident

Donnie Darko by Alex Amezcua

Richard Kelly (b. 1975) is an American film director and writer. He won a scholarship to the University of Southern California to study at the USC School of Cinema-Television. He made two short films, ‘The Goodbye Place’ and ‘Visceral Matter,’ before graduating in 1997. His first feature film, ‘Donnie Darko’ (2001), a psychological thriller, was given a budget of just $4.5 million, received major critical acclaim. His fourth film, and second feature, ‘Southland Tales,’ (2006) is a science fiction dark comedy-drama, which was unsuccessful critically and financially. His most recent feature, ‘The Box’ (2009), is a psychological horror film.

Although Richard Kelly’s films differ considerably in setting and characters (‘Donnie Darko’ is about a suburban teenager, ‘Southland Tales’ is an L.A. epic, and ‘The Box’ is about a married couple in Richmond, Virginia), they share similar themes of time travel, existentialism, and spirituality. Kelly’s style is composed of Steadicam based tracking shots and camera movement in general, satirical elements (as seen sparsely in ‘Donnie Darko’ and much more prominently in ‘Southland Tales’), comedy, drama, and enigmatic plots. Music also plays a large role in Richard Kelly’s films; for example, the closing segment of ‘Donnie Darko’ is a montage of several characters awakening from their lucid dreams to Gary Jules’s version of the Tears for Fears song ‘Mad World.’

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July 12, 2011

Southland Tales

southland tales

Southland Tales is a 2006 science fiction dark comedy-drama film, written and directed by Richard Kelly. The title refers to the Southland, a name used by locals to refer to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles. Set in the then near future of an alternate history, the film is a portrait of Los Angeles and a comment on the military-industrial news-tainment complex. The film features an ensemble cast. Original music for the film was provided by Moby. The film was a critical and financial failure.

The film opens on El Paso and Abilene, Texas, both of which fall victim to twin nuclear attacks on July 4, 2005—a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions which launches America into World War III. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant tabs on citizens and heavily censors the media and the Internet.

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July 12, 2011

Kaoru Betto

kaoru betto

Kaoru Betto (b. 1920) was a former Nippon Professional Baseball player. After playing for the Ōsaka Tigers for two years, Betto played for the Mainichi Orions from 1950 to 1957. In his first season with the Orions, Betto won the NPB’s first Pacific League MVP Award and helped lead the team to victory in the first Japan Series.

Actor Jeff Bridges can be seen wearing a Kaoru Betto shirt in several of his films.

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