Archive for October, 2013

October 20, 2013

Nightfall

Nightfall‘ is a 1941 science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov about the coming of darkness to the people of a planet ordinarily illuminated at all times on all sides. It was adapted into a novel with Robert Silverberg in 1990. It was first published in an issue of ‘Astounding Science Fiction’ magazine under editor John W. Campbell. It was the 32nd story by Asimov, written while he was working in his father’s candy store and studying at Columbia University.

According to Asimov’s autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!’ Campbell’s opinion to the contrary was: ‘I think men would go mad.’

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October 19, 2013

Drunken Boxing

Zui quan is a concept in traditional Chinese martial arts literally meaning ‘drunken fist,’ the term is also commonly translated as drunken boxing.

 Zui quan has the appearance of a drunkard’s movements. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and certain type of fluidity. It is considered to be among the most difficult wushu styles to learn due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. While in fiction practitioners of zui quan are often portrayed as being actually intoxicated, the actual practice is usually performed sober.

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October 18, 2013

Virtuix Omni

omni

Virtuix Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill video game peripheral for virtual reality games currently in development by Virtuix. The Omni uses a slippery platform used to simulate the motion of walking. The platform requires special shoes that reduce friction when walking.

The player is fully enclosed within a ring that works with a safety harness to absorb the player’s weight. The Omni is designed to be used with a head-mounted virtual reality display, such as the Oculus Rift.

October 17, 2013

La Sape

sape

La Sape, an abbreviation based on the phrase ‘Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes’ (‘The Society for the Advancement of Elegant People’) is a social movement centered in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. It embodies the elegance in style and manners of colonial predecessor dandies as a means of resistance.

A dandy is a man unduly concerned with his appearance in fashion and manners. The word ‘sape’ means ‘dress’ and it corresponds to the intransitive verb ‘se saper’ which mean ‘to dress fashionably.’ This term made its first appearance in French vocabulary in 1926 and referred to the Parisian socialites and the ‘fashion energy’ they displayed during the Roaring Twenties.

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October 16, 2013

The Fox

Ylvis

The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)’ is a 2013 electronic dance music song and viral video by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis. Brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker produced the song and music video to promote the upcoming season of their television talk show ‘Tonight with Ylvis.’ Vegard was initially skeptical about making a song about a fox, but soon relented, saying in an interview:

‘The way we work is we just sit around and talk about things and get ideas and take some notes. I guess we must have been talking about what sound a fox makes. And then we had a chance to work with Stargate, a production company in New York City… We actually did a favor for them and we asked them if they could produce a song for the new season in exchange.’

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October 16, 2013

The Will to Believe

The Will to Believe‘ is a lecture by American philosopher and psychologist William James, first published in 1896, which defends, in certain cases, the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. In particular, James is concerned in this lecture about defending the rationality of religious faith even lacking sufficient evidence of religious truth.

James’ argument hinges on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true depends crucially upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence. For example, it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one’s own ability to accomplish tasks that require confidence. Importantly, James points out that this is the case even for pursuing scientific inquiry. James then argues that like belief in one’s own ability to accomplish a difficult task, religious faith can also be rational even if one at the time lacks evidence for the truth of one’s religious belief.

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October 15, 2013

Mothra

Mothra by Alex Pardee

Mothra is a kaiju, a type of fictional monster who first appeared in the serialized novel ‘The Luminous Fairies and Mothra.’ Since her film début in the 1961 film ‘Mothra,’ she has appeared in several Toho tokusatsu films. Mothra is a giant lepidopteran with characteristics both of butterflies and of moths.

She closely resembles an Inachis io, or a European Peacock Butterfly, but it is said that the Atlas moth is its inspiration. The name ‘Mothra’ is the suffixation of ‘-ra’ (a common last syllable in kaiju names (e.g. ‘Goji-ra’ [Godzilla]) to ‘moth’; since the Japanese language does not have dental fricatives, it is approximated ‘Mosura’ in Japanese.

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October 14, 2013

René Redzepi

Noma

René Redzepi (b. 1977) is a Danish chef and co-owner of the two-Michelin star restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Redzepi is noted for his work for the reinvention and refinement of a new Nordic cuisine and food that is characterized by inventiveness and clean flavors. He trained at Pierre André in Copenhagen, before visiting El Bulli in Spain as a guest in 1998 and subsequently working there during the following season.

Back in Copenhagen he started working at Kong Hans Kælder which had been one of the city’s leading gourmet restaurants since the mid-1970s. In 2001 he spent four months working at French Laundry in California but returned to Kong Hans Kælder. In 2002, Redzepi was contacted by Claus Meyer, who had been offered to operate a restaurant at the North Atlantic House, a former 18th century warehouse which was being turned into a cultural centre for the North Atlantic region. Noma was opened in 2004 with Redzepi as the head chef.

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October 12, 2013

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United States, held annually in the town of Gilroy outside San Francisco on the last full weekend in July. At the last event 108,526 people attended, sampling such diverse creations as garlic flavored ice cream and garlic french fries. Attendees also enjoy three stages full of musical entertainment, a Great Garlic Cook-off, celebrity cooking demonstrations, a garlic braiding workshop, a children’s area, arts and crafts, and many interactive displays.

A Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen is also crowned yearly, chosen by a panel of five judges, based on her personal interview, talent, garlic speech and evening gown. Her court is also chosen, for the purpose of representing Gilroy at various festivities and ‘having a garlicy good time with fellow lovers of the pungent bulb.’ The festival was founded in 1979 by Dr. Rudy Melone, Don Christopher, and Val Filice, and has been a fundraiser for local charities.

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October 11, 2013

5 Pointz

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’ or the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc. is an outdoor art exhibit space in Long Island City, New York, considered to be the world’s premiere ‘graffiti Mecca,’ where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building.

The complex was first established as the ‘Phun Phactory’ in 1993 by Pat DiLillo under a program called ‘Graffiti Terminators’ to discourage graffiti vandalism by encouraging artists to display their work in a formal showcase. In 2002, Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti artist operating under the name ‘Meres’ began curating the work. If he is not familiar with an artist, Cohen will ask for a sample of their work; if it is a mural, he will ask for a layout as well.

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October 10, 2013

Phantom of the Paradise

phantom of the paradise

Phantom of the Paradise‘ is a 1974 American musical film written and directed by Brian De Palma. The story is a loosely adapted mixture of ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ and ‘Faust.’

It was panned by critics and failed at the box office, but has since acquired a cult following. Its music was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

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October 9, 2013

Victor Papanek

papanek

Victor Papanek (1923 – 1998) was a designer and educator who became a strong advocate of the socially and ecologically responsible design of products, tools, and community infrastructures. He disapproved of manufactured products that were unsafe, showy, maladapted, or essentially useless. Papanek was a philosopher of design and as such he was an untiring, eloquent promoter of design aims and approaches that would be sensitive to social and ecological considerations.

He wrote that ‘design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and, by extension, society and himself).’ With his interest in all aspects of design and how they affected people and the environment, Papanek felt that much of what was manufactured in the U.S. was inconvenient, often frivolous and even unsafe.

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