Other Ten Percent 3/13/12

Mar 13 2012

Man so I got like NO sleep last night so forgive me if my grammar is even more atrocious than it usually is. I’m also watching the Jay-Z concert that’s going out live from SXSW as I write this but since he just passed up the second PERFECT opportunity to bring out Kanye I think I’m actually more excited about the technical achievement a bit more than about the concert proper. He also keeps psyching me out by putting on like D.A.N.C.E. and I’m like “is he going to do a mashup on stage with one of his older ja…oh no he was just playing that for 15 seconds as a transition.” But now I’m going to take a break from bitching about a free show from one of the biggest music artists on earth to give you guys some links. Feel free to complain about how they aren’t as good as my old links.

For Creators of Games, a Faint Line on Cloning
So my friend Megan actually did the fact checking for Brian X. Chen’s book so I’ve kept track of the guy and was pretty psyched when he got hired by the NYT. Dude seems to be doing a bang up job of rehabilitating their tech news into something that’s actually informative. I mean if you’ve been following the indie gaming scene this isn’t really news but it’s old news with a timestamp of like…3 months ago? The NYT lag time was previously about 3 years so the ability to do a really informative primer on this stuff for a Times audience on that sort of a timeline is really impressive.

Yes, Cabin In the Woods is that f—king good
Guys I am so psyched for this movie. I think I may actually end up going to see a movie in theaters for THREE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS between Hunger Games, Avengers and Cabin in the Woods. Everything I’ve read about the movie says that it so thoroughly deconstructs the horror genre that it’s kind of hard to imagine what the horror movie looks like after it. The moment I tell somebody that Joss Whedon wrote a post-modern horror movie I get “you mean, like Scream?” and I’m immediately like “that movie wasn’t post-modern it was just Kevin Williamson smirking that he’d watched all the horror movies. All of them.” Joss Whedon’s not just going to point out the genre conventions he’s going to totally disassemble the mechanism in front of the audience while also (and I’m just guessing here from the plot summary and a CURSORY knowledge of Joss Whedon jams) thoroughly implicating the viewer in horror. I mean the listing of all this movie’s great qualities has me excited but I actually think I want to see it MORE because of io9’s list of negatives. It’s a horror movie that slowly transforms into a comedy and has a complicated ending so it’ll piss off rabid horror fans and idiots? Sign me the fuck up.

Moebius documentary
I didn’t actually write anything about the death of Moebius over the weekend because, to be honest, I’m not that familiar with the guy. I know. It’s shameful but its my huge comic knowledge blindspot. See most people kinda split comics into “superheroes” and “weird indie” but as it turns out Europe kinda totally denied that dichotomy for basically forever so they were off creating 2000AD and the super weird superhero comics writers and, well, Moebius to straddle that line. While that may sound like I’m actually informed I have this problem where I never actually READ any of that stuff, I just no it exists. So instead here’s a one hour documentary about the dude.

Drone Porn And The New Aesthetic Sleepbot
Speaking of super weird comics writers WHAT UP WARREN ELLIS? I have missed you dude can you maybe give me a huge round-up of some mind blowing futuristic stuff? Oh you can? Awesome. In fact I briefly considered just giving every single link he mentions its own OTP entry since both the speculative business post on heli-drones mapping your home for dirt cheep prices and the Bruce Sterling link where Sterling takes a perverse pleasure in writing up a SXSW panel in a format that would be utterly unintelligible to anybody time traveling from just 3-4 years in the past.

George Dyson’s history of the computer: Turing’s Cathedral
For my money the best chronicle on the creation and early history of the computer is still Cyrptonomicon but maybe you want to actually know about the history of these things and not be confused by all the weird fictional bits with an autistic mathematician seeing angels during the Hindenburg crash. I have no idea WHY you’d want to not have that stuff to but whatevs, maybe you’re just a fact addict or something. In that case I’d probably recommend taking a look at this book. I certainly plan to.

The Vibe
The smartest thing I’ve heard out of SXSW so far this year is the idea that products are evolving the same way art has in the digital age. It’s not that digital manufacturing (or whatever we’re going to call 3D Printing/laser cutting/rapid prototyping all chilling out together) is going to totally replace traditional manufacturing by being WAY BETTER and letting everybody have their own factory it’s that anybody that wants to can become a manufacturer and the result of that is going to be products that work a lot like digital publishing with a lot of weird niche products that never could have existed before finding enough of an audience to make a profit. Basically everything you own can be a boutique small batch product created to express your individuality. Events are the new magazines and products are the new t-shirts.

The Secret of Building B: Scouting Brooklyn’s Incredible Atrium Train Station
Aaaand Scouting NY pretty much kills it on this one. This location is so awesome looking that it makes me want to write a dystopian retro-futurist science-fiction movie just so all the characters can live there. It’s so awesome it wants me to make EVERY movie a dystopian retro-futurist sci-fi film so they can ALL be filmed there. It’s amazing.

SXSW: Why Geo-Fencing Might Change Your Life (and Make You Believe in Location Sharing)
I really like both Amber Case and geo-fencing so I hope the magic part of this turns out to not be magic but the more I see exciting things about the future the more I start noticing the hole in he plan where the magic goes. It tends to come in the form of a “wouldn’t it be awesome” hypothetical where it totally WOULD be awesome but it requires propagating a lot of data fields people are too lazy to bother filling out. In this instance it WOULD be awesome if my phone automatically told me where I was going and beeped at me when I was about to get there but wouldn’t I have to tell it every time and wouldn’t I get tired of that quickly once I realized it wasn’t actually any easier than just looking at my phone for directions the (yes I realize the irony) “old fashioned way?” I really want an open-data future but I’m not at all certain this is what that looks like.

Past, Present, Future… And Then What?
I was a little bit reticent to post this one because I really didn’t have the time to listen to either of the REALLY LONG audio aids to this post and I’m also, mostly by choice, not very knowledgable about the musical genres referenced in the post. Still I kinda decided I couldn’t just toss it out because it’s kinda time to kill the atemporal. I mean I know that’s a silly thing to say because most of culture hasn’t really figured out that atemporality is even a thing yet but more and more often when I see something atemporal I kinda just want to punch whoever’s doing it. Best example: Steampunk. Listen guys, I know it’s super duper fun. I enjoyed putting brass fixtures on things as much as the next nerd but when I sat in a huge room full of Steampunk fans that were all arguing for their right to not care about the poor people dying in the boiler room of their imperialist fantasy I kinda figured out that shit was fucked. I understand the appeal of just grabbing whatever you like about history and totally ignoring context. I ESPECIALLY understand that appeal when the present kinda sucks. But what’s weird is that stuff actually gets MORE exciting when you thoroughly place it in its context. I’d love to read some retro-futurist 50’s fiction that just totally fixated on how humanity was only doing these huge utopian public work projects out of a desperate fear of the bomb. For now though I think the project of recovering a sense of “now” is probably a worthwhile project. I think it’ll be an easier project than the Simon Reynoldses of the world would argue because even though music has been sucked into a Borgesian music library of infinite samples and influences it’s still managing to “cite” those influences in a way that feels very much of the moment with startling regularity (sup Kanye) so basically I think it’s time to stop looking for what’s next in music and spend some time trying to discuss what the stakes in the ground are that represent the NOW of music that we want…after all these words I think I just made an argument for the popularity of Lana Del Rey.

Webcomics Roundup
T-Rex has basically discovered the best way to educate the public about opera. If you are at all familiar with me or with T-Rex you may have already guessed that it involves Batman. Anyway, come for the comic but stay for the link below it that sends you to some ACTUAL information on opera.

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