Other Ten Percent 3/27/12

Mar 27 2012

I feel like today I’ve kind of got too many things to talk about to really be able to do a coherent intro. Mostly I just want to talk about Hunger Games which I went to see Sunday night and which I think was a good but not great movie for reasons that I would explain but apparently my tendency to explain another interpretation of a film that I would prefer kinda makes me the worst guy. Anyway I also have some other links on the internet that we can talk about instead so we’re probably fine.

Mad Men and Black America
Guys, guys guys guys. Guys. Mad Men is back and its also awesome and also it seems like they’re going to talk about race this season by doing a lot more than just having Betty be racist all the time which is probably good because that message probably lost a little bit of it’s umph when everybody realized that Betty is uniformly terrible and just the worst like 100% of the time. Anyway here’s probably the smartest article on Mad Men for this week.

George Clooney’s satellite spies reveal secrets of Sudan’s bloody army
Welcome to the future where movie stars use satellites to spy on african wars as a form of humanitarian aid. We now live in a world where George Clooney is personally as active a force in preventing genocide as the United Nations. So…that’s fucking weird.

‘Cyber-illusionist’ Marco Tempest reveals his tricks
Pretty sure I’ve thrown this guy into OTP before but it’s actually super interesting how willing he is to let people in on his techniques. Partially because I just want to know his tech set up so I can steal it to do other, similar, interesting stuff and partially because apparently when open source comes into conflict with the generations old code of secrecy among magicians the winner is open source. The best secrets are now open secrets even when you’re a magician.

Levitating meringue and insect pasta: Bompas & Parr’s mind-blowing “Culinary Odyssey”
If I could pick a weird kind of writing to be the master of this year, which, I guess I can, it would be science fictional food writing. Maybe I’m just finding this stuff a lot because of San Francisco but I am seeing a LOT of like “theme meals” based around abstract concepts you should not be able to represent in food. It’s like the culinary arts are finally having their abstract crisis period which is especially weird because it kinda seems like food modernism has already happened. Maybe this is food post-modernism? Or maybe trying to map cultural movements from other media directly on to food is stupid. COULD BE.

We’ve got an exclusive Tenacious D mini-movie for you, right here
The D is back and high-school age me is SO EXCITED. I mean regular age me is pretty excited too I guess but it doesn’t even come close to how psyched I am at age 17. I’m hoping this actually lives up to their first album which was one of the two best comedy albums of the last decade. If this mini-movie is any indication there’s a decent chance it will at least be a return to form comedically and frankly that’s 90% of what’s going on with Tenacious D since I can’t tell a sweet lick from a …metaphor for a guitar solo that sucks.

How to cite a tweet in an academic paper [Via Ben Bashford]
Anybody else think all the “controversy” around citing tweets in academic papers misses the scale of how utterly fucked that whole model is? If you think about it academic communication is based on the idea that there were economies of scale in informing other people of things. If you were going to go through the trouble of giving information to somebody you’d better send a whole ton of it so they get everything they might possibly need since transmitting 1000 pages of that information to them cost only marginally more than sending one page. Not so much with that formula these days. Why write a thesis when a tweet will do. And I’ve seen more than one thesis in my time where a tweet would have been more than enough.

New York City’s 27th Annual April Fools’ Day Parade
Here’s an idea for an academic paper that might take more than a tweet though: what exactly is the relationship between Occupy Wall Street and popular culture? Because it seems so weirdly organic that it at least feels fairly unique to me. OWS latches it’s way onto all kinds of other movements seemingly just because it can and in return it gets parodied constantly by less serious events. I can’t name the number of parties I’ve seen that have involved ironically occupying something in the last six months. It’s almost like the whole thing is designed from the ground up to be a meme rather than an actual protest. An idea that occasionally has some tents. The good news is that means you can’t shut it down the bad news is that you effectively have no control over it until you instantiate it into the world some way since people can just do…well..this thing.

Rome, Digitized
Man throw all of these into an iPhone app, overlay it onto accurate location data and make it the official guidebook to rome please. Here we have the former site of the slave pins for the colosseum, which now houses a tacky pizza place that also sells souvenirs. If you’ll please move your timeline sliders ahead you’ll find that’s still worse than what it was like after the city was sacked.

Wait, no, I take it back. Screw augmented reality AR tourism I just want to travel to alternate universes for the sake of architecture now. Who wants to go visit all the great buildings that will never exist from history? I know there’s an iPhone app for that in New York but screw that, I mean who wants to ACTUALLY GO?

Huh, turns out I actually am going to be talking abou the hunger games after all. Only not really the part of the film I was expecting to talk about. I’m not sure I totally agree with this article’s premise since the “gaps” in Panem’s tech seems more like a side effect of grafting like 5 different distopias on to each other but it’s an interesting argument to make at the very least.

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