Other Ten Percent 7/30/12

Jul 30 2012

Hey everybody you might have noticed that this e-mail looks EXACTLY THE SAME as all the other ones. That’s because for some reason dreamhost just magically started working again and I wrote this up BEFORE I poked around on a new plan for OTP and so, for now at least, everything is back to normal. How long will that be the case? Maybe forever. Maybe it will change entirely tomorrow. I really have no information for you from my vantage point here on Saturday afternoon listening to a neighbor’s stereo blasting (hand to God) Blue by Eiffel 65. I do have quite a few links for you though so perhaps you will have some interest in those.

The Inside Story of the Making of Warcraft, Part 1
I feel bad that every gaming post I do is “maybe you will find something interesting here?” But all of my gaming posts are things that are not even interesting to most gamers and so the cycle continues. Here we have a really long first look at the programming of one of the first and most important real time strategy games in history. Seriously though, this is a look at the programing with a LOT of focus on the nitty gritty of actually coding up a game.

9 of the Coolest Secret Subway Stations in the World
Another post that multiple people sent me because they just knew it was right up my alley. And it IS right up my alley. So much so that I already knew about 7 of these. I did not however see pictures this good of the vast majority of them and so it makes the list regardless. Plus the Rochester one is super interesting.

Second Story uses Kinect for augmented shopping, tells us how much that doggie is in the window (video)
So blah blah blah Augmented Reality but also THIS is how the minority report advertising future is going to start happening. All of the companies that try and hide the trick and have a computer secretly read your age and gender and display an ad targeted to your demographic are both too on the nose and too secretive about the whole thing. Of course it’s going to creep people out when you’re not showing them how the trick was done. This however does effectively the same thing but makes it “neat” that it’s constantly scanning your face to show you things and so I feel like everybody’s going to love it. Hooray for human’s anthropomorphize things.

Critical history of the war on sympathetic magic
I was basically going to post that title no matter what was going on in the text and to be honest I’m not totally bowled over by the essay itself but some of the historical incidents it describes are pretty damn interesting. The general idea that magic is unfairly persecuted by science is…kinda dumb really. The idea that sometimes people practice what is effectively magic, and it works and that PISSES SCIENCE OFF however…that idea is pretty amazing.

Kickstarter and the Artist-to-Audience Ratio
Another essay with a really brilliant idea it doesn’t develop properly. A:A the artist to audience ratio is one of the purest expression of a lot of what makes making art so weird right now but after introducing the idea the whole essay sort of dissolves into a bog-standard discussion on building a core audience. That advice isn’t wrong of course and it’s amazing how many people miss it but I’m much more interested in the fact that A:A is suddenly a much more variable measure than it was even 20 years ago. When I was born each medium had a fairly standardized A:A ratio that would allow for profitability. For some arts it was higher and for some it was lower but it tended to be fairly even for everybody doing the same medium of art and that’s…suddenly not even close to true. Depending on your relationship with your audience and with your medium (or really, media since basically everybody is a mixed-media artist at this point) you could be making albums just like the guy next to you and be surviving on a TOTALLY DIFFERENT A:A ratio than they do. That is really weird and worth exploring beyond the (again, totally correct) idea that you need a core audience to find your ideal A:A.

Beauty Is Embarrassing, A Wonderful Documentary About Pee-wee’s Playhouse Artist Wayne White
Considering that they basically all looked exactly alike I’m not really sure how I missed that the Pee Wee’s Playhouse artist was the same guy who did the Peter Gabriel and Smashing Pumpkins videos that had weird stop-motion elements to them. If that didn’t make the guy cool enough he also kinda looks like Ron Swanson.

Rebellion Through Architecture: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed
You know, if we weren’t going to do anything with space we could have had the decency to let the Russians win the space race. They had a WAAAAY better idea of what to make it look like when they got there at the very least. But no, we had to take our ball and go home and leave China to create cool space hotels.

The invention of lunch
So apparently “the greatest thing since sliced bread” is not as impressive as I thought since it’s barely a century of being really great. Just one of the many interesting facts in this article…probably the least interesting one really.

John Waters on the sorry style of today’s rebels
So you might have noticed that my menswear tumblr is kinda sorta TOTALLY ABANDONED. There were a couple reasons for this. I needed to lose some weight to fit in most of my clothes again is probably the most embarrassing. Next on the list is that my challenge turned out to be super duper easy and my advice was going to be like “Jesus Christ just buy 10 really good pieces of clothing and basically nobody ever notices even if that’s ALL you wear.” Finally I got way more interesting in the idea presented here which I’m just going to go ahead and quote–
“When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you’re a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I was 20. Shuttin’ down MasterCard. But there’s no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! I’m mad about that. If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the government, it seems to me he should at least have an outfit for that.”
Ideally I would not like to wear suits as a deliberate fashion choice since it seems like a kind of boringly self-conscious retro thing but otherwise menswear seems to have gotten stuck in a rut of pretending like not giving a fuck about your appearance isn’t ALSO a deliberate fashion choice and thus I choose giving a fuck over not giving a fuck. But MAN if somebody ever comes out with an aesthetic for the counter-culture better than Guy Fawkes masks and rage comics I am jumping on that band wagon SO FAST.

Webcomics Roundup
Canada (and Kate Beaton) would like to remind you of The War of 1812.

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