Shared posts

29 Jan 17:49

Amoeba Records launches downloadable music store for digitized rarities

by Cory Doctorow

Amoeba Records -- the amazing California music superstore -- has relaunched, with a huge selection of downloadable music rarities, digitized from old vinyl. In some cases, the store has tracked down rightsholders for these out-of-print rarities, and cleared the music for sale for the first time; in others, it's escrowing the sales funds for payment to rightsholders when and if they present themselves.

"We've been digitizing a lot," says Jim Henderson, who owns Amoeba along with partners Marc Weinstein, Karen Pearson and Dave Prinz. "What you see now is the lost-between-the-cracks, underappreciated, undervalued (music) from dead labels, (obscure) artists, stuff that we really stand behind. It's mostly in the rock genre, with a lot of jazz, a lot of blues, some country, some spoken word. There are some oddities for sure."

Many of the LPs have been getting remastering upgrades from the original vinyl and shellac sources. Currently, there are only about 1,000 titles for sale, but Amoeba is adding 10 or 15 more every day.

Some Vinyl Vaults artists are readily familiar, and in some cases Amoeba's source material emanates from its owners' own collections. Some of Prinz's rare Louis Armstrong 78s were digitized and are being sold as downloads, while Weinstein's prized collection of 144 Sun Ra albums has also been ripped.

Some Vinyl Vaults artists have proven so elusive that even diligent detective work could not track them down. Henderson points to an unknown '70s country artist known only as C.J., whose album "My Lady's Eyes" is for sale on the site.

"We couldn't find C.J.; we couldn't find a label that put the record out," Henderson says. "But it's a compelling piece, (so) we said, 'This should be up.' "

Weinstein adds that if a sale is made, the money goes into an escrow account. "If (someone says), 'That's mine,' well, OK, we can either take it down or we'll sell it, and you've got this nice (digital) master. We'll sell it, we'll promote it; let's sign a contract."

Music retail giant puts tunes online [Variety/Christopher Morris]

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

28 Jan 21:52

Rubber Sheet

It IS about physics. It ALL is.
25 Jan 02:29


25 Jan 02:29

by daniel

25 Jan 02:29

Unloading supplies onto the International Space Station

by Maggie Koerth-Baker

As Matt Lynley put it, "Meanwhile, in space ..."

22 Jan 20:16

Random image from 03925cea04c1494e16496485430b447f.gif

22 Jan 20:07

The First 3D-Printing Museum Lets Visitors Snag a Hard Copy of Themselves in the Gift Shop

by Brian Merchant ()

3D printing is now officially an important enough cultural institution in China that it's got its own museum. The DRC Industrial Design and Creative Industry Base (sort of Beijing's answer to a hackerspace, I guess) opened up last week, and it's looking to give Japan's 3D-printing photo booth a run for its money. Visitors can undergo a full-body scan and leave the museum with a tiny action hero figurine of themselves.

The museum is pumped, or at least its PR team is: "Visitors will now be able to experience just what this amazing technology can create. Anyone curious about 3D printing should get themselves along where they can have their entire body scanned. Multi-dimensional data is then stored and processed which after several hours ends up as a physical mini life like sculpture for the mantelpiece." It's being touted as the world's first 3D-printing museum, but it's hard to say how much the DRC differs from a number of DIY maker spaces.

The photo booth hard copies will probably prove the biggest draw, but the museum, which sounds like it mostly constitutes a number of 3D printers made available to the public, will have other exhibits on hand as well.

China's People's Daily reports that "Apart from human figurines, the museum can also print out other items, including cans,rings, vases, shoes, dolls and iPhone holders."

There's a hint of irony here, considering that the cheap plastic goods 3D printers are already so adept at churning out currently comprise a major segment of the nation's manufacturing base. If 3D printing scales up and costs come down, a significant chunk of China's economic base could be jeopardized. It's like the People's Daily itself points out at the end of its swooning report on the new museum:

"It is widely believed that 3D printing technology will ring in the third Industrial Revolution."

Perhaps China recognizes the possible sea change, and aims to be on the ground floor when the third wave hits. The central government, after all, just announced last month that it is investing heavily in 3D printing tech. Su Bo, the Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, announced that China will be investing in "locally-invented 3D-printing technology." And Sina News reports that China is going to "invest huge in 3D printing." China might just aim to dominate manufacturing a bit longer yet--and the museum may serve to introduce its tech-savvy citizenry to new possibilities in the sector. Then the good people of Communist China might, at long last, actually control the means of production.

20 Jan 18:36

TV: Newswire: R.I.P. Robert F. Chew, The Wire's Proposition Joe

by Sean O'Neal

The Wire’s Michael K. Williams broke the news that co-star Robert F. Chew (“Proposition Joe”) has died, quietly passing along a short statement on his death via a photo on his Instagram account (picked up by UPROXX), captioned, “R.I.P. to the talented Mr. Robert Chew #propjoe.” Williams’ sentiments were quickly echoed by other members of the cast, in tweets from Wendell Pierce, Jamie Hector, and Jermaine Crawford. These were followed by this obituary in the Baltimore Sun that confirms Chew died of heart failure at the age of 52, and includes some typically lengthy thoughts from David Simon.

Like many in the Wire company, Chew was a born-and-bred Baltimore resident, a local who, from 1992 until just last year, spent much of his time working as an acting coach at various theater programs for inner-city kids while also turning up in bit parts on other Simon-spawned projects ...

Read more
20 Jan 18:36

FCC Chair Wants Gigabit Internet Access In All 50 States By 2015

by Chris Morran

This is not a photo of me (I WISH I still had hair like that), but is actually FCC Chair Julius Genachowski.

This is not a photo of me (I WISH I still had hair like that), but is actually FCC Chair Julius Genachowski.

With some critics claiming the U.S. is falling behind other developed nations in access to high-speed Internet, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has announced the “Gigabit City Challenge,” hoping to get at least one city in each state to offer gigabit Internet access by 2015.

“American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If we build it, innovation will come,” said Genachowski today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting. “The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness.”

Thanks to Google Fiber, folks in the Kansas City area have access to gigabit Internet, which offers about 100 times the speed of standard high-speed fixed broadband and should allow for streaming of multiple HD videos along with other uses that currently hog bandwidth. According to the Fiber to the Home Council, there are a total of 42 communities in 14 states that have ultra-high-speed fiber access.

The FCC also sees gigabit Internet access as a way to spur innovation and allow new businesses to grown and flourish.

Of course, these higher-speed networks work better if the people on the other end of the line also have gigabit access. So to encourage communities to take part in the Challenge, the FCC plans to create a new online clearinghouse of best practices to collect and disseminate information about how to lower the costs and increase the speed of broadband deployment nationwide. The agency will also be holding workshops that bring together broadband providers with state and local officials to discuss how to create gigabit communities.

“To meet Genachowski’s aggressive goal, we’ll need to see a lot more providers than Google step up their game in the next few years,” writes TheVerge’s Nathan Ingraham. “Of course, this will take a lot of cooperation between broadband providers and local government, but hopefully the FCC can help push this plan along.”

18 Jan 18:38

Golden Globes 2013. Thanks whoever made this!  Also though not...

Golden Globes 2013.

Thanks whoever made this! 

Also though not capture here, thanks to Daniel Day Lewis for laughing when I said I loved his work in Expendables 2. 

18 Jan 18:35

Useful words with no English equivalent

by Cory Doctorow

Surprisingly, they're not all long, Germanic compound words (generally a font of useful no-equivalent words):

8. Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember.

9. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

10. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.

Tartle is something I often experience, because I'm really, embarrassingly terrible with names.

14 wonderful words with no English equivalent

14 Jan 22:11

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril

by Christopher Jobson

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

The Struggle to Right Oneself: Kerry Skarbakka Photographs Himself in Suspended Peril stunts portraits flying

In his photographic self-portrait series Struggle to Right Oneself, artist Kerry Skarbakka captures himself in moments of suspended peril: falling from trees, tumbling head over heels in painfully precarious falls, slipping nude in the shower, or teetering on the edge of a fateful leap from a railway bridge. In his artist statement Skarbakka references philosopher Martin Heidegger’s description of human existence as a process of perpetual falling, and the responsibility of each person to catch ourselves from our own uncertainty. He continues:

This photographic work is in response to this delicate state. It comprises a culmination of thought and emotion, a tying together of the threads of everything I perceive life has come to represent. It is my understanding and my perspective, which relies on the shifting human conditions of the world that we inhabit. It’s exploration resides in the sublime metaphorical space from where balance has been disrupted to the definitive point of no return. It asks the question of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. Or what are the consequences of holding on?

Skarbakka says that he utilizes special climbing gear and other rigging to achieve each shot, but the final images are truly convincing if somewhat ambiguous. This too is on purpose, as the images are meant to leave the viewer questioning. Do they suggest we can fly? Do we fall? What happens when we land? See many more shots from the series over on his website. All images courtesy the artist. (via not shaking in the grass)

14 Jan 22:11

A Millon

what do you call a donkey with a millon eyes and a millon legs.

a monster   

14 Jan 22:09

Netflix inks Turner and Warner Bros. deal, bringing TV shows from Cartoon Network and Dallas exclusive

by Paul Sawers
Film 520x245 Netflix inks Turner and Warner Bros. deal, bringing TV shows from Cartoon Network and Dallas exclusive

Just one month after Netflix nabbed exclusive access to Disney’s first-run films in a multi-year deal, the video-on-demand (VoD) service announced a deal with Warner Bros. Television Group last week that will make it the exclusive online home for 2012-13 seasons of a slew of dramas.

And now it seems Netflix is beefing up its TV content even more with the news that Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. Television Group have inked a multi-year agreement with Netflix, covering complete previous seasons from the Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation, Adult Swim and the TNT drama Dallas, from Warner Horizon Television.

As with the Warner deal announced last week, this will apply to Netflix members in the US only, and from March 30 this year, they’ll have access to complete past seasons of the likes of Adventure Time, Ben 10, Regular Show and Johnny Bravo, while Warner Bros. Animation’s Green Lantern will become available in the Just for Kids section.

Launching at the same time will be Adult Swim shows such as Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sony Pictures Television’s The Boondocks and Childrens Hospital from WBTVG’s Studio 2.0.

Back in December, Amazon inked an exclusive licensing deal with Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for two of TNT’s series. And with the myriad of VoD services that are coming to the fore, it’s all about content acquisition now, as the competitors look to stand out from the crowd.

Of course, exclusives are pivotal to this. And from January 2014, Netflix will be getting sole-access to season one and two of the Warner Horizon Television-produced TNT series Dallas.

“The industry has evolved so that TV Everywhere and subscription video on-demand services can coexist with the appropriate windowing strategy, while allowing for more content flexibility to meet consumer demand in the changing digital landscape,” says Deborah K. Bradley, senior vice president of program acquisitions for Turner Broadcasting. “We’re happy to offer our popular programming to Netflix members, as SVOD services have become another way to grow audiences and can introduce new viewers to our programming.”

Turner Broadcasting System is a Time Warner company, creating branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult content, as well as sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

09 Jan 21:45

The Making of The Blues Brothers

by Jason Kottke

Ned Zeman tells the story of how The Blues Brothers came to be made for Vanity Fair.

Aykroyd spends his free time speeding through outskirts and befriending coroners. Belushi, being Chicago's favorite son, does anything he wants. Everything about him -- his lunch-bucket charm, his utter lack of pretense -- makes Belushi a figure of such resounding local popularity that Aykroyd calls him "the unofficial mayor of Chicago."

A trip to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, boggles Landis. "Like being with Mussolini in Rome," he remembers. Belushi, having entered one of the stadium's crowded bathrooms, smiles and shouts, "O.K., stand back!" Everyone retreats from the urinals. Belushi does his business. Then, zipping his fly and beaming, he says, "O.K., back you go!"

"John would literally hail police cars like taxis," Mitch Glazer says. "The cops would say, 'Hey, Belushi!' Then we'd fall into the backseat and the cops would drive us home."

But the drug habit that would claim his life two years later also made Belushi a weight on the production.

One night at three, while filming on a deserted lot in Harvey, Illinois, Belushi disappears. He does this sometimes. On a hunch, Aykroyd follows a grassy path until he spies a house with a light on.

"Uh, we're shooting a film over here," Aykroyd tells the homeowner. "We're looking for one of our actors."

"Oh, you mean Belushi?" the man replies. "He came in here an hour ago and raided my fridge. He's asleep on my couch."

Only Belushi could pull this off. "America's Guest," Aykroyd calls him.

"John," Aykroyd says, awakening Belushi, "we have to go back to work."

Belushi nods and rises. They walk back to the set as if nothing happened.

Tags: Dan Aykroyd   drugs   John Belushi   movies   The Blues Brothers
09 Jan 05:40

Eric Idle sings for Wonders of Life - Brian Cox's NEW SERIES

by (Paul Williams)
Wonders of Life by Brian Cox - COMING SOON to BBC2

7 billion years ago, the fundamental laws that previously built stars, supernovae and planets contrived to create this complex, diverse and unique force. This is the story of the amazing diversity and adaptability of life, told through the fundamental laws that govern it, and revealing the milestones in an epic journey from the origins of life to our own existence... 

For those who need a little more convincing watch the trailer (below), quite possibly the best series  trailer that I've ever seen from BBC science, featuring a new version of the Galaxy song, exclusively rewritten, reworked and rerecorded by Eric Idle.

@ProfBrianCox "Just recorded a bit of music for #bbc wonders of life with an up and coming musician :)"

Humanity is extremely significant

“There was one knob from The Daily Telegraph who wrote the most catastrophically stupid piece claiming that I thought humanity was insignificant. I posted a polite response underneath the article, explaining that the basis of Wonders is that humanity is extremely significant. The paper loved it, and they thanked me for driving so much traffic to the site.” - Prof Brian Cox

08 Jan 23:00

Overade Folding Helmet

Overade Folding Helmet When you're having to bring your mode of transportation with you into the office, size reduction matters — and while we've covered folding bikes before, they're only part of the...

Visit Uncrate for the full post.
08 Jan 22:33

Centipede Cinema

by Caroline Kurze

The only way to watch a film at this unconventional cinema in Guimarães, Portugal, is by manoeuvring your upper body into one of 16 downward-pointing nozzles. The ‘Centipede Cinema’ was finished by Bartlett School of Architecture professor Colin Fournier, who teamed up with Polish artist Marysia Lewandowska and London studio NEON. While the upper body of the viewer is part of the cinematic experience, their legs are rooted in the outside world. Inside, viewers will be treated to an hour-long film made up of twenty three-minute trailers selected by local workers.

All images © NEON | Via: Dezeen

08 Jan 22:22

Australian heatwave goes into the pink

by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Yesterday, Australia experienced its hottest nationwide average temperature ever — 40.33 degrees C (104.6 degrees F). Today, the country's national weather bureau added a new color to official weather forecast maps, reflecting a need to predict temperatures higher than 52 C (125.6 F). Insert your Spinal Tap jokes and terrified flailing here.

03 Jan 23:30

The Animated GIF: Still Looping After All These Years

by Clive Thompson
A look back at the history of the animated GIF -- and some of the best and most hilarious examples the internet has to offer.
03 Jan 23:26

How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?

by Chris
02 Jan 23:09

Random image from 2a7debda49c5c80c9db4c76ebd2a2ead.jpg

02 Jan 17:50

1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane’s xBlog

by tundal45
26 Dec 20:30

The Worst Christmas Song

by Andrew Sullivan

Patton Oswalt has one nomination:

Jonathan Coulton chooses a more conventional tune:

"Jingle Bell Rock," for me, exemplifies succumbing to your worst impulses as a songwriter. It’s one of those Christmas songs that mostly feels like it’s trying to cash in on a couple of things, one of them being the popularity of the Christmas song "Jingle Bells," which no one will deny, and the newfound popularity, at the time, of rock music. You can almost hear the discussion. They’re like, "You know what we should do? We should combine two things that America loves: ‘Jingle Bells’ and rock music." Then it’s "ka-ching" from there. 

What you end up with is a song that, first of all, most modern listeners would hear this song, and say, "Well, where is the rock, exactly?" Mostly it sounds like jingle bell jazz. I recognize rock was young, but it’s sort of the equivalent of if I decided today that I was going to do a song called "Jingle Bell Rap." [Laughs.] It would be about as good. "Jingle bell rap. Shop at the Gap." That’s half the song right there.

19 Dec 00:02

Spider That Builds Its Own Spider Decoys Discovered

by Nadia Drake
Spider That Builds Its Own Spider Decoys Discovered A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon. Believed to be a new species in the genus Cyclosa, the arachnid crafts the larger spider from leaves, debris, and ...
12 Dec 22:22


12 Dec 22:01

76 things banned in the Bible, most of which are punishable by death

by Xeni Jardin

Milan - detail from facade of Duomo - Expulsion from Paradise. Image: Shutterstock.

An oldie but goodie single-purpose Tumblr listing things banned in Leviticus, the banny-est of all scriptures. The sex stuff you can imagine (no bonking animals, dudes if you are a dude, divorcées, your grandmother, or your own children), but here are some particularly weird non-sex items in the list:

• Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (good news for cats) (11:27)
• Picking up grapes that have fallen in your vineyard (19:10)
• Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)
• Cross-breeding animals (19:19)
• Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)
• Trimming your beard (19:27)
• Getting tattoos (19:28)
• Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)
• Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born” (19:33-34)
• Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)
• Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)
• Selling land permanently (25:23)
(HT: James Ball)

12 Dec 22:00

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes

by Christopher Jobson

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

Remarkable Macro Photographs of Ice Structures and Snowflakes snow macro ice

We’re all familiar with the most common shapes of ice: snow flakes, icicles, snowmen, cookie dough ice cream. But break out the macro lens and suddenly we’re in unfamiliar territory as ice branches out, curls in on itself, and grows in shapes that look more like the delicate leaves of ferns than solid cold water. Russian photographer Andrew Osokin has done a phenomenal job of capturing such bizarre ice formations, you can explore hundreds more photos over in his LensArt profile. (via the curious brain)

10 Dec 16:52

Weekend Diversion: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks [Starts With A Bang]

by Ethan

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” -Mark Twain

While it’s hard to imagine for me now that I have one, there are plenty of people out there who have never known the rewards and joys that come with rescuing an animal. This week, I present to you a song by six future Soundgarden-and-Pearl Jam members back when they were part of the band Temple of the Dog,

Call Me a Dog.

And while there are many internet jokes out there about dogs driving cars…

Image credit: Kathy of

…this is about to become a reality.

Because while the dogs above are not really driving their cars, the dog below, named Ginny, is.

Image credit: Photo / supplied / SPCA from The New Zealand Herald.

This is no joke: dogs are being trained to drive cars for real. New Zealand’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has spent seven weeks working with and training different three of their rescue dogs to teach them to drive. The hope is that by demonstrating the remarkable intelligence and capabilities of rescue dogs, they’ll do a better job securing good homes for rescue dogs, particularly the older ones that are wanted less frequently.

Image credit: Photo / supplied / SPCA from The New Zealand Herald.

The three dogs chosen for this task were Monty, an 18-month-old schnauzer who was given up by his owner who deemed him “uncontrollable,” Ginny (in the photos above and below), a one-year-old whippet mix who was rescued from abusive owners, and Porter, a ten-month-old bearded collie mix, who was found in the streets after being abandoned.

The remarkable thing is that, with just a little bit of training and positive reinforcement, all of these dogs were able to learn an increasingly complex chain of commands, culminating in being able to control a motor vehicle.

Image credit: Photo / supplied / SPCA from The New Zealand Herald.

A television program that highlights these dogs will air on New Zealand television this coming week. The CEO of SPCA Auckland, Christine Kalin, had the following to say:

I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal.

Driving a car actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.

The dogs were trained to not only steer, but to start a car, accelerate, brake, and shift gears as needed.

Image credit: Photo / supplied / SPCA from The New Zealand Herald.

You might think I’m either exaggerating or pulling your leg, but I assure you that this is not the case. Yes, there are plenty of genuine write-ups (and pictures) of this story, but perhaps the following two videos will demonstrate to you just how impressive this actually is. (Warning: both videos have an advertisement preceding them.)

Not only were these three dogs trained to drive a car, these were merely the three best out of seven dogs that successfully learned to drive! Their trainer, Vette, had the following to say:

Monty, Porter and Ginny are great dogs each with their own distinct personality. You wouldn’t believe any dog could learn to drive a car on its own and the way all three SPCA rescue dogs have taken to training really does prove that intelligent creatures adapt to the situation they’re in. It really is remarkable.

Yes, yes it is. Watch the full story (so far) here. Have a great rest-of-your-weekend, and if you’re considering getting a pet for your children, a loved one or just for yourself, please strongly consider getting a rescue animal. There’s nothing like it in the world.

08 Dec 03:46

by daniel