Do You Need a Tote Bag? I’d Like to Meet You

I know there is someone out there, somewhere, who needs another tote bag. Raise your hand, I know you’re out there. The universe doesn’t make any sense without you in it, Mr. Unknown Quotient, because they are seriously making a goddamn metric hump-ton of tote bags these days and I have no freakin’ idea who needs another one. Seriously. I like artists and crafty people. I live in Brooklyn. I get all lathered up when I hear someone I’m talking to screen prints things.  That is awesome! Way to create, friend! But if you ask me to buy one of your screenprinted creations on a tote bag I’m going to say no because I’ve got 462 of the things stacked up like extremely ineffective cord wood in my closet and hanging from hooks in my hall where I should have jackets. The furthest I can stretch my concept of multiple […]

Yes, You Can Just Throw Money at the National Debt

While there’s not an app for that (not yet), there’s a convenient website where you can go and give extra money to the government to pay down the national debt. Yes, people use it. And you have options! The Bureau of the Public Debt may accept gifts donated to the United States Government to reduce debt held by the public. Acting for the Secretary of the Treasury, Public Debt may accept a gift of: Money, made only on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public. An outstanding government obligation, made only on the condition that the obligation be retired and the redemption proceeds used to reduce debt held by the public. Other intangible personal property made only on the condition that the property is sold and the proceeds from the sale used to reduce the public debt. And people actually use it! Last year […]

1981 Post-Punk Boxed Set For Free Download

We all know it and we all complain about it: the internet tends to privilege the up-to-the-second cult of newness in it’s music delivery methods. Blogs killed albums, everything’s a badly ripped leak, and kids these days are all listening to MP3s compressed to shit. Grumble grumble grumble, get off my lawn, etc. But it’s not all gone to hell. The same gifts of compression, free storage, and sharing have enabled the quiet obsessives, the crate diggers, the mix makers. Case in point: Musicophilia’s 1981 Boxed Set. 10 discs and over 400 bands from that year, documenting the energy and variety of what is very loosely termed ‘post-punk’. Why 1981? 1981 probably wasn’t the peak year for any sort of “pure” cultural or musical strain of what defined “post-punk” as an ethos or as a sound (I’d give that title to 1979).  But I chose to focus on 1981 in […]

The Road Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of the Leatherman

The Leatherman was a 19th century itinerant who walked a circuit through New York and Connecticut at a precise pace and timing, appearing in the same towns (and at the same porches for supper) on his route every 34 days, year round. Named for his apparently self-made suit of patched leather clothes, the Leatherman was a mysterious figure who rarely spoke and resisted close contact or medical treatment throughout his life of wandering.  The caves where he once bedded down have since become popular for geocaching and a book–The Old Leatherman by Dan DeLuca–written about the various accounts of his travels have made the Leatherman something of a local legend. His grave, though, is a public hazard: The cemetery, owned by the Ossining Historical Society, is within 16 feet of a highway, Route 9. That proximity is already a safety issue, Historical Society President Norm MacDonald said, and potential expansion […]

Hitting That Tablet Sweet Spot: The Atavist

The idea is a such a simple one that it’s no wonder that everyone who has tried it before has made a hash of it: create a ideal format for mid-length storytelling that recalls the better long form magazine journalism while making use of the possibilities of the multimedia age. Much like it took over a decade for people who actually TALK on their cellphones in public to be treated like the social lepers that they are, with the tablet and mid-length writing (more than an article, less than a book) the technology has preceded its appropriate patterns of usage. Enter The Atavist. 15,000 words, give or take. $2 a pop. The writer gets paid a flat fee plus a percentage (likely less than Apple’s 30% cut… ouch!) Stories launch simultaneously for the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, and soon, Android tablets (“We are working very hard on it, we promise…” […]

LIVE! NUDE! RED DWARF!

In another sign of the total destruction of the nerd closet, the word’s out that there’s a new series of Red Dwarf in the pipeline for 2012.  I have nearly fond memories of how my local PBS affiliate would end the night’s programming with an episode or two, long after the totebag-buyers had gone to bed.  I was typically stumbling in from some kind of chemical simulation of putting one’s brain in a rock tumbler (extreme Northeast winter temperatures + the finest high gravity malt liquors + early Rammstein) and trying to piece together what was happening with the cat-man in the smoking jacket and the chubby dreaded British guy from the last five minutes of the show as a good way of bringing my brainwaves back to safe levels of bafflement. While I always assumed it was a laugh track, apparently these were shot before a live studio audience. […]

Our Oceans, Ourselves

While I’m sure Africa is a little tired of being everyone else’s metaphor for the Grim Meathook Future, it’s a big place so there’s plenty of little vignettes like this to go around.  Just multiply by a few million or so, transpose to the oceans, and you’ve got your future where your grandchildren ask you what a tuna looked like and all you can think of is a little flat can. For all my brethren bailing water on the Titanic, here’s some lists of scaly beasts that it’s more OK to make into sushi: Seafood Watch. video via Pie Heaven and the BBC

The Palestine Papers

I know, it’s not exactly a slow news day.  Jack LeLanne died after all.  You’d think, though, that they could fit in word of the leak of 1,600 documents relating to Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations somewhere in between the State of the Union address (Haven’t read the transcript yet but I imagine that he used to words ‘America’ ‘prosper’ and ‘create jobs’ a few times somewhere in there. Just guessing.) and Egypt starting to rip at the seams (Though many news minutes might be needed to explain to viewers that despite having pyramids and mummies, Egypt is realer than both Narnia and Middle Earth). Take a look.  Al Jazeera’s West Bank office has already been smashed up a bit by protesters angry at the black eye this is giving the P.A.  Of course, some of those protesters just might have been policemen working overtime. While I’ve only taken the quickest of […]

9 Eyes: Google As Pathos Reservoir

I usually try to avoid straight up reblogging off of Dangerous Minds, seeing as how our tastes align so much that I’d be doing it daily.  But today they sent me off towards 9eyes, a tumblog that collects Google Streetview shots, in all their weirdness, pain and moments of sublime pathos. Beyond how common it is to spy hooligans flipping the bird, streetwalkers streetwalking and people of all ages hitting the pavement, there’s something great about the selections that suggest a grander story.  Stolen moments that would otherwise dissolve into the ether, now immortalized, hinting at a greater depth.  Someone should do an illustrated edition of short stories with one Streetview shot per. Give yourself 10 minutes and browse through it all over at 9eyes.

Kinect Cracked, Hands Wave and Craft Infinite Architecture

ofxKinect 3D draw 001 from Memo Akten on Vimeo. A man stands in a room waving his hands, artfully guiding the movements of gigantic machines on Mars.  Three days ago, they switched on, churning up the red iron-rich soil atop a carefully chosen seam of permafrost. On a six minute lag, the machines translate his motions into building unreal works of architecture, built for no one and only viewed from remote camera, on the ground and orbiting hundreds of miles overhead. In a week, when the story breaks and the world has seen the walls and plazas and walkways rising from the alien desert, he’s built a sprawling city that is equal parts Las Vegas and ancient Babylon. Again, I ask you to consider the Sci-Fi Now possibilities of linking embryonic technologies to express both the creativity and the darkness in the human soul.  With a bounty, they’ve cracked the […]