VisitBritain.org Knows How to Make You Foreigners Comfortable

Britain’s tourism agency, VisitBritain, has come through with a list of handy stereo… I mean, tips, on how to handle the strange  foreign visitors that may stumble onto the shores of Airstrip One.  Choice cuts: Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots. To a South African the word robot means traffic lights. ‘’Takkies’’ means trainers, a barbecue is a ‘braai’, and ‘’howzit’’ is an informal way of saying hello. When in a social situation with a South African do not place your thumb between your forefinger and your second finger – it is an obscene gesture. … Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone from India. … Avoid saying ‘’thank you’’ to a Chinese compliment. Instead, politely deny a compliment to show humility. If you compliment a Chinese person, expect a denial in reply. The Chinese are famous for communicating by “Saying […]

Versus Ugly Infrastructure and Useless Monuments

Every reputable blog has been posting these amazing mockups for Choi and Shine Architects’ The Land of Giants project.   Such images instantly evoke that gut feeling of ‘why the hell haven’t we been doing this all along?’ The chronicle of the infrastructure achievements of the 20th century will surely include the phrase ‘done on the cheap’.  Whereas once public works were a canvas for artisans and a symbol of the munificence of the rulers who ordered their construction, rarely has something functional been built in the modern age that has been a delight to behold.  Functionality with minimal adornment has been the  norm, replacing craftsmen with workers and leaving the most grand and inspiring of plans on the drawing board or, at best, the pages of architecture journals. Bursts of public beauty can be found in the trend across cultures to invest in monuments, often in remembrance of people or […]

AppAfrica: The Future Exists for Africa, Too

Nothing here in this post but a fanboy’s love for Mr. Jonathan Gosier‘s always interesting blog AppAfrica.  May I nudge you all to go and pick up one of the above t-shirts?  (Naturally, it’s on Zazzle so you can get it customized.) Appfrica facilitates, mentors and incubates entrepreneurs in software in East Africa. Entrepreneur projects are refined and prepped to help them secure funding and launch sustainable, profitable businesses. This project is loosely modeled after Paul Graham’s Y Combinator, providing small amounts of seed capital to startups. Appfrica Labs has also started an International Fellows Program which brings developers from all over the world to work alongside local Entrepreneurs as peers and mentors. That program can be learned about here. Combine that with Afrigadget and AfroCyberPunk and you’re .071% of the way to countering the mass media impression of Africa as a hopeless eternal backwater.  More on that thought coming […]

Opium for the Masses: DIY Dope for the Whole Foods Crowd?

“Yeah… I used to homebrew but then I got into moonshining.  But that’s such a scene and y’know, everyone’s doing it.  Now I raise organic poppies and make my own heroin suppositories.” Just wanted to jump on this before three dudes in Brooklyn do it and it all ends up in the New York Times Styles section.  Via Dose Nation and EarthRites I heard of a gentleman by the name of Jim Hogshire who wrote the book on making ones own opiates from the completely legal, wild-growing, Opium Poppy.  This book would be Opium For the Masses: Opium for the Masses was such a national phenomenon when first released in the early ‘90s that Michael Pollan wrote a cover story for Harper’s magazine about the book, in which he he expressed his amazement that a common plant, P. somniferum, or the opium poppy, grows wild in most states, and could […]

Get Your Secret Space Colony Fix in SciFi Video Form

With NASA’s budget constantly getting the axe wouldn’t it be fun if somone else had an established space colony? Well, what if they were Fascist or Communist? That’s the premise of this potential movie, this movie, and this potential series. This movie Iron Sky in the works from the people behind Star Wreck is a fan funded effort to make a comedy– about Nazis on the moon. These people have experience making movies with fan contributions alone from their Star Wreck series, but this is fairly ambitious. Iron Sky Trailer 1 Iron Sky Trailer 2 Also on the lighter side of Fascists-in-space comes this comedy from Italy based on a 2002 sketch comedy series. It’s about a band of Mussolini flavored Fascists roughing it on Mars with no food, no water, and no oxygen. Fascisti Su Marte (Part 1, English Subtitles) Most recently is the pilot episode for a series […]

Song of a Weakling Child: The Dispute Between Aphex Twin and Stockhausen is over

This clever video fuses two masters of electronic music together: Aphex Twin‘s “To Cure a Weakling Child” and Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s “Song of the Youth”. In 1995 BBC Radio 3 recordings from several electronic artists including Aphex Twin, Plasticman, Scanner and Daniel Pemberton for a story called “Advice to Clever Children“. What Stockhausen had to say about Aphex Twin: I heard the piece Aphex Twin of Richard James carefully: I think it would be very helpful if he listens to my work Song Of The Youth, which is electronic music, and a young boy’s voice singing with himself. Because he would then immediately stop with all these post-African repetitions, and he would lookfor changing tempi and changing rhythms, and he would not allow to repeatany rhythm if it were varied to some extent and if it did not have a direction in its sequence of variations. And Mr. Richard D James’ […]

Nomad/Filmmaker Bill Brown

Bill Brown is the sort of guy we all wanted to be in film school.  Traveling incessantly, chronicling the ride with a trusty Bolex and a rolling narration that chronicles the corners, the details, the little things and carefully arranges them into constellations to invoke The Big Cosmic Everything.  He makes zines, fills his website with vignettes from Detroit, Lubbuck, Texas and California City, California.  Rust, decay, space, dust, emotion, travel. May I recommend his compilation DVD The Next Best Place?  A better 25 dollars you are not likely to spend with an education on Spring-Heeled Jack, nuclear missiles, the Roswell crash and the little joys of being in motion in North America.

Uncovered: The Plot Against Lucky the Leprechaun

Do you remember, friend, that magical time back when the internet was entirely porn, plagiarized term papers, and totally useless bullshit?  Oh how I miss it.  (I would seriously subscribe to a 1996 version of the internet if someone would roll that out.  It’d be what, 500 megs total?) Topher’s Breakfast Cereal Character Guide is keeping that flame alive, serving as a vital repository for such ephemera as the tale of how General Mills once tried to put the hit out on Lucky the Leprechaun, esteemed pitchman for that barely-a-cereal Lucky Charms: General Mills attempted to replace L. C. Leprechaun in the mid-1970’s. Waldo the Wizard, a man in a green wizard’s cap and gown (and black sneakers on his feet), appeared on boxes in 1975. “Ibbledebibble delicicious”. Waldo was created by Alan Snedeker, and designed by Phil Mendez. It was a test to find a replacement for the leprechaun. […]

The Forbidden Secrets of Mark Twain

Mark Twain had his nut together, as the feller says.  In perhaps the classiest move in the realm of tell-all books, Twain added a stipulation to his reputedly vitriolic autobiography for a hundred year delay in publication, saving all but perhaps the youngest of targets of his invective the embarrassment of still being alive. This year that century is finally over.  No longer shall Twain’s crankiest gripes be denied us.  The manuscript is still being polished, at the moment, giving us a golden window of irresponsible speculation as to the contents. DOES IT… reveal Twain as the true lyricist of “Hey Man Nice Shot“, originally a scandalous tribute to Leon Czolgosz, assassin of William McKinley? uncover lost secrets of mustache maintenance, long since outlawed? (hint: spare the placenta, spoil the ‘stache) sketch out an unpublished novel that served as inspiration for Jurassic Park, entitled A Connecticut Yankee in a G_____n […]