I have grown attached to this weekly tradition, so I think I will continue to do it. Apologies to anybody that has seen all these before.
1. Visual Illusions from Scientific American
There’s a cool slideshow on the Scientific American website that shows some of the fruit of new research into how we process images. I’m sure most people have seen the standard optical illusions, but these all pertain to the way that we analyze faces. I can tell from my stats page that most people don’t actually click on the links, but I promise you that this is a fun way to spend 2.5-4 minutes of your time.
2. Every time you turn on the heat in Sweden, God kills a bunny.
Apparently the feral rabbit population in Sweden is so out of control that private contractors cull the rabbits then turn them into biofuel for home and commercial heating. The idea is so bizarre, not to mention squeamishly gross, that I would believe that it’s a hoax, but the reporting comes from Die Spiegel, an outfit with some credibility.
Thousands of stray rabbits in Sweden are being shot, frozen and then burned for heat. Stockholm even hires rabbit hunters for the task, like Tommy Tuvuynger, a modern day Elmer Fudd.
“We are shooting rabbits in Stockholm center, they are a very big problem,” he said. “Once culled, the rabbits are frozen and when we have enough; a contractor comes and takes them away.”
3. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking auto-tuned.
I actually heard about this on NPR before I saw the video. I figure if it’s broken into the mainstream, everybody has seen it, but in case you haven’t, here it is:
I think it’s a brilliant example of an art form (or at least an artistic technique) maturing. This is something beyond the novelty of auto-tune applied to an unusual source. I also find it affecting that Stephen Hawking, someone who only speaks through a computer today, has his real voice altered.
4. Organelle Hangeliers
Organelle, a Vancouver design firm, assembles these found-object chandeliers. I am delighted by them. I do wonder if they look as good in real life as they do in these fancy, controlled photographs, but I think they managed to make something genuinely beautiful out of an unexpected material.
(Via Core 77)
5. Talking Piano
It’s basically a physical vocoder. It’s awesome.
6. The American Symphony from Mr. Holland’s Opus
I saw that Mr. Holland’s Opus was available on Netflix, and attempted to watch it. I had forgotten what a sappy, cliché ridden piece of shit it is. It really frustrates me when I watch movies about music education, because they are always so saccharine and terrible. I’m trying to thing about movies that accurately portray the student-teacher relationship, and I’m coming up with precious few examples. Perhaps Shine when Helfgott is studying at the Royal College of Music.
Anyway, the absolute worst part of the movie is the gimmicky, trite ‘symphony’ that Mr. Holland’s students perform for him as he retires. It’s a more painful damnation of him than any funding decision ever could be.
In an example of Youtube commenting genius, user tzebra writes:
An amazing tribute to a unique nation, which for such a young age has accomplished, created, invented, freed, and inspired more than any other in history.
which is like the funniest thing I have ever read. Listen, I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but really. Pretension + absurd hyperbole = LOLZ.