Audrey Magazine: (by Arianna Caramat)
In a culture that’s been relatively dominated by a heterosexual male narrative, Hip Hop has been a hard place for women–let alone…(read more)
Stephen Coyle was flying his DJI Phantom 3 drone near a Letterkenny, Ireland, school when he spotted a few kids running on the roof and seemingly up to no good. In a video posted to YouTube, Coyle writes that the kids spotted the drone and mistakenly assume it was after them, causing a comedy of errors that led the kids to where he was piloting the drone….(read more)
Don’t you love the theme music?
20140406 Shōten 笑点 #2409
Media analyst Mark Dice asks minorities in San Diego, California to sign a petition to support adding a “White Privilege Tax” on the income of all white Americans to help fund social programs for minority communities to offset Caucasians’ supposed “white privilege.” The results are predictable.
Technical director at Pixar, Alonso Martinez, is currently in the early stages of developing a new companion robot. Mira, as it is currently named, is apparently an exploration into human-robot interaction and emotional intelligence. While currently in the very early stages of development, the small desktop companion is already equipped with some pretty impressive facial recognition and quite an adorable little personality.
As you can see in the video above, Mira’s favorite activity at the moment is peak-a-boo. Able to realize when you have covered your face, it will light up in excitement like a small child once revealed again making happy blips and bleeps while changing color. Read the rest of this entry »
Japanese engineers have accepted a challenge from an American company to duel with giant robots.
It all started last week when American company MegaBots, Inc. released a YouTube video showing off its 12,000-pound Mk. II robot.
Wearing an American flag as a cape, MegaBots’ Matt Oherlein bragged about the Mk II’s big guns: a cannon capable of shooting 3-pound paintballs at 100 mph. Read the rest of this entry »
James A. Holleman, Music Director | Debra Wyse, Accompanist/Assistant Conductor
Robert Nason writes: In Alfred Hitchcock’s films, the lack of information—or the possession of it—can have deadly consequences. The titles are revealing: “Suspicion” (1941), “Notorious” (1946), “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1934, 1956). In his concise, insightful book on the director, Michael Wood asserts that in Hitchcock’s films there are “only three options: to know too little, to know too much . . . and to know a whole lot that is entirely plausible and completely wrong.”
Hitchcock was born on Aug. 13, 1899, the son of a greengrocer. Members of this economic class, Mr. Wood says, were suspicious of the posh people above them and the unruly ones below. Hitchcock’s films would abound with upper-class villains and fearful mobs. As a Catholic, Hitchcock was an outsider in Protestant England; he would later be an English outsider in America.
Shy, chubby and intelligent, the young Hitchcock had few friends. He preferred attending sensational London trials—and movies. Instead of fan magazines, Hitch—as he preferred to be called—avidly read technical film journals and landed a job designing movie title cards. As a fledging director of silents, he was influenced by the shadowy lighting and dynamic camera movements of German Expressionist cinema. He would combine their beauty and atmosphere of anxiety with a dash of black humor and a blonde in jeopardy. All the ingredients were in place for his third feature, “The Lodger” (1927), the film “in which he became Hitchcock,” as Mr. Wood puts it. The title character is suspected by everyone as a Jack-the-Ripperish killer. Is he or isn’t he? “Innocence and guilt,” Mr. Wood notes, “leave many of the same traces.”
When Hitchcock came to Hollywood in 1939, he had already imparted alarming warnings to his British countrymen in a recent string of thrillers. He would send the same message to Americans: A menace threatened not only Great Britain and the United States but civilization as a whole. In many of Hitchcock’s great British films, from “The 39 Steps” (1935) to “The Lady Vanishes” (1938), we’re usually not told who the spies are working for, but there’s little doubt who the enemy is. Likewise, in his early Hollywood film “Foreign Correspondent” (1940), the “peace activist,” suavely played by Herbert Marshall, is actually a spy working for the unnamed foe.
While some Hitchcock films deal with global threats, the truly frightening works dwell upon more intimate dangers. In the film that was the director’s personal favorite, “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), Joseph Cotton plays a dapper killer of wealthy women, proving that evil could lurk even in anytown America. In “Strangers on a Train” (1951) and “Rear Window” (1954), brutal murders occur, respectively, in an amusement park and a middle-class apartment building. Hitchcock became an American citizen in 1955, the same year that his hit television program “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” debuted. Mr. Wood suggests that the habitually fearful Hitchcock worried about “losing what he most cared about” at the pinnacle of his career, and this contributed to the richness of his confident yet melancholy films during the next few years.
Mr. Wood devotes more space to “Vertigo” (1958) than to any other Hitchcock film. In this masterpiece of misinformation and obsession, Jimmy Stewartplays a retired private investigator fascinated by a suicidal woman who is hardly who she seems to be. In “North by Northwest” (1959), Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a shallow Madison Avenue advertising man thought by enemy spies to be an American intelligence officer who in fact doesn’t exist. Read the rest of this entry »
Lary Wallace writes: Probably the closest thing you can compare it to is the fighting in ice hockey. Think about it: an activity somehow both integral and non-essential that many in the audience consider more entertaining than those parts of the performance that require actual talent. But here’s the difference between fighting in hockey and heckling in stand-up comedy, and it’s an essential one: the former is all about the players, while the latter is all about the fans trying to be the players.
That’s why it drives comedians nuts when it’s asserted – as it was at length in the Chicago Tribune a couple of years ago – that heckling is often not only the best part of stand-up but often, indeed, the only memorable part of stand-up. Chris Borrelli – who, with another writer at the paper, Nina Metz, engaged in a forum-type discussion on the subject – went so far as to write: ‘I have seen countless comedians and theatre performances and live events in general, and forgotten most of them. But I remember each and every time I have witnessed a performer get into it with an obnoxious audience.’
The article got noticed in the comedy community, where it was regarded with contempt. The US stand-up Patton Oswalt wrote a post on his personal blog expressing ‘disgust’ with the two writers, characterising the piece as ‘an asinine, pro-heckling space-filler article’, before specifying: ‘hecklers don’t make a show memorable. They prevent a show from being a fucking show. Comedians do not love hecklers. They love doing the original material they wrote and connecting with an entire audience, not verbally sparring with one cretin while the rest of the audience whoops and screams, disconnecting from the comedian….’
An even more elaborate rebuttal to the article was provided by the comedian and journalist Steve Heisler, who wrote: ‘Hecklers make comedy memorable in the same way vacations are made memorable when you get mugged on them. You’re forced to make lemonade out of lemons. But make no mistake: there are fucking lemons.
‘This is a vibrant… art form,’ he continued, ‘that benefits from a deep understanding of what it takes to craft a set. What it takes to hone a joke. What it takes to devote your life to a career that is 99.99 per cent rejection, and STILL keep going….’
All of which is capable of making you feel pretty guilty if, like me, you’re a fan of stand-up who’s sometimes entertained by what happens when somebody heckles.
It’s not like this whole idea of heckling-is-good-for-comedy is some imaginary construct of journalists and other outsiders. It has very earnest proponents among stand-ups themselves. Billy Crystal – the furthest thing imaginable from a comedy outsider – made and starred in a movie, Mr. Saturday Night(1992), in which the fictional comedian Buddy Young Jr finds his voice as a comic precisely because of a heckler. He’s a young kid, up there on the big stage doing his shticky routine, and bombing terribly. A guy starts coming at him from the crowd with insults, and the insults Buddy volleys back are what bolster his material and his confidence, and put the crowd on his side. A career is born.
It’s not just in the movies, either. The comedian Franklyn Ajaye has written a terrific book called Comic Insights: The Art of Stand-Up Comedy (2002), in which the following words appear: ‘Sometimes a heckler can be good for your show, particularly if you’re at a point where you don’t have any new material and you’re a little bored with your act. Dealing with a heckler can be a chance for you to play around and see how your mind handles fresh stimuli.’
It’s worth emphasising that what Ajaye says here isn’t that heckling is good for comedians because it helps them prepare for dealing with other hecklers; what he says is that heckling is good for comedians because it helps improve their actual comedy.
The Canadian-born comedian Harland Williams, who is interviewed in the documentary Heckler (2007), says: ‘I just like the challenge of a heckler. I like it when people yell out, because basically they’re just shooting a bullet at you – it’s like a verbal bullet. You’re in the middle of something, and all of a sudden – pshoo-oooww – and you can either, like, do a Matrix [leaning away from and underneath the bullet], or you can catch it [catching the bullet with one hand] and go: “Let’s go buddy – it’s party time!”’
And we shouldn’t ignore the undeniable fact that comedians have been known to sometimes hire hecklers, planting them in the audience because of the frisson of danger they can give a show. Granted, these plants are working from scripted material, entirely on the comedian’s own terms, often written by the comedian himself. Two examples from Richard Zoglin’s biography Hope: Entertainer of the Century (2014) illustrate perfectly what I mean. Read the rest of this entry »
Just finished building my 40W(!!!) laser shotgun!!! The output of this laser is complete insanity, and is made up of 8 parallel 5W laser beams totaling to 40W. The parallel beams are manipulated with lenses, sort of like how a choke modifies the spread of a shotgun blast.
For licensing/usage please email email@example.com.
This is definitely the craziest thing I have ever built, but I hope to beat this invention with something even crazier before too long.
Yet within hours of Mr Nemtsov’s death, Ms Savchuk and her colleagues were going online to pour bile on the former deputy prime minister and claim he was killed by his own friends rather than by government hitmen, as many suspect.
“I was so upset that I almost gave myself away,” she said. “But I was 007. I fulfilled my task.”
The “007” role that Ms Savchuk refers to is her own extroardinary one-woman spying mission, which appears to shed intriguing light on the propaganda machine that props up the rule of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.
Video by Dmitri Beliakov, edited by Juliet Turner
Ms Savchuk says that for two months, she worked as one of scores of “internet operators” in a secretive “troll factory” called Internet Research, an anonymous four-storey building on a back street in St Petersburg, Russia’s former tsarist capital and Mr Putin’s hometown.
Ms Savchuk’s job was to spend 12 hours a day praising the Kremlin and lambasting its perceived enemies on social networks, blogs and the comment sections of online media.
The trolls’ task, reminiscent of the black arts of Soviet disinformation, was to attack any opponent of the Russian authorities, be it dissenting politicians, pro-European Ukrainians or even Barack Obama – who was branded a “monkey” because of his black skin.
“We had to say Putin was a fine fellow and a great figure, that Russia’s opponents were bad and Obama was an idiot,” she recalled.
All along, however, Ms Savchuk was copying documents and making clandestine video footage about the “factory”, gathering evidence in the manner of a Cold War spy. Or, as she prefers to see it, a Victorian sleuth. “I was really inspired by detective novels and Sherlock Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch,” she told the Sunday Telegraph in an interview last week.
Ms Savchuk says she was sacked in March after leaking her information about Internet Research to a local newspaper. Now she is out in the open and leading a campaign against the firm, which is allegedly run by a Kremlin-connected businessman.
“I want to get it closed down,” she explained. “These people are using propaganda to destroy objectivity and make people doubt the motives of any civil protest. Worst of all, they’re doing it by pretending to be us, the citizens of Russia.
In an attempt to expose the practices of Internet Research, Ms Savchuk is suing the company for breaches of labour law because she never received a contract and was paid in cash.
The story of her time as a troll is a rare and piercing insight into Russia’s attempts to skew the truth and flood the internet with political innuendo.
She worked from January 2 to March 11 at the building of Internet Research at 55 Savushkina Street in St Petersburg, which insiders say is still operating as a “troll factory”.
Working two days-on, two-days off, its army of bloggers – who are thought to number several hundred – spew out thousands of posts a week.
At her interview, Mrs Savchuk says, she pretended to be “a housewife with no real views” when she was asked if she sympathised with Russia’s opposition. She “cleaned” her pages on Facebook and Vkontakte (a Russian equivalent) in advance – the interviewers asked to see them – and replaced posts about her campaigns as an eco-activist with recipes.
“The first thing we would do each day would be to turn on the proxy server to hide our IP addresses,” said Ms Savchuk. Then the operators would start to receive “technical assignments” – written descriptions of themes they should raise in their blogs and comments, with key words to be included.
The bloggers are kept under tight control – their email is subject to checks and their workplace monitored by CCTV. Failure to reach quotas invokes a fine, as does a poorly scripted post. Ms Savchuk said she and others were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Read the rest of this entry »
In a culture that’s been relatively dominated by a heterosexual male narrative, Hip Hop has been a hard place for women–let alone…(read more)
It seems hard to believe, but months ago, Baltimore’s politicians were confidently predicting a economic revival for the city. But after six Baltimore police officers where involved in the death of 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray, the city erupted into the worst rioting it’s seen in 50 years.
The crisis has put police brutality in the spotlight, left leaders grasping for answers, and sparked an examination of the roots of the violence.
Franklin, a 34-year veteran of Maryland law enforcement and a former drug warrior, sat down with Reason TV‘s Todd Krainin to explain how the drug war policies of the O’Malley administration helped fuel the riots in Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »
— Darrell Issa
For ABC News, John Karl reports: A still-classified State Department e-mail says that one of the first responses from the White House to the Benghazi attack was to contact YouTube to warn of the “ramifications” of allowing the posting of an anti-Islamic video, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The memo suggests that even as the attack was still underway — and before the CIA began the process of compiling talking points on its analysis of what happened — the White House believed it was in retaliation for a controversial video.
The subject line of the e-mail, which was sent at 9:11 p.m. Eastern Time on the night of the attack, is “Update on Response to actions – Libya.” The was written hours before the attack was over. Read the rest of this entry »
Tribute to the United States Navy in honor for all that have served, and as a tribute to all those currently serving, and those who will soon serve duty in the United States Navy..
An American Online (AOL) disc from our Museum of American History’s computer history collection, circa 1995.
In 1993 AOL began mailing discs to prospective customers in one of the largest and most aggressive direct-mail campaigns ever. Discs contained the software needed to use AOL and provided a few hours of free Internet service. This 3.5-inch floppy drive was mailed around 1995, and included fifteen hours of free AOL access. As the number of AOL users swelled to around eight million by 1996, AOL discs became ubiquitous in America’s mailboxes and the log-on greeting of “you’ve got mail” permeated the cultural consciousness.
Move over AntHillArt, theres a new guy in town! So today I decided I was going to pour molten aluminum on something. I just finished a new propane powered furnace and I wanted to put it to the test!
I saw this film about a year ago, and was impressed in a way I didn’t expect. Christopher Nolan‘s mega-budget films are legendary for their unlikely balance of collaborative Hollywood grandeur and singular creative vision — “Inception“, the Dark Knight Trilogy, to name a few — I was curious what his first feature, a modest, low-budget production, would look like. Because his movies are such precise, analytical, clockwork inventions, I admit, I hoped to see a rough, sketchy, incomplete hint of Nolan’s potential. I was wrong. Even on a shoestring budget, with a tiny cast, on his first outing, Nolan created a work that’s as complex and realized as anything that followed. It’s as though he emerged as a fully developed storyteller, focused, economical, and confident. It’s not a spectacular movie, but it’s original, well-crafted, and successfully maximizes its modest resources, to produce a film several steps ahead of the work of most first-time feature directors. Enjoy this review from FilmMunch.
FilmMunch writes: So I finally got the chance to watch Christopher Nolan’s first feature length film, and it’s undeniably fresh and what I would consider a must see!
It’s amazing that he’s able to generate such an intriguing story in only 70mins, which is by far, his shortest film, considering some of his films are just shy of 3 hours. Short and sweet, but what on earth is going on!?
Films that rattle your brain and chose to only show you the necessary bits are fascinating, because you want to keep watching and find out more. This story is no less fascinating than Memento, and if you’ve seen Memento, then you know what I’m talking about! Memento and Following, must be seen, at least once! The innovative story telling technique used in Following is something I want to see more, it’s basically a triple layered telling of events, very fascinating!
This film was extremely low budget, with film stock being the most expensive expense for the film, there wasn’t much room for error. Nolan would rehearse with his cast on the weekends, since all the cast had other full-time jobs. Only one or two takes were possible, considering Nolan was paying for the film himself! He also had to use natural light, since he didn’t have access to professional lighting equipment. Inspiration indeed, and what drive and motivation from this modern thinker!
The result is something akin to a Hitchcockian noir thriller, nothing short of slick and sophisticated. Read the rest of this entry »
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Islamic preaching and radicalization is fast becoming one of the impending danger for the free world- for peace loving citizens it is a menace, the various vested quarter are motivating and preaching - brainwahing with their ill conceived islamic religious ideology to the unsuspecting Muslim youngsters,ladies,older generations and trying to appeal to the rest of the world. Which they are later on using to persue their dreams by indoctrinationg these innocent people to turn them inro terroriata, suicide bombers, islamic extremists. Our quest is to help people understand these pepople's idelogoy and make everyone aware of these manicas groups and their intentions & help them keep away from this concocted ideology.We would like to let the world know that, These microscopic fundamentalist minority is allowed to use the name of Islam to fulfil their agenda.
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