Category Archives: CUTTING EDGE

The Sea of Weirdness that is YouTube…Understanding the Viral Video

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Epic drum sounds roll in…finally a deep voice speaks….

“With the genesis of the personal computer, the abundance of video-capturing devices smaller than a tube of lip-balm…and our growing desire for internet-dependent social interaction…came YouTube.  Perhaps we were not prepared…for the weirdness…the eccentric brilliance…and the utter stupidity that ensued. It expanded beyond our control…it is now a beast all it’s own…a pulsating ball of e-carnage!  To help us navigate this sea of strangeness, to help us understand human behavior and to offer rules and bearings for would-be YouTube film-makers… came Brett Erlich and his Viral Video Film School.  Please watch, understand, and do your part to tame the beast…”   -Luke

 

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Musical Mastery — Shakti – “Joy” – 1975

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So…I just saw John McLaughlin, the ground-breaking 70’s band Shakti’s guitar player (and in these videos), live on Tuesday.  John and his most recent band, The Fourth Dimension, play jazz fusion music….quite different from what we hear in Shakti, but also very similar.  You could call Shakti “Classical Indian Fusion.”  The show was quite good, but the simple opportunity to see a master guitarist perform was what moved me to go, even though I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.  At $20, I couldn’t resist.

For those that are hearing this name for the first time, John McLaughlin is a master jazz guitarist that has been active for 5 decades.  He’s recorded albums and songs with the likes of Carlos Santana, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, The Rolling Stones, Zakin Hussain, and Buddy Miles.  He even jammed with Hendrix  in an electric-acoustic fusion jam one morning (from 2-8am!).

In the ’70s, John and his band Shakti were instrumental in inspiring the Western interest in Eastern music; particularly the exploration of East-meets-West fusion music. In 2010, Guitarist Jeff Beck called him “the best guitarist alive”. In 2003, McLaughlin was ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Take note that tabla master Zakir Hussain was one of Shakti’s founding members, and thus, you will hear him in this recording as well.  He is one impressive musician.  Ever since I first heard this recording, about 10 years ago, I’ve been astounded by the beauty and power that this music displays.  As John has said, “music is the one true language”, and I would agree.  From Pythogoras’ “Music of the Spheres”, to the universal “Om” sound, to physical music such as this…music has the power to center, focus, and transport us in a way that nothing else can, as well as inspire joy and ecstasy!  You could say all life is music, for those that can hear it.

In “Shakti”, and in these videos, McLaughlin used a special custom guitar that replicates the sound that a traditional sitar would make, yet is distinctly different.  For those interested, here’s a detailed description.


Amazing…Annoying Illusions

(Gallery/article link below)

These pictures (and their explanations) were amusing to look at, mainly because of how angry and annoyed I found myself getting.  Take this blue cube, for instance.  The description basically says:  ‘see that dark blue square on top, and see that bright glowing blue square on the right side?…yeah, they’re actually the same exact shade of blue.’  My brain responded:  “F@#k  you Mr. Brain Researcher man, I know what I’m seein’ and that aint the f@#kin’ same!”  It’s like someone telling you that something you whole-heartedly believe is true…is actually an illusion, and isn’t true at all!  The mind’s first reaction is always going to be anger and annoyance….then you feel stupid…. but after a while… you tend to just question your own confidence in your perceptions.  If we can fail at something as simple as distinguishing 2 colors,  how can we be so sure our other, more far-reaching assumptions are true?

>>  GALLERY LINK HERE  <<

Beau Lotto, a brain researcher at University College London says:

Neuroscientists usually explain color illusions in mechanistic terms: They arise because of the way cells in the retina and the brain respond to certain wavelengths of light. Those explanations miss the larger point. We misperceive colors and shapes because our visual sense has been molded by evolutionary history.

Andromeda: Born out of a Massive Collision? *see the video!

“Was the Andromeda Galaxy, the largest and most massive galaxy in our local neighborhood, shaped into its current structure due to a monstrous collision over 6 billion years ago? According to a new study by some French astronomers, the answer is oui.”  The Bad Astronomer

There’s nothin’ like galactic collision and billion year time spans to make your problems seem manageable, huh?

>>  ARTICLE LINK HERE  <<

Temple Grandin: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

Brilliant, high achieving, and autistic…Temple Grandin discusses how unconventional ways of thinking are vital to dealing with our current global problems, and speaks about the children who may have the answers…if we only nurtured their gifts ….   -Luke

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Closest Galaxy to the Milky Way – Hint: Not Andromeda

Did you know our galaxy is dining on another galaxy as we speak, and that we’re closer to IT’S core than we are the Milky Way’s core?  Check it out… -Luke

Closest Galaxy to the Milky Way | Universe Today.

AND….If you ever get lost in your interstellar travel….grab a handy map of the galaxy.   For the love of god, don’t rely on Mapquest….   -Luke

http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/milkyway.html

Giant Bubbles Found in Space

Check out this recent Milky Way finding…Talk about a fashion statement!  I’m hoping they discover  something blue and…maybe orange next…  Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t thought the milky way could use a make-over…. ok, maybe I’m the only one   -Luke

Giant Bubbles Found in Space : Discovery News – StumbleUpon.

Miwa Matreyek’s Glorious Visions

Video and animation-based art is common these days, but this is the first I’ve seen that has such a human, grounded feeling, yet still transports the viewer into the imaginative realm where anything is possible.  Enjoy Miwa’s creation… -Luke

  • From TED.com:

“Miwa Matreyek’s work blurs the line between real and unreal. In live works that integrate animation, performance, and video installation, she explores how animation changes when it is combined with body and space (and vice versa). In her video projects, animation takes on a more physical and present quality, while body and space take on a more fantastical quality.

On one hand, Matreyek’s performance can be viewed as a cinematic experience taking place on a screen. On the other hand, what is seen on the screen is a collapsed product of multiple layers of animation, objects and body. Her work exists in a juxtaposition of illusion and nonillusion. Matreyek is also a founding member of the performance media group Cloud Eye Control, which makes theatrical productions with cleverly integrated animation projections.”

The piece Matreyek performs at TEDGlobal 2010 is an abridgement of the work “Myth and Infrastructure.”

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Breakthrough Touchscreen Technology

Ok so….I’m holding out until they start selling this at Best Buy…    Uses the mult-touch technology from cell phones and expands on it to exhibit quite a technological leap.    -Luke

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