Tofugu has a short article on this unusual and beautiful Japanese island: Aogashima.
Aogashima (“blue island”) is a tropical, volcanic island in the Phillipine Sea. Despite being over 200 miles away from the country’s capital, Aogashima is governed by Tokyo. In fact, a whole stretch of tropical and sometimes uninhabited islands called the Izu Islands are technically part of Tokyo. Volcanic islands? Not typically what comes to mind when you think of Tokyo.
As you might imagine, Aogashima isn’t the most crowded place in the world. As of this year, only about 200 people live on Aogashima. The island only has one post office and one school.
There are two ways on and off the island: by helicopter or by boat. There’s only one, small harbor where the boats go in an out of, and it seems to be a little unreliable. Because Aogashima is so remote and isolated, it can sometimes be hard to get a boat to or from the island safely.
A fellow named Izuyan has been traveling to isolated islands of Japan and taking excellent photos. Here's his Flickr set for Aogashima.
TV news reporter: "The wind blows with incredible power, there are moments when it is impossible to stand up here. The wind blows the sand at over 60 km per hour. The wind blew away the beach umbrellas and the tourists had to leave in a hurry."
Lloyd Kahn, author of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, posted this photo of a 120-square-foot house built on a trailer chassis. The house will feature a full kitchen, composting toilet, outdoor shower, sleeping loft custom built in furniture and a fireplace. The siding is reclaimed redwood fensing and flooring is maple re-purposed from an old roller skating rink in Petaluma.
[Video Link] I like the band Best Coast because listening to them makes it feel like a California summer no matter what season it is. They have a great new album out, called The Only Place.
Last week my friend Ava and I interviewed them at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, a couple of hours before they performed. Our friend Maureen Herman (the bass player for Babes in Toyland) shot and co-edited the video.
My old pal John Curley is on tour with his reunited band The Afghan Whigs and he snapped this beautiful photo at Ναός της Αθηνάς Νίκης (Temple of Athena Nike) on the Acropolis of Athens. The building in the background is the Erechtheion. A few days prior in Holland, John tweeted that his photography style can be described as "suspicious,'" at least according to Amsterdam police.
Above is an excerpt from Jim Henson's 1965 experimental short Time Piece, nominated for an Academy Award. It was unique because, for one thing, it doesn't feature any puppetry! The surreal film stars Henson and includes cameos from Henson Associates employees like Frank Oz (Yoda, etc!), Jerry Suhl, Don Sahlin, and Diana Birkenfield. More info at the Muppet Wiki. Watch the whole thing at MySpace here. (Thanks, Sarah Ruxin!)
An oil-exploration team in Egypt stumbled upon a crashed World War II fighter plane that's apparently been sitting in the Sahara desert for 70 years. Apparently, the Royal Air Force P-40 Kittyhawk is in fantastic condition. Relatively speaking, of course. From National Geographic:
At the suspected time of the crash, Flight Sergeant Copping, the P40's likely pilot, was on a repair run to an RAF desert base—the plane's landing gear had become stuck in the down position. He was probably forced down by an empty fuel tank, the RAF Museum's (Ian) Thirsk said.
Copping was never heard from again. "The pilot obviously got disorientated and lost his bearings," Thirsk said.
The current volume of The New Yorker is the "Science Fiction issue." In it, a previously unpublished 1973 essay by Anthony Burgess about his novel, A Clockwork Orange.
In “The Clockwork Condition” (p. 69), an essay written in 1973 but never published, Anthony Burgess reflects on the “true meaning” of his most famous novel, A Clockwork Orange. In addition to commenting on the inspiration for the work, and its main character, Alex, Burgess offers an argument about the nature of good and evil and the necessity of free will, as seen through the prisms of Nazi Germany and the Resistance, Catholicism and Calvinism. “We probably have no duty to like Beethoven or hate Coca-Cola, but it is at least conceivable that we have a duty to distrust the state,” Burgess writes. Conformity is natural, and perhaps preferable for many people, he explains, but “when patterns of conformity are imposed by the state, then one has a right to be frightened.” Ultimately, he writes of A Clockwork Orange, “what I was trying to say was that it is better to be bad of one’s own free will than to be good through scientific brainwashing.”
The Sex Pistols have reissued "God Save The Queen" on a limited-edition 7" picture disc to celebrate the song's 35th anniversary. From the official Sex Pistols site:
Originally released on May 27th 1977, during the Queen's Silver Jubilee, 'God Save The Queen' made its mark in history. The BBC amongst others refused to play it and although it technically out-sold the Number 1 record of the week (The First Cut is the Deepest by Rod Stewart) 'GSTQ' peaked at Number 2 in the singles charts. The powers-that-be refused to acknowledge it but the Sex Pistols were Number 1.
On the Jubilee holiday itself, June 7th 1977, the Sex Pistols arranged their own Jubilee tribute with a boat trip along the River Thames in full view of the Houses of Parliament. After playing a handful of songs Police boarded the boat and arrested several people; including the band's then manager Malcolm McLaren.
BIPP: French Synth-Wave 1979/85 compiles cold wave and Casio-dominated robot music that emerged from the unholy matrimony of post-punk and the nascent electro-pop scene of Europe. Above, Act's "Ping Pong" as soundtrack for a video created by Smugg Knife.
[Video Link] When I was at TED earlier this year, I happened to sit down next to film maker Louie Schwartzberg. He makes gorgeous nature films. I recently watched the videos on his YouTube channel. They are all stunning.
This video was shown at the TED conference in 2011, with scenes from "Wings of Life," a film about the threat to essential pollinators that produce over a third of the food we eat. The seductive love dance between flowers and pollinators sustains the fabric of life and is the mystical keystone event where the animal and plant worlds intersect that make the world go round.