Windowpane: surreal debut from NOBROW's Joe Kessler

Windowpane is the graphic novel debut from Joe Kessler, one of the friendly fellows working behind the cash-register at London's wonderful NOBROW (about whom we've written lots). It's a collection of short, surreal, dreamlike stories, some more experimental than others, as well as a memoir of the near-death of Reuben Mwara during his boyhood in a Kenyan slum.

Kessler's use of color and the printing techniques he employs (which you can see at his blog are very striking, and the storytelling style is accomplished and sure. A very promising start!

Preview: WINDOWPANE By Joe Kessler Read the rest

All the year's top radio hits in one mashup

The spectacular DJ Earworm has published his annual mashup of the year's top-40 hits, combining them into a single, synthesized earworm, with visual accompaniment.

DJ Earworm Mashup - United State of Pop 2012 (Shine Brighter) (Thanks, Rob!) Read the rest

What's entropy?

I sat down with the fascinating crew at the Titanium Physicists podcast to serve as their special physics-ignoramus guest in an episode about entropy (MP3) Read the rest

Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest?

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, by Kevin Dutton, has this side-by-side list of professions with the highest percentage of psychopaths (CEO tops the list) and lowest percentage (Care Aide has the fewest psychopaths).

Here's Eric Barker's take on why this is so:

Most of the professions on the right require human connection, dealing with feelings and most of them don’t offer much power. Psychopaths, by their very nature, would not be drawn to or very good at these things.

On the other hand, most of the roles on the left do offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings. Psychopaths would be drawn to these roles and thrive there.

Which professions have the most psychopaths? The fewest? Read the rest

Jerry Seinfeld on information design (1981)

Jerry Seinfeld's first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1981. He was 27 years old.

Trailer mashup: My Little Trek Into Darkness

In case you weren't already excited about Star Trek Into Darkness, maybe the Pony-fied trailer will finally sway you.

A New Year's marathon for every fan!

We all know about the time-honored tradition of Syfy's Twilight Zone New Year's marathon. But in case you're not into a 24-hour trip into another dimension and still want to watch a buttload of TV today and tomorrow, here is a short list of other TV marathons that might interest you!

24 Hours of Portlandia (IFC), starting tonight at 6:00 PM (EST)

(Doctor) Who Year's Eve (BBC America), last episode airs at 5:00 AM (EST) tomorrow morning

MacGyver marathon (Cloo), last episode airs tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM (EST)

New Year's Hercul-Eve Marathon (The Hub), 10 episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys starting tonight at 8:00 PM (EST)

How Do They Do It? marathon (Science), last episode airing at 1:30 AM (EST) tomorrow morning, followed by a Fringe marathon

The Walking Dead Season 3 (AMC), starting tonight at 9:00 PM (EST)

Mysteries At the Museum (Travel Channel), starting at 9:00 AM (EST) tomorrow morning with a special, followed by regular episodes

Photo credit: IFC Read the rest

Little Brother on stage in print!

The next issue of Theatre Bay Area will feature the full text of Josh Costello's theatrical adaptation of my novel Little Brother, which was incredibly well-received on stage in San Francisco last year. Read the rest

My favorite podcasts of 2012, Part 1

I hardly listen to the radio anymore, because I listen to audiobooks and podcasts instead. My car has a cassette player in it so I use one of those cassette adapters to connect my iPhone to the car's stereo system.

I use a $1.99 iOS app called Downcast to subscribe to and listen to my podcasts. (Before that I was using an app called Pocket Casts, but it seems to have a bug in it that prevents me from pausing a podcast and playing it again later. Other people rave about Pocket Casts, however, so don't rule it out if you're in the market for a podcast player).

Here are the podcasts I enjoy the most:

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. Jesse used to have a podcast called The Sound of Young America. Bullseye is similar, in that Jesse interviews musicians, comedians, directors, and other interesting folks in the realm of popular culture. Jesse only interviews people that he admires and knows about, so his questions elicit interesting responses from his guests.

The Ihnatko Almanac. Described as "a weekly discussion that mostly focuses on the Clickable Arts: the movies, music, books, comics, articles, and other bits of entertainment and news that Andy and Dan [Benjamin] have been reaching through a mouse click recently." That's true, but the real joy of this podcast is listening to Andy Ihnatko's lively and insightful near-rants about why some things are good and why other things stink. Cohost Dan Benjamin does a great job winding Andy up and letting him rip! Read the rest

Stop toying with us, Arrested Development: Netflix denies rumored premiere date

Let's end 2012 with some truthiness: gossip site Oh No They Didn't got wind of some new details concerning the fourth season of Arrested Development and its upcoming premiere on Netflix. Apparently, a publicity site for Fox prematurely posted a new image, a May 4, 2013 premiere date, and a list of episode titles before taking it all down. A few sites have reported this as the official release date, but Vulture contacted a Netflix representative who said the date "is wrong."

A debunked rumor is not the most fun way to start out a year of heavily-anticipated entertainment, but at least we know it's on its way! (I'd still count on a May premiere. Seems like it would make a lot of sense -- just as all the network shows are ending, the Bluths swoop in and save us all from summer programming.)

Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly

(via Cinema Blend) Read the rest

GIF is word of the year

"GIF has been named the Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year," reports the NY Daily News, in an article that Rich Kyanka points out is illustrated by JPGs of popular GIFs.

Here I present you with a splendid actual GIF from DVDP; put on the "apocalyptic rave" music that the BBC plays in the background of news broadcasts to make you anxious, then stare at it until 2013.

Read the rest

Just look at this gnarly conjoined banana.

Just look at it.

photo Read the rest

How safe is safe?

The precautionary principle comes up a lot when you're talking about the side effects of technology in the real world. When you don't have evidence that something is dangerous — but you suspect it might be — you could cite the precautionary principle as a reason to ban or limit the use of that thing. It's a messy idea, though, and I'm still not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, technology is often available before data on the wide-ranging effects of that technology are available. Do you use it or not is a legitimate question. On the other hand, following the precautionary principle in a blind sort of way can lead to things like this. Read the rest

Coin purse looks like a grenade

Is this grenade-shaped coin purse cartoonish enough to avoid the attention of TSA officers?

Grenade-shaped key and coin case Read the rest

A toast to physics

You will be pleased to note that multiple physicists are at work on the problem of why a piece of falling toast tends to land with the butter side down. Read the rest

USDA internal discussions of Pink Slime revealed: "We are taking a beating from the media"

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a set of internal discussions about "pink slime", shedding light on early efforts to respond to public outcry over its presence in processed food.

It is its first response to a FOIA request, filed by Government Attic, requesting copies of its deliberations. Though the USDA invoked expemptions to avoid publishing "open and frank discussions and expressions of opinion necessary for agency decision makers to make informed decisions," the documents reveal confused USDA staffers rushing to formulate an institutional response to public concern. Read the rest

Ancient Chinese art used a toxic lacquer made from a relative of poison ivy

On Christmas Day, I watched a documentary about the terra cotta warriors — thousands of clay soldiers built as funerary objects for the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor. One crazy fact I learned: Unlike the type of lacquer we call shellac today (which comes from crushed beetles), ancient Chinese artists used a lacquer derived from the sap of the lacquer tree, a relative of poison ivy. Anybody tasked with the job of applying that lacquer can end up with a serious allergic reaction. Another fun fact: We've still never seen the inside of Qin Shi Huang's tomb. Partly, this is a bureaucratic issue. But the larger problem is the mercury-laden soil on top, possibly contaminated by Qin Shi Huang's tomb, itself, which was supposed to contain a scale model of his empire, complete with rivers and oceans flowing with (you guessed it) mercury. Read the rest

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