Iconic images by Gannis: Mike Doyle surfing Waimea in 1967 and "Midget" Farrelly surfing Shore Break, Makaha 1968. Gannis was a master of using light to convey emotion.
LeRoy Grannis, who along with "Doc" Ball helped revolutionize the field of surf photography, has died. He also co-founded what's now Surfing Magazine. A lifelong surfer himself, Grannis didn't take up photography until 1959, when he was 42. That was the year surfing hit mainstream consciousness through the film Gidget.
Cord Jefferson at Good posted a cool piece on artist Bryan Lewis Saunders. Since 1995, Bryan has created about 8,000 self-portraits, one each day, some of them while under the influence of various chemicals. He believes this has caused brain damage, so he says he now does that series while under medical supervision. Bryan does a lot of other work that mixes creativity with self-experimentation, so check out his site! (Thanks, Calpernia!)
Two years ago, Xeni posted about Skateistan, an innovative skate park in Kabul, Afghanistan. This year's Sundance short film program features a great 9-minute documentary on the park, including brief interviews with the manager and young people who skate there. Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, it contains some pretty shocking images of the damage the war has caused throughout Kabul. It also hints at the possibility for building "the kind of cross-cultural relationships that Afghanistan needs for future stability." Video link. (via SFF)
From the Can-You-Tell-It's-Friday Dept.: Maureen O'Connor at Gawker noticed that Iggy Pop's torso kinda looks like a face. I happen to agree, and to prove it, I headswapped it onto Sarah Palin, Sad Don Draper, and Iggy himself. Other LOLiggy possibilities included Joe Lieberman and Admiral Ackbar, both of whom have a striking resemblance to his torso. As a connoisseur of torsos that look like faces, I can say with absolute certainty that no torso-face lookalike has ever topped this NSFW Homer Simpson ladytorso lookalike.
For those troubled by Chase No Face, the good-natured but facially disfigured kitty (link to potentially disturbing post), here's an interesting unicorn chaser about the unicorn of the sea, the narwhal. National Geographic got dentist Martin Nweeia up to the Arctic to look into the male narwhal's left tooth, which forms a unicorn-like tusk. In the video above, he examines a narwhal tusk up close and discusses its function. Note: If you are squeamish about seeing someone get dental work, you might need to skip this one, too, ya big wimp. (Video link, via National Geographic's Wild Chronicles)
Animator Alex Roman's beautiful work has been discussed here in the past. He also made a great "making of" video of his acclaimed The Third and The Seventh. Late last year, he posted this lovely montage of unbelievably believable CGI, created for kitchen countertop company Silestone. Be sure to watch it in HD for maximum amazement.
Sarah Palin was on Sean Hannity's Fox show this week, and between breaths joined the many commenters who've labeled the Tucson shootings suspect with the "E" word: she mused on "...how, um, evil a person would have to be to kill an innocent." Since prime suspect Jared Loughner cited Nietzsche's Will To Power as a favorite, this seems like a good moment to bring up the problems with "good vs. evil" ideology. It has a peculiar geek resonance because of the ideology's heavy use in comic books and roleplaying: superheroes, arch-villains, chaotic good, lawful evil, and what-not. It's also infused in our political discourse, with someone like Palin or Obama being good or evil depending on your point of view.
Nietzsche is frequently a fave of angry young men who might qualify as what Pesco called confident dumb people. Nietzsche works well for the modern kook with web-induced attention deficits: The fourth chapter of Beyond Good and Evil is a series of 122 Twitter-length aphorisms, and his work is snarky and occasionally humorous. Nietzsche wrote Beyond Good and Evil to criticize earlier philosophers who made assumptions about morality based on pre-Christian and Christian beliefs about "evil." Below I discuss why we need to steal Nietzsche back from these people, and I look at a couple of other writers who have examined what gets called "evil" and have attempted to explain it in more nuanced and rational terms.
Being in cold climates has its charms, as evidenced in this video of a Super-Soaker shot in temperatures no humans should have to endure. Combine this with a FireHero, and you would have a formidable winter weapon. Video link.
I usually don't post these because of their regularity, but this one really stands out. San Antonio police officer Craig Nash raped a woman while on duty, she said. He faced a life sentence for the felony charges, but he was able to plead that down to a misdemeanor and will serve just one year. Why? I'm sure it's not because the woman who said he raped her was a transgender sex worker. Reminds me of the Memphis cop who pleaded down to two years after beating the crap out of Duanna Johnson using his handcuffs as brass knuckles. Texas is the worst place in America to be transgender, as evidenced by two widows whose marriages were legally challenged after their husbands' deaths. Christie Lee Littleton's marriage was declared illegal after she brought a suit against her dead husband's doctor. That set the legal precedent for the whole state, which means Nikki Araguz faces an uphill battle after her firefighter husband died on duty last year. Her in-laws are challenging the death benefits she's entitled to receive.
It's no secret that I love Wikipedia, which I consider one of the grandest and most radical social experiments of our time, and the very best example of what the free culture movement offers for the world's future. I even love Wikipedia critics. There's nothing I love more than to improve an article after some whiny-baby complains about its quality with a copypasta example. For instance, novelist Jonathan Lethem was bagging on "the infinite regress of Wikepedia [sic] tinkering-unto-mediocrity" the other day. Too bad The Atlantic has no way for readers to fix that typo in the way I updated the article on Blake Edwards' cult classic The Party, which was the object of Lethem's scorn. He seems to miss the point that an encyclopedia article, even one about a screwball comedy, is supposed to be dry, factual, and not especially screwball. Just the facts, ma'am. I also love that his snapshot of the page is no longer that relevant.
In the past I have discussed Wikibumps (like the spike of a million readers who checked out the Salvia article in the week after the Miley Cyrus bong video) and the Click to Jesus game, where you see how few links it takes to get from a random Wikipedia article to the Jesus article. Here are a couple of other good reasons to love Wikipedia and its sister projects which you may not have seen:
I hope you'll swing by, learn some things, maybe improve something (they even have a secure server option). There is still plenty to do, and it will never be completed. At the very least, just marvel at the possibilities for the future of free culture embodied in the project. What are some of your favorite things about it? Please share in the comments.
AC/DC's Back in Black was the first album I bought with my own money. The severity of their badassness has only increased in the ensuing three decades. Now comes New Jersey resident Chris Marion, whose YouTube channel adds choreographed fire to some of the best straight-ahead rock ever recorded, including Mötley Crüe and Black Sabbath (the latter unsurprisingly DMCA'd out of existence by Ozzy and Sharon's people). Oh, and because I am always interested... what was the first album (or if you're a whippersnapper, mp3) you bought with your own money? (via last.fm)