Andrea James

Andrea James is a writer, director, producer and activist based in Los Angeles. Her work often focuses on consumer activism, the free culture movement, exogenous mysticism, humor, and LGBT rights.

Technology and porn: San Francisco's 1969 rise as 'Smut Capital of America'

NSFW: clip contains nude-idity. Mikl-Em at Laughing Squid has an excellent post today about how San Francisco became the epicenter of the professionalization of America's pornography industry. Sex and early adoption of technology are always closely intertwined, and many new technologies become widely adopted because they improve the means of production and/or distribution of pornography. San Francisco's mix of hippies, recently discharged Vietnam veterans, burlesque halls, and shuttered film houses created a perfect storm of opportunity in 1969 for amateur stag films to evolve into a nascent film industry. I can't wait to see the full-up version of this documentary.

Documentary On When San Francisco Was Smut Capital of the USA (via laughing squid)

Float: ultralight rubber-band-powered duration model planes

Float Documentary Trailer from Phil Kibbe on Vimeo.

These beautiful dragonfly-like model planes can float for up to half an hour under the power of one single-wound rubber band. Check out the trailer for Float posted by Phil Kibbe. Amazing craftsmanship and techniques! Video link. (via devour.com)

Brr.

It looks as if this guy filmed this whole crazy clip himself with no one else around. (via The Awesomer)

Cockfighting rooster kills California man

Cockfight-spur.jpg We've seen matadors get their comeuppance before, but here's another entry in Boing Boing's ongoing series of animal karma: during the commotion at a police raid of a cockfight, one of the roosters decked out with razor-sharp blades cut a guy so badly he died. The headlines write themselves, so please add yours in the comments. Also, cocks.

Tulare County man dies after being cut by knife attached to cockfighting rooster's leg (Tulare Advance Register) Image: Cockfighting spurs via Wikimedia Commons

Hymn to evolution sung by an innocent child

Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.

Boing Boing fave Richard Dawkins points us to Ben Hillman's lovely hymn about evolution that should be taught in all schools. Sung by the angelic Beatrice Athene. Video link

RIP LeRoy "Granny" Grannis, surf photography pioneer

leroy-grannis.jpg 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.

Grannis' amazing black and white photos really give a sense of surf's rapid shift from subculture to mainstream as Gidget and Beach Boys mania took hold. If you love beautiful photo books, the retrospective Leroy Grannis: Surf Photography of the 1960s and 1970s is one of those crazy-expensive Taschen books that really shows his work beautifully. (LA Times obit)

Bryan Lewis Saunders' 15+ years of drug-induced self-portraits

brian-lewis-saunders.jpg Images: Bryan Lewis Saunders self-portraits on crystal meth (left) and huffed gasoline (right).

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!)

Slideshow: This Is Your Artistic Brain on Drugs

Bryan Lewis Saunders: Self-Portraits

"Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul" at Sundance 2011

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)

Iggymoticons

iggymoticon.jpg 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.

Unicorn of the sea chaser (for Chase No Face)

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)

Alex Roman's astonishingly hyper-real CGI animation

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.

Above Everything Else (Video link).

Can Jared Loughner help us get beyond good and evil?

ongchewpeng-devil-jesus.jpg 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.

(Image: Devil vs Jesus (2008) by ongchewpeng at Deviant Art. Print available. Used with permission.)

Read the rest

Zero-gravity space kittehs: then and now

Xeni wisely didn't bring a cat into zero gravity during her trip. Other videos indicate cats don't appreciate it. Apparently, feline veterans of the early days of subjecting cats to zero gravity had it easier than zero-gravity NASAcat in the 80's, who gets tossed and spun like, well... like a cat in a vomit comet. NASA video link. Excerpt link. Full Air Force video link. (airboyd.tv)

UPDATE: I forgot the NOW kitteh! (Video link).

Shooting a super-soaker at -45F

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.

On-duty cop rapes woman, she says; pleads sentence down to one year

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.

Official oppression earns ex-cop a year behind bars