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.
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)
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.
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.