Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto and The Roots perform the "Super Mario Bros." theme

Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other videogame masterpieces, sits in with Questlove and The Roots.

Read the rest

The lore of haunted television sets

We've posted previously about Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), the weird sounds in electronic recordings that some paranormal researchers insist are actually voices of spirits. But I didn't realize that EVP is part of a larger genre of ghostly phenomena called Instrumental Transcommunication "said to occur on devices as varied as television sets, radios, computers, handheld devices such as ipods or iphones, and even fax machines," according to Mysterious Universe. In the 1970s and 1980s, one popular medium for these ghosts in the machine were television sets. (Remember Tobe Hooper's excellent 1982 film Poltergeist?) From Mysterious Universe:

Throughout the 1970s and 80s the ITC phenomenon as it relates to TV really got its roots, becoming quite popular with researchers of the weird, and there were numerous supposed video and audio recordings of these TV bound ghosts at the time. The investigators in these cases claimed that this phenomenon had even been documented with TVs that were turned off or completely unplugged.

One of the pioneers of using televisions to try and pick up signals from the dead was a German ITC researcher named Klaus Schreiber, who used an apparatus that he called the “Vidicomin,” which used a video camera aimed at a TV set that was switched on but not attached to an aerial, and the signal looped the output from the camera back into the TV. This loop was said to produce dramatic results, with various faces apparently blooming out from the white noise on sets, and on one occasion an actress from Austria named Romy Schneider supposedly clearly appeared on a TV in one such session years after her death.

Read the rest

Pantone's color of the year

screenshot

The Pantone Color Institute announced its "color of the year" and it is Pantone 15-0343, aka "Greenery."

“We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense,“ Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, was quoted saying in the New York Times. “This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”

Read the rest

Watch some fantastic coin stacking

screenshot

In the (soundless) video above, @thumb_tani demonstrates his masterful coin balancing. (via Laughing Squid)

Read the rest

Trailer for Jim Jarmusch's documentary about Iggy Pop

I can't wait to finally see Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch's documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges!

Read the rest

How to get rid of ear worms

earworm_character

Annoying song stuck in your head? This BrainCraft video explains that listening to it from beginning to end may free you from its burden. It's a technique based on the Zeigarnik effect, the tendency we have to remember things which are uncompleted.

To try it yourself, listen to this first:

Read the rest

Search of Oakland's burned Ghost Ship warehouse ends: 36 people died

screenshot

Firefighters and police have announced that they completed their search of Oakland's smoldering Ghost Ship warehouse, the artist community that burned during an electronic music party Friday night. A total of 36 people died. Our deepest sympathy goes out to those who lost friends and family in this heartbreaking tragedy for the Bay Area's creative community and beyond. What a loss.

The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts organized a Fire Relief Fund for victims.

(via SFGATE) Read the rest

Hear the din of cafes, showers, crackling logs, and other great ambient sound sites

Several years back, we posted about the wonderful site youarelistening.to, a strangely soothing mix of ambient music and police radio chatter (!) from various cities. Youarelistening.to isn't the only source of lovely and relaxing field recordings and ambient noise though. Here are a few of DIGG's favorites:

Coffitivity

If your cup of coffee isn't giving you the kick you need, flipping on Coffitivity might be a good next step. Coffivity provides the cozy and comforting sounds of a cafe (which can help you focus according to scientific research) in six flavors, including Paris Paradise, Texas Teahouse, and Brazil Bistro.

Virtual Shower

Mimicking the sounds of the room in the house where everyone does their best thinking, Virtual Shower also boasts a temperature setting that changes the color of the page. You can't hear it, but you'll know it's there.

Blazing Logs Another simple one. Flip this year-round-yule log on to hear the crackle of a fire and not much else.

"The Most Relaxing Ambient Sound Sites On The Internet" (DIGG) Read the rest

Far-out new essay anthology by Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Iain Sinclair, Gazelle Amber Valentine, and more

screenshot

Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can read editor John Reppion's introduction to the collection for free. Here's a description of what lies inside the book:

Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.

Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.

Spirits of Place, edited by John Reppion Read the rest

Venerable 1990s indie rockers Creeper Lagoon reuniting

My pals in Creeper Lagoon are reuniting for the 25th anniversary of San Francisco's Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival in February! The indie troupe emerged in the early 1990s from Cincinnati and San Francisco's underground music scene with a stream of influential indie releases and grew to alt.rock fame with their excellent 2001 album "Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday" before disbanding. (Dig the video above for "Wrecking Ball" from that album. It'll be a joy to see Creeper on stage again February 26 at Bottom of the Hill.

Other fine acts performing at Noise Pop include Rogue Wave, Ty Segall, Vince Staples, MSTRKRFT, Cloud Nothings, Dawes, Deafheaven, and dozens more.

Read the rest

Trailcam photos of naked, tripping man who thought he was a tiger

lsd

UPDATE: As I had cautioned, The Mirror indeed had its "facts" muddled. According to this October article in Vice, the photos seen here are actually from the woods around the University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station. No idea if the fellow was actually tripping or thought he was a Siberian tiger. Shame, as the below story is quite delightful.

Original uncorrected post:

This gentleman from Liberec, Czech Republic was reportedly tripping on LSD to combat depression when he began to hallucinate that he was a Siberian tiger. He then stripped naked and pursued imaginary prey for miles along the Czech-Poland border where he was spotted on trailcams. According to the Mirror, "police said that, because the man did not have any drugs with him, he was only fined and will not face any further charges."

If this story is true, I hope the fellow had fun and that the experience alleviated his depression.

Read the rest

Gamers blindly navigate a digital maze with input only from brain stimulation

color-experiment-photo

In a new experiment at the University of Washington, test subjects navigated a virtual maze without seeing it. The only input they had were cues delivered in the form of magnetic zaps to the backs of their heads, stimulating particular regions of their brains. From UW Today:

The subjects had to navigate 21 different mazes, with two choices to move forward or down based on whether they sensed a visual stimulation artifact called a phosphene, which are perceived as blobs or bars of light. To signal which direction to move, the researchers generated a phosphene through transcranial magnetic stimulation, a well-known technique that uses a magnetic coil placed near the skull to directly and noninvasively stimulate a specific area of the brain.

“The way virtual reality is done these days is through displays, headsets and goggles, but ultimately your brain is what creates your reality,” said senior author Rajesh Rao, UW professor of Computer Science & Engineering and director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.

“The fundamental question we wanted to answer was: Can the brain make use of artificial information that it’s never seen before that is delivered directly to the brain to navigate a virtual world or do useful tasks without other sensory input? And the answer is yes.”

Read the rest

Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, and Mel Blanc's US Army cartoon warning against loose lips (1943)

snafu

Private Snafu was the US Army's series of instructional cartoons from World War II, written and/or directed by the likes of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Chuck Jones, and PD Eastman. The voice of Private Snafu is performed by Mel Blanc (Buggs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.). In this episode, written by Dr. Seuss and titled "Spies," Private Snafu learns a military secret but he can't seem to keep his lips sealed. Note the grossly racist depiction of an Asian man, sadly typical of the era.

Read the rest

Open letter about climate change from scientists to Trump

PXZOMFFPhseXXYY-800x450-noPad

More than 800 American energy and Earth science researchers have signed a letter to Donald Trump outlining six steps they're urging him to take to address human-caused climate change to protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” The letter is accompanied by a public change.org petition to "Tell Trump To #ActOnClimate." Here is that open letter:

To President-elect Trump

We, the undersigned, urge you to take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change. We write as concerned individuals, united in recognizing that the science is unequivocal and America must respond.

Climate change threatens America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety. Some communities are already experiencing its impacts, with low-income and minority groups disproportionately affected.

At this crucial juncture in human history, countries look to the United States to pick up the mantle of leadership: to take steps to strengthen, not weaken, this nation’s efforts to tackle this crisis. With the eyes of the world upon us, and amidst uncertainty and concern about how your administration will address this issue, we ask that you begin by taking the following steps upon taking office:

1. Make America a clean energy leader.The vast majority of Americans - whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent - support renewable energy research and deployment5. Embrace the enormous economic opportunities of transitioning to an energy-efficient, low-carbon society. Use part of your $1 trillion commitment to infrastructure development to expand democratized clean energy, boost U.S. competitiveness, and put America to work8. Since 2008, the cleantech industry has created one out of every 33 jobs in the United States.

Read the rest

Literal music video interpretation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

screenshot

No escape from reality. (Corridor)

Read the rest

Hugo Gernsback's 1963 television eyeglasses anticipated virtual reality

MjgzNTU2Mw

This oft-seen wonderfully weird photo depicts Hugo Gernsback wearing his "teleyeglasses" in 1963. Gersnback, an inventor of such innovations as a combination electric hair brush/comb and a battery-powered handheld illuminated mirror, is best known to science fiction fans as the founder of Amazing Stories magazine! Gernsback coined the term "science fiction" and the Hugo Awards are named in his honor. But back to the history of his teleyeglasses, as discussed in IEEE Spectrum:

A Life magazine profile of Gernsback in July 1963, when he was 78, described his “teleyeglasses”:

He now invents only in broad outline, leaving the actual mechanics of the thing to others. His television eyeglasses—a device for which he feels millions yearn—constitute a case in point. When the idea for this handy, pocket-size portable TV set occurred to him in 1936, he was forced to dismiss it as impractical. But a few weeks ago, feeling that the electronics industry was catching up with his New Deal-era concepts, he orders some of his employees to build a mock-up.

The teleyeglasses weighed about 140 grams and were built around small cathode-ray tubes that ran on low-voltage current from tiny batteries. (The user faced no danger of being electrocuted, Gernsback promised.) Because there was a separate screen for each eye, it could display stereoscopic images—much like today’s 3D virtual-reality glasses. Noting the massive V-type antenna protruding from the teleyeglasses, Life described the effect as “neo-Martian.”

"The Man Who Invented VR Goggles 50 Years Too Soon" (IEEE Spectrum) Read the rest

Making of the creatures in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

screenshot

Enjoy this "creature featurette" with director Gareth Edwards and Creature Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan introducing us to the strange characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Read the rest

More posts