Chinese developers are vying to build a massive China-themed retail center and casino in New York's Catskills. The 600-acre project is called "China City of America" and, surprise, it's highly controversial. I think it might do better in the hometown of hyperreality, Las Vegas! You can see the pitch at the China City of America site and read about it below:
"Developers pitch bringing a piece of China to Sullivan County" (YNN)
"Mysterious China-themed 'city' proposed in New York’s Catskills" (Fox News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)
Caltech physicist Ken Libbrecht wrote the book on snowflakes. In fact, he is the author of several, including the Field Guide to Snwoflakes and The Secret Life of a Snowflake. We've posted before about Libbrecht's work and now he's the subject of a Smithsonian profile, The Art and Science of Growing Snowflakes in a Lab. Below, a fantastic animated gif of a snowflake's growth, accelerated.
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Co-founded by my pal David Katznelson, the Idelsohn Society is a nonprofit dedicated to the musicology of great old Jewish music by the likes of Irving Fields, Gershon Kingsley, and The Barry Sisters. Their new compilation explores the intersection of Jewish and Latin culture, or as they describe it, "bagels and bongos, Spanish and Yiddish, manteca and schmaltz, that’s been a bubbling undercurrent of American pop music since the early 1900s." The two-CD set, It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story, 1940s-1980s, features mambo movers by the likes of Tito Puente, Abbe Lane, Carole King, Herb Alpert, and many more. Above, Ruth Wallis sings the title track. Check out a couple more cuts here.
If you're in San Francisco tonight, there's a CD release party tonight (12/5) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum with records spun by DJ Oro11 and DeeJay Theory of Tormenta Tropical, noshes by my favorite Jewish deli Wise Sons, and a cash bar! Party details here.
It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story, 1940s-1980s (Amazon)
Christine Fox, the former mathematician at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar who inspired Kelly McGillis's character in Top Gun, has become the first female Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two role at the Pentagon. Fox will serve in an "acting capacity" until a permanent person is confirmed for the job by the Senate. (CNN)
The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper received this returned mail last week. The USPS label says: “Not deliverable as addressed. Unable to forward.” No surprise, considering the letter was mailed in 1945 and the intended recipient had moved from that address before 1970 and has since died. The reporter who mailed the letter is also long dead. "How did a 68-year-old letter get delivered to the Chronicle?"
Japanese tire dealer Autoway released this commercial to scare you into remembering the importance of good traction. I think that's the point anyway.
Eye Sea Posters sells vintage 1960s and 1970s Polish film and theater posters that embody what I love about avant-garde illustration and design of that era. I want them all. (Thanks, We Buy Your Kids!)
Artists Maotik & Fraction created this glitchy, brain-melting installation at the 2013 MUTEK art/music festival in Montreal. Titled "Dromos," it's meant to push on the concept of dromology, the perception of a compression of space-time. The creators were inspired by trendy French intellectual Paul Virilio who theorized that "Today we are entering a space which is speed-space ... This new other time is that of electronic transmission, of high-tech machines, and therefore, man is present in this sort of time, not via his physical presence, but via programming." (via designboom, thanks Lyn Jeffery!)
KQED created this video of the 2013 Science Hack Day San Francisco organized by BB pal Ariel Waldman! More than 200 people -- makers, scientists, artists, designers, etc. -- spent the night at the California Academy of Sciences and hacked on a fantastically diverse and compelling assortment of prototypes, demos, and experiments. Ariel says "Here's how you can organize a Science Hack Day in your own city!"
Via the Toys and Techniques blog, Franco Potenza's "Vita e lavoro nell'acqua" ("Life and work in the water"), c.1969, is a beautiful example of library music meant to accompany underwater-themed visuals. In the media business, library music is music that's usually owned outright by a company and then licensed to customers who use it as soundtracks for TV shows, radio programs, and industrial films. There's still a wealth of amazing vintage library music warping away on vinyl in warehouses, basements, thrift stores, and record shops around the globe awaiting rediscovery by intrepid crate-diggers.
Previously: "BBC radio documentary on Library Music"
The Health High School Vaud building in Vaud, Switzerland was turned into a low-res display with the window shutters as pixels. It was a very fun art project by NOTsoNOISY Guillaume Reymond and Trivial Mass Production. "Animated TowerHESAV s'anime!" (via Devour)
After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:
The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.
* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.
It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one!
Forget everything you think you hate about New Age music. I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1999 is a stunning compilation of beautiful, chill, complex, psychedelic, trancy, spacey, and surprisingly deep music that was self-published and self-distributed, mostly on cassette tapes in a 1970s and early-1980s heyday of experimentalism. Of course, this was before major labels saw gold beside the crystals, wrapped the worst of the music in truly bad (as opposed to good bad) cover art, and unleashed marketing magick that forever stigmatized the genre. But the music on I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990 is something else entirely.
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Back in May, aboriginal rangers placed a motion-sensing camera near Western Australia's Margaret River to collect images of crocodiles. The camera disappeared. Recently though, another ranger found the camera about 110 kilometers away. It appears that a sea eagle had snatched it. (ABC News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)