Pauline Oliveros, pioneering avant-garde composer, RIP

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Pauline Oliveros, the avant-garde composer and accordionist who developed the influential experimental musical theories of "deep listening" and "sonic awareness," has died. She was 84 years old. Oliveros was a collaborator of minimalist and electronic music pioneers Terry Riley and Morton Subtonick and beloved director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s after its move to Mills College.

“In hearing, the ears take in all the sound waves and particles and deliver them to the audio cortex where the listening takes place," Oliveros once said. "We cannot turn off our ears–the ears are always taking in sound information–but we can turn off our listening. I feel that listening is the basis of creativity and culture. How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.”

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A beautiful ghost rainbow

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Landscape photographer Melvin Nicholson captured this stunning shot of a ghost rainbow, aka white rainbow or fog bow, in Rannoch Moor north of Glasgow, Scotland.

Like rainbows, fogbows are caused by sunglight reflecting off water drops. However, as NASA explains:

The fog itself is not confined to an arch -- the fog is mostly transparent but relatively uniform.The fogbow shape is created by those drops with the best angle to divert sunlight to the observer. The fogbow's relative lack of colors are caused by the relatively smaller water drops. The drops active above are so small that the quantum mechanical wavelength of light becomes important and smears out colors that would be created by larger rainbow water drops acting like small prisms reflecting sunlight.

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Watch low-flying jet almost clip man

That Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet is probably not as close as it appears, but still too close for comfort.

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A Thanksgiving Prayer from William S. Burroughs

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Thirty years after William S. Burroughs wrote his "Thanksgiving Prayer" and sadly it's never been more relevant.

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How to make a fish from a palm leaf

"If you don't have a palm tree nearby, try using long strips of paper instead," writes Grant Thompson, aka The King of Random.

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Watch Warhol eat a Whopper

Andy Warhol eats a Whopper, from Jørgen Leth's 1982 documentary/art film "66 Scenes from America," a collection of moving "postcards" from the United States.

According to YouTube user Hidden Below, who posted this clip, Warhol eating the burger is "a classic ASMR trigger scene, so if you got ASMR you might wanna bookmark this video for a good time."

Noted.

(via Weird Universe)

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Pastor sprays insecticide on believers to "heal them"

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Lethebo Rabalago, pastor of the Mount Zion General Assembly (MZGA), in Limpopo, South Africa, sprays his congregants with Doom Super Multi Insect Killer to heal them of various ailments. From CNN:

A post from Saturday (on Rabalago's Facebook page) was captioned as if quoting a congregant, saying: "I came here with a pain on my back and stomach. Now, after the prophet sprayed me with Doom I am healed. My nose was blocked since last week, but after the prophet sprayed me with Doom I feel coming out of my nose. I thank God for healing me."

When reached by phone, Rabalago declined to answer CNN's questions about his use of bug spray and hung up. MZGA could not be reached for comment, but in an interview with South African TV channel eNCA Rabalago said that God had told him to use Doom, and that he had healed countless people using it.

Tiger Brands, makers of Doom, issued a statement that the practice is "extremely concerning" and "that it is unsafe to spray Doom Super Multi Insect killer or any other aerosol spray for that matter, into people's faces." Read the rest

You too can smell like President-elect Trump

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"It's a rose flavor; it's an orange flavor; it's lemony," said President-elect Trump about one of his signature fragrances. And he had several, dating back to a 2004 partnership with Estée Lauder on Donald Trump, The Fragrance, that apparently smelled of "hints of mint, cucumber and black basil.” The two more recent fragrances had the alluring names of Success (2012) and Empire (2015). According to the Environmental Working Group, Success by Trump Eau De Toilette Spray, Empire by Trump Shower Gel, and Donald Trump the Fragrance Eau de Toilette contained various toxins.

The various Trump fragrances have been discontinued but you can find enough of a supply on eBay to last you the next four years.

Also this from Weird Universe: "In a case of satirical prophecy, back in 1992 MAD magazine had imagined a Trump fragrance line:"

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Watch Lego Stranger Things

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More fun than the Lego Batman Movie?

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No Aloe Vera in "Aloe Vera" sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS

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Bloomberg News hired a lab to analyze samples of store brand aloe gel purchased at Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS. As the first or second ingredient (after water), all the products listed aloe barbadensis leaf juice — another name for aloe vera. None of the samples contained any. From Bloomberg:

Aloe’s three chemical markers — acemannan, malic acid and glucose — were absent in the tests for Wal-Mart, Target and CVS products conducted by a lab hired by Bloomberg News. The three samples contained a cheaper element called maltodextrin, a sugar sometimes used to imitate aloe. The gel that’s sold at another retailer, Walgreens, contained one marker, malic acid, but not the other two. That means the presence of aloe can’t be confirmed or ruled out, said Ken Jones, an independent industry consultant based in Chapala, Mexico.

Target Corp. declined to comment. Spokesmen for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said their suppliers confirmed to them that their products were authentic.

"No Evidence of Aloe Vera Found in the Aloe Vera at Wal-Mart, CVS" Read the rest

Was Jesus an extraterrestrial?

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In 1954, a London taxi driver named George King received an extraterrestrial mental telegram informing him that he's been deemed the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament. Motivated by his new cosmic position, he launched the Aetherius Society to spread the spiritual teachings of extraterrestrial gurus like Buddha, Sri Krishna, Confucius, and Jesus. Sure, why not. King died in 1997 but the Aetherius Society lives on. MEL Magazine's Jonathan Parks-Ramage paid them a visit:

“The biggest reason why the Aetherius Society is here, why the Cosmic Masters came to earth, is because the Mother Earth has to change,” Keneipp says. “She’d held herself back for hundreds of thousands of years because she’s providing mankind a home to evolve. She’s been told by the karmic lords that she can no longer hold herself back. And so the big push by the Cosmic Masters is to raise as many people up so that they will be able to get to a point where they will enter a new age here on earth.”

Essentially, the Society’s goal is to lift Mother Earth’s burden with love and prayer, a task helped by descended Cosmic Masters like Jesus and Buddha.

Inspired by his new religion, Keneipp soon abandoned the pre-med program at SIU, deciding instead to moved to Los Angeles in 1978. Keneipp devoted his life to the church, working directly with George King as he expanded his religion. I ask Keneipp what it was like to work for King during those formative years.

His response surprises me.

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Designing airplane interiors to feel bigger than they are

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A commercial airline is no Tardis ("bigger on the inside") but designers and engineers do use several techniques to reduce your claustrophobia in the sky.

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Listen to "Another Brick in the Wall" played on traditional Korean gayageum

Gayageum virtuoso Luna Lee's intense cover of "Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)."

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Street photographer's fantastic series of "then and now" photos

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Peterborough, England photographer Chris Porsz's Reunions photo series and book presents his remarkable street snapshots of myriad characters taken in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s juxtapozed with those same individuals at the location of the original photographs. See more: Reunions

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Hello Dad, I'm in Jail

Enjoy the delightful music video for the Was (Not Was) song "Hello Dad, I'm in Jail" (1987), directed by Christoph Simon. This clip was a favorite of many viewers of Liquid Television, MTV's fantastic animation showcase produced in the early 1990s by Boing Boing's pals at Colossal Pictures. (Thanks, UPSO!)

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This person designs alarm sounds to wake,warn, annoy, or otherwise alert you

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Carryl Baldwin, a professor of cognition and applied auditory research, designs and tests sounds for "use as alarms in household, aviation, medical, and automotive settings." Atlas Obscura explores the art and science of making sounds that convey a spectrum of urgency:

One of the main considerations is the annoyance factor. To test for annoyance in the lab, says Baldwin, “we’ll construct sounds and we’ll look at all of the different acoustic parameters, so we might vary, for instance, intensity, frequency, the number of harmonics, how fast it ramps up and down, the temporal characteristics—like whether it’s going d-d-d-d-d-duh rapidly or duhhhh-duhhhhh-duhhhh.”

The faster an alarm goes, the more urgent it tends to sound. And in terms of pitch, alarms start high. Most adults can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz—Baldwin uses 1,000 Hz as a base frequency, which is at the bottom of the range of human speech. Above 20,000 Hz, she says, an alarm ”starts sounding not really urgent, but like a squeak.”

Harmonics are also important. To be perceived as urgent, an alarm needs to have two or more notes rather than being a pure tone, “otherwise it can sound almost angelic and soothing,” says Baldwin. “It needs to be more complex and kind of harsh.” An example of this harshness is the alarm sound that plays on TVs across the U.S. as part of the Emergency Alert System. The discordant noise is synonymous with impending doom.

"An Alarm Designer on How to Annoy People in the Most Effective Ways" (Atlas Obscura) Read the rest

New show of Scott Albrecht's exquisite deconstructed typographical art opening in L.A.

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My friend Scott Albrecht, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer who creates fantastic typographical illustrations and hand-crafted, puzzle-like wood sculptures, has a show of remarkable new works opening on Saturday (11/19) at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery in Los Angeles.

"(Scott's) abstraction and deconstruction of type forms combined with his sophisticated color theory and surface treatments yield artworks that are immediate, yet command a deeper and closer look," Shepard says.

The exhibition, titled "New Translations," runs until January 7. Below is a preview of the show. Valley Cruise Press has also published a hardcover, full color book of Scott's work, available here. From the gallery:

The works are largely based in typography but have their legibility masked in a variety of techniques; bold color-blocking, varying depths, non-uniform grids, or a lack of spacing between words. This manipulation can make the work appear pattern-based at first glance; however, on further evaluation the viewer discovers there is no repetition. While his works are constructed from a literary idea, Albrecht's approach is mainly visual. In a series of new pieces for the exhibit, this process is underscored when he overlays two words on top of one another, and in some instances reverses the order of the characters. The end result renders the characters illegible with the exception of small moments or clues from the two words, visually presenting two ideas that are at odds with each other, hindering any idea from manifesting.

Albrecht's woodworks are the result of an extensive process that starts with a hand-rendered drawing and requires hours of precision production work.

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