Pop surrealism master Mark Ryden has just released a new book, compiling the exquisite paintings from his Gay 90's Olde Tyme Art Show that took place in 2010. The book was published by Rizzoli and designed by the talented Brad Keech of Pressure Printing/Porterhouse Fine Art Editions. More spreads from The Gay 90's below.
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Dan Brown's Inferno will be released on May 14, 2013. Teasers point to Florence, Italy and Dante Alighieri but until this great work of American literature is upon us, it is all speculation. Fueled by the possibility of what secrets lie inside those pages, The Daily Grail's Greg Taylor published an ebook where he explores the strange subjects Brown likely raises in the new novel. Over at TDG, Greg posted some bits from his book, Inside Dan Brown's Inferno:
The Lost Leonardo
A number of art scholars believe that the Palazzo Vecchio (mentioned above) has hidden somewhere within it a lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci, The Battle of Anghiari. Da Vinci is, of course, intimately connected to Dan Brown's works, and so given the likely use of Palazzo Vecchio as a location, this is certainly a topic that could easily be used in Inferno.
There is further support for this possibility in the fact that, on the cover of the Italian cover for Inferno, instead of the coded letters CATROACCR, we find the letters CATROVACER. This seems to be a direct anagram of 'Cerca trova' ('Seek and you will find').* This phrase is directly related to the search for the 'lost Leonardo': an Italian expert in the analysis of art through technological analysis, Maurizio Seracini, has claimed that a mural by Giorgio Vasari within the Palazzo Vecchio, the Battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana hides a clue to Leonardo da Vinci's lost work. In the upper part of Vasari's fresco, a Florentine soldier waves a green flag with the words "Cerca trova" scrawled upon it. So far, however, no-one has managed to find the lost painting.
"Secrets of the Inferno" (TDG)
"Inferno" by Dan Brown (Amazon)
"Inside Dan Brown's Inferno" by Greg Taylor (Amazon)
Boing Boing friend Marina Gorbis is executive director of Institute for the Future, a non-profit thinktank where I'm a researcher. Marina has just published a compelling, provocative, and grounded book about how technology is enabling individuals to connect with one another to follow their passions and get stuff done, outside of large corporations, governments, and the other institutions that typically rule our lives. Marina calls it "socialstructing." I call it making the future better than the present. The following is an excerpt from Marina's book, "The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World." - David Pescovitz
Putting the Social Back Into Our Economy
by Marina Gorbis
My mother never heard the term social capital, but she knew its value well. In the Soviet Union, where she lived and where I grew up, no one could survive without it, and she leveraged her social capital on a daily basis. It enabled her to provide a decent life for her family, even though she was a widow without much money, excluded from the privileged class of the Communist Party. We never worried about having enough food. My sister and I always wore fashionable clothes (at least by Soviet standards). We took music and dance lessons. We went to the symphony, attended good schools, and spent summers by the Black Sea. In short, we enjoyed a lifestyle that seemed well beyond our means.
How was my mother able to provide all these things on the meager salary of a physician in a government-run clinic in Odessa, Ukraine? Social connections were a powerful currency that flowed through her network of friends and acquaintances, giving her access to many goods and services and enabling our comfortable, if not luxurious, lifestyle.
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A real-time, always-on existence without past or a future, origins or goals.
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Famed British horror/dystopian fiction author James Herbert has died at age 69. Herbert was the author of more than twenty scary, science fiction, and/or apocalyptic tales like the 1970s man-eating rodent classics The Rats and Lair, and also The Fog, about an insanity-inducing chemical weapon.
"James Herbert: Master of British horror fiction" (The Guardian)
James Herbert (Amazon)
Old-school bOING bOING pal Douglas Rushkoff has a new book out this week, Present Shock
, and it received a rave review in the New York Times! Congrats, Doug! From Janet Maslin's NYT review:
The ancient Greeks learned about the hero’s journey from Homer’s narratives. We’ve gotten decades of Homer Simpson, who “remains in a suspended, infinite present,” while his audience moves from one satirical pop-culture reference to the next. Citing “Forrest Gump” as a film that failed to combat late-20th-century feelings of discontinuity and “Pulp Fiction” as one wild enough to usher in a new era, Mr. Rushkoff moves on to what came next: the video game open-ended structure that keeps TV drama in the eternal present. About “Game of Thrones” he says, “This is no longer considered bad writing.” Changes to news presentation are even more dramatic. This book describes the present shock of politicians who — thanks to the 24/7 coverage ushered in by “the CNN effect” that began in the 1980s — “cannot get on top of issues, much less get ahead of them.” He notes that both the political left (MSNBC, with its slogan “Lean Forward”) and right (conservatism devoted to reviving traditional values) share this goal: They’re trying to escape the present.
Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff (Amazon)
"Out of Time: The Sins of Immediacy" (NYT)
Kenneth Cukier was on NPR this morning talking about the new book he wrote with Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, "Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think
." It sounds fascinating and relevant to research I'm doing at Institute for the Future on newfound applications of systems thinking in what we're calling the "coming age of networked matter." Here are some choice bits from the interview:
On how Target identifies pregnant customers
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think
"The example comes from Charles Duhigg, who's a reporter at The New York Times, and he's the one who uncovered the story. What Target was doing was they were trying to find out what customers were likely to be pregnant or not. So what they were able to do was to look at all the different things that couples were buying prior to the pregnancy — such as vitamins at one point, unscented lotion at another point, lots of hand towels at another point — and with that, make a prediction, score the likelihood that this person was pregnant, so that they could then send coupons to the people involved... there might be a coupon for a stroller or for diapers ...
On how Google tracks the flu
"Google stores all of its searches. What they were able to do was go through the database of previous searches to identify what was the likely predictor that there was going to be a flu outbreak in certain regions of America. Now, keep in mind, we pay for the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to look at the United States and find out where flu outbreaks are taking place for the seasonal flu. But the difference is that it takes the CDC about two weeks to report the data. Google does it in real time simply on search queries."
The 'Big Data' Revolution: How Number Crunchers Can Predict Our Lives (NPR)
TIME Magazine called Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" routine "the best comedy sketch of the twentieth century," and I find that hard to argue with. I loved listening to it as a kid, and when I hear it today it still brings a smile.
A couple of weeks ago I received a review copy of Who's on First? in the form of a children's book illustrated by John Martz. I left it on the kitchen table planning to read it later in the afternoon. My nine-year-old daughter Jane saw it when she got home from school and started reading it. She ran into my room and said, "This is great. Have you read it?" I explained that it was based on a comedy sketch performed by a couple of old-timey comedians, which didn't interest her. She loved the book, though, and read it to me that night before bed. Martz' version of the story, which stars a rabbit and a bear, has all the goofy humor of the original sketch. I'd love to see it done as an animated cartoon, using the voices of Lou and Bud.
Who's on First?
Finnegans Wake, just published in a new Chinese translation, has become a sleeper hit in China. In just one month, it's sold 8,000 copies and hit number 2 on a Shanghai bestseller list. According to Fudan University professor Dai Congrong, who spent 8 years working on the book, the things lost in translation "are mostly the (long) sentences, because Joyce's sentences are so different from common sentences," says "My translation is more clear than the original book." Wish I owned the Chinese rights to Joseph Campbell's "A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake
"Undaunted Chinese lap up Finnegans Wake"
The Source Family, a magnificent documentary by my friend Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, will see nationwide distribution this spring, starting with a May 1 premier at the IFC Center in New York City. The film tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. Boing Boing is delighted to premier the trailer above. Far fucking out.
The Source Family’s outlandish lifestyle, popular celebrity hangout restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals, controversial spiritual leader Father Yod, along with his 13 wives, instigated local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise. Years later, family members surface and the rock band reforms, revealing how their time with Father Yod shaped their lives in the most unexpected ways. These personal accounts, along with interviews with outsiders, make up the interviews in the film. However, the story is largely cinematic, expressed through the use of the group’s extensive film and audio archive maintained by Isis Aquarian, one of Father's wives, Family documentarian, and a central character in the documentary (as well as being associate producer). The film’s soundtrack is composed entirely of original Source Family music produced from 1971-1975.
The film was inspired by The Source: The Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family, a fantastic 2007 book written by family members Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian, edited by Jodi Wille, and published by our pals Process Media.
The Source Family: A Documentary
Sol Yurick, author of The Warriors (1965), has died. The novel -- which in 1979 led to the classic cult film of the same name -- was inspired by Yurick's experiences working in the New York City Department of Welfare.
“Some of the children of these families were what was then called juvenile delinquents,” Mr. Yurick wrote in an introduction to an edition of “The Warriors” published in 2003. “Many of them belonged to fighting gangs. Some of these gangs numbered in the hundreds; they were veritable armies. This social phenomenon was viewed, on the one hand, as the invasion of the barbarians, only this time they came from the inside rather than from the outside.”
"Sol Yurick, Author of ‘The Warriors,’ Dies at 87
" (NYT, thanks Gil Kaufman!)
I was killing time in a used bookstore last week and ran across a copy of Billy Collins' Picnic, Lightning that became an instant purchase.
Collins' poetry presents images so strong I can only describe them as photography. As that photographer, Collins is a member of your family, your best friend, sharing everyday moments and feelings so vividly they become your memories as well.
The title poem is a clever examination of two words from Nabakov's Lolita and packed with Collins' charming wit. My favorite, however, is This Much I Do Remember, a simple story of a memory being made.
Picnic, Lightning by Billy Collins
When I was finishing grade school the works of Daniel Pinkwater delighted me. I read his stories over and over and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death is a life long favorite.
Reminiscing with an old friend last night brought tears to my eyes. It is amazing how this tale of youth and discovery holds me. Walter's terrible boredom at Ghengis Khan High? Sneaking out to see classic films with Winston Bongo? Beers at Beanbenders? I still want to do these things! My imagination is permanently warped in the most wonderful ways.
I just ordered a copy, the same edition I had as a kid. Next up will be Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars.
The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater
I had a lot of time on my hands this holiday season and decided to get an arduino kit (I have solar panels I want to aim for max efficiency during the day, on a VW van.) A lot of intro titles seemed interesting but Simon Monk's 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius grabbed my attention. Good title!
Sadly, this is no guide to building shark-mountable lasers. There are however a lot of simple, short projects that help you understand building with an arduino controller. Monk uses very clear pictures and schematics to show what needs doing. His text is precise and understandable. The steps are easy to follow and the thing you should learn from an exercise is blatantly obvious. Most importantly these projects are fun! I'm not just making an LED blink or a speaker chirp when I work with this book. Projects like the temperature monitor and computer controlled fan are giving me the foundation I need to aim my solar panels. The results and functions are easy to apply to the types of things I want to do with an arduino.
Lasers would have been nice.
30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius by Simon Monk
Sean Hammer's Cornbread is a dark kindle single that made me laugh.
With an empty life and nothing to look forward to ever, Jenny's sole pride is the cornbread she feeds her husband once-a-week. When Jenny messes up the recipe, everything changes.
Well paced, Cornbread went by just a little too quickly.
Cornbread by Sean Hammer