A goal tracker that fines you for failure to achieve, and other links

Friday, 25 September, 2015

Working at a motel in a small town can be tedious sometimes, especially if you’re a teenager. How to liven things up then? Spy on the guests, of course. That’s what happens in Blood Pulls A Gun, the latest short film from Sydney based film director Ben Briand. Via Hypnophant.

How many ways are there to tie shoelaces? Two? Four? Seven? At least eighteen, according to Ian Fieggen, who also includes instructions as to how to tie each and every one. Check out the special purpose knots for occasions such as Halloween.

It’s best things like this do not go unquestioned… the holes at the centre of donuts, or doughnuts, have been shrinking, or at least are far smaller than they once used to be. Now why would that be? Vox is on the case though:

Smithsonian’s history of the donut provides a comprehensive look at the food, and from it we can draw a few guesses about why donut holes shrank. Donut holes are shrouded in legend, but they probably exist to help fry the donut more evenly – without a hole, the center of the donut would end up more raw than the outside.

The problem with conventional “strong” passwords, that should include letters, numbers, uppercase and special characters, is the difficulty in remembering them. The people at xkcd have a better idea for devising secure passwords, that are also a lot easier to remember, in that they adopt what I call a story format. The thing is, how many systems will actually allow their use?

Photo by Agne Gintalaite

Lithuanian artist and photographer Agne Gintalaite doesn’t just see a garage door, she sees but part of a colour palette, and went about photographing, from what I can gather, two hundred doors, for a series called Beauty Remains. See more images here.

The speed of light is the ultimate speed limit of the universe, at least as far as we understand the cosmos at present. In a vacuum, light moves at 299,792.458 kilometres per second. That’s pretty swift. But why does light move at that particular speed? Why not faster, why not slower? That, as it happens, is a very good question…

A further breakthrough came in 1905, when Albert Einstein showed that c, the speed of light through a vacuum, is the universal speed limit. According to his special theory of relativity, nothing can move faster. So, thanks to Maxwell and Einstein, we know that the speed of light is connected with a number of other (on the face of it, quite distinct) phenomena in surprising ways. But neither theory fully explains what determines that speed. What might? According to new research, the secret of c can be found in the nature of empty space.

Anthophobia is a morbid dislike, or fear of flowers. Buy why would anyone be afraid of flowers? Well, if they were ever to rise up, and attempt to subdue us, then there might be something to worry about, an idea that is explored by Valentin Petit, in a short film titled Anthophobia.

Follow these seven simple steps and you too may have a creative breakthrough. Actually the process may not be quite that straightforward, but hopefully it will help set you along the path towards whatever goal you are seeking.

And on the subject of creative breakthroughs and achieving goals, being focused, and having sort of accountability mechanism is vital. For assistance in that regard, look no further than Go Fucking Do It, which allows you to submit a task or goal, a deadline, and then a monetary fine, if you fail to achieve what you set out to do. How does that sound?

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“All Things Must Pass”, the rise and fall of Tower Records

Wednesday, 16 September, 2015

All Things Must Pass

Any customer, regular or not, of the Tower Records megastore in Piccadilly Circus, London, during its heyday in the 1990s, would have had little trouble imagining that the sprawling shop was destined to take its place alongside retail institutions such as Harrods and Marks & Spencer.

And why not, there’d always be demand for records and CDs, wouldn’t there? Not to mention that any visit was more of an experience. Bruce Springsteen’s words, “everybody in a record store is a little bit your friend for twenty minutes or so”, aptly sums up the aura of being there.

Originally founded by US entrepreneur and art collector Russell Solomon in California, in 1960, the Piccadilly Circus store was but one of two hundred stores worldwide, that, at the height of the record store’s empire in the late 1990s, were taking in one billion dollars at the registers.

Yet today the landmark shops, such as the Piccadilly Circus store, where I once whiled hours away, are gone, and the franchise is all but a distant memory. So what happened, what went wrong? Many point the finger at the internet, and Napster like file and music sharing services.

While having some impact, they were only part of the story, which is explored in All Things Must Pass, a documentary by Colin Hanks. The usual suspects of mismanagement, increasing competition, and heavy debt, seemingly contributed more directly to the collapse in 2006.

All Things Must Pass, trailer, opens in US cinemas on 16 October 2015. To date I cannot find any information regarding screenings in Australia, but if it’s something that interests you, then keep an eye on the official film website, or the Facebook page, for any news in this regard.

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Some (but not all) of film’s most beautiful scenes

Thursday, 13 August, 2015

It’s no small task, listing one hundred and twenty-nine of the most beautiful shots in movie history, but BuzzFeed writer Daniel Dalton gives it his best shot.

And as if that were not impressive enough, there’s not an animated GIF to be seen.

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Philippe Petit’s high-wire Twin Towers walk reenacted in “The Walk”

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015

The Walk, directed by Robert Zemeckis, of Back to the Future fame, is a dramatisation of the death defying 1974 attempt by French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, to walk between the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, on a tightrope slung between both buildings.

The illicit undertaking was also the subject of a documentary, Man on Wire, made in 2008 by James Marsh. Aside from what I imagine will be protracted scenes of Petit making the walk, some six hundred metres above the ground, it’ll be interesting to see what the Zemeckis production, that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, can add to the story.

There is no actual motion footage of Petit’s… walk, the accomplice charged with its filming was too tired to operate the camera, when the time came. Knowing that somehow made “Man on Wire” a little easier to watch, though I’m not sure I could sit through an actual reenactment, something the trailer for “The Walk”, offers a glimpse of.

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The (old school) film projector, quite the feat of engineering really

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015

Once upon a time, before movie projectors at cinemas became digital, people called projectionists were required to oversee the entire screening of a film.

Not only did reels have to be changed at various points, depending on the length of the feature, someone probably needed to keep an eye on the actual projector, and the many moving components they consisted of, should something detach or derail unexpectedly. I never realised just how complicated a device a film projector was

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“Sundays”, a short science fiction film by Mischa Rozema

Friday, 10 April, 2015

And to end the week, Sundays, a short science fiction film, written and directed by Mischa Rozema. In a word, amazing.

The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.

Best seen in full screen mode, by the way.

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“Growth Factor”, a short animated film by Ryosuke Oshiro

Friday, 27 March, 2015

A short film, Growth Factor, by Japanese animator Ryosuke Oshiro… a subject matter that seems quite familiar.

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There’s the Oscars, then there’s the Oscars of everything else

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

Perhaps the scope of the Oscars, or Academy Awards, ought to be expanded. We’re talking categories such as most kissing, most death, most time, most music, most running, most cast, most crew, among many other items.

While it is unlikely such awards will be incorporated into this year’s event, The Wall Street Journal has prepared a list of winners nonetheless.

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The VCR glitch and the art that it inspired

Wednesday, 18 February, 2015

Artwork by Corey Johnson

Video, or VCR tapes, may have been cumbersome, and prone to what seemed like all to frequent failure, possibly by way of jamming up, but some of the images, of a movie or recorded TV show, in stalled playback, could sometimes be possessed of a certain intrigue.

These errors, or erratic irregularities, have gone on to inspire Corey Johnson to create a series of eerie yet alluring artworks, some static, some animated, that he calls Art of the Glitch.

Via Kill Screen.

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Some stand out example of film editing in films

Friday, 13 February, 2015

Psycho, JFK, Jaws, Lawrence of Arabia, Bonnie and Clyde, and Apocalypse Now, are among features that top a list of the seventy-five best edited films, as put together by the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

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