undyingking: (Default)
How do you pronounce the surname of that artist who liked sunflowers and starry nights? I suspect I say it wrongly… but not sure. Crowdsourcing will have the answer!

[Poll #1820257]

(And did you know he lived at various times in Brixton, Ramsgate and Isleworth? I didn't until recently.)
undyingking: (Default)
How do you pronounce the surname of that artist who liked sunflowers and starry nights? I suspect I say it wrongly… but not sure. Crowdsourcing will have the answer!

[Poll #1820257]

(And did you know he lived at various times in Brixton, Ramsgate and Isleworth? I didn't until recently.)
undyingking: (Default)
I had a very early start to today, so need to restore some sanity by closing a few tabs on things that have interested me lately.
  • Million Dollar Babies -- art made by collaging cut-up dollar bills. But much better than that description sounds -- you can click through the several pieces using the discreet Next button.
    "I love all the process. For some of the collages we track how many scraps of paper are glued down. I see that sort of accounting as an interesting extension of the material. When “Liberty” is complete, for example, we’ll be able give statistics on each of her 13 panels individually, and also say that the whole thing took 1234 bills cut into 54,234 pieces, or whatever, and here’s all the scraps we didn’t use."
  • Pokemon Explained -- a terrific article explaining how the majority of the Pokemon TV show makes more sense if one realizes that Ash's bike crash put him into a coma, and the subsequent episodes are a dream. Sadly I suspect this will mean anything only to about one person reading my LJ -- but it really is a work of warped genius, believe me.
    "It also explains how a child can go off on his own into a world full of dangerous and untamed animals, and why town has the same police officer and every Pokemon centre has the exact same nurse. Joy and Jenny he knew from his hometown, and they act as a safety net or anchor, allowing him to feel safe no matter where he goes. Joy and Jenny represent stability. The professors represent Ash’s ideals, which is why Gary became a professor. The fantasy also explains why every time he enters a new region, virtually no one has heard of him, despite his conquests."
  • Bible Diagrams is another work of genius, although slightly more mainstream. It's a collection of diagrams showing a wide assortment of data from the Bible. Here's one about the chronology of the books of the Old Testament, for example. The best thing is puzzling out, for each new diagram, what on earth the symbol convention is. More by the same author on other subjects, such as Star Wars.
    "Author's note: It is a major challenge to present material that does not offend one group or another. Not only is there the division between the traditionalist and non-traditionalist, but among the historians there are competing viewpoints as to the dating or historicity of events. This website tries to include as many perspectives as possible so that they can be compared with each other; no viewpoint should be considered to be preferred in the diagrams."
  • The League of Movable Type -- at the moment web fonts aren't supported in any significant way, but who knows what the future may bring. Flaminia is quite interesting in its own right as a basis for sign-reading experiments.
    "We're not asking type designers and type foundries to sacrifice profit, we're asking them to contribute to a greater cause, to create a community where we not only have a high design standard for print and web alike, but also a community where we're able to share our creations, knowledge, and expertise with our peers and the world."
  • OECD Regional Statistics -- a terrific resource for charting various social and economic indicators across the OECD countries, at a large or small regional level. OK, maybe I'm one of only about ten people in the world who would be excited by this... I could easily waste hours on this site.
    "Regions in OECD countries are classified on two territorial levels to facilitate greater comparability of regions at the same territorial level. The lower level (TL3) consists of 1 681 small regions. All the regions are defined within national borders and in most of the cases correspond to administrative regions."
undyingking: (Default)
  • "It was only when he did not get up to take a bow that anyone realised something had gone wrong."
    This is the sort of story that if you put it in a murder mystery game, it would be dismissed as too absurd. Well done, Mr Hoevels, especially for coming back on the following night.
  • "Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn't step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around."
    Mark Twain was an excellent writer himself, and a still more excelent journalist. Here he demolishes a considerably less excellent pen. This really is a supreme hatchet job; thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sturgeonslawyer for the link.
  • "Using a variety of store-bought teddy bears as ‘species’ source material, I am reverse-engineering what their skulls look like and the differences and similarities between ‘breeds.’ My approach is to make up evidence and document, present, and interpret that evidence in a formal manner."
    I can't remember now where I heard of this artist who makes peculiar sculptures out of felted wool. More power to her needling elbow, say I.
  • "fachys.ykal.ar.ataiin.shol.shory.cthres.ykor.sholdy
    sory.cthar.or.y.kair.chtaiin.shar.are.cthar.cthar.dan"

    I've been doing some reading recently about the Voynich manuscript, that most intriguing document. I hadn't realized that there had been so much respectable textual analysis of it. One day I'll work out a way of using this and other such cryptic artefacts in something creative, but for now it's just interesting to follow the existing delvings int it. (Former UNEXPLAINED players will note that this site is hosted in Nauru, of all places...)
undyingking: (Default)
What it says. Many are familiar buildings, but there were quite a few here that I hadn't seen before. THere's three pages of 'em, and you can vote for your favourites should you so wish.
undyingking: (Default)
Would you like some delicious tasty vinegar in your beer? Don't knock it until you've tried it! Interesting experiment. The first result -- people liked the blind taste more than the idea -- is not surprising these days, we know people are prejudiced against such bizarre-sounding concepts. And the second result, that people liked the taste less if they knew vinegar was going to be in it, is only mildly surprising. But the third, that people still preferred it if they were told afterwards that vinegar was in it, I found remarkable. As the abstract puts it (my italics), "Disclosure of the secret ingredient significantly reduced preference only when the disclosure preceded tasting, suggesting that disclosure affected preferences by influencing the experience itself, rather than by acting as an independent negative input or by modifying retrospective interpretation of the experience."

Birmingham atheists and Wiccans under the council's cosh -- what I find surprising here is that the "system allows staff to look at websites relating to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and other religions". Why? Is this a common exception at workplaces that generally ban leisure Web use? If so, then clearly religious websites are the places to site your games. Surely it can't be that so many of the Council staff have work that involves religious sensitivity etc, they found it easier to make a blanket allowance?

Thomas Doyle makes what are basically snowglobes without (usually) the snow, but each depicts an enigmatic scene. Somehow one gets drawn into speculating who these people are, what they're doing here, etc. It's not obvious to me why I find these so appealing, which is a good sign in itself.

Farah Mendlesohn wrote this interesting essay about the Out of this World series of anthologies. These were pretty much my introduction to "proper" SF -- I read them out of the library, around the age of 11 -- for which I count myself rather lucky. She expresses very well what made them remarkable. I have to admit that at the time I didn't know quite what to make of the stories by Calvino etc that were included alongside the genre greats and Eastern European obscurities, but they all helped form me as an SF reader and gave me the important sense of the artificality of genre boundaries. I now want to track down the books, because there are a number of stoies mentioned here that I haven't seen since but remember loving.
undyingking: (Default)
Don't stare at it for too long!
cut to spare your sanity )

(from here).

Misc

Dec. 5th, 2007 11:26 am
undyingking: (Default)
Various things that have caught my eye just lately:

  • Map of blondeness across Europe -- from [livejournal.com profile] strange_maps. Nothing very surprising revealed, but I think this is a really nice presentation of the information. Notable that eg. the division in England more or less follows the Danelaw boundary. I suspect some of this is guesswork though, I don't suppose all these countries keep hair colour data. (On the source site there's a similar one for light eye colour, which not surprisingly is fairly similar.)
  • Analysis by Google of the way that HTML is coded on "a sample of slightly over a billion documents". OK, this is only really going to be interesting if you write web pages yourself. Plenty of illuminating notes such as "Typos were quite common; the td element, for example, had more pages with widht, witdh, aling, valing, with, and heigth attributes than it had pages with headers attributes." and "There are more <o:p> elements (from Microsoft Office) on the Web than there are <h6> elements." And my favourite: "One conclusion one can draw from the spread of attributes used on the body element is that authors don't care about what the specifications say. Of these top twenty attributes, nine are completely invalid, and five have been deprecated for nearly eight years, half the lifetime of the Web so far."
  • The Culture Archive is basically a collection of old advertising pictures on various subjects. Here's the page about men's ties, and here's the page on beer.
  • Chipwrapper is a simple little app which just pulls the current top headline off all the main UK papers. (Currently mostly about the quaint affair of Mr John Darwin.) And there are variosu RSS feeds, etc, that you can pull off it for your particular needs.
  • "They say cameras add ten pounds, but HP digital cameras can help reverse that effect. The slimming feature, available on select HP digital camera models, is a subtle effect that can instantly trim off pounds from the subjects in your photos!" I was hoping there was something clever involved, but looking at the demo, it seems that they've just compressed the image horizontally. That really is quite pathetic!
  • I'm not sure if this is RSS talker or RS Stalker, but either way it's quite clever I think. It lets you set up an RSS feed to track the price of Amazon products. Which change much more frequently than you might think. No adverts, they don't even take any of your personal data -- their angle is that if you click through to buy the item from the feed, they get the affiliate fee, which seems fair enough. You can even have the RSS track your entire wishlist, if you tell them your email address.
undyingking: (Default)
Not (as you might think) a lesser-known story by H P Lovecraft, but a medieval art treasure, here in Suffolk. We had no idea of its existence, but my mum and stepdad were here on a visit and they mentioned it. Wenhaston is just across the A12 from Southwold, so you can combine it with a visit there (to be honest, the Doom's probably only worth half an hour or so).

It's a painted wooden screen, depicting the Last Judgement, dating from around 1500. As you probably know, such things are very rare in English churches, having been efficiently destroyed during the Commonwealth. This one survived because it had earlier been whitewahsed over -- probably during the reign of Edward VI, which was less thorough in its iconoclasm. It lay forgotten under the whitewash while all around it was smashed by Puritans, until in 1892 the boards were taken out into the churchyard for junking. It rained overnight, the whitewash came off, and the painting was revealed.

The Doom was painted by an anonymous local monk, it's thought. Stylistically it's reminiscent of Bosch and Breughel -- the hell-mouth in particular is a familiar-looking beast. At around the same time, Michelangelo was painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, so it must be admitted that the Wenhaston Doom is not an outstanding work artistically. But we have so little English religious art surviving from that period, so it's an unusual and interesting chance of an insight into early Tudor life.
undyingking: (Default)
" I connected a gas generator and air compressor to buckets of paint and secured them into the seats of a Scrambler amusement park ride. Once the ride was in motion, paint sprayed out of the benches onto vinyl tarps placed underneath. The result is a series of enormous hypocycloid designs which recorded the hidden patterns created by the ride as it turned."

Pictures of the results here: there are videos of it taking place, too.

I think though that to be in keeping with the materials she should have used buckets of different-coloured vomit, rather than paint.
undyingking: (Default)
This ought to be a great idea -- visitors to the website control a paintball gun that shoots at this guy who's locked himself in his room -- but alas I find the input system difficult to understand, and the webcam images distinctly unrevealing. Maybe you can do better -- it looks like he's in bed atm, so go for it, why not.

Also, anyone got an interesting reading of this artwork? (Apart from it being about the existential anomie of a soul howling into the vacuum, of course.)

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