michel gondry

The inimitable Michel Gondry: “I had questions about the complexity of the world, and how we all have a short time on Earth but it all amounts to something really complicated. Maybe it’s something that replaced my spiritual beliefs which have sort of gone away—to find a reason why we can work together in such an intricate way. And the innate vision of things seems to have a logic behind it. I remember taking a train to go to Paris when I was a kid, and you see all the buildings going by, and the intricacy of the city just on an architectural level. This got me to think, ‘How it is possible that all these masses of people find ways to work together in such a big city?'”

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Anthropocene

David Thomas Smith’s Anthropocene series looks at global landscapes that have been transformed by humans. Each image is composited from thousands and thousands of thumbnails extracted from Google Maps screen grabs; which are then reconstructed piece by piece using Photoshop to produce such incredibly detailed images.

 

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ted talk on happiness

An interesting little nugget from Matt Killingsworth’s fascinating TED talk on happiness:

“Mind-wandering is likely a cause, and not merely a consequence, of unhappiness.”

EDIT He’s just launched a ‘new scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living’. Interesting.

 

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The xx

In a modern-day chain letter, The xx sent their latest album to one fan, allowing them (and us) to see word of mouth in action.

Farrell: “In this day and age, a lot of how bands interact with fans online is to reward them with something new and innovative. To get people excited. The xx were a word-of-mouth band, so we thought this was a way to go back to that sense of self-discovery and fans sharing of music. The visualizer paints that picture in stark detail.”

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palindrome

This is nuts. With more than 62 vigintillion individual notes (that’s 62 with sixty-three zeros) this is the longest palindrome ever composed:

Composed by Daniel Starr-Tambor, this piece has been crafted to include the ‘musical signature’ of it’s author: the stereo imaging is arranged to reflect the exact position of the solar system at the moment of his birth, from the perspective of the Sun as it faces the constellation Libra, so that each note chronicles his birthday on every planet. In-fucking-sane.

He explains:

Over the summer, I had begun to think about Mandala a little more and wondered if I could do Scriabin justice and figure out the actual ‘sound’ of the solar system with which to combine its rhythm. I revisited both ancient and modern philosophies and explorations into ‘Musica Universalis’ and the planetary pitches, but each theory seemed to draw upon relative distances and ratios within the heavens, which I found unconvincing. It was my belief that for actual sound to exist, there would have to be undeniable evidence of an organic sine wave pattern, and relative distance simply didn’t translate to that. It was while twisting an acorn between my fingers that I realized the surfaces of each planet move through space following the shape of a sine wave, because when the speed of revolution is faster than that of rotation, nothing ever circles ‘backwards’ as we might sometimes imagine. It was a very exciting time and the next three weeks were spent working on the math. It felt as though the patterns of the universe were beginning to unravel before me, and every day a new revelation presented itself, and every night I found myself dreaming in numbers! At times it was exhilarating, and at others it was excruciating, but by August 21 I had the notes of each planet calculated and recognized the parallels to JS Bach and his ‘Art of the Fugue’, which like Scriabin’s Mysterium, was left unfinished at the time of the composer’s death. I played the haunting nine-note chord on the piano, then wrote a letter to an old professor in which I outlined my intention to further uncover the sound and rhythms of the entire solar system, including its moons and beyond.

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Phytoplankton

Sometimes, Phil Plait says,

the best view of the Earth around us is from above. And sometimes that view is amazing, but a reminder that our ecosystem is a dynamic balance… and it’s best that we understand all the forces that can upset that equilibrium.

Like, you know, Phytoplankton seen from space:


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Riding a roller coaster at the speed of light. 

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“One Of The Greatest Speeches Ever Made”

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“This is the Woody doc everybody has been waiting for, and I am delighted that this creative giant is finally assuming his rightful place in the American Masters library” — Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of American Masters.

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There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be. – Douglas Adams

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The street art collective Mentalgassi turned this trailer into a camera as part of Amnesty International’s Making the Invisible Visible campaign. This is how they made massive photo murals of people’s faces and plastered them around Spain.

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There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

Albert Camus

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There are approximately 125 billion galaxies in the universe. The Drake Equation calculates the probability that there is intelligent life beyond Earth at around 100% and some physicists believe we’ll make contact with aliens during this century. But what then? How Dolphins could help us communicate with aliens.

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Music by definition
does not exist.

Moby

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They argue that consciousness of a decision may be a mere biochemical afterthought, with no influence whatsoever on a person’s actions. According to this logic, they say, free will is an illusion. “We feel we choose, but we don’t,” says Patrick Haggard

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“People have been discovering components of DNA in meteorites since the 1960′s, but researchers were unsure whether they were really created in space or if instead they came from contamination by terrestrial life,” said Dr. Michael Callahan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “For the first time, we have three lines of evidence that together give us confidence these DNA building blocks actually were created in space.”

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