Dive into the archives.
- Super Scientifical 4: Space is the place
Image: X Prize Foundation
The American Museum of Natural History just released an amazing short film called “The Known Universe”. It was directed by Carter Emmart for the Visions of the Cosmos exhibition that just opened at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.
It starts out over Mt Everest and then pulls away, Powers of Ten-style, into deep space 9.
Here’s some more info provided by the AMoNH, and if you’re a space nerd like myself, I strongly encourage you to click the links provided…
The structure of The Known Universe is based on precise, scientifically-accurate observations and research. The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History maintains the Digital Universe Atlas, the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe. The Digital Universe started nearly a decade ago. It is continually updated and is the primary resource for production of the Museum’s Space Shows such as the current Journey to the Stars, and is used in live, real-time renderings for Virtual Tours of the Universe, a public program held on the first Tuesday of every month. Last year, some 30,000 people downloaded the Digital Universe to their personal computers, and the Digital Universe will soon be updated with a more accurate and user-friendly software interface. Digital Universe is licensed to many other planetariums and theaters world-wide.
- Xmas: Bad Xmas: Good
Merry Christmas everyone. I’m back in my hometown, where the Great Recession seems to have sucked the life out of most people’s favorite holiday. I’ve never been a big Xmas person, but I do think it’s never a bad thing to take a moment to count your blessings and get your life right. To that end, I want to post up a beautiful, terrifying feature from the latest issue of the New Yorker. It’s a piece of short fiction called ‘Diary of an Interesting Year’ by the British writer Helen Simpson.
DIARY OF AN INTERESTING YEAR
February 12, 2040. My thirtieth birthday. G. gave me this little spiral-bound notebook and a Biro. It’s a good present, hardly any rust on the spiral and no water damage to the paper. I’m going to start a diary. I’ll keep my handwriting tiny to make the paper go further.
February 15th. G. is really getting me down. He’s in his element. They should carve it on his tombstone: “I Was Right.”
February 23rd. Glad we don’t live in London. The Hatchwells have got cousins staying with them—they trekked up from Peckham (three days). Went round this afternoon and the cousins were saying the thing that finally drove them out was the sewage system—when the drains backed up, it overflowed everywhere. They said the smell was unbelievable. The pavements were swimming in it, and of course the hospitals are down, so there’s nothing to be done about the cholera. Didn’t get too close to them in case they were carrying it. They lost their two sons like that last year.
“You see,” G. said to me on the way home, “capitalism cared more about its children as accessories and demonstrations of earning power than for their future.”
“Oh, shut up,” I said.
March 2nd. Can’t sleep. I’m writing this instead of staring at the ceiling. There’s a mosquito in the room, I can hear it whining close to my ear. Very humid, air like filthy soup, plus we’re supposed to wear our face masks in bed, too, but I was running with sweat, so I ripped mine off just now. Got up and looked at myself in the mirror on the landing—ribs like a fence, hair in greasy rats’ tails. Yesterday the rats in the kitchen were busy gnawing away at the bread bin, they didn’t even look up when I came in.
March 6th. Another quarrel with G. O.K., yes, he was right, but why crow about it? That’s what you get when you marry your tutor from Uni—wall-to-wall pontificating from an older man. “I saw it coming, any fool could see it coming, especially after the Big Melt,” he brags. “Thresholds crossed, cascade effect, hopelessly optimistic to assume we had till 2060, blahdy blahdy blah, the plutonomy as lemming, democracy’s massive own goal.” No wonder we haven’t got any friends.
He cheered when rationing came in. He’s the one who volunteered first as car-share warden for our road; one piddling little Peugeot for the entire road. He gets a real kick out of the camaraderie round the standpipe.
—I’ll swap my big tin of chickpeas for your little tin of sardines.
—No, no, my sardines are protein.
—Chickpeas are protein, too, plus they fill you up more. Anyway, I thought you still had some tuna.
—No, I swapped that with Violet Huggins for a tin of tomato soup.
Really sick of bartering, but hard to know how to earn money since the Internet went down. “Also, money’s no use unless you’ve got shedloads of it,” as I said to him in bed last night. “The top layer hanging on inside their plastic bubbles of filtered air while the rest of us shuffle about with goiters and tumors and bits of old sheet tied over our mouths. Plus, we’re soaking wet the whole time. We’ve given up on umbrellas, we just go round permanently drenched.” I stopped ranting only when I heard a snore and clocked that he was asleep.
April 8th. Boring morning washing out rags. No wood for hot water, so had to use ashes and lye again. Hands very sore, even though I put plastic bags over them. Did the face masks first, then the rags from my period. Took forever. At least I haven’t got to do nappies, like Lexi or Esmé—that would send me right over the edge.
April 27th. Just back from Maia’s. Seven months. She’s very frightened. I don’t blame her. She tried to make me promise I’d take care of the baby if anything happens to her. I havered (mostly at the thought of coming between her and that throwback Martin—she had a new black eye, I didn’t ask). I suppose there’s no harm in promising if it makes her feel better. After all, it wouldn’t exactly be taking on a responsibility—I give a new baby three months max in these conditions. Diarrhea, basically.
May 14th. Can’t sleep. Bites itching, trying not to scratch. Heavy thumps and squeaks just above, in the ceiling. Think of something nice. Soap and hot water. Fresh air. Condoms! Sick of being permanently on knife edge re pregnancy.
Start again. Wandering round a supermarket—warm, gorgeously lit—corridors of open fridges full of tiger prawns and fillet steak. Gliding off down the fast lane in a sports car, stopping to fill up with thirty litres of petrol. Online, booking tickets for “The Mousetrap,” click, ordering a crate of wine, click, a vacation home, click, a pair of patent-leather boots, click, a gap year, click. I go to iTunes and download “The Marriage of Figaro,” then I chat face to face in real time with G.’s parents in Sydney. No, don’t think about what happened to them. Horrible. Go to sleep.
Read the rest here.
But, despite its historically high suicide rate, we’re not meant to spend the holiday season on the dark side, current or future, so here’s a ray of sunshine that we at the McGetrick house have been basking in for the past few days. Bob Dylan’s ‘Must be Santa’:
Fa la la la la… la la la la
- VERY FEEL feel good clip of the week: Your Father
Man I was just perusing Gawker’s collection of the 100 best viral videos of 2009 and found this 24 second ode to joy. I don’t know how I missed this, considering just how goddamn VERY FEEL this joint is…
Now, I don’t know anything about who this is or where it comes from. I don’t know if this is capturing one of those getting-ready-for-a-big-night early evening hype up showers and one of those just-got-home-from-a-big-night late morning afterglow showers. Or whether this dude is just living a 24-hour party life and this was filmed at like 2 pm on a Tuesday. All I know is that homeboy is bleeding joi de vivre and I salute him. Happy holidays!
- Listen up: DJ Haas – Bring the Rain
The newest/latest from my friend Jeroen AKA DJ Haas. I guess being a DJ is sort of like being a writer and for best results you should ‘mix what you know’. Haas is a native of water logged Holland, where it has apparently been raining for the past two weeks. Bring the Rain is his response and it is awesome. Check the tracklist to see what I mean…
DJ Haas – Bring the Rain
right-click + save target as (windows) / save link as (mac)
1 – SWV – Rain
2 – Alexander O’Neil – Can you stand the rain
3 – Ashanti – Rain on me
4 – B.I.G. – Somebody’s gotta die
5 – Raekwon – Rainy Dayz
6 – Mary J Blige – Everyday it Rains
7 – Soul 4 Real – Candy Rain
8 – Orange Juice Jones – Walking in the rain
9 – Janis Joplin – I can’t stand the rain
10 – Ann Peebles – I can’t stand the rain
11 – Tina Turner – I can’t stand the rain
12 – Missy Elliot – I can’t stand the rain
13 – U Brown – The big licking stick
14 – Lee Scratch Perry – Rainy night dub
15 – The Dramatics – In the Rain
16 – 21st Century – Remember the rain
17 – Joe Chambers – Mind rain
18 – Freddie Hubbard – Here’s that rainy day
- VERY FEEL feel good clip of the week: RIP FotC
I just found out that one of my favorite TV shows, Flight of the Conchords is ending after just 2 wonderful seasons. I don’t know why or what its creators, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, will do next, but for now let’s just recognize the passing of another wicked show. There are so many hilarious clips floating around, but this one, ‘Part time model’ was the first I ever saw and for some reason is still my favorite.
And here’s a little bonus montage that I think demonstrates the show’s clever chit chat, an aspect that gets much less attention than it’s musical segments…
Pour some liquor.
- Portraits of Power
This past September, when nearly all the world’s leaders were in New York for a meeting of the United Nations, Platon, a staff photographer for this magazine, set up a tiny studio off the floor of the General Assembly, and tried to hustle as many of them in front of his lens as possible. For months, members of the magazine’s staff had been writing letters to various governments and embassies, but the project was a five-day-long improvisation, with Platon doing his best to lure the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chávez, and Muammar Qaddafi to his camera.
A great concept, expertly executed. Even better, the feature is interactive and multimedia, complete with short clips of Platon describing the circumstances around every session. (Obama refused to sit, Berlusconi was loving it, Khadafi has ‘no eyes’.) Check it here.
There’s 50 leaders featured in total, but here’s one personal favorite, Mohamed Nasheed, President of Maldives, who Platon apparently photographed twice without realizing it. The Maldives is a collection of over a thousand tiny islands located in the Laccadive Sea off the coast of Sri Lanka. 80% of its islands are less than a meter above sea level, making Maldives the front line of climate change. Some estimates say that rising sea levels will make it uninhabitable by the end of the century.
To draw attention to his country’s plight, earlier this year Nasheed organized the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting.
In explaining his reasoning behind it, he issued my favorite quote of 2009:
“What do we hope to achieve? We hope not to die.”
More on that story here.
Thanks to lovely Lee for the link…