homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

The Sparks Brothers

posted by Jason Kottke   May 17, 2021

Edgar Wright has directed a documentary on a band called Sparks, which was formed by brothers Ron & Russell Mael in 1967 and the trailer (above) hails as “your favorite band’s favorite band”.

How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Edgar Wright’s debut documentary THE SPARKS BROTHERS, which features commentary from celebrity fans Flea, Jane Wiedlin, Beck, Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman, and more, takes audiences on a musical odyssey through five weird and wonderful decades with brothers/bandmates Ron and Russell Mael celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks: your favorite band’s favorite band.

The Sparks Brothers will be in theaters on June 18.

"The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. You’re no longer playing as an avatar in Fortnite or Roblox; you’re playing as yourself across Twitter, YouTube, Discords, work, projects, & investments."

TIL that my home internet service (that I use for producing @kottke) is not actually "broadband". No wonder my kids complain about Fortnite lagging.

Chances are you've probably experienced "psychic numbing" at some point during the last year and a half.

Coming in Jan 2022 from @michaelharriot, Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America.

Who can do what through the where now?

What's the opposite of a Rube Goldberg machine called?

A useful thread from @waxpancake about the crisis in Gaza

Incredible fly-by video of Mount Rainier taken from a recent Delta flight.

Quick Links Archive

Watch as David Hockney Pages Through His Sketchbook

posted by Jason Kottke   May 17, 2021

This is a treat: artist David Hockney wordlessly flipping through one of his sketchbooks from 2019 for 6 minutes. For the first few minutes, I thought that some verbal annotation would be nice, but it’s actually perfect as-is — you can just focus on looking. (via open culture)

  listen to the latest episode of kottke ride home  

“Maybe We Need Masks Indoors Just a Bit Longer”

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2021

Since yesterday’s announcement, I’d been feeling uneasy about the CDC’s decision to update its guidance to state that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most situations indoors or out. Zeynep Tufekci’s piece in the Times nails why.

It’s difficult for officials to issue rules as conditions evolve and uncertainty continues. So I hesitate to question the agency’s approach. But it’s not clear whether it was responding to scientific evidence or public clamor to lift state and local mandates, which the C.D.C. said could remain in place.

It might have been better to have kept up indoor mask mandates to help suppress the virus for maybe as little as a few more weeks.

The C.D.C. could have set metrics to measure such progress, saying that guidelines would be maintained until the number of cases or the number vaccinations reached a certain level, determined by epidemiologists.

The vaccine is on its way to controlling Covid-19 in the US — but we’re not there yet. We’re not the UK or Israel…they’re further along in their vaccination campaigns and their daily cases and deaths are way down, warranting behavioral changes. In the US, over 600 people/day are still dying of Covid-19 and our case positivity rate is still above 3%. Too many people, including almost all children, are still vulnerable and as Tufekci says, the CDC could have waited a few more weeks to more quickly drive down the virus levels.

Update: The CDC’s move has been sharply condemned by National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses:

“The union noted that more than 35,000 new cases of coronavirus were being reported each day and that more than 600 people were dying each day. “Now is not the time to relax protective measures, and we are outraged that the C.D.C. has done just that while we are still in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century,” Ms. Castillo said.”

And Ken Schultz notes that the needle the CDC is trying to thread here might not work out the way that they’d hoped.

Imagine the social preference ordering is:

1. Unvaccinated wear masks, vaccinated don’t.
2. Everyone wears masks.
3. No one wears masks.

Selfish, short-sighted behavior and the inability to monitor vaccination status mean that, in trying to get #1, you can end up at #3.

So I trust the CDC’s position that #1 is socially desirable from a scientific perspective. But by undermining mask mandates, they have made it more likely that we end up in #3, which science says is still risky. Living with #2 for now respects both science and social science.

A 12-Mile Video Walking Tour of Paris

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2021

Walking, cities, Paris, and YouTube are four of my favorite things, so this 5.5-hour, 12-mile video walking tour of Paris is right up my alley. Along the way, they visit the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the market on Rue Mouffetard, the Jardins du Luxembourg, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and lots more. If you turn the closed captions on, you can read about the histories of the places as the walk progresses. Hopefully this will tide me over until I can visit again. (via open culture)

Banksy Graffitied Walls And Wasn’t Sorry

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2021

the cover of Banksy Graffitied Walls And Wasn't Sorry

Banksy Graffitied Walls And Wasn’t Sorry is biography of street artist Banksy written for children by Fausto Gilberti. Gilberti has also written kid’s books about other artists: Jackson Pollock Splashed Paint and Wasn’t Sorry, Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry, and Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry.

Fauxliage - Disguised Cell Phone Towers

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2021

disguised cell phone towers

disguised cell phone towers

disguised cell phone towers

For the past several years, Annette LeMay Burke has been traveling the American West in search of disguised cell phone towers, collected in a project she calls Fauxliage.

As disguised cell phone towers proliferate, I find it ironic that instead of providing camouflage, their disguises actually unmask their true identities. The towers have an array of creative concealments. They often impersonate trees such as evergreens, palms, and saguaros. Some pillars serve other uses such as flagpoles or iconographic church crosses. Generally the towers are just simulacra. They are water towers that hold no water, windmills that provide no power, and trees that provide no oxygen. Yet they all provide five bars of service.

The photos are also available in book form. (via the morning news)

David Bowie as Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton as David Bowie

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2021

photo of David Bowie and Tilda Swinton with their faces digitally swapped

It’s photoshopped (the original is here) but still. Mercy.

Everyday Objects, Sliced

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2021

a sculpture of a shoe sliced apart and put loosely back together

a sculpture of a camera sliced apart and put loosely back together

Fabian Oefner takes physical objects apart and puts them back together into exploded/fragmented sculptures.

The sculptures of the Heisenberg Series are based on Werner Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle. This theory states, that you can not measure two separate parameters of a particle simultaneously. You can either determine one parameter and ignore the other or vice versa, but you can never know everything at once.

Oefner took this idea from the world of physics and created an artistic equivalent of it. The sculptures are made of five different everyday objects: shoes, a clock, a tape recorder and a black box. The artist filled these with resin and carefully sliced them into hundreds of individual parts. He then rearranged the slices into a distorted new version of the object, that lets you see its inner workings.

Through this transformation, the objects have a peculiar effect on their observer: When you look at them from a distance, you can easily identify the object. However, if you start to get closer to observe its inner workings, the shape of the object starts to get distorted and vanishes completely. As an observer you are never able to observe the object as a whole and its inner workings simultaneously. The more accurately we see one view, the less clearly we see the other.

When I first glanced at Oefner’s images, I thought they were uninterestingly digital — 3D-generated images digitally manipulated or some such — but they’re real-world things actually sliced apart. (via colossal)

Bart Simpson feat. Daft Punk & Giorgio Moroder

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2021

Part of what makes this so good & funny is the obvious level of care put into making it, right down to the smallest details. The audio distortion? Perfect lip syncing? The Doppler effect?! It’s just a meme, you didn’t have to go so hard! (via the xoxo slack)

“Renewable Energy Is Suddenly Startlingly Cheap”

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2021

Writing in the New Yorker and citing a report by Carbon Tracker Initiative, Bill McKibben provides some hope that we can address the climate crisis.

Titled “The Sky’s the Limit,” it begins by declaring that “solar and wind potential is far higher than that of fossil fuels and can meet global energy demand many times over.” Taken by itself, that’s not a very bold claim: scientists have long noted that the sun directs more energy to the Earth in an hour than humans use in a year. But, until very recently, it was too expensive to capture that power. That’s what has shifted — and so quickly and so dramatically that most of the world’s politicians are now living on a different planet than the one we actually inhabit. On the actual Earth, circa 2021, the report reads, “with current technology and in a subset of available locations we can capture at least 6,700 PWh p.a. [petawatt-hours per year] from solar and wind, which is more than 100 times global energy demand.” And this will not require covering the globe with solar arrays: “The land required for solar panels alone to provide all global energy is 450,000 km2, 0.3% of the global land area of 149 million km2. That is less than the land required for fossil fuels today, which in the US alone is 126,000 km2, 1.3% of the country.” These are the kinds of numbers that reshape your understanding of the future.

But world governments will need to invest in renewable energy sooner rather than later and fossil fuel companies will fight tooth and nail to slow the transition to renewables. If they win in slow-walking the response to the climate crisis, as McKibben puts it, “no one will have an ice cap in the Arctic, either, and everyone who lives near a coast will be figuring out where on earth to go”.

Winners of the 2021 Type Directors Club Design Awards

posted by Jason Kottke   May 12, 2021

Peace + love mural

Apple icons

book cover for Black Futures

signage for the SF Symphony

The Type Directors Club has announced the winners of their two design competitions: TDC67 Communication Design and 24TDC Typeface Design. (via print)

Who Invented Heavy Metal?

posted by Jason Kottke   May 12, 2021

In this video, Polyphonic explores the roots of heavy metal, from the increasingly distorted guitar sounds in 50s blues to the fast-picked guitars of surf rock to the heavy rock of English groups like The Who and The Beatles to the first metal bands, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. (via open culture)

11 Reasons to Keep Wearing a Mask After You’re Vaccinated and the Pandemic is “Over”

posted by Jason Kottke   May 12, 2021

two people wearing face masks

  1. You 100% do not want to get Covid-19.
  2. You are immunocompromised. Millions of people have immune conditions that make contracting Covid-19 much more dangerous for them.
  3. You’re traumatized from “the mental and emotional toll of the last year”.
  4. Because you need to be around people you suspect may not be vaccinated or taking Covid-19 seriously (e.g. as part of your job).
  5. You’re not feeling well and want to make sure to protect others around you.
  6. Because you want to signal to others that you are being safe and thinking of the health and wellness of those around you.
  7. You live in a household with unvaccinated people (kids, for example) and want to make sure to protect them.
  8. Because your personal risk tolerance is lower than other people’s.
  9. You need some time to feel comfortable enough taking your mask off around others after more than a year of that very behavior being dangerous.
  10. Because you want to.
  11. But mostly because it is NONE OF ANYONE’S GODDAMN CONCERN if you choose to keep wearing a mask. Fuck off! Mind your own business!