Sunday, 31 October 2010

FTW

There are quite a few videos doing the rounds of the Internet that show people failing at various things. But I'm a positive kind of guy and I prefer to spread the win rather than the fail. So here is a great compilation of some people simply being awesome. Enjoy!


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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Awesome Track

Sometimes some things are just too awesome to spoil with words. Just watch the greatest Micro Machines track ever. Yes, I realise it is fake.


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Friday, 29 October 2010

Firesheep

Screenshot of Wireshark 1.0 on ubuntuImage via WikipediaThere has been a big noise in the media this week regarding a new extension to the Firefox browser called Firesheep. Due to the fundamentally insecure way in which some popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon etc, handle the logon process, it has long been possible to capture the session information of a user by way of the Wireshark tool or similar provided you're both on a hub based network or an unencrypted wireless network. However it has required a modicum of skill.

Firesheep has meant that anyone can do it. Sat in my local McDonalds armed with my laptop and Firesheep, I was presented with several targets within a matter of minutes, I could even see their photographs to identify who I was scanning. A simple double click and I was logged in as them. Luckily for them, I am an upstanding citizen and immediately logged out having satisfied myself that Firesheep lived up to it's claims. However with more and more of us storing some pretty personal information on these sites, they may not be so lucky next time.

Firesheep was written and released by Eric Butler at this year's Toorcon and really highlights the misplaced trust that we put in to our favourite online activities. It will hopefully prompt the powers to be to finally implement some proper security.
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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Does Canon Measure Up?

After my post about Pachelbel's Canon recently, a faithful reader of e-clecticism (who wisely wants to remain anonymous) sent me the following rendition. I have to say that this may well be my new favourite version. :-)


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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Generic News Item

I don't know about other countries of course but here in the UK it would seem that Charlie Brooker's illustration of a typical news item from the tabloid television fraternity is right on the money. This was taken from Charlie's excellent Newswipe series.


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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

DubFX

DubFX is a beatboxer with a difference. Making use of a sampler and some loop effects he builds up layers of sounds and then sings over the top. This really sets him apart from other guys I have seen because he actually has a pretty good voice. Reminiscent of  the Dublin band The Script a little.


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Monday, 25 October 2010

Colour Cycling

This is rather nice. An image rendering done is an 8 bit style. If you move your mouse across the image, the colour pallette is shifted to give a different effect. Christophe Guebert is the author and you can see more of his work here.


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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Bassoforte

Diego Stocco is one of the coolest muscicians I have come across. You might remember the post I made about him when he performed music on a tree. Well this time he has decided to create a hybrid musical instrument from the old piano which lives in his garden.

Few days ago I started thinking about how I could re-purpose the keyboard of the dismantled piano I keep in the garden, so I thought to build a new instrument by combining it with some other parts I had laying around.
I ended up with this mechanical hybrid thing I thought to call "Bassoforte" (bass + pianoforte).

The neck is from a broken electric bass, as a bridge I used a cabinet handle, the pickups are from a guitar, and the part at the top where the strings are attached is a chimney cap, which works as resonator as well as percussive sound.
The track I created is a tribute to my Dad who is a big fan of Western comic books and "spaghetti western" films, and because of him I am too.
More information can be found here.


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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Clock Time

Regular readers may remember my post about NuFormer. The company that projects very cool animations on to buildings. I'm not sure if the following is one of their's or not, but it is too good not to post.

This is the astronomical clock in Prague which celebrated the 600th anniverary of its construction this year. Enjoy!


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Friday, 22 October 2010

Young Photographer

At just 3 years old, young photographer Ruby Ellenby captured the attention of her hometown with her first solo exhibition in San Francisco. Tonight, Ruby’s story has now been featured on NBC Nightly News. The piece offers a mini behind-the-scenes peek at how Ruby goes about shooting, and some of her fans share their thoughts.


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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Sun and Moon

Just take a look at this truly stunning photograph. (Click to enlarge). This is yet another fantastic shot from NASA. Take a look here for many more superb examples.

On Oct. 7, 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, observed its first lunar transit when the new moon passed directly between the spacecraft (in its geosynchronous orbit) and the sun. With SDO watching the sun in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, the dark moon created a partial eclipse of the sun.
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Validation

Sorry folks it's a bit of a schmaltzy one today, but I loved this multi-award winning short film and wanted to share it it with you. At sixteen minutes I realise it is a bit longer than my usual offerings, but please watch it to the end, I'm sure you won't regret it.


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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Have You Seen My Mommy?

There is absolutely nothing geeky about today's post. It is simply that I saw this video and nearly sprayed coffee over my monitor. I just hope it makes you laugh as much as it did me.


Confused Lamb Can't Find Owner - Watch more Funny Videos
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Monday, 18 October 2010

Going West

Going West is a stop motion animation made by Andersen M Studio for the The New Zealand Book Council, to promote reading. The attention to detail and the unusual execution really made this stand out for me. Take my advice and listen to it through headphones. Enjoy!


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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Canon

My favourite piece of classical music has to be Canon by Johann Pachelbel. A very popular choice for weddings, it is normally performed by a string quartet. True to the definition of a canon, it features three "voices" playing the same music, only they enter one by one, each after a delay. In Pachelbel's canon, there is a fourth voice, a basso continuo which plays an independent piece which of course fits perfectly. Traditionally an arrangement of three violins and a cello or like the version below, the cello is replaced with a truly baroque sounding organ and a lute for that little bit extra.



OK, that's the purist's version, but there are also some great rock adaptations and I thought I'd share two extremes for you. The following is Canon Rock performed by the superb talent that is Lim Jeong-hyun aka FunTwo.



And finally, a remarkable rendition by Anthony Deaton performed using two different guitars, one for each hand. Using the tapping technique I talked about here.


Canon in D par Anthony Deaton
Uploaded by Seta-san. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.
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Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Egg

The first chapter of B'reshit, or Genesis, wri...Image via WikipediaI'd like to share another short story with you today. It's along similar lines as this one, but with a slightly different viewpoint. It was written by Andy Weir and you can find more of his work here. It's called The Egg.

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.
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Friday, 15 October 2010

Ink Sculptures

The Canon Pixma printer ad campaign is simply stunning. The photographs and videos were created by wrapping a membrane around a small speaker. Ink drops were placed on this membrane and the speaker was turned on. Once it began to vibrate the ink begins to jump up and down. High-speed video cameras and still cameras were used to capture this including circling around the sculptures to see them from all angles. Experimenting with different sounds and frequencies created the various pieces. See the making of video below with the commercial at the end.


Canon Pixma: Bringing colour to life from Dentsu London on Vimeo.
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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

ArcAttack

ArcAttack are a band from Austin Texas, but are a band with a difference. It is probably best if I let their website explain.

Creators of the original Singing Tesla Coils, the crew of ArcAttack uses their high tech wizardry to generate a truly 'electrifying' performance. Two custom engineered hand built Tesla Coils throw out electrical arcs up to twelve feet long, each one acting as an instrument with a sound reminiscent of the early days of the synthesizer. A robotic drum set accompanies the spectacle, it's high power LED's flashing bright colors with the stroke of each mechanically actuated stick, while ArcAttack's six members churn out rhythmic instrumental melodies. Live instruments meet drum loops and samples to produce rock, electronica and indie with a splash of punk and a dash of metal served with a side of pop. During the show, the MC engages both the crowd and the Tesla Coils by walking through ½ Million Volt sparks wearing the relatively thin layer of his chain mail Faraday suit. This high power performance is unique in it's elements and energy, being at the same time mesmerizing and energetically thrilling.
Did you get that? They narrowly avoid electrocuting themselves at very high-voltage in the name of music. Awesome! Check out an early test of the Faraday suit and then a full performance from this years Maker Faire.


Star Wars Theme Imperial March bobine tesla coil
Uploaded by FilmGeek-TV. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.


ArcAttack!
Uploaded by makemagazine. - More college and campus videos.
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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Coachella

Photographer Sam O'Hare was tasked with filming this year's Coachella music and arts festival. He filmed it using the tilt-shift technique I have talked about several times before and I have to say it came out wonderfully. You can read Sam's side of the story here.

Enjoy!


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Monday, 11 October 2010

Codeorgan

Well this is certainly different. This is Codeorgan. It analyses the code of any web page and translates that content into music. Apparently it uses a complex algorithm to define the key, synth style and drum pattern most appropriate to the content of the page. As the site explains...

Firstly, the Codeorgan scans the page contents and removes all characters not found in the musical scale (A to G), and then analyses the remaining characters to find the most commonly used 'note'. If this is an even number, the page is translated in the to the major pentatonic scale of that particular note, it becomes minor if there is an uneven number.

Secondly, the Codeorgan defines which synthesiser to use. This is based upon the total number of characters used on the page – There are currently 10 effects and the one chosen is picked based upon the percentage of content.

Lastly, the Codeorgan selects a drum loop based upon the ratio of characters on the page versus the number of characters that are actually musical notes – There are currently 10 different loops to pick from.
I have to say that e-clecticism did not produce a particularly tuneful creation, but maybe your favourite site will do better.


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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Online Map

Did you see the date and time I posted this? People that know will know just how pleasing that is to me. :-)

I've blogged about the wonderful xkcd before. The cartoons are always witty and inciteful but this one is a bit different. This is a map of the many online communities to be found on the Internet. The size of each "country" is relative to the amount of daily activity that takes place on each site. If it makes one thing clear, it's that Farmville is a bigger problem than I realised.

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Saturday, 9 October 2010

Africa

Have you ever listened to something and it moves you so much that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? It happens to me occasionally and it happened listening to this. A real life Glee style jazz choir called Perpetuum Jazzile from Slovenia conducted by Tomaž Kozlevčar performing at what they call Vokal Xtravaganzza in 2008. The song is Africa by Toto and I just love the simulated thunder storm at the beginning. Enjoy!


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Friday, 8 October 2010

BBC Life - Plants

This is very impressive. Photographer Tim Shepherd spends two years creating a time-lapse tracking shot of an English woodland's plants growing that lasts just sixty seconds. This was part of the BBC Life series called Plants, narrated by the wonderful David Attenborough.


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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bottle

I hope you enjoy this short stop motion animation by Kirsten Lepore called Bottle. Animated on location at a beach, in snow, and underwater, it details a transoceanic conversation between two pen-pals via objects in a bottle.


Bottle from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.
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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Troll Hunter

Director Andre Ovredal has made a mockumentary about a group of students who discover that trolls are, in fact, quite real, and that the local authorities are going out of their way to hide their existence from mankind. “The Troll Hunter” has been doing the viral marketing thing for the past few weeks, culminating in the trailer you see below. This, of course, should not be confused with Guillermo Del Toro’s recently-announced “Trollhunters”, which is an entirely thing.

I think for a subtitled film from Norway, this will still be well worth seeing.


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Monday, 4 October 2010

Homemade Spacecraft

Like many young boys I dreamt of being an astronaut when I grew up (I still haven't grown up) and I guess Luke Geissbuhler was no different. Luke decided to take his curiosity a step further than astronomy though and build a homemade spacecraft. Equipped with a HD camera, a weather balloon, a GPS device, FAA approval and other bits and pieces he made the following video.


Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.
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A New Look

kosmic blogging in samsaraImage by ~C4Chaos via Flickr
Visitors to the actual blog pages (rather than reading via Facebook, Twitter, RSS reader etc) will notice a new look. I thought it time for a change and so I have begun a re-design. I'm not done yet, but I have much of the layout finished. I'm going to add some more widgets and generally spruce up the look.


I have had to reset the visitors map by the way (now found on the toolbar at the bottom of the page) so please hurry and fill that up again. If you spot any other problems, please let me know in the comments.
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Sunday, 3 October 2010

8BITS

This is a bit different. An short animation that pays homage to the old 8 bit computer games. It's a little violent and contains some language so you have been warned if that is not your thing. A website gives more information.


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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Music & Passion

Time for another of the wonderful TED talks and this one is a doozy. The wonderfully talented and eccentric Benjamin Zander on music and passion. Benjamin has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realise our untapped love for it...and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

I have watched this talk over and over and it still makes me grin. For that reason I'm going to dedicate it to my friend Daisy who is not feeling too well at the moment but I'm sure it will make her grin as well.


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