Monday, September 15, 2014

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Bob Dylan: "Anybody Can Make A Video" (Radio.com Minimation)



"On Minimation, we comb through the archives of legendary New York radio station WNEW-FM and animate interviews with legendary rock artists. This installment is taken from a 1985 interview with Bob Dylan, where he discusses his feelings about the then-budding art form of music videos. This minimation was created for Radio.com by Elliot Lobell.

Bob Dylan’s 1966 short film for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is often cited as being one of the first music videos. Shot and released decades before there was any real outlet for the medium, it was something of a curiosity at the time. But in 1985, when this interview was recorded, it was a much different era. MTV was becoming a dominant cultural force, and it was pretty much mandatory that artists made at least one video (if not more) to promote their new albums. Ever the contrarian, Dylan’s mood on music videos had cooled by then.

“I don’t mind making videos,” he said. “It’s fake, it’s like making a movie, it’s all fake.” This, by the way, was two years before he’d co-star in the otherwise-forgettable 1987 flick Hearts of Fire , which he co-starred in with Rupert Everett and pop singer Fiona.
“Anybody can make a video. Anybody. All you need is a camera.”

Oddly enough, his son Jesse Dylan, went on to be a director of films as well as videos: his resume includes clips by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (“A Face in the Crowd”), Tom Waits (“God’s Away on Business”) and the Black Keys’s immortal “Lonely Boy” (which, to be fair, anybody could have made). Oh, and also a little 2008 video called “Yes We Can” that possibly helped get a president elected."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rustle, Tingle, Relax: The Compelling World of A.S.M.R.

Now I understand. More than one person has commented on my voice in some of my pen videos on YouTube. They've ranged from 'You sound like Clint Eastwood' (really? :-)), to 'His voice puts me to sleep' (I always took that as a negative, but maybe not!), to 'Your voice is perfect for A.S.M.R.'.

I looked up the definition of A.S.M.R. at the time, but it was only after reading this article in the NY Times just now that I learned how big this phenomenon is, and how many YouTube videos there are which address this.

"By STEPHANIE FAIRYINGTON

A few months ago, I was on a Manhattan-bound D train heading to work when a man with a chunky, noisy newspaper got on and sat next to me. As I watched him softly turn the pages of his paper, a chill spread like carbonated bubbles through the back of my head, instantly relaxing me and bringing me to the verge of sweet slumber.

It wasn’t the first time I’d felt this sensation at the sound of rustling paper — I’ve experienced it as far back as I can remember. But it suddenly occurred to me that, as a lifelong insomniac, I might be able to put it to use by reproducing the experience digitally whenever sleep refused to come.

Under the sheets of my bed that night, I plugged in some earphones, opened the YouTube app on my phone and searched for “Sound of pages.” What I discovered stunned me.

There were nearly 2.6 million videos depicting a phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response, or A.S.M.R., designed to evoke a tingling sensation that travels over the scalp or other parts of the body in response to auditory, olfactory or visual forms of stimulation.

The sound of rustling pages, it turns out, is just one of many A.S.M.R. triggers. The most popular stimuli include whispering; tapping or scratching; performing repetitive, mundane tasks like folding towels or sorting baseball cards; and role-playing, where the videographer, usually a breathy woman, softly talks into the camera and pretends to give a haircut, for example, or an eye examination. The videos span 30 minutes on average, but some last more than an hour."



Click on the link to read the complete article and to follow links to some example videos. Pretty fascinating!

Link to NY Times article

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Memory Wall



See how one man is honoring Afghanistan veterans with his amazing memory.

Ron White
Arlington, TX
Phone: 972-801-5330
Website: http://americasmemory.com/

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dolphins Guide Scientists to Rescue Suicidal Girl



One day, my research team and I were following a school of bottlenose dolphins near shore as we do on a regular basis in the waters off Los Angeles, California. We just wrapped up our photo-identification work and were moving on to take video of dolphin social interactions and enter data on behavior.

The dolphins were still feeding in circle near shore, when suddenly, one individual changed direction heading out toward deeper water. A minute later, the rest of the school turned to follow. We were so accustomed to tracking these coastal metropolitan dolphins back and forth within a few hundred meters of the beach, that seeing them abruptly leave a foraging ground and change direction came as a surprise to the research team. I decided to follow them.

The dolphins increased their speed, still heading offshore as I pushed the throttle ahead to keep pace while one of my researchers recorded this hasty change in behavior on the sighting form. Somewhere near three miles offshore the dolphin group stopped, forming a sort of ring around a dark object in the water.

“Someone’s in the water!” yelled my assistant, standing up and pointing at the seemingly lifeless body of a girl. For a moment, we were silent. Then, slowly, I maneuvered the boat closer. The girl was pallid and blonde and appeared to be fully clothed. As the boat neared, she feebly turned her head toward us, half-raising her hand as a weak sign for help.

I cut the engine and called the lifeguards on the VHF radio. They told us not to do anything until they arrived on site but it was our unanimous feeling that if we didn’t act immediately, the girl would die. We decided to ignore lifeguard’s instructions, instead pulling the frail and hypothermic body on board. I called the lifeguards back and informed them that she was alive and that we had her aboard and we were heading back to Marina del Rey, the closest harbor, as quickly as possible.

“She is cyanotic,” said one of my researchers, also a lifeguard, after a cursory examination. “She has severe hypothermia. We need to get her warm!” We managed to get some of her wet garments off and wrap her in a blanket. We took turns keeping her warm by huddling with her under the blanket.

The girl was around eighteen and probably foreign because we couldn’t seem to communicate. We tried speaking French, Italian, and Spanish to no avail and she was barely able to speak but none of us could understand what she was saying. I couldn’t avoid noticing a plastic bag tied around her neck. It was sealed and seemed to contain her passport and a folded handwritten note. Somewhere near the harbor, we met up with the lifeguard rescue boat. We handed her off to them and followed them back to port.

A couple of hours later, we were all waiting outside the emergency room at the Marina del Rey hospital. The ER doctor came out to talk with us. The girl, it seems, would pull through, and he thanked us for our quick action. He tells us the girl was vacationing in L.A. from Germany and, as the letter found in her plastic bag explained, she was attempting suicide. If we hadn’t found her, if the dolphins hadn’t led us offshore when they did, to that specific place, she would have died.

Busy as we were trying to save the girl, we completely lost track of the dolphins. What might they have done with her if we hadn’t been there? Might they have tried to save her? There are many anecdotal accounts of dolphins saving humans from death and disaster, either by guiding them to shore, fending off sharks or helping them to remain afloat until help arrives.

Many scientists think dolphins do not, in fact, save humans because there is not enough hard scientific evidence to support these stories. But that day I witnessed coastal bottlenose dolphins suddenly leave their feeding activities and head offshore. And in doing so, they led us to save a dying girl, some three miles offshore. Coincidence?

This article has been adapted from the book Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist (Chicago University Press, 2012).

Maddalena Bearzi has studied the ecology and conservation of marine mammals for over twenty-five years. She is President and Co-founder of the Ocean Conservation Society, and Co-author of Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins (Harvard University Press, 2008; paperback 2010). She also works as a photo-journalist and blogger for several publications. Her most recent book is Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist (Chicago University Press, 2012).

Friday, May 30, 2014

Andromeda and the Milky Way: A Merger of Galactic Proportions



The Andromeda nebula, which rarely feels the pull of the social media orbit, had a moment in the spotlight on Wednesday. Astronomers operating NASA’s Swift satellite spied what looked like a giant burst of radiation from Andromeda, the nearest big galaxy to our own Milky Way, about 2.5 million light-years from here. They tentatively diagnosed it as the collision of two neutron stars, the dense remnants of dead stars. Such collisions are among the most violent known conflagrations in the universe, but they rarely occur so close to our own neck of the cosmic woods.

It turned out to be a false alarm, but for a few hours the Twitterverse was riveted on Andromeda. Which is not a bad thing. The Andromeda galaxy, known in astronomical parlance as M31, holds a special place in our own future.

The Milky Way and Andromeda are the dominant members of a small family of galaxies known as the Local Group. Whereas the universe is expanding and galaxies are generally getting farther and farther away from one another with time, the galaxies in the Local Group are bound together by family ties in the form of their mutual gravity. Our relatives aren’t going anywhere.

And there is the problem. Andromeda and the Milky Way are actually heading toward each other in the do-si-do that constitutes life in a galaxy cluster. Recent measurements with the Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed that they will hit head on in about two billion years. Since galaxies, like atoms, are mostly empty space, they will pass through each other like ghosts, but gravity will disrupt the stars and strew them across space in gigantic spectacular streamers. Eventually they will merge into a single giant galaxy.

The bad news is that we will be dead. Earth will have been boiled and sterilized eons earlier as the sun brightens. The good news is that the collision will be a fiesta of new stars forming as that disruptive gravity collapses and then condenses clouds of gas and dust. New worlds, another chance. Maybe.