Wasn’t it just last week I was bemoaning it was September already and now we’re already a week into October? And I’m late getting these links posted as well?
It hasn’t even been that rough of a week at work, not in terms of hustle or demand or hours (a mere 65ish! Cake!).
Enough of that – on to the interesting stuff.
Nick Brandt is a photographer and Lake Natron, pictured above, is the most alkaline lake in the world. Ever take a swig of Milk of Magnesia for heartburn? It’s an over-the-counter antacid. Well, with a pH of 10.5, that’s what Lake Natron can hit naturally, along with temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a lot of Milk of Magnesia. As inhospitable as it sounds (and is – apparently there are precisely two species that live in the lake – one is a fish and the other is a bacteria), lesser flamingos breed around the area, which is, go figure free from predators. But death is death and Nick Brandt comes along, poses the bodies, and takes his pictures. Will it surprise you to know that ancient Egyptians used natron (the chemical) in their mummification processes?
Okay, so that looks like a monstrous flamingo up there. How about a real (“real”) monster?
Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal buy up landscape paintings at thrift stores and then add monsters. It is so ridiculous I can’t even say how much I love it. Click the picture or here for the article.
Next – are you tired of stupid arguments on the internet? Do you need a guide to identify bad or faulty argumentation? Or are you simply sick of political discussions with extended family at the holidays? If so, then The Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments is for you!
The online book (I’d buy a hard copy of this…) is by Ali Almossawi and goes through a variety of problems with logical reasoning. You’ll recognize all of them, I’m sure.
And that’s it for this week. I thought I had more, but nope.
It’s the usual thing anymore, a collection of random links, but that’s the way it goes when time is at a premium. As you can see from the sporadic Tuesday updates, I’m barely able to keep up with 600 word fairy tales once a week, even while I’m trying to cajole myself into ongoing editing work on The Story of the Story of the Egg. So, yeah, random links. That’s the way it’s got to be.
First up! Truth, a steampunk coffee shop in Capetown, South Africa, should you ever find yourself in that part of the world, in need of caffeine, and with an urge for revisionist, science-fiction history.
Or just if you want to see this place, because come on. It looks amazing.
Next, the finalists from the contest for “Astronomy Photograph of the Year.” The aurora borealis, pictured below, did not win. Go check these out – there are only thirteen of them and they’re well worth perusing. Freaking gorgeous.
In a similarly optical-illusory vein, Benjamin Muzzin created the project “Full Turn” for a Bachelor’s degree. Would that I had this kind of vision at that age.
It’s not three dimensional at all – instead, it’s a spinning, HD screen with programmed images. The patterns that our eyes and brains process make it seem holographic, however. Which is pretty cool. Click the picture above to go to the school site, or go to This Is Colossal to check out the story and the site where I found this.
Along more visual lines, there are Andrea Dezsö’s “Tunnel Books,” which are three cut-outs layered together and given a slight degree of interactivity. With a couple of knobs, the viewer gets to decide what colors the lights are and which elements are given greatest prominence.
It’s a fairly simple idea, but the execution is incredible and the addition of the light is pretty brilliant.
Lastly – a quiz! It’s a color challenge, putting colors of close hue in order. I scored above average, but hardly anything to brag about – probably in the 70th percentile or something. Not quite on the high end of the bell curve by any means. Anyway – give it a try. See how much you can see.
And that’s it until next week. Hopefully Tuesday…
Mostly videos this week, so I’m going to try and keep it short.
First up is a short from Moonbot (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) and Chipotle (yes, the burrito chain), called The Scarecrow.
It’s less of a commercial and more of a piece of propaganda – industrial agriculture, BAD, small farm, GOOD – which is of course what a commercial is, but it’s one that’s playing the long game. Anyway, it’s a lovely piece of animation.
Next is a black and white piece, the origami-like The Eagleman Stag. I guess I’d call this a meditation. About growing old, and life. Curious and beautiful. Click on the picture to go to where the vimeo link is hosted.
Carn is a very stylized piece that looks like it’s going to be a fairy tale and ends up being more like the punchline of a dark joke. It’s in French with subtitles. Just go watch it.
Last up (only four this week!) is photography. Marc Hermann takes photos from the archives at the New York Daily News and superimposes them over contemporary images. It’s remarkable work.
The article contains a couple of links as well. Very cool stuff.
It’s another more-or-less random collection of links. Less curation going on these days, but at least I remembered to transfer over some of what I’d been saving on my phone, link-wise.
From the files of “Gosh, that’s not creepy at all,” artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates 3D faces based on DNA samples, samples that she picks up off of the streets of New York City. Gum, cigarette butts, hair… In fairness, she means this to be a provocative piece. She wants everyone around to be asking questions about what we know and what we can know about each other given our powers of computation.
See the CNN story here.
Next, from Collosal, are some lovely watercolors. Sunga Park does architectural studies and lets the watercolor do its thing to make the images seem to grow – or dissolve, depending on your perspective.
Next, nature is crazy and amazing. Behold, the glasswing butterfly.
Pretty sure I’ve never seen these before. Certainly never in walking-around-life. If I had, I’d probably never stop talking about it.
I have seen Ukrania before – for all I know, I’ve even linked to it in the past. Yes, I should keep a spreadsheet of links to which I’ve linked. Too much work, not gonna do it. So! At the risk of redundancy, I give you Jerry Gretzinger’s map of Ukrania.
If there ever was such a thing as a labor of love, this is it. Gretzinger spends about 20 minutes on this thing every day and has done since 1963. Click on the picture above (detail) to read about it over at Wired Magazine. Also, check out the picture below – that’s Jerry top center. Yeah. It’s a big map.
Click this picture to go to a site with a zoomable map!
That’s it for this week. Back to the grind!
Fall seems to have arrived rather abruptly after only two really solid days of August heat this past week. Unlike many other parts of the States, Chicago has had a very temperate summer so far. Our latest director also seems to be keeping us on a sane schedule – twelve hour days??? The paycheck after a mere 4-day week is going to seem super-small next week, but it’s kind of nice to wake up in the morning and not feel beat up. We all complain on set about how tired we are, but I’m guessing we’ll grouse next about money. I wonder if there’s a magic middle where we’d be happy. Still – had some fun days this past week, and now we’re in the long haul until our next Big Weekend, which won’t be until Thanksgiving. Working this job is like going to school. All we think about are weekends and days off. Links! From It’s Okay to Be Smart, one man’s quixotic attempt to make education seem fun (“okay” is a pretty low bar, don’t you think?), some lovely photographs of auroras on other planets in the solar system – everybody gets northern lights! Even if they’re not in the north.
Another use for maps. Someone in the Netherlands has created a map that uses the data showing when all of its structures were built. Red are older, blue are newer.
Amsterdam here – you can tell by the canal shapes. Click on the picture to go to the actual map page and you can zoom in and out, swipe, just like any other interactive online map. Very cool.
The stepwells of India are an architectural and water-conserving solution unique to that part of the world.
Stepwell at Chand Baori – photo by kou5oku
I only ever saw these for the first time a few years ago in the Tarsem Singh film The Fall (which is a lovely piece about storytelling), and came across it again on Atlas Obscura the other day. Click on the picture for a story at Amusing Planet, or on this Atlas Obscura link for some other images.
Gender and photographs. I’ve never come across the term burneshas before, though I’ve read about some shamans in Native American cultures who’re allowed to be kind of “third-gender” in a way. This is different. Burnesha is an Albanian word for a woman who has become a “sworn virgin,” which allows her to live as a man, with all of the rights that accrue therein. Smoking, voting, car-driving… The tradition dates back a couple of hundred years and now in the 21st century is waning quite quickly, apparently. Photographer Jill Peters has a photo essay of a number of burneshas who look strikingly masculine. I don’t think you’d guess most of them were women at all, in fact. Not gratuitous and quite remarkable.
Lastly (I’m all over the map this week), a short behind-the-scenes video on the mechanics behind the chest-burster from Alien by special effects and make-up wizard, Stan Winston. Only about 3 minutes, and very interesting.
File under the “writing is hard” cry. I had plenty of time all last weekend and I could have done some writing, but I didn’t. Time being one thing and energy being another and 70 hours of work last week being a third. Mostly I sweated and didn’t leave the apartment unless I had to, luxuriating in laziness. In other words, I’ve got no real excuse. Could’ve picked up the laptop. Didn’t.
It’s not that the job is so terribly hard as it is intense. The classic hurry-up-and-wait, though even waiting needs to be “on.” Can’t ever tune off and tune out. One ear needs to be tuned for someone yelling either my name or, more frequently, my title, “Set dresser!” By the time we get to the glorious, glorious weekend, I don’t really want to make my brain go, even though I want to be writing.
This is an equilibrium that needs to be found.
Links! From last weekend (see, I already had’em lined up and still didn’t do anything about it).
Maria Popova at BrainPickings showcases Art Made from Books, with lots and lots of pictures taken from that text. Re-purposing manuscripts as raw materials for art. So – destruction of the written word? How does this sit with you vis a vis book burning?
In film, this past weekend we backed a Kickstarter for a doc about the first female film director (so far as anyone knows), Alice Guy-Blaché. Here’s a link to the trailer at Vimeo.
Regarding writing and perception, actress Anna Gunn has a piece in the New York Times about playing Skyler in Breaking Bad. Apparently there are people who loathe her character so much they want to kill the actress. Um… thanks?
And lastly a link to my own stuff, sort of, Steph Sinkhorn did me the kindness of going over an early draft of my query letter for Egg, the link to which can be found here.
And that. Is. It.
And we’ll see what I can do in September.
IT’S SEPTEMBER ALREADY?
In other news, I can’t believe it’s already August. My new job ran 80+ hours this week and today is the first day off. Back tomorrow for another 15-16 hour day. This is all in service of explaining why I’m late again with any kind of post.
First up, some amazing and unconventional sandcastles by Calvin Seibert.
Not exactly mad King Ludwig style, but amazing all the same.
Next is a sampling from the 2013 competition for Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The selection is over at Talking Points Memo, which is 99% online news with very occasional sets of pictures. This is one of them.
by Stefano De Rosa
And now, maps and more maps. Because I love maps.
This one inverts land for water, just because.
Be sure not to miss the maps of penis and breast sizes in case you’re wondering where you fit in the world! – Click on the picture above to scroll from one map to the next, or click here to get all 40 on one page.
It’s short this week, but like I said, I’m pretty busy. I’ve not given up hope that I’ll have a fairy tale to post on Tuesday, but the window of opportunity is shrinking…