This is a tribute to Ridley Scott and Vangelis, whose work on Blade Runner has been a huge source of inspiration in my shooting time lapses. Please watch in HD with sound on! Shot over a year in Tokyo with a Canon 5dmk2, mainly in the Shinjuku area. Music: "Main Titles" and "Blush Response" from the Blade Runner soundtrack. More information on the process here. Selected sequences available for licensing here.
Excerpted from I Live in the Future and Here's How it Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted @ 2011 by Nick Bilton. Reprinted by Permission of Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Does Your Surgeon Play Video Games?
The next time you have surgery, ask your surgeon if he or she played video games in the past.
A few years ago, researchers quizzed more than thirty surgeons and surgical residents on their video- game habits, identifying those who played video games frequently, those who played less frequently, and those who hardly played at all. Then they put all the surgeons through a laparoscopic surgery simulator, in which thin instruments akin to extremely long chopsticks are inserted into one or more small incisions through the skin along with a small camera that is inserted into an additional small opening. Minimally invasive surgery like this frequently is used for gallbladder removal, gynecologic procedures, and other procedures that once involved major cutting and stitching and could require hours on an operating table.
The researchers found that surgeons or residents who used to be avid video game players had significantly better laparoscopic skills than did those who'd never played. On average, the serious game players were 33 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer errors than their colleagues who didn't have prior video- game experience.
The more video games the surgeons had played in the past, the better their numbers. This wasn't tested on a group of kids who played twelve hours of video games a day and hadn't showered in weeks. These residents and practicing surgeons simply played three or more hours of action video games a week. Some of the more advanced video- game- playing students managed to make 47 percent fewer errors than others and were able to work as much as 39 percent faster.
The results were surprising given the criticism video games have received for rotting young minds, turning upstanding youngsters into juvenile delinquents, and just wasting time. Instead, surgeons and researchers have begun to test whether the games should be a key part of a future surgeon's education, since speed and accuracy are crucial to conquering the learning curve associated with using laparoscopic techniques to perform delicate procedures. Game skill, the researchers theorized, could translate into surgical skill and help cut "medical errors," which have become the eighth leading cause of death in this country.
A couple of years ago, a researcher at Arizona State University tried this out on surgeons at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, using a Wii golf club that was reshaped into a laparoscopic probe. One group of residents played a suite of games called Wii Play and a game that involves subtle hand movements, Marble Mania, using the probe, while another group didn't. The game players showed 48 percent more improvement in performing a simulated laparoscopic procedure compared with those who didn't play.
But not every game helps surgeons improve their skills. It turns out that Wii's Marble Mania stimulates the areas of the brain needed for surgery. Games such as Wii Tennis, where you swat your arms in the air as though you were hitting a virtual ball, did not help surgeons' scores. But many studies have found that even limited practice on video games may increase speed and skill in surgery.
It's no surprise, of course, that dexterity improves with practice. But what makes these studies stand out is how effectively human brains can make the leap to conquering new technologies and then putting those new skills to use in innovative and varied ways. For example, these studies consistently show that playing video games improves hand- eye coordination and increases one's capacity for visual attention and spatial distribution, among other skills. These increased brain functions are tied not only to game play but to several other real- world scenarios, including surgery.
You may feel like your brain cannot cope with so much information or jump seamlessly from one medium to another, just as you may have felt in high school that you couldn't learn a foreign language or conquer higher math.
But as the brain faces new language (or acronyms and abbreviations), new visual and auditory stimulation, or new and different ways of processing information, it can change and grow in the most remarkable fashion. In fact, it may well be a natural part of human behavior to seek out and develop unnatural new experiences and technologies and then incorporate them into our daily lives and storytelling.
Richard Feynman, God of Perfect Analogies, explains why it's not a failure or a scandal when scientists adapt and change their understanding of the world. This is a really important point, applicable in a lot of public debates over science, especially those focused on evolution and climate change. Science isn't about writing things on tablets of stone. It's about taking a theory and constantly digging deeper into it—adding layers of nuance, finding stuff that doesn't make sense, and using both to build a more complete picture. Even if the big idea is right, the details will change. That's how science is supposed to work.
Via W. Younes
When It's Gone It's Gone, an online one-of-a-kind store, is selling this Royal Navy ejector seat that's been fitted with legs for use as an office desk-chair. Not sure what the ergonomics are like (I assume that a pilot's seat has to be at least moderately comfy, though!), and as for price, it's a strictly "make an offer" affair.
Our Martin Baker Mk6 ejector seat for sale, originally used in a Royal Navy Buccaneer, has been fitted with a stainless steel frame, transforming it into the unique seat it is today! Complete with original 'chutes, harness and eject handles, the seat is guaranteed to turn heads in the office or look great at home!
The Mk.6MSB was fitted to the Buccaneer jet used by both RAF and Royal Navy. This seat in particular was fitted to XV157 which flew first with the Royal Navy from '66, including operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (where its was coded 107/E) and RAF squadrons from '69. XV157 was sadly scrapped in '91, at which point this seat was removed and converted to a training seat.
The ejector seat has been kept in its original authentic condition to preserve its' history; parts are original to the chair, including straps, parachute, seat cushion and handles. Paintwork has been kept as the original. Rockets are present - including pitch rockets - minus cartridge and propellant.
(via Crib Candy)
This is a seriously incredible story. If you did not already kind of love Carl Sagan, and think of him as a sort of benevolent hippie grandpa, you totally will now.
And the message here is seriously spot-on: The best way to honor the people who helped you realize your dreams is to help somebody else realize theirs.
Via Joanne Manaster
Nick Sayers is flying his math flag with this geometrically precise haircut where "the acute angles meet in groups of five, six, or seven, depending on the curvature. In the flatter areas, they meet in groups of six, like equilateral triangles, and in the areas of strong positive curvature they meet in groups of five, but in the negatively curved saddle at the back of the neck, there is a group of seven."
To make your own, Nick suggests you use a rhombic paper template starting at the crown, work outwards, and make aesthetic decisions about the 5-, 6-, or 7-way joints depending on local curvature. This instance of the design was cut by Hannah Barker after a test version a couple of months earlier by Summer Makepeace.
Over at LIFE, our pal Ben Cosgrove put together an image gallery of people pointing at things. Why is that interesting, you ask? Just start clicking through the pictures and you will slowly be confounded by the surreality of the act. Looking at these photos is like a visual form of semantic satiation, the mindfuck you get when repeating a word in isolation causes it to seem weirdly meaningless. "People Pointing at Stuff"
It's worth watching the HD version in fullscreen mode.
A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.
In "HELLO, I'M SHELLEY DUVALL !," a short video edited by Goddessshelleyduvall, Shelley Duvall repeatedly says the words, "Hello, I'm Shelley Duvall," while wearing a variety of outfits, for 55 seconds. If you don't understand what's great about that, you should try watching it. Mesemerizing.
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Last week, Mark blogged about t-shirts that replace classic rock logos with the names of scientists and philosophers. I just spotted a similar line of film director t-shirts! Available from CineFile Video are Scorcese, Ozu, Fassbinder, De Palma, and others. My favorites are Bunuel/Bauhaus and Herzog/Danzig. CineFile Director T-shirts
William Gibson's most recent novel, Zero History, was recently published (Cory called it an "exciting adventure that wakes you to the present-day’s futurism").
I asked William a few questions by email. Here are his answers:
The paperback edition of your newest novel, Zero History, is out. Now that Kindle sales top both hardbound and paperback book sales on Amazon, it doesn't seem as important to have a paperback release. Or does it?
I think I bought a total of maybe four new hardcover novels, as an undergraduate, so I still think of the hardcover as a sort of word-of-mouth trailer for the mass market paperback. And I still see people expressing impatience, on Twitter, that a given title isn't out in paperback. Maybe Kindle et al aren't quite that evenly distributed yet.
What things are keeping your interest lately?
The sheer surreality of the Republican presidential primary, Libya, Iain Sinclair's monolithic ongoing anti-Olympics project (Hackney, That Rose Red Empire and now Ghost Milk), the "gray man" concept in personal security, the culture of personal aerial drones, parts of the United States as newly undeveloped sub-nations and the foreign outsourcing thereof...
How have your interests changed? By that, I mean, what used to interest you but now doesn't? And vice versa?
I don't really lose interest in things I've been very interested in, but there's limited room on the working face.
Do you have a "daily carry?" If so, what are the things in it?
A very thin, almost weightless wallet, made of a material called Kuben (which is sort of like Dyneema but less fancy-looking) deployed in front pocket. (I had a walletectomy for a back issue; back-pocket carry is murder on the back, plus much less secure.) A steel-cable Muji keyring with keys and a SwissTech Utili-Key 6-in-1 tool (which looks like a key). A Montblanc roller-pen from before they become a luxury brand (I found one on eBay after reading Hiroshi Fujiwara's fascinating book Personal Effects).
What do you think of the DIY/Maker movement, with individuals now about to make 3D printed objects at home, and sharing 3D models for all sorts of things online?
My grandfather owned a small-town lumberyard, and old-fashioned hardware stores have always been among my very favorite retail environments. I grew up with the idea that most of the environment we actually inhabit is the result of human labor. Anyone who can make something really well, more or less from scratch, has my respect. So I see DIY/Maker activity as extremely healthy. I'm not sure that owning a machine that can make something more or less from scratch impresses me quite as much, but I have no personal experience of that yet.
What do you think of the way industrial design is going -- for cars, electronics, medical devices, etc.
Generally, I like the way those things are looking, but it's a rare day I see anything new that I *really* like. I saw a photograph of Dieter Rams' basement workshop recently. Man alive. Would I have liked to be a fly on the wall in there.
I'm not going to ask you about any specific movie development projects you have cooking, but I have general question -- Almost every fiction writer I know who has worked with the Hollywood movie industry has told me they hated the experience and hated the results. Has you experience been better?
Liking the Hollywood movie industry is like liking war. Some people do like war, though, and I've sometimes enjoyed my own experience of the Hollywood movie industry. People who haven't actually been there, been fully in it, with some paid role on which something actually depends, really have very little idea. One of the more oddly hellish things about it is that so many of its civilian consumers assume that they understand exactly how it all works. There's a huge subsidiary industry filmgoers pay to keep them convinced that they have insider knowledge, actual experience of the beast itself. They don't.
You don't really get it until you're in a situation in which some entity has invested sixty or seventy million dollars in something and seems to be in the process of deciding that your creative input may be endangering that investment. It's an experience that will definitely get your fullest attention.
I enjoyed your recent essay in Scientific American titled, "Life in the Meta-City." Can you talk about why you wrote this?
Thanks. They asked me. And I suppose writing for Scientific American was a sort of bucket list item! Plus I have always been interested in cities.
You have a great Twitter feed. What are your feelings about reading and participating in social media?
Glad you enjoy it. I find it completely ludic, pure play.
Twitter is really my only experience of social media, so far. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I'd had access to some sort of agreeable social media in my early teens. I think I would really have liked it, so then I feel a little sorry for my younger self. Then I remember that all of that stuff might still be around, and I feel a huge relief that it isn't.
What do you worry about? I'm talking about loose nukes, global warming, economic meltdown, creeping fascism.
All of the above, and anything else in that general ballpark. As one does. Sometimes I remember that I evidently assumed that Ronald Reagan was probably about as weird as it was going to get; that that all seemed a bit over the top, a grave if semi-comic but blessedly temporary anomaly. That's scary.
In fantasy and SF-themed art and games, females are often given ludicrously revealing "armor" that would see them dead or frozen solid within moments. Women fighters in reasonable armor is a blog dedicated to more practical-minded ladies of war.
Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says: "We just published an article on the origins of fake barf. Thanks to Mardi and Stan Timm, who are the foremost collectors of novelty gag gifts, we got the story behind plastic vomit, including behind-the-scenes photos from the Chicago factory where this infamous item is still produced."
H. Fishlove & Co.—and now Fun Inc., which bought the company in the ’80s—has kept a lid on the formula Irving came up with, the same way Coca-Cola guards its recipe and KFC protects its special herbs and spices.
“It is a secret recipe,” Mardi says. “But I think we know what’s in it. It’s got foam pieces cut up, and it’s got latex. But the actual recipe, nobody outside the company knows that.”