Archive for March, 2009

NASA!!!! Come on now!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I heard a report on NPR this morning about the decommissioning of the Shuttles remaining in the Space Program and the movement towards the new Orion rockets (based, if I remember correctly, on the early Saturn rocket design).

While I have no objections to the design they’re moving towards (staged separation rockets, as far as I know, have a lot less of the maintenance issues that plagued the Shuttle over the last few years — and as a result cause far fewer teachers to incinerate), I do have some objections to the trajectory of the program.  The main goal, it seems, is to get back to the Moon.

The arguments in favor of this, as stated by the NASA scientists interviewed this morning were as follows:

  1. While our parents’ generation went to the Moon, our generation hasn’t yet
  2. We’ve only had a little over 300 hours to explore the Moon.  There’s so much left of the planet to explore.
  3. We need to get smart minds excited about space again.

My responses to these are:

  1. So what?  My parents generation has been to Vietnam.  Doesn’t make me want to fight another war there.  Seems like a pretty juvenile argument, to tell you the truth.
  2. First of all, the Moon isn’t a planet.  It’s a moon. Show some respect to poor Pluto.  Second of all, in the time we’ve spent there, we’ve figured out that a) the moon is not easily or readily inhabitable and b) the moon used to be part of the Earth c) it’s now a big ball of dust and rock with little signs of life, water, etc.  What else do we need to know about it?
  3. There are tons of exciting challenges in space.  Tons.  Not the least of which would be cleaning up all of the junk we have in orbit which caused the ISS people to be on high alert last week.  I don’t see how going to the moon is particularly exciting and inspiring to a new generation.  It’s done (unless of course you believe the conspiracy theories, in which case we haven’t actually done it yet).   Let’s aim higher.

There are those who agree with this and think that, if we want to head to the Moon again it should only be to the purpose of establishing it as a base of operations for deeper space exploration (Mars for example).

The Russians seem to have the right idea.  On Tuesday they will start experiments with the aim of testing how humans would react to such a long space flight as the one required to get to Mars.

Only time will tell how this all will come out in the wash.  But I definitely think we should think carefully about our long-term goals in terms of space travel.  Especially considering it’s a recession and these things are damned pricey.

Little Red Riding Hood 2.0

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

This is fun:

Slagsmålsklubben – Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Thanks VSL!

Oh Ikea! You’re so weird!

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Check this out:


It’s a strange interactive Ikea ad where music makes the actors/dancers move around (mostly backwards as far as I can tell).  It lets you choose from a couple of pre-selected tracks and use your keyboard for some midi-style canned drum samples.  The most fun thing I’ve found with it is to upload something from your music library and have them dance to it.  They seem to especially like TV on the Radio.

Kudos to whoever designed this.  I can’t imagine it was easy writing a Flash program where a video track responds to the amplitude of sound waves…

Thanks VSL


Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Just saw this on Vulture — It’s pretty lo-fi and he basically looks like a kid in his parents’ basement.

But here he covers Pearl Jam’s ‘Why Go,’  and he’s pretty damn good:

This is What You Can Do With Video Projections

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

How awesome is this Puma ad:

Not that this is uncharted territory (it’s building off of Michel Gondry’s work, and most likely countless others before him), but it’s definitely pushing the boundaries further than I’ve ever seen them pushed before.

What’s amazing about this, and the kind of work that Gondry does in ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground‘ is that the spectacle itself is theatrical in nature.  It’s not something that could only be done on video and edited together in post.  It’s something you could experience live — but which you happen to be watching on film.

This ad takes the theatrical paradigm a step further — it’s a very post-modern interaction with video, complete with Noh theater style invisible stage hands (Kohken) moving the projection surfaces on and off the stage.

This is the kind of work I want to do in terms of using projections and video in theater.  It seems like a pretty limitless frontier.

Now I just need a little bit of money… and I should be all set. :)

Thanks DesignNotes for pointing this one out.

UPDATE: I just changed out the video embed code.  For full effect, switch to HD and watch it in full screen.  It’ll blow your mind.

Questionable Behavior

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this too, but every time I’ve seen a blog post over the last week that mentioned the upcoming release of IE8, it was paired with an ad for Google Chrome:


Now of course, this makes sense.  Google owns AdSense, the ad-trafficking network on all of these pages.  And they certainly have a right to send their own ads wherever they’d like.


Doesn’t this verge a little bit on an anti-trust issue?  Google can control the flow of ads to pages that mention the text ‘IE8’ — so that they basically own all ad space next to talk of Microsoft’s product.  Within their network, of course.  But since they bought DoubleClick, their network is huge.  And while they might not be able to put their ads on commercially sold properties (AOL, NYT, etc), I’m sure they’ll send some of their bulk AdSense ads to those pages.  And I’ll bet that if there’s a mention of IE8, there’ll be an ad for Chrome in that AdSense spot.

I’m sure it’s nothing.  Google only recently started advertising for their own products, so I’m sure they’re testing the waters a bit.  And there’s no way the Justice Department will ever figure something like this out until years after the fact.

But it does show a huge potential for abuse of power in Google’s ad network, no?

Only time will tell.

Watch the Full Interview

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer interview on the Daily Show.  I just watched the full interview, and I honestly don’t know how to feel about it.  It’s pretty clear that Jon Stewart was trying to make a case that CNBC could have worked harder to defend its audience from the financial sector.  And Jim Cramer basically said ‘Yes! But you see, I run an entertainment program too!’ back to Stewart.

I honestly feel like the interview was editited to make it more salacious than it actually was.  What it was was two men at an impasse.  And I honestly feel like neither of them came off looking much worse than when they came in.

Watch the Full Interview at Comedy Central and decide for yourself.