Archive for the ‘Science & Technology’ Category

Charlie Rose Talks To Himself

April 22, 2008

Charlie Rose gives some of the best interviews on television but sometimes he does seem like he’d rather be talking to himself and answering his own questions.

So here you go, a video by Andrew Fillipone Jr. called Charlie Rose by Samuel Beckett.

If you find it hard to watch the whole piece (which you should do) I advise at least watching until the 2:30 mark.

David Lynch Speaks Out

January 7, 2008

(via Filmmaker)

American Automakers and Fuel Efficiency

December 1, 2007

A 1948 Tucker Torpedo designed by Preston Tucker
A 1948 Tucker Torpedo designed by Preston Tucker

What a crock of shit this is. 35 miles per gallon by 2020? We’ve come a long way from nowhere. Although it wasn’t perfect, Preston Tucker’s car achieved that goal in 1948.

Let’s not even begin talking about the European auto companies, they’re required to build cars running an average of 40 miles per gallon. Even China requires a 35 m.p.g. standard.

We should really be ashamed of ourselves.

Life With A New Face

October 8, 2007

Still from Les Yeux Sans Visage
still from Les Yeux Sans Visage, 1960

There’s a short update to the heartbreaking story of Isabelle Dinoire on the Guardian website. She is the first recipient of a partial face transplant. Her lips, mouth, and nose were chewed off by her labrador Tanya while sleeping one day. Apparently the dog was trying to help her or get her attention. It’s a tragic story and I can’t even begin to imagine how painful an experience like that can be. It seems that she must take medication on a daily basis to prevent her body from rejecting the new face.

still from Les Yeux Sans Visage, 1960
still from Les Yeux Sans Visage, 1960

Isabelle Dinoire’s story eerily reminds me of Georges Franju’s Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face) from 1960. This classic horror film about a young girl who wears a mask to hide her disfigured face has an emotional and sensitive core. Christiane loses her face in a car accident and her father (a doctor and mad scientist), feeling guilty, vows to restore it. He kidnaps women on the street and surgically removes their faces to be transplanted to his daughter.

Of course the similarites between the movie and the real life story only go so far but the film successfully let’s you into Christiane’s mind allowing you to feel the tragic nature of her life.

iConcert Cal

October 1, 2007

If you’re as obsessed as I am these days about seeing your favorite musicians perform live then you know what it’s like to realize that not only have you missed a great show but you never knew it was happening in the first place. This used to happen to me but stopped when I started keeping track of a long list of websites that published the necessary information of who’s playing when and where. Luckily for me (and for you) all that is about to change.

Over the weekend in Los Angeles, a friend introduced me to something called iConcert Cal. Maybe you already knew about this, but for me it represents the greatest discovery since Knoppers. I kid you not.

According to the website:

“iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X and supports worldwide searches.”

It actually reads your iTunes library and finds the related concerts playing in your area. You can change the search location for when you are traveling someplace new and you can also export all the concert information into your personal calendar. Sync that to your phone and you’re set to go.

This is exactly the kind of smart program I’ve always longed for. Now if they can only make a similar plug-in for movies and art exhibitions, I’ll be all set.

The Cult Of Leica

September 18, 2007

Ur-Leica 1914
Ur-Leica 1914

Pictured above is the original Leica camera designed by Oskar Barnack. It’s the first model in a long line of revolutionary cameras.

Anthony Lane writes an informative piece about the Leica in this week’s New Yorker. It’s a good overview of the innovative camera along with the history of its development and use by famous photographers.

I owned and used a Leica M6 for quite a few years. I really loved shooting with it but I was never much of a 35mm shooter. I did manage to make some photographs that I’m proud of.

I’m embarrassed and hate to admit that I sold my Leica almost two years ago in order to fund the purchase of a digital 35mm camera. In this case I purchased a Canon 5D. Was it worth the trade? I don’t think so but I wasn’t using the Leica (I’ve only used it for one serious project) and really needed a digital camera. I guess I can always buy another Leica when I have the money, but part of me always hoped to pass that camera on to my kids (if and when I ever have them).

I like the way Lane describes his experience using a Leica M8 digital camera (the latest in the M Series):

With a Leica, all you hear is the shutter, which is the quietest on the market. The result—and this may be the most seductive reason for the Leica cult—is that a photograph sounds like a kiss.

Alex, The Educated Parrot, 1976-2007

September 11, 2007

Mike Lovett/Brandeis University
Mike Lovett/Brandeis University

Alex (Avian Learning EXperiment), the “educated” parrot died last week on September 7th. The African Grey parrot was part of an ongoing experiment in cognition and communication research. He apparently died of natural causes. He was found dead in his cage that morning but seemed completely healthy the day before.

He was capable of recognizing colors, shapes, materials and had a speaking vocabulary of over 150 words.

I guess horses aren’t the only ones that think.

Read more about Alex here and here. Watch a fascinating video of him in action here.

I find it sad to think that we were both born during the same year.


August 23, 2007


I love seeing a cool and unique favicon on a website. I think every site should have one.

While writing the previous post I visited Bob Dylan’s website and noticed the favicon they were using. I think it’s really fantastic. It’s amazing to see how much information can be conveyed in such a tiny file and using so little space.