Wow. I like Keith Loutit’s tilt-shift videos, but this one done with Jarbas Agnelli is exceptional.
Rio on the ground isn’t anywhere as beautiful, but from a heigth the mountains, ocean, and skyscrapers are a treat. Plus Carnaval!
February 26, 2012
February 2, 2012
This is a great little comic, by Boulet– nom de BD of Gilles Roussel. (If you know French, read the original instead, as Boulet’s translation is wonky in places.) I think it’ll speak to any guy who’s had a friend who has inexplicable success with women.
It starts out a little slow, but soon picks up, and I love the way he adds just a bit of surrealism that reinforces the story. Don’t miss the glass of whisky that turns into Count Chocula.
What’s most impressive is that it’s a 24 hour comic.
December 17, 2011
When was this written, and of what dance?
The music is sensuous, the embracing of partners– the female is only half dressed– is absolutely indecent; and the motions– they are such as may not be described, with any respect for propriety, in a family newspaper.
(Answer: 1921; of the foxtrot.)
November 5, 2011
Via Mefi, here’s a pretty amazing French parody.
The story is that in 1993 Warner Bros. allowed Canal+ to air anything in their catalog of thousands of films. Michel Hazanavicius, who would go on to direct the OSS 117 films, took the opportunity to create an original story by splicing together clips from about 50 films. The basic story is how three journalists (in film mostly borrowed from All the President’s Men, but adding Paul Newman) investigate the last words of Georges Abitbol– played by John Wayne– which were monde de merde (‘shitty world’). They talk to people who know him, finding that Georges was not the man he seemed to be.
They got the usual actors who dubbed American film stars to cover each actor– e.g. Abitbol is voiced by the guy who did John Wayne.
It’s in French, but if you follow the Mefi link at the top, you can read my translation of this clip. (Don’t just read it, it’ll sound dumb. You have to get the accompanying visuals and line readings.)
October 31, 2011
A couple of classic cartoons were featured over at Cartoon Brew.
One I’ve read about many times but never seen: Chuck Jones’s 1942 parody of college stories, The Dover Boys.
The pacing is slow and the backgrounds and gag density lower than usual, but it’s cute, not least for not simply following the structure of the stories it’s parodying– the Dover Boys aren’t goofy heroes that save the day at all. I suspect this would be a lot of funnier if I’d actually seen any of the material Jones is mocking.
New to me was this 1945 Donald Duck short, Duck Pimples:
I haven’t seen that many Disney shorts, and the ones I’ve seen generally don’t get my enthusiasm higher. The Disney characters just aren’t as satisfying, and there’s a feeling that everything is aimed at children. But this one is unusual, especially as it features art by caricaturist Virgil Partch. Donald is still a zero, but the radio show parodies are a lot of fun. And good lord but could the classic Disney studio animate. Look at the immense work that goes merely into the opening shot of a rain-soaked house– even Warner Bros. would have made it cheap and fast. And the animation of Donald being cowardly is luxurious.
October 27, 2011
I asked recently whether it’s really possible heave youself up six feet or so, hanging from a ledge, as Lara does in Tomb Raider Underworld. E.g.:
Alert reader Miles responds!
I’m not a parkour enthusiast, but I am a rock climber, so let me try to answer. Yes, it is possible to do this using only your arms, but it’s hard work and not something you want to be doing very often. Basically you’re looking at a muscle-up followed by a mantleshelf move. Instead, climbers (and, presumably, traceurs) will try to use their feet and the big muscles in their legs. A good climber can push up on ridiculously tiny footholds, even on wildly overhanging terrain. Or, if there’s a positive hold on the ledge and the wall isn’t too polished, they can smear off the wall, pushing their feet out and moving up using friction.
Additionally, they can use momentum. I’ve seen traceurs take a running jump at a ledge, grab it and haul themselves over the top by their hands, using momentum to make up the strength deficit. They’re usually also smearing on the wall with their feet.
Great! Especially once we look up the technical terms. The muscle-up means pulling up on the ledge, then pushing down once she can. The mantleshelf is like climbing on top of a mantle, using the shelf as a foothold. Smearing is using the foot against the wall to provide friction. The last maneuver Miles describes is called a passe-muraille. Looking at the pic above, Miles comments:
But to me it looks like she’s also using her feet on the vertical part of the ledge, either by standing on a small nub of rock or by using pure friction (“smearing”). That would make it a lot easier!
I thought it’d be interesting to see what Miles thought of a video of Lara’s climbing. His reactions to a few videos:
The sideways jump at 1:00 in this video looks rather unrealistic to me, and the drop onto a hard stone floor at 1:40 looks like it would hurt. Also sliding down on your feet like she does at 0:57 looks (a) hard to control, (b) painful.
Actually the game agrees– Lara takes some damage at 1:40, as indicated by the appearance of the damage HUD at upper left. I’m pretty sure there is an alternate route.
The “dropping and catching herself on a rock ledge five feet further down” at :10 here looks waaaaay hard. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’d hate to have to nail a move like that first time when my life depended on it. Also, that’s a lotta stone she’s moving around. Stone is heavy.
(That’s a superpower from the game.)
Nice pendulum at 1:15. Climbers actually do that on big walls in places like Yosemite, though they climb up, carefully place the pivot point, then abseil down to the start of their swing. Do grapnels even work like Lara’s does? I dunno.
The jumps all look reasonable, though she’s obviously got a hell of a head for exposure!
1:25: yeah, she’s definitely using her feet to climb up those walls. Impressive speed, though it’s hard to tell how hard the climbing is from this distance. Since there are footholds, I wonder why she didn’t downclimb normally rather than doing that crazy droppy-catchy thing? Or even abseil?
2:25 She did whaaaaaaat?
Heh, I remember that. She jumps off the ledge and immediately hits the Q button to grapnel the ring.
3:40 She was Thor? Does that explain how she can catch herself by her fingertips after a five-foot drop without rupturing her finger tendons?
The superpowers come in (at this point) only when she’s near the blue glowy inscriptions.
The speed is partly a gameplay thing (games usually have a pretty fast tempo), and partly because the videos are near-perfect replays by someone who knows the map perfectly… when I was playing, of course Lara takes a lot longer to stand or hang there thinking about her next move!
August 18, 2011
So the CEO of Paypal, Peter Thiel, wants to build a Randian paradise out on oil rig platforms, without building codes, drug laws, minimum wages, or gun restrictions, because really, what could go wrong if I build a skyscraper on my corner of the floating platform using drugged-out underpaid workers? My friend Chris has already made all the good jokes so go read that.
Thiel has said “they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.” Haha! Jeez, way to get your opponents’ views completely backwards. Do you think we want to stop libertarians from moving to rickety platforms over the ocean? Set up a PayPal donate button on that, stat.
July 29, 2011
A site devoted to amazing shots from video games. Apparently the games are rendered on ultra-fancy equipment, sometimes modded to remove HUDs, and further processed in Photoshop. I don’t understand the details, I’m just blown away by the images.
Also cool: unusually well done cosplay, a gender-bent version of the Justice League.
July 15, 2011
Via Yglesias— a nice demonstration that correlation is not causation. A Finnish researcher has found that there is a small but robust inverse correlation between GDP and average penis size. Policymakers take note:
The GDP maximizing size is around 13.5 centimetres, and a collapse in economic development is identified as the size of male organ exceeds 16 centimetres.
Note that the correlation is inverse, so the worst thing to do in a recession is answer penis enlargement e-mails.
January 27, 2011
This was a bit of Against Peace a.k.a. AD 4901— the protagonist wastes a few hours cruising students’ datascenes on the Vee, assigning points according to the following list. At a reader’s suggestion I’m removing this bit from the book, but I might as well put it somewhere.
10 points for a cute hologram; 15 for one that depicts an embarrassing situation; 20 if it involves nudity
10 points for a résumé of the student’s achievements in high school (50 points if it goes back to grade school)
5 points for a misspelling you haven’t seen before
1 point for each declaration of support for an enormously popular band; more points being awarded for extraordinary gushiness
2 points for each college paper or class project preserved in the Vee; 3 points extra if the grade is attached; 5 if it’s bad
5 points for a cloying expression of devotion to a love interest, parent, or pet; 15 extra points if it rhymes
5 points for solutions to political problems, plus a point for each incorrect fact
10 points for any scene presented entirely in an alien language the student obviously has not mastered
15 points for any complex bit of scene programming (for instance, a neural interface, or a responsive holofractal animation) which serves only as an under construction banner
5 points for a huge unsorted, unannotated pile of links
10 points for any scene that links to all the student’s friends’ scenes, none of which link back