Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dolly Melamine Plate Set

The nostalgia for handcrafted things as been been a persistent trend in recent years. It should come as no surprise, with a sense of growing doom and collapse hanging over our culture, wouldn't it be nice to retreat to the safety of the past? to the comfort of grandma's living room?

From Redflare.com: Doily Melamine Plate Set





Related Posts:
Lifes' Sweet Revenge: Themes of nature and decadence in pop culture, fashion and aesthetics.

Wearing our psyches on our sleeves and strinking a military pose: What camouflage as a fashion says about our collective mindset.

The Bible: Data Visualizations

A set of data visualizations created by Chris Harrison.

Below, textual cross-references, 63,000 of them.


The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.


People and Places


Soon after finishing the cross-references arc visualization, I set out to create a new data set derived from the Bible’s text. This time I wanted to better capture the story, most notably the people and places, and the interactions between them. I did this by building a list of biblical names (2619 in total) and parsing a digital copy of the King James Bible. Each time two names occurred in the same verse, a connection was created between them. This produced essentially a social network of people and places. Because such relationships had no ordering or structure (unlike the cross references), I used a spatial clustering algorithm I developed for one of my other projects. This process causes related entities and highly connected groups to coalesce. I themed the output like an old piece of parchment.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Reconstitution 2008: Presidential Debate Remixed

ReConstitution is a live audiovisual remix of the 2008 Presidential debates. There will be three performances in three cities, each coinciding with a live broadcast of the debates.

We’ve designed software that allows us to sample and analyze the video, audio, and closed captioned text of the television broadcast. Through a series of visual and sonic transformations we reconstitute the material, revealing linguistic patterns, exposing content and structures, and fundamentally altering the way in which you watch the debates.


NPR story on the Boston EventPerformance Group Blends Video Art, Public Service

2008 Trailer



2004 Reel





Human Contact, Community and Discontentment

It is a well establish fact that isolation from others is extremely stressful biochemically to human beings. One of the ironies of technology is that it has always been presented with the promise that is will lead to increased human contact and connectedness. It hasn't really fulfilled on that promise.

I've come across a few interesting discussions on the subjects of human contact and contentment. Below are links and a few summarized points from each.


WNYC's Radio Lab episode on the subject of "Contact".

Some interesting points in the segment of the program with Robert Putnam of Harvard University: From about 1900 on, American's involvement in social organizations (Scouts, Church, PTA, Moose Club) increased. Sometime in the late 60's or early 70's the trend reversed and participation began to decrease. Even drinking in local bars decreased 35%. During this same period of time levels of trust of others decreased.

Your chances of dying in the next 12 months are cut in half by joining 1 social group.



KERA's Think podcast: American Discontent in the New Millennium. Episode description: As Americans, most of us live comfortable, safe, free and long lives. So why are many of us so unhappy and angry at the rest of our fellow citizens? We'll talk this hour with Dick Meyer, editorial director of digital media at NPR and author of the new book Why We Hate Us

The promise of technology to connect us to one another hasn't really panned out. People in general feel more lonely and isolated. One of the ways that this has been measured is by surveying how many confidants people have in their lives. From the early 1980's to the early 2000's the number of people reporting to have 0 or only 1 confidant has doubled.

In the interview the author also discusses the 60's "me" generations idealism and how it subsequently transformed into a form of narcissism. I've been ranting a bit lately how I believe that the baby boomer generation is responsible for the downfall of America. Dick Meyer seems to agree with me on this. He describes their lack of ethical and moral moorings as resulting from their rejection of their parents and grandparents values and institution and their failure to replace them with anything meaningful.

I will end with a clip of Marshall McLuhan on "The Global Village".



Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Harlem Meer

I did an unusually long run in Central Park this morning and then walked up to the top of the park and discovered the Harlem Meer. In the 16 years I've been in NY I had never walked up that far. A rainy, but beautiful slightly foggy morning.

Taken with my iPhone





Sunday School at The Sherman Foundation: There is no such thing as Steven Hawking

I maintain a healthy distrust and scepticism of science. After all, it's a narrow framework useful for only a limited range of inquiries and one that has blinded us from addressing the truly important questions and pressing issues.

One of the most powerful tools of science's hegemonic chokehold over western consciousness is the Steven Hawking myth. The existence of the British theoretical physicist goes beyond the scientific elites usual program of cosmological oversimplification to perform one of greatest hoaxes of modern times. To put it plainly, Steven Hawking does not or has he ever existed.

The elaborate ruse was invented to fill the post-Einstein personality void and push through the more complex and contentious positions (it's awkward and embarrassing to argue with "the machine") while creating a useful distraction for the more pedestrian, day-to-day operations of science.



It appears that hoax's usefulness is wearing thin and its creators are ready to "jump the shark". This week they used the mythic Hawking's to present a $1.8 million clock. The Clock which has no hands and no numbers "relies on grasshopper escapement to function, and to let you know that time can never be regained once lost, that beast on top actually gobbles down time every 60th second. Oh, and every hour, on the hour, the sound of a "chain dropping into a wooden coffin" is played to really pound home the "time is a destroyer" concept."




External Links:
£1m timepiece with no hands or numbers is eventually unveiled by Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking unveils the most morbid, amazing $1.8m clock you'll ever see

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday School at The Sherman Foundation: How to find a woman's G-Spot

A helpful medial illustration in the classic explosion-view cutaway style. Very Helpful.

read more | digg story



The image's original source, a very thorough and helpful article on technique: Female Masturbation The G-SPOT Massage

Friday, September 26, 2008

Diesel: SFW XXX (HD)

The new Diesel retro pornographic spot. Wow.




Rethinking Digital Design: Data-Driven Behavioral Design

For years I’ve been telling people that the advertising medium with the most in common with digital was... are your ready?... Outdoor. I usually get dumbfounded, blank looks when I tell this to people.

Let me explain. Outdoor, at it’s best, is contextual and experiential. Well executed outdoor, leveraging it’s unique aspects, connects to the mind of the viewer and recognizes the setting of the exchange.

It may have been difficult for people to see the mindset parallels between the two a few years ago but it should be becoming more and more obvious. As data becomes unchained from desktop and laptop computers and computing becomes embedded in all types of objects and contexts, the need to take a behavioral and experiential approach to the design of interactions and messaging becomes increasingly important.

Design 1.0 to 2.0
I spent the dot-com years at 2 of the “Fast 5” e-consultancies, web development shops modeled after traditional business consultancies and IBM’s technology practice. The work we did fell into 2 main categories: large, web presences for Fortune 100 companies and application design.

What drove the thinking behind the design and architecture of web experiences at the time was the commonly accepted belief that the goal was to “own” a space or category by building the end-all and be-all destination online. These large feature and content rich sites often lacked strategic focus and clear understandings of peoples behavior and goals online. They were big shaggy dogs (“Where's the head? Where's the tail?”).

In the early dot-com days, I had more than one client that wanted to go so far as to have sports scores and weather reports on their sites. The reasoning was that if these things were popularly sought items of information online, "why not feature them on our site"?

What many clients naively failed to realize was how far outside their competency, even when it was categorically consistent with their business, operating a content-rich website was. My question was always "do you really want to be in the publishing business?"

It wasn't as if they didn't have massive challenges to overcome that were core to their businesses. Building useful and properly designed experiences to service existing clients was tough enough given issues around legacy system's integration, poor content management system implementation, and grappling with poorly designed 3rd party tools that had limited flexibility for customization.

Although technology may be more complex now, this may have been the most complex time to be working in the interactive digital space. On the majority of projects, we were doing things that had never been done before.

Skill-set integration was also a huge hurdle. The diversity of backgrounds was astounding: visual design, information architecture, business strategy, front-end technologists, project management, engineering, as well as vertical “industry expertise”, all trying to work together in a fledgling industry. It’s natural for people to see things from the perspective of their own expertise and frame of reference. At the time there simply weren’t enough people who could integrate the spokes into a wheel. This is still a problem for many organizations trying to work in the space .

In January of 1999 I read a piece that Brian Eno wrote for Wired called
The Revenge of the Intuitive. In it he describes how music studio equipment had become overraught with features in an effort to make them capable of a broad range of possible uses. In the end, this approach is self-defeating. An excerpt:

The trouble begins with a design philosophy that equates "more options" with "greater freedom." Designers struggle endlessly with a problem that is almost nonexistent for users: "How do we pack the maximum number of options into the minimum space and price?" In my experience, the instruments and tools that endure (because they are loved by their users) have limited options.

Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users - when given a choice - prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else.


I saw a lot of parallels between what Eno described and the design approach common in the interactive space at the time, an approach that borrowed heavily from the software industry's development model. In many ways these processes are a direct reflection of the personalities of the people who developed and use them. Classic nerds whose primary strength is abstract reasoning. They enjoy thinking about and making things that are complicated.

More behaviorally targeted design approaches seek a closer level of intimacy with human processes, mental and physical. The idea is to get outside of abstract modeling and actually talk to people and observe their behaviors, to take the deign process from the studio to the streets. A form of ethnography known as “contextual inquiry”, the observation of behavioral process in their naturally occurring environment, is incredibly useful towards these ends.

As useful as ethnography and contextual inquiry can be, clients were usually unwilling to provide the time or money necessary to include it as part of the design process. This was endlessly frustrating given the number of redesigns of painfully flawed sites we were engaged to fix. There was never time and money to do it right but there was always time and money to do it over.

People always seem certain that they know what needs to be designed. Rarely does this is turn out to be the case. Our ability to predict what will be useful, how things will be used and what will be successful is devastatingly bad. The history of technology is one story after another of innovation arising from accidental discovery, user misuse and hacking.


Gall's Law: "A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system."



Rapid prototyping is another excellent way to get beyond abstract reasoning and into direct experience. The prototypes might be based on conceptualized models but they allow you to quickly develop something that can be touched and interacted with and hence get feedback on how well it actually performs. The quicker you can witness behavioral interaction the better.

The brilliance of Apple software design has often been in its courage to mercilessly reduce the number of features to those necessary for an average user to accomplish the most common tasks and to build interfaces of radical simplicity. iMovie is an outstanding example of this. You literally did not need any instruction to use the 1.0 version. Up until that point, video editing had been a complex activity requiring expensive, specialized software and tools. Premier, was the de facto desktop video editing software for years. It was ugly and needlessly complex for what it did. It was over-piled with features and it left it up to the user, irregardless their skill level or task-at-hand, to struggle through and figure out how to use the software to accomplish their goals.


The Web 2.0 Framework
The trends described by the term Web 2.0 were a move away from a web design approach that saw as its goal the building of large, feature and content rich destinations. towards the building of platforms of user participation.

The obvious examples:

Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia that leverages the “wisdom of crowds” is powered by the many people that contribute to it. It becomes better (more useful and valuable) as more and more people use it.

Digg doesn’t actually store any of the content people share links to, vote on and comment about. Its value is created by its community of users and content that exists elsewhere. In a very real sense the content of Digg is participation and behavior.

Mobile and Embedded Computing
The excitement and fanfare surrounding Apple’s iPhone has brought the promise of mobile computing into the public spotlight. Less obvious, but equally important is the embedding of computing into the objects of everyday life (refrigerators, cars, outdoor advertising, tennis shoes, point-of-purchase displays, retail environments, etc). The intersection of data, people and “things” by mobile and embedded computing is going to transform the patterns of daily life. How phenomenally powerful this is should not to be underestimated.

Mobile and embedded computing further propel design towards the creation of solutions that are contextual and behavioral. The size of devices and bandwidth of mobile computing aren’t shortcomings, they’re blessing. By focusing attention on smaller and more specific challenges the results will be smarter and realized more quickly. The forced discipline will be a healthy education for people working in design and communication.

The ubiquitous access of data and computing power present both challenges and opportunities for the advertising and marketing industries.

“Advertising is what you do when you can't go door-to-door” is an early definition I once came across of the industry that pioneered mass communication. Advertising developed in response to the need to market the mass produced goods that were coming online after the industrial revolution. On a very basic level, people needed to be told that all these wonderful new things existed and what they did.

We now live in a hyper-consumer society where most of the things that are offered up for consumption aren’t really needed in the strict sense and the number of competing products in an given category is staggering.

The interconnectedness of individuals and their access to information diminish the need and erode the power and effectiveness of traditional print and television advertising. Consumers now actively and effectively share information about their experiences with brands and products and access to information (performance, ingredients, reviews, etc) is at everyones fingertips at all times.

Minneapolis based Zeus Jones describes what they do as “Marketing as Service” and strive to use “marketing as a chance to do things for people, not an excuse to say things to them”. The fact that a traditional (most of the examples they show are not digital) marketing shop has chosen this approach is a direct response to the need for marketing and advertising need to find new roles if they are going to remain relevant. Marketing as Service, mobile and embedded all seek to create value by engaging people in the moments of their lives.



The merging of data driven app design and branded experiences brings with it challenges, and like the early days of the web design skill set integration is a going to be a big challenge. Advertising agencies have always been better at big idea thinking and storytelling but next-generation digital experiences will require out of the box thinking, skills and discipline that come from an application development background. Most traditional agencies have little respect for technology culture. They’ve struggled, with few successes, in embracing and incorporating digital 1.0 into the mix of their offerings. On the other hand, shops focused on web and application development tend to produce work that is less than daring and imaginative. It will be interesting to see who will be able to integrate the best parts of both of these worlds and take advantage of the next level of social and technological shifts. It very may well be neither and a new new kind of startup model will emerge.

Epilogue
In addiction to the conscious and unconscious moves toward what I call data-driven behavioral design is a larger trend of examining the patterns and forces at work in everyday life and people as they really behave. Recent titles that are a part of this include:

I believe that this blurred area, the intersection of data, branded experiences and application design is the sweet spot.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
Buying In by Rob Walker
Predictable Irrational by Dan Ariely
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt

The other force that will further propel the trend I’ve described in this piece is the information that we leave behind in the form of behavioral data when we use technology. The ability to parse, understand and use this data is starting to get serious. I will write more about this in the future, for now check out “The Numerati” by Stephen Baker.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

News Knitter

Certainly one of the most interesting data visualization projects I've seen.



News Knitter.
News Knitter is a data visualization project which focuses on knitted garments as an alternative medium to visualize large scale data.

The production of knitted garments is a highly complex process which involves computer support at various steps starting with the designs of both the fabric and the shape of garments until they are ready-to-wear. In recent years, technical innovations in machine knitting have especially focused on the patterning facilities. The patterns are designed by individuals generally depending on the current trends of fashion and the intended target markets and multiplied through mass production. News Knitter translates this individual design process into a world-wide collaboration by utilizing live data streams as a base for pattern generation. Due to the dynamic nature of live data streams, the system generates patterns with unpredictable visuality.




Bob Ichter

I am sorely remiss for not doing a post on this man already. Artist Bob Icter, a longtime reader of my blog does amazing work. His abstracts are more to my tastes but he is one of the best finest colorists I've seen. His pastels, watercolors and acrylics are all amazing. Sorry for not giving your props yet on the foundation.

Bob Ichter's website.

I believe that he is looking for gallery representation in New York, so if anyone knows anyone...









Teens, Texting and Technology

It's always enlightening to listen to teens talk about technology.

Frpm NPR,students at Chicago's Curie High School talk about the world of texting: World Of Text Messaging Explored

This clip is from Peter Hirshberg'S TED Talk: The Web and TV, a sibling rivalry

video



And from The Foundation archives:

I give great txt (Courtship Revisited)
The conventional history, we are told to believe is that the automobile supplied a getaway and mobile love shack for teenage sexuality that allowed it to break free of parental constraint. It can be argued as well that what was lost in this process were rituals of courtship. No longer were the fires of young hormones forced to do a slow burn under the watchful eyes of parents on the porch swing.

Courtship is a slow dance, a way for people to size one another up and test out material in new and sometimes awkward situations. The automobile blasted through all those checkpoints and toll booths.

Some of what the automobile drove off with has been stolen back by digital technology, in particular SMS Texting and IM. The asynchronous (back and forth, but not immediate) and the short-form format give people another avenue of connection that saves them from the long awkward pause and the sweaty face-to-face. Forget about email, most people just aren't gifted or clever enough to mount an outbound email campaign to meet their base needs.

The easily misinterpreted text bites launched with the press of the send button are ideally suited for innuendo, flirting and fumbling your way into a relationship with legs.

It's no surprise that studies show that today's (hormonally fueled) teenagers have eschewed email in favor of TXT and IM. Why leave a pile of awkward conversational history in your wake when you can just hit and run?

What's ironic is that online dating, which is the intentionally engineered social crutch of digital technology seems to be a terrible way to meet people but a great way to do a lot of sport f******.

As is so often the case with technology, it fails to deliver against the intended purpose and the adopted uses and applications are completely unforeseen.


Data Visualization: Where does it hurt?

Tim Graham, charted his exercise and associated physical pains from February to June of 2008. I'm not sure if it yielded anything of use for him but it's an interesting "exercise" in data visualization.

It may not be all that interesting in and of itself but I do think it is part of a larger, growing trend that involves data capture and display. I will be posting some longer essays on this subject in the near future.



I made a quick video capture of the animated data. See below.

video

Gas Signs Truth in Advertising




Wario Land: Shake It ad!

Very clever ad for Wii's Wario Land



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

$700 Billion bailout or 2.000 McDonalds apple pies each

I think I want the pies.






Junkie Tai Chi

A "junkie" doing his "Tai Chi" spotted as I was headed to the gym for my own workout. It's always amazed me how long a person who is so clearly off his face can stay on his feet like that.



Kids, please, stay in school "users are losers".

Big thanks to Bob for gifting me the Google Flip video camera last night. This thing is gonna change my life.

I was like this when I found it!

Nixta and Rufus both posted to their blogs... but I had to repost.



PETA asks Ben & Jerry's to use human milk

VIA Channel 5 WPTZ

"PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the statement says."

September 23, 2008
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

>br>

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Air New Zealand: How far can I get?

A fun way to present trip options for a "recreation browser" (someone looking for potential ideas for a trip as opposed to someone looking to go to a specific destination). Slide the price selector down the right side of the site and arrows spring from your origin destination to show your options.



Fruit Under the Microscope






From BBC News: Fruit under the microscope

A new book - written by two experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - reveals the ingenious and often devious strategies which plants have developed to help ensure their continued existence.

Here, with the help of colourful close up images, Kew's seed morphologist Wolfgang Stuppy explains some of the tactics:


This is not your father's Oldsmobile (and not your grandfather's America)

Economists used to say that “When the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold”. With the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the worst economic crisis since the great depression America's resemblance to it's mythic post-WWII image continues to fade.

Another quip from that era was “what’s good for General Motors is good for America". GM just announced that it will not be running spots in the upcoming Superbowl. How ominous that the once market leader in an industry whose sales were a world economic indicator will not be participating in the championship game of the sport that is, itself, the metaphor for American might and competitiveness.


From the NYTimes:

General Motors Corp. said that it would not broadcast an advertisement during the Super Bowl in 2009, as it continues to slash expenses as part of its restructuring plan. A spokeswoman for G.M. said that although the company would remain a sponsor of the N.F.L. and would probably broadcast ads before and after the game, it would not buy time during the event. She said the company had also made the decision because G.M. would not have a major vehicle introduction to promote at that time.

Audio eassys: On Excess by Adam Phillip

This past Spring Ollie turned me on to psychologist Adam Phillips book of essays titled On Flirtation. A great read, I was unfamiliar with Adam Phillips before picking this up.


BBC Radio is currently presenting a series of essays by Phillips called On Excess. (Hurry up if you want to hear them, each is posted for omly 5 days or so.)

From the site:

Leading psychotherapist Adam Phillips asks if our appetite is by nature excessive.
1. In Excess
2. Enough Is Enough
3. Sex Mad
4. On Being Too Much for Ourselves
5. The Rule of Not Too Much

Monday, September 22, 2008

Irrationality, Democracy and Voting

The advertising industry and political strategist have know for ages what remains unacceptable to our overt collective definitions of ourselves, that we are not rational beings and are primarily emotional creature.

What does it say about the nature of Democracy if we not, as we would like to believe, creatures of reason and principle but rather reactive, emotional beings easily manipulated and incredibly swayed by changes in the society-at-large group dynamics?

From NOW onn PBS, great interview with some interesting points on messaging structure: Obama in Danger?

Are tactical mistakes by Obama going to cost him the election? Maybe, says psychologist and Democratic political consultant Drew Westen. The author of "The Political Brain," talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about how appealing to voters' emotions reaps bigger electoral rewards than hammering home policy proposals. Westen is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the founder of Westen Strategies, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm.








Found Typography on Ace Jet 170

Richard Weston never ceases to amaze me with his amazing type finds that he posts regularly to Ace Jet 170.





Creativity and Mental Illness

Like most poorly understood issues and almost everything in the "field" of psychology there are wildly divergent points of view on the links between mental illness and creativity. This most recent piece from Psychology Today is largely dismissive.

Genius and Madness: Creativity and mood: The myth that madness heightens creative genius.

As with mental disorders, there is something mysterious and unexplainable about the creative process. But all significant creative leaps have two very important components—talent and technique. By far the most universal and necessary aspect of technique is dogged persistence, which is anything but romantic.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, best known for his work on flow, has spent four decades studying the creative process. He recounts the experience of sculptor Nina Holton. "Tell anybody you're a sculptor and they'll say, 'Oh, how exciting, how wonderful,'" Holton told him. Her response to such comments: "What's so wonderful?" Then she explains that being a sculptor is "like being a mason or a carpenter half the time." She finds that "they don't wish to hear that because they really only imagine the first part, the exciting part. But, as Khruschev once said, that doesn't fry pancakes, you see. That germ of an idea does not make a sculpture that stands up. So the next stage is the hard work. Can you really translate it into a piece of sculpture?"

It's entirely possible, Weisberg notes, that the elevated rates of mental disorders among artistic geniuses comes about as a result of the creative lifestyle, which hardly provides emotional stability. Many artists struggle against poverty and public indifference in their lifetime. And if they do indeed produce works that are acclaimed, they could succumb to the overwhelming pressure to live up to their earlier successes.


Its is hard to ignore the mountains of biographies and anecdotal evidence that have pointed for so long in the other direction.

Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament is one of the best examinations of bipolar disorder among artists.

An interesting insight from the University of Toronto and Harvard (2003): Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness

The study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. Other people's brains might shut out this same information through a process called "latent inhibition" - defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. Through psychological testing, the researchers showed that creative individuals are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition.




Mental illness has often been used to inform creative process and serve as a basis for aesthetic development. For years I've been meaning to write an essay on David Lynch's aesthetic and mental illness. This is especially true of his early work. Notice the way that pauses, sounds and "looks" from people take on massive significance and cause for moments of anxiety in Eraserhead. This is a hallmark of many forms of mental illness, seemingly insignificant occurrences producing life-shattering, paralyzing effects on the afflicted.

Salvador Dali, who is famous for saying "the only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad" developed what he called the Paranoiac-Critical method, the "spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena."



His authobiography, Salvador Dal: Diary of a Genius is my favorite artist biography. The first line: At the age of six years I wanted to be a chef. At the age of seven I wanted to be Napoleon. My ambitions have continued to grow at the same rate ever since.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday School at the Sherman Foundation: Scarcity & Irrationality

As marvelous and achieving as our higher brain functions are they cave and surrender control with remarkably little applied pressure, particularly when it comes to threats of resource scarcity.




From CNN: Nashville pumps dry after panic about rumor of no gas

Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy: An estimated three-fourths of gas stations in the Nashville, Tennessee, area ran dry Friday, victim of an apparent rumor that the city was running out of gas. Officials said panic regarding a rumor of a lack of gas caused customers to to rush to the pumps.

Officials said panic regarding a rumor of a lack of gas caused customers to to rush to the pumps.

"Everybody has just gone nuts," said Mike Williams, executive director of the Tennessee Petroleum Council.

He said he has no idea about the origin of a rumor that there was going to be no gas in Nashville. One reporter called him, saying she had heard that Nashville would be without gas within the hour, he said.

Hearing the rumor, drivers rushed to fill their cars and trucks.


For an interesting discussion of the psychology of rumors check out the KERA interview with Nicholas DiFonzo, author of "The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors"


On a more personal level, “There are 185,000 more single women than single men in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut urban areas combined.” That’s the largest female plurality in the country.

An area where scarcity isn't an issue, human slavery. There are 27 million human held in slavery worldwide. More now, than any other time in human history.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Octapodi

Am outstanding student film from the Gobelins School of Image in Paris


oktapodi from inkman on Vimeo.


Stiletto (60-ton, $6 million experimental vessel)

"Drug runners were stunned at their capture claiming it was like being chased by a UFO"... badass



The ship wasn't alien, however. It was an 80-foot, 60-ton, $6 million experimental vessel, built for the Defense Department, called the Stiletto. A Batman-esque, double-M-shaped hull allows Stiletto to operate in extremely shallow waters. A carbon fiber body let's the thing cruise at up to 60 knots. And a series of gigbit ethernet connections allows radars to drone-controllers to infrared sensors to be positioned anywhere throughout the ship.



Via Wired

Unsettling Creepy Airline Spots

I love the creepy surrealism, I just don't know if it's right in a spot about airlines. The 69 dollar price point is a nice touch.



Large Hadron Rap

The worlds of hip-hop and particle physics collide in Kate McAlpine's Collider Rap. She's an unlikely star shining bright in the dense, anti-matter univers of YouTube. Check it before the collider goes live and wrecks it.




Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nike Nicola Sanders




Outstanding Financial Jornalism/Blogging: Naked Capitalism

One of the best sources for financial journalism and blogging (especially on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac situation) is a site called Naked Capitalism

Here is an interesting piece from September 12: Michigan: Lose Your Home, Lose Your Vote

I have been naive enough to have believed we live in a democracy, although the evidence contradicting that view is more obvious with every passing day. Michigan Republicans plan to challenge the eligibility of voters whose homes have been foreclosed. Talk about adding insult to injury.

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.

The Michigan Republicans’ planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being “true residents.”....

A app that guesses your gender based on browser history

Interesting

The script analyzes the css color of various links to determine whether or not the user has been to that site. If the link has the “visited” style, then he marks the user as having been to that site. Now the Social History implementation of this is rather innocuous — it’s a clever way of only displaying only the sharing buttons of sites that the user is an active participant of. Of course there are far more interesting applications for advertising.


Click here to try it

Nepal cracks down on nude discos

A ban would put 80,000 jobs at risk (that's more than work at Merrill Lynch).


Via ABC News: Hundreds protest against Nepal crackdown on 'nude' discos

Hundreds protest against Nepal crackdown on 'nude' discos

Hundreds of disco workers protested in Kathmandu on Monday against a Government crackdown on "nude dancing" in its bid to improve the deteriorating law and order.

Police have raided scores of discos, nightclubs and dance bars in the past two weeks and detained 1,500 people saying many were running bars where "nude dances" were performed, not allowed by law in the Hindu majority society.

There are hundreds of such night spots in the Kathmandu valley, although the country has no specific law to regulate them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shorpy: The 100 Year Old Photo Blog

Shorpy a "photoblog featuring high-definition images from the first half of the 20th century. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a boy who worked in an Alabama coal mine and ironworks in the 1910s."

This is really an amazing collection. Big, beautiful hi-res images, one after the other, just incredible.




How to Read a Movie (Reading Pictures)

Nixta recently sent me this piece by Roger Ebert, How to read a movie, in which he discusses the "shot by shot" workshops he conducts. Anyone in the workshop can stop the film they are watching and give their thoughts or talk about what they see.

In the article he talks about reading composition and how visual devices create meaning. It's actually a nice intro to that type of thinking.

It amazes me how few books on this and the related subject of image reading and interpretation exist. A classic in that area is "How to See" by George Nelson (Available from Design Within Reach).



Excerpts form Eberts article:

He (Louis D. Giannetti, author of Understanding Movies) introduced me to the concept that visual compositions have "intrinsic weighting." By that I believe he means that certain areas of the available visual space have tendencies to stir emotional or aesthetic reactions.

To reduce the concept to a crude rule of thumb in the composition of a shot in a movie: A person located somewhat to the right of center will seem ideally placed. A person to the right of that position will seem more positive; to the left, more negative. A centered person will seem objectified, like a mug shot. I call that position somewhat to the right of center the "strong axis."

In simplistic terms: Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so. The future seems to live on the right, the past on the left. The top is dominant over the bottom. The foreground is stronger than the background. Symmetrical compositions seem at rest. Diagonals in a composition seem to "move" in the direction of the sharpest angle they form, even though of course they may not move at all. Therefore, a composition could lead us into a background that becomes dominant over a foreground. Tilt shots of course put everything on a diagonal, implying the world is out of balance. I have the impression that more tilts are down to the right than to the left, perhaps suggesting the characters are sliding perilously into their futures. Left tilts to me suggest helplessness, sadness, resignation. Few tilts feel positive. Movement is dominant over things that are still. A POV above a character's eyeline reduces him; below the eyeline, enhances him. Extreme high angle shots make characters into pawns; low angles make them into gods. Brighter areas tend to be dominant over darker areas, but far from always: Within the context, you can seek the "dominant contrast," which is the area we are drawn toward. Sometimes it will be darker, further back, lower, and so on. It can be as effective to go against intrinsic weightings as to follow them.



On written language George Lakoff's "Metaphors We Live By is excellent.

Some examples from the book:

MORE IS UP; LESS 1S DOWN
The number of books printed each year keeps going up. His draft number is high. My income rose last year. The amount of artistic activity in this state has gone down in the past year. The number of errors he made is incredibly low. His income fell last year. He is underage. If you're 100 hot, turn the heat down.

Physical basis: If you add more of a substance or of physical objects to a container or pile, the level goes up.

FORESEEABLE FUTURE EVENTS ARE UP (AND AHEAD)
All upcoming events are listed in the paper. What's coming up this week? I'm afraid of what's up ahead of us. What's up?

Physical basis: Normally our eyes look in the direction in which we typically move (ahead, forward). As an object approaches a person (or the person approaches the object), the object appears larger. Since the ground is perceived as being fixed, the top of the object appears to be moving upward in the person's field of vision.

HIGH STATUS IS UP; LOW STATUS IS DOWN
He has a lofty position. She'll rise to the top. He's at the peak of his career.He's climbing the ladder. He has little upward mobility. He's at the bottom of the social hierarchy. She fell in status.

Social and physical basis: Status is correlated with (social) power and (physical) power is up.

GOOD IS UP; BAD IS DOWN
Things are looking up. We hit a peak last year, but it's been downhill ever since. Things are at an all-time low. He does high-quality work.

Physical basis for personal well-being: Happiness, health, life, and control--the things that principally characterize what is good for a person--all are up.

Sex, Sterotypes and Consumer Markets

A recent NYTimes article reported on the European Parliament's crackdown on sexual sterotypes. This is a very slippery subject, especially if you consider the differences between American and European attitudes.

Brit's like to joke that American's have outdated, prudish attitudes towards sex, but it really isn't that simple. A female friend recently joked that the Beatles had zero sexual mojo. I had never though about that, but she's right. They were one of the world's greatest rock 'n roll bands... very cute, very clever an witty, but its hard to picture any of them bending someone over in a hotel room and giving them a righteous shagging. Although the British have a much more relaxed attitude on displays of nudity in the media, they don't sexualize like we do. "Sexy" isn't really part of their cultural DNA.

This is what is so difficult to untangle about America and sex. The differences between our overt and tacit attitudes and behaviors about sex are very conflicted. Although we have rather reserved (by European standards) rules about displays of nudity, we dial up the sexualization higher and harder than anyone. This is in part due to America's hyper-consumerism. Sex sells, so we gave it "a ticket to ride" within the context of markets and capitalism a long time ago. We had a blow-out cultural debate when Janet Jackson and Justine Timberlake pulled their Superbowl stunt (I personally believe they should have been fined for insulting our intelligence with such a cheap, ham-handed grab for attention) yet the semi-nude, oversexualled images of pubescent teens that plaster newsstands and fill fashion magazines doesn't raise an eyebrow in the least. We inject sex and sexuality into everything and display it everywhere. Sexualization, even the hyper-sexualization of kids doesn't create the ruckus of a celebrity nipple slip.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that an American student would try to auction her virginity, that is what we do with sex and sexuality here in America. eBay created a marketplace for objects of unrealized value (all that shit in your basement and garage). Like it or not, that young student is an American pioneer.


From the NYTimes Europe Takes Aim at Sexual Stereotyping in Ads



Excerpts:
The European Parliament has set out to change this. Last week, the legislature voted 504 to 110 to scold advertisers for “sexual stereotyping,” adopting a nonbinding report that seeks to prod the industry to change the way it depicts men and women.

The lawmakers’ ire has many targets, from a print ad for Dolce & Gabbana (which had a woman in spike heels pinned to the ground and surrounded by sweaty men in tight jeans) to Mr. Clean, the 1950s advertising icon whose muscular physique might imply that only a strong man is powerful enough to tackle dirt.

The vote by Parliament reflects a growing uneasiness in Europe about how advertisers and big business promote their products. In France, the Senate is considering a proposal — already passed in the National Assembly — to levy fines of up to 45,000 euros, or $64,000, for advertisements that promote or incite anorexia. The European Parliament took note of the issue during its debate last week, calling on advertisers “to consider carefully their use of extremely thin women to advertise products.”

Last year, the Spanish government weighed in, demanding that Dolce & Gabbana pull its “fantasy rape” advertisement in a country where headlines about violence against women are all too common. The designers at the fashion house, based in Milan, relented, but not before observing in the Italian press that Spain was “a bit behind the times” and that the ads were artistic in nature. But then Italian lawmakers started to fume about the images, and the ads were also withdrawn in Italy.





From InventorSpot: 15 Ads That Prove Sex Sells ...Best? Here are a few of the print spots from that roundup:








See the links for banned and controversial ads in the labels below.





Monday, September 15, 2008

Soft and... Peculiar

I am a great admirer of Karl Lagerfel, but a Karl Lagerfeld Teddybear? I think maybe a mongoose or something may have been more appropriate. Obviously I'm not the target audience. (I would be remiss, oh, and the Princess DMC will crap in my snack bag if I don't give her props for the toss.)



Play God! The mean, Old Testament Gog with this series of Biblical Puppets from Puppet Universe. The desert lamb is my favorite.



Big love to K, for the kookie puppet link.


Do the Rolex Sweep

This is all the rage across the pond.



(I believe that the most obvious way to tell a fake from a real Rolex is the second hand. On a real Rolex is smooth, on a fake it "ticks" second by second. I'm assuming that what "sweep" is a reference to. Who knows.)

Via Nixta Via Rufus.

Instructional, for the moves.



Technology Links: The Omnigoogle and Bot-Mediated reality

From Nicolas Carr's Blog, an excellent, concise breakdown of Google's business model and the source of it's ambivalent image, The Omnigoogle

An excerpts:
“Some say Google is God,” Sergey Brin once said. “Others say Google is Satan.”

The way Google makes money is straightforward: It brokers and publishes advertisements through digital media. More than 99 percent of its sales have come from the fees it charges advertisers for using its network to get their messages out on the Internet.

Google’s protean appearance is not a reflection of its core business. Rather, it stems from the vast number of complements to its core business. Complements are, to put it simply, any products or services that tend be consumed together. Think hot dogs and mustard, or houses and mortgages. For Google, literally everything that happens on the Internet is a complement to its main business. The more things that people and companies do online, the more ads they see and the more money Google makes. In addition, as Internet activity increases, Google collects more data on consumers’ needs and behavior and can tailor its ads more precisely, strengthening its competitive advantage and further increasing its income. As more and more products and services are delivered digitally over computer networks — entertainment, news, software programs, financial transactions — Google’s range of complements expands into ever more industry sectors. That's why cute little Google has morphed into The Omnigoogle.

Google wants information to be free because as the cost of information falls it makes more money.



Bot-Mediated Reality
Daniel Suarez (aka author Leinad Zeraus of Daemon) on Bot-Mediated reality in this talk to The Long Now Foundation. (iTunes link)

An amazing, perspective changing on the effect of software bots on society. A must hear.

A link to his book's website: Daemon: A high-tech thriller by Leinad Zeraus

Saturday, September 13, 2008

American Presidential Wrestling



Via Visual Culture

The Imperial Currency



Via This Tumlr site

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Silverman sidewalk advert

I saw this sidewalk ad for The Sarah Silverman show recently. (I believe these type of sidewalk adverts were illegal in NYC). They were so close to a good idea. Had it been made to look like a branded puppy-pad with rubber dog shit on it, the "watch it!" message would have really come to life (and been consistent with the shows tone and kind of humor).



F is for Friday, F is for you F****** C***

Nixta and I are enjoying this right now, why shouldn't you? Dudley Moore and Perter Cook as "Derek and Clive", tossing around the C word like a dirty old pigskin.




Counterintelligence: Why are online phonebooks so bad?

An online repository of directory listings. If ever there was something well suited for the online channel it is web-based phone directories. Databasing (primarily) public data would seem to be the sort of simple task ideally suited for the web. Even if it weren't public date it should still be an easy mark. The internet, after all, is the most efficient means ever invented for getting your hands on information your aren't supposed to have.

Our inability to predicted to uses and effects of technology should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to the internet.

From the Foundation archives: Technology and Culture: The foreseen and the unforeseen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 1-9-90 Rule

According to recent data in most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions: it can seem as if they don't have lives because they often post just minutes after whatever event they're commenting on occurs.

9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.
(According to some things I've read these people primarily participate by commenting on content created and uploaded by the 1%)

90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don't contribute).

This was first formulated by Jacon Nielson but research by Bill Tancer author of Click supports this out as well.

The Diminishing, Relative Value of Content in the Digital Age. Revisited.

I've written in the past about the diminishing "relative value of content" in the digital age. Almost 2 years to the day actually. From September 10, 2006: The Relative Value of Content (is Dropping).

Scarcity may be the largest factor in determining something's value. Generally, the rarer or more scare something is, the more valuable it is. Digital technology has done 2 things to radically and rapidly destabilize the value of content. First, it has lowered the cost and access to the means of content production. The tools for making music and movies are the most striking example of this. Secondly, the points of access and consumption have dramatically multiplied. We can now access, purchase and consume content anywhere and at any time. The end result is that there is much, MUCH more content and the most precious and scarce resources, time and attention, have been aggressively targeted and filled to capacity.

I made the following comment Apple in my post The Web and Television (a sibling rivalry):

...[Apple's] wonderfully designed devices for consumption (iTunes, iPod, Apple TV and the iPhone) are... driving down the value of content and accelerating the forces that are placing the entertainment industry under duress.

This is what I was getting at. Apple was once THE platform dedicated to technologically empowering the human imagination, but with the maturing and commoditization of "boxes" and software they shifted their focus to bridging the gap between the rising inventory of content and the inefficiencies in distribution and consumption of those media products. They've been very successful and very profitable in mining the most valuable and remaining resources in the content/consumer relationship: time and attention. It was the smart move and it played well to their strengths (design and marketing). The uncomfortable ambivalence I have about this is mostly nostalgic. They've moved from a rebellious, outsider position to an alignment that is very corporate and old-media and did so under to cover of "cool".

This recent WSJ article talks about the growing struggles within the motion picture industry with oversupply: Glut of Films Hits Hollywood. Here are some interesting statistics from that piece:
Last year, more than 600 feature films were released theatrically in the U.S., up from 466 in 2002. That's an average of 2.6 more movies every weekend that are battling for the public's attention.

More than 3,600 feature films were submitted for consideration at Sundance Film Festival this year. The number is up from about 2,000 feature submissions just five years ago.

Despite higher profits, attendance is down 4.74% from the same time a year ago. Lower attendance should trim box-office revenues for 2008 to around $9.6 billion.



In this piece from BBC News, The web's future is a 'village' Bernardo Huberman (of HP Labs) discusses "what people do when information becomes more available, cheap and valueless." It turns out that 20 domains account for 40% of the time people spend online with social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook featuring prominently in that list.

In the 2006 piece I talk a bit about the shortening self-life of content. This is a very important difference between developing digital and traditional advertising. Staying abreast of trends, novelty and behavioral shifts online is crucial in order to connect with audiences in a way that resonates with relevancy and authenticity. The pace of change online is multidimensional and "timeliness" is a an important aspect of context. Huberman supports me on this as well:

"We noticed that there is an interplay between what people pay attention to and novelty. But novelty fades and the clicks on the Digg stories decay. We can predict the shape of that decay."

Although advertising and content produced to promote products and services (websites, promotions etc) were not really the focus of this post there are still some important implications for marketing. They have to compete, like anything else, for scarce consumer time and attention.


Defining Terms: Mattress

On the west coast a "model, actress, waitress" is commonly referred to as a MATTRESS.

The Art of the Pitch: Mel Farr "Superstar"

When I was attending art school in Detroit, an art direction instructor explained to the class that the reason that spokespeople in used-car ads "yelled" at the camera was that the commercial makers believed that in order to "break-in" to the family room with your sales pitch, you had to talk to urban, African-American families the way that they talked to each other, by yelling at them.

This may or may not be a bit of apocryphal racism. My girlfriend, also a native of Detroit and film director points out that the ads were shot outdoors in close proximity to traffic using onboard mics.

Here is a classic example featuring Mel Farr "Superstar". The pitch isn't nearly as loud and aggressive as I remember them.



The Web and Television (a sibling rivalry)

Or "How The Computer Ambushed Television" or 'Why The Atomic Bomb Unleashed Forces That Led To The Writers Strike".

The computer and television both turned 60 recently. In this TED Talk Peter Hirshberg talks about the uneasy relationship between the tech and entertainment industries.

Convergence continues to be a much speculated and poorly predicted phenomenon. The way that these 2 industries compete and cooperate is fascinating. As much as I admire Apple's products I have very unresolved feelings about them turning from a maker of "tools for the mind" (Think Different) to a distribution channel and maker of devices for traditional media consumption.

What makes this a further perplexing issue of me is that their wonderfully designed devices for consumption (iTunes, iPod, Apple TV and the iPhone) are providing Apple with extraordinary profits while driving down the value of content and accelerating the forces that are placing the entertainment industry under duress. (I will explain this a bit further in a follow-up post on "The relative value of content later today).




Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Overbeaters Anonymous

I met up with my friend Ben in West Holywod for Breakfast last week. I haven't seen him in well over a year. We sit down, start catching up and I realize he is wearing an Overbeaters Anonymous t-shirt.

I had made up the idea for Overbeaters Anonymous (a support group for men you can't stop themselves) years ago, I can't believe he actually made and from the looks of it wears the shirt. Awesome.

My exceptionally inappropriate post on masturbation and the Target brand: Target Tissues & Temporary Tattoos

and From (Vera) Wang to ejaculation target in no time flat.



Monday, September 08, 2008

Adolescent Male Ingenuity and Knowledge Transfer

Kim and I were visiting Ben and Heather in Santa Monica this weekend and I got to see their newborn boy for the first time. While we were there the subject of kids and trouble came up and I explained that they have a boy-child and the likelihood of people coming to their front door and telling them outrageous, shocking things that their child had just done is absolutely, positively certain.

The kind of backyard/basement/garage technology, knowledge transfer that happens among prepubescent and adolescent boys is phenomenal and somewhat frightening. I watched my older brother and his friends, and hence learned to do things like:

1. Construct tennis ball cannons using simply a tennis ball can, a tennis ball and some lighter fluid. This kid's version is a little bit more elaborate with the PVC barrel but you get the point. The fact that he uses a syringe to measure out the lighter fluid cracks me up. we just squirted a bunch in the can's hole and all over the ball so that the launched ball would be a flaming projectile.



2. We also made hot air balloons using 2 balsa wood sticks and light, cheap trash bags. We would put a piece of tinfoil with a dollop of sterno where the sticks crossed and light that as the hot air balloon's fuel source. One of these landed on a neighbor's roof and burned a hole through the shingles. He was not pleased.

The things we did with the black powder my father used to reload shotgun shells is just fucking scary and I can't share that.

This would actually make for fascinating blog, collected stories of prepubescent technological mayhem. "The Dangerous Book for Boys" is pedestrian and cute. The things kids figure out, do and share with each other would blow your mind.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hemp Plus

This morning, I'm in the Whole Foods in Los Angeles getting some fruit-n-nut scones and some granola. There is a huge bulk-style assortment of granola and all of them are full except one, Hemp Plus. It's empty. I really wanted to try that one. What do you think it tastes like? They should rename it wake 'n crunch.





Girl Talk "Feed The Animals"

I'm sure I've posted Girl Talk's "Feed The Animals" video, recently in fact.



But I thought it was worth reposting with this graphic mapping of the samples that compose the track (from Wired Magazine.)

In the modern laptop era, any monkey with Pro Tools can make a mashup. But Pittsburgh-based computer maestro Girl Talk (known to the IRS as Gregg Gillis) has turned the cut-and-paste process into a jams-packed jigsaw puzzle. His latest album, Feed the Animals (released digitally in June with hard copies out September 23), brims with 300 song snippets in just over 50 minutes (compared to around 250 in his previous effort). "People want to see the bar raised," Gillis says. Below, a beat-by-beat breakdown of a single track.