Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Check out the latest happenings for when technology, psychology, and culture all end up in a clusterfuck of weird at Robot Schizophrenia, a new blog I've started. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
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Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Similarities between three year old children and a border collie: they're cute, annoying at restaurants, and can have a vocabulary of around 1,000 words. At least, that's what researchers found with Chaser, a six year old canine who knows a helluva lot more language than “sit” and “stay.” The study found he even knows some basic grammar, putting him head and shoulders over most people, let alone dogs.
Teaching a mutt to understand language may seem a little strange, but it isn't the weirdest shit science has pulled on our four-legged companions. That was when Karl Krall had nothing better to do than test to see if his pup was telepathic. Guess what? It wasn't.
This experiment also has some pretty serious implications. Language and animal rights have had quite a time recently, with gorillas being able to talk with sign language being a big draw for Spain to give them basic human rights in 2008. Maybe if Fido starts barking in Morse Code he can get the same respect.
Your pet getting some basic rights because of the study's results isn't as out there of an idea as you would think. Cambridge bioethics professor and zoophilia advocate David Singer makes a valid point that there's mentally disabled folks with equal or lower intelligence than animals, and they're not required to be on the end of a leash in public. Instead, the creature's ability to feel suffering should be the basis of how they're treated, with the goal of minimizing it as much as possible.
When it gets down to it though, we're not trying to reduce animal suffering but just feel we've got some goddamn control over our lives. Guess when the whole anti-animal cruelty campaign started? The Industrial Revolution. While parents were sending their children to work in textile mills for pennies on the hour, they were also making it illegal to be cruel to cows in 1822. Moving into an industrialized society they didn't fully understand made people feel powerless. If they couldn't take charge of their lives and improve conditions, at least they could do something for those poor stupid animals.
As society gets more complex, we get nicer to animals with groups like the Animal Liberation Front arguing that we shouldn't have pets or domesticated creatures at all. Hey, who can blame them? It's a lot easier to help a dumb little critter than to help yourself. Until we get out of that mindset, we're just animals too.
--------Daniel Mikelonis can often be found arguing with himself on street corners. If you want to give him some contact other than with the voices in his head, you can find him on Facebook here.
Okay, we get it. You really think the lady was involved in this unfortunate case. And she may well have been, but didn't Government 101 teach us that old truism "innocent until proven guilty?"
No, the charges aren't groundless. Elisa Baker was, in fact, still married to her former husband for over a year after entering holy matrimony with new catch Adam Baker. The issue here is not the basis of the charge, but its timing.
To me it seems, perhaps, a bit too convenient that these charges would surface now, just months after the tragic death of Baker's stepdaughter. We've seen it all before: controversial or high-profile cases being deferred to smaller charges just to 'put the guy away' (see Julian Assange and the "rape" allegations he now faces).
The moral of this smear story seems to conflict with the old ideas of guilt and innocence in a court of law: if enough people believe you deserve it (i.e. more than just attorneys, even the media/public), you will be blamed and punished.
Cases like this should open our eyes to the not-so-objective point of view of the American justice system. When a technically harmless crime is used as an excuse to keep an assumed 'criminal' in a bad light or even behind bars, the real joke becomes the laws themselves.
Artists, such as Dice Raw often portray the common “street image” because of their tough childhoods, growing up in rough neighborhoods and getting heavily involved with drugs at a young age. However, there are actual warmhearted people under all the tattoos, violence, and sex and drug lyrics. Dice Raw sends out the message that there are others less fortunate than you. Most individuals have two working arms, legs, ears and eyes and a fully functional brain and there are some that don’t have that ability. This statement reveals an artist with true soul.
While everyone enjoyed themselves at Nintendo's big 3DS showcase in Tokyo a few weeks ago, a number of people felt dizzy and nauseous after 10 minutes of 3D effects on the new Nintendo 3DS.
I love playing video games to chillax and de-stress myself from school and work, but to hear about a console that strains your eye-sockets...I'm a bit hesitant to buy the 3DS. With all the 3D craze going around the nation with movies and T.V.'s and all, its exciting to finally discover a portable console that delivers glasses-free 3D gameplay. But the idea of feeling "seasick" after playing a video game isn't my idea of relaxation.
Recently, 3D movies sprouted in movie theatres for every possible title out there: Step-Up 3D, Despicable Me, Tangled, Avatar. And now 3D televisions are introducing themselves into our homes and businesses, making the 3D technology a standard for entertainment today. However with all this 3D invading our game consoles, movies, and T.V.'s, it definitely becomes health risk, especially for children. I wouldn't want kids having seizures from watching T.V. (like in Japan) or wearing 5-inch thick glasses. If movie-theatres warn young children not to watch 3D movies and full grown adults feel nauseous after 10 minutes of 3D gameplay, why expose 3D technology at all?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Nintendo 3DS is hitting the market on March 27th with a hefty price of $250. What's the big hype about again? Oh yeah...glasses-free 3D capability. Other than that, the new 3DS looks pretty much the same as the previous DSi with the usual dual-screen, d-pad, and DS slot. I have to admit though, the glasses-free 3D handheld system is revolutionary, but that's what we said about the iPad and iPod, until other companies released similar products that were just as efficient for a LOWER price. $250 for a regular DSi with 3D capabilities and neat little analog stick is asking for quite a lot. It'll probably be wiser to wait and see what Sony has in store for us.
Monday, January 17, 2011
I never would have thought it would lead to me asking Johnny Depp a question at the Public Enemies press conference, being sent films in the post to review, getting invited to press screenings in London (being based in Liverpool I am lucky enough to know a couple of people down in London who can get to the screenings for me), and going along to special presentations of films - my wife and I ended up in a freezing cold multi-storey car park to watch Spike Jonze's I'm Here while he drank vodka cocktails. All wonderful stuff.
It has also led to me meeting a wide range of people who now contribute to the site - whether they review films, send in news or just chat about films online. They are all wonderful people with different opinions about film and they make LFF richer for it.
I think that as long as there is some passion involved in the creation of the film - whether in the writing or the actual filming - then the film will have some greatness.
I love a huge range of films and I think that shows in the reviews people send in.
You're probably wrong about the Church of Body Modification. They're not a bunch of human pincushions getting together, showing off their latest sweet tats and raving about the newest Lamb of God album. They're not suspending their bodies from hooks in their flesh for shock value. Instead, the Church of Body Modification is exactly that: a church, a religion, and nothing they do is without reason.
Nobody knows this better than David Hahn, board member of the Church of Body Modification. He grew up in a military family, graduated from University of California in Santa Barbara... oh, and participated in a four-and-a-half hour flesh removal ceremony on his right calf and “numerous ritual cuttings and scarifications” by his count. Aside from being a Minister in the Church since 2008, he's also a Wiccan High Priest in the Majestic Tradition, collects board games, and does a little beach combing now and then. Here's this modern day mystic dropping knowledge on misconceptions, intentions, and why “decorating your temple” isn't all about the pain when it comes to body modification.
David Hahn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jen Ross also states "Besides the standard high school program, TDS is working on spreading the messages at a younger target audience (junior high). You may think, why is this important, or why should junior high aged kids worry about Teens in the Driver Seat and traffic safety, when they don't even drive yet? Well, the answer is simple - reinforcement. By talking to children at a younger age about the importance of traffic safety, as both a passenger and as a future driver - we hope that kids grow up making smarter decisions while in a motor vehicle, because they know the dangers and the risks before they start driving. The junior high program that we have launched is called, TDS Junior High - Learn to Survive, Before You Can Drive."
Friday, January 14, 2011
And you know his style: push the conflict and don't hold the blood. That's why I've compiled this last of his five most badass characters based on their ruthless roles.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
He Wouldn't Have Been Such a Dumb Stoner
Recently, Jared Lee Loughner's ex-girlfriend stated he used marijuana and mushrooms. Most people usually only experience the satisfaction of preparing a banquet from microwaving a bag of popcorn or discover “time is really just bullshit, maaaaan” while blazed or tripping balls. However, going on a shooting spree probably seems like a better idea while hallucinating than sober.
Wanna get wasted as a dog? Too bad, because the only way you're getting your buzz on is licking a reptile. Apparently some Australian dogs get addicted to the rush bufo toxin gives them, which is secreted by the cane toad.
He Would Have Had a Much Better Educational Experience
51 pages. That's a respectable number of pages for a novella, a one act play, an instruction manual. When your school's racked up 51 pages in your disciplinary file for causing disturbances re-writing basic math principles during class, yelling lyrics to metal songs in the library, and throwing a bitch-fit for getting a “B” in Pilates class. Eventually getting suspended and withdrawing from Pima community college probably didn't do wonders for Loughner's mindset.
Triple Crown Dog Academy would've been a much better choice. Aside from being the largest dog training facility in the world, they've even got an obedience program about managing destructive impulses. Don't think that was on the course selection at his old school.
He Wouldn't Have Liked Such Terrible Music
Some of Lee's favorite bands: As I Lay Dying, It Dies Today, Bullet For My Valentine. All these bands share one thing in common in that they make me feel like someone is shitting in my ear. Not saying that there's any correlation whatsoever between what Loughner listened to and his actions, just that they're all universally awful.
Meanwhile dogs can't even understand music! Lacking sensitive hearing to detect changes in pitch, The Black Dahlia murder sounds like noise both to animals and most people. Ask me, and canines are all the better for it.
He Wouldn't Have Been So Confused About Language
Attending a question and answer session Gifford hosted, Loughner had only one inquiry: “What is government if words have no meaning?” The senator declined to respond, probably because saying “is there an answer if the question has no meaning” would be impolite. It's a great example though of the shooter's obsession with words and their function.
Mutts have the advantage on Loughner here. German scientists shown that dogs can understand human language to a relatively high degree. Not only that, but they don't mind being told what to do! Sounds like Lee could've used some more work on understanding commands.
He Wouldn't Have Been Able To Buy A Gun
Type of gun used by Loughner in the Tucson massacre: Glock. What people are buying immediately after the shooting: More fucking Glocks. Apparently people really do want to see a product in action before purchasing, since there's been a massive spike in gun sales lately.
Dogs barely ever shoot anyone, and even when they do it's kind of cute. Hell, they even aim for funny parts of your body, like this pet in New Zealand who shot his owner in the butt. If there's anyway to make someone getting shot adorable, it's like that.
Image from here.
4. The Matrix Reloaded-
Bringing out the computer-generated effects, can usually ruin a good chase scene and look quite fake, but slow-mo and teleporting twins, makes this one of the ultimate car chases in movie history. It’s hard to go wrong with hardcore machine guns and in-car kung fu. It’s definitely a movie totally worth watching again and again.
3. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift-
It’s hard to pick which driving stunt is the most extreme in the Fast and Furious film franchise, but the big race where Hans dies is completely action packed. An entertaining scene with pretty cool drifts and fantastic cinematography for car racing makes this one of the best car chases in film today.
An action packed 1971 film with a car chase that will blow your mind. With a few real car accidents and a high-speed chase between a car and a train taken place in Brooklyn. This chase is a heart-racing scene that keeps you on your toes wanting so much more!
B-Boy Hong-10 (S. Korea)
Who Is He: Hong-10, a former member of the Korean crew Expressions, is currently a member of Drifterz Crew and now considered one of the best b-boys in the world. Known for his extremely complex, flawless, innovative style, he's won 1st place all over the world in competitions such as France Hip Hop Planet, UK B-Boy Championships, and International Battle of the Year in Germany. The Korean b-boy dances with intricate precision and control, blowing away many of his opponents with a variety of power moves and some of his own moves that he invented. This guy is one hell of a strategist when it comes down to battling; he wants to know and study his opponents, and make sure he's flexible enough to respond to their attacks. Hong-10 strives to make dance his career while knowing those aims will be difficult and challenging for him and his family. Much of his support and strength come from his family; although they are constantly concerned for his health and future, they cheer him on through many of his competitions.
Signature Moves: Bridge 90's, Chair Flares, Chair Threads, Drop Chair Freezes, HONG-10 Freeze
Interesting Fact: Hong-10 is also into photography, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and reading.
A Few Words From Hong-10: "It's great to win battles and gain respect but it's a two way street and you have to give respect to earn respect!"
B-Boy Cloud (U.S.)
Who Is He: Cloud, reppin' Skill Methodz crew, already gained success as a professional dancer; but the roots and foundation to that success were all thanks to...b-boying. Since age 11, the natural was inspired by both of his brothers (Deft One and A-Ron) to pursue this imaginative form of art. Deeply influenced by all sorts of dance and people such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Charlie Chaplin, and even Bruce Lee, Cloud's breaking surrounds a highly stylistic background and incorporates some of the most original moves ever created. Although he's only won one title in 1998 for 1st place at Blaze Battle, Cloud achieved huge success in his dance career through movies (Step-Up 3D), commercials, and tours all around the world with Madonna.
Signature Moves: Cloud special
Interesting Fact: He got the name CLOUD when a friend said that he resembled the Final Fantasy 7 video game character, "Cloud."
A Few Words From Cloud: "I'm into whatever feels good and comes out naturally - however my body reacts to whatever music is playing."
B-Boy Lilou (France)
Who Is He: Lilou, a member of Pockemon Crew, is currently the champion of Red Bull BC One and an extremely talented dancer who still remains very popular worldwide today. They French b-boy has been dancing since the age of twelve, and has won a series of competitions (Red Bull BC One in New York, Battle of the Year in France, Freestyle Session in Korea). His unique style definitely articulates a combination of "flexible moves," old-school footwork, and a variety of power moves. During battles Lilou's got a captivating stage presence, attacking the opponent with taunts and jokes and being quite popular with the crowd as "the funny guy." Many of his influences stem off from Michael Jackson, Zinedine Zidane, Mohammed Ali, and Jamiroquai. Lilou admires them not only for being legendary in their lifetime, but also because of their work ethic and passion for the area of expertise.
Signature Moves: Variation of the air-chair
Interesting Fact: Since the age of sixteen, Lilou has had a black belt in Kung-Fu. The Kung-Fu principles and mentality helps him when he's breaking.
A Few Words From Lilou: "We are all different, unique, so dont' be a stereotype. If you dance with the capacity of your body and work hard, you can become perfect in you own way!"
B-Boy Neguin (Brazil)
Who Is He: Neguin, part of the Tsunami Allstars crew, competed and won in many competitions such as Ultimate B-Boy Championship in Las Vegas, El Barrio B-Boy Battle in New York, and Fera B-Boy Championship in Brazil. He captivates the judges and audience with a confident, aggressive style of breaking that involves life-threatening jumps and aerials, quick nimble movement, unpredictability, articulate combinations of ground and power moves, and a fusion of high energy in all of his moves while maintaining an acute sense of rhythm. The bold, spirited fighter likes to make eye-contact with his opponent and establish the fact that he's going to own the competition. Neguin hardly holds back and paces himself to use his unique style at every opportune moment in the battle. He's a well-rounded b-boy who dedicates himself to his artwork and continues to respect other dancers and encourage positive energy through his presence and work.
Signature moves: Death-defying jumps, fast movement in footwork infusing unpredictability and extreme articulation in ground and power moves
Interesting Fact: Neguin initially danced freestyle and social dances. He just started b-boying in 2003. Wow.
A Few Words From Neguin: "Always be ready and always be yourself."
B-Boy Taisuke (Japan)
Who Is He: Taisuke, representing All Area crew, has won 1st place in competitions such as Dance @live! in Tokyo, International Battle of the Year in Germany, and UK B-Boy Champs Sendai Elimination. Although only 20 years old, this b-boy has a ton of experience and tricks up his sleeve, combining an array of foundation moves from footwork to power moves. He graduated from International Dance College in Takadanobaba and focuses on a dance career that will improve his skills in b-boying in the near future. The fact that he accelerated in learning a variety of complex moves at such an age explains his natural talent for breaking. Also a teacher at a local studio, Taisuke remains a formidable opponent when he particularly executes power moves in perfect coordination with a freeze to top it off. At such a young age, Taisuke's got the experience and ability to break it down.
Signature Moves: An array of foundation moves, toprocks, and a fusion of footwork and power moves
Interesting Fact: Taisuke is the cousin of B-boy Toshiki. Not only were they born on the same day but grew up together in the same town and got into breaking because their sisters were B-Girls and members of the same crew.
A Few Words From Taisuke: "Represent Worldwide!"