The Null Device

2011/6/24

Not many people defend authoritarianism for its own sake; those who don't abhor it generally regard it as a means to a specific end. Not so Prince:

"I was anti-authoritarian but at the same time I was a loving tyrant. You can't be both. I had to learn what authority was. That's what the Bible teaches. The Bible is a study guide for social interaction."
Sometimes he seems a little too fond of boundaries. "It's fun being in Islamic countries, to know there's only one religion. There's order. You wear a burqa. There's no choice. People are happy with that." But what about women who are unhappy about having to wearing burqas? "There are people who are unhappy with everything," he says shruggingly. "There's a dark side to everything."

authoritarianism music prince religion 1

2011/6/23

A few interesting links I've seen recently:

  • BBC Four recently aired a fascinating documentary titled The Joy Of Easy Listening, charting the history of easy-listening/light music from the 1950s onward. It's viewable on YouTube here.
  • Digital artist Joshua Nimoy worked on some of the visuals for Disney's Tron Legacy film, and describes how they were done, from the physics of fireworks simulations and the algorithms behind various clusters of digital-looking lines to authentic-looking UNIX command-line shots for a hacking scene. (The fact that we've gone from "UPLOAD VIRUS Y/N" screens and random equations/6502 machine code/cyber-Japanese glyphs to nmap(1) being seen as too much of a hacking-scene cliché suggests that computer literacy in the movie-viewing public has increased dramatically over the past few years.)
  • IBM's Executive Briefing Center in Rome looks like something out of a scifi film:
  • In epic feats of computing: the latest work by prolific technical genius Fabrice Bellard is a JavaScript-based PC emulator that's powerful enough to boot Linux. I repeat: it runs (a slightly cut-down, though fully native) Linux on a Pentium-class PC it simulates in your web browser, in JavaScript. Meanwhile, a high-school student named Jack Eisenman has designed and built his own 8-bit computer, including the CPU, from simple logic chips. The machine runs a machine code of Eisenman's own devising and can display graphics on a TV screen; Eisenman provides some games for it and full schematics, as well as a JavaScript-based emulator for those whose soldering skills aren't up to building their own.
  • Quite possibly the most awesomel wedding invitation in the history of wedding invitations would have to be Karen Sandler and Mike Tarantino's, a card which unfolds into a paper record player that plays a song recorded by the happy (and creative) couple. There are more details here.

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