the whole world burns

Archive for January 2008

Trajectories of Fascism: the fiction of Nazi triumph

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An intriguing look at speculative fiction which asks, "what if Hitler had won?"

PuTTY Tray

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Improved version of PuTTY.

The Last Empire: China's Pollution Problem Goes Global

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In June 2006, an official at China's State Council said environmental damage (everything from crop loss to health care costs) was costing 10 percent of its gross domestic product--in other words, all of the economy's celebrated growth.

Wuxia Masks: On Come Drink With Me and the Beijing Opera

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In a 1984 interview with Charles Tesson in Les Cahiers du Cinéma, Hu made a pretty surprising statement when discussing Come Drink With Me:"I didn't want to use real martial arts what we call real kung-fu. I had seen it in tournaments, I didn't find it very beautiful and I didn't understand a thing about it; as a matter of fact, I still don't." The question practically asks itself: how could a man with no interest in martial arts revolutionize martial arts cinema? The fact of the matter is, Hu never saw the martial arts in his films solely as "action"; for him, to have "action" occur on the screen was not enough to make a film an action movie. The kung-fu in Come Drink With Me (and in his later Wuxia films like Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch Of Zen) was never conceived as actual confrontation, but as dance, performance. In fact, the action in the film(s) is choreographed to the performing style of Beijing Opera and the rhythm and beat of its orchestral score (a score mainly performed by traditional instruments from Opera, the wailing flute and the Chinese tempo-drums).

$7,500,000 DreamHost billing error

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Almost had a heart attack:

This is just a notice that your DreamHost Account #XXXX ("XXXX's Account") has a balance of $1335.57 (including any charges not due until 2009-01-13), with $1335.57 due (since 2008-12-13).

The Fabrications of "Pre-Code Cinema"

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Most people know two things about the Hays Code. One is that the bedrooms of all married couples could contain only twin beds, which had to be at least 27 inches apart. The other is that although the Code was written in 1930, it was not enforced until 1934, and that as a result, the "pre-Code cinema" of the early 1930s violated its rules with impunity in a series of "wildly unconventional films" that were "more unbridled, salacious, subversive, and just plain bizarre" than in any other period of Hollywood's history.

Neither of these things is true.

Context Free Art

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A language for creating generative art.

The Death Of Dynamic Range

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How the music industry is ruining their music.

David Simon On "The Average Reader"

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From his Believer interview with Nick Hornby:

My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.