Entries from March 2008 ↓

Knowledge Me

Max Planck would eat no franks…

Today, Friday, March 21, 2pm, the guest on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, will be Alan Lightman, author of the book, The Discoveries: Great Breakthroughs in 20th-century Science, Including the Original Papers.

The DiscoveriesThis November 2005 re-broadcast looks at how insight has influenced the discovery process in science, but, even more, why the last century’s greatest scientific discoveries, like those of Max Planck, above, formulator of quantum theory, are actually considered great.

Memphis native Alan Lightman received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology. His novels include Einstein’s Dreams, Good Benito, The Diagnosis, and Reunion. He lives in Massachusetts, and is an adjunct professor of humanities at MIT.

If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, you can check NONFICTION via our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, check out our archive for up to two weeks after broadcast.


Our NONFICTION radio show conversation about Eliot Spitzer, featuring Brooke A. Masters, will not take place today due, to a scheduling conflict.

I’m disappointed about that, but more annoyed that I wasted that totally sweet Photoshop of Spitzer paying for sex.

Stay tuned for future announcements about NONFICTION broadcasts.

[In 1940s-style Movietone newsreel voice] “Hello, J.R.? Yeah, this cover’s perfect, but it needs just one thing: Get me the Empire State Building and some biplanes, and make it snappy!!”

Big man, little woman

For weeks, I’ve been trying to get the word out on an underreported paper by psychologists at Stanford, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California-Berkeley: According to these researchers, many Americans subconsciously associate Black people with apes.

In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against Black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human, according to the researchers.

Those findings, researched over a six-year period, were printed February 7 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

Co-author Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford associate professor of psychology who is Black, said she was shocked by the results, particularly since they involved subjects born after Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. “This was actually some of the most depressing work I have done,” she said. “This shook me up. You have suspicions when you do the work—intuitions—you have a hunch. But it was hard to prepare for how strong [the Black-ape association] was—how we were able to pick it up every time.”

When colleague Ray Winbush forwarded me the LeBron James/Gisele Bündchen VOGUE cover, above, my first raw thought was that James looked bestial. They look like King Kong and Fay Wray. Is it just me? Am I just imagining this?

3,990 Dead. 29,395 Wounded. $500 Billion Spent. $2.5 Trillion To Go. Happy Iraq 5th Anniversary, America.

Dead Soldiers

People always get the leadership they deserve.

Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008

2001: A Space Odyssey
A scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey (MGM, 1968)

Arthur C. Clarke, perhaps best known as author of the 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and co-writer, with director Stanley Kubrick, of the eponymous film released the same year, died today in his home in Sri Lanka. He was 90.

2001 is my favorite film of all time, and has been since I saw it in the seventh grade, with commercials, on a 25″ black & white TV, a viewing upon which, even in such primitive conditions, the movie did no less than totally blow my mind.

Continue reading →

Nothing Cools You Off on a Hot Day Like a Big, Foaming, Cold, Refreshing Glass of Piss.

Presto change-o

I think it was on my 8th-grade class trip to the New York Hall of Science in Queens that I first learned our astronauts, in order to conserve precious water while in space, recycled their pee.

The fact was so startling then that I don’t think, mentally, I’ve ever made it to the next, obvious step: Reflexively grokking what pee, in one’s mouth, would actually taste like. The factoid just rests in my brain as an odd, disgusting byte, to be activated every now and then, like, for example, with the August 2007 news that trapped Chinese miners survived nearly a week by eating coal and drinking their own piss.

Now, two artists—the aptly-named Britta Riley and her partner Rebecca Bray—are investigating “the role our bodies play in larger ecosystems” through their drinkpeedrinkpeedrinkpee project. (Thanks for tipping us off, City Dirt and Eyebeam. Why these activists call their site “drink pee” x3 when it seems more about reprocessing urine, I don’t know.

Continue reading →

Monsters Brawl

Hulkin’ Abomination

Assuming I’m correctly looking at this still from a trailer for the upcoming The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton), the green goliath and his nemesis, The Abomination (Tim Roth), will certainly finish what Michael Bloomberg, re-zoning, and gentrification have only begun: The complete destruction of Harlem’s 125th St.

Here’s a slightly clearer look at a certain theater’s legendary marquee, from a few frames earlier, below, just in case you actually can’t believe that Hulk brought all this hell up in Harlem:

Hulkin’ Abomination 2

Northern Manhattanites transported from Toronto, however—especially male ones—are going to have their brains looped sideways by this shot:

Abomination says he’ll get a lapdance later

Not only is that not a NYPD police car, but…Zanzibar? As this National Post clip notes, Zanzibar is a strip club on Toronto’s Yonge street. Apparently, the transposition of Canadian movie skylines for US metropolitan ones continues unabated. But, please, Canada: If you badly want to send something to Harlem, send Vancouver. The last thing Black Main Street really needs is strippers.

Yaawwwwwwnn: I’m Sorry, but, as a Person Who’s Been Riding Noisy, Nasty New York City Trains All My Life, I Don’t See Why a Subway Car of Murderous Butchery is So Scary.

Midnight Meat Train

Who’s this flick aimed at: Tourists? Come on, Clive “Pinhead” Barker: You’re gonna have to do more than that to scare Brooklyn.

Your copy is $16 at MoviePoster.com.

Opens May 16, 2008.

That’s…uh…(gulp)…more like it…

Midnight Meat Train revisited

Now, that’s how The Midnight Meat Train should have done it the first time. Count on the best movie poster site on the web, bar none—the Internet Movie Poster Awards (IMPA)—to bring the noise.

This post that you’re reading started its life as a mere addendum to the one above it, but it’s going to live out the rest of its days giving blogroll-worthy props to IMPA, the best place on the net to see today’s motion picture print advertising.

Continue reading →

Nice Hat.

Joo Youn Paek’s Pillowig

Seoul-born JooYoun Paek, a resident with the art/technology center Eyebeam, here in New York,

observes people doing everyday things like dressing and undressing, drinking and eating, calling and texting on cell phones, writing emails and letters, folding origami, etc. Then, she uses her observations on human habits and behavior to design interactive objects for public spaces.

Right now, you’re probably thinking of all the places and situations that chapeau, called Pillowig, would come in handy. (My favorite detail: The little bow.) Check out her web site for suggested uses, and more of her goofy, Dada-chomping work.