Apr 5 2010
Strikingly sad realisation that manned space-flight is at an all time low point. Those flights that are planned now are maintenance of the ailing space station, and tourism for the super-wealthy. As Ballard pointed out, the true space era lasted just fifteen years, from Gagarin’s journey to 1975, when Apollo’s capsule splashdown was not shown on TV.
“Only intelligent machines may one day grasp the joys of space travel, seeing the motion sculpture of the spaceflights as immense geometric sympohonies.” – The Atrocity Exhibition, 1993 edition, JG Ballard
Dec 6 2008
The NYT on the tasks involved in fixing New York’s water system:
The most immediate tasks are to fix a valve at the bottom of a 700-foot shaft in Dutchess County so pumps will eventually be able to drain the tunnel, and to ensure that the tunnel does not crack or collapse while it is empty.
For this, the city has enlisted six deep-sea divers who are living for more than a month in a sealed 24-foot tubular pressurized tank complete with showers, a television and a Nerf basketball hoop, breathing air that is 97.5 percent helium and 2.5 percent oxygen, so their high-pitched squeals are all but unintelligible. They leave the tank only to transfer to a diving bell that is lowered 70 stories into the earth, where they work 12-hour shifts, with each man taking a four-hour turn hacking away at concrete to expose the valve.
Nov 14 2008
So my my game audio feature was translated into French:
Le maître de conférences Tom Betts est plutôt découragé par le comportement de ses étudiants vis-à-vis de la musique de jeux vidéo. « Je fais des cours magistraux sur le sujet mais la plupart du temps, cela se résume au fait que l’on peut jouer avec le son coupé mais pas avec l’écran éteint. Si vous étudiez les choses qui font qu’un jeu vidéo marchera, l’aspect sonore n’arrive pas en haut de la liste. » Pourquoi les étudiants de Tom Betts devraient s’intéresser à ce qu’il a à dire au sujet de la musique de jeu alors qu’il y a tellement d’autres choses à considérer comme les graphismes, la conception des niveaux ou des énigmes ? « C’est le parent pauvre depuis des années » déplore Betts.
Jun 13 2008
BLDGBLOG continues to amaze with its link-dredging.
A long-exposure photograph from “City Of Shadows” by Alexey Titarenko.
May 2 2008
Will Self on Thanet:
I took the dog for a walk in the local park. The blackout was complete, but I was aware of the presence of many others. In any large city these might have been furtive seekers after fleeting, anonymous congress, but here, in Broadstairs, they turned out to be enormous gaggles of teenagers, wheeling around on the mown grass, their mobile phones held under their chins so that the wan uplight weirdly illuminated their vestigial features. As I grew closer to one of these gaggles I became aware of an insistent and peculiar gobbling noise; the sound of many breaking voices intoning â€œFuck off, fuck off, fuck offâ€ over and over again.
Not far from where I grew up, and a hellhole.
Feb 29 2008
Comrade Campbell sends word of a collection of photography intended to document the nightmare playgrounds of the world. Take a look here.
Feb 12 2008
K-Punk speaks my thoughts, exactly:
That â€˜old long termâ€™ was symbolised by solid wooden furniture, permanently nailed together, the new era by flat-pack kits. While the rooms change, the objects â€“ heaved from flat to flat â€“ provide the continuity. Records and books are relics of that old stability, the very solidity that is their appeal a problem, a drag, in the age of digital ether. Moving from one rented property to another, from one job (and â€˜skill setâ€™) to another, itâ€™s unlikely that I will ever have a â€˜homeâ€™ in the sense that my parents have one. This provokes ambivalent feelings: Iâ€™m well aware that keeping on the move revivifies at least as much as it drains, that the old, limited horizons were constraining, but the thought that there could come a point when I won’t move again is increasingly alluring.