abandoned asylums

Detail of a photography phil.d took inside High Royds Asylum
Environmental Graffiti carries a collection of 34 photographies shot at 10 different abandoned and meanwhile decaying former mental institutions in Great Britain. The pictures are haunting and really give me the creeps. After viewing them you know that all the versions of Arkham Asylum are not the products of imagination.
 
Detail of a photography St@ndby took within Deva Asylum

via entry at infocult—tnx!
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lolspeak thesis

That’s just wonderful and remembers me of ye ole days when I was still compiling a dictionary of online lingo

ABSTRACT: Lolspeak, which I characterize as an internet dialect of English that is used in conjunction with images of cats, exhibits distinctive variations and patterns which differ from those of standard English. Lolspeak has influenced other language use and may have a significant impact on the English language, due in part to the internet’s role in the evolution of English (Crystal “Language and the Internet,” 2006:26-27). To approach this data, I created a multi-modal discourse transcription technique for analyzing Lolspeak utterances within the context of their images based on Grounded Theory (Glaser and Strauss “The Discovery of Grounded Theory” 2007:9). I implemented this technique with randomly collected Lolspeak data that I collected from the website www.icanhascheezburger.com. My work has dual future implications in that it could be used to further studies of Lolspeak or other internet dialects/ languages, and the transcription method I have invented could be beneficial to those looking at other forms of multi-modal discourse.

LEFLER, JORDAN. 2011. I can has thesis? A linguistic analysis of lolspeak. Master of Arts thesis. Louisiana State University. Available online: http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-11112011-100404/unrestricted/Lefler_thesis.pdf
via entry at ethno::log—tnx!
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orwellian documentaries

In the sidebar of his blog Dialogic blogger Thivai Abhor maintains a nice list of documentary films which are available online. After having skimmed through a bit, my personal interests were most matched by the three shortly described below. But Dialogic also points to Top Documentary Films, a blog reviewing, commenting, and linking to 1800+ documentary films, all available online, and sorted into categories.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (Curtis 2011)

A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. It claims that computers have failed to liberate us and instead have distorted and simplified our view of the world around us. [...] (Top Documentary Films)

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (Greenwald 2006)

Documentary portraying the actions of U.S. corporate contractors in the U.S.-Iraq war. Interviews with employees and former employees of such companies as Halliburton, CACI, and KBR suggest that government cronyism is behind apparent “sweetheart” deals that give such contractors enormous freedom to profit from supplying support and material to American troops while providing little oversight. Survivors of employees who were killed discuss the claim that the companies cared more for profit than for the welfare of their own workers, and soldiers indicate that the quality of services provided is sub-standard and severely in contradiction to the comparatively huge profits being generated. Also depicted are the unsuccessful attempts by the filmmakers to get company spokesmen to respond to the charges made by the interviewees.
(Jim Beaver at IMDb)

Orwell Rolls in His Grave (Pappas 2003)

The film examines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and corporations, analyzing the possible consequences of the concentration of media ownership. Making references to George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film argues that reality has met and in some ways exceeded Orwell’s expectations about a society dominated by thought control, which is made possible by the media. According to the film, the mass media no longer report news, but manage it, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored, thus ultimately defining the framework upon which most other issues are discussed by the society. As an example, it is claimed that since the late 1980s there’s been an agenda pursued by the major media corporations regarding the deregulation of the media market, by which news reports sell all its benefits while neglecting its disastrous results.

CURTIS, ADAM. 2011. All watched over by machines of loving grace [TV documentary series]. Three episodes. London: BBC Productions.
GREENWALD, ROBERT. 2006. Iraq for sale: The war profiteers [documentary film]. Culver City: Brave New Films.
PAPPAS, ROBERT KANE. 2003. Orwell rolls in his grave [documentary film]. ?????: Sag Harbor-Basement Pictures.
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space battleship yamato

Space Battleship Yamatao, a moc by Mark Rodrigues
This is a moc [my own creation] version of the Space Battleship Yamato by afol [adult fan of LEGO] Mark Rodrigues. The original stems from the franchise of the same name and is itself based on the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Yamato class battleships which were in service during World War II. It’s neither steam- nor dieselpunk, of course, but retrofitted futurism for sure.
 
Side elevations of the Space Battleship Yamato and a Yamato class battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy

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burns’ spinner

Police spinner design by Jim Burns
Most of the art in the wonderful Blade Runner Sketchbook is by ‘visual futurist’ Syd Mead, but I remembered that illustrator Jim Burns, whom, like Mead, I do admire since childhood, also did design work on ‘Blade Runner’ (Scott 1982). But his name is neither to be found in the sketchbook nor in the full cast and crew at IMDb. Now I found an interview with Jim Burns which clears the matter up:

[Anthony Brockway:] You did a bit of work on the Blade Runner film back in the Eighties. What did that entail exactly?
    Jim Burns: Here’s the story in brief. Ridley Scott got in touch via my agent. Early days in his film career, Alien under his belt and a new project gestating. That project was Dune. He saw my illustration for ‘Colonel Kylling’ in the joint book project Planet Story I did with the sf writer, Harry Harrison – and thought that this depiction was perfect for the Baron Vladimir Von Harkonnen character in Dune. Shortly before I was supposed to fly out to Hollywood and participate in early concept work on Dune – that project was shelved and Ridley Scott found himself instead with a script based on the novel by Philip K. Dick called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. This of course became Blade Runner. The offer to go and work on early concept material for this new film was held open for me – and so I went over to Hollywood for ten weeks and found myself involved mostly on design work for the police spinner and the various city design details. The police spinner found it’s earliest incarnation in a machine I painted for a book a few years earlier called Tour of the Universe – actually a ‘flying ambulance’ in that story. Ridley turned the image upside down and said “Hey Presto – there’s the police spinner!” – or words to that effect. Eventually the hugely talented Syd Mead was taken on and he basically took on the look of the whole film – very successfully indeed. But I like to think that some germ of my original police spinner resides in the version you see on film!

BROCKWAY, ANTHONY AND JIM BURNS. 2004. An interview with Jim Burns. Electronic document. Available online: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/elizabeth.ercocklly/jimburns.htm
SCOTT, RIDLEY. 1982. Blade runner [motion picture]. Burbank: Warner Brothers.
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anthropological lego friends

LEGO friends set 3933 'Olivia's Inventor's Workshop'
When students or other interested parties ask me what anthropologists could do outside academia, in the industry in particular, I maintain a threefold answer. In the industry anthropologists 1) do research on organizations—amounting to something like consultancy, 2) do market research, and 3) are participating in product design—especially user-centered design comes to mind. Well, as it seems anthropologists had a hand in the meanwhile available new series LEGO friends, which triggered some discussion on gendered toys. Businessweek has a longer story on LEGO friends, and Andrew wrote at the brothers brick: ‘For those of you out there who’ve made statements about gender stereotyping, take a look at this photo of set 3933 Olivia’s Inventor’s Workshop: That’s right—Olivia has invented herself a robot in her laboratory through the use of math and science.’ [I of course chose the picture not for the gender-thing but for the robot—will recreate it in a second.]

via entry at ethno::log and entry at the brothers brick
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why the crash?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #10
Why did the jet crash?
Why did the jet crash?
    Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.]

UPDATE (11 January 2012):
Crumbling oxygen mask
And I thought you all were sci-fi movie specialists ;-) Well, here is some more information: The pilot died and his oxygen mask crumbled to powder—but why? If you know that, you’re close to the movie.

UPDATE and solution (11 January 2012):
Thorsten ‘Kueperpunk‘ Küper solved it without further ado: The pictures are taken from the movie The Andromeda Strain (Wise 1971), based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton (1969). The pilot died from an extraterrestrial microorganism or virus or life form, hence his jet crashed. Although the microscopic thing from outer space is at the centre of the story, the movie has a decidedly cyber- or biopunk ring, renders a nice cold-war ambience, and on the side criticizes the belief in thermonuclear weaponry as a final solution to problems.

CRICHTON, JOHN MICHAEL. 1969. The Andromeda strain. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
WISE, ROBERT EARL. The Andromeda strain [motion picture]. Universal City: Universal Pictures.
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hello matakichi

Detail of the cover of 'Nammenayo Cats' (Tsuda 1981)

A picture book entitled Namennayo! (Don’t Mess Around with Me!) and commercial goods modeled on those in the book are caricatures of bosozoku symbolism and display a crucial aspect of such symbols and the commercial exploitation of them. This work, which was published in 1981, and had a sales of about 335,000 copies by the summer of 1983, features a cat called Matakichi. Throughout the book there are numerous pictures of cats who stand upright wearing human clothes. miniature props (auch as motorcycles, cars, and buildings) are also provided. The plot concerns Matakichi’s youthful experimentation with several expressive styles including bosozoku, takenoko-zoku (bamboo-shoot tribe; a dancing tribe in Harajuku, Tokyo) and rock’n’rollers. the youthful experimentation eventually ends with Matakichi’s attainment of adulthood, and the story about the feline character, as a whole, may be taken as a parody of the bosozoku’s pilgrimage. (Sato 1991: 98-99)
    In other words, the bosozoku style, which is itself a parody, lends itself to further comic twists. (Sato 1991: 101)

SATO, IKUYA. 1991. Kamikaze biker: parody and anomy in affluent Japan. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press.
TSUDA, TAKESHI, 1981. Namennayo! Tokyo: Shinko Gakufu Shuppan.
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free pkd downloads

Philip K. Dick
Not exactly new news, but the to my eye yet meager download numbers make spreading it compulsory: Project Gutenberg stores eleven short stories by Philip K. Dick in multiple formats for free and legal download. Additionally open culture links to free audio book versions [.mp3] of four of these stories, and to the 1994 TV-documentary Philip K Dick: A Day in the Afterlife—go and watch … it features, among others, Terry Gilliam and Elvis Costello.

via entry at kueperpunk—tnx!
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