Category Archives: Technology

Proof: Time Travel Exists! And the Wrong People Are Using It.

A few weeks ago, I posted an item about Il Paradiso, the huge painting that hangs in the Chamber of the Great Council in Venice. That’s it in the picture above, which, btw, you should definitely enbiggen, because it’s a stunning work of art. It was painted by Tintoretto and the members of his workshop, and I’ve been entranced by it for more than a decade. It was the one great cultural achievement that I had to see in Venice.

But now it’s all been tainted. I noticed something for the first time, and I’ll never be able to un-see it.

Look at the picture again. Look at the center of the painting. Do you see it now?


There, directly behind Jesus, some time-travelling tourist with a selfie stick is ruining the Ascension of the Just into Heaven because he wants a souvenir photo of himself at the great event.


That’s it.

And I’m left with the sad knowledge that I’m doomed to spend the rest of my life missing the grandeur of great art, because I’ll be too distracted by looking for depictions of IPads in the paintings of Rubens, and images of smartphones in the works of Burne-Jones.

Star Wars Meet(s) the Beatles

The iconic 60s rock album meets the iconic 70s movie, in the mash-up you never knew you needed.

The album, titled Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans, comes from Palette-Swap Ninja, which is a collaboration between keyboard player and digital drummer Jude Kelley and singer/guitarist Dan Amrich. They describe it as a “geek-culture parody project”.

They’re releasing it just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, on 25 May 2017, and the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on 1 June 2017.

Download the full album, free at Palette-Swap Ninja.

Very Early Early Man Teaser Trailer

This one’s a long way off—it won’t be released until 2018.

But Early Man is from Aardman, the people responsible for Chicken Run and the adventures of Wallace and Gromit, and the voice actors include Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, and Richard Ayoade, so here it is.

It’s good to have something with grace and charm to look forward to during the current unpleasantness.

Planet Earth II — Extended Trailer

Planet Earth II, the sequel to Planet Earth, Sir David Attenborough’s 2006 BBC nature documentary series, is finally making it to the US. The series ran last fall in the UK, where it was a huge popular and critical success. The Independent called it “undoubtedly the greatest TV nature documentary to date”, and The Guardian named it “The Best TV Series of the Year”.

The photography in Planet Earth II nothing short of amazing.

Each of the six episodes focuses on a different environment. Last November, I posted an item about a scene from “Islands”, the first episode, that showed a baby iguana attempting to escape from….

Well. just watch it, preferably full screen. It’s the most exciting thing you’ll see all day.

The first episode was scheduled to run in the States last month, but it’s been moved to Saturday, 18 February 2017. It will be simulcast across BBC America, AMC, and that sad little remnant of the once-great Sundance channel, which will interrupt its non-stop Law and Order SUX marathon for the show. That’s how good it is.

Pac-Man

Masaya Nakamura, sometimes called “The Father of Pac-Man”, has died at 91. It was his company that introduced the world to Pac-Man way back in 1980.

If I had a nickel for every quarter I dropped into that console….

As the British comedian Marcus Brigstocke noted:

“Computer games don’t affect kids. I mean, if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music”.

London Design Festival

Interior Design has posted some great images of environments and installations from the 2016 London Design Festival. Here’s a sample. Many more at the link.

All pictures and descriptions are from the site.

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“The mesmerizing reflections of Benjamin Hubert’s Foil installation for Braun at the V&A. The 66-foot-long structure swaths the room in dappled light while a continuous soundtrack of classical music is played. Photography by Ed Reeve.”

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“MINI and Asif Khan present the MINI LIVING Forests installation in Shoreditch. Featuring three box-like structures, including one elevated on stilts that visitors must climb under to gain access, the publicly placed spaces offer visitors brief respite from the hustle and bustle of urban living. Image courtesy of London Design Festival.”

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“Bocci’s immersive light installation 44 is the second site-specific commission for the Lightwell in the Barbican foyer. Designed by Omer Arbel, the light installation comprises over 300 free-poured aluminum forms suspended from the ceiling by a matrix of thin cables. Photography by Tobias Faisst.”

Morning at the Temple of Debod

Let’s start at the very beginning….

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For 2,200 years, up until the 1960s, the Temple of Debod stood near the Nile river in Egypt.

But by the middle of the 20th century, after two millennia of annual floods, the Egyptians decided to tame the Nile, with the construction of the Aswan High Dam. A problem: The resulting reservoir would leave 22 significant monuments and archaeological sites under water.

UNESCO organized a rescue. Some of the sites were relocated within Egypt, and four of them were given to countries that contributed to the scheme. The US, for instance, was given the Temple of Dendur, which was sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.

Madrid got the Temple of Debod.

And that’s where I began my exploration of the city.

The temple sits in a large, beautifully landscaped park in central Madrid. Unlike the temple at the Met, at the Temple of Debod you can actually enter—but not photograph—the bare inner rooms. That made for a much more intense experience.

A perfect start to my visit!