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October 31, 2008

Boy Eats Drum Machine

Robin says,

Wow, I liked this song a lot.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:24 PM

October 30, 2008

Current Diggs the Election

Robin says,

Election night, Current-style: all infographics and social media feeds and a live set from Diplo backing it all up.

(And how great is that promo?? Props to Meghan.)

Tune in on Tuesday.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:14 PM

The Art of Obama

Robin says,

The Art of Obama. This wire sculpture is gorgeous, but I'm not sure it's "correct" -- what about Obama is tense?

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:11 PM

October 28, 2008

Dance of Democracy

Robin says,

I have to agree with Jason... this Obama/McCain dance-off is where it's at.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:43 PM

The Art of Participation

Robin says,

This sounds totally awesome:

The idea is that at the beginning of the exhibition there is literally nothing on the wall. With your collaboration, and with a lot of help from students and volunteers from around the Bay Area, The Gift will be produced over time. We'll use the photo studio to take portrait pictures of museum-goers which will then be printed, framed, exhibited, and stored all on the same floor, all on view.

And then...

...on closing day, we'll have a big communal event (a.k.a "a party!"), and the artist will hand out a picture to everyone who contributed theirs to the project. In other words, if you have given your portrait, you will then also own a part of the collection. You don't get your own photo, however; you get a picture of a stranger, and the condition of receiving a portrait is that it then gets exhibited elsewhere (BART station/your living room/your tropical vacation?).

So glad I (somewhat randomly) signed up for an SFMOMA membership a few months ago. See you at the opening!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:26 PM

October 27, 2008

White Walls

Robin says,

Love this simple demo video. It feels like it could be a metaphor for something.

Also, I think I want to play a full-blown first-person-shooter that's in stark black-and-white like this. Half-Life meets Sin City!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:23 PM

October 23, 2008

Mike Leigh

Robin says,

If you were to take every film director in the world and do a calculation something like this...

artistic merit + accessibility
general public awareness

...I think Mike Leigh would end up with the highest score, and it would be something stratospheric, like nine hundred quadrillion. (The unit, of course, is snarkpoints.)

Here's the new Onion A.V. Club interview. I haven't seen Happy Go Lucky yet but I have seen Secrets and Lies, Topsy Turvy, Vera Drake, and more, and they're all sublime. Super-serious and sophisticated, but totally fun and watchable too.

Here's a taste of Leigh:

AVC: Happy-Go-Lucky also suggests that happiness is as much a matter of perspective as it is things going your way. It's likely that someone else who haves Poppy's life would pretty miserable with it.

ML: I don't agree with that. It's an unhealthy habit to say that life is what you make of it and if you want to be happy, then you can be happy. That's just rubbish, basically. Life is about luck and it's about circumstances and socioeconomic conditions and all the rest of it, but you know you can also make choices and it's about spirit and generosity and all the other things, too. This film is about somebody who is open and has a capacity not to be judgmental and to empathize and to love.

Leigh gives off the same vibe I always get from Philip Pullman -- somehow both large-spirited and tough, verging on ornery. I really like the combo.

Comments (7) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:04 PM

A Phrase for Our Time

Robin says,

"[M]y [ad] rates are priced for small businesses and etsy shops."

Seriously, I love it. Cottage industry, artisanal content, the Fortune 5,000,000,000, etc.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:35 AM

October 22, 2008

The Last Words of David

Matt says,

A propos of nothing, I'm going to point you to the best song we performed in high school choir, Randall Thompson's "The Last Words of David," as interpreted by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Man, that's some great stuff.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:50 PM

October 20, 2008


Robin says,

A paean to newspapers, in a roundabout sort of way. At first it just seems like a funky video collage, but then you realize what the creator is up to.

That stack of newsprint in the corner has a continuity to it.

I like this video a lot. Its speed and soundtrack make it feel like it should be about, you know, the! modern! world! -- but, surprise, it's actually a meditation on all the things that don't change day-to-day.

(Via Jean Snow.)

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:54 PM

Learning Music

Robin says,

Um, yes pls:

Learning Music began as a collaborative album-a-month project, commencing in November 2006 and concluding in November of 2007. The series included an album recorded entirely on handheld cassette recorder, a collection of music videos filmed before the music was made, songs for an autobiographical musical written by a robot, and dozens of homemade electro-acoustic folk-pop anthems.

I'll be honest, it's a little uneven. But... "songs for an autobiographical musical written by a robot"? Come on.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 3:25 PM

Vanguard 2

Robin says,

New season of Vanguard starting soon. I still maintain: It's the best video journalism being done by anyone, anywhere, right now.

P.S. Robot nation!

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:33 AM

October 19, 2008

'Bout damn time

Matt says,

Slate redesigns. Again. For the last year or so, I've debated doing a follow-up post on my snark-out of their 2006 redesign, just to verify that I never got over my initial awful reaction to the site. I've got some problems with the new design, but they're minor compared to my feelings on the former look.

I have this funny feeling that the separation between the "Today in Slate" and "Slate Blogs" tabs isn't going to last ...

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:21 AM

October 18, 2008

Too Legit

Robin says,

Am I the only one that's been buying tons of music from the Amazon MP3 store?

It is actually now easier to buy music the legit way, via Amazon, than it is to pirate it. I mean, I guess it depends on your personal money/time mapping, but for me... a mere $9 for an album vs. a bunch of interminable torrenting? The choice is clear.

Maybe the travails of digital content have been overstated. Maybe the problem hasn't been paying for content, per se, but rather the lame, broken contexts in which that payment has, 'til now, been embedded.

Seriously curious, though: Is anybody else as sold on this as I am? Or are you still slurping your jams down from some darknet somewhere? Why? Feel free to comment anonymously!

Comments (11) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:23 PM

October 16, 2008

Solo Spore

Robin says,

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has the first video of the procedurally-generated multiplayer game called Love. It's the solo project of a guy named Eskil Steenberg. One man making a procedurally-generated multiplayer game by himself is exactly as crazy (and awesome) as it sounds.

I remember seeing this frame from the game months ago and being totally struck by its artfulness.

(Via Eskil's blog.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:21 PM

October 15, 2008

The Man With the Master Graph

Robin says,

Oh man, I cannot wait to read this: New York mag's profile of Nate Silver, the guy behind my favorite politics site. Clearest quantitative writing anywhere on the web, period.

Hmm, "quantitative writing." I like that.


Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:00 PM


Robin says,

New Obama poster by Jonathan Hoefler. All typography. I love it.

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 2:34 PM


Robin says,

This video is quite twee but I still really like it. Like Death Star Over San Francisco, it's evidence that recorded reality is pretty ridiculously plastic these days.

The democratization of manipulation proceeds apace!

(Via Fubiz!)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:14 PM

October 14, 2008


Robin says,

Follow-up: I feel like Very Short List is a proxy for The Daily Beast -- not because they're trying to do the same thing exactly, but because they're trying to do the same thing generally, are both good-enough ideas that seem fairly well-executed, are both weird web offshoots of the old-school Manhattan mediaplex, were both initiated by larger-than-life magazine editors, etc., etc.

(To be fair, VSL distinguishes itself by being a small, focused operation. Contrast to my main critique of The Daily Beast: What am I supposed to look at on this page??)

Sooo, is VSL actually doing well? Any clues? Do you subscribe? I used to, but found myself deleting the emails without opening them, so eventually gave up on it.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:18 AM

October 13, 2008


Robin says,

Bet you never thought you'd see a Venn diagram that featured Very Short List, the Wall Street Journal, and Snarkmarket! Matt's Money Meltdown gets a link from one of the pickiest filters around.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 12:55 PM

October 12, 2008


Matt says,

Marc Ambinder's right, this piece on the Obama campaign's organization in Ohio is fascinating.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:18 PM

October 10, 2008

A Little Less Ivy in the Bank

Robin says,

QUESTION: How has the stock market's precipitous plunge affected college endowments, especially the titanic ones, e.g. Harvard and Yale? Will it affect their scholarship programs -- many of which are generous and new?

Or did Harvard's legendary money managers somehow manage to beat the market again?

If I worked at a newspaper or financial news website I would assign this story right now. But I don't, so I'll just blog it here.

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 7:25 PM

Candidate Analogies

Robin says,

A funny thread on

Rise of the image fall of the word!

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 5:21 PM


Robin says,

To my ever-increasing embarrassment, I am totally monolingual. Maybe that's why I am also increasingly fascinated with the typography of other languages: What's the Helvetica of Japanese? What's the Comic Sans of Hindi? Who's the hot young Arabic type designer?

This doesn't quite answer those questions, but it's pretty awesome: Jonathan Hoefler on the insanely logical and self-consistent Korean alphabet:

Typographically, I envy my Korean counterparts who get to work with Hangul, with its letterforms that always fit into a square, and can be read in any direction (horizontally or vertically.) And best of all: no kerning!

Any pointers to cool non-Roman-alphabet typography out there?

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 4:20 PM

October 9, 2008

Go to Where the Party's Going, Not Where It's Been

Robin says,

Oh man, I love this. Jay Smooth of Ill Doctrine with the metaphor for success in media today: "...figuring out where the party is at nowadays, and setting yourself to be the one who's over there hosting the party."

It makes a lot more sense if you watch his whole video. Which you should.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 10:46 PM

Improving the debates

Matt says,

Last Thursday's Presidential debate was widely panned for its ridiculous format. Seriously? Two-minute responses and one-minute followups? And this is supposed to transcend talking points?

The Lehrer debate felt much meatier to me. It clearly showcased two men who had very different (but both quite substantial) views on foreign policy, and allowed them to contrast those views at length. Still, any amount of time spent paying attention to the moderator in a Presidential debate is wasted time, and Lehrer had to do a fair amount of refereeing to keep the candidates in line.

CJR's got some excellent ideas for shaking up the debate format. I've got one more:

What if we allotted to each of the candidates a block of time — say 40 minutes — and allow them to apportion it however they'd like? Engage a moderator merely to pause the debate and send the candidates in another direction if they get stuck on a particular topic, but mostly allow them to steer the debate where they'd like. Each candidate could be wired with a mic that detects when he's speaking and winds down the clock, and both the candidates and the viewers can see how much time each one has left.

You could even take this a little further by employing a team of fact-checkers who work furiously during the debate to spot misstatements of fact. If a candidate is discovered to have fudged the truth, the misstatement is revealed during the course of the debate and the candidate is docked a minute. (This would be difficult to enforce and cause a lot of partisan sniping, so the plan might be better without, but I offer it as a possibility.)

What say you, Snarkmind?

Comments (9) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:57 AM


Matt says,

I love this. Ironic Sans posts a video of the CNN Election Center, left momentarily unattended. It's like an outtake from a dystopian '80s movie about the future.

60 Seconds in the Life of the Election Center from Ironic Sans on Vimeo.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:48 AM

Conflict in the Middle East

Matt says,

Infosthetics points to this well-done short about the standoff in the Middle East. Being five minutes long, of course it dispenses with a lot of the actual geopolitics of the matter (leaving the prophetic religious elements of the conflict entirely unmentioned, even), but it's pretty.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:13 AM

Lego + NRA =

Matt says,

BrickArms. Nefarious. From Things.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:02 AM

October 8, 2008

Political Landscapes

Matt says,

Cf. my post on "America in speeches": BLDGBLOG has a thoughtful essay on the geography of political rhetoric. (Via CJR.)

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 9:21 PM

Blackwater Yard Sale!

Robin says,

Oh man, this is why you have got to sign up for the Blackwater email list:


Is this a sign of the times? How will the credit bust affect mercenary armies?? THINK OF THE CORPORATE MILITIAS, PEOPLE.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:00 PM

Daily Delight

Robin says,


Can't believe I haven't linked to this yet, as I've been enjoying it for weeks: Kyle T. Webster's Daily Figure. Gestural figure drawing was always my favorite part of art classes -- though I could never do it this well.

FYI, this satisfies your FDA daily recommended allowance of line art.

Comments (1) | Permasnark | Posted: 8:57 AM

October 6, 2008

From Above

Robin says,

Earth from above at The Big Picture. Hint: It's not the above-ness that's so great. It's the eye for pattern and geometry. For some reason, this one really gets me.

(Also on Kottke. But I got it from the Big Picture RSS feed. Lest you think me a link-poacher.)

Comments (4) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:40 PM

Musical Mario Paint

Robin says,

Hmm I feel that my links have been sub-par lately. I'll write about my current project soon... and remember there's always this (email it to your grandma!)... but in the meantime I am in love with these Mario Paint masterpieces. In no small part because I myself was a Mario Paint maestro back in the day. Man, do you remember the SNES mouse? What a weird contraption.

Comments (0) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:24 PM

October 5, 2008

The Art of the Panda

Robin says,

By now you know I like title sequences better than movies themselves. The latestgreatest example is Kung-Fu Panda, which was actually fairly sweet and clever... but was also completely bested by its own title sequence. Watch it in HD here.

Comments (2) | Permasnark | Posted: 11:58 PM

October 1, 2008

The Money Meltdown

Matt says,

Robin and Tim made me do it.

Comments (5) | Permasnark | Posted: 6:47 PM

'I Will Have as My Student Only Mademoiselle Camille Claudel'

Robin says,


Wow. Read the tragic tale of Rodin and Camille. (Yes, that Rodin.) Intense. Why isn't this a movie yet?

P.S. Lots more artists in love!

Comments (3) | Permasnark | Posted: 1:18 AM
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