Peder with a D

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Posts Tagged ‘video’

Muppets

Posted by Peder on 6 June 2009

I’ve been watching old Muppet videos online today and had to throw up links to some of their new stuff. I love how they’re staying current (esp the Rowlf videos) while sticking to their roots – music, slapstick and sarcasm.  And Statler and Waldorf.

First, some music:


Muppets take on an Internet meme:


Is there a way we can put this on just the American part?

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Live Blogging Every Commercial Flight in 72 Seconds

Posted by Peder on 16 January 2009

… Every flight in a 24 hour span, that is.

I’ve just been watching this back to back to back this morning.  I love how the volume of flights drops as night sets in, only to pick back up with the morning.  It’s really easy to see the main travel routes too.  #1 is easily North America <–> Europe.  At about 0:35 in you can just see the morning slew of planes descending westward over the Atlantic.  Lots of flights connecting Europe to Brazil and East Asia too, but not nearly as many trans-Pacific flights as I would have expected.

It’s fun to follow the paths least traveled too, like one originating off the SW coast of South America around the 0:10 mark.  Is that lone flight connecting Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia?  And what about his buddy originating from Buenos Aires 6 seconds later?  Think those two captains talk on the radio, and if so, what do they talk about?  Sooo … how ’bout that Antarctica, huh? Looks cold. At 0:28 they cross paths with an eastbound loner and I can’t help wondering why they cut so close to each other with all that space around them?  High stakes chicken?

Which path do you think is Oceanic Flight #815?

So here’s a live blog of the video:

0:00 – 0:10 — Wow there are a lot of flights in North America.  How come it doesn’t feel like I see that many when I watch the sky?  And look at Asia, they just have their own little thing going on there too, huh?  Hawaii gets a lot of love too.

0:10 – 0:20 — Ah, there’s Europe. Wake up sleepy heads!  The large stream from North America to Europe has dissipated, and did anyone else see how many connections there are between Brazil and Europe?  Must go to Brazil … Hey, who’s that little guy over the south Indian Ocean?  Where’s he going?  And there’s a dude up above Alaska!  (This reminds me of a trip my mother took.  Apparently Newwark –> Beijing flies pretty much right over the North Pole.  Go ahead, get a globe.)

0:30 – 0:40 — Europe is blossoming and the Americas have slowed enough to follow individual flights up and down the two continents.  That wave coming over the North Atlantic is pretty cool.  And then the USA/Canada wakes up — new flights following the sun.  Asia’s still humming.

0:40 – 0:50 — G’night Asia, good morning California.  North America and Europe are in full bloom again.  There are a bunch of flights shooting over the North Pole and Siberia, but no one’s crossing Antarctica.  A place only penguins dare to tread?

0:50 – 1:00 — Wow, there really is an ocean of land to cross in the interior of Asia isn’t there?  There’s a ton of flights there but they’re all sooooo spread out.  Looks like Europe –> North America is wrapping up for the day and the Asia <–> Australia flights are picking up.  And boy does New Zealand get an early start or what?

1:00 – End — Flights paint the Asian coastlines.  That little bugger in the south Indian Ocean is headed back east.  Lots of Europeans are flying to China and Japan, maybe Korea too.  Hawaii is booming again.  Woah, did you just see that flight over the south Atlantic blink and disappear at 1:04?!  … Oh thank God he’s back at 1:10, but where’d he go?  Flying under the radar?  The deck is 10,000 feet Maverick!

That was a lot of fun to write.  Here’s a little bit more about that video on Wired, and here’s where I first found it on Clusterflock. I got to that page by first reading this neat story, which I heard about on Kottke.  Lots of shout outs there, but you gotta recognize good things. Have a great Friday everyone!

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Internationalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

ShoreBank and Van Jones

Posted by Peder on 1 January 2009

A little while ago I wrote about national spending priorities and the need for investment in “green collar” jobs and infrastructure designed around energy efficiencies.  That post garnered me some attention in the blogosphere and I was contacted by a representative from the ShoreBank Corporation.

greencollareconomyIt’s good that more and more people are talking about these ideas (like me), and more and more are taking action on them (ShoreBank).  And this bank has been at it a long time.  ShoreBank is a community development bank out of Chicago with branches and subsidiaries around the country.  It invests in activities designed to spur economic development in low-income areas, and serve communities oft inadequately served by traditional banks.  You may have heard of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh whose founder, Muhammad Yunus, was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for the bank’s activities.  Same idea.

The representative that contacted me and I shared a few emails discussing their efforts and their partnership with Van Jones.  The bank has recently committed to donating to Jones’ foundation, Green For All, for every new online high-yield savings account that is opened.  I don’t know if you’ve looked into online banking and high-yield savings accounts, but I’ve found their interest rates are often better than what brick and mortar banks offer.  I also shared my alma mater’s program in environmental policy, many of whose graduates are doing similar good works.  I was also excited to sign up for my first electronic press kit through the bank and receive a complimentary copy of Van Jones’ book, The Green Collar Economy, which I am very much looking forward to read!  (Goodreads listing)

I’m very pleased that this is my first blog post of the new year.  It’s the types of business opportunities that these organizations support that we need to look toward as we rebuild our economies and industries in 2009. According to their website, “ShoreBank Corp. is America’s first community development and environmental bank holding company.  Their tagline is, “Let’s Change the World.”  Sounds good to me.

Here’s Van Jones again:

Posted in Environmentalism, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ensaio sobre a Cegueira — Essay on Blindness

Posted by Peder on 24 November 2008

Blindness, the bookI recently finished reading the novel Blindness by José Saramago, a Nobel laureate in literature.  It was a very captivating book and I’m glad to use it as the basis for this, my first review on this blog.

The book tells the story of a blindness epidemic which sweeps a city and a nation.  Reacting to the outbreak, the unnamed government attempts to quarantine those affected, but as the disease spreads to every last individual, anarchy ensues.  We first see this breakdown in the abandoned asylum set aside for those early victims.  As the military forces charged with the monitoring and care for those inside abandon their posts over fears of becoming blind themselves, the food deposits upon which the blind inside rely are no longer delivered.  Within the walls those with weapons, power and the constitution to use them to their benefit hoard the food and demand payment for anyone else who wants to eat.  Faced with tyrannical treatment from inside as well as out, the quarantined riot and burn the place down in what can reasonably be seen as an essay on the predictable destruction of a society — or maybe I’m just a closet-anarchist.

Those few who are able to get out walk blindly into a world they no longer recognize.  Not only has their disease painted their entire world white, but the entire society from which they were hidden has deconstructed in their absence.  Governance, law and order are no more.  Food is scarce.  Filth and the remains of the dead pile up on every street and city plaza.

Most of the story is told through the eyes of the one person who has retained her sight.  Simply called “the doctor’s wife” — her husband is an ophthalmologist — the reluctant heroine leads a ragtag group of the earliest victims through the horrors of their new world, and takes upon herself the great burden of taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves in a world devoid of order.  Interestingly, there are many mentions of morality and appropriate behavior throughout the story, particularly regarding the role of family and deference to government and order.  Very often they come across as overly old-fashioned and I wondered if I simply did not have the same values as a European author born in 1922.  But as I reflected, I realized they appeared tiresome and out-dated because they represented an effort to apply traditional values to a now-valueless world.  So much of our own societies are built upon the rule of law and the strength of family, and this story was premised on the sudden retraction of those institutions.

As the book moves on, and the characters’ lives continued to devolve I kept wondering how this story could possibly resolve itself.  But Señor Saramago takes a clue from the late, great H.G. Wells and ends the story with an anti-climax.  In War of the Worlds, the planet was in great peril and could not seem to find a way to defeat its alien invaders.  So H.G. Wells simply introduced the concept of viral infection — that the aliens couldn’t handle the cellular “bugs” for which we’ve grown immunity, and *tada!* the aliens die off and order is restored.  (When the story was turned it into a movie a few years back I remember hearing movie-goers groan at how simplistically that Happy Ending was reached.  Little did they know that Steven Spielberg actually followed the original story for once!)  Sadly, in a similar nod to what I sarcastically guess is an I’m-done-writing-now-let’s-just-finish-this-book attitude, Saramago spends about a page and a half explaining how, just as curiously as people lost their sight, they suddenly gained it back.  Hooray!  THE END.

Boo.  And this guy won the Nobel Prize for Literature 10 years ago.  Double-boo.

But I suspect the point of writing the book was not to find some unique twist that saves the day.  Rather it was to show the systematic breakdown of society and the chaotic reaction of the human organism to such unfathomable horror.  For that, this book did a good job; throughout much of the book it is surprisingly difficult to put down.  But again, that’s not for lack of trying by Señor Saramago.  His writing style is without quotation marks, has few sentence breaks and even fewer paragraph breaks.  It can be very difficult to read, as your eyes move so quickly over a text without stop or yield signs it can be very easy to lose track of who’s talking or what they’re talking about.  However, in counter point, the style does provide an added effect of confusion and disarray during the story’s many chaotic scenes.  At first I thought that was the intended effect, but then I read on Wikipedia that the author is known for this style and he uses it a lot.  Adding to the challenge of its reading, the book has been translated from its native Portuguese, which naturally added a couple hiccups as a second language can never capture the intended effect of a story’s original text.  Well, I guess you can’t have it all, can you?

Blindness, the filmYou might be already familiar with the story line as it was turned into a major motion picture, set to be released in the US sometime this fall.  I’m having difficulty determining whether the film has already had its run in theaters, or if it’s still on the horizon, but in either case I’m determined to see it, whether that means I rent the video or buy a ticket.  Take a look at the trailer below.  Very exciting!

Lastly, a note on the book’s title, the original Portuguese name means “essay on blindness,” for which Saramago has written a sequel called Ensaio sobre a Lucidez meaning “essay on lucidity,” translated in English as Seeing.  The story involves many of the same characters and takes on a political “epidemic” of non-vote ballots cast by a populace.  I have a variety of other books on my To Read list, and I’ll need a break from Señor Saramago’s style, but I look forward to reading his take on a different kind of societal degradation.

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He Ain’t Heavy

Posted by Peder on 29 October 2008

Let’s take this blogging down a notch.  Yesterday’s post was heavy.  I guess during this heated election season and with my having a lot of time on my hands these days I’ve used the time to take my opinions very seriously.  Well, here’s a very serious opinion:  This video is rad!!

Takes me back to the days in college when we used to play a lot of chess. Spending all those wintery days in Northfield, Minnesota we had to be a bit more selective when we spent time outside.  By my senior year we had our games down pat.  Chess was a big one.  We also played cards:  Euchre if there were four of us, Widow Whist if there were three, and Gin if there were only two.  If you were alone you had to play with yourself.  Zing!

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Rocktober

Posted by Peder on 24 October 2008

Tonight is the (likely) last show of my Rocktober 2008 experience.  I’m going to see Shiny Toy Guns play in Minneapolis.  It’s been a pretty good month, and the only regret I have is missing My Morning Jacket one evening when I had to work.  Seeing The Magnetic Fields could’ve been cool too.  So by way of tribute to the bands of Rocktober, here are some music videos ___

First, tonight is Shiny Toy Guns, who are releasing a new album next week.  I’m a big fan of their first album We Are Pilots, particularly this song, “Rainy Monday”.  It was the first song of theirs that caught me attention and left me wanting more:

Earlier this week I saw TV On The Radio.  Great, great set though I wish they would’ve played the ballad “Family Tree” off their new album.  Whatev, here’s “Staring at the Sun” off their first LP Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes:

A bit of an impromptu show on my part, I saw Broken Social Scene a couple Mondays ago.  They put a lot of musicians on stage and pulled it off beautifully.  Here’s “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)” from their 2005 self-titled release.  It rocked!

OK, I’m cheating here a little bit by including some acts I saw in September.  But I don’t care because really, it’s all just part of my reintroduction to the Minneapolis music scene. So, this is Ratatat with their popular single “Loud Pipes” off their second album, 2006’s Classics:

And to start it off there was They Might Be Giants.  Here’s “The Mesopotamians,” last song on last year’s The Else.

I also want to give a shout out to Pete and Mike, my main co-conspirators in these extravaganzas.  Good times!

Posted in Around Minnesota | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

30th Birthday Piñata

Posted by Peder on 17 May 2008

Happy Birthday early this week to Miriam.  Nothing can stop her, especially not no stinkin’ piñata!

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Deer Fishing

Posted by Peder on 27 April 2008

Luke explains what the point of deer fishing really is:

Step 1. Tie an apple to fishing line.
Step 2. Throw it.
Step 3. Drunk deer.

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