this space intentionally left blank

December 16, 2010

Filed under: random»linky

In Link With The Mic

Scare y'all quicker than a mean ol' goblin.

  • Between the hectic end of session rush, the loss of several key team members, and the holiday season, it's been hard to free up the mental space to write here. But here are a few of the fruits of my efforts: an interactive earmark database (with a fully-browseable version in development), another map on immigration patterns, a look back at the 111th Congress for Roll Call, and of course, our live midterm election coverage. Unfortunately, things show no real sign of settling down.
  • Law and the Multiverse answers your awkward comic-related legal questions.
  • This is a slow month for dance jams, but my teachers at Urban Artistry put together some videos as introductions to the different types of urban dance, and I think they're really well-done. Check out breaking with Emily and Russ:

    And popping with Ryan:

  • As a journalist, I'm generally pro-Wikileaks (although not necessarily pro-Assange--the distinction is important). More interesting than the releases, I think, are the reactions to them, and the questions that they raise: are activists endangered by a mostly profit-driven Internet? (Yes.) Should we consider denial-of-service attacks a kind of civil disobedience? (Probably.) Were the actions of Anonymous legitimate protest, then? (Good question.) When it comes to the organizations I lump under "New Protest," Wikileaks and Anonymous rank prominently due to their effectiveness, not to mention their eccentric, decentralized, and anarchist tendencies. Having them acting in concert (such as it is) is fascinating.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates on Dr. Doom and hip-hop. On a similar note, racists are not happy with the casting of Idris Elba as a Norse god for Thor.
  • It turns out that if you examine Ray Kurzweil's claims, he's usually wrong--or at least, right in a way so vague as to be meaningless. Perhaps he should enter the business of political punditry.
  • Wheat linked the other day to this tutorial on using Mobius and Ableton together for live looping, by bassist Russ Sargeant. I had almost forgotten how awesome the combination--it is no small endorsement that a free plugin is better than Ableton itself for this kind of live instrumental performance.

    It may be hard for non-musicians--or even non-loopers--to understand how big a deal Mobius can be. You have to understand that, much more than other effects (and I've tried my share), looping is like learning a whole new instrument, and each looper brings its own set of constraints to the table that you have to learn to work around. For years, the gold standard was the Gibson EDP, but it was A) expensive, and B) discontinued. Then along comes some guy with a complete software emulation that anyone with a decent soundcard can use for free. Oh, and it's scriptable, so you can rewire the ins and outs to your heart's content (I made mine control like my beloved Line 6 DL-4). That's no small matter. Every now and then, I almost talk myself into picking up a netbook just to run Mobius and a few pedal VSTs again, it's that good.

Future - Present - Past