In this weekly column, filmmaker Danish Aslam will be your purveyor of the finest quality random facts, useless trivia and other esoterica from the world wide web. He lives mostly behind a keyboard and may or may not be a wizened old green man who speaks in grammatically incorrect aphorisms. You can find more on his home page http://pictually.me/dontpanic
The Voyager Is Leaving
I wasn't born when the first Voyager was launched. But I remember feeling a sense of awe when I did finally find out that there was a spacecraft out there heading, quite literally, "to infinity and beyond". It's been over 34 years since it first left our atmosphere and as of now, Voyager has finally reached a point where it's about to leave our solar system as well. Which is not to say that little green men are about to encounter the Golden Record (and perhaps wonder why Chuck Berry is so important to earthlings) anytime soon. But it's still exciting to realise that an object made by man is now at the farthest reaches of space and about to break on through. Contact? I hope so.
The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook
A rudimentary knowledge of existentialism is required for a full appreciation of this whimsical little piece from 1987. But for those of you that aren't familiar with Sartre, here's a quote to give you the gist: "All human actions are equivalent and all are on principle doomed to failure." Get it? Here's another one: "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance." Now enjoy.
Coca Cola Security Cameras
They may be trying to kill the world one cavity-filled tooth at a time, but as long as they keep releasing ads like this one, I can't hate them too much. This Coke ad, composed of footage from security cameras from around the word, is a welcome change from the usual dreary doomsday stuff that we are subjected to. Smile, it helps.
The Justice League Of Pixar
Only for comic-book/super-hero geeks. Daniel Araya does a great interpretation of the DC pantheon if they'd been imagined by Pixar.
The Vimeo Awards
Making a video is no longer the domain of a rarified breed of intellectuals. It hasn't been for a while, and hence the plethora of baby/cat/babies with cats/people getting kicked in the nuts/babies kicking cats in the nuts videos that we're subjected to on a daily basis. Which is why it's a welcome change when a site like Vimeo (remember? The one that some Indian ISPs blocked last month?) puts together an Awards Ceremony for the best original work by their members. The Grand Prize of $25,000 was won by a wonderful video called 'Symmetry' in a ceremony which included judges like James Franco and Aziz Ansari. Check it out. If you can.
In an impressively detailed longread for The Verge, Noah Davis writes about the fascinating history and speculates about the future of one of the most popular games in the world. From the early beginnings in Soviet Russia to today's One-Touch touchscreen version, he paints a picture of a game that is deceptively simple in its conception, but has become a global phenomenon lasting over 23 years. An example: Tetris has sold 132 million copies of just its mobile version as of April, 2011 as opposed to Angry Birds' 140 million. And this is a game that was invented in 1989! There are some great asides in this piece as well, like the Tetris World Championships and variations on the game (have you heard of Tetris & Dr. Mario?).
7 Famous Musicians That Stole
Plagiarism: the sincerest form of flattery. And apparently, a global phenomenon as well. Much as we love to blame all cases of "creative inspiration" on Bollywood's own (check out ITWOFS for the most exhaustive list of that), there are quite a few international artists who're guilty of ripping off song samples, guitar riffs and sometimes entire songs from existing works. And Cracked has compiled 7 of the best in a list that includes The Beatles, Radiohead, Oasis, John Williams(!) and even Madonna.
Disclaimer: Having heard the wonderful work that we do locally with lifting tunes wholesale, the examples here may seem tame in comparison (read: not so blatant).
One of the great regrets of my extensive TV viewing habits that I intend to remedy any day now (and have been for the past 5 years) is getting into the iconic show named after the man who redefines the word 'crotchety': House. Having seen it in fits and starts over the years but never coherently and in sequence, I am a fan of Hugh Laurie's talent nonetheless. And if you're not an initiate, this collection of some of the best 'House-isms' should go a long way towards convincing you. The show just ended, which is as good a time as any to get the box set I guess.
PS: For an example of the wide range that this supremely talented man possesses, check out Black Adder Seasons 3 and 4. Check it out anyway. It's Rowan Atkinson's best work till date.
The Prometheus Conundrum
As much as I loved the way it looked, Prometheus had more plot holes than a movie made by the bastard child of Michael Bay and Joel Schumacher. About Swiss cheese. And I haven't seen a better collection of all of them than this video by Red Letter Media where Mike asks Jay a barrage of the questions in the most irritatingly deadpan voice ever. Rebuttal, Mr. Scott? And please don't lead with what is currently my favorite theory about why the Engineers wanted to kill humanity: because Jesus was an Engineer!
This is an image which has gone viral over the last few days on the Interweb and it's quite a fascinating little capture. A bee captured in minute detail post-sting and showing just why most of them tend to die afterwards.