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
Shit Apple Fanboys Say
We start this week with another Apple fanboy post. Well, not really. These two videos have been floating around the net for the past week or so and pretty much encapsulate what fanatic Apple fanboys can be like. If you've ever interacted with someone who has an entire iRange of devices neatly stacked around the Steve Jobs shrine in his bedroom with a black turtleneck hanging on the wall behind it, you might recognise some of these statements. Sadly, I did identify with most of them. Which doesn't make them any less funny. So this one's for you, Android/Blackberry/Nokia owners. Knock yourselves out. Although, if you're still on a Nokia, I'm not sure you'll be able to read this on your Commodore 64s running, what, BASIC?
Harry Potter Retrospective
Any book that makes people flock to a special morning stall set up by Crossword outside their stores because they hadn't opened yet on the day of its release, can safely be classified as a global phenomenon. Harry Potter was pretty much the biggest thing since Michael Jackson's white glove for 10 years of our lives. And if you have 13 minutes to spare and feel like wallowing in nostalgia, this excellent video put together by 18-year old Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr. should take care of all your Potter-mania memories for a while.
Movie Titles, One Letter Removed
Puns normally aren't my weapon of choice when it comes to humour. There is, however, that rare occasion when some well-placed word play can get your funny bone. Thanks to Reddit, there have been a few threads floating around recently which involve taking movie titles, removing one letter to give it a completely different meaning and then writing a short synopsis of what the brand new movie is about. For example: Snake on a Plane: Samuel L Jackson finds one small garden snake on a plane and yells at it for two hours. I know, strictly speaking, that doesn't qualify as a pun but they're still quite funny thanks to the fevered imaginations of Redditors around the world with lots of time to spare. Check this one out as well for further expositions on the same theme. And a Tumblr blog called Removies, which removes the need for synopses and creates movie posters for the new titles.
The Dotage Of Superheroes
Superheroes have had a Renaissance of sorts over the last few years, especially thanks to the grand old love affair of Hollywood with tentpoles. But one of the more agreeable shifts has been towards a grittier and realistic interpretation of these stories, as opposed to the 'Biff! Boom! Bang!' campier versions that they started off with (*cough* Joel Schumacher *cough*). In keeping with this line of thought, Swedish artist Andreas Englund has created a series of paintings depicting a superhero who just doesn't know when to call it a day. Beautifully realistic and with a strange sense of pathos pervading them, I don't see the pre-sequel-reboot treatment being meted out to these anytime soon. Thank God for small mercies.
The Avengers Trivia And Why The Hulk Doesn't Have A Penis (A.K.A. I Just Wanted To Say 'Penis' In A Headline)
Since we are talking about superheroes and today's blog seems to be leaning more towards the moving pictures industry for some reason, here's some trivia about the biggest tentpole of them all: 'The Avengers'. io9.com has compiled a list of 24 things about the movie that you probably don't know, ranging from the Hulk's lack of a penis to how they recreated New York digitally from scratch.
Mars in 360 Degrees
Curiosity's on Mars! And all our Asimov/AC Clarke-fuelled childhood fantasies of finally crossing the final frontier have all been taken out from the box under the bed, dusted and put on shiny display on our Facebook & Twitter feeds. I have to admit that I'm simultaneously excited about having hit Mars yet again and sad that it's taken so long to send another probe to the Red Planet. But apparently this time it's different: Curiosity has a Twitter account! But all skepticism aside, any step in an outward direction is a good one, especially when we see panoramic images like this one stitched together by Danish photographer Hans Nyberg, using individual images taken by the rover. View it full screen. And give your battered copy of 'The Martian Chronicles' another read.
Virtual Reality is so 2000. The new buzzword these days is Augmented Reality. While VR created a world and immersed you in it with all the consequent problems of "just how real can a virtual graphic world be?", AR solves that problem by just using the real world itself. And layering it with a virtual skin that enhances, describes, explores and even entertains using what you can see anyway. In an article for The Next Web, Mez Breeze explores the concept of Augmented Reality and its various real-world applications, ranging from iPhone apps (check out Across Air and Layar) to HUD interfaces on car windshields. Remember Google Glass? That's one of the best examples of how AR has the potential to change the future.
Whatever Happened To The Arab Spring?
On 17 December, 2010, a Tunisian national named Mohammed Bouazizi (thereafter famous as 'The Burning Man') set himself on fire in protest against police corruption. This act transformed him into the Franz Ferdinand of his time and started what has since become famous as ‘The Arab Spring'. However, two years later, has this movement achieved what it set out to do or has it gone the way of the Anna Hazares of the world and fizzled slowly out of the public consciousness to be taken over on Facebook feeds around the world by Curiosity's latest tweet? NBC's Richard Engel analyses the history and the current situation on the ground in the Middle East and specifically Syria, where the bloodiest battle is currently being fought. Despite a slight pro-American leaning, the article is a great recap and dissection of what's happening with the first insta-revolution that was tweeted live to the world.
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