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Video gaming pioneer Gerald Lawson R.I.P.
04.14.2011
03:45 pm

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Video gaming pioneer Gerald Lawson has died from complications related to diabetes. He was 70 years old.

In 1976, Lawson designed the Fairchild Channel F, the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console. He went on to create software for the Atari 2600 in the early 80s.
 

Lawson was the sole black member of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of early computer hobbyists which would produce a number of industry legends, including Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Lawson also produced one of the earliest arcade games, Demolition Derby, which debuted in a southern California pizzeria shortly after Pong.”

In a 2009 interview, Lawson was candid in his appraisal of Jobs and Wozniak: “I was not impressed with them — either one of them, actually.” He was so unimpressed by Wozniak he turned down his application for a job at Fairchild.

In March, Mr. Lawson was honored for his innovative work by the International Game Developers Association, an overdue acknowledgment for an unfamiliar contributor to the technological transformation that has changed how people live.

“He’s absolutely a pioneer,” Allan Alcorn, a creator of the granddaddy of video games, Pong, said in an interview with The San Jose Mercury News in March. “When you do something for the first time, there is nothing to copy.”

 
Here’s Mr. Lawson discussing Fairchild Channel F and the roots of virtual reality:
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Inside the home studio of Chris & Cosey with Electric Independence
04.11.2011
08:00 pm

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A new episode of Electric Independence has gone online at VBS.tv, and it features an excellent interview with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (aka Carter-Tutti/Chris & Cosey) seminal electronic musicians and one half of Throbbing Gristle.  We find out how the couple met, how they were introduced to electronic music and their life in (and after) Throbbing Gristle. Gear heads are also in for a treat as the duo talk about the synths and equipment they use and have used, including some rare home made synths by Carter. It’s also heartening to see them keeping bang up to date with technology, including the use of Kaoss pads and BC8 synths, and recording their music with Ableton Live on a MacBook.
 

 
Previously on DM:
Happy Birthday Chris Carter: ‘The Spaces Between’ LP re-issue

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
A birthday message from the planet Tuffington
04.11.2011
07:32 pm

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Butch Tuffington made this short video using “Happy Birthday” by electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire.

As usual, Mr.Tuffington delivers something both cosmic and comic. Zen montage with a lysergic twist.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Spellbinding animatronics reel by John Nolan
04.11.2011
03:05 pm

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Simply put, John Nolan‘s 2010 reel for his animatronic creations is amazing. You may recognize some of John’s work from Clash of the Titans, Where the Wild Things Are and the television series Being Human.

BTW, there’s a blobby thing with lips that’s rather disturbing in this video. Just wait for it.

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Liberal vs. Conservative: Politics reflected in brain structure
04.08.2011
07:10 pm

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Belief
Science/Tech
Stupid or Evil?

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Of course, it’s something many of us have suspected all along, but a new study published yesterday in Current Biology reveals that the differences in our political views are tied to differences in brain structure.

The next time you look at a Republican and wonder in astonishment at how small-minded, unscientific, inflexible and sometimes scarily racist their belief systems often are, well, wonder no more: They can’t help themselves…!

And the way you wince at them? It goes both ways, mate. Might be hard-coded into your gray matter as well. No wonder Conservatives find Liberals so infuriatingly condescending…

From Science Daily:

Individuals who call themselves liberal tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes, while those who call themselves conservative have larger amygdalas. Based on what is known about the functions of those two brain regions, the structural differences are consistent with reports showing a greater ability of liberals to cope with conflicting information and a greater ability of conservatives to recognize a threat, the researchers say.

“Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual’s political orientation,” said Ryota Kanai of the University College London. “Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure.”

Kanai said his study was prompted by reports from others showing greater anterior cingulate cortex response to conflicting information among liberals. “That was the first neuroscientific evidence for biological differences between liberals and conservatives,” he explained.

There had also been many prior psychological reports showing that conservatives are more sensitive to threat or anxiety in the face of uncertainty, while liberals tend to be more open to new experiences. Kanai’s team suspected that such fundamental differences in personality might show up in the brain.

And, indeed, that’s exactly what they found. Kanai says they can’t yet say for sure which came first. It’s possible that brain structure isn’t set in early life, but rather can be shaped over time by our experiences. And, of course, some people have been known to change their views over the course of a lifetime.

So there IS hope for Glenn Beck?

Here’s more on this from TIME’s blog:

This is not the first attempt to locate the biological roots of party affiliation. In an October 2010 study, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University identified a “liberal gene” — a variant called DRD4-7R, which affects the neurotransmitter dopamine — that has been linked with a personality type driven to seek out new experiences.

Another study from the University of Nebraska found that liberals and conservatives had different reactions to “gaze cues” — whether they tended to look in the same direction as a face on their computer screen. Liberals were more likely than conservatives to follow another person’s gaze, suggesting that people who lean right value autonomy more; alternative explanations suggest that liberals might be more empathetic, or that conservatives are less trusting of others.

The thing this study doesn’t explain is why progressive women are so much hotter than Republican women!

(runs away)

Another explanation for Tea baggers?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Golden Years: New David Bowie iPhone app coming soon
04.05.2011
03:21 pm

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In 2009 to “commemorate”  the 40th anniversary of the release of his Space Oddity album—also known as squeezing another buck out of the back catalog—David Bowie and Virgin/EMI released an iPhone app with the multi-track stems from the title tune. Remixing the song on your iPhone set you back $2 bucks.

On June 6th, there’s going to be another Bowie multi-track iPhone app “celebration,” this one for “Golden Years”. Geekier Bowie fans will be able to manipulate Bowie’s vocals; the backing vocals; the 12-string guitar; guitar; bass; drums; harmonium and percussion (including blocks, congas, claps).

If you’ve heard the 5.1 surround remix of Station to Station, recently released in an obscenely expensive box set, it’s easy to imagine that any Bowie fan could make a better surround mix of “Golden Years” than heard there. (I couldn’t wait to hear it and it’s just terrible, a huge disappointment as I love that album. And it’s not just me, every review I’ve read of it is bad).

Below, Bowie lip-syncs “Golden Years” on Soul Train.
 

 
Thank you Syd Garon of Los Angeles, CA!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Microworld: William Shatner’s psychedelic short film about microprocessors and transistors (1976)
03.26.2011
12:14 pm

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It’s like watching an episode of The Twilight Zone.


(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Conny Plank’s Digital Delay available on Ebay
03.17.2011
12:31 pm

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If you happen to have a spare 3000 clams laying about you can potentially own the legendary German über-producer Conny Plank’s rack mounted digital delay unit ! There are other, less exciting items from the great man’s studio also for sale, but this particular unit was well used in the early 80’s and probably never more effectively than on this stellar 1981 12” single duet with Holger Czukay under the name Les Vampyrettes. One of my absolute favorite records of all time.
 
Les Vampyrettes - Biomutanten

 
Les Vampyrettes - Menetekel

 
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Conny Plank Studio on Ebay
 
With thanks to Brian Turner via Geeta Dayal !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Kraftwerk have an iPhone app
03.16.2011
07:37 pm

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Music
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“I am the operator with my… iPhone?”

I suppose that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, should it? It’s actually kinda perfect coming from Kraftwerk.

At first glance I thought that this was maybe just some random/semi-random “remix” algorithm tied to a GPS (which it seems to be) but it sounds like once they work out the kinks, that they’ll be adding new functionality.

“It’s a novel system that creates music and sound based on realtime data depending on your location that are continuously feeded into the app, meaning the KLING KLANG MACHINE No1 can’t be compared with other generative music apps which mostly utilize pre-programmed algorithms. There are some nice ways to manipulate sound and store personal preferences. For now the functionality is still kind of basic but the original concept will be more and more implemented in future updates and releases.”

Norman Fairbanks

Then again, this is Kraftwerk isn’t it? Hopefully there’ll be updates more frequently than once a decade…

Download at the iTunes Store
 

 
Via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Astronom O’s: Carl Sagan Cereal
03.16.2011
01:37 pm

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Amusing
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What started out as a joke on Twitter amongst astronomers finally came to be: A Carl Sagan prototype cereal called Astronom O’s!

It’s “Fortified with star stuff.”

Astronom O’s: ‘The Breakfast of People Who Stay Up All Night’

(via TDW Geeks)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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