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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Watch | British Council Film Collection

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The British Council Film Collection is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time. Fascinating historical and often funny stuff.

Watch | 3D Printing – An example of how it works and why it’s a good thing

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Have you managed to fully understand what this 3D printing business is all about and why it is a good thing? Personally before I saw this video I understood the technology of what it was but didn’t have my head around its practical applications. This video changed that.

Two-year-old Emma wanted to play with blocks, but a condition called arthrogryposis meant she couldn’t move her arms. So researchers at a Delaware hospital 3D printed a durable custom exoskeleton with the tiny, lightweight parts she needed.

A Tale about Patience and Compassion

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The following tale teaches us about the value of patience, compassion and living life in the moment – its incredibly touching, you might want a tissue handy!

I don’t know about the origins of the story so I’m unable to verify its genuineness or credit the author, I came across it because someone shared a post on Facebook. In many ways I don’t think it matters even if it is entirely fictitious it is still a beautiful tale.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Watch | Musical Light Swings on the Streets of Montreal

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I came across this thanks to the brilliant blog.

Every spring an interactive installation takes over a high-traffic area in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles. This year’s installation was by a Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours and called 21 Balançoires (21 Swings).

The installation offers a fresh look at the idea of co-operation – the notion that we can achieve more together than alone. The result is a giant musical instrument made of 21 interactive swings. Pre-recorded sounds from a xylophone, piano, and other instruments were programmed into color-coded swings that when in use play various notes, however when swung in unison with careful cooperation, more complex melodies and harmonies arise. An additional “secret mode” was programmed to only play when all 21 swings were in use.

What a fantastic use of space that not only brings people together but encourages them to play a part in creating art. I think it’s a wonderful idea and something that should be encouraged in all public places as standard. The benefits of people acting together and being involved in something creative is well known, our public spaces should positively encourage it for the benefit of everyone.

Check out the video below.

21 Balançoires (21 Swings) from Daily Tous Les Jours on Vimeo.

Watch | Northern Line Underground/Overground

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This is an interesting video that travels the whole length of the Northern Line starting at the southern end right the way up to it’s northern most tip. It visits each station but travels overground on the roads using Google Maps. Fun stuff, brilliant idea – would anyone like to do the other lines?

Read | The man behind Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’

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This article on the NPR site tells the story of Abel Meeropol the Jewish man who wrote the poem ‘Strange Fruit’ about black people being lynched on which Billie Holiday’s classic haunting song is based.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

There is also a short documentary on the subject

Its a touching story of compassion and empathy. An intriguing part of the tale is that, along with his wife, he raised the two boys of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg the couple executed in 1953 for espionage. A remarkable and brave poem from a Jewish man about racism in the 1950s and an equally brave decision for Miss Holiday to sing it.

Art of the Title

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“At Art of the Title, we are the leading online resource of title sequence design, spanning the film, television, conference, and videogame industries. Featuring title design from countries around the world, we honor the creators and innovators who contribute to the field, discussing and displaying their work with a desire to explicate, facilitate, and instigate.” – —Ian Albinson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Art of the Title

This is a good find – a site that collates and celebrates the art of film title sequences. We all know that they are pieces of art on their own. This site gives us an opportunity to enjoy them singularly or in collections which are put together under themes, such as the title work of the celebrated illustrator Saul Bass or the films of David Fincher. Most interestingly there are collections such as tension in title sequences and single shot sequences.

I really like Saul Bass design so I’ve included it above – be sure to check the site.

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