There's nobody here but us chickens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Knowledge Nuggets - Original Recipe

This project here probably has some sputtering into their creme brulee, but the idea of compressing great works of philosophy whilst retaining the "in their own words" attraction of going to the originals is a wonderful thing. The pitch, itself compressed to it's standout points is
There is no taking-part in the 'Great Debate' of Western civilisation, the debate about who we are, how we should be governed, how we think and how we ought to behave, without some familiarity with the, remarkably few, thinkers in whose language and idiom the talk is conducted....So, here are the most used, most quoted, the most given, sources of the West. The books that have defined the way the West thinks now, in their author's own words, but condensed and abridged into something becomes possible to read the whole thing as a single narrative, as the story of Western Thought
The story of Western Thought in a month of lunchtimes? That's got to be the ultimate democratisation of information. More power to us.

First m'Hacks post up m'lud

Go here to see my account of what Ian Penton-Voak has to say about Personality in the Face. It's kind of fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I'm up on Mind Hacks now - my intro post is here, and I should be a creature feature on the site in the future. And, if you're coming here from the site, then welcome and look around. And I know it's a terrible design. That's why Matt is a web guy, and I'm a neurosciency guy. Only Matt knows tons about neuroscience too. And Tom has a great looking site.

But they can't do this, can they
[does intricate footshimmy]

Didn't think so.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The greats

"Vote for the greatest cartoons", C4 urges. Ok, I say, breezily. "Thanks - now we'll do one of those annoying top 100 programs you hate so much!" Damn you, I snarl. Why didn't you warn me before I wasted my time? "Actually, the page was clearly labelled to that effect, Alex." Ah. yes. Well, at least it means I'll be able to watch tons of clips of cartoons, rather than faded popstars talking about how it was a crazy time for everyone. "If you had a TV." If I had a TV.

My (unranked) ten votes were for
  • Akira - Obviously - broke anime from its ghetto in the West, and unprecedented in its scale and technical achievements anywhere. Just a wow piece of work.
  • Battle of the Planets - Bizarre and totally of my youth, I wonder whether footage will be shown, as I suspect it is now nestled somewhere within my body cavity, shaping my future and making me walk a little funny.
  • Dungeons & Dragons - Just because I still really, really want to find the Dungeons and Dragons ride - and for the end music. But seriously, it was a perfectly constructed quest comic, onscreen, every week.
  • King of the Hill - For being so genuine, and so genuinely funny, that it makes the world a better place.
  • Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies - With a catch-all like this, how could you not? You may have hated half the characters, but there was always one, right? I'm partial to a bit of Duck, myself.
  • Powerpuff Girls - For being the perfect exemplar of nu-cartoon - a splash of kid-anime, a does of retro, sardonic, peppy and a-ok by me.
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show - For being horrible genius.
  • The Simpsons - I shouldn't need to justify this.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Mainstream cartoons for adults? Would we even be asking these questions if RR hadn't come along? Well, yes, but this sure smoothed the ride, a wonderful work of pizazz, imagination, and attention to both period and the medium. Acting to imaginary weasels as a hard boiled american private dick sent our Bob 'oskins a bit loopy, which considering the cockney horror that Dick van Dyke inflicted in a similar format some 30-odd years before with no apparent damage seems mighty unfair.
  • The Wind in the Willows - A bit of bias here, as my aunt wrote the screen-play, but this is a wonderful work - puppetry/stop motion rather than cartoon, and showing the power of those models to convey pathos, warmth and danger.
They have suggestions for what should be added, but this proves rather difficult for my floaty-lite memory; what to do but rehash childhood favorites, or list animes that 'ought' to be seen ad nauseum? I went for
  • Cities of Gold
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • South Park the movie (They have the main series, but I would vote for this as a separate, splendiforous effort)
  • The Raccoons
  • I am not an animal (as much a cartoon as south park is, and truly twisted)

Any thoughts on obvious stuff I am missing? Clearly my cartoon archives need updating.