Yes, we’re still coming to terms with the passing of Lou Reed, enough to be searching for historical ephemera. Like this clip of session bassist Herbie Flowers explaining how it came to pass that he created one of music’s greatest basslines. [via notreble]
Boy howdy! Looks like it could be either great or a convoluted mess with the time travel elements. Also, as much as I adore John Murphy’s score from ‘Sunshine’ it’s time to retire this song from future use in trailers (along with Clint Mansell’s score from ‘Requiem for a Dream’).
That said, the trailer works. It’s enough to hook me in but doesn’t reveal all that much about the flick other than the broad strokes.
20th Century Fox has finally released the first trailer for Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, and Shawn Ashmore.
The film will be based on the comic book storyline “Days of Future Past,” which ran in Uncanny X-Men #141 and 142 back in 1981 during Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s run and introduced the idea of an alternate future for Marvel’s mutants that grew out of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants killing an important senator, leading to a future where all mutants are hunted by Sentinels.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is set to hit theaters on May 23, 2014.
Lou Reed died on Sunday at the age of 71. The music icon was best known for his work as leader of The Velvet Underground. The famous quote from Brian Eno that “only thirty thousand people bought the Velvet Underground’s debut, but they all started bands” is probably an understatement.
If you listen to popular indie rock music today, it’s impossible not to think Lou Reed is the most influential musician — even more so than Bob Dylan, etc. Naturally, the outpouring of remembrances are particularly strong for Reed. [click to continue…]
So, it turns out really can reinvent the wheel. Well, improve upon it, anyway.
Superpedestrian, a Boston start-up secured a round of funding ($2.1M) to bring the Copenhagen Wheel, to the masses.
Superpedestrian’s solution is to slip a motor into an existing analog product: the bicycle.
While the new wheel is still round, it has technology that makes it different from most normal bike wheels.
The Copenhagen Wheel replaces the rear wheel of a bicycle. It includes a motor powered by a built-in battery and sensors. When someone pedals with the new wheel in place, the bike uses sensors and an app on a smartphone to measure the amount of effort the rider is putting into each pedal. It then offers an additional boost when necessary.
One of the most interesting components of the new wheel is that the rider doesn’t need to tell the bike when help is necessary, the wheel just figures it out using the sensors and gives the bike a push.
“Riding on a flat surface, or up a hill, will feel exactly the same,” Mr. Biderman said.
The wheel doesn’t need to be charged or plugged in on a nightly basis, either. Instead, the wheel captures the energy from the brakes when a rider goes down hill and then stores that power in a high-capacity lithium battery. The motor also acts like a generator, creating power for later rides when the rider pedals in reverse.
The company said the wheel will last for 15 miles in each direction and will fit on most standard bicycles.
This could be good for urban bicycle riders or city bike swap programs. But I don’t see how this will take off with a majority of people. This doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that will entice people to start cycling even if cities would be more enjoyable with fewer automobiles in them.
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester may have identified the physiological reason for why humans need sleep. Turns out, our brains are basically taking out the trash. More or less.
A new study has found that the cleanup system in the brain, responsible for flushing out toxic waste products that cells produce with daily use, goes into overdrive in mice that are asleep. The cells even shrink in size to make for easier cleaning of the spaces around them.
Scientists say this nightly self-clean by the brain provides a compelling biological reason for the restorative power of sleep.
“Sleep puts the brain in another state where we clean out all the byproducts of activity during the daytime,” said study author and University of Rochester neurosurgeon Maiken Nedergaard. Those byproducts include beta-amyloid protein, clumps of which form plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Staying up all night could prevent the brain from getting rid of these toxins as efficiently, and explain why sleep deprivation has such strong and immediate consequences. Too little sleep causes mental fog, crankiness, and increased risks of migraine and seizure. Rats deprived of all sleep die within weeks.
Every business should use Square. The payment processing company makes it super easy for both customers and small companies to conduct transactions.
For example, when on business travel and forced to hop a cab, cab drivers just need their smartphone and the Square app/dongle to take my payment. My receipt is then emailed to me automatically since it’s tied to the card I use. Easy for me, easy for them, and everybody wins.
Now, the payment company is making it super easy to send money from one person to another via email with Square Cash.
The Verge explains how it works:
To use Square Cash, all you do is compose an email to a friend, type the amount you way to pay in the subject title, and cc [email protected] If it’s your first time using the service, you’re directed to Square’s website where you type in your debit card number — and you’re done. There are no accounts to create, apps to download, friends to add, surcharges to pay, or bank account numbers to look up. [...]
Square is debuting its own iPhone and Android app for Cash as well, but not in the conventional sense. Upon opening the app, you’re presented with a number pad for entering a dollar amount. The app then drops the number you have typed into an email and cc’s [email protected] Type a friend’s name, hit send, and the money is transferred. The app is not much more than a shortcut to composing an email, like Captio for iPhone. Compared even to competitors like Google Wallet, which lets you send cash using its sleek new app or using Gmail, Square Cash is freakishly minimal.
Sounds simple enough, but is it any good? Walt Mossberg breaks it down:
There are other services that allow you to send money from one person to another digitally. You can do it via PayPal, or via a newer service called Venmo, which PayPal is in the process of acquiring. But I believe Square is simpler and more private. For instance, PayPal places received money in a PayPal account and you must transfer it to your bank in a separate step. Venmo has a strong social component that encourages users to post when payments are made.
I tested Square Cash, sending and receiving money in amounts ranging from $10 to over $1,000, with eight people, and it worked rapidly and flawlessly. I can recommend it for anyone who needs to pay a small debt, give a cash gift, split a bill, or send cash quickly and easily.
I sent several $5, $10 and $25 amounts, and asked for and received, all or part of the money back, in order to test receiving money. I also used Square Cash to settle a real bill, with a friend, to pay my half of a shared $2,223.76 fee she had covered. It worked fine in every case.
The people helping me test were generally wowed. One called it “slick.” Another replied: “Done. Two secs.” A third, with whom I had trouble using PayPal last year, said she’d use it “1,000 percent.”
There is one big caveat: You have to trust Square. The company has a strong track record in its merchant business, so it isn’t brand new to the money-transfer business. And Square says it has strong security measures and close human and machine monitoring for possible fraud. If fraud is suspected, the company says it can and will reverse the fund transfer. Still, digital services do get hacked, and email can be manipulated by thieves. The service notifies you via email or text that it appears you have sent money, which gives you a chance to cancel a transaction that didn’t come from you or was a mistake.
So, if you don’t trust Square to defeat such things, you shouldn’t use Square Cash.
Sounds like a really useful service. Looking forward to trying this out.
Portland’s Willamette Week remembers singer/songwriter Elliott Smith and his relationship to the city ten year’s after he committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart.
In person, though, he was a goofy drunk with an absurd sense of humor, who beat jokes into the ground like a kindergartner. That’s how Portlanders—the people who knew Smith best—describe him.
Though Smith’s best-selling record, 1998’s XO, sold only 400,000 copies, he is, to many critics, the best songwriter ever to emerge from this city. His influence still resonates. A few years ago, Paste magazine ranked Smith the very best thing about Portland—above Powell’s, Mount Hood, the book Geek Love and Gus Van Sant’s entire oeuvre. Last month, Madonna filmed a performance of his song “Between the Bars.” A new biography, Torment Saint, is out this month (see review, page 46), and a second documentary film about Smith is in the works.
Before Portlandia branded our city, Elliott Smith did the same—except his Portland was about self-loathing, set among the cracked sidewalks of Alameda. He told stories about addicts getting off the bus at Southeast Powell Boulevard and 6th Avenue to cop, and chronicled the absurd ritual of the Rose Parade, with its “ridiculous marching band” playing “some half-hearted victory song.”
Today, local bands like the Decemberists sing about dirigibles, shipyards and CIA operative Valerie Plame, while Menomena mounts ironic album-release parties set to Pink Floyd laser shows at OMSI. These bands tend toward the conceptual, not the personal. And those bands emerged around 2003, the same year Smith died and Voodoo Doughnut opened. It was the end of gloomy, earnest Old Portland and the birth of whimsical New Portland, the “youth magnet city” of craft beer and chickens with names.
Smith tapped into the same existential gloom explored in the ’80s by the Wipers’ Greg Sage, who once described Portland as “Doomtown.” It wasn’t obvious back in 2003, but it’s clear now: Elliott Smith was the last man living in Doomtown.
Smith’s three albums released between 1997 and 2000, Either/Or, XO, and Figure 8, are as good as any in modern music history. The two records before that are also pretty fucking spectacular but he really hit his stride with those three records. He’ll always be one of my favorites.
Questions I had while watching this video:
1. Why is a group of Japanese kindergartners singing the Dayman song from ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘?
2. Why hasn’t somebody made a kaiju movie based on the Dayman mythology yet?
3. Why is Peter Griffin on the whiteboard behind them and not Danny DeVito imploring these kids to pay the troll toll?
The team behind FX’s ‘Archer’ re-made the video for Top Gun’s “Danger Zone” and it’s as amazing as you would think — especially Krieger tearing up the guitar solo.
Best idea goes to this YouTube commenter: “Does anyone else think they should remake the movie top gun with the cast of Archer?? Not adding too much, if anything to? the script, just the voice actors doing the lines, and animating the movie with the Archer cast. God, that would be fucking EPIC.”
Yes, yes, a million times yes. [via reddit]