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A writer for publications including The New York Times and Wired, Clive Thompson is used to defending the latest trends in digital technology from naysayers and skeptics. In 2008, he was one of the first to describe how sites like Twitter were about more than sharing what you had for breakfast. Now he’s written his first book, Smarter Than You Think, an investigation of how technology is helping us to learn more and retain information longer. Clive took some time to talk with us about the new book, distraction, MOOCs, and how he uses technology with his kids.

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Amid Amidi

Within 15 seconds of hitting the play button on Kou Kou by Takashi Ohashi, I did something I rarely do when watching films on my laptop: I turned off the lights at my workspace to create a dark theater environment. Good abstract animation, like a good song, demands the audience’s full attention, and I sensed this was going to be something special.

Takashi Ohashi, who has been featured on our Animated Fragments feature, has created a masterful piece of abstract animation with Kou Kou. Ohashi does something rare for abstract filmmakers, which is to organize his visual ideas with the clarity, pacing and dynamism of a more traditionally narrative storyteller. The second ‘movement’ that begins around the 4-minute mark packs a real punch. The competing red and blue offsets create tension and instability in the imagery, which serves to heighten the visual excitement.

To a non-Japanese speaker, the film is a beautiful visual experience, but the Japanese speaker will enjoy an additional layer of depth. Ohashi sent Cartoon Brew the following explanation of the film:

Kou Kou is a visual work based on an abstract animation synchronized with a song comprising the unique syllabic sounds of the Japanese language, without actually using any full words.

It is in the elements of sounds from which words are made that we find syllabic sounds. In the case of the Japanese language, the linguistic roots, or ‘Yamato Kotoba,’ each individual sound possesses a unique meaning. For example, words containing ‘su’ exhibit a frictional characteristic and hence are used to represent a linear or direct movement. In modern-day Japanese, ‘sasu’ or ‘susumu’ represent a concrete, tangible action.

Furthermore, words with fewer syllables are used to express simple onomatopeia-like words, whereas the more syllables a word contains, the more concrete it becomes.

However, although a given syllabic combination may not be understood despite its constituent syllables possessing their own meanings, there are particular instances where we are able to discover meaning from a meaningless word.

This is what I feel is most interesting about the Japanese language and why I’ve thought to express myself by combining just how good the combination of vowels and consonants unique to Japanese resonates with music synched to abstract animation.

This musical composition was made by recording 6 natural voice vocal tracks from singer Luschka and selecting lyrics with Japanese syllabic combinations which afforded expression. The track comprises words which themselves are meaningless, but carefully combining syllables and their respective unique resonances ensured highly musical peaks and troughs.

Director: Takashi Ohashi
Composer: Yuri Habuka
Mixing: Masumi Takino
Vocal: Luschka
Drums: Kyojun Tanaka (from DCPRG)

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(author unknown)

The first of a series of three articles about breaking games for QA purposes and your personal entertainment.

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The SXSW Gaming Expo is preposterously loud. At one side of the room, a Starcraft tournament is reaching its climax, but on the other side, one group of guys is yelling louder. They sound like a basement full of adolescents discussing the newest Electronic Gaming Monthly cover story, or like the NINTENDO SIXTY-FOUR kid unwrapping his Christmas present.

“Is the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality 3D headset, the future of gaming?” they ask. “Or, is it something bigger — the future of life on planet Earth?”

At a panel entitled “Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming,” Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski joined Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, Words with Friends co-creator Paul Bettner, and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey...

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trent ces essay

Trent Wolbe will be publishing daily photo essays from CES. This is the latest in the series.

It was 2:57PM which meant Danny DeVito was 27 minutes late for his scheduled appearance at the Panasonic stage. That would have been OK if there hadn’t been two executives there in his place, talking alternately in sweepingly generic terms about the future of entertainment and confusingly specific details about year-over-year advancements in display manufacturing technology. The horde of photographers armed with heavy zoom lenses were getting visibly pissed off, and everyone else was playing Angry Birds. At 2:59 a comically horrid wave of probably-chili-induced flatulence entered my smell zone; a split second before I ran away forever the...

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Stack Exchange

This Q&A is part of a biweekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 80+ Q&A sites.

Hafiz asks:

I am a Web application developer, also responsible for project management. I occasionally manage remote developers, who work for me under a contract basis. Sometimes, this can prove very difficult. A few challenges I have encountered:

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Superstructure is probably the largest unsung hero for his musical talents, he’s done a completely midi version of Kid A by Radiohead which you won’t find anywhere but on cassette, he has stuck to his sound from the beginning and everything that pops up even like this snippet I always try to check out.

This is the Best Coast killer, prepare for Purity Ring to be bigger than ever imagined. The girl sings lyrics that give me goosebumps, young and old girls are not even ready for this sound, CocoRosie and Joanna Newsom fans will have a new girl to gush over and its definitely a true talent.

When I listen to this Toby Tobias track it has this dance end to it which made buy it because I wanted to play it out but also it creates this lil cutesy environment in my head that I imagine up, like some gummy animal world on a black backdrop, lots of fun things going on.

I’d be happy in a world where this Sportag remix was in the top 40s.

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