Studio Ideas and Inspiration

Planning M.O.R.O.N. Awards

Posted in studio 1a_2010 by Sarah Gelbard on 27 February 2010

Just saw mention of this over on BoingBoing

Announcing a new category of architectural award, the MORONS (Many Obvious Reasons Overcome Nothing) to celebrate planning stupidities!

Help ensure that your bad, stupid, anti-social, greedy or just plain wrong planning story is recognised with a ‘Moron.™

  • Disabled serviceman can’t live in his grandparent’s garden?
  • Entire villages torn up for airport runways?
  • Permanent security guards to ensure safe pedestrian access to a sports centre?
  • 200-year old street turned into a truck route?

Planners, developers, architects, sometimes even communities have all played their part in some of the worse examples of bad planning decisions worldwide.

We think they should be recognised and we want to hear from you.

The Planning Moron™ Awards 2009

Chris sez, “The residents of Little Green Street are fighting against developers who trying to use one of London’s very few remaining original Georgian streets as a lorry run to a site they’re trying to develop just north of Kentish Town. The battle has been going on for years now with the local council, Camden, refusing permissions at every step but losing appeals.”Now it looks like the developers may be going ahead with their plan, which will include running ten-tonne trucks up a cobbled street (which won’t stay authentic Georgian for very long, then). This is a street which is so narrow even taxi drivers refuse to drive up it. Anyway, the residents (led by my good friend Nick Goodall) have launched a new category of architectural award, the MORONS (Many Obvious Reasons Overcome Nothing) to celebrate their own and others’ planning stupidities.

“The whole site is well worth a read, with stupidity piled on idiocy heaped on lunacy; for example it turns out the developers don’t actually own part of the site where they’re planning to build; the Council themselves refused permission for the building trucks to pass through their estate at the rear of the development because it would be ‘too dangerous’ but the same trucks can pass up a narrower (much narrower) street lined with listed buildings; and so on.”

The Planning Moron™ Awards 2009 (Thanks, Chris!)

The Day My Kid Went Punk, ABC After-School Special


ABC After-School Specials hit their zenith (or nadir) with The Day My Kid Went Punk, a punksploitation show to rival the CHiPS “Rip and Destroy” episode (and yes, that’s Bernie Kopell, the doctor from the Love Boat, as the outraged dad). The Day My Kid Went PUNK

Jason at Epcot, 1989-2005, hero’s journey to sysadminhood


Jason sez, “Six photos of me, Jason, under the ‘Jason’ sign at Epcot’s The Living Seas attraction taken over the years 1989-2005. See me start as a gorky 15 year old in short shorts, pass through the fanny pack years of the 90s, and move on to become the grizzled, bearded sysadmin I am today.” There is a well-brought-up man indeed! I have a similar series of pics of me with the Haunted Mansion sign that I keep meaning to post. Jason at The Living Seas (Thanks, Jason!)

Alice in Wonderland movie from 1933 with Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, WC Fields, which Alice herself endorsed


Steve Silberman sez, “Holy Terry Gilliam prototype: The original, trippy 1933 film version of Alice in Wonderland by Norman ‘Monkey Business’ McLeod, starring Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and W.C. Fields, now on DVD with a rave from Alice: ‘A revolution in cinema history!'”

But only one can boast the endorsement of the original Alice: the 1933 Paramount “Alice in Wonderland,” being released to DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment ($19.98, not rated), the current rights holder. In a Jan. 7, 1934, article in The New York Times, Alice Liddell, quoted under her married name, Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves, expressed admiration for the film that Hollywood had wrought from the story Carroll had invented for her some seven decades before. “I am delighted with the film and am now convinced that only through the medium of the talking picture art could this delicious fantasy be faithfully interpreted,” she declared, her words possibly burnished by a Paramount publicist. ” ‘Alice’ is a picture which represents a revolution in cinema history!”

Another Trippy Rabbit Hole Alice in Wonderland (1933) (Thanks, Steve!)

Oh, this is very good news: the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie will be based on Tim Powers’s kick-ass, World-Fantasy-Award-winning novel On Stranger Tides, the greatest undead pirate story of all time. Go, Tim! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. (Thanks, Rob!)

Los Angeles: play about government/corporate conspiracy

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A few weeks ago, the Pasadena Playhouse, a historic theater just outside of Los Angeles, announced that it’s totally out of cash and shutting its doors. The news was a blow to the L.A. theater world, as the Playhouse has nearly a 100-year history of great performances and arts education. It was especially bad news for the Furious Theatre Company, the Pasadena Playhouse’s current company-in-residence, known for its challenging, intense, controversial, and critically-acclaimed productions. It was also bad news personally, as my brother Robert Pescovitz had been deep in rehearsals with the rest of the Furious ensemble for their latest production, a contemporary black comedy about government/corporate conspiracy titled Men of Tortuga, by Jason Wells. The show was supposed to open last weekend, and suddenly Furious found itself scrambling for a new space. At the eleventh hour though, Furious managed to secure the Pasadena Playhouse for one more month to stage this play. The rescheduled opening night is tomorrow, Saturday, February 26. I haven’t seen Men of Tortuga yet, but it sounds like a terrific piss take on corporate politics and shady power brokers. The show runs until March 28.

Mentortuggggg Three power-brokers scheme with a weapons specialist to assassinate a despised opponent… Too bad they’re all such incompetents. The bungling only gets worse as Maxwell, the senior power-broker, takes a young idealist under his wing. Suddenly his long-dormant conscience begins to reawaken. This comedic thriller discloses a sharp parable that takes a crack at the nastiness of covert governmental and corporate operations.

Furious Theatre Company: Men of Tortuga UPDATE: Furious Theatre Company has kindly offered Boing Boing readers a $10 discount on tickets. When purchasing tickets online, just enter the code: boingboing

Sublime Stitching’s Sexy Librarians embroidery patterns


201002261631 Sexy Librarians is just one of several fantastic embroidery patterns made by Sublime ♥ Stitching and for sale in the Boing Boing Bazaar. There’s also Meaty Treats, Vital Organs, and Lucha Libre. Check them all out here. And check out the rest of the Makers Market for more maker-made marvelousness. Sublime ♥ Stitching

Birdemic: Shock and Terror


birdemicth.jpg I’ll be attending a screening of the much-tweeted horrorschlock instaclassic Birdemic tomorrow night in LA, hosted by Tim & Eric (“Season Cinco” of their show debuts Sunday night, and also promises to be great). Directed by James Nguyen, Birdemic is sort of The Birds meets The Room. Richard Metzger has a comprehensive post about Birdemic over at the LA Times “Brand X” blog. LA folks: The Saturday night Cinefamily screening of Birdemic is sold out, but they’ve added a second one for March 5. And LOL and behold: Birdemic’s on Twitter.

Tofu Wrestling. Feel free to be outraged, disgusted, or turned on. (NSFW, via Brooklyn Vegan.)

Mid-70s Giorgio Moroder synth video: awesomest thing of all time


moroderth.jpg Holy crap, this video truly is the most awesome thing ever!!11one!11. I know nothing about this, other than what’s on the YouTube description: “Promo for Giorgio Moroder taken from a Casablanca Records promo tape.” I was talking with Joel Johnson about how creepy Moroder seemed in this video, with the pervo-stache and the cocaine shades. “But he mades the trains boogie on time,” says Joel. Mr. Moroder is still very much with us, btw: he is 69 years old, and actively composing. Here’s his website. When you’re done watching, go listen to this (or buy it). I think it’s my favorite Moroder track. (via Q-Burns Abstract Message via DailySwarm via Mixhell)

Economist Dan Ariely finds a new placebo


Predictably Irrational author Dan Ariely used to enjoy taking Airborne, until he read reports that it didn’t prevent colds. Before he read the reports, he was “97.5% sure” Airborne didn’t work, but that tiny bit of doubt was enough for the placebo effect kick in. The news reports killed the placebo effect. He was sad that he didn’t have a cold placebo to depend on, but his mother recently sent him a new nostrum and he is happy again. (I think it is Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic “medicine.”). Dan Ariely: Got My Placebo Back

Curmudgeonly essay on “Why the Internet Will Fail” from 1995


In 1995, astronomer, amateur hacker tracker and Klein-bottle maker Clifford Stoll wrote an essay (and a book, too, but I haven’t read that) explaining why this Internet thing will never work. His main argument seems to be, “Hardware and software will all top out in the mid-90s and, thus, the Internet will never ever get any more user friendly or portable. Also, it is different and scary.” Hilarity ensues.

The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works … What the Internet hucksters won’t tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them—one’s a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn’t work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, “Too many connections, try again later.” …. Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet-which there isn’t-the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

Why the Internet Will Fail, essay reprinted from Newsweek Via Unlikely Words

A concise list of every landing mankind has ever made on other planetary bodies. Have to say, I did not know that the USSR had sent that many probes to Venus. (Via Betsy Mason)

A flat-out high speed burn through Baker and Barstow and Berdoo, into frantic oblivion

18 Comments Guestblogger William Gurstelle is the author of several books, including Backyard Ballistics and the recently published Absinthe and Flamethrowers. Here’s his blog.

One favorite quote from Hunter S. Thompson, who died exactly five years ago (give or take a few days) ago, is this one, the opening lines from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like: I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals?

Duke_and_gonzo_Small.jpgThompson and his lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta visited Las Vegas in 1971 to cover the Mint 400 race for Sports Illustrated. But the article they wrote was about far more than that. Las Vegas Review reporter Corey Levitan writes an article in which he tries to figure out what was real and what wasn’t, which as might be imagined when dealing with Thompson seems like a tough thing to figure.

Persuasive games: ends vs. means


Ford Fusion Dashboard At Institute for the Future, we’ve started a project looking at the future of persuasion and how technology affects behavior. The researchers are blogging on the subject here, mostly as a way for us to share examples, initial thoughts, and essays-in-progress with each other (and anyone else interested in the subject). Today, my friend Mathias Crawford wrote a very thoughtful and provocative post about persuasive game designed to, say, persuade you to eat less, exercise more, or increase your productivity. In his essay, Mathias suggests that the real potential for persuasive games isn’t just to change behavior but also to help us understand why we behave a certain way. From the essay, titled “Ends vs. Means and Persuasive Games” on IFTF’s Persuasion blog:

As (Carnegie Mellon professor Jesse) Schell points out (in a videotaped speech making the rounds this week), persuasive technologies like the Ford Fusion dashboard, are already being designed with game-like feedback in mind. To him these technologies fall short, however, because they are being engineered by people who are not game designers. If game designers would start to design reward systems that aimed to improve behaviors, we’d have feedback mechanisms that are much more enjoyable, and as a corollary that are much more effective. Though I agree with his conclusion – that there is a clear need for people with game design expertise to design things that can help people improve behaviors – by focusing on creating technologies that aim to achieving measurable ends, Schell misses a much more important use of persuasive technologies: namely, technology that aims to influence means.

Ends vs. Means and Persuasive Games

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Octopus cam: Your key to a happier day

The Smithsonian National Zoo just got a Pacific Giant Octopus. (Weeeelll, sort of. It’s a baby, and currently only about three pounds. But it’ll be giant someday, promise.) The little critter doesn’t have a name yet, but he (they think it’s probably a he, maybe) does have a web cam. The camera is set up to capture the octopus at feeding times—11 and 3 Eastern, daily. Which is, coincidentally, right about the time I could use a good cephalopod fix in my day. Even better, this announcement led me to… more

USA PATRIOT Act renewed, no new civil liberties protections

Swatch Kevin Bankston at the EFF blogs, Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to renew three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, after the Senate abandoned the PATRIOT reform effort and approved the extension by a voice vote on Wednesday night. Disappointingly, the government’s dangerously broad authority to conduct roving wiretaps of unspecified or “John Doe” targets, to secretly wiretap of persons without any connection to terrorists or spies under the so-called “… more

Video: Motion-tracking 3D with the DSi camera

Due for downloadable release next week (unfortunately, in Japan only), Rittai Kakushi e Attakoreda (which, via Tiny Cartridge, roughly translates to Hidden 3D Image: There It Is!) probably comes as close as anything we’ve seen so far to answering that long-burning question, “What’re the cameras on the DSi really for?” Augmented reality games haven’t quite flourished, “print club” distractions don’t hold much sway in the West — but achieving good Johnny Lee-style 3D by motion tracking via the DSi’s front… more

Criminal clown

Swatch This gentleman is Tony Alexander Pete, 43, aka “Happy.” Police in Ogden, Utah are seeking Happy who is a suspect in a burglary that took place Wednesday evening. Happy, a career criminal, is easily identified due to his unique facial tattoos. From the Salt Lake Tribune: The victim told police that he was asleep about 7:30 p.m. when he was awakened to find the pair standing over him. At first, the men yelled that they were cops, then threw the blanket over him. “The guy said he could still see from under … more

Bill Barol on the Hipstamatic

Swatch (The following essay was written by my pal, writer Bill Barol. Look for more from him on Boing Boing in the future! — Mark) Even if the Hipstamatic were just another iPhone app it’d be worth your two bucks. What’s not to like? The Hipstamatic 110 (the next-gen 150 is in review at the App Store) is a great little photo app that attempts to replicate the experience of shooting with a cut-rate ’80s snapshot camera, right down to the leatherette “skin” and the big clunky shutter button. But the app isn’t… more

RIP: Bob “The Bullet” Biniak, legendary skater and original Z-Boy

Swatch Photographer Glen E. Friedman remembers Bob “The Bullet” Biniak, a hero in the early days of skate culture who was a member of the original “Z-Boys” team. Biniak suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Sunday, and passed away Thursday at 12:51pm EST in Florida. From Glen’s blog post: Back in DogTown’s heyday Biniak was known as one of the toughest, hardest skating dudes out there. Few could match his skills skating the infamous pipes out in Arizona or on the vertical flat wall of Mt. Baldy. In pool skatin… more

Telerobotic searchlight art installation

Swatch Vectorial Elevation is a telerobotic art installation in Vancouver, Canada that enables you to aim 20 searchlights around the English Bay via the Web. Four cameras around the city then photograph your design and the system creates a Web page for it. I’m into the ability to change the environment remotely at this scale, but having to wait in line to have a go reminds me of the first Web telerobot, Ken Goldberg’s Mercury Project from 1994. (Ken didn’t like the idea of Web users having to queue up either, w… more

Funky Friday: Springtime in Bollywood (Holi He!)

Swatch DJ Carlito, aka my brother Carl, who has become the go-to deejay for Indian weddings in Virginia (I am absolutely not kidding), shares the links and images in this post and explains: Holi, the yearly festival celebrating the return of color to the world, will start on Sunday Feb 28, 2010 and continue for 2 days until Monday March 1st. Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (or Pooranmashi, Full Moon) according to the Hindu Calendar. Holi is a festival of radiance (teja) in the universe. The celebr… more

Messenger bags made from old life vests

Swatch It would be neat if the life vests were still functional; then I’d actually consider taking this bag with me on an airplane ride. Link (via NotCot)… more

Talented bread flinger in south India

This fellow seems to know what he’s doing. (Via Arbroath)… more

Make your own Pong-clock: MONOCHRON — 09:19 Friday — 4 comments
Shoes made out of recycled TVs — 09:19 Friday — 6 comments
Luxembourg-sized icebreak breaks off Antarctica — 09:10 Friday — 22 comments
The Fashion of Taxidermied Vermin — 08:55 Friday — 7 comments
Pages from Jim Woodring’s Moleskine sketchbook — 08:55 Friday — 7 comments
Taste Test: Umeboshi — 08:00 Friday — 30 comments
The brain and intelligence — 07:35 Friday — 39 comments
Road Trip Stop 3: Lowbrow Art Galleries, Los Angeles, California. — 07:00 Friday — 13 comments
UV-glowing skulls stamped onto thousands of pounds’ worth of UK bank-notes — 05:19 Friday — 27 comments
Schneier: CCTVs don’t make us safer — 05:12 Friday — 13 comments
Bruce Sterling explains “atemporality for artists” — 02:36 Friday — 11 comments
Australia’s chief censor redacts official website to downplay his role in censorship — 11:33 Thursday — 17 comments
Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages’ worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood — 11:26 Thursday — 16 comments
Bollywood music video set in Walt Disney World, 1977 — 10:44 Thursday — 18 comments
Massive Arduino-and-solenoid percussion array controlled by a Wiimote — 10:38 Thursday — 17 comments

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