Tag Archives: youtube

Thailand and its Nazi Chic Imagery General Nonsense 03 JUN 2015

It has been well documented over the years, this weird acceptance of Hitler and Nazi imagery in Thailand. In fact, it is quite often seen as cool, a fashion trend that I guess could only be labelled as Nazi chic.

nazi chic - thailand nazi imagery - schoolgirl dressed like a nazi soldier

I don’t quite get it, but in the same breath it kind of makes sense – if you’re not exposed to a story then you tend to borrow just the bits and pieces that you see of it that seems cool: you know, like adoring beautiful WW2 bomber planes without giving a thought to the fact that they actually indiscriminately rained down death wherever they were tasked to fly over.

Needless to say, World War II, Hitler and his Nazis are pretty much glossed over when it comes to Thai history books – which makes sense because they’ve got more than enough history of their own to get through without having to worry about all the other countries’ problems!

Anyway, the issue recently resurfaced on the Internet again thanks to John Oliver’s research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Yeah, not so sure about Rip Taylor though.

Related Link: YouTube | Vice | The Daily Beast

Why Google Translate wasn’t particularly useful in Japan Tech News 24 MAY 2015

Ryan and I managed to navigate our way around Japan pretty well over the course of our whirlwind holiday last year.

However, this wasn’t because some useful translating tool like Google Translate was making everything understandable to us, nor more importantly allowing other people to understand us.

No, it was entirely due to the helpful course that big cities have undertaken in an effort to open up Japan to more foreigners – by putting up the romaji (literally Romanization of Japanese characters) versions of names everywhere!

In fact, Google Translate was pretty much completely useless to us over there. (A point made painfully apparent when we tried to converse with Terrance’s new parent-in-laws and after a half hour of trying the tools, resorted to hand gestures, nodding and waving)

Anyway, British presenter and tech personality Tom Scott and Gretchen McCulloch put together this great little video explaining just why it is that computers seem to suck so badly at translation. (Hint, it is not their fault)

Makes sense to me.

translate-bubble-icons

Related Link: Youtube | Tom Scott

Music: Woodstock Mafia – Trigger and Gun (2013) Music 14 MAY 2015

Grunge rockers from Cape Town, Woodstock Mafia consists of Joe Theron on vocals, Nick van Rensburg on guitar, Ryan Matthews on bass, and Owen Ingarfield on drums. They formed as a band in 2011 and rocked out Cape Town for four solid years before deciding to call it a day and leave it all behind, playing their last live gig on the 2nd April 2015 at The Manila Bar in Long Street, Cape Town.

woodstock mafia trigger and gun music video

If you never encountered them before, then you most certainly missed out, because this was as polished a band as what you could find, the proper complete package in terms of sound and lyrics. Their live shows always got great reviews, noted in particular for their great energy on stage.

They also managed to release a fantastic album entitled Defiance in 2013, definitely worth a listen to on rdio.com if you get a chance.

Anyway, the second of their two full production music videos that they ever released is this one, Trigger and Gun, which sees the boys battle one another on a stage of black and white!

Oh, and as a parting gift, the guys released a special EP entitled 86, free for download and listening to, mixed particularly to try and capture the feel from their live show performances. Enjoy!

Related Link: Woodstock Mafia | Youtube | SoundCloud

Music: Springbok Nude Girls – Illuminate (2007) Music 12 MAY 2015

If you were a South African rock-leaning teenager growing up in the nineties, then undoubtedly you were madly enthralled with the Springbok Nude Girls – there was literally no way you didn’t lose your shit when the opening cords of Bubblegum On My Boots started playing!

springbok nude girls band

Everything about the band worked, and powered by Arno Carsten’s amazing voice and the clever trumpet from Adriaan Brand, the band was unstoppable, piling on alternative rock hit after hit.

Needless to say, I was a massive fan, and in a way, still am. Saddened by the rock kings from Stellenbosch’s breakup in 2001, their sudden 2006 reunion was a godsend – particularly because the more mature souding 2007 album Peace Breaker was such a refreshing hit!

Illuminate was without a doubt one of the power hits on this particular outing, and so if you haven’t heard it before then you are most certainly in for a treat!

Related Link: Wikipedia | Springbok Nude Girls | YouTube

How Fiber Optic Cables Work Science, Technology & Curiosity 11 MAY 2015

Have you ever wondered just how fiber optic cables actually work? Well sure it probably has something to do with light seeing as the word optic appears in the name, but exactly what role does it play?

Optic fiber cable

Well, if you are curious about this technology then you happen to be in luck – engineering professor Bill Hammack, a well known science and technology documentarian and face of his engineerguy.com project, has put together a very informative video that highlights the principles in play, and brings everything down to a level at which most of us can understand.

So let us allow Bill to get on with it then…

Undoubtedly a remarkable feat of engineering and definitely something that has made it possible to properly make the world an even smaller place!

Related Link: Wikipedia | Youtube

Green Screens of Old and Green Screens on the Cheap Science, Technology & Curiosity 08 MAY 2015

If you aren’t aware as to what Green Screen or Chroma key compositing is (which is great if you don’t, because of course, this technique is meant to be seamless), our old friend Wikipedia gives quite a good rundown:

“Chroma key compositing, or chroma keying, is a special effects / post-production technique for compositing (layering) two images or video streams together based on color hues (chroma range). The technique has been used heavily in many fields to remove a background from the subject of a photo or video – particularly the newscasting, motion picture and videogame industries. A color range in the top layer is made transparent, revealing another image behind. The chroma keying technique is commonly used in video production and post-production. This technique is also referred to as color keying, colour-separation overlay, or by various terms for specific color-related variants such as green screen, and blue screen.

Chroma keying can be done with backgrounds of any color that are uniform and distinct, but green and blue backgrounds are more commonly used because they differ most distinctly in hue from most human skin colors. No part of the subject being filmed or photographed may duplicate a color used in the background.”

These days computers and algorithms are the kings of this trick, but of course, this is something that has been done in film long before computers ever became mainstream. British presenter and tech personality Tom Scott produced this well oiled little video explaining some of the technique that those video pioneers relied on in the past to get the Green Screen job done:

Given the advanced state of the technology and multitude of commercially available computer software such as Autodesk Smoke, Final Cut Pro, Pinnacle Studio, Adobe After Effects, these days it is quite possible and in fact relatively easy for the average home computer user to create green screen videos – simply by using the “chromakey” function in conjunction with affordable green screen or blue screen kits.

In fact, as Australian comedian Sam Tucker (of Samtime News) goes on to show, you can do your own green screen pretty easily on the cheap:

Cheap but effective! (In other words, if you are a Youtuber, what are you waiting for!)

woman in high heels and a bikini armed with machine guns in front of a green screen with a fan

Related Link: Tom Scott || Samtime News || Wikipedia

Cheap Clothing – Just a Reminder that Sweatshops are still a Problem General Nonsense 27 APR 2015

I first encountered comedian John Oliver on Community (which I only picked up on criminally late). What I didn’t know at the time was that very soon I would become an avid fan of his entry into the world of American late-night talk and news satire: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Although sometimes they take it a step too far with some of their antics, overall, the writers of this show put forward a lot of big, pertinent topics that are well researched and will often cause your jaw to drop with disbelief once delivered, making it a firm favourite of mine to pick up via Youtube on a weekly basis.

A particularly hard hitting segment from this week’s show deals with the problem of sweatshops still being well and truly alive in this day and age – something that cheap clothing is probably the best indicator of:

South Africa deals with exactly the same problem mind you. So much of our homegrown textiles industry has been completely decimated by the impossibly cheap imports that no one can fairly compete against – unless they themselves ran a sweatshop environment of course.

As always, cheaper is always great for the buyer, but almost always never a great thing for the producer.

youtube last week tonight with john oliver

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdLf4fihP78

Music: Papa Roach – Gravity (2015) Music 23 APR 2015

I’ve mentioned the fact that I rather enjoy Papa Roach’s music more than once on this blog, and thus it can come as no big surprise that I’m highlighting the new music video that the band just dropped for a track off this year’s new album release, F.E.A.R.

papa roach in black and white at the sea

While 2012’s The Connection album didn’t really come out as a winner for me, this year’s F.E.A.R. effort is definitely a different kettle of fish. Great songwriting and epic riffs means that the boys are definitely back, and this latest single off the album is certainly no exception.

“Gravity” was written by Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix for his wife, and in an interview Shaddix had this to say about the song:

That’s a raw nerve, man. I always want to put myself out there in the music and this song does that just more so than really ever. It doesn’t necessarily paint me in the best picture as far as the cliché rock guy gives himself to the rock and roll excesses story. But we went through that in our relationship. I failed as a husband, as a father, as a lover, as a friend to her and I just wanted to write a song about that brokenness and how somehow she sees something in me that I didn’t see in myself at times.

In other words, pure rock and roll stuff. Enjoy.

(Oh, and in case you were curious, In This Moment’s Maria Brink is playing the role of Shaddix’s wife in the video)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_Roach

Accelerometers: How Cell Phones Know Up from Down Science, Technology & Curiosity 19 APR 2015

Engineering professor Bill Hammack is a well known science and technology documentarian who has been the face of his engineerguy.com project for quite a number of years now.

In this video he explains how it is that a smartphone knows whether it is orientated in landscape or potrait mode – essentially whether it lying on its side or not.

(I’ll give you a hint: it’s because of the accelerometer).

Besides taking us through the concept of the accelerometer, Bill also gives us an idea of just how exactly one of such tiny size is actually created by engineers in the first place!

I think it is absolutely amazing (and mind boggling!) when one starts thinking at the tiny scale engineers need to think and reproduce these inventions at.

girl holding a cell phone on its side - LG GD900 transparent phone

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZVgKu6v808

Not Quite an Ode to the Bum: Milk Milk Lemonade… and the Fudge Machine Music 17 APR 2015

I’m not really familiar with comedian Amy Schumer, nor her seemingly popular Inside Amy Schumer sketch show that runs on Comedy Central, and just in case you aren’t either, here’s the show blurb grabbed straight off of the Comedy Central listing:

“Straight from Amy Schumer’s provocative and hilariously wicked mind, Inside Amy Schumer explores sex, relationships and the general clusterf**k that is life with sketches, stand-up comedy and woman-on-the-street interviews.”

inside amy schumer a series of embarrassing episodes comedy central advert billboard

IMDb says a fairly similar thing:

“Assuming the title didn’t give it away, comic Amy Schumer is the creator and star of this series, which features her biting wit delivered in scripted vignettes, stand-up clips, and man-on-the-street interviews. Schumer’s wholesome good looks are in stark contrast with her material — a mix of self-deprecating jabs, uncomfortable sex talk, and charmingly inappropriate insights — which has garnered her acclaim since her attention-grabbing appearance on Comedy Central’s 2011 roast of Charlie Sheen.”

So by now you might have picked up that Amy’s shtick appears to be putting forward her wholesome All-American girl look, and then letting it rip with a lot of uncomfortable potty-mouth sex talk.

Case in point, her rather funny musical response to the way music videos currently glorify women’s bums… when they probably shouldn’t be. (Featuring Method Man, Amber Rose and a couple other special guests for good measure!)

Milk, milk, lemonade, and fudge indeed.

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeiSx5MNDvg

Jack Slack’s Ringcraft: The Art Of The Fighting Stance Martial Arts 12 APR 2015

Don’t be fooled: Mixed martial arts is a world of rebels, moralists, spiritualists, historians, eccentrics, and nerds – men and women dedicated to mastering the fine art of fighting. Fightland is VICE’s take on this ever-evolving culture—exploring the international influences that make up the world of MMA.

In the first episode of the Jack Slack’s Ringcraft series, Jack Slack examines the most basic but under-appreciated element of the fight game: the offensively and defensively imperative stance.

I’ve gone through a number of stances myself over the course of all the different styles I’ve partaken in over the years, and so far I am probably most fond of Funakoshi Karate’s kamae stance as an effective opening fighting stance.

intense muay thai fighter marie choi striking a pad during training

Related Link: http://fightland.vice.com/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDKJSROvgMA

The Ingenious Design of the Aluminium Beverage Can Science, Technology & Curiosity 11 APR 2015

Engineering professor Bill Hammack is a well known science and technology documentarian who has been the face of his engineerguy.com project for quite a number of years now.

This time around he takes us through the engineering choices underlying the design of the worldwide icon that is the beverage can. He explains why it is cylindrical, outlines the manufacturing steps needed to created the can, notes why the can narrows near it lid, show close ups of the double-seam that hold the lid on, and details the complex operation of the tab that opens the can.

In other words, it turns out that quite a bit of thought has gone into the design of our modern day soda can.

indian girl holding a can of fanta orange

Related Link: http://www.engineerguy.com/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUhisi2FBuw

Kevin Bacon and Eggs Jokes & other Funny Stuff 17 MAR 2015

At some point in their career, actors invariably need to endorse things in order to pay the bills – however, I can’t think of one more perfect than this one that I stumbled upon this week.

Kevin Bacon is now the commercial spokesperson for the U.S. egg industry. Yes that’s right.

It’s bacon and eggs time!

kevin bacon frying eggs in a pan - bacon and eggs

Of course, after hearing the news I scrambled to post this up as quick as possible – after all, this could be the most fated of hookups ever!

What a combination, what a combination! (Hopefully Bacon’s critics don’t fry him for this one!)

Related Link: http://incredibleegg.org/

Santam and its One-of-a-kind TV Advert General Nonsense 06 MAR 2015

Back in the day, I used to insure with Santam, and actually quite liked them, which makes sense given that they have always produced some pretty enjoyable insurance-related television adverts over the years here in South Africa – and actually provide a pretty damn decent insurance  service to boot. (There, now who says advertising doesn’t work? :P)

Anyway, their latest television advert brings a smile to my face, not because I’m actually going to insure with them again, no, but rather because of the little twinkle of pride in my country that it invokes.

santam one of a kind country tv advert screenshot - hippo crossing

Essentially the set up is this: foreigners returning home and telling everyone about some of the unique quirks that makes South Africa… well South Africa.

If you are South African, then you’ll probably enjoy this. If not, then just know that all of it is absolutely true!

Love it! Just as Santam says on their advert reveal page:

“There are things that happen in South Africa, that are part of our lives. Some weird, some wonderful and some more serious. They’re one-of-a-kind things that you need one-of-a-kind insurance for. As South Africans, we’ve become so used to them, that we don’t even give it a second thought. But to foreigners, they’re often bizarre. 
”

Related Link: www.santam.co.za

Music: Jack Parow – P.A.R.T.Y (2012) Music 01 MAR 2015

What, another Jack Parow track so soon after the other?!? What can I say, I like this man’s music! No idea why, I just do. (Chantelle gives me funny looks every time she sees me tapping my foot to these ridiculous tunes!)

Jack Parow

If you missed the quick biography last time around, here is the quick write-up grabbed off electromode.co.za:

“Thirty three years ago, Zander Tyler was born in Parow, Cape Town. Today he is known as Jack Parow, original donker dodgy afrikaans rapper. Contrary to popular belief, his wild-fire success did not happen overnight. Jack started out rapping with crews from the Cape Flats and has been at it for thirteen years. It’s been almost six years since his breakthrough in 2009 and since Jack Parow has released his first self-titled full length album that struck gold within two weeks of its release and went platinum within a year; headlined at major festivals in South Africa; toured Europe and played before packed out shows there; and then followed it all up with another two seriously popular studio albums! His songs are hits on national radio stations and he has been on prime TV shows and on covers and centerfolds of publications in South Africa and in Europe.

Jack Parow’s self-titled debut album (2010) sold almost 45 000 units which made this sexy romantiese Afrikaans rapper a force to be reckoned with.”

Anyway, from his 2012 album re-release Eksie Ou (Special Edition), here is Jack Parow with the perfect year end holiday song, “P.A.R.T.Y”:

Related Link: http://www.electromode.co.za/artist_JackParow.html