All entries for Sunday 10 April 2005

April 10, 2005

TV Ark

Writing about web page http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/

This site is a collection of credits, continuity announcements and adverts from off of the telly, going back a really long way. It's amazing to look back in time and discover that flake adverts worked on basically the same principle in 1969 as they have ever since. Or that KP Nuts caught the essence of 1983 better than any number of pop videos or "I remember" retromentaries.

The TV show clips are even better. Roger Moore does a fine job selling his 1971 show The Persuaders in several European languages, except in German, when his blooper reel reveals his true views.

But perhaps my favourite is the opening credits from Gerry Anderson's 1969 show UFO . Clearly a contender for most ridiculous credits ever, these are a delirious mix of sixties futurism, stellar miniature model work, stunning costumes (and wigs!), and Barry Gray's best-ever theme music. And, the whole thing is cut at a blinding pace – it wouldn't disgrace even the most hyperactive of modern directors. I wonder if Michael Bay edited them as a junior school project?


How to destroy the earth

Writing about web page http://ned.ucam.org/~sdh31/misc/destroy.html

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.

Fools.

The Earth was built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that there are people prepared to expend this much intellectual effort on something that's impossible, disturbing, and impossibly disturbing. But it's fun, if you scored more than, say, 95% on that geek test thingy that did the rounds a month or so ago (and with 100,000 hits it seems that there's a sizeable audience of whom that's true).


Basketball wizards: for real?

Writing about web page http://video.warwick.ac.uk/bball.mov

This is a 9MB QuickTime video of some guys pulling off basketball shots which start out impressive and move on through stunning and up to unbelievable. By the time the skateboard puts in an appearance, I was starting to believe that there must be some sneaky editing or CG fiddling going on, but if there is, it's very well done - the footage looks totally authentic. Can people actually do these things?


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