October 21, 2005
Hi-tech workers make 'curry rock'
Hundreds of thousands of hi-tech workers from India have come to the US in the past decade.
Many of them arrived on the H-1B visa programme, which allows American companies to hire highly-skilled foreign workers.
For many Indians, getting a visa is a dream come true. But living and working in the US can be harder than expected and a group of Indian-born engineers has put the H-1B experience to music.
It all started, as these things often do, at a party. It was a house-warming party in the Washington DC area to be precise.
An Indian computer engineer with a yen for Jethro Tull was throwing the shindig. Among the guests were a couple of other Indian hi-tech workers with musical backgrounds.
September 21, 2005
How smart are you?
Hardly a week passes without headlines about academic standards. Are exams getting easier? Are people getting smarter?
September 16, 2005
Bill Gates meets Napolean Dynamite.
Bill Gates meets Napolean Dynamite. Microsoft has a history of doing little spoofs at their developer events (a couple years ago Gates and Ballmer did a send up of the GTI commercial and then there was The Matrix). While this one is a shaky camera capture (hopefully someone uploads the original), it's still pretty amusing and fun to watch Gates poke fun at himself. Of course, the unintended comedy videos involving Gates are often funnier.
September 11, 2005
Collect Britain: Accents & Dialects
In England alone, an intrepid traveler may overhear hundreds of dialects and accents. What's more extraordinary is how these brogues and drawls have evolved throughout the 20th century. Thanks to the British Library's Sound Archive, you can eavesdrop on English people from across the country without packing your bags. For instance, meet Dick Gilbert. In 1958, when he was 79 years old, he spoke about his experience as a young farm hand. The Sound Archive offers the lexis, phonology, and grammar break-down of Dick's commentary. But more importantly, it allows you to marvel at his voice. With recordings ranging from the 1950s to 1999, the site offers a wealth of samples. Some are downright incomprehensible, some are thoroughly entertaining,
but all are fascinating. So listen up; England is speaking to you
August 29, 2005
60 second story
This literary contest asks writers to compose a short story, then record themselves reading it (in roughly 60 seconds) with a digital camera. The resulting low-bandwidth video clips are then posted online, and they are generally pretty strange. Most contestants place their cameras on top of their computer monitors and read aloud, lending themselves a strange blue-green pallor. Some of the more tech-savvy have constructed short films, with quick cuts and zooms. While the rules state that the stories must be "complete" and have a beginning, a middle, and an end, a lot of them lean towards the abstract. Our favorite story is "Charles," about a fire-breathing Japanese monster with a Godzilla complex. We also really dug the auteurism of "Pillow, Pillow" by Jason Nelson. Decide for yourself.
August 28, 2005
Laura is a security guard at a large, unnamed facility, and she has some time on her hands. She writes about palindromes, time travel, and her dog Helen. She offers pithy observations on the various people she sees every day, like "The Sexy Lady" and "The Inspector." She records herself walking on tile floors, drinking glasses of water, and reciting the alphabet in a breathy voice. With plenty of pictures and a controllable webcam, she seems to be exploring ideas of surveillance and identity. But just who is Laura? In her first entry, she says that she's waiting for something to happen in her life. Does it? We don't know the answer -- or even if her world is real -- but we're strangely drawn to the view through Laura's eyes.
July 24, 2005
My favorite word
My favorite word. Add your own.
July 06, 2005
We never considered vintage sewing patterns to be creepy or uproarious -- until we stumbled upon Threadbared. It seems Mary and Kimberly, two nice girls from the South and the proud hosts of Threadbared, have this vast collection of old sewing patterns, and they like nothing better than to sit around and mock their acquisitions. For instance, they point out the modelesque woman from the 1940s who appears to have her hand trapped in a muff. Or the feather-haired couple in matching sweaters mugging happily in front of ... the apocalypse. And while we're willing to buy these three men hanging out in their pajamas, why is that guy brandishing a golf club? If you, like Mary and Kimberley, love all things vintage or all things snarky, this site may just leave you in stitches.
July 01, 2005
June 24, 2005
A new twist on an old myth
Watch and hear Sita singing the blues, by Nina Paley in Sitayana.