Tag Archives: Open Culture

Animated GIFs Show How Subway Maps of Berlin, New York, Tokyo & London Compare to the Real Geography of Those Great Cities

/ Leave a Comment

You can’t make a perfectly accurate map, as Jorge Luis Borges so succinctly told us, without making it the exact same size and shape as the land it portrays. But given the utter uselessness of such an enormous piece of paper (which so frustrated the citizens of the imaginary empire in Borges’ story that, "not without some pitilessness," they tossed theirs into the desert), no mapmaker would ever want to. A more compact map is a more useful one; unfortunately, a more compact map is also, by its very nature, a less accurate one.

New York

The same rule applies to maps of all kinds, and especially to transit maps, quite possibly the most useful specialized maps we consult today. They show us how to navigate cities, and yet their clean, bold lines, sometimes turning but never wavering, hardly represent those cities — subject as they are to variations in terrain and density, as well as centuries of unplannably organic growth — with geographical faithfulness. One can’t help but wonder just how each urban transit map, some of them beloved works of design, strikes the usefulness-faithfulness balance.

London

Living in Seoul, I’ve grown used to the city’s standard subway map. I thus get a kick out of scrutinizing the more geographically accurate one, which overlays the train lines onto an existing map of the city, posted on some station platforms. It reveals the truth that some lines are shorter than they look on the standard map, some are much longer, and none cut quite as clean a path through the city as they seem to. At Twisted Sifter you’ll find a GIF gallery of 15 standard subway maps that morph into more geographically faithful equivalents, a vivid demonstration of just how much transit map designers need to twist, squeeze, and simplify an urban landscape to produce something legible at a glance.

Tokyo

All of those animations, just five of which you see in this post, come from the subreddit Data Is Beautiful, a realm populated by enthusiasts of the visual display of quantitative information — enthusiasts so enthusiastic that many of them create innovative data visualizations like these by themselves. According to their creations, subway maps, like that of New York City’s venerable system, do relatively little to distort the city; others, like Tokyo’s, look nearly unrecognizable when made to conform to geography.

Austin

Even the maps of new and incomplete transit networks do a number on the real shape and direction of their paths: the map of Austin, Texas’ Capital MetroRail, for instance, straightens a somewhat zig-zaggy northeast-southwest track into a single horizontal line. It may take a few generations before Austin’s "system" develops into one extensive and complex enough to inspire one of the great transit maps (the ranks, for example, of "The Wonderground Map of London Town"). But I wouldn’t count out the possibility: the more fully cities realize their public-transit potential, the more opportunity opens up for the advancement of the subway mapmaker’s art.

See all 15 of the subway GIFs at Twisted Sifter.

Related Content:

A Wonderful Archive of Historic Transit Maps: Expressive Art Meets Precise Graphic Design

Designer Massimo Vignelli Revisits and Defends His Iconic 1972 New York City Subway Map

“The Wonderground Map of London Town,” the Iconic 1914 Map That Saved the World’s First Subway System

Bauhaus Artist László Moholy-Nagy Designs an Avant-Garde Map to Help People Get Over the Fear of Flying (1936)

Why Making Accurate World Maps Is Mathematically Impossible

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Animated GIFs Show How Subway Maps of Berlin, New York, Tokyo & London Compare to the Real Geography of Those Great Cities is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

The History of Punk Rock in 200 Tracks: An 11-Hour Playlist Takes You From 1965 to 2016

/ Leave a Comment

It may be that familiarity breeds contempt, and if that’s so, we should all be very glad of the wealth of excellent documentaries correcting the monolithic commercial story of punk, which goes something like this: The Sex Pistols and The Clash explode into the world in 1977 purveying anarchy and revolution and designer BDSM gear, the status quo freaks out, then discovers many savvy marketing opportunities and here we are at our local punk boutique before the punk arena show at Corporation Stadium.

That’s a boring story, mostly because all the most interesting parts, and weirdest, most violent, gross-out, angry, experimental, radical, etc. parts get left out, along with nearly all the best bands. Even if we date punk from the early seventies in New York with Patti Smith and the Ramones, we’re missing key progenitors from the 60s, from Detroit, Germany, Tacoma, Washington… The brackets we snap around decades as though each one popped into existence independently may blind us to how much history folds back in on itself, as do musical eras and genres.

Even before Crass arrived in ‘77 as “the missing link between counterculture hippies and punk’s angry rhetoric,” the MC5 ruled Detroit stages and bloody political conventions in 1968 Chicago. Though they’re credited—along with fellow motor city natives Iggy and The Stooges—with the invention of punk, they played hippy music: loose, bluesy, soulful, filled with long jams and solos. But they played it harder and with more speed, raw metal edge, and intensity than anyone, while adopting the politics of the Black Panthers. It’s refreshing to see both the MC5 and The Stooges represented in the Spotify playlist below, “The Evolution of Punk in Chronological Order.” (If you need Spotify’s software, download it here.)

What may sound didactic is in fact pleasantly surprising, and maybe essential as far as these things go. No, of course, “not EVERY punk band will be listed here,” the playlist’s creator concedes on Reddit. Not only is this impossible, but, as he or she goes on, “I am constructing this list by my own personal beliefs of what makes a band punk.” (Sorry, Blink 182 fans.) I’d be intrigued to know what those beliefs are. They are discriminating, yet ecumenical. Not only does the MC5 get much-deserved inclusion, but so do seminal 60s garage rock bands like The Monks, an American band from Germany, and The Sonics from Tacoma.

But the Velvet Underground does not appear. Instead, we begin with a little-known, quaintly-named act called Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads, who in 1965 recorded “Goo Goo Muck,” a novelty track that delivered for The Cramps sixteen years later. Early 60s rockabilly, surf-rock, and bubblegum (all products of the previous decade), are of course essential to so much punk, but the novelty act is also a punk staple. I’m pleased to see here serious experimentalists like Suicide and NEU!, two bands without whom so much of the 2000s could not have happened. I’m also pleased to see eighties pranksters The Dead Milkman, who wrote deeply offensive novelty songs like “Takin’ Retards to the Zoo” and sounded like a comic book.

Do we not hear of the Dead Milkmen, and bands like Choking Victim, Cock Sparrer, or the Crucifucks, because of political correctness run amok? That seems like an anachronistic way to look at things. I can assure you they pissed people off just as much at the time, and everyone argued endlessly about free speech. It’s true, the most offensive punk figure on the list, G.G Allin, became a minor celebrity on the daytime circuit after his extreme indulgences in masochism and coprophilia onstage. But most punk bands played for limited audiences, released on tiny labels, and attached themselves to particular regions. Playing punk rock was not always a very popular thing to do.

There are too many fragments, too many offshoots, tribes, divisions and affiliations for a monoculture summary. But if you were to write an account of punk using only the tracks on this playlist, it would be an comprehensive overview most people do not know, and a fascinating one at that. Maybe punk died–in ’77 when it signed to CBS, or in 1979 at the dawn of the eighties, or last year, who knows. But this list insists on covering over fifty years–from “Goo Goo Muck” to SKAAL’s 2016 “Not a Fan,” an almost classical slab of hardcore, with a chorus that provides the ideal coda: “Your rules / I’m not a fan.” Is punk dead? You tell me.

Related Content:

Rare Live Footage Documents The Clash From Their Raw Debut to the Career-Defining London Calling (1977-1980)

33 Songs That Document the History of Feminist Punk (1975-2015): A Playlist Curated by Pitchfork

The MC5 Performs at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, Right Before All Hell Breaks Loose

Watch the Proto-Punk Band The Monks Sow Chaos on German TV, 1966: A Great Concert Moment on YouTube

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

 

The History of Punk Rock in 200 Tracks: An 11-Hour Playlist Takes You From 1965 to 2016 is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

Blitzscaling: A Free Stanford Course on Scaling a Startup, Led by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman

/ Leave a Comment

A quick postscript to yesterday’s mention of Reid Hoffman’s new podcast, Masters of Scale. Many of the concepts discussed in Masters of Scale expand on a 2015 course taught at Stanford by Hoffman and his colleagues– John Lilly from Greylock Partners, LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue, and author Chris Yeh. The course focuses on Blitzscaling–or what Hoffman described in the Harvard Business Review as "the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale." And to help demystify that process, Hoffman invited guest speakers to class to break things down. Eric Schmidt on Structuring Teams and Scaling GoogleNetflix’s Reed Hastings on Building a Streaming EmpireAirbnb’s Brian Chesky on Launching Airbnb and the Challenges of Scale–they’re among the experts featured in the course.

You can stream the 20 lectures from start to finish above, or find the playlist on Greylock Partner’s YouTube channel. You can also find class notes for the course on Medium.

Blitzscaling will be added to our list of Free Online Business Courses, a subset of our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Related Content:

LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman Creates a New Podcast Offering Wisdom on Nurturing & Scaling New Businesses

Seth Godin’s Startup School: A Free Mini-Course for New Entrepreneurs

Peter Thiel’s Stanford Course on Startups: Read the Lecture Notes Free Online

Blitzscaling: A Free Stanford Course on Scaling a Startup, Led by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

265 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Getting Started in June: Enroll Free Today

/ Leave a Comment

FYI: This month, 265 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) will be getting underway, giving you the chance to take courses from top flight universities, at no cost. With the help of Class Central, we’ve pulled together a complete list of June MOOCS. Below, find a few courses that piqued our interest, or rummage through the list and find your own:

The video featured above is the trailer for the course, Justice with Harvard’s Michael Sandel.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you’d like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

265 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) Getting Started in June: Enroll Free Today is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

Stevie Ray Vaughan Plays the Acoustic Guitar in Rare Footage, Letting Us See His Guitar Virtuosity in Its Purest Form

/ Leave a Comment

Ask accomplished blues and southern rock guitarists who they listen to and you’ll hear a number of names come up: Duane Allman, Albert King, Buddy Guy… the list of guitarists’ guitarists could go on and on. One name you’ll hear from nearly everyone: Stevie Ray Vaughan, the king of Texas blues, before whom even the very best players stand in awe, a guitarist whose legend has only grown in stature since the music world lost him in a tragic, fatal helicopter crash in 1990.

The most iconic guitarists get associated with their instruments of choice, and Vaughan is no exception. The Flying V defines the look and sound of Albert King; the custom black Gibson 335 (“Lucille”) that of B.B. King. And when we think of Vaughan, we may immediately think of “Number One,” the beat up Fender Stratocaster he loved so much he called it the “first wife.” One of a number of Strats Vaughan played throughout his too-brief career, “Number One” has become “a centerpiece” at the Texas State History Museum, and for very good reason.

Almost no guitarist before or since has ripped such raw emotion and searing power from an instrument, with the exception perhaps of Vaughan’s hero, Jimi Hendrix. Like Hendrix, Vaughan is known entirely as an electric guitarist, his tone so legendary it has inspired a cult following all its own. But give SRV, as his fans call him, an acoustic guitar and you’ll see right away why the most the distinctive feature of that mythic tone is how sparkling clean it is.

Vaughan needed no effects to produce his massive sound, though he used a few on occasion (most notably a classic Vox wah pedal that once belonged to Jimi). The tone, as older guitarists will forever tell aspiring newbies, was in his fingers—in the dynamics of his picking, his bends and slides, his intimate, forceful engagement with the fretboard. In the rare acoustic sessions here, see just why Vaughan is so revered. Above watch him launch into a six-string 12-bar acoustic blues.

And just above, see Vaughan tear it up on a 12-string acoustic guitar in his MTV Unplugged appearance in 1990, the year of his death. Guitarists and serious fans of the blues and country guitar will often namecheck Danny Gatton—the Washington, DC wunderkind so incredibly talented that he earned the nickname “The Humbler”—as the greatest guitarist they’ve ever seen. It’s hard to argue with that assessment. But Vaughan wasn’t just an amazing player, he was also a beautifully understated performer. Here we have the unique opportunity to see his showmanship and skill stripped to their essence.

via Society of Rock

Related Content:

Jimi Hendrix Plays the Delta Blues on a 12-String Acoustic Guitar in 1968, and Jams with His Blues Idols, Buddy Guy & B.B. King

B.B. King Changes Broken Guitar String Mid-Song at Farm Aid, 1985 and Doesn’t Miss a Beat

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Version of “Little Wing” Played on Traditional Korean Instrument, the Gayageum

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Stevie Ray Vaughan Plays the Acoustic Guitar in Rare Footage, Letting Us See His Guitar Virtuosity in Its Purest Form is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

The Gestapo Points to Guernica and Asks Picasso, “Did You Do This?;” Picasso Replies “No, You Did!”

/ Leave a Comment

History remembers Pablo Picasso first as an innovative painter, and second as an uninhibited personality. The latter especially generated many an anecdote in his long life, some surely apocryphal but most probably true. A short Guardian editorial on one of his most famous canvases begins with the story of when, "in occupied Paris, a Gestapo officer who had barged his way into Picasso’s apartment pointed at a photo of the mural, Guernica, asking: ‘Did you do that?’ ‘No,’ Picasso replied, ‘you did’, his wit fizzing with the anger that animates the piece" — a piece that took no small amount of boldness to paint in the first place.

Guernica, much more of a visceral experience than the average painting, resists straightforward description, but the article offers one: "In black and white, the piece has the urgency of a newspaper photo. Flailing bulls and horses show that the visceral horrors of war are not just an affront to human civilisation, but to life."

Painted in June 1937 at Picasso’s home in Paris, in response to the bombing by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy of the Basque village from which the work would take its name, Guernica raised awareness of (as well as relief funds for) the Spanish Civil War when it debuted at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris and subsequently toured the world itself.

Calling Picasso’s painting "probably the most successful artwork about war ever created," Slate‘s Noah Charney cites playwright Bertolt Brecht’s use of Verfremdungseffekt, or the “alienation effect,” wherein "the idea was to no longer encourage the traditional, Aristotelian approach that the audience of a play (or viewer of an artwork) should engage with the artwork/performance with a ‘willing suspension of disbelief,’ voluntarily pretending that what is happening on stage is real. Instead, Brecht wanted to make it clear that the audience was looking at a work of art, an artificial performance that nevertheless touches on real human emotions and issues." Both Brecht and Picasso used this technique to effect social change with their work.

Guernica also challenges its viewers in the best way, looking almost playful at first glance but almost immediately demanding that they confront the horror it actually contains. "A realistic image of the bombing of the town of Guernica, with corpses and screams in the night, would likely have felt melodramatic, saccharine, difficult to look at," writes Charney. "It might have been Romanticized or it might have been so gritty that our reaction would be to shut down our ability to sympathize, as a defense mechanism. The figures are almost cartoonish, but then of course, when you look more closely, when you know the context, they are not. But the childlike abstraction pulls us in, whereas the same subject, handled as a photorealist blood-fest, would repel us."

You can learn more about Guernica, the events that inspired it, and the artist that turned those events into one of the most enduring images from the twentieth century with the short BBC News clip above, and also this chapter in Khan Academy’s online art-history course, this video primer and 3D tour, and Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens’ 1950 short film, almost as haunting as the painting itself. After all that, the only step that remains is to go see it in person at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, where it has resided since 1992. And though Guernica may now be safe from prying Gestapo hands, the need for vigilance against the kinds of destructive ideology that fired Picasso up to paint it will never go away.

Related Content:

Guernica: Alain Resnais’ Haunting Film on Picasso’s Painting & the Crimes of the Spanish Civil War

A 3D Tour of Picasso’s Guernica

How to Understand a Picasso Painting: A Video Primer

The Mystery of Picasso: Landmark Film of a Legendary Artist at Work, by Henri-Georges Clouzot

Picasso Makes Wonderful Abstract Art

Watch Picasso Create Entire Paintings in Magnificent Time-Lapse Film (1956)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Gestapo Points to Guernica and Asks Picasso, “Did You Do This?;” Picasso Replies “No, You Did!” is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T

Watch Simon & Garfunkel Sing “The Sound of Silence” 45 Years After Its Release, and Just Get Hauntingly Better with Time

/ Leave a Comment

The legend of Simon & Garfunkel is bigger than either performer, though only one of them remained a major star after their breakup, while the other became… too often the butt of unkind jokes. At the pinnacle of their fame in 1970, Art Garfunkel, the tall angelic singer with the golden halo of curls, walked away from the duo as their relationship soured. Garfunkel moved to Connecticut and became a math teacher for a spell. “I would talk them through a math problem,” he remembered in 2015, “and ask if anyone had any questions and they would say: ‘What were the Beatles like?’”

Paul Simon, Garfunkel recalled of the acrimonious split, “was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry.” Perhaps it’s for the best they quit when they were ahead since their friendship never recovered. After their famous Central Park reunion concert in 1981, a planned tour fell apart when they stopped speaking to each other. At their 1990 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the duo played three songs and reportedly left without a word exchanged between them. “Arthur and I agree about almost nothing,” Simon remarked. Their split has all the qualities of a terrible divorce.

Luckily for their fans, the two have infrequently given their partnership another shot, staging tours in 1993 and 2004. And in 2009, Garfunkel showed up for three songs during a Simon concert at New York’s Beacon theater. This led to a tour of Asia and Australia and, as you can see up top, an appearance together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden, where they played one of their biggest hits—and arguably one of Simon’s greatest songs—“The Sound of Silence” (1964). If you didn’t already know that they can’t stand each other’s company, you’d hardly guess it from the video.

After Simon’s gently plucked guitar intro, they exchange brief but genuine smiles, then launch into harmony, their voices blending with all the haunting beauty of their heyday. In fact, it’s possible that—despite the bitterness and wear of several decades—they sound better than they ever did. Compare this performance to that below, a live Canadian TV appearance from 1966. (Simon earnestly, and ironically in hindsight, introduces the song as a comment on strained communication.) The early performance seems rushed and mannered compared to their impassioned reunion in 2009.

It’s a truly haunting experience fitting a truly haunting song, and made all the more poignant by the fact that they may never perform together again. In 2010, what is likely their last reunion ended when Garfunkel’s voice failed him. Diagnosed with a condition called “vocal paresis,” he’s spent the past few years regaining his singing abilities. But, while Simon has ruled out another reunion, Garfunkel, for all his rancor and regret, holds out hope. “When we get together,” he told The Telegraph in 2015, “it’s a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So as far as this half is concerned, I would say, ‘Why not, while we’re still alive?’” They may have made a very unhappy couple, but the magic that brought them together clearly hasn’t suffered for it.

Related Content:

A Paul Simon Feelin’-Very-Groovy Moment

Paul Simon, Then and Now: Celebrating His 70th Birthday

Art Garfunkel Lists 1195 Books He Read Over 45 Years, Plus His 157 Favorites (Many Free)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch Simon & Garfunkel Sing “The Sound of Silence” 45 Years After Its Release, and Just Get Hauntingly Better with Time is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Source: http://ift.tt/ge8G4T