Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Six Degrees of Separation

Find the Bacon
Contrary to popular belief "Six Degrees of Separation" wasn't a game Kevin Bacon's fan club invented, but an application to the idea that everyone anywhere in the world is approximately six steps away from any other human being.

The idea was initiated in "Chains" (1929); a short story by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy. The story would later inspire scientists to put the idea into research and the experiments showed that people in USA were chained by three friendship links.

Then came along playwright John Guare whose homonym play added the "six" in the term and familiarized people with the concept. Since then applications and games grew by dozens, such as "Bacon number" that finds the connection between Bacon and any another Hollywood actor.

One of them is "Erdős number" in honor to the mathematician Paul Erdős who has published the most papers in his field. Itinerant Erdős co-writed at least 1400 papers with colleagues (those have Erdős number: 1) that provided him food and shelter. Erdős number "calculates" the authoring distance between Erdős and the authors that have collaborated with Erdős direct co-writers. For example, philosopher Noam Chomsky has Erdős number: 4, which means that he has collaborated with someone with an Erdős number: 3, who was collaborated with someone with an Erdős number: 2, who was collaborated with a person that has directly worked with Erdős himself. 

Trivia: Few people in the world have an Erdős-Bacon number.

Play the game to find out the connection between Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Steve Buscemi:

Monday, 29 November 2010

Free youtube movie: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent black-and-white zombie film directed by George Romero.A true horror pioneer, it bridged the gap between the old style horror and the new.
Romero put the movie industry on notice with his graphic shots of blood, guts and gore.
It truly deserves the praise and acclaim that has been showered upon it over the past few decades. If ever a horror movie were a masterpiece, this one is it. An important milestone in cinematic history and proof of what independent filmmakers can do, Night of the Living Dead is the seminal zombie movie.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Book Club: A People's History Of The United States

Maybe it's old fashioned to look for heroes in a history book. Maybe it's sentimental to focus on racist attacks against poor and proud people, like american indians and african slaves, at a beginning of a new empire. Maybe it's not literary correct to read about a writer's sources while he is telling a story.
But it sure is refreshing when history can be put in front of you in a way different than you are used to, even if you do feel yourself disagreeing on parts. People's History Of The United States, by Howard Zinn is not only a fresh account of the american history but actually worth a read.

Grandma Moses: When The End Is A New Beginning

Remarkable things don't happen when we least expect them. Remarkable things are the products of a life's direction, and when this direction is driven by passion, remarkable things are inevitable. Grandma Moses, had lived most of her life as her situtation in it ordered. A hard worker, a faithful daughter, a good wife, a loving mother. Her talent though, asleep only for a small period of time, say around seventy years or so, did manage to get across. Too old to help with any farm work, this amazing woman took up painting, a childish fascination, at an age when most of us are supposed to retire. Her hobby turned out not only a solid good use of time, but a cultular legacy which still leaves an exclamation point on our faces.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ken Loach: A Great Director Makes A Difference

I bow not only in front of Ken Loach's films, but also in front of his disposition towards life. The director of "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" and "Sweet Sixteen" has always been consistent in his beliefs and his work. Most directors wouldn't even think about distributing their films for free and that is why Ken Loach is a rare exception. The director of social consiousness has uploaded many of his films on youtube, one of which is "Cathy come home" that resulted in the formation of the housing charity 'Shelter'.

Click here to tranfer to his channel

Friday, 26 November 2010

Peter Schlemihl: The Shadowless Man

Peter Schlemihl's Remarkable Story (“Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte”) written in 1814 by Adelbert von Chamisso, is the story of a bohemian scientist called Peter Schlemihl, who sells his shadow to the Devil for a wallet always filled with money, only to wander the earth alone.
Chamisso (1781-1838), who will not only be remembered as a poet, but also as a botanist left a classic book to the German literature.

Candy Candy: An Outdated Optimist In The Manga World

Candy Candy, is a Japanese novel that was first serialized in magazines and later adapted into an anime manga series. The TV show (1976-1979) gained international popularity in the mid-80’s in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is a cult, soap-operish animation that follows the story of the orphan girl Candice White from a baby to a grown woman.

Even if today’s audiences should find the series outdated or cheesy, it is nevertheless a moving story that portraits a character - certainly lacking in the modern animation-of an unselfish, optimistic, kind girl that follows her heart but can also make great sacrifices.

You can check out the Candy Candy movie:


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Violent Femmes

The American alternative folk punk band
"Violent Femmes" is a trio with singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano in the lead. Gano wrote most of his songs during puberty, therefore his lyrics bring out his troubled youth's frustration, confusion and lust. Their compositions are never-ending improvisations and The New York Times consider Gano to be the "oldest representative of teenage rage".

Trivia: Gano was only in 10th grade when he came up with "Country Death Song" after reading a 1862 news article about a man who intentionally threw his daughter into a well and then hanged himself in his barn.


Coral Castle: A Tale of Love Or Science?

Edward Leedskalnin was not a simple man. He was not wealthy and his was not educated. But he did manage to fall in love. The girl, however had a change of heart and broke their engangement. And that is how, supposedly the whole story of his life began. Over a period of twenty years, he dedicated his time into handling and building massive blocks of coral in what would eventually become a whole castle. Reminds of a Scott Fitzgerald novel, hey? Well, that's where some scientists have a different point of view. Putting aside the story, and just examining the tones of this monument one cannot but reconsider. How could a single man manage to lift a pyramid like stone, when the principals of physics are against any such venture? There are certainly many theories, including that Edward Leedskalnin had solved this problem by the use of anti-gravity! True or not, his life story is a fascinating one and there is a coral castle out there to prove it.

Top Movie Vampires

1. Max Schreck, Nosferatu
The real deal?

2. Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's Dracula

The charming one

3. Kirsten Dunst, Interview with a Vampire

Who's afraid of a pretty little girl?

4. Bela Lugosi, Dracula
Cult fang

5. Lina Leandersson, Let the Right One In
Can't choose your neigbours

6. Robert Pattinson, Twilight
Our guilty pleasure

Of course our list wouldn't be complete without...

7. Leslie Nielsen, Dracula Dead and Loving It

Free youtube movie of the day: Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks knows good comedy*
"Young Frankenstein" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431/) has been repeatedly voted as one of the "Funniest Films of All Times". Of course, you can never go wrong with cast such as Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman. If you haven't already, click below to watch this classic horror movie parody and find out what's the sweet mystery of life!

Young Frankenstein (part 1/10)

Places: Elafonisos the pirate’s island

Elafonisos,Greece was the base for foreign and local pirates and corsairs in the 16th and 17th century, due to its particular geographical location in the sea roads of Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
It is a beautiful place and fortunately not yet taken by hordes of tourists.

Click here for more:

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Book Club: Three Men In A Boat

It is hard to believe, but the last, laugh out loud, novel was published in 1889. Sure there have been written many a funny and smart and elaborate stories since then, but try to take away the irony and the half-witted hero out of them, and what do you get? Jerome Jerome's book is a winner because its honesty lasts all through its pages and the reader doesn't get mixed feelings at the end, like someone had played tricks to get their attention. Enjoy this delightful journey, and of course do not forget the dog!

Link to free e-book

Best and Worst Celebrity Neighbours

"Who would you rather have as your neighbour?"

Intellectual actor Stephen Fry or musician/troublemaker Peter Doherty?

People have voted Fry as the one who they are more likely to borrow sugar from and Doherty the one to stay away from, even if he does bring Kate Moss over.

The White Stripes

Jack and Meg White shocked the world by claiming to be brother and sister, but the true story is that Jack adopted Meg's surname after their wedding. Although the couple got divorced, they formed the critically acclaimed duo "The White Stripes" that led the garage rock revival movement during the early '00s. Guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist Jack and drummer Meg, brought mainstream into the raw underground post-punk and punk-blues genres. Their single "Seven Nation Army" reached the top of the European charts. The White Stripes declaire the band is still active, but have stopped performing due to Meg's acute anxiety.
We expect to see more of them, until then enjoy their previous work.

Seven Nation Army

Fell In Love With A Girl

The Hardest Button To Button

Free youtube movie of the day: Eraserhead

In my opinion, the best David Lynch movie out there. An expressionistic horror, which Kaufka himself would find too claustrophobic, this first attempt of the brilliant director demands to this day the audience's full notice and interpratation.

Eraserhead (part 1/9)

Graffiti: An underappreciated art

There are certainly those who have a strong objection to seeing color on grey buildings. It somehow throws them off guard when they meet with an unexpected face on a wall or a written message that has a strong claim on the passerby's thought of the day. I have often met with people who complain about museum prices, about not having enough time to visit an art gallery, and all the while passing by some new idea, outside their own building. Of course, they have objections as to the art form of the graffiti techique, but I think one can not but change their mind if they just look a little closer.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Free youtube movie of the day: A propos de Nice

A propos de Nice (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021576/) is a silent film directed in 1930 by the -25 year old then –French director Jean Vigo.
In the short duration of the film, Vigo captures with surrealism and humor the Borzois and tourists walking around Nice, France displaying their dresses and moving endlessly, so that they can emphasize their existence. Amazing are the scenes, showing the contradiction between the dancers and the statues. The instant opposite the eternal.
I would suggest watching it in mute in the link below.

À propos de Nice (part 1/2)

À propos de Nice (part 2)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Free book of the day

Pride and Prejudice is a classic novel which rises from the mechanics of a pleasant plot to the level of great art, written from Jane Austen, a novelist with an extremely narrow focus that extends, surprisingly, into a wide range of concerns. It's a story about society,the relationships of family,the pride of a man and the prejudice of a woman. It is saturated with sarcasm, humor, romance, and thought-provoking issues of the time and Austen captures the attention of her readers with the wit, insight and well-flawn characters.

Here is the available link:

The Smiths

As common might be the name of this rock band from Manchester, "The Smiths"'s distinguished melodies have played one of the most influential roles in the alternative scene. Lead singer and songwriter, Morrissey, has made history with his unique voice and meaningful poetic lyrics written straight from his vulnerable heart, expressing best the suffocation and loneliness of the misunderstood. Morrissey would often display dark humor to describe the complications of human relationships with songs like "Girlfriend in a Coma" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again". The short-lived band (1982-1987) left behind only four studio albums: "The Smiths", "Meat Is Murder", "The Queen is Dead" and "Strangeways, Here We Come".

Free youtube movie of the day: Heathers

Boy meets girl, girl hates schoolmates, boy decides to do something about it. An acidic comedy, where high school becomes a battlefield and the battle is won by any means.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Amazon Changes Movie Making

Apparently, after taking over the e-commerce Amazon tries for another profitable industry. The first steps been successful with the IMDB venture, Amazon Studios are now a reality. What really makes the difference, however, is that anyone, and I mean anyone, over 18 years old, can have a go at it, and maybe make his dreams come true in the movie industry. So, if you think you can top Twilight or Harry Potter or if you have tried every other studio in town to make your indie make it at Sundance, you can send your script or film today at the link below and maybe, just maybe, your talent will at last be apprecciated!

Worst lyrics of the year

5. Nicki Minaj - Right Thru Me

You see right through me
How do you do that shit?

4. Katy Perry - California Gurls

I know a place
Where the grass is really greener
Warm, wet and wild
There must be something in the water

Joyce - Dujardin; the charm of semicolon

Who was the inspiration behind James Joyce's "Ulysses"?

It was french writer Edouard Dujardin who used the stream of consciousness literaly technique and the interior monologue in his works. With the use of the semicolon mark Dujardin was able to continue his train of thought uninterruptedly. According to Joyce's confession he was particularly influenced by Dujardin's novel "Les lauriels cont coupes" (The Bays are Sere), 1887.

Free youtube movie of the day

Having completed an extraordinary body of silent films in 1929, Fritz Lang entered the sound era with this bold masterwork, an expressionist thriller that captured the ugly mood of Germany just before the Nazis came to power, and was banned as soon as they took over.
Fritz Lang's films are marked by an uneasy tension between moral opposites: light and dark, innocence and evil, order and chaos.
M is often cited as the first and greatest of all psychological thriller. I think that this movie using an expressionist style to create a sense of panic, suspicions and shadows manages to always catch your breath.

Here is the available link with the movie subtitled in four different languages:


Best Movie Dresses Of All Time

I recently read about a pole concerning the best dresses of all times, in movies. I have to agree that most of them have become so classic that one remembers them as well as the leading ladies. Here are my favorite ones.

The attonment

Gone with the wind

Breakfast at Tiffany's


Actor | RolesClass | Home Video Products | Media Products | Movies | Video | Rear Window (Movie - 1954) | Individual | Grace Kelly
Rear window

Diane Keaton as Annie Hall
Annie Hall

Saturday, 20 November 2010

First Americans 'reached Europe five centuries before Columbus discoveries'

Yes it's true. While Colombus paraded his newly discovered American Indians in the Spanish towns,he didnt know that he was not intrducing in fact the first native Americans to Europe, according to research.
Scientists who have studied the genetic past of an Icelandic family now claim the first Americans reached Europe a full five centuries before Columbus bumped into an island in the Bahamas during his first voyage of discovery in 1492.

Researchers said today that a woman from the Americas probably arrived in Iceland 1,000 years ago, leaving behind genes that are reflected in about 80 Icelanders today.

The link was first detected among inhabitants of Iceland, home to one of the most thorough gene-mapping programs in the world, several years ago.

Adorable kitten snuggle pile

Be sure to wait for the cute surprise at the end.

Favorite Photographers: Richard Avedon

Time magazine, among others, has praised his unique portraits, as well as his cutting edge, fashion photos. Οver a career of sixty years, Richard Avedon managed to stay true and consistent to his idea of human nature and beauty, so much so, that to this day his work hasn't lost an inch of its freshness and originality. His art might have been controversial to some, but I think no one can describe his vision better than himself, "All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth".

Jack the ripper: Get a clue!

If you want to test your brain powers, if you love a good mystery, or if you just have to know how most of it begun, the greatest villain of modern times can be within your reach...or can he?

Game of the Day: Nancy Drew

Be a detective and solve mysteries in this highly realistic and interactive game series. Step on the shoes of Nancy Drew and challenge yourself with puzzles and riddles. Visit haunted mansions, work undercover in the jungle or drive around isolated islands to invest mysterious disappearances, chase twisters, interview suspects and enjoy hours of gameplay choosing one of the twenty-three games available.
But be careful: A single mistake could cost your life...        

Official site

Free youtube movie of the day: A day at the races

"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"

One of marx brothers's funniest, wittiest comedies, the best medicine against lazy days, even if the doctor is actually a...vet!


A new planet enters our galaxy

Astronomers have announced that a new planet discovered in our galaxy coming from another one, which is bigger than Jupiter,the largest one. This planet has already gone through the red giant phase of stellar evolution, a milestone our sun should reach in 5 billion years or so. The fact that the newly discovered exoplanet survived this dramatic event suggests some planets in our solar system might, too.

Watch how our sun will die!!!