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by Dean Blumberg

11 Jun 2010


Sue Storm, the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman

Sue Storm, the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman

I always just assumed an invisibility cloak was something relegated to Marvel Comic’s The Hood, the Fantastic Four’s Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman or some Tony Stark Iron Man development. Apparently the technology of comic books is not so far from scientific developments in today’s real world.

Anil Ananthaswamy posted a piece on the New Scientist website this week about advancements in what innovators term “optical camouflage technology”. Researchers at Duke, UC Berkeley and University of St. Andrews are hard at work are using “metamaterials”, or materials with strong electromagnetic properties with a negative refraction index. From what I’ve read in the linked reports on the New Scientist piece, light does not reflect or refract but instead bends around these materials rendering them “invisible” to our visible spectrum. Wait a second, this sound like something from TV’s Lost!

However, we are still far from Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four. Today’s cloaking technology works primarily on 2D objects. As Ananthaswamy explains, “[the] first cloak could only hide two-dimensional objects viewed from specific directions – and only if they were ‘viewed using one particular microwave frequency. Producing a cloak to hide objects from visible light, which has a wavelength several orders of magnitude smaller than microwaves – let alone cloaking objects when viewed from any direction – seemed a more remote possibility”.

As New Scientist reports, 3D cloaking is currently the project that scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany are working on. If comic books are any indication of scientific advancements of the future, I expect Pym Particles that allow humans to radically alter their size to be developed by 2020.

by Sarah Zupko

10 Jun 2010


Here at PopMatters, we’ve been Katzenjammer fans since well back to 2008 when Adrien Begrand had the good fortune of catching their show at by:Larm 2008 in Oslo, Norway. He was smitten with the Norwegian four-piece band, who he likened to a Scandinavian Dixie Chicks. Well, that sold me as an unrepentant Dixie Chicks lover. Begrand picked up a copy of Le Pop in Norway that year and we thought highly enough of it to place it on the 2008 edition of Slipped Discs.

Just to reiterate, here’s what Begrand had to say back then: “Loaded with sea shanties, Balkan gypsy folk music, bluegrass, blues, German cabaret, twee orchestral pop, and delivered with the reckless abandon of punk rock, there’s a lot to digest on the manic debut album by Norwegian foursome Katzenjammer, but the charisma of these four talented ladies always wins us over. With each member a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist, the band’s versatility is remarkable a live setting and especially on record, as Le Pop veers from raucous (“A Bar in Amsterdam”, “Hey Ho on the Devil’s Back”) to tender (Wading in Deeper”), each song boasting plenty of gorgeous, rich four-part vocal harmonies.”

Now, finally, in 2010, Katzenjammer is hitting US shores with Le Pop releasing 29 June on Nettwerk Records. They were here back in 2009 after David Byrne became a fan and had them play his 2009 curated stage at Bonnaroo. This year, they’re on a short US tour before hitting the circuit with the musical women on the Lilith Fair tour revival (dates after the jump).

In the meantime, we have the pleasure today of premiering this live video of “A Bar in Amsterdam” shot at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway. Enjoy… it’s impossible not to really.

by Jonathan Simrin

10 Jun 2010


Director Reiner certainly has nothing to prove at this point. After all, this is the man who gave us films like This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me,

, and A Few Good Men. Still, some of his recent efforts have been mediocre at best, as if Reiner’s aiming to perfect the in-flight film genre. That’s why this trailer for his newest film, Flipped, is so refreshing. Sure, it’s heavy on the nostalgia and will inevitably draw comparisons to The Wonder Years and My Girl. That aside, it’s great to see Reiner back in his game as he shares the story of Bryce (played by Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (played by Madeline Carroll). If anything, it’s just nice to see a family film that’s not a sequel from a franchise which should have died years ago (The G-Force sequel is coming, people).

by Arnold Pan

9 Jun 2010


As conspiracy theories involving our President go, the latest one that he was an extra in the video for Tag Team’s immortal “Whoomp! (There It Is)” is at least the most entertaining and least paranoid one. After Gawker ran with the “story”, the thread became silly enough to be teased on Colbert (see below) and semi-serious enough to be debunked by Politifact, tracked by the Washington Post, and mentioned by pretty much all the network news outlets. Don’t know if this is completely hilarious or totally pathetic, but, according to Politico, the White House has issued an official denial that the then 31-year-old Barack Obama was in the video, which apparently was confirmed by Tag Team itself. Still, check it out for yourself, as the POTUS double appears around the 30-second mark on the Colbert clip, flashing a pretty Obama-like smile while talking on a giant cellphone. Now if it were only a BlackBerry prototype…

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama’s Whoomp! There It Is Controversy
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

by John Garratt

9 Jun 2010


The nice thing about out-of-print recordings is that, if someone takes the initiative to post some MP3s online, they are normally not hassled to take them down. And when the music in question is avant-garde stuff that was never committed to CD in the first place, you can really go crazy, just like the Avant Garde Project did. Their enormous archive includes touchstones are disparate as Henry Kaiser, Iannis Xenakis, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Cage, and a great deal of electronic works. Beware, although these are free, they are FLAC files and will undoubtedly take a long time to download. If my dad were still alive, he would worry for my tastes.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Independent Film Festival Boston 2016: 'The Anthropologist'

// Short Ends and Leader

"Spry and crisp, The Anthropologist is a solid documentary that avoids bearing the weight of the austere pessimism surrounding climate change.

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