Camp 4 Collective: Sanctity of Space


Camp 4 Collective’s Renan Ozturk is working on a passion project called the Sanctity of Space alongside Freddie Wilkinson, a film about “the alchemy of landscape and people amidst the mountains of Alaska.” The clip above, called The Ridge was filmed this past June in Denali National Park.

They’re using a Cineflex Elite camera system that’s externally mounted to the hull of the chopper which these guys operate via a laptop control box from inside. Pretty cutting edge stuff.

Film is set to release sometime in 2015 and I could not be more excited.


Kobe vs. Jordan Identical Plays

Not sure there’s been a better one-on-one shooting guard in the NBA since Jordan, but Kobe certainly came close.  Little hoops porn to celebrate the announcement of the ’14/’15 NBA regular season schedule yesterday. Thanks for the share @wildanimas

Maryam Mirzakhani wins Fields Medal


Today, Iranian-born Maryam Mirzakahani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal for her contributions to the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces.

Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford, has been awarded the 2014 Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics. Mirzakhani is the first woman to win the prize, widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics,” since it was established in 1936.

The award recognizes Mirzakhani’s sophisticated and highly original contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems, particularly in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces, such as spheres, the surfaces of doughnuts and of hyperbolic objects. Although her work is considered “pure mathematics” and is mostly theoretical, it has implications for physics and quantum field theory.

Mirzakhani’s recent research further investigates the symmetry of surface geometry, particularly within theories regarding Teichmüller dynamics. In general, her work can best be described as pure mathematics – research that investigates entirely abstract concepts of nature that might not have an immediately obvious application.

“Oftentimes, research into these areas does have unexpected applications, but that isn’t what motivates mathematicians like Maryam to pursue it. Rather, the motivation is to understand, as deeply as possible, these basic mathematical structures,” said Ralph Cohen, a professor of mathematics and the senior associate dean for the natural sciences in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. “Maryam’s work really is an outstanding example of curiosity-driven research.”

The work, however, could have impacts concerning the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist and, because it could inform quantum field theory, secondary applications to engineering and material science. Within mathematics, it has implications for the study of prime numbers and cryptography. Despite the breadth of applications of her work, Mirzakhani said she enjoys pure mathematics because of the elegance and longevity of the questions she studies.

“I don’t have any particular recipe,” Mirzakhani said of her approach to developing new proofs. “It is the reason why doing research is challenging as well as attractive. It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.”

[via Stanford News]

The Life Lessons I Learned from Robin Williams

Yesterday, like that of many, ended on a somber note with news of Robin Williams’ passing.

As I continue to age, I’ve found it useful to take greater pause in these moments, in this case to reflect on the impact that this great man had on my life. While I realize that far more informed fans and film critics will write more insightful, poetic tributes to Williams, I’d like to add my own rough perspective to the collective dialogue. You see, the more time I allow myself to think about it, the more I realize how significant his films were at instilling key life lessons in ways that because of Williams and who he was, always stuck with me.

Williams was one of those actors that bridged generations. Being a boomer himself, he spoke directly to my parents, connecting with them through the formative subject matter of their day. No performance embodied that quite like his role in Good Morning, Vietnam, which in many ways brought the Vietnam War into the range of acceptable conversation. Even in the late 80’s when the film was released, it was still a topic that most felt uncomfortable discussing publicly. Williams’ unmatched blend of theatrical humor and wisdom was just the answer for bringing the topic back into the fold.

Dead Poets Society, which people my age didn’t see until many years after its release taught me about what it means to become an individual, and what it means to connect with the things that feed the soul, and how love and pain are often inseparable forces.

Then came Hook. Perhaps the Avatar of the 90’s? Williams and Dustin Hoffman formed what may very well have been the greatest protagonist/antagonist duo EVER. The costumes were unmatched. Yet the larger message behind the Peter Pan story stood confidently in the background, reminding parents and children alike that life changes us in many ways, but if we are mindful, it need not steal our sense of wonder, curiosity and playfulness. I cannot think of a lesson I hold more dear to my heart today. BANGARANG Peter!

FernGully, where Williams played the voice of a rapping bat named Batty, teaching youngsters like myself (I was 7 at the time of its release) about the fragility of our planet. Again, infusing his humor into an issue to ensure that it is internalized by people of all ages.

Then there was Mrs. Doubtfire. Mrs. Doubtfire may have been the most significant. It was one of only handful of VHS tapes that my family owned, which meant it was watched countless times. Growing up on a healthy dose of Disney films, even as a kid I knew what to expect with my endings: everyone (except the villain) lives happily ever after. But, this movie was different. It taught kids that the world isn’t black or white. That happiness can come with a dose of sadness. Even more, it taught me that there is no ending at all, there is only change and that it is how we respond to these changes that shape our reality, and the quality of our lives.

Which brings me to Good Will Hunting. This film has only grown in importance for me over the years. In a Psychology of Personality class I took in college our professor used this film and its characters as a means of examining the various personality types classified by the field. It was an incredibly useful exercise as each of the characters in the film possessed so many different layers. But, the movie was much more than that. It was poetic in how it brought to life the age old Tennyson line, “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

And, I guess that’s how I feel about my relationship to Williams’ work. His death is a tragedy, but he lives on through every one of his characters and the lessons that they so effectively instilled with viewers. Robin Williams is testament to a life lived passionately, “because to live…to live would be an awfully big adventure.” And, it has been and will continue to be, due in some small part, to the moments I have shared with Robin Williams.

The Ritualization of Buying

Really great soundbite from Design Anthropologist, Dori Tunrstall taken from the book Brand Thinking.  The book is a sort of compilation of interviews with leading thinkers across a wide variety of fields about their thoughts on branding and design.  Dori’s comments on the ritualization of buying were of most interest to me:

We almost always used “things” as a way to identify ourselves and to identify others. Let’s start with the human body. In traditional cultures, the art of tattooing was about social coding. A certain number of tattoos meant you’ve been married. Another number of tattoos meant that you’ve had children. This many tattoos meant that you’ve killed a lion.

Nowadays, we have a tremendous emphasis on dress and makeup and in our rituals of buying. I use the word “rituals” very specifically. But our rituals of consumption are no longer as satisfactory to us … because they are empty of human relationships.

There was recently a wonderful study done on garage sales. When people go to a garage sale to buy something, they actually feel very satisfied about the interaction. Most of the time, it’s because the object they buy comes with a story—a very real, personal story about where the object fit into someone’s life.

Whether it’s real or not, you connect with that person through the object. So when you take the object, your purchase of it is more satisfactory. Whereas right now, when you go now to a store, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on branding that tells authentic stories in order to … sell more stuff.

Dori’s last part about the derivation of meaning through purchases is supported by Rob Walker’s Significant Objects experiment performed a few years back.  In it, he purchased a number of thrift store trinkets for an average of $1.25 each.

Those objects were then listed on eBay, but in place of the item description he included a short fictional story about the object written by one of numerous professional writers. Some of the stories described the objects role in a crime or historical event, others about their role in rituals or as good luck charms, etc.

In the end, the objects sold for a total of over $8,000, signifying the importance of story and, by extension, meaning, in the purchase experience.

[via Brainpickings]

Denver Egotist: We Are All Egotists


From the book ‘How to Assert Power Over People’ from the 1950s.

[via The Denver Egotist]

Weekend Wisdom


[via It’s Hard To Find A Friend Tumblr]

Breakbot: Baby I’m Yours (feat. Irfane)

Amazing music video found on The Fox is Black.

Denver Comic Con

I had the opportunity to attend Denver Comic Con this weekend and wanted to share a few choice photos courtesy of the Denver Post.  Amazing community of people at these events.

Denver Comic Con

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Denver Comic Con

Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center


Denver Comic Con  Denver Comic Con

Denver Comic Con

Denver Comic Con at the Colorado Convention Center

Sarah Sze’s Triple Point at the Venice Biennial

Lots of amazing artwork to be seen from the Venice Biennial this week.  The video above features Sarah Sze discussing her improvisation installation, Triple Point.

“The spontaneous is always where it’s the most interesting for the artist and for the viewer…Improvisation is crucial. I want the work to to have this feeling that it was improvised; that you can see decisions happening on site the way you see a live sports event—the way you hear jazz.”

Read more on Artsy.

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