(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Animation

“Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment”*…

From Johannes Enevoldsen (@JohsEnevoldsen), a clock based on excerpts from books: “Literature Clock” (inspired by Jaap MeijersE-reader clock).

* Dave Eggers

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As we tell time that’s been told, we might recall that it was on this date in 1959 that Jay Ward‘s animated series Rocky and Friends premiered on ABC; it ran on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, following American Bandstand at 5:30 p.m. ET, where it was the highest-rated daytime network program.

Featuring the adventure of the titular flying squirrel and his companion, Bullwinkle the Moose (in an on-going struggle against Russian-like spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, both working for the Nazi-like dictator Fearless Leader), the show also contained supporting segments include “Dudley Do-Right” (a parody of old-time melodrama), “Peabody’s Improbable History” (a dog named Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman traveling through time), and “Fractured Fairy Tales” (a modern retelling of fables and folk lore).

The show featured quality writing and wry humor, mixing puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor in a way that appealed to adults as well as children. Indeed, in 1961, the series, re-titled The Bullwinkle Show, moved to NBC as the lead-in to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Though it suffered from competition from Lassie, it ran through 1964… after which it moved into syndication, where it remains to this day.

The series was hugely influential on other animated series, from The Simpsons to Rocko’s Modern Life. In 2013, Rocky and His Friends/The Bullwinkle Show was ranked the sixth-greatest television cartoon of all time by TV Guide… in your correspondent’s view, an under-appreciation.

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November 19, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Visualizations act as a campfire around which we gather to tell stories”*…

From home ownership to digital media consumption, climate change to job growth– more, with commentary, at: “10 Charts That Capture How the World Is Changing,” from @rex_woodbury.

Al Shalloway

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As we ponder patterns, we might recall that it was on this date in 1940 that RKO released Walt Disney’s animated musical anthology Fantasia— eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. First released as a theatrical roadshow held in 13 cities across the U.S. between 1940 and 1941, it was acclaimed by critics. But it initially failed to turn a profit owing to World War II’s cutting off distribution to the European market, the film’s high production costs, and the expense of building Fantasound equipment and leasing theatres for the roadshow presentations. That said, since 1942, the film has been reissued multiple times by RKO and Buena Vista Distribution (with its original footage and audio being variously deleted, modified, or restored in each version). To date, when adjusted for inflation, Fantasia is the 23rd highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.

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November 13, 2022 at 1:00 am

“The horror! The horror!”

Tis the season, thus time for seasonal specials. Indeed, since 1990, those fabulous folks behind The Simpsons have given us annual installments of what’s become a beloved Halloween tradition: The Treehouse of Horror, a collection of wonderful riffs on horror and sci-fi films/shows/tropes that never fails to delight.

Enthusiasts have created beaucoup “best of” lists (see here and here, for a couple of examples). Now, just in time (this year’s installment airs tonight), Bo McCready has created a terrific resource: a comprehensive run-down of the source/inspiration of each Treehouse of Horror segment– in infographic form. A small excerpt:

See it all at “Treehouse of Horror: 100+ Simpsons Halloween Stories!” from @boknowsdata.

Apposite: “Run for your life, Charlie Brown.”

* Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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As we trick and treat, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that the Mercury Theater broadcast the Halloween episode of its weekly series on the WABC Radio Network, Orson Welle’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.  The first two-thirds of the show (which was uninterrupted by ads) was composed of simulated news bulletins… which suggested to many listeners that a real Martian invasion was underway.  (While headlines like the one below suggest that there was widespread panic, research reveals that the fright was more subdued.  Still there was an out-cry against the “phoney-news” format…  and Welles was launched into the notoriety that would characterize his career ever after.)

Coverage of the broadcast

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October 30, 2022 at 1:00 am

“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”*…

On its publication in 1922, T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” was not so well received: “so much waste paper,” opined The Guardian. But of course since then it has ascended into the canon. Four writers and scholars– Beci Carver, Jahan Ramazani, Robert Crawford, and David Barnes— explain why now “the poem is such a key landmark that all modern poets know it, whether they swerve around it, crash into it, or attempt to assimilate it.”

Though I do understand why people often see—and hear—“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as inventing modern poetry in English, I think The Waste Land does so more comprehensively. It’s as if this poem can give anything—a cry, a list of place-names, a snatch of conversation, a Sanskrit word, a nursery rhyme, an echo—an almost infinite and carrying resonance that brings with it unforgettable intensity. Ezra Pound who, prior to editing The Waste Land,  had just been editing an English translation of an avant-garde collage-style French poem by Jean Cocteau, helped give the poem its intensity; but the words were Eliot’s.

… Pound’s editing was highly ethical in that he did not add or substitute words of his own; he just honed what Eliot had written. Eliot had learned from Pound’s bricolage style, but where Pound went on to go on and on and on, Eliot (with Pound’s editorial help) learned as a young poet just when to stop. That’s a great gift. So the poem exemplifies at once the way in which poetry can incorporate all kinds of diverse materials; yet it also constitutes a supreme example of poetic intensity. It’s quite a combination—and one from which innumerable poets (from Auden to Xu Zhimo and from MacDiarmid to Okigbo and beyond) have learned…

Robert Crawford

The appreciation in full at “The Most Important Poem of the 20th Century: On T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ at 100,” in @lithub.

* T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

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As we muse on modernism, we might recall that it was on this date in 1966 that It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” premiered on CBS. The special, based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and produced/animated by Bill Melendez, pre-empted My Three Sons and tied Bonanza as the top-rated program of the week. It has aired every year since, on network television until 2020, when Apple TV won the exclusive rights to the show.

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“I have not yet lost a feeling of wonder, and of delight, that the delicate motion should reside in all the things around us”*…

The proton, the positively charged particle at the heart of the atom, is an object of unspeakable complexity, one that changes its appearance depending on how it is probed…

“This is the most complicated thing that you could possibly imagine,” said Mike Williams, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “In fact, you can’t even imagine how complicated it is.”

The proton is a quantum mechanical object that exists as a haze of probabilities until an experiment forces it to take a concrete form. And its forms differ drastically depending on how researchers set up their experiment. Connecting the particle’s many faces has been the work of generations. “We’re kind of just starting to understand this system in a complete way,” said Richard Milner, a nuclear physicist at MIT.

As the pursuit continues, the proton’s secrets keep tumbling out. Most recently, a monumental data analysis published in August found that the proton contains traces of particles called charm quarks that are heavier than the proton itself.

The proton “has been humbling to humans,” Williams said. “Every time you think you kind of have a handle on it, it throws you some curveballs.”

Recently, Milner, together with Rolf Ent at Jefferson Lab, MIT filmmakers Chris Boebel and Joe McMaster, and animator James LaPlante, set out to transform a set of arcane plots that compile the results of hundreds of experiments into a series of animations of the shape-shifting proton…

Charlie Wood (and Merrill Sherman) have incorporated that work into an attempt to unveil the particle’s secrets: “Inside the Proton, the ‘Most Complicated Thing You Could Possibly Imagine’,” from @walkingthedot in @QuantaMagazine.

* Edmund Burke

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As we ponder presumptive paradoxes, we might send insightful birthday greetings to David Schramm; he was born on this date in 1945. A theoretical astrophysicist, he established the field of particle astrophysics, a branch of particle physics that studies elementary particles of astronomical origin and their relation to astrophysics and cosmology. He was particularly well known for the study of Big Bang nucleosynthesis and its use as a probe of dark matter and of neutrinos. And he made important contributions to the study of cosmic rays, supernova explosions, heavy-element nucleosynthesis, and nuclear astrophysics generally.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 25, 2022 at 1:00 am

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