How the fuck are you today? Are you in the mood for some images, videos, and news items that are metal even though they’re not music? Well if so, you came to the right place. Here’s what I’ve got for you in this installment:
A human hovercraft, a skull flower (accompanied by a weird coincidence), a flight through the universe, cigarette magic, a tornado of fire, a musical prodigy from Hong Kong (okay, this one is music, but it’s not metal, except it’s metal), and Singapore “in miniature”.
A little over a week ago, the Lake Union Boats Afloat show started on — where else — Lake Union in Seattle, where I live. On the opening day of the show, a dude named Brandon Robinson put on a demonstration of a device called the “FlyBoard”. It’s a water-powered contraption that allows the “pilot” to hover 20-30 feet in the air and do assorted acrobatic tricks, with the propulsion supplied by a jet ski.
Our local paper ran an eye-catching series of photos of the demonstration, one of which you can see above. You can see a couple more of the pics at this location.
The FlyBoard was invented last year by two-time world champion jet skier Franky Zapata from France. After seeing these photos I had to see if I could find some video of this thing in action, and I succeeded. I found a promotional vid by Zapata’s company, which is selling these FlyBoards for $6,500. A lot of the video consists of Zapata and others speaking in French. I don’t understand French, but I sure as hell got a charge watching the parts of the video that show Zapata getting a workout on his invention. Watch it next . . .
The following photo taken by Todd Terwilliger is an example of pareidolia — the psychological phenomenon of seeing faces or other familiar things in otherwise random patterns. The Man in the Moon is a good example of pareidolia. So is this “skull flower”:
Knowing my affinity for things metal, my friend Ian sent me a link to this photo at Discover Magazine.
What made this even more truly weird was that a couple of days later I got an e-mail from The Path Less Traveled Records about a forthcoming EP from a Connecticut band named Womb of the Desert Sun. What I read got me interested in the band and I visited their Facebook page to learn more. The first thing I saw on their profile was this:
Fuckin’ weird coincidence, don’t you think?
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SDSS is a survey of the night sky using a dedicated telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. Data collection began in 2000, and the final imaging data release covers over 35% of the sky, with photometric observations of around 500 million objects and spectra for more than 1 million objects.
It’s called a redshift survey because it not only images celestial objects, it also measures the redshift of the the objects (the change in the wavelength of the light caused by the fact that the objects are moving away from us due to the expansion of the universe). The redshift measurements permit calculation of the objects’ distances from the Earth. Because of the time it takes light to reach the Earth, over 500,000 of the objects detected in the survey are being “seen” as they existed 7 billion years ago.
All of that is pretty fuckin’ mind-blowing to me, but it’s really just background to the following video, which is an even bigger mind-fuck. This video was NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day on August 13 of this year. It’s an animated “flight through the universe” created by Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins, using actual images of close to 400,000 objects from the SDSS survey data.
Now think about this as you watch the video: Each of the points of light you will see are not individual stars but individual galaxies, each of which contains billions of stars. Taking a truly mind-blowing piece of science and making it even more mind-blowing through artistic inspiration: That’s metal. Watch this on full screen if you’re at a monitor:
This next video blew my mind almost as much as the last one, though unlike the last one it didn’t make me feel smaller than a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. The star of this next show is a dude named Cyril Takayama, an award-winning American-Japanese magician. Forgive the pun, but what he does in this video is . . . smokin’ hot.
While we’re on the subject of things that are smokin’ hot, take a look at this photo — and yes, it’s a tornado of fire.
This picture is a frame from a video made by Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television while he was scouting locations near Curtin Springs station in the Australian outback. A small fire was burning in a section of nearby bushland, and he decided to start filming the fire. Against all odds, a tornado touched down on the small fire while he was filming, and the vortex fanned it into a furious tower of flame. Here’s the video, which is definitely metal:
If you want to know more about what causes this to happen, or would like to actually create your own tornado of flame at home (!!!), watch this.
Andy Lee lives in Hong Kong. He is 5 years old. His nickname is Tsung Tsung. He can do this:
It’s truly amazing — not only his physical dexterity but also his memory, not to mention the abundant joy with which he plays. It’s also a bit discouraging: When I was 5, I think my biggest accomplishment was the discovery of my penis.
The first piece that Tsung Tsung plays in the video is “Flood Time” by Eric Thiman. The second one is an Air, but I’m not sure which one. Bach maybe?
(via TYWKIWDBI, again)
To close out this edition of THAT’S METAL!, I’m going with the latest bit of brilliance from Keith Loutit. He’s a photographer and filmmaker based in Sydney, Australia. He pioneered a method of filmmaking called the “tilt-shift/time-lapse” technique. It’s a way of using time and focus to create an illusion of miniaturization using images of real-world, life-size scenes.
In Loutit’s words, his aim is to create a sense of wonder in our surroundings by “challenging people’s perceptions of scale, and helping the viewer to distance themselves from places they know well”.
His latest project is to document the world’s great cities, landscapes, and monuments of the ancient world “in miniature”. I featured one of his previous films in another THAT’S METAL! post (here). Just a few days ago he released his latest work. It’s called The Lion City, and it’s about Singapore. What this guy does continues to amaze.
(via The Presurfer)
As always, enjoy the rest of your fucking day.