Millions of Photographs from the LIFE Photo Archive

Overhead view of a 4-propeller plane flying over NY City

The LIFE magazine photo archive hosted by Google has “millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time…”

All fully searchable, of course, or you can just browse like the folks at the WFMU blog, who’ve kindly compiled choice links to myriad photo treasures to be found there.

A Photo-Tour of the National Archives and LOC

Tonight I stumbled upon a pithy and entertaining (if sporadic) anonymous history blog called Historians’ Corner, which has some fascinating stuff about the Alsos secret mission at the end of World War II.

About a year ago, the blogger posted a couple times about his trip to the National Archives in Washington, DC.  In “Washington DC Trip – Day 5″, he uses photos to walk us through getting obscure old declassified war records at NARA.  An earlier photo post documents his visit to the Library of Congress.  (I’ve always wondered what it looked like in there.)

What an official US Government box of declassified secret documents looks like:

Declassified WWII 'Alsos' mission reports for G2 (from histcorner.blogspot.com)

What part of the Library of Congress looks like:

An interior view at the Library of Congress (from histcorner.blogspot.com)

WCAG 2.0 Moves to Proposed Recommendation Status

On Nov. 3, 2008, the W3C‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group published Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 as a Proposed Recommendation.

WCAG defines how to make Web sites, Web applications, and other Web content accessible to people with disabilities. “Proposed Recommendation” means that the technical material of WCAG 2.0 is complete and it has been implemented in real sites. This is the last step before WCAG 2.0 becomes the official standard.

The WCAG Working Group is welcoming final comments on WCAG 2.0 through 2 December 2008, less than a month away.

I highly recommend that every single person in the web business read this stuff carefully. If you have something constructive to contribute to the discussion, now is the time.

WCAG 2.0 will supersede WCAG 1.0, which has been the operative accessibility standard since 1999. There are some important changes to the standard that all coders, IAs, and designers should take note of, and it’s worth noting that there have been periods of considerable controversy during WCAG 2.0′s adoption process.
Current official working drafts of WCAG 2.0 primer documents:

Read the official announcement. Check the latest changes and status of WCAG 2.0.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich – The Movie

Burnt Weeny Sandwich
April 30, 1969 KQED TV, San Francisco, CA
18 min. B&W and color. Originally on 16mm.

Screen captures from the film 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich'

Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hn1aV3VnZQg
Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=9IY1STwLoqU
Part 3: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xeHVSKEUfAo

Aired on KQED TV in 1969, the Dilexi Series represents a pioneering effort to present works created by artists specifically for broadcast. The 12-part weekly series was conceived and commissioned by the Dilexi Foundation, an off-shoot of the influential San Francisco art gallery founded by James Newman. Newman, who operated the Dilexi Gallery from 1958 until 1970, saw this innovative series as an opportunity to extend the influence of the contemporary arts far beyond the closeted environment of the commercial gallery.

Formal agreement was reached with KQED in 1968 with the station’s own John Coney designated as series producer. No restrictions, regarding length, form or content, were imposed upon the works, except for Newman’s stipulation that they be aired weekly within the same time-slot. Upon their completion, the 12 works were broadcast during the spring and summer of 1969.

Of the 12 artists invited to participate in the Dilexi Series, ten of them completed new works, and two, Andy Warhol and Frank Zappa, submitted extant works. The tapes and films are far-reaching in their approaches to the medium and the circumstance of the broadcast series. Some of the artists chose to intervene in the relationship of broadcaster and audience by broaching the subject of communications. (…)

Burnt Weeny Sandwich is another rarity. Created by Frank Zappa, the film, in one form or another, found its way into a larger work, Uncle Meat. Something of a high-speed home movie, Burnt Weeny Sandwich features the original Mothers of Invention, along with Captain Beefheart. This is one of the works that exists only within the Dilexi Series.

Once broadcast, the Dilexi Series was stored on the original 2″ videotape masters, a now archaic video format. Some masters were transferred to a contemporary format in 1982 and presented at the S.F. Video Festival. Through the generosity of KQED, the last of the Dilexi Series was just transferred to an exhibition format. This marks the first time in 22 years that all the Dilexi tapes are available. (…)

More info at: http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/videography/Burnt_Weeny_Sandwich.html

The Music:

  • 00:00 “Uncle Meat: Main Title Theme” (1:26-1:55) from Uncle Meat
  • 00:34 Unidentified Percussion Piece
  • 01:27 “Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich” from Burnt Weeny Sandwich
  • 05:47 “A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)” from Uncle Meat
  • 07:15 “Snork”
  • 07:22 “Dog Breath, In The Year Of The Plague” from Uncle Meat
  • 11:20 Unidentified Percussion & Snorks Piece
  • 11:44 “Prelude To King Kong” from Uncle Meat
  • 15:22 “God Bless America” from Uncle Meat
  • 16:01 “The Dog Breath Variations” from Uncle Meat

More Things to Thank John Coney For:

(King Kong-sized hat tip to Hell’s Donut House.)

Punk Zine Archive

Courtesy of the excellent bastards at Operation Phoenix Records, the Punk Zine Archive includes sanctioned PDF scans of bedrock punk zines, including Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll nos. 2 – 45 and misc. thereafter, Flipside no. 1 and misc. nos. 24 – 79, and numerous issues of HeartattaCK and Suburban Voice.

Run, don’t walk. And maybe consider contributing to the effort, eh wot?

Random stuffs

What’s this fascist Dick hiding, anyway?

An above-average Sun Ra discography

The mighty Ivor Cutler on the John Peel show (thanks, Hell’s Donut House)

Weekly experimental music concerts at The Chapel in Wallingford (Seattle)

Dope-ass Vermont

Swanky “file browse” stylings (and another)

14 Rules for Fast Web Pages (excellent: summarizing Steve Souders’ presentation at Web 2.0, with links to the PowerPoint [very recommended] and all the references)

More optimization: “Performance Research, Part 4: Maximizing Parallel Downloads in the Carpool Lane” (YUIblog — related to the above)

More optimization: Optimizing Page Load Time (see bottom for additional links)

Why brain-teaser interview questions are stoopid

Bitchen 16mm scanned telecine machine (3 CCD coming soon, they say)

Official Forrest J. Ackerman site

The Online 78rpm Dicographical Project

The one and only Travis (ex-Ono)

Impressive synth sharity

And did I mention Vincent Collins?

Vincent Collins’ Celebration of America at 200 (Hits of Acid)

WFMU’s Beware of the Blog has posted two very fine streams of ’70s-era animation by one Vincent Collins, a very talented animator that I regret to say I was not previously aware of. Well now I’m much the wiser, and you should be, too.

Of particular wonderment is his fantastic three minute film 200 (1975), Collins’ tribute to the US Bicentennial that was actually financed and distributed by none other than the US Information Agency, which was basically the “white” (open) propaganda fount during the Cold War. Among other things, it is proof positive that times have REALLY changed.

Below is the complete 200 via YouTube thanks to the mighty A/V Geeks. (Props to Michael Bester for his [standards-compliant!] Kimili Flash Plugin for WordPress.)

(Broken video link corrected 1/14/2007)

Rare Books About 3D Film & Stereoscopy Available for Free Download

While trolling about for things 3D, I came upon Stereoscopic.org, the official web site of the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference (SD&A), which is tied to The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) and The International Society for Optical Engineering (still known by its olde acronym, SPIE).

While not much in the beauty department, the SD&A site includes archived conference proceedings dating all the way back to 1996. Among the site’s other offerings is a small but wonderful virtual library that offers free downloads of licensed PDF scans of three rare and notable books about 3D film and stereoscopic photography.

Following are relevant details (quoted from the library link above), with links to the download pages. The two books still in copyright are licensed for one-time download solely for personal use. This is why you have to register for each download, but I can attest that they don’t spam you for it.

Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema
by Lenny Lipton (1982)

Provides a wide ranging [technical] analysis of many stereoscopic topics. The book’s primary focus is the stereoscopic cinema, however the book’s many background sections are equally relevant to the many different types of stereoscopic display devices available today. This book provides a wealth of information for both the novice and also those already active in the field of stereoscopic imaging. Also included with the download is a 5 page errata list.

The World of 3-D Movies
by Eddie Sammons (1992)

Primarily a filmography of 3-D movies however it also provides an extensive history of 3-D Movies. Titles of chapters in the book include: 3-D in the Beginning and Now, 3-D or Not 3-D, The Formats, The Movies – A Chronology, The Movies – The Filmography, Who Directed What, At Home With 3-D. An errata list is provided at the end of the book.

Three-Dimensional Photography: Principles of Stereoscopy
by Herbert C. McKay (1953 ed., orig. 1948)

The main topic is stereoscopic photographic technique. Titles of chapters include: Elementary Stereography, Stereoscopic Cameras, Stereographic Technique, Flash in Stereo, Color in Stereo, Pictorial Stereography, Applied Stereoscopy, Polarized Light Applied to Stereoscopy, Close-up Stereography, Trick Work and Hyperstereo. The book also provides a review of a wide range of stereoscopic film cameras, viewers and projectors available at the time [ca. 1953]. The book touches on a few areas of stereoscopic theory but intentionally does not go into too much detail in these areas. The book contains a glossary of stereoscopic terms and is amply illustrated.