I find mermaids really fascinating. It’s the combination of tail, secrecy and myth that draw me to stories around mermaids, and the history of sea sirens is long and varied. No matter what culture you look at, there will be a mention of some form of water nymph, whether it’s the 1001 Nights lass, or the Hindu Suvannamaccha.
Sure, the Little Mermaid played a big role in getting this focused in the minds of women today, but there’s more than that. The Little Mermaid may have been bold and bright and curios, but she was also willing to sacrifice her self for a man, and to forgo what she loved to achieve a fantasy. Half admirable, half horrifying.
The modern day mermaids of today are women and men who have chosen to dedicate their life to mermaid-dom. For a segment I co-produced with Ingrid Rojas for Fusion TV, I met with two mermaids – Barbra Wynss from Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, and mermaid for hire, Trina Mason (and also spoke to dozens more) to learn what being a mermaid really means. and how you go about your life.
They had fascinating stories (which you can watch above) and I completely connected to their fascination and obsession with the water world.
I’ve been brushing up on my DSLR skills lately, and have been taking some really cool shots of NYC and Miami events. Case in point; Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The issue I’ve been having – and yes this is totally a girl thing- is that I really dislike the ‘standard’ one size fits all DSLR carry-case that came with my Canon T4i. Sure, it’s protective and useful and has roomy pockets, but it screams, “Hey, something in here is really expensive, come take me,” as well as generally looking boxy and bulky. It’s not love.
I’m on a quest to find a stylish supportive DSLR bag that can comfortably fit my camera, the charger, plus a small microphone and potentially even an extra lens. My search has revealed a large dearth in this marketplace, a wide range of unflattering styles that I wouldn’t be seen dead in. There’s also a weird array of bags with the pinkification problem (I want a nice bag for a girl, not bag for a vomiting Barbie) and some that are so MASSIVE I’d need to wear heels to be seen when carrying them.
I’ve now narrowed down my DSLR bag choice to a shortlist of sweet styles, and I’m going to share them with you. Mostly because I’ve done so much research It shouldn’t go to waste, and also because I’m totally open to suggestions and inout from people who have used these/ and/or know of other ones.
Here are the seven loveliest looking DSLR bags I have found on my hunt for a pretty bag. Read more…
In a world where privacy is becoming a rarity, some are striking back – literally. The U.S. is seeing surge in #SmackCam violent videos being uploaded to Vinewhere the perpetrator smacks a stranger or friend in the face. This is being accepted under the premise of “social trending” but what happens when it moves from smacking to crying?
21-year-old physical therapy student Max Jerry is loosely credited as being the first person to turn #Smackcam from a hashtag into a fully fledged trend. Jerry started the #SmackCam videos — which involve a filmed clip where he “smacked” someone unawares and then uploaded it to Vine — on June 27 from his home in Boston. “I didn’t like the idea at first,” he said. “I didn’t really think it would go this far.”
Accidentally or not, SmackCam has taken off. And these #SmackCam uploads are rising in popularity every day. A quick search on Topsy (the social search engine) shows that the #SmackCam tag has been used 17,000 times in the last week. Today it has been used 2,557 times and that number is rising.
“My friends didn’t really like getting smacked to begin with, “ Jerry confided. “They would shout at me, and I would go run behind my Mom (Jerry lives at home) while I would upload it to Vine. Since this has blown up and gotten them on TV they’ve changed their minds.”
A quick look at the latest #SmackCams show a wide variation in video types. They range from pies to the face comedy, more disturbing videos that show fisticuffs, fire-play and unhappy looking victims.
“The smacks I do don’t really hurt,” said Jerry. They sound like they do but it’s not painful and I don’t go red.” Read more…
I know, I KNOW, I’ve been sadly neglectful of AlmostZara lately. I could blame it on my shiny new portfolio site, or my shiny new job as Modern Life Editor for Fusion (very excited, more to come soon) but to be honest I’ve been lazy, and I’m sorry. I need to let this site grow and flourish and with no updates it’s just feeling sad and bereft. So, without further waffling, here’s some of the loveliest webby things I’ve seen around the internet today. Enjoy!
These giant Jack and the beanstalk-esque flowers are eerily beautiful and amazingly functional as well. Artist Dan Corson built these in Seattle as part of the cities green program and they absorb energy during the day which allows them to glow and SING at night. Yes, SING. LED sensors in the flowers are triggered by movement and as people move by the stems, a haunting sound spills forth; a sonic soundscape that’s new everytime. Magical.
In today’s internet funtimes, I have been enjoying this piss take fashion model retrospective created by Viktorija Pashuta. Here web browsers get dressed up in designer-esque outfits.
Opera definitely has lucked out as the most space age of the crew, and there’s a big cosplay feel with the primary colors. Though I heart Chrome, she does look like she’d marry Ronald McDonald in that palette. Read more…
3D Printed heads created from DNA sampling in NYC. Artist Dewey- Hagborg working with Russian Police to solve crimes.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s 3D portraits are unnerving. They were made using DNA samples she extracted from discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum. She collected these samples from public spaces in New York City. Basically, that means that any of her portraits could be YOU, as collecting DNA from public spaces is currently 100% legal.
So, what’s the process- how exactly does one go from trash to these realistic 3D portraits?
Dewey-Hagborg uses her background in science to extract DNA from the samples she collects in Brooklyn’s GenSpace lab. She then uses genetic markers (taken from single nucleotide polymorphisms) to map out physical attributes such as eye color and skintone. Once she has the results back, she maps out the face with 3D modelling software, and then sends that to get printed on a 3D printer.
There are currently no laws around public usage of DNA collected from a communal area.
“It is not likely be legislated for twenty years,” said lawyer Philippa Loengard, Assistant Director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts. “This area is so avant-garde. However, if a drivers license was in the public garbage no one has a right to open credit cards with it, and this analogy could be used for collecting DNA from cigarettes in the trash.” Read more…
Say what you will about Barbie, but that girl knows how to market herself. Sure, I could bash the notion of a pink themed house filled with physically disproportionate plastic dolls wearing skimpy size -Zero clothing, but you guys are smart, and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Instead, I’m looking at the giant pink behemoth that is the Dream House (a European version in Berlin and another one in Florida) and getting a big case of pink-eye. Modelled on Barbie’s Malibu Dream House (would have been interested to see the architects blueprints) the Berlin DreamHouse opened May 16th, 2013 and features 2,500 metres squared of pink frothy stuff you can touch, taste and obviously. buy. Well, Mattel isn’t a charity right? The Florida DreamHouse (opened May 8th, 2013) is pretty similar to its European cousin. Both offer ‘life size’ rooms (well, it’s a house) decorated with everything a Toys-R-Us child is familiar with, on an adult scale.
What I think is pretty cool about this is the RFID pink wristband all visitors receive on check in. The DreamHouse offers interactive experiences at the ‘Dream Stations’, allowing a semi-custom adventure. By this I mean that you input details such as name, gender and language and then the bracelet will interact with you AND the LED touch screens around the house.
A video game to help kids beat cancer – what’s not to like?
Re-Mission 2 is a video-game for cancer patients and their families. It’s an interactive way to kick cancer nasties, score some points and basically demonstrate that joysticks do have a therapeutic benefit. It consists of six games, all which let you tackle different types of cancer, using familiar gaming tools such as bombs, guns and um, healthy blood cells. Available for MAC, PC and iPad, they’re free to play online, download and share.
A lot of data backs up the theory behind the games, a key emphasis being the idea that positive motivation helps kids stick to a treatment regimen, as positivity lights up different parts of their brain (hey, they did brain imaging to prove this). There is even an argument that game players had higher levels of chemotherapy in the blood stream, suggesting a physiological as well as mental improvement.
The sincerity behind the premise of the game can’t be questioned. Re-Mission 2 is unreservedly pro-recovery, pro information and pro-control. I like the idea for many reasons. It’s great to make cancer patients- especially children- deal with their disease in a light hearted way, and the overpowering message here is that it just takes perseverance, time and aiming practice to beat it.
Problem is, not all cancers ARE curable and I’m a little concerned that this gives false hope to some who are living with a terminal cancer. It also – and I say this as a former cancer patient- feels slightly simplistic in some ways, as it’s cool to get to level 2 by killing the evil cells, but the reality was far more painful and needle heavy. I totally get they want to encourage people, but it’s hard to play an animated game and feel it doesn’t trivialize the pain in some way. Yes, I realize it’s easy to say this without offering an alternative, but sometimes in the back slapping and ‘it’s so good they made this’ moment we forget that it’s not always the perfect fit. Read more…