Zef-Fi: CHAPPiE & Die Antwoord

I have a little confession to make: I don't listen to a lot of modern music anymore. It's not that I've reached some middle-aged phase in which I only tune in to 'adult contemporary' radio stations (which apparently play Nirvana nowadays? WTF); as a matter of fact, most of the time I'm listening to podcasts instead of live broadcasts nowadays, and as a result I'm simply not exposed to current musical trends --with some rare exceptions.

One of those exceptions is Die Antwoord, the controversial South African rap group composed of Ninja, Yo-landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek. Both their music and visual aesthetics are so vibrant and in-your-face that passive indifference is just simply impossible --you either <3 it of h8 it.

But for me Die Antwoord is more than just music, though; It's a glimpse of what the interconnected 'mashup-ness' of the digital global village is going to really look like, beneath the flimsy veneer of corporate uniformity mainstream media is constantly bombarding us with: Chaotic, raw and ethnically eclectic despite of the use of universal symbolism.

It's really no wonder Ninja and Yo-landi are such good friends of Neil Blonkamp, the maverick film-maker who earned a lot of critical and commercial success with his debut film District 9. Neil's fictional worlds look realistic because they're gritty and imperfect --More Mad Max than Star Trek. The Brave New World is going to be just a filthy and full of pornographic graffitti as ours; in such a future Banksy will be regarded as Rembrandt and Die Antwoord as The Beatles --and that's just as delightfully ironic as alien guettos and robots speaking with Afrikaans accent.

Which is why I'm anxiously waiting to watch CHAPPiE once it finally arrives to a multiplex near me. Why, even Wired's Angry Nerd gave it the two thumbs up! (sorta). In the meantime, here's a short featurette showing Ninja and Yo-landi talking about their involvement in the film:

No doubt CHAPPie is going to be the first exposure to Die Antwoord's music for a lot of movie-goers, who are probably not aware they actually paid to watch the biggest movie-length music video since Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. They won't know what fokken hit them, bra!

CHAPPie premieres in theaters around the world (and maybe others) starting March 4.

[More]: Ninja of Die Antwoord talks CHAPPiE: The Boing Boing interview

What is Wrong With Our Culture?

Alan Watts wonders what is wrong with our culture, starting with TV...

You know, for the vast majority of American families, what seems to be the real point of life, what you rush home to get to, is to watch an electronic reproduction of life. But you can't touch it, it doesn't smell, and it has no taste.

You might think that people getting home for the real point of life in a robust material culture would go home to a colossal banquet, or an orgy of love-making, or a riot of music and dancing...but nothing of the kind. It turns out to be this purely passive, contemplation of a flickering screen. You see mile after mile of darkened houses, with that little electronic screen, flickering in the room. Everybody isolated, watching this thing. And thus, in no real communion with each other at all.

...Even in the spectacles one sees on this television, it's perfectly proper to exhibit people slugging and slaying each other, but oh dear no, not people loving each other, except in a rather restrained way. One can only draw the conclusion that expressions of physical love are far more dangerous than expressions of physical hatred. And it seems to me that a culture that has that sort of assumption is basically crazy...

News Briefs 05-03-2015

In light of our recent incidence of collective missing time --how else to explain we're already in March!-- today's news have a little more UFO content than normal. Enjoy.

Thanks to Chuckycabra and a Baby Duck.

Quote of the Day:

"They need magic. That's why. They're taught from the very beginning, when they're taught about Santa Claus, and angels, and devils, and demons out of the earth and into the sky. They're told all this fanciful stuff as small children, and they get to believe that. And they want that to be theirs, that kind of magic to visit them. And they want to—pardon me [ noisily sneezes]. Ah yes, that shows my respect for them, so there."

~James Randi, 'splaining why ignorant people like to believe in paranormal lies [/sarcasm]

News Briefs 04-03-2015

Time for the news, I believe.

Quote of the Day:

With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Cat's Out of the Box: First Ever Photo of Light's Dual Nature

Probably the closest thing we'll ever have to Schrödinger's cat shown both alive and death: A research team has managed to capture light as both a particle and a wave, the dual behavior lying at the foundation of Quantum mechanics --and which also opened that can of wormholes known as "the observer effect" as well as the "spooky action at a distance" Einstein dreaded so much --ironic, considering *he* was the one who first proposed the dual nature of electromagnetic radiation in the photoelectric effect.

"This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics – and its paradoxical nature – directly," says Fabrizio Carbone [head of the team at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne]. In addition, the importance of this pioneering work can extend beyond fundamental science and to future technologies. As Carbone explains: "Being able to image and control quantum phenomena at the nanometer scale like this opens up a new route towards quantum computing."

Congrats on your future Nobel prize, signore Carbone --now about that UFO detecting machine I requested…

[LINK]: The first ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

News Briefs 03-03-2015

Learn to swim...

Thanks @mattstaggs.

Quote of the Day:

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

Henry Ford

Ciudad Blanca: Mythical Lost City Found in Honduran Rainforest

Over at National Geographic, there's a fascinating article detailing the recent discovery of one of South America's most pervasive mysteries: The fabled 'White City' or 'City of the Monkey God', which was said to have been kept intact during the Spanish conquest due to its remote and inhospitable location in the remote valley of La Mosquitia, deep in the Honduran rainforest. the 'monkey god' is a reference to the tale of a giant buried statue of a monkey god, as was told by natives to American explorer Theodore 'Ted' Morde in 1940; Morde's alleged discovery of the mythical city was never confirmed --he refused to reveal its location, and later committed suicide in 1954.

But now thanks to modern LIDAR technology, an international expedition has managed to pinpoint a highly advanced urban center that is over a thousand years old;

Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare.” He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.
“The undisturbed context is unique,” Fisher said. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation.”
The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.

The most striking of the objects found so far was a stone head of a 'were-jaguar', which would seem to indicate that the inhabitants practiced some form of shamanic religion --possibly involving the use of psychedelic substances, which would trigger in the shaman the illusion of shape-shifting into a jaguar.

But more than solving once and for all the legend of the 'White City', the archeologists are now convinced this urban center is in fact part of a previously unknown civilization which thrived in the Mosquitia valley around 1000-1400 AD. Therefore, many more 'lost cities' are bound to be found --that is, if they're not razed first by the illegal deforestation of the forest.

Here's hoping the Honduran government manages to secure this incredible discovery, so that archeologists can continue finding more remnants of this previously unknown civilization. Maybe one day they'll unearth the monkey god statue after all --or at least a couple of crystal skulls...

[LINK] Exclusive: Lost City Discovered in the Honduran Rainforest


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News Briefs 02-03-2015

Live long and prosper...

Thanks @catvincent.

Quote of the Day:

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.

Tom Robbins

Life Is Like Blue Jelly... And That's Enough.


What is the meaning of life? For some it's 42, for others it can be found in religion or science. For a few of us, the meaning of life is simply the wonder of not knowing. However, instead of looking outwards for the answer, perhaps we can find what we're looking for within -- and find meaning in our dreams. Anthropologist Margaret Mead described a unique perspective on the meaning of life that came to her in a dream (Amazon):

Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”

Read more at Brain Pickings.