The Murmuration Is The Flock Itself, The Susurrus Is The Sound It Produces


Videos of starling murmurations are numerous yet always enchanting. However, but this clip from Jan van IJken’s documentary short film The Art of Flying is exceptional because of the sound. From the video’s youtube page:

We know a lot of factual information about the starling—its size and voice, where it lives, how it breeds and migrates—but what remains a mystery is how it flies in murmurations, or flocks, without colliding. This short film by Jan van IJken was shot in the Netherlands, and it captures the birds gathering at dusk, just about to start their “performance.” Listen well and you’ll be able to hear how this beautiful phenomenon got its name.

If You Want To Preserve Your Power Indefinitely…

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of author, philosopher, and futurist Aldous Huxley. This fascinating, short video was made using audio from an interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958 combined with the animations of Patrick Smith. In the video, Huxley foretells a future when presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, drugs grab hold, technology takes over, and frightful dictatorships rule us all. On the day of this United State’s presidential debates and the eve of our election, this video seems particularly prescient. From Blank On Blank:

But what these people are doing, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground.


John Oliver Forgives Nearly $15 Million In Medical Debt


John Oliver incorporated the Central Asset Recovery Professionals (CARP, named for the bottom-feeders) debt collection firm for $50 and purchased $60,000 in medical debt. He then promptly forgave the debt allowing 9,000 people to walk away from nearly $15 Million in zombie medical debt. Debt collection is a grimy and under-regulated business and John Oliver does a great job of lambasting their predatory practices.

It should be noted that back in 2012, Occupy Wall Street did a similar thing called a Rolling Jubilee

Hypnotize Lyrics

The Evolving Complexity In The Construction Of Rap Lyrics


Right on the heals of this large hip hop mixtape dump comes an enlightening Vox video that explores the advancing complexity of rap lyrics and rhyme construction. Employing the research of Martin Connor and some helpful visual aids, the video explores how the best artists manipulate words, rhymes, beats, and motifs in continually sophisticated ways.

Here is a playlist highlighting songs used in the video and others that are choice examples of how outstanding rhyming in rap can be.

Farm To Table


This is a clip from the film Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke (also the director of Baraka and the director of photography for Koyaanisqatsi) packs a real punch, without saying a word. If you are not too squeamish, stick to the end, the last scene is the kicker. This is not comfortable or pleasant viewing. It is dystopian and confronting and robotic. Both tragic and beautiful. And definitely worth a watch.

Don’t let this stop you from watching the entire film though.

Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, Samsara transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, Samsara subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.

The Legacy Of Prince And Saturday Night Live

I didn’t have the privilege of seeing Prince perform live before his untimely death yesterday. But I have seen him perform a handful of times on television. You’re going to hear a lot about his blistering performance during the half-time show during Super Bowl XLI (2007). And rightfully so, this standout performance took place in a rainstorm and included “We Will Rock You”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Baby I’m a Star”, “Proud Mary”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “Best of You”, and “Purple Rain”.

However, my favorite televised performances were from his appearances on Saturday Night Live. On November 1, 2014, Prince bucked Saturday Night Live tradition by playing a single, eight minute, four-song medley (instead of the standard of multiple songs sprinkled throughout the show). The unbroken set consisted of pieces of “Clouds,” “Plectrum Electrum,” “Marz,” and “Another Love”. One of my favorite parts is when Prince attempted up turn up his guitar’s volume only to smile as he realized it was unplugged.


My very favorite Prince performance was his commanding execution of “Fury” for the February 4, 2006 Saturday Night Live. It had been over 24 years since Prince had last played on SNL and “Fury” had not been heard live or as studio recording up until this point. Prince’s guitar work for this performance was amazing. He effortlessly shredded the song up and down. My favorite part is the end, when he throws his mic stand on the floor while exiting the stage. He does this with a sly grin, letting his audience know he is fully aware that he was on fire.