Yes, I do have particular tastes when it comes to what I listen to. I accept that others may not share my tastes, so I’ve decided to find the middle ground between today’s popular music and my remix style of choice: DUBSTEP. I know that a lot of dubstep can sound the same…

Time to bust-a-moose..er, I mean bust-a-MOVE!

Basically add “overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns.” to a song and voila you’ve got yourself a dubstep remix. I looked up the top ten Rihanna songs  and these are the dubstep remixes of them I liked the most. Make sure to check the comments underneath if you like the tracks as a lot of people provide links for free mP3 downloads!

Umbrella: Not a fan of the laugh, and the DJ could have used more of the vocals, but the tunage is solid. Getchya groove on! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib09BFKo1zI

Russian Roulette: All the remixes of this song I found had trouble matching the slowness of Rihanna’s original with the intense bassw-blastin’. This one’s not too bad though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rgn9EMPVuo

Love The Way You Lie : A hard one to find a good dubstep version, way too many versions out there with people just wanking away on the bass. Not the greatest audio quality, but hey this is the Youtubes… deal with it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX07fcJTmlg

Unfaithful : WhooooaaA Nelly! Dirty, dark dub! This remix fits the mood of the song and sounds sick to boot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwWIUb-ZBbA

Love the Way You Lie, Pt. II : Not too many remixes out there for the Part II of “Love the Way You Lie”… and by now you may be getting sick of the Wub-wub-wubba-wub of fdubstep so here’s a remix that’s almost the complete opposite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzyOLawZ0_8

Rude Boy :  Chrispy is one of the more prolific dubstep DJ’s on Youtube. This track is a good showcase of his skillz. You one Ruuuuude Boi, Chrispy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Kv3BkWnhIc&list=PL53D5D5AEB539C857&index=2&feature=plpp_video

Disturbia : Not sure how I feel about this track, but it’s getting all the props from other Youtubers so I’m willing to go with the flow on this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3bJFVARlo8

What’s My Name : Blackmill’s remix of this song was the one getting most of the attention, but I opted for Catalyst’s version as it has a little more jazzyness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NeZuhfLIag

S&M : CLAAAAASIC dubstep remix! Employs all the standard features; the Wub-wub, the grinding sub-bass lines, tha DROP. Dubmixes may be bad, but this DJ’s perfectly good at it 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Q2Xp4ZBw4

Don’t Stop the Music : Like a lot of her songs this track already has a pretty good beat. I couldn’t decide between these two remixes, as they are two of the few I heard that actually keep true to the songs main beat of the original song. They’re both pretty “brostep”-ish; ie. the focus is more on producing  earshredding bass than on  creating unique beats. Those who can’t critique, eh 😛 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfc6gdldmL8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfc6gdldmL8

Anywho that’s all for me today. Hope you’ve found something you like and worked up a nice, healthy layer of  dance sweat!

PS – Not a fan of Dubstep, well how about these two shots at the genre.

What Dubstep sounds like to your parents

Hank Hill’s opinion of Dubstep

How do you like them apples!?!


21st Century Slavery

Who here has heard of the slave trade? Alright, I’m assuming at least some of you have raised your hand. Of those who have heard of the slave trade will you please comment if you are in favour of it… Um, still waiting, somebody, anybody?

Nobody wanting to be taken seriously would openly praise the practices of slavery, and yet in all likelihood MOST OF US SUPPORT SLAVERY.

I hope I don’t have to justify getting this specific information from the Al-Jazeera News Network. In a world of “wedge issues” I sometimes worry about the growing rift between the W4   powers and the rest of the world. Even if Al-Jazeera is as biased towards issues of the Arab world as CNN is biased towards Conservative American values, is still necessary to see the other side of the coin. IMHO Al-Jazeera is not as biased as CNN, although, albeit maybe with good reason, they are noticeably anti-American.

That whole clash of civilization debate aside, if you’ve eaten food today chances are you’ve participated in slavery. Ever shop at Walmart? Yes = supported slavery (and I’m talking about REAL slavery, ie. locked up, beaten, starved, paid nothing, not just the economic enslavement of Walmart employees).

All in all there are seven episodes and a panel debate about modern slavery.

Prison slaves : Much of the cheap trinketry that is sold in Western big box stores is made certain Chinese prisons by slaves.

Bonded slaves : A form of slavery that is passed down from one generation to the next.

Sex slaves : There are an estimated 1.4 million sex slaves in the world today.

Food chain slaves : Approximately 40,000 slaves exist in the agricultural and food-chain supply systems of the US.

Bridal slaves : India has an increasing number of women and girls sold into marriage.

Charcoal slaves : Poverty-stricken men from the north of Brazil are often lured to remote camps where they are used as slave labour.

Child slaves : There are at least 8.4 million child slaves in the world today, many of them held as forced labour.
And the panel discussion: The Al Jazeera slavery debate  moderated by Rageh Omaar.

I feel these documentaries are great resource for getting younger generations to behave in a different manner than the generations that precede them. Although it good to have more than a couple “Buy Nothing Days” it necessary to buy things on a regular basis. Just as it is necessary to buy things it is also necessary to think about what you are buying. Of course we need produce and aren’t given much choice in supermarkets for local food, but farmer’s markets do exist. Yes, we do need clothes, but there are second hand stores, clothing swaps and even discounters like Winners where clothes provide less of a profit but don’t necessarily decrease demand.

Are we a society that is so pampered that we are willing to support slavery to continue our standard of living? As always I encourage you to check these facts yourself and form your own opinions.

A sign of the times…

Hey folks,

I was biking around Halifax today and noticed this sign outside the King’s View Academy which is a private school beside a major throughfare road into the downtown and is about two blocks from a Public School, Oxford School. The two schools may not be in heated competition for students as there is only a two year overlap in their respective services. The Oxford public school serves children from preschool to grade 9 while the Kingsview academy serves grades 7 through 12.

Anyway the sign was striking for two main reasons. Firstly, public schools, especially high schools (the particular setting King’s View is trying to pinch students from) are often portrayed in the media as being scary places. I tried to find reliable data measuring the extent of “safety in public schools” but did not have any luck. I did however find this graph that may help to explain why some feel public schools are hotbeds of bedlam: The highest crime rate for accused people occurs between the ages of 16-19. I stress that this is a chart of people ACCUSED of crime. Statistics on convictions where not categorized with the list of the accused.

This could be a result of agist accusers, or a final rush to the dark side before the protection of being a minor is forever lost. Who knows. One thing that is CLEAR is that the crime rate in general and for youths is dropping, continuosly.

Police reported that nearly 153,000 youth aged 12 to 17 were accused of a crime in 2010, almost 15,000 fewer than the previous year. The youth crime rate, which measures the overall volume of crime committed by youth, declined by 7%.
(Statistics Canada, 2010)

The second reason this sign got my attention is because I had a macabre sort of “A-HA!” moment. If the private school is using the perceived threat of the public school environment to attract new members then libraries could potentially do the same.

Of course public libraries should NOT use this tactic… rather the opposite that libraries and public schools should form respectful relationships. This is not to say that public libraries can’t use the perception of high schools as dangerous and libraries as safe spots to their advantage. If we can convince the bullied, the strugglers, the bored, etc. to hang out in libraries we can create a positive feedback loop and help schools address issues they may not be aware of or help them deal with issues they are already working with. The presence of homework centers for teens in public libraries is an example of how this is already happening. Check out this article to get ideas on how to start or improve a homework center in your library:

Brannon, S., & Hildreth, W. (January 01, 2011). Teen Homework Centers – Minimum Resources for Most Budgets. Texas Library Journal, 87, 1, 19-25.

What the King’s View sign impressed upon me was the reality that librarians and public school officials need to work together to a) decrease the perceived threat of public school attendance and b) share the social responsibility of teaching, guiding, and entertaining students. One way this can be done is something I’ve been reading a lot about lately; the Co-hosting of events between schools and libraries. If a school production (play, musical, art exhibit, spoken word, science fair, etc) where to be hosted at a local public library the burden of organizing and staffing the event can be shared between librarians and public school officials. As well, it allows patrons who have no previous connection to public schools and their populations to see tweens and teenagers participating positively in their lives and communities.

I know it’s one thing to come up with an idea, but an entirely different matter bringing that idea to fruition in reality. However, in a world where schools are adopting the attack ad mentality I think it’s important to at least think about solutions.

The old Artist Widget resurfaces

Previously I had a widget with a rotating Artist of the Month. Unfortunetly it was cluttering things up visually. I’m a liker of art type of guy so when I finally put the effort into retooling this blog’s layout Art got moved to it’s own page. The official possibilites are now: Endless.

Here’s the list that began it all:

Septmeber’s Artist: Sveta Dorosheva (Ukraine). This links to Sveta’s website . I chose Sveta Dorosheva for the spark of life that she infuses her drawings with. I’m a fan of the stark contrast between B&W she uses and am struct with a bittersweet nostalgia for my childhood when, perhaps,my powers of creativity where greater in scope and energy.

August’s Artist:Bev Doolittle (USA).
This links to Bev’s website . I chose Mrs. Doolittle because she has both great technical skill; her paintings are very detailed and look like the stuff they’re supposed to look like! Plus, she has a great mind/eye/Mind’s Eye for the art of illusions. Most (if not ALL) her work contains an illusion or two. Treat yourself, go to her website and check her art out!

July’s Artist:David Blackwood (CAN).
This links to David’s website . I chose Mr. Blackwood because he’s an AMAZING printmaker and printmaking along with oil painting holds a reserved part of my heart… a place where only the finest of artistic crafts are respected 😉

June’s Artist:Kimberely Dodd (CAN).
This links to Kim’s website . I chose Kim because I have finally gotten over the hump of being exclusively “a cat person.” Also it was in June that I first met Kim, so I figured she should get a shout out. Shauna, if you ever read this, get your site up and running and I’ll feature you too!

May’s Artist:Mark Vallen (USA).
This links to Mark’s website . I chose Mark Vallen because the scenes he depicts are the scenes that the Canadian and US governments don’t want you to see. Remember that the comfort in our lives is often created at the expense of anther’s life and comfort.

April’s Artist:Elizabeth Thompson (UK).
This links to Google Images of her work. I chose her specifically because I think it’s very important that we think about how we continue to portray images of war.

March’s Artist: Howard Hollis (USA).

February’s Artist: H.R. Giger (Swi).

January’s Artist: Edward Burtynsky (Can).

Trial & Error…and Success(?)

Look! Some efforts and signs of life!!!

I’ve been thinking of making a book trailer movie for a while and finally I’ve found the time! I’m pretty used to a variety of video capturing and editing software, but I’m still relying on the crutch of PowerPoint and the proprietary, albeit incredibly user friendly Camtasia…sorry Jing, but you did NOT float my boat! Also, I may have been trying to cram too much into this trailer by adding book-talking and RA elements. Still I’m happy with the final product and can already see how to improve the quality of future videos. I may not be a paid librarian yet, but I sure am having fun pretending to be one 😉

Hacking Timbuktu

Davies, S. (2010). Hacking Timbuktu: A novel. Boston [Mass.: Clarion Books.

Does this code make sense to you?

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
list *1, *new;
int *result;

if (argc next = 1; 1 = new
new = mk_list (“3, available ips);
new->next = 1; 1 = new

cl = clnt_create(argv[1], “tcp”);
result = tunnel1_1(1, cl);
if (result == NULL) {
printf (“error: Timbuktu tunnel blocked!\n”);
return 1;
printf (“client: Timbuktu tunnel open!\n”, *result);

return 0;

If the code does make sense to you I‘m pretty sure you’ll like this book… if it doesn’t make any sense you’re in the same boat I am, but don’t worry I loved this book!

By chance our protagonist Danny Temple a burgeoning parkour expert and master hacker along with his best friend Omar “Grimps” Dupont a francophone and master at parkour (see videos at the bottom of this post), find themselves in possession of a magic square which contains the map to two million mithqals of gold.

It takes a Dogon to recognize a Nommo

1 mithqal ≈ 3.6 grams ∴ 2 000 000 mithqals = 7 200 000 grams
1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams ∴ 7 200 000 grams = 231 511.25 troy ounces

Now here’s the juicy part!

As of 09/17/2011 gold was trading at $1771.32 per troy ounce
231 511.25 troy ounces x $1771.32/oz = $410 080 507.35 !!!

Not too shabby, eh.

Now all Danny and Omar have to do to get the money is decipher the map, avoid capture from various security guards, the London police, and crazed treasure hunters from the Facebook group: the Knights of Akonio Dolo. Oh ya, and they also have to fly from England to Mali without any money, avoid being killed by the manuscript mugger, and figure out how to carry two thousand mithqals of gold from the middle of nowhere back to the Bank of Africa. Simple, right? Well, if you disagree, I’d like to see you try (you can start by at least reading the book :p )

I’m not an especially fast reader but I have been plowing through this book. The chapters mostly flip between Danny and Omar’s journey towards decoding the map and the Manuscript muggers similar journey in Mali. This keeps the action fresher, IMHO. The scenes where the author is describing events of hacking and parkour move at a similar pace as a movie quick, action-packed and thrilling!

About Parkour:

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK), AKA; Free Running AKA l’art du déplacement (the art of movement) is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment. I’m particularly interested in it as when i was young, growing up in an urban center I loved climbing around on buildings and seeing the city from above. Assuming trespassing laws aren’t broken to blatantly I feel this is a great exercise for kids, a touch of danger, the thrill of independence and the benefits of physical activity. After all kids traditionally are supposed to monkey around in trees. Buildings replaced trees, so naturally kids gotta monkey around on building now. That being said, i never tried anything as fancy as parkouring so don’t be an idiot and try out the parkour moves you see in the following videos. As Omar says in the book: “those who parkour practice not just until they get something right, they practice until they can’t get something wrong.” Words to LIVE by if you catch my drift.

Here’s a video of some sick looking moves:

And here’s a video explaining the philosophy of parkour: The Art of Motion

Impact via Video

This morning I read an interesting article in this morning’s Halifax’s Chronicle Herald. In an article called, “Digital video makes impact in classrooms” Joanna Sanders Bobiash is being highlighted for her efforts to incorporate mixed media into her teaching style.

Forgive me for taking the stance that it is common knowledge that technology should (possibly even MUST ?) be used to teach the current generation and those to come. Some will disagree, but I suspect that the YA librarians out there who give at least two hoots have all used various types of media in their programming for youth (and younger) patrons. So, I’m not here to proselytize, but to point out one specific concept that Joanne learned at Google Teacher Academy that I think would be a great concept for Librarians to use as well. This is the concept of “flip teaching”.

This is how the article describes flip teaching,

It’s when teachers film themselves explaining a concept, or assign an educational video and have the student watch it for homework so they’re actively thinking about the subject before it’s explored in class the following day.

This is the way I see flip teaching being used in a library setting: Have the librarian(s), library technician(s), teen volunteer(s), or whoever is going to be running a new program produce a short video, 2-5min sounds reasonable. Try and get participants to sign-up for a program and provide an e-mail address for contact, or alternately put out an e-mail sign-up sheet at the next teen drop-in session and tell people it’s just so the library can send them videos of upcoming programs and events they might be interested in.

If done properly a video introduction to the potential participants of a program will be interesting enough to avoid falling into the spam category of their minds and can be a good way to start building a good relationship between programmers and participants.