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Archives for 05

Weezer Channels Viral Video Stars

Posted by Sloane Kelley on May 30, 2008

Weezer's new video for its catchy tune "Pork and Beans" hit YouTube last week, garnering 3.5 million views even before it aired on MTV. The video features people who became known for their often embarrassing moments caught on video and sent around the world. Viral video stars from the Daft Dancers to the South Carolina contestant for Ms. Teen USA (one of my personal faves) are featured.

Wired caught up with the video director Mathew Cullen, who explained the rationale behind video.

Weezer sent us this song, and we immediately got the idea. ["Pork and Beans"] is this amazing song about being happy with who you are. That's exactly where it came from. There's never been a time like now, thanks to YouTube, where people can put themselves out there. So I embraced that concept.

I wanted the video to be a celebration of that creativity. I wanted it to be redemption for those who'd been unintentionally embarrassed by the power -- there is a sense of that for those who were shamed by it.

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Home Sweet Home

Posted by Sloane Kelley on May 28, 2008

These days, more and more people seem to be into turning trash into treasure, whether it's art, clothing, furniture, etc. This week, the WebUrbanist takes a look at the trend of recycling used shipping containers into live and work space.

Used shipping containers often pile up due to the expense of returning the empty containers to their home country. It can be cheaper for a company to simply buy a new one instead of having the old one returned for re-use. Now, architects and designers are beginning to find other uses for these materials. Aside from some of the cool housing examples depicted by WebUrbanist, they also cite a London hotel made from stacked shipping containers.

The company, called Travelodge, says that constructing a hotel this way is 25% faster and 10% cheaper than the more traditional construction methods. Also, construction is much quicker, because all that has to be done is to fit each container together like it was a giant Lego set.

In addition to speed and cost, hotel guests may get an added benefit from the steel containers: the inability to hear everything going on in the room next door.

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David Byrne Makes Beautiful Music With NYC Building

Posted by Sloane Kelley on May 14, 2008

Talking Heads' frontman David Byrne has long been associated with experimental music and art. His latest project takes music into the world of architecture and interactive experience. Beginning May 31st, Byrne's Playing the Building installation opens at the Battery Maritime Building in New York City.

The interactive installation essentially converts the former ferry terminal into a giant musical instrument. Various devices will be attached to everything from the building's pillars to its water pipes, allowing visitors to create sounds.

According to Wired:

"I'd like to say that in a small way it turns consumers into creative producers," Byrne explains on his official site, "but that might be a bit too much to claim. However, even if one doesn't play the thing, it points toward a less mediated kind of cultural experience. It might be an experience in which one begins to reexamine one's surroundings and to realize that culture -- of which sound and music are parts -- doesn't always have to be produced by professionals and packaged in a consumable form."

The exhibition is free and will run through August 10th.

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Haagen-Dazs Creating Buzz About Bees

Posted by Sloane Kelley on May 08, 2008

According to a report released earlier this week, more than 36 percent of the commercial bee hives in the U.S. were lost last year. Bees appear to be having trouble with new diseases, pesticides and what's known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a disease still not understood by scientists. What they do know is it causes adult bees to leave their hives.

With bees being responsible for 40 percent of Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavors, the brand has a vested interest in getting the word out about bee populations. They've launched a new flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee and are putting special markings on other flavors that rely on honeybees. Buying those varieties will help to fund research programs on CCD.

With as much as one-third of the U.S. food supply being reliant on pollination from bees, this is an issue that will be getting more attention. Katty Pien, brand director with Haagen-Dazs, told

"This is the first time that Haagen-Dazs has adopted a cause like this," said Pien. "We are taking this very, very seriously because it impacts not just our brand but the entire food industry."

Haagen-Dazs also created a Web site to educate the public more about the issue. Plus it allows you to make your very own digital bee.

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Guaranteeing $2.99 Gas

Posted by Sloane Kelley on May 06, 2008

With gas prices topping $4.00 a gallon in certain parts of the U.S., Chrysler is offering a new incentive. Customers who buy or lease a new vehicle during the month of May will be able to choose between the usual cash and apr offers or opt for a fuel protection bonus, which would mean $2.99 per gallon gasoline for three years.

Participants would receive a gas card that's linked to their credit card. They would only pay the $2.99 per gallon rate and Chrysler would make up the difference.

The offer does exclude some of the larger trucks and SUVs and it is capped at 12,000 miles worth of gas per year. The Detroit Free Press has a list of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles included in the promotion.

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