Art School(ed): A holiday gift list, brought to you by RISD alumni

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This Friday will mark the first day that it is socially acceptable to listen to holiday music. With Handel’s Messiah and Sevivon, sov, sov, sov come all of the trappings of the holiday season: inflated ornaments at the Providence Place Mall, tents lining the parking lots of Best Buy (no, not that Best Buy),  and family members requesting your own Christmahanakwanza wish list.

Art School(ed) is here to help you with the ever-daunting task of drafting up that Christmahanakwanza gift list, drawing only from the fruits of RISD alumni’s labor. After the jump, check out the products crafted and designed by graduates of Brown’s creative neighbor.

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Thanksgiving Week NBA Preview

Turkey Logo for Thanksgiving Tourney

Well, it’s finally Thanksgiving…

I’m thankful for my amazing, supportive and hilarious family. I’m thankful for Bagel Gourmet Olé’s Chicken Nachos, my favorite Sunday morning hangover food. But most of all, I’m thankful for this NBA season.

This Thanksgiving week, get excited for the times when you can plop down in front of the TV, loosen your belt buckle, and watch amazing basketball games while your vaguely racist uncle spouts questionable phrases like “Does this TV have a brightness setting? I can’t see the players.”

Here are the games you should absolutely watch this week.

Wednesday, November 26: Thanksgiving Eve

Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers—7:00 PM

If you haven’t watched any games this season yet, this game is probably a pretty solid place to start your 2014-2015 season education. You will hear the announcers discussing a boatload of topics, but the only one you need to think about right now is: WHEN WILL THE CAVALIERS BE GOOD? Dude, seriously. They honestly suck serious balls to watch: their defense is atrocious, their offense is nowhere near the level it should be, and they are one Varejão injury away from resembling a colander trying to stop water from getting through. LeBron can still take over games, but 6-7 after 13 games isn’t where anyone expected or wanted this team to be. Here’s to hoping they start ripping off wins.

Score Prognostication—Wizards: 95, Cavs: 92. One audience learning how to dougie.

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers—10:30 PM

Wednesday’s late-night game takes the Timberlake-owned Memphis team and pits them against Kobe’s Lakers.  The Black Mamba, no relation to Beatrix Kiddo, is on pace to set the possession usage record that he already holds.  The real reason to watch this game is to see him take 30 shots, and if it’s a good day, he’ll make 18 of them. If it’s a bad day, the red-hot Grizzlies are winning by 40.

Score Prognostication—Grizz: 84, Lakers: 80. Kobe gets 47 of LA’s 80. Continue Reading


SNL’s Stefon’s guide to Thanksgiving!

There are plenty of things to be thankful for this holiday season. We can be thankful for points, teachers canceling class, Blue Room muffins, study rooms in the Rock, BlogDailyHerald (shameless self-promotion), seasonal facial hair, peppermint mochas, holiday cheer, home cooked meals, hockey players, and most importantly…STEFON’S RETURN TO BLOGDH. SNL’s Stefon (or me pretending to be Stefon) is back to give you a heads up about all the hottest parties and gatherings that you must attend over Thanksgiving break. Don’t call it a comeback, because Stefon never went anywhere. Cue the music, plug in the disco ball, turn off the lights, and embrace Stefon as he (me) drops some serious holiday knowledge.

The hottest spot this Thanksgiving is…your grandma’s house. This spot has everything: passive-aggressive comments about your lack of significant other, a woman asking “what is Brown again?”, your weird uncle asking if you are gay yet (I AM NOT GAY UNCLE RICKY), that random person who always shows up with an already half-empty bottle of wine, the smell of moth balls, your great-grandfather’s war rifle named “old lucky,” and water-drowned food so everyone at the table can chew it. It is a great time, especially if you are looking for a place to butcher saying grace in front of your religious grandma who doesn’t remember that you still can’t do it right: “Bless us…uh…like…O Lord…and for like these uh your dope gifts and whatever, which we are like gonna receive from your…bosom, I mean bounty, hahaha lol. Through you, Jesus guy, our Lord, amen dude.”

The hottest spot this Thanksgiving is…your local underage bar. What better way of setting the tone for a holiday about giving thanks than puking in the back of bar. You, your friends, and your fake ID’s that all say you are 28 and are from North Dakota must head down to grab a drink like adults do! This bar has everything: a pervy bouncer who makes every girl kiss him on the cheek, a kid who looks like Charlie Sturr, a bartender who hates his life, bar mitzvah music, your mom texting you “where are you?,” those kids from your high school who you HATE so much but with whom you pretend to be best friends, that one girl who takes a selfie with everyone, and the smell of Bud Light and sadness. Do not miss out!

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What we’re reading: Ferguson edition

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Today, BlogDH lends it platform to the coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

We start with the fundamentals: how was the decision reached? The Washington Post provides insight into the process of how grand juries in Missouri work. If you want to read any of the material that the Grand Jury looked at in the past months, the New York Times has an interactive feature containing the documents released by the county prosecutor.

For coverage of the protests taking place after the decision was announced, the Root does straight reporting on how the police force responded last night in their article “61 Arrested, 10 Businesses Destroyed, 150 Shots Fired.” On the other hand, Mic.com uses 20 photos to portray a much more civilian-centered account of the protests in Ferguson. Spoiler alert: the police force in St. Louis have a very different interpretation of the protests than the civilian protesters do.

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Much of the news coverage is centered around the resulting violent protests. Obama’s address to the nation asked for a peaceful response after the Grand Jury’s decision was released. The Huffington Post contrasts Ferguson with civil unrest around the nation that has nothing to do with politics, such as the scene of wreckage in San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series. In international coverage, Palestinians have been tweeting advice to protesters in the states on how to deal with tear gas.

Moving on from reporting, we look to analyses and media centered responses. FiveThirtyEight details why it is so unusual for a Grand Jury not to indict the accused, except in the case of police officers standing trial. The Root speaks to legal expert and attorney Eric Guster about the possibilities for bringing Darren Wilson up on civil charges, as the past few months have only held deliberations over criminal charges.

Some important opinions articles on the subject of race relations are being recycled due to continuing relevance. In August, Carol Anderson wrote an opinions piece in the Washington Post on why black rage against an unjust system is ruthlessly bashed in the media, while white rage against progress and equality is backed by the courts and the government. The Atlantic just bumped a powerful features piece called “The Case for Reparations: Two hundred and fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

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BlogDH Goes Abroad: Sampling the… LanternBurger

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As anyone who’s taken ENGN 0090 – Management of Industrial and Nonprofit Organizations will remember, Marvel Comics faced a crucial business dilemma in the early 2000′s: was it better to focus on a few of their popular core superheroes, or attempt to create brand-new franchises from a number of their lesser known characters? With the benefit of hindsight and the massive popularity of spinoff franchises like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, we now know that Marvel took the latter of the two options. The once-struggling company has since been responsible for some of the biggest blockbusters of the past decade.

Why is this at all relevant to your life, you may be asking? For starters, it’ll help when you burst into section ten minutes late, having yet to read the case study or even open your ENGN 0090 textbook, only to raise your hand and comment brilliantly that you think Marvel should diversify its characters – and, while it may seem like a crazy idea, you have a feeling that Robert Downey Jr. might make a great Iron Man.

But, more importantly, it’s also relevant to the McDonald’s line of Justice League-themed promotional meals currently flooding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Just as Marvel diversified, so has McDonald’s, following up their BatBurger and SuperBurger meals with a Green Lantern-themed “Potato ‘n Beef”‘ burger and The Flash-themed potato wedges. Clearly, neither of the two superheroes was good enough to warrant his own meal - McDonald’s has obviously learned from the disaster that was the Green Lantern movie. Sorry, DC. Better luck with Khal Drogo’s Aquaman.

The burger, dubbed the LanternBurger, is a standard cheeseburger with bacon, steak sauce, and the titular “potato” added. What, you may ask, is the “potato” aspect of the burger? Why, it’s a McDonald’s hashbrown!

Sounds nasty, right? Well, no. The LanternBurger isn’t horrible.

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Evolution through wind and PVC: Theo Jansen at RISD

Theo Jansen demonstrates his Strandbeests' "water feelers," which respond to moisture by rapidly firing leg pistons.

Theo Jansen demonstrates his Strandbeests’ “water feelers,” which respond to moisture by rapidly firing leg pistons to move in the opposite direction.

Theo Jansen, a Dutch polymath engineer-artist extraordinaire and the father of kinetic, wind-powered “Strandbeests,” came to RISD Friday night to deliver a lecture to a packed auditorium Although not a household name, Jansen is somewhat of a rock star at RISD.

His talk was presented by RISD/Brown STEAM, a group dedicated to promoting cross-disciplinary work between STEM fields and the arts. They demonstrated a five-foot tall cardboard Strandbeest of their own. Collaborative partners included RISD Government Relations and the RISD Programming Board.

Jansen is known for merging physics, engineering, biology, and art in large PVC kinetic animals that walk down the beaches in Holland on their own accord. These beasts move their legs with pneumatic PVC cylinders powered by compressed captured air. They have a purely mechanical nervous system that is able to respond to its environment by changing direction once it detects water or shifty terrain, by anchoring itself into the ground when it senses a storm coming, or by sending smaller “scouts” in front to test the surroundings.

In the talk, Jansen ruminated on the evolution of his career, imagination, and the beasts themselves.

Here are some of the most resonant thoughts Jansen shared Friday night, after the jump.

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