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The Visual Poetry of Corrupt Video

In this five-minute video, we see portions of a Mad Men episode (episode 408, "The Summer Man") as it appears when incompletely downloaded via BitTorrent. The video is extraordinarily corrupt, showing strange artifacts like missing blocks of the picture, "melting" video, repeated actions, and other such glitches. Taken together, and with a surprisingly nice soundtrack, this actually does feel like art, though it's a sort of found art -- the found art of online video piracy and computer algorithms for storing and playing back video. I was surprised by how emotionally powerful this clip was, despite it being basically a series of visual artifacts from a broken video file. Of course, that's probably because I'm familiar with the series, and I remember this episode (it's -- very mild spoiler alert -- the one where Don starts keeping a journal and tries to become a bit healthier by swimming at the New York Athletic Club). There is something truly poetic about seeing the show like this: it's what might happen if a painter were to deconstruct each scene, focusing only on the areas of movement, and then animate the result.

My favorite part starts around 2:25, as Don takes a drink, the camera pushes in on him, then a shot of Betty morphs into a repeating clip of Bethany talking, as the screen around the women melts into riotous colors. To me, that's a visual metaphor for the most important emotional content of this episode. The action is most apparent when you watch the video fullscreen.

MADMEN Bittorrent Edition from Stunned on Vimeo.

Also very interesting (particularly for geeks) is a technical explanation of what's going on here. I'll summarize: BitTorrent breaks up the file into tiny chunks, which is why the scenes are incomplete (plus the person who put this together did edit together the scenes that were at least downloaded enough to play back, but didn't add any "effects"); the video encoder breaks up each image into blocks, which is why we see missing blocks, "melting" blocks, and so on; and in the absence of a complete data file, the video playback engine does the best it can, which accounts for the odd repetition, fast/slow motion, and other strange kinds of video effects.

The song used is "The Grass Harp" by Silje Nes (aka "The Glass Harp" on iTunes) from the album "Opticks," which is definitely worth a look.

(Via Waxy.)

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Shout! Factory
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entertainment
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
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Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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CableTV.com
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Pop Culture
America's Favorite Reality Shows, By State
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CableTV.com

From aspiring crooners to housewives looking to settle scores, there are plenty of reality shows out there for every interest. But which ones are currently the most popular? To answer this question, CableTV.com mined Google Trends data to measure the most-watched “real-life” programs in each state. They broke their findings down in the map below.

The results: Residents of sunny California and Arizona are still Keeping Up With the Kardashians, while Texans love Little Women: Dallas. Louisianans can’t get enough of Duck Dynasty and in Utah, viewers are tuning in to Sister Wives.

See which other shows made the cut below, and afterwards, check out CableTV.com’s deep data dive from 2016 to see how our viewing preferences have changed over a year.

A map breaking down each state's favorite reality show, created by the CableTV.com team.
CableTV.com

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