Steven Colbert On TODAY SHOW Says He’s Not Twittered but has Twatted

March 28, 2009
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Quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life – the look on Colbert’s face is simply priceless…
– FlashAddict

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Tim Berners-Lee: The next Web of open, linked data

March 16, 2009
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So many years after the birth of the World Wide Web, it is quite riveting to hear the father of the Internet talk about the future of things to come. Hypertext data on steroids…
– FlashAddict

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20 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. For his next project, he’s building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together.

http://www.ted.com


Reading Media Culture – Friday’s film class notes

March 16, 2009

ANTHROPHOMORPHISM
The endowment of creatures with human attributes, abilities and qualities.
– by Paul Wells in his book Understanding Animation
Creatures covers more than animals or plants as seen in The Brave Little Toaster (appliances)

There are 2 practices that explain this theory in greater detail:
– Animism – the belief that everything on Earth has a spirit and impacts on life
– Totism – incorporation of natural entities into ritual behaviour
(ie: dove with an olive branch = symbol for peace as a mental construct / candles on a cake = symbol for birthday)

In Eisenstein’s article, he refers to Vesilovski’s definition of Animism, “We involuntarily transfer onto Nature our own experience of Life which is expressed in movement in the manifestation of a force directed by a will.”

Key to the Animation Industry = Design characters that the viewing audience can identify with and would want to watch over and over again.
– viewers either see someone who they know or like, or possibly themselves (cross-genre use of animation and musicals are a natural mixture)
– this character can be an idealized version of who they are
– as a result, viewers feel more comfortable about who they are (personality animation)

The Three Little Pigs by Walt Disney

Anthrophomorphism examples from the animation:
– wearing clothes, talk, stand on 2 feet, procrastinate, dancing, building houses, play instrument, a pig that’s afraid (tails), picture frames, furniture, relied on others, showed hubris (extreme arrogance = get what you deserve for your cockiness), boiling water, understand english, use tricks to foil the wolf, lock the door, deceptive quality in the wolf, wolf uses threats, first 2 pigs form a collective where the third pig is on his own, have luxuries (welcome mat), portrait of the family in the pig house (2 of Father – one with sausage and one with a ham / and one of mother nursing), understood the concept of work, lived in capitalist society (if you don’t work, you are screwed), separation of class structures (pig represented as civilized where the wolf is shown to be a vagrant), different pitches of voices from first 2 pigs to third pig, Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, creation of suburbia (own your own house), have a fire, value of hard work, potted plants, self-serving mentality of the first two pigs, turpentine and mixing it into the cauldron, individual clothing and voice style, be prepared motto shown by the third pig, hits the wolf with the brush = defense strategy, opposable thumbs (foundation to human evolution), eyes structured like humans, mocking the wolf when they thought they were safe, have beds and pillows, ability to reason and negotiate

Most blatant examples are when the wolf tried to trick the 2nd pig that he had left and then showed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then he tried to pass himself off as a Fuller Brush salesman trying to put himself through college.

Merbabies by Walt Disney

Imaginary divine omnipotence – Eisenstein
– manufactured utopia – impossible dream to live in that environment – shown when the bubbles rise to the surface and reveal that the whole setting is imaginary
– mermaid characters were very cherubic in their portrayal
– defiance of the food chain – big fish eats the little fish

Bugs in Love by Walt Disney

What comes first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to animation?
– Chuck Jones, one of the greatest animators ever, talks about the creation of Daffy Duck.
– Producer Leon Schlesinger was a very bombastic persona who was authoritative, yet he spoke with a slight lisp
– Jones used this as creative license and added it to the persona of Daffy (wasn’t a duck in fact, but a transvestite chicken!)
– Jones asked Mel Blanc to do the voice and the track was sped up
– but then they realized that Leon would have to listen to the recording and approve it
– as a result they wrote out their resignation letters beforehand just in case
– “Jesus Christ, what a silly WOICE! Where did you get it?”
– moral of the story = where does an animator get inspiration for their work? – answer is that every animator has a mirror on the side of their desk to mimic facial expressions

I do not know what it is I am like by Bill Viola
– Video Art deals with the camera in a totally new way so that you have immediate feedback in what you are recording
– Failure of Knowledge is a major theme that they wanted to develop
– image is displayed will leave you in discomfort and wants to put the viewer in the piece itself rather than as an entertainment tool = leaves you in a state of frustration and you are stuck with it = anti-telivision and anti-constructed entertainment (not here to entertain you)
– feel like a spectator inhabiting the world of the bison – other than the camera recording the imagery, there are no obvious human interactions, not even a narration

Planet Earth – by BBC


The Personal Journeys blog is now active

March 10, 2009

Hello again everyone,

I wanted to take this opportunity to invite everyone to check out the Personal Journeys Blog that was publicly unveiled and launched earlier today for my Digital Interactive Arts class at Emily Carr. Everyone was very interested in reading about the stories that people submitted to the art project and would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who submitted their stories.

This is not the end of the project however, and I will be working with several faculty at school in pushing the project further over the summer. For those of you who wanted to participate, but haven’t had a chance to write up your stories, don’t fret because you still have the chance to send them in and I will put them up on the blog as they arrive.

Furthermore, two other avenues for the project that I would like to explore are to setup a venue at the Athlete’s Village for 2010 Winter Olympics, which I had previously mentioned; but the most important one to my heart is to contact the BC Cancer Foundation and see if they would like to work together in recording and documenting the Journeys of Cancer patients currently going through radiation treatment and chemotherapy as well as the stories from their families.

I will be contacting them tomorrow to look into the feasibility of this project as well as starting to piece together a video which recounts the details of My Personal Journey, which I wrote about January 28th, 1994, the day my mother died from ovarian cancer at the BC Cancer Clinic in Vancouver. I will keep you guys posted on how both of those progress.

So without further ado, here is the link to the blog:

http://personaljourneys.wordpress.com/

Read through the Journeys, click on the links to view the maps and also look at the Visual Journeys section of the blog to see other outcomes that I developed as well.

Sincerely,

John DeVeaux


Not just a video game: the obsessive world of gaming and its young stars

March 9, 2009
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Reading this article really hit home and reminded me of the project I did last year dealing with World of Warcraft and its addictive characteristics:


– FlashAddict

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Ontario boy’s death focused attention on industry

Last Updated: Friday, March 6, 2009 | 6:06 PM ET

As far as his parents were concerned, Brandon Crisp was just playing one of his video games, a time-consuming pastime for the 15-year-old.

Brandon Crisp ran away on Thanksgiving after an argument with his parents about his obsession with playing video games.
Brandon Crisp ran away on Thanksgiving after an argument with his parents about his obsession with playing video games.
(Canadian Press)

Little did they know the Barrie, Ont., teen was making his way to the top tier of the gaming world, where all that time in front of the gaming console might start to pay off with big wins and recognition in an alternate online gaming universe.

When Steve and Angelika Crisp confiscated his console on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 13, 2008, the teen threatened to run away from home — and did. His body was found three weeks later in a forest, with the cause of death determined to have been a blow to the chest likely caused by falling from a tree.

CBC-TV’s Fifth Estate took a closer look at the case in a documentary titled Top Gun which airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

Though Crisp’s disappearance began as a simple missing child case, it grew into something larger, prompting parents and officials to turn their eye on a world they barely knew — the quickly growing video gaming circuit — and its allure for young and impressionable teens.

The video gaming world, with graphics so sophisticated they make the settings seem real and lucrative prizes that rival some professional sports, is enticing to children, many of them younger than the ages recommended in game ratings.

The Crisps admit they had no idea how important video games had become to their son and said they would never have bought the console as a Christmas gift if they’d known where it might lead.

“He was the kind of kid that would want to be the best at everything or anything that he did,” said Steve Crisp.

Brandon had put that passion into hockey years earlier but stopped playing at 12, frustrated about getting benched because of his small size.

He found a new niche in the so-called first-person shooter genre of video games, in which the player experiences the game through the eyes of a fighter on a mission. Brandon became obsessed, playing the Xbox video game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on a television in his bedroom every chance he got.

“We’d wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and find him playing games at two or three in the morning,” said his father. “I would go into his room and literally rip the cords out of the wall sometimes just because he just wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t get off.”

Reaching for the top

It was Nick, a friend Brandon met on a school bus in the first week of Grade 9 in 2007, who introduced the teen to playing Call of Duty online, opening up a whole new world.

The friends formed a team, or clan, on Gamebattles.com — one of the fastest-growing online gaming sites — that allowed them to go on video game missions together, work their way up player rankings and win prizes. Owned by Major League Gaming, the site boasts 2.5 million registered users.

Soon, the members of the group were battling insurgents together in a virtual landscape stretching from the Middle East to Russia.

“We all kind of got good,” said Nick, but it was Brandon who proved the natural leader.

As Brandon became more and more immersed in the world, his parents were trying to limit his playing time. They even tried to cancel his online gaming subscription, but Xbox refused because the account was prepaid.

Then, three days before Thanksgiving, his parents discovered Brandon had skipped school to play the game. The Crisps took the Xbox away and hid it in their bedroom.

But Brandon found it, plugged the console back in and started playing again.

“Son, this time, it’s just not coming back,” Steve recalls saying. Brandon reacted by threatening to run away from home.

The two called what they thought was a bluff.

“I said, ‘Brandon, you’re not going to leave over a game. That’s ridiculous’,” said Angelika. Then she advised him to take a warm coat if he was going to leave.

He sped off with his coat and a knapsack on a mountain bicycle he hadn’t ridden in three years. A week later, that bicycle was found abandoned in a ditch by the side of a road in Shanty Bay, a few kilometres from his home.

Hunters found Brandon’s body several weeks later on Nov. 5 in a farmer’s field in the area north of Barrie.

Parents feel like hostages: expert

Brandon Crisp's casket is carried out of St. Mary's Church in Barrie, Ont., on Nov. 14, 2008.
Brandon Crisp’s casket is carried out of St. Mary’s Church in Barrie, Ont., on Nov. 14, 2008.
(Steven D’Souza/CBC)

During the three-week-long search, many comments were made about the type of kid Brandon was, but his friend Nick says it could’ve happened to anyone.

“It wasn’t Brandon’s fault. There’s a lot of people that get sucked into that game,” said Nick. “I could have been in the same situation as Brandon or any of my friends could have.”

Gary Direnfeld, a social worker in Dundas, Ont., known for his advice on the lifestyle television show Newlywed, Nearly Dead?, said his practice has seen a rise in the number of parents seeking help for their children’s gaming addictions.

“The parents are at their wit’s end,” said Direnfeld. “They’re pulling out their hair. They don’t know what to do. They get held hostage by the backlash from their teenager when the teenager says, ‘You can’t do that to me.’ They’re scared.”

While video games aren’t the same as drugs, Direnfeld says they can produce a similar effect: a sense of euphoria and power plus an adrenaline rush that proves addictive.

Peer pressure prevents breaks

Daniel Folmer, 24, of Texas was eight years old when he started playing first-person shooter games and became addicted.

“I felt physically compelled to play,” he said. “And every time I couldn’t play, I was angry; I was upset.”

Folmer remembers how he felt chills each time the game loaded up and revelled in killing hundreds of virtual people with his sniper rifle. He later quit cold turkey and now gives lectures about helping people get over their gaming addictions.

Folmer said the problem with online gaming was not only the violence but the intensity and sense of responsibility players feel to the team members with whom they spend hours on the console.

“If I wasn’t playing enough, my team would get upset,” said Folmer. “Then I would say to my mom, ‘I have to play, I have to play’.”

Peer pressure is built into the games, said family therapist Gary Direnfeld, with friends relying on each other to advance up the rankings ladder.

“Forget getting killed. If I get called to dinner, if I want to go do my homework, I’m letting down my team,” said Direnfeld. “Somebody else may die. And if they die, they’re out of the game.”

Top of the gaming world

Six months before Brandon ran away, he and his friends had signed up the clan for the Gamebattles Call of Duty ladder and were quickly caught up in the competition. But they, too, experienced the frustration when some failed to pull their weight.

Several months later, Brandon split with his friends and began focusing more time on his game.

According to his friends, he had reached the highest level of the so-called prestige mode in Call of Duty.

“That takes a lot of skill and a lot of dedication and hard work,” Folmer said when told of Brandon’s achievement by the Fifth Estate. “And I mean, that’s like … he’s an all-star.”

The Crisps learned after Brandon’s death that the Thanksgiving weekend when he ran away was key to their son finally closing in on the top ranks of his Call of Duty competition ladder. He had skipped school for a match and had others scheduled. Then his parents took away the console, causing him to lose his hard-fought ranking in a hobby he hoped to turn into a profession.

In fact, video gaming, referred to by some as an e-sport, can translate into a profitable career. Major League Gaming, which owns Gamebattles.com, has turned what once was an inside pastime into a televised spectator sport, with tournaments featuring $100,000 prizes and professional teams with their own coaches and sponsors.

The four players with Canada’s top professional video gaming team, Amp Energy Pro Team, consider themselves athletes and are fully dedicated to the career. They won’t disclose their earnings, but some professionals in the field are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Only now do his parents fully comprehend what video games had come to mean to Brandon.

“It would be devastating for someone to be disconnected,” acknowledged his mother, Angelika.

“It’s cult-like, and you can understand why he’d run down for dinner, run back up to his room and get back on the game and play in the middle of the night and be so mad when I’d rip the thing out of the wall unexpectedly when he’s in the middle of a game or a tournament,” said Steve.

No more violent than cartoons: MLG

But Brandon’s father says the gaming industry needs to be subject to more stringent regulations and shouldn’t allow children to compete for money.

“It needs to be way more regulated than it is” said Crisp. “Kids are out there competing for money that are 13, 14, 10. It shouldn’t be allowed.”

Brandon’s game of choice, Call of Duty, is rated M for mature, meaning its suitable for ages 17 and older. In Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it’s illegal to sell M-rated games to those under 17. Saskatchewan and Alberta are in the process of introducing similar regulations.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board, a self-regulated body established by the industry, allots the ratings.

“When the industry itself says that kids under 17 shouldn’t be playing this game, then … a parent can be pretty sure that it’s not appropriate for a 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-year-old kid to be playing,” said David Walsh, a child psychologist who pushed for the ratings system.

Major League Gaming CEO Matthew Bromberg says the average age of Gamebattles players is 18, which means many are younger. “It’s no more violent than a cartoon on Saturday morning,” he says.

“We don’t manufacture the game. We’re not raising the kids. What we’re doing is creating the sport that millions of kids are really interested in.”

Walsh said the gaming industry has sent a “double message” to children by “encouraging young kids to get involved with games that aren’t rated for them.”

Danielle Labossiere-Parr, executive director of the industry group Entertainment Software Association of Canada, points out it is often parents purchasing the games for their children.

She said ratings are clearly stamped on the front of game packages and parents need to educate themselves on their purchases.

“The way that we are conveying the ratings information is effective,” said Labossiere-Parr. But ultimately, you know, we can’t control what goes into every home.”

As for the Crisps, who only now understand a world their son spent most of his time inhabiting, they wish they’d taken control a lot sooner.

“Like other parents, we’ve taken the easy way out too many times, and this is what it results in,” said Steve. “I’m not saying we’re bad parents. I think we do what a lot of other parents do.”

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/03/03/f-video-gaming.html


House of Cards – by Radiohead

March 4, 2009
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Looked at this wonderful video by Radiohead yesterday in class – no cameras or lights were used to capture the footage – they used a new data capture device called LIDAR. We also discussed creative ways of visualizating data and the convergence of science/technology and art – and looked at PROCESSING – a new software program available for free download that enables artists to further visualize their work as well…
– FlashAddict

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http://radiohead.com/deadairspace/

Radiohead just released a new video for its song “House of Cards” from the album “In Rainbows”.

No cameras or lights were used. Instead two technologies were used to capture 3D images: Geometric Informatics and Velodyne LIDAR. Geometric Informatics scanning systems produce structured light to capture 3D images at close proximity, while a Velodyne Lidar system that uses multiple lasers is used to capture large environments such as landscapes. In this video, 64 lasers rotating and shooting in a 360 degree radius 900 times per minute produced all the exterior scenes.

Watch the making-of video to learn about how the video was made and the various technologies that were used to capture and render 3D data.

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HOUS_E OF/CARDS

In Radiohead’s new video for “House of Cards”, no cameras or lights were used. Instead, 3D plotting technologies collected information about the shapes and relative distances of objects. The video was created entirely with visualizations of that data.

Directed by James Frost
From the album IN RAINBOWS

Go to: http://code.google.com/radiohead to find additional pieces of data to create your own visualizations. Upload the results here:
http://www.youtube.com/group/houseofcards

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PROCESSING

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

Processing is free to download and available for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Please help to release the next version!

Processing is an open project initiated by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. It evolved from ideas explored in the Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab. The project is currently improved and maintained by a small team of volunteers.

http://processing.org/

Examples of what Processing can do:

http://www.michael-hansmeyer.com/projects/project4.html

http://www.processing.org/learning/3d/cubicgrid.html


Mad World – which version do you like best?

March 2, 2009
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One of my all-time favorite sons, Mad World, originally by Tears for Fears has been redone countless times and in each new interpretation, artists have brought their own passion and truth to what is in my opinion a very haunting and provocative song. I was amazed to find that the song has been used to the extent that is has been – see below and enjoy!
– FlashAddict

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– fan made Machinima trailer that covers the entire song – was inspired after watching the original trailer above

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All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad World
Mad world
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad World
Mad World
Enlarging your world
Mad World.
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Background

“Mad World” began life as the intended b-side for Tears for Fears’ second single “Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love)”. The band decided, however, that it may be something people would like to hear on the radio and held back its release, instead waiting to issue the song as a single in its own right after re-recording it with Chris Hughes.

That came when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the centre of the city. Not that Bath is very mad – I should have called it “Bourgeois World”!

Roland Orzabal

“Mad World” was the first single off the finished album. The intention was to gain attention from it and we’d hopefully build up a little following. We had no idea that it would become a hit. Nor did the record company.

Curt Smith

Meanings

Lyrically the song is pretty loose. It throws together a lot of different images to paint a picture without saying anything specific about the world.

Roland Orzabal

It’s very much a voyeur’s song. It’s looking out at a mad world from the eyes of a teenager.

Curt Smith

Mad World” is a song by the British band Tears for Fears. Written by Roland Orzabal and sung by bassist Curt Smith, it was the band’s third single release and first chart hit, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1982. Both “Mad World” and its b-side, “Ideas As Opiates”, would turn up on the band’s debut LP The Hurting the following year. The song would eventually become Tears for Fears’ first international success, reaching the Top 40 in several countries between 1982 and 1983.

Two decades later, the song made a popular resurgence when it was covered by composers Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the soundtrack to the movie Donnie Darko. This version reached no.1 in the UK in December 2003.

Michael Andrews and Gary Jules version


“Mad World” would achieve a second round of success beginning almost twenty years later, after it was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the film Donnie Darko (2001). While the Tears for Fears version featured various synthesizers and percussion, the Andrews/Jules version was stripped down. Instead of a full musical backing, it used only a set of piano chords, a cello, and modest use of a vocoder on the chorus. Their version was originally released on CD in 2002 on the film’s soundtrack, but an increasing cult following spawned by the movie’s DVD release finally prompted Jules and Andrews to issue the song as a proper single. The release was a runaway success in late 2003, becoming the Number One single over the Christmas holiday in the UK, a feat Tears for Fears themselves never accomplished. The music video has been very popular on Youtube, garnerning over 11 million views as of 2009.

Popular culture

In late 2006, a condensed version of the Andrews/Jules cover of “Mad World” was featured in the award-winning commercial for the video game Gears of War. The advertisement has been credited with helping propel the song to #1 on the iTunes sales chart. In addition to its usage in numerous advertisements and fan-made YouTube videos, the Andrews/Jules cover has also become a popular choice for background music in television dramas, having appeared in the following series:

  • Cold Case
  • CSI
  • Emmerdale
  • ER
  • Jericho
  • Judging Amy
  • Las Vegas
  • Line of Fire
  • Medical Investigation
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Silent Witness
  • Smallville
  • Station X
  • Tatort
  • The Cleaner
  • The L Word
  • Third Watch
  • Without a Trace

In 2006, the song appeared on Broadway as the closing number in Butley starring Nathan Lane.

Other versions

In addition to the Andrews/Jules version, “Mad World” has been recorded over the years by the following artists:

  • French artist Nicola Sirkis, frontman of the new wave band Indochine, on his solo album Dans La Lune… (1992).
  • American industrial rock band Kill Switch…Klick, on the Cleopatra Records compilation New Wave Goes To Hell (1998).
  • American alternative rock band Finch, on their EP Rolling Stone Acoustic Session (2002).
  • British singer-songwriter Alex Parks, on her debut album, Introduction (2003).
  • American industrial act Brainclaw, downloadable on their website (2004).
  • American metalcore band Evergreen Terrace, on their album Writer’s Block (2004).
  • German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen, on their live DVD Rock am Ring 2004 (2004).
  • Australian art rock band The Red Paintings, on their EP Walls (2005). This cover features an acoustic cello and guitar arrangement. While they modified the lyrics from the original version, in live performances they are known to enunciate words in different fashion giving it an altogether unique sound.
  • German DJ Jan Wayne, on his single Mad World (2005).
  • American singer-songwriter Sara Hickman, on her double album Motherlode (2006).
  • Canadian rock bassist Ken Tizzard, on his album Quiet Storey House… An Introduction (2006).
  • German a cappella group Wise Guys, on their album Radio (2006).
  • American dark cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, on their live DVD Live at the Roundhouse (2007). The performance features Trash McSweeney of Australian art rock band The Red Paintings.
  • Canadian folk-singer Tara MacLean, on her EP Signs of Life (2007).
  • German vocal band Gregorian, on their album Masters of Chant Chapter VI (2007).
  • Vietnamese-Canadian singer Kristine Sa recorded a cover of the song.
  • Israeli actress and model Melanie Peres recorded a cover of the song, as the theme song of Reshef Levy‘s film, “Lost Islands“.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_world