Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, December 30, 2010





By Alvi Ahmed

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul”

They say music expresses feelings that cannot be put into words and yes, even writers sometimes need other things rather than mere words to explain the depth of their work. So we have decided to assign songs to the articles that are printed here, to further accentuate your experience. Some songs have lyrical connections to the articles; others have the tune, the melody and basically the overall sound of the article. The Chinese had specific songs selected for specific type of food, and they would eat and listen to the songs at the same time. That helped them unleash their senses and gave them an experience rather than a meal. We recommend you to do the same, listen to the songs while reading the articles.

And I Hear Rumours About Angels
Soundtrack- Blind in Darkness by The Dairy of Dreams.
The cover article sets the tone for the rest of the issue. The song goes perfectly with the article and you will also find that the lyrics hold a weird connection with the story.

A Change
Soundtrack- Collide by Skillet
Here we find a scientist almost transforming herself and making an example out of herself to bring about a change. A change which she believes will save humanity and may even be the solution to the problem of war. This song set the mood for this article and speaks about taking chances against faith and fear.

There and Back Again
Soundtrack- Testify by Rage Against The Machine
From change we head on to anger. The man in this article is oppressed, threatened just because he wanted to speak what he felt was right. But that was not accepted by the higher power. Testify is a similar song where Rage Against The Machine talk about being oppressed and manipulated by the corrupt “rulers” of today. The song is filled with anger and is sure to get your adrenaline pumping .

Fraternal Twins
Soundtrack - So Cold by Breaking Benjamin
The motive is to move to a different home for mankind. Earth is no longer the essential place to live in anymore. In the song we see a person witnessing an end to the world scenario. Similarly the article talks about the end for Mother Earth and our need to find ourselves a new home.

Soundtrack - Stairway to heaven by Led Zeppelin.
Arguably the greatest rock song ever written, this rock classic is the song chosen to highlight the article. The article talks about a man left behind who can only find comfort in his prayers. The song is perfectly suited because it radiates hope, which is the only thing the man has at the moment.

Soundtrack - The Uprising by The Muse.
The article blames the human kind for the destruction that has befallen mother earth. It states that we have ignored the warnings and now we shall die with our planet no matter what anyone says. The Uprising also has a similar outline. It tells us to stand up for ourselves, to not fear death and also come under a unified control.

A Whiff of Grapeshot
Soundtrack- High Hopes by Pink Floyd.
One of the best tracks ever written “High Hopes” is the song that talks about growing up. It also portrays the beauty of the past as opposed to the now, which has great similarities to the article.

Anime Review

By Le Chupacabra

(Begin in deep voice) Space - the final frontier...(and falter)

...Would be a lot more impressive if the Earth weren't still in clear view. It's only 2075 after all and while jaunts to the lovely moon and myriad space stations are commonplace, there's still much left to see.

Impressionable and spunky Ai Tanabe joins a crew of debris collectors expecting danger, romance and adventure. Her ambitions are brought down to Earth (pardon me) as she realises that her team aren't so much astronauts as they are garbagemen in space. But who says garbagemen (and women) can't dream beyond the stars shining ever so bright?

Garbagemen in space? Oh dear, I've got my work cut out for me since this isn't exactly the sexiest concept to work with. Clearing the filth of the ages left behind by NASA, failed Russian missions and pretty much the rest of the world hardly sounds glamorous, even if the aforementioned detritus is floating gracefully in space.

Even Africa have ventured into the great beyond. These are mad times.

Kainotophobes should find solace in the fact that despite reaching out towards the heavens, some things never change and this motley crew's profession is one of them. It's not difficult to envision that this anime has an environmental slant - well, it does. And it doesn't. I'm writing this on a black screen with green text which is a fairly energy efficient way to work. Am I being a green freak?

Hell, no. Stop being paranoid.

The beautiful, nacreous soul of this gorgeous anime lies in the human drama: anything else that can be skewed as a facet or undertone or aspect just emerges through sheer bardic mastery. The characters have no pressing need to turn to the screen ever so often to proclaim their dreams - regardless of how insignificant or impossible they are. We're humans, so we understand this urge and we can see it in their actions, their behaviour, their interactions.

And lo, what nonpareil interactions! The subtlety of each gesture that escapes them, each syllable that is uttered in frustration and each gaze of longing - there's a quiet energy to the proceedings that is something we associate with some of the finest in theatre or television. With real, warm flesh-and-blood humans. The only thing that is lost with hand-drawn characters is that you have to stop and admire the fact that they're hand-drawn. I can live with that.

It's not only Ai, Hachimaki, Fee, Hakim, Claire and Nono (among so many others) who capture our hearts - we can utterly believe in the world they live in. 2075 has never felt closer with accurately portrayed science and technical concepts that aren't just believable - they're quite true. Meticulously researched and cleverly avoiding verbose technobabble, Planetes doesn't try to undermine the more exacting members of its audience whilst engaging those just sitting in for the show.

Need I mention the exquisite artwork or perfectly pitched side stories? Or maybe I should wax lyrical about the lovely music? I don't need to.

The second you start watching this show, your heart belongs to Planetes. And Planetes' heart belongs to you. The feeling is truly mutual.


By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz


Concept cars have always been cool. Cool to look at, to read about, and to drool over. Unfortunately, they never get made. In our ever expanding imaginations, though, they zoom around futuristic city-scapes inhabited by future versions of ourselves. So how do today's designers interpret the future? Read on.

Scarab E concept- Designed by Goran Marinkovic, the Scarab E looks like a scarab beetle, thus the name. The theme works well, as the car is supposed to be built keeping in mind future hazards such as shortage of fossil fuels, possible increase in global temperatures, radiation, etc, and as everyone interested in beetles (!) knows, the scarab is notorious for surviving in harsh desert conditions for years on end. Using lightweight materials like magnesium and aluminium for body construction is vital, to keep weight down, increase performance and fuel efficiency. The Scarab E is going to be powered by solar panels on the roof in the daytime, as well as electro-generators at each corner for providing most of the power at other times.

Peugeot Q- Another “letter” concept, this time designed by Argentine Juan Trillo, this concept is set to solve the massive congestion problems of the future. A three wheeler city car powered by electricity, the key point of the Q's design is enhancing manoeuvrability. It has a free spherical rear wheel which can rotate 360 degrees, allowing the Q to literally switch ends within seconds. Weight saving techniques and excellent weight distribution to give top notch levels of efficiency is also employed. One major issue that prevents this from being production viable (all the other factors can be covered by today's tech) now is the safety factor. Even Peugeot's own designers have said that this is likely to be a highly unsafe design as far as collisions are concerned. So until better safety equipment is devised, it is safe to say (excuse the pun) this design will be tucked away in a top shelf somewhere.

Lexus Nuaero- Cleverly called Nuaero, this Batmobile-esque concept is supposed to usher in a new age of aerodynamics. Designed in house by Jon Radbrink, it's a radical departure from the usual sensible design themes of today's Lexus. For one, it doesn't have what anyone would call a “front end”. Google Image it and you'll understand what I mean. Looking as mean in flat black paint as a gaping hell spawn, it's supposed to be what the futuristic executive sedan looks like. We wear cool suits, we wear shiny shoes, and we're the Lexus Nuero boys…Yeah, no. I'd buy this only to scare the neighbours into submission. Or if I ever need a raise…”Give me raise or I'll Nuaero your guts!!!!!” Now that we've established it looks mean, does it sound mean as well? Nope. The only sound you'll get out of this is the quiet hum of electric motors as they propel you forward. The biggest surprise though, is that the 14.5 feet long super-limo weighs as little as the tiny Smart ForTwo, due to clever body shaping that shaves off everything that isn't absolutely necessary. No chance of this seeing the light of day anytime soon.

Yamaha Wheel Rider- From two wheelers to keyboards, guitars/drums to designing some of the most revered Japanese car engines of all time, Yamaha does it all. Add single wheel transport to the list. Designer Yujii Fujiimura gives one of the countless solutions to urban transport in the future: a single rotating wheel, with the driver enclosed inside, able to rotate on the spot and lean into corners. Unlike the other concepts in this list, the Wheel Rider is not very green. It isn't powered by electricity, this much was confirmed by Yamaha high-ups, but they also declined to give any details about what will actually provide propulsion. Which is management speak for “it will never get built so we're not going to bother with useless detailed descriptions”. Looks-wise, it's like a giant rotating hairdryer. Sure to be a hit with the ladies then. As for the guys, they'd be better off riding futuristic choppers rather than this; shows off the greased up hair and aviator shades much better than the Wheel Rider.


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