November 26th, 2015
Mallory Ortberg reveals the fate of David Beckham, Sexiest Man Alive.
Hugh. George. Matthew. Johnny. Ryan. Bradley. Channing. Pierce. Ben. Brad. He kept these names always at the forefront of his mind, naming each one at the pace of his breath and his feet. For as long as he could remember, he had been running.
We Are Not Worthy.
[Also features a glorious sideswipe at Tom Hiddleston.]
November 14th, 2015
Google's Project Soli aim to have us all twiddling invisible knobs and pressing invisible buttons to control devices.
Project Soli is developing a new interaction sensor using radar technology. The sensor can track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy. It fits onto a chip, can be produced at scale and built into small devices and everyday objects.
It looks like a neat bit of technology, but is it really much of an improvement on what you can do now with a touchscreen and a decently designed user interface?
[Via Future Drama]
November 3rd, 2015
ITUNES TERMS AND CONDITIONS: The Graphic Novel is a neat implementation of a very silly idea.
I particularly like this Hellboy take on Steve Jobs (though I do find myself wondering how useful that Right Hand of Doom would be with an iPhone's touchscreen):
November 1st, 2015
First we had travel agents fretting about the Danish birth rate, now it appears that Mentos are worried that Singaporeans aren't doing their duty when National Day comes round.
[Via Crooked Timber]
October 28th, 2015
I can't quite make up my mind whether Ulo is a good idea or not.
Ulo is a cute surveillance camera, a pet owl interacting with you through eye expressions.
Cute, for sure. I just worry that the more we let designers encourage us to interact in a playful way with our technology, the more stressful it'll get as we frantically try to remember whether the fake owl in the corner winking at us is telling us that the WiFi is down or warning us that a mad axeman is walking up to our front door.
One more thing: the Kickstarter page notes that because Ulu can be operated via a web page it's compatible with various operating systems, including Linux. I really hope that if they make their Kickstarter goal and go into production the makers offer a special edition of Ulo as Tux.
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October 28th, 2015
Max Gladstone cautions us against falling for the Great Sophont Theory of History:
TO: EDITORIAL BOARD OF TRADE ROUTES, THE JOURNAL OF GALACTIC AFFAIRS
N109xxq83992.33.1.apple / Corewards 993 / Coruscant
FROM: Doctor Flox Beelthrak, Education Department, Corellia University
Djane Lel, Secretary of Historiography, Coruscant Teacher’s College
DEAR SOPHONTS –
Your Harvest issue's cover feature ("Heroes of the Galactic Revolution: A Twenty-Year Retrospective"), however well-intentioned in its commemoration of the anniversary of our galaxy's liberation from the Palpatine Regime, indulged in and perpetuated many damaging and historically inaccurate popular fantasies.
However widespread the folk narrative of the Skywalker and Solo families has become in the decades since liberation, we expect more from a journal of your self-professed dedication to intellectual rigor.
The Great Sophont Theory of History has been deservedly discredited for decades; our galaxy's very size – millions of sentient species spread across billions of worlds – should be enough to discredit any notion its history might be shaped by the decisions of a few individuals. What steersman could seize the wheel of such a vessel? […]
[Via Making Light]
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October 24th, 2015
Listening to a music-only version of the trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens makes it at least 45.43% more impressive.
[Via fearfulsymmetry, posting at MetaFilter]
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October 17th, 2015
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October 17th, 2015
How To Get Away With (The Perfect) Murder tells a fascinating story, one that we're probably never going to get to the bottom of:
The driver was a British engineer born in Iraq who worked on satellite systems in Surrey, and maybe that's why he was dead and all the others were, too. On a Wednesday afternoon in September 2012, Saad al-Hilli drove his maroon BMW from a campground on the shore of Lake Annecy, in the French Alps, and into a tiny community called Chevaline, at the far edge of which the pavement slips into the trees. The path rising out of Chevaline is steep and pocked and hyphenated by tight bridges crossing a noisy froth of water. For three kilometers, there is nowhere to turn around and nowhere to go but up, and then there is nowhere to go at all. The public road ends at a small parking area, where Saad nosed his BMW to the tree line.
September 5 was a spectacular day, sunlight drizzling through foliage that twitched with the breeze. Saad, who was 50, stood with his elder daughter, 7-year-old Zainab, maybe talking to a local cyclist who'd pedaled up the mountain or maybe just absorbed in the scenery. It is impossible to say for sure.
Almost certainly, though, he didn't see the shooter in the trees before he heard the ?rst shots. […]
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