The Neighbors’ Window

The Neighbors’ Window reminds folks who live in big cities and have a clear view of other peoples’ apartments of the importance of equipping your apartment windows with drapes. Not to mention, a reminder of how much is going on in the lives of others that you might not know about when you’re forming opinions on the comings and goings of strangers you only see from a certain vantage point. Oddly comforting, weirdly.

Is it just part of the price of living in a big city that you’re part of the show?1 Was the whole concept of ‘plate glass windows’ in residential premises just a really bad idea from the start, or was the real problem the moment when using drapes went out of fashion?

[Via kottke.org, via Storythings #7 ]


  1. Answer, courtesy of the increasing proportion of the human race who live that way: ‘From the very start we decided it was a price worth paying.’ I understand that argument, but I’m still not buying it. 

Purple Perfection

Why oh why were we denied the opportunity to witness a Prince guitar MasterClass?

[…]

I think the saddest thing about Prince’s death is that we never got to see the MasterClass he was supposed to teach. Looking at the leaked script for the YouTube commercial, we can only imagine what might have been. I don’t think it’s been widely shared, but I have a copy kicking around that I can transcribe.

Int. Paisley Park, PRINCE’s guitaratorium

PRINCE:
This guitar has a thousand strings.

Close-up on neck of guitar. It looks like there are no more than four hundred strings.

PRINCE: (v/o, softly)
Six hundred of them are only visible in the purple spectrum.

[…]

I mean, I’m fully aware that We Are Not Worthy, but still…

[Insert obligatory link to footage of Prince’s 2004 performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute to George Harrison, complete with his guitar ascending to the heavens.]

[Via MeFi user carrienation‘s comment on a post about Prince’s Super Bowl half-time show at MetaFilter]

Hermits

So, it turns out that hermit crabs might have been responsible for the disappearance of Amelia Earhart:

Nikumaroro is home to a colony of coconut hermit crabs: the world’s largest land crab, so called because of its ability to crack open a coconut, manoeuvring a claw into one of the nut’s three eyeholes and prying it open. The oldest live to more than a hundred, and grow to be wider than three feet across: too large to fit in a bathtub, exactly the right size for a nightmare. In 2007, researchers decided to test the Earhart theory. The carcass of a small pig was offered to the crabs on the island, to see what they might have done to Earhart’s dead or dying body. Following their remarkable sense of smell, they found the pig and tore it apart, making off with its bones to their burrows under the roots of the trees. Their strength is monumental: their claw grip can produce up to 3300 newtons of force (the bite force of a tiger is 1500 newtons). Darwin called them ‘monstrous’: he meant it as a compliment.

I’m not sure that Amelia Earhart would have had kind thoughts about hermit crabs, but then hopefully she was past caring about such things when the moment came. From most angles they’re simply amazing, and surprisingly sociable creatures. A housing chain consisting of hermit crabs, each of them looking to move up the housing ladder as a vacancy arises, is quite a sight to see.

Inclusive Components

If my job involved web development, I’d be inclined to get hold of a copy of Heydon Pickering’s Inclusive Components: The Book.

Taking the entry on A Content Slider, we start with this…

Carousels (or ‘content sliders’) are like men. They are not literally all bad — some are even helpful and considerate. But I don’t trust anyone unwilling to acknowledge a glaring pattern of awfulness. Also like men, I appreciate that many of you would rather just avoid dealing with carousels, but often don’t have the choice. Hence this article.

Carousels don’t have to be bad, but we have a culture of making them bad. […]

… followed by a reasoned explanation of how to do this stuff better for everyone, including plenty of snippets of CSS illustrating step-by-step how it all works. From my point of view as an interested amateur, it look to be good work, communicated very effectively.

[Via Pinboard: philgyford]

Forking good

In the end, The Good Place ended on a very satisfying final note. (Lovely moment towards the end when now-human Michael ended up getting guitar lessons from his real-life wife Mary Steenburgen. Even better moment when wannabe architect Tahani Al-Jamil earned praise for her construction skills from Nick Offerman.)

They stuck the landing. Applause (between the tears as we said goodbye to everyone one last time) is due to all involved.

Wow!

I realise that it’s hardly news that the iPhone turned out to be a once-in-a-generation/once-in-a-lifetime hit for Apple, but Jason Snell’s chart of a decade of Apple growth really drives home the point.

That last chart, in the context of all the ones leading up to it. “Wow!” really is the word.

[Via MacSparky]

Not at all worrying

Jason Kottke saw a school of juvenile striped eel catfish (Plotosus Lineatus) and thought it evoked a creature from a Miyazaki film:

It was only on following the link to the source that I found that those creatures, for all that they’re enchanting to watch, are also venomous. Makes me think that they’d be a better fit for the Alien franchise, really.1

[Via Kottke.org]


  1. But then again, thinking back to some of the boathouse customers in Spirited Away, maybe Miyazaki really does work. Some of those folks required careful handling by the staff, and I can easily imagine Yubaba telling Chihiro and her colleagues something to the effect of “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do!)” 

Bra Theory

Logically, there was no good reason why yet another branch of human endeavour shouldn’t fall to the energy of an entrepreneur prepared to apply modern technology and a Can-Do attitude to the problem. That was the theory, anyway:

While tailors have figured out a formula for men’s suits, bra tailoring is a younger technology with a smaller market and far fewer competitors. It used to be the case that tailors would hone their craft, keep their tailoring knowledge as a trade secret, and pass on their knowledge of pattern-making to apprentices.

But bras, coming after the Industrial Revolution, had no such history of custom tailoring. Pattern-makers were accustomed to working with industry fit models, altering their patterns as necessary, and grading their patterns using rules. They were not accustomed to making a precise pattern based on measurements on the body.

I was brash, and thought that with the right team, we could accelerate centuries of learning into six months and a trade secret. We hired professionals to make precise patterns for 20 beta users. Our theory was that this data would enable us to crack the code.

[Narrator: They didn’t crack the code.]

[Via @pinboard]