December 17th, 2014
(Sorry, I can't remember who pointed me towards this a few days ago.)
December 14th, 2014
This Useless toilet paper machine is, there's no denying it, pretty useless. And very funny.
December 14th, 2014
As an unfortunate sequel to yesterday's post about measuring one's heartbeat while proposing, today brings this story from Holland:
A Dutchman's attempt at a romantic wedding proposal was simply smashing.
The unidentified lover in the central town of Ijsselstein rented a crane, planning to descend in front of his girlfriend's bedroom window first thing Saturday morning, play her a song and then pop the question. […]
I'd imagine the poor guy's heart rate went higher and stayed that way for longer compared to the guy from yesterday's post.
[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]
December 13th, 2014
Reddit user sesipikai recorded his heartbeat whilst proposing marriage:
(This is just an excerpt: click on the image above to go and see the whole thing.)
The associated Reddit comment thread can be found here.
[Via Flowing Data]
December 10th, 2014
As a rule I'm not a fan of film sequels appearing decades after the previous instalment, even when helmed by the same director as the originals. A flashy trailer can be deeply misleading. Bringing in a new lead actor in to play the hero can work, but it's a crapshoot. There are lots of reasons to be sceptical of George Miller's forthcoming addition to the Mad Max series.
But then there's this:
If the finished product is even 30% as much fun as that trailer makes it look then we're in for a treat.
December 7th, 2014
Blackout City by Nicholas Buer:
In a metropolis like London light pollution makes the night sky invisible. Only a few of the brightest stars and asterisms force their celestial light through the man made glow of the city. The night sky, one of the most beautiful of natural wonders is extinguished from view. Blackout City is an experimental timelapse film that makes the invisible, visible. It attempts to show what the night sky would look like If there were ever to be a total blackout in the South East of England on a clear, moonless, summer's night.
December 4th, 2014
John Herrmann's piece on how Amazon are gradually moving into making more and more – very carefully selected – categories of stuff is really good. But also deeply scary if you're a rival retailer with profit margins being bolstered by your sales of some of your less glamorous product lines:
Taken together, these products adhere to no particular aesthetic or theme – a house filled only with Amazon-brand products would look and feel like prefab model home. Again, since this is Amazon, the explanation is probably data. Not data about what people want, exactly, but data that suits Amazon's goals: these must be relatively popular and relatively expensive product categories where brand loyalty isn't too strong, and where Amazon can find cheap manufacturing partners. It's a logistics partner looking at its suppliers and saying, dozens of times, "how hard could that be?"
December 4th, 2014
Tony Zhou's latest instalment of Every Frame A Painting is Jackie Chan – How to Do Action Comedy, featuring a positively awe-inspiring collection of action sequences. The best of them are lit and shot so that you can clearly follow what's happening every step of the way and feel every blow. Which shouldn't be remarkable attributes of a fight scene, but apparently are these days.
It's unfair to highlight a favourite bit, but I must say I was very taken with a brief scene from a film I'm unfamiliar with called Miracles – Mr. Canton and Lady Rose featuring a spiral staircase. Also, the various sequences from the Police Story films. And … oh, just go and watch it.
November 30th, 2014
Wanderers, or, Life in the Solar System. Someday.
November 30th, 2014
Neil Gaiman Reads "Bad Neil Gaiman" Stories. Be sure to stick around for the last story (which Gaiman declares to be his favourite.)
[Via The Millions]
November 29th, 2014
Kieran Healy is proud to bring the world Air Gini:
I found myself wondering what a plane with seating laid out on the basis of the U.S. income distribution would look like. So, following Beth's lead, I decided to get into the aviation business and launch Air Gini, America's most American airline.
I appreciate that this isn't the point of Healy's thought experiment, but I can't help but imagine that those eight passengers he's allocated seats in First Class wouldn't dream of setting foot on a regular commercial flight when they could fly in their own private jet.
November 26th, 2014
In other words: inside the lives and minds of real-time translators…
Looking down over the delegates at the IMO, I was reminded of the view from a captain's bridge, or the gallery of a television studio. I had a feeling of control, a perverse reaction given that control is one thing interpreters lack. The words they utter and the speed at which they talk are determined by others. And even though [on-duty translators] Pinkney and Soliño had copies of some of the speeches that had been prepared for that morning, they had to be alive to humorous asides. Puns, sarcasm, irony and culture-specific jokes are an interpreter's nightmare. As one interpreter has noted in an academic article, "Puns based on a single word with multiple meanings in the source language should generally not be attempted by interpreters, as the result will probably not be funny." Quite.
Go for the amusing anecdotes about mistranslations, stay for a fascinating look at how the hell the human brain copes with listening to one language and speaking another in real time.
November 26th, 2014
Paul Ford's One Day, I Will Die on Mars:
I am living a nightmare before lunchtime. First, the sofa delivery people gave me a window of 7 AM to 7 PM, so I'm a prisoner in my own apartment. Second, worse, I am out of cat food, and in consequence my beloved companion Squee has, under the duress of feline starvation, started a brutal ankle-biting campaign. I do not blame him. For Squee, bless his tortoiseshell heart, is a Cat Most Special with Issues of Digestion, and, to maintain his sleek coat and sterling disposition, must only ever eat cat food of great expense, and I am out of it. Simple, you say! Just buy some food! But I cannot leave this abode for fear of missing the sofa. Also: The very smallest bag of said food is a full eighteen ounces too heavy for micro-delivery, which means hand-delivery on a major surge day. And so I have to spend All The Money to get cat food hand-Ubered or risk not obtaining my sofa. My ankles are suffering, friends. I look forward to the healing balm of your supportive replies.
I am Uber. I searched along the many predefined vertices within my system and I found the exact cat food at many warehouses within the New York City area. I knew my node of destination and many potential nodes of departure; I needed now to find an optimal revenue path. […]
November 25th, 2014
Just having seen The Drop, three thoughts spring to mind:
- James Gandolfini was taken from us far too soon. Any chance of a posthumous Best Supporting Actor nomination?
- Tom Hardy has come a long way since he played Praetor Shinzon.
- This isn't a film with a twist ending, but I do urge you not to read any reviews beforehand because you will get more out of the film if you go in a state of blissful ignorance.
November 22nd, 2014
Evolution Meets Photoshop:
Seoul-based artist Sarah DeRemer has utilised her Photoshop skills to create some bizarre new species of animals, some of which are undeniably cute, others are absolutely terrifying.
The Sleepy Pirdy is outrageously cute. The Tapir Shark looks like something invented by Douglas Adams. I hope never to meet a Rankey in the flesh.
November 16th, 2014
Why Audio Never Goes Viral:
With a community of creators uncomfortable with the value of virality, an audience content to watch grainy dashcam videos, and platforms that discourage sharing, is a hit-machine for audio possible? And is it something anyone even wants?
A decent overview of why not all content is suited to going viral.
If 'going viral' requires content to be in brief chunks that can be digested by the listener with minimal context I'm not sure that I want the audio content I listen to to make the effort. Plenty of the best audio content thrives on length and context, so why try to make it fit a template that won't work to the medium's strengths?
November 14th, 2014
I defy you to read Twinsters without getting at least slightly misty-eyed.
Pretty much the definition of a feel-good story -just as long as it doesn't take an Orphan Black twist somewhere down the line.
(Also, that's a very neat interface they've got there for highlighting which person is 'talking' as you scroll down through the story.)