Listen to Wikipedia

April 26th, 2015

Listen to Wikipedia is oddly soothing.

[Via Memex 1.1]

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Un-Useless

April 24th, 2015

How the selfie stick was invented twice:

The selfie stick was invented twice, two decades apart, by men on opposite sides of the world – and both times it was the result of problems experienced on a European holiday. […]

[Via notes.husk.org]

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Maximally not-sexy

April 20th, 2015

Somehow a panel discussion at Eastercon 2015 about sexy vampires prompted Charlie Stross to share this delightful bit of natural history with his fellow panel members and their audience:

[…] if you want maximally not-sexy, it's hard to top Placobdelloides jaegerskioeldi, the Hippo Arse Leech.

The Hippo Arse Leech is a leech; it sucks blood. Like most leeches, its mouth parts aren't really up to drilling through the armour-tough skin of a hippopotamus, so it seeks out an exposed surface with a much more porous barrier separating it from the juicy red stuff: the lining of the hippo rectum. When arse leeches find somewhere to feed, in due course happy fun times ensue—for hermaphrodite values of happy fun times that involve traumatic insemination. Once pregnant, the leeches allow themselves to be expelled by the hippo (it's noteworthy that hippopotami spin their tails when they defecate, to sling the crap as far away as possible—possibly because the leeches itch—we're into self-propelled-hemorrhoids-with-teeth territory here), whereupon in the due fullness of time they find another hippo, force their way through it's arse crack, and find somewhere to chow down. Oh, did I mention that this delightful critter nurtures its young? Yep, the mother feeds her brood until they're mature enough to find a hippo of their own. (Guess what she feeds them with.)

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The view was worth the trip

April 19th, 2015

APOD: 2015 April 13 – Milky Way over Erupting Volcano.

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When The Dj Drops Your Jam…

April 19th, 2015

When The Dj Drops Your Jam…

[Via Stellar Interesting's faves]

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Perfect

April 17th, 2015

Matthew Mcconaughey's reaction to Star Wars teaser #2:

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Tempescope

April 17th, 2015

Want!

The tempescope is an ambient physical display that visualizes various weather conditions like rain, clouds, and lightning. By receiving weather forecasts from the internet, it can reproduce tomorrow's sky in your living room.

[Via Interconnected]

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Fault creep is not without its benefits

April 15th, 2015

The Town That Creep Built:

The signs that something's not right aren't immediately obvious, but, once you see them, they're hard to tune out.

Curbs at nearly the exact same spot on opposite sides of the street are popped out of alignment. Houses too young to show this level of wear stand oddly warped, torqued out of synch with their own foundations, their once strong frames off-kilter. The double yellow lines guiding traffic down a busy street suddenly bulge northward – as if the printing crew came to work drunk that day – before snapping back to their proper place a few feet later.

This is Hollister, California, a town being broken in two slowly, relentlessly, and in real time by an effect known as "fault creep." A surreal tide of deformation has appeared throughout the city. […]

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Mic drop…

April 15th, 2015

Ben Hammersley:

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Everything you need to know about strategy speak in one handy table

April 12th, 2015

Wardley's Scale of Corporate Desperation:

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Task Continuity

April 10th, 2015

At the Mozilla blog there's a fascinating post about research Gemma Petrie & Bill Selman did into how real users handle Task Continuity, i.e. the mechanics of dealing with stuff they want to read online now as opposed to stuff they want to get back to later:

Based on our research, we developed a general model of what the task continuity process looks like for our participants. Task continuity is a behavior cycle with three distinct stages: Discover, Hold/Push, and Recover.

The Discover stage of the task continuity cycle includes tasks or content in an evaluative state. At this stage, the user decides whether or not to (actively or passively) do something with the content.

The Hold/Push stage of the cycle describes the task continuity-enabling action taken by the user. In this stage, users may:

  • Passively hold tasks/content (e.g. By leaving a tab open)
  • Actively hold tasks/content (e.g. By emailing it to themselves)
  • Push tasks/content to others by sharing it (e.g. Posting it on Facebook)

[…]

In the Recover stage of the task continuity cycle, the user is reminded of the task/content (e.g. By seeing an open tab) or recalls the task/content (e.g. Through contextual cues). Relying on memory was one of the most common recovery methods we observed. In order to fully recover the task/content, the user may need to perform additional actions like following a link or reconstructing an activity path.

It seems that emailing yourself a link to look at later is still a thing, which I find both amazing and a bit depressing. Also, there's a distinct lack of mentions of just bookmarking the content in the web browser you're using to read the content in the first place, which rather suggests that browser makers have been wasting their time with that whole bookmarking feature they've all been using for the last couple of decades.

For what it's worth, my usual approach to seeing stuff in my web browser that I'll want to come back to depends upon whether I want it as reference material or just don't have time to look at it right now: material I know I'll definitely want to refer to, especially if I'm likely to want to look at it more than once1 goes to Evernote, where I can tag it and set a reminder alarm if need be. Content that I'll want to look at later (possibly with a view to filing it in Evernote if it's worth keeping) gets bookmarked in Pinboard. Text-heavy content that I know I'll want to read but that is lengthy enough to require a significant chunk of my time is likely to be consigned to Instapaper. Whichever way it goes, one click and I'm ready to move on to the next browser tab.2

Interestingly (Well, I find it interesting!)) the only real exception to that general approach comes when I see a YouTube or Vimeo video I want to come back to: if I'm already on the YouTube or Vimeo site I'll generally use those sites' Watch Later features to tag that content, so that next time I'm in the mood to kill some time watching a bunch of videos it'll be to hand.3

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

  1. e.g. a snippet of Applescript, or a web page showing the opening hours of a local supermarket over a bank holiday weekend
  2. Mac OS X and iOS try hard to encourage users to use Safari's reading list feature to grab content to review later, but that's no good to me if I might want to look at the items when I'm using a non-Apple device, i.e. if I'm browsing from work during my lunch break using Firefox on a Windows PC.
  3. I still tend to do my video-watching in batches rather than visiting YouTube/Vimeo multiple times during a browsing session. The good old days of reading the internet in batches via a metered dial-up connection scarred me for life shaped my browsing habits in ways I still can't shake.

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Everyone's Upstairs Neighbours

April 8th, 2015

Everyone's Upstairs Neighbours:

[Via MetaFilter]

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Dancing Droplets

April 7th, 2015

Stanford researchers solve the mystery of the dancing droplets:

[Via The Kid Should See This]

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Playing 'Wolf Hall'

April 5th, 2015

How to Play 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel, taken from Mantel's notes for stage adaptations of her work:

Cardinal Archbishop Thomas Wolsey

You are, arguably, Europe's greatest statesman and greatest fraud. You are also a kind man, tolerant and patient in an age when these qualities are not necessarily thought virtues.

You are not quite the enormous scarlet cardinal of the (posthumous) portrait. You are more splendid than stout, a man of iron constitution who has survived the "sweating sickness" six times. You are a cultured Renaissance prince, as grand and worldly as any Italian cardinal. Renowned for the speed at which you travel, you are capable of an unbroken twelve-hour stint at your desk, "all which season my lord never rose once to piss, nor yet to eat any meat, but continually wrote his letters with his own hands…" Your household observes you with awe, as does the known world. You hope you might be Pope one day, but think it would be more convenient if you could bring the papacy to Whitehall; you wouldn't want to give up your palaces or your place next to your own monarch, and anyway you could probably run Christendom in your spare time. […]

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Shadowless

April 5th, 2015

Casting no shadow:

Ingenious London architects have designed a new skyscraper for a site in Greenwich that doesn't cast a single shadow.

But this isn't witchcraft, just really damn clever design. To minimise the effect of the vertical build on nearby communities, the appropriately dubbed 'No Shadow' buildings are designed so that when one building creates shade, the other acts as a gigantic mirror, reflecting the light downwards into its shadow

[Via @cityofsound]

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Windscreenwiperman

April 4th, 2015

Windscreenwiperman is a thoughtful piece of work on a tricky subject:

A man makes friends with a young teenage boy online. This film explores the stigma around online friendships, and our global addiction to social media. Directed by Sam Baron. Written by Sam Baron & Raphael von Blumenthal. Produced by Mark Hopkins, Aidan Grounds & Emily Precious. Starring Raphael von Blumenthal, Joe Hurst & Rebecca Herod.

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Beautiful Maps

April 4th, 2015

Beautiful Maps presents exactly what the name suggests. Well worth a look.

Beautiful Maps tumblr

[Via swissmiss]

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Ask Cortana…

April 4th, 2015

Heh…

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RomancR

April 2nd, 2015

RomancR promises to disrupt your bedroom:

RomancR, which we plan to launch later this year, will bring the power and efficiency of markets to our romantic lives. You will leave your pitiful dating life where it belongs in the dustbin of history! Go beyond antiquated non-market systems for finding lovers. Why should we rely on people's fickle sense of taste and attractiveness, their complicated ideas of interpersonal compatibility, or their sense of altruism, when we can rely on the power of prices? With RomancR, we won't have to!

[Via Crooked Timber]

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gail period com

April 1st, 2015

Where you end up if you mistype 'gmail' as 'gail' and your browser autocompletes your entry:

Hello and welcome to the gail.com FAQ.

Q: Why isn't there any content here?
A: All personal web content is hidden on back pages to conserve bandwidth.

Q: Interested in selling gail.com?
A: Sorry, no.

Q: How did you manage to get gail.com?
A: My husband registered it as a birthday gift back in 1996.

Q: How many times a day is this page visited?
A: In 2014 this page received 1,829,385 hits, which is an average of 5,012 per day. Eighty-five percent of those hits were from unique IP addresses. Occasionally, we get Redditted and get several tens of thousands of visitors over a day or so.

Q: I think you're infringing on my trademark…
A: You can't have an exclusive trademark on a common word or name. My husband and I successfully defended ourselves against an attempted domain coup d'état in 2006; see WIPO Case D2006–0655 for more information.

Q: Don't you know that you could throw some ads up and make money?
A: Yes, I know, thank you. For those who feel they need more advertising in their life, have a look at our nifty EFF ad below.

Thanks for visiting,

Gail (faq at gail period com)

Bravo. Proper old school internet.

[Via @lexim]

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