Spin, spin, spin…

February 12th, 2014

From the [pen|keyboard] of The Yorkshire Ranter: Dave from PR in the French Revolution

Being a Salmagundi from the Talking-Pointes of the late Sieur Davide du Camerone, Gentleman of the Privy and Counsellier upon the Fourth Estate to his most Catholic Majesty, the late King Louis XVI

An unexpectedly large forecast error in the Budget leads Finance Minister Necker to call an emergency Estates-General:

We’re all in this together. Only a balanced parliament reflecting the national consensus to deal with the debt can keep us from ending up like Spain. M. Colbert didn’t fix the roof while the sun was shining, but His Majesty is determined to get our finances in surplus by 1792. That’s on a rolling five-year cash basis excluding interventions in North America and royal mistresses.

[…]

[FX: Applause]

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Colourful

February 12th, 2014

Saprotrophs, Mesophiles, Psychrophiles and More…

Mold gets a bum rap. […]

Moldy

[Via swissmiss]

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Disturbing

February 11th, 2014

VSE OK. Just go and read it: you won't be disappointed.

[Via Pop Loser]

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A Geology lesson in a single image

February 9th, 2014

Faults in Xinjiang:

Faults in Xinjiang : Image of the Day

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Tale of the Transcriptionist's Tape

February 8th, 2014

Matt Seidel works as a transcriptionist:

The best transcriptionist is one who doesn’t attract notice to his work. Unlike the translator, whose work is always a form of betrayal – traduttore, traditore [translator, traitor] goes the famous Italian saying – the transcriber aims for nothing short of absolute fidelity. And thus, given that my job is literally to reproduce the material as accurately as possible, I am only as good as my material. So what keeps me motivated? Well, it's the hope that one day – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon – I will transcribe an iconic line. I often think of those fast-typing legends of yore, whether their hands trembled while captioning, commas and all, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

The company I freelance for has its own voice recognition software. Its engineers run client audio files through the software to produce a rough transcript that can be quite accurate depending on the recording. After being thus processed, the files are placed on an online marketplace, at which point the editor logs on to choose one to transcribe. The editor can see information about each file: the client, running time, and price per minute. An audio and visual preview is also available so that one can avoid the most difficult files – faint recordings seemingly set in a wind tunnel and featuring multiple motor-mouthed speakers with accents that confound the voice-recognition technology, which is set to American English. These files lure in many a young transcriber by offering higher rates, but wily veterans know to search for the hidden gems that maximize one's dollar-to-effort ratio (which reflects the real hourly rate more accurately than the dollar per audio minute does). My greatest such discovery was a documentary about a wandering yogi wherein three total words were spoken, two of which were subtitled and needed only a [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] tag. I measure every new project against this Platonic ideal.

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Just Ella

February 8th, 2014

Jim Munroe's short film Just Ella features "perhaps the first cinematic example of autocomplete used for a dramatic reveal." And yet it's still worth watching:

[Via jwz]

1 Comment »

Poshest. Things. Ever!

February 7th, 2014

The 28 Poshest Things That Have Ever Happened.

Assuming that it's not a Photoshop job, they left the worst until last:

28. And this velvet-covered Porsche

Velvet-covered Porsche

Why would you do that to a poor, defenceless car? Why?!?

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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Small and Perfectly Formed

February 7th, 2014

Gary Card's illustrations of every Prince hair style from 1978 to 2013 are very cute. Downright hypnotic, even:

[Via kottke.org]

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The first 15 years or so of life are just tutorial missions, which suck. There's no way to skip these.

February 5th, 2014

Life is a game. This is your strategy guide:

Your Character

I never was much good at games.

[Via Tao of Mac]

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Kitestring

February 5th, 2014

It's sad to think that something like Kitestring is necessary, but if such a thing is needed then it might as well be as straightforward as this:

Taking a walk?
Walking solo at night can be unsafe. But when you must go out alone, let us know your ETA.

Check in with us
We'll send you a text message when your trip is over. Just reply to let us know you made it.

Stay connected
If you don't reply, we'll send your emergency contacts a customizable alert message.

[Via One Thing Well]

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Much as your mind is screaming, 'Go for it!' it is definitely not okay to have a strategy session with Chloë.

February 4th, 2014

From McSweeney's: Son, It's Time We Talk About Where Start-Ups Come From.

[…] I realize it's awkward, discussing these adult matters with your father, but have your buddies asked you to join a start-up? Be honest – Dad knows the HTML. Seriously, have you already started a start-up in the attic? I see you moved the family computer up there.

I want you to know I love you, even if you've experimented with JavaScript or started wooing venture capitalists. I'm just worried. […]

[Via Pop Loser]

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Periodic Table of Storytelling

February 1st, 2014

James R Harris has constructed a Periodic Table of Storytelling and it is awesome.1

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

  1. Warning: contains links to TVTropes. Do not follow that link if you had plans to get anything important done in the next three hours.

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Breaking Madden

January 31st, 2014

The Super Bowl, in which the machine bleeds to death:

Over the course of the season, I've discovered lots of different ways to hack Madden NFL 25 into a thing that no longer resembles football as we know it. I've played around with rules, injury settings, all manner of player ratings, player dimensions, and anything else the game's developers have made available to us.

This time is special, though, because I'm pulling out every single one of the stops at the same time. No other scenario I've built in Madden has been so abjectly cruel or unfair; no other scenario has even been close. […]

The GIFs, the GIFs…

[Via kottke.org]

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A**h*l* Reality, more like

January 30th, 2014

I'm fairly sure the Infinity Augmented Reality Concept Video is a spoiler operation, secretly backed by Microsoft or Apple or some other Google rival to turn the public against the very idea of augmented reality. I mean, Infinity AR can't seriously believe that this is an appealing vision of the world five years from now, can they?

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Thomas Friedman Clogged My Toilet

January 27th, 2014

I'm pretty sure I read Justin Erik Halldór Smith's Thomas Friedman Clogged My Toilet a couple of years ago, but as far as I can tell I didn't post about it. It's long past time that I rectified that omission:

It is not for nothing that some years ago I sought out a home with a semi-secret 1/2-bath in the basement, for who has not at some point been at a social gathering, and preferred to reabsorb rank toxins through the intestinal walls, rather than to risk, by the emanation of one's own stench even through a closed bathroom door, being found out as a defecator? This, I've long believed, has been the key to my reputation as a host.

[Via homunculus, commenting at MetaFilter]

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Who needs the NSA?

January 27th, 2014

What a brand knows…

The question is, would your privacy fare much better if you were logging in to Google+ or Twitter instead? And if so, would that be because those networks were being less intrusive on a point of principle, or just because they haven't yet persuaded you to hand over quite as much information about yourself?1

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

  1. Your social network's customers, don't forget, being not you the user but the marketing executives who want your details to help them sell things to you.

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Tintypes

January 25th, 2014

Photographer Victoria Will shot some old-style tintype portraits of some of the actors attending this year's Sundance festival. Some people look like they'd fit right in to the mid-19th century:

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

My other favourites in the Esquire-hosted slideshow are Maggie Gyllenhaal1, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe with Rachel McAdams, and Anne Hathaway. Also Nick Cave.2

Victoria Will's own site has some more of her Sundance tintypes.

[Via kottke.org]

  1. Crazy eyes!
  2. But then, when does he not look like someone right at home in the 19th century.

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The Silmarillion Project

January 22nd, 2014

Dresden Codak artist Aaron Diaz has a new side project, designing the characters for a (sadly nonexistent) cartoon adaptation of The Silmarillion. If you're partial to his style (as I am) this is pure eye candy.

Take, for example, this illustration of Melkor and Ungoliant looking down on Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees that lit the Land of the Valar:

Silmarillion Chapter 8: Of The Darkening of Valinor

But now on the mountain-top dark Ungoliant lay; and she made a ladder of woven ropes and cast it down, and Melkor climbed upon it and came to that high place, and stood beside her, looking down upon the Guarded Realm.

…Then Melkor laughed aloud, and leapt swiftly, and leapt swiftly down the western slopes; and Ungoliant was at his side, and her darkness covered them.

Melkor and Ungoliant

Lovely work, best viewed full size at the the author's site.

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QFT

January 19th, 2014

From the bash.org Quote Database:

<Aoi-chan> everyone's first vi session.

^C^C^X^X^X^XquitqQ!qdammit[esc]qwertyuiopasdfghjkl;:xwhat

[Via Ivan Fyodorovich, commenting at MetaFilter]

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Cute Animals. Bad Dates.

January 18th, 2014

Cute Animals. Bad Dates.

These are actual quotes taken from online dating profiles and Craigslist personal ads. Brought to you by cute animals, because that makes everything that much better.

[Via metamedia]

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