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 23rd, 2014
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.)
November 14th, 2014
Sequel is a rather nice collection of posters for imaginary film sequels. My favourite – both the film I'd want to watch most and the sequel with the nicest poster – is absolutely, positively My Neighbor Totoro 2:
November 13th, 2014
A Bridge To Nowhere:
A bridge builder was completing his inspection of Zjing's Bridge when he spied master Kaimu standing nearby.
The builder said to Kaimu: "I have heard your monks speak of themselves as 'software engineers.' As a true engineer I find such talk absurd…"
"In my profession we analyze all aspects of our task before the first plank is cut. When our blueprints are done I can tell you exactly how much lumber we will need, how many nails and how much rope, how much weight the bridge will bear, and the very day it will be completed…"
"Your monks do no such things. They churn out code before your customer has finished describing what is desired. They improvise, reconsider, redesign, and rewrite a half-dozen times before delivery, and what they produce invariably crashes or proves vulnerable to attack. If I were to work in such a fashion, no one would dare set foot upon this bridge!"
[Via The Tao of Mac / links]
November 12th, 2014
When Panorama Photography Goes Wrong:
The truncated pony is weird and all, but my favourite is the man I call the Human Silverback
September 16th, 2014
Karl reMarks: We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment.
The English and the Scottish had a long-running rivalry throughout history, which partially explains the current animosity. The two nations often went to war against each other, but the rivalry came to an end with the Acts of Union 1707. (So called because it was signed at seven minutes past five in the afternoon.) Despite being part of the United Kingdom for hundreds of years, many Scots never felt comfortable and always wanted to seek independence so that they can enjoy their simple way of life in the mountains, drinking whisky and eating the local delicacy known as ‘fried Mars bars’.
The English however are intent on depriving the Scots from achieving this goal, not least because it would mean re-designing the flag and changing all the letterheads. (The English are pragmatic down-to-earth people, but they are notorious for their aversion to change, particularly when stationery is involved.) The English would also like to keep their hands on Scottish oil and gas reserves, because clearly as Middle East experts we feel obliged to stress the importance of oil regardless of context.
[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]
September 1st, 2014
September 1st, 2014
Good advice to listeners on how to get the most from their radio, from 1940's BBC Year Book:
Listen as carefully at home as you do in a theatre or concert hall. You can’t get the best out of a programme if your mind is wandering, or if you playing bridge or reading. Give it your full attention.
[Via Pocket Lint]