June 13th, 2014
Talking of Kaiju, anyone for a Rampaging Kaiju Garden Gnome?
It all starts out so innocently. You might notice one or two on the ground under a rose bush or near a climbing vine, but you don't think much of it. Then one day you go outside and realize your entire garden has been overrun. What are your options? You could coat everything with some highly-toxic pesticide and hope for the best. Or you could install a Kaiju in your garden, guaranteed to get rid of those pesky gnomes. This guy spares gnone.
June 13th, 2014
Godzilla (2014): The Abridged Script is pretty funny…
EXT. THE PHILIPPINES – 1999
KEN WATANABE and SALLY HAWKINS, who work for a SECRET ORGANIZATION that is so top secret they put their LOGO on their helicopters, and have a LOGO, arrive at a MINING SITE.
MINING SITE GUY
Welcome, Ken and Sally. Check out this enormous fossil we discovered! There's also a giant hole leading to a giant trench where something giant escaped and is headed towards populated areas, but fuck that.
My God, it's… amazing.
And look, two egg-sack things, one of which has hatched! Well, I'm sure Godzilla will be along soon to take care of it, restore balance to Nature etcetera, because that's what he does, right Ken?
My God, it's… still the prologue, Sally, so not yet. […]
Be sure not to miss the caption on the still at the start of the script. Why didn't I notice that when I first saw a clip from that scene in a trailer?
June 13th, 2014
Volkswagen's Eyes on the road public service announcement is equal parts sneaky and shocking:
I think there's a strong argument that – at least until the combined efforts of Google and Uber get us amateurs out from behind the driving wheel of our cars – all cars should be fitted with devices that block mobile phone or WiFi signals while the engine is turning over. Up until about fifteen or twenty years ago we all managed just fine going out into the world without being in constantly available to our friends, family, babysitter and employers, let alone our Twitter/RSS/Facebook feeds and SMS messages. I'm pretty sure we could all cope with being out of contact with the internet for a couple of hours or so.
June 11th, 2014
MeFi user zabuni neatly sums up why some of us have read enough Cory Doctorow novels to last us a lifetime, even if we broadly agree with the political points his books make about the uses and abuses of technology:
I once mocked Doctorow, and said that he wrote EFF fan fiction, he then had his main character (in the sequel to LB) meet the founders of EFF:
At Burning Man.
While playing a game of DnD with them.
DM'ed by Wil Wheaton.
I had to literally say, out loud, "For Fuck's Sake!" to that. […]
June 10th, 2014
I know it's wrong, but somehow Chris Klimek's scathing review of The Human Race makes me more likely to stay tuned should I stumble across it on TV some day. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the plan, and the flaw is in me:
Aside from The Girl Who Did Not Have Any Tattoos That We Know Of But Who Did Beat Cancer But Then, Sadly, Stepped On The Grass, Hough invests two other characters with backstories, and still another pair with personalities, though he never dares cross those streams.
That's a relatively tame bit, but the real highlights of the review need to be read in situ to get the full effect.
June 10th, 2014
June 9th, 2014
If you think the only thing wrong with Instapaper is that you have to read the articles you've saved on a phone / tablet / computer screen, Newspaper Club have just the product for you: InstapaperOnPaper PaperLater. From their blog:
PaperLater lets you save the good stuff from around the web and enjoy it in a newspaper made just for you. When you find yourself on something you'd prefer to read in print, just press the 'Save for PaperLater' button in your browser, and we'll do the rest.
When you've got enough articles, hit print and we'll automatically layout, print and ship you a newspaper. It'll be on your doorstep in a few days.
What gets me isn't the 'read it on paper' angle; I get that a lot of people prefer to read long form pieces on paper, and I'm sure Newspaper Club do a nice job of formatting a piece from the web so that it works well in print. But I just can't get past the 'on your doorstep in a few days' thing. A few days! Are we living in the Dark Ages?
June 8th, 2014
June 8th, 2014
Lauren Manning's EarthPatterns: Beautiful things on our planet, found on Google Maps.
June 3rd, 2014
This excerpt from Mike Judge's Silicon Valley is a beautiful illustration of what can happen when a bunch of geeks take an idea and run with it.
[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]
June 1st, 2014
David Owen writes for The New Yorker about the designers behind business class – or, more specifically, the designers behind the design of the seating since airlines reintroduced seats-that-doubled-as-beds in the 1990s:
"A good seat doesn't show you everything it's got in the first ten minutes," he said. "It surprises you during the flight, and lets you discover things you weren't expecting."
My favourite part of this story isn't about the amazing attention to detail that goes into the curve of a seat or the placement of a switch, or even about how saving a few centimetres per row can mean the difference between a flight breaking even and making a loss. It's the bit about how pretty much everything anyone wants to install inside an airliner's cabin has to go through a process of "delethalization", making it both marginally safer in the event that the airliner undergoes rapid deceleration and vastly more expensive than consumer-grade kit.
May 31st, 2014
The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight:
I didn't take her voice for myself. I want to set the record straight on that, right up front. People got a lot of crazy notions in their heads, the way the story got around, and that was one of them.
I'm not saying I never did an evil deed – anyone who says they haven't is lying through their teeth – but I didn't take her voice for myself. I didn't need it. I've got a perfectly fine voice, thank you, trained by whale divas, and it's mine. […]
May 31st, 2014
Geoff Manaugh, on the work of 19th century surveyors in California who set out to map out the borders between counties:
Like a dust-covered Tron of the desert, surrounded by the invisible mathematics of a grid that had yet to be realized, these over-dressed gentlemen of another century helped give rise to an abstract model of the state.
May 31st, 2014
From Paul Ford's It Is Impossible to Believe How Mindblowing These Amazing New Jobs Are:
Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketech platishforms? Then come work with us as an in-house NEOLOGIZER and reimaginatorialize the verbalsphere! If you are a slang-slinger who is equahome in brandegy and advertorial, a total expert in brandtech and techvertoribrand, and a first-class synergymnast, then this will be your rockupation! Throw ginfluence mingles and webutante balls, the world is your joyster. The percandidate will have at least five years working as a ideator and envisionary or equiperience.
A paragraph which inspired by far the best comment I've read today:
DAMMIT, WORDS MEAN THINGS
May 30th, 2014
From Ayn Rand's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone:
Harry and Ron stood before the Mirror of Erised. "My God," Ron said. "Harry, it's your dead parents."
Harry's eyes flicked momentarily over to the mirror. "So it is. This information is neither useful nor productive. Let us leave at once, to assist Hagrid in his noble enterprise of raising as many dragon eggs as he sees fit, in spite of our country's unjust dragon-trading restrictions."
"But it's your parents, Harry," Ron said. Ron never really got it.
Harry sighed. "The fundamental standard for all relationships is the trader principle, Ron."
"I don't understand," Ron said.
"Of course you don't," said Harry affectionately. "This principle holds that we should interact with people on the basis of the values we can trade with them – values of all sorts, including common interests in art, sports or music, similar philosophical outlooks, political beliefs, sense of life, and more. Dead people have no value according to the trader principle."
"But they gave birth to y–"
"I made myself, Ron," Harry said firmly.
Wait until you get to the line at the very end about Hermione. Classic.
May 29th, 2014
Having finally got round to reading the transcript of Maciej Cegłowski's Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk , I can but report that – as usual – he talked a lot of sense:
One reason there's a backlash against Google glasses is that they try to bring the online rules into the offline world. Suddenly, anything can be recorded, and there's the expectation (if the product succeeds) that everything will be recorded. The product is called 'glass' instead of 'glasses' because Google imagines a world where every flat surface behaves by the online rules. [The day after this talk, it was revealed Google is seeking patents on showing ads on your thermostat, refrigerator, etc.]
Well, people hate the online rules!
Google's answer is, wake up, grandpa, this is the new normal. But all they're doing is trying to port a bug in the Internet over to the real world, and calling it progress.
You can dress up a bug and call it a feature. You can also put dog crap in the freezer and call it ice cream. But people can taste the difference.
May 27th, 2014
The future that everyone forgot:
I came across a website whose purpose was to provide a super detailed list of every handheld computing environment going back to the early 1970's. It did a great job except for one glaring omission: the first mobile platform that I helped develop. The company was called Danger, the platform was called hiptop, and what follows is an account of our early days, and a list of some of the "modern" technologies we shipped years before you could buy an iOS or Android device. […]
[Via The Tao of Mac]
May 24th, 2014
Robin Sloan contemplates The Moby-Dick variations:
Where does one novel end and another one begin?
May 23rd, 2014
Ducklings vs. Stairs:
Epic is the only word for it…
May 22nd, 2014
It's not entirely clear whether it was a design exercise or a cover that was actually published, but either way I have to admire the simplicity and elegance of Tom Lenartowicz's cover for Peter Benchley's Jaws: