The Bridge at Q'eswachakaJUL 29

Each year, using traditional Incan techniques, communities along a canyon in Peru rebuild a rope bridge that has been in continuous use for hundreds of years.

That you can take thousands of thin grass stalks and, through the careful application of engineering and hard work, make them strong enough to hold the weight of several people over a canyon still seems magical. (via cynical-c)

  quick links, updated constantly

Richard Feynman vs. Murray Gell-Mann

6 of the top 15 Vine stars live in the same building on Vine St in LA (& this profile is AMAZING)

Reminder: Killing A Lion Is The Most Cowardly Thing You Can Do

GQ profile of Jeffrey Tambor, who is of course amazing in both Arrested Development and Transparent

Will Smith's drama Concussion, which is about the NFL's brain trauma problems, is coming out Christmas Day

The White House response to a petition to pardon Edward Snowden is sad but typical

How to shake someone who's tailing you

Hey cool, the Electric Objects EO1 digital art screen is available for pre-order on Amazon

Mike Monteiro: guns can't be well designed. "If a thing is designed to kill you, it is, by definition, bad design."

NYC! Don't sleep on this! Christopher Nolan in conversation w/ Quay Brothers, Aug 19 at Film Forum

There's no quick links archive yet. If you'd like to see 'em all, follow @kottke on Twitter.

Cool furniture alert: the Fibonacci ShelfJUL 29

The Fibonacci Shelf by designer Peng Wang might not be the most functional piece of furniture, but I still want one.

Fibonacci Shelf

Fibonacci Shelf

The design of the shelf is based on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ...), which is related to the Golden Rectangle. When assembled, the Fibonacci Shelf resembles a series of Golden Rectangles partitioned into squares. (via ignant)

Renaissance painting shows how watermelons looked before selective breedingJUL 29

A painting of fruit done by Giovanni Stanchi sometime in the mid 1600s shows that the watermelon has changed somewhat in the intervening 350 years.

Renaissance watermelon

That's because over time, we've bred watermelons to have the bright red color we recognize today. That fleshy interior is actually the watermelon's placenta, which holds the seeds. Before it was fully domesticated, that placenta lacked the high amounts of lycopene that give it the red color. Through hundreds of years of domestication, we've modified smaller watermelons with a white interior into the larger, lycopene-loaded versions we know today.

(via @robinsloan)

Modernizing the NYC subway's ancient technologiesJUL 29

This video from the MTA shows some of the vintage technologies that are still in use to control many of the NYC's subway lines and how they are upgrading (ve. ry. slow. ly.) to safer and more reliable computerized systems. Some of control systems are more than 80 years old.

Whoa, after watching that, I'm shocked that the trains ever get anywhere at all. (via the kid should see this)

The sounds of Voyager's Golden RecordJUL 29

When they were launched in 1977, the two Voyager spacecraft each carried with them a 12-inch gold-plated copper record containing images and sounds of Earth for the viewing pleasure of whichever aliens happened across them. NASA has put the sounds of the Golden Record up on Soundcloud. Here are the greetings in 55 different languages (from English1 to Hittite to Polish to Thai):

And the sounds of Earth (wild dogs, Morse code, trains):

What's missing from the two playlists is UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim's greeting:

...as well as several other UN greetings overlaid with whale sounds:

Due to copyright issues, also missing are the 90 minutes of music included on the record. Among the songs are Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, and Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles was originally supposed to be included, but their record company wouldn't allow it, which is pretty much the most small-minded thing I have ever heard.

  1. The English greeting was spoken by Nick Sagan when he was six years old. Nick is the son of Carl Sagan, who chaired the committee that selected the contents of the record.

Jon Stewart, political heavyweightJUL 28

Jon Stewart visited the White House. And Obama visited The Daily Show. That gives you some idea of the influence -- on both sides of the aisle -- Jon Stewart has built up over his tenure.

Jon Stewart slipped unnoticed into the White House in the midst of the October 2011 budget fight, summoned to an Oval Office coffee with President Barack Obama that he jokingly told his escort felt like being called into the principal's office.

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Rappin' to the BeatJUL 28

In 1981, ABC's news program 20/20 aired a segment on the rising phenomenon of rap music called Rappin' to the Beat. It is painful to watch in parts, but ultimately worth it for the footage of street scenes and artist performances.

Here is part 2. (via open culture)

Why medieval painting babies were uglyJUL 28

I had no idea Ol' Dirty Bastard and medieval paintings had something in common. One of ODB's AKAs was also the reason why babies in medieval paintings looked like ugly middle-aged men: Big Baby Jesus.

I mean, this baby looks like he wants to tell you that a boat is just a money pit.

Biker lifts parked car out of bike laneJUL 28

How many times have you seen a car parked in the bike lane and wanted to somehow move it out of the way? Well, this very large cyclist felt that way and lifted this small car right out of his way.

I would love to see someone do this to an NYPD cruiser.1

  1. It's a total cliche, but right now in NYC, I can almost guarantee there are 2 or 3 NYPD cars parked in the bike lane outside a Dunkin Donuts. I see this at least twice a week, just randomly walking around.

How bow-tie pasta is made...in slow motionJUL 28

From Zerega Pasta, a video that shows, in slow motion, how farfalle (aka bow-tie pasta) is made at their factory.

Incredible combination of precision and quickness.

Pixar: The Design of StoryJUL 27

Design Pixar

Pixar: The Design of Story is an upcoming exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum here in NYC.

Through concept art from films such as Toy Story, Wall-E, Up, Brave, The Incredibles and Cars, among others, the exhibition will focus on Pixar's process of iteration, collaboration and research, and is organized into three key design principles: story, believability and appeal. The exhibition will be on view in the museum's immersive Process Lab -- an interactive space that was launched with the transformed Cooper Hewitt in December 2014 -- whose rotating exhibitions engage visitors with activities that focus on the design process, emphasizing the role of experimentation in design thinking and making.

More details are available in the press release. Definitely going to check this out and take the kids.

Powers of Ten flipbookJUL 27

Using images found on the internet through Google's visually similar images feature, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey, and various mapping services, Kelli Anderson recreated part of the Eames' iconic Powers of Ten as a flipbook. Watch a video here:

Or play around with a virtual flipbook at Anderson's site. This could not possibly be anymore in my wheelhouse. Here's the nitty gritty on how she made it happen.

The inspiration for making discontinuous-bits-of-culture into something continuous goes back to 2011. Some of my friends camped out on a sidewalk to see Christian Marclay's The Clock. Like a loser with a deadline, I missed out-only catching it years later at MoMA. In the day-long film, Marclay recreates each minute of the 24-hour day using clips from films featuring the current time-on a clock or watch. It runs in perfect synchronization with the audience's day (so: while a museum crowd slumps sleepily in their chairs at 6am, starlets hit snooze on the clocks onscreen.)

Trailer for a Steve Jobs documentaryJUL 27

There's a documentary on Steve Jobs coming out called Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. The director is Alex Gibney, who directed the excellent Going Clear (about Scientology), We Steal Secrets (about Wikileaks), and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. The trailer:

Thom Yorke sings a pre-Radiohead version of High and DryJUL 27

While the members of On A Friday, the band that later became Radiohead, were on a break as they attended college, Thom Yorke was a member of a band called Headless Chickens. This is a video of a circa-1989 performance by the band of "High and Dry", a song that later on Radiohead's second album, The Bends, released in 1995.

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