I love this "bowling saloon" in the basement of The Frick Collection museum in NYC.
Gothamist has a bunch more photos of the Frick's secret places.
I love this "bowling saloon" in the basement of The Frick Collection museum in NYC.
Gothamist has a bunch more photos of the Frick's secret places.
Ever since designing the site back in 2001, I've been the webmaster for Susan Orlean's web site. Susan is my favorite client, but I don't have the time to devote to the site anymore so Susan and I are looking for someone to take over. Here are some rough requirements for the position:
- The site and its administration are pretty simple; you should be comfortable with editing HTML, CSS, the Unix command line, Movable Type, SFTP, and such.
- You should possess a little bit of design sense. Your immediate task will be to flesh out the page for Susan's upcoming book about Rin Tin Tin, so you'll need to figure out how to fit the required content into a clean well-presented readable layout. There's not a lot of heavy Photoshop or Illustrator work required...this is not a redesign-the-site project.
- On-going maintenance is fairly minimal...occasional text updates, new article additions, dealing with very infrequent site outages, etc. You know, good old fashioned webmastering. Your monthly time commitment for maintenance will be in the ballpark of 0-30 minutes.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please contact Susan with a short note about who you are, the work you do, links (not attachments!) to a portfolio or resume, that sort of thing. Make sure the subject line clearly references this project somehow. Thanks!
Paul May keeps track of the dozens of molecules that have unusual names. Like moronic acid, betweenanene, and draculin:
Draculin is the anticoagulant factor in vampire bat saliva. It is a large glycoprotein made from a sequence of 411 amino acids.
(via prosthetic knowledge)
Seed Magazine asked a number of thinkers to provide statements about their respective fields containing "the most information in the fewest words" a la Richard Feynman:
If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or the atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms-little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.
...is called Grantland and will feature writing from Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, Katie Baker, Molly Lambert, and others.
Hedge funds managed by women outperformed those managed by men over the past nine years.
From the NYC transit authority, a 1988 video about the consequences of painting graffiti in the subway.
Intense! (via ★vuokko)
Over at Forbes, Susannah Breslin is documenting the process that she goes through as she works on a story.
I'm neither Woodward nor Bernstein. This doesn't mean I am a lousy journalist. This means that I am a certain kind of journalist. Basically, who I am as a journalist is who I am as a person. I am an observer. I am not a run-after-you-with-a-mic-in-your-face type of journalist. I am a get-out-of-the-way-and-the-story-will-present-itself-to-you type of journalist.
Watch as a spider quickly subdues an ant in its web...and then something unexpected happens.
This is the Sixth Sense of spider nature videos.
From Wikipedia, a list of unusual software bugs, including the Mandelbug and Heisenbug. My favorite is the Schrödinbug:
A schrödinbug is a bug that manifests only after someone reading source code or using the program in an unusual way notices that it never should have worked in the first place, at which point the program promptly stops working for everybody until fixed.
Melissa Febos writes about crying in public in NYC...as well as other private things that people do in public here.
One afternoon, I was riding a Brooklyn-bound Q train with my mother, who was visiting from Cape Cod, when our conversation lulled. We each glanced around the subway car at the other passengers, their heads bobbing in unison, the eyes of the man across from us doing a creepy back-and-forth twitch as he watched a train whizzing by in the opposite direction behind us. Some people read, or pushed buttons on their smart phones, but most just stared without expression at the floor or the garish overhead posters for Dr. Zizmor's cosmetic dermatology. My mother (who is, notably, a psychotherapist) leaned into my shoulder and whispered, "Everyone on this train looks depressed."
I snorted, whispering back: "No, Mom, they just have their train-faces on." In a place where we are so rarely alone, we find privacy in public.
The "privacy in public" thing is essential in understanding New York.
AVOS, a new internet company founded by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, has acquired the social bookmarking service Delicious from Yahoo!
Why has Yahoo! chosen to transition Delicious to AVOS?
While we love Delicious (and our users love Delicious), we wanted to find a home for the product where it can receive more love and attention. We think AVOS is that place.
When will AVOS officially start running Delicious?
We anticipate Delicious in its current form will be available until approximately July 2011. By agreeing to AVOS's terms of service upfront, you will allow us to move your data when the time comes to transfer control to AVOS.
Delicious founder Josh Schachter reacted to the news on Twitter, saying:
From the NY Times Lens blog, a photo essay by Diana Markosian featuring a Ukrainian town near Chernobyl where only five families remain; the rest of the 1000 original residents evacuated after the disaster 25 years ago.
But life can be grim and lonely. Twenty-five years ago, Ms. Masanovitz was a nurse. Her husband was a farmer on a collective farm. Now he spends his time drinking.
While she was photographing the couple one day, Ms. Markosian watched as Ms. Masanovitz picked up the phone in astonishment. It was the first time it had worked in a year.
A fun little video about how Bloomberg Businessweek gets made.
The Tempest Academy is a training facilty in LA for people interested in freerunning and parkour.
The world's only indoor Parkour Playground, made up of more than seven thousand square feet of X Games genius! Why X-Games you ask? Well as you know, Tempest is all about going big. So, we hired our good friend Nate Wessel (world famous X Games ramp builder) to design and build our dream playground. With his creative genius, and our eye for style, we've created an indoor city that is unrivaled in the freerunning world. Next to Disneyland it's the most MAGICAL place on earth!
Why can't you get a slice of pizza at John's on Bleecker or Patsy's? Allegedly because of Al Capone:
In his 1981 book on the mob called Vicious Circles: The Mafia in the Marketplace, the late Jonathan Kwitny detailed how Al Capone -- who owned a string of dairy farms near Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin -- forced New York pizzerias to use his rubbery mob cheese, so different from the real mozzarella produced here in New York City since the first immigrants from Naples arrived in Brooklyn around 1900.
As the story goes, the only places permitted to use good mozzarella made locally were the old-fashioned pizza parlors like Lombardi's, Patsy's, and John's, who could continue doing so only if they promised to never serve slices. According to Kwitny, this is why John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street still has the warning "No Slices" on its awning today.
Due to a lack of funding, SETI Institute shut down the radio telescope array they were using to look for evidence of extraterrestrial life outside our solar system.
The timing couldn't be worse, say SETI scientists. After millenniums of musings, this spring astronomers announced that 1,235 new possible planets had been observed by Kepler, a telescope on a space satellite. They predict that dozens of these planets will be Earth-sized -- and some will be in the "habitable zone," where the temperatures are just right for liquid water, a prerequisite of life as we know it.
In the near term, companies making iPhone and iPad competitors are never going to beat Apple at their own game. Apple has supply chain advantages, a massive number of their customers' credit card numbers (why do you think Jobs brings this up at every single Apple event...it's important!), key patents, one-in-lifetime personnel like Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, solid relationships with key media companies, and an integrated ecosystem of stores, apps, applications, and hardware. They are an imposing competitor.
But Apple also has some weak spots which a canny competitor should be able to exploit to make compelling products that Apple won't be able to duplicate or directly compete with.
1. Apple doesn't do social well on a large scale. Ping? Game Center? Please. Social applications don't seem to be in Apple's DNA...their best applications are still single-player or 2/3/4-player. Someone should figure out how to leverage Facebook's social graph to make the phone/app/gaming/music/video experience significantly better than on the iPhone/iPad and then partner exclusively with Facebook to make it happen. The Facebook Fone would be a massive hit if done right.
2. Apple can't do the cloud either. Mobile Me has been around since January 2000 (when it was called iTools) and the service is still not as compelling as newcomer Dropbox. iPods, iPhones, and iPads are still very much tethered to plain-old desktop/laptop computers and iTunes...there's an opportunity here for a better way.
3. iTunes is getting long in the tooth. The cloud and social are the two Apple weaknesses, but iTunes is showing its age and over the years has become a bloated collection of functionalities...music store, video store, app store, mobile device manager, "social" network, and, oh, by the way, you can also use it to play your music. Spotify, Pandora, and Rd.io point the way to a different approach.
4. I can't remember if this is my own theory or I read about this on Daring Fireball or something, but the Apple products & services that Apple does well are the ones that Steve Jobs uses (or cares about) and the ones he doesn't use/care about are less good (or just plain bad). Jobs uses Keynote and it's very good...but I'm pretty sure Jobs never has had to schedule his own appointments with iCal so that program is less good. Cloud apps and social apps are at the top of this list for a reason...I just don't think Jobs cares about those things. I mean, he cares, but there's not a lot of passion there...they aren't a priority for him so he doesn't really know how to think about them and attack those problems.
And then there are a couple of Apple weaknesses that actually aren't weaknesses at all:
1. Price. Everyone still thinks that Apple products are expensive, or, more to the point, overpriced. But no one else has made a compelling tablet for under $500 yet. And if you attack Apple on price, potential gothchas lurk: Apple is absurdly profitable and cash-rich; if they feel the need to compete with anyone on price in order to protect their business interests, they can do so with price cuts deep enough and long enough to drive most potential competitors out of business.
2. Openness and secrecy. Competitors should take a page from Apple's playbook here and be open about stuff that will give you a competitive advantage and shut the hell up about everything else. Open is not always better.
I love this observation about taste and creative work from Ira Glass:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
The quote is an abridged version of the transcript from this video interview with Glass:
On the eve of the release of the Beastie Boys' latest album, New York Magazine has an interesting history of the band as told through interviews of the band and others who were there.
They accidentally knew what they were doing.
Today's sophisticated spectrometers, gas chromatographs, and headspace-vapor analyzers provide a detailed map of a food's flavor components, detecting chemical aromas present in amounts as low as one part per billion. The human nose, however, is even more sensitive. A nose can detect aromas present in quantities of a few parts per trillion -- an amount equivalent to about 0.000000000003 percent. Complex aromas, such as those of coffee and roasted meat, are composed of volatile gases from nearly a thousand different chemicals. The smell of a strawberry arises from the interaction of about 350 chemicals that are present in minute amounts. The quality that people seek most of all in a food -- flavor -- is usually present in a quantity too infinitesimal to be measured in traditional culinary terms such as ounces or teaspoons. The chemical that provides the dominant flavor of bell pepper can be tasted in amounts as low as 0.02 parts per billion; one drop is sufficient to add flavor to five average-size swimming pools. The flavor additive usually comes next to last in a processed food's list of ingredients and often costs less than its packaging. Soft drinks contain a larger proportion of flavor additives than most products. The flavor in a twelve-ounce can of Coke costs about half a cent.
In the late 70s, Anton Perich built something resembling an inkjet printer to make large-scale paintings like this:
The photography section of Perich's web site is also worth a look...lots of photos of the Warholish NYC scene in the 70s and 80s: Warhol, Jagger, Mapplethorpe, John Waters, etc. (via today and tomorrow)
In 1888, the 460-foot-long 5000-ton Brighton Beach Hotel was moved more than 500 feet back from the Atlantic Ocean. They put the entire structure on top of 112 flat trucks and pulled it all in one piece with six train locomotives.
To witness the moving of this immense structure, crowds of people came from the neighbouring cities, and great enthusiasm reigned. Nothing like it had ever been known before in the United States, and when the engines were ready to start, the excitement was at its highest point. Mr. Miller gave the signal to start, and, in the glowing words of a Metropolitan reporter, "simultaneously six throttles were thrown open -- first gradually, then to their full. The music of the guy-ropes and tackle was weird and Wagnerian; then the tug of war began. Panting and puffing, the iron horses strained every fibre of their mechanical muscle."
From the January 3, 1983 issue of Time magazine, an early mainstream profile of Steve Jobs.
He is 27 years old. He lives in Los Gates, Calif., and works 20 minutes away in Cupertino, a town of 34,000 that his company has so transformed that some San Franciscans, about 35 miles to the north, have taken to calling it Computertino. There is no doubt in any case that this is a company town, although the company, Apple, did not exist seven years ago. Now, Apple just closed its best year in business, racking up sales of $583 million. The company stock has a market value of $1.7 billion. Jobs, as founder of Apple, chairman of the board, media figurehead and all-purpose dynamo, owns about 7 million shares of that stock. His personal worth is on the balmy side of $210 million. But past the money, and the hype, and the fairy-tale success, Jobs has been the prime advanceman for the computer revolution. With his smooth sales pitch and a blind faith that would have been the envy of the early Christian martyrs, it is Steven Jobs, more than anyone, who kicked open the door and let the personal computer move in.
The article contains some really interesting stuff: perhaps the first mention of Jobs' "reality-distortion field", a prescient comment that Jobs "should be running Walt Disney", and a description of Steve Wozniak as "a Steiff Teddy bear on a maintenance dose of marshmallows".
Two in a row from Product by Process, but I can't resist this video of a group of Canadian Army engineers taking a Jeep apart and putting it back together again in less than four minutes total.
Footage from a Ford factory of assembly line workers making Model T cars.
(via product by process)
Not just a Cold War-era relic...
...the use of radiation to introduce genetic changes in food (aka "atomic gardening") is alive and well today.
What's more, the Times adds, nearly 2,000 gamma radiation-induced mutant crop varieties have been registered around the world, including Calrose 76, a dwarf varietal that accounts for about half the rice grown in California, and the popular Star Ruby and Rio Red grapefruits, whose deep colour is a mutation produced through radiation breeding in the 1970s. Similarly, Johnson tells Pruned that "most of the global production of mint oil," with an annual market value estimated at $930 million, is extracted from the "wilt-resistant 'Todd's Mitcham' cultivar, a product of thermal neutron irradiation." She adds that "the exact nature of the genetic changes that cause it to be wilt-resistant remain unknown."
The atomic gardening photos from Life magazine in 1961 are kind of great.
Project Cafe, or the Wii 2 as everyone else is calling it, is Nintendo's next gaming box. IGN has some details:
According to sources with knowledge of the project, Nintendo's next console could have a retail price of anywhere between $350 and $400 based on manufacturing costs, and will ship from Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, this October, putting the earliest possible retail release anywhere between mid-October and early November.
The article about Dan McLaughlin's quest to go from zero-to-PGA Tour through 10,000 hours of deliberate practice got linked around a bunch yesterday. Several people who pointed to it made a typical mistake. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the 10,000 hours theory in his book, he did not come up with it. It is not "Gladwell's theory" and McLaughlin is not "testing Gladwell". The 10,000 hours theory was developed and popularized by Dr. Anders Ericsson (here for instance) -- who you may have heard of from this Freakonomics piece in the NY Times Magazine -- before it became a pop culture tidbit by Gladwell's inclusion of Ericsson's work in Outliers.
Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Alex Balk: "Drink alcohol. Quite a bit. Mostly bourbon."
A three-minute film on how an hourglass is made.
Each hand made hourglass comprises highly durable borosilicate glass and millions of stainless steel nanoballs, and is available in a 10 or 60 minute timer.
The Between the Pages blog tracked down the original set of five pitch documents for Doctor Who. It wasn't until the fourth document, the Tom Baker of the group, that Doctor Who was explicitly mentioned by name.
The Secret of Dr. Who: In his own day, somewhere in our future, he decided to search for a time or for a society or for a physical condition which is ideal, and having found it, to stay there. He stole the machine and set forth on his quest. He is thus an extension of the scientist who has opted out, but he has opted farther than ours can do, at tne moment. And having opted out, he is disintegrating.
[Handwritten note from Sydney Newman: "Don't like this at all. Dr Who will become a kind of father figure -- I don't want him to be a reactionary."]
One symptom of this is his hatred of scientist, inventors, improvers. He can get into a rare paddy when faced witn a cave man trying to invent a wheel. He malignantly tries to stop progress (the future) wherever he finds it, while searching for his ideal (the past). This seems to me to involve slap up-to-date moral problems, and old ones too.
In story terms, our characters see the symptoms and guess at the nature of his trouble, without knowing details; and always try to help him find a home in time and space. wherever he goes he tends to make ad hoc enemies; but also there is a mysterious enemy pursuing him implacably every when: someone from his own original time, probably. So, even if the secret is out by the 52nd episode, it is not the whole truth. Shall we say:
The Second Secret of Dr. Who: The authorities of his own (or some other future) time are not concerned merely with the theft of an obsolete machine; they are seriously concerned to prevent his monkeying with time, because his secret intention, when he finds his ideal past, is to destroy or nullify the future.
[Handwritten note from Sydney Newman: "Nuts"]
The WVIL (Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) is a concept camera that uncouples the lens from the viewfinder. Here's a 60-second demo:
I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to make something similar to control a dSLR with an iPhone app via Bluetooth. (via ★pb)
Logo Tourist is a project by Risto-Jussi Isopahkala that depicts cityscapes and famous Parisian landmarks made up of famous logos. Here's the Arc de Triumph (sponsored by Pepsi and Adidas):
See also Logorama.
There's just not enough time in a lifetime to see every movie, read every book, travel to every country, hear every song, watch every show, or view every sculpture. And that's ok:
It's sad, but it's also ... great, really. Imagine if you'd seen everything good, or if you knew about everything good. Imagine if you really got to all the recordings and books and movies you're "supposed to see." Imagine you got through everybody's list, until everything you hadn't read didn't really need reading. That would imply that all the cultural value the world has managed to produce since a glob of primordial ooze first picked up a violin is so tiny and insignificant that a single human being can gobble all of it in one lifetime. That would make us failures, I think.
Dan McLaughlin read about the 10,000 hour theory in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers -- basically that it takes someone 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become really good at something -- and decided to try it for himself. He plans to practice playing golf for six hours a day, six days a week, for six years in order to have a shot at making the PGA Tour. He's already a year in.
Here's how they have Dan trying to learn golf: He couldn't putt from 3 feet until he was good enough at putting from 1 foot. He couldn't putt from 5 feet until he was good enough putting from 3 feet. He's working away from the hole. He didn't get off the green for five months. A putter was the only club in his bag.
Everybody asks him what he shoots for a round. He has no idea. His next drive will be his first.
In his month in Florida, he worked as far as 50 yards away from the hole. He might -- might -- have a full set of clubs a year from now.
The first ascent of the north face of Eiger, a mountain in the Swiss Alps (13,025 feet tall), happened in 1938 and took three days. Watch as Ueli Steck climbs it in 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 33 seconds.
The whole thing is pretty much insane, but you'll really want to start paying attention around the 2:15 mark. He's running up that mountain! (via devour)
Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who, has died at the age of 63.
If there was a Star Wars version of Coachella, some of the bands playing at the festival would be called Kessel Run DMC, Guided by Millions of Voices That Suddenly Cried Out in Terror and Were Suddenly Silenced, and C-3PO Speedwagon.
In December 1952, a thick smog settled over London for several days. This was a particularly bad episode of the London Fog, which was hardly a natural occurrence...the "fog" was mostly due to the burning of soft coal. It is now thought that the Great Smog resulted in around 12,000 deaths.
Here's a collection of photos of the smog, including this daytime shot.
That dim greyish-orange ball in the sky is the Sun.
This set of rules produces chaotic results in some settings, therefore you can end up with never repeating, gradually evolving sequences. Go add some cells, change their orientation by clicking on them, and press play, experiment, have fun.
The stores, they are a'changin' orig. from Apr 18, 2011
* Q: Wha? A: These previously published entries have been updated with new information in the last 24 hours. You can find past updates here.
On April 29th, Google is shutting down playback at Google Video. Instead of transitioning everything over to YouTube (which would seemingly make a lot of sense), they're just shutting it down with two weeks notice. If you're comfortable with the command line (can't they make this easier?), you can help archive.org save some of the best of Google Video. (via waxy)
Update: These photos were taken by Camilo Jose Vergara; there are many more like them at his web site. (thx, andrew)
Pitch-perfect take-off of BBC's Human Planet nature series. The subject is The Douche, an urban-dwelling bottom feeder.
Among the progressive forward-thinking citizens, there stands a great cancer, a type of human that is not evolved like the rest of the race: The Douche. For the poor Douche, hunting is still its main priority. This type of human does not hunt for food; they are consistently trying to find their own self esteem.
Human Planet is a pretty great show, but I would love to see an entire series like this: Soccer Moms, The Hipster, Nerds, Trophy Wives, Eurotrash, The Academic, etc. (via devour)
Starting April 29, the IFC Center in NYC will start showing Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D. A refresher on the film:
The visionary director of Grizzly Man leads us on an unforgettable journey 32,000 years back in time to explore the earliest known images made by human hands. Discovered in 1994, France's Chauvet caves contain the rarest of the world's historic treasures, restricted to only a handful of researchers. Granted once-in-a-lifetime access and filming in 3D, Herzog captures the beauty of a truly awe-inspiring place, while musing in his inimitable fashion about its original inhabitants, the birth of art and the curious people surrounding the caves today.
Herzog first heard of the Chauvet caves from this Judith Thurman piece in the New Yorker.
Spike Jonze caught a collaboration between dancer Lil Buck and cellist Yo-Yo Ma on video the other day:
Kubrick's lost first film orig. from Apr 15, 2011
* Q: Wha? A: These previously published entries have been updated with new information in the last 24 hours. You can find past updates here.
In the next two and a half weeks, Spain's two best soccer teams -- FC Barcelona and Real Madrid -- play each other four times. There was today's regular season La Liga game, April 20's Copa del Rey final, and then two semifinal games in the Champions League, the European championship. As Mike Madden said on Twitter:
Barça-Madrid 4 times in 18 days. Would be like if Michigan and Ohio State played every week for a month, and everyone in U.S. was an alum.
It's coming out November, has 50 recipes from me, and whole bunch of awesome recommendations for the best food around the country.
The title is Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are and it's available for preorder on Amazon.
Now, I'm not here to judge anyone, but I'm totally judging: this is insane. A gender cake party goes like this:
My husband and I would like to do a cake party to find out the sex of our baby. So basically we will have the ultrasound tech put the sex of the baby in an enveloppe and we will give that enveloppe to our cake maker. The inside of the cake will either be pink or blue so when we cut into it our family, friends, as well as ourselves will find out what were having. We planned on having our close family and freinds over for this big moment....sounds lovely right?
Stanley Kubrick's first feature-length film was called Fear and Desire and copies of it are hard to come by these days -- very few prints exist and it is unavailable on DVD or even VHS. But there's a copy available on Google Video, billed as "the most uncut print" available.
As my friend Adriana said, "to explain this would be to spoil it".
This is kind of amazing: a nearly neverending Pac-Man maze constructed by the players.
You pick a starting maze and instead of the exits taking you to the opposite site of the current maze, it takes you to an adjacent maze. (via @davidfg)
Cute baby animal pix are fine for your daily squee! but for some real gravitas, check out these photos of elderly animals by Isa Leshko.
Photographer Isa Leshko is traveling to sanctuaries across the country to photograph animals that are elderly or at the end stage of their lives. "I began the series as a means of exploring my feelings about my mother's decline due to Alzheimer's Disease," she says. "As I've worked on this project, though, I've come to realize that these images are a testament to survival and endurance. And they raise questions about what it means to be elderly."
The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden!
Business Insider has a pair of articles about what they say is the real story about the founding of Twitter. The first is a general outline of the unofficial history of the company versus what you generally hear from the company and its founders.
Glass insists that he is not Twitter's sole founder or anything like it. But he feels betrayed that his role has basically been expunged from Twitter history. He says Florian Webber doesn't get enough credit, either.
"Some people have gotten credit, some people haven't. The reality is it was a group effort. I didn't create Twitter on my own. It came out of conversations."
"I do know that without me, Twitter wouldn't exist. In a huge way."
The second is an interview with Noah Glass, who many people who were there at the beginning of the service consider one of the true cofounders of Twitter.
Jack [Dorsey] was someone who was one of the stars of the company and I got the impression he was unhappy with what he was working on. He was doing a lot of cleanup work on Odeo. He and I had become pretty close friends and were spending time together.
He started talking to me about this idea of status and how he was really interested in status. He developed this bicycle messenger status system in the past. I was trying to figure out what it was he found compelling about it. At the same time, we were looking at 'groups' models and how groups were formed and put a couple things together to look at this idea of status and to look at this idea of grouping and it sort of hit me - the idea for this product. This thing that would be called Twitter, what it would look like. This ad hoc grouping mechanism with non-realtime status updates all based on mobile phones.
There was a moment when I was sitting with Jack and I said, "Oh, I do see how this could really come together to make something really compelling." We were sitting on Mission St. in the car in the rain. We were going out and I was dropping him off and having this conversation. There was a moment where it all fit together for me.
We went back to Odeo and put together a team. A very separate working team, mostly it was myself, Jack, and Florian [Webber], a contractor. [Florian] was working from Germany at the time.
This wedding invite designed by Kelli Anderson has a 45 RPM record player built right into it.
The resulting booklet is comprised of a cover, two inner pages, a letterpressed band (with instructions and a tear-off RSVP postcard), and a flexdisc on a screwpost. The recipient bends the second page of the booklet back to create a tented "arm." With the needle placed, they then carefully spin the flexidisc at 45 RPM (ish) to hear the song. The sewing needle travels the length of the song and produces the sound. Its vibrations are amplified by the thin, snappy paper to which it is adhered. To keep the needle down on the record, we reinforced the back of the "tent" with a spray-mounted half page of heavier cardstock. To reduce friction between the acetate flexidisc and the backing cover, we had the inside of the booklet laminated to be slick and conducive to hand-spinning.
Jeff Smith was a Missouri State Senator who ended up in jail for a year; here's an account of his experience in the klink.
Before I was shown my new digs, the staff processed me. That meant going repeatedly through the standard battery of questions. The third questioner finished and sent me to a heavyset woman.
"Height and weight?" she asked.
She examined my slight frame and frowned. "Education level?"
I winced. "Ph.D."
She shot me a skeptical look. "Last profession?"
She rolled her eyes. "Well, I'll put it down if you want. If you wanna play games, play games. We got ones who think they're Jesus Christ, too."
On text2re.com, you can input some text you want to use a regular expression on, click on what you want to match, and it'll generate the regular expression for you.
This system acts as a regular expression generator. Instead of trying to build the regular expression, you start off with the string that you want to search. You paste this into the site, click submit and the site finds recognisable patterns in your string. You then select the patterns that you are interested in and it writes a fully fledged program that extracts those patterns from that string. You then copy the program into your editor or IDE and play with it to integrate it into your program.
This just totally broke my brain.
The Morning News has a piece today on KidZania, a theme park for kids where they work and buy stuff just like grown-ups.
But at the heart of the concept and the business of KidZania is corporate consumerism, re-staged for children whose parents pay for them to act the role of the mature consumer and employee. The rights to brand and help create activities at each franchise are sold off to real corporations, while KidZania's own marketing emphasizes the arguable educational benefits of the park.
Each child receives a bank account, an ATM card, a wallet, and a check for 50 KidZos (the park's currency). At the park's bank, which is staffed by adult tellers, kids can withdraw or deposit money they've earned through completing activities -- and the account remains even when they go home at the end of the day. A lot of effort goes into making the children repeat visitors of this Lilliputian city-state.
A US outpost of KidZania is coming sometime in 2013.
Andre Torrez says "complain about the way other people make software by making software".
Worse is when the the people doing the complaining also make software or web sites or iPhone applications themselves. As visible leaders of the web, I think there are a lot of folks who could do a favor to younger, less experienced people by setting an example of critiquing to raise up rather than critiquing to tear down.
If you're a well known web or app developer who complains a lot on Twitter about other people's projects, I am very likely talking about you. You and I both know that there are many reasons why something works a certain way or why something in the backend would affect the way something works on the front-end.
As part of his inventor portrait series, David Friedman profiled Steven Sasson, inventor of the digital camera.
NYC is getting a Space Shuttle! It's never actually been in space, but hey!
With the Discovery headed to the Smithsonian, the museum will no longer have need for the Enterprise, the shuttle that has been on display there since 2004. The Enterprise, which was used for early glide tests but was never sent into orbit, will now go the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan.
SC: Personally I was very surprised at your extensive knowledge of hip-hop songs. Particularly how you can sing '90s hip-hip songs word for word. I can't even do that! How does a girl from Spence discover hip-hop?
GP: I first was exposed to hip-hop when I was about 16 (1988) by some boys who went to collegiate. The Beastie Boys were sort of the way in for us preppie kids. We were into Public Enemy, Run-DMC and LL Cool J. But then I went to LA the summer between my junior and senior year of high school and I discovered N.W.A which became my obsession. I was fascinated by lyrics as rythym and how Dre had a such different cadence and perspective from say, Eazy-E, who I thought was one of the most ironic and brilliant voices hip-hop has ever had. It was an accident that I learned every word of Straight Outta Compton and to love something that a.) I had no real understanding of in terms of the culture that it was emanating from and b.) to love something that my parents literally could not grasp. But I was hooked. I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night but I could sing to you every single word of N.W.A's "Fuck Tha Police" or [Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's] "It Takes Two." Go figure.
And here's G Qing Z:
GP: You are the coolest man on Earth, how the f did you get like that?
SC: I'm around great women, starting with my mom. Women keep men cool. The hotter the chick the cooler the guy ... that sounds like a really bad rap line!
What a couple of huge cornballs! And I mean that in the best way possible.
The gender-specific colors we have today for kids -- pink for girls and blue for boys -- didn't come about until the 1940s...before that, pink was recommended as a color for boys.
But nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, to be published later this year. Thus we see, for example, a pink headband encircling the bald head of an infant girl.
Why have young children's clothing styles changed so dramatically? How did we end up with two "teams" -- boys in blue and girls in pink?
"It's really a story, what happened to neutral clothing," says Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children's clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. "What was once a matter of practicality -- you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached-became a matter of 'Oh my God, if I dress my babies in the wrong thing, they'll grow up perverted,'" Paoletti says.
It is nearly impossible, even in NYC, to find girls clothes that are not pink unless you pay through the nose for imported European kids clothes. See also vocabulary in boys and girls toy advertising. (via megnut, who is fighting to keep our kids in gender neutral clothing)
This movie shows all displayable Unicode characters (49000+ characters), one per frame, for more than 33 minutes.
Steven Soderbergh recently shared a list of all the movies, books, TV shows, plays, and short stories he watched and read over the past year. Among the movies he watched were The Social Network (at least five times), Raiders of the Lost Ark (three times in one week), Network, Idiocracy, and both worthwhile Godfather films. (via studio 360)
The motions of a Brazilian textile plant set to a classical music soundtrack.
Someone at Yahoo Answers posted the first page of Infinite Jest with the title "First page of my book. what do you think?" The crowd was not impressed:
No discernible voice/tone in this writing. Rambling descriptions. I, frankly, do not care where each and every person is seated. I don't care what shoe you're wearing. If you take out all the unnecessary details, you'd be left with about seven words.
See also what happens when a photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson gets critiqued on Flickr.
to better show a sense of movement SOMETHING has to be in sharp focus
A dad shares his list of what good toddler iPhone/iPad apps should do and not do.
Move all settings out of the app. For iOS at least, you can move settings out of the app and into the general settings window. Please do this because toddlers are drawn to your little setting icons, and they a) destroy the flow of the app and b) the toddler will change all of them and put the app into an annoying state, e.g. in another language, too hard for them, etc.
An examination of Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day, one of my favorite books to read with Ollie.
However I am just as impressed but the extent in which Scarry's work has in fact not dated very much at all. While the book covers an almost bafflingly broad range of occupations and includes sections on the extraction and transformation of raw materials, there is one notable omission: large-scale manufacturing. And without industry, from a Western perspective the book seems in fact almost presciently current. Some of the jobs the author describes have evolved, very few of them have all but disappeared (you can't easily bump into a blacksmith, much less one who sells tractors); the texture of our cities has changed and those little shops have given way to larger chain stores; but by and large we still do the things that occupy Scarry's anthropomorphic menagerie: we fix the sewers and serve the meals and cut down the trees and drive the trucks and cultivate the land and so forth. It's almost as if Scarry made a conscious effort to draw only the jobs that could not be outsourced overseas, and had thus future-proofed the book for his domestic audience.
For the fight scenes in The Fighter, the producers hired a film crew that shoots real fights for HBO...and they shot all the fight scenes in three days instead of the industry standard 35 days. Here's Mark Wahlberg, the film's star and producer:
And what I kept telling everybody is that HBO does it in one take and they don't know what's going to happen and they never miss a thing. We have the luxury of showing them what we're going to do in the morning before we shoot it and doing it over and over and over again. So why do you need 20 days? For what? To jerk each other off? To touch up your makeup? To go in the trailer and take a nap?
We're not talking about putting the camera in there and saying, "OK, we're going to do a stunt punch here." No, we're going in there and beat the shit out of each other and we're going to make it real.
Another thing they love is magic -- and recent culinary discoveries have opened up extraordinary possibilities for the chef to serve things that the customers had never thought were possible. Foods that change temperature when you eat them, a cup of tea that is cold on one side and hot on the other, an edible menu, a "Styrofoam" beaker that turns into a bowl of ramen when the server pours hot water over it, edible clay and rocks, a pocket watch that turns into mock-turtle soup, a bar of soap covered in foam that is actually a biscuit with honey bubbles, a milkshake volcano -- these are the kinds of thing with which the modernist chefs amaze their audience.
From Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
"Marshmallow pillows are terrific," shouted Mr. Wonka as he dashed by. "They'll be all the rage when I get them into the shops! No time to go in, though! No time to go in!"
Lickable Wallpaper for Nurseries, it said on the next door.
"Lovely stuff, lickable wallpaper!" cried Mr. Wonka, rushing past. "It has pictures of fruits on it -- bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, and snozzberries..."
"Snozzberries?" said Mike Teevee. "Don't interrupt!" said Mr. Wonka. "The wallpaper has all these pictures of all these fruits printed on it, and when you lick the picture of the banana, it tastes of banana. When you lick a strawberry, it tastes of strawberry. And when you lick a snozzberry, it tastes just exactly like a snozzberry..."
"But what does a snozzberry taste like?"
"You're mumbling again," said Mr. Wonka. "Speak louder next time. On we go. Hurry up!"
Hot Ice Cream for Cold Days, it said on the next door.
"Extremely useful in the winter," said Mr. Wonka, rushing on. "Hot ice cream warms you up no end in freezing weather. I also make hot ice cubes for putting in hot drinks. Hot ice cubes make hot drinks hotter."
That's how Clockwords bills itself...you try words containing the available letters to shoot badguys coming your way. More fun than it sounds, especially for Boggle/Scrabble nerds.
Atari's Greatest Hits is a free iOS game that come bundled with Pong and the option to purchase 99 more classic arcade and 2600 games. Available games include Tempest, Missle Command, Crystal Castles, Centipede, and Asteroids, some of which are multiplayer over Bluetooth. (via df)
That's the title of a talk given by Austin Kleon on how to do good creative work. Most of it is of the no-nonsense "don't worry and just work" variety of which I am a big fan.
9. Be boring. It's the only way to get work done.
As Flaubert said, "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."
I'm a boring guy with a 9-5 job who lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife and his dog.
That whole romantic image of the bohemian artist doing drugs and running around and sleeping with everyone is played out. It's for the superhuman and the people who want to die young.
The thing is: art takes a lot of energy to make. You don't have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.
Scientists at Fermilab have found a "suspicious bump" in their data from the Tevatron that may indicate the discovery of a new particle (not the Higgs boson) or a new force of nature or a mistake.
"Nobody knows what this is," said Christopher Hill, a theorist at Fermilab who was not part of the team. "If it is real, it would be the most significant discovery in physics in half a century."
We won't have to wait too long to see if the bump is real...the LHC will reveal all soon.
From the UK newspaper, The Independent, a list of fifty books every eleven year old should read.
Knowing nothing about cricket, ESPN.com writer Wright Thompson heads for India to watch the 2011 Cricket World Cup and discovers he's a fan but that India's relationship with the sport is changing.
"The aggression, the brashness," says Bhattacharya, the cricket writer turned novelist. "It's now something which Indians see that this is what we have to do to assert our place in the world. We've been f---ed over for thousands of years. Everyone has conquered us. Now we're finding our voice. We're the fastest-growing economy in the world. We are going to buy your companies. Our cricket team is like going to f---ing abuse you back, and we're going to win and we're going to shout in your face after we win. People love that."
See also How To Explain the Rules of Cricket.
OpenStreetBlock is an open web service developed by Michael Frumin that converts lat/log coordinates to plain English location names.
OpenStreetBlock is a web service for turning a given lat/lon coordinate (e.g. 40.737813,-73.997887) into a textual description of the actual city block to which the coordinate points (e.g. "West 14th Street bet. 6th Ave. & 7th Ave") using OpenStreetMap data.
There are likely many applications for such a service. It should be quite useful any time you might need to succinctly describe a given location without using a map.
A portion of David Foster Wallace's personal library now resides at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Maria Bustillos visited the Center and discovered clues to Wallace's depression scribbled in the margins of several self-help books the writer owned and very carefully read.
One surprise was the number of popular self-help books in the collection, and the care and attention with which he read and reread them. I mean stuff of the best-sellingest, Oprah-level cheesiness and la-la reputation was to be found in Wallace's library. Along with all the Wittgenstein, Husserl and Borges, he read John Bradshaw, Willard Beecher, Neil Fiore, Andrew Weil, M. Scott Peck and Alice Miller. Carefully.
Much of Wallace's work has to do with cutting himself back down to size, and in a larger sense, with the idea that cutting oneself back down to size is a good one, for anyone (q.v., the Kenyon College commencement speech, later published as This is Water). I left the Ransom Center wondering whether one of the most valuable parts of Wallace's legacy might not be in persuading us to put John Bradshaw on the same level with Wittgenstein. And why not; both authors are human beings who set out to be of some use to their fellows. It can be argued, in fact, that getting rid of the whole idea of special gifts, of the exceptional, and of genius, is the most powerful current running through all of Wallace's work.
Marie Mundaca designed a few of David Foster Wallace's books, including The Pale King.
As it turned out, it was too distracting and sad for me to read while I was designing it. Wallace's tiny, pointy notes were all over the manuscript copy, mostly name changes and corrections and small additions. One character, Elise Prout, used to be a "G3," and a phrase that said "been squashed like a cartoon character" was changed to "worn the brown helmet." His notes reminded me of the post-it notes that would come back to me on galley pages of the essay "Host" from Consider the Lobster -- notes that said things like "Totally bitchingly great" -- and I remembered that I no longer lived in a world where David Foster Wallace was alive.
From Longform.org, an Instapaper-able list of 2011 National Magazine Awards finalists in feature writing, reporting, profile writing, public interest, essays, criticism, and personal service. I've read some of these...lots of good stuff in there. (via ★whileseated)
Turns out there's not so much learning on The Learning Channel anymore.
Fake shows from the video: 12 Wives, 12 Problems; Dwarf Hoarders; Uterus Cannon; and Hasty Home Surgery.
Real TLC shows: 19 Kids and Counting; Strange Sex; Extreme Couponing; and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. (via ★dansays)
If you liked Daft Punk's Tron Legacy soundtrack, you might like Tron Legacy R3CONF1GUR3D with remixes by Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, and M83. It's just out today and I haven't listen to it yet, so caveat emptor.
And that's saying something. But look at this gem of a thread: I like big butts and I cannot lie, but is there some evolutionary reason as to why? Some of the answers:
My homeboys tried to warn me, but that butt you got makes me so confident of your current well-being and future child-rearing potential
So, ladies! (Yeah!) Ladies (Yeah!)
If you wanna roll in my Mercedes (Yeah!)
Then turn around! Stick it out! Even white boys have to make sure that their partner is of high genetic caliber so they can pass on their genes successfully.
My anaconda don't want none unless you have a high likelihood of producing healthy offspring with a minimal chance of genetic disabilities, hun.
My vacation reading: Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens by Mark Lamster.
Peter Paul Rubens gives us a lot to think about in his canvasses of rushing color, action, and puckered flesh, so it's not surprising that his work as a diplomat and spy has been neglected. One of my goals in writing Master of Shadows was to fill that gap in the record. Here, after all, is an actual Old Master using actual secret codes, dodging assassination, plotting the overthrow of foreign governments, and secretly negotiating for world peace.
Certainly, a biographer could not ask for a more compelling subject. Rubens was a charismatic man of extraordinary learning, fluent in six languages, who made a fortune from his art. He never fit the paradigm of the artist as a self-destructive figure at odds with convention. More than one of his contemporaries actually thought his skill as a statesman surpassed his unmatched talent before an easel.
Art history page-turner? Yep.
A fascinating story by David Grann in the New Yorker about a pair of political assassinations in Guatemala that aren't what they first seemed.
As Rosenberg dug deeper into the subterranean world of Guatemalan politics, he told friends that he had begun receiving threats himself. One day, Mendizábal says, Rosenberg gave him a phone number to write down -- it was the number that showed up on his caller I.D. when he received the threats.
Rosenberg told friends that his apartment was under surveillance, and that he was being followed. “Whenever he got into the car, he was looking over his shoulder,” his son Eduardo recalled. From his apartment window, Rosenberg could look across the street and see an office where Gustavo Alejos, President Colom’s private secretary, often worked. Rosenberg told Mendizábal that Alejos had called him and warned him to stop investigating the Musas’ murders, or else the same thing might happen to him. Speaking to Musa’s business manager, Rosenberg said of the powerful people he was investigating, “They are going to kill me.” He had a will drawn up.
Anything by Grann is becoming a must-read at this point. (via someone on Twitter, I forget who (sorry!))
One of the special effects artists who worked on Tron Legacy shares the effects that he and his team did for the film.
In Tron, the hacker was not supposed to be snooping around on a network; he was supposed to kill a process. So we went with posix kill and also had him pipe ps into grep. I also ended up using emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t. The team was delighted to see my emacs performance -- splitting the editor into nested panes and running different modes. I was tickled that I got emacs into a block buster movie.
Little, Brown timed the release of David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel, The Pale King, to coincide with tax day in the United States because the book revolves around activities at the IRS. But Amazon and other bookstores have already started selling the book...it's been on sale since March 22 actually. Amazon has copies of the book in stock (I ordered mine yesterday)...your local bookstore might as well.
But in a move that's either clever or stupid, the ebook version of the book isn't available for the Kindle or for iBooks until April 15. Is this a ploy to get people to buy more hardcover copies? Or just sort of a "we didn't really think about this" situation?
Who knows if this is even going to be any good...I'm just posting this to annoy David again.