Genetic portraits AUG 31
Ulric Collette's Genetic Portraits series features combined photos of family members (father/son, mother/daughter, etc.) that emphasize the facial similarities between them.
Ulric Collette's Genetic Portraits series features combined photos of family members (father/son, mother/daughter, etc.) that emphasize the facial similarities between them.
Physicist Jason Steffen has discovered a possible method for getting passengers onto airplanes twice as fast as the usual method.
The fastest method is one of Steffen's own design: boarding alternating rows at the same time, starting with the window seats. The secret, he says, is that it leaves passengers elbow room to stow their luggage at the same time.
Even random boarding is faster than the back-to-front boarding the airlines currently use. (via jcn)
Now that the US Open is in full, wait for it, swing, a pair of articles about tennis. First, an account of last year's epic three-day Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.
Both players, clearly, were serving well. But their ground strokes were near-perfect, too. They made almost no mistakes. Isner remembers feeling so happy with his game that "it's hard to explain. I never thought about technique. I had no dark thoughts in my mind. I was just swinging away and the balls were going in - no matter if it was a big point, or whatever. It was crazy."
Mahut, meanwhile, recalls an almost spiritual dimension to his play. "When we got into the money-time at 6-6 [he says 'money-time' in English], there was only John, myself, and my team. No one else. I didn't hear the crowd. There was only the present time. I didn't think about the point before, or the point after. I just stayed in the moment. I had absolutely no fear. The level of focus and awareness I had was so high. Normally, you don't keep up for a long time. But that moment - I kept it for a long time."
Mahut's enjoyment, he says, was triggered by more than competition. After the many frustrations in his career, his pleasure came from fulfilling his potential. In this regard, his experience recalls Jean Bobet, the French cyclist of the 1950s, who wrote about experiencing "La Volupte" - the rare and sensual state of perfect riding. "La Volupte," wrote Bobet, "is delicate, intimate, and ephemeral. It arrives, it takes hold of you, sweeps you up then leaves you again. It is for you alone. It is a combination of speed and ease, force and grace. It is pure happiness."
How did it feel, to play tennis like that? "It was the biggest moment of my life," says Mahut, gravely. "It was magical."
And then, from Grantland, a piece by Brian Phillips about "the long autumn" of Roger Federer. The once near-magical Swiss, his best days behind him, is now merely the third best player in the world...but is also still really really good, hanging onto his greatness longer than he should maybe?
Roger Federer has spent longer as a "still" athlete than any great player I can remember. You could even argue that it's one of the signs of his greatness. Other top players hit the "still" moment, hang around for a little longer, and then whoosh, they're gone, broken up into memorial clips and Hall of Fame inductions, classic rock bands who've sold their copyrights. Federer, after three straight years of diminished results -- 11 to 12 singles titles a year from 2004 to 2006, then eight in 2007, and four to five every year since -- is ... well, still really amazing. He's still near his best, which means he's still playing some of the best tennis the world has ever seen. If anything, he's improved his serve to compensate for what's maybe been a slight decline in his movement and shot-making -- although, as McEnroe pointed out during the French Open, his movement is "still great." Heading into Wimbledon, historically his best tournament, he warmed up at the French by sensationally ending Djokovic's 41-match winning streak and playing as well as Paris has ever seen him play against Nadal.
But because he's been "still great" for so long -- because we keep seeing the end coming, even if it never actually comes -- Federer has also acquired an aura of weird sadness over the past few years that's hard to reconcile with the way we used to think about him.
Speaking of sports, Grantland, and Federer, Bill Simmons said of Lionel Messi earlier this year that "he's better at soccer than anyone else is at anything". That's a pretty short list but got me wondering, if you expanded the criteria slightly, who else might join Messi on the "better at their sport than almost anyone else is at anything at some point in the past 5-6 years". Off the top of my head, possible candidates include Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods, Marta, Shaun White, Jimmie Johnson, and Annika Sörenstam. I don't know much about hockey, but maybe Alex Ovechkin? No basketball, baseball, or football players on that list; Michael Jordan and Barry Bonds are the most recent candidates in basketball and baseball (please, don't give me any of that LeBron crap) and I can't think of any football player over the past 20 years who might fit the bill. Barry Sanders maybe? His team never won a lot of games and didn't win championships, but man he was a genius runner.
This is what we do in America: instead of fixing expensive household machinery, we destroy it on video and put the results up on YouTube. It's our gladiatorial pastime.
You'll want to click away from this about halfway through (boring!) but stick with it until the end; it gets a lot better suddenly. (via stellar)
Update: Well, so much for being clever. This video was filmed in the UK, not the US. Perhaps I should have said "what we do in the first world" instead?
A couple dances their way through 100 years of fashion, from 1911 to 2011.
This is a fun little toy to play around with: a recursive branching algorithm with tons of tweakable options. I made this cute little guy:
Great annotated list by Dennis Crowley of places that contributed to the creation of Foursquare.
Foursquare (and it's predecessor, dodgeball.com) were designed and built in downtown NYC. Here's a walking tour of where a lot of the ideas came from.
As Steven Johnson said, this is a "case study in how urban space fosters innovation".
From the Feb 1982 issue of Atlantic Monthly, an article by Edward Jay Epstein on how diamonds became so popular and so valuable.
By 1941, The advertising agency reported to [De Beers] that it had already achieved impressive results in its campaign. The sale of diamonds had increased by 55 percent in the United States since 1938, reversing the previous downward trend in retail sales. N. W. Ayer noted also that its campaign had required "the conception of a new form of advertising which has been widely imitated ever since. There was no direct sale to be made. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public mind. There was simply an idea -- the eternal emotional value surrounding the diamond." It further claimed that "a new type of art was devised ... and a new color, diamond blue, was created and used in these campaigns.... "
In its 1947 strategy plan, the advertising agency strongly emphasized a psychological approach. "We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to ... strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring -- to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services...." It defined as its target audience "some 70 million people 15 years and over whose opinion we hope to influence in support of our objectives." N. W. Ayer outlined a subtle program that included arranging for lecturers to visit high schools across the country. "All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions," the agency explained in a memorandum to De Beers. The agency had organized, in 1946, a weekly service called "Hollywood Personalities," which provided 125 leading newspapers with descriptions of the diamonds worn by movie stars. And it continued its efforts to encourage news coverage of celebrities displaying diamond rings as symbols of romantic involvement. In 1947, the agency commissioned a series of portraits of "engaged socialites." The idea was to create prestigious "role models" for the poorer middle-class wage-earners. The advertising agency explained, in its 1948 strategy paper, "We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer's wife and the mechanic's sweetheart say 'I wish I had what she has.'"
It's fascinating to watch the advertising beast change its tactics as the diamond monopoly's needs shift with new supply, new markets, and unexpected success.
This is beautiful:
I combined everyday soap bubbles with exotic ferrofluid liquid to create an eerie tale, using macro lenses and time lapse techniques. Black ferrofluid and dye race through bubble structures, drawn through by the invisible forces of capillary action and magnetism.
This one is mostly for my wife, who gleefully mocks TV infomerical actors who have trouble flipping a simple pancake or operating a mop.
Wow. Someone is making a video game featuring the original Super Mario Bros worlds but Mario is outfitted with a Portal gun. Watch the demo:
More information on the game's development is here.
Yes, this is an actual game being developed - it is not a mod of any existing one. It's coded with L"ove (info at the bottom of the left menu) and will be released for free (so we don't get stabbed by lawyers)
All the source code of the game will be available after release
The game will have mappacks, which will be downloadable from ingame. Users most likely won't be able to publish maps directly, but will be able to send them in and we'll add them for everyone to use.
The primary maps will have a story and some portaly puzzles. What kind, well, we'll figure that out as we go
Level editor will be embedded in the game so you can edit the level while you play
Original SMB levels and Lost levels will be included
The New York Philharmonic, joined by Philip Glass himself, will perform the score for Koyaanisqatsi while the film is projected on a screen above the stage.
Lose yourself in Philip Glass's powerful music for the 1982 Godfrey Reggio film Koyaanisqatsi: A Life Out Of Balance, performed live by the Philharmonic and the Philip Glass Ensemble, as the landmark film is projected on a huge screen above the Avery Fisher Hall stage.
There will be two performances, Nov 2 and Nov 3 at 7:30pm at Avery Fisher Hall. There are still tons of great seats available, but get 'em while you can. Excited!
There's been a lot written about Steve Jobs in the past week, a lot of it worthy of reading, but one piece you probably didn't see is David Galbraith's piece on Jobs' similarity to architect Norman Foster. The essay is a bit all over the place, which replicates the experience of talking to David in person, but it's littered with insight and goodness (ditto).
The answer is what might be called the sand pile model and it operated at Apple and Fosters, the boss sits independently from the structural hierarchy, to some extent, and can descend at random on a specific element at will. The boss maintains control of the overall house style by cleaning up the edges at the same time as having a vision for the whole, like trying to maintain a sand pile by scooping up the bits that fall off as it erodes in the wind. This is the hidden secret of design firms or prolific artists, the ones where journalists or historians agonize whether a change in design means some new direction when it just means that there was a slip up in maintaining the sand pile.
And I love this paragraph, which integrates Foster, Jobs, the Soviet Union, Porsche, Andy Warhol, Lady Gaga, and even an unspoken Coca-Cola into an extended analogy:
Perfecting the model of selling design that is compatible with big business, Foster simultaneously grew one of the largest architecture practices in the world while still winning awards for design excellence. The secret was to design buildings like the limited edition, invite only Porsches that Foster drove and fellow Porsche drivers would commission them. Jobs went further, however, he managed to create products that were designed like Porsches and made them available to everyone, via High Tech that transcended stylistic elements. An Apple product really was high technology and its form followed function, it went beyond the Porsche analogy by being truly fit for purpose in a way that a Porsche couldn't, being a car designed for a speed that you weren't allowed to drive. Silicon Valley capitalism had arguably delivered what the Soviets had dreamed of and failed, modernism for the masses. An iPhone really is the best phone you can buy at any price. To paraphrase Andy Warhol: Lady Gaga uses an iPhone, and just think, you can have an iPhone too. An iPhone is an iPhone and no amount of money can get you a better phone. This was what American modernism was about.
* Q: Wha? A: These previously published entries have been updated with new information in the last 24 hours. You can find past updates here.
Fantastic account by Nicholas Schmidle in the New Yorker about how the US located and subsequently killed Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad safehouse.
One month before the 2008 Presidential election, Obama, then a senator from Illinois, squared off in a debate against John McCain in an arena at Belmont University, in Nashville. A woman in the audience asked Obama if he would be willing to pursue Al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan, even if that meant invading an ally nation. He replied, “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable, or unwilling, to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national-security priority.” McCain, who often criticized Obama for his naïveté on foreign-policy matters, characterized the promise as foolish, saying, “I’m not going to telegraph my punches.”
Schmidle says he wasn't able to interview any of the 23 Navy SEALs involved in the mission itself. Instead, he said, he relied on the accounts of others who had debriefed the men.
But a casual reader of the article wouldn't know that; neither the article nor an editor's note describes the sourcing for parts of the story. Schmidle, in fact, piles up so many details about some of the men, such as their thoughts at various times, that the article leaves a strong impression that he spoke with them directly.
The SEALs, he writes of the raid's climactic moment, "instantly sensed that it was Crankshaft," the mission's name for bin Laden, implying that the SEALs themselves had conveyed this impression to him.
Although calling it a conspiracy probably goes a little too far...mentioning the JFK assassination when writing of the US government is like Godwin's law in online discussions. (thx, everyone)
Sorry about all those exclamation points but I just love this:
Perfect for your "Jabba goes to the Cantina" cosplay needs. (via mlkshk)
Update: Amazon is all sold out, but you can find the trays here as well.
Michael Lewis continues his financial tour of the world with a stop in Germany. What, he asks, will the Germans do about the weakening financial situation in Europe and, more to Lewis' point, why will they do it?
The deputy finance minister further disturbs my wild assumptions about him by speaking clearly, even recklessly, about subjects most finance ministers believe it is their job to obscure. He offers up, without much prompting, that he has just finished reading the latest unpublished report by I.M.F. investigators on the progress made by the Greek government in reforming itself.
"They have not sufficiently implemented the measures they have promised to implement," he says simply. "And they have a massive problem still with revenue collection. Not with the tax law itself. It's the collection which needs to be overhauled."
Greeks are still refusing to pay their taxes, in other words. But it is only one of many Greek sins. "They are also having a problem with the structural reform. Their labor market is changing-but not as fast as it needs to," he continues. "Due to the developments in the last 10 years, a similar job in Germany pays 55,000 euros. In Greece it is 70,000." To get around pay restraints in the calendar year the Greek government simply paid employees a 13th and even 14th monthly salary-months that didn't exist. "There needs to be a change of the relationship between people and the government," he continues. "It is not a task that can be done in three months. You need time." He couldn't put it more bluntly: if the Greeks and the Germans are to coexist in a currency union, the Greeks need to change who they are.
Here's his final post. Not quite Jobsian, but Slashdot had a big influence in shaping early online media. Interestingly, he's given up his posting rights to the site completely.
The internet has changed dramatically since I started here, and that's part of my reason for leaving. For me, the Slashdot of today is fused to the Slashdot of the past. This makes it really hard to objectively consider the future of the site. While my corporate overlords and I haven't seen eye to eye on every decision in the last decade, I am certain that Jeff Drobick and the other executives at Geeknet will do their best. I am unquestionably confident in the abilities of the Slashdot editors and engineers -- some of whom have been here just short of forever. They have proven themselves in the best and worst of conditions to be capable and dedicated.
As part of my resignation, after this story appears I will lose the ability to post. For me, this is the most bitter pill to swallow. Posting stories has always been my favorite part of the job. I created Slashdot to share these stories with my friends from IRC and school. It was never 'work'. Now I will have to go cold turkey. I'm walking away from the soapbox I built. I wish I could continue to post stories forever, but those closest to me know that if I maintained the ability to post, I'd never move on. I'll continue to read Slashdot and hopefully my occasional story submissions will make the cut.
From the press release:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
This can't be good news regarding his health. I hope I'm wrong. Good luck, Steve...you've been a great inspiration to me.
There's just so much science, nature, music, arts, technology, storytelling and assorted good stuff out there that my kids (and maybe your kids) haven't seen. It's most likely not stuff that was made for them...
But we don't underestimate kids around here.
With obvious exceptions, media "made for kids" is mindnumbingly dumb. YouTube, Flickr, and Vimeo are amazing resources of not-made-for-kids but totally-appropriate-for-kids stuff like what Rion is posting here. I've often wanted a Wikipedia For Little Kids (for the iPad) that's almost exclusively video- and image-based that I could let Ollie loose on to learn about stuff. (via @swissmiss)
The Internet Archive has collected thousands of hours of TV news coverage from September 11, 2001 and the following days.
The 9/11 Television News Archive is a library of news coverage of the events of 9/11/2001 and their aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, it presents one week of news broadcasts for study, research and analysis.
Television is our pre-eminent medium of information, entertainment and persuasion, but until now it has not been a medium of record. This Archive attempts to address this gap by making TV news coverage of this critical week in September 2001 available to those studying these events and their treatment in the media.
An amazing resource. But God, that's hard to watch.
Loving this new Trillwave 2 mix from The Hood Internet.
If you like that, here's the first Trillwave mix.
Watch the sheet music go by as Miles Davis and his bandmates play So What.
This afternoon, an earthquake hit Virginia between Charlottesville and Richmond. It measured 5.9 on the Richter scale. For an earthquake, that's in the "moderate" range but for an East Coast earthquake, it's quite unusual. A look at the historical data for the eastern US states shows that this is the biggest quake to hit this coast since 1897 (a 5.9 in VA) and the second biggest of all time (well, since they started recording such things) after a 7.3 that hit South Carolina in 1886.
This photo was taken by a camera made almost entirely out of Legos:
Even the lens is homemade; it's just plexiglass ground into shape with fine-grit sandpaper. I misunderstood: the lens is store-bought but the focusing screen is made of plexi. (via ★alexandra)
From designers Lars Marcus Vedeler and Theo Tveterås, a 3-D sculpture of the Windows Solitaire "bouncing cards" win screen:
It's been great posting for you all the last week+! Thanks for the good times. I couldn't pick just one video for you tonight, so here are 3. Watch them all, but not at the same time.
This one makes me tense.
This one was filmed in 8 hours in Brooklyn. Pretty, pretty, pretty.
This one was filmed AND edited in 4 hours in Boston. (I love everything Paper Fortress does.)
I missed this last summer when it went around originally, but all of Questlove's celebrity stories are collected here. I had to post it at the end of the day because if this is relevant to your interests, and I think it may be, it's going to run roughshod over your productivity.
thing is...i know they brought me in for the freakish factor. but only dave bothered to ask me what do i do in real life....so when i told him he was shocked like "wait you are an established artist?" even funnier was the reference "so if this like us picking up george clintons bass player thinking we got a random freaky guy and we messed around and got an icon?"---i was flattered and said "lets hope you still feel that way when its time for my album to come out"
I'm pretty sure the Eddie Murphy story features Prince, but it's too long to even excerpt.
i "organixed" the shit outta phil in 97 at the grammies when i told him some geek shit like you and stevie wonder are the best ride cymbal crashers in modern rock after bonham. i told him "do you know do you care" shows that example in his cymbal work. man i made his day with that one.
I'm telling you, the whole site is gold. Read everything.
For more Questlove awesome, see his recent interview on Pitchfork. Read everything there, too. It's great.
Not completely sure what's happening here, but what a gorgeous way to spend 30 seconds on a Monday afternoon.
Years ago, before this type of activity was frowned upon, scientists sent 2 groups of 11 and 12 year-old boys to live in separate sections of an Eastern Oklahoma camp. The boys didn't know about each other at first, and they quickly developed independent social hierarchies and social codes. One group named themselves the Rattlers. The other group didn't pick a name until after the groups discovered each other. They chose the Eagles, an animal that eats snakes. The scientists ratcheted up the competition between the two groups, eventually losing control of the experiment as the boys were executing violent raids on each others' camps. The scientists finally separated the camps before someone got killed, but not before documenting some interesting concepts of how groups form social norms and how they react to others they perceive as different.
What's fascinating to me, and the reason I'm posting, is this study seems to be closely related to Lord of the Flies, but the book was published in 1954, the same year as the study. I wasn't able to find any discussion of which came first and whether they informed each other at all.
(Via You Are Not So Smart)
John Hodgman has the details and release dates for his "FINAL BOOK OF COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE", That Is All.
YOU WILL SOON start to see changes in both design and mood that will reflect the dark, apocalyptic vision of my book, which deals with the very last information you need to know before the coming global superpocalypse called RAGNAROK, plus some information on WINE and SPORTS.
Nice profile of BERG in the NY Times by Alice Rawsthorn.
Berg and its peers use design in the traditional way as a tool in the translation process, but they have also developed new means of enabling people to engage with technology, and to feel confident about using it. Mostly Berg does so by making complex technologies seem playful and humorous.
This chart shows former and future superheroes by movie. That is, George Clooney played Batman, so Out of Sight gets a Batman, along with another Batman for Micheal Keaton, and a Nick Fury for Sam Jackson. Lots of movies have 4 superheroes, though none on this chart have 5. Click through, you'll understand. If you want to see how they all fit together, he's made that chart, too. Raynor, you may raymember, also made the Harry Potter wizards in other movies chart.
HBO recently released a documentary about real-life superheroes. The trailer is below. It reminded me of the fascinating Rolling Stone article about Master Legend, but I can't find it on their site because Rolling Stone doesn't believe the internet needs to see old articles.
Lastly, I'd be remiss not to mention Petsaresuperhero.es, a project I put together with a friend. You know your pet's a superhero, now you can show the world.
Skyliners Paris trailer orig. from Aug 20, 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.
I'd been looking for something to post to say goodnight, so it was good that Rogre sent something over. It's a fitting way to end the weekend considering it features Killian Martin and Danny MacAskill (featured here earlier in the week). The video is goofy and not as jaw-droppingly jaw-dropping as their solo videos, but they do seem to be doing their thing in a fancy theater the name of which I should know. This reminds me of the commercials where the sneaker commercials get ALL of their athletes into one commercial.
Huitlacoche (pronounced weet-la-KOH-chay) is a fungus, called corn smut in the US, that has recently become something of a delicacy. "Before, it was seen as a food of the poor. Now it's the food of the rich," following the same track as lobster. The cultivation of huitlacoche is growing dramatically, as an infected stock sells for more than a normal corn cob. The flavor is described as earthy and unique, perhaps most similar to a mushroom.
In recent decades -- before huitlacoche really took off -- the fungus largely was sauteed with garlic, onions and poblano chile strips and served by street vendors in quesadillas, folded-over corn tortillas. Then cooks realized its flavor would make nearly any dish sensational. Restaurants sometimes offer it with beef, fish, in crepes with chipotle sauce, with eggs, in cream soups or with shrimp.
I would like to eat corn smut.
(Via Balloon Juice)
In this week's NY Times Magazine, Maud Newton tells us why she doesn't like David Foster Wallace's writing and blames DFW for the voice of the internet being too familiar. Maybe she's not actually doing this, but the whole thing is really sort of annoying, too, because to me, it kind of seems like she kind of uses all of the DFW tropes she's railing against. Then again, who am I, anyway? (Those previous 2 sentences are an example of the internet writing Newton claims DFW inspired. I think I'm a master and I probably should have written the whole post in this style.) I think I missed the point, Ms. Newton, I'm a lesser thinker.
Of course, Wallace's slangy approachability was part of his appeal, and these quirks are more than compensated for by his roving intelligence and the tireless force of his writing. The trouble is that his style is also, as Dyer says, "catching, highly infectious." And if, even from Wallace, the aw-shucks, I-could-be-wrong-here, I'm-just-a-supersincere-regular-guy-who-happens-to-have-written-a-book-on-infinity approach grates, it is vastly more exasperating in the hands of lesser thinkers. In the Internet era, Wallace's moves have been adopted and further slackerized by a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument.
(Via Gabe Delahaye)
I've been staring at Edlundart's weather wheel for 10 minutes trying to understand exactly how to read it. It shows relative temperature, precipitation, and wind speed, and it's just gorgeous. Bonus points for including Boston.
The Weather Wheel is based on widely available weather data, but does not display the actual numbers. Things like millimeter precipitation readings are not very meaningful to most people, so thinking of and showing these metrics in a relative way instead seemed like a clean and elegant approach.
Boris made himself a set of business cards that are brilliantly simple. Is there an award this can win? I'd vote for it.
I went looking for more minimalist business cards to see if this was the most minimal of all, but the resulting lists are annoying and most of the business cards are less minimal than this. Think, "25 BEST WORDPRESS THEMES OMG!"
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here's a crappy cell phone picture of the back of my business card based on a design by my pal Chris Piascik. This is less minimal.
Here's another pretty card from Alex Keene.
In 1996, Nick Cave was nominated by MTV for Best Male Artist. This was an award he was not interested in winning, so he wrote MTV a letter. "I am in competition with no-one." Click through to read the sincere thanks in the first paragraph, and the loony bin muse protection in the third.
Skyliners Paris trailer orig. from Aug 20, 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.
These folks attached a cable to France's highest twin towers and then walked around on it. Really wild shots. These guys are wearing saftey harnesses, which tells me they're stupid or crazy, but not both, and definitely not at the same time. I love them for that.
I saw the title and the teaser shot this morning and knew immediately this is what I'd be posting on Kottke tonight. Incidentally, I was looking for more information on highliners or skyliners, but I couldn't find any... I thought everything was on Wikipedia?
You may have heard by now that Ridley Scott has signed on to "direct and produce a new installment of Blade Runner." Nobody seems to know if it's a prequel or sequel, but I imagine either way, Harrison Ford will be around for a paycheck if there's a role for him. It's often said that Hollywood is out of ideas, but this is a perfect project for Ridley Scott whose next film, Prometheus, is a "cousin" of the Alien franchise.
If it seems I'm not giving this story the proper respect, it's because I only saw Blade Runner once while [Redacted because it's too long of a story for the throwaway sentence at the end of a post. You'll have to trust it was less than ideal cinematic viewing conditions.].
Matt Buchanan's Unedited thoughts about technology better left unposted is like the sportswriter 'nuggets from the drawer'-type column for tech writing. Seems like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr would have been low hanging fruit, what other tech companies are missing? On the other hand, there are 9 paragraphs and 4 of them relate to Apple in some way. Maybe this should have just been unedited thoughts about Apple better left unposted.
Friday night, getting late? Perfect time to watch a slow motion surfing video. It's only a minute and a half, but it feels like it's at least two minutes and fifteen seconds. Just beautiful. It's body boarding, but it's about the waves anywave, right?
The 2011 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is in Boston this weekend and divers are jumping off the Institute of Contemporary Art into Boston Harbor. Here's a slide show of the divers practicing yesterday.
I haven't seen this before, but it seems like such an obvious idea. Charles Isherwood, a theater critic for the NY Times, recently reviewed the experience of eating at the chef's table of a restaurant as if it were theater. The restaurant's open kitchen allowed Isherwood to critique the experience of watching a kitchen work. The review of George Mendes' Aldea features only one sentence about the food.
The idea that drama resides only in conflict is a superficial truth. The fascinating magic of watching a high-level kitchen function lies partly in the accretion of detail, as you see the dishes being constructed in layers and with the kind of expertise that, as in a good theater production, makes the most difficult feats look easy.
In discussing whether Jeff Francoeur was worth the 2 year contract extension granted by the Royals, Jonah Keri wondered if Francoeur scored a more lucrative contract because he was handsome. Turns out, he probably did. As longtime Kottke acolytes, you already knew this phenomenon applied to regular people.
To put this result in perspective, we found that a "good-looking" quarterback like Kerry Collins or Charlie Frye earned approximately $300,000 more per year than his stats and other pay factors would predict. Meanwhile, quarterbacks like Jeff George and Neil O'Donnell, who, sadly, were not found to have very symmetrical faces, suffered an equivalent penalty.
Poor, poor, Neil O'Donnell. Did you ever wonder if good looking people get paid more because they're better at what they do? Eli Cash's follow up to Wild Cat and Old Custer tackles this question. "Well, everyone knows attractive people get paid more. What this book presupposes is... maybe they deserve it."
Ok, if you don't want to be playing this game for the next 20 hours straight, click away now. Kingdom Rush is my latest tower defense addiction and it may be the best one yet. That the music sounds a lot like the Game of Thones theme isn't hurting it either.
I'd been wondering if a video like this existed, but I'd never been able to find it before. "Most of us probably take our rolls of toilet paper for granted." I like seeing how the cardboard tubes are made.
Lovely bits of graphic design.
So you're thinking, 'It's getting late, I'm winding down the day, maybe I should watch some videos.' And then you watch this snowboarding trailer with a metal soundtrack, avalanches, and a BEAR. Cripes, maybe you should just watch this one tomorrow morning instead of coffee.
The award for the most creative wedding photos goes to Juliana Park and Benjamin Lee.
They start out kinda ordinary but stick with it. (via mlkshk)
This is a nice story for the afternoon. During the cleanup process following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, citizens have turned in tons of wallets containing $48 million. 5,700 safes washed out to sea in the tsunami have been recovered containing another $30 million. Most of this has been returned to the owners. This is the type of story that makes me say, "Please don't be fake, please don't be fake," as I click submit.
This is the only thing I've ever liked about Anne Hathaway, and yet this video makes me think the problem is me, not her.
Steven Heller writes about the 40th anniversary of Nike's iconic swoosh, one of the best logos ever designed.
The origin of the mark goes like this: Knight wanted to differentiate BRS's custom product from the ones they were importing from Onituska in Japan: "...so Knight turned to a graphic design student he met at Portland State University two years earlier." One day in 1969, the student, Carolyn Davidson, was approached by Knight and offered $2 per hour "to make charts and graphics" for his business. For the next two years Davidson managed the design work on BRS. "Then one day Phil asked me if I wanted to work on a shoe stripe," Davidson recalled. The only advice she received was to "Make the stripe supportive of the shoe." Davidson came up with half a dozen options. None of the options "captivated anyone" so it came down to "which was the least awful."
Every year, Gallup surveys the drinking habits of Americans. If this is familiar, it's because I posted about the 2010 version of the study last year (and I'll probably post about it next August, too, if I'm here). The biggest notes this year are beer falling 5% to the drink of choice of only 36% of Americans. This puts it in a statistical tie with wine (35%) as America's favorite beverage. (Us rye drinkers are down at 23%.)
If you thought for one second that I wouldn't post a story about homemade New Kids on the Block sweaters from the 90's, well, ma'am, I don't think you know me, and you certainly never loved me. Shut it down, internet, you can all go home. This post wins.
Click through to see 2 more NKOTB sweaters and a bonus Vanilla Ice sweater.
(Via Rick Curran)
Muphry's Law, as coined by John Bangsund, of the Victorian Society of Editors, states:
I may be the last person in the universe to have heard of Muphry's Law, but dad gave me the keys this week, so I'm driving where I want to drive.
An extensive side-by-side reference sheet of four scripting languages (PHP, Python, Perl, and Ruby) with which you can compare how the different languages handle variable declarations, concatenations, objects, and hundreds of other things. Great cheatsheet for learning a new language when you're already familar with one of the others.
I don't want to freak anyone out, but this is happening. The monkeys are getting smarter and there's nothing we can do. Today they're fighting each other. Tomorrow they fight us. Langurs were deployed around buildings in Delhi to deal with the growing macaque menace. Unfortunately, the macaques are no longer afraid of the presence of langurs.
Diljan Ali, a langur handler, complained that the government hires monkey men to confront the macaques but refuses to compensate them when their animals are defeated. "(The macaques) are very smart. They know when they have the advantage. They attack in numbers and when they do it's pre-planned," he said.
Can someone tell me if this is for real? Regardless, I'm giving myself credit for avoiding the obvious Planet of the Apes headline joke.
A post featuring 8 different Tube maps since 1908 had me wondering what else was out there on the evolution of the London Underground map. There is quite a bit. This is less a reflection on Harry Beck, etc, and more a collection of what can be found.
A History of the London Tube Maps is pretty thorough until 2002. It's also attractive as a time capsule for websites from around then.
A more up-to-date designed collection of maps from 1889-2002.
The Guardian's retrospective slide show.
Among other things, info on non-Harry Beck designed maps from 1939 and 1940. Also the detail that Beck received about 2 weeks wages as a bonus for the original design.
Harry Beck's diagram of the 7+ lines of the London Underground, although geographically inaccurate, provides a coherent overview of a complex system. With excellent color printing, classic British railroad typography (by Edward Johnson), and, in the modern style, only horizontal, vertical, and 45 degree lines, the map became a beautiful organizing image of London. For apparently quite a number of people, the map organized London (rather than London organizing the map). Despite 70 years of revision due to extensions of the Underground and bureaucratic tinkering (the marketing department wrecked the map for several years), the map nicely survives to this day.
(First post via Dave M.)
This article on why Americans don't want to compromise was pretty dumb, but this is an interesting tidbit:
89 percent of the Whole Foods stores in the United States were in counties carried by Barack Obama in 2008, while 62 percent of Cracker Barrel restaurants were in counties carried by John McCain.
For what it's worth, I was seriously disappointed by the biscuits at Cracker Barrel when I had them the first time.
The best Watch the Throne album review you'll read orig. from Aug 16, 2011
We started the day with parkour on a bike, and we'll end it with the closest thing you can get to parkour in a car, Gymkhana. This is Ken Block's 4th Gymkhana video, and it's chock full of cameos. This has good spots, but I think #3 was way more impressive. Although the video clocks in over 9 minutes, you only need to watch from the 1:35 mark until 7:00.
(Via The Daily What)
Parsing a handful of different bad celebrity tipper lists, the folks at Short Order create a top 10 list of celebs who must have never worked in the service industry. Madonna, celebrating her 53rd birthday today, is #2. From what I could tell, here are the lists they used (Caution: Here be slide shows):Glamorati, The Frisky, Stained Apron, Zimbio, and Love to Know.
All this reminded me of the story of Shaq leaving $160 for a $20 tab, then ordering a Sprite on his way out and paying $40 for it. This is also the story where Shaq was talking about the people from Twitteronia.
Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan reviewed Jay-Z and Kanye's album, Watch the Throne...and it is hilarious.
2. Lift Off (ft. Beyonce) - I almost aint wanna even comment on this shit son.... I dont even kno what to say bout it yo. This shit sounds like the anthem the fairies in Ferngully would use to go to war against evil humans to or some shit b. This shit is like Shia LeBeouf in song form yo. Lissenin to this shit is like havin ya ears penetrated by a million microscopic dicks namsayin. Shit sounds like niggas doin aerobics on a magical cloud of daisies. How many meadows did Kanye cartwheel across before he decided to make this beat? Seriously yo....
Update: The review was not written by Ghostface but it is still hilarious. (thx, all)
On Saturday night, an 11-by-6-inch Rembrandt pen-and-ink drawing called "The Judgement", worth $250K, was stolen from the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey. Interestingly, Rembrandt pieces are the second most stolen pieces of art.
Art experts reached Sunday said works by Rembrandt are among the most popular targets for art thieves, second only to those by Picasso, because of the artist's name recognition and their value. Anthony Amore, chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and co-author of the book "Stealing Rembrandts," said there have been 81 documented thefts of the artist's work in the last 100 years.
It's like I always say: When I edit Kottke, art gets stolen.
Researchers have found that lower income individuals become more opposed to programs designed to help them if people they perceive as below them will also be helped. I don't have a comment on this except, COMEON!
Instead of opposing redistribution because people expect to make it to the top of the economic ladder, the authors of the new paper argue that people don't like to be at the bottom. One paradoxical consequence of this "last-place aversion" is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions. The authors ran a series of experiments where students were randomly allotted sums of money, separated by $1, and informed about the "income distribution" that resulted. They were then given another $2, which they could give either to the person directly above or below them in the distribution.
The other side of this is Warren Buffett wanting the government to charge him higher taxes.
I usually like these videos at the end of the night, but they're also quite nice in the morning. As Jason said, "He rides across a rope. On a bike!"
You've not seen a prettier onion chopping video, have you?
Animal Farm is a photo series by South African Photographer Daniel Naude. Comprised of feral dogs, cows, goats, and other domesticated animals, the series is striking. One of the cows has hooves coming out of the back, which I can only imagine means the cow is giving birth. Click through to see them all. They're really something.
Update: Seems like the servers are overloaded. I'll update if they come back up. Here's a cached version for now.
This page, built by Evan Roth, consists of "One sentence contained within every HTML tag in alphabetical order." It would be fun to build a randomized version to see how the tag order changes the look.
Hopeful reservation makers for Chef RJ Cooper's new Rogue 24 in Washington, DC are asked to sign a 2 page contract which defines the cancellation policy (half charge for cancellation 3 days out, full charge for cancellation day of), bans cell phones and cameras, and asks the diners to choose one of 2 tasting menus (with or without wine pairing). The contract is here. I don't know why they use a paper contract and not a webform.
RJ Cooper on changes to the reservation contract at Rogue 24. In their defense, I don't think having a cancellation policy is a problem, especially if it's stated, but not always enforced, as this one was.
I get the sense that you had no idea this contract would be a point of controversy.
No, I didn't. But it's not any different than going to Minibar or Alinea. The difference is that Alinea has six reservationists that can handle that; we have one. Minibar has six seats; we have 52. Komi has a no camera and phone policy in their restaurant. What's the difference? Is it going to make experience better to have a phone? ... I'd rather just sit and really enjoy the experience of a place like this. Are we doing this out of arrogance? No. Are we doing it out of being hyped? No. We're doing it to make sure you as a diner have a valued experience.
I'm not sure what this is -- some National Geographic thing? -- but it's fascinating. The short clip follows a group of young Sudanese men who move to the United States and remark on the cultural differences they observe.
Their reaction to the food and the characterization of the US as unfriendly are especially interesting.
Update: Several people wrote in to say that this clip is from the 2006 documentary God Grew Tired of Us. (thx, all)
I'm an avowed fan of musicians writing critically of other musicians (see Pat Metheny on Kenny G), so this post by Steve Albini on Odd Future is right in my wheelhouse. Steve is not a fan, but I like the post for its 'What is Art?' tone in the second half.
I am well aware, thanks, that good people can make ugly art and that ugly people can make good art. Ultimately the function of art is to express something and move an idea from one person to another, and the tools of that can include revulsion and discomfort.
(via Chuck Klosterman)
Jason asked me to fill in this week as he bunkers in an undisclosed location pursuing interpretive dance training. He'll chime in with some posts here and there, though, along with some videos of his training.
Using facial recognition in realtime via a webcam, this system lets you control the face of another person...like, say, John Malkovich.
Given a photo of person A, we seek a photo of person B with similar pose and expression. Solving this problem enables a form of puppetry, in which one person appears to control the face of another. When deployed on a webcam-equipped computer, our approach enables a user to control another person's face in real-time. This image-retrieval inspired approach employs a fully-automated pipeline of face analysis techniques, and is extremely general-we can puppet anyone directly from their photo collection or videos in which they appear. We show several examples using images and videos of celebrities from the Internet.
Lots of footage from The Net, Johnny Mnemonic, etc., virtual reality, Moby with hair, and websites of yore.
Need some "artisanal text filler" for your latest project? Hipster Ipsum provides dummy text in two great flavors: "Hipster w/ a shot of Latin" and "Hipster, neat."
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If Super Mario Bros was designed more recently, it might look a little different.
Published in The Onion more than 10 years ago after George W. Bush took office, Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over' is just getting more and more prescient.
Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
They probably should get a Pulitzer. (thx, andrew)
It has some candid interviews and very private moments caught on set such as arguments with cast and director, moments of a no-nonsense Kubrick directing his actors, Scatman Crothers being overwhelmed with emotion during his interview, Shelley Duvall collapsing through mental exhaustion on set and a very playful Jack Nicholson enjoying playing up to the behind the scenes camera.
Fast Company has a nice piece on Adam Lisagor, known around these parts as lonelysandwich. After doing a well-received promo video for a Twitter app he developed with a friend, Adam found himself in demand to do similar videos for a growing roster of technology companies.
But his tone is his real strength. "I try to identify that thing in a product that matters most to me," Lisagor says. "I'll glom onto that element and try to recreate it in this linear story I'm telling." That calm, Billy Mays-free approach conveys an inherent trust. It assumes that the viewer is the kind of person smart enough to appreciate the product's value. That's exactly the kind of customer tech startups want, which does much to explain their love for him: Lisagor is sui generis -- "the best and only one doing what he does," Dorsey says -- and his promos blend "the aesthetics and techniques of advertising with the storytelling of an instructional video,"says Malthe Sigurdsson, Rdio VP of product design.
He's got himself a web site on which you can view his work. Congrats on all your success, Adam...you smell great!
Where Children Sleep is a book of photographs by James Mollison of kids and the rooms they sleep in.
The caption for the photo above is: "Joey, 11, killed his first deer at the age of 7. He lives with his family in Kentucky." The diversity in living environments is amazing. (via lens)
The seventh episode of Put This On covers personal style...for which they interviewed Gay Talese.
A lot of the suggestions were to be more like Microsoft and embrace the Windows platform. Apple, obviously, rejected that path and has benefitted greatly from doing so. It's hard to remember now, but many people thought that Apple should drop their operating system and instead turn to making high end Windows PCs. I think we're all glad they never went that route.
Fauxgo is a site that collects fictional logos from movies and TV shows.
For the Slice pizza blog, Adam Kuban lays down some serious-but-succinct NYC pizza literacy.
One thing you might not be familiar with is the fact that some NYC pizzerias use anthracite coal to cook their pizzas. (Then again, I know that Brooklyn-based Grimaldi's has made inroads into Texas, so maybe you do know coal-fired pizza.) Pizza geeks have long been into coal-fired pizzas. The ovens cook at a hot-enough temperature that a skilled pizzamaker can create an amazing crust that is both crisp and chewy at the same time and that is not dried out and tough. Also, the way that most of these old-school coal-oven places make the pizza, they just sort of know how to make a nice balanced pie, one that doesn't go too heavy on the sauce or pile on too much cheese.
Take five minutes to read this and you'll be talking NYC pizza like an expert.
From late last week, news that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found possible evidence that there's flowing water on Mars.
Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere.
"The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water," said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson. McEwen is the principal investigator for the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and lead author of a report about the recurring flows published in Thursday's edition of the journal Science.
From fashion designer Hedi Slimane's photoshoot with Cobain. She's 18 now. The time, where did it go?
Art of the Menu is a new collection of well-designed menus by the folks who bring you Brand New. Two of the most interesting menus I've run across are Shopsins' (the design of which I wrote about several years ago) and Alinea's (the menu is an infographic).
In addition to collecting the magazine's listings for theatre, art, night life, classical music, dance, movies, restaurants, and more, the app has exclusive new features. More than a dozen of the magazine's artists and writers have contributed entries to the My New York section, which showcases their personal cultural enthusiasms: Alex Ross introduces readers to Max Neuhaus's Electronic Sound Installation in midtown; Susan Orlean revisits the Temple of Dendur, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Roz Chast drops by the Tiny Doll House, a unique Upper West Side shop. Critics also lead readers on audio tours created specifically for the app: Peter Schjeldahl tours the Frick Collection; Paul Goldberger walks the High Line; Calvin Trillin shares his favorite downtown food; and Patricia Marx goes in search of vintage clothing.
This is a bit of a head-scratcher...the guy behind the Family Guy (Seth MacFarlane) is teaming up with Carl Sagan's widow and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to do a sequel to the landmark science series, Cosmos. The series will air in primetime on Fox.
The producers of the show say the new series will tell "the story of how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find our place in space and time." They go on to boast: "It will take viewers to other worlds and travel across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. The most profound scientific concepts will be presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with the emotional and spiritual into a transcendent experience."
I'll be tuning in but will be pleasantly surprised if it does well in the ratings or is any good.
...but only in the UK (or to those elsewhere in the world who can use a BitTorrent client). The season will include eight episodes as well as a two-hour Christmas episode.
The first episode will open not with a witty but icy quip from the peerless Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, but with the massive explosion of a shell in the battle of the Somme, where the heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens), is fighting. The drama's producers hope that the darker wartime storylines, and the aristocratic ensemble dressing down in the "we're all in it together" clothing of wartime, will not deter the fans.
A nice piece, poignant even, about that so-called slow-moving truck driver you flipped off on the highway the other day.
Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over. His truck is governed to 68 miles an hour, because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer.
(The title of the post is from one of my kids' favorite books: Trucks.)
Not even country music can ruin that song. But as you well know Taylor, Eminem's version is the best of all time. (via @anildash)
Reality TV is not my beat, not even reality TV-bashing, but this story is too good and schadenfreudalicious to pass up. Heidi and Spencer from The Hills have fallen on hard times and find themselves in The Dumps.
They're broke and living at Spencer's parents' beach house in Santa Barbara because of the free rent; Heidi's body and face are forever changed from plastic surgeries she now wishes she had not gotten; their relationships with friends and family are severely damaged; and they have found themselves largely unemployable, both on camera and off.
Yeah, not sure how anyone could have envisioned all that would end badly. But at least it was fun for the viewers? Right? Watching people ruin their lives between Coors Light commercials? (via @sfj)
I posted about Chris Burden's Metropolis II a few months ago. The artist is almost set to deliver the piece to Los Angeles County Museum of Art and there's a proper preview for it:
My favorite line of the interview with Burden that runs over the video:
The idea that a car runs free, those days are about to close.
In 1956, 96-year-old Samuel Seymour appeared on a game show called I've Got A Secret...his secret was that he saw Lincoln's assassination when he was five years old.
That blew my mind. (via devour)
AP photographer David Guttenfelder was recently granted "unprecedented access" to locations in North Korea...In Focus has a selection of the photos he took.
Finally got around to listening to the excellent episode of This American Life on patents: When Patents Attack! The episode surveys the state of the US patent system, using Nathan Myhrvold's smarmy Intellectual Ventures as a hook to tell the story.
In polls, as many as 80 percent of software engineers say the patent system actually hinders innovation. In other words, it does exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It doesn't encourage them to come up with new ideas and create new products, it actually gets in their way.
The Economist chimed in as well, saying that the American patent system is "a travesty which threatens the wealth and welfare of the whole world".
At a time when our future affluence depends so heavily on innovation, we have drifted toward a patent regime that not only fails to fulfil its justifying function, to incentivise innovation, but actively impedes innovation.
BlueBolt did the special effects for the first season of Game of Thrones; here are some of them. (Minor spoilers...)
A great question over at Quora: What were the biggest tactical mistakes that Stringer made in Seasons 2 and 3? Why did he make these mistakes?
5. Not using a knowledgeable intermediary to deal with Sen. Clay Davis. He was clearly out of his league with Davis and had he used an attorney with the correct political connections, he could have likely gained all that he sought with fewer complications than he did.
Punchfork is a recipe aggregator that does ranks and rates recipes from popular food sites around the web. I really like the visual layout of the recipes; the site has a nice feel all around.
Charlie Ayers, former executive chef for Google, once worked alongside a former cook for Elvis Presley and that cook gave him his special recipe for fried chicken. Ayers says it's "the best southern fried chicken I [have] ever tasted". The recipe uses Google-sized portions...here's a recipe converter to scale it down.
The web has been a real boon for introverts...the asynchonicity of email, the information-rich messaging of Twitter & Facebook, and the social acceptability of conducting much of one's social & business communications online all play to the introvert's strengths.
A text message, a Facebook message, a tweet -- each is a discrete, articulated piece of information being shared. Rather than riding the texture of a live conversation to figure out how to give and receive information, people are now used to simply pushing their thoughts out into the world, to be responded to at some undetermined future point. Even voicemail messages are now more often the point of a phone call than an actual conversation.
A small (but embeddable) collection of historically significant audio clips on SoundCloud. Here's Nixon's resignation address:
Thomas Pavitte designed and then solved the world's largest connect-the-dots puzzle (of the Mona Lisa). It took him 9 and 1/2 hours.
The Economist has updated their Big Mac Index, a "fun" measure of how purchasing power varies from country to country.
It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of a basket of goods and services around the world. At market exchange rates, a burger is 44% cheaper in China than in America. In other words, the raw Big Mac index suggests that the yuan is 44% undervalued against the dollar. But we have long warned that cheap burgers in China do not prove that the yuan is massively undervalued. Average prices should be lower in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. The chart above shows a strong positive relationship between the dollar price of a Big Mac and GDP per person.
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