kottke.org posts about video
It's impossible to tell someone how to interpret paintings by Picasso in only 8 minutes, but Evan Puschak provides a quick and dirty framework for how to begin evaluating the great master's work by considering your first reaction, the content, form, the historical context, and Picasso's own personal context.
Humans are amazing. Alexey Romanov has no fingers, took up music only two years ago, and can play the piano better than 99.9% of world's population. (via the guardian)
Jimmy Kimmel had some scientists on his show recently to tell the American public that anthropogenic climate change is real, that's it's not a prank, and that the scientific community is "not fucking with you" about this. Trigger warning: the first minute of this video features Sarah Palin speaking.
One of the oldest businesses in the world, Sudo Honke is a sake brewery founded in 1141 and managed by the Sudo family for the past 55 generations.
We've been making sake for at least 870 years.
I love the "at least" bit. You can buy some of their sake online. (BTW, feel free to supply your own "Sudo, pour me a sake" joke.)
Yesterday, New Zealand's William Trubridge set a free diving world record in what's called the free immersion apnea discipline. According to the official results, Trubridge dove, without using fins or weights or tanks, to a depth of 124 meters in Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas. The video above offers a view of most of the dive, which took 4 minutes and 24 seconds for Trubridge to complete. I don't know a whole lot about the mechanics of free diving, so I was surprised that after a few pulls on the rope to get himself going, it's a free fall to the bottom. Watching him falling motionless through the water like that was eerie.
Update: Thanks to @chriskaschner for the diving physics lesson:
Below ~25m your lungs compress from pressure and you "fall" underwater, no more floating, only way back is to swim/ pull up
Two days ago, Radiohead withdrew its forces from the internet. Today, they dropped a new video on YouTube. The rest of the new album soon? Please?
Update: It's on Spotify now and available for sale on Radiohead's site and iTunes. Also, I am liking this song a lot.
Tobias Gremmler used motion capture to transform kung-fu moves into a variety of digital sculptures. (via colossal)
From Nelson Carvajal, an examination of the visual influences of Beyonce's Lemonade visual album, from Pipilotti Rist to Terrence Malick to David Lynch.
The biggest influence present in Lemonade, is that of the great Terrence Malick. Imagery from his films To The Wonder and The Tree of Life (in particular a standout sequence involving a bedroom underwater) definitely inspired a lot of the overall tone of introspection and spiritual reflection that Beyoncé is striving for here. One of Lemonade's directors, Kahlil Joseph, shot B-roll on Malick's To The Wonder, so the impressionistic style of filmmaking has obviously carried over.
See also What to read after watching Beyoncé's 'Lemonade'.
This is NUTS. The members of the Armored Combat League get dressed up in medieval armor and go at it, hard. Like full on with knives and axes and clubs.
We've seen guys' fingers get cut off, we've seen guys' knees kicked in, we've seen guys break both of their arms in the same fight, we've seen guys get all their teeth knocked out because the helmet smashes up against their face or something, some guy had to get flown out by helicopter because he has blood in his brain...
Makes movie fighting seem a lot more like dancing, doesn't it? (thx, byrne)
This is a perfect Friday video. Enjoy your weekend, everyone. (Or not, the machines are gonna take all of our jobs.) (via @dunstan)
Let's all just take the rest of the day off and watch Ricky Jay effortlessly perform impossible card tricks. (via @sampotts)
Situated on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Longyearbyen is only 600 miles south of the North Pole and has a population of more than 2000, which makes it the northernmost town in the world. It is also home to a Toyota dealership, but people use snowmobiles to get around most of the time.
From the excellent collection of British Pathé videos on YouTube comes footage of a 1928 bicycle race on penny farthings aka the "boneshaker" aka those bikes with the big wheel in front. Here are a couple of contemporary penny farthing races. (via @sampotts)
Opened in 1956, Southdale Center in Edina, MN was the first fully enclosed shopping mall of its kind. Designed by Victor Gruen, it became the archetype of the typical American mall. Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker piece about Gruen is a great read.
Southdale Mall still exists. It is situated off I-494, south of downtown Minneapolis and west of the airport -- a big concrete box in a sea of parking. The anchor tenants are now J.C. Penney and Marshall Field's, and there is an Ann Taylor and a Sunglass Hut and a Foot Locker and just about every other chain store that you've ever seen in a mall. It does not seem like a historic building, which is precisely why it is one. Fifty years ago, Victor Gruen designed a fully enclosed, introverted, multitiered, double-anchor-tenant shopping complex with a garden court under a skylight -- and today virtually every regional shopping center in America is a fully enclosed, introverted, multitiered, double-anchor-tenant complex with a garden court under a skylight. Victor Gruen didn't design a building; he designed an archetype. For a decade, he gave speeches about it and wrote books and met with one developer after another and waved his hands in the air excitedly, and over the past half century that archetype has been reproduced so faithfully on so many thousands of occasions that today virtually every suburban American goes shopping or wanders around or hangs out in a Southdale facsimile at least once or twice a month. Victor Gruen may well have been the most influential architect of the twentieth century. He invented the mall.
Things were changing even as that piece was published in 2004. Sprawling shopping malls are closing and new construction has slowed dramatically. Commerce moved online and to big box stores. Southdale's still kicking though!
Using 12 Angry Men, Psycho, The Godfather, and Gone Girl as examples, this video shows several different ways to end a movie. And so, spoilers.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden in this film directed by Oliver Stone. I was not at all curious about seeing this, but after watching the trailer, I may give it a shot. See also Citizenfour (which was excellent).
Stitching together thousands of images, photographer Levon Biss produces huge and detailed photographs of tiny insects; prints of 10 mm bugs are 3 meters across. An exhibition of Biss' photos will be on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. All three images above are of the orchid cuckoo bee at different levels of zoom. This video shows how the photos are made:
In The World According to Star Wars, Cass Sunstein explores the philosophy and life lessons of Star Wars.
In this fun, erudite and often moving book, Cass R. Sunstein explores the lessons of Star Wars as they relate to childhood, fathers, the Dark Side, rebellion, and redemption. As it turns out, Star Wars also has a lot to teach us about constitutional law, economics, and political uprisings.
Update: Sunstein, who is a professor at Harvard Law School, gave the commencement address last year at Penn Law. He starts off, dryly: "Graduates, faculty, family, friends, our topic today is Star Wars."
In this Simpsons couch gag, the show pays homage to some classic Disney animation styles. Featured are Steamboat Willie, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book and Fantasia. The animation was done by Eric Goldberg, who worked at Disney on films like Aladdin and Pocahontas.
Someone took the audio from a BBC News report on North Korean military parade held in honor of Kim Jong-un's birthday and played it over footage of the parade held in London in honor of Queen Elizabeth's 89th birthday.
Full-screen this baby on the biggest high-definition screen you can find. A 5K iMac works spectacularly well.
If you're going to watch the season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones tonight but you've forgotten what happened last season (tl;dr people died), watch this recap of last season's action. I still can't believe they made Marnie marry Desi after he missed their perfor oh wait that's Girls.
You're probably aware of Sinead O'Conner's Nothing Compares 2 U but The Bangles, MC Hammer, Chaka Khan, Stevie Nicks, and others also made use of songs written by Prince.
Prince rides in on the back of a bearded man at around the 2:05 mark, yes you read that right. I had never seen this clip before and when he really gets going on stage, I started clapping and yelling in my apartment. Glorious. (via David Remnick at the New Yorker, who is almost annoyingly good at blogging)
The Founder is about the early years of McDonald's and how Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) came to gain control of the company. The official McDonald's corporate history glosses over the events of the film in a few sentences:
In 1954, he visited a restaurant in San Bernardino, California that had purchased several Multi-mixers. There he found a small but successful restaurant run by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, and was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation. They produced a limited menu, concentrating on just a few items-burgers, fries and beverages-which allowed them to focus on quality and quick service.
Kroc pitched his vision of creating McDonald's restaurants all over the U.S. to the brothers. In 1955, he founded McDonald's System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald's Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald's name. By 1958, McDonald's had sold its 100 millionth hamburger.
Kroc's Wikipedia entry provides more flavor:
The agreement was a handshake with split agreement between the parties because Kroc insisted that he could not show the royalty to the investors he had lined up to capitalize his purchase. At the closing table, Kroc became annoyed that the brothers would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit. The brothers had told Kroc that they were giving the operation, property and all, to the founding employees. Kroc closed the transaction, then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn't in writing. The McDonald brothers consistently told Kroc that he could make changes to things like the original blueprint (building codes were different in Illinois than in California), but despite Ray's pleas, the brothers never sent any formal letters which legally allowed the changes in the chain. Kroc also opened a new McDonald's restaurant near the McDonald's (now renamed "The Big M" as they had neglected to retain rights to the name) to force it out of business.
See also some early McDonald's menus.
Pele: Birth of a Legend is a biopic about the rise of Pele, the Brazilian footballer. It was written and directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, who also directed The Two Escobars, an excellent 30 for 30 film about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and Colombian footballer Andres Escobar. (via @ivanski)
In a video from the New Yorker, dancers from around the country demonstrate viral dance moves from the past decade, including the Dougie, Walk It Out, and Dabbing. (via @silviakillings)
Worries over the slowing Chinese economy spilled out into the streets of Hebei province last weekend as two construction firms battled with bulldozers while competing for the same business. That is some end-times shit right there.
Written, produced, and directed by Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation is a film about Nat Turner, the man who led a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831. The movie won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year and will be out in theaters in October.
P.S. If the name of the movie sounds familiar, it was deliberately given the same name as D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent film, which dramatized the formation of the Ku Klux Klan. In an interview, Parker said:
When I endeavored to make this film, I did so with the specific intent of exploring America through the context of identity. So much of the racial injustices we endure today in America are symptomatic of a greater sickness - one we have been systematically conditioned to ignore. From sanitized truths about our forefathers to mis-education regarding this country's dark days of slavery, we have refused to honestly confront the many afflictions of our past. This disease of denial has served as a massive stumbling block on our way to healing from those wounds. Addressing Griffith's Birth of a Nation is one of the many steps necessary in treating this disease. Griffith's film relied heavily on racist propaganda to evoke fear and desperation as a tool to solidify white supremacy as the lifeblood of American sustenance. Not only did this film motivate the massive resurgence of the terror group the Ku Klux Klan and the carnage exacted against people of African descent, it served as the foundation of the film industry we know today.
I've reclaimed this title and re-purposed it as a tool to challenge racism and white supremacy in America, to inspire a riotous disposition toward any and all injustice in this country (and abroad) and to promote the kind of honest confrontation that will galvanize our society toward healing and sustained systemic change.
(via trailer town)
When the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912, it took the ship 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. I don't necessarily know why you would want to, but now you can watch a highly detailed animation of the ship sinking in realtime, all 2h 40m. I can't quite figure out if this is appropriate or not, although when I think about the inevitable realtime 9/11 version, perhaps it isn't.
NES player darbian just broke his own record for the fastest time through Super Mario Bros. He completed the entire game in just 4 minutes 57.260 seconds. But the most entertaining part of the video is watching his heart rate slowly creep up from 80 bpm at the beginning to ~140 bpm in World 8-2 and spiking to 171 bpm when he beats the record. (via digg)
Update: Compare that with this insane level from Mario Maker:
From The Intercept and director A.J. Schnack, a simple and powerful short film about more than a dozen mass shootings that have occurred in the US since 2011.
A scene of tragedy unfolds, accompanied by fear, chaos and disbelief. As Speaking is Difficult rewinds into the past, retracing our memories, it tells a story about a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable.
Fuck, that was difficult to watch. When Sandy Hook came up, I just lost it. We should be deeply deeply ashamed that that happened and we did nothing about it.
Kurzgesagt examines what's happened to our privacy, civil liberties, and security because of the threat of terrorism.
For the Love of Spock is a documentary about Leonard Nimoy and the beloved character he played on Star Trek. Nimoy's son Adam is the director, the film was funded with the help of Kickstarter, and is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend (with special guest appearance by Zachary Quinto).
This animation is super-freaky and somewhat NSFW and you should just watch it. Also: and that's why you always leave a note. (via @gavinpurcell)
From Fusion, a 45-minute documentary about the making of Zootopia.
Fusion spent two years with the production team of Disney's smash hit film. In 'Imagining Zootopia,' you will travel with the team to Africa to explore the animals in their natural habitat and find out how the storytellers and animators dealt with the very real themes of prejudice and bias.
I found this via Khoi Vinh, who writes:
A lot of careful thought went into how to render the emotional truth behind experiencing racism, and the documentary takes a detailed look at the filmmakers grappling with that. However, it also betrays one of the unfortunate truths of the production; the movie is commendably bold about addressing prejudice, but it's evident from watching the documentary that of the five-hundred plus people who contributed to the film, hardly any were non-white, and even fewer were African-American.
For a criticism of Zootopia's racial allegory, read Devin Faraci's A Muddled Mess of Racial Messaging... And Cute Animals.
Alexey Zakharov gathered old photos of New York, Washington D.C. and other American cities from Shorpy and animated them into something wonderful. There's a cheesy steampunk time machine at the beginning...push through that to the good stuff. (via @pshoplifter)
The Broadway musical Hamilton is having a bit of a moment right now. Ok, not really. Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit has seemingly had one loooong moment since he performed "Alexander Hamilton" in front of the President and Mrs. Obama at the White House in 2009.
The show is sold out1 until who knows when, the original cast album went gold and won a Grammy, and they're doing spin-off productions in Chicago, LA, and SF -- all this scarcely more than a year since Rebecca Mead wrote up Miranda and Hamilton in the New Yorker.2 Bernie Sanders took in the show last week. And this week, a book about the production of the play came out.
Hamilton: The Revolution gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages -- "since before this was even a show," according to Miranda -- traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.
Add to that a flurry of articles (several from the NY Times, which has a dedicated staff of 162 reporters on the beat) that came out in the past week or so: Why Hamilton Matters, Lin-Manuel Miranda: By the Book (he's never finished Infinite Jest), 'Hamilton' and History: Are They in Sync?, A Hamilton Skeptic on Why the Show Isn't As Revolutionary As It Seems, and The C.E.O. of 'Hamilton' Inc. How much bigger can this thing get?
Update: And now Miranda has won a Pulitzer.
As the US and Cuba move toward becoming BFFs again (or at least members of the same #squad), it's a good time to review the history between the two countries, which includes slavery, the Spanish-American War, and the Cold War-era series of fiascos.
If they survive at all, recordings of a lot of older music (pre-50s or -60s) don't sound great because they were taken from old records that aren't in the best shape. This 1929 recording of Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra playing Ain't Misbehavin' was taken from what's called a "mother record", a metal disc that's produced from the master disc. As you can hear, recording directly from a mother gives you an incredibly crisp and clear result:
Wow. It sounds so much better than the same song recorded in a more conventional way:
We're so conditioned to hearing 90-year-old music with that muddy record hiss that the mother recording is a revelation, like seeing early color photography and film.
This video from Vox makes an often overlooked point about climate change. Climate change is not about saving the planet. Earth will be fine. Life, in general, will be fine. But many species of plants and animals will die. Addressing climate change is about saving plants and animals that are in some way "useful" to us and preventing human suffering. (via @mims)
Update: George Carlin riffs on this point in an old standup routine:
There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are fucked.
A24. Daniel Radcliffe. Paul Dano. What. The. Hell?!
The latest video from Kurzgesagt is on space elevators. How would you build one? Why not just keep launching rockets into space instead? Would be easier to build one on the Moon first?
Koyannistocksi is a shot-by-shot remake of the trailer for Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi using only stock footage.
A testament to Reggio's influence on contemporary motion photography, and the appropriation of his aesthetic by others for commercial means.
If you can stop gawping at Alaska's gorgeous scenery long enough, you can witness drone footage of a whole lot of salmon migrating upstream from Lake Iliamna1 to spawn. (via digg)
The trailer for the first "Star Wars Story" has dropped.1 Rogue One is about how the Rebellion stole the plans for the Death Star before the events of A New Hope. Don't read the comments on YouTube...there's whining about how the protagonist is a woman and the cast is diverse. :(
They go hard on the rhymes with A New Hope angle. I LOL'd when they called JJ Abrams "diet Spielberg".
In this short film, Manhattan becomes Mannahatta again, as the plants take over when the humans leave the city. The early part of the film, before the twist, has a This Is Legend vibe, but it also reminds me of a book I read with my kids, The Curious Garden, about a High Line-like elevated park that spreads across an industrial city. (via colossal)
Actor and singer François Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons for 30 years on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, talks about how and why Fred Rogers chose a black man to be a police officer on TV.
To say that he didn't know what he was doing, or that he accidentally stumbled into integration or talking about racism or sexism, that's not Mister Rogers. It was well planned and well thought-out and I think it was very impactful.
NPR also recently shared Clemmons' story.
He says he'll never forget the day Rogers wrapped up the program, as he always did, by hanging up his sweater and saying, "You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are." This time in particular, Rogers had been looking right at Clemmons, and after they wrapped, he walked over.
Clemmons asked him, "Fred, were you talking to me?"
"Yes, I have been talking to you for years," Rogers said, as Clemmons recalls. "But you heard me today."
"It was like telling me I'm OK as a human being," Clemmons says. "That was one of the most meaningful experiences I'd ever had."
Mister Rogers always hits me right in the feels.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now out on Blu-ray and digital download. If you have Sphero's BB-8 toy, you can have BB-8 watch the movie with you and react to what's going on on-screen. Here's BB-8 reacting to seeing the Millennium Falcon for the first time in the movie:
That's pretty cute. But I kinda wish it worked for any Star Wars movie. Or any movie period...like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 just with BB-8 reactions. (via nerdist)
A group of organizations, including Microsoft and the Rembrandthuis museum, have collaborated to produce a new painting by Rembrandt. Or rather, "by" Rembrandt. The team wrote software that analyzed the Dutch master's entire catalog of paintings and used the data to create a 3D-printed Rembrandt-esque painting.
We now had a digital file true to Rembrandt's style in content, shapes, and lighting. But paintings aren't just 2D -- they have a remarkable three-dimensionality that comes from brushstrokes and layers of paint. To recreate this texture, we had to study 3D scans of Rembrandt's paintings and analyze the intricate layers on top of the canvas.
I'd say they did pretty well:
I wonder though, to what extent is this an averaged Rembrandt? According to the program, is there one canonical Rembrandt-esque eye and that's it? Or can the program paint dozens of variations? After all, because he was (presumably) working with actual people, Rembrandt himself had hundreds or thousands of ways to paint, it wasn't just the same sort of mouth over and over.
See also Loving Vincent and Alice in a Neural Networks Wonderland. (thx, lucas)
Update: Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for the New Yorker, weighs in on The Next Rembrandt.
In truth, the portrait wobbles at a second glance and crashes at a third. The sitter has a sparkle of personality but utterly lacks the personhood -- the being-ness -- that never eluded Rembrandt. He is an actor, acting.
He also calls it "fan fiction".
Levi's made a short documentary film about the history and cultural impact of the brand's signature 501 jeans.
We trace the 501 Jean's roots as a utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys, industrial workers, all the way to the creative workers who continue to wear it today.
Meditate in front of your computer for a few minutes with this soothing dreamlike video. (via colossal)
Not sure if you've noticed this, but actors in movies like to say cool things before they kill people. Here are 100 of those one-liners, from "say hello to my little friend" to "happy trails, Hans" to "dodge this".
In this 25-minute film, director Amanda Murray profiles The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair through rare color film footage and talking to people who attended.
A modernist, techno-utopia landed in New York in 1939, rocketing kids from the Depression into 'The World of Tomorrow.'
I had to stop myself from falling down a major research rabbit hole here, but just one of the tidbits I ran across was the IND World's Fair Line, an NYC subway line built especially for the fair. (via @jcormier)
Using behind-the-scenes footage shot over the past decade, Magnus is a feature-length documentary about reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen.
From a young age Magnus Carlsen had aspirations of becoming a champion chess player. While many players seek out an intensely rigid environment to hone their skills, Magnus' brilliance shines brightest when surrounded by his loving and supportive family. Through an extensive amount of archival footage and home movies, director Benjamin Ree reveals this young man's unusual and rapid trajectory to the pinnacle of the chess world. This film allows the audience to not only peek inside this isolated community but also witness the maturation of a modern genius.
Everybody hates management-speak and corporate jargon, but here are some terms that people used to think of as horrible jargon that we all got used to. Maybe one day we'll all be leveraging deliverables without a second thought.
Using traditional cinematography, characters are not usually confined to the bottom third of the screen, crammed all the way in the corner, or placed right at the edge of the screen, looking offscreen. But rules are meant to be broken and the director of photography for Mr. Robot uses these unconventional shots to tell the audience about what's happening on the screen.
P.S. Season 2 is coming in July.
P.P.S. I love that episode titles for season 1 are modeled after the filenames of pirated videos on BitTorrent: eps1.0_hellofriend.mov, eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv, eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v, etc.
P.P.P.S. Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting doesn't like the framing in Mr. Robot, called it a gimmick. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even notice the unusual framing when I watched it. I am flunking out of internet film school, aren't I? :(
Jeff Seal digs through garbage bags outside of NYC grocery stores, delis, bakeries, and supermarkets to find perfectly good food that's been thrown out.
Founding Fathers is a full-length documentary film about the history of hip hop narrated by Public Enemy's Chuck D. Everyone knows that hip hop originated in the Bronx. What this film presupposes is, maybe it didn't? Maybe hip hop started even earlier than commonly thought in places like Brooklyn with DJs like Grandmaster Flowers.
I don't know if this film ever found release anywhere...it's not even on IMDB or Wikipedia. (via @sampotts)
One of the things that a number of people commented on after seeing The Force Awakens (including me) was that the movie seemed to be a remix or an homage to the original Star Wars.
With The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams did the same thing, but instead of pulling from Flash Gordon and Kurosawa like Lucas did, he pulled from what he grew up with as a kid and in film school...Star Wars and Spielberg. In a way, The Force Awakens is a reboot of the original 1977 Star Wars, similar plot and all. And even if it isn't a true reboot, it sure does rhyme.
Although some of the comparisons are a stretch, this video does a nice job highlighting the visual similarities of the two movies.
Related: Kenji Lopez-Alt took off his food nerd hat for a second and donned his Star Wars nerd hat with this piece at Medium: Rey is a Palpatine.
Apple turns 40 years old next week on April 1. To celebrate in their typical "don't dwell on the past but whoa look at all the cool stuff we've done" fashion, Apple debuted a 40-second commercial at an event earlier this week featuring 40 significant things from the company's history. Stephen Hackett annotated each of things in the video.
April 1, 1976: Apple Computer, Inc. is founded.
The Happy Mac used to greet you as your machine booted up. It got replaced way back in 2002.
iMac: The computer that saved Apple.
The iPod mini made music fashionable and the iPod nano made it colorful.
Multi-Touch: If you see a stylus, they blew it!
Touch ID: Unlock your device with just your fingerprint.
Hackett also notes only a handful of products from the non-Jobs era Apple are featured. (via df)
Update: Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée wrote about Apple's 40th. I liked these two paragraphs:
Apple 2.0 began in late 1996 when Jobs managed what turned out to be a reverse acquisition of Apple. We owe much gratitude to then-CEO Gil Amelio who unwittingly saved the company hiring Steve to "advise" him. Jobs' advice? Show Amelio the door and install himself as "interim" CEO. Jobs then made an historic deal with Bill Gates which gave him time to let his team of NeXT engineers completely rebuild the Mac OS on a modern Unix foundation. Steve also rummaged through the company and found Jony Ive who gave us the colorful iMacs, the first of a series of admired designs.
What followed is recognized as the most striking turnaround story in any industry, one that has been misunderstood and pronounced as doomed at almost every turn. The list of Jobs' "mistakes" includes killing the Macintosh clone program by canceling Mac OS licenses; getting rid of floppies and, later, CD/DVD-ROMs (mostly); entering the crowded MP3 player field; introducing iTunes and the micropayment system; the overpriced, underpowered $500 iPhone; the stylus-free iPad (ahem)...
Update: To mark the anniversary, Apple flew a pirate flag over their headquarters in honor of the original Macintosh team.
The building looked pretty much like every other Apple building, so we wanted to do something to make it look like we belonged there. Steve Capps, the heroic programmer who had switched over from the Lisa team just in time for the January retreat, had a flash of inspiration: if the Mac team was a band of pirates, the building should fly a pirate flag.
A few days before we moved into the new building, Capps bought some black cloth and sewed it into a flag. He asked Susan Kare to paint a big skull and crossbones in white at the center. The final touch was the requisite eye-patch, rendered by a large, rainbow-colored Apple logo decal. We wanted to have the flag flying over the building early Monday morning, the first day of occupancy, so the plan was to install it late Sunday evening.
In this clip from Koyaanisqatsi, Andy Kelly replaced Philip Glass' score with music from the Wii Shop Channel. As he notes, the movie doesn't seem quite as haunting now. (via @daveg)
The latest video from Primitive Technology (previously, awesome) is about making a bow and set of arrows from scratch.
The bow is 1.25 m (55 inches) long and shoots 60 cm (2 feet) long arrows. I don't know the draw weight -- safe to say greater than 15 kg (35 pounds) perhaps? The stave was made from a tree that was cut with a stone axe and split in half with a stone chisel. I don't know it's name but it's common here and is the same wood I use for axe handles.
I love how these videos are shot and edited. The editing feels very contemporary -- quick-fire pacing with very little superfluous material -- but the lack of narration, dialogue, or explanatory text feels old school. Reminds me of the super-effective and efficient Buzzfeed Tasty vids.
People seem to like this, but I don't know...I've got a bad feeling about it. Batman in The Lego Movie was cool and all, but is it enough to hang an entire film around? Not that this question isn't totally moot...in 10 years, every movie will feature Lego superheroes.
Update: And now there's a second trailer? Already?
At this rate, we'll be able to cut the whole movie together by the time it comes out next year, just from the trailers.
A man in Germany rigged a camera to take a photo 10 minutes after sunrise every day for an entire year. Phil Plait explains the Sun's motion:
The video starts at the vernal equinox in 2015, on March 21, and runs through to March 20, 2016. The Sun rises due east, then moves left (north) every morning at a rapid rate. You can then see it slow, stop at the June solstice, and then reverse direction, moving south (right). It slows and stops again at the December solstice (note the snow on the rooftops!), then reverses, moving north again. The weather gets pretty bad, but you can still see enough to get a sense that the Sun moves most rapidly at the equinoxes and most slowly at the solstices, just as I said.
This is an experiment about expectations. Six photographers are given an assignment to shoot photos of one man. Each photographer is told a different story about the man: he's a millionaire, a lifesaver, an ex-con, a fisherman, a psychic, a recovering alcoholic. As you might expect, the photos taken by the different photographers of the same person are pretty different.
A quickfire look at scenes from 20 movies (Gravity, The Revenant, Planet of the Apes) that were done with the help of green screens and computer animation. What, no Carol?!
Lighting 6000 closely grouped wooden matchsticks takes less than a minute, but waiting for the resulting fire to extinguish takes quite a bit longer and is surprisingly relaxing to watch. (Two is a trend, right...it is also surprisingly relaxing and satisfying to watch a tomato being unsliced. Is there an entire genre of videos like this out there?) (via digg)
A new paper by climate scientists, including ex-NASA scientist James Hansen, warns that our climate could dramatically change within decades, not centuries.
Virtually all climate scientists agree with Dr. Hansen and his co-authors that society is not moving fast enough to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, posing grave risks. The basic claim of the paper is that by burning fossil fuels at a prodigious pace and pouring heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, humanity is about to provoke an abrupt climate shift.
Non-linear systems, man. Gradually, then all at once.
Update: Slate's Eric Holthaus has more on the paper and its potential implications.
In addition to the risk of "several meters" of sea level rise this century, which Hansen calls the most important finding, the final version of Hansen's paper gives new emphasis to the possibility that the ocean's heat circulation system may be in the process of shutting down. The circulation shutdown would precede the rapid increase in global sea levels. If the shutdown happens, simultaneous cooling of the waters near Greenland and Antarctica and warming in the tropics and midlatitudes could spawn frequent strong storms on the order of Hurricane Sandy or worse.
If that sounds a lot like the plot of The Day After Tomorrow to you, you're not alone.
Hansen also released a 15-minute video about the paper:
It's been awhile; let's check in on what skateboarder Richie Jackson is doing. Oh, more incredibly creative and chill tricks? Niiiiiiice.
This is a fan edit of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace with all of the crappy bits removed and several other scenes reworked. Among the changes:
- Jar Jar is now a useful character instead of an annoying tag-along
- Queen Amidala's voice is pitch-shifted back to her normal pitch
- Midichlorian references removed
- Anakin is edited to be a more deliberate hero instead of an accidental one
Pro tip: the best Star Wars prequel is still Triumph The Insult Comic Dog interviewing people standing in line for Attack of the Clones.
There are some things that humans don't need to survive anymore still hanging around on our bodies, including unnecessary arm muscles and vestigial tail bones.
If you left the house with a lemon, some copper clips, some zinc nails, some wire, and steel wool but somehow forgot your matches, you can still start a fire. I imagine if you had a large enough lemon and enough wire and metal bits, you could also jumpstart a car or a human heart. (via @kathrynyu)
Jenna Close and Jon Held recently shot a short video profile of Bruce Gardner, who practices the Japanese art of hikaru dorodango...making shiny balls out of mud.
Ever since reading about them years ago, I've been making sand versions at the beach. No more excuses...I'm making a mud version this summer.
The PBS Ideas Channel talks to Brooklyn bar owner Ivy Mix about all the different kinds of glassware that cocktails are served in. The most interesting bits are about how factors other than taste influence how people enjoy drinks, as with wine. Men in particular seem to have a difficult time enjoying themselves with certain types of glassware and drink colors.
The latest video from Kurzgesagt is an explainer on antibiotics and superbugs (drug resistant bacteria).
What would you say if we told you that humanity is currently making a collaborative effort to engineer the perfect superbug, a bug that could kill hundreds of millions of people?
Even though I love watching videos of people who make things, you'd got to admit that many of them share an aesthetic that can get a little tiresome.
A team of researchers at Stanford built a small army of tiny robots that pulled a car across a concrete floor.
With careful consideration to robot gait, we demonstrate a team of 6 super strong microTug microrobots weighing 100 grams pulling the author's unmodified 3900lb (1800kg) car on polished concrete.
As any good tug of war team knows, the trick was to ensure that the tiny bots all pulled together at the same time. (via ny times)
It's so soothing and satisfying watching this person unslicing tomatoes. (via digg)
It is the assertion of The Walk of Life Project that the Dire Straits song Walk of Life is the perfect thing to play at the end of movies. I have watched more than a dozen of these and they are all great, but I picked Lost in Translation, There Will Be Blood, and Terminator 2 to embed here.
Watch as Orkestra Obsolete plays a version of New Order's Blue Monday using only instruments that would have been available in the 1930s, including the diddley bow, the harmonium, the zither, the theramin, and the musical saw. (via @tcarmody)
This is really NSFW but also really ROFL: Comedy Central's Not Safe with Nikki Glaser took Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and mixed it with Clayton Cubitt's Hysterical Literature project to create the magical Comedians Sitting on Vibrators Getting Coffee. I laughed at this until I was red in the face.
Chef Joshua Smookler took a hunk of waygu steak and dry-aged it for a ridiculous 400 days. No surprise, it tasted like "funk".
The Coen brothers' Fargo was released 20 years ago and to celebrate, Cinefix has a video about seven things you (probably) didn't know about Fargo. The movie, not the city. There are probably way more than seven things you don't know about Fargo, North Dakota.
Fun fact: I was living in WI near the MN border when Fargo came out and remember all the Minnesotans complaining about the accents. While I won't say the accents were entirely accurate, all you had to do was turn on the MN State hockey tournament on channel 9 and listen to the announcers for a few minutes to confirm that they weren't all that far off. (See also the 2016 Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Team. Uff da.)
The Japanese satellite Himawari caught yesterday's total solar eclipse as it moved across the Pacific Ocean.
Update: @paulmison sent along some better views of the eclipse: here and here. I tried to find a better YouTube embed, but no dice. This one, taken of the eclipse in Micronesia, is pretty amazing though...you can see the solar flares coming off the surface of the Sun as it reaches totality. Holy shit, I'm getting excited for Eclipsathon 2017!
Chef's Table, the excellent Netflix show by filmmaker David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi), which I like to think of as Other Chefs Dreams of Other Foods, is coming back with three additional seasons.
"The idea was to do a series about chefs with a really cinematic quality." As Gelb has said before, the BBC's Planet Earth was his visual inspiration. With one season behind him, Gelb now has a process. "The hardest thing is to choose the chefs... choosing chefs that are at the absolute top of their field, are dynamic story tellers, have interesting stories in their personal lives," he explains. He asks a lot of questions: "What are the epiphanies that made them want to be a chef? How do their cooking and personal lives intersect?"
And then from a practical perspective, do they have the time and will to commit to this shoot? "We shoot two weeks very intensively, and they have to be willing to give us their time. Finally it's about how do we balance the chefs, how do we make it so each story is different, so that the different stories complement each other. While each film can stand alone, together they should form a greater whole."
Among the chefs to be featured are Grant Achatz, Ivan Orkin,1 and Michel Troisgros. If you're curious about season 1 (trailer), the Francis Mallmann and Massimo Bottura episodes are the ones to watch.
Update: The trailer for the second season is out. May 27th!
I said at the end of last season that I wasn't going to watch this show anymore but as I am a waffling coward, I of course am going to watch it. Not that I probably won't regret it! Anyway, looks good I guess? Better than reading any of the books at any rate.
First contact with an alien civilization will be a momentous event in the history of Earth. Unless the other civilization is kind of a dick. Tim Urban didn't quite cover this scenario in his post about the Fermi Paradox.
Gordon Ramsay shows us how to chop an onion, cook rice, debone a fish, cook pasta, and sharpen a knife. We've been watching a lot of Gordon Ramsay videos at our house recently. My daughter's class is studying how restaurants work1 -- they're operating a real restaurant in their classroom today -- so she's been really curious about food.
On a recent weekend when it was just the two of us, we watched Ramsay cook his soft-scrambled eggs (and then made them the next morning), which sent us down a rabbit hole of beef wellington, tacos, turkey, and donuts. If you've only ever seen him yelling at mediocre chefs and restaurant owners on TV, you should give his cooking videos a try...he's a super engaging chef that gets you excited about food and cooking.
There are spoilers galore in Cinefix's look at the best ever plot twists in movies, sorted into categories including It Was All a Dream, Not Dead, and Unexpectedly Bad.
In Star Trek, do you die every time you use the transporter? How would you know if you did or didn't? I love the Ship of Theseus vs Cutty Sark comparison.
Update: See also John Weldon's animated short To Be from The National Film Board of Canada and philosopher Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons. From the Wikipedia entry on the latter:
Part 3 argues for a reductive account of personal identity; rather than accepting the claim that our existence is a deep, significant fact about the world, Parfit's account of personal identity is like this:
At time 1, there is a person. At a later time 2, there is a person. These people seem to be the same person. Indeed, these people share memories and personality traits. But there are no further facts in the world that make them the same person.
Parfit's argument for this position relies on our intuitions regarding thought experiments such as teleportation, the fission and fusion of persons, gradual replacement of the matter in one's brain, gradual alteration of one's psychology, and so on. For example, Parfit asks the reader to imagine entering a "teletransporter," a machine that puts you to sleep, then destroys you, breaking you down into atoms, copying the information and relaying it to Mars at the speed of light. On Mars, another machine re-creates you (from local stores of carbon, hydrogen, and so on), each atom in exactly the same relative position. Parfit poses the question of whether or not the teletransporter is a method of travel -- is the person on Mars the same person as the person who entered the teletransporter on Earth? Certainly, when waking up on Mars, you would feel like being you, you would remember entering the teletransporter in order to travel to Mars, you would even feel the cut on your upper lip from shaving this morning.
Then the teleporter is upgraded. The teletransporter on Earth is modified to not destroy the person who enters it, but instead it can simply make infinite replicas, all of whom would claim to remember entering the teletransporter on Earth in the first place.
(via @DailyNousEditor & marko)
Update: But maybe you can build a Star Trek transporter with built-in no-cloning rules using quantum teleportation.
From Duel in 1971 to this year's The BFG, Steven Spielberg has made 30 feature-length movies. This short video features one iconic scene from each one in chronological order. Interesting to note that Spielberg has used Janusz Kamiński as his director of photography for every film since Schindler's List, a film that marked a new phase of his career. 1
Some friends were playing a game recently: name your favorite Tom Cruise movie and your least favorite Tom Hanks movie.2 I thought it would be fun to play a similar game with Spielberg standing in for Hanks but I can't really think of who the other director would be... Who is the directorial equivalent of Tom Cruise? Respected, huge box office, but is more sizzle than substance. Michael Bay? James Cameron? Roland Emmerich? One of these guys?
Just by watching how characters are introduced in movies, you can learn who's important, what someone is thinking, the film's theme, or a character's flaws.
From a new video series by Eater featuring "culinary-minded individuals who are hard at work perfecting their crafts", sushi chef David Bouhadana visits a sushi apprentice honing her skills in NYC.
With the homemade telescope in his backyard observatory, amateur astronomer Gary Hug has discovered over 300 asteroids.
I've pretty much stopped watching science and engineering TV shows because their information density is often so low. Mythbusters is no exception, but this clever YouTube channel helpfully edits the 44-minute episodes down to a svelte and info-packed 2-5 minutes. (via digg)
Players in the top ranks of the world's professional bridge organizations have been caught cheating and the evidence is on YouTube.
On deals in which Fisher and Schwartz ended up as declarer and dummy, they cleared away the tray and the board in the usual manner. But when they were defending-meaning that one of them would make the opening lead-they were wildly inconsistent. Sometimes Fisher would remove the tray, and sometimes Schwartz would, and sometimes they would leave it on the table. Furthermore, they placed the duplicate board in a number of different positions -- each of which, it turns out, conveyed a particular meaning. "If Lotan wanted a spade lead, he put the board in the middle and pushed it all the way to the other side," Weinstein said. If he wanted a heart, he put it to the right. Diamond, over here. Club, here. No preference, here."
Here's a video showing what Fisher and Schwartz were doing:
Once you see it, it's obvious they're cheating.
What an odd seeming game when played at the professional level, BTW. Players seated so they can't see their teammates. Information is passed through bidding, but only through signals that everyone is aware of. And some available information you can use and some you can't:
Expert poker players often take advantage of a skill they call table feel: an ability to read the facial expressions and other unconscious "tells" exhibited by their opponents. Bridge players rely on table feel, too, but in bridge not all tells can be exploited legally by all players. If one of my opponents hesitates during the bidding or the play, I'm allowed to draw conclusions from the hesitation -- but if my partner hesitates I'm not. What's more, if I seem to have taken advantage of information that I wasn't authorized to know, my opponents can summon the tournament director and seek an adjusted result for the hand we just played. Principled players do their best to ignore their partner and play at a consistent tempo, in order to avoid exchanging unauthorized information -- and, if they do end up noticing something they shouldn't have noticed, they go out of their way not to exploit it.
As the story goes on to say, there are technological fixes that would curtail the cheating, but would get rid of the actual cards in a card game. Why not get rid of the humans as well and just run games as computer simulations? Again, odd game. (via @pomeranian99)
One of the video's main points:
It's not that America has much more crime. It's that crime in the US is much more lethal.
Similar to a sentiment I tweeted out a few months ago:
Easy access to guns turns bad moods, bad politics, bad religion, bad brain chemistry, and bad ideas into murder.
Hmm. I... Hmm. Up until Wall-E, Finding Nemo was my favorite Pixar film. And...I'm not sure about this. (via trailer town)
This fantastic short video from Anthony Cerniello shows a person imperceptibly aging from youth to old age.
The idea was that something is happening but you can't see it but you can feel it, like aging itself.
I would love to know how this was done. Benjamin Button-esque FX, I would imagine.
Update: Oh hey, luckily for me, this blogger named Jason Kottke posted this video more than two years ago and noted how the video was made.
Anthony Cerniello took photos of similar-looking family members at a reunion, from the youngest to the oldest, and edited them together in a video to create a nearly seamless portrait of a person aging in only a few minutes.
I think I'll have to subscribe to this fella's site. (via @jniemasik)
In their latest video, Kurzgesagt tackles the War on Drugs. The Stop the Harm website, which they mention at the end of the video, says this about the failed efforts to curb drug use:
The global drug policy system is well and truly broken. Despite aiming to 'protect' people from drugs, its punitive approach has instead increased the harms of these substances, punishing and demonizing the people and communities most impacted by them. This punishment has disproportionately impacted people and communities of color, indigenous peoples, and the economically marginalized, while stoking public health crises by restricting access to essential medicines and exacerbating the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood borne viruses.
Mad Max, Star Wars, and Ex Machina have gotten all the VX press this year, but the special effects in Carol are off the chain, yo! I had no idea Andy Serkis played Rooney Mara's character in certain heavy VX scenes.
A quick three-minute look at how the same scenes were filmed in movies and their remakes. Includes scenes from Oldboy, Psycho, The Ring, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Cape Fear, Planet of the Apes, Carrie, and Solaris.
Loving Vincent is an upcoming feature-length film about Vincent van Gogh that is animated in an unusual way: using 12 oil paintings per second. They've trained dozens of painters -- and are looking for more if you're interested -- in the style of van Gogh to illustrate every instant of the film. Here are some of the painters working on the movie:
If you've ever pulled a door that you should have pushed, you're not alone. Vox and 99% Invisible collaborated on this video about bad door design. I read Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things just as I was starting my design career and it probably had more influence than anything in how I approached designing for the web. (via @ophelea23)
Chris Rock opened his monologue at the Oscars last night with "I'm here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards" and for the next ten minutes, talked about racism in Hollywood.
Update: As much as I enjoyed Rock's monologue, I also agree with Stacia Brown's piece, Chris Rock, Justice for Flint and why we still have 'real things to protest'.
We still have real things to protest. If water contamination in a U.S. city due to alleged negligence doesn't call for "real" protest, what does? Disinvestment in the Oscars -- especially for DuVernay and Coogler -- isn't a frivolous undertaking. And black performers don't want equal opportunity just to be considered for awards. In this country, celebrity has always afforded people the platform and the capital to push forward the issues that are important to them. There couldn't have been a Justice for Flint fundraiser on the scale that they were able to mount without star power. Black celebrity -- its acknowledgement and its compensation -- is significant.
On Last Week Tonight last night, John Oliver took on the #brand running for President known as Donald Trump. Or, as he would have been known had one of his ancestors not changed his last name, Donald Drumpf. If you'd like to play along at home, you can install the Drumpfinator Chrome extension, which will replace any mentions of "Trump" on the web with "Drumpf".
For his series on character actors called No Small Parts, Brandon Hardesty profiles the incomparable Crispin Glover. (via waxy)
Henry Darger is perhaps the most famous outsider artist in the world. This is a short documentary about his life (not much is known) and art (which now fetches tens of thousands of dollars).
From Candice Drouet, a short film called Last Word, a story told with the last words from 129 movies.
In 2009, Curb Your Enthusiasm centered on Larry David doing another season of Seinfeld. The four main Seinfeld stars (plus Newman) were all on the show, in character. From the various clips and bits shown, Topher Grace edited together a nine-minute "missing" Seinfeld episode. It's actually pretty good. I didn't know how much I'd missed the show until I watched this. (thx, greg)
In this installment of Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou examines how the Coen brothers shoot characters in their films close up with wide lenses to created empathy and comedy.
Watch as a honey badger uses everything at his disposal (rocks, mud, trees, tunnels) to escape a supposedly unescapable enclosure. I was aware honey badgers don't give a shit, but I didn't know they were so clever.
With amazing super slow-motion footage of a match head starting to burn as a backdrop, this video explains the chemical reactions involved in lighting a match.
When the match is struck, a small amount of the red phosphorus on the striking surface is converted into white phosphorus, which then ignites. The heat from this ignites the potassium chlorate, and the match head bursts into flame. During manufacture, the match stick itself is soaked in ammonium phosphate, which prevents 'afterglow' once the flame has gone out, and paraffin, which ensures that it burns easily.
Skier Candide Thovex goes on another one of his crazy creative ski runs. In this one, he jumps over a helicopter (among other things). I still like his previous video a bit more, although the kids are partial to his Audi commercial, especially the abrupt ending.
Boston Dynamics, creator of the Big Dog prancing robot, has upgraded their Atlas robot, which can walk on two legs, open doors, stack boxes, walk on slippery terrain, recover from being shoved, etc. And everyone's all HA HA HA TERMINATOR but soon enough the HA HAs will become less hearty and more nervous. It took human ancestors hundreds of thousands of years to evolve from quadrupeds to bipeds and Boston Dynamics has done the same in just a few years.
Mark my words: no good will come of playing box keep-away with robots and treating them like, well, machines. It's already started...did you notice Atlas didn't even look behind itself to see if it needed to hold the door for anyone? And you think manspreading on the subway is a problem...wait until we have to deal with robotspreading by robots whose ancestors we shoved with hockey sticks.
As an unapologetic fan of Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith, I quite enjoyed this video compilation of the Dowager Countess' best burns from all six seasons of Downton Abbey. If you're having DA withdrawals now that the show is over,1 I encourage you to check out Gosford Park. Robert Altman directed it, Downton creator Julian Fellowes wrote it, and it features Maggie Smith as a snooty Countess -- not to mention Clive Owen as a dishy valet. Scrumptious!
Aaron Bleyaert lost 80 pounds, got in shape, and wrote about how he did it in four easy steps on his Tumblr.
3.) HAVE YOUR HEART BROKEN
And not just broken; shattered. Into itsy bitsy tiny little pieces, by a girl who never loved you and never will.
Now he's turned that experience into a short film that showed at Sundance. Watch for the Conan O'Brien cameo.