homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

Dave Grohl Plays Drums Along with the Original Recording of Smells Like Teen Spirit

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 27, 2021

At an event for the release of his recent memoir, The Storyteller, Dave Grohl got behind his drum kit and played along with the original recording of Smells Like Teen Spirit. You might notice that Grohl grimaces a bit right at the beginning — this is maybe the first time (or one of a handful of times) he’s played this song with Kurt Cobain’s vocals since Cobain died. From the video’s description:

It probably wasn’t easy for DG to get to this point where he was willing to share. At the show (and in his book and many interviews) he actually talked about the long path it took to get to not only TALK about Kurt, but to even want to listen to ANY music after his death. Still, a lot of time has passed, which always helps. And in the meantime, Dave has become quite a talented, thoughtful storyteller. I am sure, as difficult as it will always be to him, it probably also now a cathartic experience for him. At least I hope it is.

(via open culture)

The Beishan Broadcasting Wall in Kinmen, Taiwan was a massive three-story speaker system built to broadcast anti-Communist messages to China.

Wow, Photoshop in a web browser. It's a beta and only works in Chrome, but still.

FDA advisory panel recommends emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for kids aged 5-11. So many parents I know are waiting for authorization...

MSCHF bought an original Andy Warhol drawing for $20,000, created 999 copies, and sold all of them for $250 each. One lucky buyer will get the original but "any record of which piece within the set is the original has been destroyed".

I've been enjoying dipping into Gastro Obscura, a globetrotting food guide from the folks at @atlasobscura. "Take a whirlwind tour of more than 500 unexpected dishes, unique ingredients, and fascinating culinary traditions from around the world."

A helicopter tour of Antarctica, from McMurdo to the Dry Valleys.

FYI, you can now post photos to Instagram from your desktop web browser. (Only to your timeline, not to Stories.)

The cult-like following around Tesla is becoming a problem.

Quick Links Archive

Learn How Roller Skates Are Made

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2021

the boot part of the roller skate being sewn by a machine

a roller skate in the process of getting its wheels put on

A few weeks ago, the New York Times for Kids section (aka the best section of the newspaper) showed us How to Build Roller Skates.

Among the most sought-after skates are Moxi’s Lolly Skates, rainbow-colored old-school four-wheelers made in Red Wing, Minn. Riedell, the 100-person company that makes the skates, is on track to make almost 80,000 pairs of roller skates this year, about four times as many as before the pandemic.

I poked around YouTube and found a couple of videos about how the skates are made as well:

You can buy your very own pair of Riedell skates direct from the company or from Amazon.

See also Say “No” to Crack and Say “Yes” to Roller Skating!, Dancing on Roller Skates with James Brown’s Style, and The Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink. (via the prepared)

  listen to the latest episode of kottke ride home  

Icebergs Are Swimming Sculptures

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2021

iceberg

glacial ice

iceberg

glacial ice

Since 2003, photographer Olaf Otto Becker has been documenting the decline of the glaciers and ice sheet in Greenland.

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting. Regularly, like the ticking of a clock, huge, new icebergs from the edges of the glacier plunge into the ocean each day with a thunderous boom and a roar. Our planet breathes. The accelerated melting of the ice is nothing more than one of our Earth’s compensatory reactions. Everything is constantly in motion. Even landscapes are changing with breathtaking speed, if time is not measured on a human scale. For me, icebergs are swimming sculptures, witnesses to a global change that, drifting southward on the ocean, slowly dissolve into their mirror image.

I’ve included some of my favorite shots from his projects above — beautiful but signifiers of the deep trouble humanity is in. (via colossal)

A Prototype of the Original iPod

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2021

a prototype of the original iPod

To mark the 20th anniversary of the iPod, Cabel Sasser shared some photos of one of the coolest artifacts in the Panic Archives: a prototype of the original iPod.

As you can see, it’s… quite large! We’ve always assumed that this mighty shell was designed to fit the large breadboards or circuit boards that were used during the earliest days of iPod development, until everything was eventually sized down to actual iPod-size. (It also has the Jobsian side-benefit of keeping the engineers in the dark about what the final device will look like.) I can’t get enough of those chunky, clunky, clicky black buttons wired up for navigation.

You can see how big it actually is when compared to the size of the actual iPod:

a prototype of the original iPod compared to the original iPod

Update: Tony Fadell headed up development of the iPod at Apple and had this to say about the prototype above:

This is a P68/Dulcimer iPod prototype we (very quickly) made before the true form factor design was ready. Didn’t want it look like an iPod for confidentiality — the buttons placement, the size — it was mostly air inside — and the wheel worked (poorly)

Historical Reconstruction of the 1915 Ford Model T Assembly Line

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2021

Using photos and films made in the 1910s and 1920s, Myles Zhang made this animated reconstruction of Ford’s Model T assembly line as it would have appeared circa 1915, from start (chassis assembly) to finish (driving it off the floor).

Ford was not the first, but his car and moving assembly line were certainly the most successful and memorable. After creating his version of the automobile in 1896, Ford moved workshops first to Mack Avenue and later to Piquette Avenue in Detroit. These first two factories were small-scale structures for limited car production. Only in 1913 at Ford’s third factory at Highland Park did mass-production begin on a truly large scale. As shown in this film, here Ford applied assembly line methods throughout the factory to all aspects of car production.

There’s also a virtual reality model of the factory you can fly around in.

Winners of the 2021 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2021

dozens of insects on a white background

three lizards silhouetted on large green leaves

closeup view of algae's spirally shaped chloroplasts

brightly colored soap bubble patterns

Contestants from 55 countries entered over 9000 photos in the Close-Up Photographer of the Year competition for 2021 and now the winners have been announced. I’ve included a few of my favorites above (from top to bottom): Pål Hermansen, Johan De Ridder, Håkan Kvarnstrom, and Bruno Militelli. (via in focus)

A Celebration of Opening Title Sequences

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2021

From Patrick Willems, a history and celebration/defense of movie opening title sequences. They have fallen out of favor over the past decade or two, but Willems argues they serve a needed purpose. For instance, opening title sequences can set the tone or theme of the film before it even gets started — that’s what Saul Bass set out to do:

a quote from Sual Bass on title design

Bass called this “creating a climate for the story”. Here’s one of Willems’ favorite opening sequences by Bass, from 1966’s Grand Prix, which I’d somehow never seen before and is fantastic:

Me? I love opening title sequences. (Except when they are bad and too long.) But I also love when the movie starts right away. And when the movie starts right away and then you get a title card like 8 minutes into it. I’m a fan of anything when it’s done well. *shrugs*

P.S. You can check out hundreds of great examples of opening title sequences at Art of the Title.

Documenting Death

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2021

After Kathy Brandt was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer, she and her wife Kim Acquaviva, both of whom worked in end-of-life care, started documenting the end of her life on social media. The result was a frank portrait of death, which offered non-medical folks a view of something they rarely get to witness.

Many of the posts deal matter-of-factly with Brandt’s experience of inhabiting a dying body. Did she still crave sex? (“It’s like, for me, at least, there’s nothing there,” she tells Acquaviva, on camera.) Did she remember that she had a diaper on, and that it was time to relieve herself? What were her symptoms today, and how were they different from yesterday’s? The couple’s radical openness extended to a post, the day before Brandt’s death, in which Acquaviva says, “I’m sharing this for nonmedical people who’ve never heard the beginnings of a death rattle. The death rattle is Kathy Brandt’s. … The video is dark and jumpy, but the sound is decent.” The next day, Acquaviva posted a picture of her wife’s face, taken shortly after her death.

Note: this video can be difficult at times (because you’re watching someone dying), but as Acquaviva says, “In a culture were we don’t share almost anything around illness and death, the only way to counter that is for some people to share a little bit more than is probably appropriate.”

Wind Turbine Wall

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2021

Wind Turbine Wall

Designer Joe Doucet’s Wind Turbine Wall is both a kinetic sculpture and a way to harness wind power to create electricity.

Wind energy has played a key role in helping national grids around the world reduce dependence on fossil fuels to generate energy, but wind turbines for the home have encountered very slow uptake due, in part, to their intrusive physicality.

Designed to be as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional, this “kinetic wall” is made up of an array of rotary blades that spin individually, driving a mini generator that creates electricity. The electricity is utilized in the home or business, can be stored in a wall-mounted battery, or can even be fed back into the national grid to provide revenue for the owner.

Here’s the wall in action:

From a writeup of the project in Fast Company:

Doucet has built a prototype for a single spinning rod and run simulations based on that. The average annual electricity consumption for an American home uses a little over 10,000 kilowatt-hours per year. One of these walls would be enough. But where Doucet sees true potential is in larger-scale commercial buildings and even cities. “Instead of the typical retaining walls along roads and freeways, you’d have an array of these,” says Doucet, who says he’s in conversation with several manufacturers to help him bring the product to market. “With the added wind boost from trucks, our highways could take care of all our energy needs.”

(thx, michael)

Orbital Planes, a Photographic Ode to the Space Shuttle

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2021

closeup photo of the Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle instrument panel

Roland Miller has been documenting space exploration for more than 30 years and his latest book, which he’s funding via Kickstarter, is a photo documentation of the final years of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

I started documenting the Space Shuttle program when I was teaching photography at a college near the Kennedy Space Center. In 2008, I began a concentrated effort to document the final years of the program. Orbital Planes is the result of that photography work. My hope is that Orbital Planes will give the reader their own personal view of the Space Shuttle and the technology and facilities that helped it fly.

You might remember Miller from his collaboration with Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli photographing the ISS. (via colossal)

Flingbot: A Robotic Artist That Flings Paint

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2021

Artist & engineer JBV has built a robot artist called Flingbot that works by throwing paint at a canvas according to a number of randomized parameters, e.g. fling strength, scoop shape, paint color, and throwing angles:

The next parameters are the starting and ending fling angles. Randomly chosen by the code, the trajectory and point it hits the canvas is variable creating another factor of uniqueness. This is all controlled by a servo under the base of the catapult, which also happens to be the motor that allows Flingbot to position itself under the paint reservoirs.

This means that every painting Flingbot creates is effectively unique.

All in all, accounting for all the different parameters, there are almost 3 trillion paintings that Flingbot can make. The number is likely even higher than this because there are even more variables to consider that are out of Flingbots control. These include the consistency of the paint, the angle of the canvas, the temperature in the room…the list goes on. It’s safe to say that each one of Flingbot’s painting is truly one of a kind.

(via the morning news)

The Simpsons Library

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2021

Lisa Simpson holding a book called Tales of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Sister

Lisa Simpson holding a book about The Simpsons

Lisa Simpson reading a book called Backdoors to Citizenship

Marge Simpson reading a book called Love in the Time of Scurvy

The Simpsons Library Instagram account has been documenting all of the books, magazines, and other printed matter that has appeared on the long-running sitcom.

Producer Butch Vig Breaks Down Iconic Nirvana Songs

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 21, 2021

In these tantalizingly short videos, legendary producer Butch Vig details how the songs on Nirvana’s 1991 breakthrough album Nevermind came together. About Smells Like Teen Spirit, Vig says:

Here comes the guitar solo. He basically copied the vocal melody instead of trying to come up with something punky or frantic or strangled guitar like he usually did. He just copied the exact vocal melody and it works really well.

You can find the breakdowns for Teen Spirit and Drain You embedded above and here are Something In The Way, In Bloom, and Polly. Bonus: Vig describes hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit in person for the first time. (via open culture)

Update: Here’s the whole documentary from which these clips were pulled. (via @tape)