Five things on Friday #119

Things of note for the week ending Friday 10th April, 2015.

Five things, yo

1. HOW DO SNAKES BEHAVE IN ZERO GRAVITY?
I know, it’s probably something you’ve been asking yourself all week. It’s OK. You’re not alone. It’s been on my mind as well. But you can now put your mind at rest.

According to Shobhit Sharma on Quora:

“A high number of animals, including snakes, have been subjected to a zero-g environment, either naturally or artificially. As results show, different animals react differently to this unknown territory. For example, tree frogs have been known to assume a nosedive position when the effects of gravity are removed. And even funnier, cats have been known to assume that they are falling over, so they just roll over and over, trying to orient themselves into a safe landing position.”

He goes on…

“But to keep the discussion limited to the behaviour of snakes, they have been known to exhibit some fairly interesting results in a zero gravity environment. They usually tend to have one of these two reactions: either they attack themselves or they coil themselves into a tight knot – like a bunch.

The roots of both of these behaviours are believed to be the snake’s response to the loss of its sense of proprioception, or the awareness of one’s body parts in relation to another. Being isolated from the effects of gravity, snakes are no longer able to differentiate their own body from a physical obstacle, which results in two possible effects:

  • Snakes perceive their own body as an enemy, which makes them attack themselves.
  • Snakes perceive their own body as another snake, which makes them try to bunch up against themselves as a result of a behaviour that is common to a stressed group of snakes.”

An outstanding bit of useless information.

Go and ‘up vote’ Shobit’s answer and say thank you for enlightening your Friday.

2. NEW ORANGE WEDNESDAY HACK

Meerket Movies

Sorry, not Orange Wednesdays. Meerkat Movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hurrah and hurrah again.

Get to the point, Whatters.

Remember how you could just go get an Orange PAYG SIM card purely for sending that one SMS every Wednesday? That’s gone now (thanks EE).

However, a very smart person has found a way to hack its replacement service from Compare the Meerkat. Resulting in you having to pay a mere £1.37 for a full year of 2-4-1 cinema tickets.

Perfect.

One imagines this loophole will close very shortly, so move fast.

3. TINTYPE HOLLYWOOD STAR SHOTS
New York photographer, Victoria Will, hung out at the Sundance Festival (in NY) and, using a blend of modern and historical techniques, captured some amazing photographs of Hollywood’s finest.

These are gorgeous.

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vintage-photography-sundance-celebrities-tintypes-2015-victoria-will-1

TINTYPE COPYRIGHT OF VICTORIA WILL

You can see the entire set over on Hill’s website; they’re well worth a look.

via

4. THE ONLY APPLE WATCH REVIEW WORTH READING
Honestly, I think this Verge write up is pretty stellar. They come under a fair bit of fire for their approach to non-tech news and, well, irrespective of whether or not they deserve it, you can’t fault this work.

The Verge

I’ve read it on mobile and desktop and the former is a better experience.

Related: if you’re sat there wondering ‘James, are you going to get an Apple Watch*?’ – the answer is a no. As some of you may already know, I have an [original] Pebble watch. I’ve had it for a little over a year now and the new version, Pebble Time, was recently announced on Kickstarter.

I backed the steel edition so, at some point over the summer, that’s the smartwatch I’ll be sporting.

Now you know.

*If you hear anyone say ‘iWatch’ – tut loudly, then correct them immediately.

5. THE ROCK DOES TAYLOR SWIFT
No. Not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter at once.

What is WRONG with you?!

I’m talking about THIS:

Lip Sync Battle

The URL I am about to link you to contains two videos from the new show ‘Lip Sync Battle’ (the child of all those amazing skits from Tonight with Jimmy Fallon) and, well, it’s all kinds of awesome.

Go. Watch.

And have an amazing weekend!

Whatley out.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

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Five things on Friday #118

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 3rd, 2015.

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To those of you working today:

I FEEL YOU.

fuuuu

To those of you not working today:

I FEEL YOU.

gifff

Either way, I hope you have an amazing Easter weekend break and hey, to really cheer you, here’s a nine and a half hour Spotify playlist that me and a friend created especially for you.

Right then, shall we?

1. ALL YOUR TUBE DATA BELONG TO US
This is fairly geeky but stick with me (oh come on, you know I’m a massive tube nerd when it comes to this kind of stuff); below you’ll find a data chart that measures annual passenger figures from 2004-2012.

LUL 1

Look at that lovely data!

But that’s not why I’m telling you about this, oh no. The reason I’m drawing this to your attention is because Citymetric, the wonderful bunch that I’ve dug this stuff up, have gone a little bit further and analysed YOY passenger growth, disparity of usage between certain lines, and ultimately what reasons are behind these numbers – in turn offering up some really super-geeky facts and insights.

For example: if you divide total number of passenger figures by kilometres of line served, you get this pretty awesome chart.

lul 4

What to know why the data looks the way it does (or why there’s that dip in the W&C Line)? Have a guess in your head and then get yourself over to CityMetric and find out.

2. MORALITY AND THE IDEA OF PROGRESS IN SILICON VALLEY
This is my favourite long read of the week. Written by Eric Giannella, a PhD candidate in sociology of science and technology at UC Berkeley, it examines the amorality issues that rise from the blind faith that many place in ‘progress’.

‘ Progress, as we think of it, invites us to cannibalize our initial moral aspirations with rationality, thus leaving us out of touch with moral intuitions.’

Open this in a new tab, make yourself a coffee, and dive in.

It really is a fantastic read.

3. FORGET MILLENIALS; YOU WANT TO SPEAK TO THE REALTIMERS
Has the generation of ‘things’ arrived? Who knows. Read the results of this piece of UK research- aka the ‘Realitime Generation Survey’ [PDF download] – from Logicalis and make your own mind up.

As ever the first thing you should do when you come these kinds of documents is skip to the end and check out the survey size / methodology.

I’ve totes done that for you already:

  • Methodology: Online quantitative survey
  • Base Size: 1,116 UK children aged 13-17
  • Fieldwork period: 12th December 2014 – 5th January 2015

There’s so much of this stuff floating around at the moment but most of it US-based. If you’re in the UK, you might find this useful – give it a look and see if you learn something.

4. I’M SPEAKING @ DIGITAL SHOREDITCH / #DS15
Digital Shoreditch 2015 is coming.

Set to ‘Celebrate Outstanding Creativity’ and spread over five very differently themed days (Make, Grow, Next, Connect, and Live), #DS15 is set to be bigger than ever. This year is my first year attending, so I’m hoping for good things.

In fact, on the CONNECT day I’m actually hoping to contribute to those good things myself as my talk proposal was not only accepted but was then also voted by my friends and peers into the schedule (so thanks for that, gang).

The talk is called ‘Seriously, what now?’ – and it will aim to cover off the BIG TRENDS and MASSIVE MYTHS of social content in 2015. I admit, I may have been angry at the time I wrote the synopsis so the output on the day maybe a little provocative. But we’ll see what that looks like when we get there, shall we?

  • Time: 12:35 – 12:50.
  • Date: May 14th.
  • Place: Shoreditch Town Hall.

Digital Shoreditch itself runs from May 11th – 15th and the cheapest tickets available are only available for three more days. Fingers crossed I’ll see you there!

Tickets available now.

5. LOOK AT THIS GORGEOUS APPLE WATCH PIECE FROM WIRED

wired piece

I really love it when publishers put something like this together. Written by David Pierce, ‘iPhone Killer: the secret history of the Apple Watch’ is not only brilliantly written but also expertly constructed as a web experience.

Wonderful stuff. Check it out.

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Bonuses this week:

 

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A Full Day of Music, Vol I

Music. For you. From me (and a friend).

Spotify

I use Spotify and I like playlists.

If you use Spotify and like playlists too, then this blog post is for you.

A little while ago, my friend Sarah and I started putting a Spotify list together of all the best music we were listening to at that time. The playlist went by a different name at that point but now, some 18mths later, we think we’ve finished building it and are ready to share it with the world.

Made up of an eclectic mix of chilled out tunes, electro funk, and the occasional diversion into retro awesome, ‘A Full Day of Music, Vol I‘ weighs in at a hefty 139 tracks and just over 9hrs worth of aural enjoyment.

As Sarah put it herself:

‘[This playlist is a] mix of tunes that we added because they were the perfect track at the moment we were listening to them.’

We like it a lot and we hope you do too.

LISTEN NOW.

PS. If you like it, share it!
PPS. We’ve already started Vol II. So you’ve got that to look forward to. Kinda.

 

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Five things on Friday #117

Things of note for the week ending Friday March 27th, 2015.

5thingd aaaaah

1. POST-PUNK ICONS AS MARVEL SUPERHEROES
I think I saw a couple of these a little while back but I’ve finally dived into them and THEY ARE AWESOME.

punk8

Billy Idol as Thor? Oh brilliant. Wait, what about reinterpreting Robert Smith as Nightcrawler? You want that too? OKAY!

punk4

Ugh.

So good.

Oh and hey, guess what? There’s more.

2. BIG MACS. ON YOUR CLOTHES.
In what can only be described as peak nouveau-ironic pseudo-nascent trend-jacking branded content, McDonald’s Sweden has launched its own Big Mac inspired fashion range.

I say ‘inspired’…

bigmac1

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 13.01.46

…I mean ‘plastered’.

Yeah.

Well.

Er.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 13.00.29

There is so much about this that I could write this.

It equally makes me laugh and want to vomit at the same time. THERE IS TOO MUCH IRONY HERE.

Remember that whole effing piece I wrote Trend Churn? This is that.

But oh my God it aches to look at it. This is pizza-as-trend multiplied by branded-content-ruining-everything (see: ‘the fall of the hipster brand‘), divided by Mom Jeans –  and y’know what’s the worst thing?

I think it’ll sell by the bucket load.

Christ.

3. ACOUSTIC HIGH WAY BARRIERS. WHAT?
So this is pretty cool.

Highway-Acoustic-Walls-1a-644x371

The above image is taken from a proposal for an environmentally-friendly acoustic barrier (aka a “Forest Corridor”) in Hong Kong.

Highway-Acoustic-Walls-1b-468x323

It was designed by Bread Studio and meets three strict conditions: 1) masking the sight of the highway from nearby residential buildings, 2) improving the view of the highway’s underside for people in the park below, and 3) relieving drivers from any claustrophobic impressions as they cruise through the de facto tunnel.

So yeah, kinda weird and kinda awesome. This story itself came from a whole list of acoustic highway barriers, and that list can be found over on Web Urbanist.

I had no idea these things existed.

Go check ‘em out.

4. MATCH YOUR WORKOUT TO YOUR MOOD
Angry? Use that adrenaline and lift (but do you even, tho).
Happy? Try something that requires more focus, like balancing or something.
Sad? Commit to a 15 minute warm up and then see how you feel after that.

Men’s Health has more.

Pretty useful.

5. MI: ROGUE NATION
I am such a Tom Cruise fanboy I’m completely and utterly past caring. No matter what someone told me in a bar about him on Monday (you know who you are).

I. Do. Not. Care.

MI:5 is coming and it looks AMAAAAZING.

Bring it.

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Bonuses:

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Ps. This week’s addition to the ‘Useful links on Millennials‘ content hub (that some of you might find useful to bookmark), is a YouTube video known as ‘THE CREATORS’.

This 30min documentary gives a background to three different UK YouTube stars (yes, including Zoella) – how they got to where they are, what they’ve been doing, what drives them, and ultimately what it’s like to keep up the standards that they’ve set themselves.

Part YouTube advert, part behind the scene all access, and part Black Mirror episode – this video is actually worth a watch/listen if you’re trying to work out what it is about these digital ’slebs that millennials adore so much.

Whatley out.

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Five things on Friday #116

Things of note for the week ending Friday March 20th, 2015.

5things

1. GEENA DAVIS IS AWESOME
There’s a lot to like about this ‘Geena Davis is still locked and loaded‘ piece from Bloomberg. This is just one example:

It wasn’t until she had a daughter, she said, and started watching kids’ movies with her, that the lack became clear. Davis noticed how few female characters appeared—sometimes only a mother, and it was weirdly common for that mother to die in the first scene. (“If we want to actually achieve parity,” she ribbed, “we have to start killing fathers.”) Davis canvassed, and realized her friends weren’t noticing, either. “And when I started bringing it up within my industry,” she said, “it wasn’t just that they weren’t noticing, they were sure that the problem had been fixed.”

I’d recommend you read the whole thing.

Geeeeeeena

2. PROBABLY THE BEST / ONLY PHONE WALLPAPERS YOU’LL EVER NEED
Yeah, helluva title that.

No pressure.

BUT WAIT.

American designer and artist, Molly Mcleod, designed these gorgeous wallpapers and I picked them up from PSFK earlier last week.

molly-mcleod-phone1-962x644

molly-mcleod-phone3-962x644

I’m running the ‘STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE’ one at the moment and it actually works. So yeah, these (and the others like them) are super recommended.

Get these and more, direct from Molly’s website.

3. TAKE ME TO CHURCH
This Ellie Goulding cover is quite something.

And hey, while we’re at it, why not watch this awesome video too?

4. WHAT’S MISSING FROM THIS 13-YEAR-OLD GIRL’S HOMESCREEN?
This has been doing the rounds a fair bit today so I thought, just in case you hadn’t seen it yet, I’d share it with you.

Basically, just under a week ago, a venture capitalist by the name of Bijan Sabet tweeted a photo of his daughter’s homescreen.

This is what it looks like:

homescreen

Notice what’s missing?

Yup. Me too.

If this kind of thing is new to you then I’d recommend reading the QZ article that I found this on as it links to a few supporting documents on the how and the why.

Whatever you do with this information, at least acknowledge how darn interesting it is.

5. SXSW INTERACTIVE

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(the view, behind me, from my front row seat to see Astro Teller)

I got back on Thursday morning and I have to say, SXSWi 2015 has probably made it into my top five all time top / favourite conferences ever. EVER.

Outside of the trends, updates, and lessons that I learnt from the daily lectures, panels, and interactive sessions (most of which I’ve already written up elsewhere (see: ‘Retail Revival’ for The Guardian and ‘Postcard from Day 5 @ SXSW‘ for The Drum), quite a few other [non-work-related] amazing things happened.

And, after taking a quick straw poll on Twitter on Wednesday, here’s a special SXSW-flavoured five things in your five things on Friday, just for you:

SXSW thing 1: OLD FRIENDS
After talking to each other on the Internet for nigh-on eight years, Mr Ricky Cadden (the original Symbian-Guru) and I finally met. What a great night that was.

Not only did I get to hang out with Ricky (and finally tick off the last mobile geek on my ‘People I know from the Internet but have yet to meet’ list) but my friends Myriam and Carlo were there too!

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^ This is 100% my happy place ^

SXSW thing 2: NEW FRIENDS
After fanboying over her website for a year and a bit I finally met ‘digital strategist’, author of Social-Creature, and all round super brain, Jenka Gurfinkel, and that too was a blast. We hung out with mermaids, we danced, we talked ABOUT OUR WRITING PROCESS (‘What do you mean you do layouts?’ – ‘What? Why do you think my stuff is so good?’ – ‘What?’), and then we ate tacos.

DSC_0165_3

Basically: winning at life.

Although it must be said, never more has the phrase ‘England and America are two nations divided by a common language’ been more truthful (I think we spent 50% of all conversation explaining what it was we were trying to say the first time around).

New friendships rock.
As does the Internet.

But you know this, right? That’s why you’re here. Right?

SXSW thing 3: ALL OF THE MUSIC
After spending nearly all of last summer trying to see them live in London, I finally managed to catch FUTURE ISLANDS live in Austin (thanks Spredfast).

FUTURE. ISLANDS.

They were so so so so so so so SO GOOD.

To top it off, they were supporting The Flaming Lips – who were also amazing. I don’t know if I mentioned it in a previous Five Things but Sony sent me an Xperia Z3 to try out a while back and the photos that took throughout that gig totally blew my mind.

I’m thinking about entering this one into some kind of competition.

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NO. FILTER.

Finally, on my last day in Texas, I managed to catch Odezsa at The Spotify House; that was pretty darn special too.

SXSW thing 4: ROBOTS
Out back in the exhibition hall you can find all kinds of wonders. I ran into Jon Andrews while I was there and he said ‘You have to go see the crazy Japanese guys with all their robots; you’ll love it!’ I did, and Jon was right.

ROBOTS

3D-printed, iPhone-controlled robots. Amazing.

There was also this guy that had this robotic arm. Like something out of Age of Ultron (Intel has photos and videos); it was as incredible as it was humbling. I turned to my company and said ‘We are living in the future!’ – the one thing I didn’t do was say ‘Oh man! Your robot arm is COOL!’ – because y’know, having an actual arm would be cooler.

Moving on.

SXSW thing 5: PEACE

And there’s not much more I can add to that.

So there you have it: SXSW Interactive, a place for learning, excitement, and amazing friendships both old and new. I’ve got a ton of notes to write up and a fair few presentations to give back to the office over the coming weeks to boot.

But between the sessions on Twitter, Big Data, and all that future gazing – I found time to reflect, rewind, and refresh my perspective on a few things.

Life is good.

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Whatley out.

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Bonuses come this week in the form of three trailers.

  • Here’s a fresh 1min trailer for Age of Ultron made up of 90% completely new footage (warning: definite money shots here you might want to save for the cinema). Got my tickets. You got yours?
  • Next up is a Japanese trailer for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. So. Excited.
  • Finally, this trailer for the video game, EVE ONLINE, is old but still awesome.

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