Five things on Friday #87

Things of note for the week ending August 29th, 2014.

FALL INTO THE THINGS

1. McMoons
No, this story isn’t about a lunar McDonald’s opening up sometime soon. No. This is in fact a STUPENDOUSLY AWESOME story about a bunch of ex-NASA civilians deciding to capture an abandoned satellite by taking over a disused McDonalds and assembling the tools they need from EBAY. Yes, that’s right, EBAY.

Not. Kidding.

MCMOONS!

Honestly, this is one of the best things I’ve read this month.

You should read it.

McMoon’s is, of course, what the crack team of space commandos have [re]christened their new home. Love it.

2. Ricky & Jerry
Jerry Seinfeld has, for some time now, had his own web series simply called ‘Comedians in cars getting coffee’. If you’ve never watched it before well hurrah! You’ve got loads to catch up on.

Ricky and Jerry

I watched the Ricky Gervais one last week and, aside from being hilarious, it reminded me not only of the lovely friendship the two have but also the quite frankly, fantastic HBO special, ‘Talking Funny‘.

It’s a 49 minute long discussion about comedy between Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louie CK, and Ricky Gervais – and it is GOLD.

Watch it tonight instead of TV.

You won’t regret it.

3. Minority Reporting
A short dissection of the finale of the [criminally underrated] Minority Report. Spoilers, obviously. But read this and I doubt you’ll ever be able to watch it in the same way again.

4. Distracting Extras
I’m not a big one for adding list posts to a list of posts you should read. HOWEVER. This list of ‘The 12 most distracting extras in movie history‘ genuinely made me chuckle. Yes, the Star Wars Storm Trooper is in there, but what about the underwear girl from Teen Wolf? You ever seen her before?

Great work.

Link contains 12 YouTube clips. FYI.

5. What’s next for Twitter?
A great piece of conjectural thinking from Alex Young of We Are Social. If you’re sat around thinking ‘Exactly what is next for this Twitter thing I work so hard on?’, then this post is a really good place to start.

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Bonuses this week:

 

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Five things on Friday #86

Things of note for the week ending August 22nd, 2014.

THE THINGS. THERE ARE FIVE OF THEM.

1. Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Finalists
There isn’t much I can add to this. The photos are, of course, amazing. These are just a couple of my favourites but the whole set really is worth ten minutes of your time.

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1

STRETCH.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2

TWEETING.

via Distractify.

2. Cap and Hulk = SCIENCE
Here is a three minute video explaining how the science behind Captain America and the HULK [if they actually existed in the real world].

Super interesting. Super fun. Super SCIENCE.

Speaking of superheroes…

3. The Phantom of Papua New Guinea
Have you ever heard of The Phantom? No, not that scary fella from the Opera. The purple one, from the jungle. The ghost who walks. The man who cannot die. Him. Once played by Billy Zane in a [terrible] film of the same name.

This guy:

Phantom

Yeah, you remember him.

He was in [the frankly awesome] Defenders of the Earth Saturday morning cartoon show, remember?

Right.

Anyway.

Apparently – and this is so random – back in the 1960s and 1980s, Mr Purple Pants started appearing on the war shields of the people of New Guinea.

The Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea have long made enormous shields from tree trunks, and have continued to make these shields as a form of ritual artwork. In the late 20th century, many of these Papua New Guinea highlanders began incorporating “new ideas” into their traditional works, so that shields bore emblems of football teams, beer brands, and, yes, the Phantom. Western comic books became widely available in the region after World War II, and the Phantom became a particularly popular character.

I picked this story up from iO9 and they’ve got a huge bank of various images of The Phantom depicted in multiple ways on said shields.

THE PHANTOM

It’s really awesome; I just love the idea that there were these badass warriors walking around with THE PHANTOM on their shields. ‘COME ON THEN! WE’VE GOT THE GHOST THAT WALKS!’ – or something like that.

4. Cyborgs

I know a cyborg. His name is Dan Lane (and it’s his birthday today – happy birthday Dan). His level of human/robot integration is probably higher than others but then again, if you know someone who wears contact lenses; they’re a cyborg too.

Do you know who else is a cyborg? Neil Harbisson. He has an antenna that comes out of his head specifically for turning colours into sounds.

Not kidding.

Go read.

5. Batman photo album
A bit of a superhero-fest this week (sorry not sorry) but I couldn’t not share this.

EItHIlD

Last week, someone posted this rather fantastic, 32-image photo set from The Dark Knight.

Specifically focusing on the interrogation scene between The Joker and Batman, the set is interspersed with quotes from an interview with Christopher Nolan discussing the work and effort that went into the scene, both from the actors therein and also the director of photography, Wally Pfister.

Great reading.

Great photos.

Great link.

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Bonuses this week:

See you next week.

 

 

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Five things on Friday #85

Things of note for the week ending August 15th, 2014.

Whirlwinds of light

— Whirlwinds of Light, via This is Colossal.

1. Smartphones leak, dumb phones don’t
International master of misadventure,  John McAfee, spoke at Def Con recently and one of the things that picked up as a headline over at the Wall Street Journal was the following:

‘On the subjects of privacy and security, McAfee said smartphones are spying on American consumers, who don’t bother to read user agreements. “The most promising privacy thing is stupid phones,” he said. “I’m dumping all my smart phones.”

He said he had started brownlist.com, to collect complaints against large corporations. He also said he has an app for Android phones that tracks privacy permissions for various apps.’

A few things:

  • This is not news.
  • This could be the start of a new trend against all things privacy-related.
  • I get the impression that this is especially not news to the people it matters most to.

Something to think on maybe?

If you want to stay clean, and prevent THE MAN from getting his dirty hands on your lovely, lovely data. Go get a dumbphone. Like a Nokia 106 for example.

2. There’s a hexagonal hurricane on Saturn

Hexagonal Hurricanes

The above was first sighted back in the 1980s, when the NASA Voyager probes flew past Saturn for the first time. In the 30+ years it takes Saturn to pass around the Sun, we can finally get to see it again.

And the New York Times has made a gorgeous, sub-three-minute video to help tell the story -

This is my favourite item this week. By a long shot.

- via Mental Floss

3. Planes IRL vs Planes Hollywood-style

0aircraftcutaways-002

0aircraftcutaways-007

I really, really liked this photo-essay. Interesting for not only seeing how crazy big planes can be (in contrast of your average human being) but also gaining an insight into how plane scenes are shot on film.

Check it out.

4. Samsung + New Ad Space
I’ve never owned a Samsung phone (something about the version of Android that it runs combined with the achingly boring product design really puts me off) however every now and then you have to applaud the epic trolling enjoyed by its marketing team over Apple (‘Screen Envy‘ definitely made me chuckle).

One of Samsung’s latest was this little video poking fun at ‘wall huggers’ – aka – iPhone users who have to sit next to plug sockets all the time while their [poorly-powered] iPhones charge. It seems, not happy with its near-15m views, Samsung has taken this down another level. Literally.

Samsung wall huggers

‘Samsung Galaxy S5 with Ultra Power Saving Mode. So you have the power to be anywhere but here’

A super smart use of ambient media in conjunction with an already well-established viral video. Contextually relevant and guaranteed to hit your target market. I think this is great.

Well done, Samsung.

Sidenote: I guess this makes me a Samsung blogger now, right? Christ.

5. Behind the Scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy’s aliens
Seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet? If not, why not? It’s not ‘just another superhero movie’, nor is it ‘one of those Marvel films that I know nothing about’ neither is it ‘a film for geeks’. GotG is probably the summer blockbuster of 2014 (with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes running a close second).

So yeah, see it.

Now that’s out of the way, Fast Co.Create has published a [completely spoiler free] behind the scenes look at some of the make up and special effects that went into creating the aliens that appear in said film.

GOTG Aliens

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Bonuses this week:

  • This Louis CK interview is a long read, but both excellent and worth your time.
  • Anagramatron hunts for tweets that are anagrams of each other. It’s so brilliantly bizarre that it’s my recommended Tumblr of the week!
  • If you’re a male social media expert who happens to be vegan, single, and an active Tinder user, I’d recommend not reading this AMAZING comic strip.

 

Did you like this stuff? Did you find any of its interesting? If you did, do me a favour and tell your friends. I’d really appreciate it, cheers.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

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Five things on Friday #84

Things of note for the week ending August 8th, 2014.

Five Things Dah-ling

- thanks for the amazing photo, Lauren

1. Xiaomi* is coming.
I think it’s fairly reasonable to say that, globally, Samsung are the biggest seller of mobile devices. However, a relative minnow of a hardware manufacturer (but growing incredibly fast), Xiaomi*, actually beat Samsung last quarter to become China’s number one smartphone vendor in Q2 2014.

This is no insignificant feat.

Who are Xiaomi and why is this interesting? This Bloomberg Businessweek article is a pretty good read but, in short: not only does Xiamoi make gorgeous hardware but it also has a rather different way of doing business. From the Bloomberg piece -

Xiaomi’s real invention is its business model. It sells online, never in stores, and avoids conventional advertising, devoting only about 1 percent of its revenue to marketing. (By comparison, Samsung earmarks 5.4 percent.) Instead, the company relies on China’s social networks, Weibo and WeChat, and the free press Lei gets as a national tech hero. The money Xiaomi saves on marketing lets it buy top-notch components while keeping retail prices down. The Mi 3 costs 1,699 yuan, or $270; the iPhone in China starts at more than twice that. A Mi 3, or any Xiaomi phone, is a great deal if you’re lucky enough to snag one—the latest models routinely sell out. Xiaomi sells handsets in batches, usually of around 100,000. The first Mi 3 release, the company trumpeted, was bought up in only 86 seconds. It’s the technology equivalent of Air Jordans.

A few months back, I remarked to a friend that should Xiaomi want to widen its footprint outside of Asia, then it might need to consider a new name; perhaps one that is less worrisome to western tongues. Shortly thereafter, Xiaomi announced it had bought ‘Mi.com’ (two letter URLs, not easy/cheap to come by).

Xiaomi is coming.

Just watch.

*shall, but with a z – me // ‘zshou mee’. According to Hugo Barra, the best way to pronounce Xiaomi is to “think of ‘show me’ and then pronounce the first word as if it [were] ‘shower.’

2. Facebook + Instagram = Smart[er] Advertising
It was April 2012 when Mark Zuckerberg slapped a billion dollars on the table and walked away with Instagram in his pocket and, since then, the two platforms have been very slowly integrating their services together. First came the inevitable sharing of user info then, later, Instagram dropped Foursquare’s location data in exchange for Facebook Places.

insta-ads

When Instagram finally announced its plans to launch advertising last year, there was one particular quote that caught my eye:

We want to show ads from businesses that are interesting to you, and to do that we will use information about what you do on Instagram and Facebook (our parent company). For instance, this might include the people you follow and the photos and videos you like on Instagram, and your interests and other basic info on Facebook.

Basically, if your Instagram and your Facebook accounts are linked, the two companies will use that data to better sell you MORE STUFF.

So far, so what. None of this is news.

What is news is that this is now happening. Mercedez-Benz is conducting an experiment whereby it can retarget Facebook users that have seen its ads on Instagram.

We’re only in the testing phase, apparently. But this is it, kids. THIS IS THE FUTURE.

Digiday has more.

3. A Modern Take on Japanese Kutani Tableware

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.10.38

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.12.40

These are quite wonderful.

- via Colossal

4. Lord of the Rings plot hole busting

Fly you fools

Ever wondered about this?

EAGLES

Some smart chap over on Reddit has come up with a fairly sound theory.

5. The Perfect Northen Lights

Krystall Hotel

This, believe it or not, is the design for the newly approved ‘Krystall Hotel’. Currently being developed by Dutch Docklands, this floating hotel will be based in the fjords near Tromso, Norway, and – given its locale (middle of nowhere, zero light pollution) – will be the perfect spot to take in the Aurora Borealis.

Incredible.

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Bonuses this week are all video game related:

 

 

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Five things on Friday #83

Things of note for the week ending August 1st, 2014.

SHINY NEW THINGS

1. Anti Surveillance YOUR FACE
Robinson Meyer slathered his face in make up and, as a result, achieves the oxymoronic feat of hiding in plain sight by looking ridiculous.

Anti-CCTV makeup

When it works, CV dazzle keeps facial-recognition algorithms from seeing a face. The technique takes its name from the dazzle camouflage of the two World Wars: The Great Power navies sought to protect their ships not by hiding them among the waves but by obscuring their size and movement.

The Atlantic has more.

2. I wrote about Gaza.
There’s not much else I can say aside from: please read and, if you so wish, pass it forward.

Failing that, donate to one of these three charities -

3. The American Room
Bizarrely, I found this adventure into, and subsequent critique thereof, the American room ‘with YouTube’ hugely interesting. Fundamentally it is an article about decor and the blandness against which lives are depicted and played out but, for some reason, when I reached the end of the article, I burst into tears.

The American Room

4. Happy (Neus Remix)
I was at the London Street Feast last night and the DJ played this EPIC Justice/Pharrel mash up -

Put it in your ears AND DANCE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW because one day, there won’t be.

5. The Monkey Men of India
Outside of the recent Russian / Gecko space mentalism, this is probably my favourite animal-based news of recent weeks. Are you ready for this?

OK.

FORTY INDIAN MEN HAVE BEEN HIRED TO IMPERSONATE MONKEYS TO SCARE AWAY THE REAL MONKEYS FROM DEHLI’S PARLIAMENT BUILDING AND OTHER GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.

This is not a joke.

Amazing.

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

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One bonus item this week:

I’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s hilarious. Marvel’s funniest film yet.

Go and see it.

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Whatley out.

 

PS. Still off Twitter – it’s actually really quite refreshing. That said, my output has gone up on the other places where I dick about, e.g.: Facebook (public posts, often), Instagram (random photos), and Spotify (for ze choons).

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