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2020-01-17T20:42:21Z
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Kenobi, a Star Wars Fan Film

Although the announced Disney+ series about Obi-Wan Kenobi may shed some light on the matter, we don’t know too much about what “Ben Kenobi” was up to on Tatooine after the events of Revenge of the Sith, besides keeping an eye on Luke. This short film made by a group of Star Wars fans as a “love letter” to the series shows what may have happened after the Empire makes its presence known when Luke is just a young boy. (via kevin kelly)

Tags: movies   remix   Star Wars   video

2020-01-17T20:42:21Z


An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Airplane Sleeping Positions

Airplane Sleeping

From The Washington Post, an illustrated encyclopedia of sleeping positions on a plane. Economy only…we don’t need to see how peacefully the lie-flat fancies in business are slumbering. Tag yourself! (I’m a Bobblehead.)

Tags: flying   travel

2020-01-17T19:00:13Z


The Best Best Picture Lineups in Oscar History

Using their extensive database of member ratings, Letterboxd averaged the ratings for the Best Picture nominees for each year to determine which years ranked highest. The top five are (official Academy winners marked w/ an asterisk):

  1. 1975 (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest*, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, Nashville)
  2. 2019 (Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite)
  3. 1976 (Rocky*, All the President’s Men, Bound for Glory, Network, Taxi Driver)
  4. 1974 (The Godfather Part II*, Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny, The Towering Inferno)
  5. 1994 (Forrest Gump*, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Shawshank Redemption)

1975 was apparently the clear winner but 2019 in the #2 spot is a very strong showing, especially considering there are the ratings of nine nominees to average instead of just five. But as this analysis shows, the Academy and Letterboxd users do not often agree on which Picture is “actually” Best:

It is often said that The Academy doesn’t always choose the nominee that *actually* deserves Best Picture. And according to the average ratings of the nominees on Letterboxd, that is true about 76% of the time!

I’d guess there’s also a recency bias at work (newer films tend to get rated higher), as well as age-related (I’d guess Letterboxd skews young-ish?) and gender-related (majority male, but probably not as much as IMDB) biases. It would be neat to see how controlling for those effects would affect the average ratings. (via @mrgan)

Tags: best of   lists   movies   Oscars

2020-01-17T17:00:15Z


Winners of the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

Underwater Photos 2019

Underwater Photos 2019

Underwater Photography Guide has announced the winners of the 2019 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition. The top photo is by Adam Martin and the bottom one is from Petr Polách…check out the site for all the winners. (via in focus)

Tags: best of   best of 2019   photography

2020-01-17T15:15:54Z


Goldman v Silverman

Filmed during Uncut Gems, Goldman v Silverman is a short film by the Safdie brothers starring Adam Sandler & Benny Safdie as dueling street performers dressed up in metallic paint. In addition to the paint, Sandler has a mask on and doesn’t really talk, so no one in Times Square realizes it’s him. (via gothamist)

Tags: Adam Sandler   NYC   Safdie brothers   video

2020-01-16T23:32:29Z


Official Posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Wow, check out the official posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

2020 Olympic Posters

2020 Olympic Posters

2020 Olympic Posters

What an amazing array of styles and disciplines — there’s manga, shodo (calligraphy), Cubism, photography, surrealism, and ukiyo-e. That stunning poster at the top is from Tomoko Konoike — fantastic. As you can see, posters from past Olympics have tended towards the literal, with more straightforward depictions of sports, the rings, stadiums, etc. Kudos to the organizers of the Tokyo Games for casting their net a little wider. Love it. (via sidebar)

Tags: 2020 Summer Games   art   design   Japan   Olympic Games   Tomoko Konoike

2020-01-16T21:03:06Z


Abstract Photographs of the Colorful Insides of Golf Balls

James Friedman Golf Balls

James Friedman Golf Balls

James Friedman Golf Balls

James Friedman is primarily a documentary and street photographer, but for his Interior Design project, he went abstract and captured the insides of golf balls.

For some viewers, my photographs from this series, titled Interior Design, allude to celestial bodies and the sublime. For me, their serendipitous structural exquisiteness and their subtle and passionate arrays of colors have inspired new exploration in my photography; I am particularly delighted to see the diminutive golf balls transformed into 36” x 36” prints.

Incidentally, I do not play golf.

Here’s a 1966 British Pathé film about how golf balls are made (compare w/ a more modern process):

See also Friedman’s short account (w/ photos) about photographing Andy Warhol at a 1978 art opening. (via dense discovery)

Tags: golf   how to   James Friedman   photography   sports

2020-01-16T17:55:32Z


“World Travel: An Irreverent Guide”, an Upcoming Travel Guidebook by Anthony Bourdain

World Travel Guide Bourdain

Just before be died, Anthony Bourdain began work on a travel guide with his long-time assistant and coauthor Laurie Woolever. The book was to distill the lessons learned from his life of travel as a TV personality and celebrity food enthusiast. Based on their conversations, Woolever is completing work on World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, which will be out in October.

In World Travel, a life of experience is collected into an entertaining, practical, fun and frank travel guide that gives readers an introduction to some of his favorite places-in his own words. Featuring essential advice on how to get there, what to eat, where to stay and, in some cases, what to avoid, World Travel provides essential context that will help readers further appreciate the reasons why Bourdain found a place enchanting and memorable.

Supplementing Bourdain’s words are a handful of essays by friends, colleagues, and family that tell even deeper stories about a place.

Here’s a brief taste of the kind of advice you’ll find in the book:

Skip the touristy spots, he said: “If you spend all that time waiting to get into the Eiffel Tower, you’ve completely wasted a day”; and forget the concierge: “They’re going to send you to the place with the clean bathroom. Some of the best meals I’ve had, you need a hazmat suit to go to the bathroom.”

You can preorder the book on Amazon.

Tags: Anthony Bourdain   books   food   Laurie Woolever   travel   World Travel

2020-01-16T14:57:16Z


Five Ways to Ditch Your Climate Stress and Be Part of the Solution

Emma Marris has a five-point plan for dealing with the psychological toll of climate change — the constant news of fire! famine! war! floods! Republicans! — and working towards solutions to our collective global problem. Step 1, she writes, is to let go of the shame:

The first step is the key to all the rest. Yes, our daily lives are undoubtedly contributing to climate change. But that’s because the rich and powerful have constructed systems that make it nearly impossible to live lightly on the earth. Our economic systems require most adults to work, and many of us must commute to work in or to cities intentionally designed to favor the automobile. Unsustainable food, clothes and other goods remain cheaper than sustainable alternatives.

And yet we blame ourselves for not being green enough. As the climate essayist Mary Annaïse Heglar writes, “The belief that this enormous, existential problem could have been fixed if all of us had just tweaked our consumptive habits is not only preposterous; it’s dangerous.” It turns eco-saints against eco-sinners, who are really just fellow victims. It misleads us into thinking that we have agency only by dint of our consumption habits — that buying correctly is the only way we can fight climate change.

Marris’ focus on systems (political, capital, etc.) mirrors that of other climate thinkers (like David Wallace-Wells) and is exactly right IMO:

My point is that the climate crisis is not going to be solved by personal sacrifice. It will be solved by electing the right people, passing the right laws, drafting the right regulations, signing the right treaties — and respecting those treaties already signed, particularly with indigenous nations. It will be solved by holding the companies and people who have made billions off our shared atmosphere to account.

Tags: Emma Marris   global warming   lists   politics

2020-01-15T21:46:06Z


How 1917 Was Filmed to Look Like One Long Continuous Take

1917 is the latest in a string of one-shot movies, where the action is presented in real-time and filmed to look as though it were done in one continuous take. This video takes a look at how director Sam Mendes, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and editor Lee Smith constructed the film. In this interview, Smith & Mendes say that the film contains dozens of cuts, with shots lasting anywhere from 39 seconds to 8 & 1/2 minutes. My favorite parts of the video are when they show the camera going from hand-held to crane to truck to cover single shots at a variety of speeds and angles. It’s really impressive.

But — does the effect work to draw the audience into the action? I saw 1917 last night and was distracted at times looking for the cuts and wondering how they seamlessly transitioned from a steadicam sort of shot to a crane shot. Maybe I’d read too much about it going in and distracted myself?

Tags: 1917   film school   Lee Smith   movies   Roger Deakins   Sam Mendes   video

2020-01-15T18:52:11Z


This Striking Image of the Moon Is a Combination of 100,000 Photos

Backyard astronomer Andrew McCarthy has created some arresting images of various objects in the sky, including galaxies, planets, the Sun, and nebulas. Perhaps his favorite subject is the Moon and for one of his first images of 2020, he combined 100,000 photos to make this image of the first quarter Moon.

Andrew McCarthy Moon

Some detail:

Andrew McCarthy Moon

*low whistle* McCarthy uses some digital darkroom techniques to bump up the dynamic range, which he explained in the comments of a similar image.

The natural colors of the moon were brought out here with minor saturation adjustments, but those colors are completely real and what you could see if your eyes were more sensitive. I find the color really helps tell the story of how some of these features formed billions of years ago.

In one of his Instagram Stories, he shows how he photographs the Moon, including dealing with temperature changes over the course of the session — “when it’s cold, the telescope shrinks, and the focus changes”.

McCarthy sells digital copies of his images (as wallpaper or to print out) as well as prints. (via moss & fog)

Tags: Andrew McCarthy   astronomy   Moon   photography   space

2020-01-15T14:54:58Z


Steven Soderbergh’s Media Diet for 2019

Every year, director Steven Soderbergh publishes a list of the movies, books, TV series, short films, and short stories he’s watched and read over the course of the year (one of the inspirations for my media diet posts). For many creators, the key to making good work is to read and watch widely with an emphasis on quality — it’s difficult make great work if your ingredients are poor — so Soderbergh’s 2019 list is a fascinating look at the director’s inputs for the next year’s creative endeavors.

Some observations:

Tags: books   lists   movies   Steven Soderbergh   TV

2020-01-14T22:09:57Z


Retitling “Little Women” So Men Will Go See It

The audience for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is running about 2/3 women and 1/3 men. Bruce Handy has some suggestions for a title change that would entice more men to check the movie out.

“Star Wars, Episode X: The Rise of Amy”
“Four Girls, One Teacup”
“Into the Marchverse”
“The Jo Supremacy”

I saw Little Women on New Year’s Day and loved it — one of my favorite 2019 movies for sure. It’s idiotic that Gerwig didn’t get nominated for a Best Director Oscar.

See also Kaitlyn Greenidge’s opinion piece, The Bearable Whiteness of ‘Little Women’.

Tags: Bruce Handy   Greta Gerwig   Kaitlyn Greenidge   Little Women   movies   remix

2020-01-14T20:06:17Z


The First and Last Time Mister Rogers Sang “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” on TV

Including special shows, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran for 912 episodes and at the beginning of each one, Rogers sang “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” while putting his sweater on and changing his shoes. In the video above, you can compare his rendition of the song from the first episode (February 19, 1968) and the final episode (August 31, 2001). It would take a significant effort (and might actually be impossible because he sings the song at a different pace each time), but I’d love to see someone cut together a version of this that features all 912 openings strung together chronologically, so you can see Rogers get older as he sings (a la Noah Kalina’s Everyday).

The same YouTube channel also edited together the first and last times Rogers sang “Good Feeling”:

(via open culture)

Tags: Fred Rogers   music   remix   TV   video

2020-01-14T18:10:47Z


The Arsonous Birds of Australia

Ornithologists have collected a number of eyewitness accounts from Australia of three types of birds that deliberately set fires to flush out prey from grassy areas.

Black kites (Milvus migrans), whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcons (Falco berigora) all regularly congregate near the edges of bushfires, taking advantage of an exodus of small lizards, mammals, birds and insects — but it appears that some may have learnt not only to use fire to their advantage, but also to control it.

“At or around an active fire front, birds — usually black kites, but sometimes brown falcons — will pick up a firebrand or a stick not much bigger than your finger and carry it away to an unburnt area of grass and drop it in there to start a new fire,” says Bob Gosford, an ornithologist with the Central Land Council in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, who led the documentation of witness accounts. “It’s not always successful, but sometimes it results in ignition.”

(via @christopherjobs)

Tags: Australia   birds

2020-01-14T16:17:46Z


McMillions, an HBO Documentary on the Massive McDonald’s Monopoly Scandal

In July 2018, I posted about the FBI investigation into the multi-million dollar McDonald’s Monopoly fraud.

For years, Jerry Jacobson was in charge of the security of the game pieces for McDonald’s Monopoly, one of the most successful marketing promotions in the fast food giant’s history. And for almost as long, Jacobson had been passing off winning pieces to family, friends, and “a sprawling network of mobsters, psychics, strip club owners, convicts, drug traffickers”, to the tune of more than million in cash & prizes.

In early February, HBO is airing a five-part documentary series on the investigation called McMillions:

Tags: crime   food   HBO   McDonald’s   McMillions   trailers   TV   video

2020-01-14T01:41:43Z


Hosting Christmas Dinner for 50 Strangers

Inspired by his holiday solitude in a new place last year, Brad Lancaster decided to host a Vancouver Christmas dinner for people who were going to be alone that day. Word got out, donations poured in, and he ended up hosting 50 people for a baller holiday dinner.

Tags: Brad Lancaster   food   video

2020-01-14T00:11:01Z


Paris Museums Put 100,000 Images Online for Unrestricted Public Use

Paris Museums Images

Paris Museums Images

Paris Museums Images

Paris Museums Images

Paris Museums Images

Paris Musées, a collection of 14 museums in Paris have recently made high-res digital copies of 100,000 artworks freely available to the public on their collections website. Artists with works in the archive include Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Cézanne, and thousands of others. From Hyperallergic:

Paris Musées is a public entity that oversees the 14 municipal museums of Paris, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais, and the Catacombs. Users can download a file that contains a high definition (300 DPI) image, a document with details about the selected work, and a guide of best practices for using and citing the sources of the image.

“Making this data available guarantees that our digital files can be freely accessed and reused by anyone or everyone, without any technical, legal or financial restraints, whether for commercial use or not,” reads a press release shared by Paris Musées.

What a treasure trove this is. I was particularly happy to see a bunch of work in here from Eugène Atget, chronicler of Parisian streets, architecture, and residents and one of my favorite photographers.

Eugene Atget

Eugene Atget

Eugene Atget

(via @john_overholt)

Tags: art   museums   Paris   photography

2020-01-13T21:06:56Z


Photos of the Great Migration

Great Migration

Great Migration

Great Migration

Great Migration

Librarians at the Library of Congress have created a new guide to finding photos of the Great Migration1 contained in their extensive collection. Here’s a blog post announcing the guide.

The “Searching for Images” page of the guide suggests search strategies for finding images related to the Great Migration. For example, when searching our online catalogs, researchers will be most successful when using keyword terms and subject headings that refer to specific places, people or events. I knew that “Black Belt” was sometimes used to describe the area on Chicago’s South Side that experienced a population boom during the Great Migration. Entering the keywords “black belt chicago” in the online catalog yielded a number of images of the area from April of 1941 from the Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Collection.

I was just talking about the Great Migration with a friend last night. Neither of us had learned about it in school (not even college), even though it completely reshaped America in the 20th century. If you’re in a similar boat, I recommend starting with Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Warmth of Other Suns. It’s impossible to understand contemporary American society without knowing the history of the Great Migration and Wilkerson’s book helped open my eyes to that. (via @john_overholt)

  1. A refresher on what the Great Migration was from the LOC guide: “During the Great Migration, from about 1915 to 1970, millions of African Americans moved from southern, primarily rural areas of the United States to urban areas to the north and west. They sought better opportunities away from racial discrimination and violence in the South.”

Tags: photography   racism   USA

2020-01-13T19:00:23Z


Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana in the 80s & 90s

Africa Movie Posters

Africa Movie Posters

Africa Movie Posters

In order to drum up business for local movie theaters in Africa (most notably in Ghana), theater owners would commission local artists to paint movie posters.

When Frank Armah began painting posters for Ghanaian movie theaters in the mid-1980s, he was given a clear mandate: Sell as many tickets as possible. If the movie was gory, the poster should be gorier (skulls, blood, skulls dripping blood). If it was sexy, make the poster sexier (breasts, lots of them, ideally at least watermelon-sized). And when in doubt, throw in a fish. Or don’t you remember the human-sized red fish lunging for James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me?

“The goal was to get people excited, curious, to make them want to see more,” he says. And if the movie they saw ended up surprisingly light on man-eating fish and giant breasts? So be it. “Often we hadn’t even seen the movies, so these posters were based on our imaginations,” he says. “Sometimes the poster ended up speaking louder than the movie.”

You can check out more of these amazing artworks in this Twitter thread, this BBC story, on the AIGA site, and at Poster House, which has an exhibition of these posters up through Feb 16.

Update: I removed this modern-day spoof of the Ghanaian posters from the post. The tell is the reference to this amazing GIF. (thx, erik)

Tags: art   design   Ghana   movies

2020-01-13T16:30:08Z


Noah Takes a Photo of Himself Every Day for 20 Years

On January 11, 2000, when he was 19 years old, photographer Noah Kalina took a photo of himself — and just never stopped doing that. Although he’s missed a few days here and there, he’s kept up his daily habit for 20 years. The video above shows all 20 years of his daily photos.

Six years into the project in 2006, Kalina uploaded a video of his progress to Vimeo and then YouTube and it went viral, changing the trajectory of his career and life. The project has exhibited in art galleries around the world and The Simpsons even did a parody of it.

As someone who has done one thing near-daily for 20+ years, I feel a great kinship towards this project. I’ll see you in 2040, Noah.

Tags: mesmerizing   Noah Kalina   photography   video

2020-01-13T14:12:04Z


Ian McKellan’s 1999 Lord of the Rings Blog

Gandalf Mckellan

Starting in 1999 with his casting as Gandalf and continuing through 2003, Ian McKellan wrote a blog called The Grey Book about his experiences starring in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. (His website is getting pounded right now, so check out the Internet Archive mirror if you can’t get through.)

So the journey has begun without me. On Monday 11th October, Elijah Wood et al gathered in Hobbiton — and I hear they are behaving themselves! I have been in Toronto, masquerading as Magneto, the master of magnetism, on the set of Bryan Singer’s “X-Men.” I have just sent Peter Jackson an e-mail of good luck. I don’t expect an immediate reply — directing a film is totally time-consuming.

Meanwhile, Tolkien aficionados are mailing to the “Grey Book.” From teenagers and readers old as wizards come the advice, the demands, the warnings — united by the hope that the film’s Gandalf will match their own individual interpretations of the Lord of the Rings. I take comfort from the general assurance that they approve of the casting (not just of me but of all the other actors so far announced - thrilling news that Cate Blanchett is joining us.) Yet how can I satisfy everyone’s imagined Gandalf? Simply, I can’t.

And yet I believe he did satisfy almost everyone. Maybe McKellen will even reprise his role as the wizard in the upcoming Amazon series. (via a very excited Stephen Colbert)

Tags: Ian McKellan   Lord of the Rings   movies   weblogs

2020-01-11T19:29:23Z


World Underwater

World Underwater

Inspired by a trip to Venice, the world’s most prominent example of what life could be like in many of our coastal cities in the years to come, Hayden Williams made a series of 3D rendered images showing what our world might look like underwater. (via the morning news)

Tags: art   design   global warming   Hayden Williams   NYC   subway

2020-01-10T21:17:33Z


Presidential Candidates Ranked By Popularity of First Name

This is a big ass field of presidential candidates, though it’s gotten smaller in recent weeks. There are plenty of polls circulating which rank the candidates via the scientific method of asking strangers who they’re supporting and then weighting those responses to create a list of candidates. The candidates are then listed in descending order by level of support.

This list below, also reasonably scientific, though far less useful, ranks the candidates in the order of popularity of their first name according to the handy dandy Popular Baby Names website helpfully maintained by the Social Security Administration. So what does this list tell us? Not much! Former MA Governor Bill Weld probably isn’t going to top any other list this election cycle, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will likely not be on the bottom anywhere else.

3. William Weld
13. Elizabeth Warren
14. Michael Bennet, Michael Bloomberg (Number 1 name from 1961-1998, so that’s a lot)
23. Joseph Biden, Joseph Walsh
27. John Delaney
43. Andrew Yang
49. Thomas Steyer
211. Peter Buttigieg
205. Amy Klobuchar
526. Donald Trump (Has really small hands)
904. Cory Booker
943. Bernard Sanders (Last ranked 2008)

Never ranked:
Tulsi Gabbard
Deval Patrick

Also notable: The name Donald is getting slowly but steadily less popular. Going from 217th most popular name in 2000, to 376th most popular name in 2010, to 526th most popular name in 2018.

(For the record, the name Aaron was ranked 60th and Jason was 100th, so eat it, nerd.)

Tags: language   politics

2020-01-10T19:15:50Z


A Map of Mormon Geological Theology

Boston Rare Maps recently sold a nine-foot-high cloth map from 1899 that shows a geographic interpretation of the Book of Mormon.

Mormon Map Banner

The map was an official production of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) in Independence, Missouri. The RLDS (known since 2001 as the Community of Christ), is a reformist branch of the Church of Latter Day Saints, established in 1860.

You can read more about the proposed setting of the Book of Mormon on Wikipedia and its adherents’ belief that the indigenous peoples of the Americas are descended from Israelites.

The Book of Mormon is based on the premise that two families of Israelites escaped from Israel shortly before the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and that they constructed a ship, sailed across the ocean, and arrived in the New World as founders of Native American tribes and eventually the Polynesians. Adherents believe the two founding tribes were called Nephites and Lamanites, that the Nephites were white and practiced Christianity, and that the Lamanites were rebellious and received dark skin from God as a mark to separate the two tribes. Eventually the Lamanites wiped out the Nephites around 400 AD, leaving only dark skinned Native Americans. The descent of Native Americans from Israel is a key part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s foundational beliefs.

(via @john_overholt)

Tags: art   maps   Mormons   religion

2020-01-10T14:55:23Z


Winners Take All

Winners Take All is Anand Giridharadas’ 2018 book about how “the global elite’s efforts to ‘change the world’ preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve”. For instance, Giridharadas would argue that Jeff Bezos donating a billion dollars to charter schools while Amazon pays no federal income tax is a problem.

Why, for example, should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes? His groundbreaking investigation has already forced a great, sorely needed reckoning among the world’s wealthiest and those they hover above, and it points toward an answer: Rather than rely on scraps from the winners, we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions and truly changing the world — a call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike.

The RSA made an animated video of a talk by Giridharadas that distills his central message into about five minutes — it’s a good watch/listen. The full talk is available here. (via aeon)

Tags: Anand Giridharadas   books   video   Winners Take All

2020-01-09T20:21:51Z


Woven City, Toyota’s Prototype City of the Future

In early 2021, Toyota plans to break ground on a prototype city of the future located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Around 2000 people will populate Woven City at first, which will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only. These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.

The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery, combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.

Residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life, creating an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.

The press release and video above are the best sources of info about the city, but there’s also a website with not a lot of info and some weirdly fuzzy low-res icons that I hope are not indicative of the level of effort and polish being put into this effort. Those icons definitely didn’t go through the Toyota Production System.

Tags: architecture   cities   Japan   Toyota   video

2020-01-09T17:17:55Z


Slaughterhouse-Five Graphic Novel

Later this year, Kurt Vonnegut’s sixth novel Slaughterhouse-Five will be reimagined as a graphic novel by writer Ryan North, artist Albert Monteys, and colorist Ricard Zaplana. Vonnegut’s descriptive stories lend themselves well to the format of graphic novels with pithy dialogue, fantastical plots, and non-linear narratives. This project is being released with the blessing of the Vonnegut family, so if it’s successful, hopefully other Vonnegut novels will be released as graphic novels as well.

slaughterhouse-five.JPG

Ryan North is the writer of How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler. Kottke readers will presumably appreciate a guide for building a recognizable society if you’re stuck in the past after a catastrophic time machine breakdown.

There hasn’t been a film made of Slaughterhouse-Five since 1972 (a film, by the way, which Vonnegut loved), but imagine what someone like Taika Waititi could do with this story.

So it goes.

Tags: books   Kurt Vonnegut   Ryan North   Slaughterhouse-Five

2020-01-09T14:36:23Z


Ridgeline Maps of the World

Ridgeline Map Italy

Using Andrei Kashcha’s Peak Map tool, you can create what’s called a ridgeline chart — picture the album cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures — of the elevation anywhere on the Earth. Try it out here. (via @eramirez)

Tags: Andrei Kashcha   design   infoviz   Joy Division   maps

2020-01-08T23:06:18Z


The Full Legacy of Isaac Asimov

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Isaac Asimov’s birth, Alec Nevala-Lee writes about the sci-fi author’s dual legacies: his prodigious literary output and his decades-long practice of groping women, hundreds of them.

Isaac Asimov loved large numbers. He was born a century ago this month, and when he died, in 1992, he was both the most famous science fiction writer in the world and perhaps the most prolific author in American history. He kept close track of his publications, most of which were nonfiction, and confessed that he was generous when it came to including borderline cases, such as anthologies, in his total of nearly five hundred books: “We all want to be known for something, and I was beginning to see that there would be a good chance that if for nothing else, I would be known for the vast number of books I would publish.”

In the end, however, another number might turn out to be equally meaningful. Over the course of many decades, Asimov groped or engaged in other forms of unwanted touching with countless women, often at conventions, but also privately and in the workplace. Within the science fiction community, this is common knowledge, and whenever I bring it up in a room of older fans, the response is usually a series of nods. The number of such incidents is unknown, but it can be plausibly estimated in the hundreds, and thus may match or exceed the long list of books that Asimov wrote.

See also How Picasso Bled the Women in His Life for Art. (via @john_overholt)

Tags: Alec Nevala-Lee   books   Isaac Asimov

2020-01-08T21:05:30Z


Air Travel in the Age of Climate Crisis: Is It Wrong to Fly?

Because of the climate crisis, Greta Thunberg doesn’t fly anymore. Neither does climate journalist Eric Holthaus (aside from this recent trip). The flight shame movement and personal reflection on the climate has caused others to limit their air travel.

In this video, Joss Fong and her team at Vox look at the cost of air travel to our environment, investigate electric airplanes, and consider whether it’s wrong to fly in the age of climate crisis.

Climate change implicates us all in a planet-sized injustice. If I fly, if I drive, if I heat or cool my home, if I buy stuff, if I eat stuff, all of this now has a cost that I’m not paying.

Tags: Eric Holthaus   global warming   Greta Thunberg   Joss Fong   travel   video

2020-01-08T19:01:29Z


Trees in the Fog

Michael Schlegel

Michael Schlegel

Michael Schlegel

Michael Schlegel took these photographs of trees in the fog in the Fanal region on the Portuguese island of Madeira. I was going to describe these as “eerie” but they’re not really. More of a Entish Middle Earth bonsai vibe. I went for a hike in the fog a couple of years ago and it was remarkably peaceful, like a dream. (via moss & fog)

Tags: clouds   Michael Schlegel   photography   trees

2020-01-08T17:03:24Z


The 100 Best Books Written By African American Women

The editors of ZORA, a publication for women of color, have published a list of the 100 greatest books written by African American women: The ZORA Canon.

To our knowledge, however, no one has ever compiled a comprehensive list specifically featuring the finest literary works produced by African American women authors. We decided to undertake that effort both to honor that still underappreciated group of writers and to provide ZORA readers — you — with a handy reference guide to their work.

Here are a sampling of the books on the list — click through to peruse them all.

Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson. “The first novel written by an African American woman, Our Nig focuses on the fictional character Frado and her servant-girl life in New England during antebellum slavery.”

The Red Record by Ida B. Wells. “This tome by the groundbreaking writer, Mathis says, is ‘an exhaustively researched publication about lynchings in the U.S. after the abolition of slavery.’”

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. “This groundbreaking novel by the Harlem Renaissance novelist and anthropologist focuses on the emerging autonomy and maturation of Janie Crawford as she endures multiple marriages, poverty, and various other associative trials to reach a state of clarity.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. “The first of a multivolume series, this much-loved autobiographical tale recounts Maya Angelou’s early life…”

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. “As he grows up, Milkman Dead strives to take flight as he sets out on a pilgrimage to reclaim his family history…”

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. “The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist traces the lives of three people — a sharecropper’s wife, an agricultural worker, and a doctor — who embark upon one of the greatest movements of African Americans within American history: the Great Migration.”

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. “This series of poems chronicles Woodson’s experiences in South Carolina and New York in the 1960s and ’70s under Jim Crow and with the civil rights movement.”

I have read several of the more recent books on this list but not enough.

Tags: best of   books   lists

2020-01-08T14:41:02Z


Danny MacAskill Joins the Gym

In a video that pokes a little bit of fun at the stationary cycling of Soulcycle and Peloton, trials rider Danny MacAskill joins the gym and practices his own unique brand of bicycle fitness. Stick around until the end to see some bloopers and some more stunts that didn’t make the cut.

Tags: cycling   Danny MacAskill   video

2020-01-07T23:13:19Z


Impossible Foods Announces Their New Impossible Pork Product

Impossible Foods is expanding from faux beef to faux pork. Impossible Pork is their newest product made entirely from plants that is engineered to look and taste as close to the real thing as possible.

From the press release:

Impossible Pork is delicious in any ground meat dish, including spring rolls, stuffed vegetables, dumplings, wontons or sausage links. Like ground meat from pigs, Impossible Pork is characterized by its mild savory flavor, adding delicate depth and umami richness without being gamey or overpowering.

Although they don’t specifically connect the dots, Impossible Pork seems to be the base for another new product of theirs: Impossible Sausage, which is debuting in breakfast sandwiches at Burger King later this month. (I mean, you can’t make sausage without pork, right?!)

In a review of Impossible Pork for The Verge, long-time vegetarian Elizabeth Lopatto says it’s mostly a success, calling it “a savory base of protein for a lot of foods that traditionally call for pork”.

Tags: Elizabeth Lopatto   food   Impossible Foods   video

2020-01-07T21:05:20Z


The Final Chart Topper of the Decade Perfectly Summarizes the Current State of Media

The number one song on the UK singles chart for the last week of 2019 was Ellie Goulding’s River, despite it not being available on Spotify, Apple, Google, or anywhere but Amazon (with one important exception). How the heck did that happen? Chart Watch UK has the story.

River was simply a prominent part of just about every “Christmas songs” playlist curated by Amazon themselves, a default choice for everyone muttering “Alexa, play Christmas songs” as they basted the turkey and cursed the sprouts. People have been spoon-fed a contemporary hit single like no other before it, and the result of that has been to propel it almost by accident to the top of the charts.

This is a fitting choice for the final chart topper in the 2010s because it encapsulates a number of trends in media that have played out over the past decade. To wit:

  1. The song is a remake. Remakes and sequels dominate our viewing and listening.
  2. It is exclusive to a single platform. The entire media world seems to be headed in this direction.
  3. The platform is operated by one of the handful of tech behemoths that took control of more and more of the media landscape as the decade wore on.
  4. Amazon. Arguably the company of the decade. Led by the world’s richest man, a symbol of the decade’s growth in inequality.
  5. Ok, the song is exclusive to Amazon but is also on YouTube. YT has simply grown so popular for young people listening to music that media companies can’t ignore it, even when they’re direct Google competitors (and who isn’t these days).
  6. Voice assistant devices were instrumental in making the song popular. Since Siri was first released in 2011, voice assistants have become increasingly embedded in our homes and pockets.
  7. Amazon’s editorial team added the exclusive song to several of their Christmas playlists. Amazon has access to the song, compiles the playlists, and sells the devices to play them. This sort of BigCo “synergy” became standard operating procedure in the 2010s.
  8. There was an algorithm involved (Billboard’s). They increasingly determine what we read, watch, and listen to.
  9. And that algorithm was gamed. See also the role of Facebook’s algorithms in the 2016 US Presidential election (and many many other examples of “impartial” algos being manipulated).

It is tough to imagine a more perfect example of how media functions (or doesn’t) today. (via @tedgioia)

Tags: Amazon   business   Ellie Goulding   lists   music   video

2020-01-07T18:58:07Z


Colorful & Meticulous Hand-Drawn Travel Notebooks

Jose Naranja

Jose Naranja

Jose Naranja

Jose Naranja

Good God, these hand-drawn & painted notebooks by José Naranja documenting his travels are fantastic! From Colossal:

Formerly an aeronautic engineer, Naranja now archives his thoughts while visiting foreign countries by hand-crafting journals replete with items like collected stamps, an illustration of the periodic table, and a study of fountain pens. Each mixed-media page centers on a theme, such as the culture surrounding eating a bowl of ramen or the flamingos found in a zoo.

Whenever I see something like this, it makes me want to learn how to draw/paint better than my current 4th grade level.1 I spent about 45 minutes poring over his work just now. So creative & exacting…look at that handwriting! And check out the tiny box of watercolors he carries with him.

You can keep up with Naranja’s latest adventures on his blog or on Instagram. If you’d like to buy some of his art — including a bound copy of some of his notebooks — there’s a small shop. (via colossal, which is also endlessly creative & meticulous)

  1. Ok, let’s be honest: 1st grade level. Most people might find it difficult to fake kids’ drawings but not me!

Tags: art   Jose Naranja   travel

2020-01-07T17:03:44Z


Flowing Data’s Best Data Visualizations of 2019

Nathan Yau of Flowing Data picked his ten favorite data visualization projects for 2019. All the projects listed are worth a look … but maybe, just maybe, this post is really just an excuse to let my eyes feast upon Scott Reinhard’s historic topographic maps once again.

Scott Reinhard

Designer Scott Reinhard takes old geological survey maps and combines them with elevation data to produce these wonderful hybrid topographic maps. From top to bottom, here are Reinhard’s 3D versions of a 1878 USGS Yellowstone map, a 1904 USGS map of Acadia National Park, and a 1899 USGS map of the Grand Tetons.

Tags: best of   best of 2019   design   infoviz   lists   Nathan Yau   Scott Reinhard

2020-01-07T15:14:20Z


White Space: Sketching the Military Court at Guantánamo Bay

MacNaughton Gitmo

Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton spent a week at Guantánamo Bay sketching the proceedings at the 9/11 military court for this NY Times piece. In a behind-the-scenes piece, MacNaughton describes how she made the drawings, including the creative challenge posed by the restrictions and censorship enforced by US military officials.

Of the 30-something drawings I presented, Mr. Lavender shook his head at only two. The first contained some classified items in the courtroom. That made sense. The second was a handwritten list of everything that I was not allowed to draw, which I’d made to use as a reminder while working. I wanted to keep it. He refused.

I argued that the information it contained had been disclosed elsewhere. But Mr. Lavender and his supervisor came to the conclusion that my handwritten list was indeed a drawing, technically containing things I couldn’t draw. My “No” list was a no-go.

That’s Guantánamo.

Every drawing she made needed a signed approval sticker from the court’s censor, and in this piece and on Instagram, MacNaughton didn’t photoshop the sticker out, reinforcing that the censorship is a vital part of the story she’s trying to tell. Even the paper towel she used to clean her paint brushes needed a sticker:

MacNaughton Gitmo

Tags: 9-11   art   legal   USA   Wendy MacNaughton

2020-01-06T21:15:16Z


Stella the Talking Dog

Meet Stella and her human, speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger. Using a soundboard of buttons that say words when they’re pressed, Hunger has taught Stella how to talk. Here’s a video from several months ago in which Stella asks to go to the beach, and when rebuffed, asks to play instead:

Stella’s latest progress is documented on Instagram: learning the meaning of “later”, asking where her owners are, and asking for more water and a toy.

Tags: dogs   language   video

2020-01-06T16:36:56Z


Page created: Sun, Jan 19, 2020 - 09:05 AM GMT