This blog is now rarely updated, but remains as an archive of bits and pieces I've collected from around the internet. To see what's caught my eye more recently, find me on twitter.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

#102; things

First, today on the Guardian website a great interactive visualisation of the Middle East protests popped up. It's easy (well, I find it easy) to get lost with the sequence of events that lead to the explosion of activity, and this is so clear, and so easy to use. I like it. Click on the image to go check it out.

Next, the increasingly furious debate over the ethics of the various "Help Japan" posters is fascinating. Look at these:

Are they helping to raise awareness, and designers using their skills to do what they can for a good cause? Or are they indulgent, self-promotional and innapropriate? These posters (and many others like them) have raised thousands of pounds to help the relief, but some people feel uncomfortable, and suggest that they imply that people should need a reward (a poster) to encourage them to donate. Different opinions are all over the place (1 and 2, for example. The comments in the articles are equally, if not more, interesting than the articles themselves). One major, and reasonable, complaint is that these posters (/t-shirts etc) are raising awareness for something that isn't lacking attention (at the moment - perhaps the best role of these pieces is in overcoming the drop in attention that is inevitable of the news cycle), and are as self-promotional as charitable. I think the important thing here is that every single designer selling work for this cause is raising vital money, and I have no hesitation in assuming that their motives are entirely admirable. The best argument I've seen on this is here (via @brainpicker) - the point is, everyone wants to help, everyone feels helpless, and people really are just doing what comes naturally. Completely good intentions should be appreciated as such, I think. That said, it might best best, perhaps, if the designers refrain from putting their logos/websites at the bottom, no matter how small, and instead have a call to action (eg donation phone lines etc). Anyway, interesting ethical stuff.

On a lighter note, this video makes me feel that my doodles in my biology lectures were inadequate. Skip to about 2 minutes in for the great stuff:
(notes on) biology

absolutely awesome.

Monday, 7 March 2011

#101; More National Geographic

Remember this? National Geographic have done it again. I LOVE these videos:

National Geographic making me smile again today. It's no secret how great I think Pixar are, and this little experiment is wicked-cool:

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

#100; A big post

100 posts and still stuttering on. Here's all the stuff I've stumbled across in the last month. There's absolutely loads here, and I realise that nobody would ever be able to wade through this whole post. Either I'm wasting too much time on the internet, I'm very easily pleased, or I have an insatiable curiosity. I'll let you decide which:

SCIENCE(ish) etc.

I can't embed it, but click here to go check out the really nice slideshow of microscopic images. Science/art. Scart.


Carl Sagan has one of the best voices I've ever heard, and he seems to have some great things to say with it. This mash-up of his voice-over and some images from the egyptian protests is completely absorbing. I'll be seeking out his work/tv shows as soon as I can (probably when I don't have a degree to do):


The Loneliest Whale In The World
"a lonely whale with vocal problems whose love song supposedly chases lady whales away."
On the one hand, this is the sort of humanising of nature that I'm not awlays a huge fan of, but on the other hand it's the kind of great (/so sad) story that can engage and excite people who might normally not have much interest. Interesting story either way.


I love this story:
 State censorship won't keep North Koreans from learning about the civil resistance in North Africa and the Middle East. Thousands of helium balloons will be soon released over the Korean border with information about the uprisings that toppled the Tunisian and Egyptian governments.
Fantastic persistence and noble intentions. Here's the full article.


Lovely titles for "the pillars of the earth" - whatever that is:

The Pillars of the Earth - Main Titles from Acme Filmworks on Vimeo.


Pure, simple fun from the Despicable Me gang. I shamelessly love this:


I haven't read the book this is based on, and I know nothing about it, but this short concept clip (explained here) is really nice:
The Escapist v.s. The Iron Gauntlet from Jamie Caliri on Vimeo.


Watch cityscapes form from keyboards. Unusual:


Oddly mesmerising music video.


This video is really nice. There's lots of good time-lapse videos knocking about, but this is one of the best I've seen:
NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.


Imagine having the patience to make this:


There's an interesting essay by George Orwell - Why I write - that starts with this:
"From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer"
 That makes me wonder if the very best people at anything are just built that way and achieve greatness through an internal drive and ambition. Maybe not, but an interesting thought. The essay makes for good reading anyway - well worth it if you have a minute.


In a similar vein, watch an interview with Isaac Aasimov (this is part 2 - CLICK HERE for all the other bits) Really nice ideas about learning and computers etc, and interesting to see how he imagines the internet and computer access will drive people to control their own learning, and hence develop a true passion and enjoyment for learning.

"Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference materials, be something you’re interested in knowing, from an early age, however silly it might seem to someone else… that’s what YOU are interested in, and you can ask, and you can find out, and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, in your own direction, in your own time… Then, everyone would enjoy learning." 

The main problem in what he says is that he imagines that everyone has the same capacity for loving learning that he does, but maybe not everyone does. He is right, though, that there's an enjoyment that everyone gets from learning in at least some respects, and people like the power and comfort that knowledge gives them - that's often underestimated when we consider modern education. He makes tons of interesting points, and it's great to hear a such great hopefulness and energy. He talks fantastically and says loads of things that still apply today. Also go and watch part 3 - you get a bit more about his personal approach to life, and it's really entertaining:


Beautiful video raising a potentially big issue:


If you have more time than me, I suspect there's a universe of great stuff in the Lone Gunman's Year In Review.


Hilarious (and nicely photographed) American streets named after English places, badly:


Click on the image below and go through the slideshow of "Pictures of the Year":


Fire insurance maps from 1880-1920. Sounds horrendously dull, but check out the covers. Bloody brilliant:


Finally, remember the London Olympic logo that everyone loves so much? Apparently it's not just ugly, but actually offensive. Iran threatening to boycott the olympics due to the racist logo that reads "zion". Read more here. Classic.


Phew. See my "best of" post for the usual sources - particular note that many of these came from Brain Pickings/Curiosity Counts; Coudal Partners; Animade; New Scientist; etcetcetc.