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This Filmmaker Spent a Studio's Promotional Video Budget on Typhoon Relief

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When 20th Century Fox approached filmmaker Casey Neistat to make a promotional video for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Neistat had a proposal: Let him use that budget to help victims of typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6000 people when it made landfall in November.

"Mitty is a movie about chasing a dream and they wanted me to make a movie about chasing a dream," Neistat writes on his Youtube channel. "I am a big dreamer but at that time only one thing came to mind; if i could do anything in the world right now what would it be? That's to help the victims of the typhoon."

Fox went for it, and Neistat released the result, an incredibly moving 7-minute film, today.

"It was complicated and at first improbable but with the help of an extremely loving group of locals, all who were total strangers, we were able to stretch the production budget really far," Neistat writes. "Beyond the food distributed in the video we also worked with a local nurse and purchased a lot of medicine and medical supplies, as well as providing tools to village leaders to be shared within the village and aid in the rebuilding process. ... Big thank you to Fox and Ben Stiller for not freaking the f*** out when they saw what i did with their money."

Neistat has directed shorts for Nike and Mercedes-Benz and posts frequently to his YouTube channel, where he makes films on everything from just when you're supposed to use the emergency brake in NYC's subways to the dangers faced by people using bike lanes, and much, much more.

To donate to typhoon relief, click here.

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Can You 'Hear' These Silent GIFs?
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GIFs are silent—otherwise they wouldn't be GIFs. But some people claim to hear distinct noises accompanying certain clips. Check out the GIF below as an example: Do you hear a boom every time the structure hits the ground? If so, you may belong to the 20 to 30 percent of people who experience "visual-evoked auditory response," also known as vEAR.

Researchers from City University London recently published a paper online on the phenomenon in the journal Cortex, the British Psychological Society's Research Digest reports. For their study, they recruited more than 4000 volunteers and 126 paid participants and showed them 24 five-second video clips. Each clip lacked audio, but when asked how they rated the auditory sensation for each video on a scale of 0 to 5, 20 percent of the paid participants rated at least half the videos a 3 or more. The percentage was even higher for the volunteer group.

You can try out the researchers' survey yourself. It takes about 10 minutes.

The likelihood of visual-evoked auditory response, according to the researchers, directly relates to what the subject is looking at. "Some people hear what they see: Car indicator lights, flashing neon shop signs, and people's movements as they walk may all trigger an auditory sensation," they write in the study.

Images packed with meaning, like two cars colliding, are more likely to trigger the auditory illusion. But even more abstract images can produce the effect if they have high levels of something called "motion energy." Motion energy is what you see in the video above when the structure bounces and the camera shakes. It's why a video of a race car driving straight down a road might have less of an auditory impact than a clip of a flickering abstract pattern.

The researchers categorize vEAR as a type of synesthesia, a brain condition in which people's senses are combined. Those with synesthesia might "see" patterns when music plays or "taste" certain colors. Most synesthesia is rare, affecting just 4 percent of the population, but this new study suggests that "hearing motion synesthesia" is much more prevalent.

[h/t BPS Research Digest]

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The Google Docs Audio Hack You Might Not Know About
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To the uninitiated, Google Docs may take some warming up to. But although it may seem like any other word processor, Docs offers its fair share of nifty features that can make your life a whole lot easier. The only problem is that few people seem to know about them.

The Voice Typing function is one such example. As Quartz discovered, this tool can be used to drastically cut down on the time it takes to transcribe an interview or audio recording—a feature that professionals from many fields could benefit from. Voice Typing might also be useful to those who prefer to dictate what they want to write, as well as those with impairments that prevent them from typing.

Whatever the case may be, it's extremely easy to use. Just open a blank document, click on "tools" at the top, and then select "voice typing." A microphone icon will pop up, allowing you to choose your language. After you've done that, simply click the icon when you're ready to start speaking!

Unfortunately, it's unable to pick up an audio recording played through speakers, so you'll need to grab a pair of headphones, plug them into your phone or voice recorder, and dictate what's said as you listen along. Still, this eliminates the hassle of having to pause and rewind in order to let your fingers catch up to the audio—unless you're the champion of a speed typing contest, in which case you probably don't need this tutorial.

According to Quartz, the transcription is "shockingly" accurate, even getting the spelling of last names right. For a how-to guide on the Voice Typing tool, check out Quartz's video below.

[h/t Quartz]

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