Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
I would imagine that New Yorkers would be a little concerned about any unusual aircraft zipping around their airspace. So it is particularly remarkable that a team managed to assemble a remote-controlled miniature airplane, equip it with a camera, and fly it around various parts of the city, including parts of Manhattan, over the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, over the Statue of Liberty, and so on -- without getting arrested or having their aircraft taken down. Here's the video:
According to various... READ ON
In July 2010, Ze Frank presented this brilliantly goofy TED Talk, explaining various web projects he's taken on, including the infamous Earth Sandwich (in which people on opposite ends of the globe placed bread on the ground), Young Me Now Me (re-staging childhood photos as adults), Ray (the "I'm about to whip somebody's ass" song), and many, many more. It's basically a Ze Frank's Greatest Hits collection. It's not all jokes, but...well, it's mostly jokes.
Check it out in the embedded video below, or... READ ON
Arcade Fire may be the official favorite band of mental_floss bloggers, with Ransom and I continuing to blab about this one time we saw them in the desert, and how awesome it was. Tonight I collect some official music videos and notable live performances for your enjoyment. If you have the chance to see them live, do it.
This video, directed by Spike Jonze, has strong visual and thematic parallels with the film Gummo. In the video, suburban kids ride bikes through their... READ ON
Last month, Ain't It Cool News announced a contest to "TRON-itize" vintage films. The idea is to take an old film and add CGI TRON-style graphics. Lots of entries have come in, but this is the best -- Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, recut as a trailer for Modern Times: Legacy. It's short but effective. You've never seen The Tramp like this, folks.
Nick Tierce's Tron-ified Modern Times from Nick Tierce on Vimeo.
And yes, I'm sure Chaplin's time-traveling extra will get a walk-on role if this film... READ ON
YouTube phenoms Pomplamoose have released a Christmas album -- but it's not for sale. The only way to get the album is to donate a book to the Richmond Book Drive. The deal is this: you buy a book for kids in Richmond, California public schools, and Pomplamoose gives you their Christmas album. (To be clear, it's a 5-song EP, but still.) They explain the details in the video below, after performing one of the songs.
If you're participating, may I recommend buying Looking For Alaska or Paper... READ ON
Apparently I'm late to the party on this one: thebeatlescompleteonukulele.com is a web project devoted to re-recording every Beatles song, using ukuleles, and posting the songs for free online. This is their Mission Statement:
At www.TheBeatlesCompleteOnUkulele.com we will release a new recording of a Beatles song* featuring a different artist every Tuesday. A short essay will coincide with every recording and each performance will include a ukulele.
The project began on January 20, 2009... READ ON
Inspired by Blue Man Group, "Snubby J" created a "PVC Instrument" and performs a medley of songs at the Del Ray South Talent Show. Stick around at least for the Super Mario Bros theme. Okay, actually stick around at least until "Like a Virgin," and there is a surprise if you stay tuned through the 5-minute mark.
This guy's got a career as a PVC performer, methinks.
Apparently you can follow Snubby J (aka Kent Jenkins) on Facebook for more stuff like this. Dude also has a YouTube channel, on... READ ON
I keep coming across comedy videos that I classify as "too weird for a single blog post." I think they're funny, but are they enough for one post? Probably not. Then I had a bright idea -- on the eve of Thanksgiving, why not dump a whole bunch of weird comedy in your laps? Enjoy. (For what it's worth, my very favorite is at the bottom of this post -- "Spicy Pony Head," a classic of modern American humor.)
(Note: some videos contain fleeting profanity. All are, in some way, weird.)... READ ON
The Microsoft Kinect has been selling like hotcakes, and geeks have been using it to do amazing things. The best I've seen so far is this "shadow puppet" app created in one day by exhibit designers Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson using free, open-source drivers for the Kinect. They actually connected the Kinect (ahem) to a Mac and wrote some code in order to make this work.
This app tracks "the elbow, the wrist, the tips of your fingers, and your thumb" in order to turn a shadow puppet gesture into a... READ ON
"Tom Lehrer is, in my opinion, is the cleverest and funniest man of the twentieth century, and he's kind of my hero, and he wrote a song called 'The Elements' because he was a scientist and it's basically -- it's the name of every element in the periodic table, and that's my party trick." -Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter star) on The Graham Norton Show.
He gets through it, despite a few flubs. Impressive, that Radcliffe.
Here's a fan video set to the original Lehrer performance:
If you... READ ON
If you combine the electoral college results of the '80 and '84 elections, Reagan won 1014-62.