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.
Most of us (okay, virtually all of us) have tons of digital photos floating around -- many are on our computers, some are on photo-sharing sites, some might even be printed (imagine that) and hanging on a wall or pasted in a book. But what happens if your computer, or your photo-sharing service, goes away? What happens if you save the images on a proprietary format, then want to look at them in 40 years, but that format can no longer be read by computers of the time?
The answer is complex, and... READ ON
Musician Leslie Feist released the album The Reminder in 2007. I was recently reminded that it's still awesome, so tonight, here are live versions of all its songs, in album order. Enjoy!
1. So Sorry
Live in Quebec City. Some French banter and audience participation starts it off.
2. I Feel It All
With a backing band of five very quiet gentlemen. If you watch one video from this set, let it be this... READ ON
The song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" describes a hobo's paradise, featuring all the things a good hobo needs -- from lakes of whiskey to cigarette trees and lax law enforcement. I have compiled a list of the amenities available at the original Big Rock Candy Mountain below. Please contact our booking department for details regarding lodging; bindles are optional but strongly encouraged.
1. Crystal fountain
2. Land suitable for agriculture or recreation
3. Currency grows from bushes... READ ON
Tommy Wiseau is best known (okay, only known) for his awful movie The Room; if you haven't seen it, check out Ransom Riggs's post The Remarkable Success of the Worst Movie Ever. The Room is generally considered "so bad it's good" because Wiseau is such an awful writer, actor, and director. Well, now he's back -- with a twelve-minute horror spoof called The House That Drips Blood on Alex. Guess what the plot is?
The new movie features Wiseau as "Alex" and he directs the thing, except this time it was... READ ON
This is a hoot: Frames of Reference is a 1960 video produced by MIT's Physical Science Study Committee as "part of its course in physics." It's a half-hour video showing various demonstrations of physics, with a dry sense of humor. You can watch a streaming version below or download DVD quality versions from Archive.org.
From the Archive.org description of the film:
This PSSC film utilizes a fascinating set consisting of a rotating table and furniture occupying surprisingly unpredictable spots... READ ON
So let's say you're in Prague on the 600th anniversary of the construction of the Prague Astronomical Clock and you want to have a good time. What do you do? Make a fantastic video and project it onto the entire face of the clock tower, which is quite a feat given the dimensions of the tower. The video below shows what happened -- 10 minutes of animation on the tower, showing among other things: the construction of the tower, its inner gears, luminescent rain, various wars, and floaty astrological... READ ON
Now I'm no scientician, but I can tell you that the following video shows some seriously weird science. Basically, researchers set up a "superhydrophobic carbon nanotube array" (where "array" I think effectively means "board"), then dropped water droplets on the surface, filming the results at very high speed (several thousand frames per second). Weird stuff happens. The droplets bounce, they hop, and they even merge into mega-droplets. It's strangely mesmerizing and nerdy.
The authors describe... READ ON
Just a few weeks ago, writer Dan Savage started the "It Gets Better" Project with this video. The video was a response to a series of gay teens committing suicide across the nation; Savage finally decided to do something about it. On September 23, he wrote this:
Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother's property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates--classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his... READ ON
I've written about "Power of Ten" before, but the videos have been taken down due to copyright claims by the owners. Finally, the Eames Office has an official YouTube channel (albeit with only one video for now) hosting a version that will not be taken down. If you haven't seen this classic film from 1977, please take a few minutes to enjoy it. Here's what I wrote in 2009 about a (now taken-down) YouTube clip of the film:
If you’ve never seen the classic short “Powers of Ten,”... READ ON
If you've been wondering where your jet-pack is, you may have to settle for Google's self-driving car. It's a research project (not in mass production yet), but test cars are already on the road and the New York Times reports that the cars have already driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and over 140,000 miles with "only occasional human control." Yes, engineers have been in the cars the whole time, and paying attention, but it's clear where this is going.
The robo-cars operate by driving... READ ON
The duffel bag is named for Duffel, Belgium, where the cloth used in the bags was originally sold.