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.
Last week, Justin Timberlake appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to promote his new movie role. After the interview, the pair launched into a fully choreographed hip-hop medley that has come to be known as "The History of Rap" (although it focuses heavily on late 80's, 90's, and 2000's songs -- this is by no means a full history).
Fallon and Timberlake trade off the MC role, as The Roots (Fallon's house band) provide backup. It's fun, it's impressive (who knew Fallon was a song-and-dance man??),... READ ON
Here's a visual treat for your Friday afternoon: a video designed to promote tourism in Mexico City, that's actually beautifully shot, and a joy to watch. It's heavily influenced by Koyaanisqatsi and/or the work of cinematographer Ron Fricke -- virtually every shot is in slow- or fast-motion. There's not a whole lot going on here, aside from beautiful cinematography -- but that's the point. Here's how the producers describe it:
Una producción del Fondo Mixto de promoción turística de la Ciudad... READ ON
Musician Ben Folds and novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, lots more) have just released a new album called Lonely Avenue. To build a little buzz, Folds and Hornsby collaborated with internet phenoms Pomplamoose as their backing band, creating a "Video Song." The result has Hornby doing some spoken word (though the album involves more straightforward songs with just Folds singing). The Video Song is a charming little ditty called "Things You Think," and I think it's just adorable:... READ ON
Leslie Hall is what Wikipedia describes as "an American satirical rap artist and front-woman for the band Leslie and the Ly's and the operator of what is best described as a 'gem sweater museum.'" I asked around and was told by THREE friends, "Oh yeah, Leslie's kind of famous." She's been on Yo Gabba Gabba!! Looking at her videos, I'm stunned that we haven't given her the Late Movies treatment yet. So strap yourselves in, stuff's about to get awesome.
"Tight Pants / Body Rolls"
This video is... READ ON
Molten potassium chlorate is a strong oxidizing agent that reacts violently with sugar. Gummy bears have lots of sugar in them.... READ ON
Mollie Woodworth is currently featured on NOVA's Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers website. The site profiles scientists and engineers -- who also have secret lives outside of their day jobs. Woodworth's secret is that when she's not working in the neuroscience lab, she's an MIT cheerleader. (Yes, MIT has sports and cheerleaders.) The MIT squad has a lot of conventional cheers, but also some gloriously nerdy ones, including:
E to the U, DU -- E to the X, DX!
Cosine! Secant! Tangent! Sine!... READ ON
In this video, a variety of scientists are asked this simple question: "If I put my hand in front of the beam at the Large Hadron Collider, what would happen?" Their answers are all over the map, but generally they agree that it's not a good idea.
A few sample answers: "Don't know."; "Not a good idea. Wouldn't recommend it."; "Gosh. Um. I don't think you'd feel very much."; "It'd probably be very bad for you and they'd be very cross with you."; "That synchrotron radiation is very nasty!"
For... READ ON
So I'm a few weeks late to this party, but after Kottke.org picked up John Green's anti-penny rant I felt obligated under the Blogger Code to post this video. (For those who haven't been reading this blog for 3+ years, John Green is a former mental_floss blogger.) And I must say, I call John's video a "rant" in the most erudite and professional way -- John lays out the argument against pennies, and gives a few nods to the arguments in favor of pennies (which he argues are largely sentimental). Oh, and... READ ON
mental_floss has been offered an interview with three of the Mythbusters: Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and Kari Byron. There's a new season of Mythbusters starting in two weeks, and Kari Byron is also hosting the new science show Head Rush, a commercial-free hour of experiments on the Science Channel every weekday at 4pm.
Anyway, for this interview -- while I've got some nerdy thoughts of my own, I want to know what your burning questions are. Got a favorite myth you want to see busted? Want to pick... READ ON
Reggie Watts is an entertainer with something for everyone, but what's weird is that he's awesome at everything he does. He's a world-class musician, standup comedian, dancer, playwright, and actor...you name it, he's done it, and he's done it shockingly well. He's probably best known for his beat-boxing musical improvisation, though this post will show you a little of everything. Please note: most of these videos contain a lot of swearing. That's why it's the Late Movies, y'all.
I Just Want To... READ ON
Facebook engineers originally wanted to call the "Like" button the "Awesome" button.