24.3.13

Links Ahoy! (17) - The Long Overdue Version

I haven't done a Links Ahoy! for so long. My bookmarks have been pining away in their folder, hoping for a chance to peep at the big, wonderful world. So here they are at last - freshly baked bookmarks from my oven of love (I'm so sorry.)

The headings are the links.


Colosse, A Wood Tale


A short film about a wooden robot going for a stroll through the forest. If this doesn't tug at your heartstrings, then you are more of a robot than this one.




Colossal: Three Great Stop Motion Shorts


Three great animated shorts - No Noodles; Les Paysages and PIN.

No Noodles is simply fishes diving through a bowl of noodles, but animated in an adorably cute way. Les Paysages is a group of friends embarking on an epic journey - through office stationary (they are mini people). PIN is Elise Fachon's attempt to create characters out of the simplest of shapes - a pinhead.


Bat For Lashes - Lilies


Video for Natasha Khan's single Lilies, from her latest album, The Haunted Man. It's like Where the Wild Things Are had sex with Nikola Tesla's nightmares, and this was the baby.




The Eagleman Stag


"The larger our past gets the smaller our present feels."

A scientist obsessed with the relative nature of time, and what would happen if you could live for infinity. Very poetic, simple and thoughtful. Possibly the most beautiful and inspiring way to spend eight minutes of your life.



Here is a (little bit cheeky) look at how the film was made.


For an Isolated Tribe, Time Follows the Terrain, and the Future is Uphill


Speaking of time, here is an interesting read on how people refer to it in their languages. In English, time is referred to in terms of a linear timeline (e.g. "he got there ahead of time"). As if there is an imaginary timeline suspended in space and we refer to points along it when talking about events.

Recently, researchers working with the Yupno people in Papua New Guinea discovered that they think of time's movement through space as topographical features. For example, rather than time going linearly forward, it moves uphill.


The Meaning of Death: How Do We Know Someone is No Longer Alive?


With more medical advances, as well as in-depth research in biology and its related fields, the "simple" idea of someone ceasing to exist has become increasingly complex. Traditionally, it has been maintained that a person is dead when their heart stops working, or when the brain dies. But what about hearts that can be continually be pumped via the aid of machines? Or patients who suffer from strokes and are brain dead for hours, before being revived?

This is an interview with author and science writer Dick Teresi about that increasingly blurry line between life and death.


This Belongs in a Museum


Photos and musings on some of the weirdest, most ridiculous museums around the world. And yes, existence of a Hitler teapot has been confirmed.

The Hitler Teapot.


Why Don't Animals Have Wheels


If you haven't watched this Vsauce video, it's well worth your time. The question why animals did not develop wheels has been spinning in my head ever since I read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (probably my favorite books of all time). In the third book, The Amber Spyglass, intelligent creatures called the Mulefa use giant seed pods as wheels. The explanation in the book for such an evolution is that nature created highways for the Mulefa, in the form of rivers of hardened basalt laid down by ancient volcanic activity. So it was inevitable that an intelligent species would learn to exploit such a feature.

But on Earth we never had such natural highways. So it's odd to imagine humans coming up with the idea of wheels, without the roads being present first. And if humans could come up with wheels, why not other animals?



Perhaps any animal which is intelligent enough to form a high-functioning society has the ability to see the efficiency of wheels and then cooperate to build roads.


Brain Pickings: A Journey to the Center of the Internet


Most of us tend to think of the internet as a shapeless entity that simultaneously exists over vast geographical locations, without any underlying physical structures to support it. It seems to be a massive blob of  information that bobs over all of our heads at all times.

via The Internet Mapping Project

But, unsurprisingly, there is a very solid underlying infrastructure that makes the internet possible; a structure just as robust and "archaic" in feel as the telephone network.

This is a Brain Pickings article which looks at what writer Andrew Blum found when he decided to go find the physically rooted places that help form the internet.

I've stopped looking at web ‘sites’ and ‘addresses’ and instead sought out real sites and addresses, and the humming machines they house. I've stepped away from my keyboard, and with it the mirror-world of Google, Wikipedia, and blogs, and boarded planes and trains...In visiting the Internet, I've tried to strip away my individual experience of it... to reveal its underlying mass. My search for ‘the Internet’ has therefore been a search for reality, or really a specific breed of reality: the hard truths of geography.


The 10,000 Year Clock


A clock built inside a mountain peak, designed to tick over the next ten millennia? Sounds a little mad, but it is a project currently underway involving a team of engineers, the founder of Amazon.com and... Brian Eno.

A great long read on the innovative spirit of engineers and the poetic nature of time. My favorite bit was finding out that ceramics can endure much longer than metals:

...the Clock is a machine with moving parts, and parts wear down and lubricants evaporate or corrode... The millennial dial creeps so slowly it can be said to not move at all during your lifetime. Metals in contact with each other over those time scales can fuse – defeating the whole purpose of an ongoing timepiece. Dissimilar metals in contact can eat each other in galvanic corrosion.  To counteract these tendencies some of the key moving parts of the Clock are non-metal - they are stone and hi-tech ceramics.

Ceramics will outlast most metals. We have found shards of clay pots 17,000 years old. And modern ceramics can be as hard as diamonds.


Interactive Map of Middle Earth


Tolkien nerds rejoice! Engineering student Emil Johansson created this Google Maps-style map of Middle Earth, with pins on places where major events took place in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

There is also this timeline version, in which you can go through events chronologically and see where they took place, because, let's be honest, it was incredibly annoying while reading the books to keep flipping back to the maps.


Lord of the Falls


A super-cut of all the times the hobbits tumbled down in the Lord of the Rings movies. Is it the music that makes it so hilarious? Yes, yes it is.

Spoiler: it's mainly Frodo being a little bitch.




Nine Must-Read Dystopian Novels


The only type of science fiction I love is the dystopian kind. There is something very fascinating and macabre about pondering on the slow demise of humankind.

This list contains some well-known gems, as well some unfamiliar works by authors who are known for their works in other genres.


Sight


A great short film, showing a world filled with Google Glass-like devices. Instead of glasses, lenses are embedded on the eyes and everything in the world is seen though these. Hence strange, surrealist things emerge, like a room which appears full and vibrant, but in the physical world is only four empty walls. And the simplest tasks are turned into a video game interface; even cutting a cucumber is an achievement.

The interface depicted is so beautifully designed that, despite the film's message, I would totally sign up to use it if such a device was real.




10 Creepiest Cat Pictures in Art History



I'm not linking to this article because of my love for cats, but because the bulk of this article consists of showcasing the completely wacky films of Ghana.


The Scale of the Universe


This is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Probably my most favorite find in this entire Links Ahoy! section.

This nifty bit of a Flash animation lets you scale in and out and see the scale of things in comparison to each other. The best bit is that you can zoom in all the way to the most minute virus and subatomic particles, and then all the way out to entire galaxies and the size of the known universe.

Even if you don't click on any of the other links here, check this out for sure. It will overwhelm you with the sheer amount of things in the universe and their sizes.


Photographs of Plastic Surgery Clinics



Hospitals, in general, are quite eerie to me, but surgery rooms are the cherry-top of creepiness. The stench of disinfectant and disposable gloves, combined with blank steel instruments and a stiff bed placed meticulously in the middle of the room, are enough to send chills down anyone's spine.

Cara Phillips took photographs of such surgery rooms, but focused on plastic surgery. The most galvanising part of this is the thought that plastic surgery, in most cases, is not needed (e.g. a heart surgery is necessary for a patient; a facelift is not). It's an ominous thought, when looking at these photographs, that people voluntarily put themselves in such a cold, forbidding place, and that polished beauty ideals emerge from these bare steely rooms.


One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age


I only knew Geocities when I was an internet nubile, and Geocities was all burnt out and only the dying embers were left. But for many people, it was the internet. Everything cool was on Geocities. So it's natural that many people experience nostalgia for the old hangout from time to time. If you are one of these people, this blog is for you. It auto-generates a screenshot from a stash of old Geocities pages archived in 2009.

It's sadly amusing to look at all the badly designed webpages that people put so much time and effort into, not to mention the empty pages with messages of "This page is under construction, come back later!!".


Meet Kemosabe, the Alien Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine


Move aside, cats, the prehensile-tailed porcupine is here.

This is probably the cutest thing you'll ever see for at least the next twenty years of your life. I've never seen anything like this animal before - the sounds it makes are adorable and alien-like at the same time. It's like he's trying to chat with us. You just have to watch it to believe it, it's adorably uncanny.


Deep Dark Fears


I always think this whenever I try to pet cats and  they just stare at me.

We all have those deep, dark irrational fears that pop up in our minds at the most random times. So it's nice to make light of them in comic form, just to ease the pain.


Lost Type


A warmly curated gallery of vintage-inspired fonts. You can download whichever font you want, and pay whatever amount you wish (even $0 for a free download). This is going to be my number one stop for fonts from now on, as I love vintage fonts for making posters, and most other font websites are seriously lacking on this front.


The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food



It's no secret that junk food is bad for you, and that companies go to great lengths to make it attractive to consumers. But the level of manipulative dickery that is going on to make junk food as addictive as possible is astounding.

The public and the food companies have known for decades now […] that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive. 

It's a long read, but a necessary one.


Crazypills: Believe It, by Charlie Bink


I don't know about you, but I hate most of the pricks who write grandiose self-help books. Privileged cunts who say things like "you only need to work harder and you'll achieve all your dreams!" Treating people, who are desperate for some hope, like they're lazy plebes.


This is a comic mocking such self-help "gurus", but mainly focusing on the terrible pile of shit that was The Secret. It's a long, strangely poetic comic, and a little bit disheartening towards the end.


Icarus by Tom Columbus


After you see this, you'll wonder why all webcomics are not made this way. A very innovative use of parallax scrolling to make a beautiful piece of art. Just keep scrolling down and watch the amazing story emerge in a delightfully fluid motion.


The Man Who Wore a Sanitary Napkin


Arunachalam Muruganantham is a man not happy with the ridiculous cost of sanitary napkins (panty liners / pads) in India. Almost none of the women living in villages and small towns can afford the luxury of using disposable pads during their periods - washable cotton cloths are used instead.

Mr. Muruganantham found this to be problematic, since that is a bit unhygienic and highly inconvenient. And more importantly, why should an essential need of women have to be so expensive? So he decided to do the only thing that made sense: to research sanitary napkins and manufacture them himself at a low cost.

So what followed was his bizarre, painstaking quest to perfect a cheap sanitary napkin. He did everything from trying to wear his prototypes himself (and creating the conditions of a period by dropping goat's blood), to sifting through hundreds of used pads collected from the dorms of a local college (after permission, of course).

Although parts of his journey might come across as a little bit creepy, ultimately this shows a good person willing to work towards improving the lives of disadvantaged people, with little to no reward for themselves. Not to mention a good example of the manic energy that possesses inventors.


Batman in Classic Movie Scenes


Everything is better with Batman.


2 comments:

  1. I love Bat For Lashes. Her new album is great. I love it even more after seeing that video.

    I also love that robot short film (and his epically cool hipster mustache).

    Oh, and that comic is dead on. Nothing I hate more than some douche peddling a $20 book, who says, "THIS IS MY SECRET TO BEING RICH AND FAMOUS!" Inside the book: write a book on how to be rich and famous, charge $20 for it, sell to everyone you know.

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  2. That Hitler Teapot is going to haunt me to my grave holyshit.

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