Slow motion video of little kids trying new foods for the first time. Simple. Perfect. What reaction was your favorite? Mine was the kid who tried pickled onion. [via GND]
GeoGuessr is a cool new game consisting of five rounds wherein you plopped into an unknown location on Google Maps and asked to guess your location. It’s hard. My high score so far is around 11,000. My first thought was this is the next evolution of Andrew Sullivan’s long-running View From Your Window contest. [via Kottke]
Yes, Roland Kelts is ostensibly writing about the ins-and-outs of translating Japanese author Haruki Murakami from his native tongue into English. But, even within that narrow literary chore are several interesting nuggets about the cultural literary (and otherwise) differences between Japan and America.
It’s nearly impossible to find just one nugget worth pulling out, but I’ll try:
The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness — or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. Subjects are often left unmentioned in Japanese sentences, and onomatopoeia, with vernacular sounds suggesting meaning, is a virtue often difficult if not impossible to replicate in English.
I find this is often the case with anime, as well. There’s a dream-like quality to much of anime, or a magical realism, if you prefer.
Okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, obviously, because as long as as the government is still engaging in domestic spying and the TSA makes getting through airport security a nightmare, we will constantly experience the ripples of 9/11 in America.
But, I couldn’t help but feel some sense of closure as the spire was placed atop 1 World Trade Center to the height of 1776 feet.
Leno, of course, had nothing to do with the amazingness of this Pump News skit. Someone should just give this couple their own show, stat. [via gawker]
Andy Greenwald, writing for Grantland:
The reason Marvel’s shared movie universe made waves was the visual impact of seeing its iconic characters brought to life, sure. But the reason it continues to make money — truly insane, Tony Stark/Warren Worthington amounts of money — is due precisely to the sort of sprawling serialization usually found on TV.10 TV can’t beat movies by fighting over the unwanted crumbs of empire, the dwindling reserves of crime-fighting C-listers. (Matter-Eater Lad: The Series, coming soon to Hulu Minus!) TV can’t beat movies because, in this instance, movies already won by being TV.
But here’s where the Uncle Ben/Jor-El life lesson comes in. Historically the best television never comes from settling for the stories other mediums won’t tell; it occurs when TV champions the stories that other places can’t.
It’s amazing to me that the current landscape of TV serialization and world-building hasn’t led to more and better superhero TV shows. That could change and hopefully will because the current TV environment is ripe for a masked adventure — beyond the CW’s ‘Arrow’ of course, which is enjoyable on a certain “guilty pleasure” level.
Time will tell if ABC and Joss Whedon can make ‘Agents of SHIELD‘ work for TV.
It’s a little known fact that I’m a huge Rick Moranis fan. It started with the trio of ‘Spaceballs’, ‘Ghostbusters’, and ‘My Blue Heaven’, obviously, and before I knew it I was binge watching Moranis as a young teen relishing his zany comedic timing.
Later, like all Moranis fans, I wondered how such a gifted comedic actor could just walk away from Hollywood at the height of his creative juices with no fanfare. Like Keyser Soze he was just gone.
Moranis, as it’s now known, quietly retired from showbiz in 1997 to raise his kids and devote 100% of his energy to them after his wife passed away from breast cancer.
Anyway, the only Moranis blip on the radar since then has been a 2006 comedy album, The Agoraphobic Cowboy, that was nominated for a Grammy. So, it’s with tremendous excitement to say you can all go to rickmoranis.com now to order his new comedy/music album dropping May 21st.
Now, if we can just get Moranis to be in a movie. Any movie.
“A brilliant American financier and his exotic wife build a lavish mansion in the jungles of Costa Rica, set up a wildlife preserve, and appear to slowly, steadily lose their minds. A spiral of handguns, angry locals, armed guards, uncut diamonds, abduction plots, and a bedroom blazing with 550 Tiffany lamps ends with a body and a compelling mystery: Did John Felix Bender die by his own hand? Or did Ann Bender kill him to escape their crumbling dream?” — Ned Zeman’s Outdoor Magazine article, ‘Love and Madness in the Jungle’, is like The Shining combined with a Raymond Chandler novel and you should totally stash it away for this weekend to read.
Betaworks describes itself as “a company that builds companies,” but really it’s a start-up incubator and the most interesting media technology company at the moment. Lately, it has scooped up a bevvy of smaller companies.
We know they are working on a Google Reader replacement. It bought the much-maligned Digg last year and gave the site a nice facelift, doing the impossible — it revived a dead corpse and made it better. Last month, the company bought a majority stake in Marco Arment’s Instapaper, a best in class read-it-later app with an incredibly devoted user-base.
Those products focus on the distribution side of media, but they have other horses in the stable:
- Combined with other popular Betaworks products focused on analytics, namely, bit.ly, SocialFlow, and Chartbeat, and what they have is a set of modern publishing tools based on data and distribution.
- Digg’s importance can’t be understated because it’s now the consumer-facing portal to slurp all that media down. Really, Betaworks has the chance the turn Digg into a classier version of BuzzFeed that isn’t reliant on advertising because it sells those data and distribution tools to other media companies.
- They also built an addictive iOS game called Dots, which scored a million downloads within a week, and will be used as a Trojan Horse for learning about user-engagement that can be applied to its other products.
- It’s incredibly time consuming to find mobile video entertainment worth watching. Mostly, watching video on mobile is relegated to amateur YouTube videos of cats. Telecast aims to solve that problem by delivering users three 5-minute bursts of high quality, personally tailored video every day.
Further down the line, the company wants to figure out how to package those tools to help publishers produce and distribute better content (a partnership with WordPress/Tumblr seems obvious), help readers discover that content and read it in an optimal setting, and finally, help those publishers in turn make more money.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Betaworks comes out with a publishing API that hooks into their Google Reader, but also one publishers can use to distribute their river of news in a standardized, modern way. Anyway, Betaworks is definitely a company to keep an eye on. They are compiling some really fascinating pieces that could lead to big things.
In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested.
Blur was totally right. Modern life is rubbish. However, that being said, you should totally carve out ten minutes of your day to watch this. [via shortformblog]