Author Archives: admin

Webcurios 12/07/13

Reading Time: 19 minutes

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Tragic Life Stories. WH Smith, Rye Lane, London SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

Right, I have about 10 minutes to write this bit before I have to put some pants on and go to Slough for a meeting. You’re getting off lightly.

Think of me this afternoon, drinking bitterly alone in the Wernham Hogg, as you get to gorge yourself on the rich buffet of high-quality internet canapes I have lovingly collected for you. The least you could do is pretend to be grateful.

By the way, there is no mention of either the bloody cricket or the sodding royal baby in what follows, so treat it as some sort of temporary respite from what appear to be the only two things that anyone cares about at the moment. Oh, apart from the cat on the tube – we all liked that, didn’t we? JESUS WHEN DID WE ALL STOP BEING ABLE TO PROCESS PROPER NEWS? Oh, right, I forgot, it was when people like me started firing information at us from all directions, like some sort of strange and dreadful knowledge-bukkake.

Oh dear, that’s a horrible image to end on. I’m really sorry. I probably deserve Slough, after that. HAPPY FRIDAY AFTERNOON, WEBMONGS!

By some bloke off Reddit



  • As is now de rigeur for any large scale sporting event, or so it seems, the aftermath is a desperate statistical scramble as platforms and brands seek to demonstrate that it was THEY who won (it wasn’t, you didn’t, your involvement is incidental, go AWAY). This year we had both Facebook and Twitter getting frothily excited at the volume of chat (and, let’s be honest, mouth-breathing idiocy) taking place on each respective platform over the course of the final. I find Facebook’s post slightly less upsetting, largely as Twitter’s own writeup suggests that ‘One of the most amazing things about Twitter is watching celebrities talk to other celebrities’, as though the ability of two famouses (or their typing-monkeys) to type in semi-coherent, conversational 140-character bursts is something that we, the lumpenproletariat mass of humanity, should be grateful to have the chance to witness. Anyway, I hope we’re moving towards a point where we no longer have to have these “Look! Now near-ubiquitous conversational platform is really popular for people to have conversations on about an event which will, inevitably, spark loads of conversations” posts, as they are DULL. As a bonus, have this post which shows that literally NOONE cares if you sponsor Wimbledon.  



  • Twitter For Media BlogOf course, if you disagree with my Wimbledon point above and actually want to read more posts which dazzle you with numbers with lots of 0s at the end, you could do worse than look at Twitter’s recently launched media blog, which collects posts about ‘notworthy’ uses of Twitter in and around news, sports, journalism, etc. 
  • Tips On Being Better At Vine, Using DataOr Instagram, or in fact any sort of platform that assists with visual story telling. A few nice examples and some decent first principles around the creation of interesting data-led visuals. 
  • Someone Actually Uses Twitter Cards In The UKNot sexy, not in any way glamorous, but a decent in-the-wild example of how it could work. Who knew furniture retailers could be so digitally forward-thinking?


  • Social Media Investment Provides 3 to 1 ReturnahahahahahahahaThe only sensible response to this is to laugh and maybe shed a little simultaneous tear. According to research carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau, who one would have to be some sort of crazy conspiracy theorist to suggest have some sort of vested interest in the results, brands investing £1 in activity on social media can expect to recoup £3.34 in poorly-specified ‘value’. Amazing. Try passing that off as a rationale next time you ask for a budget extension. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the lack of clear distinction between additionality and substitutability in all this. Jesus wept
  • Google DataboardAnother week, another new, useful product from the company we’re all increasingly scared of but don’t really know how to live without. This time it’s Google Databoard, a whole resource of planner-friendly information about consumer habits as relating to digital consumption, etc, which you can cut and scrape in all sorts of ways – and through which you can create your own infographic-type things to chuck on slides and things. Depending on how much data they add, and how regularly they update the sets, this is potentially very useful indeed. 
  • Digital Strategy 101If you work in this sort of stuff, you really need to read this. You may know a lot of it already (frankly, you ought to), but you may not have seen it articulated as cogently as this before. A superb, user-friendly rundown of all the steps, terminology, components, etc, of a campaign (in this case digital specifically, but the stuff in here is applicable to non-internet-specific stuff too) – all put together by the insanely altruisitic Bud Caddell. Oh, and if you regularly have people pitching this stuff at you, why not print out a copy and keep it with you when being sold to so you can keep track of how many agencies lift stuff from this line-for-line?
  • Lynx Uses SnapchatFollowing Geordie Shore the other week, this time its another HIGHBROW property using Snapchat, in this instance Lynx. I can’t be bothered to rewrite the explanation from the agency rag, so: “it leaked exclusive content about a secret Lynx launch party to core fans. Behind-the-scenes pictures of host and television presenter Charlie Webster on a photo shoot were sent alongside photographs of the celebrity completing a “space-themed assault course”. According to one of the people behind it, “We got several hundred people add us on the first day, and are getting 20 new requests a day and have over a thousand now. We got shedloadsof snaps on the first day and still get a dozen or so pictures a day. We get a few people rating our lynx girls and we get one or too slightly racier pics a day but it’s actually mostly vanilla. No breasts of penises yet”. Wow, that was perilously close to REAL industry journalism. Mental.
  • McDonald’s Makes A Nice Website But Their Food Is Still Disgusting(the food comment is pure editorial opinion, by the way) A lovely site by McDonald’s, collecting people’s memorable ‘McDonald’s Moments’. Leaving aside the issue of whether such a thing could possibly actually exist in the mind of a real human being, this is well-made. Although I’m not 11% convinced that ‘Bonquisha’ from Brixton is actually a real person. 
  • Community Management Disappears Up Its Own Fundament / Becomes OuroborosI don’t want to dwell on this, but a pair of community managers having a ‘comedy rap battle’ on Twitter is not comedy social media genius, it’s a circlejerk for industry wankers. Particularly when you can clearly see actual customers saying things like “JUST MAKE MY PHONE WORK” amidst the HILARIOUS BANTS. See also, dogpicgate. *SIGHS*.
  • The Best Branded Filmy Thingy I’ve Ever SeenSo technically this has to go up here, being as it is an example of advermarketingpr, but I would have no hesitation in recommending it as something you should actually watch as a real person. This is actually about a year old, but I think it was a US campaign so I don’t feel too shabby about being late to it. It’s called The Beauty Inside, and it’s a series of 6 short films of between 4-9 minutes long, telling the story of Alex, who each morning wakes up in a completely different body for reasons that he, and we, are never told. It is BEAUTIFUL – the central conceit is not a new one, and is an amalgam of at least 2 scifi short stories I once read, but it’s written and performed really, really well and the soundtrack is GORGEOUS. Oh, it’s for Intel / Toshiba, hence a few over-lingering laptop shots, and the social ‘element’ involved people filming themselves delivering lines on webcam and being inserted into the film as previous versions of Alex, but that’s frankly immaterial. Go and watch, please.
By Odile Potpovitny



  • Sweary Twitter CounterWant to keep track of people’s use of profanity on Twitter? Oh good! Here’s a little counter which does exactly that, for the 7 baddest of bad words. Made by the very puerile, but good at coding, Matt Northam.
  • Tattoo MarketplaceThis is a really good idea. A website which acts to put tattoo artists online, and help them showcase their work, whilst also helping people who are interested in getting tattoos browse designs and artists to find something they want. It seems to be US-only at the moment, but there’s no reason why it should stay like that. Aside from anything else, if you’re into inkwork this provides a great source of inspiration.
  • Bands+Cameras=PhotosThe latest in the series of ‘let’s give disposable cameras to people and get them to mail them back and see what they’ve done’ projects, this one seeks to get punk bands to document their tours using disposables. I like this sort of project anway, almost regardless of subject, but this one’s producing some very cool shots.
  • The DissolveBasically Pitchfork for films, but if you do like Pitchfork’s overly serious, semi-academic, doubtless well-written but often toe-curlingly pretentious editorial style on music, this will be right up your street. The writing is, as you’d expect, uniformly high-quality, and as per Pitchfork’s standard M.O. they’re not scared of longform, which is A Good Thing.
  • Terms & Conditions May Apply: If you’re getting the ‘oh god they know EVERYTHING about me, EVERYTHING, where is this all going to END???’ fear a lot these days, then this film will resonate (and perhaps push you over the edge). A documentary taking as its starting point the fact that noone in the history of the internet has ever, ever read the Ts&Cs of any website before blithely clicking ‘I Agree’, and what the potential implications are. Worth keeping an eye on if this is one of your personal paranoia points (ALLITERATION!). 
  • LUMIAnd then, following SEAMLESSLY on, we come to Lumi, a new service by the founders of which, in exchange for access to your browser history, seeks to serve up tailored recommendations for stuff you might be interested in. I’ve been using it for 36hrs or so, and it’s actually really, really impressive in terms of the things its serving up. As a caveat, of course, it now knows all about my slightly recherche tastes in bongo, but that’s got to be a small price to pay, right? *hires lawyers, just in case*
  • The Planetarium For Your BathYou want your kids to turn out to be astronomers? Get them this thing, then. Or maybe just get it for yourself, but WHO has time to have baths these days? God, that’s a depressing observation. Make time this weekend to have a bath, webmongs, let’s RECLAIM OUR LIVES.
  • NYC Transit TimesA simple, clever execution showing, based on existing public transport links, how long it should take you to get from one part NYC to another. Like a really simple, visual, not-broken version of the TFL journeyplanner – TFL, can you add this, please (except for London, obviously)? Thanks. 
  • Information Is Beautiful Sharing Their Skills (sort-of)David McCandless has a lot to answer for (not least the endless stream of dreadful, not-actually-infographics foisted on the world by every two-bit brand and agency in the world over the past 4 years). Anyway, they’re currently trialling a suite of visualisation tools called, imaginatively, VizSweet, which they’ll make available (probably at vast cost) to the rest of us ‘soon-ish’. So, you know, wait. Watch. ANTICIPATE.
  • Your Very Own Killer WhaleIt follows your mouse, for no other reason than it can, and it’s cutely soothing. It’s hard to be angry when there’s a digital killerwhale responding to your every mouse-based whim.
  • The David Brent MachineYou all, obviously, all know about Instant Rimshot. This is like that, but with EVERY SOUND IN THE WORLD. Have you ever wanted to give each of your proximate colleagues their very own set of ‘comedy’ sound effects, that you can deploy to hilarious effect each time they do / say one of their signature ‘wacky’ things? WELL LUCKY YOU. This has got literally every single sound effect you could ever possibly want – go on, spend the afternoon playing with it. Everyone will find it HILARIOUS and you will be the toast of your colleagues. GO ON. 
  • Create Your Own Bespoke ViewmasterYou remember those red plastic ViewMaster toy things, where you plugged in little circles of cardboard to the ‘viewer’ and then looked in wide-eyed childish wonderment as 3d scenes from films, TV shows, etc, appeared before your young eyes as if by the magic of the Wookey Hole Witch? No, you probably don’t, do you, because you are YOUNG and NUBILE and were too busy playing Tomb Raider from the age of about 4 to bother with this sort of sweet, innocent, past-tech pursuit OH GOD I HATE YOU. Ahem. Anyway, now you can order your own, which is quite mental really and might make a truly lovely present for someone. Also, for the right sort of couple this is the best proposal-mechanic in waiting.
  • Poems Ruthlessly Mangled By Google Translate(links to a PDF, fyi) A surprisingly cool little word/tech project, which takes poetry and runs it through Google translate a few times and then back into English. Going from 1/2/3 languages and then back to English again produces a variety of interestingly broken results – and, on more than one occasion, an end-product which is in many respects accidentally more linguistically beautiful than the original. Which, if you’re the poet, is probably a little bit of a kick in the teeth.
  • Minimal Posters Depicting Musical Genres: So beautiful. Click ‘next image’ (I know that sounds patronising, but it’s oddly easy to miss on the page).
  • Geometric Rap PostersMore posters (SEAMLESS!), this time showing a selection of hiphop artists depicted in minimal, geometric fashion. Again, there are some gorgeous pieces of work here.
  • Sochi 2014 Protest PostersRussian artist Vasily Slonov has created a series of posters (SEAMLESS!) which take a broad, satirical swipe at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. Some pretty brutal stuff in here…
  • Posters for CyclistsDo you cycle? Do you know people who cycle? Do you have a bike obsessive in your life? WELL MERRY CHRISTMAS THEN. These posters (SEAMLESS!) are beautiful, beautiful pieces of design which look at different sorts of bikes with beautiful illustrations and typography. Very designer-y, quite hipster-y, totally lovely, and significantly cheaper than ANYTHING by Rapha.  
  • Superheroes Past & PresentThe last of this week’s selection of posters (SEAMLESS!) depicts superheroes with their young selves. Hard to explain how they’re designed / drawn, but trust me, they’re worth a click. And you can buy them here, if you’d like to
  • Dance In A YearKaren Cheng decided that she wanted to learn to be good at dancing in a year. So she trained and practiced and documented the process, and this is her little website all about it. It’s a tiny bit “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO” (clue: that’s A LIE), but the video showing her improvement is genuinely impressive, and there’s something very likable about her cast-iron determination. 
  • A Shorthand Symbol For ‘The’I don’t really see the need for this, but perhaps you will feel differently and become semi-evangelical about ending the tyrannical prioritisation of ‘at’ over ‘the’. The symbol, though, looks UGLY. Can someone make a better one, please? Thanks.
  • Portraits of Transgender MenNo more, no less. Lovely photos and, if you read the text, an interesting ethos behind the project as a whole. 
  • PullquoteA very clever little tool, still in beta but possibly worth signing up for. Allows you to link directly to a highlighted paragraph or chunnk of text within an article, which is potentially very useful when seeking 3rd-party backup for that pointless line of argument you’re pursuing with a stranger on Twitter during Question Time (or, er, if you’re a journalist or something). 
By Andrew Miksys


  • The Bill Cosby Sweater PollBill Cosby is asking his fans to vote for the BEST EVER Cosby sweater as worn on the Cosby Show. They’ve gone through a few rounds already, but voting on the next round opens in the next 12 hours or so, should you care (AND WHY WOULDN’T YOU?). 
  • SketchplanationsA sketch, each day, which purports to explain something. Like Clarissa, but potentially less comprehensive. 
  • The South Korean Sex ParkThere’s a park in South Korea dedicated to the sexual act, and containing lots, and lots, and lots, of sculptures, etc, depicting said act. This is a collection of photos on it. Once again I feel I ought to do the NSFW thing, but really – if you work somewhere that’s going to get uppity about you looking at a picture of a smiling middle-aged Asian woman gleefully climbing a 6-foot plaster model of a phallus, then take a LONG, HARD (sorry) look at them and yourself. 
  • How To Be David BlaineOr at least Blaine before he stopped doing the stuff that made people think he was anything other than a slightly creepy oddity. Anyway, this is a pretty exhaustive list of fancy sleight-of-hand / misdirection tricks, which if you have young kids will help convince them that you’re God (because that’s what parenting is meant to be about, right? No?). 
  • The Best Photos of Jellyfish You Will Ever SeeBehind that potentially hyperbolic statement lies a link to some really, really cool pictures. Honest. 
  • Computer Viruses As Beautiful ThingsVisualising malware. Turns out that these are also available to buy as prints, so I could have got another one of those HILARIOUS gags up in the posters section about my SEAMLESS segue-ing. Damnation. 
  • 40 Days Of DatingTim & Jessica are close friends who have never dated. As they were both single, they decided to date each other – every day, for 40 days, they would go on dates and document the process. This is the website about the project. Yes, yes, I know that this is toe-curlingly hipster and oh-so-NYC-arts-scene, but it’s also quite cute and, after 4 days, I am weirdly emotionally invested in seeing what happens (I will doubtless forget that this ever existed by this time next week). Take a look. 
  • The DIY Tattoo Rigs of Prison InmatesA photoproject documenting the quite frankly mental bits of kit that US prisoners jury-rig together to tattoo each other. Grimly fascinating.
  • Turn Random Quotes Into ARTFile under ‘funny’ things you can do in the office, pt2 – this site allows you to put in a phrase or two and format them into some sort of poster-y typographical beauty. Immortalise the HILARIOUS things your coworkers say on a daily basis. Or, you know, do what you like. I don’t care.
  • Gendered HTML: Obscure little art project allowing people to upload HTML pages as either ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. If you’re interested in digiart, it’s worth poking around – the quality of out put varies, but there are some rather interesting things lurking behind the links. 
  • PenbeatsI had no idea that making beats with biros was a ‘thing’, but here we are. A bit like that cup song craze, this takes the same principle but uses pens. Surprisingly compelling if you fall down the rabbithole…
  • The Museum of Food and DrinkThey’re making this in NYC, and I want one in London. Given the fact that as a species we’re ever-more disconnected from the source, production, manufacture, etc, of the foodstuffs we consume, there’s a decent argument for these being a reasonable public need for such a thing. That said, if it’s going to be sponsored by Tesco’s (which, let’s face it, on some level it inevitably would be), then maybe we should just forget the whole thing.
  • The Anagram Tube MapWhere do you live and work?
  • Pinterest for Web GamesBasically a Pinterest clone that collects links to playable browser-based games. Kiss goodbye to your working life. 
  • The Best (Worst) Centenarian EverThe audio on this is entirely NSFW, but strangely heartwarming. A woman turning 100 who is very much certain of what she wants for her birthday. Why there is yet to be the near-inevitable Autotune remix of this is baffling. 


  • Simpsigns: Collecting the humorous signs of The Simpsons, in one place.
  • Rap Poems: Celebrating the poetic beauty of rap lyrics by framing them like motivational posters. Deeply funny (in both senses).
  • Daily PangramI didn’t know this, but a Pangram is apparently a sentence which includes every sentence in the alphabet, like that lazy dog / brown dog thingy. Anyway, here’s a load of them, for those of you who like your word games
  • AnagramatronA Twitter bot which finds and matches tweets which are anagrams of each other. There are some uncannily good ones in there. 
  • The Best Bits From Medieval BooksErik Kwakkel is a medieval book historian from the Netherlands. This is a tumblr collecting some of the cool / odd stuff he finds in old manuscripts. Geekily, historically lovely.
  • 100 Books Which Should Be WrittenWhat it says on the tin. SATIRE!
  • Ruining Thomas KinkadeThomas Kincade is, apparently, a very popular (populist) painter in the US, a bit Vettriano-esque in terms of ubiquity. This is a Tumblr dedicated to poorly photoshopped additions to his pictures. Possibly an improvement on the originals. 
  • Actual Teens Adult TeensComparing what actors look like when they are teenagers to what they look like when they play teenagers.
  • A Black Man Eats A Lot Of ChickenThe frankly insanely obsessional quest of one Londoner to prove that they are the greatest Nando’s fan in the whole world EVER. I am tweeting this at Nando’s marketing people as soon as I’m done writing this bloody blog.
  • Casting Call Woe: Being an actor must be really depressing, at least if this series of excerpts from casting call requests is anything to go by. 
  • Stock Photos ViolinistsHighlighting, amongst other things, how snarky musicians can get when they feel their craft is being trivialised…
  • Wretched RefuseShowcasing the ugliest and least-appealing examples of our current trend towards reusing / repurposing ‘junk’ and turning it into art or furniture or…oh, no, hang on, it’s still junk.
By Thomas Saliot


  • The Tech City Story: Ok, so this is self-indulgent but I don’t care. I worked on the PR for all this from April 2011-November 2012, and this is a good overview of what is one of the more interesting policy+press combinations of the current administration. Makes all the abuse I got on Twitter for ‘being’ TCIO seem almost worthwhile. Almost. 
  • What It Was Like To Be Part of Jay-Z’s Abramovich-esque Art ProjectIf you don’t know what this is referring to, you can see an overview here, but then go and read the piece and marvel at a 50something NYC art critic being reduced to being little more than a fawning hagiographer in the face of stratosphere-level fame. BONUS – a really good review of Magna Carta Holy Grail.
  • On Being A Freelance War ReporterThis isn’t a particularly happy piece of writing, but at the end of it you do find yourself asking why anybody in their right mind would do any of this. A really scary look at what a dangerous, cheap, cold and competitive world freelance war reporting is – and how little we value the people who practice it. As a bonus, you can have this piece from UK GQ which takes a slightly (but not much) less bleak look at the topic.  
  • Reddit Self Analyses, Feels AshamedAh, reddit! Where memes start and celebrities do AMAs and Barack Obama proves what an all-round stand-up cool guy he is (or, more accurately, the researchers and messaging experts)…and where a whole load of soul-shrivellingly dreadful stuff happens on a daily basis. This thread, Redditors look back at some of the less glorious moments in the site’s history – if you’re a writer or a TV person and you’re looking for ‘dreadful things that happen online’ as plot points, you have everything you need right here.
  • The Evolution of PlaygirlOr rather, its covers. Really interesting, and the accompanying text commentary is occasionally hilarious. The Jon Voight one is the TRULY TERRIFYING face of death. 
  • What It Was Like Working On The WireI have never seen The Wire. I appreciate that this makes me some sort of pariah, so sorry about that. Even for me, though, this piece about the behind-the-scenes relationships and personalities of the cast and crew was fascinating – for fanboys and girls, I imagine it will be tumescence-inducing.
  • Jay McInerny on Chloe Sevigny, from 1994You will feel like the least cool person in the world reading this, but it’s a great piece of journalism, a look back at a period of culture which shaped quite a lot of the rest of the 90s/early 2000s, and a reminder of what an excellent writer McInerny is (if you doubt this, reconsider the opening line of ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ and come back to me repentant). 
  • Amazing, Mad Piece on Kundalini Yoga CampsI know, I know, you don’t want to read about yoga. Neither do I, trust me, but this piece is a properly odd combination of self-excoriating confessional, hate-piece about spritual hpisterism, skeptics guide to yoga and a whole lot more besides. You will enjoy it, I promise you. 
  • The 100 Greatest Writers of All TimeAt least one entry or omission on this list will make you angry, so be warned.
  • On Satire and the UKA great read in the London Review of Books on politics, humour, satire and how it all works (and sometimes doesn’t). John Lanchester again on very fine form indeed (and if you’ve never read The Debt to Pleasure, do so NOW).
By Vittorio Ciccarelli

1) We’re opening with the trailer for a project that’s very close to my heart, not least because the man behind it is, as I have mentioned multiple times before, one of my favourite writers and lyricists. sTaTe is the new project from Steven ‘Polarbear’ Camden and his company Bearheart, and it will tell the story of what really goes on behind the scenes at near-future educational academy Wakens Tip. Using all sorts of narrative forms, the project will let kids get involved with shaping the story, adding their own twists and flourishes and textures and elements through their own creative input. It is going to be GREAT. Watch the trailer below and get excited (oh, and I should probably say that I have ‘consulted’ on this but no money ever changed hands although Steven did buy me peppermint tea): 

2) Wish List is a short, funny animation looking at what a small cast of characters would wish for, given the chance. Charming, and pleasingly dark in places:

3) Asia Argento is another one of those irritatingly poymathic artists who seems to do EVERYTHING (though I might argue that she’s still nowhere near her Dad in terms of ability, although obsiously that’s a pretty churlish comparison so SORRY ASIA). Anyway, this is the video for her industrial electro-type song Sexodrome:

4) MSMR are a New York band, and this video is pretty much the apotheosis of glitchy art loveliness. The song’s pretty good too, in an 80s-channeling sort of fashion:

5) Speaking of the 80s (SEAMLESS!), this is by jviewz and it’s called Far Too Close, and it’s really annoyingly stuck in my head and so I am going to inflict it on you too. The video gets bonus points for double denim and invisible staircases:

6) Until this week I had never heard of Adian Coker, and now I see him EVERYWHERE (I suppose I really should understand how marketing works by now, eh?). Anyway, this is a great cong called ‘Cream’, and the video’s rather cool too. Bonus points for the line about his success being tantric – listen out for it:

7) When I was a kid, Strangelove were an incredibly miserable and introspective shoegazy/britpop band who achieved minor indie success but who had a devoted fanbase of eyeliner-wearing misunderstood teens. Now, it’s these people. Quite different really, but I like this a lot – the production and beats are pleasantly bouncy and ‘up’, and I love the fact that they basically both look like the kids from the Inbetweeners:

8) What if Superman was real, but he killed people. Lots. With prejudice. Would that make us see him differently? The basic premise of this stunning 9-minute short. I would wathc a film based around this, no question:

9) Last but in no way least, gay San Francisco protests at the increasing gentrification and corporatisation of some of its home turf in the only way it knows how – with a massive tranny banger of a club track called ‘Google Google Apps Apps’. Try getting this out of your head all weekend. BYE!:

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 05/07/13

Reading Time: 18 minutes

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TAT. Borough High Street, London SE1
Garudio Studiage, photo of the week

DEAR GOD, WHAT A MESS THE WORLD’S IN. No, not the people who are currently STILL suffering from Glastonbury (my friend Dave had to come to my house to borrow a towel at 9am this morning on his way to work – this is the behaviour of a man who’s still feeling the aftereffects of some HARD PARTYING in a field last weekend), just everything else. If you want a microcosmic representation of everything that’s wrong with society RIGHT NOW, here it is

Anyway, you don’t need me to tell you that. You don’t come here for scaremongering and a world-view so dark it’s practically painful to look at – NO! You come here for webmongery of the highest order, and each week I disappoint you with a mediocre collection of rubbish filched from other people’s websites. Sorry about that. So, with little further ado, let the weekly litany of mediocre prose and recycled links commence – OPEN WIDE, CHILDREN, WE’RE GOING IN. 

By John William Keedy



  • Facebook To Introduce ChatroomsWell, potentially. If it does well in testing. The idea being that they’ll (potentially, again) introduce a feature which allows Page owners to create ‘chatrooms’ which, in theory, anyone who is friends with them can join and participate in. There’s also talk of friends-of-friends being able to gt involved, which the article describes as a GREAT WAY TO MEET NEW PEOPLE, but seems to me to usher in the sort of schizophrenically disparate shouty ‘ASL?’-type (NB – if you don’t know what those three letters mean in this context, you’ve probably lived a more fulfilling life than I have) atmosphere seen in late-90s community chat websites. Obviously (OBVIOUSLY!) there are potential implications for brands here – you can see the potential for live chats with celebrity ambassadors, etc, although it will need a LOT of pre-moderation and gating of participants to make it useful. Anyway, this may never happen. Let’s forget we ever mentioned it. 
  • Your Ads Will No Longer Appear Next To Pages Advocating Infanticide Or SimilarUnless, that is, you want them to. Briefly, this is FB’s response to the ongoing furore about brands being upset that their averts occasionally appear on Pages featuring less-than-ON-BRAND! content. You’ll now be able to manually ensure that your adverts for your business no longer show up on, for example, any of these pages. So that’s good. 

Stuff About Short Videos (Really? Still?):

  • Instagram Is Apparently Now Outperforming VineI’ll be honest, I have about as much enthusiasm for this as I do for people arguing about the relative merits of different games machines, but I probably ought to mention it. Here’s some analysis of how the number of Vines being produced has fallen since the launch of Instagram video, which OBVIOUSLY means that Twitter’s fcuked. Obviously. 
  • Instagram Uses Half Its Active Users In A MonthHang on, wait, scrap that. It’s Instagram that’s fcuked. Poor the Instagram!
  • Why Making These Sorts Of Comparisons / Judgments Is STUPIDA welcome note of reasonable commentary in an otherwise impossibly hyperbolic maelstrom of cant and worthless rhetoric. Look, can we all agree that the platform ISN’T THAT IMPORTANT. And you know what? They’re short videos. PUT THEM ON BOTH IF YOU’RE THAT WORRIED ABOUT IT. Can we stop talking about this now, please? Good.
  • Updates For VineOh, ok, well after this then. Vine’s been updated a bit – technical updates in part, but also (more significantly) the inclusion of better tools for the discovery of videos, sorted by category, and with the ability to now track stuff under the heading of ‘on the rise’. Expect the junior editorial staff of Buzzfeed to be staring at this for 12 hours a a day looking for the latest 6-second viral extravaganza. He says, like the massive, stinking, hypocritical webmong he is. 
  • The Top 50 Brands On InstagramYes, yes, I know, this isn’t JUST video. Go with it. Here’s a list of the top 50 brands on Instagram (obviously dominated by US companies, but think this is worldwide). You shouldn’t be surprised to see that these are all brands related to stuff that people like looking at anyway (clothes! sport! cars!), regardless of the internet (although the presence of that disgusting Monster energy drink does baffle me rather).  


  • G+ Is 2 Years OldTime, surely does it fly. I don’t know whether Google have been doing some serious PR work around their little-loved social/notsocial/noonereallyknows platform, but I’ve seen increasing numbers of people online over the past 10 days or so writing ‘why G+ is actually quite good’ posts. Now, I still don’t really know anyone who uses it that much, not that that means anything, but this piece is a decent look at the platforms best / most useful features. Oh, there are some new plugins as well if you want to plaster G+ buttons and STUFF all over your website, which frankly you may as well
  • Why Google+ Is Now Part Of The Comms LandscapeUgh, ‘comms landscape’. Anyway, this is one of those aforementioned pieces about how actually it’s quite useful dontchaknow. Most interesting here are the examples – there are a few rather good public sector / internal comms-y things here which are worth a look if that’s the sort of thing that your mortgage repayments force you to concern yourself with. 
  • G+ Is Good For SearchYou knew this, but if you want to squeeze another few k a month from your clients by suggesting a G+ presence then this might help. SO CYNICAL, I know, sorry. 

Other Things I Find It Hard To Group Into A Semi-Coherent Whole:

Twitter To Launch More Tailored AdsBlah, blah, blah, browser history, cookies, etc etc etc. You can opt out, which is something at least. Go and opt-out NOW. Obviously this is great for advertisers – plus ca change. 

We Await The Arrival Of The Paid-for Brand Armies: Oh. Oh dear. I thought that this stuff had gone away a bit, but evidently not. About 7/8 years ago there was a big boom in companies like BzzAgent offering Word Of Mouth marketing services – which effectively equated to paying people to go around saying how awesome your stuff was (a little like a slightly-less-dishonest version of ‘Soft’ by Rupert Thomson). Now it’s BACK (doubtless it never left). Thee are so, so many grey areas around this – not just about ethics and transparency, but also how these paid-for agents of BUZZ are found and recruited. I can’t help but think that this will basically end up like those market research companies who promise to do focus groups full of your TARGET AUDIENCE and KEY INFLUENCERS, but which end up delivering information based on the lies told to them by a bunch of bored students and ‘between jobs’ actors who will say literally ANYTHING for £50 and a free sandwich. Anyway, let’s accept the fact that everyone’s opinion and advocacy is essentially purchasable, and that you should never take anyone’s endorsement of anything at face value, and move brightly on into the glorious branded future.

  • The History Of AdvertisingThis is HUGE, but very interesting (and it’s still Powerpoint, so don’t worry – you won’t have to read too much). A great look back at the evolution of advertising – it really does go into detail, and covers the past 200 years (and beyond). If you study this stuff, or are just interested in it, you might want to take a look.
  • Alastair Campbell On The Evolution Of PRThis is one of the smartest things I’ve read about objectives, strategy and tactics (yes, I hate those words too) – if you do comms, make everyone you work with read this. If they don’t understand, sack them.
  • Social Media Sells NOTHINGBrilliant. Piece in Wired US quoting research which suggests that email is vastly more important in terms of driving sales than Facebook or Twitter – by some sort of massive factor. PUGS IN PARTY HATS DO NOT EQUAL BUSINESS BENEFIT. Put that on a slide, GO ON. 
  • A Decent Look At Free Social Media Monitoring ToolsThe best thing about this is that it acknowledges how useful / important Google is for this sort of stuff. Another one to send round your agency with the appended instruction: “Learn”.

Some Campaign-type Stuff:

  • Tweeting BadgerThis is rather cute. Johannesburg Zoo have wired up their Honey Badger (yes, that one) enclosure with NFC, so as to allow the animal to ‘tweet’ about what it’s getting up to depending on where it is in the cage. You can follow it at should you so desire – it’s better-written and less annoying than it ought to be, and a really clever use of tech. 
  • Feed The PigsReally nicely executed by charitable organisation Compassion in World Farming, which combines a big screen, Westfield shopping centre, a webcam and some REAL LIVE PIGS to create a cute ‘feed the pigs, donate some money’ game. If I were going to be critical / snarky, I might question the cost vs impact of this, but that would be mean. LOOK AT THEIR LITTLE PIGGY FACES!
  • Coors SlapshotAnother shopping centre activation, this sort of thing would work beautifully for football. Has anyone done it yet? If not, why not?
  • Yelp’s Map of London HipstersSuch a clever (if internet-baiting) idea – Yelp maps the concentration of hipsters in a variety of cities (I’ve evidently chosen to link to the London version) based on the frequency of the word ‘hipster’ in reviews. Obviously in no way anything other than a piece of linkbait, it’s annoyingly interesting to look at. If you live in London, it’s unlikely you’ll be surprised by where the apparent concentrations are.
  • IKEA Spoof Pr0n SiteDo you recall a few weeks back when I featured a website highlighting IKEA furniture’s appearances in actual bongo clips (no, I know you don’t)? It seems that IKEA saw that and created their own, slightly more SFW variant. Simultaneously funny and slightly disturbing when you realise how closely they’ve followed the copy style of certan websites. Ahem. 


By Macoto Murayama



  • The Editorial Guidelines of the Washington PostYes, I know that this sounds dull, but I promise it’s more interesting than you’d think. Honest. Take a look at this list, and then create your own for your workplace, with a list of suitable fines for people should they slip up. No really, it will make you REALLY popular at work!
  • Children’s Nightmares, VisualisedA really, really creepy selection of photos, turning the monster under the bed into a real, terrifying threat. I’m not a parent (which is probably for the best), but I’d guess that it’s probably advisable not to show these to small children unless you’re of a particularly sadistic (or, if they’re your own, masochistic) bent. 
  • Cars From FilmsIf you like cars and films, this selection of film posters illustrating the iconic vehicles featured in the named movies might appeal – they’re available to buy as posters too, should you so desire (on reflection, ‘iconic’ is DEFINITELY going on my list of banned words as of the now). 
  • 3d Pictures From WWI: Amazing. The French army in the First World War apparently had a Richard Verascope stereo camera (no, me neither) – a device which allowed the taking of stereoscopic pictures. These have been collected here – a fascinating look back in time.
  • PhototrailsA really interesting project, whose description I am going to shamelessly lift from their site – it looks at the ‘visual patterns, dynamics and structures of planetry-scale user-generated shared photos. Using a sample of 2.3 million Instagram photos from 13 cities around the world, we show how temporal changes in number of shared photos, their locations, and visual characteristics can uncover social, cultural and political insights about people’s activity around the world’. So there. There are some very cool visualisations here, and it’s an interesting example of how to cut visual data – and potentially inspirational if you’ve got a shedload of pictures at your disposal (there’s a Facebook app which totally rips this off in this for the right brand, for example).
  • Google FlightsThis is just getting silly now. Go on, just try it. Mental. Poor the Expedia. There’s all sorts of directions they could go with this – I’m imagining a future in which airlines offer (potentially) preferential deals to people who are flying to destinations where they hav more G+ connections, for example. Maybe. 
  • Barbie As A Real WomanEveryone’s favourite anatomically improbably blonde gets the 3d printed treatment, this time demonstrating what she’d look like if she had the proportions of your average American 19 year old. What’s oddest about this is how oddly chunky/stumpy ‘real-life’ Barbie looks vs her Mattel-designed counterpart – a far better reflection of the weird, messed up effect that this stuff has on our perceptions of what is aesthetically ‘right’ or ‘normal’ than you often see with this sort of stuff. 
  • Choose Your Own Adventure Phone SexHmmmmmmmmmm. So this service effectively allows you to create a series of branching, recorded…’erotic’ (and I really do use that word advisedly) stories to share with your loved one (or whoever you’re currently rubbing mucous mebranes with, frankly – love is optional). You can either create your own story or, if you’re a little prudish or lacking in imagination, you can use one of their pre-prepared scripts. Here’s one, for example. I will pay CASH MONEY to anyone who can provide proof that they have used any of these lines with a real person over the course of this weekend – seriously, you can’t understand the horror of this until you’ve read the script. “Press 1 if you want me to suck your nipples”? REALLY??? *boggles*
  • Incredibly Evil Alarm ClockA clever but diabolical idea. You can set up this alarm clock to automatically donate a set sum of money to a cause of your choosing every time you hit snooze – the idea being that you create, say, a direct debit of £10 to the EDL each time you grab another 10 minutes of lazytime in the morning. Depending on your levels of self-control, this could get quite expensive quite quickly. Also, you could end up funding something really dreadful, just by sleeping. AMAZING!
  • Beautiful Browser Lightbox Rendering Thing: A very impressive piece of HTML coding (taken from this excellent rundown of impressive pieces of HTML coding) which plays with light and shadows in a very pretty fashion. You can make some gorgeous little patternpictures with this – have a play.
  • PRISM (No, Not That One)This is an interactive visualisation of content removal requests to Google from governments worldwide. Not only a nice piece of visualisation, but also shows quite how mentally request-heavy the UK government is (look at the scale). 
  • 3d Print Your Own DroneWell, almost. As it points out, it’s not technically a drone, and you will need to pull together the wiring, motors, etc, yourself, but STILL, this is quite cool. What’s even more interesting is that the kit allows you to attach the rotors, etc, to basically ANYTHING – so perhaps a dronephone for easy high-quality moving camerawork. Or, er, a drone gun. That’s less fun-sounding, in all honesty. 
  • Cheapest 3d Printer In The WorldSEAMLESS! If you would like to make your own flying camerasurveillacegunboatthing then you might want to bookmark this page – thanks to Kickstarter, this should be going on sale in a few months. $350 is nothing, really. I reckon when we see the first sub-£200 domestic maker this stuff is properly going to take off – can’t be long now, surely?
  • Draw Stuff Which Then Rotates In 3dWhat it says there. I have literally no idea why, but it’s sort of fun in a pointless kind of way. 
  • Rain SimulatorAnother in the series of ‘pointless but fun’ (SEAMLESS!) webthings, this is a webpage which simulates the sound of rain, varying depending on where your cursor is on the page. In fact, it’s a gateway to all sorts of other frivolous webarty things – click the buttons on the top and see where they take you. 
  • Book Titles With One Letter MissingPictorial representations of titles gleaned from the popular hashtag game (Jesus, I sound like Mashable).
Photgraph by Ajay Koli



  • Analyse Your EmailsThis is interesting, particularly if you’re a bit of a narcissist who’s used Gmail a LOT over the past 8 years or so (*waves at self in the mirror*). A project by MIT, this takes the metadata from your Gmail account and analyses it, churning out a whole load of stats about who you’ve emailed most, who’s connected you to whom, etc. Weirdly fascinating – I learnt that I’ve emailed my girlfriend nearly 5,000 times in the 10 years since we met. Which doesn’t say anything good about our relationship, frankly.
  • Fake User InterfacesA massive database of fake user interfaces from films. Searchable by director, designer, etc, and if you do UI / design stuff then potentially really interesting. Otherwise probably a bit niche for the rest of you, unless you have a hitherto undiscovered passion for the computer interfaces used in the cinema of James Cameron. 
  • Vintage Airline Attendant FashionsAs may have been noted previously on Web Curios, I am not a fashion-conscious person (I know that this may come as a surprise). Still, though, some of these are MENTAL. 
  • PayPal, In SpaceI’ve checked repeatedly and this doesn’t seem to be a joke, so PayPal really is doing research into making payments work in space. There’s something deeply depressing about this – we’ve not even come up with commercially feasible mass-market space travel yet, and we’re already trying to work out how to let people buy sodding perfume from the intergalactic equivalent of SkyMall.
  • Men Wearing Their Girlfriends’ ClothesNot really much more to say about this, other than that there’s a certain poignant quality to these that II can’t really put my finger on. 
  • Container MagazineProbably the most-hipsterish thing in here this week, Container is a ‘magazine’ which isn’t really a magazine. Instead, for £200 per ‘issue’, you get sent a box full of limited edition arty-type stuff. Utterly self-indulgent, but I confess to really quite wanting one. If anyone fancies buying it for me, that would be LOVELY. 
  • If Your iPod Was VinylIf the music on your iPod (or other generic MP3 player) was on vinyl, this is what it would look like (clue: TALL). 
  • Cyberpunk Dystopia, In LEGOWonderful Gibson-esque model. Click left to see more pictures.
  • Sex Toy Reviews In Comicbook Form: Erica Moen draws this wonderful blog which looks at sex, contraception, etc, in comicbook form. Technically NSFW, but really quite hard to imagine anyone getting upset by this. 
  • This, On The Other HandReally is NSFW – the best / worst tattooed penis you will ever see. Technically very, very impressive, but let me just reiterate – this is a FULL-PENIS tattoo. Men – take a moment and think exactly how much this must have hurt.
  • AI Decides Peace Is BestWhat happens when you leave computer AIs from an FPS game running for a few years? They turn into pacifists, basically. Really interesting, particularly if you think in terms of game theory, and a little bit frightening if you think too hard. 
  • Idiots Fighting ThingsA whole Reddit thread dedicated to the joy of watching stupid (often drunk) humans attacking inanimate objects and coming off worst. Absolute timesink, but you will not fail to feel better about yourself as a result of watching a few of these. Unless you recognise yourself (SEGUE: When I was about 15, a mate of mine got so drunk he tried to fight a leisure centre and injured his hand quite badly – the Link Centre in Swindon, fact fans. I haven’t spoken to him in about 18 years, but Graeme Bailey – if you google yourself and find this, feel proud).
  • Visualising the NBA DraftSo apparently this is about basketball and the college draft. It’s a very nice way of presenting quite a lot of information in intuitive fashion. Even I, who cares less than little about basketball, managed to understand what it was telling me and how to cut the data. 
  • The Best Parties In Music Video HistoryAn annoyingly laid-out list, but there are some great bits of nostalgia here (if, like me, you’re were a teen in the 90s. If not, you’ll probably just look at these and sigh and roll your eyes at how everyone’s OBSESSED with OLD STUFF and OH GOD IT’S SO BORING). ALSO, this list of the 100 best albums of the 80s is RETRO GOLD, and there are plenty of streaming links which is always nice. Check it out. Oh, and this is very clever indeed, particularly if you’re a musicologist or music historian or just interested, really – an illustrated history of music in 7 minutes
  • A Duck Has An Adventure!Almost certainly the best choose-your-own-adventure game about the life of an anonymous waterfowl you will play all week. More fun that it sounds, and a really nice example of design for this sort of thing – very simple, visual storytelling style which works very well. Have a play.
  • Final Statements of Death Row PrisonersThis has been everywhere this week, but in case you missed it – a database of the final statements of prisoners on Death Row in Texas. You will cry a bit – don’t worry, it’s normal. Here’s a blog collecting them, should you not want to trawl through the full archive. Really, really sad (again, I’m not selling this but really do recommend having a flick through). 
  • Racist History: An incredible example of racism from 60s Louisiana – a n impossible-to-complete literacy test given to black voters to determine their eligibility to vote.
  • HarkiveMy favourite project of the week. Effectively acting as a ‘Life In A Day’ for music, Harkive seeks to collect thoughts, feelings, experiences and reminiscences from one day (Tuesday 9th July, in fact) of music consumption. The project will take information about what people are listening to, when, how, where, etc, which will pull together a picture of how we relate to music and what it means to us RIGHT NOW. The intention is to make it a regular, tracking thing – can I suggest that a music-related brand jumps on this and sponsors it please? Thanks.
  • Underwater Pinups From The 50sLiterally no idea why these exist, but I am glad that they do. Available for sale too, should you like to buy one. 
Photograph by Silja Magg


  • Geometry Games: More fun than they sound. Honest. Although it will probably help if you’re a bit maths-y.
  • Responsive Design GameIf you’re a web designer, you may find this fun. 
  • MegaBreakoutEVERYONE should play this. Brilliant, slightly headfcuky idea – a standard game of Breakout (you know, that ‘smash the bricks with the bouncing ball’ game), with the one difference that each block is its own miniature game of Breakout. Pretty much impossible to visualise unless you play it. So play it. 


  • Illustrated Aliens: A new alien each day, culminating in the monthly creation of a planet for a whole month’s worth of extraterrestrials to live on. Lovely illustration style.
  • Dogs I Have SeenRandom photos of dogs with excellent sweary captions.
  • Other People’s Shopping ListsIf the eyes are the windows to the soul, the shopping list must certainly be the storm drain to the ID. Or something like that.
  • Filter FakesI don’t use Instagram as a) I have a deliberately terrible not-very-smart-phone; and b) I take photographs like Helen Keller. Nonetheless, apparently tagging your pictorial output with #nofilter is a ‘thing’ – this blog outs people who have committed the heinous crime of LYING about the #nofilter thing. Jesus, everyone’s an arsehole, aren’t they?
  • FraszierPlot synopses for unfilmed episodes of what is still one of the best sitcoms ever. Whoever’s writing these has seen a LOT of episodes. BONUS – LASER FRASIER!


  • Nostalgia Songs: A New York Time piece asking readers to share the songs that make them nostalgic. Oh man, some of the comments. All of the feels, right there. 
  • I Recognised My Ex In Pr0nDespite the rather salacious title, this is a more sensitive and interesting read than you might think. Interesting on modern relationships and sexual mores and that weird, indefinable line between the arousing abstract and the emotionally painful specific. Worth reading. 
  • You’re One In 8millionIt’s an oft-quoted truism that cities can be lonely places. This is a beautiful sad-then-happy piece about that feeling of moving to a new place and not really knowing anyone and having to start again and not really knowing how or where or when you might start to feel a little bit less like a lonely, unloved speck in a cold, impersonal and fundamentally Godless universe (you may never, fyi). 
  • The Future of Online SurveillanceThis is paranoiainducing but worth a read if you’re interested in Snowden, PRISM, Google, Facebook and the like. Take a look at the comments, too, as there’s a lot of informed commentary and reaction in there which broadens out the scope of the article somewhat. TL;DR version: we’re all going to be watched, everywhere, forever.
  • We Need New SwearwordsAs someone who by nature of their use of language has pretty much exhausted all existing profanities, I am 100% behind this. 
  • When The War On Terror Met Burning ManThe weirdest story of the week, by a massive, massive length. This is the tale of how a bunch of hippies hacked the war on terror, and brought Burner principles to Afghanistan. Really, properly into ‘Men Who Stare At Goats’ territory, this. You really couldn’t make it up. 
  • Trinity Mirror and Us vs Th3mI sort of don’t think I should link to Us vs Th3m, as basically they do a daily version of Curios and if you subscribe to their stuff you will have seen a lot of the preceding already. The GITS. Nonetheless this is a REALLY interesting piece by Martin Belam, one of the founders, on why they are doing it, why Trinity Mirror are backing them, how it works, how noone knows what makes something go ‘viral’ (AGAIN), and all sorts of other stuff. Required reading if you’re interested in content making, publishing, new media (can we still call it that?) and the like. 
By Alexandre Borderau

1) I’m going to put this at the top, as then maybe at least one of you will bother watching it. Look, I know it’s 17mins long but it is BRILLIANT – a short film called ‘Jonah’, about fame and tourism and how the two things affect the developing world. Also, just mesmerisingly good CGI, and some really strong central performances. Watch over lunch, or tea, or on Sunday evening or something. It really is VERY good indeed: 

2) Do you remember Travis? I’ll confess to having completely forgotten about them until this week when their new video temporarily surfaced online. I was AMAZED by the technique it used, but really dismayed that it was a band so tediously MOR who employed it. Fortunately it now seems to have disappeared from the internet, so I can show you this instead – which is where they got the technique from, and loads better, and doesn’t feature Fran Healey:

3) Best animation I’ve seen all week. This is called ‘Paper City’ and will almost certainly be co-opted to sell us stuff VERY SOON, so watch it now before its indelibly associated with bank accounts or beer or insurance or something:

4) Although this animation’s pretty clever too. More a series of interlinking stills than animation, but I’m a sucker for this sort of infinitely zoomy visual style. This is Moderat with ‘Bad Kingdom’, which is, conveniently, also a great song:

5) This week’s slice of ‘no, really, WTAF?’ comes in the form of this. ‘Taste You Like Yoghurt’:

6) On the other hand, this is the happiest thing I have seen all week. Brilliant video document NYC’s transvestite community having what looks to be a pretty awesome time, against the backdrop of Stars singing ‘Hold On When You Get Love, And Let Go When You Give It’. Big and camp and overproduced and FUN:

7) And this may be the saddest, sort of. The video for ‘Home and Consequence’ by Tropics is all about sad men visiting prostitutes, and it’s all a bit bleak. SFW, but just empty and sad. Nice song, though, if continuing the aforementioned ’empty and sad’ theme:

8) My friend Alex has been banging on about CHVRCHES for ages. I finally bothered to check them out and blimey they are GOOD. This is the video for their rather excellent and dreadfully earwormish track ‘Gun’:

9) Have you ever wondered how they do overdubs for bongo movies. This, apparently, is how:

10) And finally, I’m putting this at the end as I know noone will watch it. Still, though, if you fancy a 30-minute journey through maths, science, musical history, philosophy and art, all presented by one of the most curious minds I’ve encountered in years of doing this, I leave you in the capable hands of Web Curios perennial favourite Vi Hart. So, SO CLEVER:

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 28/06/13

Reading Time: 18 minutes

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Bin with Skull – CIP House, Peckham
Garudio Studiage, photo of the week

Blimey, this week has been LONG – I think that this .gif most adequately represents my state of mind for much of it. Look, let’s be honest, most of you are at that bloody festival which I am too bitter about not attending to even name (AND WHY ISN’T IT RAINING? It’s especially rubbish when you aren’t at TBFWIATBANATEN and you don’t even get to indulge in mudswampschadenfreudeporn) and noone really reads this upfront bit anyway. Let’s all agree to forget I even started writing this bit, in fact, and get straight on with the important work of READING ALL OF THE INTERNET (that’s a lie, by the way – read all of the internet so that you don’t have to). All you kids who didn’t get tickets to TBFWIATBANATEN and are faced with the prospect of people telling you how AMAZING it was for the next month – join me and blot out the world with the great psychic muffler of webmongery that is WEB CURIOS!


Oh Terry! From a Tumblr – no idea who by, sorry.



  • Facebook knows so much more about you than you think it doesSo this was a bit awkward for them last week. The whole ‘someone may have seen your phone number on Facebook – SORRY!’ thing is actually less of an issue, here; the big story is about the data which Facebook has about you and the connections in your life which you really have no idea about whatsoever. It raises all sorts of questions about the amount of data about users’ personal information which the site is harvesting from the aforementioned users’ interactions with third parties – basically, is Facebook snooping on who you message most, chat with most, etc? The answer, for any of you still struggling with the horrifically surveilled dystopian future we’re currently rushing headlong into with nary a care, is a resounding ‘yes’. THANKS, FACEBOOK!
  • ‘Like’ Replies for MobileThis is hugely interesting from a linguistic point of view; if you think about the lasting and very real communications changes which Facebook and the rest have engendered, not only behaviorally but in terms of language, etc, this can be seen as another significant step in the modification of the manner in which we communicate by the services we use. To quote the piece, because I’m lazy and strapped for time, ‘Facebook’s iOS and Android apps have rolled out the option in messages to reply with a one-tap thumbs-up Like button sticker’. Let’s all look forward to a future in which we ask people questions in REAL LIFE and they respond in the affirmative by saying ‘LIKE!’ and we stab them to death and are left rotting away in a jail cell knowing, deep down, that we did the right thing. 
  • Facebook Developing ‘Reader’ (apparently)Just worth noting. Apparently they’re working on a Flipboard-esque product for mobiles/tablets. Should this be the case (it will be the case), it will give extra weight to the platform when it comes to CONTENT SHARING and REACH and all those other horrible words which you people continue to use despite them being total bunkum. 
  • Related HashtagsThey launched hashtags the other week; this has now been extended to mobile, and they’ve also rolled out the ‘related hashtags’ feature, which will suggest additional often-used hashtags when you search another hashtag (it’s rapidly coming to the point where the word ‘hashtag’ has lost all meaning for me, in the way that words are wont to do when repeated too much). Another Twitter-esque feature, but one which potentially has a bit of a negative implication for brands (or at least it will if I can persuade everyone using Facebook to start posting things about brands in the same sentence as, say #kiddiebongo. Not sure it will work, but I live in hope). 
  • Better Advertising Performance ReportingYawn. Still, some of you may care. Basically you now get to know exactly how many people, where, when, and how, failed to give anything resembling a *ahem* fig about your promoted post. 
  • The Bits About Instagram Video: So this is still a thing, a week after launch. It’s actually been quite interesting to watch the reaction; I still personally think that the lack of current Twitter compatibility, and the problems with embedding, are things they need to fix, but what do I know? Rhetorical, by the way. Anyhow, this is a decent piece about why the service is going to work (DUH!), and this is actually a really smart, in-depth comparison of the two services which is worth reading if you’re interested in the whole thing, and this is a direct head-to-head opinion from a professional Vine-maker (I know! That’s actually a job!!!!), and this is a silly-but-fun webthingy which gives you a rolling head-to-head between Instagram videos and Vine videos, and which will steal the rest of your day if you’re not careful so BE CAREFUL


  • The Amazing Price of TV-linked Ads on TwitterA few weeks ago I mentioned the new Twitter service which will allow advertisers to show promoted tweets to people who’ve been tweeting about a show in which their TV ad has also appeared. Now details emerge about the minimum spend associated with it. $100k!!!! I know that this obviously isn’t a fixed rate card, and there will be bulk-buy ad bundles available to the big boys (HELLO SIR MARTIN!!!), but still – that’s a LOT of money. Although, I suppose, when you compare it to the sort of costs of a TV campaign, etc, it’s still small beer. Nonetheless, the nice men and women at Twitter HQ are unlikely to be going hungry any time soon. 
  • Twitter To Launch Live Events PlatformThis is interesting. The basic premise is that Twitter is considering creating a new service within the platform which will allow people to track reaction to live events in better fashion. At the moment you’re limited to using search within Tweetdeck, or similar; this sounds a little more like a Radian6-type overview for people watching things later, which show peaks and troughs in conversations, hot topics at varying points, etc. So, for example, you’ll be able to see that the bit that got everyone excited in your favourite TV show occurred 47:32 minutes in, and skip straight to it, and see what everyone was saying about it on the internet STRAIGHT AWAY without having to go through the tedious rigmarole of actually watching the whole thing, and without that whole pesky ‘element of surprise and unpredictability’ thing. Oh, hang on, THAT SOUNDS GHASTLY. Welcome to a future in which we all only consume the best bits of anything (‘best bits’ as defined by the idiotic lumpenproletariat of the internetzzzz) – basically reducing all media and experience to a YouTube highlights reel. THANKS, INTERNET!
  • Geotargeted AdsWould you like the opportunity to see promotional messages from brands, retailers, etc, whenever you fire up Twitter near one of their shops / billboards / sponsored Tube stations / etc? No? Tough, ‘cos that’s what’s going to happen whether you like it or not. STOP SNIVELLING.

Other Stuff About Advermarketingpr:

  • Noone Cares About You, Food Brand On ‘Social Media’I’m only including this because it made me LAUGH. To quote, “A study of 85 of the UK’s leading food brands reveals that just 10 brands account for 96% of all social media food conversations”. Which is AMAZING. Even for those 10 brands who make up that 96%, the conversations are largely ones that NOONE WANTS TO HAVE WITH THEM. Can this please be a wake-up call, please, to the fact that REAL PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO TALK TO BISCUITS ON THE INTERNET? Thanks x
  • Grindr Was The Most-Used App at CannesBut only because Apple’s stringent policies mean that there’s currently no ‘FindADealer’ app for iPhone.
  • Mint Sells StickygramI’m including this partly because I like the people at Mint who’ve always been unfailingly lovely, but also because it’s an interesting example of agencies making things JUST FOR THEMSELVES and doing well out of it. Well done, people at Mint.
  • Coke Do Another SuperClever ThingzzzzLook, I’m getting bored of Coke being so good too. I know, it’s tedious. This, though, is just LOVELY. Taking the clever webvideo trend of using photography for stop-motion animation, this is a beautiful idea, executed perfectly, and SO SIMPLE. Aside from the tshirt printing and mailing, it’s also pretty damn cheap. Watch this be done by someone else significantly less impressively in about a month.
  • Diesel Outsource Their TumblrUnder the ostensible guise of ‘tell us what inspires you, cool people of the internet!’, Diesel have effectively outsourced the content curation for their Tumblr to their fanbase. Which is really smart on several levels – other people, who don’t want to pay agencies shedloads to make ‘content calendars’ and other such rubbish, LEARN (NB – will only work if you’re a brand which people for some reason care about. Biscuits probably need not apply. Except maybe digestives, or Rich Tea. Mmmmm, Rich Tea. Web Curios is open to gift parcels from adverprmarketeers).
  • Nike Skatepark ON A BARGELast Saturday was, apparently, world skateboarding day or somesuch. To celebrate, Nike made a skatepark. On a barge, floating off Manhattan. This is really quite impressive – as is the manner in which they allowed people access to it.
  • The Musical Magazine, by BillboardThe now-obligatory ‘thing done by an agency in Brazil’, this is for Billboard magazine which uses NFC chips embedded in the magazine covers to allow readers (or just randoms in a newsagent’s, if the video’s to be believed) the opportunity to hear the music written about in the mag on their smartphone. Really slick (and, I imagine, pretty expensive). 
  • Geordie Shore Uses SnapchatI’ve never seen Geordie Shore, but I imagine it to be the televisual equivalent of Chlamydia. Anyway, they’re promoting ‘saucy’ behind-the-scenes content using Snapchat. Clever them. Am I the only person who’s expecting a full ‘reality TV show with proper hardcore bongo internet sideline’-type thing in the next year? Eh? Oh.
  • Watch Dogs Promo Website: Watch Dogs is a videogame coming out later this year, all about data and surveillance and STUFF. This is a super-clever promo website for it, which tracks publicly available information in real-time across 3 European cities (London, Paris and Berlin), pointing out very cleverly both one of the game’s central conceits (ie that information is everywhere and accessing it is easy) and also the proliferation of available data which exists in the real world. It’s got a nice glitchy aesthetic about it and the webwork is pretty slick too: overall this ticks a LOT of internet-friendly boxes and will doubtless go everywhere – kudos to the developers.
  • Adecco’s Marketing / Advertising / PR People Are Thieves And ScumI mean REALLY. That’s so, so shoddy on many levels. The follow-up post from earlier this week about how they’ve not even acknowledged this is also worth reading. Ugh, some people.
  • JG Ballard Predicts the FutureIt saddened me that Ballard never really got to grips with the web in his later works; anyway, this is an incredible piece of predictive futurology from 1977 in which he basically nails the concept of our reflective, narcissistic digital existences. Yay, us!
  • Korean Anti-Suicide Bridge ThingyTo close out this section on something resembling a high, have this Lion-winning effort. Really good work, for a good cause.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS: Silicon Beach is a fantastic conference taking place in September in Bournemouth. With speakers from organisations including Havas, Rewired State, Code Club and Dare, there’s a world-class line-up of marketing, tech, and creative folks. Imperica readers benefit from a significant discount on the ticket prices for Silicon Beach. The sooner you book, the more you save. We’ll be interviewing and profiling some of the event’s speakers in coming weeks, but for now, click here for your cheapo tickets.

Photo by Thongdee Varunyoo


  • Kickstarter ApologisesThis is a bit comms-y, so perhaps should go up there but WHAT-EVER. Kickstarter last week got a lot of flack for hosting a funding bid from a self-confessed PUA for an advice book which was basically quite rapey. This is their apology for that, which is a case study in how companies REALLY CAN admit they were wrong. It’s possible – maybe everyone should try it every now and again. 
  • Using Adverts for WhistleblowingThis is superclever, if a little technical (don’t worry, you don’t actually need to understand how it works). A service which allows people to anonymously submit information through a central source using banner ads as the input / exchange mechanism. REALLY sneaky…
  • The Fcuk You TapestryChildish-but-lovely, this is Modern Toss doing a long, continuous comic around one central theme (you may be able to guess what the theme is from the title). Sweary and childish and depressingly true and funny.
  • Weird, Tiny Japanese SweetsThis is all in Japanese, so obviously I understanding NOTHING of it, but it seems to be a blog dedicated to those weird Japanese sweets that are designed to look like something else (ie hamburgers). THERE IS ONE WHICH LOOKS LIKE A TOILET. Madness.
  • The Art of VaginaSpeaking of odd Japanese things (SEAMLESS!), this is Japanese artist Rokudenashiko’s work which focuses on recontextualising and demystifying the female genitalia. The link is totally SFW, I promise. I can’t deny that it’s a little strange, though.
  • MarblesContinuing the genital theme (SEAMLESS!), this is a blog which collects pictures of the testicles of classical sculptures. That’s it. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?
  • (Another) Lifelogging CameraI’ve been watching this stuff for a while now, since I first stumbled across the Viconrevue about 4 years ago. This is the latest in the line of ‘cameras which you can wear round your neck and will take pictures of your entire life’-things, and it’s called Memoto, and it takes 2 photos a minute and automatically uploads them to the cloud and makes them searchable, and I don’t know WHAT to think about this sort of thing any more. Effectively it’s all going to be obsolete-d by Google Glass or its successors, but perhaps this is ARTIER and therefore better. Or it’s actually sneakier and more covert. Not sure really. Confused. Fingers hurt. TYPING.
  • Track Your Child’s PhoneThis is an app which effectively acts as a Trojan on a kid’s phone so that a parent can know where they are (and what they’re texting) ALL THE TIME. It’s unclear how exactly you install it, and whether it requires an consent from the surveillee, but it’s an horrific idea in any case. Just a thought, but if you think that you need to keep tabs on your children like this then perhaps, just perhaps, there are some other steps you might want to think about taking instead of passive snooping. Also, thanks to BBM, Whatsapp, etc, it’s functionally sort of useless. IN YOUR FACE, SPYPARENTS!
  • Pr0nography From The 8-bit EraA great site collecting 8-bit bongo from the C64 era. This really is pr0n, so usual NSFW labels apply, but really, I don’t think anyone could possibly get off on this (or indeed really be offended by it – then again, as has been proven time and time again to my inevitable detriment, I possibly have different offence thresholds to other people). 
  • Charge Your Phone With FIREThis is just incredible (or at least it is to a man with a very rudimentary grasp of physics like me). These products combine wood-burning stoves with power for mobiles and LED lights – so you can cook you dinner whilst using the excess heat to, say light your campsite or power your laptop or something. Ingenious, and HUGELY potentially valuable for the developing world. 
  • Fund The Poetry DroneA project to pay for a military drone to be used to drop poetry rather than shoot people. Silly, whimsical and absolutely necessary (well, ok, perhaps not in the grans scheme of things, but, you know, RIGHT ON, KIDS!).
  • Appalling ‘Anti-Jihadist’ AmmunitionI’ve had a bit of a dig around this, and I don’t think it’s a spoof or a joke. So what this means is that there really are people (with, as you’d expect, a poor grasp of grammar and punctuation) who think that pork-infused ammunition to use against the GROWING JIHADIST THREAT is A Good Thing. Thanks, America!
By Keita Morimoto


  • Posters From Your FB PicsOr Instagram, or Flickr. Anyway, this is a cool looking service which will make beautiful-looking posters from your pictures on social media. There’s a brand thing here, somewhere, for the right people. Think about it. 
  • CatflakesSnowflake modelling + cats = HOURS (well, ok, minutes) of fun. Really a lot more hypnotic than it has any right to be.
  • Thug NotesJust brilliant. Literary criticism from the ghetto. Like Cliff Notes, but funny and (really) actually really, really smart. If you have a kid or nephew or something who’s doing English, you might want to bookmark this.
  • The Art of the World CupWho cares about the protests? BUY A PRINT! There are some quite cool pieces on here, but the prices are another thing for Brazil’s poor to get angry about (along with, you know, all the other stuff)
  • PikinisAre you the sort of creepy pervert who spends hours sweaty-palmed on Facebook looking through the photos of all your friends and acquaintances for a flash of bare flesh? Well you’re in luck, as this disquieting app will basically automate the process for you, thereby leaving you with more time to take a long, hard look at yourself. The best thing about this is the level of unintentional trauma that will be inflicted upon people who are Facebook friends with their family members.
  • The Anti-NSA FontA font which is, supposedly, incapable of being read by spiders and bots. There’s been quite a lot of skepticism about whether or not this would actually work, but I applaud the theory behind its creation.
  • The Internet Movie Firearms DatabaseHave you ever seen a film and thought ‘Hm, I wish there was a place online where I could find out more about exactly which type of gun the one-man zen army Steven Seagal used to inflict high-velocity justice on the bad people’? OH GOOD – here is that very website. You’re welcome. 
  • Cross-sections of AmmunitionBeautiful photos of ammo, cut in half (also, SEAMLESS!).
  • Pictures of the Solstice & SupermoonJust beautiful. The Atlantic as ever giving good photo.
  • The Flatpack Rowing BoatIn the whimsical world which exists in my head, where fathers and sons play together happily and make treehouses and learn stuff and share interests and OH GOD I’M GOING TO START CRYING, this is the most popular present in the world. Just how much fun would it be to make this and then go boating? 
  • Buy Invisible InkAnother from the Boys’ Own school of things (SEAMLESS!), this is an online shop which sells all sorts of high-end inks, the best being the invisible stuff. Can we go back to sending each other secret messages and things, IN REAL LIFE? Without wishing to tarnish this with the toilet brish of commerce, there’s a lovely campaign-based thing for a brand here. Maybe something for INFLUENCERS (ugh) or SUPERFANS (double-ugh) or OH GOD I’VE RUINED IT HAVEN’T I?
  • Paparazzi ProposalsI think that this is really, really weird – but then again I’m not 100% sold on the idea of matrimony in the first place, so I’m not target audience I guess. This is a service from the US that will help you plan an elabroate wedding proposal, and then provide photographers to hide in the bushes and take CANDID SNAPSHOTS of the whole event. Which means you have to be pretty certain that the answer’s going to be yes if you want to avoid a whole load of pictures of weeping and embarrassment and passers-by trying to hide their schadenfreude. BONUS FACT – I know someone who was once proposed to in a crowded restaurant in Washington DC. She said ‘no’. It was, I am led to believe, not a little awkward (they are now very happily married though, happy-ending fans, so don’t feel too bad about the whole thing). 
  • Lorem Gibson: Filler text based on the works of William Gibson. 
  • Introversion: A beautiful, short comic extolling the virtues of quiet. 
  • Ultimate 0s and XsFind someone in your office / house / field / train carriage to play this with NOW. 
  • Gorgeous Photographs of IndiaOne of the best Flickr sets I’ve seen in ages, these are truly beautiful and worth taking a 10 minute eyestroll through.
  • The Box-art of Psygnosis: There are about 6 of you for whom this is going to give huge, warm, fuzzy flashbacks. ENJOY! (if you need an explanation as to what the link is about you are not one of those people and you can probably skip this one). 
  • The Internet K-holeThis is an incredible (and quite NSFW-ish) collection of vintage WTF-ish pictures. WARNING: There is a dead, gutted bear in one of the pictures which a couple of people got upset about when I tweeted this. Sorry, sensitive animal lovers. 
  • HollowFinally, the best webthing of the week. This is a gorgeous online project which is part website, part documentary, part art project, and all wonderful. It tells the story of a dying town in the US, and it is so beautifully made and told. Set aside 15 minutes and really do pay attention – I promise it will reward you. Made by the very talented Elaine McMillion.
By Nir Arieli

The Circus of Tumblrs:

  • Fcuk No Internet Dating: A tumbr highlighting all the bad things about internet dating. Starts off sort of funny and then you get the crushing realisation that this is someone’s reality and internal monologue, and you get a little bit sad inside (EDIT it is by Amelia, fyi, and is in no way a reflection of the inside of her head).
  • Exploding Actresses: This has been everywhere in the past few days, but in case it’s passed you by this is a selection of gifs featuring actresses from iconic films whose heads, at certain points, explode for no apparent reason. Just…just look, ok?
  • Bad Hairdressers’ NamesThe crap names of hair salons. You thought ‘A Cut Above’ was a nadir? OHNONONONO!
  • My Startup Has 30 Days To LiveA somewhat sobering antidote to the FCUK YEAH STARTUPS! attitude which prevails at the moment. It sounds HARD and SAD.
  • Tiny Pantone Matching: Small things which match Pantone colour swatches. Oddly lovely, though I don’t quite know why.
  • Thumbs & AmmoStills from movies in which the guns have been replaced with cheery thumbs-ups. 
  • Rap PostersOne of the best things I’ve seen all week. A new poster each day, depicting classic hiphop albums in minimalist fashion, by the super-talented Zaven Najjar, a Paris-based designed. Amazed he’s not selling them.


  • Signing At Rap Gigs: Holly Maniatti achieved minor internet fame last week when a video of her signing along at a Wu Tang gig went everywhere. This is a lovely piece looking at her craft, and how it works – it makes me really, really want to learn how to swear in sign language, which I am aware is childish. Sorry.
  • Me And My MonkeyThis really IS long, but it’s an incredible read. If you’ve ever read, this may ring some bells – confessions of a white-collar junkie, from a 1995 Washington Post. Awesome writing and really worth the effort. 
  • What Words Are WorthThis is an excellent piece of writing about journalism and freelancing in the internet age, and what words are worth. If you do any sort of writing for a living, and particularly if you work on a ‘payment per article’ basis rather than being a staffer, this will resonate. Also, there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t previously know about the differential payment rates offered by different publications (there’s a LOT of difference).
  • The Kanye CollageI read this and my jaw dropped. I don’t think that this is getting the recognition it deserves. A collage of excerpts from Kanye West interviews, edited into a coherent whole, which absolutely nails his whole narcissistic messiah complex schtick and how unpleasant it often seems. I am so impressed at the craft behind this. Maybe that makes me an idiot. BONUS KANYE: here’s a piece in defence of his hubris, from Buzzfeed (but it’s the decent bit of Buzzfeed, so I don’t feel so bad about linking it). 
  • What Winning Looks LikeSeemingly-obligatory VICE link of the week, this one looking at the mess which everyone has made of Afghanistan. Sobering, but excellent journalism. 
  • Samuel Pepys Favourite Bongo MagA fascinating look at a sex manual from the 17th Century. I believe the term to use here is ‘bawdy’. A little NSFW, but in a really Olde Worlde fashion which probably makes it ok. Not sure how HR would look at it, but worth a gamble I reckon.
  • What It Might Be Like To Be An OctopusTaking Nagel’s famous ‘bat’ question as its starting point, this is a decent and accessible look at an interesting philosophical problem which is pleasingly accessible even to people like me who remember about 3 things from the two philosophy degrees we did 15 years ago.
  • Big Narstie vs Game Of ThronesFollowing from the Eastenders critique which I linked to a few months back, this is London grime PERSONALITY Big Narstie waxing lyrical about popular sex’n’death series Game of Thrones. I don’t even watch the show, but this had me crying in parts. 
  • London AppsNot really a long read as such, but a good list of apps which are useful to Londoners, put together by app developer and professional Beard Michael Hobson
  • DetritusA beautiful experiment in interactive fiction which I’ve put here because it’s probably a 10 minute playthrough and requires quite a bit of reading. It’s worth it, though – it’s quite the lovely thing, and rewards your time.
By Jen Mann

NOW, FINALLY, MOVING PICTURES AND SOUNDS! (Not including the Dawkins meme thing by Saatchi at Cannes last week (oh, ok, it’s here) because you’ve all seen it already and also it basically screws itself by not working properly as a meme which sort of undermines the whole point of it):

1) I’m a big fan of actor, rapper, general agitator and all-round clever man Riz MC. This is him doing some properly good spoken word at a recent bookslam event. The audio’s not great, but do listen – it’s not only technically excellent but it’s smart and funny too: 

2) By miles and miles the most beautiful thing videowise I’ve seen all week. This is a ‘dance’ with a killer shark, and it is MESMERISING. Gave me proper shivers, this, in a good good way…:

3) Keeping with the ‘beautiful’ theme, this is an incredible hyperspeed journey through Tokyo, mirrored for psychedelic effect. Hyperspeed – beautiful. Put your headphones on and lose yourself for 4.5 minutes:

4) Have you ever wondered what sort of difference being drunk will make to a band’s performance? Now you get to see, thanks to this rather odd video from UK band Moons, which lets you compare 4 different versions of the smae track being performed after 0, 20, 40, 60 and 80 beers. Unsurprisingly the 80 beer performance is…different:

5) This is a man called Andrew Huang, rapping in 5 languages in one song and flipping backwards and forwards mid-flow. Incredibly impressive, technically speaking:

6) I don’t know who Paul the Trombonist is, but I do know that this has been haunting my nightmares for 5 days now and I WANT IT TO STOP:

7) What would you do if you were on a routine camping trip and aliens invaded? I have no idea either, but it’s exactly the scenario posited in this clip for Stepdad’s song ‘Pick and Choose’ (which, by the way, is a great song):

8) The man known on the internet as Sadeagle has had this made. It is a theremin crossed with a dead, stuffed owl. If the expression on the bird’s face doesn’t make you laugh out loud then there is possibly something wrong with you:

9) Have you ever wondered whether you have a somewhat bizarre or unusual fetish that you’ve never discovered? Well if you do, this video may well unearth it. Very odd exploration of different people’s ideas of ‘sexy’ by Jenny Hval, this is the SFW but really rather odd ‘Innocence is Kinky’:


10) Finally, a proper labour of love from my good friend and  renaissance man Akira The Don. This is his epic tribute to Game of Thrones, featuring the aforementioned Big Narstie and a whole load of superhighqualitygreenscreen action. This is Games For The Thrones and it is EPIC:


That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 21/06/13

Reading Time: 17 minutes

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28.01.13 – Missing Circumstances. Rye Lane, London SE15
Garudio Studiage, Photo of the week

GAH! SO MUCH TO DO! I am meant to be going on a stag do in about 2 hours; that’s not going to happen. I simply don’t have TIME to do a linky recap of stuff that’s been going on this week – look, BrazilSaatchiSyriaInternetpr0nVICEGraffitiStuartHallCannesLions…there you go. There’s been other stuff too but that’s probably covered below. Happy Friday, EVERYONE – read, enjoy and bask in the skin-flaying intensity that is a full week’s worth of Web Curios. I’m off to soak my typing fingers in a waterbath for a bit.


By Henry Faber



  • Look! They Done Made Video!: Well, not them exactly, but hipster subsidiary Instagram. This has been massively overtrailed and discussed, so we don’t need to spend too much time on it here. Suffice it to say that it’s a direct response to, and competitor for, Vine (you can read the head-to-head feature comparison-list here, but the main differences are based around editing (better on Vinestagram) and embeddability (you can only do it on Vine, so far)), and that you’re going to get incredibly bored of seeing people’s shoddily made videos of their cake-smeared progeny clogging up your Facebook feed over the next few months (and indeed for the rest of your natural life). This is, as per the norm with Facebook, MASSIVE for advertisers and brands (some of whom have already started making CONTENT, for which I for one am oh-so-grateful) – watch the branded videos start getting made and then promoted MERCILESSLY through FB promoted posts, etc. Not to mention the extension of Instagram’s offering to advertisers which can only be a short while away. Here’s some thoughts by someone more professionally interested in this topic than I am (it’s not hard) on what this means for all you ad folk – read this whilst enjoying the tooth-grinding post-Cannes comedown!
  • New Analytics!Look! Slightly different numbers you can use to prove to your clients that spending £72,000 per year, excluding VAT, on a bunch of graduates to post pictures of sullen cats on their Facebook pages really is a good idea! This slight update to FB analytics will (eventually) give Page admins more details beyond ‘People Talking About This’, and show broken down numbers for ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, clicks, etc, on a per-post basis. So you can all try and ignore the fact that everyone stops caring when brands talk about anything to do with their actual business or products. BACK TO THE CATS!!!!
  • Photos in Comments!And you will imminently be able to use photos in comments. Which is going to lead to a load of HILARIOUS meme-led conversations as everyone else discovers rage faces 3 years after 4chan and reddit got bored of them. I really do hope that some FORWARD THINKING (read: happy to get fired) community manager institutes a ‘we are only responding to Facebook comments in pictures’ policy. DO IT. 
  • They’ve Made Ads Linking to non-Facebook Pages BetterI’m so bored by this that I literally can’t bring myself to type any mo
  • An Interesting Look at Why FB Doesn’t Really Do Ads Very WellIn a week when it basically admitted that it owes its million+ advertisers EVERYTHING, this is a decent overview of why Facebook’s ad products really aren’t as good as they ought to be.
  • Another Year, Another Spurious Figure Placed on the Value of a ‘Fan’I’m including this because it’s so utterly ridiculous it’s funny. If you want to read the whole ‘study’ you’ll need tto sacrifice your email address and download a PDF, but it’s almost worth it. Apparently a Facebook fan’s value “has increased 28% to $174.1”!!!! WHO ARE THE IDIOTS WHO BELIEVE THIS RUBBISH?!?!?! With any luck, your clients!


  • No, Wait, Come Back, We’re Making Vines Better!Hm. A short, speculative piece on some apparent improvements to Vine which Twitter may roll out soonish. Will it be enough? Which platform is going to WIN THE SHORTFORM VIDEO WARS? Oh dear God, is this what we have become?
  • Who’s Tweeting From What, WhereVery cool map visualisation showing tweets posted, worldwide, and the mobile devices they’re posted from. Aside from being oddly visually compelling, I can imagine how this might be quite useful in terms of seeing geographical concentrations of Twitter users, and device adoption. Maybe.
  • What People Tweet About, WhereSome information about what people share on Twitter. Useful from a stats point of view, and interesting in regard to the amount of tweets linking to social media vs news. 

Report-y Industry-y-type Things

A Load Of Other Things, Including Some Campaigny Things You May Already Have Seen at Cannes But Were Too Messed Up To Remember:

  • MySpace Relaunches!*tumbleweed*
  • Campaign at CannesA minute-by-minute rundown of the past week’s backslapping, should you wish to read all about it.
  • Foursquare + NY Public Library = TIME MACHINE!: This is clever, and I am surprised it’s not been done before (but maybe it has). 4sq has partnered with the New York Public Library to serve historical images and information to people who check in near to certain locations around Manhattan. This should just become a standard thing that people can do, I think – it would be lovely to be able to zoom back in time a few hundred years wherever you where and whenever you wanted (basically I want an actual time machine).
  • Heineken IgniteNice little techy hack for Heineken bottles in a Dutch (I think) club. Now combine this with the Buddy Cup thing that Budweiser did and you have a rather nice thingy.
  • Renault – Single Tank DestinationsRenault have developed a web app to promote some car or another (look, I don’t drive, I barely understand how cars work) which apparently goes very far on one tank of petrol. The app shows you all the places you could go from your current destination on one tank, tells you how to get there and gives you info about the places you could go. Cute. 
  • Surrender Your SayThis has been everywhere amongst UK advermarketingpr folk over the past couple of days. A campaign from Canada to raise awareness of Tourettes, which allows people to hand over their Twitter feed to their website for a day; users’ who participate will see themselves tweeting unexpectedly Tourettic things to their followers, with the hashtag #surrenderyoursay and a link to the site. Nicely done, although the main takeaway from this is that we are as a nation still childishly obsessed with the condition (although it does give me yet another excuse to link to this, which sort of proves that point really). 
  • True Blood’s Bad ThingsYou know the famed webart project Post Secret, which asks people to send in their deepest, darkest anonymous secrets on a postcard? Well HBO TOTALLY ripped it off as part of their campaign for sex-and-vampires series True Blood. Well, almost – people submitted anonymous confessions and the advermarketingpr folk paired them with images from the show and then squeezed them out through social media. Dispiriting.
  • Hell Is Other PeopleA Foursquare hack which allows you to see where your friends have checked in recently and so avoid them. Brilliant an useful, and surely to be coopted in some fashion by one of those ‘why not have a secret affair?’ dating websites. 
  • Gum HeroDo you find people chewing loudly and visibly upsetting, rude or just a bit gross? Skip this one, then. This is a promo for a chewing gum brand, who created their own bespoke version of Guitar Hero in which players were required to chew in-time to win PRIZES!
  • Donate Your Mobile ChargeSmart little promo to encourage blood donation in (I think) Brazil – why is it that there’s so much good work coming from that country at the moment?
  • Cleverest Thing Of The WeekA really ingenious music promo, creating the virtual stylus for mobiles. It’s hard to explain; just watch the damn thing and wish you’d thought of it. 
  • Finally, Red Bull AgainDanny MacAskill is a Scottish BMX person (it would appear). This is a short film made by Red Bull showing him being amazing at being on a bike. It’s so, so good – really worth watching the whole thing, as it shows all the reasons why Red Bull are good at this sort of thing. Also, please note, that it was 2 years in the making. GOOD STUFF TAKES TIME AND MONEY. Now send it to your client and wait for them to tell you that they want one too, next week, for £500. 
Happy Death, by Maurice Heesen


A Miscellany Of Interesting Curios From This Week’s Internet, Pt.1:

  • Deletionist PluginTurn any webpage into a piece of erasure poetry with this little plugin. You can make some accidentally rather beautiful things with this, have a play.
  • Protests in Sao PaoloA great set of pictures from this week’s huge protests in Brazil. It’s amazing to think that this was all started by a proposed increase in bus fares – straws, camels, backs, etc. Oh, and this Vine gives an idea of the scale of the demonstrations – impressive.
  • The Edges of the World on Google MapsThere are places on this earth where even the Google Streetview car cannot go beyond. These are the pictures of those places – literally the ends of the earth – makes me want to go away and just WALK. 
  • The Periodic Table of MuppetsThis didn’t really need to be a periodic table, but whoever designed it evidently knows how to get stuff shared on the internet. LOOK, MUPPETS! ALL OF THE MUPPETS!
  • A Potentially Useful Colour Matching Palette-tool ThingyWebsite which lets people fiddle around and match colours, palettes and the like. It’s quite fun, and I imagine quite useful if you’re a web designer or brand person or, perhaps, if you’re decorating your house and want to know which particular shade of puce the dado rail should be. 
  • Google Colour Theory[SEAMLESS!] Google image searches for certain terms, boiled down to won colour. Ever wanted to know what colour the official arbiter of everything (that is, Google) dictates is the official shade of, say, ‘business’? Now you can. 
  • The Chromatic Typewriter[SO SEAMLESS!] An old-school typewriter (now I come to think of it, a tautological statement, but hey ho) which has been doctored so that it types colours rather than letters. The results are beautiful. I think every home should have one. 
  • A Guide to Safer CommunicationOr, ‘A Webmong’s Guide To Stopping THEM Snooping On You’. A whole list of tools and websites which you can use to encrypt or hide your communications from the snooping eyes of the NSA or indeed anyone else who you might not want to see it. Contains the obligatory reference to TOR, which I feel a duty of care to point out is the gateway to everything that is REALLY WRONG AND SCARY on the internet (Maria Miller may be amazed to know that there are other places to find BAD STUFF other than Google). 
  • The Mobile BreathalyserMany years ago, I came up with an idea to have breathalysers in pubs to let drunk people have official ‘let’s see who’s drunkeshhhhhht!’ competition with each other (I was a teenage genius, evidently). Now that glorious idea has practically become a reality with this add-on for smartphones which allows inebriates to guage the exact level of their drunkenness. This will, I am sure, ONLY be used responsibly. Hmm.
  • NYC Partners with NextdoorI think that this is REALLY interesting. Nextdoor’s a hyperlocal social network, designed for small communities – the city of New York is working with them in an as-yet-unclear fashion, but probably experimenting as to how to use such micronetworks to deliver very targeted local information to residents in a personal fashion. I think that this could really catch on – oi, Boris, copy this please.
  • My Daughter QuinoaA Pinterest board collecting images of the author’s imaginary well-dressed toddler, Quinoa, along with captions detailing her inner fashionista monologue. Funnier than it has any right to be.
  • Fretboard HeatmapsFamous guitarists’ most-used notes, depicted on fretboards. Not only a cool project, particularly if you’re a guitar fanatic, but also the graphics are rather nice and, I think, would make rather lovely minimal posters. 
  • There’s An Irish Die Antwoord Tribute Band Called ‘Die Antrim’A pointless fact that pleased me this week.
Paint, by the fabulously-named Marcel Christ

A Miscellany Of Interesting Curios From This Week’s Internet, Pt.2:

  • Taxidermist and Their Dead, Stuffed FriendsMike McGregor took this series of pictures of taxidermists with the creatures they work with. It’s hard to tell who’s got the creepier dead eyes. I once met a man in Fort Louden, Pennsylvania, who freeze-dried cats for a living. He was an odd man, who insisted that he’s received several requests from people to freeze-dry them after their deaths. I wonder what happened to him? OH MY GOD THE ARTICLE STILL EXISTS – I took these pictures (they are terrible).
  • Classical Sculptures Dressed As HipstersYes, that. What’s brilliant about this is that it draws out how beautifully human the faces, poses and attitudes of some of the best sculptures of antiquity were / are (cf these ones). And the fact that, you know, HIPSTERZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
  • Hovertrax!You know how people look really stupid riding Segways, except the police who instead simply look incredibly futuristically sinister and oppressive? Well get ready to usher in a whole new era of stupid-looking transport options with Hovertrax, something which looks so ridiculous and dangerous that it can’t possibly catch on. Can it?
  • The Gay Vatican Cabal’s Favourite WebsiteVenerabilis is, it would appear, a community dedicated to ‘homo-sensible’ Roman Catholic priests. You will only get the most out of this if you speak Italian, but it really is quite remarkable. Also, the ‘we are being watched, communicate ONLY via SMS’ Twitter feed is really quite the thing.
  • Vintage Superheroes In The Style of PixarJust excellent work.
  • Kill Online SlideshowsYou know how annoying it is when you click on that link you’ve seen with the description ‘The 50 hottest Kate Upton GIFS’ and it turns out to be a bloody slideshow that you have to click through and you get all frustrated? Er, yes, yes you do. This is a brilliant service which lets you plug in the url of any web slideshow and automatically turns it into a single page. SO GOOD. 
  • The New York City Municipal ArchiveNYC has put its municipal archives online. You can lose yourselves in a truly immense collection of images, videos, audio, maps and all sorts of other things – a truly amazing piece of digital archiving and an incredible resource.
  • So You Think You’re An Athlete?You’re not. Marathon Des Sables? PAH! This takes 52 days and is about 2.5k miles and sounds frankly MENTAL. 
  • BlaBlaBlaBla is part interactive film, part art project, part ‘game’, but isn’t really any of those things at all. It’s an interactive animation project which uses a variety of techniques and styles to tell a series of short vignette-based stories about LIFE and human interaction and stuff. Go and have a play.
  • The Mars Rover Megapixel PictureMars! A really, really high-res picture of Mars! It looks a bit cold and lonely, to be honest.
  • Airport Carpets – The Archive: Mapping the carpets of the world’s airports, because it’s important that we have an adequate archive of these things so future civilisations can marvel at our artistry.
  • “Elmo, Where Did Daddy Go?”Heartbreaking. A Sesame Street toolkit helping explain the incarceration of a loved one to small children. I’ve got a really awful gag knocking about in my head about The Count going from one to LIFE :-(.
  • The Vine DatabaseThis is an awesome tool which allows you to search through ALL OF THE VINES by hashtag, keywords, etc. This is SO MUCH MORE than a really useful tool to find 6-second bongo clips. No really, it is. As this piece about the making of it states, Vine is about memories – I’d actually not thought about it like this before, but it rather resonated with me as a theory. Oh, and as a bonus, have the new, revamped VinePeek (which is now called VPeeker, and is still a MASSIVE timesink).
  • WeMojisPeople replicating the expressions seen in Emojis. Silly, but fun, and you can add your own to the database if you want your face to be immortalised looking really silly for strangers to laugh at. 
  • The Best Origami In The World, EverIt’s so good that it’s hard to believe that there’s not some cheating going on here somewhere. Astoundingly skillful. 
  • Portraits of Mysterious-looking DogsOstensibly a series of pictures of dogs, this photoseries by Martin Usborne is about depression and all sorts of other things. Gorgeous pictures and, once you read the description of why they were taken, a thought-provoking project.
  • Incredible Photographs of Mexican Gang Culture: Carlos Alvarez Montero is a photrographer who originates from Mexico City. These are a selection of his pictures of Mexican gang members. I wouldn’t mess.
  • Make the NSA Follow You On Twitter: Triggertreat is a website which autogenerates a series of words and phrases which are on the NSA’s ‘watch list’ of trigger terms and lets you tweet a sample selection of them. The theory being that the feds (there is NOTHING more silly than a British person using this term, I have just realised – sorry) will IMMEDIATELY spot this and start tailing you online. OH THE LULZ!
  • My Dad Was In A BandActually this should probably be up the top, being as it is a smart piece of marketing for a documentary about a band called ‘Death’ (called, conveniently, A Band Called Death), but I like it enough to chuck it in alongside the REAL stuff. Anyway, a nice little blog asking people to submit pictures of their parents in bands. Some cool nostalgia here, and also an object lesson in clever advermarketingpr.
  • BBC Radio4 in 4 MinutesIf you listen to R4 as much as I do, then this will be FRIGHTENINGLY resonant. Has catapulted itself to the top of my list of middle-class litmus tests…
This is ‘Vessel’ a hammock/bath designed by Splinter Works. WANT.


  • Cartoons From Police ScannersA series of short cartoons inspired by the stuff you overhear listening in to police scanners. Makes me quite glad I’m not a policeman.
  • ContainerisationA collection of pictures showcasing the weird industrial beauty of containers. Industrial art pr0n, basically. 
  • Justin GigerWhat would you get if you crossed ‘troubled’ multi-millionaire pop-cyborg Justin Bieber with the insectile and biologically obsessed art of HR Giger? This tumblr, is what.
  • The Bieber ComicSpeaking of Justin Bieber, here’s a comic about him. It’s…odd, and contains hand-drawn Bieber-wiener. 
  • Game Design TipsYep, those. A selection of not-dumb thoughts about game designe. Videogame types should take a look.
  • Britpop TextsPictures pf Britpop stars of yesteryear (see if you can name them all!), captioned with Texts From Last Night. Occasional gold. 
  • Kanye Vs CannesWho said it – narcissistic millionaire egomaniac and now-babyfather Kanye ‘Yeezy’ West, or some schlub from the advertising industry living it up on Le Croisette? YOUR CALL!
  • Food ReplicatorStar Trek-themed recipes. This is possibly the geekiest thing on here this week, which frankly really is saying something. The food doesn’t actually look too bad, though, if you ignore the Trekkie rubbish (SORRY).
  • Reasons My Son Is CryingPictures of crying kids, with explanations. Man, being small is HARD,
  • Mean Mad MenStills from Mad Men, captions from Mean Girls. Fits almost too well.


  • My Addiction To IronyOh McSweeney’s how do I love thee? SO MANY WAYS. This isn’t actually very long at all, but it is an excellent piece of writing and brilliantly captures a recurring conversation I’ve had with my mate Jim which will mean nothing to you. THIS IS A PROBLEM FOR ALL OF US.
  • The Credit Rating Agencies Are ScumYou know how it felt through large swathes of the GFC that the credit agencies were just fcuking with us? OH LOOK THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! I honestly think that this should be a bigger story than it is – so much of this mess was exacerbated by their actions, after all. Although, having said that, I don’t know who I expect to do anything about it (or care, really).
  • The Dragonmaster of Central Park: I’m not going to lie, I almost cried at this – there was a proper huge intake of breath at the end type-of-thing. It’s not sad in the conventional sense, but there’s something really poignant about the story of Blackwolf (nee Richard), the Wizard of New York. Read this one if none of the others – it’s really worth it. 
  • The NYT On InnovationA really interesting NYT feature, looking at the nature of innovation and the 48 greatest innovations as they see them. Not only a fascinating read, but nicely laid out in a webdesign sort of way.
  • Gary Winogrand and the Art of PhotographyBrilliant (but VERY long) piece about photographer extraordinaire Gary Winogrand, whose name will probably be familiar to you if you’re into the medium.  Looks at his life, his works, his obsession with taking pictures (he left over 1/2million exposures when he died in 1984, which in the analogue age is an astounding number) and his incredible body of work. Some great photos in there, as you’d imagine. 
  • Hunter S Thompson and the Art of JournalismThe Paris Review gives us one of the greatest invterviews with Thompson I’ve ever read. Such a good piece of writing and journalism. As a bonus, have the 60-second speedrun animation of Fear & Loathing. You’re welcome!
  • The Irritating Stylistic Tics of TwitterAn article looking at the annoying phrases and stylistic conventions which have become popular on Twitter. There are some in here which are rage inducing, and some which I’m pretty sure I have done myself. You will recognise and, potentially, cringe. 
  • On Twitter and WritingExcellent thinkpiece in the NYT about how Twitter interacts with the writing process and what using it means for people who write for a living, or want to, and how it fits with the creative process, and all sorts of other things besides. One of those great pieces which makes you think about something we’ve sort of normalised (ie Twitter) in a fresh way. 
  • Leaving The Internet (sort of, for a month)After that bloke who left the internet for a year and found that doing so didn’t magically cure him of all the internal personal issues he’d been struggling with, comes this story of Baratunde Thurston, a terrifyingly alpha and successful human being who I imagine MAXIMISES HIS LIFE and repeats motivational mantras to himself in the mirror and probably isn’t afflicted with any of the self-doubt and night-terrors that the rest of us (oh, ok, me) get, who left the internet for A WHOLE MONTH! I KNOW! Actually more interesting than you’d think, and a broader look at how to unplug from stuff even if you’re HYPERBUSY and successful and stuff. 
  • On Stealing Jokes, Heckling and Rape GagsPatton Oswalt on the aforementioned issues. A really interesting perspective from a pro comedian, and some deep thinking (man) on the culture and mores of comedy.
  • A Night Out In MagalufNot a great week for VICE, really, but they’ve in part redeemed themselves by featuring ANOTHER excellent piece of writing by Clive Martin, who’s rapidly becoming my favourite person writing about anything in the English language at the moment. So, so good


1) I’m going to ease you into this week’s selection of videos with a cute, soothing little piece of pseudo-pschedelia – the LSD alphabet. Beautifully made: 

2) So, so, so clever, this. An animation using over 1,600 Instagram pictures to create this stop-motion clip, which is not only technically clever but shows a degree of wit and imagination not always visible in these things. The only down side is the title – I’m not totally sure that ‘Instagramimation’ is forgivable:

3) I don’t really understand why this exists, although I get the feeling it was done as part of some Norwegian charity telethon. Nonetheless, who needs explanations when you have a cast of minor celebrities from around the world, selected with no apparent unifying criteria, singing along to ‘Let It Be’? NOONE, THAT’S WHO! Also, look, it’s the bloke who played Carlton in the Fresh Prince!:

4) Who is John Mayer? Did he used to date poor Jennifer Aniston? I don’t really know and I don’t care enough to Google it (IN YOUR FACE, CELEBRITY CULTURE). Anyway, he makes music. I find this song a bit so-so, but it’s salvaged by the video which is a true piece of craftsmanship and contains all sorts of brilliant techniques, and lenticulars which I’m a sucker for, and it’s lovely. WATCH:

5) I never thought I’d get so enthused by a video that effectively repeats the same pull-back tracking shot over and over again whilst what I perceive to be a fairly tedious piece of electo, but then it got to 1 minute in and I sort of got transfixed (and no, not because of the naked woman who appears at that point, I promise). Really, really well-made and stylish and just sort of cool – this is Gesaffelstein with ‘Pursuit’:

6) Yung Lean is the most hipster musician IN THE WORLD right now. That doesn’t mean that I don’t rather like his video for ‘Hurt’, which is all sorts of flavours of teen emo mashed together into one glitched-out, Pokemon-infused mess. No idea what’s going on with the song, mind:

7) This is the hairiest music video you will ever see, ever. Breach, with ‘Jack’:

8) Oh, Die Antwoord. I was apparently wrong when I thought they’d stopped doing their thing, for here is a BRAND NEW SINGLE called Cookie Thumper. The video’s as odd as we’ve come to expect, and the song…well, the song’s about anal sex. Some other stuff too, but mostly that:

9) My favourite song of the week comes from Robots Don’t Sleep, with Don’t Wake Me. A filmic, summery video with all the standard KIDS WANT FREEDOM AND ESCAPE tropes, but most significantly a lovely tune:

10) Last one for this week, and I’m going to have to do something very un-Curios here and warn you that it contains some pretty nasty / distressing scenes, and woman-on-woman violence (not in any sort of sexualised, voyeuristic or pervy way, but still). There’s a bit in here that still makes me recoil, and I’ve seen it a few times and know it’s coming. Still, I think it’s an excellent piece of work, and that it has something to say so I’m including it. Caveat emptor, and all that. This is ‘Tiff’ by Polica, featuring Bon Iver: 


That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 07/06/13

Reading Time: 20 minutes

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John Lewis Sale. Rye Lane, London SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

Another week, another 7 days to get reacquainted with the feeling that there is simply too much stuff happening all the time and there is simply NO WAY we can keep up and God it’s stressful I JUST WANT TO SLOW DOWN FOR A SECOND. 

Ahem. Obviously the big thing this week has been Turkey, and assorted issues around the protests there and how they are being received by society and media. It was also the week, though, when we were given a heartbreaking reminder of Bradley Manning‘s continued existence, we learnt that romance REALLY IS now dead (although perhaps less so if you are an anarchist), that American PSAs really do give the best life advice, that you can make surprisingly effective points whilst wearing a watermelon bra, and that some people are REALLY good at YoYoing

Yes, that’s right – from popular protest at the intersection of Europe and Asia to men doing tricks with bits of string and plastic. WHICH OTHER OVERLONG WEEKLY MISCELLANY GIVES YOU THAT, EH???? Whether you want it or not is immaterial. 

Anyway, kids. Strap in, sit back, pour yourselves a stiff drink and prepare for the imminent trepanning that is a trip through Web Curios. ENJOY!

By Andrew Lyman



  • Facebook Simplifies Ad OfferingIt’s about time, frankly, given that (as I learned from this news) there are currently 27(!) separate Facebook ad products. There won’t be, by the end of the year – they’re killing more than half of them in favour of a simplified, streamlined system which combines the functionality of multiple ad products to eliminate overlap, etc. Obliquely it’s an interesting insight into the big blue Satan’s iterative design processes when it comes to the stuff that really matters (ie making all of the money).
  • This Is What Verified Pages Look LikeLook, here’s McDonald’s! They have a TICK. AMAZING! I for one am far happier interacting with the vapid, anodyne voice of a brand dedicated to selling me crap food with all the nutritional value of an iPad when I know that it REALLY IS that brand and not a stealthy scammer.
  • It Doesn’t Matter If We Hate It, We’re Stuck With ItInteresting – and clever – piece by Reuters as to why Facebook is not going anywhere, whether or not we like it. Which sort of makes you wonder WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE? There’s a lot of interesting thought-food in there about its service offering and how it may develop in light of recent misstep.
  • But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Not A Bit CrapA great, long, look at how Facebook is effectively edging towards being little more than a spam graveyard, based on the evolution of Open Graph and the gradual prioritisation of algorithmically-preferred content. Actually want to know what it is that your friends have been doing? TOUGH, LOOK AT THIS BRAND’S PICTURE OF A PUG IN A PARTY HAT INSTEAD. Actually this is less of an issue if you just take the simple step of not using Facebook for communicating with commercial entities, although you would obviously be a FOOL and a COMMUNIST to suggest that.


  • Lists Get Bigger & More UsefulThis was meant to go in last week, but I forgot about it (which says more about my priorities than it does about the significance of the announcement). Twitter has expanded the functionality of its ‘Lists’ service, to the point where they are now really, really useful (particularly for anyone who’s doing Twitter PROFESSIONALLY). You can now make up to 1,000 lists from a single account, each containing up to 5,000 Twitter profiles. Which really is useful if you need to do stuff with media or INFLUENCERS, although I still hate you for believing that INFLUENCERS is actually a proper word you are allowed to use. 
  • Twitter Gets Into Bed With The ManSuch a big story, this (I think). WPP, the advertising/communications behemoth and, ultimately, the people whose fault it is that this screed exists, announced yesterday that they have entered into a global strategic partnership with Twitter. Details are, at present, sketchy, but this can’t be anything other than a massive databuy, allowing all of Sir Martin’s multifarious corporate tentacles access to a violently large amount of information about what we’re all saying and thinking, which will then be used to try and sell us stuff more effectively. I’m presuming a degree of exclusivity on this, which surely is huge for the advertising / media buying industry as a whole. Or maybe it’s not, and I’m simply still in thrall to the strange charms of a stumpy plutocrat. WHO KNOWS?
  • The Best Vine Person EVERThis is sort of frivolous so probably should go down there (*gestures*), but it’s all about Vine, so sod it. This man works for Twitter, and therefore has almost certainly had more time to play with the product than anyone else, but his use of the platform is BRILLIANT. Brands, LEARN.  
  • Although This Is Also A Clever Use Of VineReally simple and clever, this site uses Vine to collect brilliant examples of UX design from around the web. An excellent example of what it is really useful for, and something that you should think about ripping off. IKEA – timelapse vines showing key points in the assembly of flatpack furniture? Foodie people – vines showing how certain things should look during the cooking process? You get the idea(s).
  • The Most Engaged Twitter Account IN THE WORLD: Someone ran the numbers – more RTs, favourites, @replies than ANY OTHER ACCOUNT. And all it does is tweet intellectually subnormal platitudes. Yep, this is what you need to do to ‘engage’ people. Talk like an idiot who’s read a lot of self-help manuals. This is both funny and immensely saddening. Community managers – go on, tweet like this for a week and watch your (largely meaningless) numbers SOAR.
  • Visualisations of Twitter Use Across The WorldNo London, sadly, but very beautiful nonetheless. 


  • No Bongo For GlassGoogle have clarified their developer policies for building stuff on the scary, face-wearable computing device of dreams / nightmares; sadly for the onanists out there (ok, ok, all of us), they have imposed a ban on pr0n-y apps. Which is a real shame for the people behind the brilliantly-named ‘Tits and Glass‘ app, which was announced about 24 hours before Google made this announcement. 
  • Google+ Is The MatrixClever piece of writing by Charles Arthur in the Guardian, which takes a look at what Google+ is actually for; nothing that wasn’t alluded to when it launched a few years back, but benefits enormously from the benefit of hindsight and the more zoomed-out view of the online ecosystem we are afforded in 2013. Basically what it says is that G+ is a gigantic datagathering tool which sits across all Google’s other gigantic datagathering tools. I still reckon there’s a possible future in which everyone is given a Google ID at birth and they ‘own’ the universal login thing. Maybe. Perhaps. 
  • It Can Tell The Future TooI was talking with someone about data analysis, predictions and government this week (because I’m SO ALONE); this ties into that, a bit. Just a bit of info from a Google research project mapping its data against the box office takings of films. We’ve all heard stuff about how social media is remarkably accurate when it comes to predicting 1st weekend box office receipts, but this is quite remarkable – to quote the study: “trailer search volume on Google coupled with both the franchise status of the movie and seasonality can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94% accuracy”. That’s incredible. No wonder Goldman Sachs are working on scrapers to play the stockmarket based on Twitter, Facebook and Google data. Everything we write on the internet helps make rich companies richer, and this is only going to become more true. 


  • Niche Networks ‘On The Rise’This story’s been bubbling around recently, in parallel to the much-exaggerated DECLINE OF FACEBOOK. Anyway, an interesting look at smaller, more specialist social networks, all of which are set to be ruined by brands attempting to co-opt them for their own ends and effectively crushing all the things that made them special in the first place.
  • Internet Usage Trends – Some graphsA whole load of graphs and data looking at how the manner in which we use the web will change over the next few years. Basically it says that video usage online will continue to grow exponentially, particularly on mobile. Unsurprising, but useful if you need to justify a position to a client with 3rd party data and important-looking lines, which you probably will do at some point. 
  • How Digital Is Modifying MarketingThis is a really good presentation. Tells the truth, largely, and you could do worse than have a read and appropriate some of the thinking. It’s by a man called Gregory Pouy, so all credit to him. 
  • Coub – Like Vine But For YouTube VidsThat’s sort of all you need to know. Lets you create 10-second looping videos from any YouTube clips you like (or indeed your own footage). Hugely useful if you need to make a high volume of ‘funny’, ‘original’ content and don’t want to do it all off a mobile device. 
  • Simon’s Dating ChallengeA better-than-expected effort from BT, who’ve created this game to promote…er…some stuff that they do (again proving the questionable utility of this stuff as a campaign marketing tool, but let’s disregard that). It’s retro, it’s fun enough to waste 5 minutes on…hang on, I’m reading this back to myself and realising quite how low my standards are when it comes to this stuff. Basically, IT’S NOT DREADFUL. Huzzah!
  • Etihad x LinkedInThis, though, really is clever. A LinkedIn mashup which lets you see your primary and secondary contacts on a map, look at where you might be travelling to and work out who’s in the area who it might be useful to meet, message them, etc. Actually a potentially useful service, which is pretty rare.
  • Storytime HangoutI really like this. Google+ thingy by Penguin / Ladybird, which does an AR-style overlay on your Google+ hangout allowing you to roleplay the story you’re telling your kids. Although the fact that you’re telling your kids a story over the internet makes me a little sad, now I think about it. 
  • How GE Uses Data VisualisationA good, and comprehensive, look at what GE are doing with their data and how they are making it work in a communications sense. Required reading for any of you who’ve wanged on about BIG DATA in a client meeting without really knowing what you mean. 
  • If This Is Real It’s TERRIFYINGThis road safety stunt (part of the DfT’s THINK! campaign) is PROPERLY unsettling. Or, rather, it must have been for the people in the video, although they all look a little bit too goodlooking for me to 100% believe that they’re not actors. Real people don’t look that good in public lavatories, surely. 
  • The Domino’s Pizza DroneDomino’s gets a PR first (I think) using drone technology to deliver pizzas in this short video. Anyone familiar with the Bill Hicks skit about shooting bananas at hungry people should be getting weird little ‘living in the future’ tracers right about now.
  • The Dollar Shave Club People Do Video Well, AgainI almost don’t mind being advertised at when it’s this well written. It takes a lot of effort to put together something which looks this slapdash.
The hyperrealistic painting of Omar Ortiz



  • What Is Going Viral RIGHT is built by Buzzfeed and links to the 50 stories / pages which are being most-shared on the web RIGHT NOW. The font size denotes traffic to that page, the ranking denotes how quickly that traffic is accruing. It’s obviously not ALL of the web, just a selection of curated sites, but it’s an interesting snapshot-generator nonetheless. Man, we like frivolous list-based articles. 
  • Making Sense of Large Numbers With ChromeHave you ever been confronted by a large figure in an article and thought ‘Yes, fine, but what I really want to know is how that compares to, say, the size of Wales?’ (it is a little-remarked fact that all spatial size comparisons in the UK are based on the idea that ‘a Wales’ is the most comprehensible large unit of space which exists, hence everything being described as being ‘an area X times the size of Wales’). Lucky you – this Google Chrome plugin will automatically do exactly that sort of thing, translating large numbers into theoretically easier-to-understand analogues. 
  • My Current Favourite 404 PageYou can play Space Invaders on it, which I think should be made standard practice for all these markers of failure and disappointment across the web. 
  • LOLCAT LoansJust an amazingly awful thing. A loanshark using the cuddly LOLCAT meme to peddle sub-prime lending solutions with a terrifying level of vig which will in all likelihood leave poor people penniless, homeless, and generally banjaxed. BUT IT’S OK BECAUSE CATS! A cursory bit of online research suggests that the company’s registered in Panama, along with a whole load of parallel businesses registered to the same parent company which also sells an awful lot of knock-off pharmaceuticals. Who better to borrow money from? Thanks to Chris Owen for finding this one. 
  • Great Photography From This Week in Turkey: A collection of awesome photos from The Atlantic.
  • A Love Letter To The Early Webthink that this is just a search engine which mines the Wayback Machine for old internet results. It’s a lovely nostalgic timesink, though, if you’re a webmong of long-standing. 
  • Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Marijuana StrainsThere’s a lot of really interesting stuff happening in the moment, particularly in the US, as a result of changes in legislation around the legality of marijuana (foreshadowing) – this is the internet side-effect. Leafly is a US startup which effectively acts as a cross between Wikipedia and Erowid and tells you all you could ever want to know about the difference between Black Domina and Bubblegum, and everything in between. I give it less then a year before the weed world has its own Jilly Goolden-style superstar, poncily reviewing different strains on YouTube. 
  • People Laughing Between Takes On Film SetsA lovely collection of candid snaps of film stars enjoying themselves on-set. Makes working on a film look FUN, when I am reliably informed that the reality is in fact a hellish carousel of tedium. 
  • Spoiler SilencerUnhappy at how you don’t have the self-control to ignore people talking about plot details from your favourite overblown US TV production? Oh good, then this is for you. Silencer is a plugin which purports to block mentions of…well, whatever you want, on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Not a new idea, but they have pre-set bundles that will remove EVERYTHING pertaining to certain shows (so ‘Game Of Thrones’, #got, #gameofthrones, #redwedding, #jesusfuckingchristwhatiswrongwithyougetasenseofperspective, etc).
  • Amazing Pictures Of The SkyJust incredible photographs by a Japanese person by the name of Yu Yamauichi. My lack of Japanese means that this is literally ALL I know about these, but they are lovely and very much worth perusing. 
  • Music Label Logos ExplainedThis is from Red Bull, but I don’t care as it’s actually quite interesting. A look at the logos of a load of classic record labels (mostly US) and how / why they came to be. Music geeks will like this, I think, as may other people (literally the vaguest endorsement EVER). 
  • GIANT DUCKS FOR SALEYou remember that giant yellow duck which did the world tour recently to promote something or other that noone really paid any attention to because LOOK IT’S A GIANT YELLOW DUCK? Well you can now buy your very own, in whichever colour you like. Amazing service by the ever-industrious Chinese manufacturing sector, who will make one which is 20m tall for a mere £16k, which is cheap by anyone’s standards. Seriously compared to the agency and media-buy costs of billboard ads, this almost makes sense. Almost. 
  • US Population CounterNice work by the US Census Bureau, which produced this population clock to track world and US population growth in (projected) realtime based on census data. Nice, user-friendly and interesting (and, obviously, pointless and linkbaity, but still).
  • Photographs of Crisis-hit GreeceBrilliant, and really sad, photography of Greek citizens living through the slow collapse of their economy. Taken by Iakovos Hatzistavrou, who is evidently a very talented man. 
  • Map Your 4sq CheckinsThere will come a point where I stop referencing Foursquare because NOONE CARES, but while I still see people’s checkins appearing in my timeline on Twitter then I’ll keep dropping the odd thing in. This one’s actually nice arty idea, printing you a map of whichever city you’re in with data overlaid about where you checkin; effectively a visualisation of your LIFE (or at least the bit of it which you choose to vaildate through the medium of checking in to Foursquare). Also potentially INCREDIBLY sad for some people (Home-Office-Gym-Home-Office-Gym-Home-Office-Gym-Home-Morgue).
  • Jacques Green Interactive Music Video: Another one of those ‘drag the boxes, make your own EXPERIENCE’ things, but nicely done (and bonus points for the garage-y music). 
Isabelle Wenzel, Objectification, With Céline Shoes And Vase, 2013 © Isabelle Wenzel



  • The Insane Tetris Art AlgorithmAs someone who’s a bit math-blind, my only reaction to the insane mathematics behind this is actual naked fear. I don’t really know how to explain it – someone basically made a programme which works out how to draw using Tetris. Just take a look.
  • Nathan Fielder Messes With People’s Heads AgainModerate hilarity once again ensues. Is this currently being ripped off by a breakfast radio show? It really feels like it should be. BONUS – human STI Hunter Moore rips it off in naked teenager-style.
  • London’s Abandoned Tube Stations, MappedTaking the many lost underground stations of London and placing them on the existing map. Really interesting, and the result of an initial project by the terrifyingly impressive Dylan Maryk, who I have met and confidently predict will be running at least a small part of the world in the next 10 years. Also brought to you by the new Rob Manuel-and-others project Us vs Th3m, which is a really good timewaster-y website, a bit like Buzzfeed but with more lots more brains. 
  • The Starbucks of MarijuanaOr at least that’s the idea. As mentioned above, there is a whole industry waiting to explode internationally – smart people are going to get VERY RICH. These people want to be the world’s largest legal weed brand – read more here
  • Starbucks Vs Dunkin Donuts: SEAMLESS! Well, sort of. This is included less for the content than for the beuatiful page design which I was really impressed by in an odd, geeky fashion. 
  • The Cleverest Sign In The WorldThis is BRILLIANT. A signpost which connects to the internet, meaning it’s dynamic and can be made to display and point to different things depending on user commands. Also, the prototype displayed on the website will show your tweets and point in the direction of where you’re tweeting from if you use a certain hashtag, which is a nice proof-of-concept. 
  • How To Pronounce IKEA Product NamesAnother website which is disappointingly not by IKEA but should be. Pronunciation guides to the more esoterically-named products from the Swedish meatball suppliers with the furniture sideline. Upsettingly doesn’t include any hints as to pronounce ‘Billy’ properly. 
  • Paris Is Getting A New Forest Next YearI WANT A FOREST ON A SKY WALKWAY. Can someone send this to Boris, please? Thanks.
  • Winners of the 2013 Underwater Photography ContestThis is an annual thing by the University of Miami, apparently. Great pictures of cool / weird undersea stuff. 
  • The Recording of Under PressureA great post looking back at the Bowie/Mercury collaboration. You may not be surprised to learn that a LOT of cocaine was involved. As a bonus, there’s also a recording of their isolated vocals embedded in the piece, which is brilliant. From Dangerous Minds, which is a great blog you should all read. 
  • Tennis, VisualisedVery cool, if a bit headache-inducing in terms of the volume of stuff, this is technically a piece of BRANDED CONTENT, but given the fact that I can’t understand why a beer brand has made it I am going ignore the branding. It’s a load of data from a series of ATP matches last year, visualised. The sort of stuff that I imagine tennis coaches use, and, if you play, probably actually really interesting. For the less physically ept (ie me), it’s just a clever example of how to make large datasets accessible. Wimbledon, do this NOW (or, more realistically, next year).
  • Someone’s Designing An ‘Improved’ Version Of ChessIt’s called Chess 2. It’s quite mind-melty.
  • Star Trek WineAfter last week’s Hannibal Lecter vintage comes Star Trek wine. We’ve basically reached the point where we’re all infantilised to the point where chucking some pop-culture references onto literally ANY product will have us clapping and gawping like idiots and reaching for our wallets. Go society!
  • Runed By FansSpeaking of popular culture (SEAMLESS!), this is a website which looks over a (very) wide range of stuff and tries to quantify exactly how much each has been ruined by the rabid endorsement of its fan base. We’re all part of the problem.
  • A 3d Virtual Universe: Sadly this only seems to work on Macs, but if you worship at the Church of Steve then it may work for you. A very cool tool that lets you zoom through space however you want – science geeks should love this. 
  • When 3d Printing Goes WrongObviously 3d printing is THE FUTURE and all that, but it’s not always perfect. This is a collection of pictures of what happens when the machines get a bit confused. Don’t know why, but I found it quite pleasing and oddly poignant. Perhaps its reassuring that our creations are still capable of mechanical imperfection (although perhaps we should be more worried than heartened). 
  • Will Love Tear Us Apart?I love this. A ‘game’, which isn’t really a game, based on the Joy Division song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Such gorgeous design and animation, and the whole thing really does give you sad, despairing chills. Which sounds horrid, I admit, but it’s very much worth playing with. Just don’t think of it as a game, per se.


  • The Unintentional Poetry Of ZazzleZazzle is an online retailer that sells an unconscionalble number of items of clothing, with image / slogan combinations which are algorithmically generated and therefore almost totally random. This can lead to some odd and occasionally lyrical slogans, some of the best of which are collected here. I basically want a lot of what is pictured on here, but I feel quite guilty about it. Weirdly, I also found this this week, which is another Tumblr doing much the same thing but slightly differently
  • This is Popular PrivilegeCheck your priviliege! YES YOU! Or, er, don’t. I must confess to thinking that this rubbish (because, really) was confined to the insanely twisty world of CIS/non-CIS tumblr arguments, but it seems not. Anyway, the latest iteration of this appears to be the concept of POPULAR PRIVILEGE – that is, the unfair advantages enjoyed by the COOL KIDS. The author of this Tumblr insists that this is not a parody, and its a concept which they believe applicable in the real world, not just school. As a society we really do have too much time and not enough real problems, seriously. 
  • Awkward PintsStock photos of people holding pints of beer in less-than-comfortable fashion.
  • Phones Replaced With SandwichesWhoever’s maintaining this will surely get bored and stop soon. I sort of hope they do, anyway, as if not it suggests something of a lack of other stimuli and interest in their life. 
  • Film GifsI’m pretty sure I’ve featured something very like this before, but here’s a Tumblr collecting a series of nice, hi-res gif-ed film stills. Good work, ready to be spoiled with captions and inclusions in ‘…and then I was all like:’ industry-specific joke tumblrs.
  • Gezi, Minus The ViolenceInteresting. Takes pictures of protestors clashing with police (and each other) from this week’s Turkish protests ad airbrushes out the violence. Decide for yourselves exactly which high concept you want to apply to this. 
  • Gays Of South London: No idea why I’ve not put this in before, it’s AWESOME. Also, South London.
Literally no idea who to attribute this to, sorry.



  • Profile of a Porn StarMarcus London is, apparently, a big star in the world of bongo. He is also, it would seem, a really odd man and not a particularly pleasant one. This profile of him on NSFW Corp is further proof that they are producing some of the best longform writing anywhere on the web at the moment – I know I keep on saying it, but it’s true. 
  • Italy, Football, Race and CultureSo obviously being half Italian with a mum who lives in Rome makes me naturally inclined to be interested in anything to do with the place, but regardless of your connection (or lack thereof) to the country, this is a stellar piece of writing, and explores some of the oddities of Italian political culture, the country’s uneasy relationship with extreme politics and racial integration, and its football culture. Really, really good. 
  • The Suicide EpidemicThis is very long and not a very cheering piece, but it’s also interesting and important. A look at the people who are investigating the reasons behind why suicide is now a greater killer of people than war, and why suicide figures have risen unchecked year-on-year since 1999. Read it and then go and donate some money to MIND.  
  • What It’s Like Being A Minor Actor in a Cult Film: Bit of light relief – this isn’t HUGELY long, but it’s a cute piece by a man who played an irritating TGI Friday-type employee in Office Space (SUCH A GOOD FILM) and how the one role continues to define him. Interesting to read about what it’s like to be someone who is by no means a superstar in a world dominated by them. 
  • The History of the UK Garage SceneI have a slight author-crush on the writer of this piece, who for my money is head and shoulders above everyone else writing for VICE at the minute (go and read through his other stuff, it’s uniformly excellent). This is an illustrated memory-lane-trip back the days when garage was bubbling under – great photos, too.
  • The Legend of Buster SmithOk, so this one really is epic, but it’s a great example of the sort of journalism that US outlets do really well and which, for reasons I don’t quite get, we don’t seem to produce here. A look at a Chicago icon and ‘the greatest checkers player ever’, it’s a wonderful story about a city and the communities within it, and not really about checkers at all (except it sort of is). Like reading a really good documentary film, if that makes any sense to you. 
  • Reviewing Tao Lin’s ‘Taipei’Tao Lin is an internet phenomenon and possibly the most weird authorial ‘construct’ ever seen. His strange, utterly blank prose is divisive, and the ultra-meta nature of his persona coupled with his other artistic activities / pretensions (delete as applicable) make him a hipster cult figure and an object of derision in equal measure. Whatever your opinion, this review of his latest novel is a brilliant piece of writing, and an interesting exploration as to what a book review can and should be. I think. 
  • Making Sushi for Kim Jong IlAbsolutely the best thing I read all week. The crazy, yet apparently true, story of the Korean dictator’s personal sushi chef. JUST MENTAL.
  • GamesMaster – The Inside StoryIf you’re in your late 20s/early 30s and grew up in the UK (and, probably, a man), this will be like a soothing nostalgiabath for you. A great long-form look at everyone’s favourite shonky games show featuring curmudgeonly racist Sir Patrick Moore. Worth reading if only for having your memory nudged about exactly how innuendo-filled it was.
  • The Annual Kid Rock CruiseEvery year, a bunch of middle-aged white people, largely from middle-America, pay to get on a big boat for a few days and hang out with redneck superstar Kid Rock whilst getting unconscionably drunk. This is the story of that cruise. Quite incredible. 
  • The Silicon Valley of MarijuanaContinuing this week’s theme of a hemp-based future, this is a great two-parter looking at the emergent legal marijuana industry in the States. The money involved is, potentially, astonishing.  
  • The Evolution of the Star Wars LogoHonestly, this is more interesting than you would expect, particularly if you’re into design, typography, marketing / branding or (obviously) Star Wars.


Calvin & Hobbes – SECRET AGENTS! By Coran Kizer Stone


1) After all the attention being lavished on the stupid EDL racists in the past few weeks, this is a lovely counterpoint. A few months old, and it’s got over 1million views so apologies if you’ve already seen it, but this is a great piece of spoken work by Hollie Mcnish, called ‘Mathematics’, all about the mistaken assumptions behind the ‘coming over here, taking our jobs’ rhetoric often spouted by the aforementioned stupid racists:

2) I reckon some of you will love this (and some of you will be bored to tears by it; sorry about that). This is effectively an animation / art piece to accompany Midnight Juggernauts’ latest single ‘Memoriam’, which tracks the history and evolution of CGI technology. If you’ve been a computer geek for a while, this will hit a lot of buttons:

3) This is such a good animation. Stop motion work for Professor Kliq’s song ‘Plastic and Flashing Lights’. The use of wire to make the figure is inspired, and allows all sorts of cool flourishes. Really slick:

4) People imitating animals off the internet! Better than it has any right to be, though the song leaves me COLD – the attention to detail on some of these is brilliant, though. ‘Humanity’ by I Am Un Chien:

5) Don’t really understand why this doesn’t have more views. Another one of those videos made from animated collections of stills (LIKE ALL VIDEOS BASICALLY ARE) – the craft that’s gone into this one, though, is crazily impressive – it was all shot over 1 24h period, which logistically is pretty punch. Also features Kelis, which is a pleasant bonus. Dan Black, with ‘Hearts’:

6) UK Hiphop corner! This week, have the fantastically named Stig Of The Dump, with ‘One’. Great sample – you’ll be humming this one, guaranteed (BONUS UK HIPHOP – I discovered this this week, it is brilliant. Skittles – Poor With £100 Trainers):

7) This is Marika. I think she is going to be FAMOUS. This is the video for her song ‘The Bath is Black’ and it is ODD, but beautifully shot:

8) A pleasing touch of whimsy to follow, with the latest video and single from The Boy Least Likely To, who are LOVELY and underrated. If you like Belle & Sebastian you will like this, and the video’s really cute and beautifully shot. WATCH:

9) Bruton Strouse are, I think, some sort of video agency. They are going to get SO MUCH BUSINESS as a result of this slomo showreel. So, so good:

10) Portugal. The Man are shooting up my list of ‘bands who I am expecting huge fame for which basically means they’re destined for anonymity’. Consistently good songs and videos; the faces here are great. This is Atomic Man: 

11) Finally, this, because it’s scarred my dreams this week and so I see no reason why it shouldn’t do the same to you. BYE!


That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 31/05/13

Reading Time: 18 minutes

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Snail Heaven. Glengall Road, London SE15
Garudio Studiage, photo of the week

HELLO WEBMONGS! Things are somewhat more cheery this week, helped in no small part by the 4-day week. God love the 4-day week (admittedly I worked on Monday, but you get the point). Anyway, it’s been a decent few days – I went to Field Day and saw some bands, along with several thousand people who ALL LOOKED THE SAME, I saw THEATRE, did really, really badly in a pub quiz but redeemed myself with unexpected knowledge of the lyrics to this masterpiece, and found this great little video of an amorous giraffe. Nobel Prizes have been awarded for less. 

In less solipsistic news, we learned that London is really quite odd sometimes, that apparently this is considered to be a job in 2013 (I am so overqualified), that people do this on the subway in New York, that romance is finally dead and that the internet killed it, that we finally have the cross-dressing superhero we’ve been calling for, and that The Guardian’s now beyond parody…AND A LOT MORE BESIDES. Gird your loins, loosen your limbs, regulate your breathing and RELAX as we submerge ourselves into the blood-warm infoliquid that is this week’s Web Curios…

Image by Mark Kilner



  • Facebook and Misogynistic ContentSo I’m sure you already know about this, what with it having been MAINSTREAM NEWS and all over the past week or so. Facebook are making appeasing noises at people, promising to do more to eliminate ‘hate speech’ from the site. Obviously this is A Good Thing – but can we all just be clear that it wasn’t popular protest which led to this, but instead the threat advertisers made to withdraw their spend? Will be interesting to see the extent to which this works and how it’s implemented – at the very least, watching people try and define the slightly grey and fuzzy boundaries of what constitutes hate speech will be interesting. Also, is this some sort of a mini-watershed in terms of the unregulated internet? Oh, I don’t know. 
  • Facebook Offers Verified PagesErm, that. Taking a leaf out of Twitter’s book, and pandering to the desire of brands and celebrities to be defined as a SOMETHING by the faceless internet behemoth du jour. It’s unclear as yet what perks beyond a smug feeling of validation this will give to Pages; and of course if you’d like a TICK then be prepared to shell out on ads (just like Twitter). Here’s a fun game – try and work out what Facebook can sell next! The options, terrifyingly, are near-infinite.
  • Facebook Music Data VisualisationOh look, here’s a thing! This is actually a rather nice idea, taking information about what people are listening to on Facebook over time. Currently US-only (although I don’t think there’s any reason why this couldn’t be extended elsewhere), and the ability to watch the spread of a track’s popularity over a geographical area is oddly compelling; you can imagine how artists and labels could use this to target promotions, etc, geographically (in a weird, unpleasant future). 
  • Target Adverts by Recency of ActivityThis should have been in last week’s. SORRY. Anyhow, another flavour of Facebook ads is now available, allowing brands to target users based on when they last did a certain thing on the site. So, for example, if you want to target people who are technically fans of your Page but who haven’t visited it in over a year with a message which says ‘WHY DON’T YOU LOVE US ANYMORE?’, you can. Actually, someone should do that. 

A Selection of Other Things Which Have No Real Commonality Other Than That I have Chosen To Group Them Together:

  • Slowmo YouTube Videos Automatically: You can now turn any video you upload to YouTube into a slowmo version. Which is a nice thing in theory, but in practice will lead to a whole load of brands making interminably tedious shorts which they attempt to ART UP by making them reeeaaaaalllllly slooooooooooow. I reckon food brands will be the first ones to really, really overuse this – O LOOK IT’S A CREME EGG CRACKING IN SLOWMO OMG AMAZE *stab stab stab*
  • Look! It’s The First Trailer for ‘Pornography’ On Glass!Totally SFW, but utterly creepy; raises the horrendous question of whether EVERYONE you are speaking to in the future is only half-listening to you and instead devoting the remainder of their attention to watching people in various states of undress rubbing mucous membranes with each other. Basically in the future we will all only be able to devote at most 40% of our attention to anything at all, due to the ruinous amount of hardcore we’ll all be able to consume, in secret, 24/7, beamed direct to our eyeballs. There’s a gag here about Google Glass turning you blind, but it’s not funny.
  • Google, Big Data and TV AdvertisingInteresting thinkpiece exploring what Google could do with all the data at its disposal to ‘disrupt’ (hate that word) TV advertising and TAKE OVER THE WORLD (more). Basically what it’s all about is a greater degree of data-driven contextual advertising, targeting you with sales-messages in between episodes of whatever mind-draining crap it is that you choose to watch. Everything you search for will be used to serve you EVEN MORE advertising. GREAT! 
  • Buzzfeed Partners With CNNI’m sort of amazed that more people aren’t squawking about Buzzfeed’s seemingly inexorable (but quiet and stealthy) ascent to the top table of ‘news’ media, and the inevitably deleterious effect that this is going to have on the quality of what is often-laughably called ‘reporting’ in the 21st Century. This deal is all about Buzzfeed producing videos for CNN which are designed to be ‘shareable’ – or, if you want to put it another way, designed for people with an IQ in double-figures to gawp at in slack-jawed, like-clicking amazement. You want to watch ‘7 Reasons Why Genocide is Bad – IN KITTENS!’? I hope you die. 
  • Mary Meeker’s Internet TrendsMary Meeker is a bit of a hero to a lot of people who work in advermarketingpr, what with her annual gift of helpful statistics packaged in an authoritative-seeming slide presentation. This year’s set of data is upon us, and as ever it’s a combination of the interesting, insightful and soul-shatteringly banal. If you want a bunch of peer-ratified numbers with which to justify your campaign, though, you need look no further. Oh, FYI, I was saying the ‘sound’ thing 18 months ago – and yet here I am sitting in my pants in my kitchen, writing a blog to literally TENS of webmongs, whilst Mary is an internationally respected expert in her field. WHY, GOD, WHY??? If you’re interested in this sort of stuff (the stats, not my own professional failure), you could do worse than watch her presentation here.
  • Hyperbolic Adidas VideoI saw this on Twitter, being touted as THE FUTURE OF ONLINE VIDEO, and I got almost sort-of excited (in a very low-key way). Imagine my disappointment when I saw that it was just A N Other branded video but with the addition of embedded in-vid links to external sites. I mean, really, no wonder Nike is winning.
  • Ford Branded Content: Whoever it was first started that whole ‘content marketing’ bandwagon, I do not thank you. Thanks to you, we now have stuff like this – Ford spending God-knows-how-much to badge a regular live online broadcast from Sports Illustrated. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS??? Either it’s going to be the online equivalent of brand sponsoring TV shows, with an ‘amusing’ ident to open and close the show, or it’s going to be a hideous mismash of poorly executed brand-focused links designed to ‘place the brand at the heart of the viewer’s sporting experience’. Either way, will it make anyone buy more car? Oh I don’t know, leave us alone
  • Korean Flying Online ShopsThat’s a really crap description, for which apologies. Once again via Robven comes this rather nice execution from Korea, encouraging people to buy stuff through online shops via the medium of floating, roaming wifi signals. That doesn’t really make any sense, I realise, but take a look at the video and let PROPER STORYTELLERS explain it to you. It’s smart. 
  • The Book That Made MeThis is a really nice project by Waterstones, inviting people to discuss books which had an impact on their lives. No more, no less – just a lovely use of digital to enable people to have conversations about stuff they care about, in a loose, brand-affiliated sort of way. To be honest, if this were anything other than books I would probably hate it, but I’m a snob like that. Sorry. 
  • Free Storyboard IllustrationsNeed to sell a creative idea to people who won’t understand anything unless you’ve drawn them a pretty picture? This may be a useful resource, in that case.
  • The 90s R&B Guide To SEOI’ll be honest with you, this might be the worst advice in the world – but it’s all delivered via the medium of 90s music, and it ticks a massive nostalgia box, so in it goes. If you ever had your own dance to ‘Two Can Play At That Game’ by Bobby Brown that you used to perform at Cairo’s nightclub in Swindon when you were 14 (oh, what, only me and my mate Phil?) then this will make you very happy. 
Image by Manuel Alvarez Bravo



  • Beauty Recovery Room: South Korea is one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world (along with Venezuela, fact fans). This is a photoseries capturing images of women post-surgery (not in a creepy way), and is both an arresting collection and a really compelling argument for not wanting to ever go under the knife (until I get fat, at which point I am totally having liposuction). 
  • The Fast FTAn interesting move from the Finanical Times, who’ve created this version of their site which takes a Twitter-style approach to the moving news agenda, with live breaking stories updating in short-but-expandable form. It’s really nicely done, and a clever service – now can everyone else in news launch a similar service, and can we aggregate all the feeds onto one page? Thanks, everyone!
  • The Disney ‘Magic Band’Another week, another bit of wearable tech. This week it’s Disney’s turn, announcing the MAGIC BAND which will, apparently, track your progress around Disney parks, allowing you to sign into rides, buy food, etc, with contactless stuff. And, apparently, they will also somehow alert the staff at Disney resorts as to what your kids are called, allowing Mickey and his permagrinning chums to address your LITTLE ONES by name. Er, hang on, what? How? Anyway, this is all very weird and future, but becomes sort of interesting if you extend it a bit and imagine the way in which this can be applied across Disney’s entertainment propertiies; expanded benefits at Disney resorts for people who, say, have played a certain number of Disney XBox games, or who’ve sat through Finding Nemo more than 30 times with their children without killing either themselves or their offspring. Welcome to a future in which brand loyalty can TRULY be rewarded. Isn’t it nice? Eh? Oh. 
  • Recovering The ClassicsA wonderful project which seeks to crowdsource new, original cover art for out-of-copyright ebooks which are no longer owned by publishers. There’s some great design in there, whether or not you’re of a literary bent. 
  • Bicycle Wheel LED Display Art ThingyThis is very cool indeed, or at least it will be when the Kickstarter gets its funding. Using the same tech which you can see on these high-tech pois, this will let people display LED art on the moving wheels of bikes. There’s all sorts of very cool performance things which could be done with this, leaving aside the inevitable advertising applications.
  • Someone In Brazil Made A Judo FontNo idea why, though. 
  • Chrome RollitAnother in the long line of clever, technically astounding Chrome experiments – this time a game that seamlessly crosses from your computer to mobile and back again. Have a play (if you can – you obviously need an Android phone) and marvel at how well-made this is. Kind of like the same sort of concept behind the Wii-U, except something that people might actually one day use
  • The Mood Recognition LampSO CLEVER! Using a combination of face recognition technology and an IKEA lamp, this piece of design/art takes a standard light fitting from the ubiquitous Swedish retailer and couples it with a camera to make a piece of furniture which responds to how happy/sad you are. Smile, and the light becomes more pink; frown, and shades of blue dominate. Obviously this is incredibly simple, but I can’t help but see it as a first step on the road towards the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and lifts which make small talk with you and react to your moods. God, that sounds ghastly now I come to think of it. 
  • Twitter Exquisite CorpseTwexquisite corpse! AHAHAHA. Ahem, sorry. This is taking place as of tomorrow, as part of the London Literary Festival, and is a nice experiment in online storytelling and interactive narrative. Taking the base premise of exquisite corpse (‘consequences’ to the uninitiated) – or at least a variation on it – this will see Twitter users given a daily starting point for a story which they can then take wherever they want – these daily collaborative stories are then massaged into coherence by a team of professional writers and  placed on Storify. There’s a nice combination of the crowdsourced and structured here; will be interesting to see what the output looks like.
  • Vertigo Pictures of Hong KongRemarkable photographs, gazing up at the sky through the urban jungle of Hong Kong. You will get a small crick in your neck looking at these, but it will be worth it – vertigo-inducing and very cool.
  • The New Rijksmuseum WebsiteThis got a lot of love online this week, and rightly so. It’s not so much that it does anything spectacular, but rather that it doe everything it needs to do so damn well. Clean navigation, great visuals, the opportunity to create a personalised museum experience online…it ticks all the boxes. Not flashy or showy, just really, really good. 
  • Dual Purpose JewelleryHave you ever wanted to buy a ring which also doubles as a masturbatory aid? OH GOOD! Now, I’m obviously not a woman (OBVIOUSLY) but I must confess to being a little confused by these. I mean, really?
  • Most Shared Pictures on WeiboA clever website scraping Weibo for the most-shared posts containing images over the past 24h. An interesting look at what is occupying the minds of the Chinese people at any given time (or, at least, the stuff that they can share online without fear of reprisal), although obviously my lack of even a passing understanding of Madarin or Cantonese means that I have no context whatsoever for any of the stuff on there. I am particularly puzzled as to why, at the time of writing, a picture of Margaret Thatcher is the 99th most shared picture of the day. Anyone?
  • My PrivacyFederico is a New Yorker. Like many of us, he has realised that there is an awful lot of his personal data on the web, which other people are making an awful lot of money from. Federico has therefore decided to try and monetise his own data – you can buy all of it directly from him. Information about where he’s been, the websites he’s visited, everything you can quantify – all available. He’s compiled all of this into a truly lovely series of web projects – go ad check them out, they really are beautifully crafted (it may not surprise you to learn that Federico lives in Brooklyn). 
  • What’s My Startup PitchHave a startup? Need a pitch? This may help.
  • The Abandoned SanatoriumAbsolutely the creepiest set of photographs you are likely to see today, these are of an abandoned TB sanatorium outside Berlin. Hitler was once treated there, apparently – in any case, it’s the greatest setting for a videogame I’ve seen in ages. Oh, and here’s a whole other set – again, creepily impressive with some rather nice effects applied. 
  • The Giant Kinder Egg Birthday SurpriseThis is what happens when you attempt to make your girlfriend a giant Kinder Surprise for her birthday, but don’t really have the adequate skills or equipment.
  • Nike Ballet ShoesI was sceptical as to whether these were a real thing, but I’m assured that they are – really gorgeous design from Nike, although I’m in no position to judge their quality when it comes to performing a perfectly-executed pas-de-deux (as obviously I perform all my ballet barefoot like a purist). 
Image by Sayaka Maruyama


  • Who Wore It BetterDepending on your point of view, this is either ‘an ongoing visual research project presenting associations and common practices in contemporary art’, or a really interesting look at the massive degree of plagiarism inherent in the art world. Quite incredible at points. 
  • The Social RadioHave you ever wanted to have your tweets read back to you by a disembodied robotic voice, while tinny muzak plays in the background? No, of course you haven’t. And yet, now you can thanks to this bafflingly-pointless-yet-endearing little web project. What would make this better would be the ability to select voices – I personally would like to have Beyonce’s tweets, for example, read to me in the style of the lead singer of Napalm Death
  • Glitched Google MapsA collection of Google Maps images which are glitched so as to show contradictory seasons within the same frame. Someone really should do an exhibition collating all the examples of accidental art created by Google (OR IS IT ACCIDENTAL??? Jesus, it’s so hard to tell. Maybe it’s all just one big conceptual art project, like some sort of infinitely wealthy, all-knowing Gilbert & George).
  • One Mexican Town’s Fight Against The CartelsA great series of pictures depicting the Mexican town of Cherán, which a few years ago threw out its council and police and opted to stand up to the drug cartels independently. An astonishingly ballsy thing to do, well-documented in this great piece of photojournalism in Wired.
  • You Think Your Favourite Bar Is ‘Cool’?It really isn’t. This is something SO hipster that there isn’t even a name for it yet. The most secret bar you will ever see, from NYC. This will doubtless be replicated in Deptford within the year, except our version will have more dead pigeons and will almost certainly be accompanied by a bloody pop-up chicken shack because those are the RULES in 2013 London. 
  • Matches With Faces Drawn On ThemI’m sure that if you’re Japanese this makes some sort of sense, but I’m baffled. Someone appears to have made a whole website featuring images of books of matches with tiny faces. THIS IS SOMEONE’S LIFE, RIGHT HERE.
  • The Perfect Present For Your Loved OneHave you ever wanted to suprise your partner with a gift which speaks to the unique romantic bond you share, and which acknowledges the coruscating passion you have for each other? Have you considered putting pen to paper and writing your very own piece of erotica dedicated to them, but are unsure where to start? HELP IS AT HAND! This is a remarkable service which will, for a nominal fee, produce one of a series of cookie-cutter ‘erotic’ novels featuring the names of you and your significant other. There are so many things wrong with this, not least the fact that a cursory explanation of the site suggests that you’re not even getting proper bongo for your money – at best there will be a few heaving bosoms and perhaps a desultory reference to ‘his firmness’. Disappointing, but almost certainly comedy gold for the right couple (you’re out there somewhere). 
  • A Pinterest Board Collating Crap Quotes People Post on PinterestErm, that. If you have any stupid and annoying colleagues who are fans of the meaningless, inspirational aphorism, this will keep them happy and distracted for hours while you fetch the waterproofs and the flensing knife. 
  • Beautiful Pictures From The Upper NileA blog collecting pictures from an aid worker’s trip to the Upper Nile. Some gorgeous photography.
  •  La Petite MelancholieA blog collecting pictures of vintage (and not-so-vintage) nudes and other assorted ephemera. NSFW, but, y’know, it’s ART. Tell them that as you’re escorted from the building.
  • #なぜ描いたかわからないイラスト晒So this is a Japanese hashtag trend, apparently. The characters to the left apparently mean something like ‘Stuff I drew for no reason that I can adequately explain’ – searching for this throws up some baffling examples of Japanese doodling, some of which is really impressive and others of which make you want to go and have a bit of a lie down as you contemplate the mysteries of the inscrutable orient (not a euphemism). 
  • I Haven’t Been Fully Honest With YouWhat would you do if some random famous person on the internet suggested that you text this to your significant other and then not respond, whatever they do / say, for an hour? You’d do it, of course, and hang the consequences! The responses are occasionally funny, but you do wonder at what sort of people will do things just because the internet told them to. These people, amongst others
Le Dernier Homme, by Francois Bard


The Circus Of Tumblrs:

  • You Were HereA nice idea by creative agency Creature in the US, posting pics from a photobooth direct to this Tumblr. I sort of think that there’s a nice tourist promotion thing to be done with something like this, maybe on the banks of the Thames opposite Parliament or something. Maybe.
  • Animated AlbumsAlbum covers, animated.
  • Awkward Poses: People posing, awkwardly.
  • Cat TongingCats being prodded (gently) with tongs. Definitely not tongues. The cats don’t seem to mind, although you do wonder whether they are simply biding their time to exact some sort of terrible revenge (of course they’re not; they’re cats, for crying out loud). 
  • Bad AdviceTerrible (but in many cases strangely honest and true) responses to real letters to magazine advice columns. 
  • Screenshots of DespairA series of existentially bleak screenshots / pictures of the blankly unemotive utterances of machines. Guaranteed to  empty your soul.
  • Cops & NobbersOn the one hand, this is a one-note gag stretched to paper thinness which also makes light of some unpleasant instances of extreme police force against protesters. On the other hand, it may be puerile but it did make me laugh. 
  • Local People With Their Arms CrossedRemarkably consistent selection of photographs from local newspapers. From the same series as angry people, grumpy councillors, etc.
  • Just Another IKEA CatalogueNB THIS REALLY ISN’T SAFE FOR WORK, UNLESS YOUR EMPLOYERS HAVE A LIBERAL ATTITUDE TO WORKPLACE BONGO CONSUMPTION. I really, really wish that this was official marketing by IKEA – after all, they are Swedish and therefore obviously have no problem with pr0n. I don’t think it is, sadly. Anyway, this is a blog collecting gifs from pr0n movies in which IKEA furniture features in the background. Is there a piece of furniture in the IKEA catalogue called ‘bongo’? There should be.


  • Do You Ever Listen To Full Albums Any More?: A short piece on the NPR website posing the question as to whether anyone really sits down and listens to whole albums from start to finish any more. The comments, though, are where the meat is – interesting comments on how people listen to music nowadays, along with a host of recommendations of music which deserves to be listened to in a single sitting. 
  • In Defence of Small TalkFascinating look at what it is that small talk actually means, and why we as a species sort of need it, mentally and emotionally, and what it means in terms of commonality of terminology and therefore communication. It quotes Heidegger and everything, so it must be smart.
  • The Transformational Power of SpiceIf you’re into food, this is brilliant. An in-depth look at spicing and cuisine, and how proper spicing can have a transformative effect on flavour. Will make you want to go and have a really, really good dinner. 
  • The Final Days of ‘Macho Man’ Randy SavageThis one’s probably only worth reading if you know who Randy Savage is. If you do know (Hulk Hogan! Legion of Doom! Ultimate Warrior! RIC FLAIR!!!! (OH MY GOD I HAVE JUST FOUND HIS WEBSITE IT IS AMAZING CLICK ON THIS NOW), then this will be an awesome trip down memory lane. He had a very weird life, did Savage, and this is a rally interesting look at the oddity of the wrestling scene in the US at about the point when it started getting really big. 
  • The Oddly Poignant Story of 3d-Printed Sad KeanuThis is obviously really silly, but perhaps I’m feeling a bit hormonal or something as it made me feel a little bit *funny* (not in a sex way). 
  • How The Internet Is Using Us AllA piece from the London Review of Books looking at the central theses of the recent books by Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier. A nice, gentle introduction to a couple of texts which it really is worth reading if you have even a passing interest in internet culture (sorry, Evgeny – ‘internet’ culture. 
  • Behind The Lines With The EDLReally interesting blogpost by a woman who, attending an anti-EDL protest near Downing Street, found herself in conversation with an EDL member. She recorded the conversation and transcribed it – makes for fascinating reading, if obviously a little unsettling. 
  • Twi-FiSORRY! This is a great little short story about a Twitter bot. Read it. 
  • How Social Mobility Got StuckSo obviously I like and agree with this because I’m a pinko liberal leftie. Nonetheless, this is an interesting-if-obviously-partial look back at the growth in income inequality in the UK since the Thatcher years, and the quiet emergence of an underclass who, whilst not on the breadline, are increasingly economically incapable of engaging with society in a manner which might be described as fulfilling.
  • The Unexotic UnderclassIn what almost sort-of works as a segue, this piece looks at that very section of society (from a US perspective), and asks why it is that entrepreneurs seem unwilling or incapable of focusing their innovative efforts on solving problems which apply to anyone other than reasonably privileged people (clue: MONEY!). 
  • Spine-chilling Reddit Thread: Reddit users share anecdotes and reminiscences about the scariest things they have ever experienced. Don’t have nightmares (you might, though). 
The beautiful work of Alana Dee Haynes


1) We kick off with some unusually high culture (don’t worry, we’ll get back to smut and oddities shortly). Wednesday was the 100th anniversary of the premiere performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, apparently – below is a gorgeous visualisation of the piece. Whack it in fullscreen an relaaaaaaaaaaax:

2) I have just learned that ‘rapper’ in French is spelled ‘rappeur’, which made me very happy. Anyway, this man is called ‘Flynt‘ – his latest single is called ‘Mon Pote’, and I have literally no idea whatsoever what it’s about. I hope it’s nice and not about murdering people or anything. The reason it’s featured is that the video’s a wonderful selection of classic film clips into which Mr Flynt has placed himself. Slickly done – see if you can name them all (and watch it now before the inevitable copyright police clampdown):

3) As part of my continuing commitment to bringing you ODD THINGS OFF THE INTERNET, I feel sort of compelled to include this; can I add, though, that I’m not 100% sure about this one, and it just strikes me as a little gratuitous and bottom-heavy, without the wit it needs to properly stand out. The first minute, though – WEIRD. Major Lazer – Bubblebutt:

4) As I’ve been writing this I’ve started to realise that there’s quite a lot of smut in here this week. Sorry about that. Continuing the theme, though, here’s a great little video – real lesbians watching lesbian pr0n. Totally SFW (everyone is fully clothed) though the audio isn’t, and very, very funny – you may be surprised to learn that what’s peddled as lesbian pr0n is *whispers* actually just made for men! I KNOW!!!:

5) I absolutely adore this. Lipsynching and choreography and just some great face acting, along with a lovely little pop song AND OH LOOK THE SUN’S OUT! This is Holy Roller, by Thao and the Get Down Stay Down:

6) Ricky Hil is a rapper, apparently. His slurry delivery on Sarah’s Song, combined with the lyrics, is very unsettling. Erm, enjoy!:

7) Back to the summery stuff now – Lou Marco is a French musician, this is apparently his debut single which is called Don’t Care, and the video for it is pure Saul Bass. Enjoy:

8) Whether Die Antwoord are/were a band, an art project or some sort of weird hybrid of the two, they’ve certainly been one of the more visually interesting projects of the past few years. This is collaboration between them and Gary Baseman called The Buckingham Warrior – to quote them: “The Buckingham Warrior [is] a tale inspired by Gary Baseman’s father Ben Baseman who survived the holocaust, fighting the Nazi invasion in Ukraine’s birch tree forests for almost 4 years. Baseman and Director David Charles transformed his father’s harsh reality into a whimsical story of survival and hope”. So there. Watch:

9) Last, and possibly least, we have this tourettic audio/animation combo by these people (the French are dominating this week). Enjoy, have fun, and have a LOVELY weekend. You especially:

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.

Webcurios 24/05/13

Reading Time: 16 minutes

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Life Snails, Rye Lane, SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

I had a whole thing worked out for this first bit, featuring a really romantic story that cannot fail to warm your heart, a couple of gags about the new XBox, the best reaction to classrooom criticism you’ll ever see, and the best wrong number text message conversation you will ever see

And then Wednesday happened, and I sort of lost the appetite for it somewhat. It would be funny to see idiots all over the internet blaming otherwise-blameless fabrics ‘muslins’ for everything were it not so incredibly depressing. 

Anyway, onwards with the stuff. Thank heavens for the bank holiday.
*looks outside*


Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

The Section Which For Some Of You Will Actually Be Of Some Small Professional Relevance But Which For Others Is Mogadon And Of Which There’s Quite A Lot This Week Sorry:


  • Twitter Adds Lead GenerationWhat it’s technically done is add Lead Generation Cards, but you (and indeed I) don’t need to know that. This is a very significant innovation, in what has been a whole week of pretty big innovations from Twitter. This means that, in time when it’s rolled out to everyone, brands will be able to pay to have lead generation stuff attached to their tweets. Which means, in practice, that if you see a Tweet from, say, a restaurant talking about an exciting new menu item, if you click on the tweet it could give you the option to get access to a discount or free sample next time you visit. Which is, obviously, also giving said restaurant (potentially) your contact details (email, etc) and the tacit right to contact you about WHATEVER IT WANTS for perpetuity. The potential really is huge, though, and a very big thing indeed. The fundraising applications for charities in particular are huge, as they are for political parties (as pointed out by someone cleverer than me). Watch that space. Yes, that one there. 
  • Also Adds TV Ad TargetingThis is also HUGE, I tell you. They’ve also added the functionality (which is really clever and not a little spooky) to track what is being advertised on TV where and when, and serve content on Twitter to people tweeting about the programme within which the ad aired. So, to give a THRILLING EXAMPLE, imagine you are at home watching Jeremy Kyle in London; Twitter could know that London viewers were served an advert for the new Danny Dyer film; it could also know that you tweeted about the Jeremy Kyle show during the programme, thus meaning you were an ENGAGED AUDIENCE MEMBER who’d probably seen the ad; it could then serve you a tweet relating to said cinematic masterpiece. Which is amazing really, and if you combine it with the idea above leads to a situation where the Danny Dyer people could tweet discount coupons to users who had probably seen the ad for the film. Or, alternatively and if you’re more dystopian in your futuregazing, a future in which we get served horrifically intrusive contextual adverts based on ANYTHING we do or see. Ho hum.
  • Use Twitter to Record TV ShowsIn Brazil, at least. I can’t be bothered to explain the tech here – click the link, go on, if you care that much – but by syncing your Twitter account with your Sky account you can record shows by using the hashtag #Skyrec. The mechanic involves RTing content from the Sky feed, which makes it not only technically smart but also a nice, in-built promotion. 
  • 2-step verificationIt’s a security thing. Not that exciting, but if you run a branded account or if you’re concerned about EVIL people thieving your online identity then you should turn it on. Also, this should at last put an end to the ridiculous ‘oh, our account was hacked’ excuse from brands and sportspeople. No, it wasn’t hacked. You just said something you regretted, or tweeted from the wrong account. NO ONE HERE IS FOOLED. Hear that, Sky? DO YOU???
  • Charts For MusicYou can now see charts of what people are listening to through the Music service. Which is interesting from a media point of view – there’s surely a story in ‘within minutes the leaked Daft Punk album was the most-listened to music across Twitter’, etc. Or maybe it’s not, it’s quite hard to tell right now. 

Pinterest Adds More Stuff For Brands Too!: Tell you what, all this extra brand stuff on the internet really is going to make our day-to-day interactions with each other so much BETTER! This is a small-but-big addition to Pinterest which allows brands to attach more information to images they pin – so perhaps info about which particular shop an article of clothing is sold in, fore example. 

4sq Search Changes, Now More Like TripadvisorErm, what it says there. Effectively you can now search for stuff near you based on all sorts of parameters – food which it serves, price, how many of your friends have been there (or, perhaps more interestingly for those conducting illicit affairs, places where noone you know has ever checked in), etc. Let’s see if this helps make the service socially acceptable to the mainstream of humanity (it won’t). 

An Interview With David Karp The Tumblr ManSo that was a big thing this week. This interview’s from 2009, and is a nice look back. He seems like a nice man, for what it’s worth (nothing at all, fact fans). This is also worth reading – it provides an explanation as to why the deal happened, why it cost so much (CLUE: advertising to The Kids!), and why it might not actually work. Which neatly segues into this rather wonderful piece by The Onion on why branded content really is what we ALL want more of *feeds biscuit to machine*

Facebook (SADFACE)

  • Teens Hate FacebookThis did the rounds a lot this week, under a variety of headings which mostly took the angle that teenagers were deserting The Social Network in droves as they tired of the DRAMA surrounding their interactions on it, and the fact that too many of their older family members were now on it and harshing their buzz (I believe this is how The Kids talk). Actually bothering to read the bloody research, though, shows that teens aren’t actually leaving the site – they are just diversifying their presence across multiple networks. Oh, and the survey was of a MASSIVE and doubtless statistically significant 804 people. Oh (again), and does anyone really believe that all teenagers don’t have secret profiles with aliases which their family members know nothing about? 
  • Everyone Hates FacebookYear on year use in the UK is down 9%, say YouGov. My favourite part of this research is this, which I reproduce in full here: The number of UK internet users who have quit social media sites because of social media marketing promotions is up 28 per cent points from April last year
  • Brands Getting Flak For Ad PlacementHeaven forfend that I defend brands on here, but this really isn’t their fault. Hey ho. People have been getting upset about ads for reputable companies showing up on pages containing questionable content and suggesting that the brands should be ASHAMED for advertising on these pages. Which fundamentally misunderstands the way in which advertising online works. Well done, people.  
  • As a bonus, have some more stats about Facebook (and other platform) usage amongst teens here and here.


  • Creepy Sentient Computers Get CloserGoogle can now tell what things are in photos. No, seriously. IT CAN RECOGNISE CATS AND JEWELLERY AND STUFF WITHOUT BEING TOLD. I don’t think anyone is getting as scared / freaked out by this as they perhaps ought to be. OH HELLO NIGHTMARE DYSTOPIAN SURVEILLANCE FUTURE (NB – I am not actually a mad, paranoid conspiracy theorist, although I accept it might read like that sometimes). 
  • And CloserGoogle conversational search lets you talk to the search engine and ask it stuff (the same tech as used in Glass, I imagine). This examination of how it works is impressive, particularly its ability to contextualise questions and remember the sequence of queries and make inferences based on said sequence. 
  • Google Trends VisualisationA slightly pointless but hypnotic and compelling ever-shifting visualisation of the top search terms on Google where you are at any given time. This week it makes for slightly depressing reading, in the UK at least.
  • Google Knows EverythingThis is an internal parody by Microsoft, a company famed for being loving and caring and cuddly. As such it’s scaremongery, but not actually untrue.


  • A Nice, Simple Look at The Internet Of ThingsIf you’re not 100% sure what all that internet of things stuff is about, you could do worse than read this rather clear explanation. Useful.
  • What Amazon Might Do NextClue – sell lots and lots of information about our buying habits to third parties. Maybe.
  • How Stuff Spreads – Gangnam vs Harlem ShakeThis is by a new agency and as such is a piece of linkbait (which I have totally fallen for). In fairness there are some interesting observations there as to some of the qualities which can affect the manner in which a piece of content is shared or otherwise; it totally fails to mention the MASSIVE amounts of cash invested by record companies in promoting Psy’s global earworm, though. 
  • Why Your Fan Count Doesn’t MatterA decent presentation by Mat Morrison on what you should be looking at instead of fans on social media (really, we’re still having to talk about this?)
  • Bespoke BalladsBy Barclays. Can we all agree that we are bored of the ‘here’s a bespoke thing made JUST FOR YOU by a brand on social media’ thing, please? Please? I know there’s no such thing as a new idea, but it’s been 3 years now and I’m tired.
  • Coke Stunt #1So, so clever – giving teens the opportunity to help each other out by donating battery life to each other via th medium of a little Coke-branded dongle. This is excellent because THEY MADE A REALLY COOL THING. Learn, people.
  • Coke Stunt #2Again, clever – giving the opportunity for people in India and Pakistan to interact with each other thanks to Coke. Taps into the whole ‘teach the world to sing’ schtick which they’ve been doing since forever, as well as the happiness thing. And, if you leave aside the fact that it’s still just a stunt to shill sugarwater, another Basically Decent Thing to do. 
  • Day Off GeneratorThis is also very smart indeed; an app for an outdoorsy magazine which works to help fool people you work with into thinking you’re sick when instead you are doing OUTDOOR PURSUITS. What’s cleverest about it is the newsfeed takeover stuff which it does through Facebook (although it does make me question how many people actually go to the hospital with a cold). 
  • Anti-crack PSA Billboard ThingThe billboard gets eaten by insects to demonstrate the destructive effects of crack. Oh, bum, I totally ruined the surprise. Nontheless, take a look – the execution is very good indeed. 
Don’t ask



Other Things I Have Found Interesting This Week, Pt.1:

  • A List of Crowdfunding SitesA useful overview of places on the internet where you can persuade people to give you money so that you can make that model of Chewbacca out of cat hair like you always wanted.
  • Justice League FamiliesVery cute and pleasingly whimsical illustrations of superheroes with their kids. Nice illustrations for a child’s bedroom, perhaps. Just a suggestion.
  • The Perceptive RadioI really, really like this. Very clever project by Mudlark (who have made some really good stuff in the past) and the BBC, to create a radio which can take data about the environment around it (relating to location, say, and local weather) and then modify the content dependent on that data. In the test example, they created a radio play in which details changed depending on whether the listener was, say, somewhere where it was raining or not. This is kind of like the benign flipside of some of the Twitter/Google stuff up there – imagine the possibilities in terms of bespoke storytelling you might explore with this stuff. Plug in the internet of things idea and it becomes really, really interesting. Or maybe it just becomes horrible – maybe your fridge will tell your radio that it doesn’t have any Coke in it, and then the people on the Archers will start ostentatiously DRINKING Coke really loud to make you want it and then you will go out and buy some and OH GOD IT’S ALL GOING TO BE HORRIBLE ISN’T IT? *cries*
  • Make 360 Degree Videos On iPhones: What it says there <—–. Quite a cool looking little toy, although due to the endless reports about kids being ruined by exposure to pr0n on the radio this morning, I can only think of this in bongo terms. Thanks, radio!
  • Add Clippy To Your WebsiteRemember Clippy? He was fun, wasn’t he? Well now you can bring back the 90s EVEN MORE with this excellent little pointless webhack which allows you to add Clippy (or any of his helpful chums) to your website. I don’t think I can stress enough how much I want someone to combine this with the farting scroll hack from a few weeks ago in a massive, blaze-of-glory IT’S MY LAST DAY act of idiocy. Please?
  • 90s IslandSpeaking of 90s revivalism (SEAMLESS SEGUE KLAXON), this is a website promoting a (doubtless dreadful) novel all about the era. However bad the book looks (and I can’t stress enough that it looks really, really bad), the website’s a spot-on parody of bad early web design.
  • ReverseGif: Leaving aside the tedious non-issue of the pronunciation of the bloody word, this is a cute (and pointless) little tool which allows you to reverse the animation of any gif; amusing results, particularly when you take stuff of people eating.
  • A Great Collection of Behind-the-Scenes Film ShotsI’ve just realised how horrifically inconsistent my capitalisation is. Sorry about that. Anyway, some cast and crew shots from a whole load of films. The one of Joe Pesci and Macauley Culkin is weirdly chilling.
  • University of RedditSo apparently this has existed for a few years now. WHO KNEW? Perhaps my ignorance of it is due to the fact that I don’t move in the same glorious, rarefied circles as its graduates. Perhaps. There’s some really esoteric knowledge on here, in any case, if you fancy having a root around. I’ll let you know how I get on with Shamanism 101.
  • TaxheavenA nice website to accompany a petition against tax havens, made by Torchbox.
  • Odd Digital Art Project #1The Pirate Cinema takes frames from the most popular files being downloaded on torrent sites and streams a collage of them, formed out of the choices of entertainment being made by the faceless and unknowing mob. There’s an interview with the creator at the link; his observation about how much the project has taught him about the aesthetic similarities between pr0n and mainstream media is sort of chilling in a casual, throwaway fashion. 
  • Odd Digital Art Project #2A clever music remix-y website to accompany Haroon Mirza’s current installation at the Lisson. Move the images around to affect the composition, and upload your own in collaborative fashion.
  • The Pentagram BikiniKnow any female goths who like sunbathing? They might like this, then (NB – Web Curios accepts no responsibility if in fact they really don’t like it at all). 
  • Typewriter RobotsJeremy Mayer makes robots out of old junk and they are really rather cool.
“Marilyn Monroe at Philippe Halsman’s Studio” (1959), by Philippe Halsman/Magnum

Other Things I Have Found Interesting This Week, Pt.2:

  • Dumbsto.reThis is really good. A mobile app development platform which allows you to code for non-smartphones. There’s not a whole lot there at the moment, but the potential is huge – there’ a weather app and a directions app, and if you start thinking about the potential to develop tools to enable people without internet access to take advantage of online information then it gets very exciting indeed. Charities working in the developing world should definitely take a look.
  • Nazi Hunter AlanI don’t know why this exists, but am quite glad it does. I don’t think Alan is real, but the music on his website is strangely soothing.
  • Time Magazine’s Top Websites of 2013Not quite sure as to the criteria by which they select these, but there are a few interesting ones, and it’s nice to see This Is My Jam getting a bit of big media love. 
  • Google Earth FacesThere’s a lot of interesting stuff being done around machine facial recognition at the moment; this project uses that tech to look at Google Maps and pull out faces from cityscapes, natural geography and the like, with pleasing results. 
  • CloudPartyRemember Second Life? IT WAS GOING TO BE HUGE (until all of a sudden it wasn’t). There are still a lot of people who use it, though, with their funny avatars and virtual marriages and real-life affairs and STUFF. Anyway, CloudParty seems to be like SL, except browser-based. I’m only mentioning it because they are running a $1000 virtual art prize, of which more details here, and frankly I reckon there will be about 3 entries so you’ve got a pretty decent chance of winning if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • I Love Your WorkMy favourite webarty thing of the week, this project has collected over 2,000 ten-second video clips recorded by adult film actresses over a 10-day period. The footage is available to watch, for a fee – each day ten ‘tickets’ are sold to access the video, for $10. No more. It’s not pr0n, although it might feature some; it’s a lot more interesting than that. Watch the trailer-type video on the website; it really is very good.
  • Visiting The Shot Locations of Album CoversNo more, no less. Lovely little project.
  • Nothing But A MovieA superb piece of storytelling merging comic art, animation and sound to excellent effect. In particular the audio is brillant. Takes 5 mins, do take a look.
  • More Interactive Storytelling: Another nice piece of digital work, showing how you can use video in slightly more creative ways online to improve interactivity, enrich content and just narrate a bit better. Sadly this example’s about the US healthcare system and not exactly scintillating, but it’s worth a couple of minutes’ play just to get the ideas behind it. 
  • A Deflatable Sex CubeSurely one of you will want to buy this, won’t you? SFW, just so you know. 


The Circus of Tumblrs:

  • Sexts From Marxists: Combining the dialectic with come-to-bed-eyes.
  • Mansplained MarxistA look at some of the sexist things said to one particular female academic. With Gifs.
  • Baguette Me NotsI don’t really understand what’s going on here, but there appear to be a reasonable number of moderately famous people (Matthew Broderick!) posing with bits of French bread. Whatever makes them happy, I guess.
  • Web2HellSome of the more egregious taglines of digital ‘businesses’ in the Web 2.0 era. 
  • Des Hommes Et Des ChatonsA Tumblr of attractive men and cats. Oh, and it’s French too. I’m sure there are some of you for whom this will probably be the best thing on here this week, so ENJOY. 
  • Eagles That Look Like Arsene WengerYes, really, there are LOTS of them. 

Games! Free Games! To PLAY!:

  • Cardboard Box Assembler: So obviously this sounds like the worst game ever, but let me reassure you that the amount of time you will spend actually assembling cardboard boxes is in fact very small, and instead you’ll play a very clever braintwisty 3d puzzler instead, which has elements of Fez
  • CanonA very small, very simple, very hard music/rhythm game. You will hate it, but it will compel you to play it. 
  • You Must EscapeAtmospheric and scary and based around echolocation and trying to find your way in the dark. Play with the lights out for extra effect (at nighttime. It won’t really work if the lights are off but it’s broad daylight, OBVIOUSLY).
Image by Denis Darzacq


  • On Music Cloning and Spamming on iTunes and Beyond: A brilliant exploration of how people game the system on music sites and get you to listen to dreadful knock-off covers rather than the real thing. On which point, you really, really need to hear this example of someone scamming Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. Personally prefer it to the oiginal.
  • On Consent and Acceptable BehaviourVery smart piece in the Atlantic about the degree to which certain sexual behaviour should or shouldn’t be acceptable, even between consenting adults. Particularly pertinent in the UK in the light of all the Spanner Trust stuff. Obviously this is not about whether you’re into this stuff or not – it’s about whether people who are should ever be stopped from doing it.
  • Benji Lanyado’s Startup BlogBenji Lanyado is doing a startup, and blogging about it. Interesting even if you’re not in that sort of space; doubly so, I would imagine, if you are.
  • Prospect on FarageA really good profile of omnipresent grinning jackanapes Nigel Farage by novelist Edward Docx in Prospect. Makes me almost feel sorry for Nigel, almost, nearly. Certainly shines a spotlight on the unique horror that is being a professional politician. 
  • Street ChildrenNot a happy read, this one, but worth reading; a look into the plight of street kids worldwide. The pictures will make you sad, in particular.
  • On Cats and Japan and the InternetAn incredibly in-depth look at the internet’s obsession with cats, and the peculiar manner in which in Japan they appear to be used as a mask behind which their owners can hide. It certainly does seem that many of the owners of YouTube’s most famous felines are little more than life support systems for their more famous pets. 
  • Looking Back at BiggieI was never that into hiphop when Biggie was…er…big, and even now I’m not a huge fan, but this piece is an awesome slice of oral history, piecing together quotes from those close to him across his career to paint a very vivid picture of a talented artist and the odd soap opera that surrounded him and his death.
  • The Best Thing About Poker You Will Ever Read: Speaking of oral histories…this one pieces together the tales of the main players in 2003’s World Series of Poker, widely credited as the event which took the game to the masses like never before. It’s a truly incredible tale, featuring as it does the story of an unknown amateur who went from having $39 to his name to winning $2.5million. You don’t even have to understand poker (although it will help) to enjoy it. Get a cup of tea, this is filmic.
  • The Women Who Painted PinupsA fascinating look back at the life stories of the women who invented the American pin-up as we remember it. Also, loads of great illustrations. 
  • Visiting A Competitive Scrabble TournamentIf you liked Spellbound, you’ll love this. The weird, weird world of the people who are PROPERLY good at Scrabble. Contains far more allegations of cheating than I would have expected.
  • Why The New Star Trek Film Is CrapAn exhaustive and completely spoiler-ish examination of every single thing (and there are LOTS) that is wrong with the new Star Trek film.  
  • American Assassinations For DummiesMark Ames is one of my favourite journalists, and this is some sterling reporting for NSFWCorp. Particularly pertinent given the recent debates in the US about drone use, this is a slightly scary investigation into the fact that the CIA has been assassinating people around the world for years. Proper journalism, done well.
  • Playing In A Band Noone LikesFinally, the poignant story of a man deciding to call his band quite because noone liked them. They weren’t dreadful, apparently, just unlovable. An interesting look at when perseverance in the face of adversity just isn’t viable any more; sometimes, giving up is the only option. POSITIVITY! Anyway, you can hear them here.


1) First up, 60 seconds of animated brilliance in the form of the aptly-named Aliens In 60 Seconds which is…er…the film, Aliens, condensed into a 60-second animation. Cute, and makes me want to play it as a videogame:

2) Bit more of a sombre tone for the next one, which is a remarkable video made using 600+pinhole cameras and a lot of painstaking effort. This is London Grammar with ‘Wasting My Young Years’:

3) This is a gorgeous animation about a sad-eyed robot escaping a factory. It is called Obsolete:

4) If you have ever been a little boy, this video will make you regress hugely. This is basically what you wanted car chases with your toys to be like, and they NEVER WEAR and so childhood was always fundamentally disappointing. No matter – this is awesome, you should watch it:

5) I don’t know who’s responsible for this or what it’s about other than that it features a lot of melted icecream and that it unsettled me to an extent that I now want to inflict that on you too:

6) Hiphop slot this week is here more to illustrate quality than because I think the song is anything special. The track’s by a guy called Lyrican, and it’s a bit generic-UK-scene overall, but the guest verses from Web Curios favourite Harry Shotta really are impressive:

7) I haven’t featured anything by High 5 Collective for a while now, but they are still churning out brilliant, filmic videos for other artists’ songs. Am slightly amazed that they’ve not been picked up to make something a bit bigger. In any case, this is their short film (music video seems a bit reductive) for Tokimonsta’s song ‘Go With It’:

8) Ai Wei Wei is, it would appear, not only a legendary visual artist and political campaigner but also a musician. This is the obviously hugely allegorical and political video for his new song ‘Dumbass’ – I’m not sure I quite ‘get’ Chinese rock music, but I applaud the man’s creativity:

9) Finally, we have out-and-proud gay rapper Nicky da B, with his video for the song ‘Go Loko’. It’s…well…it’s certainly memorable, and I don’t think I’m likely to have cause to write the phrase ‘bum kaleidoscope’ again any time soon. WATCH:


That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 17/05/13

Reading Time: 18 minutes

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Laces Buy One Get One Free. Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1
Garudio Studiage, photo of the week

It was pointed out to me this week that, were you to click on every single link in this thing as well as reading my overblown prose, the whole thing would take you about 7 hours to get through. Look, what can I say? I’m SORRY. It’s just that there’s a lot of stuff out there and I WANT TO SHOW YOU ALL OF IT. Just bear in mind that no one reads everything (except me) – really, no one, not even my mum. You’re under no obligation. Although obviously it’s ALL GOLD.

Anyway, as is now tradition let’s take a look back over the past week in RECORD TIME. We learnt that academia’s finally starting to take bongo seriously, that the definition of what is considered art is getting broader by the second, that the law really isn’t totally equipped for some of the ‘creative’ uses people are going to start making of new technologies, that it’s truly remarkable exactly how dreadful people can be when given the opportunity, particularly when they are reacting to NEWS on the internet, that sometimes it’s quite sad what happens to people in the aftermath of the internet turning its spotlight onto them, that we are probably more prejudiced by nature than we might like to think, and that people really are afraid of love.

There was probably more, but I need to go to Brighton this afternoon so don’t really have time for much more of this. With little further ado, then, let us undertake our very own FANTASTIC VOYAGE amongst the viscera of everything good (and, frankly, mediocre) that the web has had to offer this week. ONWARDS!

Quite A Lot Of Stuff About The Internet And Social Media, For Which I Can Only Apologise And Promise That There Is Better To Come Below, Honest, Really There Is, Trust Me, Don’t Walk Away, COME BACK: 


  •  – So there were a load of announcements made about Google products and services at I/O this week. They are all interesting and worth knowing about, though as yet they probably don’t affect you too much (whether or not you work in advermarketingpr). You can read about some of the highlights here, or if you’re so inclined you can get a slightly more comprehensive rundown here, and you can read a reasonably decent bit of speculation about what it all MEANS here. In the unlikely event tht any of you give a flying one about my opinion, I think that this is all continuing the work Google’s been doing for the past few years since the advent of G+ – that is, building out its product suite so as to create an online ecosystem that means it’s increasingly hard not to be plugged in to their data gathering network. On the one hand, this has huge potential benefits – after all, Google’s ability to intimately know what you want, when you want it, and to be able to serve you stuff based on its gargantuan database of information about your travel/shopping/music/work/etc habits could be incredibly useful; on the other hand, Skynet. Hey ho. Oh, and the stuff about creating composite photos automatically is INCREDIBLY scary and weird and raises all sorts of questions about what we can and should consider ‘real’, if you care to consider them. 
  •  – YouTube Is Now A ShopNo one seems to have thought this as significant as I do; maybe I’m an idiot. Who knows? Nonetheless, this strikes me as very significant. Brands on YouTube can now sell products through their YouTube channels (I’m as yet uncertain as to how it will work with embedded videos), through retail partners or through their own sales channels. Now the initial example is haircare brand Tresemme (I know it’s meant to have an accent on the end, but I’m completely flummoxed as to how one types those), which is maybe why no one appears to have given it much thought, but this is very big news. If you were Nike or Adidas, surely you’d want to give people the opportunity to buy Messi’s/LeBron’s footwear as they watch a highlights reel of your brand’s athletes? Oh I don’t know. Anyway, basically in the future everything will be a shop. GREAT!
  •  – YouTube – New Channel DesignFile under dull-but-practical – this is a useful primer on how to configure the new designs for YouTube channels.
  •  – Why Are YouTube Videos So Terrible?: An interesting thinkpiece which discusses whether only a subscription model will save us from the neverending parade of truly dreadful YouTube content (the answer, by the way, is ‘no’ – I think that the depressing truth is that we live in a world in which people will watch literally anything if given the opportunity and the apparently-inexplicable popularity of the thousands of poorly made ‘comedy’ videos and the rest is simply a result of this. This is a society in which shopping channels actually exist and make money, for God’s sake – are we really surprised?).
  •  – Obligatory Google Glass-gasm: After last week’s brief respite, the hype is BACK. A few weeks ago I mentioned the possibility of a terrifying future in which face recognition tech was embedded into wearable computing – OH LOOK HERE IS THAT TERRIFYING FUTURE. I also said something about how incredible Evernote could be when integrated with Glass – OH LOOK AT MY NOSTRADAMUS-LIKE PREDICTIVE ABILITY (although in actuality the Evernote thing’s quite rudimentary as it stands). Anyway, this week we also got a users-eye video of what using Glass currently looks like, a video showing what people think it will look like in a few iterations’ time when they’ve added some bells and whistles (anyone else slightly scared by the constant focus in this video on how much money you have? This would give me the PROPER FEAR)…oh, and we got confirmation that the skinflick industry’s looking to get its mitts on a pair to make intimate, close-up bongo. Oh, technology!

Facebook Stuffs:

  •  – Facebook Is Now (even more of) A ShopSee It Shop It is a Facebook thing which allows brands to sell directly from within the newsfeed. They’re trialling it with Littlewoods. Really? Was no one else interested? Seems odd. Anyway, I think that this is all very prototype-y at the moment but it will be interesting to see if it catches on.
  •  – Facebook SectionsThis is a bit techy, but worth knowing about. Facebook Sections allows Facebook apps to integrate better / deeper with a user’s timeline – giving people the opportunity to further customise their timeline with dedicated sections for things they like / care about, which in turn allows Facebook to do more with the data which people give it through apps. Oh, God, that’s a really horrid description – go and read this for a proper journalist’s slightly less ham-fisted take
  • Vanity Fair on FacebookA long but interesting look from a recent VF at Facebook, it’s culture and its ambitions. Not revelatory, but a decent read if you’re so inclined. 

A Little Bit of Twitter:

  •  – Peanuts Estate Hires Vine ArtistAn interesting step by the estate of Charles Schulz, who have picked a kid who’s made really good Vine shorts to make Peanuts-themed work for them. I think this is a really positive thing, and a nice change from brands expecting punters to make content for them for free, or for the chance to win an underwhelming BRANDED EXPERIENCE. If someone’s good, pay them for their work – can we make this a trend, please, content people? Thanks.
  •  – Speaking Of Vine, Here Are Some Good OnesSome of these are really impressive. PROTIP: stop-motion really, really works on Vine. 

Other Things Gathered Together In A Slightly Flabby Final Section:

  •  – Social Media Is Bullshit (Again)This is a post by author of ‘Social Media is Bullsh*t’ BJ Mendelson which takes a short, smart look at why the concept of ‘going viral’ (as often understood by clients) is utter rubbish. Read it (and then go and hire a bunch of Indian workers for 21st Century sweatshop work!). 
  •  – Some Quite Good Examples of Decent WorkThere’s some dreadful trendwatching language in this blogpost, but there are also some very clever examples of decent online advermarketingpr work on there, which I personally hadn’t seen before. Take a look, if that’s your thing. 
  •  – BuyCott AppI am glad that this exists. This app allows shoppers to scan items and learn about the ethics of their making process, which parent company eventually owns them, etc. Incredibly good idea, particularly in this age of brands, sub-brands, etc, and something I would like to see developed further and made international. So someone do it, please. 
  •  – Domino’s LIVEDomino’s has taken the final, inevitable step in the post-bogeygate world, giving customers the opportunity to watch their pizzas being made LIVE (well, not their pizzas specifically, but you get the point). Which is all well and good and stuff, and an admirable commitment to TRANSPARENCY and all that, but does rather make me feel for the poor staff who are effectively now under potential constant on-the-job surveillance. Do we realise that what Domino’s are effectively doing with this service is outsourcing – for free, might I add – their production line monitoring to us, the customer? Do we even care? Oh. 
  •  – Coke Mother’s Day ThingAnother week, another bit of impressive marketing from Coke. This is one of the now-hackneyed ‘hey, interact with us on Twitter and we will make you a personalised thing, just for you!’ wossnames (pace Old Spice et al) – nicely done, though. Oh, and this one from Coke in Denmark is absolutely inspired, even if not digital. Bloody Coke *waves fist*. 
  •  – Jaguar Made A Short FilmIt’s 10 minutes long, and must have cost SO MUCH MONEY. I don’t imagine Damien Lewis comes cheap in this post-Homeland world. Can anyone seriously explain to me what the point of this is, really? The only reason I’m linking to it is because I am a little bit in love with Shannyn Sossamon who is LOVELY. 
  •  – Puma Dance DictionaryNicely made website, allowing people to stitch together short messages conveyed via the medium of DANCE which they can then send to friends/people they want to sleep with (judging by the tenor of the possible messages you can send). Loses points for the relatively limited number of potential options, and the fact that you can’t seem to turn off the bloody music. 
  •  – The Abercrombie Thing: So you may have Abercrombie getting all sorts of (well-deserved) flak, particularly on its Facebook page, for comments made by its (notoriously unpleasant – seriously, I know someone who worked for them in the US at head office and OH MY DAYS THE STORIES) CEO. He’s since issued a pseudo-retraction which no one in their right mind would give any credence to – not that I think it will really hurt the brand that much at all. Anyway, a video did the rounds this week of a guy giving Abercrombie clothes to homeless people as a CLEVER PIECE OF ANTI-BRAND SATIRE. It made me very uncomfortable, and remarkably the best explanation as to why comes from this rather odd Christian website. Have a read.
Untitled by Jesus Leguizamo


Things of Potential Interest Which You Are By No Means Obliged To Click On, Pt. 1:

  • Algoraving: Apparently this is a thing. Procedurally-generated music in clubs, creating some sort of weirdly unreplicable organic dance experience MAN. Obviously HUGELY Nathan Barley, but also quite interesting from a mathematical / programming point of view. If this sort of thing interests you, you might like to have a bit of a play with this Turing Music Generator, which is sort of the same thing on a smaller scale. I have yet to create anything that doesn’t sound like depressed robots as imagined in 1976 having deeply sad revenge sex, but you may do better. 
  • Yoko Ono, DesignerThis is incredible. Yoko Ono is a famous polymath, but I had no idea her unquestionable talents stretched to clothes design. CHECK OUT THE HAND TROUSERS! I fully expect to see someone in Clapton wearing these over the Summer.
  • Reclaim Your Digital LifeThis is an interesting idea, but only really that at the moment. The premise is that the site collects everything you post/share across all your online profiles in one place, with a view to one day creating saved, downloadable copies of everything. Obviously almost certainly massively illegal, but I think there’s a big thing here in terms of the creation of personal archives – I know most of what we throw into the gaping maw of the internet is ephemeral and deserves to be forgotten, but I for one (narcissist that I inevitably am) would quite like to be able to go back through all my internet blatherings over the years. Maybe that’s just me though. 
  • StrongBoxI think that this is hugely important. Strongbox has been launched by the New Yorker to offer whistleblowers and others a near-untraceable way of passing on information or stories. Every single news outlet in the world should have a similar system. 
  • The Reddit MapReddit is BIG. I mean really, really big. This is an attempt to map it in some sort of way, looking a connections between the individual sub-Reddits based on cross-postings, links, etc. Interesting not only as a visualisation of an information network, but also as a navigation portal to some of the odder, murkier sections of the site. CAUTION: there are some subReddits you really, really don’t want to click on (at work or indeed anywhere else). Just saying.
  • Arne Svenson is a VoyeurAnd also a photographer. This photoseries consists of pictures taken from the window of his apartment into the apartments of his neighbours. His neighbours, it would appear, are less than happy about the fact that he has been doing this and that these pictures are now being sold / exhibited.  
  • The Human Readable Type FontThis is an interesting idea. In a move to attempt to baffle Google and other spider/crawler-type programmes, this typeface is meant to work so as to be readable to humans but utterly confusing to machines; meaning anything written in this, in theory, can never be picked up by search and the rest. Nice idea in theory, but I’m not wholly convinced that it nails the ‘readable by actual people’ part of the equation.
  • The Ultimate Masochist’s GlovesTake a look at the close-up picture of the inside of these and try not to wince. 
  • Created Equal PhotosA photo series by Mark Laita which looks at the gulf between individuals in the US through the medium of diptych photographs. There are some truly gorgeous portraits in here – take the time to have a look, it really is worth it. 
  • PetswitchYou’ve probably seen this already, but in case not…you can now superimpose your features onto those of an animal. You may enjoy it, you may not. It’s not my problem. 
London Diorama Map by Sohei Nishino

Things of Potential Interest Which You Are By No Means Obliged To Click On, Pt. 2:

  • Abandoned GeographyA website collecting photography of abandoned places. There are some lovely photos, and the whole site is oddly peaceful. Makes me want to go walking in one direction and not stop for about 2 months (not in any sort of suicidal way, though). 
  • Post-Punk New Wave Super FriendsA series of posters depicting stars of early-80s music (Morrissey, Jon Lydon, etc) as superheroes. These are pretty cool, and also available as tshirts if that is your THING. I would love to see what Morrissey thinks of these (probably not a fat lot, to be honest). 
  • Teenage Diaries RevisitedSo this is a bit like our very own Up series of documentaries (but different); NPR in 1996 gave US teenagerstape recorders on which to record audio diaries. This year, they went back and did the same to see where they were in their 30s. Not a new idea, but there are some brilliant (and sad) tales in here – also I think that the audio-only aspect gives a greater degree of authenticity than on-camera interviewing, though that may just be me. 
  • Being A Food Stylist On HannibalThe truly fascinating blog of the person who does all the food for the US TV series ‘Hannibal’ (no idea if it’s any good). I am quite into food so possibly slightly overindex on how interesting this is, but I had no idea about the insane levels of detail and preparation that go into this stuff. The bit about the grapes is mind-bogglingly obsessional, for a start.
  • A History of Public Transit in San FranciscoNo, wait, come back! This is a lot more interesting than it has any right to be – the city’s past, as told through the tram, bus and BART network, and all delivered through a really slick web interface. As much about the design as anything else, this is an object lesson in making something ostensibly dry really quite sticky and stimulating (the end of that sentence, I’ve just realised, has ended up sounding oddly sexual. Sorry).
  • The Geography of HateA clever-but-sad project, mapping the use of hate speech on Twitter across the US. Obviously this is a bit of a blunt-instrument study, and you can only draw so many conclusions, but it’s a bit sobering. Also shows quite how much of America really doesn’t use Twitter at all (I refuse to believe that the blank spots on the map are there because noone’s saying anything unpleasant, nice as it would be to think so). I laughed darkly looking at Idaho, given what day it is today (see opening para). 
  • Live Map of Wikipedia EditsThis is oddly compelling. Does what is says in the description, by offering real-time(ish) geolocated indications of which pages on Wikipedia are being edited, and where from. What’s most interesting is seeing the slightly obsessional behaviour going on here – I now know, for example, that someone in Lytham St Anne’s woke up this morning with no greater desire than to spend their early waking moments making alterations to Cliff Richard’s Wikipedia entry. People are ODD.
  • Pop Culture MathsSlight-but-cute illustrations of superheroes and the like, in equation format. 
  • A Brain Made From A ForeskinWell, sort of. Ish. This hands-down takes the prize for oddest art/science project of the week, in any case. It’s quite hard to describe, so I’m going to defer to the artists’ description: this is “a speculative techno-scientific experiment that uses a stem cell reprogramming technique called induced pluripotent stem cell technology (iPS) to reverse engineer foreskin cells purchased from an online catalogue into embryonic (like) stem cells, which Ben-Ary and Hudson then transform into neurons”. So, er, there you have it. Feel free to make your own phallus-cranium jokes. As an aside, of all the things about this project that are marginally disturbing, the fact that you can purchase human foreskin cells online is probably the most WTF-ish. WHERE ARE THEY FROM??? Are mohels all over the world engaged in black market foreskin trades? WE MUST KNOW.
  • FreakstarterA collection of some of the oddest Kickstarter projects currently live on the site, and a wonderful testament to human ingenuity and, quite often, idiocy. Text-based strip poker? Really?
  • The Running Gags of Arrested DevelopmentThere is a lot of hype (on my bit of the internet, at least) about Arrested Development’s imminent Netflix return. The marketing around it has been excellent, although this site doesn’t look official. In any case, it’s a rather nice visualisation of the series’ running gas, which are legion. If you don’t know the series, it really is worth watching (promise). You can probably find it on certain websites, should you not desire paying for DVD boxsets (NOT THAT WEB CURIOS IN ANY WAY ADVOCATES PIRACY). As a bonus, have this rather nice Tobias Funke microsite which showcases everyone’s favourite nevernude’s acting chops. Oh, and here’s something on the whole cult around the series.
Exhibitionists at Exhibitions, by Jerry Pigeon

The Circus Of Tumblrs (I may have been a little premature in declaring the whole thing ‘over’ last week…):

  • 9 Film Frames: Films boiled down to 9 frames. Interesting exercise in boiling something down to its most minimal state whilst maintaining a degree of narrative integrity (or, er, something).
  • Merchandising Is ForeverA Tumblr featuring animated gifs of old Star Wars merchandising. Hypnotic in a way that I don’t wholly understand. 
  • GoldblumingsJeff Goldblum’s face, superimposed onto flowers, for reasons which at present escape me. 
  • I Don’t Want Your Fucking AppShaming those websites which continually push you to download their app which, almost inevitably, is unnecessary and unhelpful and would be used a grand total of three times. CAN WE STOP WITH APPS, PLEASE? 99% of the time they really aren’t needed. Just design responsive websites. Go on, you can do it. 
  • Anime BackgroundsAs you might expect, background illustrations from anime. Someone might find this of use, maybe.
  • Your Logo Is Not HardcoreA blog collecting the thousands (apparently) of logos appropriating the traditional hardcore design of the crossed-lines ‘x’. There is a LOT of commonality in design, it turns out.
  • Women of Google GlassSee! It’s not just men!
  • Obscure Videogames: A collection of gifs and reminiscences about obscure(ish) games of yesteryear.
  • Private EyeThe Eye des Tumblr. Early days, and at the moment it’s basically just replicating magazine content in bite-size form, but there is so much they could do with this…
  • Public ShamingAs linked to up *there*, this collects instances of people’s awfulness on Twitter around the issues of the day. US-centric, and guaranteed to make you feel really grubby and sad about the future of humanity if you spend too long on it. Enjoy!
  • A Whole Massive List of Arty Tumblrs (& Blogs) To Waste Time On



  • MondrianismA very clever little puzzle game, based around the artistic style of Piet Mondrianwhich is not only fun but, when you get it right, plays beautiful music. 
  • Breakfast On A Wagon With Your PartnerAnother week, another lovely piece of interactive fiction. This is a post-apocalyptic tale which you can take in any one of a number of directions. I don’t know whether it’s something to do with the medium or whether it’s simply a function of where I find this stuff, but much of the more interesting work in this medium seems to play with ideas of gender and sexuality (as does this, on a certain level). Anyway, it’s rather good. Have a play.
  • Racer for ChromePart game, part tech demo, this is really, really clever. Play this excellent little racing game (with a cracking Giorgio Moroder soundtrack to boot) across mobile devices – up to five can be placed side by side to create massive tracks which several players can play on together. Really impressive tech, aside from anything else. 
  • Emulator Heaven: It’s Friday, you can afford to slack off. This site contains links to a huge number of emulators which will allow you to play retro games in your browser. Command & Conquer’s there, which for some of you will be enough to ruin / enhance your weekend (delete as applicable).
Abbas Momani / AFP – Getty Images


  • The Immortality Dreams of a Russian BillionaireIf you were mind-twistingly rich, wouldn’t you want to work towards a future in which you could exist forever? This piece about Dmitry Iskov and his frankly MENTAL 2045 initiative is fascinating and unsettling in almost equal measure. Proof positive, too, that sci-fi has so much more influence on the development of future technologies than we tend to give it credit for.
  • The Making of Chicago Restaurant ‘Grace’An excellent piece of journalism about a man’s obsessive drive to open a really, really good restaurant. Inspirational in a non-cloying sort of way. 
  • What Motherhood Does to BodiesA piece written for Mothers’ Day in the US, in which the author thanks her mother for putting her body through childbirth. Basically this is a fairly comprehensive look at all the *ahem* slightly  hardcore things which pregnancy and childbirth do to the human body. WARNING: if you are pregnant (or squeamish) I probably wouldn’t advise reading this.
  • 50 Shades of Grey As An Allegory for Late-Stage CapitalismA clever-if-not-100%-serious analysis of that bloody book as a cipher for aspirational culture and class differentiation in the Western world in 2013. 
  • The Modern History of SwearingA brilliant piece taking a look at the etymology of some of our favourite BAD WORDS, and introducing you to a whole host of others that you might not have been aware of. You will probably never talk about people ‘larking around’ again. (AN ASIDE: the best etymology of profanity stuff I’ve ever read came in Nic Kelman’s novel ‘Girls’ (not necessarily an easy or pleasant read at times, but an excellent book), in which I learnt that the word ‘cock’ was, in medieval times when the deity could not be invoked except euphemistically, once a synonym for ‘God’. Which tells you all you need to know about men, really). 
  • The Young Man’s Guide to Shopping For & Wearing Girls’ Clothes for the First TimeThe always-superb McSweeney’s has been running this column by male-to-female transsexual Casey Plett for a while now. This edition, about having to buy female clothes for the first time, is funny and poignant and thought-provoking and a bit sad and hopeful and and and and. Read it.
  • How Saudi Arabia Is Monitoring TwitterCome on, let’s not kid ourselves that it’s just those lovable guys in Saudi. 
  • What People Mean When They Wear OnesiesA nice piece of writing about what the rise of the onesie tells us about how people in their 20s are feeling about stuff (CLUE: Not fantastic, it turns out). 
  • Pitchfork on Daft Punk: I think we can agree that the marketing for the Daft Punk album has been absolutely stellar (and very, very expensive). This piece on Pitchfork is an excellent look at the band, the release, and Bangalter & De Homem Christo’s place in the popular culture pantheon (though personally I think that the real star of the piece is the page design, which is BRILLIANT). As a bonus, have this piece on why the album’s release is an excellent example of how the internet has ruined music criticism (amongst other things).
  • The Town of Lottery WinnersIn 2011, one small town in Spain one big on the national El Gordo lottery. This is an excellent piece of writing as to how it all worked out for them in the immediate aftermath.
  • Sisa – Crisis CocaineFinally, a great piece of reporting by VICE on Sisa, a cheap stimulant which is doing bad things to Greece. I would love to see a wider piece of research about changing drug use in recessionary times across Europe – someone make that happen, please. 


1) First up, a documentary. ‘Jela’ is the story of an East London resident, former drug addict and football hooligan. Slow, quiet, contemplative and sad – a brilliant portrait of the changing-and-yet-not face of the East End:

2) I hadn’t heard of Josef Salvat until about 5 minutes ago, This is his song, ‘Hustler’ – the video’s not that exciting, but the song gave me proper goosebumps and so I recommend it unreservedly (I make no allowances, as ever, for personal taste). Hell of a voice:

3) I featured Team Spirit last week as well, but make no apologies for including them here too. After the Jesus-themed clip to accompany ‘Jesus, He’s Alright’, this time they head in the opposite direction to take on Satan in ‘MRDR It’s OK’:

4) No real clue what this is about or for, but it’s a brilliantly hypnotic piece of animation from Canada called ‘The Clockmakers’:

5) I have a bit of an obsession with eyes, which oscillates between fascination and bodyhorror disgust (basically the Dario Argento film ‘Opera’ is the scariest thing I can imagine, ever). This isn’t scary at all, you will be pleased to hear – it’s simply brilliantly inventive. This is ‘To The River’ by James Wallace and the Naked Light:

6) Obligatory slightly hipsterish hiphop of the week comes from Prolyphic and Buddy Peace with their single ‘Go Green’, which is not only excellent but also features a rather cool puppet:

7) There were two videos by Young Galaxy that I had on the list this week (the one that didn’t make the cut was this one, for Blown Minded, which features beautiful glass-painted animation) – the one I went for in the end was for their song ‘Fall For You’, which song reminds me slightly unpleasantly of the execrable ‘Sunchyme’ by Dario G but has a BRILLIANT animated video:

8) Have you ever speculated as to what websites would look like if they weren’t in fact websites but were instead children’s toys of the 1980s and 1990s? Oh good, it’s not just me then. This is a brilliant concept, superbly executed – it even feels like advertising aimed at kids from the early 90s. Basically designed to appeal to anyone a little bit webmongy in their early 30s (so basically me, then), and it also reminds me of ‘We Want Your Soul’ by Adam Freedland, though I’m not totally sure why. This is Neosignal with ‘Planet Online’:

9) I can’t work out whether this is inspired or awful Lou Bega-type rubbish, which probably means it’s dreadful and I have no taste. In any case, though, it’s insanely catchy and I could imagine it getting HUGE amounts of radio play. This is Menage Quad with’Listen To The Music’:

9) Last but not least, have some fully naked people dancing! Come on, it’s Friday, why not join in at work? This is Asaf Avidan with ‘Love It Or Leave It’:


That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 10/05/13

Reading Time: 16 minutes

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Eye Nose. Rye Lane, London SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

HELLO! I know we always say this, but it really has been an odd week. Between the collective media furore over a septuagenarian’s retirement, the sad death of the king of the skellingtons, a very odd thing happening in the world of hiphop, the internet elevating an unlikely hero to cult status (whether for good or ill), the startling revelation that maybe the whole otherkin thing has been made up by bored teenagers, the best Google doodle yet, and the unveiling of almost certainly the oddest (worst?) centenary mascot ever devised, there’s been a lot going on. 

I was being best man at a wedding last weekend, which meant that I had scarcely ANY TIME to read the internet. So if you’ve seen everything that follows already, tough luck. I’m only bloody human, you know. STOP PICKING ON ME. In any case, let me take you by the hand and lead you through the websites of the internet; I will show you something that will make you…er…question the wisdom of clicking any of these links, quite possibly. ONWARDS! 


Part of a series by Roberto Casinelli

Things About The Internet and Social Media (ugh) and STUFF (but thankfully not too much this week so don’t worry it will be over soon):

Google (well, YouTube& G+ – you’re spared the Glassgasming this week. Enjoy the respite while you can):

  • The YouTube Paywall Is ComingIn this week’s edition of ‘Google turns YouTube into a broadcaster…’, we have the news that they are rolling out subscription channels for ‘qualifying partners’ – so now you get the opportunity to pay CASHMONEY for stuff that you have (to-date) been watching for free. Except without the annoying pre-roll ads, which is at least something. It seems churlish to complain – I have no problem paying for stuff if it’s good – but it will be interesting to see exactly what additional bonuses these subscribers will get; after all, there’s only so much EXCLUSIVE EXTRA CONTENT anyone really needs. Here’s a list of the initial channels participating –  LET THE MARKET DECIDE!
  • The YouTube Trends MapLaunched this week, this gives a fascinating overview of who is watching what, where, on YouTube in the US. There are, it is whispered, tentative rumours that this is going to be rolled out to other territories, but at the moment it’s just a really interesting look at viewing habits on YT (and by extension the frightening homogeneity of consumption – despite the near-infinity of stuff out there, it seems EVERYONE wants to look at topless vampires in True Blood trailers). Obviously there are all sorts of potential insights that can be drawn from this from an advertisers/marketers point of view, so from that perspective it behooves all of us to try and mess with the data and watch at least 3 Bieber videos a day just to screw the data.
  • Google+ Hangouts Now A Bit BetterJust a little change, but a significant one – Google+ Hangouts can now be paused whilst streaming in realtime, rewound, etc – making the whole live broadcast aspect of it marginally more useful / appealing.

KloutStuff (I KNOW! Whodathunkit? I still think it’s bunkum, mind)

  • American Airlines Give Perks To Klouty PeopleAmerican Airlines is giving people with a high Klout score access to its First Class lounge (for one day, at least). It’s not a stupid idea by any stretch of the imagination, but couldn’t they have chosen another selection criteria? Something like, I don’t know, people who waited in line for checkin with an unusual degree of good grace, or perhaps people who just look like they need cheering up a bit? I don’t know, I just don’t like the idea of rewarding the sort of self-obsessed digitards who bother with stuff like Klout any sort of reward whatsoever. Maybe I’m just bitter, though, because I probably wouldn’t qualify.
  • And Now Klout Scores Affect SearchWell, sort-of. Admittedly it’s only Bing, but it’s still a significant step for the company – effectively prioritising content from ‘experts’ in certain fields in search results. There’s a proper explanation in the link, and it’s worth a quick read, but does anyone REALLY think this is a good idea? It’s not like this is doing anything other than narrowing search even further, and the sort of people who are likely to participate through Klout are likely to be *ahem* of a certain type. Basically ask yourself ‘Would Google do something like this?’ and then realise that it’s maybe a bit of a rubbish development.
    How To Be Good At The Internet, According To The US’ National Security AgencyThis document is called ‘Untangling the Web’, it was produced by the NSA which is basically the US’ information-gathering service around foreign policy issues as well as being responsible for cryptography around US communications. So basically they’re Spooks. This is their guide to search, etc, originally written (as far as I can tell) in 2007ish, but still very interesting and more useful than you’d think. Worth having a skim through – you will learn stuff and get better at Google, if nothing else. Oh, and it’s really good for working out how to search for spreadsheets full of passwords in the oh-so-unlikely event that you might ever think of a reason why that could be useful *ahem*.

Buzzfeed Starts Agency Accreditation Programme: ‘9 Ways You Can Use Funny Cat Videos to Shill More Crap!’. Buzzfeed are taking a cue from Google, Facebook et al and beginning to work directly with ad agencies to school them in the ways of making stuff that loads of people really like on the internet. Interestingly, all this education comes for ‘free’, but there’s an expected minimum ad spend from the agencies’ clients. There are many horrid things about this – not least the vision of a future in which everything is communicated to us in numerical list format (‘376 Policy Commitments That Mean You Should Vote UKIP!’, but also because of the increasingly blurred lines this is going to create between editorial and advertorial. Sigh.

Some Campaign-ish stuff:

  • Pistol Annies Album Launch CampaignI had, I must confess, no idea who Pistol Annies were before I read this – then I listened to their music and realised why that was (what can I say? Country doesn’t do it for me). In any case, their recent campaign to launch their new album was an incredibly involved multi-channel thing which rather impressed me not only with the scale of its execution. Would love, as ever, to know participation numbers (yes, yes, I know, ENGAGEMENTZZZZZZZZZZ). 
  • NYC Sex Ed AppThis is just a good idea, isn’t it? App available in New York, developed by its Health Department, which tells teenagers where they can get sexual health checks, where they can get free contraception, where clinics are, gives them advice and operates as a sort of Q&A service for teens to get information about sex and related issues. Slightly amazed that this appears to be being touted as a ‘first’. 
  • Coke StairsAnother week, another annoyingly clever thing from Coca Cola. This one’s resolutely un-digital, but I don’t care. Very clever little stunt (in Spain) to persuade people to do a little more exercise – so they can then go and drink even more fizzy brown sugar water, and no one has to feel bad about it at all! Actually, there’s also a rather nice website to accompany the campaign so it is a bit digital after all
  • Jobseekers In The WindowCampaign by a Danish marketing firm to help highlight issues of Danish unemployment (but, more accurately, to get shedloads of press for aforementioned marketing firm). Jobless people, pimping themselves out in the agency’s window in search of work. What’s beautiful / dreadful about this – to me at least – is the totally unwitting way that the article linked to makes the comparison with the shop windows of Amsterdam’s red light district. Nice!
It’s not Miranda Hart, it’s a picture by Flora Borsi

Last Saturday Was Comic Book Day! Listen To This DJ Food Mix To Celebrate.

Other Stuff Which May Or May Not Be Of Interest, Pt.1:

  • Insert Rude Noises Into Your WebsiteThis made me laugh far, far more than it had any right to do. From The Onion comes this little piece of code that, at a stroke, makes any website flatulent, producing rude noises whenever people scroll up or down the page a certain number of pixels. I make only one request in this week’s Curios – can this please, please find its way to some disgruntled web developer who’s on their last day at work? PLEASE. I want this hacked onto BP’s website (or, frankly, anyone’s – I’m not fussy) now. 
  • GeoGuessr: A Google Maps mashup which shows you a randomised (I think) view from StreetView and challenges you to guess where in the world you are by clicking on a world map. Really interesting, and a terrible timesink, this is simple, but cute – and surely something that a travel brand might want to co-opt as a nice timesink to chuck on its website, perhaps with a link to buy tickets to / hotels in locations that people see and find appealing? Go on, someone make it. 
  • EscherSketchA terrible, terrible comedy name for what is a rather nice drawing-and-tesselation tool. I think that if you are a halfway-decent artist and have a Wacom or similar you could actually make some quite cool stuff with this; I was barely able to work out where the points of symmetry are, so I’m probably not the best judge.
  • NASA Sending Haikus To MarsYes, that’s right. We’re taking people’s names and messages to Mars – messages in the form of 3-line poems. You know the drill with these sorts of things by now; people have until July 1st to submit their name and a haiku, then there will be a POPULAR VOTE to determine which three are put on the space capsule DVD thing (DVD? Really? How are we presuming the civilisation which discovers this incredible treasure will be able to play the thing?). I doubt NASA will be so stupid as to allow anything too ridiculous to have the possibility of acting as man’s poetic message to God’s creation, but you never know. Get writing. 
  • Chainmail ShoesThis is a degree of next-level masochism. They encourage you to run in these things, for God’s sakes. Crazy.
  • Sculptures Based on Found DNANext time you’re having a tab and you throw it carelessly to the floor before running back inside to the comforting warmth of the pub where passers-by don’t look at you as though you are solely responsible for all of the cancers in all of the world, be aware that you could be giving someone the opportunity to make a slightly creepy 3d-printed mask of your face. Heather Dewey-Hagborg, an artist from New York (where else?) takes fag butts, tissues, etc, found around the city, mines them for traces of DNA, and then makes sculptures of what the genetic material suggests the person who left the sample looks like. If you stop to think about this too hard you end up in a slightly scary Face-Off cul de sac of horror, which I don’t recommend.
  • Google TimelapseShould that be in the top section? Oh I don’t know, taxonomy is hard. Anyway, this is a collaboration between Google and Time Magazine, showing changes in the world’s urban centres, coastlines, etc, over the course of the past 25 years. As you would imagine, there’s a common ‘dear God, we’re absolutely ruining EVERYTHING aren’t we?’ undercurrent running through much of it. The site’s rather nicely put together, though, so that’s sort of ok then.
  • Ryan Gosling Refuses CerealMy favourite piece of pointless creativity of the week, and a rather nice use of Vine. Expect to see this joke being flogged to death until we’re making stock with its bones in a week or so’s time.
  • Ming MeccaI’m going to confess to not really understanding this 100%. I think, from what I can tell, it’s a modular videogame creation system based on the sort of analogue technology used in old audio equipment. This basically allows you to ‘mix’ games, live. I think, to create glitchy artstuffs. I really don’t know what’s going on, although if I’m broadly right about that there’s some quite nice things that you could do in terms of live 8-bit visuals in clubs, etc. Can someone more technically minded than me please explain, please? Thanks. 
  • Barbie JewelleryEver wondered what happens to abandoned Barbies? That’s right! They get cut up and turned into hugely creepy jewellery, that’s what.
  • CoupledA cute series of design-y posters, depicting the occasionally complex relationships between objects. Some funny, some sad, JUST LIKE LIFE (/profundity). 
  • The HedonometerI’ve long held the opinion that sentiment analysis tools are a load of bunkum (unless you’re, I don’t know, Goldman Sachs and have some sort of military-grade computing power behind market analysis and prediction, in which case I imagine you’re slightly better than Radian6), but this is still interesting. The Hedonometer is a project which analyses (some of) the English language conversation on Twitter to come up with an overall happy/sad rating for the day. Take a look – interesting correlations and data. 
  • Colour Signatures of NovelsI have no idea what these are derived from (it says ‘the visual content of the novels’, but that leaves me none the wiser I must confess), but they look rather cool.
  • The Beauty Face Sag Skin StretcherHowever awful that description sounds, the reality is far odder. Oh, Japan!
Couple Embracing, by Egon Schiele

Other Stuff Which May Or May Not Be Of Interest, Pt.2:

  • DipjarA really clever solution to simplify giving tips in the age of cards, etc. Probably more use in the US given our total failure to understand tipping culture in the UK, but very smart nonetheless.
  • Outsourcing Your Online DatingPossibly the most first world job advert you’re ever likely to see.
  • Heroic Words of WisdomQuotes from Superheroes, turned into motivational-type posters. Some of you will like these, some of you will feel sick to the very pit of your stomach at the idea of grown adults taking inspiration from the fictional words of men and women in tight-fitting spandex. Truly, we are a varied and multifaceted species.
  • The Last WebsiteThis is, apparently, ‘a new kind of immersive literature, combining aural, visual and linguistic storytelling’. Chuck in your headphones and have a go – it takes 15 minutes, tops, and it’s very nicely made – and the music is, in parts, beautiful. 
  • FeedBuzzIt’s like BuzzFeed, but DIFFERENT! Obviously a parody site, but I properly laughed out loud at around 60% of the stuff on here, which is a pretty decent hit rate. Mostly better than the real thing.
  • Photographs of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake FestivalIf you’re scared of snakes, and blood, you probably won’t like these pictures a whole lot. Shame, though, as they’re excellent. By photographer David Kasnic, the piece also includes a selection of photos from another project of his called On The Cusp, documenting wasted teens across America. Good stuff, these. 
  • A Collection of Vintage Dutch Safety PostersMy Dutch is ‘limited’, so I have no idea what these are warning against – nonetheless, they are properly threatening.
  • SpaceWarpsWant to help scentists find cool stuff in space, from the comfort of your own laptop/tablet/whatever? Of course you do! SpaceWarps is a project by Zooniverse, an agglomeration of ‘citizen science’ projects, which asks people to look through pictures trying to spot massive galaxies which are warping space and time. Which, be honest, is about 348x more important / impressive than what most of us get paid to do for a living.
  • Exquisite Corpse Film Project: I love this idea, and want to see the film. Five comedy writers each write 15 pages of a film, having only read the final five pages of the preceding writers’ work. They made a film out of it, and it premiered last month – here’s a sort-of-review
  • TextastropheTaking a liberal dose of inspiration from the now-legendary David Thorne’s trolling of the world, this person does much the same thing via text with blameless tradesmen who leave their mobile numbers on flyers. Obviously he is massively wasting people’s time, but the results are occasionally guffaw-inducingly good. 
  • Betteridge’s Law – NO!I confess to not having heard of this before this week. In any case, Betteridge’s law states, roughly, that when a headline asks a question, the answer to that question is invariably a resounding ‘no’. This website proves that, repeatedly, and also highlights an irritating and increasingly prevalent lazy linkbait technique. 
  • Make Google Streetview AnimationsSimple, quick, impressive – a really nice little tool, which makes outputs similar to that music video I posted last week WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN’T WATCH IT I HATE YOU. 

The (Flea) Circus of Tumblrs (that’s meant to be a funny reference to the fact that there weren’t very many this week, but it doesn’t really work):

  • Worst Rooms in NYC: You think we have it bad in London? I am very glad that I don’t need to rent in New York.
  • InternshitInterns post their experiences of what it’s like to be underneath the bottom of the pile, professionally.
  • Beyonce Art HistoryArt world classics, improved with the addition of lyrics by everyone’s favourite image control freak. 
  • The Bluth CompanyArrested Development fan Tumblr. If you haven’t ever seen it, correct that fact. It really is very good. Even if my friend Mo thinks “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is better (she is wrong about this). 
  • That’s it. Tumblr is officially OVER. 


  • OverdoseVery trippy series of drug-themed minigames. fun, but really don’t play this if you’re at all epileptic.
  • BrokedownAnother week, another piece of interactive fiction. This one’s got a simple but clever mechanic, where you can dial the purpleness of the prose up or down at will by using the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ icons. 
  • Gods Will Be WatchingA point-and-click survival adventure thing, which challenges you to keep the crew of a crashed spaceship alive for 40 days and 40 nights. Minimalist (as befits an entrant in this year’s Ludum Dare), atmospheric and really quite sad, it’s worth a bit of your time.
  • Watergate: Yep, that’s right, you get to play through Watergate. More fun than it sounds, though you will want to turn off the music unless you’re some sort of tone deaf masochist.
The Street by Dan Luvisi

Long Articles Which Are Admittedly Long But Worth The Time, Honest:

  • The Truth About FlappersWith it now impossible to breathe without inhaling a huge stinking cloud of hype around the may-be-not-as-bad-as-expected Luhrmann adaptation of the Fitzgerald classic, this piece looks at the truth about the flapper movement, which is infinitely more interesting and politically significant than a few dozen articles about beaded dresses and gimlet cocktails could ever suggest. Good history, this one. 
  • Brad Frost on BullshitNot a long read so much as a long watch, this is a 20-minute presentation by Brad Frost on the subject of noise – or, as he terms it more colloquially, ‘bullshit’. Very much worth watching, not solely because of the content but also because of Frost’s engaging presentation style – you can see the slides here if you’d rather go through it at your own pace, but they lose something without the audio.
  • Hunter S Thompson on the Kentucky Derby – AnnotatedThis is why the internet is great. Thompson’s riotous story about him covering the Kentucky Derby (as with much of Thompson’s writing, it’s less about the event than the weirdness of the collision between him and the event), which first ushered in his career-long collaboration with Ralph Steadman, with added annotations and historical / contextual detail. If you only read one of these things, read this – man was an incredible writer. 
  • What It’s Like Being A Startup Person In The ValleyA great NYT piece profiling some of the young men and women pitching theoretical billion-dollar businesses to the business angels and VCs on the West Coast. It’s mental – and worth a read not only if you care about tech, but just as an illustration of the weird economic world these businesses inhabit, and what that means for our concepts of ‘value’ and ‘worth’ and other such abstract values. 
  • Nautilus MagazineIf you like science and stuff, this is your new favourite online magazine. Just launched, but full of quality writing about a wide range of topics around popular science – can we have more magazines like this, please, with proper longform writing and nary a list or piece of linkbait in sight? What? No one else wants that? Well screw all of you, in that case. 
  • What The People You Went To School With Are Doing NowA look at all the stereotypes who you shared your school days and what they are probably doing now. A better piece of writing than it probably has any right to be from VICE. 
  • Raymond The DC JunkieA couple of nights ago John Stanton started tweeting his reminiscences of DC, from the days when the city was PROPERLY tough. His tale of Raymond the junkie is captivating – not just because of the story, but the way it’s told through Twitter. An object lesson in how to tell tales in short-form bursts. 
  • What It’s Like To Be A Cyborg: Google Glass? PAH! You want to take a look at this bloke who’s basically put chips in his head to cure his congenital inability to distinguish colour. It’s amazing – particular when he starts talking about the jack he’s going to have put in the back of his head to allow himself to swap implants in and out (HOW GIBSON-ESQUE). BONUS LONGREAD – this man’s been wearing homemade Google Glass for years. In your face, global technology giant. 
  • Jeff Koons and his ArtKoons is a proper oddity, even by the famously odd standards of the international high art scene. This profile of him is simultaneously quite revealing and all surface – he’s rather Gilbert & George-esque, in that it’s very hard to divorce the persona from the artworks and vice versa. It did remind me of the atrocious output of his ill-fated marriage to Ilona Staller, though (you may be more familiar with her nom d’arte). 
  • The Dildo FactoryI don’t normally link to Buzzfeed because, well, it’s not like they need the traffic and they never link to me, the sods, but this is interesting not only due to the subject matter, though (no really, it is) but also the photography (some great shots in here). Moderately NSFW, depending on your employer’s tolerance for large latex penises.
  • Constant Dullaart, Internet ArtistA fascinating profile of the fabulously named Mr Dullaart and his thoughts on the interface between programming, the web and art.
  • On Depression: Hyperbole and a Half is an incredibly successful blog (Oatmeal-ish in style), whose author has recently returned to it after severe depression. This is her blog about how she felt. It’s very good indeed, although obviously not always the cheeriest thing you will ever read (convention dictates I say something like ‘Warning: Triggers’ at this point).

Part of the Screen Lovers series, by Eli Craven


NB – I really wanted to include the Flaming Lips’ promo for You Lust on here this week, but it doesn’t appear to be freely available to embed. You can watch it here, if you want – there is a LOT of nudity, be warned, but it’s very (almost creepily) non-sexual

1) Segueing seamlessly from the Hyperbole and a Half post above, this is a video to accompany an edited version of Web Curios’ perennial obsession David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to university students in 2005 (you can read the whole thing here). You may have seen this already (2.5million people already have) but if not it really is worth taking the 10 minutes it takes to see the whole thing, I promise:

2) By way of light relief, have this – Maker vs Marker, as one man’s hand fights his drawings in a StreetFighter-inspired animated short of quite astonishing technical accomplishment. You may have seen stuff like this before, but this one’s particularly strong:

3) This is so, so impressive (if very short). Just everything about it – the colours, the CGI, the weirdness – is spot on. Sadly I have just found out that it was commissioned by Adobe to promote its new thingy (BRANDS AS PATRONS, KIDS!), but no matter – it’s still good work, and credit to everyone who worked on it. Vein with ‘Magma’:

4) I’m a sucker for videos that use hands in creative ways (remember this one?), and this combines a great song (which for reasons unknown reminds me both of Hot Chip and White Town) with hands and cut-out stuff to (I think) great effect. Riva Starr with Absence:

5) I’ll be honest, I don’t really like the song and I think the artist and the people who made the video are posturing idiots who would last all of 5 minutes in the sort of warzone they’re so glibly depicting. That said, MAN’S RIDING AN ALLIGATOR!!!!:

6) Hipster hiphop! Well, yes, but this is in here because I think it’s a legitimately good song, it’s short, and I find the artist quite endearing – she seems to be enjoying herself in the video, which I like. So there. It’s MY BLOG (well, Imperica’s actually, but you get my gist). Randa, with ‘Orange Juice’:

7) The people who made this video are going to hell, as may well I be for posting it. It’s called ‘Jesus, He’s Alright’ and it imagines the Son of Man as a fratboy. Blame the band, Team Spirit, not me. SORRY JESUS:

8) The context to this escapes me. All I know is that it’s Japanese (I think), that the soundtrack is wonderful and jazzish and cool, and the animation is brilliantly surreal in a cute, endearing way. It’s called ‘We Should Make Strange Things’:

9) Finally this week, we have the OH SO CONTROVERSIAL video for Indochine’s latest single ‘College Boy’. It’s about bullying, and I will warn you now that it does not have a happy ending. HAVE FUN KIDS!!!!:

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Webcurios 03/05/13

Reading Time: 18 minutes

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Jazz Nursery. Great Suffolk Street, SE1
Garudio Studiage, Photo of the week

You now how ordinarily I write some stuff here about the last week, what I’ve done, etc etc etc? This week I have NOTHING. Literally nothing. Too much work, too little sleep (self-inflicted), and a general sense of mild annoyance at the whole UKIP thing that we’ve worken up to today means that you can get straight to the GOOD stuff (ie the stuff that doesn’t really have anything to do with me. Go on, be grateful. YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE AND ENJOY THE BANK HOLIDAY UNTIL YOU’VE READ EVERYTHING (that’s not true, I promise). 

Have a lovely 3 day weekend, webmongs, particularly those of you heading to this on Sunday. ENJOY YOURSELVES!


Image by Remi Rebillard



  • I promise that I am going to stop including the Google Glass stuff soon – it’s just that the novelty hasn’t quite worn off yet, and I am still fascinated by the sheer scifi oddness of the whole project and the circus that surrounds it. Anyway, this week the first in-depth user reviews started coming in suggesting, shock horror, that the semi-prototype technology isn’t ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. There was quite a lot of dismissive “Well, it’s obviously RUBBISH then” muttering on the internet around this, which is what the internet is wont to do – I won’t labour the point, but there’s something quite dreadfully wonderful about a collective, entitled, sigh of dismay from the Western middle class at the fact that the first iteration of their space age face-wearable-computer-visor-thing isn’t ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. Jesus Christ, what do you people WANT? Anyway, here’s professional technology fetishist Robert Scoble writing about how he will NEVER TAKE THEM OFF, here’s some stuff about people tweeting through their glasses (a phrase that sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud – try it in your head) – and here’s a very angry piece about the whole thing, which may get your blood running with righteous ire.
  • Google+ Overtaking Twitter: Or at least that’s what the numbers apparently say, and who are we to disregard the numbers? Noone. OBEY THE DATA. I don’t doubt that lots of people have an account to G+, but I’d also hazard a guess that lots of people doing so may not really know or remember – not, I suppose, that that matters if you’re Google and you’re still in the process of trying to stitch the internet together using a thread made of your own sinew (unpleasant, but I’m in a hurry here). But seriously, WHO IS USING THIS REGULARLY? Really, I am intrigued, I want to know. I know it’s photographers and techy people, but beyond that? I would love to see the venn diagram of, say, Mail Online readership and G+ use. 


  • Everyone’s Leaving!It’s over, go home. All you Facebook community management specialists, start packing your bags – NOONE CARES ABOUT THE FUNNY ANIMALS IN HATS ANY MORE. Let’s all go and try and sell people stuff on G+ instead. Obviously this is hyperbolic rubbish which was massively overplayed this week – if you’re interested in making money and owning all of the data, which Facebook is, it’s more important to have LOADS of people using a service than it is to be cool-yet-empty.  
  • But Facebook Is Still Incredibly Rich!:…which is basically what this article says. Go on, read a PROPER newspaper validating my point of view.
  • Another Week, Another Advertising ProductBlah blah promoted Like worldwide rollout blah blah. 
  • Facebook Studio Award WinnersA collection of award-winning pieces of brand work on Facebook. Worth a look for ‘inspiration’, and so that you can scroll through sneeringly saying ‘mediocre, mediocre, rubbish, dull, pedestrian’ whilst secretly being bitter than you have never won any professional awards, ever, JUST LIKE ME!


  • A Decent Look at Twitter’s Ad OfferingA look at developments in Twitter’s advertising, with particularly interesting stuff about keyword-based advertising, and a glimpse into a terrifying future where EVERYTHING YOU SAY OR THINK is used to serve you contextually appropriate advertising.  
  • RetwactIt’s always good to know that the internet LISTENS to me. Not a week since I DEMANDED (well, linked to an article demanding, but you know what I mean) a service allowing people to make post-publication edits to tweets then here one is. It does have the admittedly appalling name of Retwact, which is almost unforgivable, but I can overlook that because it’s actually a very good idea. This might be to go back through your timeline and amend anything incriminating / offence – I’m sure that the hasty addition of the suffix ‘JKG!’ will suffice.

Foursquare Is About To Turn Your Whole Life Into Advertising DataIn similar fashion to the Twitter stuff above, this is Foursquare’s latest attempt to make a success of itself (I say that relatively – obviously 4sq is more successful than, say, me, but it’s certainly never come close to troubling the mainstream) and make all of the money in all the world by selling advertisers the opportunity to offer you discount paracetamol the night after you checked into 5 bars in a row. Or something like that – just use your imagination, it’s not hard.

Instagram Now Lets You Tag People, Brands, etcYou know how much you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to tag that can of Coke Zero in your painstakingly multi-filtered collection of moody urban realitysnaps? YEAH! Well now you can. Lucky you. I look forward next week to bringing you the first wave of poorly-conceived-but-it-doesn’t-matter-because-FIRST! brand-led competitions which force users to tag brands in all sorts of CRAZY or CREATIVE pictures in exchange for the right to…er…becoming a cheap advertising drone for a major multinational corporation. It will be great.

On ‘The Internet of Things’ and SearchA hugely interesting piece about what the future of search might be like when you can look for individual things on the internet. Which, it turns out, you sort of can thanks to incredibly techy and not insignificantly Gibsonian search engine Shodan. Take a look, have a think about what it could potentially do, and then slip into a reverie in which you’re imagining the plot of every single variant on a spy/terrorism thriller for the next decade or so: “Mr President! They’ve hacked the Hoover Dam! It’s going to open in 10 MINUTES!”. Thanks, Hollywood, you’re welcome.

Campaigns Of Note (or, more accurately, that I have seen):

  • The Best Marketing/Advertising/Whateverthisiscallednow Video Of The WeekSanremo is not only Italy’s PREMIER song contest; it’s also, it seems, a brand of industrial espresso machine. This video isn’t anything hugely original – song made from various machine noises – but it is really nicely executed and a bit more lively than these things usually are. 
  • The Buddy CupYou’ve probably seen this already as Rich Leigh posted it earlier in the week, damn his eyes, but if not it’s a cute thing from Budweiser in Brazil – cups with embedded NFC chips which, when ‘cheers-ed’ (Dear God, what is the word for the act of banging two cups together in convivial fashion?), causes the two people toasting (THAT’S IT) to become Facebook friends. Notable not just from a tech point of view, but also because last I heard you weren’t allowed to do this sort of thing as part of Facebook’s T&Cs. Not that it matters if you are Budweiser and spend $25million+ on advertising with FB a year, of course. IT’S ONE RULE FOR THEM, etc etc.
  • Coke Happiness Project AGAINI know, I know. But again, it’s a nice mix of emotion and cute and happy and tech. This is another audiomashupy thing, in which a Japanese DJ goes round Tokyo recording the sounds of the city in a special coke bottle and then mixes them to suitably pleasing effect. Not included so much for technical brilliance as for its excellence in evoking the whole ‘happiness’ thing. Damn them.
  • The HemingwayJacker: This is a Facebook thingy produced by the Hemingway Foundation – a museum in the US dedicated, unsurprisingly, to Facebook. This allows you to donate your Status Updates to the programme, which turns you into ‘Hemingway’ for a bit. Interesting more in concept than execution; there is quite an interesting idea in here somewhere, though, about creating something like this with multiple fictitious personalities, all with a prescripted narrative which interlocks and interconnects in seemingly reactive fashion – it would be rather fun for, say, 5 people to donate their Facebook Updates for a week to something that is in effect puppeteering them through a soap opera whilst their friends look on unknowing. Did that make sense? Oh, sod it.
  • Most Incredibly Expensive Marketing Thing I Have Seen In AgesActually maybe it’s not THAT expensive, but it certainly looks like it might have been. To promote something about mobile working through Office, Microsoft included MINIATURE WIFI HOTSPOTS in copies of Forbes Magazine. Yes, that’s right, THEY PUT THE INTERNET IN A MAGAZINE. Amazing.
  • The Benefit ExperienceFinally for this section, a brilliant video. Benefit is apparently a cosmetics brand (I am not target audience). They decided, as is now de rigour for brands who want to do ‘content marketing’ and ‘make a viral’, that they were going to do something to ‘surprise and delight’ random passers-by, liberally inspired by that bloody ‘Push Button To Add Drama‘ thing, and the Skyfall Coke thing. Cue pink phonebooth, members of the public, and an impromptu makeover followed by…erm. well, followed by the frankly horrific prospect of being forced up on stage to sing in front of a bunch of students who’ve been roped in by the events company for the day to comprise an ‘audience’ and are probably bored and baying for blood. The brilliant thing about this is the many moments in the video when the ‘lucky’ punters look simply TERRIFIED by the prospect, and you can see the organisers’ panic flaring behind their irises as they desperately smile and mug whilst attempting to mask everyone’s sense of slight unease about the whole project. Brilliant.
This is from that Open Switzerland thing which I mention down there

MUSIC! Why not listen to this rather brilliant mashupmixthing, pointed out to me by Joel Golby on Twitter? Or maybe this one?

A Miscellany of Interesting Things, pt.1:

  • Jess & Russ Get MarriedOr, in fact, got married. In any case, this website which they built for their wedding and which tells the story of their relationship, is (despite my general lack of sentimentality) really very sweet and heartwarming and (from a geeky perspective) very nicely built indeed. I have no idea who Jess & Russ are, but I hope they are very happy.
  • KillswitchOf course, statistically speaking it’s more likely that Jess & Russ will end up locked in the throes of an acrimonious divorce which will sap both their will to live and their bank balances, leaving them drained of energy and emotion until they’re inert and loveless. At that point, they could do worse than check out Kill List, an app which removes ‘every trace’ of your ex from your Facebook Page. Likes, pictures, comments, etc – all gone. This is sure to be bought / replicated by a brand soon, no?
  • Sound Art in NYC: Opening this week at NYC’s New Museum, Streetscape Symphony is an ambitious project which looks to create an audiovisual portrait of each of New York’s 5 Boroughs within the gallery space. Combining cutting-edge technology with the ideology of the ‘found sounds’ aesthetic, the show will allow visitors to experience the wonderful, overwhelming, baffling and often profane sounds of New York. I would like a London one, please. 
  • The Colors News MachineColors is a brilliant magazine. Brainchild of famed(then)  Benetton creative Oliviero Toscani, the ‘magazine about the rest of the world’ tackles a different theme in every issue, and comprises some of the best photojournalism and intelligent writing you will read. The magazine’s latest issue looks at ‘Making the News’ – and to launch it, Colors created the News Machine and put it on display at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. The machine looks at the manner in which information is filtered, reinterpreted and distorted by multiple channels of dissemination.
  • There Once Was a ‘Like’ Button for RadioWell, sort of. This was an invention from the 1930s called the ‘Radiovoter’, which was designed to gather binary feedback from listeners to questions. The inventor imagined its eventual use as part of participatory democracy, envisioning a terrifying future in which listeners to the radio were asked to vote on questions like (actual cited example) ‘Should we go to war?’. Incredible,
  • BDSM Accessories for GeeksThere’s a lot of truly odd stuff on Etsy, not least this collection of sci-fi themed paddles, whips and the like. I always thought there was something a bit…well…silly about certain aspects of BDSM; how anyone is supposed to administer corporal punishment with a paddle shaped like an NES controller and maintain a semblance of authority is beyond me, but then what do I know?
  • iFont MakerAn app which lets you use your iPad to draw fonts. Simple as that, but I imagine it might be quite nice to make your own personal typeface.
  • RetrovectorSlightly related to the above (but only very slightly), Retrovector is a potentially useful site which contains a whole load of free – and seemingly not dreadful – graphic elements for designers to use as they see fit? Are you a designer? ARE YOU? Well go on then.
  • CrapchaPointless, irritating and strangely satisfying – Crapcha is a fake Captcha service which allows you embed an impossible – and non-working – ‘prove you are human’ task on any website. Someone somewhere in control of a company intranet can have a whole Friday afternoon of fun with this – come on, you know you want to. 
  • Futurology from 1982There’s so much of this starting to be unearthed at the moment – this is at least the third of these sorts of things I’ve seen in the past month. This time it’s the New York Times, reporting on research by the National Science Foundation with the rather wonderful headline ‘Study Says Technology Could Transform Society’. Could. Love that. Anyway, it’s pretty much bang on – and even picks up the privacy thing which we then promptly went and forgot about until about 2 years ago.
  • Iconic Photos: I generally tend to hate the term ‘iconic’ in terms of photography (a legacy of working around – otherwise lovely – people in sports marketing whose response to EVERY SINGLE BRIEF was to say ‘iconic photography’ until their heads span round and round like that kid from The Exorcist), but I will make a exception for this site as a) the photos really are very good indeed; and b) they bother to explain why said photographs are iconic, and provide a degree of context that you don’t always get. Instructive. 
  • Wearable Foods: Yeonju Sung is a Korean artist who makes clothes out of food (or who makes clothes that look like they are made out of foodstuffs). If this hasn’t already been used in an ad campaign / promo photoshoot then it will be imminently.
Image by Kevan Davis

A Miscellany of Interesting Things, pt.2:

  • Behind The Scenes on The Empire Strikes BackThese are really rather nice, whether or not you are a Star Wars fan / obsessive. Note, by the way, how Carrie Fisher flirts with Anthony Daniels and in fact pretty much everyone on set.  
  • Walmart PaintingsBrendan O’Connell paints pictures of scenes from the inside of Wal-Mart. They’re oddly affecting. Part of me quite likes the idea of supermarkets having artists in residence, and part of me thinks that it would end up being used for crappy PR. Mind you, the sort of hallucinogenic stuff you might get someone to pump out after spending 24h straight in the giant Tesco’s in Slough (a building so large that walking past it is a bit like that moment in sci-fi films where the camera pans past the spaceship and it just keeps on going) could be quite interesting. Tesco’s PRs – that’ll be £10 please. 
  • Black Playing CardsI know that thinking that anything in black is ‘cool’ is horrendously teenage, but nonetheless I do think these playing cards are rather good. Anyone wanting to buy me a set is most welcome; thanks.
  • Fighting Game Backgrounds: A collection of animated gifs of backgrounds from fighting games of the 90s and early 2000s. I’m sure that this might be useful to someone out there, though I’m baffled as to how or why.
  • HuffPo SpoilersA Twitter account which links to RTs the Huffington Post and explains what is hiding behind such click-tempting headlines as “Which Marvel Movie has the most Oscar-friendly cast?”. Can someone do this for the Mail, please, in such a way that it shares links to Mail stories and tells people exactly what they are supposed to be angry about in each case, or perhaps which group of people the paper is decrying in each article? Thanks.
  • If You Were To Make Kaledoscopic Animations From Pictures Of Popes They Would Be Called KALEIDOPOPES!
  • Short Films By Louis CKBefore Louis CK became arguably the best US standup of the decade (arguably – Dave Chapelle might have one or two things to say about that) he was, it transpires, making these odd, arty shorts. Very New York, not very much like what he’s doing now, certainly interesting.
  • The Wipe ShirtThis is such good design. Quite want one of these too. 
  • Musicians’ Riders, PhotographedThe food and drink requested backstage by gigging musicians, as photographed for VICE. The Foo Fighters one made me laugh.
  • A Comic About 1950s HipstersThis is a BRILLIANT slice of the past. A comic strip from ’57 which tells the story of some hipsters starting a club, and the ghosts that try and stop them (bear with me). It’s incredible on many levels, but mainly because of the incredible language. If you can start sprinkling your day-to-day diction with gems from this, you will earn the respect and admiration of your friends and peers – FACT.
  • Open SwitzerlandA project by a Swiss design agency looking at notions of Swiss identity and inviting people to make posters which explore the Swiss idea of nationhood, etc. There are some great examples in there. 
  • ReductressA new(?) site doing for the women’s magazine industry what The Onion purports to do for news. It seems well-written and funny, though I do wonder how may gags you can get out of an industry that seems to repeat itself on a 3-monthly cycle (although regular readers will by now have worked out that I am not a satirist and therefore know not whereof I speak). 
  • Inside One Very Creative Man’s BrainGlitch was a cute-but-ultimately unsuccessful browser-based multiplayer game which shut down last year.  These are a selection of the random ideas which Keita Takahashi cane up with during the game’s development, and is a fairly unique insight into the brain of a very creative individual indeed. 

Videos Which For A Variety Of Reasons I Am Not Embedding Below:

  • Lego Breaking Bad VideogameI have never played one of the LEGO videogames. I have never watched an episode of Breaking Bad, though I feel as though I have what with everyone incessantly telling me that it is the best thing ever and the internet falling over itself to hamfistedly try and meld it with every other element of popular web culture ever. That said, this is EXCELLENT and makes me really want to play this game. 
  • Two ChipsAdam Patch is an animator whose wife came home drunk one evening and wanted to tell him a joke. He recorded the audio and made this lovely animation to accompany it. Makes drunk people telling jokes seem cute rather than unspeakably irritating, which is nice. 
  • Teddy Has An OperationYou’re probably one of the several million people who have seen this by now, but in case not then have a slice of odd from Ze Frank. It’s creepy in a way that doesn’t really hit you until a little while after you’ve finished watching it. 
  • Pacific Rim TrailerI don’t normally post film trailers, but this one is mental. Also, as a little kid I always used to watch Japanese giant robot cartoons when I went on holiday to Italy (there are maybe 3 people that are likely to read this and appreciate the link which is hyperlinked right here) and this takes me right back to that in a pleasingly nostalgic, near-ASMR way. 
  • The Magic BoxThis short film has a lot of the John Lewis advert about it. It may make you cry, and then you will probably feel bad that you’re so easily manipulated. 
  • Home-Made Machine to Steal From Vending MachinesThis is brilliant – a French kid made himself a great robotic contraption to thieve cans from vending machines (OBVIOUSLY stealing is wrong. Obviously).
  • Awesome Japanese Toy Drone ThingThe protective cage thing is brilliant. Christmas 2013?
  • Dear God, These SHOESWow.
Image by Paul Ruigrok van der Werven

The Circus of Tumblrs:

  • Eat Shit Winnie Cooper: One woman’s irritation with the ‘Wonder Years’ actress, who unaccountably crops up twice in one Curios this week (foreshadowing). 
  • The White HouseCould any other world leader get away with (or actually have some rationale for having) a Tumblr? I can’t see it, somehow. They really are very good a this stuff, damn them (or is it more that this stuff is good for them as a result of Barack’s popular perception as being a touch more down with the kids than your average President? Hmmm?)
  • Gitmo BooksBooks (and occasional other things) available from the library at Guantanamo Bay. There are, I am sure, people who will point to this as evidence that it can’t be that bad. 
  • Berlin UndergroundOne of those odd, obsessive projects that ends up being weirdly charming, this Tumblr takes photos of all the subway stations in Berlin, one line at a time.
  • CosmarxpolitanAgain, this one’s been everywhere this week. Mixing Karl’s politics with the breathless style of everyone’s favourite insecurity bible. 
  • Shorties In AdidasI don’t think I’ve ever typed that word before, and I’m not sure I ever will again; nonetheless, a Tumblr of pretty women wearing Adidas clothes, just because.
  • Jesus Christ Silicon ValleyI linked to this all the way up *there*, but it’s worth mentioning again – this is deliciously angry about all aspects of tech/startup pretension. Real coruscating rage here, which is very enjoyable. 
  • GTAV Trailer CommentsThe latest trailers for Rockstar’s imminent videogame behemoth came out this week. This collects some of the more baffling / depressing YouTube comments from the dark places below the line. 
  • Dogshit SelfieSelf-taken photographs which include defecating canines. Yes, that is a *thing*, it would seem.
  • White Men Wearing Google GlassPretty much exactly the sort of people that that Tumblr up there is railing against.
  • All Things Sloth: Lots and lots of sloth-based imagery.
  • Dick’s Doodles: My friend Sarah doodles on the tube, and posts them here. Spot yourself, and then pay her lots of cash for the drawing.

Games! Everyone Loves Games!

  • Ninja Slash: Like Temple Run, but on desktop. Fun.
  • Odd Japanese Keepy-Uppy Game Which I Don’t Really UnderstandBut it’s quite fun nonetheless.
  • DropNotch, the genius behind Minecraft, probably knocked this up in about 24h. It’s a minimalist typing game with an electro soundtrack and it is BRUTAL.
  • SacrilegeInteractive fiction about clubbing and sex and friendship and being on drugs and all sorts of other things. Really rather good, I thought. 

LONGSTUFF (A bumper crop this week, which if the weather is as nice as it is right now NONE of you will read):

  • I Love Winnie Cooper: I told you she’d be back. Lovely nostalgic piece looking back at The Wonder Years and not actually really about Winnie Cooper at all. (I just did an image search for Winnie Cooper and it was a bit odd)
  • On Having Your Photos Go ViralA really interesting article by a photographer whose photos of Amazon warehouses went everywhere on the internet. Contains good thinking on creativity, ownership, attribution and creation, and made me feel slightly bad about the fact that I never email the people whose photos I use on this blog (although I do name and credit and link). I will start next week, promise.
  • Amazing Facebook Data AnalysisThis is truly jawdropping. Stephen Wolfram of Wolfram Alpha fame has taken people’s Facebook data, gained through their participation in the Facebook Data Project, and has crunched it a bit. Just look at this – and this is SUCH a small sample, and doesn’t even begin to touch the tip of the smallest bit of the surface of everything that Facebook knows about people, their connections, their habits, their friendships, their use of language, their interpersonal interactions…JUST THINK ABOUT IT. It’s quite datawonky, but it really is worth looking at – not only for the data, which is interesting, but also because of the domino rally of ‘where will this end?’ thinkking which it will probably set off in your head. 
  • The Voynich ManuscriptThis is huge, but the tale of the Voynich Manuscript will appeal to anyone interested in cryptography, mystery, secrets and Da Vinci Code type stuff. It’s properly baffling, and makes me wish I was good at maths.
  • The Great Boards of Canada Music Mystery: Speaking of codes and mysteries (SEAMLESS!), this may be the start of some sort of ARG by the band Boards of Canada. Or they might just be throwing this out there to see exactly how far their obsessive fans will go to unearth CLUES. Who knows? Interesting stuff, though, and as ever the willingness of people online to go down rabbitholes is startling.
  • AMA With A Man Who Liberated DachauOr, more accurately, his grandson who was sitting with him at the time. Amazing, sad, and why the internet is remarkable.
  • Jason Collins on Coming OutYou probably saw the news about NBA star Jason Collins coming out this week, and stating that he wants to continue playing. The piece in Sports Illustrated which he used to announce his sexuality is a great interview and well worth a read.
  • The History of KidsAh, 1995. Were you horrified and appalled by the teenage behaviour exhibited in Harmony Korine’s ‘Kids’? Or were you a teenager yourself and wishing that your life was that gritty and exciting (but without the HIV)? Either way, this look back at the cast of the film, and the NYC skate culture which spawned them, is a great piece of writing and evokes an era before videogames made skateboarding cool again. 
  • In Which A New York Times Author Tries Being A HipsterMuch, much less sneery than you would thing, I promise, and comes out making you laugh and feel oddly hopeful.
  • A Year OfflinePaul Miller took a year off from the internet; this week, he came back. This is his piece about what it was like, and what he learned about himself along the way. If you believe that we would all just be happier if we stopped using the internet, this may not be the article you want to read.
  • Creepy Things Kids SayThanks to Josh, Alex and Dan for putting me onto this. CHILDREN ARE TERRIFYING (well, these ones are).
Image by Jens Ingvarsson



1) All that talk above about Facebook data leads nicely onto this first video, which is a beautiful little short which uses Google Autocomplete to poignant effect. This is our life, as Google sees it:

2) A man, dressed in weird papercraft drag and Sailor Moon costumes, dancing camply to ‘Do My Thing’ by Estelle and Janelle Monae. No idea why, but there’s something about this that makes me rather like the fellow:

3) Socially conscious hiphop alert! I featured an Akala freestyle on one of the FIRST EVER Web Curios back in the day, back when I had some semblance of editorial control and these things were 1/4 as long as they are now. Great times. Anyway, this is the man’s third go at Fire In The Booth, Charlie Sloth’s freestyle segment on his 1Xtra show, and it is BRILLIANT. Really worth properly listening to this:

4) Really nicely stitched walkthroughs of Google Maps using Streetview in this one – Strip Steve with ‘Hood’:

5) This is a Japanese animation about, I think, what it feels like to have a stutter. It actually becomes really quite hard to watch at the end – there’s a sense of frustration and yearning that’s really quite uncannily well-evoked. Also the art-style is awesome:

6) This reminds me of that advert for some camera firm from a few years back with frames becoming pictures and the whole thing zooming in and out of itself in a fashion that was both clever and massively disorienting – you know the one I mean? No? Oh. Anyway, this is all the more impressive for apparently involving no digital manipulation. Will make your head hurt, but in the best possible way:

7) I was in Mexico recently. This isn’t set in Mexico – it’s Bolivia, fact fans – but really makes me want to go back there. This is so beautifully shot, the song’s good and the video doesn’t quite go where you think it will. Landshapes with ‘In Limbo’:

8) Penultimately, this is a glorious song (I think) with an equally lovely video about an unlikely romance between two misfits. And some lovely dancing too. Everyone’s a winner! Young Galaxy with ‘Pretty Boy’:

9) Finally, we close out with this EPIC multiple-SpyvsSpy extravaganza from Vitalic. This is the very stylish promo for ‘Fade Away’. BYE!!!:

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.