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Webcurios 20/11/15

Reading Time: 33 minutes

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John Harwood, CC

Well that was vile, wasn’t it? Let’s accept that there’s little or nothing edifying I can say about Paris and associated issues and move on – except that I was watching Question Time last night and a few things struck me which I will share in passing:

  1. You know what? I don’t know enough about any of this to have a cast-iron position on airstrikes, the Middle East, Islam or any of the rest of it, and neither do you (unless you have access to Cabinet-level intelligence, perhaps,or your an expert in the millennial sh1tstorm that is the whole region). Just bear this in mind.

  2. There was someone, I forget who, on Question Time last night, who got annoyed with someone for ‘muddying the waters’ by bringing up the wider Middle East in the context of this. Leaving aside the bare-bones idiocy of that position, these are waters that are filthy with blood and oil and money; you can’t muddy them, because they are fcuking murky already.

  3. I read someone writing on Twitter somewhere that ‘this is weather now; you can’t stop weather, you just mitigate against it’. That struck me as depressingly accurate.

Anyway, noone needs or wants this, so by way of light relief let me share with you a brief vignette from my life last weekend which may amuse.

Odd, eh? I mean, I’m not into spanking (too much information, I know, but I feel it’s important to clarify these things at the outset), but it’s sort of curious, right? Even curioser – on the reverse were the name and bank details of one Ishmael Skyes, who I obviously Googled later that evening when drunk and discovered was the doyenne and coordinator of a certain London spanking and CP (Corporal Punishment, apparently, with a tendency towards school uniforms and very British discipline) community, which was holding a spanking party in South London that very Sunday, tickets to which were £20. Not only this, but the party was being held under the aegis of a certain insitution, active since the mid-80s, specialising in this sort of school-themed fetishism. The institution’s name?

The Muir Academy

You know when sometimes it just feels like the universe is speaking to you? I mean WHAT ARE THE CHANCES that I would find a flyer on the tube for some weird S&M fetish club based around a school of punishment and domination bearing my actual name? I have been properly weirded out by this all week, and have avoided speaking to my Dad in case there’s some sort of dark family history I’ve never been told about. Christ knows what the universe is saying, in any case. It’s probably telling me I need punishing, which is pretty accurate as it happens.

Anyway, that was something non-atrocity related which happened this week, and which I hope has somewhat lightened your mood in what has been, in no uncertain terms, a pig of a week. Without any further ado, let’s plunge headlong into the lost property cupboard of the internet – remember, you’re going to have to put SOMETHING on or you’re doing games in your pants. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

By Alex Malikov



  • Google Plus, Redux!: Just when you thought it was totally dead, Goog…no, let’s be honest, it’s still dead, isn’t it? I mean, maybe not dead dead, but certainly dead enough that if you’re one of the poor sods who does ‘persuading people to buy stuff via the medium of the web’ it’s still going to be pretty low down your list of priorities. Anyway, this week Google RELAUNCHED (sort of) Google+, with a renewed focus on COMMUNITIES and COLLECTIONS (photos, basically), which is basically how the few people (OK, OK, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS) who use it have decided it should be used. Which means, in the main, that it’s still of little or no import to most of you; that said, from the point of view of due diligence it makes sense to check it out to see if there’s anyone waxing lyrical about the joys of biscuits or whatever it is you’re shilling – who knows, you may be able to get some cut-price INFLUENCER MARKETING out of it. Here’s a slightly less glibly reductionist view of the whole thing, should you want one
  • Facebook Launches New Tools for Non-Profits: Well this is a generally good thing. Being tested with large partners only at the moment, but one would imagine rolling out to all companies with verified not-for-profit status in the not-too-distant future, this is basically a big ‘DONATE NOW’ button for Pages and Posts, allowing users to do one-click giving within Facebook – and, not-coincidentally I’m sure, allowing not-for-profits to buy ‘DONATE NOW’ ads with really good analytics and targeting. Twitter’s been talking about doing this for 5 years with no sign of it actually happening. Bloody hell, Twitter. FYI, if you’re a non-profit and want to hack this sort of stuff across social platforms RIGHT NOW, you could do worse than try Hashtag Pay, which cobbles together something from the PayPal API to much the same effect.
  • Paid Stickers On Facebook Messenger: Notable only for the fact that this is almost certainly the start of an era in which any brand will soon be able to knock up its own shoddy promo stickers and flog them to idiots on the platform. It’s STRATEGY-writing / predictions season, so why not throw this into your suggestions mix? Oh, yes, because it’s STUPID. 
  • Facebook Testing Profile Search: Not really notable for brands in any way I can immediately discern, but still – Facebook’s apparently testing the ability for users to search for stuff on another user’s profile Page – meaning that if you’re SURE that someone you know wrote something 5 years ago which you can use to brand them a HYPOCRITE for something they are saying now, you will eventually be able to track it down. GREAT! To be honest there probably are some slightly rubbish community management things there…oooh, hang on, depending on exactly how it works there may then be the opportunity to run scripted searches for keywords across, say, the profiles of all the fans of a brand’s page to search for SUPERENDORSERS or somesuch. Who knows? I don’t, so I’ll stop speculating. 
  • The Facebook Breakup Settings Thing: Coming this weekend to a Sunday supplement near YOU: a series of articles designed to leaven the unremitting horror of world news by taking a SIDEWAYS LOOK at the quirky, kooky world of modern dating mores, inspired by this latest announcement from Facebook which says it will now give you options to limit the amount of stuff you see from someone who you’ve recently split up with (based on you or they changing their relationship status). It’ll let you choose to see fewer of their updates, photos, etc – all stuff you can already do on the platform, but designed for idiots who don’t understand how all this stuff works already. Actually, in fairness, what this seems to show is Facebook sort of admitting that noone really understands how current filtering on the platform works, so I take back the ‘idiots’ thing (just). No implications for brands that I can think of, probably. Maybe you can? Don’t tell me, please. 
  • Instagram Cuts Its API Access: As someone explained to me earlier this week, this is basically what Twitter did when it blocked third party apps from displaying Tweets (apart from the ones it approved); the idea being that it will weed out shonky, browser-based Instagram viewing / fiddling platforms – and, conveniently, all those platforms on which ads don’t currently show. Good news for advertisers, bad news for people trying to cobble together fun, Instagram-related stuff online. 
  • Twitter Contemplating Less Useless Polls: You know how the current Twitter polls, with their binary options, are RUBBISH? Well Twitter is apparently testing ways of making them better – more options to choose from (good), the option to include emoji in the option copy (inevitable), the option to set durations on polls (good)…effectively when they bother to implement all this stuff, which they should have done when they launched the service, it might actually end up being a halfway-decent datagathering tool. Maybe.
  • Twitter Testing Multi-Emoji Reactions: Since the world has given us something else to get angry and upset about, everyone seems to have calmed down about the Twitter hearts/stars thing (maybe it wasn’t that important in the first place?); they’re looking at addressing it, though, via that exploit that everyone found the other week whereby you can in fact set any emoji you like to stand in for the ‘heart’ icon. Effectively they’re looking at a Slack-like interface that will let you select from a suite of potential reactions to a post – each of which, I imagine, will be counted as a unit of engagement in the back-end but which will give the cosmetic illusion of differentiated response. So just like Facebook is testing, then, sort-of, Ah, feature consolidation. Did anyone predict that as a big thing for 2015?
  • Twitter No Longer Displaying Who’s Behind Promoted Tweets: I don’t seem to see enough Promoted Tweets to have been able to tell if this is a thing yet, but if so it’s an interesting move; if, as the article suggests, Promoted Tweets will now simply say ‘Promoted’ rather than ‘Promoted By X’, it will make it a lot harder for consumers annoyed by being targeted to block, unfollow, etc, accounts (brands) whose ads irk them. Which, if you’re a faceless corporation rather than an actual person, is probably pretty good news – rejoice!
  • Vine Launches Audio Remix Feature: Quite a nice feature new to Vine – you can now take the audio from any existing Vine and use it as the soundtrack to your own – meaning all that CONTENT REMIXING which the kids are so fond of (spoiler, though: you’re a bank/building society/car insurance provider – noone is going want to remix your content, mate, noone. Not even the weirdo competition obsessives) is now much easier.
  • Snapchat Launches Verified Accounts: You a famous whose fanbase is all children? No, of course you’re not, no famous people read this rubbish. You might, though, work for a company which represents famouses on occasion, in which case this may be of use / note – the idea being that it will make it easier for fans to find famouses on  Snapchat, even if the famous in question is using an alias or a silly name. 
  • Snapchat Selling Selfie Lenses For $1 A Pop: See my comment about the Facebook Messenger Stickers above and repeat, but with a touch more near-middle-age ennui.
  • Making Gifs on Tumblr Now Much Easier: There’s a really simple gifmaker now native to the platform. Had a play with it and it is SUPER-SIMPLE – just so’s you know, though, the primary purpose of it so far as far as I can see is for a LOT of gifs of men ‘pleasuring’ themselves. There’s a certain grim inevitability about this – as soon as there is a new video platform, that video platform will be full of video of erect penises. We are so proud! It’s almost touching really. 
  • Gifs on KIK: Pretty sure none of you care about KIK because, well, you’re not University students, but in case you do then this is HOT NEWS. 
  • A Really Rather Good Guide To Facebook Remarketing: On the off chance that you’re NOT working for a big agency and don’t have minions to know how this stuff works so you don’t have to, this is a super-useful, comprehensive and hands-on guide to doing remarketing (you know, pixeltracking-based ad targeting) on Facebook. Not only useful w/r/t that platform, but a generaly decent overview as to what remarketing is and how it generally works. Really helpful. 
  • Aston Martin on Soundcloud: I always wang on about Soundcloud as a GREAT AND UNDEREXPLOITED thing, and noone listens to me EVER (possibly because I am often talking to myself). Anyway, this is Aston Martin’s Soundcloud which is basically just slightly ASMR-ish car sounds. I don’t even like cars (I don’t, shamefully, even have a license), but the engine sounds and stuff on here are quite cool (no, really). Just wish they had more doors closing with a satisfying *CHUNK* sound (you know what I mean). Niche, but smart when you consider the car nuts who are their fanboy constituency. 
  • The Best Tedious Website I’ve Seen In Ages: I have NO IDEA what ACME WORLD do – although judging by the name, I’m guessing they supply Wil E Coyote with exploding birdfeed and suspiciously non-lethal TNT – but their website is really rather nice. Included mainly as a demonstration of the fact that just because a business does unconscionably dull stuff to make money it doesn’t mean that it can’t make attractive websites. 
  • Find Your Swede: Cute idea by the Swedish tourist board, inviting potential visitors (or indeed anyone really) to hook the site up to their Instagram account – answer some questions, it will ‘analyse’ the answers and spit out your perfect Swedish match, with whom you can then chat, browse their pictures, etc. It doesn’t say this explicitly, but I’m pretty sure they’re playing on the commonly-held belief that all Swedes are statuesque blonde sex-maniacs. Try it, you might get lucky. 
  • The Condomoji: Look, it’s the word of the bloody year; we’ve had emoji ordering, emoji room service, now we have Durex launching a fake campaign to get a condom emoji included in the next unicode update…can we please declare a moratorium on emoji-related advermarketingprwank? No? I hate you.
  • The Nadir of Branded Content: Well, so far at least. This is an ACTUAL SONG made my ACTUAL HIPHOP GROUP the Detroit Grand Pubahs. Times must be hard, guys. So much to not love about this, not least the belief that the horrific ‘catchphrase’ that is the song’s ‘hook’ will ever catch on. It won’t, will it? Please let it not.  





  • The Global Terrorism Index: Leading with the grimly well-timed 2015 edition of the research project, which garnered headlines this week for showing that in fact Boko Haram is currently topping the league table to the biggest terrorist bastards worldwide RIGHT NOW. Good to know it’s not just one set of dreadful people, then. As some of you know, I used to work with these people – I’d include it anyway, though, as the data is fascinating and I very much like the way they visualise it.

  • The British Museum on Google: Technically last week’s news, but give me a break. Take a wander round the British Museum, courtesy the wonderful Google Cultural Institute – a very relaxing way to spend 10 minutes with a cup of tea, should you need soothing momentarily.

  • Twitch Does Painting: Or at least Twitch did painting – it’s unclear whether the thing’s finished or is just on hiatus at the time of typing. Hey ho. Anyway, this is actually a promo by Instapaper, but I like the artwanky nature of it so it’s going in this section – they placed a canvas and some robot drawing setup in a room, hooked it up to Twitch and let the internet’s ID come up with some sort of collaborative masterpiece (mess). The opportunities for this sort of thing are almost endless – I await the eventual culmination in ‘Twitch Does Parenting’, an 18-year experiment in crowd-directed childrearing. Actually, does anyone have Desmond Morris’ phone number?

  • The Watson Trend Predictor: IBM’s ‘Rent-An-AI’ Watson (one week it does cookery, the next shopping) tries its hand at predicting shopping trends – effectively this is a riff on Google trends but rather than using search terms as predictors it’s instead purporting to use a whole host of more sophisticated textual analysis and parsing tools to work out what your sticky offspring are going to be clamouring for in the hours before you force yourself, harassed and indebted, to bow to their tyrannical demands in exchange for the probably illusory promise of JUST A SECOND’S PEACE, DAMNIT. Ah, Christmas.

  • Facets: A new polygonal-ish image each day, hi res and wallpaperable. No more, no less, but sometimes you just want nice things.

  • Mirrorlake: Beautiful little arthackproject by Katie Rose, who hacked this together in a week – Mirror Lake creates random, procedurally generated little landscapes in perfect miniature, with a new one born every two minutes. So, so hypnotic – I promise you, have a click and get entranced by all the miniature lo-fi beauty. Sort of reminiscent of the sort of graphical style you used to see on Macs in the 80s, for those of you old enough to recall.

  • FairTaxtown: Interesting project, this. A small town in South Wales is, as part of a BBC documentary, investigating whether its small businesses can take advantage of the same tax loopholes enjoyed by large corporations in their constant “but we’re within the letter of the law!” battle with HMRC to avoid paying any more than about 1% corporation tax – the idea being not to avoid tax, but to raise awareness of the scale of the practice and what should be done to stop it. This site is all about the project and how other towns / local associations can get involved. If you’re into tax and politics and stuff (and WHO ISN’T, RIGHT KIDS?) then this is worth a click.

  • Text Yourself A Blog: I like this idea a lot. A service which, if you text copy to a certain phone number, will chuck it up on a blog for you. Currently US-only, but expanding to work with international numbers soon, their blurb says: “Everything you text to us gets saved to your Textingway blog, and you can share the link immediately. There isn’t even a password (to forget) for your blog, we send you a text message to verify it’s you whenever you need to login to the website” – I think you could have quite a lot of fun using this as a sort of stream-of-consciousness record of nights out, etc, if you were so inclined. Though, er, you could just write notes in your phone or something.

  • Sprout: Pencils with seeds in the end. Finish the pencil, plant the end, water it a bit, watch stuff grow. Simple and lovely and ripe for a promosteal I think.

  • A Tool To Deceive and Slaughter: Saddeningly nowhere near as sinister as it at first sounds, this is instead a very smart little techartproject whereby the object in question, a black cube of rather threatening appearance, continually tries to auction itself off on eBay – “Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself. If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.” It’ s not clear how many people have bought it in its lifespan, but I’m guessing it’s not exactly loads; still, love the idea.

  • Sandwichfunk: A selection of recipes with accompanying soundtracks – this is a GREAT idea, and the sort of thing that I am really glad that Jamie Oliver didn’t think of first (you can just imagine, right?). Nothing particularly fancy – and yes, it’s American so you have to deal with the irritating ‘cups’ thing – but the concept is SO NICE and the playlists are compiled with obvious thought and joy. Has a brand done this sort of thing yet? I feel they must have done, but if so it’s passed me by. Although, Christ, all I can think of is a sort of dreadful attempt at cultural appropriation by Phileas Fogg snacks, so perhaps it’s for the best.

  • All The Flags: So yes, if you were one of the people referenced at the very top of this who spent last weekend railing at other people you may or may not know on the internet for the appropriateness or otherwise of their expression of feeling regarding The Bad Thing, WELL DONE YOU! This site is for YOU – All The Flags is a site which lets you convert your profile picture to one which has the flags of every single country affected by Daesh (see the long reads section) superimposed on each other (and hence one which looks like a total mess). Makes a variety of simple points, elegantly – post this one to Facebook and stand back and watch and enjoy.

  • Ad Replacer: I really do like this. Ad Replacer is a Chrome extension which takes the ‘related content’ adboxes which you simply can’t seem to escape anymore online and replaces them with links to ACTUAL NEWS – so rather than Outbrain feeding you terrifying images of worryingly ‘roidal men accompanied by captions like “You’ll never guess his startling sex secret!” (you really won’t, though), you will instead get, er, the news. Which, on reflection, sounds HORRIBLY depressing so perhaps best to stick to Outbrain after all.

  • Goodblock: Seeing as we’re doing ad blockers, Goodblock is a standard ad blocker but one which each day offers users the opportunity to opt-in to adverts; the kicker being that the ads in question are delivered through a network which raises money for charities. Hard not to like this, really.

  • The Glitched Afghan Rugs of Faig Ahmed: Beautiful and I want one.

  • The Hard Times: Basically The Onion for the punk / hipster set, Hard Times sneers at and skewers…well…people like us, probably. Hey ho. ‘“Nothing really offends me” says living embodiment of white privilege’ made me laugh quite a lot – it’s all like that, basically, so if that tickled you then you will probably like the rest of it too.

  • Stop Spam With Snowden: This is delicious, though sadly the link takes you to a writeup of it as there’s no other online home for the project that I can find. A nameless programmer decided to punish people for doing stupid things like posting their phone numbers on Twitter by setting up a program which scrapes said phone numbers and then bombards them with cat spam – spam which can ONLY be unsubscribed from by said spamee tweeting Edward Snowdon. DO YOU SEE?!?!? I am a massive, massive fan of text spam – a mate of mine inexplicably started getting texts from a number offering him pictures of ‘LITTLE CAT BALLS’ (their caps) earlier this year, which is one of the most pleasingly baffling things I’ve seen in ages.

  • The Selfie Arm: This is all in Japanese so I have no idea if it’s part of a TV show or just some bloke’s pet project; in any case, this is a big extended arm which you can attach to your existing limbs to facilitate self-portrait taking without the need of one of those bloody sticks. You can probably nick this for a novelty one-off piece of clothing, retailers, and get some low-value column inches in the idiot press. YOU’RE WELCOME!

  • Lampster: I really want to hate  this – look, it’s a novelty desklamp which is designed to look like a cross between AN Other AAA videogame character and one of the terror sperm from London 2012, which has inexplicably raised $300k to date on Kickstarter with a month left to go, and is basically the embodiment of the fact that, seemingly, white nerdboys run the world in 2015, and they are planning to sell accessories for it for god’s sakes – but LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS!!! Oh, God, I am dreadful. Sorry.

  • Google Trends For Reddit: So, er, Reddit trends then. Works in exactly the same way – though because it’s a  hacked together project by FiveThirtyEight it doesn’t work perfectly – and could be useful if you want to gather some (pretty spurious) data from a largely young, male online community to support whatever crap you’re proposing. I imagine, though I’ve not yet had a go, that the trends about gamergate are pretty bleak reading.

  • Pattr: Totally anonymous private messaging service, creating throwaway chatrooms with optional SSL encryption available for just $1 a time – WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT USING THIS? Nothing, your honour.

  • The Best Balaclavas Ever: Not, admittedly, a hotly contested category in my experience, but even given the low bar to entry these are pretty great. Planning on going skiing or committing a robbery anytime soon? Why not do so whilst wearing a full-face mask which makes you look like, er, a pink leopard with matching ears. These will be ALL THE RAGE in Cham come January (they really won’t).

  • Expresii: Yet to launch, but if you’re a digital artist-type person then this soon-to-be-released kit will apparently let you paint beautiful oriental-style brushwork watercolours, which I personally am a total sucker for and which therefore I would like more people to make more of thanks.

  • Godzilla Simulator: Probably the single-biggest argument I have yet seen for owning a VR headset. HOW MUCH FUN DOES THIS LOOK?

  • Pokegraphs: All of the colour palettes of all of the Pokemon – GRAPHED. I have a very real feeling that when all of this is dust and radioactive ash and a few lonely humans are eking out an existence amongst the fallout and the isotopes, some of them will still be playing bloody Pokemon.

  • Sourcecode Poetry: Celebrating poetry in source code, which if you’re a particular type of geek will be…er…poetry to you.

  • Metaratr: A website which basically just fires random Soundclouds at you on a rolling basis – you can rate them, cycle through them, etc, at will. At the moment it is playing me a truly HORRIFIC piece of amateur karaoke crooning by someone singing in Spanish – here it is, it’s AWFUL – but it does occasionally throw up some decent stuff and it’s quite an interesting way of opening up unusual musical sinkholes if you’ve some time to kill.

  • Dbot: Douchebot is a chatbot which sits out phrases submitted by women which they in turn have been sent by men in online chats. You will be unsurprised to learn that it doesn’t show men online in a particularly great light. WHODATHUNKIT?!

  • Cash Music: “CASH Music is a nonprofit organization focused on educating & empowering artists & their fans to foster a viable & sustainable future for music.” Basically if you’re a musician and you want help working out how to navigate the fairly unpleasant and choppy waters of the music industry in 2015, this is a GREAT platform, available free in perpetuity, to help you manage all sorts of things from royalties to catalogue to merchandise and beyond. Really very helpful and a great idea.

  • Make The Censors Watch Paint Drying: Pleasingly silly Kickstarter, seeking to raise funds to make the longest possible film of paint drying on a wall – the idea being that any film submitted to the BBFC for classification needs to be watched by a censor in its entirety, meaning that at the time of writing someone is going to have to sit through 6h+ of slowly-drying emulsion. Censorship SUCKS! YEAH! TAKE THAT, THE MAN! Poor the censormonkey who has to watch it, though (if they are smart they will liveblog it and become a 3h Buzzfeed celebrity – “This man watched paint dry for 6 hours – his reaction won the internetzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”).

  • These Futures: A Twitter bot which alternates between tweeting old futurepredictions from notable people, current futurepredictions from other people on Twitter, and algorithmically generated predictions cobbled together from keywords and stuff. Silly and occasionally surprisingly profound.

  • Shin Li Art: You’ll either love this or find it profoundly saccharine (no prizes for guessing where I fall here), but this Instagram account, curated by two lovers split between New York and Shanghai, does contain some really nicely composed pictures riffing on the ‘DIVIDED BUT OUR HEARTS ARE STILL TOGETHER’ thing and, as with much of the stuff Imperica brings you every week for FREE out of the goodness of its strange, cyborg heart, hugely nickable if you’re a creative or art director lacking in coupley inspiration.

  • The Gobelins Sound Experiments: Gobelins is a visual / graphical educational establishment in Paris – this is a collection of little digital soundtoys hacked together by students from there over four days in October. Some of them are better than others, but I’m a sucker for little audiovisualdigitalinteractivetoythings like this.

  • The Mapbox Studio: If you do, or could do, anything with maps and data, then this is a really, really useful announcement, which, to quote them, means “you can build a complete map with global data and deeply custom design choices from the ground up, or start with a friendly preset. It’s easy to pick up and grows with you as you master the skills of cartography.” Which is nice, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • All Of The Satellites: This purports to be a realtime map of satellites, all zooming about above us and KEEPING US SAFE and stuff. Except, and this sort of scared me a bit when I thought about it and so obviously I am sharing the slightly unsettling thought with you, it’s obviously not ALL the satellites, is it? I mean, there are the secret military ones which won’t be on there, and then there are the privately-launched supervillain satellites…DEAR GOD, we are being surveilled EVERYWHERE. Still.





  • Dog Rates: Every wanted to follow a Twitter account which arbitrarily ‘rates’ photos of other people’s dogs out of 10? OH GOOD! Some of these actually had me in tears, and I hate dogs (actually not true, you have to care to hate).

  • Wikipedia Pageview Analytics API: If you or your clients need or want to keep track of how popular your Page on Wikipedia is, this is SUPERUSEFUL. Generally worth a look if you do REPUTATION MANAGEMENT-type stuff.

  • Candy: A really interesting idea, this, for organising links and online information you find – sort of like Evernote, but with a more visual interface (and doubtless without the creeping Evernote problem of trying to do EVERYTHING and thereby not really doing the one thing that everyone which uses it actually wanted in the first place). I very much like the drag-and-drop idea arranging element of it; if you’re in the market for something to help you collate and arrange ideas, you could do worse than try this one.

  • Miscegenation: Not feeling quite bleak enough about the world this week? Well this will put the fecal cherry on the sewerage cake – a series of photographs by Donna Pinckley, depicting multiracial couples accompanied by phrases they’ve had spoken to them by ‘helpful’ others. WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG????

  • The VR Guitar: I’ve held off from posting too much (if any) Motion Leap stuff on here as I’m still not 100% convinced it’s not vaporware. That said, if this tech demo showcasing how a virtual guitar would work using the tech is anything to go by, this is going to be MENTAL. Seriously, take a look and just imagine the virtual sessions you could have with digital musicians and stuff – screw Guitar Hero, this stuff is Better Than Life-esque.

  • The Minecraft Hour of Code: As part of next month’s ‘Hour of Code’ global jamboree, here’s Minecraft-themed tutorial to coax your children into learning a trade which, if you bully them enough, might just make them a millionaire by their late teens and thus free you to indulge in that late-40s binge-drinking spree unhindered.

  • China From Above: Just beautiful photos, these.

  • Blackout: One of the more interesting Kickstarters I saw this week, Blackout is a film currently seeking funding which, if they get the money, will be a sort of interactive VR moviegameplaything set in a New York subway car – viewers will be able to walk through the car, listening to people’s stories, piecing together narratives and watching a variety of individual and linked strands come together, all directed by themselves as they virtually wander through the environment. No idea whether the concept will actually work, but I like the ambition of it.

  • Mixed Up Hiphop: A Twitter bot firing out mangled amalgams of similes from old school hiphop tracks. Some GOLD comes out of this, not least “you’ll be last like a blueberry”, which is now my go-to dismissive cuss from hereon in.

  • Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery: A truly exhaustive collection of scanned covers of old horror comics, which if you’re in the market for wonderfully kitchy illustrations just RIPE for recaptioning will be right up your street (and which are pretty cool even if you’re not to be honest).

  • FinWake: I never got on with Joyce, I feel stupid for saying so, but I hated Portrait of the Artist, and abandoned Ulysses 100-odd pages in – I’m sorry James, but what passes for stream-of-consciousness internal monologue in your world is just tiresome in mine. Then again, he’s an internationally acclaimed author and I’m a largely unemployed webmong, so who wins? ME, because I have plumbing and central heating and the ability to buy halloumi at any hour of the day or night from cornershops. Glad that’s settled. Anyway, this is an online annotated version of Joyce’s most famously obscure and knotty work, the (allegedly unreadable; I’ve obviously never tried) Finnegan’s Wake. If you know anyone unlucky enough to be wrestling with this beast, this is a good resource – but my GOD it is dense.

  • People Having A Crazy Wild Time In Late-60s South Africa: Wow, they really knew how to let their hair down. Mildly NSFW due to comedy 60s nudity, but more notable for the very real atmosphere of sleaze that permeates them (also, had no idea that Japanese tourism to South Africa in the 60s was such a big thing – unexpected).

  • The Telepresence Parental Robot: Not a new idea, the telepresence robot, but this is notable for the fact that it’s being marketed to upper middle-class parents as a way to keep check on their offspring while they’re out of town. Can you imagine? If your kids are stupid enough to actually let themselves be surveilled by an iPad strapped to a Segway, they have bigger problems than their potential drink and drugs intake, is all I’m saying. I do love the idea of the iPad squawking impotently at a teen’s retreating back, though (“Andrew! Andrew, why are your eyes all red? And why are there people all over the house? ANDREW! That looks like coca-” *Andrew slams the door, leaving the segwaybot impotantly trapped outside, screaming “ANDREEEEEEW!!!!” until its batteries give out*).

  • Music For Cats: The latest in what appears to be a weekly attempt to get some money off someone who works for a petfood company – this week we have a whole website compiling music apparently designed to appeal to cats, the cloth-eared little hooligans. Christ alone knows why this exists, but, and I say this with real feeling, COME ON, WHISKAS, GET ON THIS FFS. I only want a bit of recognition *sobs*.

  • Freck Yourself: Realistic (so they claim) freckle makeup. On Kickstarter. We need this, do we? Really? Well unless you back it soon we’re not going to get it, so HURRY UP.

  • Cove: This is a really interesting idea, I think. Cove is an app which allows users to record emotional diaries of their lives – so far, so unremarkable – but which allows them to do so through the medium of music. Each day, you can use the app to compose a short musical refrain to express how you’re feeling at that time; whilst obviously the quality of what you produce will depend in large part on your talent, and the app’s interface, I really like the idea of using something like this to create a ‘life in a week’ musical portrait of a defined period in someone’s life. A really nice concept.

  • Click Here To Save The World: Click it. Keep clicking. Go all the way to the end. Lovely little piece of work by Nathalie Gordon; I actually think this sort of mechanic is underused and quite effective, though I appreciate that’s based on an anecdotal sample of one and so therefore is possibly total bollocks.

  • Real Or Satire: Sadly not a tool for determining whether this week’s nightmarish startup idea (cf Rumblr) is a fake or not, this is instead a tool which identifies whether an article is satire based on its url (I am presuming it does a little more than checking to see whether it’s from The Onion or The Daily Mash). Bookmark it and save it for when you meet the stupids on Facebook.

  • Captured on Camera: The best subreddit I’ve stumbled across in a while, this is a collection of clips of people wandering into shot and then attempting to style it out as best they can. Golden, some of these.

  • The Personal Tattoo Machine: Sadly this doesn’t appear to be for sale at the moment, but SURELY it can only be a matter of time. Designed by…er…actually I have no idea, the site’s pretty unforthcoming, but anyway, WHOEVER it’s by, the personal tattoo machine is a one-off proof of concept-type thing which is ergonomically crafted to enable people to quickly and easily tattoo themselves. IMAGINE THE FUN YOU COULD HAVE!!! IMAGINE THE REGRETS!!!! I want these on sale – no refills, throwaway biodegradable parts, for that one-off “I MUST COMMEMORATE THIS NOW” moment that just can’t wait. So much love for this.

  • The Hasbro Robot Cat: This is not, it would seem, a spoof. Hasbro is now selling terrifying feline robot companions, presumably to act as companions to people who are both lonely and who don’t feel up to caring for an actual pet. Which is, you know, nice, but LOOK AT HOW CREEPY THE FCUKERS ARE. Just imagine those cold dead eyes sizing you up and plotting to kill you – so just like an actual cat, then. I imagine that they are fluffy and yet deathly cold to the touch. Chilling. Definitely one to buy your least-favourite godchild (NB I love all my godchildren equally, honest).

  • The Menorah Bong: Because I know some of you are Jewish and so will LOVE this (you may not love it, but still).

  • One Block: This week’s ‘raising the bar for interactive journalism’ link comes in the shape of this from New York Magazine, which tracks the history and stories of one block in New York City’s Bed-Stuy district in Brooklyn and uses this to tell stories both personal and city-wide about race and gentrification and culture and…oh, this is SO GOOD! There’s such a depth of material in here, and it’s a genuine pleasure to explore. If you do anything publishing-ish, you really should check this out – it’s a really, really impressive piece of work.

  • Izivibe: And because this wouldn’t be Web Curios without at least one unpleasant link about masturbation, here’s Izivibe, which turns your phone into a vibrator. Like, it’s an actual phone case with a bit that sticks out that you put into your vagina. If you have one. Or up your bum, I suppose. Would you do that? Would you? Would anyone? SO MANY QUESTIONS, to which I’m fairly confident I don’t actually want to know the answers at all.





  • Thought Leadershit: This was made by some friends of mine with minimal input from me. Inspired by THIS astounding piece of pretentious guffery, the generator will churn out thousands of different prentious-sounding titles for social media marketing thinkpieces, many of which are frighteningly plausible. “Simulacra and simulation in paid social: How creative directors are reviving Baudrillard’s theories to educate liberals” sounds like a conference speech. Ugh. ENJOY!

  • Startups With SoundCloud As Stock Picks: Apparently startups around the world are ripping off SoundCloud’s pictures of their offices and passing them off as their own. Weird. Anyway, this outs them.

  • So Many Seals: Cartoon seals, often wearing an expression of purest existential dread. I don’t know why but I found these VERY poignant (so tired, so very tired).

  • Touchy Game Art: Collecting videogame box art that the curator would like to…er…touch. Not in a sexy way, that I can tell, just that they think it’s cool. And much of it is.

  • This Day In 1D History: Want to know what was happening in 1D fandom exactly X years ago today? WELL NOW YOU CAN! 1D fandom is, I am increasingly discovering, VERY ODD, but if you’re a community manager and want to get some mad numbers then I suggesting running some tweets in the wee hours using some of this stuff and then promoting them. NOONE WILL EVER KNOW (they will know, but).

  • Ron A Day: One cartoon of Ron Swanson, internet favourite from Community. per day. Why not, eh?

  • Shetland Otter Watching: Yes, yes, OK, not actually a Tumblr, but noone actually cares do they? See? Anyway, who doesn’t love otters? NO FCUKER, THAT’S WHO!

  • Horse With Hands Riding A Bike: Also not a Tumblr, but it SHOULD be. Also, who doesn’t like elaborate drawings of horses with human hands riding bikes? NO FCUKER, THAT’S WHO!

  • Pigeon Movies: Ok, ok, so the Tumblr selection was a little light this week (trust me, you’re lucky that I’m exercising a slightly greater-than-normal degree of editorial judgment here this week, otherwise it would just be bongo as far as the eye can see). Still, this ANCIENT blog is really useful if you want film reviews which focus entirely on what role pigeons play in any given film.

  • Hardy Boys Covers: The Hardy Boys novels, with alternative titles based on their covers. Childish but funny, and exactly what I was hamfistedly suggesting that someone do with the Boris Karloff comics up there.

  • The Week: The Week has a Tumblr, and it’s rather good – a really nice way of getting a feed of interesting journalism from all over the place.

  • Humans of LA: Included solely for the benefit of the two LA-dwellers who I know sometimes read this, this is probably only funny if you’ve been there. Sorry.

  • Llluvia: Included mainly as an example of what an amazingly flexible platform Tumblr is, Llluvia is a sort-of baffling webart project which I am SO IMPRESSED by. Look at what they’ve done with that Tumblr, JUST LOOK! So beautiful and very slick indeed.


  • On Paris And The Responsibility of the Middle East: Sorry; I know that there’s been endless stuff written on this in the past week and that you probably have read your fill, but in case you haven’t…this first piece was published in US Esquire last weekend and was the first piece that I saw to really outline the need to address the funding of Daesh and the web of state-based interests which ar backing it, and maybe to take steps to address these. Smart, clear, and very unexpected from Esquire.

  • Jeres In Paris: Jeremy Allen is a journalist acquaintance of mine who’s been living in Paris for a few years now with his girlfriend; they were at the football on Friday night when everything happened. This is his story of the evening – one of many, and a very lucky one, but Jeres is a good writer and this piece does an excellent job of transmitting the atmosphere, presuming you’ve not already imbibed too much of the ambience of fear already.

  • The Exploitation of Paris: Short but to-the-point, on exactly how classy it is to use The Bad Thing as a platform for personal pointscoring on any an all issues you might choose. Like you need to be told, obviously, but.

  • Why We Should Call Them Daesh: I found this really interesting, politically, culturally and linguistically; the basic rationale is that Daesh is an abbreviation in Arabic, a language which ordinarily doesn’t do abbreviations, and as such is belittling and offensive to the cause it names. Which I’m not sure if I buy, and even if I did I might fall back on The Fat Controller’s (from Will Self’s ‘My Idea of Fun’) Shakespearan corruption “an arsehole by any other name…”, but the piece is a perspective I’d not read before. Oh, and here’s a Chrome extension which you might find useful if you find the argument compelling.

  • The Refugee Odyssey: Just in case you needed reminding about why there are very good reasons not to go all isolationist and shut the borders. From Der Spiegel, an excellent piece of journalism tracing the stories and journeys tracing across Europe for the past few years.

  • Cynthia Payne’s Obituary: By way of light ‘relief’ (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? DO YOU??), a shining example of the sort of corruption that THEY hate us for; also, coincidentally, a shining example of the obituarist’s art (on which note, if you like obituaries you will love this novel). Cynthia Payne embodied a particularly British idea of sex, all innuendo and middle-aged men with sock-worn shins babywalking across a thickly-carpeted landing to be spanked, and this is an affectionately absurd tribute to her passing.

  • The Zuckerberg Interview: Fast Company’s BIG CONVERSATION with Zuckerberg and a whole load of other Facebook minions; the access is good, which I imagine guaranteed the slightly fawning tone, but it is hugely interesting – not least in terms of the man, and the company’s, ambitions. It’s also, though, utterly terrifying in some ways – the numbers are MENTAL when you add up all the users of FB-owned properties, and the quote towards the end of the piece, about there never in history having been a business leader who combined Zuckerberg’s youth with his global influence and near-unlimited funds, is legitimately chilling. Got to say, this plus Daesh is a decent enough opening to a not-particularly-cheering scifi dystopia. I am playing too much Fallout, aren’t I?

  • With Singularity Comes Responsibility: Friend of Curios Simon White (that designation could be YOURS, with a few small donations and maybe some beer thrown in) opines on how the web is removing human agency and responsibility and basically making us all stupid meatsacks. He’s not wrong, you know.

  • 5 Things The Media Does To Manufacture Outrage: You probably know this already, but it’s worth repeating – this is an excellent takedown about exactly why, when you read headlines like “Pampers Tweeted about crabs and the internet is OUTRAGED”, you should probably assume that the outlet in question is talking hyperbolic nonsense until proven otherwise. BELIEVE NOTHING. WAKE UP SHEEPLE. ICKE WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHIN…ahahhahaha, no, he wasn’t,. honest.

  • Ali’s Last Rounds: Another example of how boxing brings out the very, very best in sports writers, this is an extract from a book all about Ali and details the author witnessing the boxer’s final 5 sparring rounds in a gym in St Louis. Almost unbearably poignant, particularly when you’re my age and you can remember exactly how much of a wreck Ali already was at that stage in the late 80s.

  • The Death of Snark and the Rise of Positive Content: Part of Motherboard’s regular series of dispatches from the content farms, this is a smart piece looking at the gradual erosion of individuality and bite in content production from mainstream media in favour of outsourcing it to John Oliver (yes, the Paris bit was good, but maybe commission your own rather than just recycling theirs).

  • All of New York’s Taxi Data, Analysed: Part of Web Curios’ occasional series of ‘really excellent pieces of data analysis which, I concede, may not be fascinating to everyone but which I reckon you should take at least a passing look at if you’re into datawork and stuff like that’, this is, er, exactly that. If you don’t ‘do’ data, you can probably skip this one.

  • Bootcamp For Kids: When I was at international school there was a kid in my year called Noel Carver (I don’t imagine he Googles himself, but just in case – HI NOEL!) who was a few years older than us and was all intense and moody and American and who all the girls ADORED, and who used to regale us with (on reflection, possibly made-up) stories of being sent to kiddie bootcamp back in Iowa where he was stuck in the middle of nowhere with a kid who’d been sent there for sleeping with his sister and where he learned to sleep with a knife under his pillow. ANYWAY, whether that was true or not, this piece about actual kiddie bootcamps for problem teens is pretty much horrifying and makes you think that perhaps outsourcing your parenting to a bunch of psycho ex-Marine-types isn’t a great idea overall.

  • Leaving Westboro: Very long but fascinating read, about how online poster child for the hatemongers at Westboro Baptist Church learned humanity through Twitter (no, really). Sort of a ‘how to deprogramme a cult member through social media 101’ guide, should you need such a thing.

  • The People Behind Erowid: You know Erowid, right? Literally the BEST place to fall into a drugstories rabbithole, and the first port of call should you be interested in experimenting with anything rather more non-traditional than your class A, B or Cs. I can highly recommend the sections on Datura, by the way, should you want a cast-iron deterrent to your teenage kids getting too experimental. Anyway, this piece is a truly fascinating interview with the two people behind it, who call themselves Earth and Fire and are a truly awesome pair of middle-aged hippies. God love them and their hempy, liberal stylings.

  • VICE Goes To Sexpo: The ‘hey, let’s send a reporter along to a weird event and get them to talk about the weird!’ editorial gambit is not a new one (my friend Iain, when a staffer at the Telegraph, used to call himself the humiliation correspondent, such was the regularity with which he was sent off to try naked speed dating on camels or somesuch HILARIOUS caper) , but Lucy Hancock does a sterling job here. It’s worth it for the (borderline NSFW) photos alone, particularly of the dinopenis. God, the dinopenis (it’s honestly not what you think).

  • Why Star Wars May Never End: Wired on how there may never in fact be an end to stuff made in the Star Wars Universe. Ever. Ever ever ever (spoilers: because money). I think I said this recently, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that if this sort of cultural future – endless, near-homogenous parades of fanservice pap designed to feed the growing mass of emotionally stunted manchildren (ahem, yes, fine, point taken) – is the result of the bullied-at-school-crowd of the 70s finally getting their revenge on the jocks, then, well, maybe the jocks were right. Anyway, whatever your opinions on Star Wars this is actually quite interesting on multiplatform storytelling and transmedia and branching narratives and stuff, should you care about that sort of thing.

  • Hammer and Sickle – A DeLillo Short: From Prospect Magazine, a new short story by Don DeLillo. I confess to never having particularly got on with DeLillo, but I very much enjoyed this satire on high finance and power and punishment and THE FUTURE.

  • An Art Without an Artwork: The second-best writing in here this week, this is an astonishingly good piece about chess and amateur players playing at public tables in the US (I once tried doing this in Washington DC 15 years ago – legitimately one of the most intellectually humiliating experiences of my life, no question) and the peculiar qualities of the game, and oh look just click the link, it’s WONDERFUL.

  • Playing God: This, though, is honestly one of the best things I have read all year. The unprepossessing setup is that of a man talking about his obsession  with his model village, but it’s so much more than that – it’s funny and angry and pathetic and the bits where he talks about his relationship and his parents and money and the nature of his obsession and, again, oh look just click the link it’s BETTER THAN WONDERFUL. Seriously, if you only read one thing this weekend, make it this one.


By Nguan


1) First up, a band called Earthly, with their track Glaze – all skittery electro and a lovely hand-drawn animation which is all movement and motorbikes and is quite reminiscent of Take on Me, which is obviously no bad thing:

2) Next up, the inevitable co-opting of the Deep Dream video phenomenon (see Curios passim for previous efforts by less famous artists) by a BIG BAND, in this case the peculiarly unloveable (to me at least) Years & Years, for their track ‘An Artificial Experience’. Can we declare this over now? Probably not until David Guetta’s had a go, sadly:

3) I am a sucker both for punk and for violent claymation, so this video, for Radkey’s song ‘Glore’, ticks a LOT of my personal boxes. If you like the gory work of Lee Hardcastle then you will LOVE this, though you will probably enjoy it even if you don’t. Even if you hate punk, it’s only two minutes long so give it a go:

4) Videos made on Kinect aren’t new – God knows I have featured enough of them here over the past few years – but this one, for Sissi Rada’s creepy track ‘Sunday’ (don’t know why,but I find it really unsettling) is an excellent example of the genre and features some pretty cool effects I’ve not seen before:

5) UK HIPHOP CORNER! Bit worthy, this, but the cause is a good one. Released by Rapman and SBTV to highlight awareness of suicides amongst young men, the track, called ‘Rollercoaster’, shows how things can go wrong quickly and simply and how people can often have noone to talk to and feel compelled to top themselves. So, you know, don’t top yourselves:

6) Meet internet sensation The Grindmother – a grandmother who sings grindcore. This song probably has a title, but it’s sort of immaterial – hear the SCREAMS!:  

7) Years ago, back in the H+K days, I put a work by Vernibus in the pictures here; this is a video showing him at work on the posters of New York Fashion Week. I would give actual limbs to own one of these, they are GORGEOUS:

8) Last up this week, I love this song. It is tripphoppy and beautiful and the vocals are a tortured mess and I don’t understand how it only has 500-odd views. This is Seyr, with ‘A Love’. BYE! HAVE FUN! LET’S NOT THEM WIN, EH? BYE!:

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Webcurios 13/11/15

Reading Time: 24 minutes

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Stephen Allport, CC licence

So this morning I unaccountably woke up 75 minutes late (not unaccountably at all, I just forgot to turn on my alarm) which means that I had even less time than normal to write all this crap and which crap, as a result, is a little shorter and more pared back than normal. Sorry about that.

Although I don’t know why I’m apologising – I know it’s too long, and that that’s an ISSUE. Which is why (note the SEAMLESS SEGUE here) the clever man that is Shardcore has built THE WEB CURIOS BOT! Yes, as of this week, if you follow Imperica on Twitter you will receive, each hour, a link from the previous week’s Curios, with a screencap of the accompanying sparkling prose, so you can ‘enjoy’ it all in bite-sized chunks. I mean, I would say this, but it is SO USEFUL; do let us know what you think of it as a development. Oh, and if you think there would be value in a separate bot doing the same thing for the whole Curios archive (many THOUSANDS of links) do let us know and we will try and sort it (or lock Shardcore in a basement until he’s done it; either/or).

Anyway, I am spaffing on and I can’t afford to waste the time. Let’s MOVE, people, weaving through the thick linkforest, trying not to get snagged on the bark, and perhaps stopping a little too often to taste the assorted berries and fruits – they’re probably not poisonous, though don’t quote me on that. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

By Antoine Geiger


  • Facebook Notify: Because there simply aren’t ENOUGH things screaming at you from the screen of your phone and demanding your attention, Facebook this week announced Notify, another standalone app (currently iOS and US only) which will fire Facebook notifications (the updated sort which we discussed the other week, if you recall – WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T COMMIT ALL OF THIS TO MEMORY YOU CRETINS JESUS) at your iPhone’s lockscreen. Notable mainly as another instance of Facebook attempting to ensure that you NEVER USE ANOTHER WEBSITE EVER, and because there’s no way in hell that they are not going to offer premium advertisers the opportunity to shoot promotional spaff at your lockscreen, is there? Rhetorical, that – there isn’t.
  • Facebook Live Gets Notifications Too: Facebook Live, the livesteaming service for famouses, now lets users sign up to receive notifications when one of their favourite vacuous meatsacks decides to share a unique insight into their in no way staged existence. GREAT!
  • FB Facial Recognition Gets Marginally Creepier: Upload a picture to Facebook and the in-no-way-increasingly-scary platfor’s Messenger service will prompt you to send the pics to your friends who are pictured in them purely via the magical medium of its facescanning technology. Which is obviously sinister as all get-out, right, but also has HUGE potential ad implications, no? Target ads to people who are found in photos at certain locations – Disneyland, McDonalds, etc? Come on, this is totally going to happen, no? Oh, if you want to sign out from this horrorshow then here’s how you can do it
  •  Facebook Testing Ephemeral Messaging: Because EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SNAPCHAT, it seems. Idiots. 
  • Small Updates To FB 360 Vids: They are mainly technical, like altering camera position and vertical lock, but the whole thing has a shiny new microsite containing everything you could ever possibly wanted to know about the videogimmick of the year.
  • Instagram Launches Partners Service: Much as Facebook has its own ‘partners’ network for trusted suppliers that the platform works closely with to deliver ‘better content experiences for brand partners worldwide’ (that’s not actually quote, but it’s pretty much exactly the sort of marketingwank that I imagine they use to characterise this sort of thing). Basically if you do BIG STUFF on Instagram there are a whole load of third parties it may now be beneficial to hook up with, is the deal here. 
  • Why Instagram Captions Are The New Blogging: I mean, they’re not, but. Interesting-ish piece about the increasing trend towards verbosity in Instagram captions and how you might be able to HARNESS THIS FOR YOUR BRAND STORIES. 
  • Instagram Engagement Falling: Or, er, maybe not, seeing as the more cynically-minded among us might be led to infer from this article that there’s been a marked drop in post reach, etc, on Instagram since they opened the platform up to advertising. What’s that? You don’t believe that Facebook would ever conduct such a low down and dirty bait-and-switch as to get all the big brands onto a platform advertised as ‘free’ and then turn round and change the rules so instead they had to pay to reach the audience they’d built up organically over time? No, me neither, as you were then. 
  • Twitter Testing Rewindable Gifs: Twitter here, making cosmetic changes noone really wants or needs whilst failing to address any of the issues which are causing its userbase to stagnate. Nice one! Anyway, this may or may not become a thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t waste a Friday afternoon coming up with CONTENT STRATEGIES around it. 
  • Persicopes Worldwide Now Easier To Find: They’ve made the map feature better, meaning it’s easier to find people using the thing. Which is nice, I suppose. 
  • Tumblr Rolling Out Messaging: As part of what I am going to officially brand The Great Platform Consolidation of 2015(TM), Tumblr’s now doing messaging. Which is actually pretty smart, if you consider its increasing popularity as a platform for standard website building (cf that dreadful Nescafe Tumblr-based site which launched over the Summer). If you’re going to offer yourself as a one-size-fits-all website solution, this sort of thing makes a lot of sense – the obvious customer service / fan interaction implications here are, one would hope, obvious.
  • Pinterest Launching Visual Search: One of the bigger announcements of the week, I think, but because it’s Pinterest noone really cared. The launch of visual search means that users will be ale to highlight certain items shown within a Pin and Pinterest will search for other Pins containing stuff that looks like the highlighted object – which moves the platform on leaps and bounds as an e-retail tool, and would suggest that if you sell stuff on the internet which looks good in photos you might want to up your Pinterest game smartish. 
  • Vimeo Launching Updated Settings for Creators: A few nice features coming on Vimeo for those of you who actually make stuff – the ability to trail your vids with a ‘coming soon’ announcement, and to offer exclusive access to certain content via gated pages to premium backers. This is all only through the premium ‘Vimeo on Demand’ bit of the platform through which creators can monetise their work, but if that’s you then you should probably be aware of this stuff. 
  • The Coke ‘Wish In A Bottle’: Part of me hates this for the fact that it’s taking something sort of romantic and lovely and effectively cheating at it for the purposes of selling gutrot sugarwater, but I have to grudgingly admire both the ambition and execution here – this is VERY clever indeed, check it out.
  • Oreo ‘Choose Your Packaging’: Obviously only in the US, but I very much like the way in which the interface for this functions, letting your choose from a couple of different artists’ versions of festive biscuitwrapping, add your colours, etc, and then send to someone as a packaged Oreo present. Shame the biscuits are disgusting really, but you can’t have everything. 
  • The Tacoemoji: It pains me to say this, but I was really rather impressed by this. Nice stunt by Taco Bell to celebrate the launch of the taco emoji – they basically have reworked Subservient Chicken in a really clever way. Users tweeting the new Taco emoji in conjunction with any other emoji (well, upto 600 of them) would receive a short animation in response illustrating that combination – so taco + lightning bolt gets you a taco Zeus flinging lightning bolts at taco buildings, etc etc. Labour intensive, obviously, but it’s a really nice spin on the BK/TippEx/etc mechanic and probably means that you will see a whole raft of copycats in the next month or so (on your marks, etc).
  • Jane St: US agency John St, who are no strangers to STUNTS (they did the ‘Catvertising’ spoof a few years back which you may recall) have set up this fake agency website, purporting to be of an agency called Jane St (DO YOU SEE???) which purports to specialise in the heartstring-tugging, YOU ARE WORTH IT-style advermarketingpr which has targeted the women’s market with such success for brands like Dove, etc. Mixed responses to this – I thought it was rather funny, but several women whose opinions I respect have told me I’m an idiot and that it’s not funny. Am I an idiot? YOU DECIDE!
  • Massive and Brilliant VR Conference In Feb 2016 Which You Should Go To If That’s Your Thing: This actually looks really rather good, and I would probably be plugging it were it not for Imperica’s involvement. 
By This Is Superchill



  • Never Liked It Anyway: Whilst obviously breaking up with a partner is horrid (unless, you know, they’re a pr1ck), there are some silver linings – not least, according to this website, the opportunity to sell everything they ever bought you and make some sweet cashmoney! Never Liked It Anyway is basically eBay for the emotionally bereft – it works all over the world, and users just sign up and list articles they want to get rid of; the opportunity to demonstrate the disparity between the real-world value (ie retail price) and the post-breakup value (ie what you’re willing to accept to get it off your hands) is a particularly nice touch. LAZY JOURNALISTS! Keep half an eye on this for some doubtless GREAT/weird human interest stories.

  • Call Frank: No, not the government’s drug advisory service (although if that was your first thought then maybe you should call them), but instead a lovely service (sadly US-only I think) which will call you up every day andgive you 60 seconds to record a thought or observation which is then added to your own personal audio diary of your life. Such a simple idea, but a really nice project; I think it would be fascinating to do for 12 months. Anyone want to replicate in the UK? There’s a really rather nice art project waiting to happen here (audiologs, data analysis and viz of said logs, etc – COME ON, THINK!).

  • Clickbait Robot: This has rightly been getting a lot of love last week.Launched last Friday by perennial creator of great things Rob Manuel, Clickbait Robot is a Twitter bot which autogenerates clickbaity headlines – some of them are SO GOOD, and frankly I’d be amazed if someone at Buzzfeed isn’t secretly using it for inspiration RIGHT NOW.

  • Run For Your Life: Would you like to watch a livestream of a variety of frankly MENTAL people running from Oslo to Paris to raise awareness of climate change, non-stop, 24h a day? OF COURSE YOU DO! It’s actually slightly less mad than it sounds, as there are a lot of participants and it’s broken down into reasonably manageable chunks, but still pretty crazy. Notwithstanding the oddity of the exercise, it’s for a good cause and still more entertaining than Shia’s cinematic onanism earlier this week.

  • Airbrush: Do you like to present an entirely fictitious version of your life to people you barely know via the medium of social networks? Well, yes, we all do, that’s what they are for. If your particular thing is showing off how beautiful you are in a succession of carefully posed photos of yourself, each of which exists solely for the purpose of garnering the sort of ephemeral validation which fundamentally weakens your inherent sense of self and leaves you increasingly reliant on the ever-decreasing dopamine hit of third party endorsement then you will LOVE this app which basically lets you photoshop your face to buggery and back on your phone. Sorry, this was meant to be less ranty this week, wasn’t it? Will try and rein it back.

  • Random Peek: WARNING: THIS IS POTENTIALLY VERY ADDICTIVE (and occasinally NSFW). Random Peek gives you a 30-second window into a Periscope stream from somewhere around the world before cycling onto the next one. It is SUPERCOMPELLING – when I tried it the other day I got stuck in a strange loop of beautiful Ukrainian women being filmed pouting silently into the camera by their boyfriends, and one intensely creepy stream in which a kid in a classroom in, I think, Russia, covertly filmed his female classmates legs. Which suggests nothing pleasant at all about Persicope’s userbase, but is sort of anthropologically fascinating.

  • Lickstarter Cat Pants: Look, you know what the joke is here and I’m not going to make it for you.

  • Chronos: Have you got some sort of heirloom-type watch, say a Rolex or somesuch high-end piece of metal, which you LOVE but wish could be modded to irritatingly vibrate every time someone you vaguely know on the internet says anything? Well WISH NO MORE, friends, for here is Chronos, a clever little device which you attach to the reverse of a watchface and program to alert you when stuff happens. It’s apparently thin enough to be worn unobtrusively, and can be set to alert you in a variety of different ways depending on what’s happening – one vibrate for a friend on FB, two for a tag on Instagram, etc. Clever. Alternatively, of course, you can buy a smartwatch for a tenner.

  • My Moustache: Movember is a GOOD CAUSE, and my lovely friend Rina works on it so, you know, donate money and stuff (but please shut up about how growing a moustache is WACKY AND HILARIOUS; it’s not, stop it). If you are so doing, this site will rate your moustache for you – SPOILER ALERT, though: it looks rubbish.

  • The Wrong: Now in its second year, ‘Digital Art Biennale’ The Wrong is BACK. All sorts of interesting digital art projects are here to be discovered, which means it’s even more of a shame that the website is so appallingly designed and constructed – I mean, yes, fine, minimalism and all the rest is great, but it looks SO DULL. It really isn’t though, I promise, so if digiartstuff is your thing then I implore you to scratch a bit below the surface.

  • Project Oxford: Things I have noticed this year part x of y (fear not, there will, I promise, DEFINITELY NOT be either a ‘lessons learned in 2015’ Web Curios wrapup, or indeed a ‘Web Curios Predicts…’ article – I am better than that* (*too lazy and aware that noone cares) – the really quite impressive acceleration of smart AI-ish tech. This is the latest example – a project by Microsoft which takes any photo you plug in (of a person’s face) and analyses the expressions on it and spits out a list of emotions it believes it’s identified. I tested it with the photo that comes up when you Google me and it churned out ‘neutral; sad; surprised’ which is pretty much a standing description of my life, so seems to be working fine.

  • Defuse: Years ago, when Second Life was massive and Eve and WOW were increasingly popular, I spent a lot of time opining about the interesting legal landscape that would develop around the sale and purchase of virtual goods and how that would extend into ramifications around things like the legal definitions of ‘ownership’ and theft and stuff (you are lucky you didn’t know me then to be honest, I was DULL(er)). Anyway, none of the stuff I predicted came true, unsurprisingly, but the fact that Second Life is, it turns out, still MASSIVE made my discovery of this online goods marketplace somewhat timely – buy and sell virtual goods to your heart’s content here (though obviously there are all sorts of knotty questions about security, value, etc, so caveat emptor as per).

  • Later That Same Life: Oh I LOVE THIS! A crowdfunding project which has 5 days to go but which has already met its target, this is a GREAT project – 38 years ago, a man filmed himself asking a series of questions to his older self; now, that older self is preparing to answer the questions and splice all the footage together into the world’s first (?) time-travel self-interview thing. This is going to absolutely DEVASTATING when it’s finished and will make me weep buckets, so expect a glowing review at that point as I love that sort of emoshit.

  • Tiny Animated Fighting Men: Stephen Vyas is a Canadian animator who has some AMAZING little gifs of small men fighting on his website. They are truly hypnotic, trust me – I would watch a cartoon in this style SO MUCH.

  • Rumblr: Not going to lie, I TOTALLY called this a fake when I saw it last weekend. Which isn’t something I should be proud of, really, given that it purported to be an app which would put people in touch with other people to arrange fist fights. THAT IS NEVER GOING TO BE A REAL THING, YOU IDIOTS. What was most depressing about this was the number of news outlets which reported it breathlessly as A NEW NADIR FOR HUMANITY without doing even the basest of due diligence – I mean, I’m not even a journalist but even I would have perhaps made one or two calls…oh, no, hang on, who am I kidding? I’d have written it up in seconds and enjoyed the sweet, sweet clickbaity hits. I am part of the problem 🙁

  • 363 Days of Tea: Artist Ruby Silvious has been painting on teabags, which if you work for PG or Tetley or Twinings or something should have you scrabbling to offer her monies for a collab.

  • The Short Story Vending Machine: So much love for this idea, which (FOREIGN WARNING) is all in French so unless you speak it you’ll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, these are a series of vending machines set up around Paris which let passers-by order short stories on demand – users specify how much time they want to spend reading (1,3,5 minutes) and the machine spits out a story of the requisite length. All are original compositions created specifically for the project – I would love to see this come to London, please, someone, thanks.

  • Antibac Pants: Yet another thing which comes under the heading of “I’m a man so not really sure what to make of this, but really?”, this funded Kickstarter is offering ‘100% organic cotton underwear made in the USA, designed to keep your sensitive places free from toxic chemicals.’ I personally wasn’t aware that my sensitive places were in fact at risk from toxic chemicals, so that’s one more thing to trouble me in the dark hours when sleep is far and the night is a more terrible giant than usual.

  • Rooftops of Paris: Just beautiful, these shots.

  • 22 Hilarious Pictures of Kim Jong-un!: I really, really like what they have done here. Smart, and replicable. Click and see what I mean.

  • Here Is Today: I was convinced I’d featured this before, but it would seem not. Here Is Today is a website which seeks to give you sense of perspective on your day – effectively it’s the online equivalent of the tattoo reading “It probably doesn’t matter” which I have been meaning to get for years. You may find it comforting, or it may simply reinforce your complete insignificance in the grand scheme of things – depending on how you feel about the Total Perspective Vortex, you mileage may vary.

By Shinichi Maruyama



  • Crazy Cyborg Stuff: “WE ARE ALL CYBORGS NOW!” parp the trans/post-humanists, pointing at the devices we all carry as extensions of our brains and upon which we have come to rely much like we might on a brain implant or similar. Well, perhaps, but we are NOTHING compared to the mental people over at the charmingly named ‘Grindhouse Wetware’ Facebook community, whose latest wheeze is taking a big old LED system and implanting into the back of their hand. Yes, that’s right, these people have CUT OPEN THEIR HANDS and shoved some internet connected lights in there. Why not, eh?

  • Altruis: Connected jewellery, so it calls itself, which muchlike the watch addon up there will syn with your phone and alert you to STUFF happening in the virtual realm through vibrations. Not the first thing like this which I’ve featured here, but this stuff looks far more high-end, and, pleasingly, is a London-based company (the whole thing is very interesting, actually, from the pseudo-think tanky stuff around future tech to their proposals for salons and stuff – suggest you take a deeper look at the company if you’re into this sort of stuff and also a Londoner).

  • Sleep With Me: Not an exhortation, I promise; instead, this is a podcast deliberately designed to be SUPER-DULL so as to speed you towards kip. Potentially good for the ASMR people amongst you, it’s also absolutely the sort of thing which any bed manufacturer should TOTALLY get behind, or which if you work for some sort of sleephacking company of which there are LEGION you might want to consider sponsoring.

  • Another Magnum Photos Square Prints Sale: Yes, I know, this is basically advertising – sorry about that. The photos are good, though, and with prices called at $100 there are some lovely potential presents here should you want to delve.

  • London As Seen By A Self-Driving Car: Actually not strictly true, but it’s what London would look like to a self-driving car were one to be let loose on the streets.  A 3-d laser scanner was driven around the city; this is what it saw. SO BEAUTIFUL; if this isn’t used in a music video or similar in the very near future I will be most disappoint.

  • Skin46: I am a touch skeptical about this, but let’s see. Currently in pre-crowdfunding, so a little light on info, Skin46 is a Swiss project which, if all goes to plan, will offer people the opportunity to tattoo themselves with ink containing the biogenic material of another person – so you could LITERALLY have a loved one under your skin, forever (God, that joke would NEVER get old, would it?). The goth in me LOVES this.

  • Unseen Art: An admirable project seeking funding on Kickstarter, this one is looking to create detailed 3d prints of iconic artworks so as to be able to allow the blind to experience them through touch. A simple and lovely idea which I think could use some high-profile support from museums or arts institutions, should any of you have the power to enact such a thing.

  • Generating Stories About Images: Dull title, but do click – this is SUPER INTERESTING. Basically (and I am REALLY struggling for time here, so forgive me for the slightly cursory nature of the rest of this stuff) this is a program which looks at any image plugged into it, analyses it and then spits out a short story based on what it ‘sees’. I KNOW! CRAZY! Seriously, have a read of them, some are just beautiful (and not just because of the weird slight poignancy of them being algogenerated).

  • The Hansard Corpus: Every single Parliamentary speech between 1803-2005. SO MUCH WORDS – the potential for fun dataanalysis playtime here is vast, as you’d imagine.

  • The Twayback Machine: Are you in a minor Twitter beef with someone and want to shame them by digging out some stuff they said YEARS ago which you think somehow invalidates their current position? I mean, fine, you’re a pathetic little twat, but whatever, this might be useful.

  • SOS Brutalism: My mate Jim and I were once aggressivly heckled by a middle-aged man at Stockwell tube station for having a conversation about brutalism on the platform (on reflection we were perhaps being a *touch* pseudy). Anway, that has nothing to do with this project, which…oh, sod it, here’s the blurb: “#SOSBrutalism is a growing database that currently contains over 700 Brutalist buildings. But, more importantly, it is a platform for a large campaign to save our beloved concrete monsters. The buildings in the database marked red are in particular jeopardy. This is an unprecedented initiative: #SOSBrutalism is open to everyone who wants to join the campaign to save Brutalist buildings!” So there. It will be an exhibition in 2017, all being well.

  • Text Nina: Very clever service, this – you text ‘Nina’ stuff you need to remember, and she will keep a record of them. Text her ‘list’ and she will fire you back the current list of stuff you’ve sent her. Really useful, particularly for older people who may not be comfortable with smartphones, notetaking and the like.

  • Film Script Posters: Know anyone who’d like a poster of their favourite film made up of the entire script of said film? OH GOOD!

  • Music For a Dying Star: This is GORGEOUS. Japanese project which uses observation data from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, interpreted by a variety of different artists who turn it into unique compositions, all of which you can listen to on this website. It is so, so lovely, and aside from anything else the initial zoomscroll when you enter it is breathtaking. One of my favourite things on here this week; I want this music SO MUCH.

  • The Siena International Photography Awards: Nice pics.

  • Her: An app for women who want to meet other women (mainly, but not exlusively, in the romantic sense) this is notable for the way it is positioned – I love the fluid nature of the relationships it offers access to and the fact that it’s very much ‘this community is what you make it’. Such a pleasant antidote to Tinder, Grindr et al.

  • Glitched Macs: John Bumskill (see John, it DID get better!) repairs Apple machines and takes pictures of the interesting and beautiful screen fcukups which occasionally result. Some of the more beautiful glitchart you will see this week.

  • Savr: A really clever idea, this is a note=taking website which will display the same notes on any device visiting the site from the same IP address. So, for example, this could be an excellent way for families to share notes with each other, etc – obviously this won’t be the site that nails it (sorry guys) but there’s the germ of an excellent idea in here I think.

  • Regency Dances: Ever wanted to learn to dance like a Regency gent/lady? OH GOOD!

  • Welcome To The Uncanny Valley: Meet Leah. Try not to have nightmares.

  • Two Billion Miles: It’s so nice to be able to link to an online doc which is from the UK; this, by Channel 4, is a really rather excellent piece of work bringing together all sorts of footage and reportage from / around the refugee crisis. Given that we have all decided to care about it again this week, it’s timely – have a look, it’s very good indeed.

  • Emoji Party: If you run a club, whack this up on a big screen and watch people FIT THE FCUK OUT. Actually strangely compelling and fun to play with, even if, like me, you are something of an emoji refusenik.

  • Capricious Summer: I imagine I am super-late to this, what with the fact that it’s about Summer and it’s now November, but. This is a GREAT song, unexpectedly, by Aufgang, whose video is determined by the weather at your location. Clever use of geolocation – there was a New York Times article which I found last weekend which served up different copy based on where in the US readers were which ties into this, and I can totally see geodependent editorial content being a THING in the next 6 months. *2016 PREDICTION KLAXON!*

  • Dumb Cuneiform: Pick a Tweet, get it etched into a clay tablet in cuneiform script (5,000 year-old Persian, ancient language fans!) for you to keep forever. Silly-but-lovely, this is SO hipster (expect the popup to arrive in Daltson in Q1 2016).

  • Chordi: Procedural music generator, ‘based on input from real artists’, apparently. Still sounds like a mess to me, but maybe I should just give it time.

  • Build A Vagina: This week’s ‘Oh, Christ, really?’ link comes in the shape of this website, which advises visitors on the best way to make a false…oh, God, it’s too horrible even to write down. Horrifically compelling, and almost too sad for words. How lonely do you have to be for this to be an option? Not, er, that I am suggesting that any of you might know. Heaven forfend!

  • Uplust: Finishing off this week on a big old smut tip, Uplust advertises itself as ‘Instagram for pr0n’ and is pretty much totally that. I have literally no idea why anyone would need / want this – I mean, are there not enough ways already to see all the nudity you have ever wanted and most of the nudity you have NEVER wanted on your phone? – but here it is. Just so’s you know, MASSIVELY AND INCONTROVERTIBLY NSFW FROM THE OUTSET. Depressingly overwhelmingly straight and white at first glance, but there’s probably more diversity on there if you search.

By John Trashkowsky




  • Gene Kelly’s Butt: As a bit of an antidote to the super-hetero/male focused nature of Uplust, have this celebration of the cannonball-like glutes of everyone’s favourite Golden-era dancing boy.

  • Jetty Van Wazel: Included solely because of the designs for newspaper shirts, which SOMEONE (you?) should make commercially available as of the now, please. Imagine, licensing issues aside, how awesome it would be to be able to get classic tabloid frontpages as a nicely-printed shirt? Erm, ok, not that awesome, on reflection, but it would be fine.

  • Positive Doodles: Sickeningly positive and uplifting little drawings, which are perfect for trolling people on Facebook. Of course, there’s always the possibility you actually like this stuff (but really?).

  • Type A Picture: A Tumblr collecting the results of this fascinating experiment in machine learning, in which people submit descriptions of a picture they would like to see to an AI which attempts to cobble it together based on said description. The results are almost scarily good and yet simultaneously quite rubbish-  this is awesome, overall.

  • Gang Nialla: I don’t really understand this bit of1D fandom, but I think that the pictures / quotes look quite classy and as such am going to start posting them all over the place. You should too.

  • Men And Their Dogs: Self-explanatory.

  • Coffee Cups Of The World: Also self-explanatory.

  • Tech Noir: Awesome cinemagraphs, these.

  • Straight White Boys Texting: A N Other repository of fuckboy communiques from the fringes of modern dating. Well DONE, guys!

  • Bros Without Clothes: Lots and lots of naked men. NSFW, but WHO CARES IT’S FRIDAY! (NB – Web Curios accepts no responsibility for the fallout which may occur from perusing this, or anything else, in the workplace).


  • Why The Internet Is Broken: I mean it’s not, obviously, but the publishing / writing / making good stuff bit is certainly a bit janky at the moment, as explained rather nicely by this piece which uses the excruciating ‘Why Spooning is Sexist’ clickbait piece as a starting point to explain why, basically, we can no longer have good journalism online (almost). Depressing, but worth a read.

  • What Makes Elon Musk: The temptation to lead this with a joke about pheremones is strong, but I am BETTER THAN THAT (ahe). This is the final part of the kilometric hagiography of the popular science Einstein de nos jours (hyperbolic I know, but), which focuses less on what he does than how he does it, and is SUPER-USEFUL in terms of making you feel a bit better about being normal. Yes, fine, he’s a billionaire supergenius who may just revolutionise global transportation, but does it sound like ANY FUN being him, or indeed being around him? No it does not.  The bit about how he sees his kids is, frankly, a touch chilling.

  • Murder Your Way Through Boston: By way of light relief, a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story by clickhole, which had me literally crying with laughter after about 5 minutes. Enjoy.

  • Meet King Smuggler: I don’t know about you, but I’ve long been interested in the people who run the processes which result in boatloads of people drowning off the coast of Italy or Greece in search of a better life – I mean, what’s their internal monologue like? Does guilt get a look-in at all? Turns out, not so much – this piece is pretty jaw-dropping, not only because of the man’s reasonably blase “I am helping these people” stance but also because of the numbers. Man but the mafia are getting RICH off this, at a whole variety of points in the chain. Really good piece, if as bleak as you’d expect.

  • Kids Say The Funniest Things: Yes, I know, but this Reddit thread of ‘funny stuff your kids have said’ is predictably full of gold.

  • Charlie Brown’s Little Red-Haired Girl: I know that by posting all this stuff I am simply helping the dreadful Peanuts film’s marketing department, but this piece – all about the early romance in the life of Charles Schulz – is just so tragically romantic, and casts the strips in a subtly different light, that it deserves a read. Poor Charles Schulz 🙁

  • The Best Expenses Dinner Ever: And probably the best journalism in here this week to boot. An account by the late Robert Hughes, former staffer at Time Magazine, about the heyday of the journalistic expenses account and his recollection of one memorable Parisian dinner. So many great lines, but the final two paragraphs had me actually applauding in my head. Sexist, excessive and beautifully written.

  • The Noel Gallagher Esquire Interview: In case you didn’t read it last week, Noel gives fabulous quote as per usual. Really very funny indeed, and pleasingly shameless about almost everything.

  • The Startup Playbook: If you are running a startup, or thinking of doing so, this set of info from Y Combinator is absolute GOLD, I would imagine. If you’re not, though, it’s dull as ditchwater. ONWARDS!

  • The Death of Organic Avenue: Ostensibly about how some chain of organic food shops in New York is being forced to close, my notes referred to this as “Why every single health-obsessive foodie is a cnut”. Really, though – read this and COUNT THE CLICHES!

  • Beyonce’s Dad Is A Dick: Seriously, WHAT an arsehole. Richard Knowles, now removed from his daughter’s professional life, currently runs expensive seminars advising aspirant music industry professionals on how to make it (step one: have preturnaturally talented offspring). This is what happens at one of those seminars. You can actually feel your toes curling as you read, which is no mean feat.

  • On Booze and Consent: A really interesting take on what is obviously a very thorny issue, this piece from the Texas Monthly explores what it means when we deny any responsibility to people to whom bad things occur when they are very drunk. I am, let me stress, just presenting this as an interesting perspective rather than as a GOOD or BAD thing – just thought it’s an angle I don’t see so much of, and it’s a very well-argued article.

  • John Ronson Meets The Fat Jew: Ronson gives him a pretty easy ride imho.

  • A Profile of Lord Byron: Whether or not you give one iota of a fig about the BAD BOY OF THE GOTHIC, you should read this as a) it’s interesting as a mirror to contemporary celebrity culture; and b)  it contains the BEST historico-literary BURN you are ever going to read, ever. I promise, you, even if you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing, please do a “CTRL+F” for wordsworth.

  • New Jersey Italian Explained: How dialects and accents evolve, with a particular reference to the unique “fuhgeddaboudit” stylings of the New Jersey italo-American population. Obviously as a demi-wop I was well into this, but it’s interesing from a linguistics point of view too.

  • Living & Dying on Airbnb: What happens if something BAD happens to you or a loved one when at an Airbnb property? Turns out, noone really knows. This is SAD, and the first few paragraphs are unexpectedly harrowing, so be warned.

  • Dapper Laughs Is Very, Very Stupid: I thought he was done, but NO! He is BACK! An unexpectedly brilliant interview with the man behind the ‘character’ (my inverted commas, read the piece and you will see why) from the Radio Times, which reveals that, more than anything, creator Daniel O’Reilly is a deeply stupid and confused man, who is in WAY above his head when it comes to questions of gender, offence, character and narrative.

  • The New Intimacy Economy: Brilliant writing by Leigh Alexander (thanks Josh for the tip) in which she looks at the way in which creators are almost forced to chum for likes to afford to keep creating, and how this creates a strange and false intimacy between creator and consumer. YOU ALL LOVE ME, DON’T YOU? TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!

  • On London Fog: Beautiful, on the history and context of the pea soupers, and how they have played a part in five books over the past few hundred years. Lovely, evocative citywriting, this.

  • The World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Finally, if you’re into food and restaurants and the rise of the celebrity chef, and a faint whiff of conspiracy and corruption, this is one to savour. A kilometric-but-fascinating look at how the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is put together, what means, and how it might not be quite as simple as it initially appears. I LOVED this – it’s a great one for the sofa with a glass of your favourite booze.

By Ángela Burón


1) First up, JUGGLING! No, wait, come back, it is SUPERCOOL, and is soundtracked by Ratatat who are very good. This, after the song which accompanies it, is called ‘Drugs’. Seriously, it is REALLY impressive:


2) Next we have ‘Regressing New Orleans’, which is footage of, er, New Orleans, which has been processed and polygonised and looks AMAZING. I want to see more of this effect, please, it is wonderful and I could watch it all day:


3) I really, really love this song, but it is SO SAD. It’s called “I’m Stupid (But I Love You)”, and it’s by someone called OKAY KAYA and I am listening to it right now and getting all emo about it so I think I might have to turn it off now and move onto the next one but not before suggesting that you take four minutes to listen and have a bit of a cry (the video’s very simple, but works perfectly with it):


4) Ahem. Let’s get back to the WEIRD, with consistently ‘challenging’ eletro-oddities Oneohtrix Point Never; this is called ‘Sticky Drama’ and the video is BRILLIANTLY weird. Cool song too, fwiw:


5) HIPHOP CORNER! The new Missy Elliot really is very good, despite Pharrel, and expect to see a LOT of personalised marionettes in the wake of this. It’s called “WTF?”:


6) Darwin Deez has gotten a lot of love on here over the past year – his latest, called “The Mess She Made” is a great piece of guitarpop, but the real star is the person who shot the video. I don’t even want to IMAGINE how long the setup took:  


7) Don’t really know what’s happening here, but I love both the song and the video – the song far more than I’d have imagined – and you will too, I think. This is “Eating Makeup” by Seth Bogart:


8) Last up this week, the best cover version I have heard all year. This is Chromatics, with their version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. I promise you, you will LOVE this. Makes me want to listen on repeat. HAPPY FRIDAY SEE YOU NEXT WEEK BYE BYE BYE!!!!!!:

Webcurios 06/11/15

Reading Time: 33 minutes

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Rishi Dastidar

In a week in which we’ve seemingly just sort of rolled over and accepted the fact that we’re going to be surveilled everywhere we go on the internet with a broadly resigned shrug – look at us, apparently feeling all totally fine and relaxed about The Man knowing all about our secret bongo predilections! – and in which, more importantly, HEARTS replaced STARS, what could be more important than getting reacquainted with all of the week’s internetting?


YES THAT IS RIGHT THERE IS NOTHING. NOTHING. THE WEB IS EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING IS THE WEB – THE WARP AND WEFT AND WOOF OF OUR EXISTENCE IS, IN FACT, CONTAINED IN THE LINKS WHICH FOLLOW (none of which, I’m pretty sure, should cause Theresa May undue concern as to your status as a terror suspect). Come along, and bring your passports, just in case I’m wrong about the preceding sentence and Guantanamo does in fact end up beckoning. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

By Matthias Heiderich




  • Those Numbers: 1.55billion is a LOT of humans, so WELL DONE Mark et al. All the Facebook numbers this week were pretty terrifyingly impressive, to be honest, and only serve to reinforce the fact that, whatever you might think about the platform, it’s not going away as an advertising necessity anytime soon. Just remember that the 1.55billion figure means nothing other than ‘that is how many people you can now advertise to’ – it is still VITAL to recall that absolutely none of them want to be ‘friends’ with a bank, or share BRANDED MOMENTS OF TRUTH with you. Sorry about that. 
  • Better Local Facebook Ads in the UK: Interesting in particular for larger retailers, this, the announcement delivers a pretty significant upgrade to large companies’ ability to do all sorts of clever things with local ads nationwide – like autopopulating store contact details at a local level for ads bought nationally, changing copy based on target location, that sort of thing. Analytics are also improved, and will now show you Facebook user traffic around your physical location, broken down by day and time, so you can see exactly what the best time is to FIRE ADVERTS AT THEIR EXPECTANT FACES (clue: it is always a good time. Always. The advertising must never stop). 
  • Facebook Detailed Ad Targeting Launches: I may potentially have missed this the other week, sorry. Basically there have been some tweaks to the Facebook Ads Power Editor which mean that you can do smarter targeting with more Boolean-type structure – so you can now choose to target not only middle-aged men who like Star Wars and LEGO and anime, but also to specify that they also be into erotic anime AND single (lazy ‘humour’? Yes, ok, fine, sorry. It’s effectively giving you AND, OR, and AND NOT qualifiers, which is useful. 
  • Facebook Launches Music Stories: Noone’s really managed to nail the ‘integrate music with social’ thing yet; I’m sure analysts are having all sorts of opinions about whether this will help Facebook crack it, so if you want to read a whole load of speculation about that sort of thing I invite you to Google yourself silly. Anyway, this is basic functionality which lets users of Spotify or Apple Music share what they they are listening to at the moment; this cues up a 30-second preview of the song or album in the Newsfeed, playable through Facebook, with the option to click through and listen to the whole thing or buy / download the music in question. Bound to be an audio ad unit in this somewhere soon, no?
  • All The Facebook AI Stuff: Facebook is going to be the Starbucks of the scifi future, isn’t it? Unavoidable, ubiquitous and just a bit rubbish. Anyway, this is all the scarily future stuff that they are working on at the moment – image recognition, AI systems, etc. Personally speaking, I found their slightly blithe announcement about their GO-bot the most interesting; GO is famously one of the few games in which AIs still don’t tend to do as well as people, I think, and for them to say as a throwaway “Oh, we knocked this one out a few months ago and it’s already as good as the best ones out there and it’s still learning” is the sort of FORESHADOWING that you’d kick yourself for not noticing in the first act of the dystopian scifi film of legend. 
  • You Can No Longer Say You Are ‘Maybe’ Going To An Event: So there. 
  • Instagram Launches Curated Video Stream: I wrote something earlier this year about how tedious it was that all the bloody platforms were converging to the point where they all do basically the same thing for marginally different audiences – this trend continues apace with the announcement that Instagram’s basically rolling out something which is quite a lot like Twitter Moments or Snapchat Discover. It’s only been done in the US so far, and only over Hallowe’en weekend, but it’s going to go global soon and this will OBVIOUSLY be a paid channel so watch this space for EXCITING ADVERMARKETING OPPORTUNITIES!
  • All The Materials From Twitter’s Developer Conference: If you’re a developer-type person, this is worth a look – all of the talks from the recent Flight event. If you’re not, ONWARDS!
  • The Bloody Heart / Star Thing: I know, I know, complaining that people are spending too much time focusing on a trivial issue on the internet rather than spending their time talking about WEIGHTY ISSUES and making the world a better place is stupid and annoying and futile. I know this. Still, though, the amount of space and time dedicated to people debating the cultural significance of an icon change was preposterous – REALLY? NOTHING BETTER TO DO/SAY? Christ alive. Anyway, in case you did have better or more important things to do, the ‘Fav’ button on Twitter, used either as a bookmark or a gentle ‘yes, well done’, or a slightly ironic ‘WEVS’, or indeed in a host of other ways, has been replaced by a heart icon and renamed a ‘Like’. Which, yes, is weirdly retrograde seeing as Facebook has just about realised that that’s a very blunt way of interacting with a story, and does potentially alter the UX of the platform slightly, but probably didn’t need all the WORDS around it which I am just adding to so let’s stop there shall we? Yes we shall. Oh, you can apparently change the hearts to any emoji you like with a bit of tinkering – here’s a Chrome extension which turns the icon into a bottom.
  • Twitter’s Public Policy Transparency Page: Quite interesting move, this – a page on which Twitter is laying out its political donations, etc, in the US, which is pleasingly transparent, as well as its policies on privacy, user safety and security and the rest. It would be nice to see this sort of thing as standard. 
  • Snapchat Does First Sponsored Lens Thing: The Snapchat lenses – you know, the filters that let you puke rainbows out of your face and stuff on Snapchat – are also obviously going to be an ad product. And lo, it came to pass that the marketing spend on the Peanuts film, which appears to be VAST even by the normal standards of Hollywood, has in part been spaffed on being the FIRST ones to do it – they ran a campaign over Hallowe’en in the US which let users overlay Peanuts-themed graphics on their videos. Christ knows why anyone would want to have a poorly-animated CGI Snoopy capering on their head in a video, but it seems they did. Like the really early rubbish days of AR (which, on reflection, are still here) – I also imagine that this was VIOLENTLY expensive, if Snapchat”s general ratecard is anything to go by. 
  • The Really Confusing Snapchat Privacy Thing: The reporting around this was SO BAD over the weekend – they will steal all your photos!/they WON’T steal all your photos! – which if nothing else suggests that a) this really is a nadir for UK journalist (on which subject, this); and b) that their privacy policies really are clear as mud. FWIW, as I understood it their whole ‘we can use your images for whatever we like and will keep them for that purpose’ thing applies to stuff posted on the public channels (events, etc) rather than stuff sent peer-to-peer, but I have never sent a dickpic and so don’t really care tbh. 
  • Buyable Pins Coming To Android: You want to sell stuff on Pinterest? This is a Good Thing for you, in that case.
  • Google Launches VR Videos on YouTube For Android: That’s a sentence I would LOVE to see someone from the early 90s attempt to get their head around. Anyway, this is an upgrade to the Android YT app which enables it to play VR vids – enhanced 360 ones, basically – which means that Android users will also be able to enjoy the (apparently underwhelming) world of Google Cardboard. The fact that the NYT gave away shedloads of kits the other week will be interesting in terms of gauging mainstream(ish) appetite for this sort of thing; I’m not convinced anyone actually wants 3d video that much, but maybe I’m wrong. You can try out a load of the Times’ own efforts at VR reporting hre, should you so desire.
  • Google Launches Terrifying Mind-Reading Email Software: Does the fact that Google have invented script which can REPLY TO YOUR EMAILS FOR YOU make you feel a little…well…unsettled? If not, WHY NOT? Am I the only person who upon reading this immediately leapt to a near-future in which brands couple pay a premium to have themselves inserted into scripted responses penned by an AI – “Yes, I will be there – just got to finish my LOVELY REFRESHING DIET COKE first”, etc? Hm, maybe I am becoming a touch paranoid. 
  • Skype Sharing Buttons Announced: You can now add a ‘Share on Skype’ button to your content, which is actually a sensible idea which you should implement as of the now. 
  • New Yorker Email Reminders: This is a really smart use of email, I think. The New Yorker, a magazine even its devotees concede can be a bit on the chunky side, is now pinging people an email when they leave an article halfway through, reminding them that they didn’t finish it and providing a link back to the bit they’d got up to. I should TOTALLY institute this for Curios, although by so doing I would get actual insight into the dropoff rates as the sodding thing goes on and on and on and on, so perhaps on reflection I might just not. 
  • Tracking Offline Conversion In Google Analytics: This is just a smart and useful overview which you should probably look at if you fancy being able to demonstrate your professional worth beyond the standard ineffectual bleating about ‘engagement’ and ‘brand equity’ and stuff. 
  • Save The Rainforest: A site for a Telethon campaign in (I think) Norway which is now finished but which allowed people to sponsor a section of rainforest, learn more about the area, etc etc. Included mainly because I really like both the navigation and the virtual parrots. More virtual parrots, please, on all websites.
  • The Kooples’ Blackout App: I begrudgingly really like this idea, much as I’m nearly always of the ‘no, realy, you don’t need an app’ school of thought. Weirdly (to me) creepy and cult-like clothing retailer The Kooples has released this app designed for couples – the idea is that it’s a single user to single user interface which lets you share messages, pics, etc, with just one other person (your husband, mistress, etc), as well as tracking the amount of time you spend together, etc. I really wish that this had been an art project rather than a brand thing, but it’s not. Balls. BRANDS AS PATRONZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!




  • Vice Launches VICEland: Not, sad as it is to report, a VICE themepark (just IMAGINE! The centrifuge which replicates the sensation of being on an ayuhuasca binge with your Peruvian shaman! The acid party vortex! The hipster tattoo bar! They would be rolling in it, I tell you), but instead their own new 24h TV channel in the US, all Spike Jonze-endorsed and edgy and stuff. Someone I know just left MTV to join this, and she’s very smart and capable, so I don’t doubt it will succeed, but it will be interesting to see to what extend the already slightly watered-down VICE brand makes the transition to cable. Sorry, that was a bit MEDIA NEWS, wasn’t it? I’ll make the rest more frivolous, I promise.
  • Purrcasts: The sound of cats, purring. I’m sure there’s a market for this but I am buggered if I know what it is; if you work for Pedigree Petfoods, though (and I’m sure some of you poor sods must) this is the sort of idiot gimmick you can totally rip off for momentary brand-LOLZ. What a world this is.
  • FACEYOU!: I don’t know why, but the name of this makes me think of a slightly manic person shouting that phrase at you over and over again. Weird. Anyway, this is a faceswapping app by Baidu which lets you do live facemapped imageswapping with pretty much any image at all, which as you can imagine is SUPERCREEPY and actually sort of fun. Outside the gimmick, the tech actually seems rather robust and I can see this catching on amongst THE YOUTH.
  • Popcorntime FREE: Popcorn time, the torrent streaming site which seemingly refuses to die, is BACK; no idea how long this is going to stay up, but you can stream a LOT of films in-browser here. Which, yes, is stealing, and I appreciate the absolute hypocrisy of being someone who expects to get paid for stuff like this whilst at the same time linking to a website which effectively advocates stealing from the mouths of hungry creatives. What can I say, I’m a complex and multifaceted individual and anyway, I wouldn’t link to this stuff if I didn’t know that deep down you WANT IT.
  • Super-easy Image Sorter for Social: You want / need a site which lets you REALLY EASILY upload images, resize them for different social platforms, add captions, etc? OH GOOD! This is actually really very useful indeed, particularly if you want to make a job-lot of anodyne pictures with crap inspirational quotes on them, which if you work on social for Weight Watchers is, I think, what you must spend your whole day doing, you poor, poor creature you.
  • Luma: If these work as well as they purport to, they could be SO useful. Luma is a wifi-boosting system for the home, basically, which advertises itself as being a simple, one-stop solution to the weird wifi blackspots which afflict every home. Not only do they boost signal, but they also double up as content blockers for individual devices – meaning they can do the whole ‘don’t let this phone get on Pornhub in this house thankyouverymuch’ thing – as well as adding its own additional layer of net security and the like. Pre-order only, but if they work then these do look rather good.
  • Circle: Seeing as we’re doing home internet stuff, this is Circle by Disney – here’s the blurb, as I can’t be bothered to paraphrase: “Circle is a smart device and app that allows your family to manage all of your home’s connected devices. With Circle, parents can filter content, limit screen time and set a bedtime for every device in the home. Circle can even pause the Internet.” So there – outsource your parental discipline to the Mouse, why don’t you! Sorry, that’s unfair – I appreciate that sometimes you might want to just have some third party setting boundaries and limits to your sticky, jam-smeared progeny rather than having to deal with them yourselves.
  • Surname Mapper: Map where people with your surname live, worldwide. There are fewer than 60,000 Muirs worldwide, it would seem, which momentarily made me feel somewhat endangered.
  • Who’s Down?: This is basically ‘Netflix and Chill – The App’ from Google. I mean, ostensibly it’s a very simple and clever idea – you use the app to set your status as either being busy or being free for X amount of time (so, say, you can say you’re available for the next few hours); your other friends using the app can then see who’s around and who’s available to DO STUFF. Except I can’t see past this being used as a casual hookups thing, though maybe I’m wrong and it’s only going to be for trips to the bowling or somesuch. Yes, that’s probably it. It’s currently US-only and, interestingly, like early Facebook requires a school/college name to download, suggesting they’re being clever and trying to get a young install base before rolling it out. It’s actually a really smart concept, so let’s see if it works.
  • The Poseable David: Michelangelo’s David, as a poseable toy. You’re restricted to buying three at a time, but I think you could probably do a roaring trade in these on eBay in a year or so’s time if you’re that sort of forward-thinking BUSINESS MAVEN.
  • The Ginvent Calendar2015: I have previously spoken of my disdain for the whole “I LOVE GIN, ME!” trope which infects Twitter like some sort of twee AIDS; if you know one of those people, though, then this is probably a good gift for them (but after that maybe just step away and suggest that they take a good long look at themselves).
  • The ProtoPiper: This just looks FUN; if I had kids it would be a terrifying ordeal which would be fundamentally damaging to everyone involved, but I would also really like to get them one of these to play with. It’s basically a sort of ersatz 3d-printing gun which lets you make sculpture-type things from loops of tape, and if you click on the link and you see the amazing dinosaur sculpture they made with it you’ll want one too. If you make stuff I can totally see how this would be amazingly useful for prototyping and the like.
  • In The Crowd: I really, really like this. Simple but really useful website which flashes a variety of colours depending on the setting you select – the idea being that you can load it up on your phone and hold it up in a crowd so that your friends can see the flashing green phone in a sea of other digitards and come and find you. The sort of thing I can imagine being really helpful at festivals, and which I might think about co-opting into next season’s festival apps were I that sort of person.
  • To Reddit: Site which lets you schedule Reddit posts and (sneakily) also lets you autodelete and repost them if they don’t get enough traction the first time. Actually useful if you want to do promotion across timezones, though I imagine exactly how well the Reddit community would react to advermarketingprtwats using this sort of stuff (WHERE’S THE AUTHENTICITY MAN???).
  • Grammarly: Were I to rule the world, everything would be a total fcuking mess but the one small benefit would be that everyone would be forced to install this Chrome extension which automatically picks up when you make a grammatical error in your writing, wherever said writing might be taking place online. Basically like having a really annoying pedant prodding you ALL THE TIME, it’s actually pretty joyless but I can see it being useful if you’re trying to teach someone grammatical rigour (or if you just want to irritate someone a LOT).
  • Get Close: Effectively providing a messaging-based customer service solution for small businesses, this is totally redundant as soon as Facebook Messenger gets its act together and rolls out its business-friendly functionality everywhere – until then, though, it might be worth checking out. You sign up as a business – users can then use the app to contact you with questions using the messenger interface. Simple, useful, and soon to be totally obsolete.
  • MomentaryInk: This is a really, really good idea. Get your ideal tattoo designed, send it to these people and they’ll print you a temporary decal which you can use to see exactly how much of an idiot you’ll look with the Triforce stamped on your bicep (or something). Not supercheap, but much cheaper than both the tattoo and the eventual cost of removing it when you realise that having “Netflix and chill?” along with a winky face permanently branded on your calf isn’t funny now and certainly won’t be funny in 6 months’ time.
  • Teforia: The note for this that I made for myself reads, simple, “tea-wats”, which isn’t in any way funny but which describes exactly how I feel about this £100+ TEA INFUSION SYSTEM which is basically designed to turn tea drinkers into the sort of crushing bores who wang on about coffee like it’s Proust and who have been responsible for the fact that it’s impossible to get an espresso in London which doesn’t in fact taste like licorice (this is a FACT, check it out – WHY CAN YOU NO LONGER GET DECENT ITALIAN-STYLE COFFEE IN THIS CITY??? I blame the Australians, personally). Ahem. I grudgingly accept that the website’s very nice, and the actual machine is pretty space-age, but REALLY, come on, you need a robot thingy to make a cup of tea now? Reading that sentence aloud in my head, I weirdly sounded like an old Jewish man. Oy!
  • Earbud: If you like podcasts, this is a wonderful repository of some of the best, curated by NPR. Worth bookmarking if you need a regular new fix of this stuff.
  • Plag: This is not a new concept – I’ve seen at least three things like this which work in a similar fashion over the last few years, none of which have ever got the sort of tractino which means I’ve ever heard of them again – but I still adore it as a sharing mechanic. Plag is a social network which works around physical proximity; users share CONTENT (sorry) which is distributed to users who are reasonably physically proximate to them; these users can, on viewing said content, swipe up to share it further with people near them, or swipe down to stop it from going anywhere. ACTUAL, REAL VIRAL FUNCTION! I think that there’s an excellent set of toys/games you can build around this idea – there’s an obvious chinese whispers-type application, for one – but I’m sure you can think of other applications. I would love to see this sort of thing added as a play-layer to other networks, not that it ever will. Anyway, try it, it’s quite fun I think.
  • The $1m Hauly: You know in films when people are moving around large numbers of banknotes for potentially nefarious purposes and they’re all in these bags and it looks really SINISTER and SERIOUS? You ever wondered where you get those from? Here, it turns out – bags to hold upto $1million in CASHMONEY. Were they not 200-odd quid I’d totally want one, just for the ‘maybe one day’ thought.
  • Parcl: Smart idea, this, designed to deal with the problem of seeing something cool online that you want to buy but then finding that it doesn’t ship internationally (I say ‘problem’…). You sign up to Parcl and use its network of people to forward you parcels across the world – you get your stuff, they get a small commission, everyone wins. Actually very clever indeed, and particularly useful as we approach the bloody season of bloody goodwill.
  • Unnecessary Censorship: If one of you doesn’t steal this for an ad campaign I will be very, very disappointed indeed.
  • Artistic Shower Curtains: Because I refuse to believe that none of you want to adorn your bathroom with a shower curtain depicting Munch’s ‘Scream’.
  • The Emoji Keyboard: It’s not possible to show you the sneer on my face as I am typing this, but rest assured there’s a degree of lip-curl happening that Elvis in his pomp would have acknowledged with no little respect. Anyway, here you are, this is the communication technology we deserve – a keyboard which lets you easily add emoji to ANYTHING YOU WRITE. You will never have to bother with clear, unambiguous prose ever again, you lucky, lucky twats.
  • Simple Politics: This is a great site – if you are curious about politics and policy but find its reporting confusing, tedious and / or depressing, this could be very useful indeed, breaking down as it does the main votes and issues du jour in simple, easy to navigate fashion. As they say, it’s not about gossip or opinion so much as fact as to the mechanics of the UK’s political process, in theory and in practice. Really very clear communications – I like this a LOT.
  • Instasnoop: I don’t really use Instagram (is that allowed? I feel like a pariah) so not 100% certain how useful this is, but the gimmick is that it allows you to browse people’s profiles and pics with an interface which doesn’t let you like, regram, etc, any of the shots – so you can’t accidentally out your stalky tendencies by inadvertently clicking on something and alerting your stalkee to the fact that you were cranking over their bikini selfies again. I mean, do you all have really fat fingers?
  • Paperhouse: No real idea how many of you are planning to design and build your own houses, but in case you are this is a GREAT database of open source architectural plans which you can browse to your heart’s content. Really rather good from a domestiporn point of view.


By Matthew Plummer-Fernandez





  • Shelfie: Lazy description for this one is ‘Shazam for books’, which is actually pretty accurate so I don’t feel too bad. You take a photo of your bookshelf – the app scans the spines and lets you know which of the titles you’re entitled to a free digital copy of, and lets you grab the files. Not 100% certain it works in the UK, but why not do my research for me and let me know? Thanks!

  • Flowers of Meat: A thing in Japan, apparently, though I’ve long been of the opinion that Japanese media owners are mostly just making up weird shit to see what the Western media will blithely report as fact with not even the bare minimum of due diligence. Look forward to seeing a spread of these on Mail Online within the week.

  • The Prankophone: Read this description and tell me you don’t want an app/website version of this: “the main principle of the object’s functioning is as follows: depending on the current mode, the apparatus calls to random or pre-defined recipients and plays them algorithmic melodies created from their phone numbers. The speakers transmit both the synthesized sounds and the sound from answering person. The common sound layer is involving a random recipient who doesn’t suspect anything. The person who answers the phone can’t hear any other sounds except for the synthesized ones.” See? Sounds GREAT.

  • Go Elevator: An interesting idea, though one which I have a sneaking suspicion was inspired by some sort of geeky conversation along the lines of ‘man, imagine trying to put together a superhero team! wouldn’t it be great if they all came as a package from the start?’. Go Elevator lets colleagues advertise themselves for hire as a team, which is actually probably really useful for people in the ad industry who tend to come as a package in any case. This is the sort of feature I can totally see LinkedIn nicking in the next 12 months, maybe, possibly.

  • Eternime Redux: A quick Google suggests that I first featured Eternime in February 2014 – over 18 months later, they have a short video describing how their tech’s evolving. In case you don’t recall (WTF is wrong with you? Alzheimer’s?), this is what I said at the time: “ is (or, more accurately, aims to become) an extension of your online persona which will exist after your demise – taking cues from your social media profiles built up while you’re alive and creating an ‘AI’ (my inverted commas – it’s unclear what sort of ‘intelligence’ they’re aiming for here, or how Turing Test-y it will bet) from the posts you’ve made which can continue interacting with your loved ones and friends after you’re dead. So basically if you affect the persona of a double-figure-IQ moron online, expect that to be the version of you which persists into eternity online.” So there. NOw that there’s a video of the tech in the wild, I’m pretty confident in saying that this is going to stay vaporware for a long time – this is far, far too uncanny valley creepy for anyone to want to have anything to do with at present, and the AI tech is still so far from being able to deliver anything other than a very stilted simulacrum of personality. They obviously read Neuromancer and thought ‘Hm, the Count’s construct; interesting idea, let’s make it real’, but I’m not expecting my Gibsonian future to arrive just yet.

  • Amsterdam Prive’: Photos of Amsterdam’s ‘sexy’ nightlife in 1979/80. As anyone who’s ever visited Amsterdam can attest, there’s not really anything sexy about it at all, but there are some VERY GOOD fcuked faces in this collection, as well as some penises.

  • 100 Paintings: A lovely project, taking 100 paintings which have been divided into 5 ‘layers’ each; this website recombines these layers at random, resulting in a collection of around 9billion randomly generated new works, each available as a download. The only thing which could make this better, I think, would be to make the works available for sale – I love the idea of each being a unique original which will only ever exist in the real world once. Can someone make that, please? Ta.

  • Kibo: This week’s ‘Well this is obviously only going to be used for totally above-board purposes, honest’ app comes in the form of Kibo, an app which adds a layer to messenger conversations which allows for the transmission of hidden messages between two users. You type the message you really want to send, then hit a button – Kibo then creates some anodyne message along the lines of ‘Yep, great!’ and sends that in chat, the gimmick being that the intended recipient, who also has Kibo, can tap the message and see the ILLICIT COMMUNICATION that was in fact the real message. Great for people conducting affairs and THROWING SHADE, probably, though I quite like the idea of turning it into a game in some small way (no idea how, not going to think about it any more, really quite tired now).

  • 1995 Regi: A brilliant Instagram account which is effectively telling a comicbook story via the medium of drawings designed to look like the sorts of things the main character would post to Instagram were she a real woman. I love this conceit SO MUCH, not to mention that the art style is fantastic. I also adore the way in which the comments on the pictures contribute to the story – brands looking at how to do ‘storytelling’ on the platform, look at this and LEARN (and then ignore it all in favour of shoving your brandspaff down our gullets like you always do).

  • Logiplaces: I WANT THIS SO MUCH. Crowdfunding campaign for these gorgeous-looking minimal 3d jigsawsculptures of cityscapes and natural landscapes around the world – they’re quite hard to describe, or at least they are for me, so I suggest that you click the link and check them out and back them and then go to the poll on the site and ask them to do London next because HOW cool would that be? Seriously, if you’re a designer-y type person you will love this, guaranteed (not actually guaranteed).

  • Collectible Home Computer Cards: A now-funded Kickstarter for a set of trading cards all about old home computers, which I ordinarily wouldn’t bother with but, you know, it’s nearly Christmas, and I am pretty confident that I know my readership pretty well by now and that there will be several middle-aged men out there for whom this ticks all sorts of boxes. Go on, don’t be ashamed.

  • Twitch In The Shell: So geeky that it’s pretty much entirely beyond me, this is the Twitch community attempting to collectively install Arch Linux, an operating system whose installation process is famously unfriendly and which therefore should take approximately 7 years to complete based on the mechanics, which are the same as the previous ‘Twitch Plays….’ series of experiments. Seriously, if none of the above meant anything to you then don’t click the link, it will just confuse and possibly depress you.

  • Operator: ANOTHER concierge service, this one which works via a simple in-app messaging system and lets you ask a series of ‘experts’ for their advice on products, services, restaurants, etc etc…except that the service is free, you don’t pay any premiums, and the ‘experts’ are paid from money paid by brands who want their stuff recommended. So effectively it’s not so much a concierge service as one which lets you ask a bunch of faceless strangers ‘so, what stuff are you being paid to promote today, then?’, which sounds rubbish tbh.

  • The Monster Project: This made me quite annoyed. Last week IKEA got lots of press for doing a stunt where they made real toys from kids’ drawings – a service which has been available from a small shop online for YEARS, but which got nary a mention. Now this Kickstarter project, through which a bunch of artists are asking for money to do the same thing but by taking kids drawings and turning them into cool, high-quality artworks reinterpreted by ‘proper’ artists. Which is EXACTLY what The Monster Engine by David Devries has been doing for a decade or so. DeVries doesn’t seem to be involved with this, but at no point does it acknowledge that it rips him off wholesale. Gits, don’t give them any money.

  • Serendipity: OH I LOVE THIS. Once a month you will get paired with a random stranger over email. No more, no less. THE FUN! Ostensibly there’s some buillshit rationale about it being a good way to network, but ignore that and just think of it as a way of potentially meeting interesting new webmongs to be friends with. There’s a brandsteal opportunity here should you want to take it, I think.

  • Pastcards: Interesting idea, this – you give it access to your Instagram feed, and each month (for a small fee, £3) it will send you a nicely-printed card in the post taking one of your Instagram pics as the image. Gives you a nice hit of unexpected nostalgia, though probably worth purging your feed of all the pictures of your ex or your suicided family member before you do, unless you want to be moved to gut-wrenching sobs when you open your mail.

  • ROAR: One to file under “I wish this didn’t have to exist but I am sort of glad it (almost) does”, this project has smashed its crowdfunding target with over two weeks to go. Basically it’s a small combined rape alarm and transmitter which can not only make a really fcuking loud sound but can also text people when you press it, tell them where you are when you press the alarm, etc. Sensibly, you can also turn off the alarm bit and only send the silent text alerts; it’s a very nice piece of design indeed

  • CrowdHaiku: Using the ‘wisdom’ of the crowd to collaboratively write haiku, you submit a word and the community votes on which one will be added the the composition next. The poems that result are, because this is the internet, frequently obscenely scatological, but there are odd moments of beauty (but mostly people writing “Poop” and “butt” over and over again – thanks, North America!).

  • The Cryptaris Mission: A slick, polished, graphically impressive and CHILLINGLY COLD website from the US Army, designed to show people how much killing people in real life is like playing videogames (yes, I know that the Armed Forces in the UK do this stuff as well) – it’s a really very nicely made piece of webwork indeed, but there’s something so utterly inhuman about the way it all looks and feels, which maybe is the point. Poor Private Pyle 🙁.

  • Sons of Gallipoli: Interactive documentary of the week #1 – this is from Turkey, and is all about the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli, their families, the history of the area and its strategic importance…it’s nicely done, but it’s included mainly as a comparative illustration to demonstrate what REALLY GOOD online documentary work looks like. To whit…

  • Empire: This is brilliant from the Netherlands; a great interactive documentary about the history and impact of the Dutch colonial machine, which (as you’d expect from the Dutch) is pleasingly un-rosy tinted when it comes to examining the effects impact of the slave trade, etc. So much to love about this, not least the interface, but I particularly like the manner in which they use non-traditional video formats (slidey splitscreen, 180 degree flips, etc) in a way which isn’t gimmicky but instead makes narrative sense. Really nice, but not as nice as…

  • The Universe Within: So after mentioning in passing the other week that I’d not seen anything from the National Film Board of Canada in a while, this crops up and it is STELLAR. The Universe Withing pieces together stories from residents of high-rise blocks around the world through video, audio, photocollages, CGI, etc, to explore how the web is used by people in high-density accomodation to create a sense of personal space and identity. I cannot stress enough how good this is – if you care one iota about ‘DIGITAL STORYTELLING’ then you owe it to yourself to have a play.

  • The Processing Foundation Shop: You can buy really rather cool unique digitally designed clothes here. You sort of have to look / play to work it out, but some of the tshirt designs you can spin up are awesome.

  • Brightwild: This is FUN – part album launch website, part small 8-bit game, you play through the levels to hear more of the music. It is pretty ridiculously processor-intensive, so don’t try and do it when you have 213 tabs open as I just did as it will crash EVERYTHING and you will swear a lot and then go and make a cup of tea and try and calm down but it won’t really work and your mood will subsequently be all soured and noone wants that.

  • Trippingbot: Ever wondered what an AI on acid would be like? Like this, it turns out. The latest project by Friend of Curios (it’s an official designation, you can get a badge and EVERYTHING) Shardcore, you can read all about its creation / high concept here should you so desire (you should).

  • Sprayprinter: If this is a real thing, it will change graffiti FOREVER – or at least mean that a certain type of idiot narcissist will have a field day spraypainting their own likeness all over the place. As far as I can tell, this is claiming to be tech which lets you upload an image and will then enable you to spraypaint a version of that image onto a surface automatically. I mean, that’s witchcraft, right? Is this even possible? I am so confused.

  • 100 Balloons: A LOVELY project which I exhort you all to get involved with, 100 Balloons is by Simon White and it will involve 100 people sharing stories with each other via the medium of balloons, and you should all get involved if you can (well, upto 100 of you, in any case).

  • Scrote & Tote: Because there’s literally no other link to end on this week. Make your own ‘ballbag’ joke as I really just can’t be bothered.


By Daniel Alford





  • Sad MGTOW Apartments: I am so, so happy that I had to look up MGTOW – apparently it means ‘men going their own way’, and is some sort of men’s rights organisation with all the standard The Game/Alpha-Beta/Gamergate/Redpill/Bluepill rubbish you’d associate with it. This is a collection of webcam shots of people from this community, gently pointing out that the domestic situations revealed in some of the pics don’t necessarily bespeak so much of men going their own way as men struggling with certain basic aspects of personal grooming and hygiene.

  • News Cat Gifs: Journalistic travails, illustrated with cat gifs.

  • Cartographers Without Borders: A collection of imagined or impossible or altered maps.

  • North Korean Interiors: Photos of North Korean interiors, which are absolutely as creepy as you’d hope / expect.

  • Resn Experiments: I’ve mentioned Resn before on here – they are a SUPERWANKY but very cool New Zealand digital agency who I am probably deep down sort of jealous of. Anyway, this is a collection of code.text experiments by them, which are all lovely if you like code-led digiart.

  • Such A Cnut: Nowhere near as confrontationally provocative as the title would suggest, this is a collection of feminist cartoons. I suggest that women who spend any time arguing with men on the internet may wish to save / bookmark a few of these for quick-linking.

  • Quiet Desert Failure: My favourite art project of the week, this Tumblr is very quietly working to fill itself up with pictures of deserts taken from Google Maps, the creator’s manifesto states: “I programmed an Internet bot to traverse the datascape of Google Maps in order to fill a Tumblr blog and its datacenters with a remapping representation of the whole Sahara Desert, one post a time, every 30 minutes. The whole performance will approximately take 50 years to be completed, but it is still not clear if the audience, the Google’s servers, the tumblr archive or the Internet itself will last enough to see the end.” So there.

  • ITunes&c: Another lovely one, this – a Tumblr which takes the incomprehensible Ts&Cs we all blindly sign up to when we use iTunes and creates an illustrated comic from them, adding one new page a day. The copy is still obviously still just legalese horror, but the illustrations add a brilliant feel to it; it reads like a story, despite not being one at all. Very cool.

  • Too Many Guys, One Girl: Large groups of men winning awards, along with a token woman. Can anyone tell me what the Jack Whitehall-compered event which features so prominently on here was, please?

  • Fcuk Yeah, Trudeau!: Celebrating the beauty and liberal-friendliness of Canada’s premiere, who for the first 24h of his election I managed to totally confuse with iconic cartoonist and Doonsbury creator Garry Trudeau, which is not funny but is sadly true.

  • Chinatown Pretty: Street fashion blog focusing on senior citizens from San Francisco’s Chinatown. It’s probably patronising to say that these people are all old and cute and awesome, but I don’t care as none of them are ever likely to read this.



  • Different Class, 20 Years On: When Different Class by Pulp came out, I was living at college in Oxford and I was WELL HEARTBROKEN. Laura Martin-Robinson totally didn’t fancy me and fancied my best mate instead – IKR? SO MIZ – and I went into town on the day this came out and bought it and then spent 4 hours walking around Oxford in the rain and listening to it on repeat until the batteries on my walkman died and smoking cigarettes and, embarrassingly, weeping quite a lot. It’s still amazing to me what part of that wasn’t attractive to her. Anyway, that’s of no relevance at all, but this piece by Luke Young of The Quietus on the social context within which the album was released, and the weird feeling of being Piggy in Lord of the Flies which descended upon all the weedy nerds who’d loved Pulp since His’n’Hers (the far superior album, fyi) and before when they saw their outside idols being feted by the same Ben Sherman-clad, crispy-fringed neanderthals who’d spent much of the past years making fun of you for liking that geeky music in the first place (it’s STILL RAW you know) is GREAT, and anyone who remembers the mid-90s with a sort of awed horror should read it.

  • King Troll: Ken M is one of the funniest people on the internet. I was in actual tears after about three paragraphs of this article about his long-running aim to be the stupidest commenter online EVER. Read if you want a pick-me-up, it is guaranteed to amuse.

  • The Four Horsemen of Gentrification: McSweeney’s once again demonstrate why it’s the best place for satire on the web (sorry, The Onion) with this LOVELY piece of hipster-bait. US tropes abound, but anyone who’s been to Peckham in the past five years will know the score.

  • Every Day I Want To Quit Social Media: A great piece of writing which captures almost perfectly the spiralling need for dopamine hits and approbation engendered by all this stuff (not in me, obviously, I’m totally above the banal quest for better numbers) (which is pretty lucky really otherwise I’d be devastated), and which is particularly timely given this week’s big old “OMG SO FAKE”-gate going on with Essena O’Neill.

  • Mourning Grantland: Grantland getting canned made me rather sad, I must say – it’s provided smart longform sports writing which even appealed to people like me who don’t like or care about sport at all. This piece on the Observer is a smart look at why it got shuttered and what it means as regards the way in which CONTENT (sorry) works in modern publishing – it’s got rather a lot of interesting stuff to say about the dangers of the flat, postmodern approach to cultural value and relevance which I rather enjoyed.

  • The Art of the Witness: A wonderful piece from a month or so ago in the New Yorker, looking at the life and writing of Primo Levi, his humanity in the face of atrocity and how his prose communicated his ideals. There’s some wonderful analysis of his style in here, which is really worth reading if you’re familiar with his work. If you’ve not read ‘If This Is A Man’ then please click this link and remedy that fact now.

  • The ‘True’ Story Of Zola: Did you read the epic ‘strippers’n’hos do Florida’ tweetstorm which was all over the web last week? No? IDIOT. Anyway, if you did you may enjoy this followup piece from Caitlyn Dewey at the Washington Post, which attempts to piece together what might actually have happened. Seems that it was mostly legit, and there was a LOT of other weird stuff too. This story truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

  • The Witches of Papua New Guinea: The first must-read piece of journalism in here this week, this is a mad (and maddening) account of the strangely modern practice of hunting down witches in what sounds like the truly terrifying mean streets of modern Papua New Guinea. It feels like a VERY dark and far away place – an impression reinforced by some very good reporting in the piece.

  • The Rise of Franco-Arabic Rap: Great piece by Paris-dwelling Londoner Jeremy Allen all about the burgeoning Franco-Arabic rap scene in France, how it relates to the increasing simmering racial tensions which have been present in the country for…well…50-odd years, tbh, and how the scene’s developing in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders earlier in 2015. Interesting, and with the added bonus of being a great source of new French hiphop if you’re in need of some.

  • How Uber Has Made Us Awful People: Not just Uber – ratings culture, and the increasing sense that, much as we believe we are now entitled to read top-quality writing for free, we are also entitled to (to paraphrase the piece) Ritz-level service at McDonald’s-level prices. The more I think and read on this stuff, though, the more I’m darkly of the opinion that we’re almost inevitably going to end up with some sort of all-pervasive Peeple-style solution whether we like it or not. Which is a bit rubbish really.

  • The Sad Fading of the Refugee Crisis: Because we have all forgotten again, haven’t we, really? Depressingly, a politico friend of mine told me the other day that the referendum on Europe is almost certain to be held in the Winter months because the powers that be don’t want the issue becoming mixed up with pictures of dying people fleeing warzones in search of a better life, which we tend to have more of in the Summer. How lovely!

  • The Soft War On Drugs: Fascinating and wholly depressing piece on how the war on heroin abuse in the US has taken a distinctly more touchy-feely and non-punitive turn as the demographic profile of abusers has shifted towards the white middle-classes; effectively a demographic whose family, friends and parents are more likely to be able to equipped to navigate the bureaucracy of the police and judicial systems and therefore make them work more in their favour. Really interesting on how long-standing power hierarchies can manifest themselves in unexpected ways (SJW AND PROUD).

  • On Romantic Regimes: Brilliant piece about theories and concepts of romance and how these, and their associated milestones and tropes, differ from country to country. The author’s own anecdotes, about the differing conceptions of romance in her native Russia and her adoptive US, are beautiful (but leave one with the impression that having an affair out there is…er…tricky and complicated).

  • ISIS Are Idiots Too: LOOK AT THEM ARGUING ON TWITTER! This is very, very funny indeed, in a sort of ‘Four Lions’ sort of way.

  • The Future of Oil & Gas: No, wait, bear with me here. This is a VERY ODD thing indeed – a piece of future fiction written for Siemens, looking at some potential technologies which could arise in the coming years in the oil and gas industry, which for reasons known only to the author seems to think that the best way to propose these is to couch them in a story involving a dysfunctional couple who’s relationship is being undermined by her AI assistant. No, really. STRANGE CORPORATE WEIRDNESS HERE, for which thanks to Alex Wilson for the tip.

  • The Sad and Beautiful World of Mark Linkous: Sparklehorse are still one of my favourite bands – Linkous’ death a few years ago was one of the few celebrity suicides which properly *got* me. This profile of the man, the band and their music is one for the fans, but if you remember them fondly then this will be a lovely reminder of how beautiful each and every single one of their albums was. If you’re not familiar, I suggest you start here.

  • Boys In Zinc: My personal pick for best writing in here this week, this collection of anecdotes from soldiers and family members involved in Russia’s war in Afghanistan in the 80s is properly tearjerking, astonishingly well-crafted, and a horrifying and timely reminder of exactly the sort of proxy-war horror into which we’re seemingly now stuck in Syria. So really cheerful, then.

  • That Adele Profile: I mean, she does seem like a really nice, normal person, so well done her. Don’t quite understand the fuss, but I feel honour-bound to include this as, you know, POP CULTURE and the aforementioned postmodern flat nature of cultural value. Er, innit.


By Sarah Sitkin




1) First up comes this, which I meant to feature last week when it was all NEW AND FRESH but then forgot, at which point it got picked up by Popjustice meaning that I’m now behind the times, dammit. Anyway, this is Halia Jack with The Absence of Love, the production and vocal of which I adore, and would do anyway if I wasn’t good friends with her big sister:


2) Do you remember that Real Life FPS video from a while back, showing people playing a live-action FPS-style game through Chatroulette? Well they are BACK, and this time they are channelling Alien. This is both still SO SLICK and eminently ripoffable from a brand point of view – at the very least, I’d expect a theatre company to do somethingf experimental along these lines:


3) Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an appendix? No, me neither, but the answer according to this surprisingly excellent song and very odd CGI video is ‘a bit rubbish’:


4) This is a bit of a hateinclusion, tbh. Hannah Diamond is described in the blurb here as being a ‘popstar and professional image-maker’, signed to the oh-so-Tumblr label PC Music – the song and video are almost achingly saccharine and polished and Tumblr-perfect, with accents of K-pop sweetness, and the tie-up with both ID mag and Baby-G watches makes me think it’s going to be an aesthetic and vibe which will be getting pushed HARD in the next 12 months. Let’s see, shall we. This is called ‘Hi’ – the lyrics, fwiw, are also sort of bleakly awful in an ‘oh god, I don’t understand modern culture and life at ALL’ sort of way:


5) UK HIPHOP CORNER! I love Akala, he is GREAT. This is his new track and video, called ‘Mr Fire In The Booth’ (reference to his three appearances on Charlie Sloth’s R1 slot of that name, which you really ought to check if you’ve not heard them):


6) This is short and beautiful and haunting and LOVELY and deserving of the overused descriptor ‘ethereal’. This is Julien Baker, and the song is called ‘Sprained Ankle’:  


7) This is all sexy and French and is called ‘Leonardo’ by Bonnie Banane and I like it very much indeed:


8) Last up this week, this should have been included for Hallowe’en but, er, I didn’t see it in time. Here it is instead, though – ‘Oz vs Eden’ by Lawrence Rothman, which is a cracking song. Enjoy, and see you next time. BYE!:

Webcurios 21/03/14

Reading Time: 25 minutes

[image missing]

Sad, expectant, happy
Dominic Alves, CC licence

WE DONE A BUDGET! Or, more accurately, Gideon did. Thanks, Gideon. Didn’t we all enjoy all the INTERNETS around it, though, eh? Oh. Well TOUGH, webmongs, because it’s going to be like that EVERY SINGLE DAY on Twitter for about three months as of this time next year – get used to it. May I suggest that someone starts working on the social media plugin to block all the electolols from Twitter, Facebook, etc NOW and trademarks it? You’ll be rich, I tell you. 

Anyway, there’s shedloads to get through (as ever) this week and I’ve been writing this for nearly five hours and am TIRED (all offers of brow-soothing gratefully accepted); come with me, then, webmongs, as we gingerly disrobe behind the partition before scampering gamely towards the waiting warm bath of cleansing internets, ready to soothe and delight – don’t, whatever you do, make happy with the gin and razorblades which someone’s seen fit to leave by the side. Soap up and scrub, webmongs, for this is WEB CURIOS. 

By Fernanda Uribe



  • Twitter Testing ‘Favourite People’ Feature: Twitter Lists are one of those things which are really useful but a massive pain in the arse to actually use (obviously they’re not THAT much of a pain in the arse, but we live in an age in which anything which is any more complicated than pressing a button is greeted with frenzied eye-rolling and whinging by entitled idiots like me). Apparently Twitter’s testing out a ‘favourite people’ service which allows mobile users to add people to a list simply by ‘starring’ their profile; it also lets people choose to be alerted to when said selected people tweet. Potentially useful for CRISIS-type scenarios and stuff, although frankly it’s more of a cosmetic change than anything else (but really, there’s not much going on here this week so I was sort of clutching at straws really). 
  • How Twitter Made The ‘State Of The Union’ Interactive Infographicy Thing: You remember that thing Twitter did for the latest ‘State of the Union’ address in the US where they let users see what people were saying on the platform at any point during the POTUS’ address? It lives here, in case not. Anyway, this is a reasonably detailed account of how it was built, which is sort of interesting if you make / are interested in datavis-type stuff. 
  • Twitter May Remove @s And Hashtags From Tweets: This is just a cosmetic thing really. Not much to see here. 
  • Twitter Testing One-Tap Video Playback On Mobile: Erm, that. Only really interesting because of the fact that it’s currently being tested for people who are part of Twitter’s ‘Amplify’ ad scheme, which suggests that maybe this might end up being a potential ad format – you know, pay money to have your vids appear more clickable in feeds. Or maybe not – frankly I have no idea and, at this time in the morning, very little interest one way or the other. 
  • NEW UK STATS ABOUT FACEBOOK AND MOBILE!!!: Here! Have a load of numbers which show that loads of people in the UK use Facebook on their mobiles! To be honest none of this is interesting or surprising, but you can never have too many statistics – right, kids? To which end, here’s some MORE statistics all about how mums in the UK use Facebook (clue: they use it fcukloads, it turns out – whodathunk Facebook’s own data might suggest such a thing?). Have I ever told you how my Summer of 2010 was ruined by working on a Europe-wide NAPPY-RELATED CRISIS for Pampers? It was hideous, and means that even now I have a knowledge of mothering messageboard slang which is slightly disturbing for a childless man in his mid-30s. 
  • How Many Likes / Shares: This was made by Mat Morrison a few years ago, and is a useful little bookmarklet which lets you see how many likes/shares any individual page on the web has received on Facebook. Quick, dirty, but potentially VALUE-ADDING. 
  • Android Watches COMING SOON: I have little to no personal interest in the concept of ‘wearables’, but this week’s announcement of Android watches from Google is interesting mainly due to the fact that they’re opening up the software to developers – for brands which like to consider themselves at the forefront of all this digibollocks it might be worth thinking about what sort of hacks you can pull together so as to take advantage of this AMAZING TECH.  
  • Kenzo Does Gifart: Possibly the final nail in the coffin of the credibility of the Tumblr/gifart-type aesthetic, this website by Kenzo sort of almost gets it but not quite (it’s not quite odd enough, imho). Not sure whether to give them imaginary points for trying or whether I should just throw my hands up in horror at the commercial world’s ceaseless appropriation of all creativity in the world (or just, you know, not really give one either way because frankly it doesn’t matter). 
  • Playstation ‘First To Greatness’: I rather like this. Part of the seemingly neverending promo for the PS4, this lets users compete to be the first people worldwide to unlock particular in-game achievements and claim ‘immortality’ on this virtual leaderboard; you can explore all the achievements, watch clips of them, etc, on this very slick site – the Lou Reed soundtracking works surprisingly well, and the whole things surprisingly compelling if you’re some sort of gamegeek. 
  • Jonathan Cape 3-second Mysteries: I really like this – a little game-y site by Jonathan Cape to promote their graphic novels line. Not particularly techy, but I like the way if focuses on the panel-by-panel nature of sequential art. 
  • CLARKS AS PATRON!: Well, sort of  – I’m not sure how much DOOM actually needs Clarks’ money, but this is another ARTISTS dancing to a brand’s tune in exchange for some pennies; this time, resolutely ‘underground’ hiphop star DOOM offering up a remix of his track ‘Bookhead’ using sounds from the machinery of the Clarks factory. Not a bad fit – Wallabies by Clarks are sort of iconic footwear in the SCENE – but it still sort of saddens me a little.
  • Brilliant (Again) By Coke: You know that bus stop billboard which featured an artist modifying people’s images live on Photoshop to their SURPRISE AND DELIGHT? Yes you do, it was this one. This is Coke’s take, and in typical Coke fashion they do it SICKENINGLY well. This is so impressive – taking the same concept and just making it bigger and better. Oh, and just so they don’t feel left out, this billboard by Pepsi’s also very good indeed
  • The Themes Of SXSW: So SXSW is over for another year. What have we learned? Personally I learned nothing as I wasn’t there (did I mention that? I think I might have done), but thanks to JWT I can pretend that I was by spouting all these AMAZING INSIGHTS from this year’s beardywankfest. To be honest none of these things should really be anything other than ‘hm, yes, and?’ moments, but in case you need something to rip off and pass off as your own observations I include this here. 
  • Literally The Worst Load Of Advermarketing Balls I Have Ever Read, Ever: Having been quite nice about Coke 2 links ago, I feel entitled to point out the HORROR of this piece in Marketing week, all about Coke’s EXCITING WORLD CUP MARKETING PLANS. I’m sure the quoted executive is a nice person and all that, and perhaps they didn’t even say / write any of the quotes in this piece, but literally NOTHING that is quoted in this article means anything at all. I mean it’s literally ALL rubbish. “Share a Coke is a great example of how we engage with consumers in what we describe as a real liquid and linked way”? WHEN DID YOU HAVE THE THINKING PART OF YOUR BRAIN REMOVED AND REPLACED BY ONE WHICH SPOUTS THIS SH1T? WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS? CAN WE ALL STOP PLEASE? Seriously, who thinks that talking like this makes one sound like anything other than a total moron? Jesus wept.
By Ino Zeljak



  • Cloak: So, yes, Cloak. What this does is, once linked with Instagram and Foursquare, allow users to track the whereabouts of certain other individuals whom they are linked to on the service based on checking and geotagged info on pics which they take, ostensibly to allow people to avoid others whom they would rather not see for whatever reason (clue: AFFAIRS!). Of course, based on that one could ALSO use it to stalk and follow people, which isn’t really quite so cool and future at all. 
  • LifePrint: Remember those cameras which were really popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s which let you take pictures and then immediately printed them out like MAGIC? Yes, that’s right, POLAROIDS! Well technology has basically eaten itself with LifePrint, which is a small printer designed to print Instagram pics on demand – so basically like a Polaroid but significantly less convenient. It’s actually little cleverer than that – I do like the fact that pics can be printed at distance – ie leave the printer at home, go out and take pics, find them all printed when you get back – but let’s be honest, this isn’t as good as what we had in the past (ludditic hyperbole). STOP THE FUTURE IT’S RUBBISH.
  • Ello – ANOTHER New Social Network: There are literally NO details out there about this one, other than it’s another which is selling itself on its ad-free status. Sign up for beta access if you’re so inclined. 
  • NoTrace: Another week, another service purporting to allow users to communicate in anonymity. This one lets people send emails and texts which self-destruct – so far, so like a few others we’ve seen in the past few months. The nice thing here is the additional functionality – the ‘unsend’ idea is good, as is the fact that messages don’t have a ‘to’ or ‘from’ field when they display, which works to minimise the ‘yeah, but you can just screencap it you IDIOT’ issue. 
  • Geopieces: I’m going to take the bold move of stating right at the outset that this is NEVER going to catch on. Geopieces effectively looks to sell virtual geographical real-estate – dividing the world up into millions of ‘pieces’. each of which is effectively a square which can be purchased and ‘owned’ on the platform and which owners can subsequently attach digital CONTENT to – so you could own the Geopiece for your house, business, etc, and then attach info to it which other people will see if they are also using the service. I can see the rationale for the concept – the idea of tagging data to physical locations isn’t a new one – but there are far too many barriers to entry here and the fact that they expect people to pay…? HMMMMM. (obviously this prediction means that it will be a world-changing technology and I am going to look like an idiot – hey ho). 
  • Google Glass Diaries: A nice Google Glass project  – various people in Myanmar and Thailand (so far) make short Glass vids talking about their professions and lives. One of those lovely things which gives you a glimpse into the storytelling potential of the tech (sorry for using the word ‘storytelling’, by the way, which is fast rising to the top of my personal list of ‘words I really wish agencies would stop using now please’ for 2014). 
  • Fort McMoney: This is all sorts of good. I think that this is by French Canadian TV, but I’m not 100% sure – Fort McMoney is a pretty incredible technical achievement which I really do recommend you check out RIGHT NOW (but not if you’re on mobile – this requires a sit-down computer and a cup of tea). It’s half documentary film, half point-and-click videogame and ALL awesome, telling the story of Fort McMurray in Canada, the third largest oil reserve in the world, and the people who live there. I can’t stress enough how incredibly well-made this is, as well as being a brilliant example of how you can do interactive educational stuff in a truly compelling fashion. Tellypeople in the UK – learn. 
  • Flappy Arms: The nth in the infinite line of Flappy Bird-inspired hackyartthings, this one’s beautifully absurd. The website links to your iPhone, should you have one, and lets you control a Flappy Bird ripoff by…er…flapping your arms in real life. Coming soon, inevitably, to a hipster art gallery near you.
  • Mod Notebooks: I don’t really get thi, I must confess. So this is a service which sells you notebooks into which you can draw, scribble, etc, your innermost hopes and dreams (or, more likely, an increasingly psychotic-seeming set of cubic doodles created as you slide slowly towards peak existential despair in interminable ‘loop meetings’); once full up, you can send it back to the vendors who will scan it, page by page, and then send you a link to the digital version of your scrawlings. Which is nice and all that, but surely you could just take a picture of each page and chuck it on Evernote, no? God we’re LAZY. 
  • Burgers For Stories: A lovely project. London startup-y person Andrew Mcdonaugh recently backed a new burger restaurant on Kickstarter, to such a degree that they gave him 1000 burgers in exchange for his donation. He’s now looking for other London startup-y people to share those burgers with him – he’ll give people a free lunch in exchange for interviewing them about their experiences of entrepreneurialism and London and stuff. Just NICE. 
  • The Gif Firehose: A livestream of all the gifs being posted…er…somewhere (someone on Twitter suggest that it was all the gifs being posted on…er…twitter, but that struck me as unlikely as it doesn’t seem to move quite fast enough). Anyway, it’s as hypnotic as these ‘Look! It’s the ID of the internet!’ things tend to be, although it’s obviously MASSIVELY NSFW due to the fact that about 1 in 7 gifs is pr0n (the rest seems to be animals and J-/K-pop stars, which is basically the web in a nutshell really). 
  • Tribeca Film Festival Vine Competition: Fancy yourself as a genius filmmaker within the confines of the 6–second medium? You’re probably not, you know. Still, if you really do think you’re special then you could do worse than entering the second ever Vine competition at the Tribeca Film Festival. There are Ts&Cs and stuff, but it’s a good opportunity for aspirant filmmakers – and, of course, for brands looking for talented creatives who they can approach when they don’t win the top prize to exploit their talent for far less money than its worth!
  • Love Ever After: If you don’t feel a little bit warm inside looking at these then you’re in quite a bad way and should probably nip outside and get some fresh air and maybe an icecream to cheer yourself up and recalibrate. A series of pictures of couples who’ve been together for 50+ years, kissing. So, so lovely, as are the accompanying written vignettes – now go and call your grandparents. 
  • Thingcharger: Such clever design, this – once we finally reach that utopian moment when all bloody devices have the same charging port, this is going to be HUGE (maybe) – it’s easier to look at than to explain, but rest assured that it’s VERY CLEVER. 
  • EmotiKarl: A suite of emoticons/emojis inspired by famous fashion fascist and almost-certainly dreadful human being Karl Lagerfeld. I’m not sure who this is for, but perhaps YOU are the target audience.
  • Turn Your Instagram Pics Into Nail Art: This is on Kickstarter and hasn’t reached its goal yet, so it’s up to YOU to make sure that you will one day be able to turn all your sepia-tinted pictures of food into stickers you can put on your nails. Actually a very clever idea indeed, and the app/interface looks rather slick – I imagine you’ll see a lot more of this. 
  • Drone Delivery Coming To San Francisco: IN YOUR FACE, AMAZON! This may or may not be real, but it’s San Francisco so probably is – QuiQui is a ‘coming soon’ service which offer residents of the city’s Mission district the option to have items from pharmacies delivered by drone within 15 minutes for a $1 surcharge. HUGELY theoretical, but this sort of local thing could actually work quite well – you just need one person at the store and another piloting the vehicle, although obviously there’s no money in it on this basis. Can someone set this up in SW8 to do booze, fag and rizla runs, please? Thanks.
  • Rorschmap NYC: Taking footage from New York city Department of Transportation webcams and making live, moving kaledioscopes of them. Pointless but soothing and should be ripped off for London as part of an installation somewhere please thankyou. 
  • Factbot: Web Curios favourite Shardcore has made this artbottwitterthing which plays on the fact that you can literally trust NOTHING you read online any more – Factbot tweets algorithmically generated facts paired with suitable images every 4 hours. Some of these facts are plausible, others patently false, but the overall effect is funny and ridiculous and a sort of wonderful deconstruction of our relationship to ‘information’ online. 
  • Stupid Things Clients Say To Designers: Available as posters for you to hang in your studio and gaze at as your read the 19th email from a client asking you to make ‘it’ ‘pop’ more. 
  • First Tweet: A service from (I think) Twitter itself which allows you to see what the first tweet from any given account is. No purpose whatsoever beyond the frivolous, although I’m sure it will be used to UNMASK the latecoming arrivisme (is that a word?) of all sorts of people by smug twats. 
  • Uncomfortable Design: Cool little project reimagining every day objects so as to render them functional but sort of unpleasant to use. The saucepan is a work of evil genius – I quite like the idea of creating a house where all the tools and furniture are built on these lines and then forcing someone to live in it OH HANG ON NEXT SERIES OF BIG BROTHER! Can someone please get in touch with the production team, as this would make it the fabulous cross between reality TV and the ‘Saw’ films that I for one have been waiting for for YEARS. 
  • Super Hi Res Face Pics: You know how when you’re in love with someone you can look at them really, really close and for the most part sort of forget that they are made of meat, and not really look at / focus on the rheum and sebum and stuff? Well this is a bunch of people you probably don’t love, in really uncomfortably close detail – MMMM, PORES! Not great if you’ve got a touch of the bodyhorrors. 
  • Play Me Dating App: Another week, another unnecessary attempt to reinvigorate the dating game – this time by making it a…er…game. Play Me is actually quite a clever conceit, asking you a series of questions about the sort of stuff that your stalkee is into – the more popular that person is, the harder the questions are – the idea being that you need to demonstrate a degree of interest compatibility before it allows you to begin harassing them. Although surely google sort of makes this quite easily gameable? YOU’RE ONLY CHEATING YOURSELVES. 
  • Speed Reading App Bookmarklet: Remember Spritz from a few weeks back, an app which let coders turn their webpages into superspeedreadable horizontally scrolling textfountains? No? Jesus. anyway, this is a little bookmarklet which basically does the same for any webpage you happen to be on – it’s a little janky, but it does prove that the system really does work. 
  • Popular vs Actual Frontpages: A really interesting experiment in which actual newspaper front pages on March 5th are positioned next to how they would have looked had they reflected the most popular stories on said newspapers’ websites. A little facile as there are all sorts of factors which determine ‘popular’ stories online, but interesting to see the discrepancies / changes. 
  • How To Kill Yourself With Household Goods: NB – Web Curios in no way advocates suicide, but who knew that 40 teaspoons of cinnamon could be fatal? Not this webmong. 
  • Holipics: The annual collection of awesome pics from the Indian festival of colour (and, less commented on but equally true, the festival of getting absolutely off one’s nuts on criminally strong bhang lassi, or so people tell me). Anyway, as ever the Atlantic delivers some gorgeous photographs.
  • Weird Digital Music Video Thingy: I honestly have no idea whatsoever what this is – some sort of ambient music visualiser thingy in 3d graphics. It’s strangely soothing, though, and I just lost about 3 minutes looking at it which means it’s either really compelling or that I am starting to feel the effects of not quite getting enough sober sleep last night. 
  • The Museum Of Bad Art: This is actually a real-life physical place in America (of course), but it’s online archive is a thing ofincredible non-beauty. If nothing else, this will provide you with a WEALTH of brilliant crap pictures for your next soul-sapping powerpoint crapshow. 
  • Soundslice: What looks to be a very sophisticated virtual sheet music and tab notation service, which if you or your kids are learning an instrument could well be superuseful. 
  • The Greatest Titles In Dance Music: When you’re making ambient techno I imagine it’s hard to come up with a suitably evocative and descriptive title for what is basically 8 minutes of low-intensity bleepy woobles. All the kudos, then, to the people whose creative endeavour is immortalised in this list – my personal favourite is the deliciously sinister ‘Gift Wrap Yourself, Slowly’ (it’s the comma that makes it) – what’s YOURS?
  • Relay – Gif Texting: An appwhich lets its users communicate to each other solely via the medium of gifs. If you’re a certain type of person, and your friends are too, then you might well like this quite a lot. I’m not judging, honest. 
By Erik Jones


  • My other pick for ‘app most likely to be written about by the Mail in the next 72 hours’ is this one – Nipple is basically a quantified self project, applied to sex – the idea being that you are gently encouraged to diarise and annotate details of your SEXY ENCOUNTERS to…er…learn more about your sex life, I presume, although I do sort of question what it’s likely to tell you that you don’t know already. It’s made by a pair of Italian guys which means that the site is full of minor linguistic idiosyncracies and makes the whole thing quite a lot less odd than it might otherwise be as a result. 
  • Nepalese Dog Portraits: Apparently in Nepal painting portraits of canines on bits of metal is a ‘thing’. You too can get a picture of your dog, painted on a bit of metal by a Nepalese person, thanks to this website. I’m simultaneously happy and disappointed that this appears to have missed the Doge bandwagon. 
  • Fake Albums and Fake Reviews: There was a timewaste-y game which did the rounds a few years back  in which people were encouraged to take a random image from flickr and a random sentence from Wikipedia to create fake albums (look, that was sort of how it worked, don’t bugme for details). This takes that idea and runs VERY FAR with it, featuring not only made-up albums by made-up artists but also imagining what the music on said albums would sound like and offering critical reviews. The next step is for someone to record said music – come on, what are you waiting for?
  • A Synthesiser in Javascript: This is quite fun – play with it. 
  • They Will Eat You: A first person zombie survival game – the game itself isn’t that great, but I really like the design / aesthetic of the site overall, and especially the opening animation.  
  • Bear Simulator: Hot on the heels of goat simulator comes this Kickstarter project, which puts you in the leather vest and jeans combo beloved of Vauxhall’s hairy man community and deposits you at the door of Hoist!…oh, no, hang on, the other sort of bear. Sorry. (AND THEN I GOT OFF THE BUS). 
  • Mark Ditto Mark: I REALLY LIKE THIS. Wanky as you like, Mark Ditto Mark is a broser extension which turns the whole web into a conceptual novel where the main character is a mysterious man named Mark Ditto. Install it, and every name you read online will magically become Mark Ditto, which makes spending 10 minutes reading the news a truly bizarre and disorienting experience. 
  • Iconic History: Your recent browsing history, displayed as a massive collection of those little tab icons you get in your browser. Really interesting way of seeing what sites you look at most often, and almost certain to be ripped off at a modern art fair near you VERY SOON INDEED. 
  • The World’s Heaviest Phone Case: Have you ever wanted an iPhone case which turns the device into a massive, unwieldy dumb-bell? OH GOOD!
  • Some Ancient Maps: A lovely collection of scanned maps from between 1000 and 1300. No more, no less. 
  • Gifs Paired With Music In Fullscreen: The most interesting thing about this is how it chooses which music to pull. It throws up some great combinations. 
  • Dead Colours: All of the colours from the palette which feature the hexadecimal number ‘DEAD’. For some designer somewhere this is going to form the basis of a really satisfying in-joke which their client will never, ever get. 
  • Free Fonts For 2014: Look! Free fonts!
  • The Fuji Cannon: The whole ‘pics now embedded in tweets’ thing has meant you can now do quite interesting stuff by tweeting images in sections, quickly, so that they appear one after the other in users feeds to ARTISTIC effect. This little toy automates that – plug in a picture and it automatically slices it into 3 and tweets it in one, three-tweet burst. Just because you can, really. 
  • Randomised Map Design: Algorithmically fcuked-with maps; these are lovely. 
  • Briibe: An interesting idea, although there’s no evidence that it works AT ALL. Briibe lets users send messages to famouses on Twitter and pledge money to a good cause (UNICEF) if they reply – basically so 1D fans can potentially pay to get Harry Styles to send a disinterested one-word response to their marriage proposals. Sort of amazingly desperate, really. 
  • Post-Apocalyptic Jungles On Streetview: Little hack for Google Streetview which lets you see what your street (or anywhere really) might look like when humanity’s all but extinct and the plants have taken over – SEX IS MY ADVENTURE (that’s a very obscure joke that only one person who I know might get; sorry about that). 
  • Listen To Buttcoin: An incredibly childish website which makes fart noises of varying pitch and duration to track Bitcoin transactions in realtime – the differing pitch/length correlate to the size of the transaction. Human ingenuity, eh?
  • Knolling: I had NO IDEA that knolling was a thing (it is a thing) – this is a guide to why it is GOOD. What? Oh, right – knolling is the practice of arranging things at 90-degree angles to each other to pleasing aesthetic effect – OCD sufferers will probably get a massive kick out of this. 
  • Sesame Street Pi Day: For Pi Day last week Sesame Street invited kids to send in their drawings of numbers – this site is cycling through the digts of pi, theoretically FOREVER, using these illustrations. Very cute, and features The Count who is indisputably the best Sesame Street character EVER. 
  • Weird Gifs: A collection of them, no less.
  • Old Screensavers In CSS: Just in case you want the flying toasters on a modern computer (and why wouldn’t you?). 
  • Plink Collaborative Music Maker: This is a lovely interface and it makes rather nice sounds – it’s just a shame nooone seems to be using it. I think you could have quite a lot of fun with this with a few people collaborating – have a play. 
  • Photos From Aleppo: The mess in Syria’s been going on 3 years now. This is a selection of pictures of life in Aleppo by photojournalist Pablo Tosco.
  • Al Qaida – The Magazine: This is quite incredible. Apparently now in its 12th issue, this is Al Qaida’s monthly propaganda publication – or at least that’s exactly what it appears to be – featuring articles on jihad, the iniquities of the West’s involvement in the Middle East, the evils of the international Jewry…all the usual things you’d expect. And, er, a couple of pages of bomb-making instructions at the back. I am fully expecting a knock in the door from the authorities VERY SOON. 
  • LIVE FROM SPACE!!!: The space stuff on TV was quite amazing this week; this is National Geograohc TV’s chanel which shows all sorts of remarkable stuff like where the ISS is at any given point, and live vidfeeds from it and is basically amazing in every way possible. 
  • Custom Bongo Service: Wow. A company which will make whatever pr0n you want, on spec. You tell them what you want and they quote you for it – you pay, and eventually you presumably get your dream bongo. Obviously they are clear that nothing illegal will be countenanced and no models would be made to do anything they don’t want to, but if you really need an explanation of exactly why this is a bit weird and creepy and potentially wrong, let me remind you of The Terrifying Story of Swap.avi.
By Eli Horn


  • Wes Anderson Palettes: Colour palettes derived from shots from the films of Wes Anderson. BONUS ANDERSON – here’s a short film detailing exactly how much Anderson likes to use symmetry in his films.   
  • Creepy White Guys: A collection of messages received by (as far as I can tell) mostly Asian/oriental woman from white men on the internet. About as classy and uplifting as you’d imagine. 
  • Games & Food: Food in videogames.
  • Videogame Birds: Birds in videogames.
  • Start To Crate: Crates in videogames.
  • Beargames: Videogames featuring large, hairy men in sweaty Vauxhall nightspo…oh, hang on, that wasn’t funny earlier either. 
  • Christian Nightmares: Let’s be clear – Web Curios has no problem at all with your religion, probably. This though is a brilliant collection of some of the more patently ridiculous / bigoted / mental examples of the Christian faith – we’re talking the spittle-flecked lunacy of the Chick Tracts, that sort of idea. Linked here in non-loving memory of everyone’s favourite bigot Fred Phelps who died yesterday. 
  • I Too Am Soas: Another week, another bunch of students doing the Harvard thing themselves. I’m rather trepidatiously waiting for the near inevitable WHITE RIGHTS riffs on these which probably exist already but which I don’t really want to search for.
  • All The Records: Probably the best idea on here this week, this Tumblr documents one woman’s attempt to listen to and appreciate every single record in her husband’s MASSIVE collection. A brilliant project, and refreshingly unwanky reviews of classic and not quite so classic albums. 
  • Stand Up Comic Gifs: Just in case you need a go-to resource for gifs of comedians doing their comedian thing.
  • Yves De Camps: Creepy, surreal little cartoons with a slightly unpleasant edge. I LIKE. 
  • Why Do I Online Date?: Screenshots from sad online dating lives. There is always someone whose love life is bleaker than yours, ALWAYS. 
  • Humanea: My second-favourite tumblr of the week, this one collects pictures of people and matches them to Pantone numbers. Lovely selection of portraits, too, with some fascinating faces.
  • iPhone Oil Paintings: Fingergrease pics on iPhones. Strangely quite good. 
  • Heds Will Roll: Newspaper headlines editors WISH they could have used. Contains real contributions from ACTUAL JOURNALISTS. 
  • Build A Bird: Choose your images and make your own Flappy Bird clone. Interesting mainly as I didn’t know you could build this sort of thing on Tumblr (what do I know?). 


  • Working At The Bookies: An incredibly bleak portrait of one frustrated writer’s life working in a betting shop. The style’s very good, to the point where part of me did rather ignobly wonder whether it wasn’t in fact a work of fiction; you get a very real sense of despair, and you can almost smell fag ash and tears.
  • The Punishment Of The Future: There have been quite a few articles in the PROPER press off the back of this this week; it’s worth reading the original, though, as it’s sort of horrifying. Looking at what a potential future of criminal punishment might look like, the article quickly descends into a dystopian vision of a world in which incredible degrees of psychological suffering are inflicted on prisoners with a degree of creativity which would be applause-worthy were it not also so utterly barbaric. Also contains a lot of interesting philosophy about personal identity over the course of extended lifespans, and to what extent one can be considered to be a single personality (and as such entity) over the course of a multicentenary lifespan. 
  • Short Stories About Self-Checkouts: A selection of shortish fictions based around the slightly surreal landscape of the supermarket self-checkout. This is in totality VERY LONG, but each piece (by JW Vorvick) is brilliant in its own right; I particularly recommend the Chris Martin monologue and the conversation between Marx and Locke about the wider phiosophical implications of the whole self-checkout system, which I promise you is LOADS funnier than I realise I have just made it sound. 
  • LRB On The Branson Takedown: If you quite like the idea of a book exploding some of the mythology around Virgin’s relentlessly self-promoting founder but don’t actually fancy reading the whole thing then this LRB review/summary is a pretty good alternative. 
  • Things That Noone Tells You About Having Kids: A Quora thread whose quality or veracity I am in no position to judge but which struck me as rather a nice, if a touch sentimental at times. 
  • Invisible Children – 2 Years On: Hey! Hey! Remember Joseph Kony? Remember KONY2012, and everyone you ever went to school with suddenly becoming passionately interested in Ugandan politics and Central African issues? Probably not, because we all have the memories of gadflies. Anyway, this is a really interesting look at the slightly suspect Invisible Children charity behind the whole thing, and the bloke who had the breakdown and ended up naked and screaming by the LA freeway in the aftermath of his unexpected (but evidently much-sought) fame.
  • Internet Predators Are Not Everywhere: An interesting and important piece about how exaggerating paedogeddon on social media is actually a very bad idea and in some respects even counterproductive. 
  • An Interview With The King Of Weird Cinema: Read this and then go and order some mushrooms and the Jodorowsky back catalogue. Seriously – how can you not love a man who fired George Harrison from a film mid-shoot because the actor refused to bare his anus on camera? A very good interview with a truly unique mind. 
  • Not Getting By In The Gig Economy: Now that we have sites like Taskrabbit and the like offering to connect people who will do piecemeal tasks for piecemeal pay with those who need, say, their laundry collecting and the dog walked we’ve ushered in a whole new era of excitingly flexible employment opportunities, right? Er, not so much. A rather depressing look at how these services actually work for those who use them (clue: they don’t, really). 
  • On Ugliness: Collector’s Weekly on the impossibility of an agreed definition of ‘ugly’ as an aesthetic concept. Properly interesting, honest.
  • The Best Juggler Ever: A truly fascinating article profiling a man called Anthony Gatto, widely acknowledged as being the most talented juggler ever to have lived, and how he gave it all up. Shows you a very particular world you’ve probably never even thought of and makes it real, which is sort of the hallmark of all great feature journalism. 
  • Profiling The Wu: A 10-part portrait of the 20 year old hiphop collective. You may want to listen to Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chambers whilst you’re reading this
  • My Dementia: This is the one that will make you cry – I read this yesterday morning and had tears streaming down my face by the end (then again I’m a sensitive soul). A VERY LONG but startlingly well written account by author Gera Saunders of how it feels to be slowly succumbing to dementia. Saunders’ lucidity and linguistic prowess is outstanding – even moreso as you read through and begin to realise how difficult the mere act of committing these thoughts to paper must have been. Touching on her mother’s struggle with the disease, the manner in which dementia affects one’s sense of self,coping strategies and all sorts of other things, this is basically required reading if you know anyone who’s suffered from or is suffering from the condition. Tissues at the ready, though, seriously. 
By Babak Hosseiny


1) We’ll start this week with something which is basically an advert for a mediocre brand of vodka – I’m including it down here, though, because this is the best animation I have seen in a very long time indeed. This does stuff I’ve never seen before, and the detail and sheer physicality of the CGI is extraordinary. Oh, and seeing as I seem to say it every week, BRANDS AS PATRONS, PEOPLE. This is Dark Noir by Rafael Grampa:

2) A beautiful, beautiful song, and I love the video too (weirdly messianic undertones aside). This is Lyla Foy with Feather Tongue:

3) I mentioned ‘wearables’ up there – surely they’re just going to be the slightly clunky hinterland between current tech and the proper cyborg stuff? This is a very slick proof-of-concept video about what some of this stuff might look like when we have electronics in our faces:

4) Neneh Cherry is 50! 50!!!!! Do you think she ever gets annoyed that the only song she is ever going to be remembered for is Buffalo Stance? Hm. Anyway, she has her first album out for aaaaaaaaages and this is a track from it which she’s done with Robyn – I rather like this, especially what happens to the production in the last 90 seconds or so – the video’s by PROPER WEB ARTIST Dario Vigorito and all sorts of glitchywebgood:

5) UK HIPHOP CORNER! Grime’s having something of a renaissance at the moment, thanks in no small part to the larger-than-life charms of Big Narstie – this is a great track from Scrufizzer (an awesome MC) and Linden Jay. Reminds me of the sort of production which made Dizzee so exciting all those years back but with a bit of a modern, jump-up twist; this is called ‘Just Cool Nuh’:

6) Laser Cat Is Back! This is a promo vid for a Miami art show. I don’t know WHAT’S going on:

7) Spreadsheet Blues by John Matthias is LOVELY all round. Soothing black and white-isms:

8) This is…just wow, really. LOOK AT THEIR FACES! Obviously all done by models and a pisstake on a variety of things and tropes in hiphop (UK and worldwide) and ‘chav’ culture and stuff…isn’t it? I don’t know what to think. THE FACES!:

9) Finally this week, you will not be able to unsee this. SORRY! HAVE FUN, WEBMONGS!:

That’s it for now


That’s it for now – see you next week
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Webcurios 14/03/14

Reading Time: 25 minutes

[image missing]

One Stop Jerk Centre, Harlesden
Cory Doctorow, CC licence

Happy Birthday, The Web! You all have Tim Berners-Lee to thank/blame for being able to read this, as do I for having something to write about. I remember the first EVER time I used the web – at college, in 1996, when we were all put into groups of 3 and given 45 minutes access to the one computer in the library which was connected. Amazingly, this was unsupervised access – the only guidance we were given was a large book called (I kid you not) “The Internet” which was basically a compendium of all the websites which existed at the time. Obviously being 16-year-old men we flicked straight to the ‘sex’ section; we then proceeded to spend 15 minutes navigating around ‘Bianca’s Smut Shack’ (again, I kid you not – look! IT STILL EXISTS! You can read a bit more about it here if you’re so inclined – it’s sort of a big deal in web history) – we also learnt a valuable if slightly scary lesson about the danger of clicking on hyperlinks from a sex site whilst in a reasonably public place, and about the strange feeling of guilt, shame and fear you feel when you know that you’ve been looking at stuff online which you really probably shouldn’t have been looking at (a feeling a large majority of the Western world is now intimately familiar with – YAY US). 

How far we’ve come. And yet, not so far at all. Come, webmongs, let us step gingerly into this week’s internet, preserved as though in aspic, and prod gently at its wobbling form as we wonder exactly what we’re preserving it forthis is WEB CURIOS.

By Jason Yarmosky


  • FACEBOOK PAGES TO LOOK MARGINALLY DIFFERENT SOON!: Another week, another aesthetic tweak implemented by Facebook based on doubtless-terrifying volumes of information about Page usage. This one brings insights for Page admins into a slightly more user-friendly configuration, allows better and more efficient ways in which to worry about why your competitors’ posts about pugs are getting more shares than your posts about pugs, and sort of completely kills the functionality of Tabs on the Page. Actually building stuff to live on Facebook’s sort of over, isn’t it? Poor the shovelware FB app development shops :-(. 
  • PREMIUM VIDEO ADS FOR FB ALMOST HERE, LIKE REALLY ALMOST NEARLY: Has there ever been a more-trailed ad format than the EAGERLY AWAITED Facebook autoplay video ads (rhetorical)? Anyway, I know that many of you have been champing at the bit to get your hands on this exciting new opportunity to force users to see your THRILLING BRANDED MESSAGES – reassure yourself that it’s superimminent. There’s actually something quite interesting buried in the announcement about Facebook’s plans to pre-assess the ads based on standard benchmarks for things like ‘engagingness’ (yes, I know it’s a made-up word but come on, it’s not like this is an industrial sector which is afraid of neologisms), etc, which feels a bit like the first step in Facebook eventually selling a service to optimise your content for MAXIMUM STICKINESS (for a fee). I could be wrong, of course. Who knows. 
  • How Facebook Lookback Worked: Quite techy, but actually very interesting in terms of the sheer scale of stuff which FB’s designers and engineers had to consider when sending the lookback thing live. Worth a read if you have to do BIG SOFTWARE IMPLEMENTATION stuff. 
  • Facebook F8 Announced: Facebook’s running another big developer conference at the end of April – the first one in a few years, which probably presages a huge, world-changing announcement of some sort (last time they did one of these it was Timeline, I think). If you’re the sort of person who feels they might want to go, fill your boots. 
  • Twitter Experimenting With ‘Click-to-call’ Buttons: May come to nothing, but an interesting potential step following the recent talk about them also experimenting with in-tweet payment options. This is a feature which would let users click a button within tweets to be put in touch with the organisation or venue (or, I presume, individual) behind the tweet – the example they use is of local restaurants using Twitter to promote discounted offers to local residents, and residents who see said promotion being able to contact the restaurant to make a booking by simply clicking a button. FUTURE!
  • Twitter Fiction Festival On RIGHT NOW: We’ve mentioned this before, but right now it’s ACTUALLY HAPPENING! A series of experiments in storytelling and narrative using Twitter as its base, there are little games and stories and experiments happening almost hourly, and they’re documented on this central site. I’m not sure whether any of this is being recorded somewhere central – you’d hope so, but maybe the ephemerality is part of the point (/pseud). 
  • Twitter Museum Week On Its Way: For the week of March 24th, numerous museum institutions across the world will participate in Twitter museum week, which promises to offer EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from museums, behind the scenes info and inevitably all sorts of tedious hashtag pun games. It’s a nice idea – will be interesting to see whether this sets a precedent for multi-organisational / sectoral collaborations; I think Open House on Twitter could be quite fun, for example (no, hear me out – participating buildings / institutions sharing photos of the stuff that people don’t normally get to see for those people who can’t schlep around and queue for 4 hours to see inside the Lloyds building, etc? See, I’m RIGHT). 
  • Tinder Launching Verified Accounts: Tinder is making it easier for famouses to flaunt their famousness and, inevitably, get laid more (do they really need the help?). The main upside to this will be for gossip rags, who will doubtless be getting a few more kiss & tell stories out of the inevitable rise of hookups between verified famouses and civilians; the main reason I’m including it here, though, is that there’s probably a brand application – no, really. Clothing brands, etc, might want to consider paying famouses to wear their stuff in their verified Tinder profile pic, for example. Maybe. Actually, on reflection that’s a crap idea. Sorry. This probably didn’t warrant inclusion after all. Hey ho. 
  • Tinder AIDS Awareness Project: This, though, is a very clever campaign indeed and should frankly be ripped off by Durex or similar asap. Clever use of the app’s mechanic and the fact that it causes people to swipe without really thinking too much about the fact that there are an awful lot of other people swiping too, and that some of you may all be swiping the same people (I’m sort of using the word ‘swipe’ as an analogue for ‘fcuk’ in that last sentence, in case it was unclear). 
  • Pinterest Gift Feed Announced: Apparently this has been around for a few months but has only just been officially announced. The Gift feed will only show items on Pinterest which are available to buy – and which use the site’s ‘Product Pins’ functionality (the code which lets pins carry data about pricing. Good for users in terms of utility; if you are a brand which sells STUFF, this is a significant incentive to make sure that you use the special code to make sure said ‘stuff’ shows up in this feed. 
  • Google Adds Consumer Ratings Data to Ads: Small but worth knowing.
  • Clever Man Utd Google + Stunt: Nice idea, this, allowing United’s legions of global fans to get the chance to be ‘present’ at Old Trafford this weekend for the game against Liverpool; Google Hangouts will be beamed to certain pitchside hoardings, ‘bringing fans closer to the action than ever before’ (or somesuch marketingspeakrubbish). 
  • There’s A New Video App Called Wonder: Let’s come right out and lay our cards on the table now – THE WORLD DOES NOT NEED THIS, I DON’T THINK. Why would anyone want to download an app to watch SPECIAL BRANDED CONTENT? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I can’t see this really catching on in a mainstream sort of way; perhaps I’m missing something, in which case feel free to explain to me exactly what. It’s from London, though, and features quite a lot of posh food-y, lifestyle-y brands at launch which may make it more useful / relevant. Oh, who knows? I’m not a bloody seer. 
  • That Bloody Kiss Video Which Was An Advert You Know: You’ve seen it, I know, but worth mentioning as it’s the most successful ad of the year so far by MILES. Although, er, the fact that noone necessarily knew it was an ad possibly obviates that. Anyway, the handjob parody made me laugh quite a lot. 
  • Another Ad Video, This Time By Subaru: If you are a man, this may well speak to some childish part of you that was into remote control cars and stuff when you were younger. If you couldn’t care less about remote control cars, watch it for the filming which is BRILLIANT.
  • Impossible Sleep: This is a really nicely made site. The video looks good, the interface is decent…but WHY WAS IT MADE? Ibis Hotels decided for some reason that the best way to promote their rooms was to…er…send an ‘adventurer’ and his mate to an exotic jungle location in Brazil to experience the perfect night’s sleep on some ridge or another. It’s obviously tongue in cheek, but it seems like an awfully expensive not particularly funny gag with a preposterously overlong setup and no real payoff. Unless of course it’s not a joke, in which case everyone involved needs to take a very serious look at what their doing with their expensive educations. 
  • The IBM Cognitive Food Truck: VERY clever promo by IBM, which has designed a system to autogenerate recipes on the fly from a fixed base of ingredients and based on some algorithmic stuff about taste, etc, and chucked it into a US food truck. Smart example of making maths and processing interesting (though I’m not 100% sure I’d trust all the recipes). 
  • Clever ‘Don’t Text And Drive’ Site From Holland: Sites which link up with your phone are the new hotness, it would seem. This is another one of those, following that storytelling one from the other week, which does a good job of what (as a non-driver) it’s like to drive whilst also receiving texts and things. Processor-heavy, but cleverly made.
  • Cheap Tickets To Ad Week: WE HAVE ALL OF THE DISCOUNT! ALL OF IT!  
By Michael Wolf



  • Seeing As It’s The Web’s Birthday: This is a site which is collecting people’s first memories of going online. Navigate using what was described rather beautifully by Adam Sweeney as the ‘Miro-esque’ sidebar, and lose yourself in reminiscence of how innocent and naive we all were back then. 
  • Omlet: Another week, another app purporting to offer all of the convenience and functionality of your favourite chat-enabler but with none of the slightly creepy surveillance worries which in 2014 appear to permeate every moment of our online existences. Omlet has a few nice features inbuilt – the gifmaker’s cute, for example – but the main draw will obviously be the ‘we won’t sell your data’ promise. We’ve probably reached peak ‘slightly more friendly Whatsapp? clone’, though, so can noone make any more please? Ta.
  • Secret At SXSW: Obviously I’m not at SXSW because I’m not even good enough at being a generic media wanker for anyone to pay for me to go; I have to say that it looks a touch underwhelming from this side of the Atlantic, but that might be the bitterness talking. Anyway, HOT APP DU JOUR, the one which lets people share anonymous status updates with people in their phonebook, is running a feed of stuff people are sharing on the platform about SXSW. It’s less interesting about SXSW, to be honest, than it is as a chance to let non-North Americans see how the service works – I can see how it could be dangerously compelling, I have to say. MMMM SWEATY-PALMED VOYEURISM. 
  • Selfie World Rankings: Time Magazine did a bit of datascraping on Instagram, pulling the geodata from pics tagged ‘selfie’ and then determining which were the most narcissistic cities in the world (take a bow, Makati City in the Philippines – Manchester was 7th, before we get too smug). Very clever use of open data – and the sort of thing which brands can exploit. SMALL PROBABLY SH!T EXAMPLE IDEA: makeup brands! Why not take this ‘insight’ and set up a stand at the Trafford Centre offering a selfie makeover for the women of Manchester to allow them to take the ultimate self portrait? Ugh, I felt dirty just writing that. Sorry.
  • Beyonce Trader: I’m sure that someone somewhere is writing an academic study about what Beyonce’s rise to the status of ‘most famous and iconic woman in all of the world’ means for us as a CIVILISATION (I’m equally sure that it’s a study I will never want to read); the latest step in pop culture’s attempt to link EVERYTHING to Mrs Carter is this site which analyses stock performance on the US markets and pairs stocks with an appropriate Beyonce gif to illustrate their performance at any given moment. BECAUSE WHY NOT?
  • I Am An Idiot, Sorry: So last week I featured an app called LIVR designed for boozers and which basically encouraged people to get wasted and do stupid stuff. It was a fake. I AM SORRY. In my defence, a) I’m not a proper journalist; and b) I did start the writeup with ‘this can’t be real, can it?’, but still. I felt silly. There was another one this week – this time a fake ‘turn water into decent wine in 3 days’ kit designed to promote a water charity or another; can people stop lying about things, please, please? IT IS VERY CONFUSING TO BOTH ME AND THE POOR DAILY MAIL JOURNALISTS.
  • 5by Video Concierge: Hang on – video concierge? What does that mean? Sorry, I just noticed the stupid strapline and got momentarily annoyed. Anyway, 5by is a site which collects videos under different themed headings (sport, fails, bloopers, comedy, animation, etc) and purports to develop a degree of semantic understanding of the sort of stuff you like / are into. I’m not convinced, personally, but if you’re a community manager and after a source of HILARIOUS CONTENT for your Facebook Page which noone will ever see due to previously mentioned reach-shrinkage then this may be of use.
  • Mapstr: I really like this. Simple-looking map-based site which shows music which is being listened to all over the world, and then lets you play the songs in question – users can sign up to let it track the music they play (I am a bit sketchy on the tech details, I confess). As I type this I am listening to some African folk music which was streamed in Mali yesterday, which is sort of wonderful really. Very fun to play around with.
  • Animated Infographics: Some nice examples of animated infographic design – the person responsible’s available for hire, but it’s a generally decent source of minor inspiration and the sort of thing you can point at when you’re trying to persuade your client to do something marginally more interesting than another poorly-designed non-infographic which noone is ever going to run however much they demand that you SELL IT IN BECAUSE CONTENT. 
  • The Best Typefaces Of 2013: Sorry, this is HORRIFICALLY late – although it’s their fault for not publishing it until this week. Anyway, if you’re a designer or typography nerd then this list will probably be the human equivalent of a cat getting a really good scratch behind the ears. 
  • HTML5 Audio Editor: Potentially useful in-browser audio editor with waveforms and all that jazz. Worth bookmarking if you occasionally need to make quick edits to audio and don’t always have the software to hand. 
  • The FBomb Map Of Twitter: Supposedly in real-time, but evidently not given the disparity between my feed right now and the paucity of ‘fcuks’ being registered in the UK. Anyway, utterly pointless but weirdly hypnotic. Although it does make you a little concerned at how many people seem to be shouting ‘fcuk you’ into the void with no context or apparently visible cause. CHEER UP EVERYONE!
  • Routine Gifs: Julien Douvier is a French artists who has made this series of gifs called ‘Routine’; it’s a selection of looped images of people hurrying through a scene, presumably on the way to work, and they are all weirdly beautiful and sort of incredibly depressing. Save this and send it to your favourite colleague every Monday morning until their inevitable breakdown and emotional collapse. 
  • Collection of Lovely App Design: This is an old site but I don’t think I’ve featured it before – it’s a selection of beautiful examples of app design, UX & UI which is probably useful inspiration for designers, developers and the like. 
  • Frequency 2156: This is an odd site. Ostensibly a post-apocalyptic radio station, it feels very much like marketing for the Fallout series of games but apparently is just a very well-designed fan project. Anyway, you can go around the world listening in to radio signals from various people struggling to survive in a horrible, irradiated future. Obviously it’s not exactly a laugh a minute, but it’s a really interesting example of sustained fiction and world-building through audio.
  • Bill Drummond – ASK HIM QUESTIONS: Would you like musical art terrorist Bill Drummond to answer one of your questions? Well click that link then. 
  • Weird Underwater Aquarium Simulator Thingy: This may be something to do with a new brand of tea which Nestle is launching in Japan. Whatever it is, it is BAFFLING – you just sort of float through an oddly surreal underwater landscape with no real point or purpose, but it’s very nicely made indeed. If someone can work out what the point is, other than to be vaguely soothing, could you let me know please? Ta.
  • A Surrealist Dinner Party from 1972: You probably won’t have been to a dinner party quite like this one. Baffling and very cool set of pictures from Marie-Hélène de Rothschild’s Surrealist Ball of 40+years ago. Obviously features a bit of Dali, the hack, but the overall effect is like stills from a particularly hallucinatory Dario Argento flick – ODD.
  • Meet Stacey Nightmare: Your new favourite Vine superstar.
  • ANOTHER New Way Of Doing Music Videos: Actually that’s ridiculously hyperbolic – it’s not so much  new way as a new platform on which to build them in sort of interactive fashion. I mentioned the other week as a site which let you make weird, slightly arty, gify collages – now hipsterish musicians Djemba Djemba (is it possible to make a full XI of players who’ve had bands named in their honour?) have made a sort of videothing for their song ‘Coma’ on there. It’s a bit dull, frankly, but points for FIRST. 
  • The Cheesecake Artwork Of WW2 Planes: A great collection of the paintings of women which often adorned the nosecones of bombers and fighter planes in WWII. There are some REALLY BAD ones in there which are sort of poignantly cute. 
  • The DIY Weapons of Ukraine: It’s all a bit too scary to think of over there at the moment – this weekend’s going to be ‘interesting’, in any case. Wired have collected a selection of images of weapons wielded by some of the protestors in Maidan which make the whole thing seem horribly real. VICE did a similar thing with the molotov cocktails being used which you can see here, if you want additional slightly terrifying weaponporn.  
  • The Internet Of Things Will Be Beyond Parody: So, yes, the internet of things will be…er…a ‘thing’, and yes it will have all sorts of fascinating applications which will doubtless change the world in all sorts of ways which we can’t even begin to conceive of right now, but it will also spawn rubbish like this – an egg tray containing sensors which send alerts to your phone when your eggs might be going off. REALLY, CIVILISATION?
  • Pornburger: This is food porn. A collection of ridiculously complicated and elaborate and fancy (in the American style, you know?) burger recipes accompanied by some truly GREAT photography. You will want meat for lunch. Unless you’re vegetarian, in which case you may not care so much. 
  • The Bulletproof Diamond-encrusted Suit: This doesn’t seem real either, but it’s sort of remarkable as a concept even if it doesn’t exist. What James Bond would wear if he had literally no taste whatsoever (although the tie made of REAL GOLD is a nice touch). 
By Romain Jacquet-Lagreze



  • Interview-ly: Like the idea of the Reddit AMA but hate the site’s fairly horrendous layout and design? Well lucky you, for this is a new site which takes some of Reddit’s best / most popular AMAs and cleans them up with a proper Q&A format, vague chronology, etc. Also a nice place to just browse through a very wide selection of conversations with a variety of interesting people. 
  • Skrillex New Album App Thing: I feel a bit sorry for the bloke who calls himself Skrillex – I mean, the music’s not to my taste but he does get an awful lot of rage and hate which seems a little bit unfair; not only that, but he looks so unwell, the poor man (I’m feeling weirdly maternal as I type this, which is puzzling for a variety of reasons and something I’m going to now try not to think about any more). Anyway, he has an album coming out and has released a game to preview it – downloading the app gets you access to the album which will stream through it for a limited time. The accompanying site, linked to here, is an odd little dubstep jukebox thing which is diverting for 5 minutes (but you can also get the app from there). 
  • CV Dazzle: We’ve had ‘clothing to confuse cameras’ before (2-3 years ago, in fact, by some artist who I don’t have time to Google right now), but this is a slightly more deeply realised variation on the same theme. Coming to next London Fashion Week as a ‘thing’ for a big fashion house’s show, almost certainly. 
  • The Toilet Sarlacc: Decals for your toilet to make it look like…er…the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars. Not sure who this is aimed at, but I’d hazard a guess that they live alone or that if not they met their partner at a convention. 
  • The World Science University: A great repository of standalone videos and longer courses on all aspects of science. So much stuff in here, and presented in a very easy-to-understand format – if you have kids doing GCSEs then this might be a useful resource. Or, you know, if you just want to learn what string theory actually is so that you can drop really pretentious allusions to it into conversations which frankly could quite easily do without (I may or may not be slightly self-flagellating here). 
  • Sketchdeck: Have I mentioned before that I hate Powerpoint? I hate powerpoint. I hate it for many, many reasons (not least because I have literally no aesthetic sense whatsoever and as such whenever I’m forced to make one of the bloody things it inevitably looks like it was designed by a visually impaired person with ADHD), in particular when people use it to write documents (THERE’S A REASON THE OTHER PROGRAM’S CALLED ‘WORD’ YOU IDIOTS) and also for the fact that people call them ‘decks’ for no reason I have ever been able to adequately understand, ever. Ahem. Anyway, Sketchdeck is a service which for a small fee will design your presentations for you – I don’t know whether the pricing’s competitive or not, but might be worth a look in case you need this sort of thing.
  • Popcorn Time: DISCLAIMER – THIS IS ILLEGAL AND MAY CONTAIN ALL SORTS OF WEIRD MALWARE. But, er, if you don’t mind the morality and are confident in your virus protection, then Popcorn Time might be very appealing, being as it is a service which acts as a streaming platform (a la Netflix) for torrents. So you can stream stuff which ordinarily you’d have to wait to download. Obviously PIRACY IS THEFT and all that, so I’ll just leave this here and not judge.
  • Photographs of Rainbow Gatherings: Rainbow Gatherings are, according to Wikipedia, temporary spontaneous collections of people – basically loosely organised hippie festivals (probably horribly reductive – sorry, Rainbow Gatherers). Anyway, these are some awesome photos of some of the people who attend them – the text at the bottom’s interesting on the whole concept, if you’re interested. 
  • Soundwalls: Wow artwork as speakers. Soundwalls lets you get anything you want printed onto a canvas which acts as a speaker – I think there’s a LOT of interesting potential here beyond the obvious aesthetics around theatre and art installations and stuff, but aside from anything else I sort of want one in my house now. 
  • Paralym-pics: Sorry about that. Anyway, awesome pictures of athletes at the Paralympic Winter Games.
  • They Rule: This is a really interesting project from the States – it’s potentially a bit David Icke / they are all LIZARDS-y, but doesn’t seem too conspiracytheoryish – which seeks to map the connections and linked interests of senior members of major US corporations. Would love to see this done for the UK. 
  • The Food Porn Index: A site tracking mentions of different food related topics online to show which particular aspect of Western civilisations collective greed is top of mind in the global consciousness RIGHT NOW. Actually this is a promo site for some US food retailer and so should have gone up there, but it’s not like any of you care so why should I?
  • Messages In Bottles: A project on Twitter by Nathania Hartley, documenting messages in bottles left on the public transport network. Such a lovely idea – I am going to do one this afternoon, I think. 
  • Musical Toy Bracelet Kickstarter Thingy: This is either going to be really col or exceptionally irritiating. A Kickstarter for Moff, which is a snap-on bracelet which connects to an app and tracks the wearer’s arm movements and translates them into sounds – guitar riffs, sword clashes, that sort of thing. You could imagine kids having LOTS of fun with this, and parents wishing the damn things had never been invented within about 3 minutes of activation. 
  • The Analogue NT: Have you ever wanted to own a NES and SNES packaged together in one beautifully overdesigned high-end aluminium package? OH GOOD!
  • Somewhere: Another Instagram/location hack which takes users to random locations around the world via the medium of pics lifted from the site and information from Wikipedia. 
  • Random Hotel Furniture: A blog (which ought to be a Tumblr but I’ll let that slide) which documents the strange phenomenon of hotels leaving soft furnishings in a variety of weird and seemingly pointless locations. 
  • Photojoiner: A site which lets you put two photos together side by side as one image. Erm, just in case you’d need to for some reason. 
  • The Showgirls of 1950s NYC: A beautiful slideshow collecting pictures of New York showgirls shot for a 1958 LIFE Magazine special on the US entertainment industry, and detailing the backstage life of burlesque-style entertainers from the era. 
  • We Can Now 3d Print Shoes: They remind me of the sort of massive, ugly trainers which were briefly popular in the early/mid-90s and looked like weird footwear spaceships or orthopedic shoes. Anyway, FUTURE!
  • Dishy Literature: I love this – a blog which collects recipes as featured in novels, with proper cooking instructions. Which reminds me of The Debt To Pleasure, which is still one of the greatest novels sort of about food ever written ever, and which you should all go and read NOW
  • Bleepify: Turn any website into music. Really, really bad, atonal bleepy music, but music nonetheless. 
  • The Ewok Sex Den: I don’t really know what to say about this, other than wondering yet again at how it is that people with this sort of fetish first discover it – I mean, at what point do you respond to a vague sense of dissatisfaction with your sex life by thinking ‘oh, you know what will make it better? dressing up in a crotchless Ewok costume’?
  • Memeoirs: A service which offers the ability to take Facebook messages and turn them into a book – so you could, in theory, immortalise a relationship from first chirpse to tedious, workaday conversations about whose turn it is to regrout the bathroom. I was sort of baffled as to why this existed, and then Anna Madeline suggested that it might be useful, for example, for couples who wanted to prove that theirs was a real relationship to immigration services. Which is quite a good point, although I’m still not convinced – nice name, though. 
  • Street Wars Returns: Water pistol assassination-fest Street Wars is BACK this Summer after a hiatus of several years. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a game which lasts for 3 weeks or so in June, and involves players trying to assassinate each other with water pistols across London. The game is always on, you are never safe, and it can take over your life. There will be a few of you reading this who will LOVE IT. 
  • Free Golden Age Comics To Download: AMAZING collection of Golden Era comics all available for free download. 
  • More About Bongo Searches: Italian social media data expert Vincos has produced this rather nice look at how all this data about what people are looking for, skinflick-wise, internationally cross-correlates by country; these are some rather nice visualisations of that research.
  • The Adventures of Business Cat: This comic made me laugh a LOT on Wednesday, but I was admittedly quite tired. 
  • The Identity Project: Pairing photos of LGBT people from San Francisco with their own self-ascribed identifiers, this is not only a collection of really beautiful pictures of a whole array of people, but a small window into the STAGGERINGLY COMPLICATED world of gender-identity. It’s mindboggling how many descriptors there are in here. 
  • Old Polish Film Posters: You know the drill by now  these are lovely examples, though.
  • Play Android Games On Your PC: Just in case you ever wanted to, really. 
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide Text Adventure: One of the funniest games ever written gets a 30th anniversary refresh on th BBC website – with text by Douglas Adams himself, the Hitchhiker’s game is probably the best text adventure ever written, in no small part due to the fact that it contains several thousand words of totally original Adams prose. It’s also INCREDIBLY hard, but I cannot urge you enough to have a go – you’ll want to smash the computer at the babelfish bit, though.
  • The View From The Reconstructed WTC: Quite amazing really. 
  • 2048: Another sickeningly addictive browsergame with which to ruin your prospects of doing any more work today. 
Design for 22nd July Memorial by Jonas Dahlberg



  • Animals Sucking At Jumping: Animals are MASSIVELY overrated, basically, and quite rubbish at jumping.
  • Wolf & Unicorn: So much love for this. A tumblr telling of the unlikely, and frankly a little bit disturbing, relationship between wolf and unicorn through the medium of slightly janky CGI gifs. Much better than it ought to be.
  • Matteo Renzi Fa Cose: To the 5 people from Italy who read this, have a blog featuring pictures of Italy’s latest PM doing stuff. The captions are better than usual for these things – I give him til Christmas, personally, poor sod. 
  • I Too Am Oxford: A week after last week’s I Too Am Harvard comes this, which is the same thing but for Oxford. I like the project, I agree with the ethos, but the capitalised use of the term ‘othered’ in the preamble really, really annoys me. 
  • Drawings of Girls on Tumblr: Erm, drawings of girls from tumblr. This is going to be a PROPER EXHIBITION at a PROPER GALLERY in a few weeks’ time, should you be interested in checking it out. 
  • Shares From Your Aunt: The stuff that OLD PEOPLE who don’t spend every single moment of every working day eating the internet see as memes.
  • Fit To Print: I didn’t realise this, but the New York Times has a ‘no profanity’ policy – almost certainly the only reason why they have yet to approach us about syndicating Curios. Anyway, this Tumblr collects the more convoluted knots the paper can occasionally tie itself into whilst sticking to said policy. 
  • Un Gif Dans Ta Geule: Really wonderfully surreal loops, these. 
  • Dormouse Said Feed Your Head: Whereas this is just generally really creepy stuff, all told, in a sort of ‘malign Victoriana’-type fashion.
  • Hello Let’s Date: Purporting to be screencaps of conversations the author has met through Tinder, this is probably all fake but is still very funny if you like the whole 27bslash6-type thing. 
  • Paul Ribeira: Paul Ribeira draws portraits of what characters from 90s children’s television might look like if they had discovered hard drugs and gone a bit off the rails. Say goodbye to those happy memories of the Rugrats, Doug, Catdog et al which you may still be holding on to. 
  • The Jogging: A rather excellent collection of ART (very wanky, for the most part, but I quite like that). 
  • Jeans and Sheux: Photographs of men wearing dress shoes with jeans, in the manner particular to people from the Middle East. Hot styles. 


  • On Being A ‘Civilian’ At The Oscars: Well, sort of civilian – the author is Jennifer Lawrence’s apparently non-famous best friend, but she was there with an UBER-FAMOUS so it’s not quite bottom of the pile stuff. Anyway, this is a really charming little account of what the whole ridiculous orgy looks like from the inside, and contains some nice observations as well as the sick-making information that Brad Pitt smells really, really amazing as well as being all hot and rich and stuff. You bastard, Brad – I hope you’re wildly impotent or something, because otherwise it’s just all too unfair for words. 
  • Watching Nymphomaniac (So You Don’t Have To): Lars ‘Chuckles’ Von Trier’s latest has received surprisingly good press overall – this piece on Jezebel is notable mainly because it made me laugh quite a lot and because of the comparison between Stellen Skarsgaard’s character and Bubba from Forrest Gump, which I’m pretty sure won’t have been made anywhere else.
  • Inside Brooklyn’s Barista Class: You don’t have to be a Brooklyn hipster to read and enjoy this (which is good, as I don’t imagine any Brooklyn hipsters read this) – it’s about working in a coffee shop and the service industry as a whole and people’s relationship with those who serve them and the idea of work as vocational vs work as functional and all sorts of other things besides, and it’s a good read.
  • The Odd World Of Puddles The Clown: You may know Puddles from this video – his cover of ‘Royals’, which blew up at the end of last year. This is a very odd piece of writing indeed which does an awful lot of blurring of fact and fiction around the ‘character’, but which leaving aside verisimilitude is actually a great feature in its own right; it sort of makes you wish that every city had its own gigantic, terrifying, benign singing clown mascot. Sort of.
  • An Obsessive & Exhautsive History of Aphex Twin: If you’re a musician or a fan of Richard James’ music, this will be GOLDEN. If you’re neither of these things, then I’d probably just sip this one as it’s a bit niche.
  • What It Feels Like When Your Son Shoots Up A School: 18 months ago, Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook high school, after having murdered his mother, and then took his own life. This is an interview with / profile of his father, Peter Lanza, and a look back at Adam’s life. Hugely sad and quite horrifying in many ways, but a very good piece of writing.
  • Miniature Crimescene Dioramas: A fascinating look at the weird world of crimescene modelling – the creation of small 3d representations of crime scenes used for training detectives in the mid-20th Century. No, really, it’s LOADS more interesting than it sounds, I promise, and the pictures are good too. 
  • The Beastmasters of Buzzfeed: I don’t know whether it’s that more and more writers are channeling a sort of homage-y Foster Wallace-ish vibe deliberately (or maybe even unconsciously) or whether there’s something about the general incomprehenible oddness of the world in 2014 which just sort of creates that tone, but this piece on the men and women who make Buzzfeed’s cute animals content has exactly that warm-but-distant-and-sort-of-confused-whilst-still-being-very-clever-and-analytical-about-everything vibe which DFW perfected in a lot of his non-fiction writing. Anyway, it’s excellent.
  • London Is Servile: You’ll have seen this piece referenced all over the media this week – just in case you didn’t read the original which prompted the polemic, here it is (for what it’s worth, I think this is pretty spot-on in many senses). 
  • That Dong Nguyen Interview: Rolling Stone gets the first interview with Flappy Bird man. Frankly he sounds LOVELY and I sort of wish everyone would just leave him in peace now. 
  • Morgellons, The Mystery Disease: WARNING: READING THIS WILL MAKE YOU ITCH. Morgellons is, apparently, a condition which many people worldwide claim to suffer from but which as yet has no recognised medical cause and which doctors tend to see as evidence of mild psychosis. WHO IS RIGHT? Really good piece, this, which seems to take a liberal dose of inspiration from Jon Ronson and is no worse for that. 
  • Geek Love: A great piece on a remarkable cult novel which weirdly never makes the lists of ‘cult novels you must read’. Geek Love tells the story of a family of circus freaks – read this, about the novel’s genesis and cultural legacy, and then buy a copy
  • Street Fighter The Movie – What Went Wrong: Everything, basically. This is a good read overall, but especially worth reading for the JCVD anecdotage. 
By Hyungkoo Lee


1) There is no doubt at all in my mind that this advert for a Pittsburgh criminal lawyer is the best ad in here this week. “I may have a law degree, but I think like a criminal” – Dan is a GENIUS:

2) La Iaia are a Spanish band, apparently. This is a great song but the video’s the standout here – beautifully composed and shot vignette of teenagers studying together and edging towards romance. You will feel YOUNG AGAIN watching this, I promise. And then maybe just a bit sad and empty, but, you know, plus ca change:

3) This on the other hand is by a band called Breton who definitely aren’t Spanish and who have crafted a very competent (if to my ears a little generic) piece of melodic indiepop with their song ’15 Minutes’. Again, though, the video’s the star here – I confess to not being 100% certain what it’s about, but it looks LOVELY and the performances are excellent (so that’s ok then):

4) Weird web art video of the week comes in the shape of ‘Post Modem’ 12 minutes of HIGH CONCEPT musical-ish satire about the signularity and suchlike. It’s a lot better than I’ve just made it sound, and the first 6 minutes in particular are really worth watching (it goes a little more abstract than I’d like after that) – skewers quite a few ideas rather well, and the MegaMegaUpload song is weirdly catchy:

5) Ok, I think this is actually a leak and isn’t meant to be up for a few weeks, so apologies if it’s been taken down by the time you get to this. If it’s still here, though, turn up the volume and marvel at the frankly insane dance party stylings of DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon’s Turn Down For What video:

6) Laurent Garnier must be, what, 50-odd now? Anyway, he’s still making techno and this video callled ‘Revenge Of The LolCat’ is a lovely and slightly unsettling meme-y animation:

7) My favourite video of the week – Elliot the Bull’s song ‘Colourblind’ is rather lovely on its own, but this stop-motion tale is just a gorgeous piece of animation and is incredibly, strangely, poignant. You may want to give the little wooden thing a hug at the end, is all I’m saying:

8) This on the other hand is not really a very interesting video at all, being as it is just footage of Louis Dunford playing his song ‘When We Were Hooligans’. I was really impressed, though – yes, there are VERY obvious Jamie T comparisons but the tune’s lovely and the songwriting is  really good, I think. Ach, I don’t know, maybe it’s mockney crap but I LIKE IT SO THERE:

9) Finally this week, Statues by The Cowards. You will never see a better rendition of sex in SFW animated fashion EVER, I guarantee you. HAPPY FRIDAY, ENJOY THE SUNSHINE!:

That’s it for now


That’s it for now – see you next week
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Webcurios 07/03/14

Reading Time: 28 minutes

[image missing]

Military intelligence
ThisParticularGreg, CC licence

LOOK! FAMOUS PEOPLE TOOK A PICTURE OF THEMSELVES! Jesus wept. I mean, really, I know that ours is a culture in which nothing is too pointless and ephemeral to be analysed ad infinitum, ad nauseam (and yes, I am well aware that I am / this is part of the problem), but really – even by our own low standards, this was pretty special. Now that we’ve got over that, though, can we get back to focusing on the more important stuff like this, please? Oh, please yourselves. 

Once again time has run away with me and as such you’re not going to be treated to any more of me wanging up top here – be grateful. Instead hold your noses, open your mouths, close your eyes and say a silent prayer to whichever supernatural power you hold most dear as you prepare to ingest this week’s bitterest of bitter pills – have faith, though, webmongs, that it’s doing you good, as anything that tastes this bad just has to be beneficial to your health. It’s WEB CURIOS!

By Ben Sandler


  • FB Organic Reach Drops AGAIN: A fairly tedious and technical post which is nonetheless worth a scan if only to give you more ammunition when you next go to your clients cap in hand and begging for more adcash. You can read it yourself (what, you want me to do EVERYTHING for you?), but the precis is that a) organic reach dropped by about 40% as of the end Jan; b) videos do quite well still; c) Facebook prioritises Pages which promote their own content rather than 3rd Party content. So all those pictures of pugs in party hats? WORTHLESS. There’s a sentence it’s gratifying to type. 
  • In Fact, We May Be Moving Towards FACEBOOK ZERO!: I love the apocalyptic-sounding language being used here by Ogilvy (anyone would think they were a bunch of advermarketingpr shills). There’s a whole White Paper you can read if you’re so minded, but basically its premise is that it is INEVITABLE (their word) that Facebook is moving to a point where it will eliminate organic reach for Page Posts entirely, meaning that brands will have to pony up cash to get anyone to see, and fail to care about, their pointless wittering on the platform. You know what, right? THIS COULD ALL STOP IF EVERYONE AGREED THAT 99% OF ALL ADVERMARKETINGPR ACTIVITY ON FACEBOOK IS A POINTLESS WASTE OF TIME WHICH SERVES ONLY TO KEEP PEOPLE LIKE US IN EMPLOYMENT, MOVING MONEY AROUND IN SEMI-CIRCULAR FASHION BETWEEN AGENCIES AND CREATING CONTENT WHICH NOONE OUTSIDE OF THIS BLOODY INDUSTRY COULD POSSIBLY EVEN BEGIN TO GIVE A FIG ABOUT. Erm. Did I mention I’m available for part-time hire as a digital consultant? Thanks. 
  • Peopple Don’t Trust Retailers On Facebook: Seeing as we’re sticking the boot in…YouGov research published last week (I know, SO TARDY) which suggests that over half of UK consumers trust a retailer less when said retailer has a presence on Facebook. Interestingly (I’m sort of quoting verbatim here), it’s younger people who seem most disinclined to disintermediate their shopping from their social activity online. HMMMMMM.
  • A Guide To Using New Facebook Ad Bundling Structures: Following last week’s SEISMIC announcement about Facebook recategorising its ad bundles ever so slightly into Campaigns, Ad Sets and Ads, this is a handy short guide as to what that practically means. 
  • FB New Newsfeed Layout: This has no importance beyond the cosmetic, but, you know, STILL NEWS. 
  • Twitter Brings Amplify Ads To Films: I’m going to confess that I’m not 100% clear what this actually means, largely because the article linked to here is, even by the standards of social media business reporting, an absolute dog’s dinner of a piece of writing. I think what it means is that Twitter’s partnering with a cinema ad network to make some advertorial-y content using Twitter data which advertisers can buy partnership with, which will run in films and online and be promoted on Twitter to relevant people through ads. Anyway, if you work in film this may mean more to you than it does it me.
  • Twitter Ads ‘Voting’ Mechanic To Cards: They trialed this for the Oscars last weekend, using the tech to let users vote for the famouses they thought most deserving of a gold-coloured statuette. Obviously there are LOTS more potential uses, most more interesting than that one. 
  • No More Bongo On Vine: The only surprising thing about this is that it took so long. You can now OFFICIALLY be suspended from Vine for posting pr0n. I don’t imagine that, as brand people, this should trouble too many of you, but just in case. Will be interesting to see how far people try and push the apparently allowed ‘clothed sexually suggestive dancing’, though.
  • Pinterest Allows Unlimited Secret Boards: Not new new news, but just FYO – secret boards on Pinterest work a little like Facebook Groups/Pages insofar as you can limit access and visibility. Which obviously opens up all sorts of potential game/competition mechanics for brands and their SUPERFANS (ugh), should you wish to explore that sort of thing.
  • Getty Images Allows Free Embeds Of Its Images: For non-commercial use, that is. You can find a decent explanation of what that means, how it works and what it means for photographers here, should you wish.
  • Kellogg’s Accepts Its Agencies Are Crap: Obviously that’s not true, OBVIOUSLY. Still, though, the fact that Kellogg’s is apparently looking to ‘crowdsource’ (SO 2008!) marketing ideas to revitalise its entire brand made me chuckle somewhat. There are a few big brands seeming to do this at the moment, all using eYeka; am I the only person who sees terrible, wonderful potential in Pringles’ ‘You Don’t Just Eat ‘Em’ strapline? Eh? Oh. 
  • Adobe Gets Behance Artists To Redesign Its Logo: Included because it’s nice to see a brand going to actual proper communities of creatives, and because I like the freedom with which Sagmeister & Walsh have been allowed to approach the challenge. 
  • Pornhub ALSO Crowdsourcing Ads: So this is officially this week’s TREND, then. Anyway, this one looks by far and away the most creatively interesting of the three branding challenges available to creatives who want their work exploited for minimal remuneration. 
  • Some Nice Vertical Scrolly Branded Websites Which May Be Of Inspiration If You Make These Sorts Of ThingsHere’s a really nice one promoting the food and wine of Southern Australia (unusual in that there’s a lot of information here which doesn’t always work with this sort of layout but which does here); this one for 12 Years A Slave is also very good, as you’d expect, and with its focus on the actors suggests it was designed as part of the whole ‘for your consideration’ pre-Oscars promomageddon to the film industry; this one for some car or another is particularly slick when it comes to animations and stuff; and this from Google is very simple but does the ‘multiple layers in front and behind’ thing in subtle fashion which pleases me. Oh, and this isn’t vertically-scrolly, but it is a brilliant integration of HTML5 video with ecommerce – Adidas / Nike, steal this now (by the way, your sockboots are RIDICULOUS).
  • Make Your Own Snowfall: On a semi-related note, this is a really useful guide to the tools available for people who want to make their own Snowfall-y vertically scrolling multimedia webpage extravaganza but who don’t have the NYT’s web design team to help them. Really, really good collection of tips and resources which you’ve probably got about 3 months to play with before this style of page becomes horribly passe’. 
  • On Commissioning Animation: Really good piece on the steps involved in commissioning an animation. Useful to read if you’re likely to ever have to do it (by Wes West).
  • VANS As Patron: DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Admittedly this particularly lame pseudo-gag will only work if you remember me wanging on about the concept of brand-as-patron from Web Curios passim, but still. This is a lovely site and some lovely filmmaking commissioned by VANS all about the LA punk scene. Works not only because of the technical stuff in the webbuild, which is admittedly very good, but because there’s a lot of love there and it’s not trying to sanitise anything too much. The videos are legitimately interesting despite the fact that it’s advertising by stealth – recommended. 
  • A Slideshare On Web Design Trends For 2014: Useful for non-specialists; I imagine any ACTUAL web designers will find this all terribly facile, but for a dilettante like me it proved rather interesting. 
  • A Clever Oil Promo At SXSW: No, I’m not going to Austin. SHOCKING I KNOW. Anyway, if you are can you please try and get a go on this REAL LIFE MARIOKART (!!!!) which has been set up on a hacked gokart course by some oil company or another to promote the AMAZING BENEFITS its oil gives to drivers. A really clever idea (although the line from the marketing person which states that this is a development in oil technology that he ‘really needed the 18-24 year old kids to know about’ made me laugh quite a lot and then cry a little bit. 
  • Oscar Meyer’s Bacon Alarm Clock: Oscar Meyer is a US brand of pig-based products (I’d say ‘pork’, but I get the feeling that there’s probably more than just meat in some of their stuff). To promote their bacon, they’ve commissioned a limited series of iPhone plugins which work with the phone’s alarm to dispense the scent of bacon when the alarm goes off. This is internet catnip – well done them. Also, additional points for the fact that the application process to get one of these things involves the completion of a tie-breaker, which is wonderfully old school. A nice twist on the ‘let’s make a fragrance!’ thing which no brand should ever do ever again ever.
  • Bloody Flappy Kitty: I’ve staunchly avoided mentioning the bloody 3 ad with the bloody cat in it (after spending millions of quid on promo, they don’t need my help), but this is annoyingly good – their version of Flappy Bird, with a cat’s head, is not only nicely put together and addictive, but features GREAT sound effects and incredibly evil end-game button placement meaning it’s almost impossible to finish the game without clicking through to one of their websites. The ad, by the way, is still nowhere near as good as the one which featured the singing cherry which looked quite a lot like you were being serenaded by an anus, though
  • Goldman Sachs Really Are Bastards: THIS is living your brand in one single Tweet. I sort of doff my cap to the vampire squid on this one. 
By Kaija Straumanis



  • An Imminent Televisual Nadir: Not content with bringing us RudeTube, the televisual equivalent of your old schoolfriends’ Facebook feeds, endlessly promoting ‘virals’ 3 months after you early adopers have seen them (yes, I am aware of how hideously snobbish that sounds, but it’s also sort of true), commercial TV is preparing to foist an even worse-sounding spectacle on our eyes. ITV will imminently bring Viral Tap to screens – that NAME, Jesus. Basically it’s You’ve Been Framed for FUNNY videos – they’re asking people to upload stuff they’ve made, with a potential £1000 prize for stuff that gets used. This is going to end badly, I can feel it – the fact that the explanatory promo short explicitly calls out ‘crazy stuff from your trip to Kavos’ and ‘crazy pranks you’ve played on your mates’ (KERRAZY!) just screams ‘casualty’. I’m just glad I don’t have to sift through the submissions. TV PRODUCERS – here’s a bunch of stuff I came up with for a production company in 2006 which is all dreadful but which you can have for free if you’d like. I still think the ‘how to lose a guy’ one is GOLDEN, despite it being dismissed for being ‘too cruel’. NO VISION. 
  • The Lent Abstinence Tracker: It’s Lent. Some of you might be giving things up. You might want to take a look and see what the most popular things people are abstaining from around the English-speaking world are through this completely un-scientific Twitter-based list by Openbible, a website which invites users to ‘remix bible data’ (oh dear God the opportunities). There’s a THING here – ooh, Cadbury’s, why don’t you run some sort of encouragement / reward programme for people abstaining from chocolate? Or, better, just find someone who’s said that they are giving up chocolate for lent and then tweet pictures from the Cadbury’s factory at them EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m really bad at this, sorry.
  • The Modern Twilight Zone: My favourite Twitter account of the week, this gives 140-character plot synopses of Twilight Zone episodes set in the modern era. Like this sort of thing: “A woman ventures to find who’s been tampering with her head when she comes across a live stream that appears to be her own point of view”. 
  • All Of The Japanese Emoticons: Emoticons in Japan are MENTAL. The vast array of characters available across alphabets means you can create some truly elaborate symblos to connote all sorts of emotions far beyond the banal 🙁 type stuff we’re stuck with – this is an insanely comprehensive list compiled by some obsessive somewhere. If you’re feeling bored, why not spend the rest of the day responding to emails using these and nothing but? ー( ̄~ ̄)ξ
  • VICE News: Vice has launched its own news subsite. It’s excellent – the design and layout and the way you can tweet fragments with links back to the articles in particular make me very happy indeed. 
  • Death Of The Second Screen: Well, obviously not yet. Interesting prototype, though, of a service called InAir which effectively draws relevant data from the web based on a natural language-based understanding of what’s going on onscreen and allows users to access it as an on-screen overlay through their TV. It almost certainly won’t be this tech which makes the first ‘this could be mainstream’ breakthrough, but it’s an interesting look at how it could function in the future. Surely this is the sort of thing that the BBC’s RED BUTTON (does anyone actually really use that?) would be perfect for, no?
  • Soundtracks To My Life: This is pretty horribly designed site (sorry, person who made it) but the premise is actually really nice and the sort of emotional connection / resonance thing that, if it gets big, I could see a larger player buying into and integrating into its catalogue interface. It’s a simple premise – users pick a song and write about why it’s special to them. There are some really rather lovely stories on here if you care to have a look through.
  • The Forbes Billionaire List: I’m basically including this only so that you can feel as momentarily depressed by this as I did. Look, everyone, the 0.00000001%! What’s amazing about this is how far down this list goes – I got into the low 1000s before I had to go and take a soothing walk yesterday to convince myself that no, really, I wasn’t a complete failure (although on many levels that’s EXACTLY what I am!). 
  • The Horse Head Squirrel Feeder: We may not be billionaires, damnit, but we can still LAUGH! *cries*
  • See Yourself Browsing Websites: A clever little hack from Us Vs Th3m which uses your webcam to shoot you whilst you browse the web and displays the footage back to you in place of the images on any website you visit – basically so that you get to watch yourself as your laptop sees you. OBVIOUSLY the first thought that crept into my head was the ‘art’ (my inverted commas) project which could be undertaken here with bongo sites, watching people as they watch pr0n – I honestly think that would be a really interesting project. Anyone want to volunteer to make it happen? No, thought not. 
  • Crowdsource Your Humour: If you ever needed proof as to why comedians are skilled, talented people and writing jokes is HARD, then Howwlr (look, I don’t name these things) is that proof. A ‘collaborative joke writing site’, Howwlr provides the first half of a one-liner and lets users fill in the rest to predictably ‘mixed’ results. I would like someone to cross this with a 3d animator thing like the now-defunct Xtranormal to create hideously awkward animated standup microfilms, please. Thanks.
  • The Fake Hoverboard Thing: If you were taken in by this then SHAME ON YOU. Nevertheless, very good work by Funny or Die which shows what you can do with shedloads of money, celebrities on board and a very, very good VFX team. 
  • Transparent Textures: Probably the least exciting link of the whole week it might nonetheless be useful to some of you; a website featuring a bunch of free transparent patterns which you can choose the colour of and then grab the CSS for. If you’re a webdesignery person than this could be useful and if you’re not, well, just skip to the next thing. That’s how this works, you see.
  • Another Week, Another Live Feed Of Pr0n Searches: This one doesn’t seem to be attached to any particular site, and rather than making it a clickable list it instead presents the terms appearing and fading against a soothing background image of hot air balloons. Why not set this as a colleague’s homepage next time they’re away from their desk? NB – Web Curios and Imperica strongly advise against ACTUALLY doing this, and will in no way be held accountable for any disciplinary proceedings which may or may not result from said colleague getting offended at seeing phrases like ‘yoga booty’ and ‘boy sex gsy’ (no, me neither) float up onto their screen.
  • Air PNP: Like Airbnb but, er, for toilets, this site allows users to nominate venues as toilet facilities. Primarily envisaged as a solution to the problem of toilet provision at large-scale public events, the potential for trolling the everliving fcuk out of people / places with this is surely huge, no? 
  • Colourised Photos Of 1920s Russia: These are rather beautiful – my favourite by far is this lady, who is either trying to be alluring or so drunk on homemade potato spirit that she can only focus on the photographer with one eye closed. 
  • Making Manhattan In Minecraft: Minecraft is basically shaping up to be what people sort of thought Second Life could be in the mid-00s, isn’t it? Well, perhaps not exactly (less sex, for a start), but you know what I mean – its flexibility and accessibility are enabling virtual world creativity on a massive scale. The latest in the long line of ‘wow, they’re doing THAT?’ things from the Minecraft ecosystem comes in the shape of this project, whereby a user’s seeking to import map data from a variety of sources and convert it into the game’s engine so that he can produce a 3d, navigable, in-game Manhattan. It’s frivolous at heart, but the potential implications / applications are very interesting indeed. 
  • Wolfram Alpha Search Bot: Wolfram Alpha is HARD, and I freely admit to having no real idea of what you can do with it aside from creating graphs of famous people’s faces – this is a Twitter bot which you can use to ease the pain of getting your head round it; tweet it questions and it will Wolfram Alpha them (doesn’t really work quite like ‘Google’ as a verb, does it?) and return the results. 
  • Chinese Factory Workers And Their Amazing Hair: You need to click through page-by-page (I know, ANNOYING), but these photos of factory workers in China are not only fascinating due to the small personal anecdotes attached to each but also because of the amazing hairstyles sported by each person. This is just ITCHING to be recreated as a photoshoot in Another Magazine or somesuch fashiony spaffrag.
  • Good UI: Tips for building a good user interface. Helpful, if maybe a little niche. 
  • Throwback: After the time capsule app from a few weeks ago, Throwback is a similar but simpler version; it only allows for the sending of photos rather than larger filebundles. Still, though, the potential for really fcuking with people’s heads is GREAT. Or actually, on a less evil note, for people who are dying to schedule messages to loved ones from beyond the grave. Is that really creepy? I think it probably sort of is. Sorry
  • Artists As Architects: Lovely series of images imagining what sort of houses famous artists might have built were they architects rather than…er…artists. The Mondrian house looks genuinely brilliant – does this actually exist somewhere?
  • Look At All Of Us: I could stare at this for hours and hours and hours and hours. A simple hack taking pictures from Reddit’s popular humanporn thread (in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s nothing to do with actual pr0n at all) and running them fullscreen with a strummy acoustic backing. So many good pictures and so many amazing faces. 
  • Reporter: An interesting and low-friction approach to the whole idea of the quantified self, Reporter is an iPhone app which asks you a few randomly-timed survey questions each day to build up a picture of who you are, how you feel, what you like, etc, and draws correlations between them. Now obviously correlation is not causation as we all know, but I think that the idea of the sort of conversational feel of this makes it marginally more appealing than the slightly more MEASURE EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW-type quantification apps which are out there. Also, it might make it feel like there is someone who really cares about you and wants to know about your life, which may mitigate against the all-encompassing feelings of alienation you’re probably feeling most of the time. 
  • Poet Or Bot: A piece of verse is prsented to you – was it composed by a human or by a bot? YOU DECIDE! Depressingly this can occasionally be much harder than you think it ought to be, although whether that’s down to increasingly clever text generation software or the fact that they’ve used some truly stinking poetry on the site is open to debate. 
  • Humans Of The Third Reich: Quite an odd Facebook Page, this; it takes images of people from Nazi Germany and pairs them with quotes and fragments of dialogue about…well…about life and friendship and stuff. It’s actually very effective and sort of affecting, reminding you that these were actual people rather than the two-dimensionally monstrous caricatures we’re often presented with. Sad.
  • Desktop Images From North Korea: It may not surprise you to learn that computers in North Korea don’t run Windows – instead they run their very own OS called ‘Redstar’. These are some of the background images users can choose – one of these is their equivalent to the Windows hill which is burnt onto so many retinas worldwide. Art meets propaganda meets tech.
  • AcousticStream: Such a clever idea, this is a Kickstarter for a piece of kit which acts not only as a guitar tuner and wireless recorder but which also allows users to wirelessly stream their acoustic performances to the web. I have no idea how that works, but WOW. Seriously impressive concept, this one, and one which I might be interested in had I not made the mistake of learning classical guitar rather than rock guitar when I was younger (I did it because I thought, not unreasonably, that girls might fancy a boy who could play guitar – I was about 10; turns out this doesn’t hold as true when you have no natural ability and your repertoire is confined to 16th-century tapestries picked out at 1/4 speed). Oh, and Kickstarter reached their $1billion pledged milestone this week, for which they made this nice little page if you’re interested.
By Ben Foster


  • GTAIV In B&W: I’ve featured game screenshot art site Dead End Thrills before, but this new collection of black and white photos of GTAIV are really quite beautiful. 
  • Tetris Business Cards: For a certain type of person this will be the greatest business card ever – made so as to constitute an in-built playable game of Tetris. They’re going to be releasing other ones over time with different game. I’m not sure how they’d work as a chat-up mechanic, guys, but in terms of keeping you amused while you stand in the corner of a party, alone, they’re probably unbeatable. 
  • 19thC London Maps Vs Google Maps: Fascinating mapping of late-19thC map data over Google Maps, letting you zoom in and see how areas have changed in the past 120 years. Nice interface and the older maps are wonderfully detailed.
  • World Leaders As Drag Queens: It’s been one of those weeks in global politics where you just sort of want to bury your head in the sand at the idiocy of it all. Don’t do that, though – look at these wonderful gifed images of world leaders from across the globe and through the ages being reimagined as transvestites! Obama looks HOT, but I think Putin wins out. 
  • A Reddit Thread All About The Largest Dildos on Amazon: Look, don’t pretend you’re not curious. 
  • The Interactive Sound of the Smiths: This is a great piece of work by Warner Music. An interactive guide to the history and discography of The Smiths, presented in gorgeous 2014 scrollomultimediavision. There’s a lot of stuff in here – I’m sure if you’re a Smiths obsessive you’ll know it all already, but as a more casual fan it was very fun to trawl through for an afternoon. 
  • The Cocksman Club: I hate hate hate hate the name of this; it makes me think of swaggering fratboys, which on reflection is probably completely the right target audience and means I should shut up. Anyway, it’s a very simple condoms-by-post subscription service, but the packaging is really slick and the initiative in itself is praiseworthy – although, er, don’t they give out free condoms at Colleges in the US? Not sure there’s necessarily the need here, but would be interested to see a brand picking this up and giving it a go – actually might be interesting for Lynx if they wanted to diversify a bit, maybe. 
  • Lammily: Wow, this moved fast. 3 days ago this was about $5,000 in – now it’s more than doubled its funding target. Anyway, this is the funding page for Lammily, the latest in the near-infinite line of toys for girls which aim to dispel the false body-image myths perpetrated by Barbie, Bratz et al. I’m all for the concept, but the doll does look a bit…well…dull. I’m all for feminism, but I don’t necessarily think that means that girls should only be allowed toys dressed in a utilitarian polo shirt and George At Asda jeans combo. 
  • The Hipster Music Index: A brilliant project which looks to correlate a bunch of data around Pitchfork review scores and number of Facebook shares to create the ultimate list of hipster bands. This really should be integrated with Spotify or some sort of online radio service to create the official Hipster FM radio station (actually that’s a GREAT idea). 
  • Death Is Wrong: Oh Ray Kurzweil, you have SO MUCH to answer for. Fascinating futurologist and peddler of all sorts of amazing and ridiculous theories, Kurzweil’s popularisation of the Technological Singularity hypothesis is one of the most contested (and derided) examples of internet utopianism. Derided because it can often lead to stuff like this, a kids’ book currently seeking crowdfunding which looks to inculcate children with the belief that death is WRONG and unnatural and that man should CONQUER IT AT ALL COSTS, AND WE WILL! Because this is going to help little Johnny deal well with the inevitable death of his pets, grandparents, parents, friends, etc, JESUS, PEOPLE, THINK. 
  • To Be: A website which lets you make your own weird collages of gifs and images and audio and STUFF – sort of like Moviemaker for obscure webart projects, basically, and a lot of fun to play around with. 
  • Biscnuts: Biscuits available to order with VERY RUDE WORDS baked into them. PR AGENCIES: why not subvert expectations and SURPRISE AND DELIGHT prospective clients t your next pitch by eschewing cupcakes in favour of some shortbread which reads, say, “I HATE YOUR FACE”. Just a thought.
  • Anti-Normcore Extension: So I included a piece on ‘normcore’ last week and this week it’s been EVERYWHERE, proving without a doubt that Web Curios is read by the 7 people who really matter in MEEJA (Editor’s note: we refer you back to the ‘correlation is not causation’ point above, you hubristic tool). Anyway, now that it’s been namechecked on Radio4 it is officially OVER – this is a Chrome extension which will work to block out the damn word from everything. 
  • True Detective Graphicalised: I am aware that this is not a word. Nonetheless. I am told by PEOPLE IN THE KNOW that True Detective is AMAZING; I’m yet to see any of it, so can’t really comment on that. This website, though, in tribute to the series really IS amazing, though – the design and layout is gorgeous, and it seems very comprehensive. Probably contains massive spoilers, but it’s worth a quick look just for the layout and aesthetic. 
  • BANTER! THE APP: I hate the word ‘banter’. It makes my teeth itch, and puts me in mind of the sort of braying morons who think Top Gear’s the acme of entertainment (sorry, Top Gear fans). Anyway, this app is actually not as appalling as the name would suggest; instead it allows for the creation of anonymous, themed chatrooms based on interest topics.
  • LIVR! THE APP: This can’t be real, can it? It can only end badly. LIVR is an app targeted at exactly the sort of PARTY HARDY fratboy tossers I allude to above, which allows access to itself based on a plugin breathalyser test (you have to be a bit pissed to use it) and from there suggests dares, bars to go to, etc etc. Launching ‘soon’, apparently, this has disaster written all over it, and will no doubt be the subject of at least three outraged mainstream media features in the next month or so. 
  • Twitch Shouts Pokemon: So they finished Twitch Plays Pokemon. And then started again. This is the latest hack of the project which is, to my mind, the most unbearable yet – Twitch Shouts Pokemon plays soundfiles for every command inputted by the community, turning the whole thing into one confusing and slightly upsetting set of repeatedly barked orders. Coming soon to a Guantanamo torture cell near you. 
  • HTML5 Font Editor: Design fonts in your browser, if you’d like to.
  • If The Moon Were Only One Pixel: The latest in the long line of ‘let me show you quite how mind-buggeringly large the universe is’ visualisations, this one’s described by its creator as ;tediously accurate’, as in it takes you AAAAAAGES to scroll through to anything interesting because space is BIG. Apparently designed by the maker in order to demonstrate to his daughter why daytrips to Mars weren’t currently possible, which is a lovely rationale for its existence. 
  • Revealr: Has Tindr killed the dating app market (it’s certainly causing young men in London to have some truly appalling conversations on the tube, if the past few weeks are anything to go by)? What do I know, I’m just some webmong. This is an interesting twist on dating apps, though – Revealr lets users record short voice messages which other users can listen to – the twist being that noone sees a picture or any other info about a user until both you and they have liked each others message. Obviously this is hugely ripe for trolling, or just for slightly surreal stoner comedy depending on your worldview.
  • What Is The Colour Of The Internet?: Averaging out colour palettes on major websites. Man, we’re unimaginative. 
  • Jurassic Systems: Have you ever wanted to play around with the computer system used in Jurassic Park? OH GOOD!
  • Beautiful Murmerations: Gorgeous pictures of starlings swarming. If you’re having a tough day, spend three minutes looking at these (and then go to the pub. Christ, it’s not like anyone’s going to missyou). 
  • GifGif: Basically like Hot Or Not for gifs, this site pits two gifs against each other and asks users to decide which best fits the definition they place next to them – for example ‘which of these best expresses frustration?’, that sort of thing. Weirdly compelling, and you can jsutify wasting time on it because you;’re contributing to some sort of ultimate gif dictionary somewhere. Probably. 
  • Colourised Australian Mugshots: More amazing faces. Any game designers reading this, steal some of these features, they are VERY STRONG .
  • The Reflect Project: From old criminals to modern ones, Reflect is a powerful photoproject in which photographer Trent Bell takes portraits of inmates from Maine and merges them with the text of letters which they have written to their younger selves. As poignant and sad as you’d expect, there’s some rather beautiful ones in here – take some time to scroll through and read.
  • Seinfeld In Oculus Rift: One of the best things about living in an era in which amazing, space-age technology is more accessible than ever before is that you have NO IDEA how this technology is going to be applied when it intersects with people’s other interests. Which is why it would have been a true seer who predicted that one of the most complete projects yet for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality helmet software thing is a full recreation of the apartment from Seinfeld. No, no idea why AT ALL, but it’s technically very impressive. 
  • Unified Unicorn Tshirts: You want a psychedelic tshirt featuring a pair of…*ahem* conjoined unicorns at play? OH GOOD!
  • Pinterest Fails: Recreations of elaborate cooking projects, mainly cakes, done by real people from recipes on Pinterest. It may not surprise you to learn that they don’t always look like the example pictures. 
  • A 404 Page With Lemmings: You will not save them all, and you will feel guilty for failing. 
  • XRays of Mutant Frogs: You may not know this yet, but you really NEED to see a 6-legged frog in xray form. 
  • Share Spoken Messages With A Url: There’s no serious practical application I can think of for this site, but it lets you type whatever you want into the window and then generates a URL which, when clicked on, will take the end user to a url which plays back your message in vocoder fashion. The best bit is that there’s no clue in the url as to what the message being delivered is, which must have trolololololol applications somewhere. 
  • Waste The Rest Of The Day With This Game #1: A twine-based roleplaying game about SPACE and stuff. Fun, and sort of ZX Spectrum-ish.
  • Waste The Rest Of The Day With This Game #2: This is called MinMetro, it’s about planning a subway system, and it is the most addictive thing I’ve played all week, no contest. Truly brilliant (but wave goodbye to the rest of the day). 
  • My Favourite Terrible Website Of The Week: For a ‘restaurant’ called The Heart Attack Grill. Nice restraint on all counts here. 
By Brian Finke


  • Laurie J Proud: A collection of Laurie’s art which is all sorts of 1950s cheesecake creepy, like Ralph Bakshi in a certain light.
  • Pizza Feminism: Quotes from famous feminists, slightly altered to contain more pizza than they might originally have done. 
  • Will It Beard?: One man’s apparent quest to put everything in the world inside his (admittedly impressive) beard.
  • Kota Iguchi: Another tumblr showcasing beautiful looping animations. These are rather more colourful than usual and are just generally pleasing to the eye. 
  • The Pancake Oscars: Nicely done from Tefal, who used their ‘Put Your Face In A Pancake‘ tool thingy to create this tumblr showing what Oscar nomineed would look like as fried batter.
  • Great Catch: Probably my favourite one this week, this showcases pictures the curator has seen on Tinder of men posing with fish. Ye,s fish. Sexy, sexy fish. 
  • Beyonce Vs Zombies: Beyonce lyrics as applied to the zombie apocalypse and illustrated in very cute style indeed. 
  • Corpus LIbris: Doing that ‘hold an album cover over your face LOLS’ thing, but with book covers which OBVIOUSLY makes it better.
  • I See 5C: Aside from a few iTunes music accounts on Twitter, this is Apple’s first foray into social media marketing stuff, which means it probably ought to be up there but it’s a Tumblr and that takes priority in the crap taxonomy of Curios. Anyway, it’s Apple so obviously it looks lovely and slick and stuff.
  • Brandon Boyd Eating Subs: The lead singer of Inclubus, photoshopped so as to look like he’s eating long sandwiches. 
  • The NYC Crying Guide: A guide to the best and worst places in which to cry in NYC. I hope that this is a creative writing exercise rather than a real person’s thing, as that would be too sad for words. 
  • Fcuk Yeah Hover Hands: ‘hoverhands’ is that phenomenon where awkward people in photos, usually men, put their arm around another party, usually female, without making any sort of physical contact with them whatsoever. This is a tumblr celebrating that. 
  • Interngram: VERY late to this, but this is an Instagram-based comp which allows people to apply for a Nivea internship with AKQA using Instagram. Closes today, so you can still enter if you like. 
  • Prosthetic Knowledge: I love this. Tumblr collecting instances of things we cannot know ourselves but can keep track of through technology. CYBORG NATION. 
  • Judgmental Maps: Maps of US cities showing the stereotypes which apply to each area. I would LOVE to see this done of London, but fear it might be a bit more angry than funny.
  • I Too Am Harvard: Collecting portraits of black Harvard students along with phrases which have been said to them questioning their right to be at the institution, or things that they have wanted to say in response to others’ attitudes. Sort of horrifying really.
  • Naked Pics Of Horses: PURE FILTH.


  • The Popular People Of OKCupid: Or at least, the popular people in New York. This is a portrait of the 4 people in the city who got most messages over a week long period – a straight woman and man, and a gay woman and man. Interesting read if you’ve done or are doing online dating, or if you’re just curious about what hits people’s buttons when they’re trawling for love/sex on the internet. As an aside, is it just me or does the straight bloke sound like a complete penis? Albeit quite a photogenic one, I concede.
  • The Mail’s Financial Model: Longform writing from Popbitch of all places (they’ve just launched their app, so presume that this is acting as a teaser for the sort of stuff you’ll get should you subscribe – it’s a monthly magazine-type number), but this is a really, really interesting look at how the Mail makes money and why many of the things you (and me) thought about it might be wrong. Sort of essential reading if you work in MEDIA, as it’s got lots to say about the whole ad-funded model overall, particularly online. 
  • A History Of Everything, Including You: A short story, written in a day, about love and life and death and EVERYTHING and it made me cry a little bit when I read it and I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THAT. 
  • Being An Uber Driver: UberX is the low-cost arm of cabbie app Uber – it’s not available in the UK yet, I don’t think, but inevitably will be soon. Anyway, this is a great piece documenting the author’s experience of being an Uber driver for low-cost fares for a week in LA. Fascinating, particularly in terms of what it makes you think about how cabbies relate to their passengers and what you would / wouldn’t do in certain situations. 
  • The Hell’s Angels of Disneyland: Well not quite Hell’s Angels, but still. All about the gangs of Disneyland – loosely affiliated groups of adults who roam the parks together, enjoying and enforcing the Disney spirit. Quite remarkable, and not a little sinister in places. 
  • An Interview With The Young Man Removed From Vine For Attempting To Mate With A Toasted Snack: 10 days or so ago, some kid in the US filmed himself putting his penis inside a toasted snack called a Hot Pocket. His Vine account was suspended. He became a minor internet celebrity for about 10 minutes. Now, he speaks. I’m including this mainly because it’s a terrifying window into the sort of fame which kids appear to want in 2014 (and yes, I am aware of exactly how old that makes me sounds and I don’t care).
  • Minecraft’s Teen Superstars: Sorry about the Mashable link, but this is actually surprisingly decent. A look at TeamCrafted, a bunch of YouTubers who have become superfamous through making Minecraft vids and are now being courted by brands all over the place. These kids sound TERRIFYING, frankly – you can almost see the Scrooge McDuck dollar signs where their pupils should be. 
  • The Man Behind Bitcoin (Maybe): Newsweek tracked down an ageing Japanese man who may or may not be the person behind Bitcoin. The piece is interesting less because of the content and more because of the increasingly uncomfortable way it will make you feel as you begin to ask yourself ‘why are Newsweek hounding this bloke?’.
  • The Sanitary Towel Superstar of India: This has been everywhere in the past 24h, but if you’ve yet to read this BBC World piece about the Indian man who’s revolutionised the production of affordable sanitary towels in rural India then you should do so NOW. This is being turned into a film as I type, mark my words. 
  • The Unstoppable Spread Of ‘Trigger Warnings’: On the inexorable rise of the use of the term ‘trigger warning’, and how it’s becoming increasingly meaningless, pointless and irritating. WHAT HAPPENED TO CAVEAT EMPTOR? And yes, I know that there are legitimate reasons for occasionally using the term, but really, please, can people really not accept agency for their own feelings and emotional wellbeing? Oh, no, sorry, of course we fcuking well can’t. Jesus. 
  • Notes On An Exorcism: Tied as the best piece of writing in here this week, this is a great article from Esquire US about the author’s experience of being exorcised in Senegal as a cure for depression. The slightly deadpan style elevates this beyond the ‘innocent abroad’ subject matter.
  • IBS In New Orleans: The OTHER best piece of writing this week is an uncomfortably candid but laugh-out-loud funny account of one woman’s experiences of living and dating in New Orleans with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The amount you will like this is probably directly proportionate to how much the sentence ‘A look in the bathroom mirror revealed I did in fact look like a woman who’d just shat in a bar and left alone’ makes you laugh/cringe. 
From MAD Magazine


1) First up this week, a compilation of clips of the men from sword-enthusiast YouTube channel ‘Cold Steel’ (seriously, when you have a moment do take a look – it’s MENTAL), demonstrating said enthusiasm with gusto. Simultaneously ridiculous, funny, and really quite disturbing if you think about it too hard:

2) This may be the week when the Emoji music video becomes a THING. We featured this one last year, which I think was the first of its ilk and was by Oneohtrix Point Never – this one, though, is for (it’s fair to say) the significantly more popular ‘Drunk In Love’ by Beyonce and as such will be BIG. It’s well done, in any case, although if you’re interested in the ‘copy/theft’ aspect of this then the comments underneath the vid on Vimeo, and the artist’s response, are also worth a look:

3) This isn’t cool AT ALL, and the video’s just some people playing the song live in some log cabin, and it’s frankly all a bit cheesy, but I heard this yesterday and it MELTED me completely, and her voice gave me ASMR tingles, and the violinist is really rather gorgeous and it’s by Alex Winston and it’s called 101 Vultures and you should listen to it, you might like it:

4) Just to mix it up a bit, this is really quite disturbing and I don’t know what to make of it at all. It’s a video called ‘Asylum Of The Birds’ and it’s a videodiary by a South African photographer called Roger Ballen which documents how and where he took photos for the book of the same name. It features real communities of outsiders and transients on the outskirts of Johannesberg, and I was made a little uncomfortable about the photographer’s relationship with them (amongst other things). It’s pretty uncomfortable viewing (and features a chicken being killed, just in case that upsets you):

5) Following on the photography theme, this is the band Rivver with their song ‘Lamu’, which takes 25 portraits and creates short stories around them. Beautiful pictures:

6) Like Massive Attack? Like Roots Manuva? Like Tricky? You’ll like the latest from Ghostpoet, then – this is Dial Tone:

7) A strange juxtaposition of cheery-sounding song and seemingly upbeat animation which is actually all about a deadly game of musical drums. The music’s not really me, I must confess, but the animation’s lovely and for some reason this stayed with me quite a long time after I stopped watching. This is The Daily Drumbeat by Happy Camper:

8) This has absolutely EXPLODED this week, from a few thousand views to 2million+. You may have seen it – if you haven’t, prepare yourself for a TREAT. This is Babymetal, a manufactured pop outfit from Japan who combine typical Kawaii! schoogirl outfits with, er, fairly heavy (if uninspired) metal riffing. No, no, come back! You HAVE to listen to this – it really shouldn’t work at all, but it’s totally brilliant – and given the fact that none of the women involved had any sort of familiarity with metal at all, apparently, before being coopted into the outfit, shows that Japanese (and indeed Asian) music producers and svengalis are the sorts of evil geniuses which Simon Cowell can only dream of one day becoming. They are singing about chocolate, by the way:

9) Finally this week, Akira The Don announced that he’s retiring the name soon before heading off to explore EXCITING NEW PROJECTS elsewhere soon. This is the first track from the ‘final’ ATD mixtape, ATDRIP – it is called ‘Rain In England’ and it is a thing of strangely elegiac beauty and I suggest you listen whilst watching the rain stream down your windows and drinking cocoa. HAVE FUN:

Webcurios 28/02/14

Reading Time: 28 minutes

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Dr Dull and Arts Champion
Frank Kelly, CC licence

So last night I went to the theatre with my girlfriend (to see Superior Donuts at the Southwark Playhouse, which I can recommend unreservedly and for which you should get tickets should you live in London and be interested in that sort of thing) and we came home to find SEWERAGE-BASED ARMAGEDDON on our doorstep. 

Or that’s what you’d have thought if you believed what you read on the internet. In fact there was no sewerage and everything was drained in a few hours. You’d not know that, though, from reading Twitter – yet more proof were any needed that the internet blows everything out of all proportion and that you should believe about 10% of what you read online (apart from what you read here, obviously, which is ALL TRUE). 

The internet was FUBARed, though, when I woke up, which is why this is late and even shoddier than normal (I am writing it at my friend Lisa’s – THANKS LISA). I’m going to crack on now because I would quite like to go outside and enjoy the sunshine – don your protective gear, webmongs, and come with me as we dive headfirst into this week’s steaming torrent of information-effluvia, taking care not to snag the hermetically sealed vac-suits on anything sharp as heaven knows what this stuff would do to one’s skin. Sifting through the web’s malodorous slop so you don’t have to, it’s WEB CURIOS!

By Michelle Hamer



  • State: So this launched yesterday, I think, although it may have been the day before and frankly who really cares? State is a new ‘opinion network’ which, simply put, gives users the opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of topics, browse the opinions of others, award kudos (I’m paraphrasing, but you know what I mean) to opinions with which they agree, start debates around ones they don’t, etc etc etc. You know that popular phrase about opinions being like arseholes in that everyone’s stinks? Well this appears to be the logical endpoint whereby everyone’s turned into a sodding proctologist. I’m only mentioning it on here as they’ve been very smart in setting up pre-existing categories / tags around brands and products, which automatically means that people whose jobs involve them protecting / promoting brand reputation now have ANOTHER place to potentially worry about. No word yet on its relation to search, etc, which I suspect will be a reasonably big decider in how important or otherwise this becomes, but if you fancy spending a few hours telling the world (or at least the early-adopter portion of it) exactly what you think about…er…cake, or Syria, or homosexuality, then now’s your chance. NB – if you feel compelled to actually go and do this, it’s a safe bet we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life. 
  • Facebook Launches ‘Highlights’ On Mobile: Another tweak to Facebook’s mobile offering after Paper earlier this year, this gives standard mobile users the opportunity to see curated ‘highlights’ from their friends’ lives, prioritising new friend requests, life events, birthdays, etc. Not hugely significant to most of you, but I wonder to what extent this is fiddleable with from an API point of view if at all.
  • You Will Now See Page Updates In Your Feed From Pages You Don’t Like Which Mention Pages You Do Like, Maybe: Yes, yes, I know that’s barely comprehenisible, but seriously, you try and say it in any less clunky fashion. Basically if you like Adidas but don’t like Chelsea and Chelsea mention Adidas in a wall post, there’s now a chance that you will see that post in your newsfeed. Which means that if you’re a community manager it makes sense to start mentioning/tagging all sorts of other brand pages in your updates on the offchance that your screed will show up in front of their fans’ eyeballs and they’ll somehow be motivated to ‘Like’ your rubbish as well. Expect to see each and every tinpot tiny page bigging up Coke, Red Bull and Vin Diesel relentlessly in the next few weeks – although, and let’s be clear about this, unless you buy ads this is all moot anyway as NO ONE WILL SEE WHAT YOU WRITE. Speaking of which…
  • FB Rejigs Ad-Buying Structure: Utterly tedious, but there’s now a slightly different breakdown of ads in terms of campaigns, subsidiary ad sets, and sub-subsidiary ads – what this means, in simple terms, is that bundling targeting of groups of adverts within a campaign to discrete markets will become easier – as will swapping ads in and out within those target sets. Good for A/B testing, although as this (rather academic and involved) piece suggests that might all be mostly rubbish anyway the way we’re all doing it
  • FB Partner Ads Coming To UK: Whatever you may think of Facebook and their incredible admoneygrabbing, one sort of has to concede that they are pulling out the stops in terms of refining the product in 2014. The UK’s soon to get partner ads, using data bought in from 3rd parties to allow brands to target ads at people based on stuff they’ve done off-Facebook – bought an Alfa Romeo, say, or spent over £50 per week on wine since 2009 (that one may not be true, but you get the idea). You don’t need me to tell you why this is useful (if you do, you probably shouldn’t be reading this section and should skip ahead to the next bit which has pictures and fun websites and stuff). 
  • Facebook Lookbacks For The Dead: You can now make FB lookback videos (you know, like the ones that everyone bored each other to tears with a few weeks ago on FB’s birthday) for your deceased relatives / loved ones who had a profile on the service. I can’t speak for any of you, but I can’t think of anything guaranteed more to reduce me to a snotty, weeping mess than this, but each to their own. 
  • ANOTHER Person Complaining About Fake FB Likes: Not much more to say than that – to be honest, this is just one bloke’s opinion and as such should be taken with a LITTLE pinch of salt; that said, the whole thing is interesting and I don’t think is going to go away anytime soon. Will be interesting to see if FB does respond in any way if these allegations continue. 
  • Internet Access Is A Human Right (If That Access Is Via Facebook): So last year when Facebook launched and spoke of granting access to the internet to the developing world many cynics suggested that this was simply part of the dreadful company’s strategy to get all those second-world eyeballs rather than a truly philanthropic step. “Fie on you!”, said Facebook, “How could you think such a thing? *innocent face*”. And yet here we are in 2014 and Zuckerberg has given a keynote at MWC in which he basically demanded that mobile carriers grant free access to the intern….oh, no, hang on, free access to Facebook to people in the developing world via mobile. Let’s be clear – not access to the internet, but access to Facebook. Facebook as a portal to the internet. Hm. Look, I know I’m a pinko lefty idiot and all that, but it’s really hard not to get a little depressed at the idea that you would be funneling millions of people into experiencing the web via the prism of a company whose primary purpose is to sell data to advertisers to thereby sell said people useless crap more effectively. Welcome to modernity, less-fortunate people of the world – now buy some trainers and drink our branded sugarwater you peons!
  • Some Stats About Mobile Usage Of Twitter In The UK & Europe: Lots of people access Twitter via mobile. So now you know. 
  • Twitter To Show Promoted Accounts In Search: Slight tweak to one of Twitter’s three main ad formats here – nothing huge, but will make promoted accounts marginally more useful.
  • About Twitter Cards: This is a really useful slideset about exactly what Twitter cards are and how they work, and it really is worth reading; there’s no reason whatsoever why all websites shouldn’t use cards in some way – not all over the place, before you think I’m a total idiot, but there are some sections where it makes sense (sharing links to contact info, for example) – very much worth a read if you’re still a bit unsure about what cards are / do. 
  • Most Shared Mainstream Media On Twitter: Moderately interesting stuff on which mainstream media sites have most links shared on Twitter. No huge surprises, but if you’re in PR then this might be a useful thing to bookmark if you want to justify to your client why that online-only piece in the Manchester Evening News was actually really good, honest. Would be more interesting with a side-by-side comparison of what the ranking looks like with non-news sites thrown in, but you can’t have everything – anyway, as you recall from last week, sharing links on Twitter doesn’t actually correlate to readership anyway. God, why do we even bother? Rhetorical question. 
  • O2 Integrates Customer Service With Twitter: This really is clever, though (it sort of builds on stuff Amex did in the US a couple of years back) – O2 customers in the UK can link their phone accounts with their Twitter accounts to automatically get account info via Twitter through using certain simple hashtags. It actually looks cleverer than it is – in effect, it’s just the Twitter equivalent of ‘text ‘balance’ to 66994 to receive your account balance’, but it’s useful and easy and should see lots of other similar companies following suit soon enough (apologies if this sort of thing has been going for ages and I missed it). 
  • Social Media Stadium Choreography: This is lovely by Juventus (Italian football team, for those of you to whom that means nothing) – they invited fans to design one of those ‘in-crowd mosaic-type’ pictures (oh, you know what I mean) which would be recreated by the Curva in the Juve-Inter game a few weeks ago. Lovely idea, beautiful execution. 
  • Unicef Tap Project: Quite a clever concept – visit the site from mobile and it starts a timer, asking you to keep from touching your phone for 10 minutes; if you can manage it, that’s one day’s clean drinking water given to a kid in Africa by some Armani stinkwater or another. Obviously, though, as with all of these things the main question is “why can’t you donate some more of your fcuking disgusting profits to this without making punters jump through hoops Giorgio, you jumped-up leather-faced tailor?’ The particularly shocking thing here is the revelation that a day’s clean drinking water can be achieved through a donation of just $.025 – so that’s what 10 mins of nonphonefiddling causes cuddly old Armani to donate. The fcukers have had the gall to cap total donations to $75,000, too – which total will only therefore be met if this 10 minutes thing happens…erm…3 million times. Which is pretty unlikely. THANKS, MAJOR INTERNATIONAL FASHION LABEL!
  • Instagram ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’: Cute idea from Pan Macmillan to promote a Young Adult novel called Thirteen – go here to see how it works (it basically uses Instagram tags).
By Matthew Pillsbury



  • Broapp: So the first of these ‘hang on, no, this can’t ACTUALLY be a thing, can it? Can it??’ apps this week is Broapp – purportedly a ‘relationship wingman’, which deals with the tedious business of bothering to communicate with your girlfriend or wife (because, unsurprisingly, this one’s for the LADS) by automating nice touchy-feely text messages and status updates about all the warm, fuzzy feelings you have for them, without you, the user, ever actually having to type – or indeed feel – those things yourself. There’s no real telling whether this is just jaw-droppingly awful or a parody – and the evidence suggests that it may in fact be a gag – but the fact that it’s not automatically obvious made me have quite dark thoughts about civilisation on Monday when I found it. 
  • The Wolfram Language: WARNING! THIS IS A VIDEO ABOUT PROGRAMMING WHICH IS 11-ODD MINUTES LONG. Right, now that 99% of the people looking at this have skipped ahead to the next link, the 3 of you who remain can enjoy an overview of the newish Wolfram language, which (and I say this as someone who understood about 90 seconds worth of this) looks incredible. It seems to offer all sorts of incredibly quick and easy computational fixes, all of which seem scaleable and massively easy to implement – but then again what do I know? I’m just some webmong. Can someone programmer-y please take a look and tell me if it really is as exciting as it looks to a dilettante? Thanks.
  • Fun Palaces: This isn’t actually really internetty at all, sorry, but I do think it’s a nice idea and a worthy project. Taking place on the 4th/5th October, this is an Arts Council project which is based on the 1960s vision of the Fun Palace – a place where people and communities could share their vision of fun and creativity with each other and teach / learn in kind. Obviously that’s the sort of utopian hippyish stuff that gets people’s backs up a lot of the time, but the idea – for local spaces to try over the weekend to create spaces whereby communities can gather to explore creativity together however they desire – is a lovely one which it would be nice if people got behind (he said, didactically). 
  • Joseph Tame’s Art Of Running: I think, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, Joseph Tame’s a bit of an odd man. An Englishman living in Japan, he’s found minor fame by doing marathons, etc, in some sort of extraordinary cyborg-style getup – seriously, all you people with your Fuelbands (also, just as an aside, can you decouple them from your social media accounts please? NO ONE CARES) have a long way to go before you match up to THIS stuff. Anyway, he does a lovely thing where he runs in courses which maps designs / pictures over Tokyo – some of them are really shonky, but some are GORGEOUS; take a look (someone’s got to rip this off for London, no?).
  • Google Maps Gallery: Launched yesterday, this is the latest iteration in Google’s ongoing project to make its maps software, and everyone’s maps data, open and available. Particularly useful / interesting to academic institutions, artists and Government, I’d have thought. You can explore the maps uploaded to date here – not many, but this number will swell quite rapidly I’d imagine. 
  • Hairy Mail: Send people messages, sculpted into a man’s fulsome back hair (virtual, sadly – how much better would this be if it was a limited-edition service with real-life Vauxhall bears waiting in the k-hole to be shaven with the message of your choice? Eh? Oh, just me, then). It doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any brand – I’ll be honest here, I’m mainly including this as it was an idea I floated with the Braun team at H+K about three years ago (to promote their male grooming equipment) and which I think they thought was too gross to work. They were probably right, on reflection – good work, team. 
  • I’m Drunk Get Me Out Of Here: Simple and useful little web hack, ideal for people going to SXSW (for whom I think it was designed, in fact), which lets you input all your hotel details and your phone number and which will send you a text message with all that info in it when the bars kick out in the city you’re visiting so as to ensure that, rather than having to make your incoherent slurrings comprehensible to a cab driver, you can instead just show them your phone before you’re sick on their upholstery and they throw you onto the pavement to be discovered three hours later by the street sweepers as you cry pitifully and try and work out how you got to be so lost and far away and alone. Ahem. Or something like that. 
  • Gifs Of Blooming Flowers: I could look at these all day. You’d never get this newsletter if I did, though, so I shall tear myself away JUST FOR YOU.
  • The History of Bitcoin: It’s been a big week in Bitcoin land what with all the MtGox stuff; turns out that encrypted currency may not be quite the monetary utopia people were painting it as a few months back (shocker!). Anyway, this is a neat little webiste which runs through the thing’s genesis and development from 2007 onwards, which might be useful if you need a primer (or indeed if you just like looking at timeline visualisations). 
  • Mini USB Post-it Things: I confess (not for the first or last time this week) that I don’t fully understand this, but it looks impressive and that’s the main thing. It’s a design concept for incredibly thin (graphene) storage devices which can be then stuck to any Optical Data Transfer Surface (ODTS) and which can then transfer data to which ever device said ODTS is itself attached to. Which is obviously sort of incomprehensible when explained that poorly, so I suggest you look at the link and see whether it makes more sense when visualised. Is this even halfway near to possible?
  • Spritzinc Speedreading: Reading fast is USEFUL, although makes reading over people’s shoulders on the tube incredibly irritating (PROTIP: people don’t seem to like it if you begin impatiently tutting at them to turn the page because you’ve been waiting 2 minutes for them to finish it and it’s HARDLY BLOODY WAR AND PEACE NOW IS IT YOU IMBECILE shush shush sorry); this is a really, really clever looking app which takes text and presents it as a L-R scrolling stream; the app creators maintain that this can increase reading speeds by some stupid-sounding amount – the Google Glass integration is very cool-looking too. 
  • Zkipster Guestlist App: PR PEOPLE! Isn’t doing the list at an event the best thing EVER? Well, maybe not, but oftentimes it beats having to actually BE at the bloody event and talk to your hideous clients. Anyway, this is a clever app for iPad which manages and syncs guestlists, allowing guests to be checked off multiple lists simultaneously when they arrive (meaning fewer liggers), adding photos to names, etc. If you do big event stuff this actually looks almost invaluable. 
  • Randy Regier’s Odd ‘Vintage’ Toys: Randy. WHAT a name. Anyway, Randy makes vintage-looking toys (it’s unclear whether these were vintage toys which he’s hacked, or whether they’re new but in a 50s retro style) which have a slightly wrong vibe to them. There’s the same sort of off-kilter sensibility here that you might find at play in Scarfolk, for example, or in the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Fallout
  • Niice: Thanks to Sacha Baron Cohen, this cannot sound like anything other than something being pronounced by a grinning Kazakh. Anyway, this is in fact a photosearch site which only sources ‘pretty’ images – great for moodboards, etc, should you require images for such things and not want to have to wade through Google’s slightly esoteric (and inevitably really, really breast-and manga-heavy) results. 
  • Cloudwash by Berg: Now obviously no one actually needs an internet-enabled washing machine (see comments passim about fridges), but if I were to have one I’d want one like this mockup by the clever people at Berg, which combines clever programming with lovely design to create a proof-of-concept which looks genuinely quite useful. I particularly like the programmable e-ink displays (and what of it?). 
  • The…Er…’Ring’ Ring: Blimey, when I first saw this yesterday it was on about £10k – now it’s around £160k. People LOVE a futureinterface. Anyway, this is a kickstarter for a project called ‘Ring’, which looks fairly certain to meet its goal and is a gestural interface which not only allows you to use it as a remote control and switch, but also in theory to gesture letters and thus spell out text, and also to make payments. Which is sort of magic, really. Very clever-looking indeed, though as with all Kickstarters several buckets of salt may be required. 
  • Le Blox: I rather love this, I must say. Le Blox is an app which lets users design their own little Minecraft-style pixel creatures in a very cute 3d building interface, and then have those 3d printed on demand and delivered to their home. Or at least that’s what it will do when it’s launched – I imagine that this could get VERY expensive if you leave your kids alone with it for too long, but the concept’s gorgeous. 
  • Weird Responsive Hexiwall Thing: Yes, yes, but click on the link and watch the video and then tell me that you don’t sort of want one in your house or at the very least on the way to work. Basically like the modern, architecturally acceptable versions of those plastic flowers which used to be able to follow your movement and turn to face you and which secretly in my heart always made me think of triffids and therefore caused me not inconsiderable psychic distress as a younger and more impressionable man. 
  • Pulp Lesbian Erotica Covers: It’s ok, these are all on the Yale Library website so that makes looking at them basically an academic research project. There are some crackers on there, in particular the cover of ‘Lesbian Twins’ (page 2) which has possibly the best disappointed 1950s husband face on it I think I’ve ever seen. 
  • Oscars – The Dresses: On Sunday a bunch of famouses will get given awards and a disgusting amount of free stuff. You may or may not care – I personally don’t. This, though, is a lovely illustration showing all the couture worn by Best Actress winners from the first Oscars to the present day, which if you’re into fashion and stuff should be right up your street. Oh, and here’s a load of data about previous winners and stuff in case you fancy betting all your life’s savings on the outcomes (hello Bob!). 
  • Human Leather: The second ‘no, hang on, this isn’t real, is it?’ website of the week comes in the form of this charmer, which purports to sell articles of leatherware made from human skin. It’s actually a five to six year old site, which makes me think it’s a dormant hoax, but…but…I don’t know, it’s just plausible enough to be really creepy indeed. Or it’s a front for people who are flogging the darker side of Nazi memorabilia, or to entrap people who are into said memorabilia. Ugh, it’s all really quite skincrawly, in any case. 
  • Average Price on eBay Tracker: Apologies if this is really common knowledge, but I only found it this week – a site which tracks the average sale price of items over the past x amount of time on eBay so you can see exactly how much you might be able to get for those Beanie Babies (clue: you will get nothing for Beanie Babies, despite what the 90s may have told you). 
  • Exposure – Photographers Sites: Exposure looks like a very nice way for pro photographers to show off their work, or to create storytelling collections of their pictures, in a beautiful standardised intrerface. If you don’t want to pony up for your own website then this could be a very nice alternative indeed; for £30-odd quid a year, it seems like a pretty good deal to me. 
  • An Eye In 3d: Basically just a little toy, but a very nicely made one. BONUS: they’ve made it again, but in the style of Escher
  • The Portuguese Doll Hospital: Obviously this is a really lovely concept for small children whose favourite toys have been damaged and who might want them repaired, and it’s been going since 1830 which is sort of amazing. However, and this is quite a big however, its website is full of some of the hands-down creepiest pictures of broken dolls you ever will see. Pediophobes beware – even the slideshow on the homepage is sort of unsettling. LOOK AT THEIR UNSEEING EYES AND BROKEN FACES!
  • Mutant Vegetables: A collection which would have meant so much to researchers on That’s Life!, this is a whole collection of photos of mutant vegetables, collected for no apparent reason other than that the photographer quite liked taking pictures of them. Slightly creepy in places, though I don’t quite know why. 
  • The Original ‘Oblique Strategies’ Cards: I’m guessing that many of you work in places where you have Creative Directors and stuff, and so will be familiar with Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’ cards – in case not, they’re basically a system of flash cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the 70s, each printed with an aphorism designed to help creative minds unblock themselves and seek out oblique solutions to puzzles. These are the originals in all their shonky carboard taped-together ‘glory’. 
  • Scrollthrough Google Maps: A Google Maps hack which lets you plot a route from A-B and then scroll through the Google Streetview shots of that route, creating an almost-animated journey. There’s a very easy lift here for brands wanting to do an update on that slightly tired ‘put in a postcode and we’ll show you something happening RIGHT ON YOUR STREET (again)’ thing. 
  • Reddit Now Doing Live Events / News: Last week two of the biggest things on Reddit were Twitch Plays Pokemon and events in Kiev – both were used by the platform to experiment with a new service effectively creating livestreams of commentary and discussion around certain key happenings, effectively beginning to open Reddit out towards more of a journalistic bent, with the people allowed to contribute to the livestream being selected by admins to maintain ‘quality control’. Will be interesting to see the extent to which ‘proper’ media use this as a Twitter-analogue to keep track of the next big event – worth watching. 
  • ANOTHER Very Flashy Website For A Tall NYC Building: Following hot on the heels of that other one from the other week whose name I’ve forgotten and which I’m running far too late this morning to look up comes THIS rather gorgeous website promoting some other really tall residential /commercial development that noone you’ve ever met will ever be able to nearly afford to enter let alone to live in. The website’s very slick indeed, though, so well done them. 
By Pyuupiru


  • A Truly Beautiful Interactive Music Video: Erm, from 2009. Sorry. But that was Pre Curios, and so basically it’s ALL NEW. Anyway, this is Spanish and really is utterly gorgeous; the way in which you’re allowed to draw along with the music in a sweeping pen-and-ink style fits the sound perfectly, and the integration with the scripted bits of video is almost seamless. 2009 means Flash, of course, so be aware that it won’t work on mobile or tablets (SORRY). 
  • Chris (Simpsons Artist): This made me laugh more than any single other thing this week. I thank Rich Leigh for pointing it my way – I have no idea who Chris is, but his Facebook Page on which he posts terrible drawings of the Simpsons with quite indescribable descriptions had me laughing like a drain for a good ten minutes (and that may not sound like much, but I bet it’s more than you laugh at work ALL DAY). 
  • Making trending topics on Twitter less rubbish, applies its own algorithm to the Twitter stream to try and prevent, say, 3 of the 10 topics being Bieber-related. A nice idea, well-executed, although I think part of the beauty of trending topics is the weird disconnect which often exists between them and anything which anyone could conceivably think of as ‘important’ or ‘worthwhile’. Also, what does this do with promoted trends?
  • The Beyonce Soundboardt: Do you want a soundboard(t) of Beyonce samples? OH GOOD!
  • Dinosaur Statues: Have you always wanted to spend many thousands of pounds on a 10-foot tall fibreglass model of a dinosaur but up until now had no idea where in hell one would find such a thing? OH GOOD!
  • Lost & Found In NYC: A selection of pictures of found objects collected by photographer Will Ellis over a period of several years in NYC. As with all found art there’s a serious sense of melancholy about all these, and some very creepy / odd things in there to boot, but my overriding thought with this is that it would be a wonderful project to take these images and to write a narrative which links them all in some way. So, you know, someone go and do that for me please.
  • EVE True Stories Graphic Novel Now A Thing: More of interest as a cultural side/footnote than anything else; as announced last year at some point and reported RIGHT HERE (reported ahahahahaha), massive spreadsheet masquerading as a space MMO Eve Online has published the first of its comic books based on ACTUAL EVENTS from in the game. Let’s just repeat that – a comic has been published (a proper one, by a proper publisher) whose script is derived from events which occurred in-game. Art imitating art imitating life. Quite astonishing really. 
  • Lovely Cinemagraphic Storytelling By The BBC: The BBC is quietly upping its digital storytelling game at the moment. This is another really lovely and very clever execution, this time to create a visual accompaniment to a podcast all about / linked to recent comedy show Inside Number 9. The page uses cinemagraphed clips from the show to accompany the narrative, and it works as something inbetween radio and a game – have a play, it’s really rather beuatifully made (if you’re interested in said making, there’s a few more details here). 
  • The Photocopy Club: Interesting idea, this – a photo event which requires participants to present their work as xeroxes rather than digital prints. I imagine the cumulative visual effect would be rather striking (you may be unsurprised to know that this is taking place in Dalston, East London). 
  • The Pollock Crocs: Another one of this week’s ‘really? REALLY?’ things, this is a truly unexpected partnership between Aussie purveyors of hideous footwear Crocs and the estate of Jackson Pollock who, it would appear, have sanctioned this ‘official’ line of Pollock-inspired, paint-splattered monstrosities. Something something something brand value something something. 
  • A Search Engine For Cover Versions: Just in case you should ever need such a thing. There’s a really nice idea in here, actually, for a particular brand of beer and their current ad campaign – that’ll be £5,000, please (you know who you are). 
  • Cannabis Condoms: Well, cannabis flavoured /scented, anyway. I am baffled by this for a variety of reasons – even the most ardent potsmoker doesn’t, I don’t think, find the smell of weed particularly arousing or indeed all that pleasant in prolonged doses (it’s called skunk for a reason, no?), and the flavour??? That said, credit to Aden and Susan for coming up with ‘Pipe Smokers’ and ‘Boners for Stoners’, respectively. Careers in advertising surely await both. 
  • The Scent of Vulva: I tried to think of something less bald than that description, but there’s no real way to soften the impact of this truly hideous-sounding but purportedly (again) real product. Just…just…oh, just click on the website and then try and forget you ever saw it (technically SFW, though you may get one or two funny looks). Thanks to Simon for this one. 
  • A Lego Man, Everywhere: By way of an apology / palate-cleanser (oh, God, no, that doesn’t help as a turn of phrase – SORRY!), have this (though I imagine it’s probably been in ‘proper’ media this week too). Pictures of a Lego man in various places. Charming. 
  • Pasteogrid: A seemingly very easy way of making photogrids for websites or to dump into documents. Have a play, looks pretty useful. 
  • Regional Listening Preferences In The US: Taking data from music streaming services powered by The Echo Nest, this is a mapping of the musical preferences of Americans, by artist, by state. It’s worth reading through because there are LOTS of very interesting ideas about how to do this sort of datacutting which lots of UK people could steal (*cough* Amazon/Spotify *cough*). 
  • Twitch Plays Pokemon Plays Pokemon Puzzle Challenge: I could have filled practically the whole blog this week with baroque variations / riffs on Twitch Plays Pokemon, which has kept at least one person I know glued to his screen for the past week, the weirdo. This is sort of the most interesting of them – taking the inputs into TPP, including the ‘anarchy/democracy’ battle, and then running them into a different game – it was Tetris when I found it, but has now been flipped to Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, which is sort of more apt. NB – if you’ve understood none of the last 60 words or so then congraulations, you have a healthier life than I do. If you DID understand them, though, then you’ll probably like this too. Oh, and probably this insanely comprehensive character list from the whole silly saga, too.
  • The Electric Eel: I’m just going to leave this here. This is an Indiegogo prototype seeking funding, which also happens to be an ‘electric’ condom. Which electrocutes its wearer. No, me neither, and I really don’t want to. 
  • GORGEOUS Winter Olympics History Website: Part one of snowboundgravityfest has finished, but whilst we await part 2 next week you could do worse than check out this BEAUTIFULLY made site which goes through the history of the Winter Games and pulls out facts, stories, photos, etc, from each year. It’s really, really slick and deserves a look, even if you have no interest whatsoever in people sliding on ice. As a bonus, here’s a history of the Winter Games’ logos too – there have been some absolute shockers over the years, it turns out.
  • Flappy Jam: 800 Flappy Bird-inspired games, all together in one place. This may be your idea of heaven or your idea of hell – I’m not judging either way.
  • Language Learning Tool For Kids: Actually maybe for adults too, but it feels like it’s for kids. Anyway, this is really nicely made and seems to work pretty perfectly, at least in theory; choose from one of 9 languages, and the site ‘speaks’ words at you in said language; it’s up to the user to click on the object which is being described by the voice. Simple and effective, and probably quite fun for small children. 
  • Google Glass Will Make Sport Better (Maybe): VERY slick site deisgned to showcase the AMAZING ways in which Google Glass will improve the experience of participating in ‘extreme’ish sports (BMXing, paintballing, etc). It’s nicely done, though you do need to be able to shout at your computer to make it work which is sort of embarrassing. Also, although I know I’m really not the target audience for this, I can’t say it makes the sports look THAT much better. Bah, humbug. 
  • Carpets For Airports: Carpets, from airports. Because there really is a website for everyone. 
  • 3d Music Maze: This is utterly shonky but I think there’s the gem of something quite nice here. Album cover maze game which occasionally seems to play the tracks of the artists whose album sleeves you’re in front of – now imagine this as a music exploration tool going through what’s on your iTunes, etc – might be fun, no? Oh, please yourselves you joyless fcukers. 
  • The Tokyo Tune Train: Another little music game hack thing, this is basically snake which lets you remix songs on the fly. Quite clever if a bit janky. 
  • Night Bus Interactive Video: ANOTHER interactive music video, this time from South :Londoners Night Bus. This is slick – two separate videos were filmed, one for the female lead and another for the male; the now-familiar slider interface lets users select which they want to see more of at any given time. What’s really clever, though, is the way that the mix of the song’s different in each instance, particularly the vocal, and the way in which the interface copes with that. Oh, and the song struck me as dreadful at first and then revealed itself to be a surprising earworm…
  • Minimuseums: The loveliest thing on here this week, if you’re a science geek at least. A well-funded Kickstarter to sell ‘minimuseums’ – perspex displays containing some of the oldest materials on earth. For the right person in your life, this is the PERFECT present. 
  • What The Inside Of A Nuclear Plant Looks Like: You think this is going to be boring, and then you get to the bit with the controls and you suddenly realise quite how unlikely it is that Homer would ever be allowed near one of these bad boys. 
  • Mapping The First Sentences Of Famous Novels: Like novels? Like design? HERE YOU ARE THEN.
  • What A LiveStream of Pr0n Searches Looks Like: I found this first thing on Monday – I can tell you honestly that I sort of sat there and watched the stream for about 5 minutes in creasing confusion; it’s quite punchy thing to deal with at the start of the week. Now, though, it’s probably Friday or the weekend and so you may be better equipped to cope. Anyhow, this is a stream of searches from bongo sites, in real time. WOW, there’s some niche stuff that people look for. There are no pictures or video, only text, so it’s SFW-ish. Ish. Oh, and here’s some poetry made from some of the more outre terms if you’d like some
  • Bitelabs: Last up in this section, the final one in our ‘no, really, this can’t be true can it?’ series of links. Bitelabs purports to be attempting to create edible meat products (salami, etc), from a combination of vat-grown animal meat and…er…celebrity meat. I mean, this can’t be true, can it? For a start, it’s basically the plot of ‘Antiviral’, to an extent at least. Anyway, Christian Ward quite perspicaciously wondered whether it might all be a bit of sneaky PR for THunderclap (see the Bitelabs website and there’s a BIG LINK to Thunderclap about halfway down, which might make more sense). But isn’t it slightly scary that we’re not 100% sure?
By Patrycja Podkoscielny


  • House of Carbs: Scenes from House of Cards with additional poorly-photoshopped carb-heavy foodstuffs. LOOK, I DON’T MAKE THIS STUFF. 
  • Shopped Tattoos: This is sort of lovely, though – old pictures of famouses, with added tattoos. Audrey Hepburn, I think, probably looked better without on balance. 
  • Angular Merkel: A series of increasinly tenuous puns based on the German Chancellor’s name which you will probably find funnier than you really think you ought to.
  • Creatures of Adland: Applying collective nouns to the denizens of ad agencies – ‘a delusion of creatives’, etc etc. Not strictly advertising, but can I suggest ‘a vacuity of prs’? Thanks x
  • Street Semi-Legal Cassette covers: Celebrating the unique artworks found on slightly-bootleg audiocassettes. I used to get a lot of mine from San Marino as a kid – I think I’ve still got my copy of Maxinquaye on tape which featured a really badly photocopied and terrifyingly demonic-looking Tricky staring out at me wild-eyed. 
  • Experimental Music on Kids’ TV: Celebrating the odd times when kids’ TV producers decide that some slightly leftfield musical stylings are what would best complement Big Bird et al, to the joy of stoned students everywhere.
  • Bad Poems About Sad Sex Workers: Some of these are GREAT. Terrible poetry, collected from other Tumblrs I suspected, about the plight of the sex worker. The best are the ones which the authors have felt the need to tag #metaphor or #analogy – SHOW DON’T TELL, KIDS!
  • The Most Amazing Music Video Tumblr Thing I Have Ever Seen: No really – how does this work? MENTAL.
  • Death Book: I love this very much indeed. A sort of counterpoint to the Facebook Lookback for the deceased which I mentioned up there, this gives people the theoretical opportunity to determine exactly how the web remembers them after they die, with a picture and some text of their choosing. I got all emo going through these just now – a beautiful project. 


  • The Other Paul Anderson: No, not that one – Paul W S Anderson, who’s made such cinematic opuses as the Resident Evil series, Event Horizon and…er…Mortal Kombat. This is actually a really interesting piece in which the action director picks his favourite scenes from a selection of his films and talks through them; will make you have a modicum more respect for the less-auteurish director. 
  • Why Popups Should Fcuk Off: Anyone who mentions the term ‘pop-up’ in an advermarketingpr meeting in 2014 should be sacked. Fact. Well, not FACT per se, but certainly a reasonable debating point. Anyway, this piece is less about that and more about the genesis of the term itself and why overall pop-ups are A Bad Thing, in partucular in the context of the imminent Elephant & Castle (one name, two broken promises) development. Very good, again, from VICE, which is in serious danger of becoming the best source of decent writing about modern British culture in the UK press. 
  • How To Get A LEGO X-Wing: This is not actually about that; it’s about how it feels when your father falls ill, and coping with death and its aftermath. It’s a very lovely piece of writing indeed. 
  • The Evolution Of The Modern Magazine Cover: Truly fascinating, especially if you’re in publishing but even ifnot, about how trends in cover design have changed and what that means about the manner in which we read / consume information, and what we expect from our bundled content when it’s in dead-tree form. 
  • The Titles Of The LEGO Movie: Apparently the LEGO movie is excellent – should I set aside my cinemaversion and go see it? Anyway, this is a long-but-interesting look at how the credits were made, which contains all sorts of interesting things about filmmaking and animation and the creative process and, obviously, LEGO. 
  • On Internet Language: In defence of the broken syntax and irregular contruction of ‘internet language’ (‘all of the feels’; doge-isms, etc). Very good piece of writing, this- ETA til the Guardian writes an entire G2 piece in internet language? I reckon by June. 
  • On Bots And Identity: How would you feel if someone created a Twitter bot which was able to take off your tweeting style almost perfectly, to the point where it was hard to tell which was real? For many of us it would be easier than we think. Thoughtprovoking on all sorts of issues around identity and self and STUFF.
  • MEGALONG On Assange: This really is kilometric, even by the standards of this section, but it’s a hell of a read. Andrew O’Hagan in the LRB on being Julian Assange’s ghostwriter and, basically, what an absolute, unremitting tosser the man is. There’s a very real naked emperor sense about all this, and the overriding feeling I was left with was of Assange as a sort of Quixotic/Mitty-esque figure, tilting at all sorts of windmills whilst royally fcuking people over left, right and centre. Highly recommended, this one. 
  • Being Rocky Balboa: What’s it like being a professional Rocky impersonator? Like this.
  • Normcore: The latest fashion is no fashion. I AM SO ON TREND. 
  • An Oral History of Ghostbusters: In the week Harold Ramis died, a great piece looking back at the making of Ghostbusters – I am going to watch both films this weekend if BT fix my SODDING internet and I suggest you do too. 
By Mate Bartha


1) First up this week, a gorgeous short film called The Runners. The makers accosted people running in (I think) Battersea Park and asked them questions – the answers make for a beautiful, candid, reflective piece of filmmaking. It’s 11 minutes long, and if you’re a runner yourself then you really should watch this:

2) From the arty and sort of profound, to a video showing each and every one of the penises which one man drew on his wife’s whiteboard over the course of a year. Puerile yes, but I challenge you not to laugh at the wrestlerpenises a minute or so in::

3) If time travel were possible, it stands to reason that some of the people using it would be twats. This is a perfectly formed two-minute short about exactly those people:

4) This is called Be My Yoko – it’s by Reptile Youth, and it’s an amazingly labour-intensive video featuring the sort of effects which in recent hears have all been done digitally but here are reproduced in analogue using paper and butterfly pins and stuff. Really, really slick (though the song leaves me cold, I must say):

5) Cut Copy are GOOD at videos. Following last Summer’s naked Jesus-y one, here’s their latest for the track ‘We Are Explorers’. The gimmick here is that the models in it are 3d printed – and that the band have made all the files used to make the models, etc, used in the video available to print and manipulate however others may wish, inviting all sorts of potential remixes of the audio and visual, sanctioned by the band. You can get all the materials and learn more here if you like – or you can just watch the video below if you’d prefer:

6) Can someone German please explain to me what this advert’s about, please, and why it exists? Thanks. Supergeil!:

7) This week’s collision of 80s sensibilities with strange, glitchy, 90s-style graphics comes in the shape of EMA’s ‘So Blonde’. Crap song, really interesting video:

8) I found both this song and video utterly mesmerising in a sort of minimal, skittery sort of way. VERY ARTY, which may or may not appeal, this is Jamie Isaac with She Dried:

9) And this…this…this is some sort of weird combination of CGI and claymation and stop-motion and is sort of weird and creepy and sort-of-attempting-to-be-erotic and generally sort of awesome. Try it, you might like it. HAPPY FRIDAY:

That’s it for now


That’s it for now – see you next week
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Webcurios 21/02/14

Reading Time: 27 minutes

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Crazy inflatable people
Patrick Quinn Graham, CC licence

So obviously the most important thing that’s been going on this week is in Ukraine, not that you’d know it if you garnered most of your news from social media. Even a company spending $billions on a jumped-up text messaging service pales into insignificance – take a look at some pictures and be very glad you’re not in Kiev right now (unless you are, in which case please do take care of yourself).

On a purely personal level, the other big thing which happened this week was my little brother getting married to the woman who he encountered on the internet YEARS ago and whom he’d met a grand total of two times in real life before he moved to Canada to live with her last October. If I may indulge in a TINY bit of sentimentality, this poorly-curated vomiting of words and links is this week ALL FOR YOU, Cameron and Dana. 

Ahem. Sorry about that. Moving swiftly onwards, let us huddle together for warmth and security as we prepare to open the door to the metaphorical basement of the equally metaphorical scary house on the hill that is the internet – I will lead the way, but WATCH OUT FOR THE MONSTERS (and don’t get left behind – you all know what happens to the ones who get left behind). THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

By Witchoria


  • Facebook ‘Core Audiences’ Coming Imminently: Facebook ads will have a bit of a tweak in the next few weeks as the money-spaffing lunatics simplify the ad-targeting interface slightly for all users. The change basically just makes the demographic targeting options a bit simpler and does some clever autocollating of audiences meaning you’ll only have to select, say, ‘fridges’ from the interest targeting menu to target users who’ve ‘Liked’ fridges and also those who mention fridges as an interest. The ‘behaviours’ stuff is quite interesting too, as is the opportunity to now target based on people’s life events which have occurred within a certain timeframe – ie people who’ve gotten engaged in the past six months, etc. Good news for advermarketingpr types – everyone else, though, has another set of compelling reasons to never tell Facebook anything about their actual lives ever again. 
  • Pinterest Brings Gifs To Mobile: Pinterest mobile apps now play nicely with gifs. Erm, that’s it. 
  • LinkedIn Is Now A Blogging Platform: LinkedIn has let ‘INFLUENCERS’ write longform stuff on the platform for a while now, but now they’re extending the option to all users. This is actually a reasonably big deal, particularly for more business-oriented clients / brands; now you can put that incredibly tedious blog about corporate issues which is totally anodyne and contains nothing insightful or interesting whatsoever on LinkedIn rather than on your company website! And, obviously, then advertise the everliving fcuk out of it, because that’s how these things work. 
  • Twitter Launches ‘Amplify’ Service In The UK at BRIT Awards: Which brand did YOU think was most synonymous with the BRITs this year? Aside, obviously, from the headline sponsor whose embarrassment this week really needs no further analysis (and to all those who work in PR crowing about the poor buggers at House and their MASSIVE FAIL, if any of you have ever rolled over in front of a client’s preposterous demands, if any of you have sat silently while your client demanded that you sell-in some crap infographic that you know in your heart of hearts could not possibly be of interest to anyone but which you are too scared of losing fee revenue to disagree with, then you are JUST AS BAD), it was obviously VO5, no? Erm, hm. Anyway, VO5 was the first brand in the UK to make use of Twitter’s amplify service, which allows sponsoring brands to run pre- and post-roll ads on video of an event shared through the platform, a service which will now be available to anyone willing to pony up the cash. 
  • Mapping Twitter Conversations: A very academic but nonetheless interesting look at the different types of debates / conversations which people have on Twitter and how they work – and how to map and visualise them using NodeXL. Useful mainly for planner-y types, but worth a read in a general interest sense too.
  • Flickr Enables Photo Comments: You can now embed images in comments on Flickr. Which may be useful to some of you, but then again may be of no interest at all. 
  • There Is No Definite Correlation Between Social Media Sharing And Readership: Data from Chartbeat released this week shows that just because people Tweet a link to something it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone actually reads whatever said Tweets link to. SHOCKER. In semi-related news, this is a rather interesting look at the sort of information which tends to get most traction on Twitter and Facebook respectively – as any SOCIAL MEDIA GURU worth their salt will tell you, TAILOR YOUR CONTENT TO THE PLATFORM YOU’RE USING, KIDS! *sighs*
  • You Can’t Make A Video Go Viralzzzzz: The fact that this still needs to be said in 2014 would be funny were it not depressing. Anyway, the latest in the long line of ‘things to say to your client when they ask for a viral video’ (and if you don’t, see the above remark about House PR) points out that BIG video campaigns include a HUGE amount of paid-for seeding, to the tune of millions of views. EYEBALLS COST MONEY. 
  • Pepsi Uses Vine On Outdoor Ads: The new hotness in terms of ‘getting people to make your ads for you for free’ is evidently this – Pepsi is getting people to make Vines (although what sort of Vines is sort of unclear – we can probably safely assume that they don’t want short films featuring people happily drinking Coke, though) and then using the best ones on billboards. Will be interesting to see how this works and what the quality is like.
  • A Beginner’s Guide To SEO: If you know about SEO, this is proper kids’ stuff and should be skipped; if you don’t and want a reasonable 101 tutorial, this is a decent place to start. 
  • Moon By ING: This is rather lovely. A website promoting a charity initiative by ING in, I think, Spain, which features a story whose outcome you can alter by playing with your phone (sorry, that’s a really poor explanation, but in my defence it’s quite a hard concept to explain) – basically it syncs with your phone and lets you influence how the story plays out on your big computer screen by moving your mobile device. It’s just beautifully made and very clever. 
  • A Lovely Thing By Samsung: An excellent idea this, taking the concept of those ‘harness the processing power of your computer when it’s idle and use it for good’ projects like SETI@Home (which has existed for 15 years, which is quite mental really and makes me feel very old); an app from Samsung which works overnight whilst one’s phone is plugged in and charging, and analyses data from cancer research for a medical programme at the University of Vienna. Really nicely done. 
  • The Power of Hair: Another week, another Old Spice megaslickwebcampaign – this time based around the concept of a wig which can play the songs of Huey Lewis and the News. As ever with these, the writing is excellent and the execution pretty-much flawless from a technical point of view; I do question, though, who this is talking to aside from ad creatives in their 30s – I mean, Huey Lewis? Really? Also I find the lack of any Patrick Bateman references (at least that I’ve been able to find) saddening in the extreme.
  • WHY DOES THIS EXIST????: ASDA apparently have a gnome fronting some ad campaign or another. Someone, somewhere, sat in a meeting room and said ‘You know what we need to really ENGAGE people with this ad campaign? THAT’S RIGHT, A TWITTER FEED FOR THE GNOME’. I mean, for Christ’s sake. WHY? WHAT CONCEIVABLE PURPOSE CAN THIS SERVE? Can you imagine the existential despair faced by the poor Account Executive whose job it is to put together the 6-month content calendar for A SODDING GNOME ON TWITTER?!?!? I know all this stuff is pointless and ridiculous at the best of times, but this may well be a nadir for the whole fcuking industry. NB – if anyone involved in this campaign happens to read this, I would genuinely love you to tell me what YOU think the point of this is (and if the answer is ‘engagement’, I wish you nothing but ill). 
By Alec Huxley



  • Telegram: Now that Whatsapp? is basically just another way for Facebook to learn about what and who you like so it can sell more information about you to advertisers, you may want to check out some alternatives. Telegram is onesuch app, which does the same stuff as Whatsapp? but with encryption and destructibility and stuff. And it’s free. 
  • Google Launches Project Tango: This is potentially very cool indeed, although as with all Google stuff of late there’s a slight air of sinister all-powerfulness about it too. Project Tango is (and this is a really dumbed-down explanation, so apologies in advance) basically a project to get Kinect-style depth and environmental awareness from a mobile’s camera, which would let you do all sorts of things with your handset like getting a 3d map of your living room, or allowing actual depth-perception in AR programmes, or magically creating 3d scans of anything so that you can then take them home and rip them off on your inevitable 3d printer. Will be very interesting to see how this develops.
  • A hugely useful website which lets you plug in any YouTube url of your choice and, via a very simple and well-designed interface – select a clip of it to convert into an animated gif. It’s obviously not perfect – it hangs annoyingly often, and the filesizes it churns out are often huge (though that’s more of an issue with the .gif format than anything else), but it’s a godsend to people who are…er…a bit crap at making gifs. 
  • Make Gifs From Your Webcam: As is this, actually – another gifmaking toy, this one using your webcam to record a clip which it then turns into…er…a gif. Sorry, this probably doesn’t need any additional exposition. Maybe a fun one to play with next time you have a BRAND AMBASSADOR doing an online Q&A or something (or maybe not, who knows?).
  • The Brief Brief: Hot on the heels of the Snapchat Pitch the other week comes another ad agency asking aspirant adpeople to complete a challenge using social media to demonstrate their smarts. This time it’s BBDO San Francisco who are inviting people to respond to three challenges over the next few weeks, involving boiling down a brief to 140 characters or less (actually significantly less when you factor in the hashtag, he said pedantically) for the chance to get a job interview with the agency. Gimmicky, obviously, but may give one of you the chance to get a job in San Francisco which isn’t bad. 
  • Playlist Poetry: This should maybe have gone *up there*, but frankly it’s not like any of you care about the taxonomy of this bloody thing anyway – the reason it didn’t is that I’m not 100% sure whether it’s by Spotify or not. Anyway, that’s not important; this is a really lovely toy which lets users make ‘poetry’ from song titles in Spotify and which then generates a playlist based on said poetry. Thinking about it, this was probably Spotify’s Valentine’s thing which I totally missed last week. I’m an idiot, sorry. I’ll move on now. 
  • Google Street View Now Does Taj Mahal (And 29 Other Indian Monuments): One day I will go to India and see some of these things for myself – until then, though, this selection of Street View tours of some of India’s most impressive monuments, including the Red Fort at Agra and the AMAZING looking Qutub Minar are beautiful and the best way of distracting yourself from the office you will find all day.
  • An Incredibly Creepy Email Tracking System: You know that feeling when you get an email to which the sender has requested a read receipt and you get that little notification popup and you simultaneously laugh at the fact that anyone thinks that you will submit to their weird little power fantasy by letting them know you’ve read the damn thing and develop small but very intense feelings of hatred at the bizarre powertrippyness of the whole thing? Well this is a Chrome plugin for Gmail which apparently will let you know whether anyone’s opened your email – AND WHERE THEY WERE WHEN THEY DID SO – without them consenting to you knowing. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t 100% ok from a privacy point of view, and I don’t think it will exist in its current form for much longer, but it’s quite an unsettling idea. 
  • Forever¦Not: A charming little app which gives users the ability to place bets on the longevity of their friends’ (and famouses) relationships on Facebook. Ah, gamification!
  • Meditation Aiding Website: If the concept behind the last link made you a little angry, take 5 minutes on this website to calm down. Very simply, this just gives you a ‘breathe in, breathe out’ timer – I did this for 10 minutes first thing and got so relaxed that I actually fell asleep again at my laptop, which may or may not be a selling point for you. 
  • A Side Table Made of Lamb: Or, more accurately, made of a lamb. Taking inspiration from one of Dali’s dreadful paintings, this is a side table made of a taxidermised lamb. I guarantee you that at least 5 people reading this are thinking ‘WE MUST GET THAT FOR THE OFFICE’, and that each and every one of those people works in advertising. I’m not judging, just observing. 
  • A Lovely 404 Page: I don’t really understand the maths, but I like the concept.
  • Match Student Coders With Businesses: This is a great idea. Coding Cupboard is a service which launched last week and which aims to put students who code in touch with businesses who could use their skills – thereby giving the students practical experience and giving the companies, who might not have the budget to pay for an agency, some assistance with programming. Obviously it’s only a good idea if businesses are prepared to pay fair rates for the work offered, and it will live or die on that basis, but the initiative is laudable. 
  • Seemove: The latest iteration of the ‘we’ve made an interface like the cool gesture-y ones in Minority Report and Iron Man!’ thing, Seemove is a very impressive tech demo which will in no way benefit from my hamfisted description of its functionality; click the link and watch their video and get all ‘OOH FUTURE’ about it – it’s very cool-looking stuff. 
  • OMG Who Stole My Ads: French street artist Etienne Lavie has been going round Paris replacing billboard ads with copies of fine art. His website shows off some pictures of his actions – there’s something lovely about reclaiming these public spaces, leaving aside how impressive some of these are in terms of execution (seriously, do you reckon that anyone would stop you if you turned up at a billboard in overalls and a white van and a ladder and just got on with it? I reckon not. Come on, let’s try it in London! No, you first). 
  • The Urban Prisoner: We’ve featured Matt Webber’s photos on here before – I think it was his previous series ‘Urban Romance’ – but this is a new series called ‘Urban Prisoner’ and is an amazing selection of photos of people and scenes in New York from the 80s, 90s and 00s. The one taken mid-fight is particularly impressive, but the general eye and technique he displays is exemplary throughout. 
  • Top Gun Frame-by-Frame: This week Twitter account @555µHz has been tweeting still frames from Top Gun, two per hour. Scrolling through the feed presents the film in silent, thumbnailed, zoetropic fashion – there is, I don’t doubt, some sort of high concept here somewhere about the deconstruction of a filmic experience into its constituent elements and fragmented narratives and and and oh god, the pseudery; it’s just a thing, make of it what you will. 
  • Mindbending Optical Illusion Font: This makes my eyes and my head hurt slightly, but is also nicely made. A font called Frustro, which is designed based on the old optical illusion of the Penrose Triangle. Technically impressive, but if you’re hungover it might be a little ‘challenging’.
  • ShotKit: If you’re into photography in a semi-serious fashion, this will probably be right up your street. ShotKit is a site which asks pro photographers to illustrate what’s in their camera bag – so effectively go through the kit they use to achieve their signature effects, but in a nice visual fashion. Clever, and were I a camera brand I would be looking at this quite closely (but I’m not, I’m a REAL BOY). 
  • Fake A Baby!: Without a doubt the wrongest thing on here this week. Fake a Baby is an HILARIOUS service which lets people order custom faked pregnancy scans of various types, as well as fake ‘positive’ pregnancy tests. Can you think of ANY scenario in which someone using one of these products wouldn’t end dreadfully? Although as my friend ‘Dr’ Phil pointed out, it’s just perfect as a plot device EastEnders/Corrie screenwriters. So, er, that’s ok then. 
  • Celebrate Design: A very nice website and indeed project by the AIGA, an American organisation whose name I *think* stands for American Institute of Graphic Arts (it really shouldn’t be as har as it appears to be to find this out) which turns 100 this year. As part of their centenary, they created this website which looks at the past 100 years of graphic design in the US, with interviews with designers, analysis of trends and developments, and lots of rather beautiful examples of excellent work. Design/visual creatives will find a lot to love in here. 
  • Devin Townsend Has An Odd Website: Devin Townsend is an American metal musician whose website is a work of wonderful WTFish beauty.
  • The Well-Sorted Version: I like this. Peter Harkins has taken the text of the Bible, run it through a programme which deconstructs it, and rearranged it as an alphabetically constructed series of chapters, verses, etc. Again, this is a horrible description of a very elegant concept – take a look. 
  • Vizicities: Open source city datamapping software, Vizicities is a very clever tool which lets users overlay datasets onto a 3d visualisation of a city. It’s going to work with live data, which opens up a whole host of possibilities about what you’ll be able to map in realtime; anyone with BIG geographical data could have some fun with this, I think. 
  • Feed Real Fish Online: I don’t really understand why this exists, but I’m sort of glad it does. A website which gives you a realtime feed of an actual fishtank somewhere in the US and occasionally lets whoever’s watching it press a button to feed the fish and watch them eat. Obviously there’s a limit on the amount of feeding that can go on, as nothing would ruin the experience more than a bunch of dead fish floating belly-up with burst stomachs. It only works in US daytime hours, so try it from about 3pm onwards in the UK. 
By Antoine Cordet



  • Selfie 360: An app which lets you take a 360-degree selfie and which gifs it for endless looped viewing pleasure. No, I have no idea at all why anyone would need or want this, and yet it exists. 
  • 3nder – Threesomes Made Easy: God only knows how anyone’s meant to pronounce this damn thing, but anyway. 3nder (seriously, whose idea was the name?) is an app which helps people find partners for threesomes. It purports to work for singles and couples, but I think we can all guess who the primary users of this inevitably short-lived service will be (clue: probably not incredibly attractive polyamorous couples). I would LOVE to get some information on the profile of the average user of this, but I don’t imagine it would be pretty. 
  • No Seconds: Henry Hargreaves has taken details of the last meals of death row prisoners from across the US and recreated their final repasts in photographic form. About as heartwarming a collection of shots as you’d expect, really, and some of them are genuinely chilling – I don’t know why, but I’m naturally inclined to presume guilt of anyone whose final meal request involves the single word ‘meat’.
  • Little Sketches Of Tokyo People: The Instagram feed of Hama-House is a beautiful collection of the Japanese illustrator’s speed-sketches of random people they’ve seen and sketched across Tokyo. Stylistically gorgeous and just lovely and calming really.
  • A Database Of Wearable Tech: Erm, that – a website which lists current wearable tech products which are available, searchable by component, functionality, etc etc etc. Useful to see whether or not anyone’s already had your bullsht-but-so-zeitgeisty idea already. 
  • We Were Evergreen’s Interactive Music Video: Another week, another interactive music video, this time from French(?) indipopsters We Were Evergreen. This one presents an interesting behind-the-scenes look at their one-take video for the rather lovely song ‘Daughters’; I think the ‘behind-the-curtain’ stuff here is rather nice and could be *cough* appropriated for other things if you so chose. Aside from anything else, it’s an excellent tutorial should you wish to make a one-take vid yourself. 
  • Things To Make And Do With Kids: This would have been a lot more useful the week before half term, wouldn’t it? Sorry about that. Anyway, this is a charming website which has LOADS of ideas for things that practically-minded parents can make/do with their children. Much of it’s a bit sciencegeeky, but there’s loads which just looks FUN, and the whole thing in general almost makes me think that having kids could nearly be fun. Almost, nearly. 
  • The History of Grand Central Station: Grand Central is probably my favourite BIG, FAMOUS place in NYC; the architecture’s amazing, and the food hall beneath it is an awesome place for people watching. This website takes a look at the history and heritage of the building in beautiful fashion; LOADS of info here, and the sort of thing it would be lovely to see done for some of London’s industrial-era landmarks (King’s Cross?).
  • Photos From An 1890s Bicycle Factory: It’s ridiculous just how much these pictures could be from Shoreditch/Brooklyn. LOOK AT THE ANTIQUE HIPSTERS! Who obviously aren’t hipsters, just ordinary blokes. Somewhere in East London are people working on a bike shop which looks JUST LIKE THIS. 
  • 4’33 – The App: John Cage’s 4’33 is probably the most famous modern classical composition in the world, and is the sort of go-to example for people who want to decry the wankery of much which falls within the broad purview of contemporary art. This is the official app of the piece, and it is BRILLIANT – users can record/playback their own personal 4’33 composition (the conceit behind Cage’s piece is that each performance of the ostensibly silent work is unique, as the ambient sounds which make up its only constituent parts will by definition be singular and impossible to replicate), which then gets uploaded to Cage’s website, creating a collection of singular, never-to-be-repeated performances of the piece from people across the world. I have so much love for this concept – it’s everything that’s good about the intersection between art and modern technology (/pseud). 
  • Imagine Being A Bit Messed Up At A Festival And Falling Into This Tent: JUST IMAGINE IT. 
  • A Hyperdetailed Zoomable Map of London in 1746: Erm, that.
  • NYC Gentrification, In Gifs: A lot of gifs this week. This is a nice project by New York artist Justin Blinder which documents the changing face of the city’s boroughs as they get developed and spruced up; taking before and after pics of urban development and turning them into gifs highlights the transformational effect which major scale redevelopment of urban areas can have; it’s worth reading the artist’s statement about the project which is all sorts of interesting in terms of the ephemerality of this sort of work. 
  • Secretly Meet: I think we can safely call anonymous activity online a Big Trend in 2014 now. This is yet ANOTHER service to let people do things on the sly, this time one which allows people to create temporary website which can act as a chatroom, coworking space, etc…but which is single-serving and which disappears once you’ve used it. This is totally going to be used by people having affairs, isn’t it?
  • Truly Incredible Photos of (I Think) China: This is the portfolio of photographer Weerapong Chaipuck whose photographs of various places in Asia (I think most of them are in China, but it’s quite hard to tell – apologies if I’ve got this totally wrong) really are jaw-dropping.
  • One Playlist: Clever-sounding service which is still very much in Beta but which purports to let users create single playlists pulling together music from across a variety of different sites (YouTube, Deezzer,, etc). 
  • Hack The Menu: All of the ‘Secret Menu’ items from fast food joints, listed in one place. Obviously this is a US site and so lots of the chains don’t exist over here, but it’s interesting in a sort of ‘oh, wow, you want to eat THAT?’ sort of way. If you’re into Starbucks, though, there are a LOT of weird things you can apparently do with their drinks which you may want to explore (before diabetes inevitably kicks in). 
  • TL;DR Legal: A very useful website indeed, which outlines the legal Ts&Cs of a variety of websites in simple, reasonably easy to understand English. Its explanation of the Creative Commons stuff alone is worth bookmarking if you’re not 100% sure of all the categorisations. 
  • Pictures of People In Love: A beautiful collection of different people in love from the New Yorker. Oh, and while we’re on love photography, this is National Geographic’s current photocompetition, asking people to submit their own love-themed photos – open til 7 March, in case you fancy it
  • Selfie City: A project investigating and quantifying the manner in which people take self-portrait photos in 5 cities around the world. Aside from anything else, the interface of the ‘Explore’ part of the collection is so beautifully done – go and have a play, you will be impressed
  • Asciibongo: If you’ve ever wanted to have a website where you can stream popular videos from notorious bongorepository PornHub in Ascii form, then this is for you. A sort of brilliant curiosity, this – I don’t really know why it exists, but am sort of impressed that it does. Pretty SFW, overall, as it’s quite hard to make out what’s going on, but be warned that there is audio and that audio is often fairly unambiguous. 
  • The HomePages Of Big Websites Then And Now: A look back at what the homepages of Google, MySpace, Facebook etc looked like back in the day compared to now. Twitter made the right decision, I think, in ditching the HIDEOUS graffiti-style font that they had going back in the mid-2000s.
  • Album Covers Recreated In Pie Crusts On Twitter: Erm, that.
  • OpenKnit: Sort of like the 3d printing movement but for knitting, this website contains directions and 3dprinting models for the creation of your very own autimated knitting machine, as well as some designs which you can programme it with. Like etsy crossed with makerbot, sort of. 
  • Old People Wearing Young People’s Clothes: A photoseries by an artist who goes by the name of Qozop, depicting people of different generations wearing each others’ clothes. There are some VERY cool looking old people in this – suggest you do it with your parents. Come on, let’s start a THING. 
  • Unhung Hero: If you publicly proposed to your girlfriend and she said no, sparking a small viral internet sensation, and then she subsequently explained to you that one of the motivating factors behind her decision not to spend the rest of her life with you was the fact that you had an unusually small penis, what would YOU do? Yes, that’s right, you’d make a documentary about the whole experience and your quest to come to terms with your condition. I am slightly in awe of this man’s chutzpah, although – let’s be honest – this is basically a really expensive and high-effort attempt to get laid, isn’t it? I mean, he’ll probably get a few offers out of pure curiosity.
  • Poems In Snow: Shelley Jackson writes poems in snow, word-by-word. This is her Instagram feed – read from the bottom-up. 
  • Play & Listen To Gifs: More gifs! This is superclever, though – a website which collects gifs in a grid shape and plays them in sequence with audio, to create a sort of gifcollagemusicvideo sort of effect. I had this idea for Vines last year which I never got around to doing anything about because, at heart, I am a fundamentally ineffectual man whose willpower and motivation has been eroded through years of persistent marijuana abuse (JOKES!) – if anyone fancies hearing about it / building it, though, do get in touch. 
  • The Commodore 64 Synthesiser In Your Browser: A 5-minute nostalgia kick for men in their mid-30s. 
  • Gorgeous Custom Wooden Computer Mods: I’m not particularly interested in computer modding, but these custom cases in wood are genuinely beautiful looking. 
  • Minimalist Packaging Redesigns: A neat little design project by Mehmet Gozetlik, a London-based designer who’s reimagined the packaging of big brands in minimalist fashion. It’s interesting to see which work and which really don’t; Duracell’s wonderfully effective, whereas Red Bull really loses something. He’s done some other ones here, if you’d like to see those too
  • Play The Blues On Your Desktop: This works a lot better than it ought to, and should probably be used to underpin at least one conversation you have with a colleague in the near future. 
  • The Last Time I Am Ever Going To Mention Flappy Bird (Probably): I know, I know, but this is GOOD – the Flappy Bird Space Academy is a very nice twist on the origina’s game mechanic, and will wipe out about 20 minutes of your day if you let it. 
By Alexandra Badea


  • Cat Up Lines: This SHOULD have been in last week’s, but the git who made it didn’t put it live til late last Friday. Anyway, of no use whatsoever for the Hallmark Holiday but still mildly diverting, this site collects crap chatup lines juxtaposed with cute cat pictures. 
  • Where I See Fashion: Really interesting page collecting examples of patterns/visuals from all over the place seen in catwalk fashion. Better to look at than it is to read me write about (God, sorry, even that sentence was dreadful; not quite on it this morning). 
  • Rap Music And The Simpsons: Clips of those times when hiphop and Springfield have collided.
  • Let’s Draw Sherlock: A great collection of Holmesian fan art, all of it basically inspired by the internet’s collective Cumberbatchgasm. There are some quite weird things in here, as you’d expect, though none quite as odd as the Sherlock manga, for which there’s obviously also a Tumblr
  • Snapchat Case Studies: A collection of examples of brands doing stuff on Snapchat, which might be useful to some of you, maybe (by James Whatley). 
  • Shaqzine: You want a Tumblr full of seemingly random pictures and musings about Shaquille O’Neill? OH GOOD!
  • Cooksuck: Brilliantly vitriolic observations about poor-quality food photography. 
  • Socially Awkward Cards: A selection of cards for the socially awkward to express themselves with, by Mike Philips
  • One Ad To Rule Them All: What do you get if you mix quotes from The Lord of the Rings with brands? You get this, apparently, a selection of mocked-up ads for big brands using text from the most boring trilogy of films in the world. 
  • Jeopardy Hotties: Screencaps of hot contestants from US gameshow ‘Jeopardy’. Please, please someone do this for Jeremy Kyle or Deal or No Deal or similar. PLEASE. 
  • My Talking Tinder: Probably the creepiest thing I’ve seen all week, this takes actual images found on Tinder and does this weird mouth animation thing to make them talk at you. It’s skincrawly in the extreme, but the audio’s pretty funny. 
  • 1989 Batman: This isn’t actually a Tumblr, but it ought to be. Tim Burton’s Batman is 25 years old this year (I KNOW), and remains the first film that I was denied entry to by overzealous security staff wanting to protect the moral integrity and innocence of a 9 year old boy in the face of the UK’s first 12-certificate (YEAH, AND LOOK HOW THAT WORKED OUT MY MIND IS NOW A SEWER). Anyway, this is a blog which should be a tumblr which celebrates the film and all things relating to it. 
  • Pina Colliding: Brilliantly silly and very funny indeed, this takes the initial premise that there is no dramatic moment in any film which cannot be improved by the addition of the Pina Colada song as a backing track, and runs with it. I laughed like a drain at the Lion King one – enjoy. 



  • On Pokemon Twitch and Anarchy and Democracy: This week’s internet cultural phenomenon has been Pokemon Twitch, the attempt by a group of people using game-watching website Twitch to collaborate to complete the original Gameboy version of Pokemon Red-  the catch being that it’s being controlled through bots which respond to commands typed into the chat window, which means when there are several thousand people all entering commands at the same time it becomes very, very hard to coordinate. Which in and of itself isn’t THAT interesting, until you start to look at the sort of narratives which people have developed around the random things which crowdsourced agency has made happen. It’s very internetgeeky, but it is worth reading the original piece at the top of this – there’s all sorts of sociological analysis you can apply to this if you so choose. 
  • American Promise: American Promise is a hell of a documentary – spanning 13 years in the lives of two African American kids as they make their way through the sorts of privilaged educational establishments which don’t ordinarily tend to be full of black people. Sort of like Hoop Dreams but about academia and race and society and privilege and STUFF, this is all sorts of good and is worth watching if the weather’s crap this weekend (and even if not, frankly). 
  • The Death Of The Pool Hustler: A brilliant piece on modern-day pool hustlers in the States, and the sport’s recent decline. I really, really fancy a game of pool now – THAT is what I’m doing this afternoon. 
  • The Unglamorous Truth About The Brits: A great piece from musician Little Boots about what it’s actually like attending the Brits as a moderately famous popstar. Clue: not actually very much fun at all, by the sounds of things, although as with many of these things it’s probably worse as a woman than it would be as a man. 
  • Cruising With Paula Deen: Paula Deen, for those of you who don’t know, is an American celebrity chef person who was relaively recently pretty much ruined by a row about racist comments she made many years ago. Frankly, though, you really don’t need to know who Deen is (apart from bearing in mind that she’s probably not in any way related to James) to enjoy this stellar piece of writing about the author’s experience as a passenger on one of Deen’s branded cruises. The highest compliment I can pay this piece is that it reminded me a lot of the greatest thing ever written about being on a cruise, which is all you really need to know. Highly recommended.
  • Fresh Off The Boat On Ellis Island: Half essay, half photoproject, this is a beautiful piece collecting portraits of immigrants arrived on Ellis Island in the early 20th Century. Amazing faces here – makes you want to follow each and every one of the people pictured to find what happened to them.
  • Bill Murray’s Career Analysed In A Film-by-Film Breakdown: The internet’s obsession with Bill Murray is sort of played out now, but this piece is genuinely remarkable in terms of the amount of evident love and reverence for the man’s career which it displays. Going through EVERY SINGLE FILM Murray has ever appeared in, it charts the development of his career and as it does so analyses exactly what makes him so popular with directors and audiences alike. 2 things – 1) he was in SPACE JAM? (also, as an aside, it’s genuinely odd how much Space Jam comes up in 2014); 2) Broken Flowers is by far and away my favourite of his films and is criminally underrated, I think.
  • Rolling Stone Hangs Out With Drake: Worth it if only for the descriptions of his frankly INSANE-sounding house. Taste? Restraint? HAH.
  • The Imminent Horror of Mainstreamish Teledildonics: I say ‘ish’ – let’s hope this never really catches on in any serious way. I’ve featured the tech on here before, or at least a horrifying video demonstration of it, but this is a slightly longer piece looking at how it works, why it exists and the people who made it. Literally the least sexy thing you will ever have read / seen, ever, and I really do mean that. 
  • The Frat Boys Of Wall Street: There’s a Wall Street Fraternity, apparently. This is what happens at its annual get-togethers. WARNING: this will not make you feel well-disposed towards the 1%, or whatever we’re calling them this week. 
  • Mining For Memes On Instagram: Really interesting piece about culture, memes, reportage and ownership. No, really, it is. 
  • An Interview With Miley Cyrus: Interviewed by Ronan Farrow, no less, which makes this some sort of pop-cultural supernova. Anyway, this is included mainly for reasons of ZEITGEIST than anything else, but it’s occasionally quite an interesting look at a woman who really does sound quite incredibly childlike and a little bit broken at times, which is all sorts of sad if you think about it too hard. 
  • Punk Is Dead, Long Live Neknominate: Web Curios’ journalistic webcrush Clive Martin once again on rather excellent form, talking about the death of the subculture in British youth culture and how idiotbaiting crazes like Neknominate are one of the few avenues left for young people to self-define and rail against STUFF. Sort of unrelated, but it reminded me rather of this passage from Self’s ‘My Idea Of Fun: “We’re like coke heads or chronic masturbators, aren’t we? Attempting to crank the last iota of abandonment out of an intrinsically empty and mechanical existence. We push the plunger home, we abrade the clitoris, we yank the penis and we feel nothing. Not exactly nothing, worse than nothing, we feel a flicker or a prickle, the sensual equivalent of a retinal after-image. That’s our fun now – not fun itself, only a tired allusion to it. Nevertheless, we feel certain that if we can allude to fun one more time, make a firm statement about it, it will return like the birds after winter“. HAPPY FRIDAY!
  • Roger Angell On Being Old: Finally, a gorgeous piece from the New Yorker by Roger Angell who is in his 90s and has some lovely thoughts about what it is like to be old. READ THEM. And then, when you’re done, read this too, which is from Quora and in my opinion is just as good if not better and will make you want to dance and sing and travel and fall in love, and is something of a mental palate-cleanser after what I’ve just realised is a REALLY bleak quote I just copied out. 
By Joey L


1) First up this week is this VERY EMOTIONAL track by Angel Haze (who, in a relatively brief moment of self-aggrandisement, I would like to say that Web Curios has been heartily endorsing since 2012) – the video’s not an easy watch, and I’m quite ambivalent about the swooping Sande-like chorus vocal supplied by perennial guest vocalist to the hiphop world Sia, but her rapping is SO, SO GOOD. This is called ‘Battlecry’, and it gives me goosebumps:

2) On the one hand this is very funny, and as somebody who (and this may shock you, dear reader – you may want to sit down) WASN’T one of the cool kids at school feels pleasing and true; on the other hand it’s sort of heartbreaking – is there anything sadder than a life which peaks in one’s early teens and will NEVER be as good? Well, yes, lots of things obviously, but still – this is a very nice spoof of the (excellent) It Gets Better Project, called It Doesn’t Get Better:

3) Pussy Riot weren’t going to make music any more, and then they got beaten up by the state in Sochi and made this. Getting smacked down and taken in by the police following acts of political protest and using the whole thing as material for your work – THAT’s punk, Miley, with all due respect:

4) This feels like it ought to have lots more views. A stellar song/video combination, this takes the twin irritants of Happy by Pharrell and Get Lucky by Daft Punk, throws them together with a one-take video involving seom very impressive low-fi 3d projections and spits out this lovely piece of work by Pomplamoose:

5) Wonderfully louche and sleazy vibe to this whole thing – the band are ‘The Hawk In Paris’, the song is called ‘Freaks’, and it’s wonderfully skuzzy from start to finish:

6) Spherical Harmonies is, it says here, about the strange power of the CGI image. It’s a very hypnotic collection of CGI animations from start to finish, which if you’re interested in webart you should probably take a look at as it features quite a lot of interesting tropes from all areas of digital creativity:

7) Those of you of a certain age will remember the ‘Better Than Life’ stuff from Red Dwarf; maybe others will recall the visual drug setup in Karthyn Bigelow’s criminally underrated millennial dystopian fantasy Strange Days (seriously, it’s flawed but worth revisiting). Anyway, this video mines the same sort of territory – basically Google Taken to the nth extrapolation. The song’s tedious housey pap, I think, but I got quite interested in the concept of the tech in the vid. Also, will REALLY make you want a holiday. I Got U, by Duke Dumont:

8) Women reading out posts from gay dating apps. Obviously NSFW audio, but this had me absolutely CRYING at times. In fact the audio’s playing again as I type and I am literally LOLing. Please, please watch/listen:

9) Finally this week, there’s this oddity which is a sort of sexy morphsuit erotica vid to accompany a downtempo tiphoppy sort of track. The visuals are really very striking indeed, but it’s possibly a LITTLE NSFW – no overt nudity, but you might get some funny looks. Or maybe you won’t – WHY NOT JUST PLAY IT FULLSCREEN AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS? Let me know how that works out for you – HAPPY FRIDAY AND SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!


That’s it for now


That’s it for now – see you next week
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Webcurios 14/02/14

Reading Time: 29 minutes

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Awkward glance
David Martin Hunt, CC licence


That’s basically been it, hasn’t it? Good, glad we’ve got that cleared up. I’ve not got time for preamble today, thank your lucky stars, so let’s get right down to it. Close your eyes, relax, and fall into my arms as I administer the deep, loving but ultimately troubling and ever-so-slightly-too-invasive French Kiss which is this week’s WEB CURIOS!




  • Facebook Introduces More Gender Options: Not actually strictly speaking relationship to PROFESSIONAL social media rubbish, but it is A Good Thing and as such am including it up here. As of the past 24h, Facebook now allows users to self-identify as genders beyond male or female, and to self-select the gender pronoun they would like the site to use on their profile. A small but significant step which, much as I fundamentally dislike Facebook in general, is a damn site more than Google did last week with their pretty-but-passive doodle ‘action’. 
  • FB Introduces Admin Identification On Pages: As of next Thursday (so you have a whole week to get used to the idea, more or less) Facebook will display the names of admins who’ve made posts on Pages – but only to other admins. I must confess that when I first read this I didn’t quite take in that important caveat, meaning that I briefly envisaged some sort of communitymanagergeddon in which slavering, doublefigureiq morons who were displeased with the quality of their brand interactions on Facebook would be able to find out the ACTUAL REAL NAME of the admin who had posted something which displeased them and thus track them across the web and make their lives a misery. Obviously the fact that this can’t happen is probably a good thing, but I must confess to feeling a brief, schadenfreude-motivated frisson back there. Anyway, this basically means that if you’re part of a community management team you can no longer write posts on Facebook calling all of your Page’s fans ‘mouthbreathing untermensches’ or similar and then blame it on Barry the intern. That’s all. Didn’t really warrant all those words, really, on reflection. 
  • People Use Facebook To Talk About Telly: This isn’t really news (of course they do), but this is the latest salvo in the ‘no WE want to be the place where you spend all your money to capture those second screen eyeballs, tellyfolk’ war between FB and Twitter. There are now actual numbers which prove that people use Facebook to talk about what’s on telly while it’s on. This is sort of meaningless, though – what I imagine would be more interesting data is whether the tenor of conversations and the level of ‘engagement’ (sorry) with the programmes in question differs on Facebook, where people are talking in (relative) private to a closed network of friends, vs Twitter, where people are speeking their branes (sic) to the whole world. But this doesn’t say anything about that. Ho hum. 
  • The Labour Party Does That Facebook Anniversary Vid Thing: Long-term readers and people who actually know me in real life will be aware that I’ve been boring on about how NEW JOURNALISM and stuff is going to impact (read: render horrific) next year’s general election campaigning. After Grant Shapps and the Lib Dems both jumping on the Buzzfeed bandwagon in recent months, we now have the Labour party jumping on the SOCIAL CONTENT bandwagon, with their spoof Facebook 10 Year Anniversary vid documenting what the Tories’ narcissismvideo might look like were they a real person. It’s…it’s ok. You know, it’s political propaganda and as such is by definition marmiteish, but it’s not dreadfully done by any means, and it’s a good idea from a certain point of view (although it does sort of beg the question of who it’s talking to), but it fills me with all sorts of dread about having to sit through 20-odd pieces of this sort of crap a week from January-May 2015 (and that’ a conservative estimate). Get ready for the ONLINE ATTACK AD ELECTION, kids – look at what the Republicans are doing in the US for a really quite depressing glimpse of a potential future
  • Twitter Changes Its Profile Pages (Maybe): Change! Change! Potential change! Twitter’s profile pages have, for some users, undergone a revamp, making them more modular and removing the chronological feed element from the way in which tweets, etc, are presented. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth, and thousands of words expended on websites which specialise in overanalysing this stuff about what this all MEANS. Personally speaking I think it means very little and isn’t really in any way interesting, and if you want to read 10 poorly-considered bulletpoints about WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS, I suggest you sod off and read another newsletter. 
  • Twitter Interactives: Twitter have grouped all their nice datavisualisations in one place. Useful from a creative inspiration point of view, and a nice reminder of all the sort of stuff you can do with Twitter’s massive datasplurge should you be so minded (and have access, obviously). 
  • Guardian Partners With Unilever: I think this is very big news, though obviously that’s my opinion alone. Unilever are paying a 7-figure sum to the Guardian for CONTENT which will sit on a special section of the paper’s website and will be all about sustainability and stuff (which at least hopefully means that they won’t be forcing more disingenuous ‘real beauty’ rubbish down our throats). Will be really interesting to see what this looks like, and whether this is proof that Buzzfeed-style native advertising really is THE FUTURE or just a fad. I mean are people REALLY going to read this stuff? HMMMM.
  • Facebook ‘Truthers’: An interesting piece on Slate about the not-necessarily-true claims about Facebook which are increasingly being reported as FACT (cf ‘Facebook will lose half its users by Thursday’, or ‘Facebook and Buzzfeed are part of an illuminati conspiracy together’ , etc). Anyway, this debunks a few of the ones which are floating around at the moment, although it doesn’t quite rebuff the current biggie doing the rounds, which suggests that fake ‘likes’ are still a major problem for the site.
  • The Crap Autotweet Valentine’s Thingy: I’m only including one brand attempt to hijack the hallmark holiday here, and even this one’s only in here as an example of what to do. Some crap bingo company made a THING which purported to analyse users’ Twitter feeds to see who their Twitter valentine (TWALENTINE?) was based on some bullsh!t metric or another. So far, so nice – except that it rather sneakily autotweeted from people’s accounts when they used it. This shouldn’t really need to be said, but please can people STOP making these things? It may gain a brand exposure, but it also makes them look like spammers and is generally annoying.
No idea, sorry, but from here



  • Cryptofloricon: Very clever idea of the week, part 1. Launched in time for the Hallmark Holiday (OF COURSE), this is by Edward Saperia who was the creative mind behind the Betrayer’s Banquet which recently completed its run in London. Cryptofloricon is a service which lets users order small bouquets of flowers which correspond to coded messages – so a rose, a lily and a dandelion may mean, say, “I’m sorry about the infection; please forgive me”. There are LOADS of messages, and you might be able to get an order in for same-day delivery if you’re feeling inspired. Lovely. 
  • 100 Happy Days: Not really my sort of thing – it’s a bit, well, positive – but I can just about understand the appeal. 100 Happy Days is a project which suggests that you sign up and keep a pictorial record each and every day for 100 days (that was probably self-explanatory, on reflection) of things that have made you happy. You can either share these things publicly or just with the people behind the project; you get a small book containing all your pictures and words should you successfully complete the ‘challenge’. Much as the curmudgeon in me wants to scowl at this, it’s actually rather nice I think. 
  • Mathograms: Would you like to send someone a mathematical equation which, when graphed, looks like a heart or something similarly romantic? OH GOOD. If you happen to be dating, or just fancy, someone who’s basically a walking Texas Instruments calculator then this may well be perfect for you. 
  • Augmented Reality-ish Spatial Storytelling: This is very clever indeed. IDNA is a video/graphics platform which lets users watch something on a tablet or phone, and experience different angles and perspectives on the action unfolding before them by moving the device around – so, say, you could watch a scene from one angle and then look around the room to notice that someone is eavesdropping behind a curtain, or similar, and the story can branch and diverge depending on what piece of the action a viewer is focusing on at any given time. The potential for this is obviously huge – there will be a 6-part series of shorts coming out developed in the format later this year, so keep your eyes peeled. Inevitably it won’t work properly yet, but this sort of thing is the future (NB: Web Curios has no ACTUAL idea whether it really will be the future). 
  • The Worst Font Ever: I have no idea why this has been made. It’s called ‘Human Type’, it’s made by this person, and it basically turns the alphabet into a series of unpleasant, fleshy, hairy monstrosities. Seriously, THE HAIRS. Ugh. 
  • A Truly Inventive Contact Us Webpage: Admittedly if all you really want to do is get this company’s email address or phone number really quickly then it’s probably quite annoying, but kudos to this lot for doing something which I’ve not seen before and making you play a short game to get to their details. 
  • Everything Is Connected: This doesn’t really work 100%, but it’s quite an ambitious project and you can forgive them the technical shortfallings. A project by the University of Gent in Belgium, this is a ‘connect with Facebook’ API-scraper which takes data from your FB profile and uses it to play a 6-degrees of Wikipedia-style game trying to get from your profile to anything else in a series of logical jumps (ie you to testicles = you like Rihanna>Rihanna is a singer>singers have mouths>so do cats>cats get neutered>testicles). It’s a bit janky, but I like the scope of the idea and it’s a little more imaginative than the now-slightly-played-out ‘your photos on an in-video billboard’ thing. 
  • European Translation Map: A site which lets you type any word in English and then displays the translations in All (well, most) European languages, overlaid on a map of the continent. It uses Google Translate and is therefore imperfect at best, but it’s quite interesting to see commonalities and therefore etymological connections (and to learn how to say rude words in LOTS of different languages simultaneously). 
  • Sesame Fighter: If you were to cross Sesame Street with Street Fighter II and then thrown in a bit of Typing Of The Dead you’d get this very thing – a typing tutor game which features really very nicely drawn renditions of the Sesame Street cast in 2d-fighter style. No idea what the copyright situation is with regards to image usage rights, so this might not be around for too long. Anyway, it’s by this design student to whom all credit and kudos, etc.
  • One57 NYC: A very impressive piece of webbuilding to promote new steel-and-glass behemoth One57 NYC, a new skyscraper (is that still what these are called? It feels very 20th century, somehow) development which encompasses residential, commercial and hotel spaces in the now-familiar Shard style. The site is the de rigeur HTML5 multimediascrollyextravaganza that you’d expect, but this is a very slick example of the genre and worth taking a look at. 
  • Vimeo In 2013: I know, I know, this is HIDEOUSLY late – anyway, Vimeo’s look back at its 2013 is very nicely put together and actually contains links to loads of really lovely videos of all sorts of types. You can lose an afternoon here quite easily, be warned. 
  • 600 Year Old Bottom Music: This is silly but also rather wonderful. A music student from the US noticed a detail in Hieronymous Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ – music inscribed on the naked bottom of somebody being tortured in the ‘Hell’ panel of the painting. They transcribed it in modern notation and played it, and this is the result – possibly the first time in hundreds of years that this has been heard. Sort of wonderful. 
  • The Practice Kissing Pillow: I have a strange feeling that this will have been in the papers today, but anyway…should you feel the need to make yourself a pillow with human features on which you can ‘practice’ kissing, then this is the guide for you. I suggest that you don’t do what I just did and dwell a little too long on the other sorts of pillows one could potentially make with Fleshlights and the like, lest you also suddenly be overwhelmed by the need to take a scalding hot bath and scrub yourself clean. 
  • Minimum Wage Living In The US: A New York Times interactive which lets users see how far the US minimum wage could take them each month depending on where they live. It’s simple but works well – behind it lies a load of data about average costs of living in various US cities, which allows people to see how people would fare in different parts of the country; would be fascinating (and no doubt as depressing) to see this replicated for the UK. 
  • The Story Of Fix’d: This is a bit of an odd one, but bear with me. A website which details the creative process behind the creation of Fix’d, an as-yet nonexistant website/app/community for the fixed-wheel bike community. The team behind it were given the simple brief to create something which ‘informed cyclists and helped them meet their goals’ – this site takes you through the entire creative process, from insight to concept development to creative execution, as they came up with Fix’d, a tool which let fixielovers share their bike customisation strategies. I really like this – the site’s nicely put together, the idea of Fix’d is actually very good and should become a reality, but most of all it’s a really well-thought-through and communicated insight into the whole process of MAKING A THING. Highly recommended, this, honest. 
  • Overloaded Chinese Vehicles: Nothing more, nothing less. Some of these are insane; as a non-driver I’m sort of in awe. 
  • Eyesight Simulator: As far as I can tell this isn’t made by an optician’s or a charity, but it ought to be. Simple site which lets users type in various glasses prescription strengths and see how that affects people’s sight. Seriously, the RNIB or someone similar really should ‘borrow’ this, unless they have already (I’ve not got time to Google it right now, sorry). 
  • Easy Email Encryption: For the paranoid amongst you who can’t be bothered to sign up to Hushmail or get on TOR, this provides what looks to be a decent security solution which can integrate with a variety of existing email clients. Virtru lets users see where emails get forwarded, set limited access times, etc etc etc – and the nice thing is that it’s easy to turn on or off on an email-by-email basis. Seems quite slick, though obviously caution is advised. 
  • Kirill Oreshkin Has Been Higher Than You: The VK photo page of one Kirill Oreshkin, who despite his suspiciously beautiful profile pic does actually seem to be a real person and who likes to take photos of himself hanging, apparently with no safety gear, from some preposterously tall structures in Russia. These are the sort of photos that will give you the sweaty-palmed prickling feeling if you’re a bit vertigo-y. For reasons known only to Mr Oreshkin, there’s also a photo of Russia’s filthiest toilet buried in there somewhere (and maybe all sorts of other weird stuff too – I confess to not having gone through all 1,000+ pics). 
  • Nefarious Jobs: 13 years ago (!) when I was briefly living in Washington I became mildly obsessed by a website called ‘Cadaver Inc’ (sadly no longer extant – OH NO HANG ON I love the Wayback Machine) which purported to be a service which would clean up dead bodies, no questions asked, for a fee. It turned out to be a very clever front for a Scandi Black Metal outfit called Cadaver, and it came to mind again when I found this this week. Nefarious Jobs styles itself as a revenge service – for a fee, these people will exact some form of retribution on someone you feel has wronged you. It can’t be real, can it? Can someone try it out NOT ON ME PLEASE? Thanks.
  • The Biker Women Of Marrakesh: A gorgeous selection of photographs depicting Moroccan women with their bikes. So much to love about this – the colours, the fashion – and the visual style’s going to be used in a photoshoot for a women’s glossy in…oooh…I reckon about 4 months (if this has already happened then forgive me – it may surprise many of you to know that I am not after all a great consumer of female fashion mags and not even Porter is likely to change that). 
  • The Best Meme From Japan Of The Week: You sort of almost feel sorry for the potentially unfaithful couple here, but some of the illustrations they spawned are wonderful. I’d love to know more about the cultural significance of some of the art styles / tropes adopted, but it’s generally just a fascinating look at pop culture / meme development from the other side of the world. PROTIP: if you’re out with your illicit lover, don’t get voxpopped. 
  • Daily Life In 1970s China: Lovely selection of colourised photos from China 40 years ago. Erm, that’s it really. 
  • Drinking Cinema: A website which collects illustrated drinking games to play along with films. The art style’s rather nice (although occasionally a little hard to read) and the selection is pretty vast – there are plenty of cult classics in here, so if your idea of a perfect weekend’s entertainment is watching a quadruple-bill of classic films whilst drinking yourself into hospital then this will be your perfect companion for the next few days. 
By Wim Delvoyes


  • Coding Solutions In Multiple Languages: Apologies to all programmer-types if this is superold, but it seemed useful. Rosetta Code is a website which shows how to programme instructions in a variety of languages simultaneously, hopefully helping to teach people how commands are executed across different code platforms. Does that make sense? Sorry, I’m flagging a little and must make more coffee. 
  • COME ON AND SLAM: Although remembering that this exists has perked me right up. A completely pointless website which plays a seemingly neverending selection of remixes of the main song from Space Jam, on an infinite loop. Utterly dreadful and yet strangely compelling – and who knew that there were this many remixes, particularly from Japan. WEIRD. I warn you, you click on that link and you will hear something which is almost certainly a musical aberration. 
  • The Rooftops of Dubai: The colours in these are just amazing – I presume they’re done in HDR or something, which I know is a bit divisive amongst photography purists, but these really do look rather beautiful in a sort of ‘space city of the future’ kind of fashion. 
  • The Final Statements Of Death Row Prisoners As Portraits: Amy Elkins is an LA-based artist who’s compiled the final statements of death row prisoners executed in Texas over a number of years, turning these last words into shaded black and white portraits of each inmate’s face based on their mugshots. Just sort of infinitely sad, really, and quite beautiful too. 
  • The Best $3million House You Will See All Week: If you have a spare $3million+, and you fancy living in a truly incredible house which looks like the sort of thing Lex Luthor might have lived in in one of the original Superman films then this will be right up your street. Even if you don’t fit the above criteria it’s frankly worth a look. 
  • A Site For Fans Of Hallucinogens: I discovered this accompaied by the description ‘made by people on acid for people on acid’. Now it’s a LONG time since I’ve done anything like that, but I couldn’t help but think that this would just be a little too much were one in that sort of state. Anyway, I am sure that none of the 17 people reading this would ever countenance doing that sort of thing, but on the offchance I’ll just leave it here. 
  • On The Road – The Directional Version: DIGITAL ART. A clever-clever project which takes all the places mentioned by Kerouac in ‘On The Road’ (a novel which the older I get makes me appreciate Capote’s famous withering cuss more and more – ‘it’s not writing, it’s typing‘) and then reinterprets the novel by simply listing the Google Maps directions which would take Sal Paradise and the rest on their JOURNEY OF PERSONAL DISCOVERY (I like this more than this rather sniffy description may suggest). 
  • Kissing Ryan: Would you like to be able to take a picture of yourself with your webcam in such a fashion that it makes you look a very tiny bit like you’re kissing Ryan Gosling? OH GOOD!
  • Handles – Interactive Twitter Theatre: An interesting idea which I think would be a theatrical carcrash, Handles is a play which showed in Manchester last week, in which the action taking place onstage was ‘augmented’ (not sure if that’s the right term, but I can’t quite think of another right now) by tweets from the audience appearing on a Twitter wall behind the cast. There’s all sorts of pseudy FOURTH WALL stuff you could wang on about here, but I don’t think that without structure or guidance this could be anything other than an ephemeral distraction to the cast and the audience as a whole. The writeup’s interesting, though, so do have a read and make up your own mind. 
  • LIFT 2014: LIFT is the London International Festival of Theatre, which happens every two years in the capital. This year’s Festival lineup was announced on Monday – it runs throughout June, and there is some AWESOME stuff in there this year (and I’m not just saying that because I’m very, very tangentially involved in the thing). They’re the people that brought Gatz to London 2 years ago, and there’s plenty of stuff this year which looks just as good. GO AND BOOK TICKETS. 
  • Pleasant Places: A map showing ‘pleasant’ places in the US – that is, cities ranked by the number of days of ‘pleasant’ weather they get each year. Included mainly because the interface and dataviz is quite nice rather than because of a personal obsession with median (or is it modal?) meteorology in the continental United States. 
  • Symmetrical Breakfasts: Not really sure why this exists, but it does and I here present it to you. An Instagram feed which each day posts pictures of symmetrical plates of breakfast, because why the devil not. Community managers working for cereal brands or similar, here’s next Tuesday’s crap link for Facebook. You’re welcome. 
  • We Come Together: Campaign website for the International HIV/AIDS alliance, raising awareness of safe sex this Valentine’s day and offering little boxes of kink for the first 5,000 people to donate £20 to the campaign. A lovely website for a good cause, and the accompanying video is one of the nicest depictions of sex in all its forms that I’ve seen for ages – left me with a smile on my face (not in that way). I’ve included it at the bottom, so you’ll just have to wait (unless, er, you watch it on their website which I’ve just linked to). 
  • The ‘Lean In’ Image Collection: I’ve a few issues with Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ manifesto (largely based on the fact that much of it seems to ignore the fact that Sandberg is, regardless of gender, one of those terrifying 0.1% of people who is totally and utterly alpha about everything, massively overachieving with a terrifying work ethic and a very high IQ – SHERYL, MOST PEOPLE SIMPLE CAN’T DO WHAT YOU DO, EVEN IF YOU WRITE A BOOK WHICH TELLS THEM HOW THEY REALLY CAN IF THEY JUST THINK A BIT DIFFERENTLY), but the efforts that she is making and the debate which she’s spread around gender equality are to be applauded. This is her work with Getty Images to create stock photography which presents images of women which are a bit different to the standard sets offered by imagelibraries of mothers, etc – I mean, it’s still stock photography but it’s good to see a slightly better selection. 
  • Browse Reddit And Make It Look Like Outlook: Clever little bosskey hack which lets you browse the Reddit frontpage through an interface which looks like Outlook. SNEAKY.  
  • The 1936 Winter Olympics: It was slightly overshadowed by the Summer ones that year, but the Winter Olympics in ’36 were also, it turns out, held in Germany. Here’s a rather good collection of pictures of the events, which juxtapose awesome baggy-trousered acts of snowbound athleticism with a LOT of swastikas and zieg heil-ing. BONUS PICTURES: some of the same ones feature in this far more comprehensive set of photos of the first 12 winter games.
  • Our Robocop Remake: What happens when a bunch of internet geeks take the Robocop script and decide to remake it, scene-by-scene, using whatever means and styles they choose? THIS DOES. Seeing as there’s currently a mediocre remake currently stinking up cinemas worldwide, it might be a good time to reappraise the original which remains one of the most bleak and depressing examples of that particularly nasty, nihilistic wave of 80s cinema exemplified by Basic Instinct and the like. Although this is significantly less dark, not least because of the BRILLIANT CGI penises in the shower scene (seriously, it’s worth it just for those). BONUS – an oral history of the original Robocop, which is really very interesting indeed
  • The Time Appsule: This was in the PROPER papers this week (well done Battenhall on the PR) so you’ve probably seen it already, but in case not…Time Appsule allows users to send locked ‘parcels’ of data to other users, which will only unlock on a certain date – like a time capule! DO YOU SEE? Anyway, they’re trumpeting it as THE NEXT SNAPCHAT or something, but all I could think of was how you could use this to really take some superlongtermdishbestservedcold revenge on someone – imagine sending your loved one a message containing documentary evidence of all your infidelities and a short message reading ‘I never loved you anyway’, primed to open on a date of your choosing on which they will discover you’ve left them? Or, er, maybe don’t imagine that at all, that’s just HORRIBLE. Sorry. 
  • The NYT Does The Luge: Another great NYT interactive, this time exploring the MYSTERIES of the luge. Really slick (as in fact are all their Sochi interactives, which are all collected here and are well worth a look – both from a ‘wow, sport eh?’ point of view and a ‘wow, webdesign eh?’ one.
  • How Do You Code: The official launch of the Year Of Code has been divisive to say the least (on which more later), but regardless of your feelings on the initiative this is a nice site on which developers can share tips and hints on web development, sorted by language, role, etc etc etc. Useful. Oh, and seeing as we’re on coding, this is a Kickstarter seeking funding to publish a book which will teach small kids coding – your level of like/revulsion to this idea will vary, so I’ll just drop it here and move on – though the amount of money it’s raised beyond its goal is pretty amazing. 
  • Waste The Rest Of Your Day, Pt. 1: You want a website which serves up a seemingly-infinite set of ad-free broswergames? OH GOOD.
  • Vintage Japanese Bond Posters: Illustrated posters to old James Bond films from Japan. These are lovely, and would sell like hotcakes if anyone could get their hands on some prints I think. 
  • Star Wars, If It Had Been Set In An 80s High School: I don’t care for Star Wars, particularly, nor indeed 80s nostalgia, but these really are beautifully done. Characters and locations from the original canon, reimagined as concept art for an 80s high-school film/cartoon. Sort of like Mos Eisley meets Ridgemont High. Sort of. Anyway, these really are very good indeed. 
  • Never-Before Seen WWI Photos: From an exhibition currently on show in Milan, a slideshow of apparently previously unseen photos of the Great War. These are really, really good – my personal favourite is of the black airman laughing uproariously, not least because the man has a generally awesome face but also because of the innate poignancy in having no idea whether he survived or not. Have a scroll through, these are excellent.
  • 7 Cups Of Tea: This might have been around for ages, but no apologies if this is older than the hills. 7 Cups Of Tea is basically an online version of the Samaritans, allowing anyone to be connected to a trained ‘listener’ online who will talk to them, anonymously, about whatever they want. A lovely idea and an important service which I think should be better known than it in fact is. They take volunteers – the only caveat is that you have to be willing to donate 2 hours a week of your time to be available should anyone want to talk, which frankly isn’t much at all. 
  • Animated 8bit Gifs of Films & Comics: Like Minipops, but different, these few little animations of cult movies in 8bit style are very nicely done indeed. BONUS – have these illustrations which depict classic films as Ottoman miniature illustrations and which are beautifully illustrated.
  • Slightly Rubbish Curses: A Reddit user compiles a rather wonderful selection of slightly rubbish curses – “I hope you wake up 4 minutes before your alarm goes off”, etc. The joy comes in the comments where there are DOZENS of user-submitted variants. Worth saving somewhere and using on everyone at work until they beat you to death for being a one-note comedian who doesn’t understand when a joke’s run its course. 
  • Arty Cinemagifs: I am reliably informed that these are inspired by Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch, though I have no idea why as I’m yet to read it. Anyway, they are lovely. 
  • Let The Crowd Guide Your Date: Or, er, don’t. You may recall a Google Glass hack / art project which I featured a few weeks back, through which a woman went on dates, streamed them to glass and took live suggestions as to what to do / say…anyway, this is the app version. COME ON SOMEONE, MAKE THIS A TV SHOW PLEASE – this is the only good that can come of it, surely?
  • Inside Jayne Mansfield’s House: Famously pneumatic 50s starlet Jayne Mansfield was famous for many things (well, some) but the restraint and moderation of her choices in interior design probably didn’t feature. WOW, this house. Such kitsch, much barbie. 
  • Endless Bongo Kisses: A website which collects looping footage of people kissing from bongo movies – just kisses, so no nudity on display. Scroll left-to-right to get to the ‘good’ stuff – there’s something actually really creepy about this, which as someone pointed out might be because so many of the kisses on show look more like two creatures trying to actually eat each other rather than any sort of expression of affection. 
  • Photoshop Request: This has to be Reddit trolling people, no? Hm. This purports to be a site offering free photoshop work, done by students who need to practice on ‘real’ projects. Come on, this can’t be for real – there’s got to be a prank / art project behind this.
  • The Burrito Project Kickstarter: This man started a Kickstarter to fund his purchase of a burrito – inevitably, he SMASHED his target. Now he’s raising money for a bigger project – to try every possible combination of burrito from some chain store’s range, and rate them all. I’m only including this because it seems to suggest that we may now have reached the point where the internet will conceivably crowdfund ANYTHING, and to make you all slightly depressed at the fact that we are still not good enough at giving aid to countries which actually need it. Have any charities set up Kickstarters for individuals as part of a campaign front? Might be an interesting idea.
  • Beautiful Photos of Beautiful Dogs: The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is a big deal in the US (I think it’s their Crufts) – these are pictures of the best of breed winners from this year’s show, which if your a…er…dogophile (not going to google the proper term, sorry) will probably make you quite happy. BONUS – Vice sent their reporter to this a few years back whilst on acid, which is almost the archetypal Vice thing to do but which is also quite funny
  • SneakyCards: I LOVE THIS. Sneakycards is a selection of…er…cards, which urge you to play a wonderful secret game with the world around you. Free to download, share and print, each card is an instruction or a challenge to do something playful in the real world, with the idea being that you can sort of create a low-level network of lovely play all around you. Yes, I know that that last sentence contained an horrific degree of twee whimsy; what of it? THE WORLD NEEDS MORE WHIMSY SOMETIMES, DAMMIT. 
  • People Pictured As They Fall: A collection of pictures by Kerry Skarbakka of people captured as they fall. The one in the shower is awesome, however staged it may be. 
  • Swarming Effects Set To Music: Quite hard to describe this, but it’s sort of a live demonstration of creating digital art swarming effects to music. It’s a lovely set of effects and you can imagine it being used to very impressive effect at gigs. 
  • Waste The Rest Of Your Day, Pt.2: Mining the same proud furrow in the canon of ‘how many buzzwords can we fit into a title?’ as ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ comes this BRILLIANT browser game from Adult Swim. It’s called *drumroll* Bionic Chainsaw Pogo Gorilla, and it’s very good indeed. Enjoy.
  • All Of The Flappy Bird Stuff In One Place (almost): I’m only doing this because this is a SERIOUS weekly roundup and thus has an obligation to cover the zeitgeist (or whatever’s masquerading as the zeitgeist this week), but rest assured that I hope to never mention this bloody thing again after this week (except once, in the next section). Anyway, here’s the longform thinkpiece, here’s the Flappy Bird Typing Tutor and here’s the multiplayer version, and here’s the Doge version and here’s the Putin version and here’s the Sesame Street version (which does have legitimately awesome samples) and here’s the minimalist tribute version by the bloke who made Canabalt and here’s the arty, weirdly poignant text game/poem version and now can we just pretend that this all never happened please? Thanks. 


  • Smarter Every Day: Tumblr of the popular science-lite YouTube show, which collects daily charts and gifs and stuff, telling you INTERESTING and USEFUL facts.
  • I Want A Clone: This collects examples of shameless plagiarism in app game development, and the requests from unscrupulous buck chasers for devs willing to rip off someone else’s IP in exchange for a few quick App Store bucks. WARNING: contains more F***** B***. 
  • Made Up Words: A project which collects and illustrates the made up words and phrases we use with friends and family. You can submit your own for consideration, and if you ever liked The Meaning of Liff then you will adore this. 
  • You Park Like A Cnut: Photographs of people whose parking leaves something to be desired. I’m not sure if I’ve done this one before – it’s hard to keep track – but I don’t care as I LOVE the vitriol. 
  • Art On TV: Screengrabs of art as it appears in TV shows – the sorts of fictional artworks and artists you see in sitcoms, dramas, etc. Disappointingly doesn’t appear to feature Brian from Spaced and his cockpaintings, but we can hope. BONUS – if you’re interested in the broader discussion about the manner in which contemporary art is portrayed onscreen then this essay is very interesting indeed. I particularly like the observation that, according to TV, ‘only jerks make video art’. 
  • Flappy Bird Thinkpieces: Absolutely the last mention of that sodding game in here this week, I promise, this collects examples of ridiculously overblown analysis of the whole thing and WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE WORLD (clue: it means we’re all morons, basically, and there’s no helping us any more). 
  • Pictures of 80s Berlin: Taken and compiled by one Chris John Dewitt, this is an excellent collection.
  • Pride Propaganda: Old Soviet propaganda reconfigured as gay pride posters. Lovely stuff.
  • Dogs Doing Things: Part Tumblr, part oddly existential art project, this collects people’s tweeted suggestions of things which dogs could be doing. Beautifully surreal. 
  • What Love Looks Like: Diagrammatical explanations of the highs and lows of love; these are wonderful and quite sad, and are one of my favourite things on here this week which I hope that you like too. 
  • The Secret Lives Of Action Figures: A lovely photoseries exploring what action figures do when they are out and about. The Hulk one is particularly good, I think. 
  • Pizza On A Beagle: Not a Tumblr, but it really, really should be.
  • Selfies With Homeless People: This week’s OH DEAR GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH US moment (or rather, one of several) comes in the shape of this ‘phenomenon’ (clue: it’s not a phenomenon) of people snapping themselves with the homeless for the LULZ. Nice. 
By Adam Golfer



  • On Black Midi, Algorave and Music For Robots: I covered Black Midi in here back in September, I think, but this is a very good look at all sorts of weirdo, obscure, prcedural and/or glitched out musical forms from the Quietus, always one of the best / smartest music sites on the web. There’s an interesting central question here about the sort of music machines would choose to listen to were machines capable of meaningful choice (BIG PHILOSOPHICAL HANGING CHAD, THERE), which obviously doesn’t get answered but still. 
  • On The Year Of Code: FULL DISCLOSURE – this was written by a friend of mine, but it’s still good. So the Year Of Code thing, as noted above, has attracted quite a lot of opprobrium, motivated in no small part by the rather carcrashish Newsnight appearance the other week and this piece in which its underlying agenda is questioned and reevaluated as ‘neoliberal’ (I don’t quite agree with that point); anyway, the piece linked to at the start is a defence of the broad concept behind it, based on the fact that someone needs to be doing something and the fact that Government i acknowledging a skills gap and drawing attention to it and trying to do something about it is, in general, A Good Thing. 
  • On Tintype Photography: A lovely look at the tintype technique of photographic development, as made briefly famous by those photos of famouses for the Golden Globes or somesuch other filmic awards ceremony the other week. The more I see photos like this, the more I want to go back to a pre-digital camera world. Because I am OLD and a luddite, obviously. 
  • GQ Talks Tinder: US GQ gives the longform treatment to everyone’s favourite casual sex app which its makers continue, rather quaintly, to suggest isn’t just for casual sex; all I can think of when I read this stuff, I have to say, is that for everyone having a great, swinging, no-strings experience are 50-odd others who are sitting, alone, every night, swiping right in the hope that someone somewhere will do the same to them and then crying and crying and crying and crying and crying an crying. 
  • The Cult Of Raw Denim: Ah, hipsters. Everything you could possibly want to know about denim fetishism, and a piece which may finally explain why the attractive bearded man in your favourite coffeeshop smells ever so slightly of stale, unwashed fabric, even from a distance of several feet. 
  • The Year Of The Looking Glass: A rather beautiful futurelooking short story, taking inspiration from the u/dystopian visions of the day after tomorrow we’re getting fed on an almost hourly basis at the moment and stitches them into a few thousand words of creative writing. I’d happily read a novel set here. 
  • On Berghain: Even if your days of going to large, dark, sweaty techno clubs are long behind you – I AM NOT TOO OLD TO GO BACK YOU KNOW – you have probably hard of (or even been to) Berghain in Berlin. This is a profile of the club as it deals with being ‘just another stop’ on the European checkbox tourism scene, and is a generally interesting exploration of how mass-market tourism is being reacted to by the city overall. Also contains terrifying descriptions of the names of some of the more extreme Berlin fetish nights which will make you feel a bit wrong. 
  • The Grammar Of Doge: A look at the linguistic structure underpinning the ‘Doge’ meme (Such fluidity, much flex, wow) which I promise I am going to stop mentioning soon but I find it SO SOOTHING (question – can someone make me a gif of someone doing the luge with the doge dog superimposed over it, please? thanks). 
  • How Music Hijacks Our Perceptions Of Time: An in-depth examination of the neuroscientific rationale as to why we sometimes perceive time differently when listening to certain music. Heavy on the classical, but even if you know nothing about the genre (er, like me) this is an interesting (if reasonably heavy) read.
  • On Hair Extensions And Living In LA: A lovely and odd set of disconnected musings by a woman living in Los Angeles. This is not really about hair extensions at all, and is an excellent piece of writing about gender and loneliness and big cities and work and STUFF. 
  • The Definitive Philip Seymour Hoffman Profile: From 2008, this New York Times interview with the late actor is a brilliant portrait of a brilliant actor (as an aside, my personal Seymour Hoffman performance came in Love Liza which I have seen three times and each time been reduced to an absolute complete total and utter wreck by – recommended!).
  • The Manual For Civilisation: If you had to create a library which would be used to rebuild civilisation after some sort of collapse, what would YOU put in it? An ongoing discussion on that very theme, this is full of interesting books and discussion on what and why to include.
  • Esquire On Silicon Roundabout: So I worked on the whole ‘Tech City’ initiative a few years ago, and several people who I know are mentioned in this, but leaving aside personal connections this is an interesting – and at some points, I think, needlessly snarky – portrait of the current ‘state of the tech scene’ in East London.  
  • Working At Serco: One of the reasons I stopped being a lobbyist many years ago (aside from the fact that I was crap) was that one of my clients was Group 4 Securicor and they were DREADFUL people. This is an illustrated look at the author’s experiences working for Serco (G4S’s main competitor in private security) in Australia, and as you might expect is less than 100% positive about the benefits of the private sector’s involvement in immigration processing. A beautifully told story. 
  • Luna Of Cairo: Another illustrated story, this about being a bellydancer in Cairo in 2014. Gorgeous drawings, and a fascinating insight into Egyptian gender politics, the history of the dance and all sorts of other things besides. 
  • Critical Design – A Lecture: SO LONG AND SO GOOD. In my notes it says ‘this is one of the best things about design, tech, art and the future I have ever read. So much info. ESSENTIAL’. I can’t really argue with that – this is immense, and so, so dense. If you have any interest at all in webwork, design, art, programming, culture and where all of those intersect then you really should take a look at this. I’m not exaggerating when I say it makes this blog look lightweight, though. 
  • Loved: This is actually a platform game / art piece rather than a piece of writing, but it feels like a short story. It’s a bit janky, but got me emotionally like nothing else this week. Recommened. 
By Silvia Grav


1) Excuse the Upworthy-esque title on this video; the content is worth it. Tate Roskelly is a BMX rider whose tricks display a level of imagination which most people, whether on bikes or boards, can only dream of. You will grin at this, I promise:

2) As trailed up there *points*, this is the video to accompany the Come Together anti-AIDS/HIV campaign. It’s SFW, but all about sex so you may want to have headphones in to mask the panting and thwacking – it’s just joyful, though, and a really nice depiction of all sorts of sex amongst all sorts of people:

3) You will have read about this, I’m sure, but it really is worth watching in its entirety if you’ve yet to do so. This week’s VIRAL SENSATION is this French short looking at a world in which men are the victims of persistent sexism rather than women. Very well-made indeed:

4) I don’t understand why this doesn’t have more views. This is called ‘Ghost’ by a band called ‘Mystery Skulls’, it sounds all 70s/80s discoish and is sort of catchy, and the video’s liberally inspired by The Exorcist and features a slightly overweight priest literally DANCING THE DEVIL AWAY. It’s awesome:

5) This is apparently a ‘slowly evolving video sculpture’ which refences the utopian visions of 1960s architecture practice Archigram (so it says in the notes). Whatever, it’s a brilliantly hypnotic piece of CGI with a great backing track; if you like Ballard you will like this, I think:

6) EPILEPSY WARNING ALERT. This is by Mouse on Mars, it’s called Cream Theme, and the video’s apparently based around a single load of footage of one person dancing which has then been extrapolatied into these shifting shape visualisation thingies. Anyway, it’s much prettier than that horrid description would suggest, honest:

7) HIPHOP CORNER! This is a tribute to Rakim in music and video, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Remind yourself how good really good hiphop wordsmithery can be:

8) This isn’t new, and has quite a lot of views, so (for the second time today) apologies if you’ve seen it already, but it made me VERY HAPPY this week. Some sort of weird Japanese death/black metal outfit with one of the oddest videos I’ve seen in a long time (and the song’s pretty leftfield too). They are called ‘The Maximum Hormone’, apparently:

9) If there were to be an official video for this week’s news, this would be it. A lovely, damp animation to accompany the Notwist’s single ‘Might Kong’:

10) Finally, this – a cross between Transformers and Akira and Pole Position and Kavinsky and some sort of weird anime female revenge fever dream, this is RipTide’s song ‘In The Middle Of The Night’. BYE! 

That’s it for now


That’s it for now – see you next week
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Webcurios 07/02/14

Reading Time: 26 minutes

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Enjoy Shin. St James’ Road, SE16
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

Well HELLO! Isn’t it exciting? Today we celebrate that wonderful intersection of cold weather and gravity – the WINTER OLYMPICS! A few weeks when we can get all exercised about Russia’s absolutely appalling human rights record and attitudes towards non-heteronormative lifestyles whilst at the same time blithely ignoring the rank hypocrisy of many of our favourite brands who like to talk about how they’re all up for liberalism and diversity and frown upon homophobia and the like whilst STILL paying shedloads of cash for the right to advertise their crap at a wasteful, corrupt event in a country which turns a blind eye to stuff like this on an hourly basis. WELL DONE US AND INDEED THEM! (as an aside, yes it’s nice that Google’s doodle is today all rainbow-ish, but really – shouldn’t the richest and in many respects most powerful corporate entity perhaps maybe do a little bit more than effectively the graphic design equivalent of a subtweet at an entire country? No? Just me?). 

Anyway, time’s a wasting and I’ve got stuff to do. Get comfortable in this week’s metaphorical rickety tin missile, webmongs, as I prepare to steer you helter-skelter amidst the icy walls of this week’s information blizzard – keep your hands inside the vehicle and your head down and we’ll get to the bottom just fine. THIS IS WEB CURIOS.




  • Twitter Commerce Is Coming: Not that it matters, obviously, because Twitter’s ALL OVER. Maybe they’ll roll this out before we all forget about Twitter and go back to sending smoke signals or, you know, actually talking to each other. Anyway, this is all speculation BUT it’s based on seemingly solid information and isn’t hugely surprising – the theory is that Twitter”s working on infrastructure which will enable product purchase from within Twitter with one-click (ie a ‘buy this’ button or similar), along with product recommendations, etc. There are a lot of people who will end up spending a lot of money they don’t have if this feature is as easy to use as it could be – it’ll make drunk eBaying look minor by comparison.
  • Thomson Reuters Adds More Twitter Data To Financial Markets Desktop Service: An incredibly dull headline which masks quite an interesting story – Thomson are basically adding in a whole load of additional Twitter data to the info they feed into the infohungry maws of people who make a lot of money by effectively betting on how popular stuff is. ‘Financial professionals’ (traders?) will get all sorts of interesting information on how the world feels about key stocks in near-realtime; you can see how this can give competitive advantage. I’m always hugely skeptical about sentiment analysis – or at least the crap, superficial sort which is packaged with your standard monitoring software, which is mostly rubbish – but I’m guessing that Thomson Reuters, along with Goldman Sachs who I know are doing a lot on this, have developed something a but better than usual to underpin this. Oh, and they’re doing it for music too
  • Twitter Data Grants: If you’re an academic or work at a research-led institution, you can now apply to Twitter for access to A LOT of its data. You won’t get the firehose, but they’ll give you lots more than would ordinarily be available to the average punter. 
  • On Facebook Paper: As trailed last week, Facebook launched Paper on Monday (or at least they did in the US – there are workarounds to get it if you’re outside America, though); this is The Verge’s review of it (minor spoilers: they like it). Interestingly the reviewer suggests that there’s no reason why they would go back to using Facebook ‘traditionally’ after having tried Paper – it’s ad-free status can only be temporary, surely.
  • Facebook Allows Page Admins To Comment On User Reviews: Only really of interest if your Page is linked to a place, but if you own a venue then this is worth knowing; Page owners can now respond to reviews left of their bar/restaurant/whatever on Facebook rather than just having to sit and silently fume as they read the latest whinge by a bunch of entitled consumers who somehow believe that ‘good service’ means acceding to their every whim and desire. Inevitably this is going to produce some GREAT reasoned debates. 
  • You Will Soon Be Able To Edit Your Facebook Lookback Narcissismfest: In case you felt that the Facebook Lookback film produced for you this week didn’t adequately reflect the AMAZING BRILLIANCE of the past few years of your life, you’ll soon be able to hack it so that it presents exactly the sort of view of yourself that you want it to. Whilst we’re obviously all sick to death of / inspired and uplifted by (delete as applicable) the neverending stream of these which have filtered through the newsfeed since Monday, I’ll be interested to see how the edit function works – there’s got to be the inspiration for some sort of Storify for Facebook in here somewhere, no? Hang on, does that already exist? *Googles* No? *refines elevator pitch and prepares to be millionaire*
  • Some Data About What Advertising On Instagram Gets You: An interesting overview of how ads on Instagram do in terms of comments, shares, etc. If you can’t be bothered to read it, they boost ‘likes’ but seeing as no one really knows what that’s worth the value of them’s still a little bit nebulous. So now you know. 
  • All Of The European Social Media Statistics In The World: You want to know how many people in Greece are spending all their time distracting themselves from the parlous state of their economy by sending sexy pictures on Snapchat? YOU GOT IT. Well, not quite, but there’s a LOT of information here which you can use to persuade your clients to spend more moneyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….oh, look, you all realise that you can just make this crap up, don’t you, because we live in an era where attribution and footnoting is practically dead? Good. 
  • Why What People Are Saying On Social Media Is Not Necessarily Representative Of The Real World: This really shouldn’t be in any way suprising or revelatory to anyone, but it’s a salutary reminder that not everyone in the world is on Twitter, and that just because SOME people are saying stuff there that doesn’t mean that that’s the way EVERYONE feels. 
  • Lays Flavour Creation Competition: The idea is in no way original or exciting (crisp manufacturer gets people to suggest new flavours, offers prize to most popular one), but I think they’ve been quite clever in including a mocked-up packaging creator as part of the mechanic. Obviously there are LOTS of people making ‘funny’ flavours, but it’s actually pretty difficult to create anything too offensive (I have tried) and as such the mechanic has led these comic masterpieces being shared quite a lot. A decent way of taking people’s propensity to try and be subversive and subverting it in turn for your own nefarious capitalistic ends.
  • Sunday Times ‘Icons’: By far and away the best piece of BRANDED CONTENT I’ve seen all year (I know, I know, it’s early), the Sunday Times’ short featuring ‘iconic’ (I know, I know, I’m sorry) cultural stuff is not only beautifully made but they win additional points for making the ‘making of’ stuff almost as interesting.
  • Paypal Poems: Next week this section’s probably going to contain one or two examples of brands attempting to wring the last drops of revenue out of an already hideously commercialised made-up celebration, as the Hallmark Holiday once again darkens our collective doors. I can, however, fairly confidently predict that none of them will make me feel quite so sad inside as this service from Paypal, which lets people without the talent or imagination to compose poetry themselves get one of several wordsmiths to compose some verse on their behalf, courtesy of everyone’s favourite online payments provider. Yes, this is part of the plot of the film ‘Her’, basically. Oh hi, semi-dystopian future!

By Francesco Albano



  • The Sochi Corruption Map: This is by a Russian anticorruption agency and is a pretty startling catalogue of allegations about misappropriation of funding and general shady behaviour. Ah, those Olympian ideals!
  • The Sochi Schedule And Results Visualiser: Of course, if all you care about is the sport then you might be more interested in this, which is a cute little interactive which lets you explore the schedule and results for each event taking place over the course of the snowfest. 
  • A Beautifully Deatiled Map Of The Internet: The work of Jay Simons, this is another in the long, long series of cartographic interpretations of the mess that is the internet – this one, though, is beautifully detailed and you really can lose yourself scrolling around its corners. Also, prints are available should you want such a thing, although I’m fairly sure that having one of these on your wall is pretty much the map equivalent of having a room full of replica weapons and armour from Lord of the Rings, or a full-sized mockup of the Enterprise in your basement. 
  • Wingman: Imagine you’re sitting on a plane and you spot an incredibly attractive person a few rows ahead of you. You could just sit there and silently imagine the future life you could have together and what your children might look like, whilst doing nothing about it at all as you get increasingly drunk on poor-quality white wine miniatures and berate yourself for your lack of chirpsing chutzpah, OR you could whip out your phone and use this app which will, apparently, let you chat up people who are on flights with you (presuming they’re using it too, of course, which is a fairly massive assumption but we’ll gloss over that for now). Details on how it will actually function are sketchy (read: nonexistent) at the moment, but I’m including it largely as my friend Tinni had this idea about 5 years ago except she’d have called it ‘Dates On A Plane’ which is a MUCH better name. 
  • That One Song: I really like This Is My Jam, the music service which encourages people to choose the ONE song that they’re obsessing over each week and share it with the world. This is a supersmart extension to that service, using a few years’ worth of user data to define the most popular song for each artist and packaging it as ‘if you only listen to one song by this person/these people, the song you should listen to is…’. A really nice way of introducing yourself to new artists, and it fits very well indeed with the BRAND ETHOS of the platform and all that guff. 
  • All I could think of when I came across this earlier this week is how incredibly easily it could ruin friendships and sow mistrust. is a newish app (currently only available in the US and Canada) which once installed allows users to send completely anonymous messages to everyone in their phone’s addressbook who’s also on the app. So you can say anything you like to people you actually know in the real world without anyone knowing who said it. Now just think about that for a second – imagine the sort of traumatic/amazingly voyeuristic stuff you get on PostSecret, except that you know it’s come from someone you ACTUALLY KNOW. Seriously, would the temptation to just write stuff like ‘I lie every day to the person who thinks I love them best’ and ‘I have found a way of cutting which no one sees’ JUST TO MESS WITH PEOPLE not be overwhelming? Erm, no? Oh God, I’m a dreadful person. Erm. Hm. I think I’ve probably just discovered something quite unpleasant about myself. You can probably apply all sorts of fun gameplay mechanics to it to, of course – see, that’s a nice, light-hearted application. I’m not a bad person, honest. 
  • Your Ad Here: I like this project. Your Ad Here is looking to connect East London artists with small businesses in their local area to create billboard ads for them – these ads will then be displayed on specially selected ad hoardings in suitable locations for upto 3 years. Part of Create London, which is a generally brilliant arts organisation doing great stuff, it’s already got some big names including Jeremy Deller on board. 
  • Easy Text Analysis: A free textual analysis tool which purports to spot patterns and do a degree of sentiment analysis too. I can’t claim to have played with this too much, so I can’t vouch for its power, but the case studies on the homepage seem interesting and I think that if you crunch a lot of data you should probably take a look. 
  • The Outernet – The Internet IN SPACE: There’s quite a lot of scifi-ish stuff out there this week, none more than this project which aims to create a universal cheap broadband network across the world using satellites. Actual satellites, in space. I’m not going to pretend to understand the tech at play here because…well…I really don’t, but it’s all sorts of mind-boggling. 
  • A Map Of All Of The Weather: We’re having a lot of weather at the moment, you may have noticed. This is a gorgeous globe-based map of wind and ocean currents around the world, using realtime data from a variety of sources. It’s sort of beautiful and hypnotic, and would make quite a nice installation in and of itself.
  • What Appears To Be Another Teledildonics Site: This is SUCH a horrible website (sorry, but it really is), but I think it’s for a load of tech which is trying to bring teledildonics into the mainstream (really, I don’t think that this is going to happen any time soon, however clean and attractive and normal-looking the models you use in the ads are). What’s interesting about this is the design and positioning of it – sleek, affluent-appearing…and yet the v/o’s mention of ‘female to multiple male’ connections makes me think of webcam workers and pro-sex. Which, really, is ALL SORTS of creepy and horrible, as is par for the course with this sort of stuff. 
  • Scanvine: This is another ugly-ish site, but one which I think is probably a lot more interesting and useful than the previous one (for most of you, at least – and who am I to judge, really?). Scanvine takes data from a very wide variety of news and information sites across the web, both mainstream and less so, and explores which of their stories are being most-shared across the web; a sort of virality-tracker for news. It’s American-focused, being as it is a US site, but I think you can get quite a lot of interesting information from the API about views vs shares across sites, etc etc etc. Useful for datawonks and students of the new journalism, I think (is ‘the new journalism’ even a thing? I think I might be talking crap). 
  • Playing Tekken On The Piano: A friend of mine did something similar with Pong a few years back; this is a clever little hack of the game Tekken, which allows users to play the game by using a piano keyboard as controller, thereby winning by playing music. Admittedly the music created is only barely worthy of the name, but I like the work they’ve done on creating a musical interface for the game.
  • Manhattan Booze Delivery: Are these things coming back? This feels VERY bubble-ish…anyway, back in the days of the first dotcom boom, there were several startups which rose and then spectacularly fell, predicated on the concept of online ordering and delivery of EVERYTHING for 0 markup (see the flaw in the business model?). Anyway, this one’s just for booze and just in Manhattan – but do they not have 24h boozeshops there? Are people really that lazy that they can’t stagger to the cornershop at 4am to pick up another 3 bottles of filthbooze? Jesus, show some commitment to your alcoholism. 
  • Beta Online Streaming / Sharing Service: This is called Tiplii and based on the ‘signup – we’ll be giving beta access VERY SOON’ page it looks like it might be quite interesting, purporting as it does to allow easy streaming/sharing of video and other stuff from mobile to webwide audiences. Not the first service to promise this sort of thing, but worth keeping an eye on as it seems quite slick (though obviously that means very little if it falls over every 5 seconds). 
  • Your Online Self Need Never Die: Were it not for the fact that there are some very real-seeming MIT people named and pictured at the bottom of this, I’d be inclined to think that this was part of some sort of elaborate promotion for some film or another. It’s not, though, unless it’s VERY well masked. is (or, more accurately, aims to become) an extension of your online persona which will exist after your demise – taking cues from your social media profiles built up while you’re alive and creating an ‘AI’ (my inverted commas – it’s unclear what sort of ‘intelligence’ they’re aiming for here, or how Turing Test-y it will bet) from the posts you’ve made which can continue interacting with your loved ones and friends after you’re dead. So basically if you affect the persona of a double-figure-IQ moron online, expect that to be the version of you which persists into eternity online. There is so much here that is scifi and weird and questionable – not least on a technical level, as this stuff is HARD – and I’m personally sort of convinced that it will be a long, long time until this is anything other than a mirage, but it’s a wonderful conceit (and to return to a perennial Web Curios obsession, is very reminiscent of Neuromancer – in this case, the McCoy Pauly ‘constuct’). 
  • The Sony World Photography Awards: Just incredible, some of these. Although the one of the wildebeest does to me look ‘shopped to the point where it no longer even tries to resemble actual photography, which once again raises the question of the extent to which digital manipulation has rendered it something sort of other; can we PLEASE have a ‘no photoshop’ photoprize somewhere, please? Oh.
  • A Truly HUGE Collection Of Ascii Art: I hope that at least one of you will find this useful – if nothing else, if you’re a geeky brand then you could do worse than making a load of ascii valentine’s cards from them for distribution (don’t say I never do anything for you). 
  • The Future Timeline: This is quite an odd website, featuring HUGE amounts of futurology, arranged year-by-year. No idea who’s collating all of the information, but whoever it is is keeping it reasonably well-updated and reactive; looking at the stuff for the next few years, there’s nothing particularly outlandish or unbelievable but quite a lot more which is seemingly quite sensible. Bookmark this for when you’re all doing your inevitable 2015 predictions presentations for speculation-hungry clients in 10 months’ time. 
  • Really Creepy Slinky-like Sculptures Of Heads Made From Paper: Watch the video – there will be a point where you sort of involuntarily recoil, I promise you. It’s not gross, don’t worry, just…unsettling, for reasons I don’t really understand. Sort of reminds me of the work of Bill Plympton, more because of my reaction to it than the aesthetics. 
  • Projection-mapped Guitar Show: This is a now-funded Kickstarter, but it’s worth a look as the concept – a one-person guitar show accompanied by projection mapping onto both the instrument and the background – and using the music to generate live mapped projections over the course of an hour-long performance. A beautiful idea – would love to see this. 
  • 15-Second Cookery Shows: This is one of the best uses of Instagram video I’ve yet seen – this bloke has created a series of nicely filmed 15-second films of him showing people how to cook various sorts of fish. Simple, well-made and useful, this is either going to be commissioned by a brand soon or ripped off by one (on your marks, get set…). 

By Matt Groening




  • Google’s Devart Challenge: Very exicting if you’re a digital artist – Google, in partnership with The Barbican, is offering a developer the chance to have a large-scale installation in the space, alongside existing, recognised digital artists. There’s obviously all sorts of questions around the entry / selection criteria (I promise not to get into a tedious ‘but what IS digital art?’ conversation with myself, honest – you can read a non-tedious open letter on the subject here if you like), but the initiative is great and I’m rather looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. You can read more about it here, should you so wish.
  • The Seattle Space Needle: I have no idea if this is a new website (though I think it is, what with it being all HTML5 and shiny and stuff), but I rather like the gimmick – go on, click and see for yourself. 
  • Crowdwish: A site made by people in London, asking people to submit wishes, getting the community to vote on them and choose one ‘winning’ wish ecah day, and then doing ‘something’ to make those wishes closer to reality. I sort of feel like I should really dislike this, but the approach to the ‘winning’ wishes so far has been pleasingly esoteric, from buying Euromillions tickets to arranging bulk-buy deals for purchasing iPhones, and the tone of the whole thing is well-pitched. The wishes are a mixture of the nakedly commercial and the pleasingly whimsical,and overall it’s just a nice project. Have a look.
  • Race Yourself With Glass: Another week, another Glass app – this one’s a fitness hack which tracks your time over distance and allows you to race yourself, in a real-life equivalent of the ‘ghost mode’ from car racing videogames. Basically you’ll see a virtual representation of your previous time over a course in your Glass display, which you’ll be encouraged to beat, earning points for so doing. Glass will be the thing which resurrects the concept of gamification, I think. More’s the pity. 
  • Rats With Teddy Bears: This is the sort of thing which may well have been in the Mail this week – if so, apologies. If not – LOOK! RATS HOLDING TINY TEDDY BEARS!!! Look at their little twitchy plague-carrying snouts!
  • Beautiful Photographs of Sea Caves: Truly amazing photos of the striations and rock formations of sea caves, ordinarily inaccessible except by boat but rendered walkable thanks to extreme temperatures and frozen seas. Gorgeous. 
  • The Virtual Theremin: If you’re unlucky enough not to have your own owl theremin, you could do worse than to have a play with this virtual equivalent. Tell you what, why not try communicating with the colleague opposite you solely via the medium of theremin noises this afternoon? They’ll relish it, I promise. 
  • Vintage Posters From Oldschool Skinflicks: Notable not only for the artwork, but also for the often baffling straplines. I’m a fan of the double entendre, and often the single one, but really – what does ‘Her Garden Of Eden Was Under ANY Tree’ even mean?
  • Terrible Wordsearches: Community managers! Do you hate your jobs and the idiots who you interact with in the name of BRANDED ENGAGEMENT on Facebook? Well why not spend the next week trolling them by posting nothing but these dreadful wordsearches under the guise of ‘fun games we can play’? The best thing is that there’s a generator buried on the page somewhere which lets you create one using whatever word you choose – perfect for game-based branded moments of truth. 
  • Subtle Patterns: Free-to-use tileable, textured patterns for web developers, all under Creative Commons. Useful for some of you, perhaps. 
  • Life Once Removed: A photoproject by artist Suzanne Heintz, photographing herself around the world with her mannequin family. The artist states that it’s a commentary on spinsterhood and singledom in modern America, and who am I to argue – they’re deeply sad pictures, in any case, but beautifully composed. 
  • 3d-Printed Popeye: Just terrifying. Will be interesting to see the development of 3d printing in the context of sculpture over the course of the next 12-18 months, I think.
  • All Of Prince’s Hairstyles: Prince this week has created one of those moments, like the Stone Roses at Spoke Island or the Beatles in Germany, where far more people will claim to be at his gigs than could physically ever have been. No matter – this little illustration documenting the diminutive human erection’s hairstyles over the years may provide some scant consolation if you’ve yet to see one of his AMAZING SECRET (NOT SECRET) GIGS. 
  • A New HTML5 Game Each Week: Thomas (I can’t find his surname on the site) has set himself a task – to build a new game, from scratch, in HTML5 each week for a year. He’s 8 games in at the moment – it’s a fun collection of toys, and (if you’re interested in coding AS WE ARE ALL MEANT TO BE THIS YEAR (an aside – really, it’s NOT possible to learn to code in a day, whatever the Government may find it convenient to tell people)) a useful diary of the learning process he’s going through. 
  • Electric Sheep: There have been quite a few projects over the years using the collaborative power of ‘sleeping’ computers to work on large, complex projects; this is the art equivalent. Electric Sheep uses hibernating machines to generate morphing, abstract animations which over time are refined and ‘evolve’ based on user review and voting. An interesting project, and a very hypnotic thing to download onto your tablet-type device. 
  • Vintage Work Safety Posters From Holland: As non-scaremongering as you wold expect, and some great art styles and design amongst the collection here. 
  • Only The Best Recipes: A recipe search website which limites resulst to the top 1% of results from a selection of popular peer-reviewed recipe sites. A nice idea, and this sort of layered metacuration is going to become more and more popular (DUH!). Annoyingly all the sites are American and so they use STUPID measurements (sorry, Americans, but ‘cups’?), but the idea’s good. 
  • Images Of The French Revolution: A collection of 12,000+ images from the Stanford archives from the French Revolution – etchings, engravings, satirical cartoons…there’s a treasure-trove of stuff here, if you’re a scholar or just generally interested. 
  • Easel Is An In-Broswer Web Design App: Basically lets you do webdesign in a VERY BASIC but helpfully simple / visual way and then export the code. It’s not hugely powerful, but it’s quite useful and could actually be a helpful learning aid for people trying to get their heads round HTML/CSS.
  • The Analog(ue) Memory Desk: A brilliant piece of design, this desk is designed to enable you to record everything you could ever possibly want to record, in analogue fashion. Just lovely. 
  • Dave Benson Philips Will Do Things For Stuff: 30somethings across Britain seem to have a weirdly close relationship with kids’ TV star Dave Benson Philips – now that so many of us are in POSITIONS OF POWER (ie churning out brand-related rubbish as we all did pointless arts degrees back in the boom years and have no real skills or talents beyond a vague feel for popular culture and a rough understanding of postmodernism), why not indulge that nostalgia and book Dave for a brand-related engagement (or indeed for anything)? He’s available for public appearances in exchange for…er…a Nando’s meal. Or some trestle tables. Seriously, Dave, you’re better than this. 
  • Yung Lennox Draws Album Covers: If you want to buy a representation of a famous album cover as drawn by a talented 7 year old, then this is the website for you. They’re actually pretty good, and I quite want the ODB one
  • Macedonia Has The World’s Most Terrifying Carnival: This is called ‘The Carnival of the Vevcani’. It happens every January. Imagine doing acid and then going to this. 
  • Poolside FM: A site which streams a selection of 80s pop hits in conjuction with a series of videoclips showing beach/poolside scenes from a variety of 80s films and shows. Big hair and bikinis, basically.
  • The Creepiest Gifs Ever: Jesus, they’re not lying. 
  • LOVE XXX: I literally have no idea what this is, beyond the fact that it’s obviously some sort of art project and that it occasionally throws up male and female nudity as it cycles through pictures. It’s quite rabbithole-y, though, so go and click around and see what oddities you find. 
  • Brand New Garbage Pail Kids: Readers of a certain age will get all nostalgic about these – younger people, take note! This is what we got excited about in the playground when we didn’t have the ability to send pictures of our genitals to each other via the medium of mobile telephony. 
  • Google Trends For Pr0n: Yep, that very thing. Porngram has taken the titles of skinflicks (over 800,000 of them) and lets you look at trends of keywords featured in the titles. Really interesting from a social psychology point of view, and also quite depressing depending on what you choose to search. Totally SFW. 
  • Dumbstruck: This is going to end badly. Dumbstruck is an app which allows users to send messages to others – these others have, to see the message, to allow their phone to access the front-facing camera, thus taking a short video of their face as they read the message. Expect this to lead to a rash of prank texts where people send their parents / partners really horrible revelations and film their reactions FOR THE LULZ!
  • I Have Something To Tell You: On that very note, let me leave you with this. A photoproject by artist Adrain Chesser, in which he tells his friends and family that he’s HIV positive and then photographs their reaction. Yes, quite. I know, I know, ART, but still. There are quite a few of these where the person’s expression is a mixture of shock, sadness, and eyes that say ‘you total and utter prick, Adrain’.
  • Horace And Agnes: Actually no, I’m not going to leave this section there as it’s just too sad. I’m going to leave you with the somewhat perplexing love story between Horace and Agnes, as told in photographs. Enjoy. 

By Tejal Patni



  • Citation Needed: A collection of oddities and seemingly un-factchecked Wikipedia entries. 
  • WikiPicks: More Wikipedia, this time in the shape of some of the more esoteric facts which you can dig up from the site. 
  • Girls Giving Compliments: A collection of those ‘your hair is lovely’, ‘no YOUR hair is lovely’ conversations which you occasionally see women having on the internet (look, it’s true, come on. Not everyone, not all the time, but you’ve all seen this stuff on Facebook and you’re lying if you say you haven’t).
  • Millennial Gospel: I don’t really know what this is, but it does contain some great pro-Jesus imagery and inspirational quotes and stuff, as well as the BEST religious streetwear outfit you’re likely to see in 2014.
  • Love For Sale: Valentine’s illustrations inspired by the music of Talking Heads. Pretty damn niche, even by Tumblr standards. 
  • Slapped For the Very First Time: I KNOW THAT THIS ISN’T A TUMBLR BUT IT REALLY SHOULD BE. One person’s quest to listen to a new album every day and to write up their thoughts. Nice project and a decent pointer towards some stuff you might not know yourselves.
  • Lush Sux: Lush is, I think, a Spanish graffiti artist who does quite a lot of pseudo-disruptive stuff. This tumblr collects his more guerilla-ish projects – I’m quite uncomfortable about the homeless art dealer idea, but there are some interesting other ones on there. 
  • Who’s Daft Punk?: WHO ARE THE MEN BEHIND THE MASKS? A series of speculations can be found here, should you wish to look. 
  • Art Of The Rap Logo: A collection of logos designed for and used by rap acts. Ah, personal branding, it’s a beautiful thing. 
  • Figure Skating Costumes: TOPICAL.
  • Newsgames: A Tumblr promoting a conference taking place in March to investigate and discuss the development of game-type techniques in news (cf Us Vs Th3m, etc). 
  • The Design Of Stephen Wildish: Amusing Venn diagrams and flowcharts and generally good design
  • Post Libertarian: Artworks ‘hacked’ to provide SATIRICAL COMMENT on neoliberalism. A bit of a blunt instrument, but the Ayn Rand one made me laugh quite a lot. 
  • We Invent You: More arty gifs, by the people who made the rather excellent conference call simulator from a few weeks ago.
  • Contemporary Art Event Generator: In Peckham.
  • Computers On Law And Order: Screencaps of computers as featured on the TV show Law & Order (which is actually part of this project here which is all serious and academic and stuff)
  • Pornhub Comments On Valentine’s Cards: The logical conclusion of the recent trend for the juxtaposition of bongo comments with non-bongo imagery. Obviously all the text is total filth, but I challenge you not to laugh. 


  • The Buzzfeed Style Guide: It’s very easy to be sniffy about Buzzfeed, and God knows I’ve spunked enough words doing that very thing (I’m just bitter and jealous really), but their style guide is actually a really, really interesting snapshot of contemporary Western web culture and a very comprehensive document indeed. A genuinely interesting thing to flick through, although they are VERY WRONG about some things (in particular the spelling of ‘chocolatey’, which DOES have an ‘e’, whatever they may say. Or, er, having googled it just now, whatever anyone else may say either. Oh, damn, I’m wrong about this, aren’t I?
  • A History Of The Selfie: The article which should have been written last year when the term got dictionaried (I know, not a word – I’m having a bad morning in that regard) but which no one did write because it would have taken longer than an hour to pen and, you know, SPEED. Anyway, it’s a rather more in-depth look than you might expect at the concept and generally an interesting read, placing self-portraiture in artistic/cultural context rather neatly. 
  • The Typography of 2001: The first post on a new site looking at the use of typography in science fiction, this looks at the manner in which fonts and type-design are utilised in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Far more interesting than you’d expect, I promise, although obviously you’ll get more out of this if you’re a designer or Kubrick/fonts obsessive.
  • On Katie Hopkins And The Danger Of Obverse Journalism: It’s not really stating anything other than the obvious to assert that one-woman outrage bomb Katie Hopkins is A Bad Thing for reasoned, intelligent debate (although you do wonder what sort of point an individual’s life must have reached when they really will hold any viewpoint, no matter how utterly hateful, on television in exchange for money) – this piece from VICE, though, is a decent look at why defining any debate in binary, oppositional terms is also A Bad Thing. BONUS – babyfaced scion of the left Owen Jones on his recent appearance on FIGHTNOTDEBATETELLY.
  • A Truly Weird Interview With Michael Keaton: Yes, that Michael Keaton – he’s promoting several films including the bound-to-be-dreadful Robocop reboot – the one who was the first Batman. This is a sort of remarkable profile of him in US Esquire in which he comes across as really quite mad, in a sort of nice, helpful fashion. Great read. 
  • A Brief History Of Class And Faeces In India: Sanitation in India is a very complicated business, not least because of the caste system. This is a VERY long but equally interesting examination of said caste system and the steps that are being taken by some to try and change the manner in which the lowest rung of Indian society relate to the waste products of the highest. WARNING: contains quite a lot of talk about faeces. 
  • Too Poor For Pop Culture: Probably the best individual piece of writing on here this week, this is a Baltimore academic’s essay about the people he lives and grew up with, and what it’s like being part of a culture which simply doesn’t have the luxury of understanding what all the ephemeral crap which makes up 90% of the media, and indeed this blog, is. 
  • Street Fighter 2 – An Oral History: A kilometric remembrance of the origins and development of the daddy of all beat’em’ups Street Fighter 2. Obviously one for the gamers, but I promise that it’s interesting even if you’re not a fanboy (although I concede it probably does help). 
  • Posters And Stories From The Golden Age of Magic: ANOTHER great piece on Collector’s Weekly, collecting images of posters from the days when Houdini was king, and people really did used to believe in bulletcatching. If you’ve ever read Carter Beats The Devil (and it is very good indeed), then you will love this. 
  • Things That Sound Like Bullsh*t But Which In Fact Aren’t: If even 20% of these things are actually true (and it’s Reddit, and it’s the internet, so large ladlefuls of salt are advised) then you will be SURPRISED and AMAZED.
  • The Homophobia Of Men’s Figure Skating: It’s nothing new to comment on how…well…camp much of the Winter Olympics sporting panoply is; this is a slightly sad look at one of the more obviously flamboyant sports and the strange and old-fashioned homophobia which exists around it. 
  • Making A Living From YouTube: It basically looks like NO FUN whatsoever, is the upshot – there’s quite a lot of GOOGLE IS EVIL subtext (not even that sub, to be honest) in this, but the main thing I got from it is that these poor buggers are just trapped in an endless cycle of having to dance EVERY DAY for the watchers if they want to eat. Which is a bit grim, really. 
  • American Football – The Review: American Football, reviewed as if it were a videogame, at great length, by the inimitable Tim Rogers. You sort of need to like either games or American Football to get this, otherwise you can skip it without fear. 
  • On Tour With The Sex Pistols: Anecdotes from their 1978 tour of Texas. My favourite line is the one about them all having skin ‘like lizards’ – even by the standards of late-70s Britain, these are some PROPERLY unhealthy looking young men.

By Seung Hoon Park


1) We’ll kick off with something that will work for about 3 of you, I think, and leave the rest of you a bit frustrated and perplexed. You remember those magic eye pictures which were all the rage in the mid-90s? Well this is a whole video done in the style of those. CAN YOU SEE THE SAILBOAT? Even if it doesn’t work for you, though, the song’s quite good in a jangly indiepop sort of fashion – Young Rival, with ‘Black Is Good’:

2) Next, an animation which struck me as sort of appropriate in the wake of the Superbowl and all the adgasming which followed. This is called ‘Love In The Time Of Advertising’, and it’s just charming – beautifully animated, and the song/narration is really very good indeed. Take 8 minutes while you have a cup of tea and enjoy it:

3) This is an advert. Sorry. It’s for a Norwegian company that does filming with drones – JUST LOOK HOW GORGEOUS THIS STUFF IS. It’s almost worth accepting 24h airborne surveillance in exchange for this sort of video (it’s really not, I promise):

4) This is really quite mental. So below is a video by what is apparently a subversive, non-officially-sanctioned alternative Winter Olympics mascot, all trippy and countercultural…except, as this article explains, it’s actually a faux-countercultural mascot supported and bankrolled by the Russian administration. I know we’re living in a BELIEVE NOTHING era, but even by those standards this is pretty creepy:

5) More American Football – this is called Game Day, it’s by Uncle Funkle (no, me neither), and it’s sort of half song and half poem and it reminds me of all sorts of rather good Americana and basically I REALLY LIKE IT, and I hope you do too:

6) Another week, another application of the Doge meme to another corner of popular culture. This time it’s gender politics and pornography, as brought to you by Bright Desire, a company which apparently makes female-friendly / focused bongo (the site’s not very SFW, as you might expect). The video below examines the prevalence of the male gaze in mainstream pr0n, with Doge-ish commentary. It’s obviously really not at all safe for work, despite the Doge heads helpfully obscuring the erogenous zones, but it is funnier than it ought to be. Honest:

7) By contrast, this isn’t pr0n but is still the sexiest thing I’ve seen in ages and ages. Telling the story of a pair of former lovers who see each other again on the tube when they’re with their new partners, it accompanies a song called ‘Alternate World’ by a band called Son Lux, and the performances by the leads are really rather excellent. Or at least I think so; feel free to disagree:

8) Another animation, this time for the song ‘Son’ by Concorde – I’ve just realised that there’s quite a lot of sex or at least nudity in here this week, for which apologies, but this also contains (cartoon) breasts from the outset, so caveat emptor and all that. Anyway, it’s a good song and I think the video tells a story very well (admitted;y not a very happy one) – the artwork’s apparently based on that by this man, in case you like it:

9) WARNING: THIS ISN’T IN ANY WAY FUNNY OR ‘WEIRD’ OR IN ANY WAY NICE. Bit conflicted about posting this, but it’s by far the most powerful thing I’ve seen in ages. I know that on many levels this is propaganda, and I also know that the conflict in Syria is complex and horrendous and none of the main factions involved are in any way blameless for the mess that the country finds itself in, but with those caveats in place…this video’s called ‘Assad Barrels’, and is in two parts – the first shows barrels full of TNT being dropped on Damascus, over and over and over again, with a very minimal backing score. It’s just relentless and incredibly, incredibly sad. The second part then shows some of the aftermath of said barrels – I strongly advise that you don’t watch past 5:30 if you’re feeling sensitive, as there’s some very graphic stuff there. Happy Friday. 




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