Webcurios 13/11/15

Reading Time: 24 minutes

[image missing]

Stephen Allport, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenallport/22241824215/

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!!!!!!: