Webcurios 26/02/16

Reading Time: 25 minutes

Well, now we know. 4 months of tedium as a bunch of dullards attempt to convince a largely ambivalent electorate of the validity of their point of view – I thought we did this last year, but it turns out that referenda are even WORSE than general elections from the point of view of them just wanging on and on and on and on and on…

Web Curios, by contrast, with its snappy prose style and easily digestible selection of infopellets, could NEVER be accused of outstaying its welcome, which is why the opening section is going to breeze past you as it’s barely here this week, leaving you free to root through the compost heap of internet as you see fit – please, though, remember the gloves and the facemasks, and remember to wash thoroughly afterwards as the stench of web is so hard to shift. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

By Isidro Blasco




  • Facebook Reactions Are Finally Here!: I don’t doubt that each and every one of you will have had your own excited series of conversations on Facebook this week marvelling at your newfound emotional range, so I’m not going to dwell on this. Only observations really worth making are that a) Christ does it feel a touch infantilising; b) You can actually get reasonably useful analytical breakdowns of the different reponses through Post Analytics; and c) wouldn’t it be nice if for the next few weeks and months everyone responded with the ‘angry’ or ‘sad’ face to every single advert they see, purely so that the people responsible for reporting the performance of the ad buys have to explain exactly why they spent all those thousands of pounds to make people feel sad or angry. Think of it as a really small, slightly rubbish rebellion against the inevitable, and then cry to yourself about just how much worse everything is going to get.

  • Facebook Canvas is Finally Here!: Facebook Canvas, in case you have unaccountably forgotten, is the new type of ad unit Facebook’s rolling out as of TODAY which is basically like Instant Articles for ads – the units don’t cost any more, apparently, but are effectively rich media equivalents of the sort of ad-specific mobile site that you might once have sent users to; basically it’s another THING inside Facebook’s walled garden. These actually look rather swish, I must say, and I’d expect to see these everywhere in a week or so. Definitely worth playing with if you have lots of EXCITING CONTENT to show people, although we all know that even those with nothing whatsoever in the way of EXCITING CONTENT will jump on the bandwagon and start spaffing their dull rhetoric into our eyes in RICH MEDIA fashion. So it goes.

  • Facebook Video Birthday Messages: It’s a 21C truth universally acknowledged that the lazy reflex action of writing ‘Happy Birthday’ on Facebook is pretty much the lowest rung of the friendship ladder; effectively the equivalent of saying “I am marginally more positive than base-level ambivalence about your continued existence, but I do not care enough to attempt to interact with you in a manner which requires any more than the minimal level of effort, and I have no actual desire to ever interact with you in real life so don’t get any fcuking ideas mate” – now Facebook’s going to start exhorting us to record short video messages to bestow these light-touch wishes. Interesting more because of the potential extensions – I can imagine competitions and the like being run like this from a brand point of view, although now I’m typing it that sounds like a dreadful idea so maybe just forget I started this.

  • Snapchat On Demand: For those of you with a legitimate reason to be on Snapchat as a brand, this is (I think) BIG NEWS. Basically it’s opened up the creation of geofenced filters to anyone – brands or, you know, ACTUAL PEOPLE. They’re incredibly simple to set up as this piece illustrates; if you have an event going on, or a set of physical locations to which you think MILLENNIALS will be flocking (cf fashion and food brands, I speak to YOU) then why wouldn’t you experiment with this – effectively anyone Snapping from within the geofenced area will be presented with the option to put YOUR branded filter on their Snap, which seems like a pretty good deal. The best thing? At the time of writing there is absolutely NOTHING brands can do to prevent other brands from creating geofenced areas around their rivals’ geographical properties, so if any football club digital people are reading this may I suggest a SICK BURN on your greatest rival’s stadium? £50 by PayPal, please, for that one.

  • Automatically Blur Moving Objects On YouTube: Really dull, this, but useful if you need to blur the face of the one person who didn’t give consent to be filmed and who irritatingly is always in shot.

  • YouTube Next Up: YouTube is now taking applications to join the next round of its STARS OF THE FUTURE programme. I don’t really know why I’m including this here – I mean, I’m not convinced that, of the tens of you reading this, any of you are shiny-haired, dazzling-toothed anodyne narcissists with a webcam and a fairly messy psychological breakdown lurking in your futures (though I may be wrong), and those of you with teenage kids probably wouldn’t necessarily want YT stardom thrust upon them, but nevertheless.

  • Pinterest Rich Pins Get Richer: Well, for films and recipes at least. If you’re a cinema chain or do food stuff, you will now be able to have film showing times on your movie-related Pins, and recipe information on your food-related Pins. HUZZAH!

  • Twitter’s Missing Manual: Not ‘news’, but actually a really interesting document (and a useful one) on how Twitter practically works as a platform – reading this you get a feel for exactly how daunting people find the platform on first entry. Useful in case you still need to educate people about how starting a Tweet with an @reply means basically noone sees it, which I for one am so fcuking bored of telling people that I’ve taken to doing it in borderline-offensive sign language.

  • La French Touch: What do you think of when you think of cognac? You think of snifters, don’t you, and maybe rappers ostentatiously brandishing immense bottles of the stuff before unaccountably mixing it with cough syrup…maybe a cigar or two, a Napoleonic hat… Until now, you’d probably never thought of a strangely blocky CGI swift flying through the streets of a virtual Paris before landing in a swanky nightsport to great acclaim, and yet that is EXACTLY the experience offered by this site from swanky boozepeddlers Martell, which uses the now-old hat ‘use your phone as a controller’ gimmick to let you fly said virtual swift through the virtual French capital. I know I say this almost every week, but again – WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!? What is it meant to say about brandy? WHY THE SWIFT?! I mean, if Martell had decided to produce a range of ortolan-inspired bottles each containing a dead swift, drowned in delicious brandy and ready to be lightly grilled before being consumed whole so you can taste the hot booze flooding your mouth as you puncture its tiny little lungs with your canines, then that might make sense, but as it is this seems like an AWFULLY fancy website which exists for no purpose whatsoever. Maybe the marketing head’s kid works for the dev agency or something.


By Helen Levitt




  • Rent a Minority: There used to be one of these from a few years back about renting a black friend for white people with a displeasingly caucasian friendship set; this is the 2016 version, when instead of your friendship group being mocked it’s your event panel, because these days it’s actually impossible to see things outside of the tech/startup community (in fairness they also reference adverts and stuff, but it feels like a tech industry gag). Anyway, SATIRE!

  • The Glitch News Network: Another EXCELLENT piece from Shardcore, this; the Glitch News Network presents occasional snapshots of the state of the world in glitched-out gif format. The bot scrapes the pictures from (I think) the frontpage of Buzzfeed News and then messes with them, giving a brilliantly scifi dystopian roundup of what is going on RIGHT NOW. Actually a little scary when seen in bulk, and oddly reminiscent of what happens when you listen back to shows on the BBC Radio app and they seem to always start by clipping in a sentence from a recent news report which are almost universally terrifying when taken out of context (seriously, it breaks in with stuff like “…millions could die in the next decade”, or “…the most powerful laser ever built”. Stuff of nightmares).

  • A Unicode Heart For You: Really, it’s for YOU.

  • Timecall: This is not a new concept – Timecall is a service where users can pay by the second to speak to ‘experts’ over the phone in a variety of fields. The question on my lips is HOW DO I SIGN UP?!?! I want to become an internationally renowned expert on webmonging, offering my counsel for pennies over the phone. Seriously, this sounds like a GREAT way of stopping me from ever having to have a proper job ever again – in fact, if anyone fancies giving me a call to get my INSIGHTS and WISDOM I will do it for the price of a pint, so get in touch on Twitter and let’s DO IT.  

  • Either: Utterly pointless app / website which, unless they are lying about their numbers, seems to be getting an unconscionably large amount of traffic, Either’s premise is simple – users post binary questions of the ‘would you rather…?’ type and then anyone else can vote on them. Strangely and terribly addictive, in a sort of ‘just one more’ sense – so far noone appears to have asked any of the really BIG ones, though, like “would you rather be incontinent or have those permanent snot trails on your face that 3 year old kids always seem to have?” (Answers to me, thanks).

  • Slavery Footprint: Beautifully designed and functional survey website, pointing out exactly how much each of us contribute to the global slave trade based on our personal lifestyle choices (what we own, mainly, but also our diets and the like). Fundamentally really, really depressing, which obviously is the point, but on a purely design-based level also a very nice way of presenting the survey and its findings.

  • Instaminiseries: An Instagram account which shot to fame this week when they started pimping the fact that they were going to run a series of very very short shorts inspired by Bowie’s last album Blackstar, featuring all sorts of MILLENNIAL INFLUENCERS and stuff. The first one debuted yesterday, and, er, well, I’m just going to personally reserve judgment and leave it here for you to form your own opinion of.

  • How To Use Chrome Extensions To Bypass Paywalls: Technical-but-useful, though OBVIOUSLY we should all pay for quality content. Obviously. Web Curios PROTIP: I am presuming you all know that you can bypass quite a few paywalls by just using Chrome’s incognito mode, right? Ctrl+Shift+N. EASY.

  • Frontiers of Peace: Photoproject by Valerio Vincenzo looking at peaceful borders around the Europe; these are rather gorgeous, as well as being a decent illustration of the utter arbitrariness of physical national boundaries. Sort of makes me want to cross as many of these as I can, possibly whilst breaking minor laws. Maybe I could do it naked. Is that a good idea? It’s not, is it?

  • Revenge Dioramas: This is GREAT, it’s just a shame it’s on Facebook. Revenge Dioramas is a Page which responds to submitted tales of injustice by setting up elaborate revenge fantasies enacted by small toys. The woman whose doctor was an arse gets to see him being devoured by a giant toy squid; a feckless ex-husband gets eviscerated by scorpion woman and spider lady. Wonderfully satisfying and VERY silly.

  • The Shortest Murder Mystery EVER: Really clever gimmick, this – Vine superstar Origiful (see Curios passim) has created this INCREDIBLY dense 6-second animation which invites viewers to piece together all the visible clues to solve a miniature whodunnit. You can read more about it here (spoilers), but any brands looking for some creative to rip off could do worse than think about what they could do in a similar vein (inevitably any brand-type variants of this sort of thing will be joyless and horrible, but that’s YOUR problem not mine).

  • Still Life in the Zone: Photos of old women (mostly) in the area surrounding Chernobyl. Less about NUCLEAR DEVASTATION than it is about people maintaining old lifestyles in the face of immense change, although there’s a persistent subtext of everything being violently radioactive which is sort of bleakly awful. No, hang on, come back, these are GREAT!

  • Your Post As A Movie: Fun Redditgame where a poster takes other people’s creations from the site and turns them into film posters with wonderfully creative titles and taglines (and, occasionally, suggested stars). Based on some of these, Hollywood could do worse than adopting this as an accepted part of the development process; I would watch the fcuk out of this one, for example.  

  • Jobbatical: Do you ever dream of running away and leaving it all behind? Of course you do, but you’re weak and scared and probably won’t ever take the necessary leap to break out of the personal and professional rut you find yourself in. That said, you can always dream – Jobattical isn’t quite an ‘escape your life’ website, but it does offer an interesting selection of international job opportunities; the idea being that these are temporary positions which allow people to go and work abroad for a brief time to learn new skills and see new stuff. Depressingly light on bartending gigs in the Caribbean, but worth a look if you’re looking to make a (small, reversible) change.

  • Twitter Goggles: Like the Instagram thing from last week which lets you experience someone else’s timeline; this is exactly the same for Twitter; it’s a script which basically pulls all the people someone’s following into a List which you can then view. Interesting exercise in digital empathy; try it with politicians to see exactly how dull the internet can get if you try hard enough.

  • Explore the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Probably the best way to spend your working afternoon, this – have a wander through the insects! Marvel at the sabretooth tiger! Spend some time visiting the geology section, which is always the most poignant part of natural history museums because they are always so utterly neglected (why does nobody care about rocks? WHY??)! Really quite soothing in the manner in which actual visits to museums never are what with all the children and stuff (yes, yes, HARK AT THE CHILDLESS GROUCH).

  • Verona: When you think about ‘what has the internet ever done for us, eh?’ it’s fair to say that most people’s go to response probably wouldn’t be ‘ushered in a new era of harmony and mutual comprehension, enabling humans from across cultural divides to connect and arrive at a shared understanding of the importance of differing perspectives and how these can peacefully and happily coexist’. Which is a shame. Verona is an app which is trying to undo some of the horror; it’s designed specifically to connect people from supposedly opposing viewpoints via a Tinder-like interface; Trump supporters and Latino voters, Israelis and Palestinians, etc. A lovely idea, and one which I would personally really like to see implemented for pro- and anti-Brexit people, please, particularly if they can guarantee that the woman off that video will be on it.

  • Papercraft Birds: So, so impressive, whether or not you’re a closet Twitcher.

  • Nimble Notes: Were flash cards a thing 20 years ago? I mean, obviously they had been thought of, but were they something which normal people used? Anyway, never used the things but if you’re the sort of person who studies or has kids who study or is interested in learning and STUFF then this might be of interest. Nimble Notes is an online tool which semi-automates the making of flashcards, making them apparently really quick and simple to create and then letting you test yourself using them and gives you analytics on your performance. Frankly this sort of thing scares the hell out of me – imagine being that academically organised! – and almost smacks of the Arnold J Rimmer revision timetable, so beautifully and meticulously constructed that it creation and maintenance leaves no time for actual revision, but then I am long past the point of having to pretend to care about exam success.

  • Profile Page: A photography project contrasting the Facebook Profile pictures of its subjects with their living spaces, juxtaposing the private with the public to pleasing effect. I think there’s actually an interiors / homewares campaign here if you’re an IKEA or something, should any of you be in the market for this sort of thing.

  • Play The Imperial March On A Toad: I mean, not really – this is just a cute piece of YouTube trickery which at least one brand is going to rip off in the next couple of months; why shouldn’t it be YOU?

  • Gigbloc: Another ‘what music is on in the city today?’ mapwebsite, this, with the rather nice gimmick that you can turn today’s gigs into a little radio station powered by Soundcloud. You can also see a genre heatmap of what is popular where in London if that’s your thing, which is nice.

  • The Rosa Parks Papers: The US Library of Congress has published a collection of all its documents and images relating to Parks online; in a week which saw the genuinely heartwarming spectacle of that 106 year old woman meeting Obama (something about which, it turns out, it is entirely impossible to be cynical (and God knows I tried)), it’s salutary to remember how that particularly journey sort of started.

  • Polymail: Pretty powerful-seeming email shell which pulls all sorts of useful functionality into one place, letting you do workflow management and pull in additional info on contacts, etc, all within the single app, combining the functionality of a host of plugins. Obviously INCREDIBLY dull but potentially pretty useful if you’re in the market for this sort of thing.

  • Stripe Atlas: This is, I think, quite a big thing for small businesses. Stripe, the payments system, this week announced its Atlas programme, which as far as I can tell basically will let businesses from anywhere in the world set up and incorporate in the US – the service will help you out with all the legal stuff, creating bank accounts and the like, freeing them up to access all the sorts of benefits and facilities (including Stripe, obvs) which companies in the US can. If you’re a startup this could be pretty interesting.

  • Sense: Inevitable rise of the bots, pt.1: Sense is a service which you can text to get Netflix recommendations; it’s a bot which will have a rudimentary conversation to point you in the direction of the sort of film you think it might like. US-only, sadly, but a really interesting application of bot / messenger tech; I am sort of astounded that Domino’s haven’t yet built the ‘what pizza do you want?’ bot given that they seem to be the ‘pointless early adopters of emergent stuff’ kings (cf emoji pizza ordering, etc), but it can only be a matter of time.


By Richard Feynmann




  • The Macbook Selfie Stick: Think we can declare the selfie stick jokes pretty much done now and just move on with our lives.

  • Socio: Social connectivity app whose gimmick appears to be ‘shake your phone to find contacts who are physically near you’, and whose ultimate purpose must surely be to cause said contacts to hide or run at the sight of some idiot making the universally acknowledged sign for masturbation and then looking quizzically at their phone.

  • Mar Cerda: Another incredibly impressive papercraft artist to follow the birds up there, this is the website of Barcelona-based Mar Cerda who makes incredibly detailed, tiny scenes from paper. Should you need some dioramas making you could do worse than look this person up – these are stunning.

  • Etrigg: This is a great idea, and whilst looking pretty shabby it also seems to work rather well. The idea is that you let it have your location and it tells you what’s going on nearby – the neat thing is that it only displays stuff in the future, in chronological order, and also tells you how far away from you the event is, making it great for impromptu decisionmaking. This is basically how Time Out’s website should work but totally doesn’t – LEARN, TIME OUT PEOPLE.

  • Knownbot: Inevitable rise of the bots, pt.2: Knownbot is a faintly mysterious service awaiting its beta launch which purports to provide off-the-shelf bots for publishers – the idea being, I suppose, that you could get a chat interface to help people source CONTENT from your site, run polls, etc. Welcome to the next step in the data-driven robot future, curated by machines for YOUR (actually almost certainly not your) pleasure.

  • Art Decider: Is your Tweet art? Let this arbiter decide! The obviously semi-infinitely-recursive question that this raises is whether this account itself is also in fact art, but to be honest it’s far too early in the morning for that sort of next-level DEEP THINKING.

  • Daily Burn: I have been to a gym three times in my life in total, forced away by the humiliation of having laughing, burly men putting all the weights back on the machines after I’d stopped using them (and the fact that I am yet to encounter anything quite as stultifyingly tedious as repetitive musclework), and so am probably not the target audience for this. Daily Burn offers a LIVE WORKOUT streamed every day for 30 minutes; I’m not, obviously, an exercise fanatic, but I don’t quite understand the appeal of this (surely there must be shedloads of this stuff on YouTube already?), but maybe there’s the germ of an idea here for a Virgin Active or similar.

  • Sex Dolls: I will never, ever get bored of the creepy horror of photos from the RealDoll factory. LOOK AT THE TEETH! LOOK AT THE TEETH! Seriously, why would anyone want to put any part of themselves inside any part of one of these things?

  • The Playthings Musical VR Playground: Sadly just a video demo, but LOOK how much fun this looks! Who doesn’t want to play gummi bear drums in a junk food-hued virtual environment? NO FCUKER, THAT’S WHO. This sort of stuff makes me genuinely quite excited about the potential for VR experiences in a way that no number of branded experiences ever could.

  • YouTube Poop: NB nothing to do with actual scat, don’t be afraid. Occasionally I stumble across stuff which makes me realise that the internet is SO VAST that there are bits of its culture which can pass even an obsessive by – so it is with YouTube Poop, a term for remixed videos of existing pop culture properties which apparently has been around for ages but which was new to me until this week. SOME WEBMONG I. Anyhow, if you fancy falling into a weird YouTube oubliette for a few hours then this is an EXCELLENT place to start.

  • Graphing When Your Facebook Friends Are Awake: Technical, but worth looking at to get an idea of exactly how creepy some of this stuff can be when you peek just a little further than usual under the hood. Read this and bear in mind that this is the sort of information that is being collected about you ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY, by the magic little machine you carry so close to you.

  • Mienfield: Want to play an infinitely sized, massively multiplayer version of Minesweeper in your browser? OH GOOD!

  • Hololens Demo Video: Hololens, lest you forget, is Microsoft’s own exciting VR tech thingy; this video, showing how easy it is to make multi-avatar VR/AR experiences which map onto the real world, is just sort of incredibly impressive. Good luck getting tomorrow’s kids to want to do anything other than play videogames, seriously.

  • Succulent Jewellery: Jewellery with actual, living succulents (you know, those plants with the fat leaves which miraculously live off nothing but air) on them – they grow as you wear the pieces, to the point where you can detach them and keep them as plants whilst still having the accessory. Obviously a preposterous idea, but the concept made me very happy indeed although I couldn’t quite explain why.

  • Workhouse: Included solely because of the fact it made me REALLY ANNOYED when I saw it this week and hence I feel compelled to share it with you too, this is a clothing brand from London which seeks to mimic the aesthetic of the impoverished Victorians, so YOU TOO can dress like a malnourished urchin from the mid-19thC but, in true 21stC fashion, you can pay a violent amount of modern day cashmoney for the privilege. Oh, and the name – NICE TOUCH, GUYS! This could only be improved by the inclusion of ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ as their tagline.

  • The Oz Archives: Oz Magazine, for those of you too young to have heard of it, is synonymous with freedom of speech in the UK (and Australia where it originated) – the sort of pop-culture equivalent of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which broke down some of the barriers the UK had in the middle-20thC around freedom of expression and what could (and couldn’t) be published without falling foul of the country’s then-archaic obscenity laws. The University of Wollagong has digitised all the magazine’s issues and put them online – this is just BRILLIANT. Reading them feels like a proper step back in time, and like you’re peeking in on something genuinely subversive and dangerous and EXCITING, in a way that very little does in the oh-so-permissive 21stC. Great design, too, aside from anything else – seriously, check the collection out.

  • MSQRD: Basically the Snapchat Facemorphing tech spun out into its own app. Suggest that you start using this to deliver all important pieces of information you need to share with your family, friends or colleagues – difficult news is far easier to take when it’s delivered by someone wearing a CGI sloth’s face, after all.

  • The Rave Tapes: ANOTHER exceptional collection of 90s rave tapes – Helter Skelter, Hysteria, One Nation, all the big names – here presented for your listening pleasure. Took me RIGHT BACK to that period at school where literally EVERYONE wanted undercuts to go with their curtains, and the NAF NAF / Technics bomber jacket was ubiquitous (along with Dready/Spliffy jeans), despite the fact that this was Wiltshire and we were all about 13. GREAT DAYS.

  • Emojini: Basically a MAGICAL service which analyses any picture that you plug into it and suggests the best emoji to accompany it. Plug in your Instagram account and up your emoji game in minutes (or don’t; in fact, please don’t)!

  • Unique Flow: This is technically a promo for some car or another, but the connection is SO TENUOUS that I’m just going to present it as a rather curios webart project and ignore the branding altogether. I mean, come on, this is how the explain it – come on, mate, you’re not fooling anyone, this is BUNKUM: “HA Unique Flow is a continuous forward movement that travels on elegant calligraphic lines tracing along the features of the C-HR. You’re taken on a luminous interactive journey through minimal architectures and spatial drawings. The lines of the art which you influence mimic the signature shapes and curves of the C-HR and day and night driving moods are reflected through lights and colour palettes. With every key press the experience enrichens, triggering audio-visual events along the road. And the moment you let go? You get carried by the flow.” Well quite.

  • You Are George Lucas: Or at least you are in this EXCELLENT and not a little epic Choose Your Own Adventure-style game from the clever people at Clickhole. Can YOU get Star Wars made? Very, very funny, and the best way to kill 15 minutes whilst laughing you will see all day.

  • Can’t Get Enough Of Myself: Finally this week, ANOTHER single serving website music video THING, which does the whole ‘your face HERE’ thing so popular 5 years ago but jazzes it up for the NEW AGE by using live footage from your webcam to put you into Santigold’s latest vid. Really, really slick, this, and the first time I’ve seen live-video-within-video integration done in this manner (so expect to see it all over the place to the point of total tedium in the next quarter).


By Rose Lynn Fisher




  • Found: Excellent Tumblr by National Geographic Magazine, punting out obscure or forgotten photos from the magazine’s archives. Endlessly interesting.

  • Keelayjams: The Tumblr of digital artist Kyle Matthew F Williams, collecting his slightly surreal pop-culture inspired gifs and things.

  • Music PR NOPE: The travails of being a music PR (in my experience literally THE lowest form of life in the already millimetre-shallow talent pool that is the communications industry, fwiw).

  • The Lady Badass: Women being badasses in history. Much fierce imagery in this one.

  • Words By Women Awards: A reaction to the overwhelmingly male nature of nominations for this year’s Press Awards, the Words by Women Awards are designed to highlight the achievements of women in print journalism – details about the awards, how to nominate, etc, are all on here, so get involved if there are female writers you think worthy of greater recognition.

  • The Kitten Covers: Album covers recreated with kittens. Of COURSE.

  • Matthew Healy and Jaden Smith Worry: Just brilliantly niche and oddly obsessional, this Tumblr is dedicated exclusively to pointing out the similarities in the worried faces of Will Smith’s male progeny and the lead singer of The 1975. People are ODD.

  • Bisous Les Copains: Weekly animated gifs of uncommon style and beauty by Guillaume Kurkdjian. So, so gorgeous and VERY satisfying to watch.

  • Primitive Technology: This week’s ‘not a Tumblr but it should be’ is this blog in which some bloke spends loads of time doing things like cavemen would have done – building primitive huts, making fire, etc. Into ‘paleo’ bullsh1t? Try some of this to make it ‘realer’.

  • Triple 9: Tumblr for the film of the same name. Interesting more in terms of ‘look how flexible Tumblr is as a platform’ rather than because of anything to do with what’s on there, sadly.

  • Baby Scully Caps: For those of you who’ve been disappointed by the XFiles revival, here is a selection of pictures of Gillian Anderson from the original series looking SO YOUNG.

  • Fcuk Yeah Fluid Dynamics: Who doesn’t love fluid dynamics? NO FCUKER, THAT’S WHO!

  • The Setup Wizard: A funnier than its one-note premise would suggest, this Tumblr chronicles the travails of a Muggle IT technician at Hogwarts (SUCH a Tumblr description, that).

  • Depressing Fridge Poems: So bleak. So good.


  • The NYT On The Life Of Pablo: Have to be entirely honest with you, dear readers; I find Kanye West more interesting as a persona than as a musician (IKR!?) and the Life of Pablo left me pretty underwhelmed (he would, I am sure, be devastated at this assessment). This piece on the album’s genesis and almost iterative post-release development in the NYT, though, is fascinating – in part because of the hilariously po-faced tone it takes, but also because of what it has to say about creation in the internet age and the weird confluence between artist, performance, personality and product which Kanye embodies (/pseudery).

  • In Search Of The Hawaiian Orgasm Mushroom: Is there a mushroom found in Hawaii which will induce orgasm in women solely via its smell? Well what do YOU think? Regardless of the idiocy of the question, this is a brilliant piece charting the author’s quest to find said mushroom and put it to the test – part travelogue, part debunking, part introduction to mycology, this is VERY funny and consistently entertaining whilst also being remarkably educational.

  • The Teens Are Alright: Both an interesting article and a clever piece of webwork, this piece on Vox lets you tell it when you were born and then presents its article – about how teenagers today are on balance more sensible then they have ever been – with relevant comparative data based on your generation. Christ alive, though, do these kids sound DULL.

  • The New Generation of Airships: Now granted, airships aren’t the most obviously fascinating of subjects for a piece of longform writing, but I promise you’ll enjoy this if only for the weirdly steampunk air pervading the whole thing; it puts you in mind of an alternate reality in which we all engage in stately transatlantic travel in giant, luxurious blimps, which sounds frankly GREAT.

  • The Sex Bot Scams: As we continue to plod through the official Web Curios-designated YEAR OF THE BOT, have this piece in the (currently EXCELLENT) Rolling Stone exploring the industry of sex bot software – those fake women (because, oddly, women don’t seem to get trapped into this sort of stuff anywhere near as much as men – funny, that) which populate dating sites in an attempt to get men to sign up. Grimly fascinating.

  • All Of Amazon’s Data: A lovely piece of writing about BIG DATA and the fact that we don’t really know what to do with it yet. Excellent, even if you’re not in any way interested in datageekery.

  • The Uncomfortable Power of Pop Music Cruelty: Interesting look at the prevalence for oddly emosexually affectless lyrics in modern pop, primarily with reference to ambulant haircut The Weeknd. Not only interesting on current attitudes to sex and relationships – the overall vibe of the article being ‘look at the evil fuckbois’ – but also in the context of previous generations’ handwringing over the authorial voice and authenticity in music (cf Eminem, Tyler, misogyny, etc).

  • The Kesha Thing: Speaking of cruelty in pop music, this piece by Lena Dunham of why the Kesha thing is reprehensible and sort of jaw-droppingly horrific is very good indeed. WELL DONE, MUSIC INDUSTRY, YOU SHITBAGS.

  • My Tuscan Tinder Disaster: Funny if you’re a woman and / or if you know anything about Italian men (and probably still funny even if neither of the above things are true), this is a great piece of comic writing about the gulf between myth and reality in the world of the theoretical zipless fcuk (sorry, Fear of Flying was just on Radio 4 and it obviously had an effect).

  • Love On The Spectrum: A beautiful piece exploring the author’s autistic brother’s search for love despite his condition. Stuff like this RUINS me, I have to say – the questions it raises about autonomy and consent when it comes to love and the mentally ill are fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time.

  • La Belle Dame Sans Merci: A modern interpretation of Keats’ ballad which made me laugh more than any other single thing I saw this week, and requires no prior knowledge of Keats whatsoever. If you don’t find the term ‘titviolence’ funny then I gently submit that there is something broken inside you which may never be fixed.

  • Videogame Rehab: Because this is obviously a thing now, and is almost certainly only going to become more of a thing as our digital toys get shinier and better at exploiting the Skinner Box. It does, though, make you wonder about the sort of lack which is motivating this type of behaviour, though, and how that might be addressed.

  • Thinking Harder About Dickpics: A great essay about taking pictures of your wang and what that means. I can honestly say I have NEVER done this, which is an interesting sort of way of ageing someone I guess (a bit like tree rings, but more, well, phallic).

  • Chatting With Eco: Even if you never read any of the man’s writing, this is a great interview. Seriously, check this excerpt out – SO TRUE: “If culture did not filter, it would be inane—as inane as the formless, boundless Internet is on its own. And if we all possessed the boundless knowledge of the Web, we would be idiots! Culture is an instrument for making a hierarchical system of intellectual labor. For you and for me it is enough to know that Einstein proposed the theory of relativity. But an absolute understanding of the theory we leave to the specialists. The real problem is that too many are granted the right to become a specialist.”

  • My Last JDate: This is practically novella-length, be warned, but it’s a beautiful piece of writing about a woman’s experience of dating in her 50s and how she found love and what happened. It’s honest and funny and sad, and you need not be a woman, or Jewish, or in your 50s, to enjoy it.

  • The Fencing Master: Excellent essay by novelist David Treuer about his experience of both learning to fence and learning to write at college. It’s SO good, and made me sickeningly jealous – imagine being able to write like this, AND fence, AND being taught by Toni Morrison. What a git.

  • New Rave 10 Years On: 10 years! Ten years ago when this was all going on I was working at a now-defunct PR agency in East London (shout out Idea Generation; we’ll always have the breadbin cocaine!) and living something of a heinously Nathan Barley lifestyle amongst which the growth of this scene was clearly visible – from the press meeting with Super Super (literally THE WORST people; idiots, seriously) to the Stuart Semple launch party with the models and the fauxcaine in the windows to the terrifying squat parties with people who even to me at that relatively tender age looked like children who really shouldn’t have been doing that much K. This piece by Curios favourite Clive Martin looks back at New Rave and the weird bridging point between indie supremacy and dance ubiquity that it occupied in youth culture. Bet it inspires at least one of you to dig out Golden Skans – don’t bother, it was and still is DREADFUL.

  • Here Comes The Donald: The best thing I’ve yet read on the US elections on how Trump has ended up where he is. Particularly good on the fact that it’s EVERYONE’S fault – the media, the Democrats, the GOP, the internet…Look, I am still maintaining that it’s impossible for him to win (please God let me be right about this), so let’s enjoy the frisson of potential terror while we still can. This can’t be the future, can it? Anyway, this piece is FULL of great writing and is pleasingly vicious about the Donald’s intellectual and physical shortcomings, which makes a nice change from him slagging everyone else off. The dick.


By Youngho Kang



1) Ever imagined what it might be like to have an army of flying creatures which swarm at your bidding? It would be like this. SO FRIGHTENING AND YET SO COOL:

2) This is called ‘Undercurrents’, and is really quite creepily weird:

3) The NBA’s annual slam dunk contest is an annual fixture and totally built for YouTube, Vine and the rest – this video, though, is a GREAT example of what you can do with lots of cameras and lots of budget and some top athletes – the bullet time (yes, yes, I know, 1997) stuff here is GREAT:

4) This is called ‘The Shiny’, amd it is a JAW-DROPPINGLY good piece of stop-motion work. I know that the idea itself (clothes animating across the floor) isn’t new, but this is by far the most impressive execution of the concept I’ve ever seen. Genius:

5) HIPHOP CORNER! Well, not really hiphop so much as spoken word-type stuff, this is Saul Williams with the new single from his latest album ‘Martyr Loser King’ – this is called ‘The Noise Came From Here’:

6) Next up, enjoy the EXCELLENT new Massive Attack song and video – this is ‘Voodoo In My Blood’:  

7) This one’s a bit divisive (to me at least) – the song’s a touch on the cheesy side for my usual tastes, but at the same time I have enjoyed it each time I’ve listened to it; the video, though, is a great piece of choreography and storytelling. See what YOU think – this is Jacob Banks with ‘Unknown’:

8) No idea what I should call this genre of music, but I LOVE this track. It’s by Ryan Playground and it’s called ‘Folders’:

9) Last up, this is a terrifying example of what YOU TOO could do with the faceswappy app linked to above. Don’t have nightmares, and see you next week!