Webcurios 31/01/14

Reading Time: 26 minutes

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So Good Mega Phone Box
New Road, Oxford

Were you aware that this week it was decided that getting irritated about income inequality and railing against the iniquity of the whole 1% thing is effectively replicating the conditions which brought the Nazis to power? Well it was, so now you know

Meh. Look, as Guns & Roses so poignantly sampled, there are some men you just can’t reach. Leaving that aside, I’m going to use this opening space to plug the amazing play I saw last night which any of you living in or around London should do your utmost to see – it’s on at The Gate in Notting Hill, it’s called The Body of an American, and it’s all about guilt and war photography and it’s brilliant. You’ve got another week to see it, so get on and book.

Of course, though, before you rush off to do that you’ve got to take your internet medicine. Hold your nose, close your eyes, open your mouth and close your eyes as I prepare to pour a warm spoonful of hand-selected and artisan-blended internets down your mindgullets; guaranteed to help with feelings of Friday afternoon workaday tedium (side effects may include nausea, depression, emotional unavailability, attention defecit, impotence, loss of affect, increased susceptibility to occasional unexpected tears, and general street sadness). THIS, WEBMONGS, IS WEB CURIOS.


Happy Year of the Horse! By The One Cam


  • What Brands Can Know About You When You Login To Facebook: Sorry, this is a link to a picture in a tweet which is a bit crappy, I know. Anyhow, this is actually quite a useful list of information about Facebook users which Apps can use; useful as a little aide memoir as to what is and isn’t possible with Facebook’s APIs. 
  • Facebook Launches Improves Retargeting Ads: This is quite big and potentially useful. I think I trailed this in October when it was announced, but apparently FB’s rolling this out to everyone(ish) as of the now; you can now target ads at people based on their actions on your website or mobile app – so you can take all the people who came to your website and DIDN’T buy anything with video ads displaying the tearful CEO repeatedly asking “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE US?’ whilst crying and smearing their naked body with KY. Or, er something like that. Sorry. Erm, you can also add call-to-action buttons to ads as well (“BUY MORE STUFF”; “PLAY MORE GAMES”; “LIVE MORE”; “STOP CRYING”, etc). Powerful and, whilst not revolutionary or groundbreaking, also sort of saddening. 
  • FB To Flog Data About TV ‘Chatter’: Facebook’s increasingly unsubtle ripping of leaves from Twitter’s book continues apace, with the announcement this week that they were partnering with social TV data company SeconSync to give people (aka advertisers) access to anonymised information about how people use Facebook whilst watching certain TV shows in the UK, US and Australia. Obviously if you work in TV, or want to do something smart around FB use in ad breaks, then you should probably be paying attention to this. WAKE UP. 
  • Facebook To Launch Paper: So on Monday 3rd Feb, Facebook is launching Paper, a new app product (I think) which effectively seems to turn your Facebook newsfeed into Flipboard or similar. Click the link, and be impressed at the very nice webpage they’ve set up to promote it, and how frankly GORGEOUS the UX/UI of the thing looks. And then take a step back, and ask yourself why everyone in the promo video seems to be some sort of weird analogue-fetishising hipster-Jesus craftsperson; how everyone in the video is a grown adult (have they just given up on teens?); how there’s no immediate sense of how the everliving fcuk all you wonderful advermarketingpr folk are going to push out your MESSAGES and CONTENT to people through this (although admittedly the ‘discover new stuff’ bits could offer one route, but a VERY congested one – advertisers wanting to promote stuff through this will, I imagine, pay top, top dollar); and how noone in the clip is paying anything more than very cursory attention to anything (it basically looks like Tinder for information, sort of). Anyway, this is all just fluff as we won’t have proper details til Monday. Speculate away until then as to how this will work and how it will let humanity’s primary narcissism engine make even more eye-watering amounts of money.
  • Twitter Search Gets Marginally Better: Erm, basically that. You can now do better searches from the Twitter website, allowing you to search by media type, account type and from within your followers. Actually, the media-differentiated searching is very useful indeed, I shouldn’t scoff.
  • Twitter Partners With Dataminr (Again) For News: Very big news, this – Twitter partnered with Dataminr previously to provide bespoke information feeds from the Twitter firehose to financial services organisations and the public sector (ie Governments); they’re now extending this service to news organisations. Think of this as some sort of major Tweetdeck-on-steroids offering, which if you’re the Guardian or NYT or BBC or Sky is pretty useful. It will be available globally ‘soon’ – £10 says that a similar product for advermarketingpr behemoths (hello Sir Martin! Hello Publicis people!) will be on the shelves before the end of the year.
  • Twitter Mobile Apps Improve Photosharing (But Also Recommendations): Nice little tweaks to the way in which the Twitter mobile app lets users interact with photos (crop, rotate, zoom, etc) before posting; useful for community managers ON THE GO. Also in this update, which is maybe more significant, is the fact that users who refresh their feed and for whom no new Tweets are queued will now be served trending topics, suggested articles, suggested follows and…yes! That’s right! Almost certainly some ADS! In terms of a way to serve ads which places them front-of-mind, this is quite powerful I think. 
  • Twitter Visualises the State of the Union: Very nicely done by Twitter’s data team, this takes Obama’s speech from earlier this week and runs analysison it, paragraph by paragraph, as to what was being said on Twitter at each stage, where in the US. I expect to see this becoming standard for all big political speeches sooner rather than later, even if it’s only Government collecting this for internal use WHICH THEY MAY WELL BE ALREADY. 
  • Best Branded Vines of 2014: There are some very good ones here, much as it pains me to say so. 
  • Tumblr Updates Terms of Service: Boring, but useful to know. You’re now meant to attribute reshares, and it’s also explicitly not allowed to impersonate companies or famouses, which might be useful if you’re a brand with a lot of people pretending to be you on the platform. 
  • Order Food Through 4sq (In The US): I’m not 100% sure why I’m bothering to include this as a) there’s no guarantee it will ever come to Europe; b) 4sq. Anyway, in another sort of pivoty-feeling move, 4sq users in the States can use the app to order food from restaurants on the platform. Just FYI really.
  • Pinterest Surpasses Email For Sharing? REALLY?: I’m including this because this is a stat which some of you may find that you can bend to your purposes (and I’m nice like that), but really? REALLY? I don’t believe this for a second. US-only data, but still – it just screams ‘bollocks’, frankly. 
  • The Relative Size of Social Platforms: Clever old Mat Morrison has played around with platform usage data and done some analysis as to which platforms are largest AND stickiest. You can read the whole thing on his site, but SURPRISE Facebook (at least in the West) wins. STOP CHASING THE SHINY SHINY NEW ALL THE TIME. 
  • The Snapchat Pitch: Are you a young, hungry student, eager to make your way in the world of advermarketingpr? If so, it’s not too late to change your mind and pursue a worthwhile career – save yourselves! Failing that, take a look at this competition by DDB Oslo which invites students to submit an idea in 10 seconds via snapchat for the chance to win…a job interview. Hm. 
  • Chipotle’s Content Budget Is Bigger Than Yours: Brands have ‘done’ indie films; now they’re branching out into comedy series. Chipotle, purveyor of (I’m told) sub-standard tex-mex fare and of cutesy narratives about their sustainable food production practices, have paid what looks like an INSANE amount of money to create an original comedy series, to air through Hulu in the US, called Farmed & Dangerous – all about the ‘outrageously twisted and utterly unsustainable world of industrial agriculture’. FUNNY PROPAGANDA, starring a bloke from Twin Peaks. From what I can tell, the branding’s actually pretty light – it doesn’t air til mid-February, and it will be interesting to see if the millions invested (because it will be millions) were well-spent. Oh, and next time someone says something about NEEDING QUALITY CONTENT, gently mention this and ask about budgets.
  • Oh Alright Then, Have The Bloody Superbowl Ads If You Really Want Them: THEY’RE STILL JUST SODDING ADVERTS, THOUGH, OK?
By Ezo Renier


  • How The Chinese Move For Chinese New Year: Happy imminent new year, China! This is a rather nice visualisation of human movements within the country in the leadup to the NYE celebrations, tracking short-term migrations as people head to visit friends and families. What’s interesting here isn’t just the viz, which is nice enough, but also how Baidu (for it is they) got the data – it’s tracking where people have been logging into stuff and how that’s changed day by day. There’s stuff you can do on the site to cut the data in different ways, but it’s obviously all in Chinese and therefore I have no idea what it says. Imagine what Google could do in this vein (and then turn off GPS tracking on your phone). 
  • Make LEGO Models In Chrome: You’ve seen this by now, right? This is a Chrome/LEGO collaboration, extended globally after its previous Australia-only incarnation, which lets users build stuff with virtual LEGO in Chrome. So much loveliness here, from the simple fact of LOOK, LEGO! to the fact that you can choose your own ‘plot’ of land, mapped on Google maps, on which to build – which creation will then be browsable by other users. Surprisingly few towering phalli so far, which is pleasing. 
  • Some Rather Nice Photos From China: Sina’s the parent company of Weibo, China’s closest analogue to Twitter and a massive media powerhouse – this is its selection of the best images posted by its users in (I think) 2013. Oh, ok, I don’t really understand what this is because my aforementioned inability to read Chinese, but I think that’s what it is, and I like that explanation so I’m sticking with it. Anyway, there’s loads of really great photos in there if you click through, and it’s actually a really interesting window into Chinese life and culture and mores and STUFF. 
  • The New Awards: Voting’s now open for this year’s Net Awards, celebrating cool/interesting/technically great webstuff. It’s a really, really good source of *ahem* ‘inspiration’ if you’re a deisgner, developer or ‘creative’, and there’s some truly excellent stuff if you dive down within the categories. Web Curios would personally exhort you to cast a vote for Cachemonet, one of my favourite web-art projects of 2013. Thanks!
  • Reasons To Live: A website which collects people’s REASONS TO LIVE in one place. It’s not particularly great in terms of either design or idea or execution, but I’m including it because the occasional juxtaposition of Hallmark-style aphorisms, utter idiocy and occasional poignancy is quite curious. 
  • Scratchy Grooves: Crate-digger types should love this. Bill Chambles hosted a local radio show for nearly 20 years in Delaware in the US which he called Scratchy Grooves, playing music from 1900 to the 1940s from vinyl (hence the name of the show). Following his death, his son’s putting the recordings online – there’s some crazily great stuff buried in these, and I say that based on a relatively superficial perusal. Come on, someone, invent flappercore with this stuff.
  • Sexualitics: What do you get if you cross Big Data with bongo? This is what you get! Sexualitics is a project by a group of Frenchmen which seeks to take large data from pr0n sites and apply academic rigour to it in an attempt to understand more about human sexuality. They’ve published one paper already, outlining their approach and some of the techniques they plan to use – just FYI, there is literally NOTHING erotic about any of this, but if you’ve got a Kinsey-style obsession with people’s sexquirks and a bit of a datafetish then you might like this. 
  • Phone My Phone: Years ago, when I was doing work for the soon-to-be-defunct Tech City Investment Authority, I met a very young man who was coding as part of a project called Apps for Good. He is called Dylan, and he was terrifyingly smart and is part of the generation of people who will laugh cruelly at 45-year-old me’s attempts to find a job. He’s made this, which is a really, really useful site which calls your phone if you can’t find it. If you’re like my ex-flatmate this may well be the most useful thing on here this week. 
  • Oscar-nominated Scripts: PDFs of Oscar-nominated scripts, from this year and years past, going back to 2007. Cinemascholars should appreciate.
  • Oculus Rift + Game Of Thrones = Wow: There’s something slightly odd about the amount of attention Oculus Rift is getting from the mainstream, to the extent that it feels a little like it’s 1994/5 and The Lawnmower Man has just come out and we’re all excited about Virtual Reality again. Except this does actually look really cool, and this stunt/demo by HBO to promote the latest series of GoT to media is both very clever and a fairly incredible trail for the sort of stuff which people will eventually be able to do with repurposed CGI content and an immersive viewing rig. BETTER THAN LIFE!
  • The Ninth Floor: These, let’s say it upfront, are some properly harrowing pictures. Telling the stories of a group of addicts who squatted in an abandoned rich person’s apartment in NYC, it’s a fairly unflinching portrayal of exactly how degrading the life of a fulltime needlejunkie can be. Pretty much the opposite of glamourising intravenous drug abuse. 
  • The Sensory Book: Have you ever read a novel and thought whilst doing so ‘you know what would really enhance this literary experience? Wearing a mechanical vest which would whirr and clunk and move and stuff in order to better help me FEEL the emotions this book is supposed to be provoking’? No, me neither funnily enough. That sad, that’s exactly what this prototype does – obviously this looks clunky and terrible, but there’s an interesting set of augmented reading ideas which you could spin out of this…OOH, HERE’S ONE – whoever it is who makes those ghastly plugin scent thingies (Glade?), how about releasing limited-edition ranges designed to complement certain books, authors, etc…tobacco and whisky and horses for Hemingway, linen and halitosis for Austen, etc etc etc. YOU’RE WELCOME!
  • Dipify: I think that this might be genius. Dipify is an app which connects users based on shared media consumption; that is, if two users are watching the same video, reading the same article, sharing the same links, etc, it will put them in touch. It’s both slightly more limited and slightly more complicated than that, but effectively the premise is as described. SO MANY POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS. It’s not a wholly novel idea, but I don’t think that this particular execution, which seems to make a lot of sense, has been done before. 
  • Men Looking Sad Whilst Shopping: This should be a Tumblr, but it’s not. Anyway, an Instagram account collecting images of men looking sad whilst shopping. Why not take this base concept, PR/marketing people, and make it the basis for the next inevitable idea you present in a pitch which involves some sort of surprise experiential activity in a shopping centre? Oh, what’s the use.
  • James Edition Luxury Marketplace: This seems to be real, from what I can tell. James Edition (their lack of possessive apostrophe, not mine) appears to be a sort of eBay for really, really rich people who like fast cars and white leather sofas and stuff like that. They’re selling an urban camo Lamborghini Gallardo for 60k Euros, which seems like a steal to me. GO ON! RUIN YOURSELVES!
  • Copy Characters: I couldn’t work out how to do the Euro sign in that last entry. I should have used this – very useful website which contains all the esoteric non-English language punctuation characters you could hope for on one easily C&P-able page. Useful. 
  • US Book Covers Vs UK Book Covers: A more-interesting-than-you’d-think comparison of book marketing on both sides of the Atlantic. We get better covers overall, I reckon.
  • Sand-Writing Robot Machine Thingy: Skryf is a project by Dutch artist Gijs van Bon, which is a sort of sand-dribbling bicycle contraption which can write BEAUTIFULLY on flat surfaces using sand. The video explains this better than I ever could, but this is beautifully ephemeral (and if you’re looking to publicise holidays, messages written in golden sand could be a nice way to do it. Maybe). 
  • Beautiful Macro Photos of TERRIFYING SPIDERS: Apparently jumping spiders are ‘insatiably curious’ when it comes to humans. Insatiably’s not a word I feel wholly comfortable with when discussing arachnids, I must say, but these pictures are rather lovely if a little bit formication-inducing to anyone even a little bit arachnophobic (ie me). 
  • Convert Webpages to PDF: Exactly as tediously practical as it sounds. 
  • TL;DR: This is basically the anti-Curios, or Twitter for people who think that Twitter’s too verbose. TLDR is a site which lets people curate and share links, with the simple caveat that each is accompanied by a short explanatory summary and no more. I think this is actually very, very useful, damn them. OBVIOUSLY you’d all rather read my prose, though. Obviously. Hello? HELLO? 🙁
  • Human Skin Couture: Obviously, er, not real human skin – this is just an art project by Nicola Costantino which creates handbags, shoes, etc, with human-sized nipples, etc, as though they were made from human skin. I find the arsehole shoes particularly appealing, personally, although your mileage may vary. 
By Sarah Renard


  • Set This As Your Least Favourite And Least Internet-Savvy Colleague’s Homepage TODAY: No need to thank me. 
  • The Doge Shipping Forecast: Despite my confidently predicting the death of this particular meme at the start of the year, it continues unabated – this did make me laugh, though, so it’s sort of OK. Website which doge-ifies the shipping forecast – SUCH VEER.
  • Electromagnetic Table Science Madness: I’m not sure quite how amazingly groundbreaking this is, but when I first saw it I got quite excited and OWOWFUTURE-y, so here I share it with you – basically an electromagnetic table which produces a field which can light flourescent tubes at distance with no contact required. Time required until electromagnetic pavements? 30 years. 
  • A Truly Odd Artist’s Website: I’ve featured Geoffrey Lillemon’s work on here before, but I don’t think I’ve ever linked to his hugely odd (but actually quite well-coded) website before. Lillemon is an artist who operates primarily in digital media and who attempts to bring certain elements of classical style to life through interaction with technology. This is called ‘She Hisses’, but go and check out the rest of the site as well; it’s a hell of a weird timesink. 
  • My Abandonware: If you were a teenager in the 90s (and probably a man – sorry, but on balance men were more into videogames BACK IN THE DAY than women) then this website may well be the end of you. Featuring free-to-download copies of all sorts of 90s classics including Doom and Sensible World of Soccer (it’s still really, really good, fyi), this could make your weekend (if, er, you’ve nothing better planned which I sort of hope you do to be honest). 
  • The Poetry of Sims Patching: Remember the surreal world of Sims patch updates as revealed in last week’s Curios? No? Jesus, what’s WRONG with you. Anyway, for those of you who were paying attention, someone has turned them into poetry which makes me rather happy. 
  • Play/Create Particulate Webcam Art: A site which uses your webcam to create a sort of moving particulate effect based on your movements. Weirdly and upsettingly it keeps making me look like sort of some sort of grinning skull-creature, which I hope isn’t some sort of dreadful portent of doom. OH HERE’S AN IDEA – given that the effect sort of mirrors the way that Guinness looks as a pint settles, why don’t the Guinness people take this and apply it in some way – for Hallowe’en! Your spooky face in a settling pint of Guinness! What’s that? Noone from Guinness or their agencies reads this crap, and that’s a terrible idea anyway? Oh. Ok. 
  • The Ministry of Magic: Bit of a puzzler, this one. It’s a Harry Potter site for the Ministry of Magic, which appears to be quite new (like a month or so), yet it doesn’t seem to be linked to Pottermore or anything and there’s no new film to promote. SO WHO MADE IT? Oh, it’s a fansite made by a bloke called Andy Brown apparently. Anyway, my friend Catherine who is probably the biggest Potter fan I have ever met says it’s good, so there’s your endorsement. 
  • A Collection Of 100s Of Webcams: None of which, as far as I can tell, are of the creepy / ‘sexy’ sort, although I confess to not having looked at any of them. There’s still something strangely compelling about webcams in public places; I lost about 10 minutes when I found this on Monday looking at what was happening in a Hungarian shopping centre (I believe that this is what is referred to as ‘living the 21st Century dream’), so who knows what will tweak your metaphorical nipples?
  • 3d Printed Flowers Which Sort Of Inflate: Another slightly mental futuretechy invention, this. Not so much the flowers themselves, which are cute and quite cool, but the fact that 3d printing is now able to create components which can move like this. 
  • How Much Time Have You Wasted On Facebook: I’m not sure I’d 100% agree with anyone who considers ‘looking at photographs of ex-girlfriends, past schoolmates and former colleagues whilst simultaneously crying and masturbating’ as a waste of time, but still – analyses your Facebook profile for number of posts, etc etc, and throws out some totally made-up number based on your activity on the site. By Time Magazine, weirdly enough.
  • The Digital Streaker: A website which, for no discernible reason, allows you to send a fat, naked man cavorting across any website of your choice. I can think of no conceivable use for this, but I sort of hope that one of you might be able to.
  • Authentic Weather: A weather app (and website) for Android and iPhone which confronts you with fairly stark assessments of exactly what it’s like outdoors. Amusing for about 5 minutes, although I think there may be a crowdsourcing elements to the descriptions which could improve it immeasurably. Or we also have Doge Weather, if you’re so inclined
  • Fishy Film Titles: Fishfinger are a digital creative agency in London, apparently. In a piece of nakedly link-baity marketing, they’ve created a whole page of film posters based on fishy title puns – I am linking to this largely because ‘Anenome at the Gates’ made me laugh like a drain. 
  • Silence The Shadows: I think that this is just another agency promo, this one of the slick HTML video variety. I don’t quite see the point of it, though – it’s meant to be sort of scary, but isn’t’; it’s well-made, but not amazingly so, and the supposed Facebook integration (presuming that that’s what they were going for with ‘Connect with Facebook’ doesn’t seem to do anything. Can one of you take a look and let me know if I’m missing something? Ta.
  • Beautiful Photos of Methan Bubbles Trapped in a Frozen Lake: So cold in America. SO COLD. Pretty, though.
  • GoPro Heroes: It’s hard to tell whether this is affiliated with GoPro or not – if it’s not, they should sign whoever’s behind it up asap. Nice collection of the best GoPro recordings on YouTube, seemingly updated pretty regularly – nice both if you’re an EXTREME SPORTS junkie and if you’re after some decent videos. 
  • Gallerrit: A very clever little Reddit hack which takes any subreddit of your choosing and turns it into an infinite feed of all the images linked to in said subreddit. If you’re testing this at work, can I suggest you exercise a degree of judicious caution as to which subreddits you choose to experiment with? You’re welcome. 
  • Objects in Faux-2d: Cynthia Greig is an artist who takes 3 dimensional objects and paints / outlines them to make them look 2d. Not only a cool effect, but the sort of thing which could prove the basis of quite a cool trompe l’oeil vidoe I think.
  • The Virtual Steel Drum: Let’s be honest, does anyone REALLY like the sound of steel drums? They don’t, do they? Anyway, this is a digital version with which you can upset your coworkers this afternoon. 
  • A Truly Staggering Collection Of Weird Documentaries: There are literally dozens linked to from here, and they are all sort of insane. Worthwhile if you’re into yoga, meditation, conspiracy theories or, let’s be honest, smoking eye-gouging quantities of weed and watching weird stuff on the internet. 
  • The Last Photo Project: A rather lovely little artproject in which artist Ivan Cash goes round US cities asking passers-by to share the last photo they took on their phone. Watch at least one of them, they are BRILLIANT and I would like this to come to London please thankyou someone. 
  • Dating App Which Kills Romance: You know how lovely it is when you are going out with someone and they do things for you which they have really thought about, or arrange things which you know they’ve put a lot of consideration and effort into? Yeah, well, screw that – Delightful describes itself as a ‘date concierge’, and effectively allows TIME POOR couples to outsource the effort of putting the spark back into their relationship by letting a piece of software pick ‘interesting’ dates for them. I’m possibly being a little unfair here, but it strikes me as sort of soulless and horrible (although my girlfriend could well argue that it’s not like I’m a stellar example of romance myself, to which I’d probably just grunt and scratch my testicles or something). 
  • How Do Websites Make Money: Just that – page explaining the revenue models of a variety of sites. Actually full of stuff that’s quite useful to know. 
  • The Sounds of London’s Waterways: Such a lovely project and a couple of years old now; a London Underground-style map of London’s canals, with accompanying sound recordings. If there are any musicians reading this, there’s probably quite a nice EP project to be made from this; use the samples from each waterway asthe basis of themed tracks for each one. Maybe. Or maybe it would be terrible? Bob, I know you’re bored – the world needs the Boella Ambient Waterways Series.
  • 3d Printing With Lego Blocks: More 3d printing cleverness, this is a very smart little hack which lets users input their designs into a programme which then shows them which bits need to be 3d printed – and does so – and which bits can be prototyped in LEGO. The clever bit is how it works out which LEGOS are needed to make the prototype – look, just watch the video and it will make sense, I promise. 
  • Really, Russia?: I don’t normally do ‘WTF?’ picture collections, but this one (purporting to be a collection of oddities from Russia, but it’s hard to tell provenance) really is quite weird (SFW). 
  • A Parody Red Hot Chili Peppers Song Which Is Frighteningly Plausible: It’s only the fact that it doesn’t sound like Kiedis singing which makes you certain it’s a parody.
  • Forgotify: This was on the Today programme this morning (which is quite odd really), so I’m presuming you all know about it already. Anyway, Forgetify plays songs from Spotify which have had 0 plays, ever. Quite an esoteric internet radio station, as I’ve discovered whilst writing this. 
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Website: I have to confess that I really don’t like the films of Wes Anderson. They look beautiful, and I can appreciate the craft and the artistry and all that, but they are cold and lifeless and lacking in anything resembling human affect (which may well be the point, in which case well done Mr Anderson). I feel much the same way about this website for his latest effort, which is beautifully made and full of rich backstory and CONTENT but which didn’t really compel me to dig as much as I felt it should. Oh, and as pointed out by someone else who’s smarter than me, the UX is a car-crash. 
  • Project Makeout: Jedediah Johnson has an amazing down-South name. He also takes photographs of strangers after he’s just kissed them whilst wearingh much lipstick. I’m unclear as to whether these facts are related, although I suspect not. In any case, the pictures are GREAT. 
  • The Taxonomy of Tagging: Maybe my favourite site of the week, this is a gorgeous piece of design – you can explore all sorts of evolutions and variants on graffiti tags from around the world, exploring the development of artists’ styles and the like. The only thing it’s missing is some sort of geographical indicator as to where they were found, but it’s so nicely made that I forgive them (they will be thrilled).
  • Silhouette Letter Heads: No real idea why this exists, but it’s nicely made and plays with shadow quite cleverly (sorry, it’s quite hard to describe – imagine a digital inetractive-ish version of those artworks which form shadow panoramas from collections of seemingly randomly placed objects. That help?).
  • Amazing Long-Exposure Pictures Of Dancers: Incredible technique, and I would love to see this applied to moving images too. These are gorgeous shots, particularly (I imagine) if you’ve done ‘proper’ dance yourself at any point in the past.
  • The Philosopher’s Mail: I was convinced that this was a joke when I found it, and then I read last night’s Standard which suggested that it was a REAL THING and not just some sort of slightly snobbish undergraduate snook-cocking at the Daily Mail. Scratch that, I don’t care if it’s real and whether it’s by philosophy caricature Alain de Botton – it’s still undergraduate snook-cocking. Made me laugh quite a lot, though I really can’t see anything beyond parody here. 
  • Fuzmo: Have you ever wanted a social network which exists solely for the purpose of sharing cute animal pictures? OH GOOD. 
  • If You Like Sudoku, You’ll Like This Game
By Egon Schiele


  • Dimly Lit Meals For One: It’s been all over the place this week, but there is SO MUCH POIGNANCY in here. I would really love to know where this person’s getting the pictures from (and maybe find the man in question and stage some sort of intervention). 
  • Embed With Games: This is a bit of an unusual Tumblr – rather than being the throwaway home of a one-note gag, it’s the home of games journalist Cara Ellison’s series of writings where she goes and hangs out with some of the world’s best game developers and gets under their skin. Or at least it will be, once she starts doing more. Anyhow, if you’re in or into the games industry this is very good indeed. 
  • Matching Monsters: Maybe my favourite site of the week, this invites people to submit photographs which will then be subtly altered to include a drawing of a monster which the illustrator feels fits / matches the original image. SO CUTE. 
  • Scrap PDX Finds: Weird stuff donated to a creative reuse dump in Portland, Oregon. 
  • The Art Of Truck Torrance: The weirdly-named Mr Torrance does a very nice line indeed in cutesy illustrations. I’d commission the fcuk out of him if I had anything to commission for. 
  • Architecture of Doom: A collection of photos of depressed, distressed and depressing architecture from around the world. Ah, brutalism!
  • Too Long, Didn’t See: Fun project in which Henry Davis gets given descriptions of films he hasn’t seen and then turns them into comic strips based on his interpretation of said descriptions. Or rather used to, as it’s not been updated for ages, which is sort of a shame.
  • Adidas Originals: Hugely tedious unless you’re an Adidas fanboy/girl, but I’m including it because I absolutely adore the way it scrolls.
  • Me And My ZX Spectrum: Kids in the 80s, photographed with their supercomputers. All of the hair and the fashion you’d expect. Oh, and if you want to play Jet Set Willy then you can do so here.
  • LOL MY Thesis: Students post short, mocking descriptions of their theses, as they prepare for a long life of intermittent work and fundamental disappointment. 
  • Animals Riding Animals: I’m not offering any further description, you don’t need it.
  • Fat Animals: See previous link.
  • Hey, Are You Cool?: Documenting the other players met by one person playing post-apocalyptic zombie shooter DayZ (details here if that means nothing to you). Seroiusly, art based on in-game experience will be BIG in 2014, mark my words (please don’t remind me about this when I am wrong). 
  • Metal Albums With Googly Eyes: See animal links passim.
  • DBA Reactions: I’m including this mainly as proof that every single profession has its unique thrills and crosses to bear. This is one of those ‘when a client’s like X and you’re all like Y’ tumblrs which did the rounds last year for the PR, advertising, marketing, etc etc etc industries, but this time for the (it’s fair to say) less ‘glamorous’ world of database administration.


  • Desert Island Graphic Novels: A series of luminaries from the world of scifi and assorted geekery pick their favourite graphic novels. There are some great recommendations on this list, and some equally obscure ones – if you’re into the medium, this is a wonderul place to find new recommendations; if you’re not, it’s a good place to start (and you should, dammit, they are ART). 
  • On Being The Writer of Mega Shark VS Mecha Shark: A great interview with Jose Prendes, who has written some of Aslyum Films’ ‘best’ output. Really interesting, and it’s nice that the man is refreshingly sanguine about the value of his output. Probably the only film–related interview you’re likely to read this month which contains the question “Was there ever a point during the process when you thought “I just don’t see how I’m going to get this shark to destroy the Sphinx”?”.
  • Remembering Days Of Thunder: Such a good piece of writing, and a wonderful skewering of not only the film but the whole Tom Cruise ouvre as well. Part of a regular series in which The Dissolve looks back at forgotten films, this is a merciless look at the sheer idiocy of a film which even at the time was described as ‘Top Gun with planes’ and is now chiefly remembered for that bloody ‘Show Me Heaven‘ song (which I now have earworming all over the place, dammit). 
  • Demon Camp – An Extract: The most powerful (read: sort of upsetting) read of the week, this is an extra from forthcoming book Demon Camp, which speaks to US veterans of the conflict in the Middle East and seeks to investigate what exact common factors combine to contribute to the insanely high suicide rate amongst vets. This is seriously good, and not a little creepy, writing. 
  • What It’s Like Being The World’s 13th Best Donkey Kong Player: Apparently there’s been a boom in competitive Donkey Kong playing in the wake of King of Kong’s release a few years back (which is weird, as it didn’t exactly paint the ‘scene’ in a flattering light. Anyway, this is a look at the life of a man who’s very good at the game, but not quite good enough – I’ll be honest, I’d hazard a guess that his life’s lacking something in some way. 
  • Why Beats Music Matters: This is sort of a review and sort of a puff piece of new Spotify-beater Beats Music, but it’s really interesting if you are into curation and the automation thereof. Or, you know, if you just want to know if Beats Music is any good. 
  • The World Of Bespoke Drug Design: A facsinating look at the history of designer drug creation, which then segues into a slightly jaw-dropping account of quite how easy it is to get a lab in China to manufacture quantities of whatever you want with very few questions asked. Seriously, the journalist basically sends them an email saying ‘can you synthesise me something with this sort of chemical profile, please?’, and then gets a baggie full of white powder fedexed to him a few weeks later. Madness.
  • Medical Horrors of Reddit: Do you want a Reddit thread which is full of medical professionals recounting the most stomach-churning experiences of their careers? OH GOOD. No joke, these are quite vile and should be approached with caution. 
  • PRing the Pope: Probably the first and last time that something from PR Week gets in here, but this look at the man behind the best PR campaign of recent years (because really) is actually quite interesting, as is this fairly hagiographic profile of the Pontiff in Rolling Stone (See?!).
  • Disney and Datatracking: A look at the future of datagathering with Disney’s latest innovation – armbands for visitors to its US parks which are loaded with data about you – birthday, gender, age, predetermined preferences, etc – and simultaneously collect information about what you do on your visit. Ostensibly helping create a better, more personal experience, this is also sort of intensely creepy and simultaneously inevitably going to be EVERYWHERE in a few years. 
  • William Burroughs In Profile: I must confess to never having really got on with Burroughs’ writing – I always preferred his son’s, which probably says very little good about my literary sensibilities. This, though, is a great piece profiling a fascinating and fairly dreadful man – worth a read just for the ever-incredible and tragic ‘William Tell’ episode. 
  • The Perils Of Social Interaction: A consistently funny webcomic look at social awkwardness in its many multifarious forms. 
  • The Rob Ford Story: So we all know that Rob Ford’s a crack-taking drunk. This, though, is the first part of the Toronto Star’s EXHAUSTIVE recap of their mayor’s story, and it’s just…mental, really. It’s very, very long – and this is only the first part – but it’s car-crash compelling and gives you the context and backstory which the videos of a cracked-out Ford don’t quite give you. It almost makes you feel warmly towards Boris for a second or two, until you actually listen to the man. 
  • The Bot Poetry of Darius Kazemi: Interesting profile of web artist Darius Kazemi, who’s made all sorts of projects which seek to find beauty in the random nature of the web, and draw it out through automated processes. About as wanky as I just made it sound, but there are interesting parallels with broader literary / artistic traditions which I found interesting. 
  • I Bought The Brixton Academy For £1: Basically a big trail / plug for the guy’s book, but this is a crazy story. Doesn’t explain why the soundsystem’s always been so ropey, though. 
By Johan Thornqvist


1) Our opener is a little bit musical and a little bit educational. The Eclectic Method, cut&paste-masters, apply their talents to the history of sampling; a really lovely 3-minute journey which takes some of the most iconic samples and shows how and where they’ve been used and reapplied. Will make you go and want to listen to a LOT of old hiphop, probably:

2) I shouldn’t really feature this as it’s had ALL THE VIEWS, but it’s new to me and it made me laugh very much indeed. This is the trailer for Kung Fury, 80s action movie parody par excellance which smashed its Kickstarter target and will therefore become reality. I don’t know if I could watch 80 minutes of this, but the promo is all sorts of wonderful:

3) This is very nice indeed. A short animation called ‘Unimagined Friends’ about where drawings live before their drawn. The 2d/3d mix of animations is gorgeous, and it’s all sorts of heartwarming:

4) Taking the old Anansi / Python myth and twisting it a little (or maybe this is the original and Anansi’s the ripoff; either way), this is BEAUTIFUL and sort of reminiscent of the artwork of Saul Bass and Frank Miller (with less blood). A French short called ‘La Queue de la Souris’:

5) I don’t understand how this video was made at all, but I like it very, very much. Glitchy 3d animationscanning stuff to accompany a staccato number from Holly Herndon – this is called ‘Chorus’:

6) Hiphop corner! This is Flex The Antihero with Big Dreams – the video’s dull, but he is VERY impressive:

7) This on the other hand is more about the video. The song’s swoopy and Bjork-ish, which is no bad thing but doesn’t particularly trip my switches; the video thugh combines digital art and choreography and feels like the rare sort of videoart I would actually bother to sit down and watch. This is ‘Midnight Shallows’ by Mt. Wolf:

8) It appears that 2-finger piano house is making a comeback. I couldn’t care less, and this song leaves me cold, but I LOVE the thermal camera video very much indeed. ‘My Love’ by Route 94:

9) As we head to the weekend, it seems like an appropriate time to remind you that Web Curios advocates safe sex. This video should prove quite effective in convincing you I’m right. HAPPY FRIDAY!:




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