Dan Carlin, Hardcore History

I don't know that I have the attention span for it but multiple people have recommended I checked out Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Podcast, a series of very in-depth looks at various moments in history. You know, like World War I. Episodes usually fall in the 3-4 hour range and each topic is covered for a number of episodes. It's probably appropriate to have the episodes go for so long because the topics require that level of explanation but it is a commitment. Regardless, I've heard great things. Going to give it a try.

Evil Corporation Vinyl

I have previously mentioned my enjoyment of the works of A Large Evil Corporation but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out some of their more recent creations - specifically these Vinyl Toy Designs. Lots of great film and TV characters represented so it's hard to pick a favorite. It's certainly good to see the many permutations of Bill Murray, some secondary IT Crowd folk and that each piece is clearly coming from a place of total fandom. The Evil Corp style means there's some awkward stances and offputting eyeballs but it works, real well.

Catastrophe: Amazon Original

If you have not tuned in to the Rob Delaney / Sharon Horgan BBC comedy, Catastrophe, I would not be surprised as it's not something that's likely to have come across your radar too frequently. Fortunately, Amazon has snatched up the rights to it and now you can watch it instantly through the power of Video On Demand. It's a phenomenal series. it's got all the basic elements of a Rom Com (cute meet, unexpected turn of events) but then throws them all out the window by showing the two deal with the situation realistically, albeit lovingly. I'm not giving anything away but it's a refreshing take on how relationships are portrayed and they're both hilarious. Do watch.

Friday Videos - June 19th, 2015

The days just fly by, huh? Or maybe I'm having a short work week followed by another short work week and I'm just feeling the crunch time a little more intensely. Who can say. Enjoy these distractions: Have a great weekend. If you need more distraction how about reading up on Matilda, the cat with a rare eye disease that makes it look like a 100% alien? It will haunt your dreams, you've been warned.

More? I suggest spending the rest of your afternoon refreshing the Snack Database for new, fun, random Snack Facts.

Google Inceptions, Neural Networks. AKA The Dog-Fish

This Google Research blog post is a remarkable look at the work they been doing in training Artificial Neural Networks to recognize images (aka Google Images). That feat in and of itself is rather stunning but this article goes on to explain some of the mishaps and complexities of how a network can see things that aren't there. It's not unlike how we mistake clouds for particular shapes, except with a computer envisioning those things you actually get to see inside what it's seeing. It's basically the equivalent of visualized imagination.

If you're not into reading, just check out this gallery and marvel at the Acid Trip style creations the networks make when asked to describe an image multiple times.

via Chad

Weekend LongReads and Contraception

The weekend awaits! Hopefully you find some time to unwind and settle down with some longer articles to ponder. Here are some recommendations for such a task:

Jim Darling

I can't stop thinking about these Jim Darling paintings depicting the view through an airplane window. The concept, the textures, the color choices - all perfect aligned to create a compelling, unforgettable series of images. I caught them the other week via Austin and I just keep thinking about them.

Inch X Inch

Buttons and lapel pins are really having a renaissance as of late. One of the finer projects I've seen circling this revival is Inch X Inch - a monthly button club (or badge if you're from across the pond) that nets you three new buttons a month and the good feeling that all the proceeds are going to educational youth art programs. You can learn more about the program in this video but I think you get the gist. Just dive in to their Instagram and take a peek at the goods.

Travis Millard

Ran into some comic work from Travis Millard thanks to the latest issue of Smoke Signal and I'm blown away by his portfolio. The style is humorous and finds just that right balance of simple and textured with details. It's a punk aesthetic but it's also Saturday Morning Cartoons.

He's a Master of Pancakes, contributed work to the likes of Inherent Vice and Dinosaur Jr and has his own Youtube series interviewing other great artists and drawing out stories.

How I have not familiarized myself with his work prior to now is beyond me but better late than never.

Divining The Future Of Television

Really enjoyed this piece from Sarah Ullman on Diving the Future of Television - a reconciliation of Youtube versus Traditional TV. The breakdown under "The True Answer" subsection is a rather eloquent way of describing the two beasts. I'll include the full two paragraphs here for posterity:
Television is a troubadour with two faces, each adorned with a drama mask: one happy (the half-hour comedy) and one sad (the hour-long drama). We invite Television into our homes to tell tales of Khaleesi, cartoon-yellow families from Springfield, and Festivus. On these nights, we recline, flip channels, and enjoy, soothed by the well-worn rhythms of the story. Now happy, now sad, now happy.

YouTube is an algorithmic search oracle: seek and ye shall find. Visit YouTube, and the cursor blinks in an empty search YouTubebar, waiting to answer your question. The YouTube oracle is a hydra with infinite faces as diverse as the infinite varieties of human emotion: happy and sad, yes, but also vlogs, haul videos, ASMR, unboxings, and no-scope kill montages.
It's a bit humbling to think that my generation was the last to have the limited television options and overly structured storytelling because of required commercial breaks. But the article makes a great point that both entities need each other to evolve and change. That can't be a bad thing (can it?).

via KK

Peep Nashville

Aside from it's, somewhat, unfortunate name Peep Nashville is an impressive blend of isometric Google Map and Instagram geotag. You scan through the city and find all kinds of interesting, weird and amusing posts that you never would have discovered otherwise. It's actually a bit addictive to browse - particularly when visiting places you know and seeing people you know featured in various pics.

Right now it's restricted to the greater Nashville area but I can't imagine this not being a fascinating implementation for any city. Fingers crossed the developers at Red Pepper see that potential.

Space Goth

I've been enjoying the watercolor works of Spacegoth recently - an LA based artist and illustrator. Of all the styles of work presented, I feel most drawn to the drippy animal masks. There's a sacred or ritualistic vibe to them that is hard to explain but certainly appeals to me.

via Becky.

UI Oh My

UI Oh My is a blog comparing native apps on iOS and Android. I actually tried to dive deep into the archives to find some drastic differences between the two but came up pretty empty.Overall, it seems that most of the major apps really just have some mild subtle differences between the two platforms - guess we're all not so different after all. Despite that, it's an excellent bit of research for common practices and what you feel works better visually.

Friday Videos - June 12th, 2015

The future is here! Look at this tweet, it's undeniably here. Oof.

Here is your weekly dose of distractions. You'll need em.
  • Moontrap Trailer - late 80's sci-fi at its finest. You don't even need to see the movie after watching this, cause you'll have seen it all.
  • Steve Jobs on Music Subscriptions - turns out, in 2003, Jobs was convinced music subscriptions were a terrible idea. Or, at the very least, that's the way he spun it. Interesting change in just a small amount of time.
  • Steve Jobs Pissed Off Moments - just for good measure, a compilation of Jobs being a real prick.
  • Tipsy DARPA Robots - some of these flipouts will become dance moves, mark my word.
  • Bully - Trying - local Nashville band releases their first official video off their forthcoming full-length Feels Like.
  • Fidlar - 40oz On Repeat - a mediocre song but a tribute to all things 90s, mostly with cardboard. Relive your younger days with this new, meh, song!
  • Bladerunner B-Roll Cut - 45 minute cut of Bladerunner comprised mostly of b-roll footage. That is literally all I know about this.
Love these dogs but, moreso, love the Illuminati twist.

Weekend LongReads

I find myself spending more and more of my Sunday mornings catching up on various Long Reads. It's a nice way to settle into the day. Here's a few pieces that you might enjoy on a lazy weekend morning:
  • XOXO Diversity and Subsidized Passes - the badge application process for XOXO 2015 recently went out but founders Andy and Andy have made it known that they're striving for more diversity (take note white males nerds). Their approach is metered, intelligent and compassionate. As far as I can tell, this is the new gold standard for such things.
  • The Hipster is Dead, and you might not like who comes next - I really really hate the proposed name of this next generation of adults but I think that's actually the point. The actual details of who this kind of person is actually exists. I may dislike the name but I can't disagree with the content. via Davis
  • I'm a Liberal Professor, and my Liberal Students Terrify Me - it's certainly a LongRead but it makes the case against Identity Politics and how it's dumbing us all down, in a bad way. My initial reaction is a strong Agree.
  • What is Code? - an incredibly long piece from Paul Ford on the future of programming and how it will affect us all. Honestly, I've not read a word of this yet but I'm putting it on my own plate to tackle.
  • If you're looking for something extra sad to read - check out this piece from Stephanie Wittels Wachs, The New Normal, on the loss of her brother Harris. Brutal.

Carpets For Airports

I'm not sure why the vibe of the site is very ominous and Big Brother-y but Carpets for Airports is a surprisingly robust collection of insight into airport floor coverings around the world. It's not incredibly easy to navigate but the insight is strangely fascinating. Meaning, there's some real history and background info into the Carpet Designersâ„¢ and the patterns they brought into the world. This is serious business and I am into it.

via Becky.

Vulfpeck

Kevin introduced me to the LA based " half-Jewish German-American rhythm section" known as Vulfpeck this week and I've been diving in full force. It definitely falls on the "funky" side and it has a production value that falls on just the right side of light hearted. It just feels good.
It's hard to say where to start with the full catalog but let's just say Fugue State is as good a place as any. If you told me this music was created 40 years ago, I'd believe you and enjoy it every bit as much.

Side bonus: their website is the epitome of simplicity at its finest.

RockPaperCollage

I'm a big fan of collage work sourced from old magazines, so it makes sense that I'd enjoy the offerings from Courtney Hechler, aka Rock Paper Collage. It's a somewhat new endeavor, so there's actually a consumable amount of media to see. Just be sure you don't miss this one, it will drive the Internet wild.

Lifewinning

I've previously written about Seeing Networks, a small field guide to the physical Internet infrastructure of NYC but hadn't investigated the author, Ingrid Burrington, until now. Her site - Lifewinning is filled with thoughtful research pieces, interesting maps, design and writing. It's a real smorgasbord of intellect that reveals itself in an absolutely non-pretentious manner. It's difficult to explain the allure of pieces like States of Uncertainty - a collection of maps showing nation states that, technically, don't exist - or The Republic of Zaqistan - an art project or maybe fledgling nation in northern Utah, maybe both.

That's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of enjoyable items to be found. Spend some time with each piece.

The Realm of Physical Music

The last week has unearthed some interesting anecdotes about music for me - a topic that I think about a great deal. Not so much the actual sound but what the changing nature of the interaction with it means for us. Obviously, Apple Music stands to be a big deal - a streaming music service that takes on the likes of Spotify/Rdio, Pandora and Soundcloud all at once. It's ambitious and it could be a dud but it's also entirely possible it's a huge hit.

This tweet from Robert Ashley got me thinking about my own personal interaction with it tho, and why I continue to buy and create vinyl, despite it being a huge money sink. This sums it up - "streams are ephemeral, noncommittal." It's not a debate about quality or quanity, it's about a methodology that forces you to pay attention. I'm not claiming that people listening to streaming services can't (or don't) do this but I can't.

So, all that is to say, check out this article that talks about various vinyl collectors and their relationships with the physical medium. The headline is clickbait but the contents are worth a read through.