Animated interview with a young George Michael

George Michael, 23, had just ended Wham! and launched his solo career when he spoke with Joe Smith, author of Off The Record: An Oral History of Popular Music:

I do have the advantage of youth. I’m going to make two types of music: one is the type that people are expecting me to make because it’s really what I’m best at and what I would imagine whatever happens from now on or probably be remembered the most for is my songs in terms of structured ballads and stuff like that with strong melodies. You know, I’ve done that, I’ve done Careless Whisper.

But also there’s a kind of sexuality that I haven’t really made the most of with the first part of my career. I suppose obviously as a 22 year old, 23 year old, obviously I’m more experienced sexually than I was as an 18 year old. So maybe it’s time for that to start reflecting in the music.

(Blank on Blank)

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Real data used to create fictional flight over Mars

Jan Fröjdman used HiRISE satellite data from Mars to create this beautiful and detailed flyby of the planet. Liz Stinson writes that stitching it together took months.

For Fröjdman, creating the flyover effect was like assembling a puzzle. He began by colorizing the photographs (HiRISE captures images in grayscale). He then identified distinctive features in each of the anaglyphs—craters, canyons, mountains–and matched them between image pairs. To create the panning 3-D effect, he stitched the images together along his reference points and rendered them as frames in a video. “It was a very slow process,” he says.

When I was a kid, my mind was blown by Isaac Asimov's VHS wonder, Voyage to the Outer Planets and Beyond, which (at least in some versions, if not the one you can find on YouTube), included the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's 1980s Mars flyover animation: my first encounter with the glitchy, transfixing, uncanny quality of real data from another world. How far we have come, yet not gone.

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Listen to the sources of Daft Punk's samples

Daftworld compiled some of the killer samples that Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter made their own. Full versions of the tracks heard here would make for a killer rare groove and disco DJ set!

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Shape land like Slartibartfast with an augmented reality sandbox

Here's a sandbox with a topographical map projected onto it. Move sand about, and the map moves with it, like an insane tech demo of some augmented-reality version of classic God-game Populous.

Your very own AR sandbox costs $7,050 and it comes with the laptop, projector and camera rig. The software, though, is free of charge. Here's a detailed project report on the prototype if you fancy shaving a few grand off that tag. [via r/interestingasfuck]

Correction: this post originally likened the shaping of land to the activities of God. Slartibartfast is the correct object of comparison. Boing Boing regrets the error. Read the rest

Preventing typography disasters, from the Oscars to prescription bottles

This Vox video illustrates the fact that type design was the true culprit in last month's Oscars cockup, and how easy it would have been to prevent. But backslapping award shows are only the beginning of bad design when it comes to type.

The 2017 Oscars ended with a pretty shocking mix-up. Announcer Warren Beatty incorrectly named La La Land as the Best Picture winner, and the mistake wasn't revealed until crew members had already started giving their acceptance speeches. A lot of things went wrong for the snafu to happen the way it did. But what if typography was one of them? A better announcement card design could have made for a very different Academy Awards show — not to mention a much less embarrassing Miss Universe show for Steve Harvey back in 2015. But the implications of bad typography don't end there: poorly designed ballots in the 2000 presidential election arguably could have swayed the outcome, and illegible type on medicine bottles could be causing nearly 500,000 cases of drug misuse per year in the U.S.

The way pill bottles are turned into incomprehensible ads for the pharmacy--and how graphic designer Deborah Adler proposes to fix it--is intriguing, not least because there are always a lot of unseen pressures and constraints that design is bound by. Nothing will ever be done to fix it: informational text gets perverted by conceit, branding, regulation and corporate bikeshedding until it is worse than useless for any purpose.

Except one, perhaps! I'm especially fond of how manuals for electrical appliances are mostly regulatory safety warnings that succeed both in limiting liability and making the device less safe, because they are so forbidding and badly written no human will ever comprehend them. Read the rest

Desperate John Deere tractor owners are downloading illegal Ukrainian firmware hacks to get the crops in

John Deere is notorious for arguing that farmers who buy its tractors actually "license" them because Deere still owns the copyright to the tractors' software; in 2015, the US Copyright Office affirmed that farmers were allowed to jailbreak their tractors to effect repairs and modifications. Read the rest

Bill Nye urges Trump to recommit to the U.S. Space Program

Bill Nye and The Planetary Society released a direct appeal to the Trump administration, asking that the government continue to focus on Mars and support commercial space industry. Trump proposed a reduction in the NASA budget. Read the rest

Amy Goodman narrates a gorgeous animation about Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent"

In this gorgeous video produced by Al Jazeera's media literacy show The Listening Post, Amy Goodman from Democracy Now narrates an explanation of the "5 Filters of Media Manipulation" set out by Noam Chomsky and Edward S Herman in their 1988 classic Manufacturing Consent, brought to life by Pierangelo Pirak's spectacular animations. You could hardly ask for a more timely intervention in our current media and political landscape. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Check out this gigantic cock

It's easily the most ganked video in the world, and you've likely already seen it forty times on Facebook and Twitter. But Heather suggested the perfect headline, so here it is once again, in all its fowl glory. Read the rest

Ben Vereen, and some Muppets, sing one of my favorite tunes

Pure Imagination is my go to song on the guitar these days. Read the rest

How license "agreements" interfere with the right to repair

States across America are considering "Right to Repair" legislation that would guarantee your right to choose who fixes your stuff (or to fix it yourself); but they're fighting stiff headwinds, from the motorcycle makers who claim that fixing your motorcycle should be a crime to Apple, who feel the same way, but about phones. Read the rest

Muppet with autism plays Boing Boing tag!

Julia is the new muppet with autism who's joined Sesame Street and she's off to an amazing start with this delightful game of "Boing Boing tag." We love you too, Julia! (Thanks,Sam Borgeson!) Read the rest

Provoked by Trump's cruel budget, Colbert brings back The Word

"Stephen Colbert" is a character that was once played by Stephen Colbert: a right-wing blowhard pundit who called Bill O'Reilly "Papa Bear." When Colbert took over the Late Show, the "Stephen Colbert" character disappeared (possibly because Viacom claimed the rights to it!), but now and again, he reappears. Read the rest

Open source hardware, IoT motorcycle kit you assemble in a weekend

Fictiv is a rapid prototyping company that can take concepts or finished designs and farm them out to a network of CNC and 3D printing companies to have your design fabricated, finished and delivered within 24 hours; to demonstrate their new open IoT platform, they've announced an open-source hardware IoT motorcycle kit that you're meant to be able to assemble in your garage in a weekend, and drive off on by Monday. Read the rest

How sound is used to make you remember brands

From the THX sound to Windows startup chimes, audio is a key weapon in the psychological branding arsenal. In this video from Wired, Andrew Stafford (Co-Founder & Director at Big Sync Music) and Steve Milton (Founding Partner at Listen) provide commentary on some of the most famous.

There was a time, Stafford says, when the Nokia ringtone was being played 20,000 times a second. [via MeFi]

Encore: the story behind Sosumi, the most annoying Mac sound. Read the rest

Windows 95 startup sound slowed 4000%

Something about the soundtrack to Hi Stranger tickled neurons untickled for many years. It turned out to be the Windows 95 startup sound slowed 4000%.

Here's the original, for reference.

The Windows XP startup sound 800% slower (below) is what you will hear when the singularity tricks you into thinking you are being uploaded to the immortal metamedium, but are really just being eaten.

And here's Windows 2000:

I'm about certain that the governing principle of Windows startup sounds is "Brian Eno sped up a thousand percent")

Here's the Windows startup sound slowed to cover 24 hours; if ever I produce a movie or game set in space, this will be the ambient bridge audio. My favorite part begins about nine hours in.

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Do not watch "Hi Stranger" while high

A short film written and animated by Kirsten Lepore, starring Garrett Davis. It's part of the Strangers anthology from Late Night Work Club...

... a loose, rotating collective of indie animators. That is, animators who do independent, non-commercial work. It’s an excuse to bring a whole bunch of us together and make something great, and also to promote the work of the artists involved. Some of the best, most personal, experimental and vital animation going right now is happening on the internet. It’s being made late at night when other people have gone to sleep and on weekends when everyone else is out. It’s being made by students, freelancers, full-timers and folks with unrelated day jobs. It means something to us. It’s our scene.

It's hard to describe; it makes me think Salad Fingers in Arcadia. Read the rest

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