James Bridle (previously) honors the The Cloud Index, "a tool for actionable weather forecasts" at London's Serpentine Gallery, with a lyrical longread about the history of clouds, science, war and computation. Read the rest
Thank you to the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, for recognizing the greatness of French food and imported macaroni and cheese where it has (d)evolved into its own food group.
Lemmings is one of the best video games of all time, and seemed in the 90s to be on the verge of becoming an explosive media phenomenon. Its tiny animated characters are fab: adorable yet down-to-earth, capable yet doomed, a smorgasbord of sarcastic bite and hurt/comfort neediness. After publisher Psygnosis was bought by Sony, though, the Lemmings soon vanished into the corporate archives. The creators went on to make the Grand Theft Auto series. But perhaps their first mega-hit could have its day again.
‘I would have loved to take the characters and do something different with them,’ says [co-creator Mike] Dailly. ‘But we never got the chance. When you get down to it the original game was brilliant, and the sequel had brilliant tech. But the characters themselves are what makes the game. And they should be used for more, for far more.’
In today’s nostalgia-hungry industry the return of Lemmings is hopefully a matter of time. Updating a classic is never easy, of course, but the game is so original and well-loved it’s amazing no-one has tried to do what Championship Edition did for Pac-Man. That may be Lemmings’ beauty and its curse. There is not a single element of the game that could be removed without changing the whole thing. Adding more stuff, as with the sequel, doesn’t make it better. And how can you update visuals that are iconic because they’re 8×10 sprites?
In the leap from cult hit to world-spanning franchise, there are hard marketing problems when your entire premise is "100 literally identical characters, constantly and comically brutalized". Read the rest
Socialist minister Francis J. Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1890s in an effort to paper over the post-Civil War divisions; to accompany it, he devised the "Bellamy Salute": "raise your right hand, flip your palm down, point it toward the flag in a salute and recite the words." Read the rest
An Unreliable History of Tattoos by Paul Thomas Nobrow Press 2016, 96 pages, 7.9 x 10.6 x 0.7 inches (hardcover) $3 Buy a copy on Amazon
A minor celebrity/reality star, whose name I can’t remember, said in a recent interview that she thinks of people without tattoos as being “unicorns” because they are so rare. It’s true that today tattoos are much more popular than when I was a kid. In my day, only sailors or criminals had dye permanently etched into their bodies, but according to the graphic novel, An Unreliable History of Tattoos, inking people has been around since Day 1 (think Adam and Eve).
In his first book, award-winning British political cartoonist Paul Thomas loosely traces the origins of body art. There’s definitely a focus on European (and specifically British) history in this book, but Thomas also pokes fun at a few famous Americans. Mixing fiction with facts, (honestly sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s made up) this book is interesting, humorous, and very unusual!
I don’t know if the Upper Paleolithic man really punctured his skin with blunt twigs, nor do I know if King Harold II had his wife Edith’s name tattooed on his chest way back in 1066. Should I believe Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, had her knuckles tattooed? Was Kings Charles II’s chest covered in permanent ink with names of all his many bedroom conquests? According to this parody, Queen Victoria, Sir Winston Churchill, and even President Obama love body art too. Read the rest
Robert Moses gets remembered as the father of New York's modern urban plan, the "master builder" who led the proliferation of public benefit corporations, gave NYC its UN buildings and World's Fairs, and the New Deal renaissance of the city: he was also an avowed racist who did everything he could to punish and exclude people of color who lived in New York, and the legacy of his architecture-level discrimination lives on in the city today. Read the rest
Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art) Read the rest
The LA Times investigates the many, fragmentary, much-revised storyline of the Haunted Mansion, the greatest ride that Disney ever built (though Walt himself had to die before the constraints he imposed on the ride could be set aside and the ride finished). Read the rest
Most states being large and empty, the most frequent answer to the question "what is the most common job in your state?" is "truck driver." For everywhere else, teachers and software developers prevail. And where even roads are rare, farmers. Hawaii, though...
NPR's map is fascinating, though, in that you can jump back to earlier days. In 1978s, what did we all do before software development was the day job of millions?
What's with all the truck drivers? Truck drivers dominate the map for a few reasons.
Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can't drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can't drive cars (yet).
Let's see about that in a decade. Read the rest
When Lillian Cunningham, host of the podcast Presidential, offhandedly mentioned that Alec Baldwin resembles 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, it didn't prepare me to find a photograph that looked like Jack from 30 Rock had been subjected to an old-west photo booth.
This famed 5,000-year-old rock carving on the island of Tro, near Nordland, Norway, depicting a figure on skis, is one of the most important historical sites in the country. Two teenagers may be prosecuted for scratching into the stone to make the artwork clearer. (Above: image at left is before, right is after.)
The boys came forward last week, and apologized for their actions.
“It was done out of good intentions," said local mayor Bård Anders Langø. "They were trying to make it more visible actually, and I don’t think they understood how serious it was."
According to The Telegraph, the teens may still face prosecution under Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act.
“It’s a sad, sad story,” Nordland Country archaeologist Tor-Kristian Storvik said. “The new lines are both in and outside where the old marks had been. We will never again be able to experience these carvings again the way we have for the last 5,000 years.”