"improv everywhere"

New Yorkers plug in giant boombox found in Manhattan, surprise holiday party ensues

Improv Everywhere's latest mission? Place a giant red boombox at Pier 17 in Manhattan for passerby to discover and plug in. Read the rest

Phone booths in NYC turned into co-working spaces by prankster group

The good folks at Improv Everywhere made a couple of old phone booths in New York City a "little more useful" by converting them into co-working spaces. Read the rest

Hypnotic animation of how a star-forming galaxy forms

IllustrisTNG, a next-gen simulator for cosmological events, created this beautiful animation of a "late-type" star-forming galaxy. It's fascinating to watch how mind-boggling mass and energy on a mind-boggling time scale looks familiar to observable phenomena on earth. Read the rest

Watch a powerful new simulator depict how galaxies form

Illustris TNG is a theoretical astrophysics project that created the most detailed simulation of the universe to date, and it turns out that black holes influence the distribution of dark matter. Read the rest

Cool collaborative student animation of Sagan's "The Pale Blue Dot" speech

The Pale Blue Dot was made as a tribute to Carl Sagan "as the final project for the Animation 01 course at Ringling College of Art and Design." Read the rest

Mesmerizing videos of recreated astronomical events

Inspired by Kubrick and Nolan, designer Thomas Vanz set out to create cool effects depicting massive phenomena from our universe: Read the rest

NYC (and beyond) Peeps: The No Pants Subway Ride is happening again

Hosted by the New York City comedy collective Improv Everywhere, the No Pants Subway Ride is an annual New York City tradition where folks go pantless --together-- on the subway. Now in its 17th year, the group has just announced that the 2018 event will happen on Sunday, January 7th. If you're interested in joining in on the fun, be sure to sign up for their mailing list. They'll be sharing more information there closer to the event's date.

The event happens outside of New York City too, but Improv Everywhere doesn't specifically run it. People like you do. They write:

Once again we are encouraging folks in other cities around the world to stage their own No Pants Subway Rides on the same day. Regional organizers must fill out this registration form to have their event included (that form is for organizers only.) The week before the event we will publish a list of all participating cities along with links to Facebook events. Groups have staged the event on trolleys, light rails, and buses in the past, so don’t let a lack of subway system stop you! 60 cities participated last year. Check the list on this page to see if one happened in your city last year as preference will go to the prior year’s organizers...

Here's a look at last year's event:

Full details can be found on Improv Everywhere's site.

(If you go, I want to see pix!)

photo by Katie Sokoler, via Improv Everywhere Read the rest

Improv Everywhere 'lights up' random New Yorker's sentimental holiday messages on a 30-foot screen

"Light Up Someone's Holiday" is Improv Everywhere's latest mission and it's a heartwarming one.

...We created a custom-built set that allowed random New Yorkers to instantly deliver a card and light up someone’s holiday. Participants were surprised as Christmas lights lit up the plaza and their message was displayed on a 30-foot wide screen above.

This project is a collaboration with Hallmark, who provided us with an assortment of Hallmark Signature Cards for the project.

See how they pulled off this stunt on their blog. Read the rest

Pranksters create fake Apple store at subway station with 50 people waiting in line

The good-natured prankster group Improv Everywhere had some fun a few Sundays ago when they converted Manhattan's 6-train glass elevator at 23rd street into a fake Apple store. They told people it was a pop up to replace the iconic glass Apple store which is closed for renovations until early 2018.

From YouTube:

We placed giant Apple logos on the sides of the glass cube structure, added fake Apple Store employees plus a line of 50 people waiting in line for the new iPhone X. With the famous 5th Avenue Apple Store under construction, we felt NYC needed a new glass cube Apple Store.

It was more like performance art than a prank, since the people in line were all in on it, making it a spectacle but not a harmful hoax for passersby. Some innocent bystanders were interviewed by "reporters" who were in on the gag (and these bystanders did not like this pop up as much as the original glass Apple store), but if these people wanted to actually stand in line to wait for the new iPhone X – which were really just empty iPhone boxes – an Improv Everywhere crew member would tell them they only had enough phones for the 50 people already in line. A few people insisted on standing in line anyway, and here is one couple's reaction as they find out they've been pranked. Read the rest

Sweet 16 on the Subway

This cute video is circulating which shows a group of people, led by a young woman, who want to throw a very brief birthday party for a friend on a subway car in New York City. The friend is unknowingly being guided into this situation by an accomplice. Banners and balloons, blow-ticklers, sashes, and whatnot, are all prepared in the space of a few minutes (two subway stops) before the birthday girl enters the car and suddenly it’s all surprises, hugs, kisses, music, dancing, and cupcakes.

Isn’t that heartwarming? Doesn’t it just make you feel great about New York.

It’s fake. Notice that none of the birthday partiers are older than, say, 25, and they’re all so incredibly attractive.

The so-called “friends” in the subway car are actors and actresses who work for a company called Improv Everywhere.

Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based comedy collective that stages unexpected performances in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere aims to surprise and delight random strangers through positive pranks, or “missions.”

The director of “theater company,” Charlie Todd, writes on their website:

For years the subway has been our favorite performance venue. We’ve had pizza parties, talk shows, wedding proposals, and even time traveling twins. For each of these projects we create a scene that gives random people the option to say yes and be part of something awesome. If you haven’t figured out by now, this was not a real a surprise birthday party. Jenny was an actor along with everyone else in our group.

Read the rest

The last light before eternal darkness – white dwarfs

What I learned from this awe-inspiring animated explainer video from Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell.

Ninety-seven percent of all stars will eventually become white dwarfs. White dwarfs have a long lifespan! Up to 100 billion billion years. That's 10 billion times longer than the universe has existed. Intelligent life has a few billion years to learn how to move close to white dwarfs in order to survive. (In other words, it's a good idea to start planning now!) When a white dwarf dies, it will become a black dwarf. The universe will begin the slow process of heat death, and all life will die.* If protons decay the universe will eventually dissolve into nothingness. If protons don't decay, then they will become iron spheres, suspended in a black cold universe. This will be the forever end state of the universe.

*Not in the video, but Freeman Dyson has put forth the idea (in his wonderful book, Infinite in All Directions) that as long as there is a temperature differential (and there always will be), energy can be used to support life. Imagine a system that harvests energy for 10 billion years, which is enough to power a computer with a universe simulation in it for one second before shutting down. The next time, it has to harvest energy for 20 billion years to run the simulation for a second. This could go on literally forever, and the conscious entities in the simulation would not be aware of the long hibernation periods. Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: Declare your love

Charlie from Improv Everywhere writes, "What happens when you leave a megaphone on the street with the simple instructions: 'Declare Your Love?' 2016 has been a rough year. It felt like time to dust off our old podium." Read the rest

Improv Eveywhere's "Surprise Press Conference" - a scrum for everyone

Charlie Todd from Improv Everywhere (previously) writes, "We set up a fake press conference set on the steps of the New York Public Library. When random tourists approached it to pose for photos, a mob of reporters ran up and surprised them with an impromptu press conference." Read the rest

The universe has no "up"

New research from University College London suggests that the universe is indeed "isotropic," the same in all directions. Cosmologists Daniela Saadeh and Andrew Pontzen analyzed cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation left over from the Big Bang for any patterns that would indicate "a special direction in space." Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: Dance Captain Wanted

Charlie from Improv Everywhere writes, "We set up 100 dancers in a park and put a platform in front of them. Watch what happens." Read the rest

Death from space — gamma-ray bursts explained

"Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell" have been making the best explainer videos on the planet. Their latest one is about gamma-ray bursts, which occur when stars collapse or collide. Gamma-ray bursts have been detected in far away galaxies, but not in the Milky Way. A gamma ray burst in our galaxy could wipe out all life on Earth, Read the rest

Improv Everywhere: asking random New Yorkers to give a commencement speech

The fun-loving stunters of Improv Everywhere staged a fabulous stunt in New York City's Bryant Park: they set up a crowd of "grads" in caps and gowns with a stage and a podium, then sent the "dean" out into the park to beg randos to step in and serve as emergency commencement speakers, filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Read the rest

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