• Proofreading trick: use a proofreader-friendly font

    I wanted to share a little trick some proofreading pros use. I use proofreading fonts (previously) like DP Sans Mono, which supports a wide range of Unicode characters. Some people with visual issues, dyslexia, or other reading impairments may also find it a more legible option for some uses.

    The primary use is for checking OCR-scanned documents for "scannos" (scan typos introduced by OCR errors):

    DP Sans Mono and its predecessors aren't meant to look pretty – their main purpose is to facilitate accurate proofreading and enable the quicker discovery of errors and scannos. That's why characters and punctuation marks stand out from each other. If you really don't like DP Sans Mono though, feel free to switch to another font; however be warned that due to the nature of other fonts (they were designed to look nice and consistent for reading and display purposes, not for proofreading), you may end up missing a couple of scannos and find it much harder to find errors in the text you are proofreading.

    As I mentioned before, I also like Atkinson Hyperlegible for reader-facing typography.

    Image: Distribute Proofreaders

  • Trailer for new Errol Morris doc 'My Psychedelic Love Story'

    Errol Morris profiles Timothy Leary companion Joanna Harcourt-Smith in My Psychedelic Love Story. The film focuses on the government's successful attempts to break Leary and get him to become an informant in the movement he helped start:

    Why did Timothy Leary, the High Priest of LSD, become a narc in 1974—abandoning the millions he urged to turn on, tune in, and drop out? Was his "perfect love" Joanna Harcourt-Smith a government pawn? Or was she simply a rich, beautiful, young woman out for the adventure of a lifetime? Looking back, Joanna doesn't know. In My Psychedelic Love Story, Errol Morris and Joanna Harcourt-Smith reexamine this chaotic period of her life and explore the dark side of the Timothy Leary saga: his period of exile, reimprisonment, and subsequent cooperation with the authorities.

    Image: YouTube / Showtime

  • Trippy recursive effects

    Dave Blair (previously) keeps improving on his innovative in-camera effects contraption, which now has a dual feedback loop that results in even more intricate and beautiful mandalas and mathematical patterns:

    I think this is next-level stuff here with one feedback loop influencing another, and both locked together in position and rotation. The results, even in this initial quick test, are more beautiful than I would have expected.

    I agree! This version also shows the original patten so you can see how the second loop alters the original loop. Check out more on the schematic here.

    Image: Vimeo / Dave Blair Camera & Editing

  • System of a Down singer's political influence in Armenia and beyond

    Truth to Power looks at the music and politics of Serj Tankian, lead singer of System of a Down, who has used his fame to fight corporate greed, to challenge corrupt regimes, and to get official recognition of the 1915 Aermian Genocide.

    The film also shows his creative process as he writes material for his solo album. The soundtrack includes his solo work and classics from System of a Down.

    Image: YouTube / oscopelabs

  • Novice spends a year building a cabin by hand

    Erik Grankvist's first attempt at building a traditional log cabin in the Swedish forest may be just your thing if you like slow television and miss the Primitive Technology channel. He says:

    Sometimes we hear a call from nature. When I was 18 years old I ventured out alone with only a backpack full of simple hand tools to actualize my dream. Build my own traditional off grid log cabin by hand from the materials of the Swedish wilderness. Just like our Forefathers did. I had no previous experience in building, gathering materials or filming. So I started studying myself the old arts and learning from my grandfather and mentor Åke Nilsson. I began to cut down trees and film with my phone, learning as I go. My project started full time once I graduated high school in summer 2019. I filmed everything myself and edited this video so you can follow my journey and hopefully learn as I do. The tractor is a Ferguson TE20 "Grålle" from 1946, they were wildly used by our ancestors to move timber. In 1950 the first chainsaws came to Sweden but they were too big and heavy to be practical. I didn't want to take down every closest tree. So by using the tractor (also as a tribute to some of my ancestors) I could haul a few trees from further away, about 150 meters. I would have loved to use a horse but don't have one. yet..

    Image: YouTube / Erik Grankvist

  • Nice primer on the genre of outsider music

    Outsider music, in Alfo Media's great introduction, is singular in style and cannot be created intentionally. He looks at The Shaggs, Wesley Willis, B.J. Snowden, Eilert Pilarm, Shooby Taylor, Gary Wilson, R. Stevie Moore, Tiny Tim, Luie Luie, Daniel Johnston, and with luck will introduce a new generation to these fabulous artists.

    Image: YouTube / Alfo Media

  • Here are all the ways time is an illusion

    This explainer on all the ways that humans subjectively experience time is packed with all kinds of interesting factoid about how hard it is for us to accurately gauge time and place time in context. For instance, Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth were born in the same year, but where Marilyn feels like a young woman from long ago, Queen Elizabeth has always seemed like she was a stately older woman to most people alive today. A lot of that is because the media on which people are recorded has an effect on how we perceive them. Lots of other important concepts on the subjectivity of experienced time described here!

    Photo by Giallo from Pexels

  • Retrofit for contactless touchscreens and buttons

    Neonode has been around for a while, but they are making a big push for their products in the age of pandemics.

    I would want to see a LOT of data on these before I used one of these on an ATM or other input device that requires personal or financial information.

    I also suspect that the pandemic may usher in the end of touchscreens and elevator buttons, since some humans are disgusting. Time for voice activation and other input methods!

    Image: YouTube / Neonode

  • Which of America's biggest pizza chains has the best value? A deep dive

    The fine folks at Food Theory tackle the question of who gives the most pizza bang for the buck among America's four top chains. They also have some surprising insights about toppings. Warning: this jagbag has one of the worst cases of YouTube voice I have ever heard, which may become unbearable within 10 seconds. Viewer discretion advised.

    My takeaway is that your best value is to doctor up a Little Caesars cheese pizza with your own toppings, since many chains use toppings to serve you a pizza that is lighter in weight. They use the toppings to hide the fact that they are skimping on the cheese.

    That said, Food Theory found that Little Caesars has the best value (setting aside quality) in their tests, where their pizzas with toppings actually weigh more than their cheese pizzas. That is usually not the case!

    Image: YouTube / Food Theory

  • How China ended the lie of recyclable plastic

    The plastics industry did a great job of convincing everyone that their product was easily recyclable, but China finally put an end to that pleasant fiction in 2017.

    A 2017 memo sent by China to the World Trade Organization sent the global recycling industry into a tailspin. In the 1970s, the plastic industry helped get municipalities past "plastic hesitancy" by successfully marketing their product as recyclable, therefore guilt-free. While that is true in theory, much of the plastic waste, especially what is known as "medium-value" plastics, are more profitable to make from scratch than from reclaimed material. Follow the money.

    Because China ships more materials to the US than vice versa, it was inexpensive to fill empty cargo ships returning to China with American single-use plastics. But the economics shifted eventually, making it not profitable to ship American medium-value plastic to China. After China's 2017 memo, shipments of waste plastic covered in the memo dropped by over 99%.


    Image: Wendover Productions