Sending up the trolls – “Thank You Hater! – by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay” [video]

I have written about haterz and internet trolls before (here and again here) but this video – which includes brief accounts from those who have been the target of spiteful comments, such as comedian and performer Richard Herring – captures perfectly the tone of the troll and how he or she might be dealt with in a humorous way (strong language: not suitable for work).

Some of the comments are funny and insightful – one invokes Godwin’s law, another suggests there should be debate in the video’s comments about creationism – and overall it’s a brilliant lampooning of the trolls and the haterz.


Video: time-lapse mapping of European history from 1000 AD to 2003

This is excellent. It’s a time-lapse map of European history, from 1000 AD to 2003. It’s really quite amazing to see countries or parts of them change so much. It’s rather saddening too – many, perhaps most, of the changes came as the result of war and the subsequent land-grab.

I’ve posted the longer by clearer version, which contains dates and further annotations. You can find the shorter versions here. Both are well worth viewing full screen for the full effect.

We’re all editors now: The Economist’s Animated Style Guide

With the development of blogging, social networking, micro-blogging and all other forms of online self-publication, we’re all editors now. I’ve worked professionally as an editor (the copy editor and proofreader flavour of that nebulous word, ‘editor’) and have found The Economist’s style guide to be one of the most useful resources one can find on how to use language with precision. This comical and beautifully illustrated video gives a brief insight into the kinds of things we editors – professional or otherwise – are interested in.

I’ve probably broken several of the rules of this style guide in this very short post already. Nevermind. No doubt there will be some helpful soul out there willing and ready to take his or her (not ‘their’ – never ‘their’) metaphorical red pen to the post and put me right.

The Scale of the Universe 2: an interactive graphical adventure

This superb interactive graphic will give you a chance to discover the size of things, from the smallest to the largest. It is simple but quite wonderful. The quickest way to explain what it does is ask you to try it.

Just use the scroll button on your mouse to move between levels of magnification. (It runs in Shockwave so it will not work with iPads, iPhones and so on.)

I highly recommend you open the full-screen version, which can be found here.

This work is copyright Cary and Michael Huang, 2012; music copyright Kevin MacLeod.

At the edge of space: Felix Baumgartner’s freefall

Later this year, Austrian Felix Baumgartner will go one further than his colleague Joseph Kittinger by performing the highest, fastest and longest freefall from the edge of space. Kittinger, who was captured and held prisoner for 11 months during the Vietnam conflict, is assisting in the project.

All of which gives me the opportunity to show The Board of Canada’s excellent video for their track Dayvan Cowboy, the first part of which shows Kittinger in freefall (Kittinger’s video can be found here).

Kittinger describes feeling as if he were stationary during the first part of his fall, as if he were floating in space, since there were few visual clues to remind him he was falling and his suit didn’t ripple with air resistance. In fact, he was falling at a rate approaching the speed of sound, a speed Baumgartner intends to break.

Like cats? Like art? Like cats in art? Who doesn’t!

The excellent website Great Artist’ Mews has a collection of comical and well-executed artworks that combine the wonder of cats with the splendour of art. I couldn’t help but post this collection of master artworks ‘remade’ and improved by the insertion of cats. This is my favourite, based upon Salvador Dali’s ‘Dream’.

And the original Dali’s ‘Dream’ in case you’ve forgotten it.

In some ways, this is a bit of lighthearted frippery of the best kind. But it also captures a prominent flavour of the web at the moment. Cats are notoriously ubiquitous on site like YouTube (sometimes known mockingly as ‘CatTube’). Further, the ‘mashup’ of incongruous elements (here the inserting cats in artistic masterpieces) – along with its sometimes irreverent attitude to canonical artworks and their originality – is notable achievement of creatives all over the web.

“Sh*t Photographers Say” and elitism in photography

That heavyweight heading shouldn’t put you off. All I’m saying really is nothing new. Since photography has been opened to the masses through the availability of cheaper, easier to use digital cameras and the ability to publish freely online, ‘professional’ (and the less well-paid ‘serious’) photographer has to cling on to power somehow. This short film brilliantly and hilariously shows how.

The opening line – ‘I only shoot film’ – pithily represents the elitism of pro/serious photography, and is funny too. When in doubt, deny the very basis of the revolution – in this case, suggest analogue is better than digital. But don’t feel isolated, pro snappers. You’re not the only ones. The assertion of power, conscious and deliberate or otherwise, happens everywhere in culture, everywhere in life. In fact, we’re probably doing it right now.