Listed by year, clustered by month, linked by week
Listed by year, clustered by month, linked by week
TODAY's Natalie Morales takes a look at how Internet users across the globe put their own spin on London mayor Boris Johnson's zip-line snag near the Olympic Park.
Updated at 8:12 a.m. ET: It took a zip line to stop Boris Johnson laughing, even then it was only for a few minutes.
If every Olympic Games has a breakout star, London’s mayor is surely in contention along with Ryan Lochte and Ye Shiwen.
Johnson might not be an athlete but he would surely get gold for grabbing attention. From mocking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in front of a crowd of thousands to risqué comments about volleyball players, Boris Johnson has awarded himself a starring role during London 2012. While some see a larger-than-life personality, perfectly representing his city, others believe it is another big step in a marathon effort to become British prime minister.
That might sound ridiculous, but consider how far Boris has already come (Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson only needs one name). He was a journalist who found wider attention appearing on satirical quiz shows. His persona is one of an upper-class buffoon, with a messy mop of blond hair and a ready response of ‘oh cripes’ to tricky situations. But his shambolic appearance masks a shrewd and focused politician. It’s a combination that has allowed him to defy the political odds: winning two mayoral elections as a Conservative in a left-leaning city at a time when his party is unpopular.
Ask a London cabbie what he thinks and here’s the response: “He’s my type of politician,”said Michael Murphy. “He’s a big personality and that’s what you need in a city like London.”
Boris doesn’t scare the voters -- he entertains them. On the Late Show he laughed along as David Letterman mocked his hair and then said his own bike-hire scheme was “Communist.” As the Olympics began he described female beach volleyball players as glistening “like wet otters.” It’s far from his worst gaffe and yet they never seem to do him any harm. In fact, many believe they add to the mayor’s eccentric, “real” persona.
Boris Johnson’s biographer describes it as the ability to relate to the man in the pub.
London mayor Boris Johnson attempts to make a dramatic entrance at an Olympic party—but gets stranded on a zip wire instead. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.
“He hears the central ridiculousness of political life and can see the comic side,” Andrew Gimson told NBC News. “People love that because most people are skeptical about politicians.”
Johnson’s fellow Conservatives are taking notice. A recent poll showednearly a third would like him to take control of the party if Prime Minister David Cameron were to step aside.
The perception of rivalry between the two is exacerbated by a shared history. Both went to the elite boarding school Eton College before studying at Oxford University.
“He considers himself to be a great deal more able than David Cameron,” Gimson said. “He considers Cameron his warm-up act.”
It could be quite a while before Johnson takes the main stage.
He would first need to be elected to Parliament, then elected leader of the Conservative Party. Yet it is something being taken seriously in London.
In the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Benedict Brogan sums it up: “Westminster is divided between those who now believe him to be unstoppable, and those who can’t stop laughing at the idea that he is being taken seriously as an alternative Prime Minister.”
There was plenty of laughter as the mayor was rescued from the zip line on Wednesday, cheerfully waving union flags as he was pulled along. It’s an indicator of how powerful Brand Boris has become, that this seemed neither strange, nor likely to detract from his growing popularity.
The L5 Remote app for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad; it costs $59.95.
Some of us don't have the remotest idea how to work today's remote controls, other than using the power, volume and channel buttons. That's testimony to how complicated remotes have become since they first landed in our hands some 60 years ago, and why products like universal remotes have become universally disliked.
This tool of convenience has turned many into frustrated flingers of said devices. But it wasn't always this way.
"No jumping up, not one knob to touch or retune!" boasts the ad. Of course, this is why we're all out buying the Wii today, because we stopped jumping up to change stations or the volume and became BarcaLounger lizards and now need to do something about that.
McCracken notes that the TiVo remote, aka" Mr. Peanut" because of its Mr. Peanut-like shape and look, was probably the "most iconic new-and improved remote control of its era," largely because of its "user-friendly consumer-electronics interfaces in general," with the buttons being "thoughtfully arranged and well-labeled ... There’s a lesson there for everyone who’s attempted to radically rethink the remote over the years."
Now, of course, we can use our smartphones as remotes. And some of us can just use our minds — not to turn the set on, but to keep it off.
Hey I just got back from Argentina. Did I miss anything?
All this Michael Jackson memorializing reminded me of a chart of sampling that's been done of his songs that was viral a little while ago. I didn't realize it at the time but the guy who made it does these "sample maps" has a whole bunch of them. Also interesting to read how it went viral.
I also liked this "Origins of the Moonwalk" video.
Less cool but I still watched it, Billie Tweets.
And I imagine this year's Thrill 2009 will be well attended.
Just reading the phrase "inkjet-printable shrink plastic" should set your brain ablaze with ideas but in cast the transition from Michael Jackson was too much for that, "Make Photo Necklaces, Earrings, Magnets and More Using Shrinkable Plastic." It's DIY Shrinky Dinks.
Speaking of DIY, my favorite new site is There, I Fixed It. A wonderful tribute to human ingenuity.
How language effects the way you think. Not as long or as dense as it looks. Good food for thought. How is the way you see the world guided by the language you use to describe the world?
Amazing face painting. With some of them I can't even make out the face.
Countdown featured this last week but it's the kind of thing that's better online so you can play it a few times and figure out what the guy's doing. He appears to swing the baseball bat at least twice with every motion.
For a long-hair considering making a clean aesthetic break before I end up looking like an old metal head who didn't know when to quit, the results of the Today show's latest semi-regular emasculation exercise are not very encouraging. They look worse, right?
The state of the music review industry (some curses) - A whole lot of implications for news reporting here. Look for the "crowdsourcing kills" meme to catch fire.
This experiment of virtual homelessness in Sims 3 is pretty compelling even if it has some wonky lines: "She's now got a negative moodlet for 'embarrassment', which almost negates the mood bonus she got for getting clean."
Insane. I wouldn't even do the gorilla stunt but the tattoo? That's just insane. (That said, at the recent International Tattoo Convention in New York City, one of the most common sights was cover-up work, so maybe this guy is giving himself a mental "out" with the idea that he might do a big sleeve to cover it one day. The part I don't get is that the phone is only $200. Surely that tattoo cost at least that much.
Remember those "literal video" spoof songs that make fun of music videos? The one for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is good.
This guy is using Twitter to conduct scientific experiments on psychic phenomenon. Basically you try to guess where he is.
Metro Dig at Tysons Stirs Underground Intrigue - This is basically the opening chapter of a spy novel. Or maybe another Men In Black sequel.
How to Learn About Everything - Might be best to first read How to Understand Everything (and Why) - This is really about science learning but I do think it has broader parallels. By coincidence I've been thinking about this kind of general learning lately as I've been watching my son learn to speak. He's at a stage where he's nailing down tenses and prepositions and it reminds me of something we saw here a while ago about how to learn a language quickly. (After poking around I figured out I was confusing two different articles but they were by the same guy: Learn any language in an hour and learn any language in three months.) The idea behind the language articles is to learn the general parameters and most common references.
From those basic parameters it's a matter of building your vocabulary.
(Metamodern's map of science is also really neat.)
Latest stunt from the Improv Everywhere folks is a surprise wedding reception for a newly married-at-city-hall couple. This seems like less of a joke than just a really nice thing to do for some people. I smiled through the whole thing. (Their last stunt, the fake funeral, totally suckered me. I didn't see it on April 1st so I didn't think of April Fool's Day when I saw it.)
If you like tennis... (Actually, in my experience, if you like tennis you won't think this is funny. If you don't like tennis, this reduces tennis to the ridiculous sport you think it is.)
Bullet Time is wicked hard but also quick to play a bunch of times so it's not much of an investment. I must have played 15 times but still never lived past 30 seconds.
Damian Walters show reel gymnastics - I never get sick of parkour videos. What does someone do with skills like this? Stunt man is the only occupation I can think of that could make use of this guy's assets. Maybe also circus.
Seriously cool balancing trick - Also explains why the fork you're eating with at that restaurant is all bent and wonky.
Google Holodeck: StreetView In 360 Degrees - I remember once playing with a Microsoft map program that gave you a street view and put you in a car or something to kind of drive around. This reminds me of that only room sized.
The backgrounds of famous Web memes - How many can you name?
Topsy is a new Twitter based search engine. There are few out there now and I'm woefully behind on researching them. The idea is that the search engine folks are really enthusiastic about the idea of "real time search" and taking advantage of the immediacy inherent in the content people are pumping into Twitter (not just what they're saying but what they're linking to and submitting to Twitpic, etc.). It reminds me of how people thought of Technorati and its ability to gather data quickly from blogs.
How Long Did It Take for the World to Identify Google as an AltaVista Killer? A pretty fascinating review of how Google came into the public consciousness.
Scribble maps - draw on a Google map.
Slate has a (relatively) new photoblog as well. I didn't know Magnum belonged to Slate.
While it's not typical for a TV show's Web support to contribute much to the actual on-air content, last week I got to participate in the production of a segment about an effort to plot as much as we know about North Korea on a Google Earth map file. The segment was based on this Wall Street Journal piece but you can download the file directly from the blog of one of the main participants in the project here.
If you aren't able to make Google Earth work for whatever reason* I plotted some of the interesting points on Google Maps as well on this page so you don't have to do quite the amount of hunting I had to do.
Tight day today so I'm not sure I'll be able to post a longer list later but a few quick must-shares right now:
RunPee allows you to look up movies to find out when is a good time to get up and pee and also describes what you'll be missing while you're up.
Read Infinite Jest this summer! I'm on page 807 so I should be done soon but I'll still probably follow this group just to see what people are saying. Holding the bulk of the book in my left hand as I read instills a feeling akin to the week before graduation day.
Sorry I'm late - Another one of those shot-from-above stop action films. Cute.
New NY Times photoblog - "The New York Times introduces Lens, a photojournalism blog that intends to present some of the most interesting visual and multimedia reporting: in photographs, videos, audio slide shows and other formats."
From the above: This scene of everyone rushing in to get their shot is familiar. The few times I've been in a photojournalistic situation with other photographers the energy has been very similar.
Tweeting too hard - I don't know how this algorythm works but the results are pretty amazingly consistently jerky.
PicFog is a TwitPic search engine. I don't really have an opinion on how well it works (yes, my searches get results) but as a stream of random images it's remarkably watchable. NOTE: Somewhere in here there's bound to be something objectionable. (If you're lucky you'll see it!)
I'm not sure I have the emotional stamina for this. I'm exhausted just from watching the trailer.
It's not hard to make your own Rumsfeld briefing cover sheet. They're offering blanks at the bottom there.
It's pretty exciting to see Google Street View being done with a smaller vehicle. Not only will they get more side streets and alleys and stuff but I bet they can start doing trails and walking paths and other non-roads.
Danger Mouse: Oh screw it, the music business part is too complicated. Just go download the music for free and buy something else to support us. Here, buy this book.
I finally read through the FDA's angry letter to Cheerios for making health claims that qualify it as a cholesterol drug (or something like that). I don't see admonition that their claim is false, just that it's not properly reported according to FDA regulations. The whole thing reminds me of those old Guinness ads that used to make all kinds of health claims. Nevermind the old cigarette ads. (Which is not to equate Cheerios, which I eat almost daily with beer and cigarettes. I just mean commercial health claims in general.) ***I'm faced with two choices here: admit my missing comma mistake or begin consuming beer and cigarettes with my Cheerios and deny any mistake was made. Hmmm...
"What lies beneath the surface of New York Harbor? For starters, a 350-foot steamship, 1,600 bars of silver, a freight train, and four-foot-long cement-eating worms." This article mentions the erosion of dirt over the Lincoln Tunnel and the risks that poses. When MSNBC was in NJ and I took the Holland Tunnel to work every (non-inclement) day my most common mental terror vision was of collapse with resulting flood.
Launching in London today [actually a week ago], the Espresso Book Machine can print any of 500,000 titles while you wait - The wait is 5 minutes. That's pretty close to a morning's podcast/kindle downloads. Can you imagine sending your morning reading to the corner print machine where you pick it up in book form to read on the way to work?
Did you read the NYTimes Magazine piece by the guy facing foreclosure? I'd generally thought of bailout recipients as people who'd maybe contracted an illness and were wiped out by medical expenses or something. This guy seems to have just flat-out lived a lifestyle he couldn't afford. I admit I had a bit of a teabagger moment after reading it.
Non-link item: Last week my wife was traveling, leaving my son and I to fend for ourselves. We did well enough but I have new respect for single parents. I was fully occupied from pillow to pillow and even did some sleep-parenting I think.
Bar tending game - This game features the worst side of bar tending, when the order-in machine is suffering ticket incontinence and the customers are stacking up at the bar while your arm hair turns the consistency of sticky steel wool and the ice cubes that fell into your apron pocket are making you wonder if you peed yourself. I only played once and had a riot by the end of the week. And they didn't even add blender drinks! (Thanks Matt)
New Slate site for women is called Double X. I don't want to cast aspersions and this is probably only because I see a lot of lesbian sites while working with Maddow's fan base, but this looks like a lesbian site to me. Or maybe it just looks like After Ellen.
The Universe in 2009 - Whoa! (and P.S. I think audio navigation is cool.)
I've always been a fan of conspiracy theories - not buying into them but appreciating their creativity and the fantasy world they'd require to be true. The other day I got burned by my own hobby when I tried to share the latest AF1 Photo-Op conspiracy theory with a 9/11 Truther sitting next to me at the coffee place. Uh jeeze. He was miles ahead of me, already convinced the fly-over was part of a mass distraction campaign on the day a major automaker declared bankruptcy. Anyway, A Grand Conspiracy Theory From Pakistan.
The new Times Wire feature from the NYTimes had everyone talking yesterday. It's basically a feed of everything on the site as its publish, updating every minute. This is one of those ideas I would usually write off to media narcissism (like sit-coms about the TV shows). Just because news producers use a news wire doesn't necessarily mean turning a news wire on to the end user is a good idea. At least, that would been my opinion pre-Twitter, which is essentially a user-assembled personal news wire. I wouldn't be surprised if some people had already turned the feeds from the NYTimes into a Twitter Times Wire.
Twitter porn name game was a trap - In case you missed it, you didn't miss much. It was one of those things where you pair your pet's name and your teacher's name and get your "porn name." Looking at the results yesterday I wondered what would make people want to bother sharing that. What I should have been wondering is how many people were being hacked as a result of sharing that. (I ranted on a similar point to my wife after seeing her complete one of those Facebook "20 things about me" quizzes that came dangerously close to mixing in those kinds of "mother's maiden name" security questions you're not supposed to share with strangers on the computer.)
Everyone is linking to this report on happiness. Four pages plus video... maybe for the weekend.
Adding one more: Wilco is streaming their new record on their site.
Today's links felt a little dry so I held out until something cool came up. Here it is. The only thing I'm trying to figure is how this guy learned to do this the very first time.
This emergency prop plane landing is pretty cool too.
Lots of links today pointing to Stweet, a mash-up of Twitter
and Google Street View. Put in your city and see Tweets superimposed on the
street view of the tweet's location.
What those bicycle racing crashes that make you shrug your
shoulders and cover your face look like from the inside.
Ten Twitter Mythconceptions - First of all, if you're not making a "tw-" Twitter pun fake
word, why on earth would you randomly make up a word like mythconceptions?
Anyway, good list. Regarding #7, Twitter is not a time suck when it comes to
posting but can be very distracting when you get to following enough good
10 Online Photography Magazines We Love - Another winner from the folks at Photojojo
I'm not sure what to make of the fact that TweetBook got
clobbered with traffic today. Do that many people want their old tweets turned into
e-books? I think I'm missing something.
This person is selling everything they own before a major
life change. That's fine and we've seen variations of that before. What's cool
is that the "everything" is cataloged on one long page of thumbnail images. What would everything you own look like spread out down a
page item by item? I can't tell if this is a lot of stuff for someone to own. I
think it's actually not very much.
Holy moly this is amazing! Death Star destroys the Enterprise. That's kind of a spoiler but even if you don't care about either of those things, this is pretty amazing.
Meanwhile, I don't know what Disney is doing with Star Wars but the posters are really funny.
I didn't think I cared about photos of famous folk musicians from the '60s but I ended up clicking almost every one of these individually.
Web growth peaked in 2007 but might be back with a vengeance in 2009 - or it might not be back with a vengeance indicating that this whole Web fad is ending and we can all go back outside to play.
Whoa, I totally forgot about the "There are four lights!" episode. The torture of Jean-Luc Picard was one of the most powerful of the whole series.
Obama is Spock: It's quite logical - Do NOT miss that photo.
The latest wildfire Web meme is a keyboard playing cat. The idea is to attach the cat video to the end of another video so the cat plays the clip's characters off the stage. Here's a tool that will attach the playing cat for you. And here's a collection of them so you can see what I'm talking about. The third one is a pretty good use of the cat I think, but the whole thing is a little hard for me to understand.
In B flat - All the clips feature people playing in the key of B flat.