The particles that make up these elements were created 13.8 billion years ago, during the Big Bang. Humans extract these elements from the earth, heat them, refine them. As they work, humans breathe in airborne particles, which deposit in their lungs. The materials are shipped from places like Vietnam, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, and India, to factories in China. A literal city of workers creates four tiny computing chips and assembles them into a logic board. Sensors, microphones, grilles, and an antenna are glued together and packaged into a white, strange-looking plastic exoskeleton.
These are AirPods.
For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever.
While most train stations alert passengers with basic dings and dongs, metro riders in Japan are treated to uniquely crafted melodies. Minoru Mukaiya is the mastermind behind these jingles—he’s made around 200 distinct chimes for over 110 stations. For Minoru, there’s no greater joy than bringing a little bit of music to millions across Japan every day.Great Big Story
This game was unfortunately canceled, but not before the developer got Giant Ant on board to create this gorgeous trailer.
The problem is: all this information came from hobos, a group that took pride in their elusiveness and embellished storytelling. The truth is, there really isn’t any evidence that these signs were as widely used as the literature suggests.
Minnesota Jim, meanwhile, seems a little confused by the proceedings. His victory seemed, at least in part, based on his age. At 83, he’s one of the few surviving bridgers — hoboes that rode on both steam- and diesel-powered trains during their time — and winning seemed to be a kind of lifetime achievement award. But he cautiously told the local paper that kids today shouldn’t ride the rails. “The trains show no mercy.”
While the US government may dismiss these ‘unknowns’ as mere statistical anomalies, the fundamental questions remains: What did people see?
I’m a huge fan of sci-fi and unknown phenomena, but also a complete skeptic when it comes to the theory that UFOs are ‘alien’ in nature. The culture around UFO ‘believers’ is fascinating to me, but I perk up even more when I see legitimate open-minded skepticism, analysis and investigation.
Once you’re done with the video, you can view all the research material here.
In February 2018, Nike dropped the Paul George X PlayStation crossover kicks.
And now at E3 2018 it seems a bunch of “Xbox spokespersons and key influencers” have been rocking custom Xbox Jordan 1’s.
Hiroshi Funabashi, A-Fun’s repairs supervisor, observes that the company’s clients describe their pets’ complaints in such terms as “aching joints.” Funabashi realized that they were not seeing a piece of electronic equipment, but a family member.
And [former Sony employee] Nobuyuki Norimatsu came to regard the broken AIBOs his company received as “organ donors.” Out of respect for the owners’ emotional connection to the “deceased” devices, Norimatsu and his colleagues decided to hold funerals.
LeBron purposely decimated his own team through internal pressure so his eventual trip back to the finals appears all the more impressive, giving further fuel to the “Jordan or LeBron” dialogue.
Stu Maschwitz made this super-rad short film. The short is great (watch it full screen with your headphones way up), but the making-of is even more fascinating – full of in-depth After Effects minutiae, and filmmaking methods and processes.
The way I made TANK is a little crazy. I made it entirely in Adobe After Effects, with equal parts animation elbow grease and nerdy expressions madness. This video is part behind-the-scenes, part After Effects tutorial, and part therapy session.
Mas Subramanian, the biggest celebrity in the uncelebrated world of pigment research, glances at a cluster of widemouthed jars containing powders in every color of the rainbow, save one.
During his nine-year sojourn into the strange, finicky realm of color, Subramanian, a materials science professor at Oregon State University at Corvallis, has grown infatuated with a form of chemistry that he, like many of his peers, once considered decidedly low-tech. His renown derives from his accidental creation, in 2009, of a new pigment, a substance capable of imparting color onto another material. YInMn was the first blue pigment discovered in more than 200 years.
It isn’t only the exotic blueness that has excited the color industry, but also the other hues the pigment can generate. Subramanian soon realized that by adding copper, he could make a green. With iron, he got orange. Zinc and titanium, a muted purple.
Scanning these creations, scattered across his workbench like evidence of a Willy Wonka bender, he frowns. “We’ve made other colors,” he says. “But we haven’t found red.”
Listen to the story here.
More long reads here.
Ear Worm is an excellent series, but this episode is just outright completely fucking rad. Learn about how the “ORCH2/ORCH5” stab became so popular by way of a modern music history lesson.
1984 Dave Letterman losing his shit watching someone program a sequencer with a light-pen on a CRT display? I’m in.
The TV ad works because it’s good for TV. The magazine ad works because it’s good for magazines. You know what Instagram and Snapchat and Facebook (to some degree) and Pinterest figured out? There’s an internet ad that works really well, it just isn’t the box that is on every website.
Figuring that out is the key to unlocking what advertising should be on the internet, and the key to unlocking what good advertising looks like, and very few people have done it well. Almost no one – I would say zero – publications have built a system that is holistically, like from the ground up, designed around the marriage of both interesting, digital-first content and interesting, digital-first advertising.
The Outline isn’t for everyone, and that’s by design. Their content/ad strategy has been super fascinating to watch, especially in connection to the media manifesto Topolsky published in 2016. It appears to be going very well indeed.
No I'm describing advertising that works well and looks good and doesn't force itself on a user and is clearly labeled (what we do)
— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) May 10, 2018
It’s been doubly interesting to compare The Outline to the launch of The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ media company, which he spun up after breaking from ESPN. The Ringer launched on Medium first to minimise their launch runway, but moved to the Vox media stack less than a year later. The Ringer is a heavily staffed blog, and I think it can be safely argued that their written content is not particularly compelling or well presented, and there has certainly been very “bog-standard” approach to advertising (with Vox handling the ad sales after the move).
Now – all that said – in addition to the site, The Ringer has a hugely successful podcast network with Bill’s podcast alone estimated to be bringing in around $50,000 per episode. Simmons is clearly leaning heavily into podcasting (as well as experimenting with a variety of video stream/show formats), with the development of the site and it’s associated ad strategy taking a relative back seat.
None of this is zero-sum, of course. There’s room for a lot of ‘winners’ in the online media space. But watching it all unfold is a great spectator sport.
The Pod Pod is a selection of recommended single podcast episodes.
The clouds part and the theme to The Simpsons plays in my head as I walk among the colorful buildings of “Sprayfield,” a neighborhood that, in recent months, has been covered with elaborate graffiti murals of the most famous yellow family on TV.
When Google finally launches its rumored YouTube Remix platform this year, one of its other services will be put to rest. According to a reliable source, Google Play Music will be replaced as Google’s go-to music service with YouTube Remix. Not only that, but users will be forced off of Play Music by the end of 2018 and onto Remix.
Obviously Play Music hasn’t gained the traction Google hoped it would; it’s routinely omitted from share-links like this one. In my experience it’s actually a very good service, and it helps that the ad-free YouTube Red is bundled in to the subscription. But for a while now it’s felt like the mobile and web apps needed an update, and now we know why that hasn’t happened yet.
That a change is upcoming isn’t what’s weird though, it’s the name of that new service… YouTube Remix. That is a terrible name for a music service. Google obviously really sees value in YouTube as a music destination, and indeed a partner for the major labels. But will users readily make the mental leap from “cat videos” to “music destination”? I’m doubtful.
New(ish) music from Sigur Rós!
on the longest day of summer 2016 sigur rós drove the whole way round iceland’s ring road, broadcasting the entire 1332km journey live on youtube. the soundtrack to this “slow tv” adventure was created using generative music software taking the multi-track stems of the sigur rós song ‘óveður’ and endlessly reinventing them to create new and unpredictable musical directions in real time. the very best moments from the 24 hour journey have now been pared down to a single album of great and reflective beauty. 8 tracks.
A single shark is too clumsy to catch even a somnolent grouper. A pack of them is more likely to flush the fish from its hiding place and encircle it. Then they tear it apart. Seen live, the attack is a frenzy that explodes before us. Only later, thanks to a special camera that captures a thousand images a second, are we able to watch the sharks in slow motion and appreciate their efficiency and precision.
Incredible pictures and story from Laurent Ballesta and his team.