Young people are angry and leaving TV in droves
Vice chief executive Shane Smith on video journalism, North Korea – and why he won’t be taken over by a big rival.
Found Things is a compendium of curiosity.
The cinema at the end of the world
Check this abandoned outdoor movie theatre in the Sinai desert, nestled at the foot of a desert mountain range. It’s a peculiar sight, out of place and somewhat out of time: hundreds of seats for an outdoor movie theatre.
Apparently the theatre was built in the recent past by a man from France with considerable means. Tonnes of old seats and a generator were hauled in from Cairo, along with a giant screen that looked like the sail of a ship.
Everything was set for opening night, with one small problem. Kikkas says the locals weren’t particularly keen on the whole idea and decided to discreetly sabotage the generator, meaning that not a single movie was ever screened.
So here it sits, a random movie theatre in the middle of a desert that was never used.
And you can see it on Google Maps.
A Chinese city, left to ruin after a dam flooded the valley it lay in, has become a paradise for divers.
The ancient city of Shi Cheng, known as the Lion City because it was surrounded by the five Lion Mountains, was founded over 1,300 years ago. It vanished more than half a century ago to make way for a new hydroelectric power station and a man-made lake.
The once bustling city is now between 85 and 131 feet underwater.
But Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, decided to see what remained of the city under the deep waters.
"We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it"
The town is in remarkable conditions, with wooden beams and stairs still remaining.
Now a film crew has been on site to record the preservation of the lost ruins.
Face painting taken to another level
You’re probably wondering what is so impressive about someone covering his face in paint.
All is not as it seems. You might not think it when looking at the first few of these pictures, but what you’re looking at is actually one of the most incredible things we’ve seen in a long time.
Yep, those previous pictures were not photos of a man with paint on his face, but they were actually incredible hyperrealistic oil paintings (of a man with paint on his face).
This is the work of Spanish painter Eloy Morales. Eloy is one of the best hyperrealistic painters in the world. Not only are his paintings photographic in quality, but they possess a vibrancy and life that tricks the viewer into thinking they are actually looking at photographs.
Here’s a video of Morales explaining his art -
You can see more on the artists site.
L’Arbre Blanc - A leaf of your own
Depending on what part of the world you call home, the idea of ‘outdoor living’ could set you shivering at the very notion. For the residence of Montpellier, France however, this architectural concept is becoming an increasingly important part of the landscape.
The next eagerly awaited addition comes in the form of a 17-story tower aptly named L’Arbre Blanc or the White Tree. The innovative apartments have a real sense of community and boast an intricate array of sun-trapped balconies – the perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon read or summers night tipple. The building will also plays host to “a restaurant, an art gallery, offices, a bar with a panoramic view and a common area.”
Thanks to the iPod, music just isn’t special any more
Wait, no, that’s a horrible thing to say. Sorry, let me explain myself…
In the good old days - the sixties and seventies; before my time, but the time when my parents were growing up – recorded music was something special, something to be cherished. Each album was an event, to be hunted down and appreciated holistically and repeatedly. There was none of this ‘download a track here, download a track there’ nonsense – you had to actually go to a shop and buy the album you wanted. You’d devour it whole, appreciating the album as it was intended by its creators; the first track is the opener for a reason and there’s method behind the running order of the subsequent tracks, the cover art has depth and significance, and so does whatever liner notes they chose to (or not to) include. It was a thing. And because vinyl was chunky and substantial, you had to have somewhere to keep it, and it was always obvious. You couldn’t buy an album and forget about it.
This specialness helps to attach memories to music. On the day that Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ ‘New Boots & Panties!!’ album was released in 1977, my dad went to every record store in Canvey Island trying to find it, asking each baffled proprietor “excuse me, do you have New Boots and Panties… ?”. Picture that. He was lucky not to get a thick ear, cheeky sod. In fact, when you think about it, half the stories of that generation have some sort of über-cool musical significance; my wife’s parents, for example, actually met at a Beatles gig at the Cavern Club. How rock ‘n’ roll is that? You can be sure they think about that every time they flip ‘Rubber Soul’ onto the turntable. The rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives.
I remember when I was growing up, my parents had maybe a hundred records (compare that to the amount of music on your iPod right now). I knew every one of those long-players inside out. Still do, in fact. The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Let It Bleed’ and ‘Exile on Main Street’; Graham Parker’s ‘The Up Escalator’ and ‘The Real Macaw’; Led Zeppelin’s ‘II’; Budgie’s ‘If I Were Britannia I’d Waive The Rules’; Nazareth’s ‘Hair of the Dog’… we knew them all by heart. Because that’s what we had.
Broadly speaking, we can say that the sixties and seventies were the vinyl era, the eighties were all about cassette tapes, the nineties (and early noughties) were the time of CDs, then it went online.
I was lucky to straddle the cusp of tape and CD, wherein the ideals of the vinyl album still held but the music was a little more portable.
Recordable cassettes allowed us to share music with friends. ‘Home taping is killing music’, cried the industry, but they couldn’t have been more wrong; home taping perpetuated kids’ fascination with music, broadening horizons that ultimately bolstered the industry as a whole, encouraging another generation of adolescents to spend their spare time going to gigs and hanging out in record shops.
Most of my pocket money was spent in Gatefield Sounds and B-Side the C-Side, respectively the local independent record store and a second-hand music exchange – it was the latter that spawned my fondness for rarities and collectibles. You see, I had this ingrained love of the album – these snapshots in time created for us by our music idols, representing their own perspective on that particular period, captured forever in a bundle of musical memories – and, once I had sufficient spare change to start collecting my own, I became obsessed with completism: if I’d bought an album I really liked (Mansun’s ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ say, or 60ft Dolls’ ‘The Big 3’), I’d collect all of the associated singles in all their forms, as well as any demos and imports I could get my hands on. These were the times, remember, when releasing a single actually meant something – when people would have to make the effort to go to the shops to buy it, and bands would reflect this effort by releasing a single on two CDs, cassette and 7” vinyl, with different b-sides on each.
You could be really snobby about it too: “What, you haven’t heard the acoustic version? No, not that one, the demo? You mean you only bought CD1? Huh…”“
I hate downloading music. If I’m going to buy an album or a single, I’ll buy a physical copy of it and store it in a rack, so that if I want to listen to it I’ll have to find it and make the effort to play it. The band went to great lengths to create it in exactly that format, so it’s the least I can do.
In my whole life, I’ve probably downloaded no more than around twenty songs, and they were all from MySpace in about 2005 (and, to be fair, they were by bands like Milburn and Bromheads Jacket, whose CDs I then went out and bought in a shop).
I’ve only ever bought two tracks from iTunes – they were ‘Damn Damn Leash’ by Be Your Own Pet and ‘Bug Powder Dust’ by Bomb The Bass – which are now lost on an old, scrapped version of iTunes on a defunct laptop. I object hugely to the shitty strategy of only allowing you to listen to things you download on an Apple device – I’ve paid for the fucking track, why shouldn’t I be allowed to burn it to a CD and listen to it in the car? I should own that copy of the track, not just rent it from Cupertino on a limited basis (don’t worry, I tracked down an original promo copy of ‘Damn Damn Leash’ on CD - complete with cover hand-painted by the band - on 991.com, and the Bomb The Bass album ‘Clear’ was sourced from the play.com marketplace – they’re mine now. I can listen to them wherever I want).
(Editor’s note: you can transfer out of iTunes with ease you know… it’s been DRM free for like, forever.)
So anyway, back to my opening statement about the iPod.
Now, it’s a bloody clever little device, and I love mine to bits. I use it every day. However, the gadget’s ubiquity adds to the maelstrom of musical indifference demonstrated by a lot of people these days. This is illustrated most vividly by the people you see who are still using the fucking awful white earbuds that come with iPods. These are so crap for listening to music with, you might as well be hearing reel-to-reel tape, underwater, through a tin can attached to a bit of string. They’re horribly weak and tinny, and they have no bass whatsoever. None at all. And no dynamism. You lose all perception of the magic captured in the studio, you’re just listening to a faded and discoloured facsimile of the music you’ve paid for. People who use these earbuds don’t really want to listen to music in any meaningful sense; they want a background noise that they can ignore, to drown out reality.
They could just as easily be listening to white noise.
So the equipment’s all wrong, but so’s the attitude. Downloading a song here and a song there and smooshing them all together into a little music box is sacrilegious to the creative process that spawned the tracks in the first place. There’s nothing special in treating music like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s disrespectful.
I said earlier that “the rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives”; you could argue that this is still the case today, that people spend far more time listening to music than ever before because the versatility and portability of technology allows them to do so. But it’s not the same. Listening to it and hearing it are two very different things.
Maybe I’m just a crotchety old sod.
Best product placement ever? The World as seen from a pelican’s beak
Want to watch an inspiring video of an orphaned pelican’s first flight? Of course you do.
The pelican, which lost its parents and washed ashore in Tanzania after a storm, had never learned to fly. Enter its handlers, who took it in, named it Bigbird, and taught it to fly by running up and down the beach with him for months.
Thankfully, they also had the foresight to strap a GoPro to its beak prior to its first takeoff, so you can watch Bigbird’s first flaps in all their majestic glory.
Birds and humans, working together in pursuit of flight - I think the word you’re looking for is magical. Magical, magical product placement.
"EAT CELEBRITY MEAT" - So much for Soylent Green… I’d like a pound/ kilo of_________
BiteLabs.org is a startup that says it wants to sell ‘artisanal salami’ grown in a lab from the cells of famous people.
The company lists Kanye West, Jennifer Lawrence, James Franco, and Ellen Degeneres as the celebrities it most wants to salamify and encourages visitors to tweet at these celebrities to get them to donate body cells.
“We mix celebrity and animal meats, grown in house through a proprietary culturing process, into curated salami blends.”
"The process begins with myosatellite cells, which are obtained via biopsy. These are a particular type of stem cell found in adult muscle that function to repair and regrow damaged muscle. Isolating a sample of these cells provides a base that can grow into as much meat as required."
It’s gotta be a joke, right?
A “One Second a Day” video like you’ve never seen before
We’ve all seen these “photo a day” or “one second a day” videos before, time-lapse montages that show us the passage of time before our eyes: people having children, conquering long distances, and growing up.
But not every year in a life is so life-affirming, as this ad spot from Save the Children so brutally reminds viewers.
When you are popular on Facebook, strangers think you’re attractive
From psychology, we’ve known for a while that people create near-instant impressions of people based upon all sorts of cues. Visual cues (like unkempt hair or clothing), auditory cues (like a high- or low-pitched voice), and even olfactory cues (what’s that smell!?!) all combine rapidly to create our initial impressions of a person.
Where things get interesting is when one set of these cues is eliminated. For example, if we’ve never met a person in a real life, do we form impressions of people when all we know about them is their Facebook profile? And if so, what do we learn from those profiles?
As it turns out, it can be quite a lot.
Graham G Scott has experimentally examined the impact of viewer gender, Facebook profile gender and number of Facebook friends on impression formation, finding that people with lots of friends appear more socially attractive, more physically attractive, more approachable, and more extroverted.
When viewing modified Facebook profiles (all with the same profile picture and an experimentally controlled number of friends), people rated profiles with lots of Facebook friends as more physically attractive, more socially attractive, more approachable, and more extroverted.
Since potential employers look at Facebook profiles these days, perhaps it’s time to hire some Facebook friends.
Up, up and down: the ephemerality and reality of the jetpack
Born out of sci-fi cinema, pulp literature and a general lust for launching ourselves into the wild blue yonder, the real-world Rocket Belt began to truly unfold once the military industrial complex opened up its wallet.
In the late 1950s, the US Army’s Transportation Research Command (TRECOM) was looking at ways to augment the mobility of foot soldiers and enable them to bypass minefields and other obstacles on the battleground by making long-range jumps. It put out a call to various aerospace companies looking for prototypes of a Small Rocket Lift Device (SRLD).
Bell Aerospace, which had built the sound-barrier-breaking X-1 aircraft for the Army Air Forces, managed to get the contract and Wendell Moore, a propulsion engineer at Bell became the technical lead.
The most viable design at Bell’s Buffalo, NY, facility was a hydrogen peroxide rocket-propulsion system, which offered a relatively stable fuel with no combustion. It was dubbed the Rocket Belt and was essentially a three-tank system mounted onto a fiberglass corset molded to fit the operator.
Full article on Engadget.
Time warp: Oscar nominees posing with their younger selves
Every Oscar night, the past comes alive through lifetime achievement awards, “in memoriam” segments and other Hollywood retrospectives.
But what if the past came alive, literally? Through the magic of Photoshop, People has sent 10 of 2014’s Oscar nominees back in time to chill with their younger selves.
Your ancestors didn’t sleep like you: the myth of the eight-hour sleep
Following on from our article on the incredible importance of sleep for habits & motivation a few weeks ago, here’s some fascinating insight into sleeping habits pre-1800, from Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech -
Ekirch’s has found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk; we used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night. This range was about 12 hours long, and began with a sleep of three to four hours, wakefulness of two to three hours, then sleep again until morning.
References are scattered throughout literature, court documents, personal papers, and the ephemera of the past. What is surprising is not that people slept in two sessions, but that the concept was so incredibly common. Two-piece sleeping was the standard, accepted way to sleep.
"It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge."
An English doctor wrote, for example, that the ideal time for study and contemplation was between “first sleep” and “second sleep”. Chaucer tells of a character in the Canterbury Tales that goes to bed following her “firste sleep.” And, explaining the reason why working class conceived more children, a doctor from the 1500s reported that they typically had sex after their first sleep.
Ekirch’s book “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past” is replete with such examples.
But just what did people do with these extra twilight hours? Pretty much what you might expect.
Most stayed in their beds and bedrooms, sometimes reading, and often they would use the time to pray. Religious manuals included special prayers to be said in the mid-sleep hours.
Others might smoke, talk with co-sleepers, or have sex. Some were more active and would leave to visit with neighbours.
As we know, this practice eventually died out. Ekirch attributes the change to the advent of street lighting and eventually electric indoor light, as well as the popularity of coffee houses. Author Craig Koslofsky offers a further theory in his book Evening’s Empire. With the rise of more street lighting, night stopped being the domain of criminals and sub-classes and became a time for work or socializing. Two sleeps were eventually considered a wasteful way to spend these hours.
No matter why the change happened, shortly after the turn of the 20th century the concept of two sleeps had vanished from common knowledge.
The secret life of miniature Batman
They say that real boys don’t grow up; their toys just get bigger. Well that’s not the case for everyone.
Take French photographer Rémi Noël, who’s been tripping throughout the state of Texas together with a miniature plastic Batman figurine as his only companion.
Noël has long been fascinated by the image of “timeless America” captured in the works of Jack Kerouac, Edward Hopper and Robert Frank. So Texas’s endless highways and neon-sign motels were the perfect setting for lonely Batman’s photo shoot.
"It’s a toy that I stole from my son one day when I was cleaning his room
“Since I go to the United States by myself, I take Batman with me to feel less alone. And I take him out – I set him up in scenarios.”
The caped crusader looks rather alienated from his usual 24/7 villain-beating self. Nostalgic gazes out the window and cravings for “Ranch Style” beans create that feeling of longing we’ve all experienced.
You can see more on the photographer’s site.