Posts Tagged: IDEAS!
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Voicemails From The Terrifying Future

In 2022, fires will destroy over 2,025 acres of Texas. In 2048, the Glacier Land Resort will open for people looking to see what life was like before the glaciers melted. In 2049, the Smithsonian—no longer open to the public—will feature a preserved hummingbird in their archives, the last proof of their species ever existing.

These are all possible futures as created by the users of FutureCoast, an interactive alternate reality game that began in February and concludes its run in May. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the overarching story of the game is simple: Mysterious objects known as “chronofacts" have begun appearing throughout [...]

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Robopoetics: The Complete Operator's Manual

Here’s a game: which of these poems was written by a human, and which by a computer?

A wounded deer leaps highest, I've heard the daffodil I've heard the flag to-day I've heard the hunter tell; 'Tis but the ecstasy of death, And then the brake is almost done, And sunrise grows so near sunrise grows so near That we can touch the despair and frenzied hope of all the ages.

vs.

Red flags the reason for pretty flags. And ribbons. Ribbons of flags And wearing material Reason for wearing material. Give pleasure. Can you give me the regions. The regions and the land. The regions and wheels. All [...]
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On "Dawson," on "Dexter," on "Damages": The Artists and Art of TV Shows

A couple months ago I was watching an episode of the second season of "Dawson’s Creek" when I saw an intriguing painting, "Winter’s Mist," by an artist called "Jarvis." "Winter’s Mist" looked vaguely familiar and the artist’s name was something I might’ve heard in college. Here is what the on-TV college lecturer had to say about it:

I’d like to close with this piece, "Winter Mist." It’s Jarvis’ most famous work. No one can deny after looking at this exquisitely tuned surface, the juxtaposition of color and shape, the intensity of his lines, that Jarvis was in complete control of his new technique. Sadly, three weeks after Jarvis completed [...]

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"Essential Transgression": New Fiction Writers In Afghanistan

The Gifts of the State and Other Stories: New Writing from Afghanistan is available by any means in which you might prefer to receive books.

From the publisher

McNally Jackson

Amazon and Kindle

Indiebound

Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]

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How Has "Bust" Magazine Survived?

BUST magazine operates out of a loft on 27th street and Broadway, above an awning that says Reiko Wireless Accessories. On the evening I visited, a bit before Christmas, young staffers rode up with me in the elevator, sharing swigs from a plastic bottle of whiskey. In the office they broke away, laughing and chatting, settling down at computers underneath walls covered in posters and stickers. One featured a giant image of Joan Crawford from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and the text "BUST Magazine says no wire hangers ever!"

The magazine's editor in chief, Debbie Stoller, was in a state. She waved me to the conference room in [...]

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Could A Young Bob Dylan Make It Now?

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask them—in this case, Esquire writer Tom Junod.

My daughter, watching a Bob Dylan documentary: "If he was around today, he'd just rap all this. And he'd have to be cute."

— Tom Junod (@TomJunod) November 21, 2013

Tom! So what happened here? We lost our dog in September. We just got a new one, five days ago. My 10-year-old daughter is obsessed with him, to the extent that she wakes herself up every hour or so to ask how he’s doing. That’s what happened when I was watching—again—Scorsese’s [...]

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Pull Me Out

1. 123

The story of civil aviation is told in sequences of numbers—flights, models of aircraft, hydraulic fluid designations. Famous accidents become known by their flight numbers—Eastern 401, Air India 182, Wayfarer 515. Like the full names of serial killers or executed persons, this is the official mnemonic way to record this data. Categories of planes are distinguishable by number(s): the Airbus A-320, the Boeing 747-300, now the Boeing 747-8. If you wanted to superstitiously/erroneously avoid planes with recent crash records, you would already know what the Boeing 737-200's been up to this century–more like down to. Because the elevators and ailerons of a modern aircraft are too [...]

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Item In News + Other Item In News = Comedy Traffic Goldmine

This is a very interesting piece on how the New Yorker is thinking about digital and the future. Here is what seems to me like a very true thing: "Readers are more likely to read and finish long stories on their phones than on their computers."

But then also I did a search on this article's page for "Borowitz" and didn't find anything?

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Eleven Questions About Explainer Journalism

What is an “explainer”? There are a lot of things out there to read. Some of them are long. Many involve complex, nuanced ideas. That doesn’t have to be the case. When it is the case, it’s a failure of journalists to make news engaging and accessible. An explainer is an article that breaks down an important topic into just the things you care about and need to know. It's unlike all other kinds of articles in that way. If you still can’t understand it, that’s on us. That’s our bad.

How do I know what I care about and what I need to know? Explainers tell [...]

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What America Needs Now Is A Successful Television Heist Show

Television loves conventions. That's why we have a million police procedurals, law procedurals, medical procedurals, murder mysteries, spy shows. And yet there's never been a successful, straightforward heist show. BUT THERE SHOULD BE.

When I say "a straightforward heist show," here's what I mean:

The planner/planners has/have an idea for a theft. A group of collaborators is assembled. A plan is formulated. We learn about the security, the problems to be overcome during the theft. We do not necessarily have to learn (in fact, we usually don't learn) exactly how the theft will be done, but we're given clues that will make the theft's intricacies make sense after it's [...]

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Your Selfie Realization

Perhaps you are on your way to the gym, listening to some hip-pop anthem to get the blood going. You think: yeah, that sounds good. "We are gonna run this town tonight." "I do want that cake cake cake cake."

There is a slight slippage of ego as you meld with the persona in the song—staring into the mirror to find you are mouthing out a rogue, “Westside!,” or whispering with a little too much conviction: "I am a god." A glittery EDM beat comes in, lifting you up, rollercoaster style, to the bridge of the track, where, adrenaline spiking, you become your true self—which is to say, [...]

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My 11 Favorite Interviews With Creative Men (And One Woman!) In 2013

Anti-procrastination. If there is such a thing, it’s distracting yourself in a way that makes you want to get back to work. My anti-procrastination is reading interviews with creative people. I read a lot of these in 2013 and tried to take something away from each one. Here are my favorites.

Martin Scorsese: “I’m Not A Cool And Quiet Person” – The Talks “I find when I make a movie that I never realize what is really involved. When we were shooting Raging Bull me and my producer would say, “This is crazy! How did we get here?” But if we thought that at the beginning, we [...]

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The Seven Millennial Varieties Of Modern Humanoids

If you’re anything like me—a neon-blooded selfie-taking party slug with an APPetite for Disruption and Media Diets—you’re probably flailing in an ever-spinning maelstrom of opening and closing tabs, like, all the goddamn time. (While also struggling to maintain the appearance of being human!) One oft-encountered problem we NetLords run into as the tabs careen into our fat faces with a squawking, Hitchcockian fury, is whether or not we fall into the wide chasm of the term “millennial.” It’s a classification as broad as fellow alien Metta World Peace’s shoulders—Certified Journalists have calculated the birth year of millennials to fall anywhere between 1980 and 2000. So where on this fabricated, [...]

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When Will New York's Hugging Epidemic End?

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask.

Executed maybe 20 hugs last night. Bit of over-under weirdness. Couple of is-this-a-handshake-oh-it's-a-hug things. Minimal suffocation. B+

— Amanda Hess (@amandahess) October 23, 2013

Amanda! So what happened here? I recently wrote a story at Slate arguing that people should stop hugging each other all the goddamn time. A hug with a loved one is nice. But when we outstretch our gangly arms to just about everyone, it becomes an awkward, impersonal display, and even—in the case of power-huggers like Lady Gaga—a personal branding exercise. Some huggers saw [...]

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A Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple

On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Spiegel & Grau / Random House

McNally Jackson

Amazon [...]

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Zoo Stories

After they dined on Napoleon’s horses, the Parisians ate all the feral cats and stray dogs they could find. It was 1870, and the real politicking of Otto von Bismarck had brought Prussian forces to France. The siege of Paris began on September 19th, and over the next four months the Parisians would eat every horse, donkey, dog, cat and rat within the city’s walls. When they ran out of those, they turned to the city’s zoo, in the Jardin de Plantes.

The deer and antelope were the first to go, looking comfortably like the horses and donkeys that had filled menus during the first few weeks of the [...]

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Being A Writer™

I attended my first writer’s conference in 2012. Those ten or so days among meadows and butter yellow cottages were rewarding but fraught. The conference was rewarding in that it was fruitful. I met a lot of great people, collected from the craft courses and workshops some useful habits and things to consider, and was introduced to contemporary writers I’ll be reading, and hoping to run into again, for years. ("Oh, I know her," I can’t wait to say. “She was, um, cruel in workshop.”) I left the conference with a much clearer sense of what I would need to do if I wanted to turn this hobby of [...]

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What If These TED Talks Were Horribly, Unspeakably Wrong?

The long knives have been out for TED Talks for some time. Benjamin Bratton called them "middlebrow megachurch infotainment." Evegny Morozov called the TED publishing arm the "insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering." The gist of these arguments is that TED Talks are vapid, culty mass-selfies that fetishize technology for every solution. It is "placebo science" meant to make its audience feel good about learning and themselves, where ideas can hang out and do whatever, man—just turn the safety off on your brain-gun.

If not read in the voice of a perpetual techno-cynic, these might not be such terrible things. Is middlebrow entertainment bad? If cynics want [...]

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The Shape Of Clues To Come: The Crossword At 100

Crossword puzzle from April 25, 1965, found by David Prasad.

The crossword puzzle, which turns one hundred years old this Saturday, is a native New Yorker. Contrary to popular belief, it was not born in the virtuous, cosmopolitan New York Times but in the back pages of the now long-defunct yellow-journalism daily The New York World, among the ads for breast-augmentation serums. In 1913, The World was one of scores of city papers grabbing at readers with sensational and morbid hooks, high-contrast photos of men in hats standing over fresh corpses, headlines about the secret lechers and killers of the grim urban anonymous. These were the [...]

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The 50 Best Versions Of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," In Order

50. Twisted Sister (H)

49. Tamar Braxton (H)

Lyric Legend: M - “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” used H – “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough” used M/W - Both used

48. John Denver & The Muppets (H)

47. Christina Aguilera (H/M)

46. Jessica Simpson (H)

45. Michael Bolton (H)

44. Neil Diamond (H)

43. Joe (H)

42. Clay Aiken (H)

41. Kelly Clarkson (H)

40. John Travolta & Olivia Newton John (H)

39. Captain & Tennille (H)

38. Scott Weiland (M)

37. Sufjan Stevens (H)