From kottke.org

  • Fred Rogers: America’s Favorite Neighbor, a 2004 documentary hosted by Michael Keaton

    A documentary about Fred Rogers just premiered at Sundance and will be out in theaters this summer on June 8; you can watch a short clip here. But in 2004, Michael Keaton hosted a documentary called Fred Rogers: America’s Favorite Neighbor. It’s somewhat hard to come by these days — the single remaining copy on Amazon is $79 — but there are a couple lengthy clips up on YouTube:

    Why Michael Keaton? When he was young, Keaton worked for WQED, the television station that produced Mister Rogers’...


  • Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack for Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread is director PT Anderson’s latest film, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in what he says is his final movie appearance. As was the case with Anderson’s previous films, The Master and There Will Be Blood, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood did the soundtrack, and it was just earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.

    It’s available on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon.

    Tags: Jonny Greenwood   movies   music   Phantom Thread   PT Anderson


  • Massive vintage movie poster collection is being digitized and made available online

    The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin is currently digitizing and putting online their collection of more than 10,000 movie posters.

    The collection encompasses upwards of 10,000 posters and spans decades: from when the film industry was just beginning to compete with vaudeville acts in the 1920s to the rise of the modern megaplex and drive-in theaters in the 1970s. The sizes range from that of a small window card to that of a billboard.

    You can browse the collection...


  • Candide Thovex skis the world

    In a video for Audi, Candide Thovex skis in locations around the world without any snow. He skis in the jungle, on water, on volcanic ash, down sand dunes, and across the Great Wall of China. The sand dunes in particular look incredibly fun. I wonder how many pairs of skis he ripped up making this?

    See also Thovex’s past videos: a fun run down the mountain, more creative freeskiing hijinks from Candide Thovex, and his previous commercial for Audi (love the ending).

    Tags: advertising   Candide...


  • This tiny super-precise robot can move 75 times per second

    Researchers at Harvard have developed a milliDelta robot that is very precise and moves very quickly. The video shows the robot moving so quickly (making circles up to 75 times per second) that the motion blurs, like Neo at the end of the first Matrix movie. From the description of a second video showing the milliDelta bot:

    Our design is powered by three independently controlled piezoelectric bending actuators. At 15mm x 15mm x 20mm, it has a payload capacity of ~3x its mass. It can operate...


  • What if Chewbacca sounded like Pee-wee Herman?

    This is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever posted and I love it.

    Tags: Pee-wee Herman   Star Wars   remix


  • A comparison of the visual similarities between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049 takes place in the same location 30 years after the events in the original Blade Runner film, so it’s natural that the two movies share a visual style. But director Denis Villeneuve and director of photography Roger Deakins also sprinkled their film with direct but subtle references to scenes in the old movie, as seen in this side-by-side video. In this discussion with Rian Johnson, Villeneuve talked about his approach:

    This is the first time I was making a movie inspired by...


  • Pixelized 16-bit portrait of Ben Franklin from the 1840s

    Ok, that’s not actually a screenshot from the hit Sega Genesis game Benjamin Franklin’s Polymath Academy. It’s a scan of an embroidery pattern from the 1840s or 1850s based on this engraving. Here’s a closer view:

    The scan is part of an ongoing project by the Library of Congress to scan their entire Popular Graphic Arts collection, a wonderful trove of prints, advertisements, and other printed documents from circa 1700 to 1900. (via @john_overholt)

    Tags: art   Benjamin Franklin   video...


  • Population estimates for user-drawn shapes on a map

    NASA has built a service for estimating populations, part of which is a map hosted by Columbia on which you can draw a circle or a shape and the map will give you an estimate of the population contained by the shape. You can also access the service via an API…just send it polygonal coordinates and it returns population data.

    Just for fun, I drew a small circle with an area of ~7000 sq. km and dragged it around to different spots on the globe:

    NYC: 15,251,980

    Rural Wyoming: 31

    London:...


  • All Good Things…

    The Awl and The Hairpin announced they would be closing up shop at the end of the month, after almost nine years of danged good blogging. Several writers and editors wrote about their favorite pieces; many of them agreed with Jason that Willy Staley’s A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage was a high-water mark.

    Very little in pop culture, especially if it doesn’t live very long, is multi-generational. The Awl and The Hairpin managed to pull it off, straddling the seam of Millennials and...


  • My 2018 Mock NBA All-Star Draft

    This year, the NBA All-Star Game won’t be strictly the best players in the east against the best in the west. Instead, the top vote getters in each conference get to choose their own teammates: first from the list of starters in both conference, and then from the list of reserves.

    The NHL has done something similar for the past few years, broadcasting the draft, and offering a free car as a consolation prize to the player chosen last. All of this is extremely entertaining. But the NBA, whose...


  • Ask Dr. Time: What Should I Call My AI?

    Today’s question comes from a reader who is curious about AI voice assistants, including Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and so forth. Just about all of these apps are, by default, given female names and female voices, and the companies encourage you to refer to them using female pronouns. Does it make sense to refer to Alexa as a “her”?

    There have been a lot of essays on the gendering of AI, specifically with respect to voice assistants. This makes sense: at this point, Siri...