From kottke.org

  • TFW when your outfit perfectly matches land, sea, and sky

    I know many photographers have taken similar photos, but August Östberg’s Lover in Disguise is a particularly good instance of fashion camouflage.

    See also people who dress like their surroundings and Dressed to Match.

    Tags: August Ostberg   photography


  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls in audio format

    Audiobooks for both of the bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls books will be out in June: book one, book two. The bedtime fairy tale style of these stories are perfect for the audiobook format.

    My daughter and I took a car trip recently and to pass the time, we listened to the first few episodes of the relatively new Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls podcast. Great podcast. Each episode is 15-20 minutes long and features the biographical story of a kickass woman told in the style...


  • Three Identical Strangers

    Two men attending the same college in the early 80s kept getting mistaken for each other and when they met, they realized that they were actually twins. And then they met a third doppelganger, who turned out to the third triplet, all separated from each other at birth. Three Identical Strangers, a feature-length documentary that premiered at Sundance, tells the story of the three men: how they met, what happened after they were born, and “an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond...


  • How to harvest nearly infinite energy from a spinning black hole

    Well, this is a thing I didn’t know about black holes before watching this video. Because some black holes spin, it’s possible to harvest massive amounts of energy from them, even when all other energy sources in the far far future are gone. This process was first proposed by Roger Penrose in a 1971 paper.

    The Penrose process (also called Penrose mechanism) is a process theorised by Roger Penrose wherein energy can be extracted from a rotating black hole. That extraction is made possible...


  • The last living human link to the 19th century is gone

    For the past few years, because of my interest in The Great Span of human history, I’ve been tracking the last remaining people who were alive in the 1800s and the 19th century. As of 2015, only two women born in the 1800s and two others born in 1900 (the last year of the 19th century) were still alive. In the next two years, three of those women passed away, including Jamaican Violet Brown, the last living subject of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the British Empire starting in...


  • Behind the scenes at comic book stores

    io9 has a solid interview with Dan Gearino, author of a new book called Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us A New Geek Culture. It’s about the history of comic book stores, the economics of the industry, how they’ve survived a range of boom-and-bust cycles, and wave after wave of cultural and technological transformation. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

    Publishers sell most of their material to comic shops on a nonreturnable basis. By contrast, bookstores and other media...


  • Building a better Kindle (or, Why Buttons Matter)

    Do you ever read something that feels like it was written just for you? That’s how I feel whenever Craig Mod writes about digital reading. His latest essay, “Reconsidering the Hardware Kindle Interface,” doesn’t have a title that pops unless you 1) love reading; 2) know that Craig is really good at making design talk exciting and accessible.

    The big, simple, so obvious that it seems trite to point it out statement here is that hardware buttons on e-readers are good and important. When your...


  • The Pigeon Photographer: Aerial photographs from the turn of the century

    The New Yorker has some genuinely exciting early aerial photographs, taken by birds. They’re excerpts from a new book, The Pigeon Photographer, about Dr. Julius Neubronner.

    Neubronner developed the pigeon camera for practical purposes. At first, he was simply hoping to track the flights of the birds in his flock. But his invention also represented a more sublime achievement. The images his pigeons captured, featured in “The Pigeon Photographer,” a recent book from Rorhof, are among the very...


  • The storytellers who read aloud to Cuban cigar rollers

    In a practice that started in 1865 and still continues today, lectores (storytellers) in Cuban cigar factories read to the workers while they roll cigars. They read the news, novels, horoscopes, recipes…it’s like a live daily radio show or podcast for the workers.

    I’m not just a reader; I’m rather a cultural promoter of sorts. I usually try to bring topics that can influence their day-to-day, and help them face certain issues.

    (Gee, that sounds like what I do here!) The practice started as a...


  • Robot successfully assembles an Ikea chair

    Fittingly using only off-the-shelf components, a team of researchers in Singapore built a robot capable of assembling a Stefan chair from Ikea (minus actually bolting it together). The assembly time was around 20 minutes, about 5-10 minutes slower than a typical human would take.

    It took a few attempts to get it right. Early on, the robots dropped wooden pins, let go of parts too soon, and performed moves that did more to dismantle the chair than assemble it. Some moves required a part to be...


  • Your personality, according to IBM Watson

    Watson is IBM’s AI platform. This afternoon I tried out IBM Watson’s Personality Insights Demo. The service “derives insights about personality characteristics from social media, enterprise data, or other digital communications”. Watson looked at my Twitter account and painted a personality portrait of me:

    You are shrewd, inner-directed and can be perceived as indirect.

    You are authority-challenging: you prefer to challenge authority and traditional values to help bring about positive...


  • Closing the racial wealth gap: debunking 10 common myths

    A report called What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap was released this month by a group of economists and researchers from Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. They report that the racial wealth gap in the United States is “large and shows no signs of closing”; this holds true at all levels in the wealth spectrum:

    The white household living near the poverty line typically has about $18,000 in...