I’m with Jason when he says Legos are becoming just another single-use plastic toy.
But, even as the sets get more corporate, Lego builders get more creative. And, my god. I just cannot comprehend how people build some of this stuff:
The mech from District 9, perfectly rendered, with room for a Lego minifig inside.
Spaceships cooler than anything Lego has ever sold.
And, my favorite, the “microspace” movement, which is like the haiku form of Lego-building. The emphasis is on economy of construction and wee tiny scale. And yet: Danger. Style. Speed. Drama. Each one is like a little puzzle, sometimes a little joke.
This, my friends, is the tao of Lego.
Here’s a great post about Voronoi diagrams: what they are, why they’re cool, and how to draw them. sevensixfive writes: “they can be used to describe almost literally everything: from cell phone networks to radiolaria, at every scale: from quantum foam to cosmic foam.”
After you have drawn your own Voronoi diagram by hand, perhaps you will enjoy this rad Voronoi diagram animation made with Processing.
New Kickstarter update in which I visit a local printer and am simultaneously disappointed and emboldened.
(Nerd question: In an upcase headline, you’d leave “to” lowercase, as I did, right? Or no? I always hem and haw.)
I think I forgot to post this a month or so ago when I couldn’t stop listening to it. Some genius had the amazing idea to remove the backing vocals from all the tracks on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. The result is kind of breathtaking, especially “God Only Knows”:
The difficulty and the peculiarity of these vocal lines can get obscured in the full versions. Just listen to the fugue section of that song. Man.
And of course, “Sloop John B,” my other favorite song from Pet Sounds:
George Packer on the death of Sultan Munadi: “It’s Always the Fixer Who Dies.”
It’s a reminder that books at their best are not just intellectual objects, not just aesthetic objects, but democratic objects.
And it makes me think of Salman Rushdie’s claim:
Literature is the one place in any society where within the secrecy of our own heads, we can hear voices talking about everything in every possible way.
Go go go read it read it read it.
Read this post for the sound of the words alone! The Late Age of Print and the Storm of Progress! I mean, it’s positively Tolkien-esque. Living through the sickly mutant collapse of industrial media? Lame. Living through the Late Age of Print? Awesome.
Great stuff all around from Matthew Battles. And this part is so slick:
The public sphere’s terms-of-service, the product of five hundred years of cultural contest, are a better deal than anything Facebook, Amazon, or Google Books has to offer. To keep them current in the digital age, as Richard suggests, we must turn around and face front.
“The public sphere’s terms-of-service.” Cool.
The only thing missing now is a comment from Tim Carmody, but maybe if we set the snare just so… and step back…
(Actually, I guess this was Tim’s comment, really. But now I wanna hear him talk Walter Benjamin.)
I still have a soft spot for The Atlantic, the magazine that introduced me to, um, thinking. Certainly to the thrill of great journalism. It hasn’t always been as interesting in recent years (James Fallows provides an epic ongoing exception) but wow, this latest issue is really good:
A paean to Al Jazeera, the only cable TV network in the world that actually offers “a visually stunning, deeply reported description of developments in dozens upon dozens of countries simultaneously.”
Love this one: the myths that led media companies astray. Because, “[if] we take Netscape’s public offering in 1995 as the birth of the Internet era, on average over the next 10 years the biggest media conglomerates achieved less than a third of the returns available from the S&P as a whole. But even more telling is that these companies, as a group, had also underperformed the S&P for much of the previous decade, before the Internet upended their industry. Indeed, one aspect of the media business has remained largely unchanged for a generation: the lousy performance of its leading companies.”
And the cover story, a powerful piece by Andrew Sullivan, written as a letter to George W. Bush about torture and “absolute evil”—clear, descriptive, urgent.
Auto-Tune the News feat. Alexa Chung! (Link goes straight to “God Bless America” break-down at the end. “Who is gettin’ blessed? America. And who is gonna bless it? GOD.”)