The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

Rahim § Hacking the story / 2015-11-25 23:47:36
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13
Greg Linch § Matching cuts / 2014-09-16 18:18:15

Roden Explorers Club

In a months-ago message to my email list, I shared a handful recommendations for other lists; one of them was Craig Mod’s Roden Explorers Club. It has about the same pace as mine — it might even be slower — so there haven’t been any dispatches since that recommendation… or there hadn’t, until today. And now, I feel like I want to send a one-word message to my list: SEE??

It’s just a wonderful piece of writing to find waiting in your inbox. I wish I could link to it, and at the same time, I’m glad I can’t. Email has different physics, and accordingly, our relationship to it is different — less performative, I think. (Present post is obviously an exception.) I know some people are professing email newsletter fatigue these days, but I think that’s driven by the weekly blast format, the oh-great-one-more-thing-to-read format. But many lists have a pace more seasonal, possibly celestial, and for me, their pleasures are comparable: a voice reappearing like a bird, blooming like a tree.

But you gotta be around to see them bloom.

P.S. Don’t forget, my list is a beautiful seasonal organism, too!


What really happened to Susan after Narnia?

Oh yes. Of course.

Link via Waxy, just like the good ol’ days!



This could hardly be better: simple evidence of brains at work, and muscles too; tiny collections assembled and abandoned. A photographer haunts a university library; he spots and captures stacks of books.

The photographer writes of his first encounter with a noteworthy stack:

However, by dint of the peculiar juxtaposition, it seemed as though I happened upon the mineral tailings and spent fissile materials of a speculative research project born a few hours prior.

It’s totally enjoyable to click through the images, remembering that each one represents a real person’s migration through physical space; I think the wacky juxtapositions are therefore interesting — and occasionally melancholy? — in a way that, say, browser histories are not.

I only wish you could link to individual images!

Via Alexis Madrigal’s 5 Intriguing Things.

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I think we found the Snarkmarket clubhouse

This 3D-printed “room” — really more of an architectural sculpture, as you’ll see — was designed by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger. They call it a (the?) Digital Grotesque, and in its totality, it’s pretty astounding —


— but it was the close-ups, in the video, of the object’s various twisting crenelated modules that made my jaw drop. Beautiful.


That gaze

Alan Shepard waits to become the first American in space, Cape Canaveral, 1961.

Alan Shepard waits to become the first American in space, Cape Canaveral, 1961.

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Hide the switch and shut the light


From the hands that made…

I really like trailer #2 for The Boxtrolls here–specifically the fact that it’s basically an advertisement for human hands. (Penumbra readers know Mat Mittelbrand is all over this.)

Oh and speaking of animation, have you seen the Bravest Warriors? Highly snackable video popcorn. Tons of fun.


Masters of their environment

“Mushrooms don’t rely on a stray breeze to spread their spores; they generate their own air currents instead.” Well gosh. Look at that.

We’re finally going to have to give up the old notion that humans are nature’s great tool-users. Plenty of other species use tools; most of them just don’t look anything like ours, even though they’re arguably more powerful.

Overheard in the Mushroom Kingdom: “What do you mean humans can’t generate their own air currents? Jeez, that’s just… sad.”

Video via the always-entertaining Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics.


Disguise detection

Here’s a puzzle for you. This is a picture of a person wearing one of those creepy super-detailed silicone face masks:

Now, if you point a camera at this guy and pipe the feed into a face-recognition algorithm, it will say, yep! That’s a face! But what if you don’t want it to? What if you want to be able to differentiate between real faces and fake ones? How would you do it? I mean, those masks are pretty good.

The solution — and code to implement it (!) — is right here.

(Don’t miss the fairly surreal YouTube video at the end. That is pure 2013 right there.)

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Frank Chimero has just posted a new essay, wonderfully wrought and lucidly written. For me, the most important part is right in the middle, in Frank’s conscription of flux into our nascent UX lexicon. He bolsters it with a bunch of examples, all terrific and/or delightful and/or revelatory.

If interfaces can be low flux (like this very web page!) or high flux (like this one), Frank is most interested in the middle of the range. I’m inclined to agree with him, and not only because this description —

… Medium level flux is assistive and descriptive animation, and restructuring content based on sensors. It clarifies interactivity by allowing elements to respond to that interaction and other, measured conditions.

— is so appealing. “Restructuring content based on sensors”! Ah! I love it precisely because I don’t know — and I’d argue that we, broadly, collectively, don’t know — what it means yet. We are living in the moment when we get to find out.

Frank is good at this — the naming of things. Remember steadfast and hot-swap?