Irrefutable Badass: Joe Kittinger, He Fell From The Sky At The Speed of Sound

He’s perched at the brink of infinity. Joe Kitinger is 19 miles above the surface of the planet Earth, suspended in basket by a helium balloon. He has passed the atmosphere as man knows it, and can see for 400 miles in every direction. When he looks up all he sees is darkness and the sharp glare of the sun. When he looks down, he can see the thin blue line that separates Earth from space. He is witness to the curvature of Earth. He peers over the edge of the gondola, says a silent prayer, and jumps.


Stratocam Reminds of The Wonderful World

Google Maps satellite view is something to easily overlook. When Google Earth came out, people might do a quick search for their house, take a stop at the Grand Canyon, and maybe even seek out the pyramids in Egypt. But, after that, the novelty wore off. Seeing the imaged Earth from above became commonplace and lost its luster. Here’s the thing: in the 1960s, to take a high aerial photo of the Earth, people had to launch a satellite into space, take pictures on film, deploy the film back to Earth, and send teams of people to go pick it up. That’s a reality technology has made us forget. Google Satellite imagine is a mundane miracle. With the images open to the public, anyone can view the pale blue dot from above, and the images available are stunning.


Watching The Thrones 02: Season 2 Premiere

In the second episode, Blake J. Graham and Eric Harsh discuss the events of the Game of Thrones season two premiere. There’s a lot of table-setting to pull in viewers who have lost a sense of power of the characters and the sheer size of the Westeros continent. As Eric points out in his post-episode article, we’re introduced to a new subset of characters (Stannis, Melisandre, Davos) who easily blend into the cast.


‘Figure’ Will Make You the Greatest Electronic Musician Ever

Music is about feeling, and emoting, and hanging out with groupies, and writing cool songs, yeah? But learning to play can be so godawfully hard. You have to practice, and when you’re down practicing you’re supposed to practice some more. Then you’re supposed to eat lunch, think about music and then go back to practicing. What a bore! I’m still looking for the moment where I can just pick up a guitar and play some filthy, mind-blowing licks and whatnot. For now, I just keep on picking up guitars whenever I see them and hope for the best.

But, the advent of flashy, new applications for computers, and iPhones, and all sorts of technological gizmos is making my dream of being an awesome electronic musician a near reality. Sure, the professionals have auto-tune, vocoders, and audio-engineers to run it all. But that stuff is expensive. I just want an app on my iPhone where I can open it up, tap a few buttons, and really get into my zone. Figure, by Propellerhead, is that app, and the songs you make are awesome.


Watching the Thrones: Season One Recap

There’s no denying George R. R. Martin’s world of Westeros is potent with action. There’s too much going on, what with political upheaval in the seven kingdoms and mystical forces gathering in the North and the South, to let the discussion of epic series exist only in text. The editors have put together a video series were calling “Watching the Thrones,” because frankly that’s about all we can do. Westeros doesn’t play by rules, and its inhabitants are tortured beings pregnant with power. We don’t know when the creators of the HBO show will deviate from the source material; we don’t even know when George R. R. Martin will finish the books. All we can do is observe what happens on this damned continent and hope that the characters don’t live long enough for us to fall in love.

In the first episode, Tony Russo and Blake J. Graham recapitulate the major events of the first season of Game of Thrones. We tour the major families, their interior and exterior conflicts, and occasionally butcher their names. If you haven’t seen the first season or read the first book, this video will undoubtedly spoil it for you.


Into The Realm of The Legitimate. Community: “Digital Exploration of Interior Design”

It’s been one, two, three weeks since Community the internet phenomena has returned to being Community the reference driven TV show. And, the latest episode brings one, two, three plot lines together in a coherent but rushed 22 minute episode. “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” separates the study-group members into chunks of narrative that have bubbling for quite some time.


Raise Your Hand If You Can See Four Dimensional Space

Liars! Every last one of you. Put your hands down. You can’t see 4D space. I can’t even see 4D space and I wear glasses to improve my 20/20 vision. But four dimensional space does exist (I checked, it’s on Wikipedia), it’s just very hard to wrap the noggin around because we don’t inhabit a traditionally four dimensional world. That’s where avant garde learning mobile app The Fourth Dimension comes in.


SnapGuide: The Pocket Reference for The Universe (maybe)

Enough of this highfalutin education I’m paying for. I just learned how to roast cauliflower (perfectly), bottle beer, make duct tape feather earrings, and curl my hair with a straightening iron—all from the comforts of my iPhone. Mobile app SnapGuide intends to bring the world of “how-to” straight to the smartphone in a sexy and well-packaged way.


The New iPad: A Love Story of Infinite Pixels

Rain is falling in Santa Monica, CA. At 5:30 AM my iPhone starts buzzing; ten minutes later I’m out of bed. At 6:30 I’m driving to the Verizon store. I’ve decided to forego the lines at Apple’s landmark store on the 3rd St. Promenade. I like to show up ninety minutes before the doors open for these events. I’m already late. It takes eight minutes to drive there, fourteen to find a parking spot. I duck under the Verizon awning at 7:00 AM.

There is nobody there.

I checked my phone. It indeed is March 16, and the third-generation iPad does go on sale today. I wait.


Brandish Your Banter. It’s Better Than Memes

Texts From Last Night: Sleazy, delightful, delicious fun. Everyone was suspect to send or receive ludicrous SMS and TFLN provided for hilarious dialogue to appear behind a wall of area-code-anonymity. In 2010, TFLN founder Lauren Leto launched Bnter (which has been since renamed Banters) as an online hub to store any sort of dialogue. Many […]

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Commentary Ticker

  • Google Glass Lets You Take Photos With Your Brain
    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

  • Android Art: The Accidental Selfies of Google Art Project
    July 5, 2014 | 11:11 am

    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

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