Paul Leaves the Internet

Paul Miller, a tech journalist for The Verge, is leaving the Internet for a year. He’s an avid StarCraft II player, and writes about (and on) the web for a living. He’s going to continue to use a computer (offline) and continue to write for The Verge.

Miller is a great writer and I get the impression he lives online in the same way I do. I’m looking forward to living UN-vicariously through him as he documents his experience. His video introducing his project is also well done:


5-Year Old Focus Group

A designer asked his five-year-old daughter to comment on a series of corporate logos. The results are adorable and fascinating. It’s a powerful machine that can make a child look at a bright sunflower and say “Gas.”


The Best Game Of Tennis Ever?

I don’t know much about tennis, but this match (tennis-word!) between Andy Murray and Michael Llodrais at the Australian Open is amazing:


Update: Still bummed about the 11-million-year commute to the planet Kepler B we discussed last month? Be sure to read BoingBoing’s article on the (im)practicality and cost of interstellar travel. While Kepler 22b might be a boring 11-million-year flight away, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri would only be a brisk 70,000 years or so.


The Swoosh is a Lie

99% Invisible Podcast

From the delightful 99% Invisible podcast, I learned today that many televised sporting events use pre-recorded audio samples to fake a sense of realism. When you watch at least some sports on television, particularly those that cover large areas, the swoosh of a cross-country skier, the splash of a rower’s paddle, or the thundering stampede of horse racing, may be coming from a sound designer’s sampler rather than the atheletes you’re seeing on screen.

Like most episodes of 99% Invisible, this Sound of Sport episode is only 5 minutes long, well produced, and fascinating. Since learning about 99% Invisible from the also-delightful RadioLab podcast, I’ve almost caught up on all 44 (so far) episodes. Highly recommended.

While we’re enjoying podcasts, the Planet Money podcast somehow manages to make the world of economics interesting to those of us who are completely uninterested in economics.


How long would it take to get to Kepler 22b?

Kepler 22b, the extrasolar planet discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope is apparently around 600 light years away. I wondered how long it would actually take for us to get something there. Maybe if we start today, we could surprise our descendants with a signal from a probe in a 10,000 years or so.

Apparently not. Using the current speed of the Voyager 2 probe as my unscientific example of “something flying through space real fast”, and the handy Wolfram Alpha service, it would take 11.64 million years to get to Kepler 22b.

I find this simultaneously boring and existentially terrifying.


BoingBoing delves much deeper into the idea of the (im)practicality and cost of interstellar travel. While Kepler 22b might be a boring 11-million-year flight away, the article discusses the nearest star, Alpha Centauri would would be a brisk 70,000 years or so.


Google Music from the rest of the world

Google’s new Music service is so simple, it doesn’t have any links or buttons. They didn’t even need a period at the end of the second sentence:

Google Music screenshot


The Live Music Video

I’ve always liked the idea of using a live performance for a music video. Not necessarily concert footage – it could be live to camera just for the video. The band Hey Rosetta! (the exclamation mark is theirs) have done just this in their beautiful and affecting video for the song Bandages. It was filmed “in and around St. John’s, Newfoundland.”


Baby Rock

In this interview with Chris Murphy from Sloan, he was asked about song-writing themes as the band gets older. Chris says:

“I’m trying not to write songs about how much I hate getting up at 5:30 am with the baby. It’s so boring but that’s all I know these days.”

Chris, I would love to hear that song.


New York Times Interactive Audio Presentation of 9/11 Tapes

The New York Times has a well-executed presentation of various audio recordings from the FAA, NORAD, and American Airlines from September 11, 2001. The clips are presented in chronological order with both audio and text. The effect is chilling.