Ten Stories From This Week

9th April 2021

Wonderful. Hagia Sophia has a 10 second reverb and that was an important part of the religious choral music that happened there, but that stopped when the Turks conquered the city and turned it into a mosque, in 1453. Now someone has calculated that reverb and added it to a choir in software.(3’21”)

Facebook leaked 533 million people’s data and didn’t tell anyone. From The Guardian -…the company has tried to reassure users, saying that the data was leaked years ago and has since been secured. Regardless of when it was leaked, user data ‘is never really old’ – it’s still valuable to cybercriminals, analysts say.

And..way down. Edelman’s trust survey shows a significant decline for tech in 2021 (preview).

IKEA launches haute couture outfits for dogs made from their iconic bags.

From The Guardian. ‘It has never been more pertinent’ – Margaret Atwood on the chilling genius of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science.‘The seminal album, with its extraordinary hit single O Superman (about the mission to retrieve embattled Americans during the Iranian revolution), was unlike anything the writer had ever heard. As Big Science returns, Atwood pays tribute to its prophetic dissection of 80’s America.’

The number of billionaires spiked by 30% during the pandemic. It’s easy to lose track of the numbers. But you shouldn’t.

Nice. ‘The Journey’ spot dramatises the complicated emotions of moving through the eyes and imagination of a child. To move is to grow.

Rasputin by Boney M, played on some Tesla coils. 

Onomatopee is a visual exploration of sound through interwoven typography and illustration. A delightful book by graphic designer Broos Stoffels and illustrator Lukas Verstraete brings noises to the printed page in unexpected ways.

Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais and more, feature in this hard-hitting film to stop animal testing.(3’53”)

Ten Stories From This Week

2nd April 2021

One startup’s solution for zoom fatigue? The Walk and Talk. Spot is a new platform dedicated entirely to walking meetings, launched by a longtime remote work evangelist.

Great Intelligence Brief from Wunderman Thompson. Subjects include, augmented living, the rise of short form content, crypto art & luxury and redefining the language of beauty.

It wouldn’t be 2021 if we weren’t talking about NFTs. But with any emerging space, it comes loaded with the same old biases. In this case, the NFT world, like the traditional art world, is still very much dominated by white men. To provide balance, this initiative supports female crypto artists. ..and here, this site turns unsolicited pics into revenge NFTs. ”Cyber-flashing too often goes unpunished. ‘NFT the DP’ is using the blockchain to hold cyber-flashers accountable.

From The Guardian. Bottega Veneta ditches Instagram to set up a ‘digital journal’. The fashion world will watch with interest after brand replaces social media posts with a magazine Issue.

Vox on why Amazon has suddenly become so aggressive online. Apparently because Jeff Bezos is pissed?

The Collections database consists of entries for more than 480,000 works in the Musée du Louvre and Musée National Eugène-Delacroix. Updated on a daily basis, it is the result of the continuous research and documentation efforts carried out by teams of experts from both museums.

Love this. The film vlogger Nerdwriter on how the pandemic has changed our relationship with time. ‘Time not just as a concept, but as a substance stretching out in front of you…’ (8’50”)

Think you can tell the difference between Human and AI? Take this test. 

Could you have done a better job piloting the Ever Given through the Suez Canal? Try your navigating skills here.

This is quite the sensorial feast. Official video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X. Put headphones on for a simulated 360 Reality Audio experience. (3’09”)

Ten Stories From This Week

28th March 2021

From Fortune.15 ways life has changed since the onset of the COVID pandemic. This is particularly shocking – The decimation of women in the workplace. ‘It took less than a year to erase more than three decades of progress for America’s working women. More than 2.3 million women have left the U.S. labor force since February 2020, sending us back to participation levels last seen in 1988.’

From Tortoise Media, How to build cities safe for women. “We are a bit stuck with a certain type of city that was made for men to take trains to work and women to stay at home… We are stuck with an enormous amount of cement.” (free reg may be necessary)

The Turn On The Subtitles campaign, encourages kids to read more. (This) ‘can double the chances of a child becoming good at reading.’

A ranking of the world’s most instagrammed museums. The analysis ranked the world’s 20 most Instagrammed art museums based on the number of related hashtags for each museum. The top location is way out in front.

SxSW in Austin, was online this year. From Austin Monthly, The 9 Biggest Highlights from SXSW 2021. Janelle Monáe, a moving Guy Clark documentary, and a candid Willie (Nelson) keynote were a few of this year’s top moments.

MullenLowe Brazil is changing the way we consume movies with the launch of an innovative new product that creates a more immersive movie-watching experience. The ‘Scary Lamp’ syncs with your streaming service to mirror the lighting in the horror movie, bringing the atmosphere of the film into your living room. (59″)

Orson Welles quote on the power of sparking an audience’s curiosity. HT @rshotton.

From Treehugger. Thoughtful portraits and haunting memories are highlights of the Sony photo awards.

BBDO Guerrero goes all shampoo, zero plastic with ‘The Dissolving Bottle’. (1’06”)

Very moving. A powerful animated short asks “why does the world assume a disabled life is not profoundly beautiful?” (1’50”)

Ten Stories From This Week

12th March 2021

The Inspiring Girls’ Global Movement demands the Nobel Prize for Albert Einstein’s first wife and co-author Mileva Maric. Albert to Mileva – ‘How happy I am to have found in you an equal creature, one who is equally strong and independent as I am.’ #NobelForMileva.

A couple of pieces on Roblox. From the BBC, How the children’s game became a $30bn bet on the Metaverse and a deep dive from Stratechery – The Roblox Microverse.

Jack Dorsey is offering to sell the first tweet as an NFT. His March 21, 2006 tweet “just setting up my twttr” is up for bidding. The highest offer is $2.5 million as of Saturday afternoon.

From the Royal Shakespeare Company – Dream is a live performance set in a virtual midsummer forest. Inspired by Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it will give you a unique opportunity to directly influence the live performance, from wherever you are in the world. Performances 12th-20th March. See trailer here (30″)

From the NME. An original Banksy artwork has been burned by a cryptocurrency group and sold as NFT for $382,000.

‘Trying to envision something that didn’t yet exist, Ottens used a wooden block that was small and thin enough to fit in his pocket as the target for what the future of tape recording and playback should be.’ Lou Ottens, inventor of the cassette tape, has died.

‘Until October, the most Mike Winkelmann — the digital artist known as Beeple — had ever sold a print for was $100. This week, an NFT of his work sold for $69 million at Christie’s. The sale positions him “among the top three most valuable living artists,” according to the auction house.

A short experimental film of refractive caustic patterns, optics, dispersion, and transmission in glass and liquid like materials (2′ 52″).

Venus Williams and the best (four legged) ball boys in the world (1′ 32″)

‘Millions of men have improved their lives with daily use of Shhhyagra. When combined with a healthy diet of respect, curiosity, and empathy, men around the world have discovered the power of Shhhyagra to improve relationships with women. Some men have even learned new things…..’ Shhhyagra–for when you need a little hush in a rush. (HT @markpollard).

Ten Stories From This Week

7th March 2021

50 examples of corporations that failed to innovate. All the usual suspects are in here. Top three being, Kodak, Nokia and Xerox. (ht @here_forth)

Nice piece from Gianni Giacomelli, Head of Innovation Design at MIT Collective Intelligence Design Lab. The distance-less future, and you– ‘The industrial revolution centralised work into shared facilities. That’s where we all largely stayed until the impossible became possible a year ago, when the world started becoming truly “phygital” and people started getting the hang of doing work remotely.

Scrolling infographic from NYT, investigates the view that the warming atmosphere is causing an arm of the Gulf Stream to weaken. In the Atlantic Ocean, subtle shifts hint at dramatic dangers. 

EcoVeritas CEO David Harding-Brown recently observed: “Sustainability as an umbrella term is becoming meaningless; a series of macro statements that consumers can no longer relate to or engage with.”  …And this is Marketoonist’s take on sustainability marketing.

Animate the faces in your family photos with this technology. (They say)‘experience your family history like never before!‘ This twitter thread shows how it has brought some famous faces to life.

Tim Harford on the ‘hard lessons of home schooling.’ ‘Even in the narrowest economic terms, this comes with quite a price tag. An OECD report suggests, that the students “affected by the closures might expect some 3 per cent lower income over their entire lifetimes”. Since these children will one day be a quarter or even a third of the workforce, economic growth can be expected to be 1.5 per cent lower each year “for the remainder of the century”. That calculation was done in September before many schools closed again. 

From Information is Beautiful. The Covid-19 Coronavirus Data Dashboard. Live vaccination visuals and COVID/Coronavirus interactive visualisations. See total number of vaccinations given, doses per 100 people, % of population inoculated. Updated daily. 

Meet ‘The Farmer’—Dave Van Dame, a staple of Alta Ski Area for the past 48 years. Sweetgrass Productions and Alta teamed up to tell the visual story of Alta’s most famous snow ‘farmer’. This guy has quite the skiing technique. (3′ 33″)

A number of videos doing the rounds, with songs being played in empty shopping malls. I Want To Know What Love Is, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), and Africa, by Toto. Some perspectives suggest these are mocked-up, but the effect is pretty eerie, either way.

Really beautiful piece by Prof Galloway, on the death of his beloved dog Zoe. A wonderful, soulful read for dog owners, or indeed anyone who has suffered loss.

Ten Stories From This Week

28th Feb 2021

‘Walking is one of the simplest and most strategic things you can do for yourself. It takes little preparation, minimal effort, no special equipment, and it can contract or expand to fit the exact amount of time you have available. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a single bout of moderate-to vigorous activity (including walking) can improve our sleep, thinking, and learning, while reducing symptoms of anxiety.’ From HBR, Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Walk.

Another cracking piece from Tim Harford – From vaccines to homework, why we humans can’t stop overpromising. ‘In 1977, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky put a label on the fact that everything takes longer than we hope: they called it the planning fallacy. At the heart of the problem is that we intuitively make such forecasts by focusing on the project itself and imagining in our heads (or on a project management chart) how it will unfold. We never quite manage to imagine all of the different ways in which things might go wrong.’

Lots of talk at the moment about NFT’s.  This thread provides an explanation – ‘But what makes it an NFT rather than just a cool gif? for starters, it’s unique. NFT stands for “non-fungible token”, fungible = something that’s interchangeable, non-fungible = something that’s one-of-a-kind.’ 

MIT’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2021. Including Messenger RNA Vaccines, GPT-3, Lithium-metal batteries, data trusts and green hydrogen. 

A Beautiful Collection of Manifestos . WeTransfer have a wonderful publication called WePresent. This month it’s all about manifestos. This collection includes manifestos from artists and activists such as Pussy Riot, Alain de Botton, Lee Scratch Perry, Fontaines D.C., and Patrice Cullors. Fascinating and beautiful in equal measure.  

From The Guardian. Hello Las Vegas! How live-streaming is transforming the stage. It was meant to provide theatres with a lifeline during Covid. But live-streaming is now giving them extraordinary reach. Can it be sustained – and could it turn out to be a new existential threat?

Russian diplomats leave North Korea on a hand-powered rail trolley. 

A Search Engine For Movie Screen Shots. A movie-based image search engine that returns screenshots from movies, based on keywords like ‘clock’ or ‘tree’.

Very cool. Walk the streets of a selection of major cities, whilst listening to their radio stations.

Not on Clubhouse yet? No need to worry, you can effectively duplicate the experience with this – Clubhouse Bio Generator.

And finally. Draw an iceberg and see how it will float.

Ten Stories From This Week

20th Feb 2021

From Tim Harford. We’re living in a golden age of ignorance. How did it come to this? ‘The simplest explanation — to repurpose a phrase from former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers — is: “There are idiots. Look around.” But while there is a certain visceral satisfaction in that explanation, there is much more going on. Disttractions stop us from paying attention to what matters, and political tribalism makes us reject evidence that casts our tribe in a bad light. Combine the two, add steroids and you get the third element of the age of ignorance: conspiracy thinking’.

Transcendent shows. Meditation apps are migrating to streaming platforms, bringing a dose of mindfulness to the entertainment industry.

The Clubhouse App and the Rise of Oral Psychodynamics. ‘In other words, oral culture is not suited to certain kinds of knowledge accumulation and legibility of the world, some of which is necessary to hold our institutions together. And this under-appreciated transition is certainly one big reason for the current tension in this historic transition: because of technology, oral psychodynamics have broken through at scale, and we are trying to manage them with institutions that operate solely through an within print/written culture. And that cannot, will not, hold without adjustment.

Like the observation last week (from@geniusteals) who can’t shake the feeling that they’ve seen Clubhouse somewhere before – on late night television in the 80’s and 90’s. (30″)

From HuffPo. Working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic? The choice to dress up or stay in your pyjamas can affect your mental health in surprising ways.

In US presidential elections, since 1824, only five winning candidates failed to win the popular vote. You know one of them, the other four are less obvious.

Gongbang videos: why the world has gone wild for 12-hour films of people studying.

Off the wall, but revealing from XKCD comic. An explanation of how vaccines work, with a little help from Star Wars.

Love these realistic job titles from Marketoonist. ‘If the only constant is change, a close second is the resistance to that change.’

(The Making of) Ludovico Einaudi’s Elegy for the Arctic. (3’02”). Including a hiatus to filming, following a wave caused by the collapse of a nearby glacier.

Ten Stories From This Week

13th Feb 2021

From Wunderman Thompson. Meaningful Travel. ‘With a return to travel on the horizon as vaccinations slowly begin rolling out, travelers are reconsidering what they want out of a trip. After a year of heightened isolation and loneliness, they’re not just looking to get away; they’re looking for meaningful connection and opportunities for self-reflection.’ …and from NYT, Travel and the Art of Anticipation; ‘For most people, going on vacation during the pandemic has been the stuff of dreams. But as vaccination becomes a reality, it’s time to start nurturing your travel imagination.’ Still with the world of travel and tourism, like this new  campaign from the U.A.E. – Visitors get a taste of space with ‘Martian Ink’ passport stamps. (1′ 23″)

From Marketing Week. Amelia Torode on accepting uncertainty as a fact of life, then trying to find inspiration in the everyday.

Pink seesaws on the US-Mexico border named Design of the Year 2020.

Love this from gratefulness.org. ‘This Valentine’s Day, let’s choose love over borders. We need movements rooted in love right now, movements powered not by difference and exclusion and punishment, but by common ground, compassion, humility, healthy boundaries, patience and healing. “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” ~ Ernesto Che Guevara

Salisbury Cathedral is joining Britain’s vaccination drive, and its organists are providing a musical accompaniment. They’re even taking requests. An organ recital, with a coronavirus shot. 


The UK Economy is not doing well. In fact you have to go back to 1709 to find a comparable financial downturn. In that year, thecountry was hit by a deep freeze that spread across Europe. Temperatures plummeted on 5 January, bringing with it the worst winter in 500 years and freezing over several countries, including France, England and Russia. The ‘Great Frost’, as it came to be known, lasted for three months and sparked food shortages, thousands of deaths… and a huge deficit to the economy.

No Mardi Gras this year? That hasn’t stopped ‘Float houses’ popping up all over New Orleans.

Compulsive viewing. Acapella group doing Windows noises. (29″)

Wonderful. ‘We took a telescope around the streets of Los Angeles to give passersby an up-close look at a familiar object: a new view of themoon. Typical response? Oh my God….! (3’18”)

And finally, breathtaking – Murmurations tonight. (39″).And here is thescience behind it.

Stories From This Week

6th February 2021

From Harvard Business Review. ‘The past year has been marked by anger, fear, and grief. None of these feelings is particularly easy for most of us to feel, and it can be tempting to try to bypass them by suppressing, escaping, or acting impulsively. Not only are these avoidant approaches ineffective, they can harm our health, well-being, and personal and professional relationships. Now is a great time to start practicing Mindfulness. (ht @the_mindfilter)

At $183,000 per second, according to Digg, here are the 2021 Super Bowl commercials worth watching. Including – Amazon, Uber Eats, Squarespace, a few car and loads of beer brands.

The annual Great Unbundling deck from Benedict Evans is always great but also very long. Great if you have time to run through it, but if not here is a thread with ten selected slides.

From friend of The Filter, Fluxx, a very nice piece about the future of cities. New year, new cities — and some hope for 2021. 

‘For sure, we will witness large-scale changes and unexpected events in the next decade. One of the biggest drivers of change will be exponential technologies. Wired experts talk of Mars colonies, a permanent moon base, accelerated genome sequencing, little nuclear power plants, and a possible climate apocalypse.’ Is this how the world will look in 2030?

Spotify has patented technology that will allow it to analyse your voice and suggest songs based on your “emotional state, gender, age, or accent”.

The Simpsons intro, recreated using only stock footage.You may remember they did their own live action version, a few years back. 

If things are getting to you, this may help – screamintothevoid.com

‘From majestic landscapes, intimate animal portraits and intriguing night-time views beneath the ocean’s surface, to glimpses of cultures across the world, the winning images from Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 present a view of life on our planet at a time in which travel has been difficult or impossible.’ And, still on the travel slant, I like this short – Valley Of The Shadow : A journey through some of the empty and wild places out west. (2’48”)

Finally, here is BBC Football Focus’s take on Jackie Weaver. (ht @lukehammond01)