Normally when I think of GIFs it is about funny clips of people looking amazed or of corgis looking cute. But Romain Laurent’s GIFs, or looping portraits as he calls them, are miniature artworks, many of which are slightly disconcerting. I’ve chosen the eeriest one I could find, although there are plenty of contendors here on his tumblr. He can also be found at his website and on instagram — plenty of, well I would have said normal photos but they are decidedly not, lets stick to static photos
Research on in-groups in rats casts a rather chilling light on empathy towards family and friends. Thankfully, this is only at the behaviour in rats stage of studying but I wouldn’t be surprised to read a book in the next decade which elaborates on how this area (probably published by Penguin Press).
“Exposure to and interaction with different types of individuals
motivates them to act well toward others that may or may not look like
them,” adds Mason. “I think these results have a lot to say about human
Unapologetic for the Mean Girls quote for the title though; couldn’t resist.
Pantone say that the colour of 2014 is Radiant Orchid. It’s maybe feeling a bit wintery for it at the moment but I expect I’ll warm up to it, just like with last year’s Emerald. I still think Emerald is not the name I’d choose as emeralds themselves always seemed much darker to me; Radiant Orchid is much more accurately named and it is such an evocative name: rare, exotic, and full of light.
|Radiant Orchid (Pantone 2060)|
Partly Pantone are selling an idea more than the colour — you only need to go look at their Pinterest board to see that the focus is not so much on the shade or tone, but on a certain feel. Luxury, celebration, the unreal, hypersaturation.
It’s quite interesting if your internet connection isn’t too fast, as Pinterest then loads the pins as solid colour blocks (I assume based on the most common colour in the image) and you can really see the variety of colours, from pale lavender through to hot magenta, that are represented in the images. On the other hand, they’ve done a fantastic job of focusing on images where the background colours are mostly very neutral so there are no competitors against the purples and pinks, or if not neutral then green which sets of the purple and works well with the orchid idea.
Colour standards specified here, in case you want to to add a drop of this shade to your life.
Medieval manuscripts that you can view on a computer screen anywhere in the world — something about this is just perfect: that they have made it this far, that we have access to so much data, that one story has made it all this way and succeeded in getting to an unbelievable audience. And as Peter at the ever fabulous BookRiot points out: even if you can’t read them, they still look beautiful. It’s especially true in the case of Beowulf, which is hard to read, in a dead language, and has only survived this long by the very slimmest of chances. I can only imagine what stories and poems have been lost through the centuries.
Enjoying the Penguin Archive timeline very much. I am sure I am supposed to have a bit more of idea about the company I am working for and this is a quick way to skim through all the major dates.
This is an obvious but stunning use of new technology — 3D printing the textures of famous paintings. It’s something that prints never really capture and what has helped to make original paintings genuinely worth so much more (never mind the issue of the other reasons people pay so much for them). As Charley’s article points out, there will be no problems with identifying the originals due to the complexity of matching the exact composition of the oil paints and pigment origins. But this could be a lovely leap forward for legitimate copies of famous paintings: imagine having a 3D replica of a Monet in your lounge. And of course, there is a whole world of possibilities out there for aspiring artists — imagine doing modern restyles on top of 3D copies of the texture of a renaissance painting?
goodreads recommendation function seems like a really good idea but I
haven’t yet had good recommendations from it. I suppose this is partly
based on what you think a recommendation should do — should it find you
books you have never heard of before, go in a new direction to
unexpected next reads, lead you to the next major famous book that would
be the obvious choice after this one? And how niche should the
recommendation be? I find that after reading a fantasy novel I tend to
get a lot of quite niche fantasy books recommended and I wonder if this
is because the fantasy fans on goodreads are very keen and tend to shop
inside their favourite genre — and if you aren’t reading famous
mainstream fantasy the algorithms send you down a narrow rabbithole?
your recommendations can only be as good as your data and here is a big
problem. Goodreads can store what you rated a book, what you tagged it
with and what genre it is (I’m intrigued to know how much meta-data they
get now that they aren’t linked to Amazon anymore). What they let you
enter is relatively limited though and in some strange ways. You can
enter how many times you have read a book but can only put the dates for
the first time you read it — so if you love re-reading as much as I do
this barely gets represented as a count of times read doesn’t tell you
if that is in the last year or over the last ten years (and it
frustratingly means a book only counts once in your “read” meter rather
than in each year you read it). Rating out of five stars also annoys me:
it just isn’t enough variation, especially as people tend to steer away
from the outer ranges. Why not have ten star ratings — and then you can
separate the “ok-but-not-great” from the “ok-and-would-recommend-to-friends”
level books. Of course, it looks less appealing on the site but you
could resolve that by compressing it to five stars on the page for the
book by rounding up from all the more fiddly scores given by readers.
the worst problem is that the data doesn’t tell you very much. I rated a
Pratchett book five stars (of course) and so goodreads assumes I want
lots of recommendations for comedy fantasy novels: I don’t. Mostly I
find them boring and unfunny. I rated the Pratchett this highly because
of the individual author not because of the genre, and because I enjoy
comedy that is equal opportunities, witty, and not the main drive for
the book. I can’t tell goodreads this; I could certainly add these tags
but unless everyone else is, it won’t help. More importantly, I can’t
tell it what instantly puts me off a book and I have to just filter
these from my recommendations one by one until it gets the picture.
still feels like this has a long way to go before it is really useful
rather than just interesting. For now, it isn’t up to the standard of
recommendations from people — old fashioned but still effective,
especially when they know you.
I’ve been looking around for a decent twitter client and in the end decided to go with their own one just for the simplicity of reliable service, full features and that it is likely to keep going for a good long while. It is frustrating though that they don’t let other developers use all their features but that they won’t push the development of their own brand apps further. Obviously, it’s good business sense but it is frustrating as the user — though on the upside, at least the whole thing is free! It’s easy to forget, with so many things being free, that if you aren’t paying you can’t expect quite the same level of service: although, all those free users do make them a fair amount of money.
Here are some of the best recommendation sites I found. Hopefully I won’t need to come back to them any time soon but just in case, best to have them written down:
Desktop Twitter Clients
Android Twitter Apps
iPhone Twitter Apps
A perfect notebook needs to both look great and be effortless to use.
I love my Muji A5 threadbinding notebook — so much so that it is being used for my personal journal. And, best of all, it is not expensive at all at only £2.95. It really is just a notebook: no envelop at the back, no pen loop, not even a page marker. But if you only want a simple notebook then this one is ideal.
It has rounded corners, which looks good and is practical as they help it survive being bashed around in a handbag much better. The spine is fabric bound so again it is more resilient. It isn’t a hardback cover; personally I like this as it is lighter but it means you would find it harder to use it to write on your lap. It opens flat though without a large gutter in the middle — I should think this would make it ideal for left handed writers.
It has very narrow ruled lines, which I like as it tends to make my handwriting look nicer on the page; having plenty of space for it encourages scruffy loops and lets you notice the irregularity of it all the more. And there are little dashes at the top and bottom of each page marking out regular intervals, in case you want to rule in any vertical lines and want them to be just so. The paper is smooth, creamy and has very little show through of ink.
Taking a browse around the Muji store is very tempting. Lots of nice, useful and inexpensive items that are simple without feeling cheap.
|Muji stationary — go look! (photo from their website).|
I am liking the look of these notebooks as well in a nice matching set from Muji.