100 Amazing Diagrams That Changed The World
Diagrams, and particularly ‘infographics’ feel like an inherently modern phenomenon. Something that only people whose time is no longer consumed with avoiding plagues, scurvy and constant warring have the luxury of creating. But as 100 Diagrams That Changed the World: From the Earliest Cave Paintings to the Innovation of the iPod shows, there are some truly beautiful examples from medieval times and even earlier of man’s urge to bring order to the world around him through these highly technical yet aesthetically gorgeous works. Here’s a selection for your viewing, Pinning and printing pleasure:
Incredible Colour Footage of London Streets & Landmarks in 1927
This amazing film shows London in 1927 - 12 years before World War II tore through Europe and changed London’s people and landscape forever. We see people enjoying Hyde Park, dodging buses in the road, going shopping and generally doing the stuff we still do today in these familiar places, just in different clothes. With the film in such good condition, it feels eerily fresh and alive, even though perhaps no-one in the footage is still with us today.
(via @KevinSpacey )
VIDEO: Prices of Vices Around the World - the $20 Test
Wonder no more traveller, here is a minute-long guide to where the cheapest Starbucks, most expensive cocaine and most-cigs-for-your-buck is to be found!
Google and Time Magazine Launch 30-Year Time Lapse Of Entire Planet
In partnership with Google, Time Magazine has launched Timelapse - an interactive online timelapse showing how the Earth has changed in 30 years of property development, deforestation, glacier melt and the like.
“Working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME, we’re releasing more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space, compiled for the first time into an interactive time-lapse experience,” Google engineering manager Rebecca Moore wrote in a blog post today. “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.”
The image catalogs are built from more than two million satellite images from all over the world from 1984 to today. Have a trawl through locations such as Dubai, Las Vegas, the Amazon, Shanghai… as well as your hometown - http://world.time.com/timelapse
The Pirate Bay Movie Now Available. Free.
Today, the movie TPB AFK (The Pirate Bay - Away From Keyboard) will be premiered online, free to download and even re-edit under a Creative Commons Licence. Filmmaker Simon Klose has spent the last four years following the founders of The Pirate Bay through its legal struggles, technical issues, and ongoing battle with some of the most powerful corporations on Earth. There’s a good interview with him on The Verge.
The Best Music of 2012
2012 - the year of the Olympics, the apocalypse, the year that saw a song in Korean become the most watched video on YouTube and a British X Factor runner-up become the biggest band since the Beatles. Here are my personal highlights of 2012 in music followed by an extended playlist of the best and the rest.
2:54 - Scarlet
My favourite breakthrough band of the year, a melancholy girl-shoegaze band who sound like they listened to The Cure’s darker tracks, bought some awesome guitars/amps/pedals and rocked out hard and slow to create their debut self-titled album. Scarlet is my personal favourite.
Grimes - Oblivion
Claire Boucher’s striking take on electronic music sounded amateurish to me at first but soon grew on me because of its originality. I later found out she produces her tracks in lightning speed, getting everything down before she forgets it, and without giving it chance to be over-thought or over-produced. She’s also know to use fasting and amphetamines to reach new levels of lucidity and workrate. She probably needs to chill a little but these tunes are good. The video for this track is also pretty cool.
Whirr - Junebouvier
This northern California sextet make richly distorted, big guitar tracks with sweet melodies. Something that’s quite common these days, though Whirr’s take on it is original, listenable and rock-out-to-able.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dreams
Ariel Pink’s eccentric 70s-throwback sound has a few interesting, juxtaposed qualities - melodic, bright yet dark and grubby, almost perverse, as heard on 2010’s Before Today. His most recent offering has this bright little tune on which sums him up perfectly.
Another day, another band defying search engine optimisation best practice with a stupid name made up of characters, a la †‡†, Gr†ll Gr†ll, ℑ⊇◊⊆ℜ and GL▲SS †33†H.
But we all gave ∆ (now known as alt-J after the keyboard shortcut for the Greek letter Delta, try it, it’s fun! ∆∆∆∆∆!!) a chance after serious backing from their label drowned is un marketing for their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’. It transpired to contain some really well-produced tracks reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez with heavy trip-hop and dub influences and has become one of the most loved albums of 2012. It has since won the Mercury Music Prize and BBC Radio 6 Music Album of the Year.
Grizzly Bear - Yet Again
Having always been a sucker for a bit of Grizzly I can only say I’m glad they’re hitting us with more of the same experimental psychedelic rock. This is one of their catchiest tunes with characteristic warm guitars, jazzy drums and smooth, echo-laden vocals but the album has many more treats if you’re that way inclined.
Tame Impala - Elephant
Taking some interesting cues from late-Beatles (Helter Skelter, Revolution) as well as garage rock I really love the crunchy guitars, curveball time signatures and dynamics of this track.
M.I.A. - Bad Girls
OK, so not the most amazing track M.I.A. has done but the video is quite remarkable and she is a pretty awesome artist. Somehow she’s entered the Minaj/Gaga/Azelia-ruled mainstream whilst being truly challenging and multi-dimensional. If more mainstream artists were like her the world would be a better place.
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know
You may be sick of hearing this track but there’s little debate that this is a great song full of subtle instrumentation, emotive vocals and a pure, homemade feel to it that’s very seductive. A lot of people who bought the album were disappointed with Gotye’s other tunes and in reality Wally’s unlikely to come up with something this good (or successful) ever again. But he’s probably not too bothered about that, he’ll be too busy watching YouTube parodies of himself, and coining mad bank through publishing :) Again, a great video which has racked up well over a third of a billion views!
Extended Best of 2012 Playlist
How To Have Great Ideas: The 4 ‘Rooms’ of Inspiration
Thanks to my business partner Chris, who basically insisted I read it, I’ve just finished 'A Book About Innocent', a frank and very readable account of how three guys started (and very nearly finished) Innocent Drinks, going from a van selling 24 smoothies at a jazz festival to a business worth well over $150 million.
Their brand is renowned for its original approach and new ways of doing things. In the book they talk about creativity and reference Michael Wolff who set up a famous branding agency in the 1960’s and had the idea of ‘Four Rooms’ which you must visit to cultivate good ideas. I think we all try to do this stuff but this serves as a great checklist:
1. The ‘room of great work’
Expose yourself to the finest ideas by going to art galleries, design museums and shows. Read magazines, books and consume any and every art form. Be inspired by them but do not do your work in this ‘room’ as you will find yourself dominated by its greatness.
2. The ‘room of understanding’
Whatever your industry, make sure you fully understand how it works - the technologies and processes behind it, where the parts of it come from and where they’re going. Do not do your thinking in this ‘room’ as you will feel constrained by its rules.
3. The ‘room of precedent’
Study all that has gone before in the sector that you operate within. Do this to learn what has already been done, what was successful and what failed. Again, don’t do your work in this room or else you’ll just end up plagiarising.
4. The ‘room of creativity’
The final ‘room’ is where you should do your work. It is dark and the only person in that room is you. You should go into that room naked. And it is here that you should dtart to think of ideas.
So, if you’re a creative go buy that Art Pass, check out shows of musicians you love, subscribe to some pretty magazines here, here and here. Subscribe to blogs in your industry and use Google Reader and Twitter to keep track of them and key people in that sector. And engage with those people, join the conversations online and become a voice yourself through your own blog and social media. Most important of all - make sure you actually just go create, and have fun doing it :)