Two pieces of art that cleverly co-opt corporate trademarks to promote an alternative. From @cryptograffiti
Each year the guys on my block take turns dressing up as Father Christmas and sit out on a sled in the median on our street asking kids who line up each night between 6:30 and 8 chatting about their hopes and dreams for Christmas morning. It’s a tradition that goes back to the 30’s and one that allows for me to take the pulse of the in toys for the season.
Here’s my unofficial survey of what’s popular in 2016.
Pokemon cards are back! Several kids asked for specific decks of this old school game which is experiencing a comeback no doubt due to their older siblings who are playing it again on their phones. Pikachu stuffed dolls and other characters from the game were a close runner up. Props to the kid that insisted (much to the frustration of his mother) on posing for his Santa photo with his poke-ball.
Playstation 4 beats out the XBox. There was also one mention of a Nintendo DS.
iPhones were mentioned a few times with one girl asking specifically for the iPhone 7. One kid also asked for a GoPro. No mention of any Android devices or Apple Watches.
One kid asked for a Nerf Gun and the parent’s and I did a double-take when we heard his younger sister say she wanted a, “shotgun” but she later clarified that it was a Shuriken. Best to stay clear of that house on Christmas morning.
There were several wishes for a dog and one boy that wanted a swimming frog while his sister hoped for “birds in a cage” but the prize for the best wish goes to the little girl who is wishing for a flying turtle. The father and I exchanged a panicked look and I said something about “seeing what I could do” – maybe her dad can rig up a drone or something, he’s got his work cut out for him.
There’s a video is going around in Japan trying explain to people there how Donald Trump tapped into the under-represented and dispossessed to win the election. Over the moaning cellos from Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar soundtrack, Michael Moore rants in a clip from his latest movie TrumpLand against a gliding montage of Ken Burns-ed images of Trump supporters. Moore warns of the political landslide to come, something he saw plain as day, written across the faces of those in his native rust belt.
“Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘Fuck You’ ever recorded in human history.” It’s a powerful message, driving home the power of our democracy to collectively shape our future. With it’s built-in mechanism to overturn the establishment at regular intervals, it’s an incredibly resilient way to let off steam, for better or worse.
But if there is one thing we learned from last night, is that it’s important to put things in context. As powerful as that piece may be, it was served up with a perspective, a point of view. That particular cut faded out and and did not include the second half of his speech, the part that Michael Moore himself included in his clip from the same speech. Here’s the rest of it.
Careful what you wish for, the ballot is not an “anger management tool.” Moore’s broader message is that we need to be skeptical of a quick fix promised on incomplete information.
Today Moore posted this on his Facebook page today under, “Morning After To-Do List”
Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew.
Now more than ever, we cannot be lazy and take in truths that are fed to us in sound bites and campaign slogans. The broader truth comes from multiple points of view and first-hand experience. Seek out new sources of information, talk to one another and compare notes. Americans pride themselves on their innovation – there’s a better way to do this – let’s get to work.
Game 7 in which the Chicago Cubs took the World Series for the first time in 108 years was one for history books. The back-and-forth battle had everyone on the edge of their seats nervously finishing off the rest of their halloween candy well into the night.
There were many amazing plays but it was this moment, caught on mike, that connected us with the players on a personal level. In this snippet of dugout banter the 27-year old Anthony Rizzo talks to 39-year old David Ross who is playing the final game of his career.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 3, 2016
Rizzo: I can’t control myself right now. I’m trying my best.
Ross: It’s understandably so, buddy.
Rizzo: I’m emotional.
Ross: I hear ya.
Rizzo: I’m an emotional wreck.
Ross: Well, it’s only going to get worse. Just continue to breathe. That’s all you can do, buddy. It’s only gonna get worse.
Rizzo: I’m in a glass case of emotion right now.
Ross: Wait until the 9th with this three-run lead.
@kaz nailed it when Vine launched back in early 2013, the app which looped 6-seconds was perfect for sports clips, especially that amazing slam dunk or football catch that you just had to see several times to appreciate or understand. The unfortunate problem is that in order to create a sports highlight Vine you need to be able to stream a game on your phone or laptop and we are not quite there yet.
In that sense, Vine was a few years before it’s time and, as we all know in tech, timing is everything. Creating Vines from your own live videos was a challenge of being in the right place at the right time and it wasn’t until after the buzz died down that they added the feature allowing you to upload old videos and creating loops afterwards.
Sorry to hear that they are shutting down. For posterity, here are my two feeble attempts to make something interesting. It was fun while it lasted!
Back in April there was a run of stories about autonomous vehicles.
- Singapore was rolling out driverless taxis (one has since been involved in a minor fender-bender).
- Roborace, the first driverless race car event was announced (the kinks are still being worked out and Audi just reported that they dropped out of Le Mans to focus on Formula E.
- Europe held a driverless truck convoy contest.
The driverless truck has come to our shores and today, Otto, Über’s self-driving truck division, announced that they had successfully delivered a load of Budweiser beer in Colorado, driving 120 miles on Interstate 25 with the driver in the back seat.
Oh, and Tesla’s in the running too with self-driving their own demo filmed here in the Bay Area.
And just in case you were wondering, Hollywood is working on a reboot of Knight Rider.
Stories surfaced of a botched restoration of baby Jesus’ head at a Canadian church. The local artist volunteered to provide her services, saving the church the $10,000 quoted for a professional restoration. She was honored to be chosen but was clearly out of her league and openly admitted her experience was thin.
She had learned how to sculpt at a local college, but had never worked with stone. Still, she felt compelled to help.
Related to a 2012 story of another act of kindness gone wrong. In Spain authorities suspected vandalism of the famous “ecco homo” until they discovered that it was just the worst art restoration project of all time.
Then there was Mr. Bean
There were so many stories that came out of Rio but what I enjoyed the most from the SmartNews Rio Olympics page were the lesser reported stories that bubbled up on the page. Over the past couple weeks I kept a list of my favorites and below are the best.
ONE: Before the games even started, The Independent’s incredible profile of Yusra Mardini had us rooting for the Olympic’s first refugee team.
TWO: During the opening ceremonies everyone looked sharp but USA Today’s sports site, For The Win, caught wind of the secret hidden in Team Australia’s blazer lining. Elle gave us the skinny on what each athlete got in their swag bag.
THREE: ESPN wrote about a high school in California that has been sending athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1952.
FOUR: Most outlets flock to the high dive platforms to catch still frames of the athletes but Buzzfeed took pleasure in the trampoline shots.
SIX: Sharing the thrill of victory is why we all love to watch the Olympics. Deadspin shares a clip of two young Irish rowers doing an interview on Irish television and it’s hard not to get caught up in their youthful exuberance.
SEVEN: No one can forget the fateful collision of Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin during the 5000 meter qualifying round. The story of the two helping each other to the line will remain in our hearts as a shining example of Olympic Spirit. The pair was later awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for their behavior – something that The Telegraph tells us has only happened 17 times in Olympic history.
EIGHT: The Telegraph also dug into a question that we didn’t even think to ask. What’s involved in getting the equestrian horses get to the Olympics?
ELEVEN: FiveThirtyEight is famous for its statistics and data-oriented view of the world. For the Olympics they dug into the science of pacing.
TWELVE: While acrobatics is not an Olympic sport, it did feature in an opening exhibition. Thanks to Cosmo for sharing what they called, Human Jump Rope.
I hope you enjoyed this list. Football season is coming up and we’ve got a Football channel on SmartNews so you can start to collect your own list of hidden gems.
I finished Season Three of Silicon Valley, the HBO comedy series built around the mythical company Pied Piper.
One of the episodes opens with a brilliant takedown of every over-produced tech commercial you’ve ever seen.
What do you do when you have a technical product that defies simple explanations? You string together a bunch of stock video of happy people over an acoustic guitar instrumental.