If you’re like me, you’ve had intense daydreams about asteroids plummeting towards Earth and knocking it off its orbit sending our little blue planet into an inevitable spiral towards the sun and consequently, you’ll never be able to live out your life. Or maybe you haven’t. Perhaps, I watch too much Doctor Who.
Regardless, the Earth now has its own Doctor Who-like authority in the new International Asteroid Warning Group. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. In the wake of the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia earlier this year, the United Nations took the advice from the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) to go ahead and create this group. In the event that there should be a killer asteroid heading towards Earth, the Warning Group will notify the UN’s Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space who will then launch a missile to knock the asteroid off its course.
Supposedly, the Earth has had a few close calls including an asteroid the size of the Golden Gate Bridge. (I’m convinced one of the members of the Warning Group is the Doctor and you can’t convince me otherwise.) Personally, I’m surprised a larger asteroid hasn’t hit us before. It could just be dumb luck, but I’m glad we have some people thinking about the important things because if we didn’t have this group, to use the words of ex-astronaut Ed Lu, that would be “stupidity”. Catch up on this important development at The Verge.
Source: science.howstuffworks.com, Andreus Agency
Source: The Verge
Hundreds of years from now, our digital data will have vanished or become lost in translation under multiple new software systems and technology. A codex was created to make sure that doesn’t happen. A collective of artists in the Netherlands, La Société, created The SKOR Codex, a book that holds digital data in binary code. Encoded within the 1’s and 0’s are sound recordings, images, and diagrams of today’s technology, trends, and cultures; the simplest of these being pictures of bikes, desks, and fax machines. As a result, eight copies of the codex are currently being made, one of them was already given to the creator of the World Wide Web himself, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and another will live at the Open Data Institute in London. Each copy is built to last for 1,000 years, a time capsule of modern times for the future. Don’t get too excited, Americans, the codex focuses mostly on European culture and the SKOR itself. Check out more about this exciting technology at The Verge.
Social media has been asking us to define ourselves from moment one with profiles, photos, and “about me” sections. Twitter is unique in that it limits the user to 160 characters – a generous 20 more than the usual 140 for a tweet.
This limit has informed the way twitter bios are written and one particular style has risen to the top. The 160 characters are usually utilized to give a rapid-fire listing of personal traits and titles. Student. Journalist. Coffee addict. And the succinct style is not just for teenagers and famous rappers. Hillary Clinton uses it to great effect.
So what does your twitter bio say? Are you more of a Tom Hanks (self effacing) or a Taylor Swift (subtly self promotional)? Read more on the subject at the New York Times.
They say that if you’re good at something, you shouldn’t do it for free. Why then, do so many artists, designers, writers, and other creative professionals constantly get sold on the idea of doing work for nebulous, undefined rewards?
“It’ll build your portfolio!”
“It’ll be great experience.”
“It’s an opportunity to get exposure!”
Unfortunately, exposure won’t pay the rent. Every time a professional gives away their work for free without impressing the value of that gift upon the recipient, some of that value is lost. It requires time, effort, and practice, like any work. So stand up for your value as a professional.
If you’re not yet swayed, read another perspective on the subject.
They say there’s a relevant xkcd for everything. They, of course, being the people of the internet, and xkcd being a popular webcomic.
This time, xkcd has set their sights on unnecessarily tall, clumsy infographics. Infographics are a relatively new genre, but they are immediately recognizable through they way they use imagery to drive a (usually data heavy) narrative or message. Examples of the genre can be seen here, here, and here.
But not every message can be squashed into a tall, skinny, graph heavy framework and while infographics are the trend du jour, they can be horribly ineffective when misused.
At first glance, this statistic stuns. 1 in 10 almost seems like a typo, or a miscalculation. But Iceland has such a strong culture of writing and storytelling that they even have a saying for this phenomenon – “ad ganga med bok I maganum”. Everyone gives birth to a book.
They are not just a country of writers, but as a natural extension, they are voracious readers. Book catalogs get passed out to every house, and public benches even have barcodes that will read audiobooks to you as you sit. They have more books read per capita than any other country in the world.
The country’s natural landscape has been cited as an inspiration even to non-native authors such as JRR Tolkien (who studied Icelandic in college) and has served as a dramatic backdrop for storytelling in other media as well. The HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones has shot in Iceland for season 4, and the upcoming Thor movie shot Icelandic landscapes as well.
If you’re curious to find out more about this unique cultural situation, check out the article from BBC that inspired this post.
A fruit picker, a car salesman, and a postmaster walk into a bar. What do they have in common?
They all later become famous authors. They are John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, and William Faulkner, respectively. Writers come from every walk of life, and some of the most respected authors have taken odd jobs to make ends meet.
In a wonderful twist, some of these odd jobs have served as amazing inspirations and sources of opportunity. Carrie was inspired by the nights Stephen King spent as a high school janitor. Poet Langston Hughes got his first break showing off his poetry as a busboy.
Read Faulkner’s satisfying resignation note as a postmaster and check out the rest of the list at WritersDigest.
Could someone glance at your twitter profile, and without reading a single word, know something about you? Where you come from, your gender, or your profession?
Probably not with any certainty. But they could make an informed guess. Each of those variables has a correlation with certain color trends for your twitter page. People from California and Florida have an affinity for white. Hackers are fond of blue. And unsurprisingly, people who describe themselves as fashionistas are attracted to pink. But who would have guessed that orange is the color of fatherhood?
Color has always been assigned cultural meaning, but it’s been a shifting, difficult field to pin down. Now, it’s becoming easier to chart those associations every day. What’s more, you can leverage those associations to make your twitter profile on-point rhetorically.
If you’ve nailed your colors, check out this infographic to see if your twitter bio is holding up too.