Things of note for the week ending January 16th, 2015.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Five things on Friday #107.
It’s been a busy week (and there are several other blog posts in draft that are close to publishing – probably at the back end of next week – once the madness subsides and all is calm once more) so why not enjoy yesterday’s edition of Three Track Thursday (it’s not another new regular thing, don’t worry, I do actually have a life to live) while you read?
1. GOOGLE: PROJECT ARA
The world’s first (proper) consumer-grade/ready modular phone, Google’s Project Ara is very exciting indeed. Admittedly this thing has been on the way for a while now (starting off as a small start-up, being backed by Motorola, who were then bought by Google), at long last, it’s actually getting somewhere.
And that somewhere is Puerto Rico.
This is actually really exciting and, with the right support, could actually effect a sea-change in the way that we deal with mobile hardware.
Replaceable, shareable, and a unique flavour defined by each individual user; we could be looking at the future, kids.
The Next Web has more.
2. THE EIGHT BOOKS EVERY INTELLIGENT PERSON SHOULD READ
This next item comes once again from the rather excellent blog known as Brain Pickings. During a Reddit AMA recently, renowned and respected physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was asked the following question:
“Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?”
Tyson’s response is suitably insightful. Covering everything from Charles Darwin, The Bible and even Sun Tzu, the list is unsurprisingly excellent.
(But that is not why this is a thing this week)
He goes on to add:
“If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”
Maria Popova, author of Brain Pickings (where I picked up this gem), responds to that last section more brilliantly than I ever could.
“What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’sThe Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressed elsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhaps Susan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list”
And so right.
Now go read a book.
3. SOME BACK TO THE FUTURE STUFF
Hey! Wait! Where are you going?! Come back! No! Wait!
I promise and swear that this is not yet-another-post about how THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II. No. It is not that.
But seriously – can you really take any more of it? We’re only three weeks into 2015 and if I see another ‘Top things brands can learn from Back to the Future’s 2015 predictions – published on LinkedIn’ I might never watch the darn thing ever again. You know it’s going to get worse, don’t you? Like much worse. You’ve got Nike trainers, Buzzfeed lists of ‘things BTTF got right!’, and that’s before we even get to October… Ugh.
Where was I?
Oh yes, THIS is an awesome collection of three top-down posters that perfectly illustrate the trilogy’s different parts. And they’re awesome.
“Enhance. Stop. Move in. Stop. Pull out, track right. Stop. Center and pull back. Stop.”
So good. The above photos were found over on iO9. And I’d recommend clicking through because, if you like this kind of thing then you might find the comments to be really quite awesome.
4. EVER BEEN IN OR NEAR A THEATRE?
Then this handy guide might be right up your street.
5. PHOTOS FROM THE SPACEX LANDING
This is fairly hot off the press: Elon Musk has finally shared some photographs of the ‘failed’ (if you can call it that) landing of the reusable SpaceX rockets.
And they’re pretty incredible to look at.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2015
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2015
If none of the above makes any sense to you (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? UNDER A ROCK?!) then the BBC has a really good primer.
Bonuses this week are varied –
- All week I’ve been looking at gifs, reading lists, and generally enjoying the commentary on the Tiny Fey/Amy Poehler opening monologue at the Golden Globes. Even if you’ve done the same, the actual video is worth a watch because, well, because they’re worth it (and the delivery is just great).
- Campaign Magazine asked me to write 1400 words on ‘the year ahead for social media’. So I did.
- This Atlantic photo essay about the mass-penetration of mobile phones, their various uses, and how they’re literally everywhere today, is great – ‘A World Transfixed by Screens‘
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See you next week,