Things of note for the week ending Friday July 17th, 2015.
1. SNEAKING INTO NORTH KOREA
Nothing says ‘Welcome to an awesome list of stuff’ more than an immediate link to a whole bunch of other stuff. But this is really interesting.
Mental Floss (one of my favourite sources for just random stuff) has published this list of ‘10 things to know when sneaking into North Korea‘ and it contains gems such as:
It occurred to Sweeney [the author] that his room might be bugged, and in North Korea Undercover he recounts an anecdote from Michael Breen, biographer of Kim Jong-Il. Two Danish engineers were working on a project in North Korea, and one night in their hotel room, began complaining about how bored they were, one of them wishing he had brought a deck of cards: “The next day at work, their minder presented them with a pack of cards. The creepy bit is that they had been talking in Danish.”
And that’s not even the nuttiest part.
Go read it and see for yourself.
2. EUROPEAN NATIVE AMERICANS
In the brilliantly titled ‘Last of the Munichans‘ Monika Bauerlein explores the German obsession with Native Americans.
Why are Europeans, Germans perhaps most famously, obsessed with Native Americans? So many reasons: The chance to delve into a past where the bad guys are not your grandparents. A crowded continent’s longing for wide open spaces. A romantic attachment to an idealized “authentic” humanity, rooted in the anti-industrial backlash of the 1800s.
Go for the words.
Stay for the photos.
3. LAND ROVER’S ADVENTURE GRAM
Ever since the exceedingly talented Terence Eden created the first ‘choose your own adventure’ story in Twitter (go play), brands have tried to replicate it across multiple platforms for myriad campaigns.
The latest company to jump on this social media brandwagon is Land Rover, with the rather beautiful (yet seemingly ineffective – we’ll get to that part) ‘AdventureGram‘.
There are to three things to do here:
- First: click on the Adventure Gram link above and go ‘play’ yourself
- Second: go read the Fast Company
PR piecewrite up on the work
- Third: consume Mat Morrison’s data-rich analysis of the campaign’s ‘impact’
4. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
You may or may not know but there’s a new X-Men film on its way out. It’s the third and final part of the First Class Trilogy – First Class being first, with Days of Future Past acting as part two. Those of you who were paying attention to the latter may have seen an odd after-credits scene.
This one, in fact:
That chap is known as En Sabah Nur, aka the first mutant, aka APOCALYPSE.
If you watched the excellent 90s X-Men cartoon, then you’ll know him as this guy:
Fans of the comic book will know Apocalypse as this guy:
He’s a BIG mutant.
Anyway, sorry – where were we? Oh, that’s right.
Following the pattern set by the previous films, Apocalypse takes place in a new decade (the 80s) and we’re promised another ‘period piece’ based upon that era.
Even more exciting, and literally just this week (yesterday even), the first press official shots were released and, if I’m honest, even if you have only a mere passing interest in this sorta stuff then you’ve probably seen them already.
Here’s one of them:
On the left? That’s Alexendra Shipp as Storm, looking great with a [completely on character] mohican. On the right, that’s the fantastic Olivia Munn killing it as ninja-badass-telepath, Psylocke.
But who’s that in the middle?
Is it perhaps one-time Power Rangers villain Ivan Ooze?
Or could it be Guardians of the Galaxy antagonist, Ronan the Accuser?
I mean, there’s no way it could possibly be Oscar Isaac as the 7″ tall, all killing, all dangerous master-race mutant, Apocalypse? I mean, surely not? He looks completely and utterly ridiculous (agree with me? RT this).
I mean, aside from EVERYTHING for one thing: surely he’s STANDING IN A HOLE. Marvel’s own Wikipedia has him pegged at being bloody massive.
So why is he smaller than Storm?!
Just look at how much better he looks simply by making him BIGGER.
OK OK OK – it’s just one photo. And Bryan Singer has done well so far, I’m sure even he can’t mess this up. Right? Surely?
Colour me concerned.
5. SOME POKEMON STORIES THAT MADE ME SMILE
I like video games. I appreciate video games. As a hobby, as a passion, as an art form; I like video games. I’ve made new friends because of video games and have had some of the most awesome shared experiences with friends because of video games (most recently completing Arkham Knight, 100%, full Knightfall Protocol ending – and being able to discuss the intricacies with friends is actually awesome).
But what I love more is that video games can be a total leveller. They can break down barriers in class, age, sex, and sometimes being just so good at one kind of game – or even one particular game – commands so much respect that it changes the game.
This past week, Kotaku published a series of short (and all wholly true – one even has video) stories about Pokemon and how this gaming phenomenon has changed people’s lives.
You don’t have to get Pokemon to enjoy it. Hell, you don’t even have to get video games. You’ll enjoy it because humans are awesome and stories like these always bring a smile to my face.
Bonuses this week are as follows:
- Instagram released its UK monthly active user number (spoiler: 14m).
- The FTC and the ASA are now super chuffed about how REALLY EASY it is, in the age of ephemeral content, chase down those evil unmarked social media ads. Right? #ad that.
- And if you’re only reading one thing this week? Make it this: The web we have to save.
PS. OH MY GOD THE ROBOTS ARE SO HAPPY!
LOOK AT THE JOY THEY’RE HAVING!
THEY ARE BOUNCING!