Things of note for the week ending Friday 25th September, 2015.
I’ve not been well this week. Not at all. Which has meant I’ve not really been online that much… Which means FTOF will be a bit lighter this week. I’m sure you won’t mind. Y’know, it’s not like EVERY OTHER PERSON WANTS TO SEND YOU EMAILS / NEWSLETTERS / BLOG POSTS ON FRIDAY BECAUSE HEY IT’S FRIDAY, ISN’T THIS AWESOME etc… is it?
I’m also sleepy (ill = not sleeping much either, bah). Good news is, I’m on the road to recovery. Better news is, I am scheduled to be taking annual leave today. That means that you get this written to you Friday morning fresh – and not Friday night/Saturday morning rushed.
Right then, shall we?
1. HOW’S THE WEATHER UP THERE, DARLING?
You know the AMAZING and SPECTACULAR Rosetta mission to the comet known as 67P? You must know it… It’s been a helluva journey so far.
First there was the ten years its taken for the thing to get there. TEN. YEARS. That’s 6.4 billion kilometres. Then there’s the whole actually rendezvousing with a comet in actual space part whichi is the equivalent of throwing a small car at a floating piece of rock from about 800 million miles away, with one eye, while you’re looking in the other direction. THEN (and you must remember this) we nearly lost the landing probe (little Philae!) back in November for it to suddenly woke up over the summer (this link is an update on that btw). And now… there’s more!
This week, the Rosetta spacecraft provided scientists with enough evidence to prove the existence of a weather system on Comet 67P.
The team studied a set of data taken in September 2014, concentrating on a one square km region on the comet’s neck. At the time, the comet was about 500 million km from the Sun and the neck was one of the most active areas.
As the comet rotates, taking just over 12 hours to complete a full revolution, the various regions undergo different illumination.
“We saw the tell-tale signature of water ice in the spectra of the study region but only when certain portions were cast in shadow,” says Maria Cristina.
“Conversely, when the Sun was shining on these regions, the ice was gone. This indicates a cyclical behaviour of water ice during each comet rotation.”
The data suggest that water ice on and a few centimetres below the surface ‘sublimates’ when illuminated by sunlight, turning it into gas that then flows away from the comet. Then, as the comet rotates and the same region falls into darkness, the surface rapidly cools again.
Best. Thing. This. Week.
2. HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS
Hey! Wait! Don’t go anywhere! Before you click off and think ‘Oh my God, Whatley’s been hacked’ – stay there! I’m being serious…
Aaron Bleyaert published this handy guide back in February but for some reason it only really seemed to
go viral get itself internetty famous this week.
I promise you: it is fantastic and easily the best thing you’ll read today/this week/this month/this year about how to go actually lose weight.
3. TWITTER’S NEW BUTTONS
Got a website? Write things? Do you visit websites and sometimes read things? Well, if you’ve said yes to any of those questions you’ve probably seen the ‘Tweet!’ button.
This week, Twitter announced it was changing that button!
(old, left – new, right)
‘BUT THIS ISN’T NEWS, JAMES!’ – I hear you cry in unison.
Actually, it kinda is.
Hidden away in Twitter’s community announcement about this ‘minor’ change was this tiny bit of detail. Emphasis mine.
“Tweet buttons make authoring a Tweet from the context of a current webpage quick and easy. We are simplifying the Tweet button by removing the share counter displayed alongside the button. This new display removes the
counturldisplay parameters, and will render in the same pixel dimensions as a Tweet button configured without a share count today.
The Tweet button has displayed share count over the last five years by querying a JSON endpoint hosted on various domains. These private JSON endpoints have been used by third-party developers over the years to retrieve a simple share count of any URL. These endpoints [read: ways to gather share counts from articles] will be shut down next month when the Tweet button removes its share count feature.“
People are not happy.
Thing is, Twitter changing a useful tool/piece of code that other users/developers had come to rely on should really not longer come as any kind of surprise.
The real question is: why doesn’t Twitter want you to know how many people are sharing articles through its platform?
One to noodle on.
4. DEATH TO POWERPOINT
‘Bored students is the least of it’ writes Andrew Smith ‘the bullet point-ization of information is making us stupid and irresponsible’ – the man has a point.
On the classroom, he adds:
‘Where the space around and between points on a blackboard is alive with possibility, the equivalent space on a PP screen is dead. Bullet points enforce a rigidly hierarchical authority, which has not necessarily been earned. One either accepts them in toto, or not at all. And by the time any faulty logic is identified, the screen has been replaced by a new one as the speaker breezes on, safe in the knowledge that yet another waits in the wings.’
And that really struck a chord with me.
In school, there was never any PowerPoint. There may’ve been the occasional use of an overhead-projector (‘James, could you run and fetch the OHP?’ – memories!) but never PowerPoint. We even had one teacher (economics) who told us that our exercise books were for homework and that we were never to open them in class. Instead lecturing us on the structure of a free market and how supply and demand really works…
When I reached college none of my lecturers used PowerPoint. NONE. All of them spoke to us and lectured us on the topic(s) we’d arrived to hear about.
Later in life, when I had to give public presentations/speeches for an on behalf of the company/ies that I worked for, I constantly argued against the need for PowerPoint. I hated it. I convinced myself I had a fear of it (which I then got over) but wherever possible, have since tried to not use any kind of bullet system and instead rely on pretty pictures of animals as talking points. I’m not kidding – this actually works.
Point being: go and read Smith’s article.
I’d love to know what you think.
5. FIVE KEY TAKE OUTS FROM SMWLDN
Item four: moans about bullets. Item five: here’s a list of bullets. Ha! But they’re not bullets, they’re a collection of paragraphs of things wot i wrote during Social Media Week London 2015. All collected up and published, by request, on the Guardian.
The above link there is a main overview of the main trends spotted as gleaned from the talks available to attend. It is also an edited down version of a longer article examining how ‘Social Media Week: the week long event of social media fun’ is transforming/has transformed into ‘Social Media Week: The Conference’. It’s less of a five day celebration of all things social and more a three-day business summit focused on brands, agencies, and platforms.
The content has improved enormously because of it but, since the article went live yesterday, I’m left wondering if the event will ultimately lose some of its magic in the process.
Bonuses this week are as follows:
- Going out this weekend? This could be you on Sunday. BE CAREFUL.
- That Drive In bonus from last week? HERE’S THE LINK.
- One of the better writers of JUDGE DREDD published his best/favourite email comments. They made me chuckle. They might make you chuckle too.
Big love to all of you… and if you liked this edition, tell your friends.
Have a stellar Friday/weekend folks,