The Planets are a series of short animations by Andy Martin born out of his project Handymartian’s Illustrated Aliens. These were some of my favourites:

Planet One

First up is ‘Planet One’ where the inhabitants get more than they bargained for when they get together for a little sing song…

Planet Two

On ‘Planet Two’ we follow a day in the life of one of it’s typical inhabitants… ahh the rat race, a struggle people from all over the cosmos have to deal with.

Planet Four

What do the robots do after they have taken over the planet. It turns out the ones on ‘Planet Four’ find harmony and discuss philosophical matters of enlightenment, beauty and magnificence.

Planet Eight

Food can be a dangerous business for the inhabitants of ‘Planet Eight’. But with fruit this tasty they just can’t help themselves.

More at Illustrated Aliens.

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The Planets

The Planets are a series of short animations born out of Andy Martin’s illustration project ‘Handymartian’s Illustrated Aliens’


RIOT is a simulation game based on real events that have been influencing western civilisation in the past few years.

What is that triggers such a strife? What does a cop feel during the conflict? In “Riot”, the player will experience both sides of a fight in which there is no such thing as “victory” or “defeat”.

To be released for PC/Mac/Linux, iOS and Android. Taking bets now on how long before it gets removed from the iOS app store, or if it will just be outright rejected!

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Riot simulation game

RIOT is a simulation game based on real events that have been influencing western civilisation in the past few years.

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The true identity of Andy’s mom in Toy Story

Jon Negroni, the genius behind The Pixar Theory has another smaller but equally wild theory about the identity of Andy’s mother in Toy Story:

Andy’s mom has always been a bit of an enigma. In the first Toy Story, we barely even saw her face. That’s all fine because throughout the movies, the real focus has been on Andy and the love he has for those toys.

But this is Pixar, and it stands to reason that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Davis family (Andy’s last name).

In order to understand who Ms. Davis really is, we have to start with something seemingly simple: a hat.
The True Identity of Andy’s Mom

The Accessible Icon
Craft and creativity

The Accessible Icon Project

The Accessible Icon Project want to give the International Symbol of Access a more 21st Century, even paralympic, feel.

(1) Head is forward to indicate the forward motion of the person through space. Here the person is the “driver” or decision maker about her mobility. (2) Depicting the body in motion represents the symbolically active status of navigating the world. (3) By including white angled knockouts the symbol presents the wheel as being in motion. (4) The human depiction in this icon is consistent with other body representations found in the ISO 7001 – DOT Pictograms. (5) The leg has been moved forward to allow for more space between it and the wheel which allows for better readability and cleaner application of icon as a stencil.

The old icon displays that passivity: its arms and legs are drawn like mechanical parts, its posture is unnaturally erect, and its entire look is one that make the chair, not the person, important and visible.

Accessible icon comparison

Is it time for a new wheelchair access icon?

Dead Poets Society
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Dead Poets Society is a terrible defense of the humanities

I think I hate Dead Poets Society for the same reason that Robyn, a physician assistant, hates House: because its portrayal of my profession is both misleading and deeply seductive.

For what Keating (Robin Williams) models for his students isn’t literary criticism, or analysis, or even study. In fact, it’s not even good, careful reading. Rather, it’s the literary equivalent of fandom. Worse, it’s anti-intellectual. It takes Emily Dickinson’s playful remark to her mentor Thomas Higginson, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” and turns it into a critical principle. It’s not.

For all his talk about students “finding their own voice,” however, Keating actually allows his students very little opportunity for original thought. It’s a freedom that’s often preached but never realized. A graphic example is presented in one of the film’s iconic moments, when that zany Mr. Keating with his “unorthodox” teaching methods suddenly leaps up onto his desk. Why? “I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way,” he helpfully declaims. How bold: He’s standing perhaps 2½ feet off the ground.

Keating then has the boys march up to the front, of course, and one-by-one and two-by-two they mount his desk and they too “look at things in a different way”—exactly the different way that he has.
Kevin J.H. Dettmar on Dead Poets Society

If you enjoy that critique, you may also enjoy this one:

I Rewatched Love Actually and Am Here to Ruin It for All of You:

Some fucking guy is running around throwing sandwiches at people and asking female office workers if they want his “lovely nuts.” It’s possible that he says something important, but I couldn’t tell you because the music is louder than the dialogue because #competence.

Oh, looks like his name is Colin, and he’s terribly terribly oppressed because no ladies want to sit on his ginger ween (idea: could it possibly be because you wear a shirt that says “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and call complete strangers “my future wife” in a professional setting and then whine about not receiving immediate intercourse?). Colin decides to go to America in order to locate skanks. This is his entire plotline.


Climate change map of the world by Jay Simons

The first map of its kind on such a scale and level of complexity, depicts our planet as it would look without its polar ice caps, with sea levels 260ft (80m) higher than they are today.

By Jay Jason Simons – Halcyon Maps

Shape of things to come

Climate change map of the world

This world map by Jay Jason Simons, inspired by a wide variety of historical maps, aims for bringing the best of traditional cartography to a contemporary setting, while reminding us about the dangers of global warming and subsequent climate change.


The $5.7 Million Magazine Illustration – The New Yorker

Chris Foss

In October, “Ornamental Despair,” a 1994 painting by the British artist Glenn Brown, sold at auction in London for $5.7 million. The painting is almost an exact replica of a science-fiction illustration that Foss created for a men’s magazine in the nineteen-seventies, for which he was paid about three hundred and fifty pounds. Brown’s painting was based on a reprint of Foss’s original, featured in a 1990 book collection of the artist’s work.

“I knew he copied it from the book because the painting was cropped to fit the page. His version is clearly based on the cropped version,” Foss said.
The New Yorker

Craft and creativity

Chris Foss

“I was furious,” Foss told me. “I stormed into the gallery and shouted at the director, ‘Take these pictures off the wall; they don’t belong there.’ I wasn’t happy seeing copies of my work all over the place.”


The Shapes of Stories, a Kurt Vonnegut Infographic

The Shapes of Stories, a Kurt Vonnegut Infographic by Maya Eilam

Use your words

The Shapes of Stories, a Kurt Vonnegut Infographic

Kurt Vonnegut believed that a story’s main character has ups and downs that can be graphed to reveal the story’s shape. The shape of society’s stories, he said, is at least as interesting as the shape of its pots or spearheads.


Poverty is not only the lack of income and wealth but also the poverty of power. A key part of the poverty of power is to be defined as dependent: dependent on charity, handouts, welfare.

Yet, it is the wealthy, not the poor, who are dependent on government subsidies. To transform dependency into self-determination is the work of poor people’s movements. To demonstrate the dependency of the wealthy on welfare as well as on the labor of the poor must be our collective work.
“Who is Dependent on Welfare” with Ananya Roy

Edward Snowden
Shape of things to come

Edward Snowden on freedom

Today, an ordinary person can’t pick up the phone, email a friend or order a book without comprehensive records of their activities being created, archived, and analysed by people with the authority to put you in jail or worse. I know: I sat at that desk. I typed in the names.

When we know we’re being watched, we impose restraints on our behaviour – even clearly innocent activities – just as surely as if we were ordered to do so. The mass surveillance systems of today, systems that pre-emptively automate the indiscriminate seizure of private records, constitute a sort of surveillance time-machine – a machine that simply cannot operate without violating our liberty on the broadest scale. And it permits governments to go back and scrutinise every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever spoken to, and derive suspicion from an innocent life. Even a well-intentioned mistake can turn a life upside down.

To preserve our free societies, we have to defend not just against distant enemies, but against dangerous policies at home. If we allow scarce resources to be squandered on surveillance programmes that violate the very rights they purport to defend, we haven’t protected our liberty at all: we have paid to lose it.
Edward Snowden

Giulietta Carrelli
Humans and other animals

How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze in San Francisco?

Ask a trivial question, get a profound, heartbreaking answer.

John Gravois tracked down the craze for overpriced toast hitting the coffee shops of San Francisco and discovered a very human origin story centered at a cafe called Trouble.

As places of business go, I would call Trouble impressively odd.

Trouble’s specialty is a thick slice of locally made white toast, generously covered with butter, cinnamon, and sugar: a variation on the cinnamon toast that everyone’s mom, including mine, seemed to make when I was a kid in the 1980s.

Trouble’s owner, and the apparent originator of San Francisco’s toast craze, is a slight, blue-eyed, 34-year-old woman with freckles tattooed on her cheeks named Giulietta Carrelli. In public, Carrelli wears a remarkably consistent uniform: a crop top with ripped black jeans and brown leather lace-up boots, with her blond hair wrapped in Jack Sparrowish scarves and headbands.

Carrelli’s explanations made a delightfully weird, fleeting kind of sense as I heard them. But then she told me something that made Trouble snap into focus.

More than a café, the shop is a carpentered-together, ingenious mechanism—a specialized tool—designed to keep Carrelli tethered to herself.
A Toast Story – Pacific Standard


Life After Pi is a short documentary about Rhythm & Hues Studios, the L.A. based Visual Effects company that won an Academy Award for its groundbreaking work on Life of Pi – just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy. The film explores rapidly changing forces impacting the global VFX community, and the Film Industry as a whole.

This is only the first chapter of an upcoming feature-length documentary Hollywood Ending, that delves into the larger, complex challenges facing the US Film Industry and the many professionals working within it, whose fates and livelihood are intertwined.

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The subversive blockbuster

Playfully subversive and countercultural, the Lego Movie satirises surveillance culture and our modern-day neoliberal struggles, says Ben Walters.

Lego Bad Cop

The film’s exuberant, kid-friendly larks – Wild West! Robot pirates! Unicorn kittens! Batman! – are laced with satirical digs at surveillance culture, built-in obsolescence and police brutality, as well as inane positive thinking. Its opening sequences show a world in which a pliant, consumerist populace, mollified by overpriced coffee and dumb TV shows, is exploited by cynical leadership; political and corporate power are conflated in the villainous figure of “President Business”.

Our screens have been filled with images of urban collapse and apocalyptic destruction, dystopian wastelands and zombie hordes. But, like Washington and Westminster, Hollywood has been better at scaring us with the threat of calamity than inspiring hope for the new.

The Lego Movie – a toy story every adult needs to see – The Guardian

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Birth of Man – a Minecraft feature film

Updated 7th Feb 2014

We don’t allow half a million kickstarters based on our ip without any deals in place. :/
Notch, creator of Minecraft

Tragically, it seems that Brandon Laatsch didn’t ask Mojang for permission to make his Minecraft film. The Kickstarter campaign has been cancelled, the videos that I published here have been pulled from YouTube (though the trailer can still be seen on the Kickstarter page) and there has been no word from Brandon either via Kickstarter update or his Twitter account. All a bit of a shame really, especially as the film had already raised 10% of the $600,000 required in under one day and Brandon would certainly have been able to deliver a pretty cool film.

Original post follows for context →


Hypermorgen is an interdisciplinary lab for futures research:

We recently designed some icons to represent topics that will most likely become increasingly interesting in the next few years.

Some of them are tongue in cheek (like the Stanford bunnies in the 3D replication icon), some are more critical (like the synthetic biology spidergoat). They are meant to provoke different associations to start discussions about the future.


Shape of things to come

Icons for the future

Hypermorgen have designed some icons to represent topics that will most likely become increasingly relevant in the next few years, available on the fantastic Noun Project site.