What Really Happened to Michael Rockefeller? The story of the Rockefeller heir and anthropologist who was allegedly eaten by cannibals in New Guinea in the early 1960s. Also a link to the utterly tragic Wikipedia article: List of people who disappeared mysteriously / the art of the cityscape; painters take on the urban experience / the Moonjs: An Online Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) Simulator / consumer electronic nostalgia at The Electronic Wizard / 99% Invisible is a radio show about design / Space Travel, a flickr set / paintings by Federico Infante / illustrated maps by Abi Daker / searching for the Polaroid People. As more and more analogue photographs are discovered and digitized, these searches for unknown people is going to blossom. For example, who on earth are these people? / the ruins of Second Life / The Happy Pontist enthuses about bridge design / cranes lifting cranes lifting cranes / The Aural Dustbin, a defunct but entertaining music blog / infographics of the US Armed Forces / Actual Sunlight is a game about depression. Play through video / sorry about the badly formatted post yesterday.

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The point of no going back

More on big data: ‘To prod employees, Amazon has a powerful lever: more data than any retail operation in history. Its perpetual flow of real-time, ultradetailed metrics allows the company to measure nearly everything its customers do: what they put in their shopping carts, but do not buy; when readers reach the “abandon point” in a Kindle book; and what they will stream based on previous purchases. It can also tell when engineers are not building pages that load quickly enough, or when a vendor manager does not have enough gardening gloves in stock.’ We like the phrase ‘abandon point’ – in the future, this could be the flashpoint at which all culture exists. Related, Taylorism and Amazonians, how ‘rank and yank’ culture permeates all big organisations.

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Down the whirlpool

The Downstairs Gays, a tale of double kitchens, cyber-stalking and of digging yourself deeper and deeper with Google: ‘the second hit was his website, [hisname].com, which featured a sidebar of links, including his Twitter, his Instagram, his résumé, his portfolio, his Tumblr, his Pinterest, his LinkedIn, his Vimeo, YouTube, and SoundCloud likes, as well as links to a few “obscure Netflix faves” and several TED Talks he’d enjoyed.’ Social media is a cursed medium for deciphering what someone else is actually thinking. More’s the pity. Although we’re living in a world where companies are becoming more and more adept at extrapolating things about their customers from their data and behaviour, as illustrated by this example Target’s cunning way of concealing its targeting of pregnant customers. How soon before those ‘skills’ are turned on human relationships?


Other things. Sort of related: The Ghosts of Pickering Trail. Death, haunting and the world of ‘psychologically stigmatized’ real estate / revisited: Dialogues in Design is essentially things‘ successor, the contemporary equivalent of what is possible as a student-driven spin-off from a course / Life on the Lion Farm estate 25 years ago, photographs by Robert Clayton / things to watch: the Butterfield Diet Plan / Steven Soderburgh’s ‘Butcher’s cut‘ of Heaven’s Gate.

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Mystery train

Romantic London hosts a fascinating, if depressing, mapped version of the infamous Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies for 1788, a regular publication chronicling the availability of vice in 18th century London (via MeFi) / Chain, Chest, Curse: Combating Book Theft in Medieval Times, an article at Medieval Books / Alphabets: Photo-Lettering’s 1969 Alphabet Yearbook at the Tenth Letter of the Alphabet / The Cubli is ‘a cube that can jump up, balance, and ‘walk”. It’s all done with gyroscopes / a collection of unusual homes / the Incredibox is a fun music mixing tool / Hélas …L’autre musée des horreurs, a weblog / Lemon Incest, a tumblr (occasionally nsfw) / Oui Non, a tumblr / The Physical is an Illusion, a tumblr specialising in occult imagery / A Bigger Splash (via Zero 1 Magazine) / beautiful books, designs and posters at Modernism 101 / see also the beautiful collection assembled at A Good Book / the world’s largest archive of natural sounds at the Macaulay Library / surf is still a style driver: Acid Surfing and Read Wax, two sites / Recuperate is filled with videos / photography at the Unchanging Window / The Girls on the Negatives is a quest to discover the subjects in a set of negatives (via RVA Magazine). See also Magdalena Cwiklicka’s The Honeymoon / finally, Paperholm, the crisp white city model built by Charles Young.

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Cloaked in white

Is there really such a thing as a ‘SuperHouse‘? In the old days we called them McMansions. What’s clear today is that there’s such a thing as the ‘Modernist McMansion’ – McModernism, perhaps – a style of building that’s just as bloated and excessive as any pastiche, only it’s cloaked in the stylistic language of ‘progressive architecture’, hiding a multitude of sins / Bruno Munari, pioneer of the Modernist book, at Letterology / behind the scenes with Container List, the Baader-Meinhof Library Escape, a meticulously planned illustration by James McMullan. His Line by Line series of drawing lessons are worth a read / Artisan Books make publications for artists and illustrators / a gallery of people using phones by Timo Arnall / the Swincar is an electric fun buggy from France / Marcello Barenghi streams the creation of his photo-realistic paintings on Youtube / the lost relics of PostModernism, a list by Charles Holland for dezeen / The Ault & Wiborg Poster Album, as presented by Codex 99.

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On the road again

Unsurprisingly it turns out that Japanese RV culture is amazing. Check this collection of Micro Japanese RVs (camper vans) as well as some slightly larger ones. Check the Karucan, or the MiniBig from Car-Taka, who also sell the Prius-based Relax Cabin. Or the TentMushi. More Kei-car sized campers. So where are the importers? / other things. How far did Frodo and Sam actually walk? / five deliberate groundings at breaker’s yards / Trees in art, a tumblr / the GravityLight, a zero energy alternative to oil lamps (via Kottke) / male writers hide their gender to sell more books / The luxury watches that have caused international outcry, how bloggers are tracking corruption through conspicuous consumption around the world.

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Pinned through the heart

How Pinterest simplified, compartmentalised and scattered the web. Daniel Gray on how the site offers content free from context, the new definition of ‘curation’ (a word which’ll ‘do until we’ve come up with a succinct catch-all term for finding and grouping and sharing and procrastinating and pretending to be adding something new to the world when all you’re really doing is regurgitating’). Other things, pinned by us in old-school html. Paperworld is a stop motion film by Jöns Mellgren / / New Women’s History Museum in London Turns Out to be a Jack the Ripper Museum, all part of the distortion of the East End / beautiful architectural illustration by Jan Van Der Veken / illustrations by Jeremie Fischer / the Wonders of Weston / Urban Campsite Amsterdam. Folies to rent / The Secret History Of The London Plane Tree / a review of Hatherley’s new book, ‘Landscapes of Communism: A History through Buildings‘.

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Phones, frissons and oak trees

Many different things. The quirky smartphones of China / Less Adjectives More Verbs, a tumblr about architecture / we are kidding ourselves with kitchens of the future / old forgotten houses, a tumblr / fine concrete house in Argentina / Nick Daw has a gallery of photographs of Mid-Century Modernism in the UK / How to Paint an Oak Tree, a visual essay by artist Stephen Taylor at tmn / So what is the dream of the 90s? / the South East London Journal / Paul Gorman writes about pop art and culture, with a special focus on the rich histories of the 70s and 80s / Amuseum is a new magazine which takes ‘a playful look at objects to find FASCINATING stories about culture, design, history, science and art’. Our kind of magazine, in other words / Ultimate Vision (Dazzle Camouflage), a project by Stephanie Syjuco / Hopes and Fears, a new culture review site with long form essays / The strange phenomenon of musical ‘skin orgasms’. How does music move the mind and body? Or is it just auditory cheesecake? / Atlas for The Blind 1837, at the David Rumsey Map Collection.

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Walking the edges

The Perimeter is a photography project by Quintin Lake based on walking 10,000km around the coast of Britain in sections. The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul’s cathedral and I’m following the coast clockwise. I expect the journey will take around 5 years.’ An absolutely superb series / see also the New English Landscape / other things: Hide, a photography project by Jason Vaughn, at Polar Inertia /, a weblog / ‘The City Wasn’t Always Here’: The Artist and the Engineer, a project by Eastside Projects with illustrations by Peter Nencini / Russell Davies on the V&A’s 1991 exhibition Visions of Japan.

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Things from here and there

Mysterious, Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped like a Giant Chicken / compare and contrast the puns and names conjured up in the English translations of Asterix / ‘Have you never paused to wonder at the delicate hum that lurks behind the Google search box?’ The Sound of the Internet / short films at the Architecture Player / beautiful gifs from Japan / Calamityware, mugs of chaos / Hokusai’s Ephemera, a project by Louie Rigano / Mass Shooting Tracker / How to make your own slow jams / Carnet Imaginaire, a tumblr / art by Hilary Hayton, formerly art director for BBC children’s programmes in the 60s / the 1955 Belgian Grand Prix, or how F1 used to be reported (via Autoblog) / Argos: 40 years of catalogue shopping: 1986 and 1976.

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A long way from here

Ah, Britain then and now: Salford, 1964 versus the penthouse apartment at Neo Bankside. Still apparently unsold / the Britmovie forums are the place to go for old film stills / real-time map of global cyber attacks, or so they say / prints by Tom Hammick / Remembering Rediffusion, a history of British television / FACT’s regular Best of Bandcamp / Why We Were Addicted to Our Tamagotchis / This Map’s Red and Blue Regions Each Contain 5% of the World Population / Power lines in Anime.

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Old, new and everything in between

A random collection of everything. designers moan about the Apple watch / traffic in 1980s London was stylish / the Atom bomb tests, 70 years on / Dead Disney, ‘When the Magic Kingdom Ends’ / drink a pint in Metro-land, the story of the modern pub / more stories: How Esquire engineered the modern bachelor (via MeFi) / London Underground 3D station schematics / related, what bits of old London can still be seen? / also related, Paris’s Metro is way denser than the Tube / what if New York met Paris? / where are they now? Indie rock edition / examples of internet detective squads / Random, a book produced by accident (potentially nsfw) / I Wish U Would Believe Me, photography by Jason Vaughan / Hate Mail from Mr Bingo. We want some and probably deserve it / we feel foolish for discovering The Dissolve on the day it shuttered / TractorSpotter is a YouTube channel dedicated to large scale agricultural machinery / a short history of the camera phone / Galina Balashova, Soviet space architect extraordinaire. More at Wallpaper / What’s Left, a tumblr / The sound of the dialup, pictured / Landscape Migration, ‘environmental design in the Anthropocene’, or how land reclamation is reshaping the landscape / Owl’s House, a weblog about design.

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Strange incredible truths

UFOs are still a thing, apparently. Related, a treasure trove of UFO Books. We confidently predict the X-Files Revival will fill the friendly skills with alien incursions once more.

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Streets of London

Random things today / art direction by Hugo Moreno / pop-up floppy / Embarrassing Treasures, a delightful repository of old advice manuals, TV guides, theme park literature and other outdated literature / the modern equivalent, perhaps: the Autocomplete Archive / Uncube tackles Bricks / related to our last post: London ‘street graphs’ show full impact of the housing crisis / Slothy’s Pigeonshit, one of those marvellous mp3 blogs stuffed full of ripped and rare vinyl, all of which has vanished with the disappearance of Mediafire and Rapidshare, etc. Still, the descriptions are fun to read. There are still some dedicated survivors out there, like Easy Listening World, Lord of the Boot Sale and The Devil’s Music / more old things: The Houghton Mifflin Readers (1971), ‘Textbook Illustrations that Blew a Million Minds’ / a fine Fanfare post on Michael Apted’s Seven Up series / explore a lavishly created old asylum in The Town of Light / A Psychogeography Of Games #1: Kentucky Route Zero / films for short attention spans: Skinemax and Memorex. The 80s. They remember it wholesale / yet more revivalism: Musicophilia’s epic 1981 Box Set.

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The Elephant in the Park

The word ‘viability’ has a clinical ring to it, but it’s at the heart of London’s current restructuring. Oliver Wainwright’s recent epic piece on the capital’s redevelopment looks at ‘how developers exploit [the] flawed planning system to minimise affordable housing‘. It’s a depressing read, not just for the economic shenanigans used to justify the scale, scope and pricing of developments, but the way in which the new generation of large scale international developers have been handed large swathes of the city on a cut-price plate, ripe for demographic ‘rehabilitation’.

This extends from the Balfron Tower in the east (‘sold‘ for refurbishment) to the great Heygate Diaspora at the Elephant and Castle. The latter continues to be a high profile cause, with sites like Heygate was Home setting out the ‘notorious’ estate’s human side and repeating ‘the broken promises of regeneration’. In a nutshell, the affordable homes quota demanded by the Council was negotiated down by the developer because it would have impacted on the ‘economic viability’ of the scheme. This despite the site being sold for an incredibly low price – £50M – after many years of decanting residents, often against their will, and talking down the estate as a whole. To cap it all, the cheapest apartment we could find at the new Elephant Park – ‘Central London’s greenest new place to live‘, no less – comes in at £563,000. Above image, the Heygate as it might have been, courtesy of Better Elephant. Vice’s video series on the Regeneration Game is also worth a watch.

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