The Dark Past of Sea Monkeys

Great Big Story: This is the story of how a tiny, magical creature was transformed into a cultural phenomenon by inventor, marketing genius and complicated eccentric Harold von Braunhut. Full of fun facts (both charming and disturbing), Just Add Water is a colorful short film about a half-century of marketing directly to children, the force of nostalgia in pop culture, and an unlikely meeting of flim-flam and hard science. A film by Penny Lane.

How Movie Trailers Manipulate You

Vice News: These promos are “that one form of advertising that you actually want more of,” explains Jon Penn, CEO of the National Research Group. And thanks to an increase in online availability, they’re also easier to find, watch, rewatch, analyze and share theories about.

This trailer boom has lead to an increase in the number of trailers being cut and a robust job market for professional trailer makers. More work can mean more competition, too, as a studio will often hire several vendors to work on the same trailer, picking their favorite as the face of their film’s campaign. That means trailer makers are constantly one-upping each other to be the most eye-catching and innovative of the bunch.

See also: How to make a blockbuster movie trailer and other posts tagged ‘trailers’.

The Alt-Right Playbook

What are the rhetorical strategies the alt-right uses to legitimise itself and gain power? How do these strategies work? Why do they work? How do we keep from falling for them? And how do we catch ourselves when we start using them, too?

Ian Danskin (aka Innuendo Studios) creates video essays about games, art, politics, and culture. This is the first video in an ongoing series about how the Alt-Right operates.

Ian goes on to talk about how the Alt-Right controls the conversation, why they never play defence, the ‘mainstreaming’ of fringe groups, ‘The Ship of Theseus’ and most recently the death of a euphemism.

If you want to win, you have to understand why you’ve been losing.

See also

Evolution of the English Alphabet

Evolution of the English Alphabet

Matt Baker: Fyi, the above chart was actually just a simplified promo for a much larger chart – a Writing Systems of the World poster. So, if you’re concerned about the fact that thorn, wynn, or any other letters are missing, rest assured that they were indeed included on the main chart.

History of the Alphabet →

Use your words

Evolution of the English alphabet

“Shouldn’t you have titled this ‘Evolution of the Latin Alphabet?'” Well, yes, that would have been correct as well. But it’s also not incorrect to refer to an “English alphabet”. Obviously, many European languages use the same Latin script. But some use a slightly different number of letters. When one is referring to the set of Latin letters used for a particular language, it’s ok to refer to that set as the “[language name] alphabet”. — Matt Baker / UsefulCharts.com

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Which 'g' is right
Use your words

The elusive letter ‘g’

Take this test to see if you can identify the correct lowercase G. Most people can’t.

Boing Boing: In a recent Johns Hopkins experiment, only 7 out of 25 people were able to identify the correct letter. Only 2 out of 38 even knew a second lowercase “G” existed, and only 1 was able to correctly write it.

Johns Hopkins: Many researchers are thinking now that learning to write plays an important role in learning to read. People are writing less and less in our culture nowadays. This kind of gives us an intriguing way of looking at some of those questions. The main thing this makes us question is the notion that if you see something enough times you know it. There are things that we see in everyday life all the time but somehow don’t possess enough knowledge of it to access it consistently.


I was able to identify the correct ‘g’ — but it took me a moment and I’m someone who takes a particular interest in type design. I’ve actually recently been working on two typefaces of my own and I think that type designers may be partly to blame for this unfamiliarity as this character lends itself to some unconventional experimentation. The single-storey ‘g’ is probably the better choice for typefaces intended to be readily legible.

See also

Standard

Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London

Entries to a Competition to Design a New Tower in London (1890)

The Public Domain Review: A selection of the more inventive entries to a competition to design a new tower for London. The year previous, 1889, saw the hugely successful Eiffel Tower go up in the centre of Paris, and the good people of London, not to be outdone, decided to get one of their own. A wonderful array of designs were put forward. Many were suspiciously similar to the Eiffel Tower and many erred on the wackier side of things…

The very practical design number 37 by Stewart, McLaren and Dunn was eventually chosen to be awarded the 500 guinea prize-money and built in Wembley Park. Construction began in 1892 but the company in charge of the erection, The Metropolitan Tower Company, soon ran into problems including falling chronically behind schedule due to marshy ground and then financial difficulties which eventually led to their liquidation in 1889. Construction ceased after only 47 metres had been completed.

(via @PublicDomainRev)

See also

Craft and creativity

Entries to a competition to design a new tower in London to rival the Eiffel Tower (1890)

A selection of the more inventive entries to a competition to design a new tower for London.

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Medieval trade routes and geography

Even before modern times the Afro-Eurasian world was already well connected. This map depicts the main trading arteries of the high middle ages, just after the decline of the Vikings and before the rise of the Mongols, the Hansa and well before the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope.

Medieval Trade Routes and Geography

Credit for this map goes to Martin Månsson who posted this on /r/MapPorn, which has some interesting discussion.

The map also depicts the general topography, rivers, mountain passes and named routes. All of which contributed to why cities came to be, and still are, up until modern times.

The Silk Road is not just one, but many roads that leads through all of Asia, from Constantinople in the west, through Central Asia and the Himalayas, to Liangzhou in the east. During this time, the Chinese Song dynasty was in its height and it was one of those Chinese dynasties that were open to foreign trade and invested in commerce and infrastructure. Foreign trade was mostly concentrated to the southern ports were both Jews and Muslims had their own communities.

(via @stephenniem)

See also

Miscellany

Map of medieval trade routes

The high middle ages were a time when the stars aligned in terms of commerce for many areas of the world. In central Europe many German and French cities initiated annual trade fairs, some of which are still active today – most notably in Frankfurt.

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