London selfies glummer, less tilted and more bespectacled, study finds

Londoners take more glum-faced selfies than residents of other world cities, according to a data project. Analysis of images uploaded publicly on to Instagram in September found that the London style of selfie-taking was one of a restrained upright pose.

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Animated New Yorker cover

he New Yorker is arguably the primary venue for complex contemporary fiction around, so I often wonder why the cover shouldn’t, at least every once in a while, also give it the old college try? In the past, the editors have generously let me test the patience of the magazine’s readership with experiments in narrative elongation: multiple simultaneous covers, foldouts, and connected comic strips within the issue. This week’s cover, “Mirror,” a collaboration between The New Yorker and the radio program “This American Life,” tries something similar. Earlier in the year, I asked Ira Glass (for whose 2007-2009 Showtime television show my friend John Kuramoto, d.b.a. “Phoobis,” and I did two short cartoons) if he had any audio that might somehow be adapted, not only as a cover but also as an animation that could extend the space and especially the emotion of the usual New Yorker image. I knew that Ira was the right person to go to with this experiment in storytelling form, because he’s probably one of the few people alive making a living with a semiotics degree.

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A massive disconnect: Hang on to those smartphones

Have the people who write this “old man yells at cloud” material ever actually used a smartphone? Sure, they can often be used to play pointless games like Flappy Bird or Crossy Road or Shooty Skies or LinkedIn, but they can also be used to — are you sitting down? — connect to people. Yes, it’s surprising to learn, but all that connection technology that’s put into modern smartphones that’s designed to let it connect to WiFi and cellular networks and such can actually be used to let you connect to other people with similar type devices who are in other locations. It’s true!

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Digital images can’t be trusted, says war photographer Don McCullin

Don McCullin, one of the world’s finest photographers of war and disaster, said the digital revolution meant viewers could no longer trust the truthfulness of images they see. He said photography had been “hijacked” because “the digital cameras are extraordinary. I have a dark room and I still process film but digital photography can be a totally lying kind of experience, you can move anything you want … the whole thing can’t be trusted really.”

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Roald Dahl’s greatest philosophical quotes ever

Everything we ever needed to know about how to live our lives is most likely to be found in a Roald Dahl book. Not only did Dahl create some of children’s literature’s most unforgettable characters in tales that transcend the generations, what is perhaps most captivating about his work is that, beneath the wonderfully eccentric stories, there always lies a warm sentiment in his words to inspire both young and old. Here are some of the greatest philosophical quotes from one of our favourite authors of all time.

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Museum ‘Bans’ Cameras And Asks Guests To Sketch Art Instead

the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has come up with a masterpiece of a campaign called #Startdrawing that encourages guests to sketch rather than snap pictures of its works of art.

The Rijksmuseum hasn’t outright banned the use of cameras or mobile phones on its premises, but it has strongly discouraged it by displaying an image of a crossed-out camera right above its main entrance.

Rijksmuseum believes that media has devolved a visit to a museum into “a passive and superficial experience,” according to its website.

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‘Great snakes!’ Tintin expert appointed UK’s first comics professor

Tintin expert Benoit Peeters has been appointed as the UK’s first ever comics professor, in a move which Lancaster University said marked its “full academic commitment” to comic book art. Peeters, author of a biography of Tintin’s creator Hergé and other titles about the quiffed Belgian adventurer, will take up his three-year post as visiting professor in graphic fiction and comic art next summer. He will, said Lancaster, be delivering a series of lectures, running creative writing workshops and supervising post-graduate students. The university described his appointment to what it said was the first such position in the UK as “significant”, adding that it demonstrates its “full academic commitment to placing comic book art not just in its creative writing and literature department, but also across its wider disciplines, including philosophy”.

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Old spines – why we love the smell of secondhand books

Paperback advertises itself as “sweet and lovely, with just a touch of the mustiness of aged paper”, which sounds nice, I guess, though I wonder how it would go down socially: “Wow, you smell lovely, sort of like the Encyclopedia Britannicas in my grandad’s cellar.” Which is not to say that people should always give off the odour you expect them to – ask anyone who has ever worn Dzing! by L’Artisan Parfumeur, which is great, and smells like cardboard.

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Engineering lifesaving care for premature refugee babies

“Designers are problem solvers”, says James Roberts, a graduate of Loughborough University’s product design degree. Given an open brief for his final year project, Roberts was looking for a problem to solve. The 2013 Panorama documentary Saving Syria’s Children, which highlighted he plight of premature refugee babies dying from lack of access to incubators, provided the perfect engineering challenge: “I saw a problem and it was fun to solve it. It was an obvious need.”

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