In that agonizing hour between the puff of white smoke and the world's introduction to Pope Francis I, the web was buzzing with anticipation, predictions, and of course, memes. Here to talk about Twitter's countdown and reaction to the #newpope is Brady Carlson, our very own Sherpa of all things awesome online.
NHPR’s All Things Considered host Brady Carlson doubles as Word of Mouth’s internet Sherpa and scanner of the latest internet memes and viral trends. We all know that the internet has made the world smaller; once something goes viral it’s not always easy to determine where exactly it came from. But we generally hear about the most Americo-centric of online oddities, however for today’s “Here’s What’s Awesome” Brady is clueing us into some viral content playing big on the international stage.
Tupac Shakur's posthumous, holographic performance at Coachella just may vault him to the top of the pack of hardworking dead performers - sure, Elvis tours regularly even though he died in '77, and Johnny Cash has released several critically-acclaimed albums after his official final curtain in 2003, but neither of them went viral the way Hologram Tupac has.
The Here's What's Awesome mailbox is full of interesting pieces on wheelchair technology these days, starting with the Action Trackchair. It's an off-road wheelchair with treads - treads! - capable of negotiating sand, snow, and hiking trails. And, as the company's promo video points out, you can have it painted in camouflage colors for serious action.
One of my little psychological tics revolves around those little stickers on apples and oranges. For whatever reason they weird me out - I can pull them off and wash the fruit a thousand times and still I'll think of the trace amounts of invisible sticker goo I'm probably imbibing along with nature's candy.
Airplanes use a lot of energy to get from place to place, but they also create a lot of it - especially, say, when they're slowing down and landing. Engineers at the University of Lincoln are looking at how to harness that energy so airplanes can power themselves.
Best journal article title of the week? "Accelerated ion beams for art forensics." Frankly, they had me at "accelerated ion beams" - the beams could have been for almost anything - but using it to stop art fakes is even that much cooler.
Most of the few routines we have in my house involve the thermostat - at night, as we all trek upstairs to bed, I turn the main floor thermostat down and turn the upstairs thermostat up. In the morning, we do the reverse. It keeps our heating bill down, but it's a little like trying to save gas by hypermiling - not everyone is going to put in that much time to save a buck here and there.
The Green Bay Packers are not going to repeat as Super Bowl Champions this year. That you surely already know. But it's not because Eli Manning and the New York Giants managed to contain the Packers' offense or outplay the Pack's defense. It's because of some sparkly nail polish and an Aaron Rodgers jersey that sat at home, unworn, during the most important playoff game of the year.
So explains our senior sports analyst, Sad Packer Fan:
Max Zorn is a packing tape artist. No, I don't mean he's really good at taping up moving boxes, I mean he makes really intricate pieces of art by slicing up bits of brown packing tape and arranging them into people and scenes. Packing tape is translucent, of course, so Max hangs the finished pieces next to streetlights in Amsterdam.
Check out the timelapse below of Max doing his thing, set to hip hop. And resist the urge to ask him to help you move on the first of the month.
We all go to Wikipedia, which means we've all seen those banners. "Please Read: A Message from Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales." Where the "face of Wikipedia" has his face all over Wikipedia, asking for donations to keep the system running.
That alone was meme fodder, but then the late 2011 drive included new faces along with Jimmy's - programmers, server managers and other staff. All of which led to a sometimes disturbing but sometimes very funny series of revisions to the "please read" banner ads.
NHPR’s resident web trawler and afternoon host Brady Carlson is here plays Nostradamus for our Word of Mouth Futurama Edition, making some educated guesses as to where the social media explosion that’s figured so profoundly in our public and private lives in recent years will go going next.
In his introduction to an anthology of The Best Music Writing 2011, Alex Ross shares a selection of tweets reacting to bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding’s upset over teen star Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy.
The famous Tumblog Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things has already updated its "about" section to read in the past tense - it now says "the dear leader liked to look at things." Now the remixers have found a whole new side of the North Korean leader - as a DJ. Check out Kim Jong-Il Dropping the Bass to see him in action.