Stories From This Week

19th September 2020

Palantir is the most political IPO of 2020, as well as an enigmatic business. ‘Part software firm, part consultancy, the brainchild of Peter Thiel is at the centre of a culture war. Is it ethical to service the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Trump’s America? Is it treasonous not to? – ‘Palantir’s primary challenges may not be matters of product or market, but politics and public perception.’ And here, from Buzz Feed – Thiel, the venture capitalist and Facebook board member staked his reputation on a Trump presidency. Now what does he have to show for it?’ Spoiler alert – a very great deal.

Wunderman Thompson on Moral Credit – the new brand ranking system, the importance of corporate social responsibility and the imminent consumer reckoning.

Very welcome. The 2018-2020 Creative Industry Mental Health Study. A three-year global study of the state of mental health across the creative and tech industries.

Don’t believe the US election polls. Look at the odds instead. ‘Vegas has the two candidates in a dead heat. Pretty rare if you consider how often two racehorses are ever given the exact same odds of winning. If you had to put money down to vote, who would you bet on?’

From Tim Harford. Don’t rely on algorithms to make life-changing decisions.’The difficult question here was: could we give students the grades they would have earned in the UK exams? The easier substitute was: could we make the overall pattern of exam results this year look the same as usual? That’s not hard. An algorithm could mimic any historical pattern you like — or ensure equality (within the limits of arithmetic) based on gender or race. But note the substitution of the easy question for hard.’

The American commune Is back—thanks to COVID, the recession, and TikTok.

From @here_forth and Forbes. The winners and losers from this week’s Apple Event announcement. (We had) the usual emotional porn-esque interstitials matched with execs discussing and announcing new features. Few surprises but plenty of winners and losers.’

In video meetings it’s a hassle to unmute just to say one word especially if someone else is speaking. @cameronhunter has created a video lens that uses hand gestures to show comic-book style messages instead.

IKEA Is navigating global crises with mindfulness training and humanity.

We need to go to Venus as soon as possible. Answering questions about the possibility of life there will require not one but several new missions that can directly study the planet.

Airbnb re-positions itself. ‘The pandemic has certainly hurt Airbnb, which was marketed as a product for vacationers, replacing hotels. It laid off a quarter of its staff as revenue cratered. But the platform has found a new purpose: helping non-essential remote workers work from (someone else’s) home.

Rare footage of Jimi Hendrix doing “Voodoo Child” on Maui, 1970. The music always reminds me of this scene from Withnail and I.

Lovely story, if true. A Malaysian man ‘finds’ monkey selfies on lost phone.

The suburbs get a boost from pandemic weary masses. Mass retailers and residents alike are trading in urban locales and lifestyles for the relative security, savings and space of the suburbs.

To be creative, Chinese philosophy teaches us to abandon originality. 

TikTok’s most popular creator, Charli D’Amelio, has joined rival app Triller. She is TikTok’s most popular creator with 87 million followers

Marketoonist on the sales impact of advertising.

Friend of The Filter, Street Wisdom, have their annual, global event next weekend. This is what they have to say about it – When the world goes wobbly, wander – non-profit social movement Street Wisdom leads a 60-hour relay of free online WalkShops to boost your wellbeing & inspiration in their annual World Wide Wander on the 25-27th September. You can sign up here. 

Walking in a heavy thunderstorm at night in NYC.

Stories From This Week

13th September 2020

‘TikTok concedes that its ability to nail users’ preferences so effectively means that its algorithm can produce “filter bubbles,” reinforcing users’ existing preferences rather than showing them more varied content, widening their horizons, or offering them opposing viewpoints.’ Inside TikTok’s killer algorithm.

Also on Tik-Tok, a different perspective – ‘TikTok’s success has been written about countless times, and many analysts talk about the terrifyingly accurate algorithm & the lowered barrier to content creation. However, there is another key component to TikTok’s industry leading engagement rates & growth that often goes unnoticed: its ability to cater to lurkers — silent users that consume but rarely create content.’

Is marketing about making soulful bets? ‘You’ll notice a giant chunk of the chart is something called “soulful bets.” To me, a soulful bet is work outside of the typical purview of marketing: Make a film. Commission an essay. Run a marathon. Sponsor a bake sale. Ride your bicycle from NY to British Columbia….’

Spooky. 20+ people who discovered their art history doppelgängers at museums.

Fortnite is launching a concert series it hopes will become a ‘tour stop’ for artists.

From Tim Harford. ‘A week full of new experiences will seem longer in retrospect. A month of repeating the same routine might seem endless, but will be barely a blip in the memory: the “diffs” are not significant enough for the brain to bother with.’ We won’t remember much of what we did in the pandemic.

Patent Drop. Peek into the future with a summary of new patents from the biggest tech companies.

Watch Netflix Through a Filmmaker’s Lens. Here’s how to stream films with screenplays side-by-side, in sync.

By IKEA. Setting itself up as a prequel to the famous tale of the hare and the tortoise, this new spot is a modern twist on the ancient story (1′ 32″)

Nicely observed piece on a well covered subject – Why haven’t we celebrated any major achievements lately? Perhaps we just don’t appreciate progress as much as we used to.

From AdAge. Pornhub celebrates Labor Day in the US, with an innuendo filled spot.

Nice short film from MailChimp (shades of Dr Seuss?) reminds us our “ideas will flow again” in an overwhelming world.

Facebook just invented … Facebook. Facebook Campus aims to help college students find each other. But does Gen Z really need it?

2020. An Isolation Odyssey (split-screen). A minor saga of quarantine and isolation (12′ 04″)

Love it. American Psycho’s business card scene, but with cats.

An artist illustrates his battle with depression as a mystical world of spirit animals. 

Charming. It’s About Time. A homage to the passage of Time. A portrait created with eight visual metaphors orchestrated in harmony.

Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall (but not in the way you are thinking).

Stories From This Week

4th Sept 2020

From Wired. ‘Cameo lets you buy personalised greetings from sport stars, singers, influencers and… zoo animals. What does it say about the nature of modern celebrity?’

..and in the same neck of the woods, this short film portrays a dark side of an online influencer. ‘Jordan desires a lot of attention from his followers and people around him. Surrounded by luxury and armoured with a bold image, he carefully builds his own fake kingdom full of digital dreams. However as it turns out, being the most popular person isn’t always the best outcome.’ (3′ 08″)

Stripe is a payments company that describes itself using the word “infrastructure.” It doesn’t get more boring than that in tech, and yet, Stripe is fanatically adored. People love the company’s co-founders, the charming, intellectual Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison. Its mission is audacious: to increase the GDP of the internet. Engineers rave about its simple-to-use product that makes something as complex as payments ‘just work’. But could it be the internet’s most under valued company? (HT @neilperkin)

From Aeon. ‘William Blake saw angels and ghosts and the Hallelujah sunrise, even on the darkest day. We need to foster his state of mind….Blake’s descriptions, the energy of his verse, and his imagination, can help us expand our sight in the light of the signs we receive, just as he made much of having seen angels on Peckham Rye.

LA 2028 unveils a dynamic Olympics logo, updated by athletes and celeb creators.

Here, a thread of the most beautiful Libraries of the World. 

Definitely worth subscribing. Free from the shackles of the Gartner sponsorship, Professor Galloway is back on YouTube with the Prof G Show.

Funny and clever piece from Coors. Win a trip to the background you’ve been staring at for months. 

Worth a listen or a look. ‘Nine things we learned when Andy Puddicombe (founder of Headspace) spoke to Joe Wicks about meditation.’

The totemic Windows 95 operating system was released 25 years ago this week. Here is the launch commercial. 

‘Beef or chicken?’ What $2 airline meals taste like on the ground.

Camden Town Brewery gives away free pints in ‘world’s first (kind of) drinkable TV ad’.

A goose remembers his last migration. How the Miracle on the Hudson may have looked from the geese’s perspective. (5′ 25″).

Another piece from Vimeo. Circulatory Systems – ‘The major highways, arteries and veins of our cities (2’ 15″). Kind of a souped-up version of 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi (trailer – 2″ 16″).

God is a single parent and amateur programmer. He’s working on project ‘Earth’ but never seems to get a break from the kids. One day though, he finally gets a breakthrough. (7′ 00″).


Stories From This Week

29th August 2020

This piece suggests that the ‘Art of Persuasion’ hasn’t changed in over two millennia. ‘More than 2,000 years ago Aristotle outlined a formula on how to master the art of persuasion in his work Rhetoric. Many great communicators have used it throughout the ages to deliver some of the most influential speeches, presentations, and share their ideas with the world.’

Amazon’s new wearable will judge your tone. ‘The “Tone” feature, which people must opt-in to, uses small mics on the band and machine learning to analyse your voice to predict how other people might perceive your tone. The technology takes into account pitch, intensity, tempo and rhythm, to create timestamps of your speech with labels such as “content” or “hesitant” as well as positivity and energy levels.

Warren Buffett on how money (now) works – ‘If you can have negative interest rates and pour out money, and incur more and more debt relative to productive capacity, you’d think the world would have discovered it in the first couple of thousand years rather than just coming on it now. We will see. It’s probably the most interesting question I’ve ever seen in economics.

Blessing in disguise? How the biggest live media events have embraced the change to virtual. Looks at events from WSJ, The Atlantic and Texas Tribune.

This Finnish firm has designed a machine learning system that is the first to blur profanity in text-editing software like Word or Outlook in a bid to combat cyberbullying. Does not currently work on social media.

From CNN. The Auschwitz Memorial has criticised a trend on TikTok in which young people are portraying themselves as victims of the Holocaust, saying the videos can be “hurtful and offensive.”

Nice visual article on how the jumbo jet revolutionised air travel. Farewell to the Boeing 747.

The Sound of Silence series, from (friend of The Filter) @stevexoh has concluded – A total of 100 episodes were recorded over a period of 2.5 years. The collected silent ‘interviews’ are now being turned into into an interactive physical gallery exhibit.

Chart from Statista. Global international tourism receipts from 2000-2019 and possible scenarios for 2020.

This also from Statista – a great place to go for infographics on the upcoming US election. Displayed here, the number of Democratic/Republican wins in US states in the past 10 presidential elections. 

Tim Harford on ‘Rats, mazes, and the power of self-fulfilling prophecies.’ ‘A vocal minority argues that Covid-19 is not much worse than the influenza we ignore every winter, so both mandatory lockdowns and voluntary precautions have been unnecessary. A glance at the data gives that argument a veneer of plausibility. The UK has suffered about 65,000 excess deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, and 25,000-30,000 excess deaths are attributed to flu in England alone during bad flu seasons. Is the disparity so great that the country needed to grind to a halt? The flaw in the argument is clear: Covid was “only” twice as bad as a bad flu season because we took extreme measures to contain it. The effectiveness of the lockdown is being used as an argument that the lockdown was unnecessary. It is frustrating, but that is the nature of a self-defeating prophecy in a politicised environment.

A further, interesting (video) piece involving Tim Harford looks at ‘bad number analogies’, and how to use “landmark numbers” to make the world add up – How many buses to the dinosaur? (16′:05″)

Charmingly done. CNN gets animated over its 2020 election coverage (15″)

There are only 37 possible stories, According to this 1919 manual for screenwriters

In Scotland, a sheep sells for £368,000.

The wonderful Kenneth Williams on Tomorrow’s World in 1981.Wouldn’t you just love it if he was your science teacher? 

Stories From This Week

22nd Augist 2020

How Covid-19 is De-stigmatising Virtual Life. ‘What’s exciting is that Collective Virtual Experiences (CVE’s) could make up what author Neal Stephenson called the ‘Metaverse’ in his 1992 novel Snow Crash. The Metaverse refers to a post-internet era where the lines between digital and physical worlds are blurred and where… everybody can contribute and nobody is in control….,One of the attributes of the Metaverse is that it’s “populated by ‘content’ and ‘experiences’ created and operated by a wide range of contributors, some of whom are independent individuals while others might be informally organised groups or commercially-focused enterprises’.

Funny, clever and deadly serious. Filmed in May during lockdown, ‘Bat Sh*t’, gives a voice to some of the animal species who have fallen victim to human behaviour over the years including pangolins, rats, pigs, birds, rabbits and of course, bats (7′ 30″)

Director Ridley Scott, weighs in on Fortnite’s parody of his seminal ‘1984’ Ad for Apple.

Research company Gartner recently announced that CMO’s now rank ‘brand strategy’ as their top priority. In relation to this, here is a nice piece on strategy from @Faris : ‘Turning abstract adjectives into specific behavioural guidelines for employees, aligning incentives and responsibilities, brand becomes a generative idea that helps people make decisions on the ground and makes companies more equitable to boot, since a value is only a value if universally applied.’ Brand is a Strategy.

Copying Tik-Tok, Instagram rolls out suggested posts to keep you glued to your feed.

Jim Carroll looks at ‘A Face in the Crowd‘, a 1957 satirical drama that considered the power of modern media to create celebrities, and the influence that those celebrities can wield. Sound familiar? – ‘This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep!… Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus, shut-ins, pea-pickers – everybody that’s got to jump when somebody else blows the whistle… They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em.

Thread on why the UK hasn’t seen Covid cases rise on the same scale as many other countries. ‘Has the government actually got something right? Probably not. Instead looks like Brits have decided – of their own accord – to change their behaviour. 

From Wired. ‘The algorithm calculated the difference between the predicted distribution for current students and previous students, and used this to adjust the actual distribution for previous students to give a distribution for current students…’. – here is everything that went wrong with the botched A-Levels algorithm. And this thread (on the same subject) makes a good point about trust vs ‘accuracy’ :  ‘Whether it is trust in the system, resignation, or suppression, most people are content to live with that. But this same level of acceptance can’t just be transferred to a newly designed automated system. Especially not one that can allegedly be so finely modelled and refined.’

A couple of pieces on travel and tourism – The travel industry is betting big on insurance as the primary assurance needed to win back the confidence of tourists; and (from Google) – what travel marketers need to know to navigate the path forward. 

How to get a husband in 1958′. Numbers 17, 24, 30 and 40 are simply incredible.

In a computer analysis of nearly 40,000 fictional narratives, including novels and movie dialogues, researchers tracked authors’ use of pronouns (she, they), articles (a, the), and other short words, unveiling a consistent “narrative curve:” – staging, plot progression and cognitive tension. This is how invisible words provide a blueprint for all stories.

adam&eveDDB immerse into different worlds to explore the latest features of the Playstation 5.

Muze is a different kind of messaging app. Each conversation takes place on a free-form canvas where you can zoom, draw, layer, edit, and collaborate.

A study confirms that painting eyes on cow butts helps ward off predators. 

Life needs truth: A chaotic NY Times ad via Droga5. ‘How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.’

Have you (like me) been wondering why weather forecasts have been less accurate recently? Here is why.

Impressive. From @RAF_Luton. ‘To celebrate the last flight of the 747 (and to show @Qantas how it should be done, and to show @British_Airways what they should have done) we sent up a Eurovision Typhoon to draw a giant Jumbo Jet over the UK.’

Ha.What do you see? Batman twerking?

Stories From This Week

8th August 2020

Unsettling. An engaging infographic from NYT. ‘The devices owner was easy to trace, revealing the outline of the person’s work and life. The same phone pinged a dozen times at the nearby Secret Service field office and events with elected officials. From computer screens more than 1,000 miles away, we could watch the person travel from exclusive areas at Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago. This is how to track President Trump.

Is QAnon the most dangerous conspiracy theory of the 21st century? ‘Perhaps the best explanation I’ve heard for the movement’s popularity comes from Adrian Hon, the chief executive of the gaming company Six to Start and a designer of alternate reality games or ARGs. Unlike video games, alternate reality games aren’t played on a console — they use the world as their storytelling platform. There’s no one particular medium. The story takes place in real time and seems to exist in the world.

This is Histiography. Where every dot is a historic event from Wikipedia (a scrolling infographic).

Nice model, from Think With Google. How people decide what to buy lies in the “messy middle” of the purchase journey.

Interesting stuff from Genius Steals – a deck on the Anatomy of Metaphors; ‘the ultimate guide to creating a powerful metaphor’. And here…from NYT is your brain on metaphors.

A visually engaging deck with some great insights. Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling.

Could this be a new buzzword or actually ‘a thing’. The Gig Economy Is Failing. Say Hello to the Hustle Economy. ‘The Covid-19 pandemic crushed vast swaths of the economy, slashing consumer demand, closing businesses, and vaporising millions of jobs. But it’s been good to the nascent sliver of the digital economy that helps people channel their existing skills into sellable services and products.’ (HT @here_forth)

The top 50 marketing campaigns, on video games.

We discussed the Barbados example last week, but it looks like more destinations are getting in on the act. From Wunderman Thompson – ‘Vacation season is upon us—but so is a global pandemic. The tourism industry’s solution? Long-term quarantine retreats.

A cheat sheet for Coyote and Roadrunner. 

Nice. Shedinburgh fringe festival to be streamed from sheds. 

Finally, no newsletter next week as am off on staycation with the family. Normal service will be resumed in a fortnight :o)

Stories From This Week

1st August 2020

Matthew Taylor (CEO of The Royal Society of Arts) asks if we are entering a new era, which he calls The Reflexive Age – ‘In grammar, theterm ‘reflexive’ denotes a pronoun that refers back to the subject of theclause in which it is used, for example, myself, themselves. What do I mean by a Reflexive Era? It is what could result from cultivating a deeper and shared awareness of ourselves, our nature and the social patterns that result from that nature’. Here is his proposition compellingly discussed and examined in this recent RSA online event. and also from the RSA, here is another highly engaging debate, driven by thesubject of  ‘statues’ – Mary Beard and David Olusoga on – History, Memory and Change. 

A powerful project from New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission and featuring the Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi, aims to heighten awareness of micro-aggressions.

ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from thePulitzer Center, have for the first time modeled how climate refugees might move across international borders. Where Will Everyone Go?

A group of refugees, friends of refugees, humanitarians, data scientists & social entrepreneurs have come together to collaborate online and map the impact of covid19 on refugees communities as well as list existing potential solutions ready to be implemented locally or at scale to respond to it.

These whitewashed logos reflect the lack of diversity in their companies’ leadership 

Why millennials and Gen Z are turning to Instagram as a news source. The trend isn’t necessarily harmless. “The challenge with Instagram is that it’s a highly visual space….so people share memes that are more about influencing than informing and people need to exercise caution and be aware of who they’re engaging with.”

In the US, the suggested cost of avoiding the next pandemic is 2% of thecurrent Covid-19 bill. 

Tik-Tok might be in trouble in India and the US, but seems to be well placed in Africa.

From The Atlantic. ‘Hauling the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to testify together as a unit, the subcommittee produced a hearing that was the antithesis of the Zuckerberg fiasco of 2018. The Tech giants are dangerous, and Congress knows it.

The story of the U.K. lockdown through Google Trends. 

Interesting perspective on curiosity. It seems that we are least curious when we feel that we already know something, or when we know nothing at all about it. “When we know nothing, we aren’t curious at all. We have nowhere to begin, and therefore no curiosity to drive us to acquire theknowledge.”. It’s hard to find your ‘C’ spot. 

Nike’s exhilarating split-screen epic, shows why you can’t stop sport.

Using the neural-net tool Artbreeder, Photoshop and historical references,  Daniel Voshart has created photoreal portraits of Roman Emperors.Which one are you?

Google’s top search result? Probably not a surprise.

The late great Olivia De Havilland cursing her way through a blooper reel. 

There is no holding the rising stars back in this epic FIFA 21 spot, with the legend, Eric Cantona. 

Wonderful. #OnThisDay 1977: Thanks for the Memory – The Viewer’s View asked people what they thought about television. This woman was likely approached for a snappy vox pop, but ended up delivering something closer to a dramatic monologue.

Love this. Extraordinary alliteration. Paper People. A poetry performance by Harry Baker at TEDx Exeter.

Stories From This Week

25th July 2020

From Digital Content Next and Kantar. ‘Why understanding consumer “tribes” formed by Covid-19 will help you do business better’. Meet the – Ostriches, Que Seras, Hibernators, Good Citizens, Distressed Dreamers and Precarious Worriers. 

A recent piece on Vimeo – 60 Years and Still Short – a mixed media film covering six decades of race and injustice in America (3’25”).

Social Media Trends for 2020, from HubSpot.

Not a Gun’ director reflects on the campaign’s sad relevance five months since its launch (article and short video).

Fabulous destination marketing idea. ‘You’ve been through a lot this year and it looks like you need
the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland. Record your scream and we’ll release it in Iceland’s beautiful, wide-open spaces. And when you’re ready, come let it out for real. You’ll feel better, we promise.’

From The Atlantic. ‘TikTok is on the chopping block. Instagram is pointless in lockdown. The best we can do is a hokey piece of software that takes us somewhere unexpected.’ The app of the summer is just a random-number generator. 

Also from TikTok, four trends w/e July 17th. #howtocontour, #takeaseat, #cooldown; and #5starreviews – ‘This week the platform channelled its inner Chancellor and, like Rishi Sunak, encouraged people to get out and about again. It said: “we’re slowly getting back to life as usual and what better way to celebrate than giving a 5* review of your fav haunt..’

Apple faces the future with its 2030 climate change pledge (short video)

From NYT. Travel the world with your ears. ‘Podcasts can drop you anywhere on the map, without having to leave the comfort of your own couch.’ (reg may be necessary)

Why advertisers’ boycott of Facebook is unlikely to work.

How Wealthy is Jeff Bezos? (A data viz – keep on scrolling to the right…….)

From Aeon. Walt Whitman’s poetry frames scenes from 1920s New York in this film classic. Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies 

‘This week marks nine years since South Sudan was admitted to the United Nations, becoming the 193rd and most recent entrant into the club of internationally recognised countries. This is the longest period in modern history during which the world map has remained unchanged.

From The Guardian. ‘It took genius to chisel these buttocks’ – the top 10 bottoms in art, chosen by our critic.

A photographer spent 40 years documenting America’s unique roadside attractions in more than 11,000 photos. Here are some of the coolest ones.

Descent. Here, a powerful, visceral depiction of the impact of depression. As one reviewer observes – (the piece looks at) ‘modes of representation for our inner landscape; especially anxiety and the overwhelming feeling it creates of suffocating, of drowning” (3’35”)

Might be a bit tricky to visit at the moment, but at least we can enjoy the view – Venice Italy – the Rialto Bridge live stream.

A Vimeo pick of the week. ‘In an underground city, where services such as healthcare and law enforcement are delegated to local vending machines, a man finds a crafty way to buy a cheap meal. (5’13”)

Transfiguration (6’24”). Brings new life to the ever-evolving walking figure.

Fascinating, repeating, soothing animated imagery from Andreas Wannerstedt on Instagram.

Asterix Corrections, cartoon from XKCD (‘the way we can do corrections in text chat by appending words with asterix’s and our brains just figure out where they go’).

Creature Discomforts. A moving lockdown tale by Aardman Animations. ‘For us, lockdown was temporary. For some animals it is for life.’ (1’53”)

Stories From This Week

17th July 2020

Tim Harford (The Undercover Economist) on – What will bounce back after the pandemic, and what will never be the same? …there is not necessarily a correlation between the hardest blow and the most lingering bruise.’

Six months ago, on 12th Jan, the first BBC report on a ‘new virus’ in central China. All under control, claim authorities. Link

President of the Royal Society urges everyone to wear a face covering.

Nice perspective on research and customer segmentation in the C-19 era. Influencers, idea graves and observation squads: How customer research is evolving.

From The Monday Note. How Tesla cracked the code of automobile innovation. ‘Tesla is several years ahead of other carmakers. A view from the inside can help us grasp the key differentiators that sustain its lead.’

From WARC. ‘The way we trade attention in the form of digital media in a murky market has led to a deep misunderstanding of this complex area’, argues Faris Yakob – but some thinkers are advocating for alternatives.

Interesting (and surprising) infographic on how the tech giants make their billions.

An extraordinary coronavirus poster, posted by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo. Reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch?

Love this. Care home residents recreate famous record covers.

Of course 2020 has not been a good year so far, but by some accounts, 536AD may have been the worst year ever. Medieval historian, Michael McCormick has stated that ‘it was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive… The year began with an inexplicable, dense fog that stretched across the world plunging Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for nearly 2 years.’

What does Outer Space smell like? What about the Moon? Designed for NASA, the authentic smells of outer space, from verified astronaut accounts. Now available in a new Lunar scent…

From Calm. If you are not currently into meditation apps this (depending on your tastes), may do the trick. Dream With Me – Fall asleep and fall in love with the dreamy voice of Harry Styles.

A perspective on why The New Yorker is a magic trick (and the world’s best magazine) 2’53” video.

An animated love story seeks to smash taboos around the use of Viagra. ‘At the heart of the campaign is a personal and highly relatable modern Love Story. The two-minute animated hero film marks a step change in communication from the brand – from control and performance to enabling conversations and intimacy.’

‘Wake up sheeple’: AI shows all tourists basically take the same picture. A new study shows how travel photos and conservation policies influence tourists.

Really nice, reverse music video with a surprising end/ beginning. D Smoke – Lights On ft. SiR.

COVID Risk Chart. A tongue-in-cheek graphic take from XKCD.

A Lockdown Lullaby. Film about the magic and madness of lockdown, as seen through the eyes of a 6 year old boy, Dylan. ‘Things are pretty weird right now but also kind of awesome.‘ Short video – 3’49”.

Coronavirus: Working from a holiday home! Barbados to offer year-long stays to remote workers.

2020 has now brought us bears that know how to use nunchucks….