Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

15th March 2019

Writing this piece over in Austin at SxSW. Seen some great stuff this week from the likes of Jodie Foster, David Byrne and Brian Solis. Attended sessions on subjects inclusing the blockchain, insights, influencer marketing, video, mindfulness and ‘cannabusiness’. More info on all of this in coming weeks, but wanted to share this video shown byBrian Solis at the launch of his new book. This is the wonderful, Alike.  

‘As we reflect on 30 years of the World Wide Web in 2019, we must also take the opportunity to think about what we want the future of the web, and the internet more broadly, to look like.’ NESTA on 30 years of the Web.

What was the happiest day on the internet this decade? This rigorous (albeit subjective) analysis highlights the top 10 candidates. Number one comes in on June 26, 2015. When Obama sings “Amazing Grace” and the day gay marriage was legalised

‘The rise in dating apps has introduced a host of new behaviours to navigate, with names like ghosting, cookie-jarring and orbiting that belie their psychological and emotional impact. Technology has made people less empathetic and sensitive in their dating habits. People are much more likely to ghost someone — just disappear without explanation — along with some other poor behaviours.’ And so…. this is how anti-dating apps are helping modern daters heal after heartbreak.

Facebook can make VR avatars look, and move, exactly like you,..and in China you will soon be able to pay your subway fare with your face.

This is how an app for gamers went mainstream. ‘Discord has become an indispensable tool for internet creators to connect with their fans. A real-time chat platform, it was founded four years ago as a way to make it easier for gamers to communicate. But over the past year, it has outgrown its origin story and become the default place where influencers, YouTubers, Instagram meme accounts, and anyone with an audience can connect with their community.

So, the hottest chat app for teens is Google Docs. ‘As more and more laptops find their way into middle and high schools, educators are using Google Docs to do collaborative exercises and help students follow along with the lesson plan. The students, however, are using it to organise running conversations behind teachers’ backs.’

This instagram account is dedicated to beautiful libraries around the world.

Virgin Galactic releases some amazing footage of its second spaceflight. The VSS Unity reached an altitude of 55.87 miles.

Mercedes tells the story of Bertha Benz and ‘The Journey That Changed Everything’.
A completely desiccated desert plant is rehydrated and the effect is incredible, and here – photographer captures a shot of two sharks caught inside a glassy wave. And finally, a woman sets up a tiny photo booth to capture birds eating in her backyard.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

1st March 2019

MIT’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2019, chosen by Bill Gates. Including, robot dexterity, predicting preemies, gut probe in a pill, and a carbon dioxide catcher. And…here is Momentum’s,  Little Book of 10 Trends for 2019. One Travel and Tourism related trend, ‘Frequent Travellers’ (number 7) announces  some new buzzwords – Experiencification (the increase in consumers wanting to have experiences in all areas of their lives) and Immersion Fascination (both the need and desire to connect with a brand or company in unique ways).

A couple of interesting articles from The Economist across the last few weeks : What psychology experiments tell you about why people deny facts – ‘reasoning did not evolve to help individuals achieve greater knowledge and make better decisions. Rather…it evolved to improve the ability of ancestral hunter-gatherers to co-operate in small groups…. What would happen if we turned Facebook off?…and How Melvyn Bragg made high culture highly popular. Radio 4’s “In Our Time” proves that there is a mass market for deep thinking (registration may be necessary)

Some sobering environmental pieces to ponder – Photographer Edward Burtynsky is recording humanity’s impact on the Earth, one epic-scale photo at a time. This a World Without Clouds, ‘A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century’…and this is It’s Freezing in LA!: A new independent publication on climate change.

From Wired. Never before seen Nasa photos show the majesty of space travel. A new book peeks into Nasa’s archive to shed a little light on sixty years of space exploration.

‘For several months, Cara has been working up the courage to approach her mom about what she saw on Instagram. Not long ago, the 11-year-old—who, like all the other kids in this story, is referred to by a pseudonym—discovered that her mom had been posting photos of her, without prior approval, for much of her life. “I’ve wanted to bring it up. It’s weird seeing myself up there, and sometimes there’s pics I don’t like of myself,  This is what happens, when kids realise their whole life is already online. 

‘Right now, children are filming themselves chewing, whispering and tapping to give their adult audience an ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) buzz. The Chinese government banned them, and PayPal blocked their payments, yet some still earn thousands. But at what cost?’ Wired on – the dodgy, vulnerable fame of YouTube’s child ASMR stars.

This new Mothercare ad, celebrates the reality of childbirth. 

The symbol of counter-culture, is at long last, just…cultureSpike Jonze’s ad for US marijuana retailer MedMen, aims to normalise getting high.

This is the interactive, Atlas Of Emotions, supported by the Dalai Lama. ‘The Dalai Lama imagined a map of our emotions to develop a calm mind. The Atlas represents what researchers have learned from the psychological study of emotion.’

And this is worth a watch. Tucker Carlson (of Fox News) interviews the historian (@rcbregman) who called out billionaires at Davos, and it went so badly the segment never aired.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

24th Feb 2019

Thoroughly recommend new, News outfit tortoisemedia (Slow Down, Wise Up) – helmed by friends of The Filter – ex-editor of The Times, James Harding (@hardingthehack) and Katie Vanneck-Smith (@VanneckKatie‏). Their Think-In’s are well worth attending and understand it comes out of beta on Monday – and will be open to subscribers.

From Wired. ‘The internet hates secrets. More than that, it despises them. And so, in February of last year, my partner and I resolved to try and keep the existence of our unborn child a secret from the online economy’s data-hungry gaze. Having a child is a deeply personal experience.The internet aggressively turns it into anything but’.

Privacy is a commons. “The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society,” quoth Wikipedia, “held in common, not owned privately.” We live in an era of surveillance capitalism in a symbiotic relationship with advertising technology, quoth me. And I put it to you that privacy is not just a virtue, or a value, or a commodity: it is a commons.’

‘Bay Area prosecutors were trying to prove that a man arrested during a prostitution sting was guilty of pimping charges, and among the evidence was a series of Instagram DMs he’d allegedly sent to a woman. One read: “Teamwork make the dream work” with high heels and money bag emoji placed at the end. Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially, and courts aren’t prepared.’

Ikea’s giant bath toy sets sail to clear rubbish from waterways. 

AR will spark the next big tech platform – call it Mirrorworld. (he) describes an epiphany he had while trying on a headset at home, upstairs in his office. “I turned it on and I could hear a whale,” he says, “but I couldn’t see it. I’m looking around my office for it. And then it swims by my windows—on the outside of my building! So the glasses scanned my room and it knew that my windows were portals and it rendered the whale as if it were swimming down my street. I actually got choked up.” What he encountered on the other side of the glasses was a glimpse of the mirrorworld.

Ahem…On The Next Web, one of their most popular sections is Sex Tech Guide, an independent publication that looks at the intersection between sex and technology in a non-explicit, as close to a ‘safe for work’ way as possible.

This study blames YouTube for a rise in the number of Flat Earthers. Click here for more information on the F.E.S., or if you’d like to join….

Love this idea. From Runner’s World – New Balance opens a pub. At last, our prayers have been answered.  (HT @itsjimmyb)

Czech sculptor David Cerny transforms boring city streets around the world with his giant moving sculptures, that you can’t help but stare and smile at.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

16th February 2019

Attended the CES Round-Up + Future of Voice and Sound event in Clerkenwell this week. The impact of voice on brand health was a big topic and Scott Galloway’s video piece, This Technology Kills Brands, made a re-appearance. In this short excerpt , he shows how Alexa directs purchasers towards Amazon own-brand. One presenter (@richardhill1234) suggested at least one ingenious way that brands can use voice to connect directly with consumers using the Alexa Skill, Send Me a Sample.

Nice piece on storytelling. ‘ “You don’t get it. You aren’t the point.” ‘The surprising reason why your brand sucks at storytelling, and what to do about it. Among the super simple things that they teach in journalism school there is the super simplest thing of all. It’s called the inverted pyramid, aka the upside down triangle.

From mymodernmet.com. A photographer travels Europe to document the beauty of abandoned buildings.

Great Vimeo, Pick Of The Week. ‘Japan – Neon’s and Sakuras‘ (a flowering cherry tree) by Oliver Astrologo. 

From the UK charity Refuge. Released around Valentine’s Day this reversible poem, shines a spotlight on controlling behaviour and domestic violence – If your partner turns on you, turn to us. And here, Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies have joined forces for the #ThisIsNotConsent campaign. ‘Everyday scenarios take a sinister turn in a series of disturbing films made by police forces to highlight the issue of sexual consent.’ (this video contains scenes that some viewers may find upsetting).

Friend of The Filter @davidepearlhere, curates an excellent regular newsletter and this week’s edition is particularly good. David’s new book Wanderful, Sat-nav for the soul is being crowd-funded and is 97% there. Would be great if we could get it over the line :o) I’d also like to link to this to article by, another friend, Justine Clement (@JustClembo) – The Life-Changing Magic of Noticing.

Lego and Snapchat have opened a, real, clothing store with no clothes in it. 

“They’re more attractive than real boyfriends.” Inside the weird world of Chinese romance video games. From Wired – ‘In China, love and romance designed by women for women could be the next video game trend.

After nearly 16 years out of the advertising business, filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott has brought his grand vision to two high-profile ad campaigns. The first was an adventure film for Turkish Airlines, which was teased during the Super Bowl. The second, more impressive piece, ‘grabs the viewer with Scott’s signature other-worldly vision – a visually rich film for Hennessy X.O, ‘The Seven Worlds’ (4″,06″) which will have a brief presence during the Oscars.’ If you are pressed for time, check out the wonderful Number 6 – Wood Crunches, at 2′,48″ in.

A Clockwork Orange (behind the scenes). ‘Unreleased’ VR footage of “A Clockwork Orange” (Stanley Kubrick / 1971). 3’14” long. May take a little time to load, but worth it.

Auckland Transport have teamed up with iconic Hollywood stuntwoman, New Zealand’s raised Zoë Bell, to spread the message that ‘no one is invincible’, behind the wheel. During filming, the footage shows Zoë driving, sipping her coffee, applying lipstick and checking her appearance in the mirror. As she discusses her varied stunt career with the camera, she effectively becomes more and more distracted from the road. Reckless? All is not as it seems…. 

Marketoonist’s nice take on Brand Social Purpose, and in case you missed it last year, here is Oasis with their ‘Refreshingly Honest Ad’, from 2018. ‘Harmony just a few billion sales away.

Finally, love this illusory image of camels in the desert. Where are the camels and where are their shadows? NB; you may need to click on the picture to see image (HT Alessandro Frau)

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

8th February 2019

The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) showcases powerful work by the best independent filmmakers. “Dream” by Zombie Studio serving as a poignant example. Here, endangered animals sing emotional “I Dreamed a Dream” (from Les Miserables) in this powerful animation.

Much has been made of Snap’s huge drop in value. But when it comes to public tech companies that lost value the fastest, Snap pales in comparison with a company some may have forgotten about—Groupon. These are the tech firms that destroyed value the fastest.

‘At the World Government Summit in Dubai, a radical vision of our future placed self-awareness and contemplative practice at the centre of human endeavour’. This is how mindfulness will protect you from being replaced by a robot.

This week I attended the inaugural News UK Change conference, held at St Luke’s, Old St. powered by (friend of The Filter) Fluxx. Some highlights of the day included – a highly entertaining and interactive talk from Gibson Biddle (ex VP of Product, Netflix) on the topic of Netflix’s Customer Obsession, and a startup Pecha Kucha, made up of 5 startup pitches using only 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds. The line-up included  FactMata – aiming to help the world understand the quality and reliability of online information; Entale – a new podcast platform offering a rich, interactive experience; Finimize, who want to empower a generation to be their own financial advisor; Opinary  – has established a new way for users to share their opinion in online content; and Mogul News, who provide premium stories from leading publishers and journalists in one place, without additional paywalls.

A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform. ‘Loop will send you name-brand products, like Tide detergent, Crest mouthwash, or Häagen Dazs ice cream. When you’re done, you ship the empty container back, where it gets cleaned and re-used for the next customer.’

From Psychology Today. ‘Taking a walk will boost your creativity and problem-solving.’ Stanford research demonstrates how a walk profoundly impacts your creativity.

MIT uses driverless ‘roboats’ to build a 3D map of Amsterdam’s canals in real-time. The result looks beautiful.

These mysterious places are deemed so classified they are pixelated by Google Earth. Some are no brainers, others may surprise you.

This ingenious poster uses lemons to help identify different signs of breast cancer.

Powerful ads use real Google searches to show the scope of sexism worldwide, by Ogilvy & Mather Dubai.

Google’s navigation app Waze is known for providing real-time, user-submitted reports that advise drivers about potential thorns in their roadsides. One result, is that New York Police have demanded Waze stop sharing drunk-driving checkpoints.

Becoming. Watch a single cell become a complete organism in six pulsing minutes of time-lapse. A film by Jan van IJken (janvanijken.com).

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

1st Feb 2019

‘What If We Re-Imagined What It Means To Attend A Music Festival?’A couple of good documentaries on the Fyre Festival, currently getting airplay on Netflix and Hulu. I imagine, we’ve all written proposals in our chosen fields; interesting then (with the benefit of hindsight) to see the Fyre Festival Pitch deck. Looks quite good doesn’t it?  (HT @here_forth)

Love this work. Holland & Barrett tackles menopause after winning TfL diversity campaign. ‘Me.No.Pause’ was created by Pablo London.

4 insights from the 2018 IPA Effectiveness Awards. ‘Understanding how emotion works’, a ‘TV led model continues to dominate’, ‘succeeding in a low attention economy’ and ‘the growing power of influence.‘ You can download the sample report here.

(As covered last week) one of the 10 pitches included in NESTA’s, Ten Predictions for 2019, was ‘Living With SuperbugsIn 2019, we’ll all know someone with a drug-resistant infection.’ This topic was also covered this week on the BBC, with Angela Rippon.

 From mymodernmet.com. ‘Most of us use the letters of the alphabet everyday, but did you ever stop to wonder how their shapes came to be? The history of the alphabet is fascinating, and each of the 26 letters has its own unique story.’ This colourful chart reveals the evolution of the English alphabet from Egyptian hieroglyphics. 


Wired reports on a study in Science, into the the impact of fake news. The study linked 16,442 Twitter accounts to public voter registration records. ’11 per cent of those on the right, and 21 per cent of those on the extreme right shared fake news content, compared to fewer than five per cent of those on the left or in the centre.’

Information is Beautiful looks at the Biggest Fake News Stories of 2018 and provides a succinct explanation of the Brexit Landscape(infographic video). Here is Tortoise Media’s, rather amusing (alarming?) future timeline – The Deal With No Deal.

The literal meanings behind the names of every country on Earth

A cockpit view of a plane landing in Maniitsoq, Greenland is otherworldly. Best bit is from 1′:30″ in

From @thediyora, via @neilperkin, here is a thread of 2018’s funniest moments on UK TV. Enjoy.

Some Art from past and present. This photographer reveals how he created a viral image of the rare Super Blood Wolf Moon…and here is ‘The Veiled Virgin’, an 1850 ‘Carrara marble’ sculpture that perfectly demonstrates the medium’s ability to be both soft and translucent.

And…finally, here is a generic Presidential Campaign Ad.,  and this robot can probably beat you at jenga.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

27th January 2019

Piece on trust and traditional media that may surprise; whilst perceptions of social media are probably less surprising – ‘According to the 19th Annual Edelman Trust Barometer 2019, consumer trust in traditional media (64%) and search (66%) are at highest ever historical levels. In contrast, trust in social media remains low, at 44%. Contributing to social media’s low trust scores is data showing that close to three-quarters (73%) of all respondents worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon.’

I attended Nesta’s annual predictions session last night in London. Of the ten predictions presented, the winner (deemed most likely to happen) on the night was – deepfake videos get weaponised. An interesting development this year is the inception of The Good Judgement Project, an attempt to see whether crowdsourced perspectives on the future can be more accurate than the ‘experts’. It is a gamified exercise, with a leaderboard and prizes. You can sign up here.

How millennials are rebranding loneliness through memes. ‘Part of why loneliness persists is that we have this media buffet and we have all these options, and we just keep eating cotton candy and we wonder why we’re still hungry, because we’re not choosing the things that would actually sustain us.’

Ever wanted the harness the sound of warbling vireos trilling through the night for your ambient house project but never knew where the you could get a sample from? Yellowstone National Park is the answer to your prayers; as they release a massive catalogue of ambient sounds into the public domain for your sampling pleasure.

Here are Ashley Friedlein’s (Econsultancy) marketing and digital trends for 2019, and here – Shutterstock’s 2019 Creative Trends.(infographic)

(Are) the world’s biggest YouTube stars burning out because of the unrelenting pressure to post new videos?

We saw this in Her and in Ex Machina. No real surprise that this is happening in ‘real’ life. ‘When Akihiko Kondo, a 35-year-old school administrator in Tokyo, strolled down the aisle in a white tuxedo in November, his mother was not among the 40 well-wishers in attendance. For her, he said, this was not something to celebrate. You might see why. The bride, a songstress with aquamarine twin tails named Hatsune Miku,is not only a world-famous recording artist who fills up arenas throughout Japan: She is also a hologram. ‘Do You Take This Robot??’

One of the best ads, from the travel sector, that I have seen in a long time. From Aero Mexico – ‘Mexico’s first destination is America, but America’s first destination, is not Mexico….’ 

How a six-second drum solo from a 1969 b-side became the most sampled loop in music history. ‘You might not have heard The Winstons’ version of “Amen, Brother,” but you’ve definitely heard its drum solo.’

Frustrated by the fact that receivers and running backs get the spotlight for their touchdown dances, the “Late Late” host finally gives the lineman the airtime they deserve. James Corden assembles the first NFL big man dance crew. 

Fabulous. The new ad from ITV celebrates great storytelling. ‘Don’t look, can’t look, please don’t let this happen…!’  This is The Patriarch. From UnCommon Creative Studio.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

11th January 2019

“@adcontrarian on why online ads haven’t built brands. ‘..cultural imprinting relies on the principle of common knowledge.  For a fact to be common knowledge among the group, it’s not enough for everyone to know it. Everyone must also know that everyone else knows it.’

From It’s Nice That – ‘In Praise Of Doing Nothing: How to turn boredom into brilliant ideas.’ ‘Being bored is a state of dissatisfaction with the neural stimulations you’re getting,’ says Sandi Mann, author of The Science of Boredom. ‘You’re searching for more neural stimulation. If you can’t find that externally, you will find it internally, because our minds are always active.’

Wired seem to think that this is the year Facebook finally admits it’s a media company. ‘Big tech needs to adopt standards to fight fake news.And that starts with accepting what it is they actually do.’

Rory Sutherland considers that technology wastes as much time as it saves. ‘Email is unbelievably misleading in this respect. If you spend an afternoon replying to emails, you happily imagine you are being productive. In fact — by comparison with voice communication — what you are doing is insanely slow and protracted. If you were in a meeting with someone who spoke at the speed most people type, you would feel the urge to attack them.’

The most interesting new gadgets and gear from CES 2019. Including a folding phone, an air taxi, Samsung robots and an intelligent toilet. ..And CES have decided to revoke a product award won by a female-founded tech company. Seems less than fair when one considers some of the other products they appear perfectly happy with.

Frederic Filloux of The Monday Note, is not upbeat about 2019. ‘The rise of worldwide populism, an insular tech world unable to correct its blunders, a devastated journalistic landscape that gives an open-field to the social mob; there are few reasons for optimism this year.’

Some stunning photos won the annual “Dronestagram” awardsDrones let photographers get shots that would otherwise be impossible.

‘In July of 1316, a priest with a hankering for fresh apples sneaked into a walled garden in the Cripplegate area of London to help himself to the fruits therein. The gardener caught him in the act, and the priest brutally stabbed him to death with a knife—hardly godly behaviour, but this was the Middle Ages. A religious occupation was no guarantee of moral standing.That’s just one of the true-crime gems to be found in a new interactive digital “murder map of London, compiled by University of Cambridge criminologist Manuel Eisner.

Here are Marketoonist’s marketing predictions for 2019.

These cheeky pro-second Brexit Referendum films ask: ‘Shouldn’t We Double Check….?’