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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    GIFs rule the Internet, and you're never gonna survive out there if you're incapable of whipping together on a moment's notice a four-second animation of Jason Kidd's game-winning three-point shot or a happy corgi running on a sidewalk.

    If you're equipped with Photoshop, there are plenty of GIF-making guides out there—but none of them (as far as we can tell) use GIFs themselves to show you how to make them. And that's just silly. GIFs are the best way to explain anything, ever—whether it's Election Day, Thanksgiving, or McKayla Maroney's silver-medal vault

    Ready, class? This is going to be fun. These are the steps I used to teach my own parents, and now they're pros. But before we start, you'll need two things: a YouTube video (preferably of a Jack Russell puppy) and the DownloadHelper extension on Firefox. (I still can't find a Chrome extension I like; if you have a recommendation, let me know!)

    OK, got it? Here we go.

    1) Use DownloadHelper to save a video

    Just click on those little balloons or atoms or whatever they are.

    2) Open Photoshop and Import

    Select "Import Frames to Layers" under the File menu. Then select the video you just ripped.

    3) Select which part of the video you want

    The shorter the better. GIFs have to be small so they can load on your page! 

    See the option that says "Limit to every [ __ ] frames"? Play around with that. The higher the number, the lower the frame rate, and the faster and choppier your video will be. Try it with 2, 3, or 4.

    Note: If you increase this number, you'll have to make each frame longer to keep your animation at its normal speed.

    It'll look like this when it's imported: 

    4) Adjust the length of each frame

    If your GIF is limited to every two frames, try changing 0.02 seconds to 0.04. If it's every four frames, try 0.08.

    If you didn't touch the frame rate, skip this step, fool.

    5) Export the GIF

    Click "Save for Web" under the File menu.

    6) Adjust the size

    Your ideal file size is 2 megabytes. If it's too large, adjust your image size down to no lower than 300 pixels. Bigger is better, but if the GIF is going on Tumblr, 500 is as wide as you'll need. 

    You can also play with the lossy and dither settings. The higher the lossy or the lower the dither, the grainier your image will be.

    Don't play with the color settings unless you want a really crappy-looking image; 256 colors should be fine.

    7) Finally, save!

    The result: 

    High-five yourself. You did it!

    We like Imgur as a host for GIFs, but Minus, which accepts images up to 30 megabytes, is another good option. Upload your image, copy the URL, and spread like wildfire. Your life is about to get a whole lot Internet-ier.

    What if I just want to make one on my iPhone?

    Easy. There are tons of apps. I like GIFBoom and Loopcam. We're also fans of Cinemagram

    Where can I find those awesome reaction GIFs?

    Good question! Here are some excellent resources to bookmark: 

    All right, you're ready now. Go forth, friends. And dance. Dance!

    Main photo by Cooper Fleishman. Dancing GIFs via Funny or Die/Tumblr. Tina Fey via Lovelyish.

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    One thing stands out as a surprise amid Twitter’s top trends of 2012. Think Like A Man topped more illustrious company like The Dark Knight Rises in movie trends of the year.

    It’s not exactly an obscure film: it’s raked in over $96 million dollars to date and was No. 1 at the U.S. box office its opening weekend.The movie was directed by the guy who did Barbershop and was based on a best-selling book. It even has the guy from Entourage in it. (Not that one.)

    But for it to take the top spot in Twitter’s trends seems odd when films like The Hunger Games, The Avengers, and Skyfall had a far wider cultural impact.

    There seems to be a simple explanation. “Think like a man” is a somewhat generic phrase that tweeters often use in a variety of contexts. It’s not always easy to capture the context in which a phrase is used when carrying out analysis on a broad range of data.

    Put it this way: How many times have you seen others tweet phrases like “OMG!” or “I just can’t” by themselves? Sure, you might know the context for those tweets, but machines may not.

    It may very well be the case that the film was legitimately the most tweeted about this year, though it seems somewhat unlikely. Here are some of the tweets that mention Twitter’s top movie of 2012—except for the fact they don’t.

    Here’s one that does actually reference it.

    And here’s a trailer for movie that apparently everyone was talking about on Twitter this year. (Warning: contains Chris Brown.)

    Photo via ClevverMovies/YouTube

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    We’re sorry to announce this, Internet, but Hollywood is making another movie about hackers. The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Mark Wahlberg has signed on to produce a still-unnamed thriller about a “ruthless” hacker who hijacks the webcams of teens at a suburban high school.

    There are few things more silly and over-the-top than your average Hollywood portrayal of a hacker: An omnipotent techno god who can break into top-secret government databases with a few flourishing keystrokes thanks to his souped up laptop—which is pretty much a direct conduit to The Matrix—and the half-dozen Hot Pockets he downs every third second.

    There is some hope for this Wahlberg production, however: The script will be based loosely on David Kushner’s blockbuster feature, “The Hacker is Watching,” published earlier this year in GQ.

    That article starred Luis Mijangos, 31, a wheelchair-bound Californian who wrote a program that gave him remote access webcams over the Internet, which he used to surreptitiously record women and then blackmail them.

    Mijangos was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to six years in prison last year. His story is full of ripe details made for a Hollywood retelling. He is, for instance, the son of a Mexican federales officer who was abducted and tortured, leaving a blood clot in his leg that would eventually kill him. Another fun fact: At the time of his crimes, Mijangos was living at home with his mother.

    Let’s hope Wahlberg’s production tells it honestly. The last thing anyone needs is another movie like this.

    Photo by Eva Rinaldi/WikiCommons

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    With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Rhett & Link, “Christmas Sweatz (a Song)”

    Ugly sweaters are so last Christmas. If you’re looking for something a little comfier, why not break out the Christmas sweats? (Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa sweats?) Rhett & Link team up with Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Benny Fine and DeStorm Power to sing about that suit you see every mother fruitcakin’ day.

    2) jacksfilms, “Christmas Sex”

    The Backstreet Boys are back yet again—or at least their faces are. Taped to a wall, the boy band doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas, so they have a suggestion for you that’s “so much fun.”

    3) Stuart Edgington, “Mistletoe Kissing Prank”

    Playing the part of surveyors, Nate and Kaitlin ask college students about holiday traditions and they are put on the spot when mistletoe drops down on the subjects following a question about mistletoe.

    4) CinemaSins, “Everything Wrong With The Amazing Spider-man In 2 Minutes Or Less”

    An IMDb page or the comments section is ripe with notes about what’s wrong with a movie, but now CinemaSins condenses them down. Despite the positive reviews, they manage to find over 50 things wrong with the newest Spider-Man movie.

    5) AsapSCIENCE, “The Science of Productivity”

    Willpower alone won’t lead to overall productivity (it can be used up), and instead of telling yourself to try harder, you can use science to become more productive through making an effort to get started, strict scheduling, deadlines, accountability and putting an end to multitasking.

    Photo via Rhett & Link/YouTube

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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    Above: Australian track star and Internet favorite Michelle Jenneke bounces miraculously back into our lives in a new video from The Chive.

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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    One of the most appealing qualities of GIFs, particularly those which loop seamlessly, is their silent, undemanding aesthetic spectacle. Or, in other words: ooooh, pretty!

    That an experience may be superficially unintellectual doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t moving, or art, maybe even great art: Ask Warhol about that. This GIF by the blogger at the Make Me Tumblr is one of those things which is on the one hand, so ordinary, and on the other, so miraculous.

    Snow. Just snow.

    Shown in reversed grayscale, the puffy flakes and clumps wisp down from a white-out sky noiselessly, unceasingly, beautifully—silently echoing the real-life experience. The transition is subtle enough to appear just a natural flurry of flakes. Clearly it’s managed to resonate, having snowballed 221,345 notes since Dec. 9.

    GIF via Make Me/Tumblr


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    For being a self-described uptight girl, Marnie Michaels wouldn't be pleased to see a new meme based off her—but Allison Williams doesn’t look too annoyed.

    Reddit got its hands on a picture of the HBO Girls starlet posing next to a sea lion as it leans into her, nuzzling her ever-so-gently, appearing to share a secret with Williams, or maybe recommending she get back together with Charlie. I don’t speak the language, so who knows.

    Anyway, the meme is dubbed “Dirty Secret,” and it sprouted from a thread featuring the picture that landed on Reddit’s front page Thursday. It took awhile for Redditors to figure out who that “fucking gorgeous” woman was (Girls isn’t aimed at Reddit’s demographic, I guess), but that didn’t stop them from clobbering it with filthy captions. Pictures of the meme flopped its way onto BetabeatUproxx, and meme manufacturer Quickmeme

    Don’t say we didn’t warn you of the incoming onslaught of beastiality and "clubbing" jabs, but there are plenty of Seal jokes to keep your mind saltwater-fresh. Roar.

    Photo via Quickmeme

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    As the legend goes, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer consulted his own mother before the launch of Windows 95, asking her to test out the operating system before its release. (It worked fine, she told her son, but putting the power-off function in the Start menu made no sense.)

    Ballmer had the right idea, but possibly for the wrong reasons. The implications of the "mom test" are that if a woman in her 50s or 60s can use a tool, anyone can—but that's kind of sexist and kind of ageist, and it relies on the assumption that our parents, to quote the Fresh Prince, just don't understand.

    Maybe my situation is unusual, but my parents certainly do understand. It hurts to admit it, but they're actually way better at the Internet than I am. They were first on the block to own a modem and a 32-megabyte hard drive. They've taught me all I know about the Web's essential building blocks: Apple products, correct grammar, atheism, hippie politics, foodporn, and cats. They're brilliantly demented writers, video producers, and artists.

    If they knew how to make GIFs, they would rule the Internet. So I taught them how to do it. And within 48 hours, they sent me back the (absolutely amazing) results you'll see below.

    * * *

    But first, let's back up for a minute. If you're unfamiliar with the Graphics Interchange Format, there are a few things you should know. 

    The GIF is the muggle version of Harry Potter's magical moving photographs. It's a type of animated picture, first developed by Compuserve in 1987. It's pronounced "jiff," like the peanut butter, as in "choosy developers choose GIF" (but "giff," with a hard G, is OK too). It's way more fun than a still picture, but way less of a time commitment than a YouTube video.

    This year, the GIF emerged as an essential tool for sports and political journalists; it was ubiquitous in Olympics and election coverage on every media channel except Fox News. It was voted the Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Year. There are legitimate art museums hosting GIF exhibits (seriously).

    The format is hugely popular because now there are a ton of Web apps, such as Mothereffing Animated GIF, you can use to make one. On a smartphone, there's GIFBoom, LoopCam, and Cinemagram.

    My parents don't have iPhones because, unlike me, they spend money wisely, so I taught them these few steps on Photoshop, which is the only serious choice for GIF purists anyway. Go big or go home.

    So then this happened, just two days after I called with this story idea. They're nothing if not punctual. I didn't expect the cats to take such a prominent role so early in their GIF careers, but obviously the 'rents have done their research.

    "Tilly and Simon's Tea Party"

    My parents have two surrogate children—i.e., cats—named Tilly and Simon. For her first GIF assignment, my mom threw them a tea party. She took still pictures, imported them into iPhoto, exported them as a slideshow and GIF'd that. It's cute, but not quite Internet-ready.

    GIF grade: C

    "Feeding Time" 

    Mom makes Simon (the black one) do tricks on his hind legs before he gets a bowl of milk. For some reason, she doesn't hold Tilly (the orange one) to the same high standards. It's important to note here that milk time is the only way the cats will hang out together. Also that my dad is a pretty stable cameraman.

    GIF grade: B

    "Don't You Want Some Belly to Rub?"

    Every morning, Tilly comes in my mom's office for a belly rub. Mom sings to her, "Don't you want some belly to rub?" to the tune of the Jefferson Airplane song "Somebody to Love." The GIF is a little fast and choppy, but this is clearly the best one. It's almost a seamless loop, and there's just so. much. cat.

    GIF grade: B+

    Keep going, guys. This is a great start.

    My parents are obviously well on their way to Internet domination. Next, I'll show them how to make a parody Twitter and pare an essay down to 20 pictures overlaid with Gotham text. I might even show them Reddit. 

    OK, maybe not.

    Photo courtesy of the author's mom.

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    Tired of mall crowds and department store coupons, a Fort Collins, CO bunny named Lola has taken to Etsy to find the best Christmas fashions around.

    “She loves to wear hats,” says Ashley Logan, a source close to the situation. Lola scored this handmade gem from Etsy seller YuleLoveOurHats for only $14.99.

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    First, “Rumsey” used Minecraft to completely create Azeroth from World of Warcraft. Now, a gamer has used The Sims 3 to build the house from Family Guy.

    On Dec. 13, redditor Lajt- posted an imgur album to the hugely popular  r/pics subreddit, accompanied by the title “My Family Guy / The Sims 3 Mash up! I hope you like it :)

    “This took me 2 days to build, with only one crash to send me back 3 hours. As you can see on the floor plan, the outside doesn't match the inside.. stupid cartoon!,” Lajt-, who doesn’t even “play the game,” commented.

    That’s right: Lajt- didn’t stop at the house’s exterior, which can be seen as the establishing shot in many Family Guy episodes. He created almost every room in the house as well, including the living room in which the Griffin family spends the majority of its time.

    In this recreation of the house’s den, a family photograph in the background displays Lajt-’s penchant for detail.

    It looks like Lajt-’s work paid off. The post has received over 23,800 upvotes, with many Redditors praising the images.

    “Clicked on this fully expecting disappointment. Thank you for being a pleasant surprise,” wrote myranthon.

    “Very cool and strikingly accurate! You don't get this sense from the show, but the Griffins actually have a pretty huge house!” lastoftheyagahe added.

    Some redditors naturally called into question missing details.

    “ forgot stewies bunker closet," nyxin commented.

    “You forgot the monkey in Chris' closet!!! Loved the rest :)," wrote colcali77.

    Lajt- addressed some of the reasons behind the design and missing aspects:

    • “A lot of people have been asking about the monkey in the closet. I'm sorry, I tried my best to find one, but the closest I got was a giraffe.
    • I decided to make this house as vanilla as possible (with not episode specific items/rooms), that's why there is no time machine / weapons arsenal / Basement Bar. I'm sorry.
    • I wasn't sure where the toilet was, so I had to guess. that's why I didn't include pictures of it :P (But it was just as cartoon like, it even had that little flower on top of the toilet :3)”

    The post even inspired redditor E_lucas to start the subreddit r/SimsArchitecture/.

    If you’re looking to recreate your own favorite TV location in The Sims 3, Lajt-’s fellow redditors have you covered. In a comment, redditor sasha_fierce79 posted links to the floor plans of such locales as the Big Bang Theory apartment, the Seinfeld apartment, and even the upstairs area of the Full House set.

    Don’t get your hopes up for James Woods High School, the Drunken Clam, or the rest of Quahog, though.

    “no thank you.. that would take.. forever shudder,” Lajt- commented.

    All photos via Lajt-/imgur

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    Our love tank is aching for the end of 30 Rock.

    After seven seasons, the NBC comedy that pushed the term “I’m lizzing” into our national vernacular filmed its final episode this week. Despite the show garnering relatively low ratings, 30 Rock collected a rabid fan-base thanks to its quick wit and quotable lines that propelled it into the collective conscious of pop culture.

    Several 30 Rock writers and actors tweeted pictures to commemorate the show’s ending. Alec Baldwin tweeted a picture Friday morning of him standing in front of his character Jack Donaghy’s desk and grasping flowers. The caption read: “Last day at the office for Jack...”  

    The final, star-studded episode of 30 Rock is set to air Jan. 31.

    Enjoy Whitney, nerds!

    Photo via @ABFalecbaldwin/Twitter

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  • 12/14/12--16:06: YouTube Guide: "Solo Piano"
  • With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) The New York TImes, “Solo, Piano - N.Y.C. (Op-Docs)"

    An old piano is placed in the middle of the sidewalk in New York City, and the New York Times shows the story of the piano from innocent playing and interactions from passersby to its ultimate destruction.

    2) Slacktory, “Supercut: There’s no time to explain!”

    Movie characters are always running out of time. They have lots of things to tell you, but they’re always lacking the time needed to explain it. Still, Slacktory somehow found the time to slice together a supercut of the most overused of movie phrases.

    3) WestJet, “Surprise Christmas Flash Mob”

    The airline turned a boarding lounge filled with people waiting for a redeye flight from Calgary to Toronto into the North Pole in a span of minutes as Santa gave the passengers some goodies.

    4) Animation Domination High Def, “A Charlie Brown Christmas Reunion”

    Charlie Brown returns home from New York to reconnect with the old Peanuts gang and sees that not everything is as he remembers it in a holiday homage to comedian Louis C.K.’s hit show.

    5) The Slow Mo Guys, “Flame Throwing”

    Gav and Dan step things up a notch from filming flying liquids as they tackle a pyromaniac’s dream. They light things on fire, throw and kick them—while filming at 2,500 frames per second—and the results are stunning to watch.

    Photo via New York Times/YouTube

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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    Classic tennis champions. Designer undies. Seasonal Yuletide motifs. Scandinavian ungulate sex. Animated GIFs. Put them together and what have you got?

    It’s a Morning GIF column. What do you think you get?

    It all started when Amsterdam artist and ad consultant Silje Lian saw this pair of Scandinavian Fair Isle-inspired boxer briefs at the Björn Borg clothing company (yes, that Björn Borg). Naturally, she was possessed by inspiration and positively driven to create an original artwork infused with the seasonal spirit, and animated by an absurdist sense of humor, and she took Björn Borg’s design challenge handily.

    On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen. On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen. Oh Rudolf, you really get around!

    Lighting up the holidays in sexy style, here’s Rudolf and his unnamed consort getting their jingle on, Krissing their Kringles, and hollying their jollies. Thankfully for your quickly fading sense of innocence, you cannot quite make out whether they have doffed their gay or hetero apparel, or whether that's Prancer or Vixen under there. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Rudolf lights up his or her life, as he does ours, gentle reader.

    GIF via Björn Borg/Tumblr

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    In Buzzed, we take a look at three things that trended over the weekend while you were away from your keyboard getting buzzed.

    On Twitter
    On this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, viewers are debating if Samuel L. Jackson dropped the F-bomb on the live show, but he is definitely calling “bullshit.” Jackson explained on his Twitter account that he said “fuh” and his skit co-star, Kenan Thompson, forgot to cut him off him saying “bullshit.” Oh well!

    On YouTube
    Community stars Danny Pudi and Alison Brie have a lot of time in their lives now that the NBC show has filmed this season’s episodes. So Brie laid down some beats with Pudi at Hollywood’s Viper Room over the weekend. As you do.

    On Tumblr
    VH1 televised its annual Divas tribute concert Sunday night. However, if you were like us and were flipping between season finale of Homeland, football, and whatever screaming housewives were on Bravo, VH1’s Tumblr live-GIFed the action. So, here’s a sassy Adam Glambert head tilt to etch in your mind for whenever you punctuate a joke at your office’s water cooler.

    Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr


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    Every evening during the Festival of Lights, Saul the cat sat down with his family to play Dreidel, the traditional game of Hanukkah.

    “He just had really bad luck,” says Saul’s cousin Sarah Goldman. “He’d hand over his chocolate gilt on every spin. He couldn’t catch a break.”

    Then, on Sunday, the eighth night, it was nothing short of a miracle.

    “He could not be stopped,” Goldman tells The Fluffington Post. “He spun gimel every single time. He cleaned us right out. And he’s a pretty sore winner, to boot.”

    Via valkyriemissle.

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    The very first episode of Everything Sounds begins... unusually.

    “Whether you’re listening in the car, at the gym, or maybe just somewhere around the house, just turn off the show,” requests co-producer and co-host Craig Shank. “Listen to all of the sounds around you. Even if you think the room is silent, you might hear something you didn’t expect.”

    Follow along with the exercise—notice, say, the low hum of your refrigerator or the whirring of treadmills—and you just might ascertain what Shank, 25, and his podcasting partner George Drake Jr. are aiming for with Everything Sounds. The weekly podcast draws its name from an old saying within the BBC—“Everything sounds, even silence”—and aims to examine the role sound plays in our lives, from art to culture to science.

    One episode finds Drake and Shank chatting up a former foley artist—a person who designs sound effects for film, television, and more. In another, they talk with artist Jesse Seay, whose “Mechanical Tide” installation uses thousands of rolling ball bearings to evoke the sound of the ocean. Last week’s episode featured a discussion with the crate-diggers behind the Numero Group, an acclaimed archival record label from Chicago, Ill., that hunts down and rereleases decades-old music that flew under the radar the first time around.

    “We will try to find sound in everything,” promises Drake, also 25, in Everything Sounds’ introductory episode. “That maybe you don’t even know exists.”

    And befitting a podcast that’s so aurally focused, Everything Sounds spotlights far more than Drake, Shank, and their guests’ voices; each episode is peppered with purposefully glitchy transitions, subtly appropriate music, and intriguing sound effects related to that week’s subject. In that sense, it’s a universe apart from the relatively monotonous soundscapes of most podcasts.

    “Obviously, we talk to people for the show, but we don’t present it as a conversation. It’s not Fresh Air,” explained Drake via Skype.

    “We want these sounds to, not necessarily carry the piece, but accent it and actually play a role in the piece itself. That’s something we aim to do in every episode—feature something aside from just people talking.”

    Drake and Shank’s friendship stretches back to their days at Indiana University, where both worked at the student radio station and bonded over a shared love of all things audio and broadcasting. After graduation—both in 2009—Drake earned a master’s degree in radio from Goldsmiths College in London, while Shank worked in a variety of roles at different stations, operating as a Jack of all trades operating boards, managing websites, producing, and hosting.

    “The work I was doing wasn’t really all that satisfying,” Shank recalled. “Some of the shifts that I was working weren’t really agreeable for any human being. I would get called in at 3 in the morning to deal with issues and then have to turn around and do my usual 9 to 5 stuff … When you host radio shows in commercial radio, it’s long passed the days where you actually get to select the music on the show that you’re assigned … I wasn’t getting to do much creative work that I enjoyed.”

    Photo of Craig Shank via Everything Sounds

    “Craig was doing his part in the radio world,” added Drake. “But sometimes the radio world is doing more to you than you’re doing for it.”

    With Drake’s time in London drawing to a close, the two discussed ways to work together again, quickly settling on a podcast. They briefly discussed hosting a music podcast, before deciding the field was overcrowded. They eventually settled on Everything Sounds and its attendant high concept. Shank left his full-time job, and the pair began pre-production, ultimately launching the show in October.

    Everything Sounds is, especially by indie podcast standards, an impressive production. Drake and Shank are a true two-man operation—recording, writing, funding, researching and editing every episode independently. Each show includes multiple interviews and a hodgepodge of unusual audio cues. The tone is enthusiastic, engaged, and nerdy, and Drake and Shank’s banter is winningly disarming. Just check Shank’s testament to the opening few seconds of Miles Davis’ “Say What” in the first episode.

    And they do it all from two separate cities. Shank lives in Indianapolis, while Drake makes his home in Chicago. Far from being limited by their show’s specific focus, they’re sitting on a Google document of more than 400 potential show ideas, ranging from the modest to the grandiose.

    “A lot of the ideas on that list are just so big. It’s like ‘Sounds in space!’” Drake said. “But we’re two people with personal recorders and laptops that aren’t even in the same city. So trying to make that happen is somewhat difficult.”

    Logistics aside, Drake and Shank also face a challenge that should be familiar for any up-and-coming journalist and podcaster: convincing people to talk to them.

    Photo of George Drake via Everything Sounds

    “We don’t have the backing of any big organizations, or any broadcast facilities,” Shank explained. “We aren’t well-known producers. We’re just two guys that decided to take a chance and do something that was interesting to them.”

    Which is not to say that Everything Sounds, while unique, is a show totally without precedent; in its rhythms and subject matter, it evokes two NPR favorites in particular: Radiolab and 99% Invisible. Drake and Shank’s congenial back-and-forth banter, the way the show chops up interviews, and Everything Sounds’ considerable use of field recording all evoke various stylistic tricks employed regularly by Radiolab. And in its use of a specific subject matter as a lens through which to view the world, Everything Sounds aims to do with audio much the same thing that Rowan Mars’ increasingly popular 99% Invisible does with design.

    "This isn’t our background, and we’re very new to this type of program, so I think subconsciously we took on some of the qualities of the shows that resonated with us,” Shank acknowledged. “Someone who I know listened to the show and set me a message say that they really loved it, but that it felt like an episode of Radiolab with Roman Mars hosting. That’s something that really made me think about how we’re presenting the show. I think we’re doing those shows, and our audience and ourselves, a disservice if we are merely clones of those shows … I think a lot of our conversations have been about what it is that we’re trying to present, and how we can do that in a way that’s unique. And since it’s still so early into the production of the show, I think we still have a long way to go.”

    There is one key difference between Everything Sounds and the aforementioned shows, though: Although the program does air on some radio stations as part of Public Radio Remix, Shank and Drake’s aren’t necessarily aiming to land Everything Sounds on more radio stations or make it into a program that lives on the radio. While they wouldn’t say no to more stations, their primary goal is to make the podcast sustainable and keep it going, no matter the platform—and for a show as quixotic as Everything Sounds, and with as unusual a premise, the radio may not be the right place anyway.

    “Admittedly, this kind of show is a little bit odd on public radio,” Shank said. “It’s a little bit weird, it’s offbeat, it doesn’t quite fit the public radio mold. But there’s also not a commercial station I could imagine touching something like this... I think if we had to run all of our story ideas by program directors, we wouldn’t have been able to do as much as we have in the short amount of time that we have. Since it is just George and I making all these decisions, we can be a bit more nimble.”

    “Even if we have another job on top of this we’d be able to make it work on our off hours,” Drake added. “Because we’re not spending money on an FM transmitter. We don’t have to broadcast. We could do it out of our backpacks if we wanted to! And it’s just a lot of fun the way it is.”

    Correction: The original version of this story misspelled the name of 99% Invisible host Roman Mars. We regret the error. 

    Photos via Everything Sounds

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    The post has been making the rounds on Tumblr for nearly a full day, with no tags, no explanation, and no lead-in—only the injunction, “Shhhhhhh!”

    And that’s exactly what Tumblr has done.

    We won’t link you to the Tumblr post, which is so unassuming that it’s easy to skim past, which might explain why it’s racked up only 10,000 views or so in the 18 hours it’s been up.

    Nor will we show you the YouTube video that the post links, a blurry sequence apparently filmed on a phone. The footage, prominently featuring Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke, might initially confuse viewers wondering if it’s the latest Who Christmas special—except for the sudden appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Is it a surprise Wholock crossover?  Even better: it’s a blurry (but still exciting) cam leak of the nine-minute Imax trailer preview of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

    With excitement over the freshly-dropped Star Trek trailer still high, it’s a wonder that the Tumblr leak only has ten thousand notes or so at this point—but word of mouth has traveled fast, and the video’s hit counter on YouTube is currently stuck at 33,405 hits, a sign that viewers are tuning in right and left.

    But true to the poster’s request, no one is tagging the post or openly reacting to it on Tumblr.

    The video appears to have been uploaded by an obvious Star Trek fan who reacts with delight through the film’s opening sequence and announces, “I’m so done,” in true Tumblrite fashion when the ten minute preview concludes.

    In the opening scene, Benedict Cumberbatch approaches Noel Clarke’s unknown character with an offer to save his dying daughter’s life.

    Then we’re whisked to a completely different location as we follow Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy on a madcap chase through the woods of an alien planet, pursued by the locals on the brink of an erupting volcano.

    Spock launches himself into the mouth of the angry volcano in order to work his Vulcan science magic to prevent the destruction of the planet.


    Kirk and McCoy leap off a cliff and dive underwater, into the waiting arms of the Enterprise.


    There’s just one problem. The ship is forced to take off to save itself, without rescuing Spock, who argues with Kirk—complete with the patented J.J. Abrams lens flares, of course—to leave him behind while a devastated Uhura looks on.


    Will the Enterprise be able to save Spock?  We’ll have to wait til May to find out.

    Fans who aren’t satisfied with the blurry online version can see the real thing at selected Imax 3-D showings of The Hobbit.  Other fans, who haven’t realized the extended preview is out yet, are flailing over a second trailer, just released today.

    For now, the real wonder is in watching Tumblr quietly pass the extended preview around, right under YouTube’s nose, all on the basis of the uploader’s request: “seriously don’t tell anyone.”

    But at 11,000 notes and tens of thousands of YouTube hits, it’s safe to say the secret is out.

    Screengrabs by Aja Romano

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    Good news, fans of livetweeting: Nielsen and Twitter are creating a tool to show how you talk about your favorite shows. The downside: It might only be TV networks and advertisers who see what you’re saying.

    The traditional Nielsen rating model of using a sample of households to measure what U.S. TV viewers are watching is outdated. Many people turn to their DVRs, online catch-up services like Hulu, torrents, or pirated streams to catch their favorite shows. This makes tracking what people are really watching a difficult prospect.

    That’s where Twitter comes into play. With more than 140 million active Twitter users sending billions of tweets a week and TV networks increasingly displaying hashtags on screen, there’s inevitably a lot of talk about TV. Nielsen and Twitter are creating the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, a ratings metric based solely on Twitter’s data.

    Twitter’s head of media, Chloe Sladden, noted in a blog post that Twitter’s TV partners have long asked for a way to more easily see what shows people are tweeting about. The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is intended to complement the traditional TV ratings system.

    Nielsen said the system will boost the social TV stats from SocialGuide, which was acquired last month by NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Co. The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will track not tweets about TV broadcasts, but will also look at those “who were exposed to the activity” (in other words, people who read tweets talking about shows).

    There are a number of difficulties in tracking that conversation, especially since it’s not always easy to determine the context for tweets. Someone who’s watching Homeland could send a single tweet while it’s on the air (for instance “I can’t believe that just happened!!”), and it might not be noted as a relevant tweet.

    On the other hand, this could prove a boon for shows that don’t always set the ratings chart alight, but have a cult following. It’s not exactly like Community is a huge hit, for instance, but it
    has a large online fanbase.

    Sladden added that Twitter’s ultimate aim for the tool is “to make watching TV with Twitter even better for you, the TV fan.” Details are scant on how that might work, but if it helps quality shows which are underserved by the Nielsen system gain more attention, that cannot be a bad thing.

    Photo via tvgirl17/YouTube

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    Start your week right with the Daily Dot’s Monday Mashup, the best music remix from around the Web. Turn up your speakers or pop on your headphones, and bring the funk.

    Okay, Christmas mashup artistes, you can take the rest of the holidays off; your work is done. This mashup from DJ Bob Cronin, aka DJ BC, has it in the Santa sack.

    Peanuts. Vanilla Ice. Creepy reindeer. Smokey Robinson. Queen. David Freaking Bowie. All this and video snippets from what at first appears to be Santa Claus Versus the Martians, but turns out to be an undiscovered psychotropic Mexican classic.

    The YouTube notes for “Jingle Pressure” say, “This includes footage from the rather strange public domain film Santa Claus—no, not the one with Dustin, this is a 1950s Mexican film with clockwork reindeer, mouth loudspeakers, ear antenna, dancing demonic dolls, castles in space and guest spots from Merlin and a demon called Pitch. But despite the oddness t has a real heart to it, as you'll see from the video.”

    It’s from the brand new mashup album Santastic 7, released just two weeks ago. This undiscovered new classic has had only 779 views so far, but it’s not likely to languish in the triple digits for long, given BC’s reputation. The Atlanta-based producer’s mashups—most notably the Beatles/Beastie Boys albums he released under the name “The Beastles”—have scored radio play from L.A. to NYC to Paris.

    And hey, it’s still a full week to The Big Day.

    Both the music and the visuals (from Instamatic) on this YouTube are exceptional. The lip synching is one of the things that differentiates a great from an average video mashup, and how he got plastic reindeer to do that is anyone’s guess.

    It must have been some magic.

    Image via HA! Designs/Flickr

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    For reasons known only to the wealthiest 1 percent, redditors at r/adviceanimals—a haven on the social news site for those who post image macros—have become enthralled with a menagerie of aristocratic animals.

    At its heart is Old Money Dog, who has all his canine instincts intact, despite being rich enough to afford a butler.

    He has refined tastes in entertainment, uses only the finest toilet paper, and owns the most expensive toilets.

    This seemingly new meme has roots at least a year old, with Aristocat, who in turn is like an even richer, old-money version of the I Should Buy A Boat Cat. The earliest r/adviceanimals Artistocat post, from August 2011, isn’t particularly funny:

    But, especially since being revived Sunday, Aristocat has noticeably improved.

    And Aristocat has plenty of colleagues, like the oddly named bureaucrat bear.

    Here’s a more specific bear.

    Some sort of bird...

    A more specific bird...

    And finally, a mouse.

    Of course, not everyone’s a fan.

    Photo via Memecrunch

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