We made the guy go first the whole time, which is sexist. But he was so tall, and it was dark, and who cares. You can’t worry that much about feminism in a haunted house I think.

Inside America’s Most Notorious “Psychosexual” Haunted House

SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters by Cirque du Soleil

I attended my third How to Dress Well concert of the year last night. Each show has had roughly the same arrangement and setlist, but the aspects where they differ are so interesting. Earlier in the year at Le Poisson Rouge, the performance felt like a lonely solo album meticulously exploded out to four parts, backing vocals carefully tucked under the lead or relegated altogether to samples so as to maintain the illusion of a multi-track recording. Performing together has strengthened this quartet and the orchestration has only improved, exceeding even the album it complements; last night I actually heard backing vocalist Larissa Loyva sing, and it felt like a triumph. Tom Krell, who previously was How to Dress Well, now behaves more like the front man for a charismatic and utterly coordinated band.

Observing this evolution has been interesting, but watching How to Dress Well evolve from its origins has been intensely satisfying. In the beginning, Tom was performing by himself with a sampler, and even in the studio there was so much less: distorted, clipped audio was a major aesthetic of Love Remains, his first commercial release. Two more albums and an EP later and everything about his public self is so much stronger and more exposed. The two parts of “Suicide Dream” on Love Remains were beautiful, but obscure; now he performs them such that by the end of the song, he sings out with no accompaniment, past the microphone, directly to his audience, straining to take in more just as we always have, but now for completely different reasons.

If you want to know more about How to Dress Well, I highly recommend Pitchfork’s cover story (previous excerpted on this very blog). And of course, I also highly recommend his entire body of work.

There is a growing subset of vocabulary built to accommodate our communication evasions, many of them phone-based: It’s the cutesification of misanthropy. There are “slow fade” and “ghosting,” zingy slang that makes these things sound more like legitimate techniques than what they actually are, which is indifference expressed through avoidance. To consider oneself “friend-zoned” is not just an expression of misogynist entitlement, but often a passive refusal to be frank about one’s feelings. “I can’t even” and an all-capped “NOPE” are concise and funny GIF-and-link accompaniers, but they’ve also become shorthand for “I can’t or don’t want to express my discomfort with this situation or person more thoroughly.”

In Defense Of Talking On The Phone (And Other Confrontations)

Got my Twitters in pairs and they’re playing Gorillas

Gorillas is a classic computer game in which two King Kong-sized gorillas standing at a distance on top of skyscrapers attempt to destroy each other with explosive bananas. I spent many many hours as a kid playing this game and its companion, Nibbles, which shipped bundled with the QBasic programming language. I was too young at the time to care that their source code was available to me, but I’ve found a tribute written in Python a useful demonstration of that much more useful language.

A few months ago, Derek Arnold unveiled @GorillaCities, a Twitter bot which uses a stripped-down edition of Python Gorillas to generate and share empty cities. I was immediately taken by this idea and wanted to play along; incredibly, my first stab at a joke was rewarded with two perfect and unclaimed Twitter names. I immediately snatched them and started following the cities but my joke ended there, half-complete.

Finally, a few months later, I’ve ported a similarly stripped-down edition of Python Gorillas to CoffeeScript and now @LeftGorilla and @RightGorilla are endlessly interacting with @GorillaCities, hopping on each skyline in sequence and messing everything up.

This was a fun excuse to play with game programming and Twitter—the pair together comprise only my second Twitter bot, after @EverywordCup. And having borne them out of a browser, they also double as a captivating attract mode!

It took a few failed attempts before I ended up with a finished product. I started by hacking away at Gorillas.py, refactoring the code and removing interaction as necessary. I found myself disinterested in Python and decided to port my new code to Ruby, my language of choice in most endeavors, but couldn’t find any graphics libraries as easy to use as PyGame. After a few hours getting nowhere in a web of dependencies, I threw my hands up and started writing some HTML. This was also a good excuse to finally start playing with PhantomJS, which captures the frames of each turn as a PNG and saves them to disk. I then use gifme to turn those sequences into GIFs and a simple Ruby script on Heroku to post to Twitter and keep track of Tweet IDs (the first turn is a response to the corresponding @GorillaCities tweet; every turn thereafter responds to the previous one).

The code is on GitHub; I encourage you to follow @GorillaCities, @LeftGorilla, @RightGorilla, and me—I’m @JohnHoldun. Enjoy!

The people sharing these images are perpetuating an ongoing assault. The people gleefully looking at them are witnessing and enjoying an ongoing assault. When you have been asked by victims of a crime like this not to exacerbate the pain of that crime and you continue to do so anyway, you are consciously deciding that your enjoyment, your rights and perhaps even just your curiosity are more important than the safety and dignity of the people you’re exploiting.

This is why you shouldn’t click on the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence

As my family settles into the seats of the “Magical Express” coach that conveys us back to the Orlando airport, the long-range RF transmitters and the copper antennae that wind around them cease to communicate with Disney’s receivers. They become souvenirs from Dataland, the big data equivalent of a die-cast monorail toy.

Welcome to Dataland — re:form — Medium

Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool. Not wearing a red leather jacket, and just looking like a dad and shit, is like super cool. Having someone that I can call Mom again. That shit is super cool.

Kanye West’s GQ Profile: A Brand-New Ye

Look, a duck! (via mrgeef)

(Source: piratelyssa)

The snow in the wolf diorama at the American Museum of Natural History is “anything but white.” It’s a wide range of colors of crushed marble, here arranged by Stephen C. Quinn, to not only create artificial shadows but “conceal” and “consolidate” the real ones, created by five spotlights that shine opposite the “moonlight” in the scene.

In fact, he prefers to let his songs come to him; his usual songwriting process involves letting an instrumental demo play in his apartment and then freestyling sounds and melodies and, eventually, words—whatever he feels in the moment. So when he tells me about how “Repeat Pleasure” hints at the ideas of German philosopher Georg Hegel, he laughs a little bit, as if he just realized the connection himself.

Pitchfork Cover Story: How to Dress Well

And here again, in the minutes it had taken to pay this bill, the value of bitcoin was too elusive to nail down the exact cost of my meal. Somewhere in Boston, there’s a waiter who was stiffed out of twenty-seven cents of his tip by the dawning of a new economy.

My Life on Bitcoin: Sex, Drugs, and Toasters

On the popular Chinese video-sharing website Youku, “Going Home” accounts for four of the 10 most-played videos in the saxophone category, with 313,786 plays over the last three years.

China Says Goodbye in the Key of G: Kenny G

It’s not clear exactly what was said, but Dax can remember that damn thing like it was yesterday. While in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Big Boi was approached by Britney Spears who said she was a fan. Before she could even get out another word, Big Boi leaned in and whispered something in her ear, inaudible to both of their entourages. “He said some freak player shit and she wasn’t ready for it,” Dax says. Britney’s jaw dropped, while Justin Timberlake was off somewhere writing “Cry Me a River.”

Straight Outta Stankonia: 20 years of OutKast’s Atlanta, from discography to mythology

Two-Factor Authentication


For your convenience, a reading of today’s Staff Blog post.

Peter’s voice is a lot deeper than I expected.