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Category: Interesting or Cool

Projection Mapped Data Sculptures

Projection Mapped Data Sculptures

Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data and light projections  to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Galleryin Istanbul.

She’s also done a lot of other interesting stuff. Check out her website.


Vector graphics are back!

Vector graphics are back!

Remember the arcade game Asteroids or the vector-based Star Wars arcade game? How about the vector-graphics based Vectrix game console?

Say hello to LaserOS. It that allows you build really cool, high quality vector graphics dreams – on real laser projectors. You can build visual laser shows, visualizations, control and create musical compositions, and play some great old games.

Here’s a developer that re-created Asteroids with a high-quality laser system (bonus points for talking about the difficulty of the traveling salesman problem):

Here’s one reviewer giving LaserOS a go on his laser projector:

What all the markings on ocean-faring ships mean

What all the markings on ocean-faring ships mean

Tugboat crews easily read a vessel’s size, shape, function, and features, while deciphering at a glance the mysterious numbers, letters, and symbols on a ship’s hull. To non-mariners, the markings look like hieroglyphs.

Hakai magazine on coastal science published a really cool article that helps you decode all the interesting markings, paint schemes, and functions of the interesting and strange things you see on big ocean-going vessles. I had no idea there was so much interesting information – and that paint schemes are far, FAR more complicated than marking water lines. Give it a read.

plimsoll lines on the side of a ship

How much info does Facebook have on you? It’s creepier than you know.

How much info does Facebook have on you? It’s creepier than you know.

Thrillist did a great article on all the ways your information, every detail about every place you’ve been and what events you’ve gone too, every photo you’ve liked or commented on, and all your personal information – even if it’s been listed as ‘private’.

My favorite is stalkscan. Pretty terrifying fun.

Give it a read and realize Google, Apple, and all your other favorite companies and online sites collect all this information and more – using it for marketing, selling it to other companies, and eventually all of it gets leaked when the inevitable hack or employee steals it.



Hebocon is a robot contest for people with no skill. It’s a 32 player contest in which people are penalized for trying too hard or using proper technology. One of the previous year’s winners actually apologized for winning because the thought maybe he tried ‘too hard to win’.

Check out these amazingly horrible, but hilarious robots:

Oregon as a Ghibli film

Oregon as a Ghibli film

Wow – just wow!!! Amazing job Travel Oregon! Apparently the paired with Psyop who brought on an additional studio Sun Creature to assist.

Almost everything in the video is a real place/thing in Oregon. Here’s a breakdown – let me know if I missed anything, or you think I got it wrong. Click on the images for larger versions!

1. Ramona Falls:

2. Could be any lake near Mt Hood, but likely is Trillium Lake:

3. Woodburn Tulip Festival:

4. Willamette Valley:

5. Willamette Valley Wineries:

6. Willamette Valley Wine & Balloon tours:

7. Cannon Beach – Haystack rock:

8. Cannon Beach from Ecola Park:

9. Crater Lake:

10. Black Rock Mountainbiking trails near Falls City:

11. Portland:

12. Dragon Boat Racing in Portland:

11. The Wallowas – almost exactly this shot:

12. Kiger MustangsSteens Mountains/Kiger Creek:

13. Whitewater Rafting is many places, but it looks like it might be the Rogue River (top). It might also be the Deschutes (bottom pic). Some have suggested it is the White Salmon River (but that is in Washington):

14. Think this is Tom McCall Preserve (top picture). Or it might be a from Dog Mountain(bottom pic), but that is on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge:

15. Three Sister’s from around Sisters, OR:

Why you can tell what comes next in any hollywood movie by checking your watch

Why you can tell what comes next in any hollywood movie by checking your watch

Have you had a sense that Hollywood movies have felt a little too ‘cookie-cutter’ lately? Or that they feel somewhat unoriginal or a little too sugary?

John Williamson is a long time lecturer and publisher of games. He gave a great talk at PAX Prime 2016 on why you can tell exactly what is going to happen next in a Hollywood movie by looking at your watch. It’s narrative structure that has been picked up by writers and is now used in almost all our media from graphic novels to Hollywood productions. Just about every modern movie in the last 10 years uses it – it’s called The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. The structure was outlined in his book called “Save the Cat!

Recently, this structure has been catching some flack for making our movies too cookie cutter or even deceptive. One very valid argument (in my opinion) is that lazy writers can rely on the well-understood emotional reaction the structure creates to communicate themes and messages as true without having to argue them or give any evidence they actually are true. In other words, instead of relying on substance of the story, it relies on the simple fact that the ‘Save the Cat!’ emotional ride guarantees a positive emotional reception for what you want.

Some say it lets writers be so lazy they need not even be concerned about the actual content of the story, but to just rely on the structure of the emotional ride to guarantee a positive response from the audience. Just change the actors, theme, or conflict and you have a brand new movie without changing much else.

You can find a link to John Williamson’s great presentation here, or download a copy here. He covers a HUGE range of story telling techniques from ancient to new, eastern and western, but the relevant section on Hollywood plots, however, starts at slide 111.

Here’s the breakdown of the structure, by minute. (This assumes a movie of 110 minutes. Adjust the times based on your movie’s total time based on the ratio laid out here.)

  1. Opening Image – (minute: 1) – A visual that represents the struggle & tone of the story. A snapshot of the main character’s problem, before the adventure begins.
  2. Set-up – (minutes: 1-10) Expand on the “before” snapshot. Present the main character’s world as it is, and what is missing in their life.
  3. Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) – (minute: 5) What your story is about; the message, the truth. Usually, it is spoken to the main character or in their presence, but they don’t understand the truth…not until they have some personal experience and context to support it.
  4. Catalyst – (minute: 12)The moment where life as it is changes. It is the telegram, the act of catching your loved-one cheating, allowing a monster onboard the ship, meeting the true love of your life, etc. The “before” world is no more, change is underway.
  5. Debate – (minutes: 12-25) – But change is scary and for a moment, or a brief number of moments, the main character doubts the journey they must take. Can I face this challenge? Do I have what it takes? Should I go at all? It is the last chance for the hero to chicken out.
  6. Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) – (minute: 25) – The main character makes a choice and the journey begins. We leave the “Thesis” world and enter the upside-down, opposite world of Act Two.
  7. B Story – (minute: 30) – This is when there’s a discussion about the Theme – the nugget of truth. Usually, this discussion is between the main character and the love interest. So, the B Story is usually called the “love story”.
  8. Fun and Games/The Promise of the Premise – (minutes: 30-55) – This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.
  9. Midpoint – (minute: 55) – Dependent upon the story, this moment is when everything is “great” or everything is “awful”. The main character either gets everything they think they want (“great”) or doesn’t get what they think they want at all (“awful”). But not everything we think we want is what we actually need in the end.
  10. Bad Guys Close In – (minutes: 55-75) – Doubt, jealousy, fear, foes both physical and emotional regroup to defeat the main character’s goal, and the main character’s “great”/“awful” situation disintegrates.
  11. All is Lost – (minute: 75) – The opposite moment from the Midpoint: “awful”/“great”. The moment that the main character realizes they’ve lost everything they gained, or everything they now have has no meaning. The initial goal now looks even more impossible than before. And here, something or someone dies. It can be physical or emotional, but the death of something old makes way for something new to be born.
  12. Dark Night of the Soul – (minutes: 75-85) – The main character hits bottom, and wallows in hopelessness. The Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? moment. Mourning the loss of what has “died” – the dream, the goal, the mentor character, the love of your life, etc. But, you must fall completely before you can pick yourself back up and try again.
  13. Break Into Three (Choosing Act Three) – (minute: 85) – Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration, or last-minute Thematic advice from the B Story (usually the love interest), the main character chooses to try again.
  14. Finale – (minutes: 85-110) – This time around, the main character incorporates the Theme – the nugget of truth that now makes sense to them – into their fight for the goal because they have experience from the A Story and context from the B Story. Act Three is about Synthesis!
  15. Final Image – (minutes: 110) – opposite of Opening Image, proving, visually, that a change has occurred within the character.

His presentation then shows how this structure works from modern movies like ‘The Fault with our Stars’, to “Indiana Jones” to video games like Super Mario Bros and Ico.

Try it out on the next movie you watch and see how accurate it is.

Secret Flight rules and you

Secret Flight rules and you

Thrillist has one of the more comprehensive wrap-ups of current Federal Airline rules/laws for when you get delayed or flights canceled. Turns out, you’re entitled to MUCH more than they usually offer. Here’s some of the more surprising ones below.

Getting bumped:

  • If you’re involuntarily bumped from a flight because it’s overbooked, do not settle for mostly useless vouchers. The US Department of Transportation DOT requires they must compensate you, in cash, up to $1,350
    • If the delay is going to cost you more than the airline is offering, like a non-refundable hotel reservation or miss a private helicopter ride, you’ve got 30 days to try and get as much money out of them as you can. But once you cash the check they give you, there is no more room to dispute.
  • If you are bumped from a flight and arrive between one and two hours past your original arrival time on a domestic flight (between 1-4 hours on international), they owe you compensation up to $675. For flights more than 2 hours late, you are entitled to 400% of your one-way fare.


  • If you book directly with an airline (not through a portal), then you can always cancel within 24 hours of making a flight without penalty. Some allow you to cancel for much longer than that – up until 24 hours before the flight itself in some cases.
  • Do not buy a big block of tickets together. There are different price levels for different numbers of tickets. You might find buying 2 tickets together costs $99/each. But buying 4 together cost $299/each. Buying individually almost always is better.


  • Back in the old days, Rule 240 required airlines to book you on a competitors airline if you were significantly delayed or flight canceled. That ended with deregulation in 1978, but they will still do it if you ask nicely and/or have elite status. Best way is to find 2-3 flights on the internet and politely see if they can do anything for you. Options on with the same airline produce best results.
  • If a flight is severely delayed (2+ hours) or canceled, schedule change, or route change – you can get a full refund on a non-refundable fare. They won’t tell you this, but you can. You are also entitled to baggage fees, early boarding fees, premium seats, etc. But be polite, they don’t have to do this per-se. Often they’ll give you those perks on the return flight if applicable.

Transfers to another airlines

  • If you get rebooked on a different carrier, they must cover all expenses and extra fees. Some have even used this to upgrade to first class once they transfer over, but your mileage may vary.
  • Do not let them cancel the ticket for your old flight! It’s still good to use another time. They’ll often try and cancel the original ticket onsite and make it appear to be normal procedure. It’s not. Politely ask to be switched but not cancel the existing reservation

European rules

  • If your flight is canceled because of a non-weather related issue, it’s required by law they put you up in a hotel AND feed you. You also must receive a full refund for a canceled flight within 7 days. The EU also has a lit of delay compensation guidelines, ranging from 250 Euros for short flights delayed under 3 hours up to 600 euros for flights between EU and non-EU airports. So, if your flight home to the US is delayed, you’re still entitled to compensation.

Lost Luggage

  • If your bag is delayed or lost, airlines will often placate you with $25-$50/day. DOT says that these companies owe you up to $3,500 in liability for domestic US trips – SO LONG AS YOU HAVE RECEIPTS and can prove the ‘relative value’ of what was in your bag. Example: If you were flying to a wedding with a tux, the bag is delayed and you have to buy another tux for the event – then keep the receipt and file it. If you were skiing and had to buy new gear because of the loss/delay, then do so and submit it. If you can’t prove you had a big need for the item at the time, then you might not get reimbursement. Some folks have gotten whole new wardrobe sets, but you must prove value of what was in the suitcase plus its need on the other side.

Stuck on a plane

  • No airline can keep you on a plane more than 3 hours (domestic) or 4 hours international. After that, they MUST let you off the plane. After 2 hours, they must get food and water carts running.