Mark Kingwell: "Walking in a city is the greatest unpriced pleasure there is." [more inside]
Want to get out alive? Follow the ants - "Emergency exits work better when they are obstructed." [more inside]
It was not the first time that Adam Magyar has had to explain his work to mystified observers. Born in Hungary in 1972, Magyar began taking pictures in his late twenties, roaming the streets of Asian cities and capturing images of Indian street vendors, Hindu holy men, and Himalayan students. His work evolved rapidly from conventional documentary photography to surreal, radically experimental imagery that reflects his obsession with finding innovative new uses for digital technology. A self-taught engineer and software designer who assembled his first computer while in his teens, Magyar captures his images using some of the world’s most sophisticated photographic equipment, modified with software he writes himself. Additional code, also of his own design, removes nearly all distortion, or “noise,” from his data, producing images of remarkable clarity.[more inside]
Last week, Improv Everywhere set up the ACJW Ensemble Orchestra (of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School) in Herald Square in New York City and placed an empty podium in front of the musicians with a sign that read, "Conduct Us." [more inside]
"It's a shame we don't share the same courage in our convictions as this little 10-year-old Dutch lad, who - with a little help from his Dad when it came to the words (come on you boys in red, Eindhoven we love you), proudly led the PSV crowd in a chant during a recent pre-season friendly against FC Eindhoven..." (SL Youtube) [more inside]
"One can almost hear the anticipatory echoes of something like Yelp in the context of José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses (1930). The multitude, he wrote, once “scattered about the world in small groups,” now appears “as an agglomeration.” It has “suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions in society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights and is the principal character.” The disgruntled diner, now able to make or break a restaurant through sheer collective will. Against this leveling of critical power, the old guard fulminates. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet, recently harrumphed that “anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.”"—Star Wars, by Tom Vanderbilt, in The Wilson Quarterly [more inside]
"And I fell into those thousands of connections that I'd made. And I asked the crowd to catch me." "When you connect with them people want to help you" - The art of asking by Amanda Palmer [more inside]
IMAGINE that you are French. You are walking along a busy pavement in Paris and another pedestrian is approaching from the opposite direction. A collision will occur unless you each move out of the other’s way. Which way do you step? The answer depends on the wisdom of the crowd.
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert - "McLuhan prefigured the Internet era in a number of surprising ways. As he said in a March 1969 Playboy interview: 'The computer thus holds out the promise of a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the Logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of harmony and peace' ... Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of 'authority', 'authorship', and even 'knowledge' ... Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment."
Anger, Politics and the Wisdom of Uncertainty - "If there's somebody or even some institution to blame, it turns out people are much more likely to get angry... anger tends to inspire individuals to engage in more political activities than they would otherwise... Without someone to blame, respondents mostly just grow fearful and anxious... A particular danger of anger seems to be closed-mindedness. Research finds that when citizens get angry, they close themselves off to alternative views and redouble their sense of conviction in their existing views. Fear and anxiety, on the other hand, seem to promote openness to alternative viewpoints and a willingness to compromise." (via) [more inside]
Does your movie have a large crowd scene? Extras and CGI are expensive! Why not go with an Inflatable Crowd? [more inside]
How (crowd) curation is making a comeback in search and how Facebook is using it to "remake whole industries."
Hey Mick, why don't you start singing Gimme Shelter at the mixing desk in the middle of the a huge crowd and then leisurely stroll to the stage. Nothing bad will happen. (SLYT) [more inside]
An interesting graph based on the results of an informal user poll as to the response/efficacy to various treatments for depression. "Fish oil, also popular, showed up as much less effective than [...] expected." [more inside]
On March 3rd 1943, the worst civilian disaster of the Second World War killed 173 people, including 62 children. During an air-raid alert, the noise of a new anti-aircraft battery panicked the crowd trying to get into the shelter at Bethnal Green tube station. In the dark, wet conditions, someone tripped and fell at the foot of the stairs, blocking the pathway and knocking others over in a domino effect. More and more people continued to pile in at the top leading to a massive and deadly crush. [more inside]
The IT Crowd is a sitcom produced for Channel 4. Although it follows the traditional laugh-track sitcom format, it manages to have some really funny moments. Season one was only six episodes, but season 2 is due to start this January. Chris Morris is particularly good as the CEO, Denholm. Full episodes can be found on YouTube and Google Video.
The wisdom of crowds and the miracle of aggregation, arguably, are the reasons why markets and democracy work as well as they do. As New Yorker James Surowiecki explains in his new book, "consider the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. When a contestant on the show is stumped by a question, he has a couple of choices in asking for help: the audience or someone he's designated as an expert. The experts do a reasonable job: They get the answer right 65% of the time. But the audience is close to perfect: It gets the answer right 91% of the time, even though it's made up of people who have nothing better to do than sit in a TV studio and watch Regis Philbin." The new, new tipping point?
Vatican's lines too long? The Pope has just closed the door to the bronze Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica for the next 25 years. I have heard of crowd control but give me a break, can the lines really be that bad?