Web Filtrate

This page is a collection of all the obscure, funny, weird and interesting things I’ve found on the Web over the year. It’s sort of visit-once content so not worthy of a bookmark but worthy of being recorded somewhere. Yes, this collection is probably a result of procrastination. You should always view the Web with a cynical eye so I’ll shout out to snopes.com, which basically discerns fact from fiction.

If you feel guilty about procrastination (and who could blame you as the Web is full of quotes about how bad procrastination is) then let me put your mind at ease:
Why procrastination is good for you
6 reasons why procrastination can be good for you

So without further ado, my collection of filtrate from the Web…

Double King

Visually stunning with little dialogue – I think this is about ambition and the hollow meaning we append to objects of status.

Gatsby

Gadsby is a 50,000 word story written by Ernest Vincent Wright. It was written entirely without using the letter “e”. Now I have to TLDR this one but parts I looked at seemed reasonably coherent. Who knows, maybe its actually a good story….

Sleeveface

sleeveface.com one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion

Sealand

The Principality of Sealand is where a guy had adopted a Maunsell Fort (an old WWII structure) just outside the UK’s jurisdiction and declared it his own nation back in the 60s. It hosted a pirate radio station and even servers back in the day.

Museum of Quackery

In case you didn’t know, quackery is the dishonest practice of pretending to have a skill or specialist knowledge. Don’t dismiss how much appeal quacks have – Scientology has 10 million members. I should note, that he Scientologists were eventually forced to admit that their ‘electropsychometer’ (E-meter) did absolutely nothing. The collection in the online museum is interesting and some of the devices were displayed in a museum in the US.

Undo Jesus

undojesus.org It’s a reasoned presentation of why the widespread adoption of Christian religion, through indoctrination of children, has basically done more harm that good. It’s not a hate site but faced with the cognitive dissonance arising from the content, Christian extremists/fundamentalists would label it as such. There are, of course, countless religions in existence (some vying for supremacy) but I think the site would appeal to Humanists and atheists alike. It won’t be long before the site is attacked or taken down under the toxic banner of ‘political correctness’ or ‘religious freedom’ but for now a secular dream survives.

Kitten War

Just in case you haven’t had your fill of pictures and videos of kittens, you can go on to kittenwar.com and click on which you think is the cutest kitten. Be sure to vote for Pippa if you see her picture on there!

Online Generators

Scott Pakin’s complaint letter generator is one of the best and simplest tools for a quick practical joke if you know someone who is verbose/uptight (this definitely described myself before I had no more f*cks to give). I’ve had so much fun with this over the years. I wish I’d used it on mobile phone companies and gyms whenever I tried to cancel a contract.

The artybollocks generator generates an artist statement to accompany work. It’s good fun but uncomfortably ‘realistic’.

We do live in an age of strange job titles. When I was a lad, job titles were thinks like bin man, salesman or installer but now they’re a refuse disposal assistant, product evangelist or software implementation consultant. If you need someone to fulfil a role but don’t want to pay the market rate, use the jobtitlemaker to produce a fancy sounding job title.

Textastrophe

The guy starts prank conversations with ad posters and posts it on textastrophe.com Something about holding a prank conversation for a while that makes me laugh.

Salad Fingers

No collection of obscure content from the Web would be complete without a mention to David Firth’s Salad Fingers. This is grim and makes for uncomfortable viewing as it depicts psychopathy.

Urban Projects

Believe it or not, before a generation of selfy-taking narcissists dominated social media, people would actually point cameras away from themselves and photograph things of interest, external to them. One such social media site dedicated to this weird passion of photographing things other than yourself is flickr.com. There’s some weird and wonderful interest groups such as Urban Knitting. Another similar urban beautifying project is where people stick googly eyes to mundane things in cities. Some people do have a lot of time on their hands; from the guy who maintains a blog.

Illusions

I love optical illusions. They remind me of the limitations of our sensory engagement with the world and just how much our brains really contribute to processing those inputs. Our brains do ‘fill in the blanks a lot’, exemplified by this paragraph that was prolific on the web in the early 2000s:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Net result: reality is in the mind. Animals remind us of those sensory constraints. The commoner garden blackbird has far greater colour-vision/acuity than humans. From its perspective, other blackbirds are a multitude of colours. Perhaps the octopus illustrates the sentiment better though as Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses in Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness – the octopus is an intelligent creature whose evolutionary path diverged from our own 750 million years ago and its intelligence (aka understanding) vastly differs to our own. Even within our own species, some traits such as dyslexia or colour-blindness have different effects on visual-processing – and subsequently how the world around us is perceived and understood.

Some great optical illusions: http://www.psy.ritsumei.ac.jp/~akitaoka/o1saishe.html

Some word illusions: http://old.marcofolio.net/other/15_cool_word_illusions.html

Star Trek Acid Party

If you are nostalgic for both TNG and LSD, then this video is for you.

Street View Images

In case you didn’t know, since 2007 Google has been using vans to drive around the world and capture navigable images of streets. Sometimes people get caught in interesting acts (or deliberately stage them). There is a site dedicated to collecting said images, streetviewfun.com, but there’s loads of articles that collect these images if you care to search for them.

Olympic Races Visulaisation

The NY Times has a great tool that lets you enter your postcode and visualise Olympic race distances in your local neighbourhood. Really puts the athleticism into perspective when see the areas you walk and the times athletes complete those distances in.

edit: The tool is now behind a paywall so you can’t access it without a subscription.

Improv / Flashmobs

I’ve had a love of improv since the watching the comedy staple of Whose line is anyway? when I was growing up. Nowadays, I’ve been disappointed by so much bad improv (namely free improv at the Edinburgh fringe) that I’m in two minds. This group improveverywhere.com is a professional outfit used for promotions and some stuff is entertaining (who wouldn’t want to see Wall-e in real life?)…

This sort of street performance is similar to flash mobs – where typically large groups of people coordinate some activity on the public. Now, there’s bad flash mobs where a small group of elderly amateur salsa dancers flash mob outside Poundland in some dreary town centre and then there’s the good ones where large coordinated outfits descend on unsuspecting commuters – search YouTube for flashmobs.

Global Comparison Calculators

We were walking home from school one day and a friend shouted “Ugh Chris has trod in dog shit.” We all stopped and looked at Chris who simply shrugged and said “It’s alright, I’ve got shoes on.” I’ve been to places in the world where people simply cannot afford shoes. Conversely, I once dated a girl who owned over eighty pairs of shoes, no lie. The world is unequal and if you ever feel fed up with your lot, I suggest that you reframe your life from a global perspective.

givingwhatwecan.org has a How Rich Am I? tool – simply put your income in and see the results, you’ll be surprised.

Additionally, if you think your are green, then footrpintcalculator.org may alarm you. I’d like to think I am conscientious but not obsessive with being ‘green’ but if everybody lived my lifestyle, it would take 7.2 earths to support the human population. I’m definitely taking more than my fair share at the moment.

I can think of something pleasenter

I’m not sure if this grosses me out or not. Many species of animals routinely do this but there’s something almost cannibalistic about this practice: eating one’s own placenta. Nevertheless, recipes do exist – you just need some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Scale of the Universe

This interactive webpage is brilliant. You use a slider to zoom in or out from the smallest possible size, the planck length, through to the entire observable universe with illustrations at each size. It’s a brilliant tool for reminding us just how vast existence is.

Hot or Not

No longer available.
In the infancy of the Web around 2000, way before social media, a website ‘Hot or Not’ went viral. Basically you uploaded a photo of yourself and strangers would rate it from 1 to 10. You would do the same on other photos. It never had pretence of being anything other than a superficial bit of fun. Nowadays, no doubt hordes of social justice warriors would target their unhappiness, at the cards they were dealt, in a campaign at the website. I was quite happy with my average 7 at the time.

My housemate got me to upload his photo so I photoshopped a urine stain down his shorts. It was so funny I struggled to keep it to myself but weeks went by and he just didn’t notice so I had to tell him. The joke was one me, he still scored a 9, bastard. I vaguely recall he even got a date with a lass through the site. Who knows what she must have been into.

Stick Scene

If your a movie aficionado then stickscene.com is a quiz to visit. It’s basically Pictionary, where you guess the movie. Be warned: you have to get the title – took me six goes to get 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the movie theme, I like the 30 second bunnies videos where animated bunnies re-enact movies.

Bushisms

US politics has seen a fair number of idiots. If there’s any doubt about America being the land of opportunity, then you only need to read this list of quotes (aka Bushisms) from George Bush and remind yourself that he was president of a world superpower.

edit: Quotes from Trump are funny too – https://www.shortlist.com/news/most-ridiculous-trump-quotes-ever – perhaps it’s a Republican thing.

What salesmen are really saying

This is one of those emails that did the rounds in the early 2000s so not sure who it is attributed to.

Sales TermWhat it Really Means
NewDifferent color from previous design
All-NewParts not interchangeable with previous design
ExclusiveImported product
UnmatchedAlmost as good as the competition
Designed simplicityManufacturer’s cost cut to the bone
Foolproof operationNo provision for adjustments
Advanced designThe advertising agency doesn’t understand it
It’s here at last!Rush job; Nobody knew it was coming
Field-testedManufacturer lacks test equipment
High accuracyUnit on which all parts fit
Direct sales onlyFactory had big argument with distributor
Years of developmentWe finally got one that works
RevolutionaryIt’s different from our competitors
BreakthroughWe finally figured out a way to sell it
FuturisticNo other reason why it looks the way it does
DistinctiveA different shape and color than the others
Maintenance-freeImpossible to fix
Re-designedPrevious faults corrected, we hope…
Hand-craftedAssembly machines operated without gloves on
Performance provenWill operate through the warranty period
Meets all standardsOurs, not yours
All solid-stateHeavy as Hell!
Broadcast qualityGives a picture and produces noise
High reliabilityWe made it work long enough to ship it
SMPTE bus compatibleWhen completed, will be shipped by Greyhound
New/Next generationOld design failed, maybe this one will work
MIL-Spec componentsWe got a good deal at a government auction
Customer service across the countryYou can return it from most airports
Unprecedented performanceNothing we ever had before worked THIS way
Built to precision tolerancesWe finally got it to fit together
Satisfaction guaranteedManufacturer’s, upon cashing your check
Microprocessor controlledDoes things we can’t explain
Latest aerospace technologyOne of our techs was laid off by Boeing

My Youtube Playlist

Really? You still haven’t had enough? Well, there’s always a YouTube playlist I have…