Sunday 25 August 2013

Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 25 of August Edition


This was a very peculiar week. A lot of references to memory floating around coming from the most diverse sources, from films, to events, to championships, to Jorge Luis Borges fantastic taxonomies. Somehow, as usual, it's all related, and it made us think a lot about the art of remembering (and forgetting!) and if we actually are outsourcing this abilities to our phones and computers.

In a very less intense note we welcome in this edition at our new contributor Carola Melguizo of La Guía del Perro (The Dog's Guide) who will be sharing with us the best links of all things dog in her new section: In Dog We Trust. Hope you enjoy this new edition of The Procrastinator (some) Times.


Photo via The Guardian.

Gibraltar: life under siege. Now that the tension between Spain and the British colony had scaled, Stephen Moss asks in The Guardian: what's the mood on the Rock? Also, have a look at the results of a The Telegraph's poll on whether Gibraltar is British or Spanish that went viral in Spain (care to guess the results?). Finally if you want to read about the Rock in the Rock's words, have a look at the Gibraltar Chronicle and if you understand Spanish have a look at the conflict's highlights from another perspective in El País.

Photo: The Procrastinator (some) Times

Monogamy is outdated and “polyamorous” relationships, involving multiple partners, could become the new normal, according to a controversial BBC investigation. Radio 4 documentary Monogamy and the Rules of Love argues that the “taboo” around sharing lovers between an unlimited number of sexual partners could disappear within a decade. Do you agree? Have a look at the full article in The Independent.
A number of panicked Russians have contacted the authorities to report concerns over the bizarre behaviour of 'zombie pigeons' in Moscow. Yes, pigeons can be worst, they can be zombie pigeons. Probably some AMC or Showtime executive is taking notes right now. Read full article in The Independent.

Photo: The Independent.

“Memory is misunderstood, but it is the highest form of thinking, always remember that says Tony Buzan, the co-founder of the World Memory Championships, to The Independent correspondent Paul Gallagher, who joined the 13 contestants of the 6th UK Open Memory Championships and learned a couple of tricks to remember. Read his article here.

Kevin Daum of INC also writes about the challenge that represents remember something important when there is so much other stuff going on around you, and he shares 10 Tips for Improving your Memory. Have a look here.


Photo: Meron Gribetz, CEO and founder of Meta, by Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

We love the beginning of this Wired article: "Meron Gribetz wants to build a version of Google Glass that doesn’t make you look like an idiot." So far, all the polemic revolves around the ethic and legal considerations of this gadget that is not even for sale yet. Nobody has considered the aesthetic side yet, except Meta, Gribetz's company. Meta’s basic mission is to create computerized glasses that are everything Google Glass is not — stylish, cool, and non-distracting. Read all about it here.

Image: Screenshot of Slack.

Named by FastCompany as an "email killer" a team of cofounders that designed Flickr launched Slack, a tool for office collaboration and communication that integrates various external services, bringing all communications (Google Docs, Dropbox, GitHub, Crashalytics, Zen Desk, etc) into one interface. Slack represents a "15-year slow-motion disintegration of Microsoft's hegemony over the workplace" states Stewart Buttlerfield, one of Slack co-founders. Boom. Read the complete interview in FastCompany and/or give Slack a try right here.

Photo: Volkswagen via Wired.

The Volkswagen Microbus is Officially Dead, but as Wired says 'not that you knew it was still alive.' Volkswagen’s official moniker was called Kombi or the Type 2 and to commemorate its disappearance V-Dub conspired with its Brazilian arm to create 600 Last Edition Kombis with white wall tires, special blue paint, an obnoxiously awkward grille, and a subtly reworked interior. Read about full article in Wired and don't worry for the Kombis out there, they'll all go to hippie heaven.

Illustration: Breaking Bad S05E09, part II, by Zoe Mendelson via Wired.

Commissioned by Fast Company, Broolkyn based writer Zoe Mendelson, created an amazing summary of the first episode of the last season of AMC's Breaking Bad using just emoticons. I personally always liked storytelling using emoticons, when Hotmail's Messenger was alive I used to make some, and I shamelessly used to call them MSN Art. But this if these can be called art, Meldelson is definitiely some sort of Da Vinci. Have a look at the whole episode in FastCompany.

And if you'd like to give emoticons a go, but are too lazy a new app by VoidWorks, a Singapore-based app development studio, allows users to transform boring photos into pop art pieces by replacing pixels with colorful emoticons. Read about it in Wired.


Image via Maptia.

"The relationship between words and their meaning is a fascinating one", specially when we come across a concept that truly cannot be properly explained between cultures, like the popular Brazilian 'saudade' or Milan Kundera's 'lítost'. Inspired by 'Through The Language Glass', a book by Guy Deutscher that argues that our mother tongues shape our experiences of the world, Maptia did a beautiful job illustrating 11 of those untranslatable words. Have a look here.

Photo: Jorge Luis Borges photographed by Vasco Szinetar via Vasco Szinetar's Blog.

The Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges was born on August 24th, 1899 (¡feliz cumpleaños!), so there was some articles and blog posts  celebrating his wonderful stories and imagination. Explore, a Brain Pickings project edited by Maria Popova in partnership with Noodle, features a fragment of an imagined old Chinese Enciclopaedia named Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge created by Jorge Luis Borges in his 1942 short story The Analytical Language of John Wilkins. According to that animals are classified as  follows:

1. those that belong to the Emperor,
2. embalmed ones,
3. those that are trained,
4. suckling pigs,
5. mermaids,
6. fabulous ones,
7. stray dogs,
8. those included in the present classification,
9. those that tremble as if they were mad,
10. innumerable ones,
11. those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
12. others,
13. those that have just broken a flower vase,
14. those that from a long way off look like flies.

Check Explore, a very nice project; check Venezuelan photographer Vasco Szinetar's work, he is famous for his mirror portraits; and if you haven't yet, read Borges, it's good for the mind and the soul.


Today we welcome our new contributor: Carola Melguizo from La Guía del Perro, who every week will share with us the best dog-related links of this dog eat dog world. So, if you fancy a little dog in your procrastination time, or you are on the look of some helpful tips, watch this space!

Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP via The Guardian.

Hello dog lover,
Hope you have a wonderful week! Here are a few fun links that you might like:

Plus, two dogs you seriously need to follow on Instagram:
My best friend Obi-Wan Kenobi
The hispterDigby Van Winkle


Image: Calvin & Hobbs via The Huffington Post

"Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!" These are Calvin's words of wisdom, for more insightful quotes of this wonderful duo check this article in the Huffington Post.

Even professional procrastinators like us sometimes get surprised by what appears to be a superior capacity to procrastinate. This week's turn is Kevin Conklin's, who made a compilation of Metallica's guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield saying 'yeah'. Exactly. You can listen (or not) in Don't Panic.

Photo: The Procrastinator (some) Times

On Thursday we went to a very interesting morning lecture organized by Creative Mornings. This time we listen at Nico Macdonald, a consultant on innovation and creativity, and co-author of BIG POTATOES: The London Manifesto for Innovation talking about innovation in transportation. The event was sposored by Camden Collective and by Fox & Squirrel. Creative Morning events are happening in a lot of cities in the world, from London, New York, Berlin, Stockholm and Paris, to Budapest, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Bogotá and Bangalore. Follow these guys to find out about very interesting lectures that you can actually attend because they happen very early in the morning. Coffee is included, of course!


Our friends from Archeology Project invite us to their first live event: a video excavation of the Barbican Centre as part of Hack the Barbican. Become an explorer and record the collective memory of the largest performing arts centre in Europe, all you need is a phone with camera. Sounds good right. This will take place the next Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of August and you can just drop in or register here.

Hack the Barbican is also featuring a whole bunch of other activities to enjoy, like Haiku writing, narrating the Barbican, Pecha-Kucha performances, poetry hack and sounds installations. Have a look at the program for next week and remember that this Hack the Barbican's last week, don't miss out!

Photo: Tim Mitchell via Southbank Centre website

It's almost the last week of Southbank Centre's Festival of Neighborhood too, and there are still plenty of things to enjoy during this next week, but specially on Sunday it will take place the central piece of this finale: the Southbanquet. An invitation to share an alfresco meal of ethically sourced food to mark the end of summer on the terrace overlooking the Thames. The meal is cooked by Thomas Hunt, former River Cottage chef, founder of the eco-collective The Forgotten Feast and official chef of Feeding the 5000. There will be banquet-related workshops during the whole weekend and the weather, so far, promises no rain. Win!


This is, without any doubt, Procrastination. Made by Brighton based illustrator Charly Clements. Have a look at her Behance page here.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 18 of August Edition


This past week we read a lot of news about privacy rights vs spying policies, from bins in the centre of London to the NSA in the US. There was a lot of space news too; people applying to travel to Mars, new space gourmet food, and cool motion graphics of how Twitter goes viral comparing astronaut Chris Hadfield vs. Ryan Gosling. Our weekly procrastination included a visit to Shuffle Festival and to Hack the Barbican, and some of the usual wonderful viral stuff of the Internet. Finally this week we received cool contributions from JonnyVictoria & Sharan, fellow procrastinators and friends.
Many, many thanks to you all, contributors and readers, please stay tuned because we already have a new section for next week. Watch this space and if you want to procrastinate with us, go ahead and get involved!


Photo: Renew London via The Independent.

It’s not only CCTV, now the rubbish bins are also watching you, or are they? London’s ‘smart bins’ are tracking passerbys by identifying their smartphones’ wi-fi connections. The scheme is currently being trialled around Cheapside, with the intention is sell this information to brands to create targeted advertisements. Even though the technology in its infancy and the legality of the scheme is yet to be debated, the City of London Corporation has release the following statement: “We have already asked the firm concerned to stop this data collection immediately. We have also taken the issue to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Irrespective of what’s technically possible, anything that happens like this on the streets needs to be done carefully, with the backing of an informed public.” Read full article in The Independent.

Photo: The Economist.

More spy games. The past 9th of August Barack Obama announced some (long) overdue reforms on the government’s surveillance programs. He also promised that the administration will release the legal rationale for its snooping and the NSA will try to do a better job of explaining what it does. Even if Obama states that Edward Snowden is no patriot, and that those reforms would have happened with or without him leaking secret documents and attempting against US national security, the Economist believes that the reforms are the direct consequence of The Snowden Effect. Read full article here.

Image: Mars One.

So, here’s the plan: we go to Mars and we never come back! If you stand Christmas without your family… or without oxygen, well this isn’t for you. However, Mars One, the not-for-profit foundation that wishes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023, already received more than 100.000 applications to become part of the team that -allegedly- will leave Earth in September 2022. this one-way trips to the red planet. Meet a few of the 100,000 people who have applied to go to Mars in this article of Fast Company, and if you want to submit an application, you have until the 31 of August, so start recording.

And of you’re planning to apply to go to Mars, here are some more good news, as NASA takes a fresh look at in-flight food for the astronauts preparing for the first manned mission to Mars. They will no longer have to make do with a steady diet of freeze-dried ice cream and may attempt to cook fresh food on the Martian surface. Read full article in The Independent.

Image: Still of the video showing how Chris Hadfield’s ‘Space Oddity’ video spread across the web. Via Twitter UK

How videos go viral. UK Twitter’s team after an exhaustive research about what make a tweet go viral concluded *drum roll* that “there is no single magic formula”. To compensate such discovery they illustrated (beautifully) various viral spread patterns with dynamic visualizations, including Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal, a procrastination jewel in loop, and Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity video. Full article with videos and links in The Independent.


Image: Chineasy via FastCoDesign.

Chinese mnemonics: There are some 20,000 characters in contemporary written Chinese. Knowing about 4,000 is considered educated, standard literacy is 2,000 and basic literacy is 200 characters. Chineasy, a new system for learning Chinese characters, developed by Taiwanese London-based entrepreneur ShaoLan Hsueh, promises to get the novice to that level, using just minimalist posters. I haven’t used Chineasy, obviously since it is still in its successful Kickstarter phase, but I honestly think it can work because the only three characters I remember from two levels of Chinese, where the ones I learned with a story associated to their image: Country , student , and person . Read the full article in FastCoDesign.

Image: Wired.

The untold story of Google’s quest to bring the Internet everywhere… floating in balloons. Unveiled on June 15 and powered by Google X, Project Loon balloons plan to circle the globe in rings, connecting wirelessly to the Internet via a handful of ground stations, and pass signals to one another in a kind of daisy chain. Each would act as a wireless station for an area about 25 miles in diameter below it, using a variant of Wi-Fi to provide broadband to anyone with a Google-issued antenna. Read full article in Wired.

Photo: Idlewild via FastCoDesign.

Rebranding a NYC Bookstore to evoke the golden age of travel. Designer Andrew Colin Beck often finds “that brands have a super rich visual culture hiding deep below the surface that they’re not capitalizing on,” Idlewild Books in New York City was one of them, but now is wearing a fusion of this combined literary and tourist legacy on the sleeve of every book they sell. Read about this school project that became a beautiful rebrand for this travel bookstore in FastCoDesign.

Why innovations requires sales people? Geoffrey James argues that While some innovations may go viral (i.e. spreading from person to person), most innovations require a salesperson to help customers go through the often-difficult process of changing how they behave, otherwise innovation dies on the vine. Read full article in INC.

R/GA’s 10 steps to effective creative prototyping for ad agencies. These days agencies need to walk-the-walk and not just talk-the-talk when it comes to showing clients concepts. Working prototypes are far more accurate, compelling and tangible than slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Have a look at this 10 effective steps to get your team rolling in The Guardian.


Photo: The Procrastinator (some) Times.

New York, New York, still the capital of art cool. London used to be cool, writes Jonathan Jones on his art blog in The Guardian, but now art and pop have a new place to party. It’s called New York. According to Jones, actually, modern art have always belong to New York, since Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal back in 1917. Now that art is merging with mass entertainment in the top of the heap, the art capital of the 20th century is back where it belongs. Want to agree or disagree vehemently, read his post here.

Photo: Movie still from Alpha Papa via AnOther Magazine.

"It is over 20 years since Steve Coogan debuted his hapless character on radio comedy show On the Hour; since then, he has hosted a failed chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You, in which he managed to kill one of his guests; worked the graveyard shift on a Norfolk radio station; and taken on humiliating promotional jobs including Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a Video". AnOther Magazine presents a Top Ten Alan Partridge Facts, did you know them all?


Photo: Before I die I want to (NYC).

Before I die I want to… is a project created by Brooklyn-based artist Nicole Kenney, inspired by a combination of factors: (1) the “death” of the Polaroid, (2) a psychologist’s tool called safety contracts, and (3) a passion to get people to think about (and act upon) what is really important in their lives through this simple, straight-forward question. If you want to know more about the project or have a look at what people want to do before they die, click here.

Image: Still from Jimmy Kimmel’s video.

Moose Running on Highway. Jimmy Kimmel warns us that there’s more people killed every year by moose than by sharks. One billion people he says, and he has a video that could be the clue to discover why. Have a look here.

Image: Screen shot of

Ladies, if you speak Spanish and you want to procrastinate a little (that last part is a bit obvious, no?), or if you want to go all in and rent a bearded guy, this is the website you must go: Adopta un tio (Adopt a Guy). Our correspondents in Madrid tells us that with his nice selection of special offers (bearded guys, gingers, geeks, tattooed, etc) this page is what’s hot in Spain right now. (Although neither them or us have any idea if they are serious or not).

Photos: Shuffle Festival at St. Clements Social Club

Attack the Block @ Shuffle Festival. We went to watch Joe Cornish’s sci-fi comedy Attack the Block at Shuffle Festival. During the Time Out’s outdoors it rained lightly but that just made the experience more English. Whether you found about this nice Shuffle Festival on time or not you still can head down to St. Clements Social Club, a former psychiatric facility located in Mile End that became a very peculiar yet amazing landmark with various different spaces, gardens, bars and over all nice cool-down people. Go ahead and have a look.

Image: This Charming Charlie.

Finally, the most popular Tumblr of the week: This Charming Charlie. Combine the lyrics of The Smiths with Peanuts panels? Yes, please.


Next Monday 26 of August is a Bank Holiday. Don’t forget!

Photo: Notting Hill Carnival 2012 via BBC.

If by any chance you’ve never experienced Notting Hill Carnival, well this next weekend is your weekend! Here is how is described in the website: twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revellers. Held each August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe, so miss out! More info here.

Image: The Book Club.

The Book Club presents its third annual Bookstock street festival this bank holiday Sunday, and it’s gone nautical: Bookstock-On-Sea – a celebration of the great British summer and all the fun of the seaside, with a fun-filled Shoreditch twist. Join the event in FB for the most up to date info and pop in to The Book Club before 6.30pm everyday to grab your priority entry wristbands.


More monos by Germán here.