• The Breakthrough that Made Animation Look Natural

    In the latest in a series of videos on film innovations that came from outside Hollywood, Phil Edwards highlights rotoscoping, a process of filming live action and transferring the motion to produce realistic animated movement invented by Max Fleischer.

  • The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

    For me, Erik Larson is one of the best nonfiction storytellers around. I loved both The Devil in the White City (about the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893) and In the Garden of Beasts. So when his new book, The Splendid and the Vile, comes out in February, I’m gonna hop on it right away. As the subtitle says, the book is about Winston Churchill and Britain during the the Blitz.

  • The Deep Sea

    The Deep Sea is a fun little web toy where you scroll down into the ocean to see the depths at which different animals (and a few plants) hang out. Warning: if you start scrolling you probably won’t be able to stop until (spoiler alert!) you reach the bottom of the Challenger Deep.

  • Microscopic Photography of Tiny Plant Structures

    Artist Rob Kesseler is a master of the microphotography of plants and their intricately small parts (like pollen, cells, and seeds). At Colossal, Kessler says a childhood gift of a microscope set him on his way.

  • The 2019 kottke.org Holiday Gift Guide

    Over the past few weeks, as I’ve done for the past several years, I’ve combed through many of the best online gift guides to highlight some of the best holiday gifts out there. It’s a curated meta-guide for your holiday giving. Here we go!

  • Incredible Display of Ice Crystal Halos Around the Sun in the Swiss Alps

    This is a photo of several ice crystal halos around the Sun taken by Michael Schneider in the Swiss Alps with an iPhone 11 Pro. It. Is. Absolutely. Stunning. I can barely write more than a few words here without stealing another peek at it. According to Schneider’s post (translated from German by Google), this display developed gradually as he waited for a friend as some icy fog and/or clouds were dissipating at the top of a Swiss ski resort and he was happy to capture it on his new...

  • Snowbrawl

    Snowbrawl is a fun short film of a children’s snowball fight shot as if it were a John Wick or Mission Impossible action sequence. David Leitch, the uncredited co-director of John Wick and director of Deadpool 2, shot the whole thing for Apple on an iPhone 11 Pro.

  • A Circle Thief

    A Circle Thief is a lovely little animation by Natsumi Comoto of a robber of circular objects and the chalk-wielding commuter who attempts to stop him.

  • A Map of the 637 Languages Spoken in NYC

    The Endangered Language Alliance has produced a map of the 637 languages and dialects spoken by the residents of NYC (past and present).

  • Reader’s Block

    I stumbled across this comic by Grant Snider this morning and realized that I am often afflicted by reader’s block but have never quite thought about it in that way, somehow.

  • Paul Sougy’s Vintage Scientific Illustrations for French Schools

    A flea market find by a friend spurred Maria Popova to rediscover and restore Paul Sougy’s mid-century educational illustrations of plants, animals, and the human body.

  • Primitive Technology, the Book!

    We haven’t checked in on the Primitive Technology guy in awhile and — whoa, he has umasked himself! After more than four years of anonymity, the man building all of the tools, huts, weapons, and other Stone Age technologies in the wilds of Australia has revealed himself as John Plant. And in this video compilation from October, he announces that he has a book out: Primitive Technology: A Survivalist’s Guide to Building Tools, Shelters, and More in the Wild. Looks like a step-by-step guide to...