When Nirvana put out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in 1991, it became one of the defining songs of a decade and an anthem for disaffected Generation Xers everywhere.
And now, 27 years later, one key change has completely destroyed it.
Sleep Good, a musician from Austin, Texas, took Nirvana’s classic song, and remixed it all in a major chord. The effect is striking. Instead of the moody, rage-filled hit, it sounds like a song off of Weezer’s recent albums. It sounds like something from New Found Glory. It sounds… disturbing.
It was a cold thing for Sleep Good to just drop this video on Vimeo, with a description that only says, "a pop punk band from La Jolla, CA," and then peace out without any further explanation or solace. Sleep Good single-handedly unlaced everything we remember about our fuzzy early years and replaced it with the sounds of a mid-2000s MTV beach party. Read more…
While Chelsea Handler’s talk show on Netflix is on its way out, the company is taking a different approach with a new attempt featuring David Letterman as shown by its first trailer. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is scheduled for six 60-minute episodes with George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey, Howard Stern and President Barack Obama slated to visit. The first episode, with Obama, will arrive January 12th, with new ones released monthly. The show will take place inside and outside the studio, as Letterman returns to TV for the first time since leaving the Late Show on CBS in 2015.
You’ve heard the stories of the people tricked by a scam involving a Nigerian prince. Turns out, one of the “Nigerian princes” was actually just some 67-year-old man from Louisiana. Looks like I wired my money all the way to Africa for nothing when I could have just sent it to Louisiana. Michael Neu, this particular “Nigerian prince,” was caught in a web of lies and charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. It’s like you can’t trust anyone on the internet these days.
You know the deal, you get an email from a Nigerian prince who desperately needs your help. The government official or royal family member from Nigeria needs an urgent fund transfer, then promises to not only reimburse you but also pay you handsomely for your assistance. You of course give the money because it’s always good to help someone in need, especially a wealthy Nigerian prince worth millions.
After an 18-month investigation by the Slidell Police Department’s Financial Crimes Division, they arrested Neu on Thursday. The 67-year-old Louisiana man is suspected of being the “middle man” in hundreds of scams that robbed people of their money. Some of the money that Neu allegedly stole was wired to co-conspirators that were actually in the country of Nigeria.
“Most people laugh at the thought of falling for such a fraud, but law enforcement officials report annual losses of millions of dollars to these schemes,” the Slidell Police said in a statement. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” So this email that I got saying I won $5 million in sweepstakes and all they need is my email to wire over my winnings might be fake? But what if it isn’t? Can I really afford to take the chance?
Popular teaching about photographic composition says to learn the rules and then break them. I prefer to encourage the people who join our photography workshops to learn the rules, understand them well and put them into practice so frequently they become second nature.
If you can apply the rules without even consciously thinking about them you will create more dynamic, interesting photographs which convey more feeling.
Why do we have rules?
Rules are important as they are the underlying structure of composition. Much like scales are to musicians. Much like grammar is to language.
Successful musicians have typically spent long hours going over and over the same scales until they know them so well they do not need to think about them. When we learned our first language, our “mother tongue”, we never consulted the textbooks to study the grammatical structure of the language, we just absorbed it, (most frequently from our mothers.)
Some people will have more difficulty learning the rules of composition and applying them effectively than others. Very much like some people can learn to play musical instruments or learn new languages easier.
I think it is because we are all creatively gifted in different ways. If you are gifted with a visual creativity you may find it easier to compose photographs than say someone who is gifted with a musical creativity and finds it easy to play the guitar or trumpet for example.
I do like what the famous American photographer Edward Weston had to say about learning and implementing the rules of composition:
“Now to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravity before going for a walk.”
I doubt any of us can recall studying the law of gravity before we learned to walk. But we certainly knew about it.
Know them at a subconscious level
Knowing the rules is important as they will help guide our creative thinking, but applying these rules rigidly will generally lead towards making rather static and lifeless photographs. As you learn the rules and know them so well you can incorporate them into your photographs intuitively you will find your images may take on a whole new dynamic. Very much like walking and talking, it’s good to be subconsciously aware of the rules and laws as they are there for good reason.
Reading about and studying the rules of composition will help you gain a good understanding of them. Practicing them frequently is the most effective means of consistently integrating them into your photographs. Practice them even when you don’t have your camera with you.
Begin to see in the rule of thirds, discover leading lines and strong diagonals, look for frames and how you can use symmetry. One side effect of seeing like this will likely be that you start taking your camera everywhere with you.
Fill the frame
When I first started working in the photography department of a newspaper it was impressed upon me to “fill the frame”. This encouragement has stuck with me and I am aware, consciously or subconsciously, of wanting to effectively achieve this with every photograph I make. This was important in the newspaper in order to convey the story effectively, (and so sub-editors had less flexibility to horribly crop your photos).
Filling your frame does not mean that in every photo your subject must be pressed out to the edges of your viewfinder. It means however you are choosing to compose your photograph, make sure whatever is within the four corners and edges is relevant to the picture you are making.
If empty space is relevant and adds to your composition, use it well. If cropping in so tight that part of your subject is cut off makes a stronger image, then crop tight.
However you decide to compose your image, be happy with it. Don’t get hung up on the rules. But do have a solid understanding of them and explore how you like to incorporate them into the creative photographs you are making. And, if you so come up with any new rules, please do let me know!
Here’s a little video talking about this concept of composition.
Most travel pillows are either bulky rings of memory foam or inflatable innertubes, but Trtl is a totally different concept that saves space while providing great neck support.
Trtl is essentially a soft, scarf-like neck wrap with bent plastic ribs on one side, the idea being that the frame will support your head and neck when you doze off. In my personal experience, it really is more supportive than even the reader-favorite Cabeau Evolution memory foam pillow, although you can definitely tell that you’re being held up by a latticework of plastic, even if is wrapped in soft fabric.
If you prefer to fall asleep face down on your travel pillow atop your tray table, this is definitely not the pillow for you. But if you can stay upright and just want to avoid waking up with a crick in your neck, Trtl is well worth $30, if only to make flying economy suck just a tiny bit less.
Aging is largely your chromosomes’ fault. That’s what Nobel-prize winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn discovered when she started exploring the world of the invisible, threadlike cellular strands that carry our genetic code.
“It’s the over-shortening of telomeres that leads us to feel and see signs of aging,” Blackburn said in an April 2017 TED talk. "It sends a signal. Time to die."
Here are a few things Blackburn suggests anyone can do to keep their telomeres long. While these tips won’t make you live forever, they can help with your “health span” — the number of years a person lives happily, and disease-free.
The more chronically stressed we are, the shorter our telomeres become. Blackburn conducted research focused on mothers caring for children with autism and other chronic conditions, and found that moms who were more resilient to stress — perceiving their situation as a challenge, rather than something hopeless or overwhelming — kept their telomeres longer.
“Attitude matters,” Blackburn said.“If you typically see something stressful as a challenge to be tackled, then blood flows to your heart and to your brain, and you experience a brief but energizing spike of cortisol."
In case you haven’t heard enough about how beneficial meditation can be, here’s another way researchers have found that it helps: Family members who meditated for as little as 12 minutes a day for two months while caring for a relative with dementia improved their telomere maintenance.
Invest in your neighborhood community.
“Emotional neglect, exposure to violence, bullying and racism all impact your telomeres, and the effects are long-term,” Blackburn said.
But tight-knit communities can be good for telomere health.
Time travel is possible. Humans could even time travel back an entire year. Thanks to a delay and time zones, a Hawaiian Airlines flight was able to transport passengers from the year 2018 back to the year 2017. Hawaiian Airlines flight HA446 was traveling from Auckland in New Zealand to Honolulu, Hawaii. The plane was scheduled to takeoff at 11:55 pm on New Year’s Eve, and land at 9:45 am on the same day since Auckland is 23 hours ahead of Honolulu. A delay pushed the flight back to the next year (Now that’s a delay) at 12:05 am on January 1st, 2018. So the passengers celebrated New Year’s on the plane, then time traveled back to December 31st, 2017 when they landed in Hawaii at 10:16 am. The passengers were able to celebrate two occasions of ringing in 2018 and even had nearly a second full day of New Year’s Eve festivities.
“A couple of years ago, my partner Brandon, a chef, wanted to start his own restaurant. I sort of naively said, ‘I’ll help you! How hard can it be?’” Franzen says. “Spoiler alert: it’s really hard.”
It was a two-person operation—him cooking in back, her running the front of the house. Just as they started to build a positive reputation as a neighborhood brunch spot, they received their first negative online review, which started with “overrated,” threw in “gross” and a bunch of exclamation points, and ended with “I wouldn’t come back.”
“Negative reviews are never fun,” she says, “but this one, for a variety of reasons, just really felt especially heart-breaking. I think it’s because it felt so personal. … When you’ve got a business or a project that’s in its baby, baby stages, it feels like everything is on the line.”
It wasn’t as if Franzen had never dealt with rejection but she couldn’t stop thinking about this particular situation. So she did what she usually does when struggling with something: she started writing about it, and wondering how big the issue was. She reached out to friends and colleagues across industries and professions. “Everyone—literally every single person I reached out to, was like, ‘Oh my god, I have a story for you.’ Or ‘I have 10 stories for you.’ It was sort of surprising and also not surprising that everyone has their own version of the one-star Yelp review story.”
More than 15 professionals shared dozens of their not-so-fun situations for her book. Here are seven of Franzen’s favorite tips from their advice and hers for dealing with criticism, rejection, public humiliation, discouragement and other “soul-crushing experiences.”
Manage the crisis as best you can. “There are certain instances where either you’ve made a mistake, or maybe you haven’t really made a mistake but something has happened to kind of shatter your reputation in some way,” Franzen says. “I think it is important to manage it. […] Sometimes you need to post a statement, sometimes you need to apologize, sometimes you need to add an editor’s note to the article to note a mistake that you made. Deal with it in the most classy manner that you can. […] Oftentimes, when you do this, you actually end up winning more fans and supporters because people are impressed with how you handled the situation.”
Shake it out of your system. “Part of building resilience means, even if you’ve had a setback, even if you got a nasty blog comment or review, or you didn’t get the job or the client that you wanted, resilience means being able to go ‘ugh, that hurt,’ and do whatever you need to do to shake it out of your system, whether it’s yoga or meditation, or calling a friend, or punching a punching bag, or whatever, but then when tomorrow rolls around, you do the work again,” Franzen advises. “You post another post, you spend another hour practicing, you send another pitch or query letter. You just don’t stop. You just keep marching.”
Work harder. Do better. “Sometimes criticism can be uncomfortable because it’s illuminating something that’s at least partly true that we need to look at,” Franzen tells us. “One of the stories with Brendon, my partner, talks about a chef who was very unimpressed with some work that he did. You know, one person could interpret that as ‘Oh, that guy was so mean. I’m amazing.’ But Brandon’s interpretation was, ‘Well, maybe I could do better.’ And that was valuable fuel for him.”
Look at the whole picture. “Get feedback from many sources and look for trends rather than one review. … My mom likes to get what she calls a holistic look at how a project is doing, which means looking at everything, every possible marker of success to get a general picture of what’s going on,” Franzen advises. “And I do think that that can be really valuable because you’re really looking from every angle, rather than obsessing about one review, which is often very skewed.”
Remember that everyone goes through tough stuff. “Remember that literally everyone, everyone throughout history, your friends, your colleagues, the people you admire, everyone has gone through a rough patch, or a rough day, or a rough decade,” Franzen says. “It’s not always posted on Instagram, and it’s not always discussed publicly. I wish it would be more.”
Open up a conversation. “Find some kind of opportunity with your friends or your kids or your clients or on onstage or wherever you tell stories, to open up and share one of your own survival stories because it will be so healing and you might really impact someone big just by sharing. […] I think the more that we share these kinds of stories, the healthier we are as a society, and the less shame and panic people feel about discouraging moments because it normalizes it.”
Figure out your own coping strategies. “We all have a different toolbox of skills, but we can all build more resilience and bounce back from those discouraging moments a little faster and hopefully not let it derail us, and certainly not let us give up on our dreams,” she says.
For Franzen and her partner, they’ve got one new coping strategy in particular. “It turns out that one review did not ruin our restaurant,” she says, laughing. “And both of us have just decided not to read Yelp reviews any more.”
Chernow captures the 18th US president’s tumultuous life, replete with fortunes, falls from grace, humble Midwestern roots, lifelong alcoholism, and extraordinary achievements. It’s a portrait of a man that history has gravely misunderstood.
‘Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City’ by Matthew Desmond
Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond follows eight families on the brink of poverty in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in "Evicted." The stories firmly disprove the stereotype that poverty stems from a deficiency of willpower, work ethic, or intellectual rigor.
Desmond sheds light on the profound economic challenges faced by poor people and how people accustomed to the finer things in life can become poor through no fault of their own.