We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Grab all of these as a Readlist.
On Google X
Brad Stone looks inside Google X, the birthplace of self-driving cars, Glass, and the company's other moonshot projects.
Businessweek: Brad Stone - Inside Google's Secret Lab
Absurdity is not a barrier to consideration. Teller and colleagues say they’ve spent time contemplating levitation and teleportation. The latter was nixed as an area for further study in part because any unique item that you would want to teleport—a Picasso, say—would have to be completely destroyed before it could be reconstituted on the other end.
On Little Brother
Writing about last month's event at the University of Pennsylvania with Republican strategist Frank Lutz, Maria Bustillos examines the history and evolution of sousveillance and what it means to go "off the record."
The New Yorker: Maria Bustillos - Little Brother is Watching You
The era of Little Brother was perhaps inaugurated in November, 1963, with the Kodachrome II 8-mm. film of John F. Kennedy’s assassination inadvertently captured by the Dallas clothing manufacturer Abraham Zapruder. George Holliday’s videotape of the March, 1991, beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, and Scott Prouty’s forty-seven-per-cent video, which arguably cost Mitt Romney the Presidency last year, fall into the same class.
Jon Mooallem visits Brigham Young University, an unlikely hotspot for new Hollywood animation talent.
The New York Times: Jon Mooallem - When Hollywood Wants Good, Clean Fun, It Goes to Mormon Country
Those films have consistently racked up student Emmys and student Academy Awards. They’ve played at Cannes and Sundance. Most important, they’ve impressed recruiters. Out of nowhere, B.Y.U. — a Mormon university owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — has become a farm team for the country’s top animation studios and effects companies. Unlikely as it sounds, young Mormons are being sucked out of the middle of Utah and into the very centers of American pop-culture manufacturing.
On returning to space
Dan P. Lee visits Spaceport America and profiles the new generation of companies getting in the space transportation game.
New York Magazine: Dan P. Lee - Welcome to the Real Space Age
The spaceport is only 50 miles from Las Cruces, but the road off Interstate 25 still wasn’t paved, and so the drive took two hours. Finally, it appeared in the distance, rising almost imperceptibly from the scorched brown sands. It looked futuristic but also prehistoric, as if a giant UFO had crash-landed here thousands of years earlier or burrowed underground like the alien spacecraft in the movie Prometheus.
On 'Arrested Development'
Before Arrested Development consumes the rest of your Memorial Day weekend, read Andy Greene's fantastic interview with show creator Mitch Hurwitz.
Rolling Stone: Andy Greene - 'Arrested Development' Creator Mitch Hurwitz on His Two-Year Odyssey to Revive the Show
We ended up with an eight-hour movie of Arrested Development where the pieces do kind of come together. Not only was the show told out of sequence, it was shot out of sequence. Half of the stuff is on green screen. There are scenes where there are two characters talking to each other. On one side, it's Jason Bateman in July, and on the other side it's Portia in November. It was these crazy, crazy things where everybody had to say, "Wait, she hasn't gone to that party, so she wouldn't have that makeup on, therefore..."
And finally, Janet Manley on the end of the startup ride over at McSweeney's.
Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.