Welcome back to The Weekender, and what a week it's been. We've gone from the Flint Center to the Cretaceous period and back, and the world will never be the same. So it's time to take a little break and unwind. Time to take a minute as the weather gets a little cooler, step outside into this futurescape we've created for ourselves, and take stock. Together. Below you'll find a collection of the week's finest, most important work from here and abroad, along with some of the best ways you can spend your time. Monday isn't far away. Better make the most of it.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the most highly regarded painters of the Post Impressionist period. On top of his brilliance, however, he was a medical disaster, living with several congenital birth defects and finally dying of complications from alcoholism and syphilis. The Body Lautrec at Philly's Fringe Fest, sponsored by both the Jim Henson Foundation and the Mütter Museum, examines both the artist and his physical body throughout his career, using skeletal puppets to show his most medically stressful moments.
Electronica fans still on holiday in Europe should make a stop in Barcelona this Sunday for the 16th edition of Piknik Electronik. The outdoor party is capping off the season with a show featuring Boston house duo Soul Clap and other live performers. Think of it as a summer flashback.
This was a huge week for Apple. It unveiled two new iPhones, a mobile payments system, and its first smartwatch — and that's really just scratching the surface of it all. Check out our roundup for all the details from Apple's big event.
Ferries play a huge public transportation role in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they're also hugely inefficient. Now one company is trying to pitch a potentially game-changing way to clean them up: a wing that would make boats' fuel use drop dramatically.
Could Facebook's facial recognition algorithms be used for something more important than tagging photos? It turns out, the algorithm is sensitive enough that it recently began accidentally identifying a man as his mother, leaving some people wondering how else this technology could be used for identifying ancestors.
OKCupid's OKTrends blog was hugely popular when it was active back in 2010, turning data gleaned from OKCupid users into pithy data points about humanity, relationships, and online dating. Now, the blog's creator is back with a book — but it's worth remembering that a lot has changed about our view of data harvesting in the past few years.
Researchers are finally getting to the bottom of what the huge dinosaur Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was actually like. For one thing, it was something to be feared on both land and water — but it took a surprising bit of serendipity for scientists to figure that out.
Bryan Curtis writes a fascinating story about the history of American waterparks and the design of the world's tallest waterslide.
Millay had gotten the idea for a water park one summer at SeaWorld, when he realized he had brought visitors to the water but not into the water. He explained to a reporter years later, "All you have to do is spend some time in Central Florida in the summertime — it’s hot and muggy — and ask what does a person want to do in his spare time. The answer is either sex, booze, or go swimming, right?"
Roff Smith reports on London cabbies' pursuit of The Knowledge, the extremely difficult test required to drive a taxi.
You'll need to know your way around so well that, when asked, you can calculate the most direct legal route between any two addresses anywhere in the entire 113-square-mile (293-square-kilometer) metropolitan area within seconds, without looking at a map, and be able to rattle off the precise sequence of streets, junctions, roundabouts, and left- and right-hand turns necessary to complete such a journey.
And you'll have to be able to do this consistently, not just once or twice, but in a potentially endless series of one-on-one oral exams, called "appearances," taken at regular intervals until the examiners are satisfied that you do indeed possess The Knowledge.
The New York Times
Natalie Anger talks about how supermoon hype can be a great thing, and writes about the latest research on the formation of the Moon.
According to the reigning hypothesis, about 4.5 billion years ago, shortly after Earth had accreted down into a sphere from its little slub of circumsolar material, another newborn planet, still shaky on its feet, slammed obliquely into Earth with terrifying force.
That "giant impactor," Theia, who in Greek mythology was mother to the goddess of the moon, is thought to have been roughly the size of Mars and to have been pulverized in the encounter, along with a good chunk of proto-Earth. From that fiery cloud of all-Theia and part-Earth, the scenario goes, our moon soon condensed.
New York Magazine
Lisa Miller profiles transgender CEO Martine Rothblatt and her search for immortality.
She is Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was born male.
Francesa Mari digs into the lucrative world of affiliate marketing, fashion blogging, and Instagram.
The influence wielded by this flock of pout-prone lips and dewy eyelashes was nothing short of staggering. These partygoers reached more than 13.5 million followers on Instagram combined. Many made more than $20,000 a month—some more than $80,000—just from posting links to sites that sold the short-shorts and Chanel shoes that they wore in their photos. Factoring in the revenue from banner ads on their websites, sponsored posts, and store appearances, a number of top bloggers raked in more than $1 million a year. And now they were waiting—having flown in from Los Angeles and New York and more than eighteen countries, some as far away as Australia and China—to meet the person who had made much of this money-making possible: a redheaded 26-year-old from Highland Park named Amber Venz.
Listen to this
Let's just take it back to 1989 for a second. Shit Robot, otherwise known as Irish DJ Marcus Lambkin, mixed this collection of classic hip house tracks for his latest single "Do It (Right)." Every track is pulled directly from vinyl, making it an incredible throwback for old-school fans.
Flying Lotus' hyperspace jazz beats blend seamlessly with Kendrick Lamar's delivery on "Never Catch Me" and the combination is a little out of control. Just listen.
You've probably been playing Destiny all week, and by now you've likely come away more than a little disappointed. If you're looking for a game that's action-packed and enjoyable, dust off Earth Defense Force 2025. No, it doesn't offer the promise of a shooter of MMORPG proportions. No, it isn't perfect even on its own merits. But, as you kill wave after wave of massive alien bugs, it's decadent, pulpy, and thrilling in a way that Destiny so often isn't. Seriously. Give yourself a break and have some fun.
Richard Kiel, best known for playing the beloved steel-toothed thug Jaws, died this week. To honor his passing, take time this weekend to watch one of the silliest and frankly best James Bond films ever made, Moonraker. For those unfamiliar with 007 history, this is the one where Bond goes to space (mostly because Star Wars had run away with Hollywood's collective imagination). Jaws is nigh-unkillable and there are few henchmen out there who can stand up to him. RIP Mr. Kiel. You are missed.