The end of the world, Modern Seinfeld, and brains and bacon in this week’s Staff Picks

Monster invasions, bionic men, and the future of cool cars in this week's Staff Picks

caleb denisonCaleb Denison: Run for your lives! The world is totally not ending next week!

You know why I can’t wait for 12/22/2012? So everybody can shut the hell up about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. Sure, folks will probably be buzzing and joking about how the world didn’t end, but even that will be a welcome relief after the ridiculous speculation and debate we’ve had to endure for the past few years and, especially, the past few months.

If you’re as fed up with all this doomsaying as I am, then it may come as some consolation to know that you are not alone. The folks at NASA – you know, that organization filled with some of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world – are so certain that the world isn’t going to end on 12/21/2012 that it has already released a video titled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.” In it, hard-nosed scientists explain that the Mayan calendar did not end on December 21st, 2012 and there are no Mayan prophecies fortelling the end of the world on that date. NASA also does a pretty good job of debunking the wildly exaggerated claims that a celestial body – be it a planet, comet or the sun – poses any threat to us at this time. And they do it all without making us puny humans feel stupid. Simply put, nothing is going to happen.


natt garun

Natt Garun: Christopher Nolan should just make every movie

I’m still buzzing from the high that was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. There’s just something about his storytelling that makes every movie so epic. This was reiterated when the most recent trailer for Man Of Steel surfaced this week, starring Henry Cavill (The Tudors) as the one and only Superman himself. Melodrama! Beautiful cinematography! Bluish-hue overtones! YouTube commentators say it best: This trailer makes The Avengers look like a Disney movie.

Okay, so maybe I should also give some credit to Zach Snyder (Watchmen) for actually directing Man Of Steel, but attach Nolan’s name to a movie trailer and I am so there. See you in the theater lines on June 14, 2013.


instagram idiocy marshmallows or the moon and staff picks les shuLes Shu: When food styling didn’t exist as a profession

The first thing everybody comments on when they walk into my stately studio apartment is the large collection of cookbooks that line the pantry shelves. Besides attempting the recipes (some of which require a science degree to execute), the real reason for my cookbook hoarding is the visual stimulation I get from the incredible, mouth-watering photos. Call it food porn, if you must. 

But once upon a time, cookbooks were not always so beautiful. Imagine my horror (and laughter) when I found myself scrolling through the entries at Yuckylicious (by way of Boing Boing), a site dedicated to “exploring the world’s worst cookbooks.” Its author, Micki Myers, highlights recipes that are not only questionable as edible food, but are equally revolting as eye candy.

As the site states, “Yuckylicious seeks to showcase examples of these awful cookbooks as well as recipes from decent vintage and classic cookbooks for dishes we no longer eat.” Let’s hope we never have to revisit “brains and bacon” again.

Brains and bacon staff picks
andrew coutsAndrew Couts: This crazy guy is the most sane person in the world

Thanks to a major case of jet lag, I recently found myself doing some late-night link-clicking and came across what has to be the best celebrity interview ever given: Dave Chappelle on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

The two-hour conversation between the comedian and host James Lipton dates back to 2006, after Chappelle escaped to Africa rather than accept a $50 million dollar deal to continue making his The Chappelle Show for Comedy Central. Most people assumed he’d lost his mind – who turns down $50 million?

As the interview reveals, the truth is much more complex. In fact, I staggered to my bed after watching all two hours of this thinking me might be the most sane person on the planet. Another surprise: the interview, which can still be purchased as a DVD, has survived the intense copyright-infringement gamut that so often keeps videos like this off YouTube. 

So if you find yourself Web-surfing the night away, take some time to relish in this long-lost gem of the Web. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. And you’ll learn a thing or two about life.

Jennifer BergenJen Bergen: A Twitter feed for the Seinfeld-obsessed 

I was in middle school and far away from New York when Seinfeld, which I watched every week, went off the air. Now, more than 10 years later, I live just a few blocks away from Tom’s Restaurant on the upper East Side and wish more than ever that the show was still on. Sure, as a kid I laughed at Kramer’s crazy antics, but I didn’t really understand the more adult jokes until years later watching reruns. Thankfully, it looks like my prayers have been answered … in the form of a Twitter account.

Scanning my Twitter feed Monday morning, I was surprised to see a retweet from an account by the name of “@SeinfeldToday.” I immediately began laughing and reading all of Modern Seinfeld’s tweets.

modern seinfeld tweetsI realized what I had stumbled upon … the present-day Seinfeld that jokes about things like being embarrassed about having a BlackBerry (George), breaking up with a girlfriend who Instagrams everything she eats (Jerry), accidentally restarting the Occupy movement (Kramer), and yelling at co-workers for loving Pinterest (Elaine). The genius minds behind @SeinfeldToday have created scenarios so real and so hilarious that only Seinfeld’s kookie characters could pull them off. Unless Larry David decides to bring the gang back together, this is the next best thing. 

Smart Home

4 small appliances that have changed the way we cook food (for the better)

These are exciting times for home cooks seeking to advance or simplify their technique in the kitchen, thanks in part to four small appliances that have made a splash in the past few years. Here’s why you should consider buying them.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Did I really watch that? Here's how to delete your Netflix viewing history

Everybody has some skeletons in their streaming closet, but you don't have to live with them if you don't want to. Learning how to delete your Netflix viewing history is easy, and we're here to help.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.