March Madness GIFs, wingsuit insanity and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 3/23

caleb denisonCaleb Denison: Taking human flight to new heights

It’s amazing enough that we’ve developed wingsuits that allow the dauntless to glide through the air without the aid of any additional equipment, but what Norwegian daredevil Jokke Sommer recently did in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil takes the idea of human flight to an entirely new level.

Sommer and his partner Ludovic Woerth didn’t have permission to pull off their airborne stunt, so to avoid winding up as a smudge on the windshield of a passing 737, they planned their flight for 5:45 a.m., before any commercial air traffic was due to come through the area.

In the video below, we see the two would-be supermen cruising high above Rio on two ultra-light trikes before making a carefully calculated jump, diving toward the heart of the city. Amazingly, Sommer cruises right between two skyscrapers before landing in what appears to be a city park. The duo’s camera lenses get a bit foggy during the decent, but you can still see everything well enough for the footage to get your heart racing. Enjoy.

molly-mchughMolly McHugh: These are the March Madness GIFs you’re looking for

This is a two-parter, so buckle up.

First, it’s March Madness time, and suffice it to say I. Am. Pumped. My bracket is managing to survive decently despite some early upsets, and my Ducks came away with a big win yesterday. (Number 12? Please. Did that look like a 12 seed to you?)

Second, Google introduced the ability for you to search animated GIFs within Image Search. I’m not sure what took so long, but allow me to offer up the Internet’s collective thanks.

So of course, I put these two things together. And it’s brought us this.

And this.

And this. I’m a big enough person to know this is a ridiculous moment from the UO v. OSU game (and since we won handily, I don’t really care).

Oh yeah and … subtle reminder: Ducks won.

nick-mokeyNick Mokey: The slo-mo end of the road

What would it be like to slow life down to one tenth the speed we normally experience it? Uh, probably boring as hell. Everyday life would feel like you’re walking around in glue, conversation would be unintelligible, and watching a baseball game would be even more suicide inducing than it already is.

Watching a bridge explode at one tenth normal speed, on the other hand, would be awesome. And thanks to RED’s Epic camera, we can do exactly that. A 77-year-old bridge near Marble Falls, Texas was slated for destruction last week, and a photographer with some high-end gear managed to capture a sweet from the water. Explosive charges lacing the trusses light up like a string of firecrackers before gravity takes hold and the steel skeleton of the bridge freefallss into the water – all stretched out into 55 seconds so you can actually see what happens.

It’s the simple things in life, really.

Make sure to make it full screen and pump it to 1080p to feel like you’re there. In a fishing boat. Just upstream. Wait, is that really safe?

Amir IliafarAmir Iliaifar: Stream the Strokes new album for the price of free!

I’ve been a huge fan of The Strokes since 2001, when the New York-based, indie rock group released their critically acclaimed debut album Is This It.

It was a simpler time back then, when every band was apparently comfortable throwing “the” in front of a plural noun and calling it a name.

Needless to say, I was more than “stroked” when I found out the band would be streaming their upcoming album Comedown Machine for free a few days before its official March 26 release date.

The single All the Time has already been making the rounds on radio stations across the country (remember radio stations?) and apparently has been described as having that “classic Strokes sound” whatever that means.

It’s not often bands put their music online for free — let alone entire albums — but that’s exactly how we roll. And yes I say we because in my own fantasy land I’m the sixth member of the Strokes and I play a mean triangle.

Don’t judge me…


ryan flemingRyan Fleming: Masters of Doom still tells an important tale, 10 years later

If you aren’t at least passingly familiar with the game Doom, I would be very interested to know what type of décor the cave you grew up in contains. Even if you aren’t a gamer, id Software’s first-person shooter is hard not to know. It was a quintessential game, and became a pop-culture phenomenon – for better and worse. The controversy surrounding it tended to overshadow the positives that went beyond gaming, like the new technology created for the game that helped transform the way we view digital media. It is a game that changed the world in a small, but important way.

Beyond the effects that the game Doom had on an unsuspecting world, the development of the game itself and the history leading up to – and beyond it – is one of the most interesting stories rarely told.

The book Masters of Doom chronicles the beginnings of id Software, from the early days of John Carmack and John Romero, to the founding of the company, to its near collapse as personal conflicts changed everything. From humble beginnings, a group of social outcasts that loved gaming built a multi-million-dollar empire, and changed the world in the process.

Author David Kushner spent six years researching the book and interviewing hundreds of people, and the result is one of the most interesting stories in gaming history, and one of the best examples of gaming journalism to date. The book originally debuted in 2003, so finding a copy that fits your budget should be easy enough.


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