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Colbert breaks character, Banksy trolls NYC, and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 10_19_2013

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Banksy, troll extraordinaire

Nobody trolls like Banksy. The enigmatic British artist is currently in New York City for a month-long art exhibition called “Better Out Than In,” during which he paints a new piece on a wall in one of the five boroughs each day throughout October. But last Saturday, Banksy pulled off one of his best stunts yet: As the video shows, the artist set up a booth selling “spray art” on canvases for $60 a pop, no matter the size or subject.

Thing is, Banksy’s pieces have been known to sell for more than $1 million apiece. The Guardian estimates that the works he had on sale that day could have brought buyers some $40,000 apiece – or around $1 million for all of them. But passersby must have thought the paintings were knockoffs, or just didn’t recognize Banksy’s style, because only a handful of people bought the signed works. Total sales for the day were just $420 for eight canvases sold. (One lady talked down the price by half for two canvases.) Those paintings could potentially re-sell for $226,000 or more.

The lesson here: If you see a booth selling Banksys, at least stop and take a look.

drew-prindleDrew Prindle: The astounding power of quadcopters

TED talks generally tend to be pretty fascinating, but this one takes things to a whole new level. It might just be the craziest TED talk i’ve ever seen. In the video, Dr. Raffaelo D’Andrea explores the idea of “robot athleticism” through a series of amazing demonstrations with quadcopter drones.

By using clever algorithms, D’Andrea and his team are able to program these quadcopters to perform a variety of athletic feats, including balancing objects, flying while injured, hitting a moving ball, working as a team, and improving performance through practice.

It’s incredible to watch, and as an added bonus, throughout the video D’Andrea effortlessly explains the complex programming behind each demonstration and breaks down how everything works in layman’s terms. It’s just as educational as it is entertaining.

Les ShuLes Shu: Stephen Colbert breaking character will leave you in stitches

Stephen Colbert’s ability to maintain his fictional portrayal of a political pundit is funny enough, but it’s even more hilarious when he breaks character. If you haven’t seen Colbert crack up, Comedy Central has posted a video of five moments where the satirist couldn’t keep a straight face. The funniest segment is when Colbert mispronounces a viewer’s name, which eventually finds him laughing uncontrollably. No matter how many times I’ve watched the clip, Colbert’s infectious laughter brings tears to my eyes.

Molly McHughMolly McHugh: This seems wrong but it’s not

There are few things as wonderfully atrocious as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s crude, upsetting, and I identify with Charlie more often than a 26-year-old employed lady should. Undoubtedly one of the finest hours of the show was the episode in which Charlie wrote and directed the Dayman play. It had everything: Lust, love, puberty, some incest stuff, a few off-color jokes about a boy’s hole (or soul, whatever you heard, it’s fine, just go with it).

Suffice it to say, not for kids.

Until now!

Yes, that is a Japanese kindergarten class singing the Dayman song. It’s one of the tamer jingles from the show (and does not mention molestation, so kudos teacher who assigned this), so no or little offense can be taken. And I wish my music teacher had been this cool.

Also, notice that remarkably well-drawn rendition of Peter Griffin on the white board. Where is this school, heaven?

Caleb DenisonCaleb Denison: The Walking Bad

I’m betting there are a bunch of TV fans out there who, just like me, feel a big gaping hole in their soul where Breaking Bad used to be; folks who spent the last three seasons of Breaking Bad listening to fans of The Walking Dead go on and on about how awesome their show was while we were busy being consumed with ours. And now that Breaking Bad is gone, we’ve identified a classic Netflix binge-watching opportunity; a chance to catch up on three years worth of water cooler talk in just a couple of weeks and waltz right in to the conversation like we were always in the know.

If that sounds like you, then I’m betting you’re now suffering the same dilemma I am: You’ve realized The Walking Dead is a terrible, terrible show, but now you are hopelessly caught in the cycle of quasi conflict-resolution followed by inevitable cliff-hangers that will ultimately lead to more disappointment. Still, you can’t wait for the next episode, can you?

It’s hard to explain what’s wrong with this show to someone who hasn’t seen it. And for those of us who are deeply entrenched in the zombie drama, it can be hard to see for all the blood and guts and Rick and Lori. So for a little perspective, check out the video below. Yes, it’s long. But it’s totally worth it. And fair warning to anyone who may be in the middle of the series: There are many, many spoilers. Stay away. You can come back at the end of Season 3. It will be worth it.

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