Skip to main content

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Digital Trends Staff
Digital Trends has a simple mission: to help readers easily understand how tech affects the way they live. We are your…
Perfect coffee through science, emoji mosaics and more in this week’s Staff Picks
Staff Picks 8_23_2013 header

Molly McHugh: Game of Hoops
Obviously you like Games of Thrones, because you are reading this and that means you're a human with an Internet connection. So again, obviously you like Games of Thrones. And if you don't we can't be friends anymore.
But since you obviously like Games of Thrones, your favorite character is obviously Tyrion Lannister. OBVIOUSLY. He is everyone's favorite character and if he's not then again, we can't be friends anymore.
Well turns out our favorite character - er, the actor Peter Dinklage who plays him - partook in some fun extracurriculars, i.e. hula hoop dancing at a gay bar. And not just any hula hoop, an electric one! I'd venture to say that if anything in your life is going wrong, one look at this and you'll feel many times better.
Dear reader, it only gets better: There's video.
In these dark times, this is what we need more of.

Caleb Denison: Please don’t judge me
Every week I’m tasked with the responsibility of finding something cool on the Internet, then writing up some sort of witty blurb introducing it for this, our Staff Picks column. It sounds like the easiest thing ever, doesn’t it? And maybe it should be. But it turns out that I’ve gotten really good at taking what should be the easiest part of my week and making it extremely difficult. I will sometimes spend an hour searching for something I really like because – and I realize this is a major hang-up – I have this crazy idea in my head that what I pick says something about me, and I just can’t have the Internet thinking I’m a dork.
Dammit, I’m too late, aren’t I?
Well, then, since I’m pretty sure the six of you who read this already think I’m a goob or just really don’t care, I’m rolling with a comedian doing Diva impressions to a tune made famous in the 1980’s (oh, he’s an old dork! Nice!) by Bonnie Tyler called “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Yes. My middle-aged nerd status is now complete. Check out Christina Bianco doing some impressive impressions of Divas young and old, including Adelle, Cher, Christina Aguilera (my personal favorite) and, of course, Barbara Streisand. She’s pretty damn good at it.

Read more
The perks of delinquency, 80s dashboards and more in this week’s Staff Picks
the perks of delinquency 80s dashboards and more in this weeks staff picks 08 17 2013 header

Jeff Van Camp: Stephen Colbert confronts the ‘Gay Mafia’
I cover iPhones and Galaxy phones all day long, but when I get home from work, I usually unwind with some Daily Show or Colbert. This is one of the best segments I've seen on the show. Apparently there are parts of the south where a small town can have an openly gay mayor and pass an ordinance banning discrimination of those in the LGBT community. Colbert is, naturally, extremely disappointed in the progress of this "Gay Mafia."
Hopefully we're getting to the point where more people around the country think like this, finally.

Andrew Couts: Everything that's wrong with YouTube
It has been a long time since I last went on a YouTube binge. For whatever reason, my habit of clicking through an endless array of videos, each more odd and obscure than the next, seems to have dwindled away with my fondness for MySpace. In other words, I'm now just busy and old.
Fortunately, YouTube user JelloApocalypse, a self-described "writer and voice actor," has released a brilliant new animated video that makes me appreciate all the time I've not wasted on the world's largest video-sharing site. From the poor design to the wretched comments, the video (above) gives you a sense of all that's wrong with YouTube. The damning summation almost makes it seem as though Google, YouTube's parent company, has given up on improving one of its most popular properties, just to screw with us. Perhaps YouTube's saving grace is that this video is itself hosted on YouTube.

Read more
Barrel rolls, inside Walter White’s house and more in this week’s Staff Picks
staff picks 08_10_2013 header

Caleb Denison: Meet the lady who lives at Walter White’s house
For fans of the show, Breaking Bad, these next couple of days are going to be tough. Frankly, the anticipation is killing me. I joined the Breaking Bad fan club late and intentionally scheduled my binge viewing session so that I would catch up just in time to join up with season six as it began airing, but my plans were dashed when the season premiere was pushed back. I seriously considered suing AMC for emotional damages – for like a couple of seconds, anyway.
In the meantime, I’ve done what I could to keep myself from weaning off of the crack-like addiction that is this TV show. I’ve revisited old episodes, joined nerdy forums and practiced my Jesse Pinkman impression in the mirror (it’s getting really, really good). Then today I discovered this video in which a team from Machinima visits with the lady that actually lives at the “White House.” Seriously, it’s an actual house in Albuquerque, New Mexico – not just a studio stage mock-up – and the lady that lives there is the most patient sweetheart of a woman I’ve seen in a long time. Especially considering she probably deals with way more pizza-throwing assholes in the space of one month than most folks do in an entire week. Please enjoy.

Les Shu: With Street View you can pretend you're a wealthy Emirati
Despite the privacy concerns, Google’s Street View is a pretty neat tool for the armchair traveler. How else can you plop yourself down on the Champs-Élysées and then fly over to faux Paris in Las Vegas the next minute? Google has been enhancing Street View where you can now explore really exotic locales like forests and abandoned places, but the latest virtual tour, I think, is one of the best yet: inside an airplane. But not just any plane, mind you, an Airbus A380.
The double-decker is part of the fleet belonging to Dubai-based Emirates, the largest operator of this mega plane. Not only is it big, but it’s also one of the most luxurious, filled with wondrous amenities – that is, if you’re sitting in one of the premium cabins. For those of us who can’t afford the $10,000-plus ticket for a first-class suite (yeah, suite, not seat), we can now explore this part of the plane via Street View. You can also “walk” through the coach cabin, but why bother?

Read more