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Soaring with eagles, making money from bed and more in this week’s Staff Picks

Staff Picks 09_21_2013

Les ShuLes Shu: Fly like an eagle

We’ve seen folks attaching POV camcorders to a variety of things, bringing us unique perspectives that we usually don’t get to see. While they’re usually secured to a helmet or something operable like a remote helicopter, YouTube user Srachi strapped a GoPro camcorder to the back of an eagle. That’s right, a real-life animal. We’re sure there are plenty of animal activists who are crying foul over this, but the video gives us a spectacular look at the Chamonix area of France from the eagle’s point of view. Finally, that Steve Miller Band song makes sense.

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Wrath of the hivemind

I cannot say for certain how many times, precisely, someone has called me a douchebag on the Internet. Nor can I recall the number of instances in which I dished out my own insults, most of which were based on nothing more than a whim. Such is the nature of the Web – a digital place filled with the best and worst of humanity.

Few people know this better than C.D. Hermelin, a Brooklyn-based writer who became “Internet famous” after a picture of him made it to the front page of Reddit. The photo (below) was taken at the High Line park in Manhattan, where Hermelin, who couldn’t find regular work, set up camp with his typewriter, and wrote quick one-page stories for tourists and other passersby in exchange for “donations” – a kind of wordsmith street performer. Without that context, the photo brought down the hammer of Reddit’s hipster-hate. And the photo quickly became a meme.

For the rest of the story, check out Hermelin’s excellent essay for The Awl, “I am an Object of Internet Ridicule, Ask me Anything.” It’s a great read that offers a good lesson for all of us: Much of what we see online is only half the story.

Brooklyn based writer CD Hermelin

Bill RobersonBill Roberson: Make fast cash lying in bed (from NASA)   

Want to make five grand a month the really easy way? NASA is looking for volunteers to staff an experiment connected to one of its latest hare-brained schemes, which may involve space travel. No, you don’t get to go, you just get to see what it would be like to go by lying in bed all day. Every day, all day and night. For 70 days.

Perhaps we should mention that you have to stay in bed for the 70 days straight with your feet slightly above your head. All the time. No potty breaks (yay, tubes!), strolls around NASA’s Houston campus to look at old rockets, or visits from your buddy who just got back from the “dispensary.” Piece of cake, no?

We should also add that there will be short exercise periods with special equipment to keep you from becoming too blobular (a NASA tech term no doubt) and you can work on personal projects to keep from going batshit crazy while under constant observation by NASA lab rat testers who go home each night to their families and vertical lives. You’ve been wanting to catch up on your sleep, right? And play out GTA V to the end? And clean out your email archives, photo archives, video archives, porn archives and watch ‘Six Feet Under’ all the way through, again? We thought so.

As the walls close in, just keep telling yourself: $5,000 a month.

nasa bed rest study

Ryan FlemingRyan Fleming: Original Nintendo music like it was never meant to be 

For fans of original NES games, there is a divide between what we remember and the reality of things. Take the music. The theme to Zelda, for example, likely still plays out like an epic symphony of awesomeness in the heads of the people who played it as kids. It’s memorable bordering on legendary, and John Williams and his stooped scores can spin on it (not really John Williams, I love you).

The reality though, is that while there have been flashes of genius embedded in those scores, they were still limited by what MIDI technology could offer. There have been many updates to the music, like the Zelda Symphony and other musical recreations, but those reinterpret the classic themes in new ways. But this guy? This guy gets it.

Using a custom-made computer program, David Thompson created a system that directly adapts the original NES music – from the original games – into real music. It… it’s glorious… Check it out.

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