The worst employee ever, Google Poetics and more in this week’s staff picks

Staff Pics 06_22_2013 header

The entire DT Staff: The double take

There were many highlights from our E3 coverage this year, but this little interaction caught on film, now immortalized as a GIF, might be our collective favorite.

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: You had one job!

In high school, I worked at Dairy Queen, an experience so traumatic that I no longer have a taste for ice cream. And yet, I gave that job my all, whether I was preparing a peanut-butter parfait, scrubbing down the grill, or serving customers who hadn’t showered for weeks but still managed to make it in for their large twisty cone every day. Through all of that, I maintained the closest thing you can get to “professionalism” in a minimum-wage fast-food job.

Why did I try so hard at something so fantastically meaningless? After watching the video above, I haven’t a freakin’ clue. This Guangzhou Airport worker cares so little about his job that he actually manages to make far more work for himself – so little that another guy has to come in and help clear up the mess he’s made. It’s an inspiring level of not giving a shit. Some may deride this man’s work ethic and complete disregard for the cargo in his care. Some may see him as the bane of a functioning society. But I see this man as a hero – the kind of lowest common denominator that I can only wish to be.

jennifer-bergenJen Bergen: How do I love thee, Google Poetics?

Poetry comes in many forms ¬– one of which sits in front of your eyes multiple times a day: Google search. Yes, Google’s search box is known for it’s odd autocomplete responses that pop up after typing just a few keystrokes in the search box, predicting what the user will search for. It can be something as simple as “How do…,” resulting in answers like “How do tornadoes form,” “How do you get pink eye,” and “How does Snapchat work.” Sometimes, stopping to smell the roses as you enter your search can lead to some pretty deep poetry, and Google Poetics knows it. “The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic – and sometimes even deeply moving,” the site explains.

Google Poetics has been collecting “poems” since October 2012, so it’s nothing new, but it’s pretty interesting for those who’ve never seen it. “Obviously Google is not Shakespeare, Whitman or Dickinson – it can not illuminate the unknown,” the site says. “But it does reveal our inner workings, our fears and prejudices, secrets and shames, the hope and longing of a modern individual.”

The site is updated regularly, so make sure to follow along, as well as submit your own Google poetry.


caleb-denisonCaleb Denison: Owning it

Miss Utah, AKA Marissa Powell, has had quite a week. First, she wrapped her tongue around her foot while answering reality star NeNE Leakes’ question about gender-influenced wage gaps in the workplace during the Miss USA pageant. The flub quickly went viral, casting a shadow over the pageant’s winner, Erin Brady. Then, Powell got sent on a whirlwind tour of news programs and talk shows to answer for the clam, an honor usually reserved for the winner of the pageant (sorry Erin…oh, and congratulations…I guess).

I openly admit to laughing my ass off at poor Marissa’s … ummmm … misfortune – multiple times, actually. But, hey, I have a heart. I understand how that could totally happen to anyone who chooses to spend years on dieting, waxing, primping and training for what is arguably one of the nation’s most vitally important events in lieu of, I don’t know…school?

Normally, this is the part where we would show a video of Powell’s embarrassing answer in an effort to spark a very serious debate about the merits of beauty pageants. But, I’m sad to report that NBC has squashed our hopes and dreams of ever having that dialogue by forcing the video’s removal from YouTube. It’s even prevented the video from appearing on one of its own websites. (Nice one, NBC. Can’t wait to watch you monetize that clip!) Thankfully, though, Marissa Powell has a much better sense of humor than the network on which her flub appeared. Check out Miss Utah singing her famous fiasco to the tune of “America the Beautiful” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. And God Bless America.

bill-robersonBill Roberson: Limitless flight with no fuel is here

Solar-powered cars? That’s so 2012. If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening in the world of sun power, here we have a beautiful look at a revolution in progress. Recently, famed explorer and world flight record holder Bertrand Piccard (and do feel free to call him Captain Piccard) flew a giant solar-powered airplane across the United States (in phases, of course). Slow, spindly, and looking more like a kite than a plane, the Solar Impulse airplane is as much a benchmark in flight as the Wright Brothers or the Spirit of St. Louis. Unlimited flight without fuel? Here it is being done. Just scale it up, mature it and add passengers. And the best part: the truly spooky UFO-looking night landings. Google’s Larry Page makes a cameo, and yes, he is wearing Google’s NerdVision Glass. Best enjoyed full screen in HD.

Les ShuLes Shu: Using GoPro to follow a pro

The thoughts of a concert photographer as he’s shooting Macklemore

Ever wonder what it’s like to step into the shoes of a photographer on assignment? Jared Polin, who runs the site Fro Knows Photo, gives us his point-of-view from a Macklemore concert he recently shot. As Polin was photographing the show using a Canon EOS-1D X DSLR, he was simultaneously recording video with a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition attached to the DSLR’s hot shoe. Polin also lays down some commentary over the video, which lets you “hear” what was going through his head as he was shooting.

“If you have never photographed a concert this is the closest you can get to being in the pit without being there,” Polin writes. “In the end I took 240 images which in my opinion is way too many for a three song set. Like I said in the video back when I started shooting concerts with film you would shoot somewhere around two rolls (72 images). Of course times change and with the ability to store more images you sometimes take advantage of it.”


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