Using Silence in Film

One of the more powerful and least talked about traits of a Martin Scorsese film is the deliberate use of silence. As the film critic and cinephile Tony Zhou points out in this compelling video, Scorsese uses silence to heighten the subjectivity of a moment, make a creepy scene even creepier or show us love at first sight.

This isn’t just good sound mixing, it’s good film design.


“I had a backpack and minimal stuff. I had no plans. I had no map. I didn’t know where I was going. I just walked away.”

For nearly 30 years, Christopher Knight lived a solitary life deep in the woods in Central Maine. He became an accomplished thief, stealing from dozens of nearby homes over the years, living off the fat of modern life. This is the story of how he survived in the forest and what became of him when he stepped out of it.


For a site that publishes tips on how to be more productive, it can be a little too easy to waste time reading Lifehacker. But if there’s one piece there worth getting lost in this week, it’s a Q. and A. with Ira Glass, host of “This American Life.” Mr. Glass meticulously details his religious propensity to cut out all that is unnecessary, and gives light to the things that are worth their salt in this world.


Have you ever wondered why rotisserie chickens are so cheap? Or how a grocery store can afford to serve prepared foods and a salad bar with so much fresh food every day? Truth is, it can’t, and it has to do with a common mis-understanding of the sell-by, use-by and best-by dates labels. Cat Vasko picks apart the curious economics of a full-service supermarket in Los Angeles.



#IndieWebCamp 2014 PDX/NYC


This weekend, I am helping to host the #IndieWebCamp 2014 which will simultaneously be hosted in Portland and New York City.

#IndieWebCamp 2014 PDX/NYC
Saturday & Sunday
June 28 & 29
9AM — 6PM
The New York Times Building



From a piece in Cabinet Magazine by D. Graham Burnett on confetti

"In a park I once watched a small boy attempting to feed shelled peanuts to a cautious squirrel. The boy squatted on his haunches, and held forth an open hand: “Here!” he offered with ingenuous sweetness. The squirrel took a hop in his direction, twitching its bushy tail nervously. “Here, eat them,” the boy encouraged, his voice just above a whisper. The squirrel drew a little closer, carefully eyeing the hand and the nuts and the squatting boy. “Eat them!” the boy said again after a pause, a little louder this time—but the scene did not change. And there they stayed, in a taut tableau, until, suddenly, the boy, overcome by love and generosity and other things, sprang to his feet and leapt forward in pursuit of the squirrel, now streaking for the nearest tree. “Eat them! Eat them!” he cried as he ran, wild-eyed, flinging the nuts before him."

Cabinet Magazine

Honoring Baseball’s Hosiery Heritage

Roman Mars, who runs the popular design and architecture podcast “99% Invisible,” dives deep into the highly opinionated world of the baseball uniform, specifically the stirrup, and how it’s one of the few ways players can express themselves on the field. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “You’re rooting for clothes, when you get right down to it.”

99% Invisible


Story #1 | From a series of 'observations' that were collected, written and presented as large format prints.

Create blackout poetry by redacting words from articles in The New York Times.

The New York Times

Larry Page on the Origins of Google’s PageRank

From an entry in Brad DeLong’s journal from 2003.

Larry Page: “It wasn’t that we intended to build a search engine. We built a ranking system to deal with annotations. We wanted to annotate the web–build a system so that after you’d viewed a page you could click and see what smart comments other people had about it. But how do you decide who gets to annotate Yahoo? We needed to figure out how to choose which annotations people should look at, which meant that we needed to figure out which other sites contained comments we should classify as authoritative. Hence PageRank.

“Only later did we realize that PageRank was much more useful for search than for annotation…”

(via @kevinmarks)

Brad DeLong's Journal

IndieWebCamp NYC / 2014


This weekend, I will be helping to host IndieWebCamp in New York City, a gathering of web creators who come together to advance the state of the independent web. Previously IndieWebCamp has been held in Portland, SF, and the UK, but this will be the first meetup to happen in New York City.

IndieWebCamp NYC
April 26 & 27
9AM — 7PM
The New York Times Building
620 8th Ave, New York City
Corner of 8th Ave & 40th Street (map)

The main goal of the IndieWebCamp is to build tools to empower independent website owners to communicate with each other in a varying degree of ways, and in the process, decentralize the web that we have come to know.

For example, by linking to the IndieWebCamp NYC Guest list, I am RSVP’ing to IndieWebCamp this weekend.

As creators, writers, photographers and the like, we need publishing tools that we own and operate that enable the retention of authorship and identity while allowing for that content to be republished or shared to larger sites like Facebook and Twitter. Post once, distribute as needed.

Kartik Prabhu describes the independent web and what they are trying to achieve:

One of the main goals is to make the whole process of posting to your own site as easy as posting to silos, along with the simple UI/UX that goes with it. If you are a programmer/web-designer go ahead and contribute to the indieweb! Make your own project, add to the existing ones, give feedback about what you need/want, but most importantly use what you make. This really is for everyone.

Personally, I am fairly new to the IndieWeb community, but I am looking forward to hosting these great people over the next few days. If you are in New York City, please stop by for a bit.

RSVP yes

IndieWebCamp NYC

From “Navigating Stuckness” by Jonathan Harris:

All we have in life is our time. People struggle after success. They hunger for fame, fortune, and power. But in all of these things, the same question exists — what will you do with your time? How do you want to spend your days? As Annie Dillard reminds us, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

In life, you will become known for doing what you do. That sounds obvious, but it’s profound. If you want to be known as someone who does a particular thing, then you must start doing that thing immediately. Don’t wait. There is no other way. It probably won’t make you money at first, but do it anyway. Work nights. Work weekends. Sleep less. Whatever you have to do. If you’re lucky enough to know what brings you bliss, then do that thing at once. If you do it well, and for long enough, the world will find ways to repay you.

Read the full autobiographical journey over on Transom.

(via @andrewhearst)


Living the Family Dynamic — Big changes to The New York Times Motherlode blog about parenting, family, and relationships.

Motherlode / The New York Times

Michael Kimmelman on Art

A 2007 interview with The New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman on modern art. It was originally included in the special features of the DVD “My Kid Could Paint That,” a documentary film by Amir Bar-Lev.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

“(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies” - A Documentary Feature Film that examines the human tendency to be dishonest.

Kickstarter — a painstakingly curated presentation of the most well designed apps.

Cameron Koczon (@fictivecameron) on the business of today and why startups are not the only game in town:

VCs are not villains. They’re people with money who invest in a very specific kind of story: the blockbuster.

Nothing sinister here. It’s just a game with a set of rules that everyone is expected to follow. And, when that game goes well, it can go extremely well.

Cameron Koczon

Somnium, or The Dream, which is often considered to be the first science fiction story, was written by Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) who is considered to be among the most important astronomers of the very early scientific period in Europe.

Follow a new english translation of Kepler's Somnium at The Somnium Project.

Kepler’s Somnium

Roman Mars on The Anatomy of a Magazine Cover:

Even though magazines are covered in words, there’s tremendous debate among editors and art directors as to how to maximize the value of the key pieces of real estate on a magazine front cover. These key pieces of real estate vary depending on the kind of magazine.

Roman Mars

Cross Section of 6 Seconds of Life

Cross Section of 6 Seconds of Life, 2002

Ink on Paper

Beautiful thought

There's a chain of beating hearts connecting back in time from you to a fish that crawled onto land, one of your many ancestors.

Here's another interesting idea. That entire chain is entirely female, all the way to the last link, and if you're a woman, including the last link.

Dave Winer

Patrick McKenzie has never seen a computer system which handles names properly and doubt one exists, anywhere. So as a public service, he listed the many assumptions programmers make about names.

Patrick McKenzie

The Physical Record of a Thought

The Physical Record of a Thought, 2002

Paper, Ink, Tape, and Tire Print

On Not Caring About The News — Much of what we now take for granted as news has its origins in the information needed by people taking major decisions or at the centre of national affairs. We still hear the echoes in the way news is reported; timing is assumed to be critical, as it really would be if we were active agents. If you don't have the latest update you might make a terrible blunder or miss a wonderful opportunity.

Alain de Botton


Untitled, 2002

Electrical Tape and Typewriter on Paper

"There is no hint that help will come from the outside to save us from ourselves. Doing that is up to us." — From Carl Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot'

The Atlantic

“I have more flexibility, and can make decisions on staff and stories so much quicker, that we can keep up with organizations that are so much bigger than we are,” — Kara Swisher, from David Carr's article on the state of the media in early 2014.