Ideas

The Atlas Robot

This video has been making the rounds. If you missed it, it’s a mind blow.

Boston Dynamics has been releasing amazing videos of their various robots doing more and more things. This particular demo is the most amazing yet. Watch the arms when the robot jump-turns, they look so human-like it’s a bit scary.

Here’s the Boston Dynamics TED talk with a different robot, also impressive:

Affiliate marketing gone wild

The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare

This is an incredible piece by David Zax on affiliate marketing in the online mattress sales world.

For me, the bottom line is, any site that makes money from affiliate links loses objective credibility in reviewing the products its making money linking to.

If I review mattresses and also make money linking you to various mattress companies, I can easily be influenced by one mattress company offering a bigger payout for each sale I send their way.

And, this is not small money: a number of these mattress review sites are making over a $1 million a year in affiliate payouts.

This is an incredible story, read until the end, it will blow your mind.

Tip: if you are doing research online on a product you want to buy and follow a link from a review site to, say, Amazon or the company selling the product, look closely at the URL in your browser and you can see the affiliate link clearly. If you want to support the reviewer (the linker), buy with that link, if not, change the link.

Note: This site does not take part in affiliate marketing. The link below to Jason Kottke’s site does not generate income for me or him, it is simply an acknowledgement that I read about the Fast Company article at his site and followed a link from his site to the actual article. I try to acknowledge sources as I can.

[via Kottke.org]

America’s Shameful History of Housing Discrimination

America’s Shameful History of Housing Discrimination

This is a brilliant comic by Jamie Hibdon and Sarah Mirk.

For what it’s worth, the very first place I lived with my parents was a Levitown development in Hicksville, New York. I have pictures of the little white cape, white picket fence and all the houses looking pretty much the same. My father was a returning GI who no doubt qualified for a loan to buy there. Given my parents’ politics I doubt the reason they bought there was racially motivated but my father was a real estate broker so no doubt he was well aware of the policies noted in this piece. We lived there for four years, then moved to an apartment closer to where my father was working.

The Fresh Air interview with Richard Rothstein noted in the comic is here:

A ‘Forgotten History’ of How The U.S. Government Segregated America

Dirt to Shirt with TS Designs

In early July we saw an interesting segment on the PBS NewsHour:

‘Dirt to Shirt’ movement hopes to regrow local textile industry

I very much liked the spirit of this company and what they were attempting to do for North Carolina jobs and the textile industry in the south, which has pretty much all gone overseas.

In the comments section under the embedded video I asked about and was directed to their web site:

TS Designs

I ordered a few small t-shirts (I usually take a small from LL Bean and Lands End) and they arrived in short order nicely packaged. They were very nice shirts but a bit too small on me. My wife wanted them so no problem. Ordered a few medium shirts and they fit perfectly. Ordered some more (all of my t-shirts are in need of replacement) and I’m really liking them.

But, in addition to liking the shirts, I like that I’m ordering them from an American company and they’re made of cotton grown in that company’s home state of North Carolina.

I’ve corresponded with the owner of the company Eric Henry and he says the NewsHour piece has given them a huge spike in business. I hope a few of you reading this check them out and order some shirts.

How the Eames LCW (Lounge Chair Wood) is made

Charles and Ray Eames were influential designers and this chair is a great example of how they came up with new ways to use materials, in this case plywood.

My parents had a number of variants of this chair that my father bought directly from Charles Eames at his Santa Monica studio. I always hated them; they looked great but weren’t all that comfortable. Still, I’m a fan of the Eames’ design work, it’s timeless and brilliant.

[via Core77]

Jessa Jones, master microfixer

Jessa Jones does board-level repairs on iPhones and iPads. Brilliant video, amazing work, and while I get why Apple doesn’t get into this I’m glad she is and hopefully Apple supports her work.

Her company is iPad Rehab.

Jessa has a youTube channel: iPad Rehab with lots of detailed demos on the really nerdy stuff.

[via The Kid Should See This]