The Costumer's Guide lays out research and imagery related to four iconic outfits

I stumbled upon this post while trying to look up what the name for this style of suit was. I still don’t know, but I do now know a ton more about these four specific ones. Not only does the post do an amazing job cataloguing reference images (including ones taken of John’s actual suit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and screenshots from The Beatles Rock Band video game), it also does an in-depth analysis of materials, construction and accessories, and even elaborates individually on each Beatle’s outfit one by one, noting their subtle differences. I’m consistently impressed with the communities that exist on the internet that are devoted to recreating movie objects, down to the last nut or bolt or stitch. Expect more of that stuff on here. Highlight: the medals worn on their jackets were civilian medals, as opposed to military, which had a white stripe down the middle. Other highlight: The macrame tutorial.

A Little History of the TR-808

Today, on 8/08, please enjoy some reading about everyone’s favorite drum machine, the Roland TR-808. You probably recognize it from Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing, or the beginning of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.  Or from the album Kanye named after it. Regardless, there’s a lot to love and a lot to learn and a lot to listen to. I bet after all this you’ll start hearing it in places, even songs produced today. Like the other day I heard it in this Tennyson song.


Further reading/watching:

Marc Abrahams and Nicole Sharp discuss an essay about structural engineering and fashion.

Structural engineering is probably the most important thing nobody thinks about. Except structural engineers, of course. They think about it a lot. Improbable Research, the podcast that “makes people laugh and then think”, certainly accomplishes that goal by exploring an essay that, while ridiculous on the surface, actually does spark some curiosity about the extensive amount of research that must be done on things we barely consider.

Since the page is kind of inscrutable, here’s a direct link to the audio.

Shoutout to Sarah Pavis for making me aware of this!

Dave Addey dissects an 80's classic to examine its sets, props, signs, and more

According to the about page of typesetinthefuture, the Venn diagram of “people who are interested in sci-fi” and “people who are interested in fonts” have “a remarkable overlap”. While that may be the case, it’s still cool to have Dave Addey take you on a sightseeing tour of design curiosities in a movie many other people have cut into in many other ways. Not just limited to identifying fonts, Addey goes so far as to analyze architecture, investigate interfaces, scrutinize signage, and do a little logospotting. Highlight: when he identifies that the metadata on a photo actually comes from the leftover scraps of a Letraset sheet.

Bill Hammack explains the history and engineering of an object we often take for granted.

Honestly not much to say about this one except wow I love it when the design history of an object is so clearly explained — the problems that necessitate its existence, how it evolved over time, the clever tricks developed to optimize efficiency, safety, cost, or any other number of factors. Sure it’s not the most interesting history in the world, but I think we often forget how much story there is to tell about even the things we regard as the most mundane.

Chris from Cickspring explains the bluing process as it applies to the clock he's building.

There are a lot of things that Chris explains with impressive detail and clarity, but this video is an exceptional introduction to him and his channel if you’ve never watched him before. Not only is it enlightening with regards to the process of heat bluing steel (a process which I’ve never seen executed so beautifully), it’s also a great demonstration of Chris’s explanatory video-making style, one that will soon have you queueing up his other videos, which detail the full process behind the creation of a clock in his home machine shop, one astonishingly detailed and polished part at a time.

Nate and Charlie of Switched on Pop takes us through the song's musical, lyrical, and cultural history

Switched on Pop has become one of my favorite podcasts recently because of how deeply they explore small individual aspects of pop music, be it the musical and lyrical parallels between current hits, the evolution of a single artist (check out their masterful “The Oeuvre of Taylor Swift” episode), or the history of some lesser appreciated elements (e.g. sax).

In this episode Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding explore the origins of The Star Spangled Banner, where it came from (a British drinking song!) and how it’s evolved through avant-garde performances of it throughout the years.

David A. Smith goes through the technology and painstaking craft behind his artwork for John Mayer's 'Born & Raised' album

Look at that insane level of detail! Traditional sign work like this is wondrous because, as John Mayer expresses early in the video, it’s something most people have seen but don’t know a ton about; including its origins or what the style is even called. What’s stunning about David’s work is how passionate he is for passing on his work, teaching it to others, not letting it die out. It’s a shame when you see how beautiful the finished products are to realize that so few people do work like this nowadays, and how plentiful it once was.

For more David A. Smith, check out this other documentary about his work.

Nicolas Bras demonstrates the acoustics of various PVC woodwind and brass instruments

We all know about Blue Man Group and their impressive percussion PVC instruments. But it turns out, as Nicolas Bras aptly demonstrates, the versatile plastic can also create convincing woodwind and brass instruments that, somewhat ironically, are neither wood nor brass (although as he points out, real life instruments can break those rules as well). It’s a real joy to watch him cobble together some pipes and make beautiful noise with them, but it’s also a great lesson in acoustics and a demonstration of the fact that it’s the way the air is vibrated, not the material of the instrument, that defines it. Highlight: That three-headed serpentine instrument he makes to play three notes at once.

Is this leaked "Death Note" script real? Gwern Branwen considers ALL the factors.

It starts with a simple enough question: In 2009, a pdf file circulated the Internet purporting to be a leaked script of Hollywood’s adaptation of the popular anime Death Note. Is it real? Gwern Branwen, in an impressive showing of detective work, breaks down various pieces of evidence to figure out the answer, ranging from checking the location and timestamp metadata on the pdf file itself, to mathematically comparing the style of the script against the supposed author’s previous works, plus a whole load of Death Note fanfiction. Not only that, but they also use probability to assess the level of confidence when weighing different factors. Overall, it’s a remarkable analysis worthy of L himself (that’s a Death Note reference).