Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
So I found this interesting question posed on Reddit today -- something I've wondered myself -- could you use all the people working out at a busy gym to generate power? To feed something back into the electrical grid, perhaps? I mean, think about all the people chugging away on an exercise bike right now, across the world -- there must be thousands and thousands. Well, it turns out the answer is: you could, but it wouldn't do much. Last October, a group of 500 cyclists gathered in Manchester, England... READ ON
Here's an amazingly excellent idea for a mash-up: a theatrical production of Terminator 2 re-written in the language of Shakespeare. Nashville-based theater company Husky Jackal dreamed up the project, and before you ask the inevitable question -- why T-2? -- here's their answer:
First of all, it’s just an awesome movie. And you’d be amazed by how perfectly the themes so pervasive in Shakespeare’s plays lend themselves to the story of the Terminator: horrific prophecies, charges of madness, the... READ ON
I just got back from a week in the Netherlands (and Belgium and Luxembourg) and my head's still spinning -- from the jet-lag, heavy beers, and dizzying awesomeness of that part of the world. I'm just starting to go through the intimidating mountain of images and videos I took while there, but just to kick off what will be probably several weeks of occasional posts about the region, I wanted to do a quick overview of Holland, which as it turns out has a lot more to offer than tulips and wooden shoes... READ ON
Bibliophiles rejoice! Prague's beautiful, 868-year-old Strahov monastery library is officially off-limits to the public, but now you can browse the spines of its books -- more or less the sum of all 18th century knowledge -- as if you were standing inside it. That's because photographer Jeffrey Martin spent five days taking thousands of high-resolution photos with a robotically-controlled camera and then many more days stitching them together, capturing every centimeter of its shelves, its polished... READ ON
So I have this novel coming out in a few months, and the publisher has asked me to make a book trailer for it. (Yes, book trailers Are a Thing Now, and I've done others for other books not written by me.) It's a fantastical book full of creepy imagery and vintage found photos, so the trailer needs to be commensurately creepy -- which is a long-winded way of explaining why I got a filthy, old children's doll in the mail the other day. (It's just a prop, I... READ ON
I've devoted many a post to the way the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone -- that 25km swath evacuated around the Ukrainian nuclear reactor that failed in 1986 -- looked. It's a wonderland of creepy decay, its buildings full of personal effects because the people who lived there were given so little time to evacuate. I've never thought about how the place might sound, though. Acoustic artist Peter Cusack went there to find out, and it turns out that it sounds amazing there -- like a lush Eden full of life.... READ ON
I've really been enjoying myself over on Kickstarter, a social networking site that helps fund and follow independent creative projects. In an era where there might not be government funding for public radio, let alone small-scale photography, film, or literary projects, it's up to us -- the crowd as patron. You can give as little as a dollar to help, and most of the projects are looking for relatively modest funds of just a few thousand. I'm going to start highlighting worthy projects I think our... READ ON
Boingboing recently published an excellent and very in-depth article on the strange world of post-mortem photo collecting -- something I know a bit about, tangentially, because I'm a collector of old photos myself. I don't buy "PMs," as they're colloquially known (unless there's something incredibly interesting written on them -- that's kind of my thing), but plenty of other people do, as evidenced by their booming trade on eBay. As Mark Dery writes in the boingboing piece: "When Marx wrote, in The... READ ON
This is the coolest idea for a cookbook I've ever seen. The Feasts of Tre-mang will be a cookbook full of exotic and unusual (but delicious!) recipes that originated on the Island of Tre-mang, which was near the Canary Islands until it got destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the first decades of the last century. Except it didn't -- because Tre-mang never existed. I say will be a cookbook because The Feasts of Tre-mang is a Kickstarter project, meaning that right now it's just a highly inventive... READ ON
The fine folks at Everything is Terrible have made the hilarious enshortening of crappy movies into an art form. There's gold to be mined from obscure 80s action flicks, for instance, but who wants to waste hours sitting through dozens of just kind of terrible scenes to get to the really terrible ones? Now you don't have to -- EIT has done the time-wasting for us, distilling these films down to their terrible essences, so that in just two or three minutes you kind of feel like you've watched the whole... READ ON
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh played Screech's cousin on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.