Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
Former flosser John Green has been writing novels for years now. He's also been making successful video blogs as part of the brotherly YouTube power duo known as the VlogBrothers. Normally, the two processes couldn't be more different -- making vlogs is usually quick and spontaneous, and novel-writing is usually, well, not. But as John has written, he's interested in "finding ways to write for people that don't involve a pen and paper," and says that "YouTube could use a little more writing ... and books... READ ON
So the New York Times just announced that pretty soon they'll be instituting a sort-of-complicated paywall system for their website content, which will be free if you view twenty or fewer articles per month, and $15/month for "heavy users." Readers who are referred to specific articles via Twitter or certain other social media sites will be able to see them regardless of how many articles they've viewed. All of which makes me go, aww, really? For a few years now my morning routine has been, almost... READ ON
You hear it all the time -- that so-and-so is "in the limelight" or "stealing the limelight" -- and while we all know what people mean when they say that, we may not have any idea what limelight actually is. It's one of those phrases that was a lot more literally true when it was coined, back in the 19th century, when theaters actually used limelight to illuminate their stages. Used for the first time in London's Convent Garden Theater in 1837, it had come into widespread use around the world by the... READ ON
So, this is cool. Most of our regular readers are probably familiar with my series of photo essays, Strange Geographies -- and I know it's been awhile since I've posted one. What can I say, I've been a homebody lately! In any case, I'm going to fix that in early April by going to the Netherlands and Belgium for a week -- three nights in Amsterdam, then off to the land of fine chocolates and beer -- and while I'm there, I'm going to be looking for strange, dark, unusual things and places to shoot for the... READ ON
Errol Morris, Oscar-winning director of The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control is one of our best documentary filmmakers. A few years ago he had a television program called First Person. Each episode consisted mainly of a length interview with one fascinating person, conducted via something Morris calls the "Interrotron," a system of screens and mirrors which makes the interviewee feel as if they're talking directly to Morris when they're actually looking right into the... READ ON
New internet meme alert! There have been some chuckle-inducing one-liners floating around the web lately, many of which start with "If you watch it backwards ..." What we're witnessing is truly historic: the birth of a new genre of joke. The world's reservoir of "Your mom is so ..." jokes has nearly run dry, so it didn't happen a moment too soon. Already a Tumblr site has cropped up to collect the best of them -- which is where this slightly bad-taste rib-tickler came... READ ON
My buddy Scott is a grave-robbing expert. OK, that sounds weird -- really he's an investigative journalist (his work has appeared in Wired, Nat Geo, etc) and someone who's spent so much time and energy digging up stories in India that the government of India officially considers him a Person of Indian Origin (even though he was born in Rhode Island and went to college with me in Ohio). But anyway. One of the stories he wrote while in India was about grave robbers who sold medical skeletons to (probably... READ ON
This is not only really cool, but it has striking implications for makers of film and TV.... READ ON
When you think of nuclear test sites, remote Pacific islands and desert wastelands come to mind. Not many people think of Hattiesburg, MIssissippi -- but the United States carried out two nuclear tests in a little town just outside that city in 1964, in an operation that went by the reassuring-to-no-one moniker Project Dribble. No one saw any mushroom clouds, though, because the two nukes they tested were detonated underground, in a 3,000-foot-deep shaft drilled into a reservoir of ancient salt called the... READ ON
I haven't heard a lot about the much-dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder lately -- that syndrome wherein massive bee die-offs seemed to threaten global food supplies -- which I foolishly chalked up to our having solved the problem. Not so fast -- according to this recent article in the Telegraph, the problem hasn't gone away -- 30 to 30% of bees are still failing to survive each winter, three times the historical average -- and we're only just beginning to make educated guesses about the real cause of it.... READ ON
Lyme disease is named for Lyme, CT, where several cases were identified in 1975.