collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

What's Making me Happy - Week of August 22nd

These Mysterious Symbols Have Been in 19 Video Games and No One Knows Why

A strange sigil has been cropping up in (mostly indie) games and, thanks to some amazing detective work on the part of some redditors, it appears to be pointing to some kind of ARG. Is this Frog Fractions 2? Is lowbrowculture.com Frog Fractions 2? If you want to get deeper down the rabbit hole of this, I can recommend the /r/gamedetectives subreddit which consumed a lot of my productivity last week, especially their work on Overwatch’s apparent “Sombra ARG”, where it’s perfectly reasonable to take a random line of source code from a web page, run it through a Vigenére cipher (using the passphrase gained from a previous bit of detective work) and then diff’ing the resulting “datamoshed” image with an original image to get even more clues. I love this stuff. (Incidentally, this is the second week in a row an article from Patrick Klepek has been making me happy. He’s doing amazing work at Vice.)

Fake human sacrifice filmed at Cern, with pranking scientists suspected

Let’s just take a look at the lede to this story:

Spokeswoman at high temple of particle physics suggests ‘scientific users’ of the Geneva facility ‘let their humour go too far’ with staging of occult rite

Holy shit. Something about the phrase “pranking scientists suspected” doesn’t fill me with confidence.

Disney’s Practical Guide to Path Tracing

Walt Disney Animation studios have put up a primer on a super-technical high-tech subject presented as if it was a 1950s documentary. It’s really informative and really charming. See also Disney’s Practical Guide to Snow Simulation.

How much faster would it be to render Toy Story in 2011 compared to how long it took in 1995?

Speaking of Pixar, Quora has some real gems hidden away deep in its belly. Like this fascinating 2011 answer from Craig Good, Pixar boffin, about the render times for the original cinema release of Toy Story vs the 2010 remaster.

All Mapped Out

Popbitch goes deep into the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Maps, digging into the music theory behind what makes it so unique and why it turns up under so many pop songs. Why did the Black Eyed Peas sample the intro? Let’s take a look at the drum tab to find out, shall we?