For your viewing pleasure, five of North Korea’s best films

Wednesday, 3 September, 2014

Film is probably not one thing too many people think of when North Korea comes to mind, but just because your local cinema may not feature a great many productions from the Hermit Kingdom, doesn’t mean the country is without a film industry.

Far from it, and anyone who cares to trawl about online will likely unearth numerous North Korean produced titles. Simon Fowler, a film critic, and author of North Korean Films, recently compiled a list of what he considers to be the country’s five best movies.

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The best thing to do after drinking coffee? Sleep, it would seem…

Wednesday, 3 September, 2014

Some recent research puts to bed the notion that coffee and sleep don’t mix… on the contrary, a cup of coffee, followed by a short nap, can be a recipe for boosting mental agility:

Yes, nap. Coffee clears the body of chemical called adenosine. Levels of this compound rise while you’re awake; when enough accumulates, it helps tell your brain to go to sleep. The chemical is then broken down while you sleep. Coffee reduces adenosine in the brain, a process that takes about 20 minutes, so coffee followed by a 15-minute nap may maximize alertness.

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An app that could make expert time-lapse video producers of us all

Tuesday, 2 September, 2014

Now this is exciting… Hyperlapse is a new video editing app from Instagram that could make expert looking time-lapse video producers of us all.

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On being a digital nomad

Tuesday, 2 September, 2014

The prospect of travelling the world, indefinitely, while working from a laptop, seems, to say the least, pretty appealing. Obviously it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but if you’re thinking you fit the mould, you ought to read Noel Tock’s account of day-to-day life as a digital nomad.

Don’t say “I’ll be my own boss” without knowing exactly what you’re a boss of. Traveling constantly exposes you to (good) distractions whilst also being in pursuit of reliable infrastructure. Your work is the one thing that shouldn’t shift dramatically as you change locations. You need to have a strong vision of where you’re going, even if ultimately you have no idea where it’ll take you.

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If you’re going to waste time you have to do so properly

Tuesday, 2 September, 2014

And the best way to get the best value from your time, or to possibly make better decisions, is to… waste a little time. Yes, taking a peep at Facebook or Twitter, or looking out the window to watch the world go by, for a minute or two, while deciding on a course of action to take, rather than being detrimental, can actually be beneficial.

In 2006, psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis at Radboud University in the Netherlands also found that people tasked with making a complex decision do better when they are allowed a brief period of distraction before deciding. He presented his study participants with a list of cars and their attributes, both positive and negative. Then he asked participants to assess the cars’ quality. One group had to think about the information they had learned for four minutes before making their assessments. The other group was asked to perform a “distractor task” during that four-minute interlude. The group that performed a “distractor task” demonstrated the best judgment.

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The roofs of Hong Kong as seen from the roofs of Hong Kong

Tuesday, 2 September, 2014

The main reason I’m linking to these photos of Hong Kong, taken mostly from the rooftops of what appear to be some of the city’s tallest buildings, is because I think it’s a great photo collection. The behind-the-scenes, the exact-places-we-took-these shots, however had me grabbing onto my desk… take a look, I think you’ll see what I mean.

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From dawn to dusk, that’s “time slice” photography

Monday, 1 September, 2014

Photo by Richard Silver

New York based photographer Richard Silver takes pictures of the same scene over the course of several hours and then splices segments of each to produce a single “time slice” image. It’s a technique, no pun intended, that casts an image in a whole new light.

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My son changed my life and I have the data visualisations to prove it

Monday, 1 September, 2014

Starting a family and having children is a game-changer. Life is never the same again. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

Instead check out the data visualisations that statistician Nathan Yau prepared, that compare aspects of his life, such as sleep times, waking hours, distances from home travelled, and number of photos taken, before and after his son was born.

Yes, it looks like people take a lot more photos, a lot more, once they have children…

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A guide to taking great photos of Moon

Monday, 1 September, 2014

If you’re like me and wonder how so many people, apparently amateur photographers, succeed in taking so many great photos of the Moon, as evidenced by the abundance of such images that can be found online, this might help you match their standard, but you will need something other than a smartphone camera to work with though.

Due to a smartphone’s small sensor, you need ample magnification to capture any kind of lunar detail. But smartphones don’t have optical-zoom lenses, and using digital zoom doesn’t have the same effect. What you really want is a far-reaching telephoto lens for this kind of shot. The longer the better. Ideally, that long-zoom lens will be hooked up to a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, as their larger sensors capture sharper details. And because of the lens’s optical reach, you also want a tripod or a flat surface to steady your camera. Even though you’ll be using a fast shutter speed, the slightest movements with a long-zoom lens can add blur.

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Preserving the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe exactly the way it was

Monday, 1 September, 2014

The “Star Wars” Expanded Universe, or EU, is a vast collection of books, comics, and video games, that feature many of the saga’s original characters, in, for want of a better term, side-line stories, that relate in varying degrees to events of the six “Star Wars” films released to date.

Not all of these stories however were entirely peripheral, given George Lucas stated long ago he would not ever film the final three segments of the saga, episodes seven to nine, the EU had come along and picked up the slack as it were, and carried on the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, and company.

In April however it was announced that the EU was effectively going by the wayside, and that for the most part the characters and developments it had given rise to, would not be part of the forthcoming Disney produced series of films.

This may not be as distressing as it seems, as it will allow for the creation of new story arcs, and add a little intrigue to the upcoming films.

For those who would rather adhere to the EU’s vision of the “Star Wars” future though, Rich McCormick, a writer for The Verge, has put together a timeline of significant events that take place following Return of the Jedi.

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