The best things on the Internet this week, curated by Fast Company employees.
Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived, the project asks.
It was a long flight, and one woman had brought Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese to occupy herself. When she got to the book’s saddest passage, she started sobbing. “I mean complete, shameless, snot flowing down my face sobbing,” she says. That’s when another woman sitting across the aisle from her handed her a tissue she had been holding in anticipation of this moment. “I read that book a few weeks ago, and I knew you were getting close,” she said.
This is one of many anonymous stories about books that has been told to Ishmael, of the site Call Me Ishmael, since it launched in June. The premise is simple: Anyone can call the site’s phone number and answer the prompt, “Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you’ve lived.”
Ishmael, who is voiced by TED-Ed director Logan Smalley, turns one of those voicemails each week into a video by sticking his iPhone to his typewriter with silly putty and running a transcription of the message through the roller to the speed of the audio. From a single prompt, the site has unleashed a wide range of stories.
Name: Rose Pastore
Role at Fast Company: Assistant news editor
Titillating Fact: Two months before I started at Fast Company, I went on a parabolic flight with NASA. I panicked during the first few seconds of floating; I was convinced I (or the plane) had flipped upside down. One of my most vivid memories is seeing the seat belts rise toward the ceiling. I didn’t vomit, thanks to the scopolamine injection I got right before the flight, but the anti-nausea drug did make me feel a bit stoned. I was there to cover a neat student experiment that tested whether a portable ultrasound machine works in zero gravity.
Read> Things she’s loving
The goalie, briefly listed as the U.S. Secretary of Defense on Wikipedia, also spurred an amazing meme: WhatCantTimHowardSave?
America’s dream of winning the World Cup were dashed Tuesday with a 2-1 defeat by Belgium, but fans still can’t get over Tim Howard’s incredible performance as a goalie.
So much so that some fans are petitioning the White House to rename Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in D.C. after Howard, who set a record-setting 16 saves in the elimination game.
Thus far, the petition has amassed more than 5,000 signatures, but it’s still a long way from its goal of 100,000 signatures.
Here’s how to do it.
Ah, clickbait. The currency of the Internet! We just found out that Yongzhi Huang, one of the developers here at Fast Company, has built a neat little web tool that lets you create convincing fake news stories with which to troll your friends.
Using it is easy. Simply pick a news logo (Yahoo, Breaking News, etc.), write your fake headline, then put a link to the website of your choosing at the end. Even Reddit seems to like it!
So we asked Zhi to explain himself.
The Recommender: Leslie Dela Vega, Fast Company’s Director of Photography
Name: Leslie Dela Vega
Role at Fast Company: Director of Photography
Titillating fact: Since she was a teenager, she has often dreamt of flying. “Flying through the air, free, happy. It’s a drug-free high. I look forward to falling asleep to do just that.” So this Saturday, Leslie is going on her first tandem skydiving jump, “hoping to re-create that feeling in real life.”
Things she’s loving:
On Tuesday, I met with Talia Herman, a photographer from Guerneville, California. I told my partner I’d love to retire in this small town. It has just one intersection, but has redwood trees and the Russian River at its feet. Silence. Herman’s portfolio was similar: quiet, thoughtful. So after meeting her, I went on her blog, where there is so much eye candy. Her project of following Guerneville residents was raw, deep, personal at times. Her color palette, muted for some, gives me an antiquated, inside feel of these lives.
I received a book from Adam Krause, a photographer whose personal projects were intriguing and inviting. He covers subjects that are honed and minutely specific. You can see an example of these subjects in the Greenpoint, Brooklyn Nazi skinheads project. Another? Alligator hunting + commerce. Beautifully lit, nicely composed portraits of alligators and their hunters.
I have to admit, this isn’t a new find. But I go to this site as often as possible. It’s nice to scroll down FOREVER and look at photos, but not just any photos. These photos are of design, architecture, people, sex, all of which totally work together in this layout. Graphic lines, colors, shapes, text, and men’s clothing, which I myself as a woman prefer half the time.
[Image: Flickr user Horia Varlan]
The Recommender: Cia Bernales, Web Producer and owner of Atticus, the giant Rottweiler
Name: Cia Bernales
Role at Fast Company: Web producer
Website: Writing with My Mouth Full
Titillating fact: Cia has crossed 37 countries off her bucket list. She isn’t leaving the country this year, but she just started planning her trip to Glacier National Park, in Montana. Does anyone who’s been there have travel advice for her?
Things she’s loving:
1. Sports and women
Say what you will about NYC’s new bike share program and the Bloomberg administration, but I think transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan has done so much good for the city since she started her job. If we live in the world-class city we claim to, we need to enjoy our own public spaces and have different ways to get from Point A to Point B.
I’m still a chicken when it comes to biking around New York City, but Evelyn Stevens is the person to watch in a sport that’s gotten so much bad press recently. She quit her Wall Street job to become a pro cyclist and is now winning important races, even after landing on her face and breaking her teeth this season. She can really lean in!
I’m also excited to cheer for a new sports team and ogle the beautiful legs that will be participating in the new New York City Football Club! I feel as though I haven’t had a New York team to cheer for in a long time!
2. The Farmstand App
Farmstand is a mobile guide to a lot of the farmers’ markets nationwide, but I use it for the photos of local produce uploaded by users. I change my location to California a lot just to get a peek at what Angelenos are currently buying.
I also can’t wait to start replicating recipes from British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book, River Cottage Veg. I’m a fan of his Meat Book, so it’s awesome to see a meat lover make vegetable-focused dishes more exciting.
3. Atticus A Day
And how can I not shamelessly promote my Rottweiler’s blog, Atticus A Day? I adopted Atticus from a New Jersey shelter four months ago, and he has made me a softie, both in my wallet and out. Even my parents didn’t think I had it in me to make room for another living thing in my life. His rust-colored eyebrows are so expressive, I can’t help but squeal whenever he pouts. He is too goddamn cute! Of course, he has his own hashtag on Instagram, too: #ciaheartsatticus.
The Recommender: Matt Mankins, Fast Company’s Chief Technology Officer
Name: Matt Mankins
Role at Fast Company: Chief Technology Officer
Titillating fact: Matt used to be “really really really” into mail art. He lived in Miami and would find coconuts in his yard, paint them, and send them to people. He also sent fossils, a puzzle, leaves, and other objects. If you get a random painted coconut in the mail, you know who it’s from.
Things he’s loving:
When I finished reading Tamara Shopsin’s book, Mumbai New York Scranton, I wanted more. So I Googled and found this site that reminded me of the best parts of the early web. I found myself clicking all the links. By the end I was satiated, and felt okay that the book was over. (No spoilers, so feel free to click)
I’ve been trying to brush up on my Spanish, and find this site amazingly fun and effective. Memrise “grows” your memory through planting the concepts, watering them, and harvesting them at just the right time. I’m pretty excited about how the educational system is evolving and adapting to new scientific studies.
My wife has a side project illustrating “Brooklyn Problems”—things she’s overheard or experienced on the streets of our borough. She recently coined “the Gauntlet of Charity,” which makes me miss sniglet calendars that I used to have in the ’90s.
An extra recommendation, because this was the link that got the most laughs when it was shared around the office this week.
[Images & Post by Jessica Hullinger]
Meet Joel Arabaje, Fast Company’s Online Photo Editor and the King of Selfies. Joel originally wanted to be a veterinarian. For a while he was a Rat Laboratory Technician at Queens College, where he tended to the needs of the tiny rodents. In high school, he was a pet groomer. These days, he’s a photographer, illustrator, and designer. For his latest project, Joel is taking a selfie every day for a year, and posting each photo to Instagram.