Social680 Videos

? Can’t wear Snap sunglasses at night ?

Unless you plan on bumping into stuff, don’t expect to record after-dark concerts and parties on your Snap Inc Spectacles. The company formerly known as Snapchat (they really should have just changed it to the emoji, Prince-style) confirms to me its new camera glasses are not currently built to be worn at night. Their lenses […]

“The Girl With the Ponytail”, Picasso's muse turned artist

FRANÇOISE GILOT, Picasso's long-term partner, compared the artist to Bluebeard, the fictional nobleman who murdered a string of wives. Both Picasso's mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter and his second wife Jacqueline Roque committed suicide. But one woman who was subject to Picasso's gaze refused to fall victim to it. Sylvette David began her artistic career not as a painter, but as a model. Picasso and she met in the spring of 1954 in Vaullauris. Whilst Sylvette sat in the sun outside his studio, Picasso scaled the wall to hand her a sketch of a girl with a ponytail, which she recognised to be a portrait of herself. From that point, Ms David became his muse for over fifty paintings, later known as the Sylvette Cycle. The “Heads of Sylvette”—a series of metal sculptures—constituted an important innovation in his career, and this new epoch in Picasso's art was also his most concentrated body of work centred around one woman. LIFE magazine dubbed it his “Ponytail Period”. A..

100% Fun

If 2016 taught us anything it’s that the internet isn’t fun anymore. It’s not that a soulless network of computers interconnected via TCP/IP was ever supposed to be fun. It’s that eventually fun overlaid itself on that network and created a world where nearly everyone could interact without fear. Kids grew up in a world […]

360 photos and videos are coming to Facebook’s Instant Articles

Facebook’s Instant Articles — the format that displays publishers’ content in a faster-loading, distraction-free view when accessed by Facebook users on mobile devices — are about to get more interactive. The social network announced today that these articles will now support 360 videos and photos — meaning, publishers can include 360 content in-line, which… Read […]

4chan founder Chris Poole will try to fix social at Google

Google never “got” social. For all the resources thrown at it, Google+ just never quite felt human. But luckily Google just hired the guy behind 4chan — a site that epitomized the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity on the Internet. Chris Poole (screen name: MOOT) started 4chan in his bedroom at age 15. In the 12 years since, he built it into a 20 million active user… Read More

50 shades of grey whales

Livin’ it up at the Hotel CaliforniaSex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep. By Marah Hardt. St Martin’s Press; 257 pages. $26.99. IN THE Olympics of extreme sex, the gold medal, says Marah Hardt, goes to fish and other saltwater species. Sea life depends on sophisticated strategies honed over millennia to meet and mate. The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, so hooking up in a singles bar spread over 1.3 billion cubic kilometres (0.3 billion cubic miles) is no easy task. Reproduction and survival of the sexiest is what it is about. Though it finishes on a more sombre note, Ms Hardt’s book, “Sex in the Sea”, starts as a voyeuristic romp (“Oceanic Orgies: Getting It On in Groups” is one chapter title). Cuttlefish are cross-dressers, the male argonaut (a pelagic octopus) has a detachable, projectile penis, dolphins are in flagrante acrobats, and group sex erupts (where else?) on the Californ..

911bot is a chat bot that could save your life

When you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s hard to know what to do. And even if you do, panic can take over. 911bot, a product built at the Disrupt Hackathon here in New York, aims to help you out in a pinch. The Facebook Messenger-based chat bot lets you report emergencies to the […]

A new book’s vilification of Tony Blair

TOM BOWER’s modus operandi is well-established. Pick a public figure, usually a businessman who has encountered sufficient, ahem, reputational issues to have attracted media and public interest. Do a diligent cuttings job and interview anyone who has some dirt to dish or an axe to grind. Bring it all together in a way that skewers any pretensions the subject might have to probity, and gratifies the reader by confirming all their prejudices. Sell the serialisation rights to a newspaper, preferably the Daily Mail, and generate headlines and publicity. Among those who have been on the receiving end of the Bower shower are Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland, Mohamed al-Fayed, Conrad Black, Bernie Ecclestone, Simon Cowell and (twice) Richard Branson. That Tony Blair should have been chosen for similar treatment in Mr Bower’s new book, "Broken Vows", is both testimony to how low the former prime minister’s stock has fallen, at least in Britain, and to the controversy surrounding his second career ..

A rant about why Snapchat 2.0 is no disappearing teen fad

Ignore Snapchat at your own peril. It’s a lot more than sexts and ephemeral photos. Today’s Chat 2.0 update makes Snapchat a competitor to your phone itself. What started as an app for horny high school kids has blossomed into the most vibrant communication platform on the market. Watch my video rant above to see […]

A rare bit of good news from the English National Opera

AS THE British government tightens public spending, opera and ballet have lost out. Inflation-adjusted day-to-day spending by the government has barely budged since 2010 (though as a share of national income it has fallen). By contrast, public money for opera and ballet has fallen by about a fifth over the period (see chart). Opera houses have to respond creatively to justify continued public money. The Royal Opera House (ROH), London's most prestigious opera-and-ballet venue, keenly targets students with cut-price tickets. It also puts plenty of performances on in cinemas. Partly as a result of such a willingness to innovate, the ROH is bursting for every performance. But the English National Opera (ENO), in the words of Darren Henley, the chief executive of Arts Council England, "is waking up to the challenge a little late." Stories abound of mismanagement. A year ago both the...Continue reading

A second bite of the madeleine

Memories are made of thisIn Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way. By Marcel Proust. Adapted and illustrated by Stéphane Heuet. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Gallic; 206 pages; £19.99. MARCEL PROUST is a tough read. His seven-volume “In Search of Lost Time”, published between 1913 and 1927, is known for its long, winding prose and its many ruminations on time and the slipperiness of memory. For those who have never plucked up the courage to give it a go, Stéphane Heuet’s adaptation of the first volume into a graphic novel is welcome. Mr Heuet’s illustrations are simple, on the whole. The narrator’s face is reduced to a dozen or so lines, the grass a single shade of green. The text is translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer, a Harvard academic who will be known to many readers for his translation of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. Mr Goldhammer’s text is concise and unfussy. A child could read this book. Just occasionally, Mr Heuet lets his pen run wild, to..

AcuityAds acquires social ad targeter 140 Proof for $20M

140 Proof, a company that helps advertisers target their campaigns based on social data, has been acquired by AcuityAds for up to $20 million in cash. 140 Proof co-founder and CEO Jon Elvekrog said the deal will combine his company’s strength in social media with AcuityAds’ programmatic ad-buying tech. The 140 Proof brand and team […]

AcuityAds acquires social ad targeter 140 Proof for up to $20M

140 Proof, a company that helps advertisers target their campaigns based on social data, has been acquired by AcuityAds for up to $20 million in cash. 140 Proof co-founder and CEO Jon Elvekrog said the deal will combine his company’s strength in social media with AcuityAds’ programmatic ad-buying tech. The 140 Proof brand and team […]