Christmas is cancelled

Santa can’t function. His warehouse is flooded. All the presents are ruined.”

Greenpeace UK partnered with Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey to send the world a message; be kinder to our planet. To raise awareness and save the Arctic, the activist group says Christmas might have to be cancelled if global warming continues to melt the North Pole.

Greenpeace takes aim at global leaders, including Barrack Obama and Vladimir Putin, for ignoring the issues and not doing enough to stave off the melting of the ice caps – resulting in them being put where nobody wishes to be, the naughty list.

It’s a desperate plea from Santa, but with celebrities including Vivienne Westwood, Paul McCartney, Madonna and Jude Law supporting the campaign, it’s certainly doing the job.

More news, less memes

Gone are the days where “news” on Facebook was when somebody updated their relationship status. Facebook have tweaked their news feed algorithm to expose more links to articles from media organisations – and with a priority on quality content, everyone’s favourite cat memes and 15 second videos will become less prominent.

It’s obvious that Facebook are striving to make the news feed more like Twitter’s stream – which has become an invaluable source for news in this social media driven world. It’s the latest in a series of product updates, which most recently included the introduction of hashtags, that positioned the network in line with its competitors.

By surfacing more articles in the news feed, Facebook are making the “news” in “news feed” much more literal, which could run the risk of this social medium becoming less personal.


App of the week


Budgeting, in the new digital age of “always on” mobile shopping, $10 locally brewed craft beers and in-app micro transactions seems like hard work – that’s where Level comes in.

Level positions itself as a “Financial GPS” which connects you in real-time to all of your credit cards and bank accounts. It allows you to track your cash flow in an interesting yet ingeniously simple way – a “level” like diagram showing how much you can safely spend that day, week or month.

By taking this approach Level helps you plan for today, which in turn allows you to think long term – Level automatically tracks your spending habits and provides insights into your savings progress. Level’s “Money Meter” is the only number you need to know and removes the idea of budgeting almost entirely.

It’s currently available free on iTunes, with Android coming soon.

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A new musical collaboration, between your car and the road

Volkswagen have developed a way to turn their cars into giant electronic symphonies. When plugged into a Volkswagen GTI, the German manufacturer’s Play the Road app uses a range of data from the car — including its velocity and engine revs — to create a soundtrack that develops as it’s driven. Electronic music pioneers Underworld are responsible for the innovative reactive sounds. At low speeds, calming synth sounds are heard. At higher speeds, the synth is joined by pounding drumbeats. Go even faster and the effects leave the driver with a pulsating electro soundtrack. In addition to data provided, the app uses information from the iPhone’s GPS system to work out where the car has travelled, and when to play specific sounds. For example, driving through the countryside you’ll hear birds throughout your soundtrack.You’ll have to wait a while to fulfill your on road DJ dreams as the app is not yet available for commercial use.

TV Ratings

A hot summer of cricket

 National – Free to Air Station Audience
Ashes: Second Test – AUS V ENG Session 3 – Sun Ch 9 1,576,000
Nine News – Sun Ch 9 1,539,000
Ashes: Second Test – AUS V ENG Session 3 – Sat Ch 9 1,381,000
Ashes: Second Test – AUS V ENG Session 2 – Sat Ch 9 1,237,000
Nine News – Sat Ch 9 1,206,000
Nine News – Thu Ch 9 1,174,000
60 Minutes – Sun Ch 9 1,152,000
Seven News – Thu Ch 7 1,140,000
Seven News – Tue Ch 7 1,122,000
Nine News – Mon Ch 9 1,114,000
Source: OzTAM 03/12/13 – 09/12/13

3D printed Rubik’s cube building

Spanish artist and designer Javier Lloret has transformed the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz, Austria into a giant Rubik’s cube.

The project, dubbed “Puzzle Facade,” works by sending signals via Bluetooth from a handheld 3D printed cube, to the building, which updates the colorful pattern of LED lights on its surface. Even though a player can’t see all four sides of the building at once, the project can sense the rotation of the smaller cube and orients the colours on the building accordingly.

The Rubik’s cube building was created as part of a thesis on Interface culture.

Website of the week

Kanye vs creative director

Ever wondered how well you know Kanye West? On our website of the week, Kanye vs Creative, you can test out your knowledge with just a click of a button. Hilariously, the new website challenges visitors to flip through a series of quotes, along the lines of:  “I am from the future, so are my ideas”, before deciding whether the statement was made by Kanye himself, or a creative director.

The designers explain their inspiration behind the website: “No one ever said it was easy to be a genius, but do some of these ‘geniuses’ hear [what] comes out of their mouths? Kanye West has 21 Grammys. Your creative director won a Cannes Lion in 1996. They both talk like they’re God’s gift to the Earth, but the lines have gotten so blurred that it’s hard to tell who said what. Until now.”

Check it out and enjoy!