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  • Parkour video from the 1930s

    In this video from the 1930s, a man hops away from the dinner table and goes on an amazing adventure up building walls, out of windows, and inside a car tire. The part where he's clambering up the wall with a kid on his back made me a bit nervous!

    I know there's some debate as to what should be called parkour v. freerunning — I'm not exactly sure which this qualifies as, but nonetheless it's totally cool and enjoyable to watch.

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  • Ze Frank Gets $500,000 To Play Games From Andreessen Horowitz, Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, And Ron Conway

    Ze Frank, the video blogger and performance artist, is getting $500,000 from a band of super angels and VCs to play games. His stealth startup Ze Frank Games (there isn’t even a Website for it yet) just raised a seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, Chris Dixon’s Founder Collective, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, betaworks, Lerer Ventures, First Round Capital, CrossCut Ventures, Joshua Schachter, and Gary Vaynerchuck.

    In additiona to his playful video podcasts, starting with The Show and more recently his video contributions to, Ze Frank also designs games such as Memory (also available as the iPhone game Memari) and social games like Twitter Color Wars.

    Details are spare about what Ze Frank Games will create. Ze Frank writes via email:

    The company is still in stealth mode – but it will involve social gaming and will be influenced heavily by what I’ve learned about play and participation over the last ten years with projects like The Show and Color Wars.

    Fellow video blogger-turned-entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk says he invested because “as someone who was there when he started Color Wars on Twitter and watching him from afar build his show and brand through gaming mechanics this became a no brainer for me. This is more about Ze than the product and at times that is the right call.” Chris Dixon of Founder Collective (and CEo of Hunch) concurs: “Ze is a genius and he’s going to do amazing stuff.” He won’t tell me what Ze Frank Games is either.

    Some other clues about the direction Ze Frank Games might venture can be found on Ze Frank’s blog, which has a post with a video on the future of gaming. It is all about turning life into a game and infusing game mechanics into the real world (a concept that another recent Andreessen Horowitz investment, Foursquare, is taking to the races).

    But don’t expect another Foursquare. Ze Frank is way more conceptual than that. Just read some of the job descriptions for the positions he is trying to hire. For instance, here are some of his requirements for a front-end developer:

    You should be awesome at making JavaScript do things it wasn’t designed to do. . . . You should know how to interact with a database in a healthy, grown-up, passive-aggressive way. You should tell your coder friends that you are a designer and your designer friends that you are a coder. You should have friends but it is okay if you don’t. You should find an exhilarating beauty in finding a simple solution to a problem. The word “iterate” should roll off of your tongue like a mantra.

    And for a graphic designer:

    The phrase “Please make that look more like a Muppet vomited SteamPunk.” should seem like satisfactory art direction, and to be honest there was no need to use the word “please”. You should feel slightly anxious when you see something that isn’t properly aligned.

    I don’t think even Ze Frank knows exactly what Ze Frank Games is going to be, but whatever it is, it won’t be boring.

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  • Your Superhuman Brain

    Jess Bachman has a cool new infographic out -- it's all about the human brain. Specifically....

    It's about super savants, you know, like Rain Man. But they are not always handicapped like that. In fact, the ability might be in all of us. It's also amazing how fundamentally our brains are connected to, and adapted to, music.

    Superhuman: The Incredible Savant Brain

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  • Required Viewing

    I didn't watch this when it first went up but... shit... I'm going out on a limb and declaring it required viewing 2.2 million views later:

    That is fucking funny. And the kids who made it? A Best Buy employee who is probably going to lose his job. Says Gizmodo:

    The iPhone 4 vs. HTC EVO video making the rounds has gotten 1.7 million views, but when Best Buy found out it was their employee that made the video, they weren't so much amused as angry. Corporate asked them to take the video down, but the employee Brian Maupin declined, saying that it didn't mention Best Buy anywhere. (It also didn't mention Best Buy in the description either.) But Best Buy suspended him, and now might be fired, claims NBC Action News.

    Hey Best Buy guy. Email us. You don't need to work at Best Buy when you can make funny stuff like this for the internet.

    Remember when Apple was beloved?

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