Briefings: Magic at the Masters, The Perfect Human, A Diamond Hoax, Airbnb of Bicycles, and The End of Helium
If you’ve only got time for one significant distraction today, use it wisely. Consider that it’s the beginning of spring and warm outside in many parts of these here United States. The perfect day to ride some trails or drink a few brewskies al fresco. If you’re still with us, though, you’ve got to watch the TrimVac in action.
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1. What to Copy | Magic at the Masters
We’re reminded of an anonymous and binding proverb around the time of any major sporting event: “If you can’t attend, tune in; if you can’t tune in, it’s because you didn’t skip work, and don’t forget to grab a sixer of something nice on the way over to your buddy’s house. He made nachos and everything.” Paraphrasing here. The reason we watch is magic like this ace that German golfer Martin Kaymer skipped across the water hazard on hole #16 (Redbud) at Augusta during a practice round. You read that correctly. Across the water. Biblical style.
2. What to Watch | The Perfect Human
An all-around more enjoyable video than the chicken vacuum, this classic short film from Danish poet and director Jørgen Leth is an old favorite of ours. It’s a surreal, meditative, amusing study of the mundane daily rituals of a man and a woman—eating, dancing, shaving — which inspired The Five Obstructions, a documentary in which Lars von Trier challenges Leth to remake the short five times with five different obstacles. The film isn’t widely known, but it got a lot of love from critics and at Sundance back in 2004. Put it in your Netflix queue.
3. What to Rent | Somebody’s Bike
We rent all kinds of things when we’re visiting new places — cars, apartments, investigators — but renting a bike usually means getting a clunky piece of work for about $30 per day. Spinlister is a new site applying the Airbnb formula to bike rentals; that is, bike owners list their steed, which renters can evaluate based on photos and reviews from past customers. It’s a more social form of renting, and it may be a better deal: Right now in New York there’s a slick Fuji city bike available for $1 per day.
4. What to Read | The Great Diamond Hoax
Hoaxes and scandals are a lot more amusing in hindsight, once the pangs of injustice have a chance to wear off. Here’s a good one from Smithsonian: In the late 19th Century, a Kentucky swindler named Philip Arnold took investors for a ride by faking a diamond field in California. By the time a geologist figured out the con, the uncut diamonds were stuffed into anthills and surrounded by footprints, not underground. Arnold had made off with today’s equivalent of $8 million. Of course he ended up dying of pneumonia while recovering from a shotgun blast to the shoulder. Karma’s a bear.
5. What to Anticipate | The End of Helium
The United States extracts 90% of the world’s helium supply from natural gas fields in the Midwest, and what’s left after all the party tricks and prank phone calls goes into blimps and all kinds of instruments in science, medicine, and industry. But in 10 years our supply of helium may run out, according to Air & Space Magazine. What to do? Nobody really knows yet.