• 2022

  • A trove of Levi’s 201s discovered at Castle Dome

  • It’s not everyday you discover century old jeans in a mine shaft!

    Allen Armstrong, CEO and founder of the Castle Dome museum, mine and ghost town where Schlichting made his find, had previously explored the same shaft but missed the trove of jeans, coming within 20 feet of it. He did, however, find a pair of Levi’s 201s—a lower-priced version of the classic 501s, created around 1890 with cheaper buttons and a linen label rather than leather—on his first rappel to the shaft two decades ago.

    To authenticate the Levi’s, Armstrong turned to Levi Strauss & Co. historian Tracey Panek, who drove out from California. “She carried [the jeans] around for two hours like they were a little kid in her arms,” says Armstrong.

  • Men In Black is the most incredible homage to New York City of all time

  • I am coming up on my seventh year living in New York City. During my tenure living here, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I feel like I’ve hardened myself, forged a worthwhile career here and sharpened all of my senses. It’s a vast nexus of creativity, food, technology and people. All walks of life live here, and it’s chaotic as fuck, but it all somehow works.

    Thanks to LL 30, New York City’s language access law provides access to City services for all New Yorkers in 12 languages. Arabic, Bangla, Chinese (simplified Cantonese), French, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Urdu, Yiddish and English. That alone is incredible. You’d be hard-pressed to find any government notices in more than two languages anywhere in the continental United States. There’s no place like New York City anywhere on Earth. Sure, lot’s of cities are like NYC, but there’s something that sets thistephen.news apart from other large metropolitan cities.

    NYC is absolutely, full of wonderful weirdos. Weird stuff happens when you put 8.5 million people together in one spot. Enter Patrick Willems video essays. First off Willems breaks it down for us like this — it’s a masterpiece film that we’ll probably never see the likes of every again (Hollywood in a post-MCU world would likely never permit another MIB to happen). It’s an action buddy-cop movie about aliens in NYC sure, but it’s really an ode to New York City. That goes double for folks who have lived in NYC, and finally move out of the city. The feels are real.

  • André Hueston Mack tries a 94-year old Bourdeaux

  • I’ve never been a big wine drinker. Heck lets face it, I’ll probably never develop the palette or vocabulary required to know wines. But lemme tell ya, I could listen to André Hueston Mack (his handle on Twitter is @AndreHMack) discuss and dissect vintages all day long.

    Here he is opening a 94 year red wine from Bourdeaux for Bon Appétit:

  • Why do chef’s run water on a wok range?

  • I came across this excellent post on how to season a wok on Reddit. A classic Reddit post (that appears to have been cross-posted from TikTok). As is internet tradition, one of the top commenters was confused by the wok range and let us all know. A threaded conversation ensued. The last comment from a Redditor in particular shared a delightful video from Chef Wang that explains a bit about how ranges operate. Obviously, it get’s blazingly hot. So, it’s absolutely essential there’s running water on (or nearby) wok ranges:

    > i don’t understand both the seasoning process and the setup of this kitchen

    >> The wok burners produce a tremendous amount of heat required for proper wok cooking, the water cools the cooktop top, but the cooktop also contains a drain so the wok can be cleaned quickly (water is used only to maintain the wok seasoning), as well quick as access to water to use in cooking.

    >>> As explained and demonstrated by chef Wang here on what happens if you don’t have the flowing water: https://youtu.be/uTSsXQ-9bnQ

  • Ironworkers Local 433 members discuss The Picture

  • Perhaps you’ve seen the Wilshire Grand Tower and its iconic spire. Maybe you’ve seen The Picture and wondered how they took the photo in the first place. Look no further! Watch below.

    One small note about this video: one of the ironworkers makes a reference to “[that] empire state building photo.” He is actually referencing the iconic, Lunch Atop a Skyscraper photograph of ironworkers constructing Rockefeller Center. That photo was taken 90 years ago today, on September 20, 1932.

  • John Plant’s Primitive Technology channel inches closer to the Iron Age in latest video

  • If you haven’t been following Primitive Technology on YouTube, you will now. The channel, created by John Plant features an impressive stream of videos that dissect how-to-survival techniques. Each video is roughly 10 minutes in length, features no VO (voice-over) or backstory. Each video stands alone and covers a singular topic in survival. Methodically-cut shots, and well-written subtitles to explain in further detail John’s movements and decisions.

    The end result is often a high-quality video. He has set the bar for survivalists YouTube. While there are many imitator channels, he remains atop the throne of high-quality uploads in this category.

    His latest upload, is another chapter in inching closer to Iron Age content. Take one look at the comments in any of his uploads and you can see his audience clamoring for more iron smelting, casting and blacksmithing:

    Oh man, that’s what I wanted to see. You building up to the iron age. You released a video years ago with some iron in it and was looking forward to the next one. Here we are

    The long arc from Neolithic-content to Iron Age-content on Primitive Technology is remarkable. In his earliest days, Plant was creating huts, firestarters, basic stone tools, clay bricks, kilns and even pottery. Using the very same tools in later videos, he’s laying the groundwork for a mythology in his channel. A speedrun of human prehistory. It’s fascinating to watch:

  • 2019

  • John Krasinski breaking character on The Office

  • The Office was pure gold. The Jim Halpert and Michael Scott characters were the unstoppable dyads in the series. Behind the scenes, when the comedy dam breaks, John Krasinski’s laughter is contagious as the flu. I love hearing Steve Carell completely lose it over Krasinski’s wincing high-pitched giggles and his explosive belly laughter explode like Bart Simpson. Two whole minutes of raw uncut comedy:


  • Baseball pitcher

    How Baseballs Are Made

  • From the winding of twine around the rubbery-core, to the wrapping of the stretched leather, to the hand-sewn red stitching — it’s a miraculous process to behold. Kind of romantic that they’re still hand-sewn nowadays:


  • Every Two Weeks, a Language Dies

  • Nina Strochlic at National Geographic writes:

    Between 1950 and 2010, 230 languages went extinct, according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Today, a third of the world’s languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers left. Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 percent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century.

    In rare cases, political will and a thorough written record can resurrect a lost language. Hebrew was extinct from the fourth century BC to the 1800s, and Catalan only bloomed during a government transition in the 1970s. In 2001, more than 40 years after the last native speaker died, the language of Oklahoma’s Miami tribe started being learned by students at Miami University in Ohio. The internet has connected rare language speakers with each other and with researchers. Even texting has helped formalize languages that don’t have a set writing system.

    Other languages have not been so lucky in a post-internet world. Many, will never return from extinction. But it’s true that being more connected, we have more opportunities to connect and preserve our ancestral dialects and languages. In National Geographic’s article, they share a video of two surviving speakers of Gottscheerish:

    For more information, check out WikiTongues, the seed bank of the world’s languages.

  • On Dark DIY Videos

  • Have you seen this video? Or, perhaps something, like this before?

    Yeah, same. Feel kinda weird, huh? Does it feel familiar? That’s Dark DIY for ya. It’s exploiting a familiar and common video format. Max Read for New York Magazine explains:

    How does that video make you feel? It makes me feel … baffled? Unsettled? Unsure? Why cut your hair like that? Who needs a homemade makeup brush? What am I watching?

    What you are watching is YouTube. The video platform is an enormous, and enormously strange place, but we are familiar in the broad sense with how it works. The audience uses it as a portal for entertainment and information; and YouTube uses its ad partnerships program to incentivize the production of videos to satisfy its understanding of audience needs. Producers thus line up to meet the audience’s desires — as indicated, of course, by search-engine inputs and related-video click-throughs.

    DIY is a lucrative category of video; “lifehack” a popular search keyword; and so people around the world hustle to create videos that satisfy the needs expressed by viewers, as interpreted by YouTube’s system of recommendation and sorting. Of course, you can’t explain “desire” to a sorting system — you can only click things until it makes guesses reasonably close to what you want. You want DIY? Here are 60,000 videos that may or may not be what you’re looking for. The video creators compete with one another: This thumbnail is brighter and shows more skin, so more people click. Is that what they want? That headline is more urgent and aggressive, so more people click. Is that what they want?

    Are you surprised? YouTube’s algorithmic feed is a catalyst for the strange, the outlier, the bizarre and worst of all, it surfaces the worst. Dark DIY shares a common thread with YouTube Kids — they’re chasing after the same thing: a video that is bizarre enough, a thumbnail bright enough, a title just mouthwateringly interesting. It’s all a rouse to intrigue you just enough to let it autoplay after your last video. YouTube’s biggest invention, biggest growth machine: the autoplay, breeds the worst content ever produced. All in pursuit of that sweet sweet play count.

  • Every Matthew McConaughey “Alright” In Chronological Order

  • Nuff said.

  • 2018

  • No, The Podcasting Industry Is Not Collapsing

  • We’re in the midst of a pod-renaissance. Not a collapse. Sure, yeah some companies *cough* BuzzFeed *cough* are shuttering their podcast studios and packing up because well, it’s like running a You’veTube channel or getting into oil prospecting. Sometimes you win, and sometime you lose.

    BuzzFeed knows this. They live by the sword, and die by the sword. It also just so happens, that running a 17M subscriber channel on You’veTube, is a bit more profitable. Do you really think:

    podcast listeners == YT subscribers“?


    Update: the tweet was deleted, it read as follows:

    The BuzzFeed “pivot” away from podcasts makes sense when you remember that BuzzFeed lives and dies as a business on detailed analytics. Web content has them. Video has them. Podcasts still don’t.

    Rose Eveleth ▷▷ (@roseveleth) September 19, 2018

    That’s just business. If past is prologue, podcasting will win over the hearts of radio listeners, and perhaps even take a bite out of SiriusXM marketshare. I for one, can’t wait for SiriusXM to go under. It’s a horrible service, who consistently has made bad bets, produces bad content, and treats their customers like second-class citizens.

    Anyways, sensational stories like this one, reminds me of this fantastic maxim, Betteridge’s Law of Headlines:

    Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

    Ian Betteridge’s extended quote (remarking on this somewhat unrelated Techcrunch story):

    This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.” The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.

  • Thoughts on IGTV

  • Video is a huge driving force on this planet.

    We’ve had so many huge moments in history captured by it. The moon landing, the Challenger Disaster, OKGO’s Treadmill Music Video, and of course 9/11. Which in its own right was of huge historical significance — it was probably the most-watched event in history thanks to the web. So many servers melted that day serving live-video to hundreds of millions of people across the globe, check out the March 2018 episode of The Talk Show and you’ll get a better sense of what I mean.

    So let’s dive into this news. Instagram (or should I say Facebook?) is taking a gamble on long-form video. There’s been no shortage of contenders, from Beme to Portal to the more well-known, You’veTube and of course Vimeo.

    From Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram:

    IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.


    Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel.

    I don’t think this is a risky move at all, nor a creative one from Instagram. But, everything the team at Instagram has done in the past 5 years has been top-rate. Their engineers are smart and calculated and know how to scale a product with such finesse, it really is incredible to behold. I’m actually a little shocked they didn’t launch with 2 or 3-hour video capability.

    That being said, Instagram is getting into long-form video hosting, not because they want to but because they have to. For one, if they don’t compete, Instagram loses traffic to You’veTube. They want to change that. For two, it’s pretty evident people are re-posting content on Instagram. It’s annoying, it’s not the original content, and no one like being phished for likes.

    There’s a special hell for people who enjoyed re-posting content verbatim or claiming it as their own. Or worse, when people sue creators claiming defamation when in reality, it’s Fair Use.

    I think IGTV presents an interesting value for the Instagram product. It’s the same reason You’veTube introduced You’veTube Music. It’s all about directing audiences to the proper product for use. Without You’veTube Music, regular You’veTube videos would be getting wildly popular plays while the original music creators would be losing out on the metrics. I suppose there are too many slime videos on Instagram, perhaps there will be a slime video channel on IGTV? Fingers-crossed there is because I’m getting sick of seeing all the weird content on the Explore tab.

    Food for thought from Marques Brownlee:

    It’s clear that IGTV is a solution designed to solve a problem for original content creators. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.