How a self-taught skate nerd became Toy Machine’s go-to filmmaker

I’m two blocks from Toy Machine filmer Kevin Barnett’s apartment, grabbing a six-pack at the nearest liquor store, and there’s a Hells Angels sticker slapped on the wall behind the counter. No other stickers decorate the bare white walls, and no other motorcycle memorabilia occupies the shop. Just this lone sticker, front and centre. But it’s not tough-ass biker gangs that run the streets of Long Beach. It’s skateboarders.

“I feel like it’s growing every month,” says Barnett about the Southern California community he calls home. “You can feel the pull of skateboarding here. It’s palpable.”

And it’s true. Over the past few years, since Huntington Beach relinquished its title as the West Coast’s official Skate City, there’s been a steady stream of world class skaters … Read the rest

The Humongous Fungus

Beneath the soil in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon, the United States, lurks a very large fungus that has been slowly weaving its way through the roots of trees for centuries to become the single largest living organism known to humans.

The fungus, Armillaria solidipes, remains mostly underground, hidden from sight, but every autumn just after the rains it sends up clusters of small yellow-brown mushrooms from the bases of trees it has infected. These mushrooms, commonly called “honey mushrooms”, are the most visible part of the fungus seen by the casual observer. The bulk of the fungus lies underneath the forest floor—a vast network of black filament-like structures called rhizomorphs, that creep through the soil, feeling out new root systems to colonize. The … Read the rest

You’re right to worry about a revolving door between the Tories and the BBC

Yesterday news broke that two senior BBC figures, James Landale and Robbie Gibb, had held discussions with 10 Downing Street with a view of appointing Theresa May’s new director of communications.

James Landale, an Old Etonian who joined the BBC from The Times, is currently the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, having previously worked as deputy political editor under Nick Robinson. This morning he confirmed on Twitter that he had been approached by No.10, but said that he had ‘decided not to apply’. This apparently leaves Robbie Gibb, the BBC’s Live Political Programmes, as the frontrunner for the job.

The news that two BBC men were … Read the rest

Paracas Candelabra of Peru

The Nazca Lines in southern Peru are some of the best known geoglyphs on earth, but they aren’t the only ones in the Nazca desert. About 200 kilometers north west of Nazca is another isolated and somewhat less popular geoglyph called Paracas Candelabra. It is also known as the “Candelabra of the Andes” because of its resemblance to a three-branched candlestick.

The geoglyph is etched on the sloping face of a hill at Pisco Bay on the Peruvian coast. The design has been cut into the soil to a depth of two feet with stones, possibly from a later date, placed around it. The figure is 181 meters tall, large enough to be seen as far as twenty kilometers out at sea.

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Photo credit: Unukorno/Wikimedia

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How the hell do the British tabloids get away with it?

Huck‘s media lawyer Alex Wade has spent a life making sure the likes of us – as well as The Times, The Guardian and others – manage to keep publishing without getting sued. And now he’s written a novel about it.

Loosely based on his days legaling copy at The Times, Flack’s Last Shift is a pretty spectacular effort in narrative storytelling. Think about it: to turn a story about an average, most definitely pedestrian middle-aged media lawyer into a compelling tale of personal revenge is no small feat.

In his fourth book and first novel, Alex takes us deep into the arcane world of night lawyers: the guys who go through copy to ensure it’s ‘legal ok’ before a newspaper goes to … Read the rest

Underwater Mailboxes Around The World

Remember the last time you were diving underwater and suddenly remembered an important letter that you had to post that very instant? Yup, it has happened to all of us. Fortunately, these five places has us covered.

Hideaway Island, Vanuatu

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The underwater post office off the coast of Hideaway Island in the island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most famous in the world. It was established in 2003 and is located in 3 meters of water. The post office provides special waterproof postcards that tourists can drop into the submerged post box with their own hands, or ask the staff to do so.

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The Dolerite Columns of Coastal Tasmania

The coastline of the southern Tasmania, in Australia, is composed of stunning rock columns that protrude up to 300 meters from the sea level. These rocks are what geologists call dolerites, with its distinct elongated shape and hexagonal columns.

Dolerites form when molten rocks pushed up from the deep underbelly of the earth cools quickly and crystallizes to form small visible crystals in the rock. When the rate of cooling is just right, the rocks shrink in volume, causing the creation of cracks. The cracks allow the rocks in the interior to cool, resulting in more cracks. At the end, you get a large block of rock with long vertical and symmetrical cracks creating five or six sided columns. The columns can be just a few … Read the rest

Does Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron really hate gays?

When the Liberal Democrats last week launched their general election campaign, no doubt they had high hopes and expectations. Despite having just nine seats in the British Parliament since their poor show at the 2015 general election, it seemed that for the Lib Dems the tide might finally be turning.

As the only one of the main parties to be demanding Britain’s impending exit from the European Union be halted, their hope is to appeal to swathes of the remain-voting 48%. It’s a fairly sizeable chunk of the population.

But it seems that for Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, gay sex just keeps getting in the way.

He’s been asked countless times now whether as a deeply religious Christian he thinks gay sex is a sin, … Read the rest

The liberal redneck killing stereotypes with humour

Trae Crowder uses comedy to disarm people on both sides of the Facebook News Feed. Growing up in a small town on the edge of Tennessee, he felt like a blue dot in a sea of red.

Today he plays a character called the Liberal Redneck who rallies against bigotry and hypocrisy in the South, while also challenging liberal stereotypes of the region.

Crowder had been doing standup comedy for six years before he decided to point a camera at himself, branching into porch rants about Southerners – racking up hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of views in the process.

The 30-year-old has exposed double standards in everything from the way ‘rednecks’ view Black Lives Matter – “This has been framed largely as Black Lives … Read the rest

Celebrating 70 years of Magnum Photos in New York

Martin Parr, Henri Cartier Bresson, David Alan Harvey, Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Bruce Davidson.

When it comes to photography it’s hard to draw up a more impressive shopping list of names.

USA. New York City. 1951. A new face for the new world. Photo by Dennis Stock.

USA. New York City. 1951. A new face for the new world. Photo by Dennis Stock.

USA. New York City. 1956. Wall Street. Photo by Leonard Freed.

USA. New York City. 1956. Wall Street. Photo by Leonard Freed.

But they are just some of the legends past and present to join the ranks of Magnum Photos, and now in their 70th year the collective is celebrating its history and just how far it has come. In an exhibition – Early Magnum: On & In New York – Magnum looks back at the city that shaped it, a chance to take stock and reflect on … Read the rest

The story of Secret Garden Party in the words of those who helped make it

Three festival insiders share their personal highlights from Secret Garden Party’s humble beginnings, to its acclaim as the granddaddy of luxury festivals.

Laura Thorne, “Where The Wild Things Are” stage, 14-year Secret Garden Party veteran: [My first SGP] I was going as a driver, just someone to give people lifts. It was so secret, really hard to get to, and we travelled miles. When we got there it was just incredible — such an explosion of senses.

Ben DeVere, founder of SGP’s talks and radio station, 12-year veteran: I started off purely as a “fun-buster,” turning up with loads of friends in fancy dress, running a bar and DJ-ing. Then slowly, I got more and more involved and somehow my career became intertwined with the festival.… Read the rest

Djerbahood: The Street Art Drive That Transformed A Tunisian Village

The sleepy little village of Erriadh on the island of Djerba—once known as the “island of dreams”— is not part of Tunisia’s tourist circuit. It’s primarily a pilgrimage site, being home to the largest and oldest synagogue in North Africa —El Ghriba— which is in continuous use for over 2,000 years. Other than a few thousand pilgrims, the village sees very little foreigners. There are no large businesses or hotels in Erriadh; only small houses with traditional Berber architecture featuring open courtyards and domes. But over the last few years, this has been changing. Erriadh’s primary attraction today is street art.

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The Fainting Goats of Tennessee

Unlike humans, animals rarely faint from surprise, panic attacks or any other strong emotional stress. But there is a breed of goat that appears to do so.

When startled, the so-called “fainting goat” collapses on its side. They fall over, often with legs comically raised towards the sky. After laying motionless on the ground for a few seconds, they recover and bounce back on their feet as quickly as they fell. This curious reaction to fright has made fainting goats the popular subject for many viral, and often humorous, internet videos.

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Photo credit: www.kidsdiscover.com

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