Links to a bunch of cool online video items, for your delectation and enjoyment. Some of these require Flash; some require Windows Media Player (which is freely available for Mac as well as Windows); some probably require other media players.
- "China opens panda 'kindergarten'"; report from Reuters. The most striking thing about this, to me, besides the impossible levels of cuteness, is that the pandas in the context of human play structures look a little like Ewoks or Fuzzies or other small furry sentient sf aliens.
- What happens when you drive a car behind a 747 with its engines on full power?
- Hot cowboys on ice skates. Definitely the best homoerotic ice-skating video I've seen lately. I wouldn't presume to guess whether the skaters are actually cowboys, nor whether they're actually gay, but they do wear cowboy hats and don't seem to mind dancing with each other (the second half has more of the dancing-together stuff than the first half). Sort of like Brokeback Mountain meets the Chippendales on ice. Sort of.
- Back in 2003, I posted an entry that linked to the now-famous Honda ad "Cog," a sort of homage to the Rube Goldbergian short movie "The Way Things Go." Both of those movies involved actual things in the real world interacting with each other. The new movie clikclak, by contrast, is done entirely in computer graphics, which makes it in some ways less technically impressive; on the other hand, it's lovely and funny and sad, and it's as much about language and communication as about things bumping into other things. Available in both French and English; you'll see when you watch it why that's impressive.
- Brief video of a really cool way to fold a shirt.
- Will Wright, the creator of Sim City and The Sims, spoke in 2005 at the Game Developer's Conference about his astonishing new game, Spore. That video is 35 minutes long, but if you like this kind of thing it's totally worth watching the whole thing. (Sadly, it ends in midsentence.) If you would rather just read about the game, see Wikipedia's Spore article, but one of the great things about the video is that every time you think it can't go one more step, it does. The game is scheduled to be released later this year, and I imagine some gamers will never leave their homes again. Also, if next year's WorldCon has a best videogame category, I predict this will win it.
- Comedian/juggler Chris Bliss has a great, crowd-pleasing video of his finale, which involves juggling to a Beatles song. (Click the "Live In Concert" link on that page.) He's juggling only three balls, and many of the moves are pretty basic, but he does it with a lot of style--it's part dance, part conducting, part quasi-percussion--and doesn't drop a ball the whole time. World-class juggler Jason Garfield has a rant about how awful it is that Bliss gets such acclaim for doing such easy tricks, and to prove his point, Garfield created a video of his own much harder routine to the same audio track (including the audience applause from Bliss's routine). It seems to me that Garfield's quasi-hidden agenda is that he wants juggling to be taken seriously as an athletic event, and he hates jugglers who do flashy crowd-pleasing stuff that isn't as hard as the stuff Garfield likes to do; fair enough, but I enjoyed Bliss's routine more than Garfield's. Garfield's is more athletic, but Bliss's is more entertaining.