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Web Distractions: What's Interesting on the Web in May

Web Distractions is our monthly column of all the strange, weird and wonderful stuff happening on the internet. This month we’ve got scientific studies of humor, hip hop albums in street view, and client feedback on famous novels. It’s a real grab-bag of weirdness.

Read on for all the links - I hope you don’t have any deadlines today!

And Then There Was One - a stunning photo essay looking at “Nail Houses” in China - these are properties that stand alone amid the ruins of their neighbours, owned by families who refused to bow to pressure from developers. Many have lived in their homes for years while court battles rage on. These Nail Houses have become a powerful symbol of resistance against economic forces in China.

What do you do if you want to study humour in a scientific setting? Here’s a fascinating look at how scientists make people laugh.


This one is a favourite with Monica and I this week, as we both used to work with clients who sent messages like this ALL THE TIME. Client Feedback on Famous Novels Reminds Ad People There’s Other Writing Out There.

Iconic Hip Hop Albums in Google Street View. One of those projects that demonstrates people have too much time on their hands.

From Brainpickings, a fascinating look into the mind of fantasy author Ursula le Guin, as she delves into where she gets her ideas.

Things I never knew I needed to know - Why Is the Paper Clip Shaped Like It Is? Who knew the humble paperclip was shrouded with so much mystery? From its mysterious origins to its use as a symbol of Norwegian independence, the paper clip is, it would appear, a subject that fascinates scholars and design enthusiasts alike.

Also, while we’re on the subject of the history of everyday things, here’s a look at the history of velcro.

You probably have to be a mega Nick Cave fangirl (or boy) like me to get this, but this totally made my week. Someone re-imagined the Bad Seed’s song “Red Right Hand” as a Dr. Seuss book. It is amazing. I love the internet.

Just in time for the release of the best movie of the year (seriously, the only thing that would make this movie better was if Benedict Cumberpatch was playing the dinosaur) scientists have discovered a baby Chasmosaurus belli that is so complete they can tell exactly how it died.

Seriously, BEST MOVIE OF 2015



So that’s what I’ve seen of interest on the web this month. What about you?

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