Seven Entertaining Things Online This Week

While kids in Harlem free their minds, kids in Britain are getting prosecuted for politically incorrect jokes. If that makes you lose all hope for the world, well, there’s always the prospect of a long, isolated trip to the moon. On second thought, just go surfing, dream of 3G MacBooks, and kick back to some of the Internet’s finest viral cat videos.


Sure, everyone’s talking about Star Trek, but if you’re not into camp, get out your trail mix and go claim a spot for Moon.


The psychological thriller is getting positive reviews for its thoughtfulness and emotional depth, and centers on the mental breakdown of a sole astronaut living on a moon base station sometime in the near future.



Is this what will result from NASA’s new moon program, which undertook revisions by Obama this week? Let’s hope so. Technologically speaking, of course. Hit the title link above to see the trailer.

Britain’s Thought Police


According to The Australian, the British government is putting together legislation that will illegalize politically or racially insensitive jokes and phrases, making them punishable by fines and jail time. (Below, a modern British court.)



The laws are a response to what Justice Secretary Jack Straw calls the English “propensity for violence” that roils racially-motivated (and occasionally soccer-motivated) misbehavior. It’s also a desperate attempt to improve the integration of the country’s Muslim population, and to try to educate the public on social issues like same-sex marriage.

Already, several cases have been heard in court and fines doled out, over racist jokes or homophobic behavior. Is this the new totalitarianism?

[Via The Australian]

The Harlem Miracle


An innovative group of public school’s in New York City’s struggling Harlem district are getting better, says The New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks in Thursday’s paper. But that’s not the incredible part. Their improvements are being measured by a Harvard economist, who says the study “has changed my life as a scientist.”

Harlem Children's Zone

Most educational reforms are incremental, and produce gains in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 standard deviations of the average student. Promise Academy, seen above, is a charter school that is a part of the “Children’s Zone” program, and it has shown gains upwards of 1.3 and 1.4 standard deviations. Statistically speaking, that amounts to a landslide difference.

What’s the secret? Part of the schools’ success may lie in their “no-excuses” approach, in which they instill discipline and manners in their students with what Brooks calls “ferocious commitment to traditional, middle-class values.”

[Via The New York Times]

The Power of Waves


Never before has monster surf been filmed in HD–from underneath. BBC’s new South Pacific series has captured footage of the sprawling, thunderous oceanic tornadoes that create the stuff of big-wave surfer’s dreams (and nightmares.)

Shot with a high-speed camera that costs over $100,000, the footage can be slowed down to 1/20 normal speed, revealing the incredible geometric beauty of the barrel churning over the surface. Watch below.

CNN was brave enough to track down the creator of the original keyboard cat clip that has been repurposed for dozens of YouTube videos. (A fan has been savvy enough to create a Tumblr compendium of many of them.) Watch the video below.

CNN was brave enough to track down the creator of the original keyboard cat clip that has been repurposed for dozens of YouTube videos. (A fan has been savvy enough to create a Tumblr compendium of many of them.) Watch the video below.


The Good Word

Can you have a roundup inside another roundup? If the large hadron collider hasn’t created a black hole yet, well, this probably won’t either. Yesterday, VentureBeat enumerated some of the week’s most important-yet-underplayed tech headlines in one convenient spot. The most alluring: Apple’s plans for a compass inside the iPhone; OpenTable’s IPO; Hulu going global; Nokia’s massive app store endeavor; and the likelihood of 3G-enabled Mac laptops. (Below, an Apple fanboy mockup of a Mac netbook.)

mac netbook

[Via VentureBeat]

Oscar the Grouch Cat Wants You Maimed


Because Internet nerds love cats, and one cat-related paragraph in this list just isn’t enough. Below, your very own viral cat video to play you off at 5 p.m. and get you read to attack the weekend. Look for your elderly mother coming across this video sometime in Q2 of 2010.

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.