The Best Links 2006  JAN 03 2007

Compiling a list of the best things I've linked to from kottke.org seems to get harder each year. I estimate posting about 2400 links to kottke.org in 2006, which is roughly one link every 2.5 hours on weekdays. Which is insane...I don't know how you guys read all of that. Last year I managed to whittle down the best-of list to ~65 links (2004's list had ~40 links), but I couldn't manage less than 100 this year. (Hell, the overflow list contains another 100 links that didn't quite make the cut...hopefully I'll be posting those in a few days.)

But enough with the statistics. Besides containing some really entertaining, informative, and provoking reading/viewing material, this list also functions as kottke.org's year in ideas for 2006, akin to the annual list in the NY Times Magazine. Climate change, the industrialization of childbirth, race & class in college & professional sports, the inherent messiness of science, adults who don't want to grow up, the role of journalism in the age of information abundance, and how creative work gets done are all ideas represented in the links below. Even the funny YouTube videos signal the arrival in 2006 of online video, especially if you throw Ze Frank in the mix. Enjoy.

Pruned found art in petri dishes. More.

The M.C. Escher-inspired art of Rob Gonsalves.

David Remnick's review of An Inconvenient Truth (and short biography of post-2000 Al Gore).

A collection of color photographs of WWII-era America from the Library of Congress. (I color-corrected some of the photos.)

New Yorker piece about the possible solving of the Poincare conjecture by Grigory Perelman.

NY Times Magazine piece by Michael Lewis on Michael Oher, excerpted from his book, The Blind Side.

The Smoking Gun's takedown of James Frey was fair, accurate, and devastating.

Line Rider. Not quite a game, not quite a toy, but hours of fun.

Tetris documentary, From Russia With Love.

Stabilized version of the Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Matthew Barney and Bjork on the phone with Ikea.

The Omarosa Experiment reveals the inner workings of reality TV.

Dorodango: shiny balls of mud.

Olivo Barbieri's aerial photographs taken with a tilt-shift lens spawned some amazing Photoshopped fakes on Flickr.

Details on how to speak to a live customer support person for hundreds of companies. Indispensable.

The story of how Pixar came to be.

Wasp creates zombie cockroaches.

Falling sand, another not-a-game game.

Tap out a rhythm and Song Tapper will tell you what song it's from.

London Tube map where all the stations are sponsored by companies.

The Simpsons intro done with live actors.

Interview with Jonathan Rauch about his popular piece about introverts for The Atlantic Monthly.

Rotation Of Earth Plunges Entire North American Continent Into Darkness.

Pregnancy is a tug of war between mother and fetus over nutrients.

Extensive primers for more than three dozen film genres.

A story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old.

It's a bad time to start a company.

Horrible Segues, With Local Anchorman Clive Rutledge.

American Express commercial directed by Wes Anderson.

Photo essay of female Israeli soldiers.

The four different types of explanations.

The language of The Simpsons.

Pictures I Like For a Variety of Reasons.

David Copperfield thwarts would-be robbers with slight of hand. Hands down, the link of the year.

Magnum photographer Paul Fusco's photo essay of Chernobyl survivors.

In Praise of Loopholes.

Dozens of old Sesame Street clips on YouTube.

How to cure your asthma or hayfever using hookworm.

How one man fell for a Nigerian email scam.

Is serendipity dead?

Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner tell us that expert performers -- in math, football, ballet, chess -- are made, not born.

Michael Wolf's 100x100, 100 photos of Hong Kong apartments each 100 square feet in size.

1989 New Yorker profile of Errol Morris.

A history of the lowrider.

Dozens of historical sounds in mp3 format.

10,000 sheep created by people hired online through Amazon's Mechanical Turk program.

Web 2.OH, YEAAHH!! t-shirts. Pun of the year.

Extensive gallery of Russian/Soviet propaganda and advertising posters.

Implanting magnets in your fingertips gives you a sixth magnetic sense.

The Press' New Paradigm.

A history of Manhattan's diamond district and its informal historian, Stephen Kilnisan.

Photographs of a flock of more than a million European starlings.

Photographs of burn victims by John Brownlow.

What if great photographers posted their work on the web?

Why play "what if"? Here's an Henri Cartier-Bresson being rubbished on Flickr.

An image of human eyes placed above an honesty pay box results in more people paying for their food/drinks. More.

Russian movie illustrations.

A blue-skinned family in the hills of Kentucky. More.

Daniel Raeburn writes about his stillborn daughter Irene. About two years later, her sister Willa is born.

Easily mispronounced domain names.

The Oil We Eat.

Turning innocuous video clips into naughty scenes with selective bleeping. Hilarious.

Kristoffer Garin follows a group of American men on a bride-hunting trip to the Ukraine.

MotherLoad, an extremely addictive online game.

Watch as Lake Peigner drains entirely into a hole created by an errant oil drill. More info.

The Art of the Shiv, a photo essay of prison weapons.

The Show with Ze Frank. The most consistently entertaining and informative online media in 2006.

Journalist Claire Hoffman was physically assaulted by Joe Francis while doing a piece on him and his Girls Gone Wild empire.

The physical impossibility of gigantic and microscopic movie creatures.

Argentina on Two Steaks a Day.

Bijou's Bag of Tricks. This photo makes me laugh until I cry.

Geoffrey Chaucer gets an Xbox 360.

Six years of daily photographs compiled into a movie.

The Voyager spacecraft escapes from the solar system.

David Foster Wallace writes about Roger Federer as Religious Experience.

The vast majority of the decisions in the Senate are made for economic reasons, not social ones.

1964 New Yorker profile of Bob Dylan.

How to Write a Fugue, featuring a fugue of Britney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again".

State of Emergency, a surprisingly political fashion shoot from Vogue Italia.

What if the inflight announcement you heard while traveling was honest?

The photography of Corey Arnold, particularly of the Bering Sea crabbers.

Billionaire Steve Wynn pokes a hole in one of his Picassos with an errant elbow.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the myth of prodigy.

Atul Gawande tells us how childbirth became industrialized.

Great list of insults.

2003 New Yorker profile of the late R.W. Apple by Calvin Trillin.

Time lapse video of a man putting on 155 t-shirts, one over the other.

Diary of a Sex Slave.

The world's best worst movie pitches.

Why There Almost Certainly Is No God by Richard Dawkins.

Scott Adams cures himself of losing his voice.

Phil Gyford's beginner's guide to freelancing.

Amateur cyclist Stuart Stevens takes performance-enhancing drugs and writes about it for Outside magazine.

New Yorker profile of Will Wright.

Maureen Gibson finds a picture of her rapist on the Engagements page of her hometown newspaper.

Comedian Aries Spears does great impressions of rappers Snoop Dogg, DMX, and Jay-Z.

A cognitive neuroscience grad student games Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

How to talk to a climate skeptic.

NPR piece with Jason Simmons, professional rock, paper, scissors player.

Lasse Gjertsen's Amateur music video.

What NFL games are going to be on in your part of the country?

Photo of young homeless man Beavis shooting up in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.

NPR interview with Ed Burns, creator of The Wire.

Hans van der Meer's photos of European soccer fields.

Giant magazine's list of the 50 greatest commercials of the 80s (with accompanying videos).

Slate interview with Ed Burns, creator of The Wire.

Writers Dreamtools History by Decades...facts, figures, styles, language, and goings-on for fiction writers.

Seminal experimental film La Jetée online in its entirety.

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