Here is a video explaining what would happen to our planet if humans disappeared all of a sudden.
Maybe something similar to the first 2 weeks may happen if, for any reasons, we lose access to electricity (solar storms or whatever).
Maybe we should take contingency plans more seriously…
Web page: http://explainingthefuture.com/
Accessed on Monday, 30th July 2012 @ about 4:30pm GMT+1
This is a very interesting web site explaining where today’s technology and science could get us if we already had tomorrow’s wisdom.
The site is full of videos and the language used is both simple to understand and scientifically correct, coming from Christopher Barnatt, a guy with strong scientific background and possessing good communication skills.
Finding the web page
The address itself is quite easy, if you already know the site. You can add www if you so desire and you will be automatically redirected to the main address.
If you know the site but don’t want to guess the address, it is very easy to find it on other search engines. If you use the keywords “explaining the future” to perform a search you will discover it among the very top results (usually at the top).
However, if you slightly distort the name (e.g. Explain instead of Explaining), it virtually disappears from the search result (is this due to lack of funding for Search Engine Optimisation?)
The page loads pretty fast, but seems to have a fixed size, not allowing the best usage of screen estate.
Use of technology
Technology use is appropriately very limited (yes it’s a website about future technology, science and society, but, due to the content, frills are redundant). It contains many videos, but that’s nearly it. A few extra tools could have been useful (e.g. a search tool).
This site is an excellent example of how correct use of simple technology may be better than random use of special effects. If you click the top banner (the heading) from any internal page, you get back to the homepage (like many sites), but if you’re already in the home, you get the “About” page. Very good.
There are very few abbreviations throughout the site and they are quite well explained as you encounter them (at least following the logical path through the topics).
Couldn’t be better. Logical, simple and effective.
Fitness for purpose
No problems there. You can argue about the content itself, as it may be somehow controversial or cover not too simple topics, but only to the minimum extent possible, taking the subject into account. In my personal opinion, it’s difficult to disagree with any of Christopher’s statements.
There is no search feature, despite the site is not tiny. You are not likely to get lost, though, because the site is not too big and is very well organised. Lack of funding?
None present. It would normally be acceptable, as the site itself is almost organised as its own site map; however, there are circumstances where a web site, even a well organised one, is not as accessible as a site map. Adding one would not hurt.
The page looks nice. A bit old style and simple, but this is why is also very effective and easy to navigate. The white background, although is very common and pleasant, may cause excessive background brightness for some users.
No overlaps have been found on the page. This means all content is clearly displayed as intended and there is no content hidden by other page elements. There are some round elements that may resemble buttons, but they are not.
You would be forgiven for thinking not much priority has been allocated to professional graphic design, which may be OK for this type of website.
Drop down lists
There were none.
There was no explicit accessibility statement; this means some accessibility programs may not offer users this page to browse. Although it is not always the case, this may also mean accessibility is not given much priority on page development.
Whether the lack of such statement is an actual flaw is arguable; however, it never hurts to add one.
There is no explicit validation button on the page. This means it is harder to verify the page is compliant with coding standards. A page that is not compliant may show correctly on the devices and browsers it has been tested on, but may present nasty surprises elsewhere.
Using W3C validator, the page showed as HTML 4.01 Transitional. The validation returned errors and warnings, showing lack of compliance.
This is not uncommon, even in simpler pages like this one. No major errors have been detected, but full compliance would not hurt, particularly knowing any issues can be fixed without too much work.
No, we’re not going to review a human being, just make some comments on one of his reviews.
Mat Watson has reviewed the Mercedes M-Class at the end of March 2012. You can find his video here: http://youtu.be/Nosd5t4Xj10 (link opens in new window).
Looking at many car reviews from different sources, we often came across some common pitfalls:
- All you learn from the review might have been learned from the official adverts and marketing material. This usually happen when the reviewer does not actually drive the car or has not enough time to assess its qualities. Mat seems to have looked at the car quite in-depth and mentioned a few things you would not necessarily learn from Mercedes. I doubt they tell you the steering is very slow and there is quite a bit of travel before brakes engage.
- The review is biased by need to keep manufacturers happy, because they send the cars to test and they buy advertising space on the magazine (either online or on any paper version). Without having tried the car ourselves, it’s impossible for us to know whether the review is biased. However, there are some non-obvious negative remarks that usually are avoided in biased reviews.
- The (video) review is too short to cover all the main factors. In this case, the review lasts between 5 and 10 minutes (6:05). Many short reviews are 2 minutes or shorter, but the most comprehensive are longer than 10 minutes. Time, however, is used wisely and not wasted in pointless scenes. In fact, Mat uses nice tricks to save time (see clapping hands). This means there are some aspects that haven’t been covered thoroughly and we must hope any serious issues would have been pointed out (which is probably the case). For example Mat shows the boot size, but also the lack of lip and the flat surface when seats are folded. Many reviews overlook some of these aspects. He doesn’t mention volumes, though, as he just states the boot is massive. Same thoroughness when he shows space in the back seats. With such a short review, you have to do a bit of guesswork. For example, the car is driven on some very mild off-road track and Mat says the car can cope with tougher scenarios. Not showing it, I guess it’s not a pro off-road car and you have to be careful if you attempt nasty tracks.
- Some key information is missing. Mat has covered most aspects; however, you may argue some extra details would not hurt. For example, Mat mentions the 4-cylinder diesel version returning 45 MPG, but he states this is an official figure. What about a test? Mat is actually driving the 6-cylinder diesel, but he did not state MPG for that version (though it may be a bit less critical, due to the typical customer of such an engine). When Mat mentions the optional suspension system, he states it is needed as the standard one is a bit firm, but he does not state how good is the car with the air suspensions. Again, we can guess it would be fairly good.
- The review is boring. This is personal taste, but we find Mat’s reviews, including this, among the very best in the UK. Entertaining, informative, professional and fun. They don’t sound like parodies, but are engaging and anything but boring.
As far as the review style is concerned, we enter subjective judgement, again. Mat is our favourite reviewer on YouTube and no-one comes close.
This is not a standard review. It’s just a way to bring something found on YouTube to your attention.
Every now and then we will post video links (another one following very soon) with a short comment.
This is one of the very many videos on the Just For Laughs Gags channel.
Most of their videos contain next to no spoken words, so that they are viewable by people regardless of their spoken languages; in fact I often watch them with the sound off.
Arguably, all people in the videos are actors, including victims; however, in some videos this is clearer than in others.
Tricked Into Helping Robbery Prank is one of those video you could believe is genuine.