Tom Hanks Built You An App

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Tom Hanks—yes that Tom Hanks—is well known for his enduring affection for the humble typewriter. Now he has gone and created an iPad app called Hanx Writer that resuscitates the old school manual typewriter experience. The free app provides the romantic clickety-clack of keys and requires the user to “load and roll” a new sheet of paper for every page.

Hanks, who designed the app in collaboration with Stuart Westfphal of Hitcents, calls the app “my little gift to the future Luddite hipsters of the world”.

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Hanx Writer is a free download, but in app purchases for extra fonts and sounds cost $2.99.

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Moving Pictures

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As a collector and seller of antiquarian books, late at night I sometimes get the feeling that the illustrations are stirring. Now I have proof. The Smithsonian Libraries blog is teeming with gifs based on illustrations based on historical books and publications.

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For the last two years, Smithsonian technical information specialist Richard Naples has been creating wonderful, whimsical gifs from images in the institution’s digital library collection.

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Word on the Water

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Word on the Water is London’s only floating bookshop. The quirky secondhand store has been popping up on London canals for almost three years and is currently moored outside of Paddington Station. The resident owner, Paddy Creech, not only sells affordable recycled books, but also hosts frequent free jazz concerts and poetry readings. Rumor has it that the old Dutch barge is moving on to a spot in Little Venice soon. You can follow its travels on Twitter @wordonthewater .

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Little Cable Cars Climb Halfway to the Stars

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I’m a sucker for all of those great photo mashups that are popping up online every day. You know, the ones that blend historic images with shots of the same contemporary scene. But photographer Michael Raziano has his own take on the meme with strategically placed tourist postcards at their original location in beautiful San Francisco.

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Almost Convincing

Rob Whitworth and JT Singh were commissioned by a state-run tourism agency to produce this fascinating time-lapse video of Pyongyang. Of course they were closely chaperoned during shooting and much of the city was off-limits for their cameras. Still, it’s an interesting glimpse at the belligerent nation’s mysterious capital.

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The Definitive Guide to Banned Books

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Time Is Honey

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The French art collective Parti Poetique has created a project dedicated to raising awareness throughout Europe on the alarming decline in bee populations. Known as the “Honey Bank”, and using the clever tag line “Time is Honey”, the project allows folks who are concerned to create bee savings accounts. In return for cash invested in saving bees, depositors get a promise of future returns paid in honey. The Banque du Miel installations are popping-up in France, Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

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Library Inside Out

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This month, the New York Public Library is celebrating the joy of reading with its “I Read Everywhere” program. Readers, writers and librarians are being asked to share photos of their favorite summer reading spots with the hashtag #ireadeverywhere. The NYPL also has brought reading to the street with an outdoor reading room on the plaza of the iconic Stephen A. Swarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42 Street.

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Art Everywhere (almost)

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Inspired by the UK Art Everywhere project, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America launched Art Everywhere US this week in Times Square NYC. The program will be placing posters and billboards of fifty eight curated paintings at sites throughout the U.S.. You can view the selected art works here and see maps of installations here. The project even included Edward Hicks’ iconic work “The Peaceable Kingdom”, which was literally painted up the street from my house in 1846.

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Change at Crossroads for Casterly Rock

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Designer Michael Tyznik has produced a set of terrific maps imagining a fully developed Westeros rail transit network. If you’re not a George R. R. Martin fan, this will mean nothing to you. If you are, check out all of the maps and buy your own prints right here.

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