How real historical intrigue inspires Game of Thrones

The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
Photo: TED-Ed

You know nothin’, Jon Snow. Especially how much more full of shifting alliances and intrigue The Wars of the Roses was than your epic television series is able to show. Game of Thrones superfans may already know that 15th-century England inspired much of the structure of George R. R. Martin’s overarching book series, but having it all laid out — lovely animations and visuals to support the historical information — is our first exposure to that fact.

The short animated video, written by Alex Gendler and animated by Brett Underhill, even illustrates how Game of Thrones matches directly to historical facts with some fun Pop-Up Video-style flourishes. You’ll love it.

iPad first went on sale five years ago today


iPad sales are slowing. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The iPad is a familiar sight today, but it wasn't always like that. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Okay, so all eyes are currently trained on the Apple Watch, which arrives later this month. But April also represents another important benchmark for Apple: five years ago today the iPad went on sale for the very first time.

To celebrate, we’ve scraped the dark recesses of the Cult of Mac archives to bring you a whistle-stop tour of the glorious 60 months we’ve spent in the company of Apple’s breakthrough tablet.

Whether you’re after a zero-gravity Garage Band symphony or a reminder of the time the Queen of England bought an iPad 2, keep reading for a trip down memory lane.

10 hilarious memes that prove Brian Williams can’t escape the Internet


Maybe TV anchor Brian Williams just mis-remembered this.  Photo: ‏@robx_d/Twitter
Maybe TV anchor Brian Williams just mis-remembered this. Photo: ‏@robx_d/Twitter

Brian Williams may be waiting for the brouhaha to wear off his “mis-remembering” of which helicopter he was in during the 2003 war in Iraq, but the internets will just not let it go.

He might have conflated his experience as a reporter with that of the actual soldiers who were fired upon, but the meme police are making sure this faux pas lives on forever, creating hilarious photo “evidence” that not only was Williams at Gettysburg, but also present for the first moon landing and riding along with O.J. in his white Bronco slow roll.

Check out some of the choicest photographic “evidence” of the disgraced news anchor below, from some of the funniest minds on the interwebs.

Video goes for lowbrow parody with ‘2014, You Are History!’


Shiny butts are super funny, right? Photo: Jib Jab
Shiny butts are super-funny, right? Photo: Jib Jab

If your idea of high comedy is waggling your hind parts at people with a smarmy smirk, Jib Jab’s new funny video is right up your, well, alley.

“2014, You Are History” is a celebrity character-filled musical video in which the biggest names of the year sing a parody song set to the melody of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Watch the video below and remind yourself of this silly year, including ice bucket challenges, hacked celebrity nudes and Kim Kardashian’s shiny hindquarters.

From pixels to polygons: The fascinating evolution of video game graphics


The first successful full-color video game came out in 1979. Photo: Stuart Brown
The first successful full-color video game came out in 1979. Photo: Stuart Brown

If you’ve been alive in the past fifty years or so, you’ve played a video game. It’s a primarily visual art form that uses current-day technologies to provide ever-evolving gaming experiences across generations.

This new series of short, ten-minute videos written and produced by Stuart Brown aim to take a closer look at the evolution of video game graphics, from the simple monochromatic lines of Pong to the incredibly rich and detailed photo realism of today’s games like Crysis, Destiny, and Far Cry 4.

“Graphics are absolutely important,” says Brown in the fifth and final video. “They are an essential part of video games. A window into another world and a prime indicator of the technology that powers it.”

Check out the first two installments below.