A Brief History of GIFs; The Biggest Sun Flare in Five Years Happened Last Night

This article is from the archive of our partner .

We realize there's only so much time one can spend in a day watching new trailers, viral video clips, and shaky cell phone footage of people arguing on live television. This is why every day The Atlantic Wire highlights the videos that truly earn your five minutes (or less) of attention. Today: The origin of the GIF, the Minnesota Timberwolves' rookies go ice-fishing, and the sun fired off the biggest solar flare since George W. Bush was president.  

A day after BuzzFeed gave Americans their first extensive look at President Obama on the basketball court comes video from 1991 of the president -- who back then was also president, but only of the Harvard Law Review -- speaking out in support of increased diversity on the law school faculty during a campus rally. Obama also praises Derrick Bell, the first black law professor to receive tenure at Harvard. It's been pointed out that the president sounds exactly the same today as he did then. This is true, but what's more remarkable is that he sounds the same despite being an on-and-off smoker for the past two decades. [BuzzFeed]

We love GIFs. You love GIFs. Everyone loves GIFs. (Though we're always a bit worried we're not pronouncing GIFs correctly.) Now the history animated file format is the subject of a segment on the PBS design show Off Book. There's also talk about the GIF of the future. Which we hope won't stray too far from the GIFs of the present, because why mess with a good, silly thing? [Off Book via The Atlantic]

Recommended Reading

Marion Berry -- former Washington D.C. mayor, current City Councilmember, and perpetual character of note -- celebrated his 76th birthday singing karaoke at Georgina's Restaurant in Anacostia, which used to be a strip club called the Player's Lounge, before improbably and gradually turning into the election night victory party venue of choice for local politicos in the 1990s. That's the history lesson: now you can go watch Marion Barry sing the tail-end of "Stormy Monday." [Washington City Paper]

Ice fishing is terrific fun. Also terrific fun: watching people who have never been ice-fishing and are underdressed for the occasion try to figure out why in the world they agreed to go ice-fishing. People like Minnesota Timberwolves rookies Malcolm Lee and Derrick Williams. We went to college in the Great Lakes region and were similarly underprepared for the ice shack experience. The important thing is that next time -- if there is a next time, and for many people there is not -- you'll bring multiple layers, and be able to laugh at the next crop of rookies that didn't think they'd be needing gloves. [The Basketball Jones]

The sun released a very powerful solar flare overnight. Maybe it's the confirmation bias at work, but it feels to us like the sun has been doing that an awful lot lately. This one was the strongest in five years, and could potentially lead to radio blackouts -- problematic, but endurable -- and heightened UV radiation exposure -- much more problematic-sounding -- back on earth. [ABC]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.