October 25, 2014
[comics] Batman’s Greatest Escapes … A collection of Batman’s best disappearing acts from Comics Oughta Be Fun.
October 24, 2014
[comics] The Secret History of John Constantine … a look at the past and future of John Constantine‘Bissette claims he asked Moore to let him create a character that looked like Sting. The series’ editor, Karen Berger, told me it was Totleben, who had been wowed by Sting’s portrayal of a possibly demonic con-man in the 1982 film Brimstone and Treacle. Moore told The Comics Journal that he granted the artists’ wishes just for the hell of it. And so a nameless Sting-esque character popped up in a crowd shot in Swamp Thing No. 25. That could’ve been the end of it. But Moore saw the potential for “something more than that.” Moore had been mentally toying with the traditions of English mysticism (though he was still a few years away from identifying as a practitioner of magic). But he was also fascinated by cartoonist Eddie Campbell’s character Dapper John, an archetypal English “wide boy” — a man who takes unreasonable chances and gets by through resourcefulness and smooth talk. He decided to do something previously undone: craft a wide-boy mage.’
October 23, 2014
[internet] Twitter I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down … Quinn Norton On The Internet … ‘The net never forgets. Forgetting is a gentle process of thought and learning which the net can’t do. Losing things, which the net does plenty, is different.’
October 22, 2014
[books] Malcolm Gladwells David and Goliath Fairy Tales … a strong, convincing critique of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book … ‘The inveterate simplicity of Gladwell’s stories comes not only from a resistance to complexity, but also from a denial of tragedy. This neglect of tragic choices is not just a defect in presentation, though it helps to confer upon his books their peculiar inimitable blandness. Suppressing tragedy is also a refusal to think honestly about power. Václav Havel, who became president of his country after the collapse of the communist tyranny against which he had fought, spoke of “the power of the powerless,” but unlike Gladwell—who nowhere mentions the Czech dissident, perhaps because he was not a social scientist—Havel never underplayed the power of the powerful. He knew that Goliath was genuine and dangerous, not a timorous midget in disguise. In contrast, Gladwell would have us believe that power is a kind of illusion or confidence trick, a misinterpretation. This is a desperately dangerous view to apply in practice. For Tibetans facing becoming a minority in their own country, for Christians in Egypt and Syria, for Bahá′í in Iran, and for other imperiled groups, the power of the powerful could be potentially fatal.’
October 21, 2014
[movies] Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron … amusing analysis of how bad Rick Deckard is as a Blade Runner … ‘I’m not sure how I’ve never noticed this before, but Deckard is an idiot. He’s given all the information he needs on a plate, nothing bad happens unexpectedly, and every lead falls into his lap. He has photo ID of everyone he has to kill, he’s told about their physical strength, he has a gun, they’re all unarmed, and he’s legally allowed to shoot them dead in public. Yet in every case, he lets them get into a hand-to-hand fight with him that he can’t win, and the only way the film can even keep him alive is for his targets to suddenly stop fighting or get killed by someone else.’
October 20, 2014
[cthulhu] Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn!

Sir, Sir Excuse Me Sir!

October 19, 2014
[tech] The Internet Is Losing Interest in Computers … Alexis Madrigal analyses some stats from Google Trends and wonders if the internet is losing interest in technology… ‘So what’s really going on here? I have a couple thoughts: One, heavy users of technology used to have to search for ways to find software, to make software work, and the like. Now, especially on mobile platforms, the software is simpler and pretty much does what it’s supposed to. All the searches to discover software are happening in the App Store, and less troubleshooting in now required. One small bit of evidence for this theory is that searches for “Games” have declined. It’s not that people are playing less games, they’re just not looking to Google to find them.’
October 18, 2014
[ios] Schrödinger’s Shift Key … a look at why the shift key in iOS 7.1 and 8 is an appalling piece of design … ‘Since 7.1, this confusing shift key has been the subject of instructional articles, mockery, and even an entire web site: A whole OS release later, many of us boneheads still find ourselves wrestling an inscrutable toggle, trying to somehow, somehow type a lower-case letter.’
October 17, 2014
[kids] Normal Stages In Child Development‘1-3 months: Begins holding grudges and crafting crude effigies. Sudden changes in breathing. Minor shapeshifting. Laughs at the tragically comic. Skin very hot, too hot.’
October 16, 2014
[politics] In Farageland … long, readable, disturbing article by James Meek on visiting Thanet where Nigel Farage will attempt to become an MP. [thanks Phil!]

In the decorous company of sixth-formers or international businesspeople, Farage will insist he isn’t against immigration, or Europe, or Europeans – only against British membership of the European Union. Being anti-immigration, he has said, would be ‘moronic’. He says he wants a Switzerland-style trade relationship with the EU, and an Australian-style immigration system, based on points, with the world: fewer Polish builders, more Indian scientists. But this isn’t the message Ukip is putting out on the street, where, as Lord Ashcroft correctly noted, EU membership isn’t an issue. Immigration is. All immigration. Foreignness. Otherness. ‘Say no to mass immigration,’ a Ukip flyer in Thanet says. Rumours and urban legends about victimised indigenous Britons and pampered foreigners fly across the internet. Hate anecdotes in the right-wing press become generalised: if one foreigner is found to be cheating the system, there must be thousands like them, millions. Farage is the beneficiary. Ukip’s discourse isn’t so much a dog whistle as the full dog orchestra.

October 15, 2014
[comics] Netflix unveils first look at new superhero series Marvel’s Daredevil‘Daredevil certainly feels like it has potential. Even though existing shows like Arrow and the recently launched Gotham have already staked out street-level superhero territory, there’s a richness to the character, who wrestles with Catholic guilt over his vigilantism, and a confidence to the execution that suggests Daredevil could cross over to non-comic fans looking for a stylish crime story.’
October 14, 2014
[comics] Alan Moore Talks About His Influence Upon Comics‘I mean, I’d like to think that if I’ve shown anything, it’s that comics are the medium of almost inexhaustible possibilities, that there have been…there are great comics yet to be written. There are things to be done with this medium that have not been done, that people maybe haven’t even dreamed about trying. And, if I’ve had any benign influence upon comics, I would hope that it would be along those lines; that anything is possible if you approach the material in the right way. You can do some extraordinary things with a mixture of words and pictures. It’s just a matter of being diligent enough and perceptive enough and working hard enough, continually honing your talent until it’s sharp enough to do the job that you require. I hope that if I had any sort of benign legacy at all, that that would be it, but I don’t know, I think that my legacy, some days, like I say, I think that my legacy is more likely to be a lot of humourless snarling, sarcastic psychopaths, but that’s just on my black days, pay me no mind.’
October 13, 2014
[space] Turds in Spaaaace! … a highlight from the Apollo 10 spaceflight transcript‘Give me a napkin quick. There’s a turd floating through the air.’

Turds In Space

October 12, 2014
[www] The Secret History of Hypertext … interesting look at some pre-computer visions of the World Wide Web … ‘Paul Otlet, a Belgian bibliographer and entrepreneur who, in 1934, laid out a plan for a global network of “electric telescopes” that would allow anyone in the world to access to a vast library of books, articles, photographs, audio recordings, and films. Like Bush, Otlet explored the possibilities of storing data on microfilm and making it searchable, with a web of documents connected via a sophisticated linking system. Otlet also wrote about wireless networks, speech recognition, and social network-like features that would allow individuals to “participate, applaud, give ovations, sing in the chorus.” He even described a mechanism for transmitting taste and smell.’
October 11, 2014
[gif] Skipping Pylons … one more nicely done animated GIF. [more...]
October 10, 2014
[arcade] Polybius (video game) … fascinating urban myth about a arcade video game from the early 1980’s that mentally disturbed it’s players then disappeared … ‘Polybius is a theoretical arcade cabinet.’
October 9, 2014
[tories] Top universities a ‘breeding ground’ for Tories, warn Islamic groups … … ‘The Federation of Student Islamic Societies has identified 40 English universities where there could be a “particular risk” of people being recruited to the youth wing of the UK Conservative Party. National Union of Students president Aaron Porter echoed the concerns raised by Islamic groups. “The problem of conservatism at universities has been apparent for some time, I think we’ve seen a steady increase in incidents on campus,” He said there had been numerous cases of “people wearing barbour jackets”, as well as “hate incidents directed towards the unemployed, the sick and foxes”.’
October 8, 2014
[planes] The Human Factor … long-read on the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 by William Langewiesche … ‘Bonin continued to pull back on the stick, jerkily pitching the nose higher. Was he yearning for the clear sky he believed was just above? Was he remembering an “unreliable airspeed” procedure that is meant for low altitude, where power is ample and the biggest concern is to climb away from the ground? Did he think that the airplane was going too fast? Evidence emerged later that he may have, but if so, why? Even if he did not hear the stall warning, the nose was up, the available thrust was low, and with or without valid indications, high-speed flight in those conditions was physically impossible. A renowned cockpit designer at Boeing—himself a transport pilot—once said to me, “We don’t believe there are any bad pilots. We believe there are average pilots who have bad days.” He called this a principle that underlies Boeing’s cockpit designs. But if Bonin was an average pilot, what does that say about the average?’
October 7, 2014
[movies] The League of Gentlemen Vs. 2001‘Dave, my wife tells me there is a block in your toilet!’
October 6, 2014
[buffy] Ayn Rand’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer

BUFFY: My shoulders are naked and I am drenched in the blood of my enemies. You are my physical and mental equal. I wish to express my respect for you in the physical embodiment of my ideals: the act of love. Let us have sex now.

ANGEL: Buffy, I can’t. You know that if I were to experience even a moment of perfect happiness I would lose my soul.

BUFFY: This sounds like a problem for you, not a problem for me.

ANGEL: I can’t –

BUFFY: We’ll just do me, then. Kneel.

October 5, 2014
[life] 26 Times Waitrose Outright Ruined The Lives Of Decent People‘It would be much easier if Waitrose kept the carrot batons next to the houmous.’
October 4, 2014
[comics] Marvel by Moebius. … a gallery of Moebius’ wonderful view of various Marvel characters.
October 3, 2014
October 2, 2014
[tech] Londoners Give Up Eldest Children In Public Wi-Fi Security Horror Show … seems like a reasonable deal to me! … ‘The experiment, which was backed by European law enforcement agency Europol, involved a group of security researchers setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot in June. When people connected to the hotspot, the terms and conditions they were asked to sign up to included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up.’
October 1, 2014
[apple] And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’ … a long, fascinating read on the creation of the iPhone … ‘As early as 2003, a handful of Apple engineers had figured out how to put multitouch technology in a tablet. “The story was that Steve wanted a device that he could use to read e-mail while on the toilet — that was the extent of the product spec,” says Joshua Strickon, one of the earliest engineers on that project.’
September 30, 2014
[comics] Nine Comic Books About Jim Gordon And Gotham City Police … a list highlighting some interesting Batman comics … ‘Gotham Central – While the series has great stories like “Soft Targets” and and “Half a Life” — and while the entire series delivers the gritty-crime-in-a-superhero-universe feel that the show aspires to — Gotham viewers will probably be most interested in checking out “Unresolved” (Gotham Central #19 – 22 and handily available in paperback), a story that focuses on Harvey Bullock. At the time, Bullock had been kicked off the force in disgrace after taking the law into his own hands, but the unfinished business of a brutal case involving the Mad Hatter and the Penguin pulls him back in and shows just how far he’s willing to go in the pursuit of justice.’
September 29, 2014
[comics] Trash! … an early, little-remembered Alan Moore fumetti comic from 1982.
September 28, 2014
[movies] The 10 Best Quotable Films‘Airplane!, 1980 – It’s not just about “Don’t call me Shirley”, surely. Airplane! made shameless use of repetition (“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking / smoking / sniffing glue”), misunderstandings (“Nervous?” / “Yes” / “First time?” / “No, I’ve been nervous lots of times”), and fnar fnar jokes to create one of the most juvenile films of all times – and one that regularly tops “funniest film of all time” lists. Its rapid-fire wordplay is as cringe-inducing as it is amusing, but the deadpan delivery by Leslie Nielsen and co ensures they don’t seem aware of their own comedy.’
September 27, 2014
[space] 62 Kilometers above Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko … absolutely stunning picture from the spacecraft Rosetta which continues to orbit the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
September 26, 2014
[batman] How To Kill The Batman Book … a striking fake book cover.

How To Kill The Batman

Older Entries »