February 1, 2015
[space] What Does Space Sound Like? … It turns out that Space is very noisy … ‘I met NASA astronaut Ron Garan in early 2012, when he had just returned from a six-month mission on board the International Space Station. He explained to me that the sonic environment in a real spacecraft is a long way from being serene. Even outside on a spacewalk (his previous mission had included a walk that lasted six and a half hours), there is no silence. Indeed, it would have been worrying if there had been, because it would have meant that the pumps circulating air for him to breathe had stopped working. Spacecraft are full of noisy mechanical devices, such as refrigerators, air-conditioning units, and fans. Theoretically, the noise could be reduced, but quieter, heavier machines would be expensive to lift into orbit.’
January 31, 2015
[books] Charts and Diagrams Drawn by Famous Authors … fascinating collection of diagrams authors have used to plan their work … ‘Writers often use plot charts to organize the threads of complicated stories, but they’ve also been known to crank out diagrams of the travels of other people’s characters, chart-style teaching tools, and even hand-drawn maps.’
January 30, 2015
[web] What the Web Said Yesterday … a New Yorker profile of the Internet Archive and Brewster Kahle …

“Every time a light blinks, someone is uploading or downloading,” Kahle explains. Six hundred thousand people use the Wayback Machine every day, conducting two thousand searches a second. “You can see it.” He smiles as he watches. “They’re glowing books!” He waves his arms. “They glow when they’re being read!”

One day last summer, a missile was launched into the sky and a plane crashed in a field. “We just downed a plane,” a soldier told the world. People fell to the earth, their last passage. Somewhere, someone hit “Save Page Now.”

Where is the Internet’s memory, the history of our time?

“It’s right here!” Kahle cries.

The machine hums and is muffled. It is sacred and profane. It is eradicable and unbearable.

January 29, 2015
[consipracy] Every single celebrity murdered by the sinister Illuminati, as revealed by Google Autocomplete‘Google autocompletes are based upon what people type into Google. Therefore they are always true and never wrong, and this turns out to be a completely brilliant way of finding out which celebrities have been murdered by the sinister Illuminati cult that runs our world.’
January 28, 2015
[games] The Untold Story Of The Invention Of The Game Cartridge … the little-known history of an huge innovation in video gaming technology …

Inserting and removing socketed electronic assemblies had, until then, been an activity reserved for trained technicians, engineers, and military personnel. Taking a sensitive circuit board and putting it into the hands of a consumer—who might be prone to stepping on it, dunking it in the toilet, or leaving it baking in the sun—posed a considerable design challenge. Obviously, the board needed a protective shell of some kind.

Talesfore zeroed in immediately on the familiar form of the 8-track tape cartridge, an audio recording format which gained significant traction in the 1970s through its use in car audio systems. Relatively rugged, easy to insert and remove with one hand, and vibration-resistant, the 8-track tape proliferated where the comparatively delicate vinyl record feared to tread. He chose a shape and size for his new game cartridge enclosure that closely matched the 8-track tape standard. Then he added ribbing around the edges for improved grip, and selected a bright yellow plastic color to make a statement. Cartridges were the true star of the show, he figured, so they deserved to stand out.

January 27, 2015
[wikipedia] Wikipedia’s List of lists of lists… includes many useful lists of lists such as Lists of Emmerdale characters and Lists of golfers. ‘This article is a list of articles that are themselves lists of articles that are also lists of articles on Wikipedia; i.e., the articles linked each index numerous lists on a topic.’ [via Kottke]
January 26, 2015
[politics] Greeks vote for the Germans to pay for everything‘Some economists have suggested that Greece doesn’t have any money because nobody has bothered paying any tax for the ten or fifteen years, but these concerns cut no ice amongst Greeks. “We’ve got to get away from the old arguments about who did what and who is to blame in order to move forward with our exciting plans”, said Dmitropolos said.’
January 25, 2015
[lovecraft] HP Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space … a look at how H.P. Lovecraft foresaw the future in one of his short stories …‘Lovecraft’s creature is a symbol of something that, at the time he wrote, was just coming into being. The prophecy develops through a number of rifts in the text, some of which align the extraterrestrial entity with technical innovations still nascent at the time the novella was written. For one we learn that the meteorite fell in 1882, which happens to be the year Thomas Edison switched on the world’s first commercial power station in New York City. Furthermore the scientists who study the meteorite discover that its chemical composition bears an affinity with silicon, a metalloid that, unbeknownst to Lovecraft, would enable the development of the semiconductor, without which there would be no digital age. Finally, the effect of the preternatural color on plants and wildlife is eerily prescient of radiation sickness—the radioactivity of electronic devices being common knowledge now. Through these and other elements, the story connects the advent of alien light and color to wider technological processes that have transformed the landscape.’
January 23, 2015
[moore] Twenty-two comic books Alan Moore was looking forward to in 1988 Part 1 | Part 2
January 22, 2015
[herzog] Werner Herzog Inspirational Posters‘And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food.’


January 21, 2015
[funny] Artist Always Carries Around Sketchbook In Case He Feels Like Making Someone Uncomfortable‘You never know when you’ll catch a glimpse of some random person and feel that sudden urge to sketch them without their permission as they fidget under your gaze…’
January 20, 2015
[tv] Jon Ronson in Conversation with Adam Curtis … Curtis discusses his Bitter Lake – his new film … ‘I found a man in the [BBC Archives] who spends his time recording the bits in between the programmes when they are broadcast. He writes down in detail all the announcements and the trailers, plus all the bits where things go wrong. So far his log of this stuff has got to 7,500 pages. He’s convinced that we don’t really understand television. He says the idea that you can break television up into discrete programmes is wrong. He believes television is really one long construction of a giant story out of fragments of recorded reality from all over the world that is constantly added to every day, and has been going on for 70 years. But what really opened things up for me was the realisation that there was an even further forgotten source of images. Not in London, but hidden all over the world. A BBC news cameraman called Phil Goodwin came to me and told me that the BBC offices in major cities have kept all their recorded footage in cupboards and store rooms. There are hundreds of tapes of what are called rushes – the original, unedited material from which news reports are created. And they were just lying there…’
January 19, 2015
[moore] Why has Nick Griffin ripped off the ‘V for Vendetta’ logo for his new party? … Life imitates Alan Moore again… ‘We attempted get in touch with Griffin to get a comment on this and he told us to ‘do one’ and accused us of being part of the ‘zonist media’.’
January 18, 2015
[herzog] 24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog‘Get used to the bear behind you.’
January 17, 2015
[moore] Poet has first book published thanks to old school pal Alan Moore‘The book includes a seven page foreword by Alan in which he says Dominic’s “words speak of an almost-gone emotional reality, a since subsided proletarian warmth, an honesty entirely unafraid of sentiment, a great clarity of the heart.” In Spring Lane School there is a noticeboard displaying laminated pictures of Alan and Dominic to encourage the pupils which they are both very proud to feature on.’
January 16, 2015
[charlie_hebdo] When Art Is Dangerous (or Not) … Tim Kreider On Charlie Hebdo …

Much as I admire Steve Bell’s caricatures of George W. Bush as a dung-flinging chimpanzee, it’s hard to imagine them landing the former president in The Hague. Most daily editorial cartoonists in the United States produce work about as incisive as a prime-time sitcom, and the rest are consigned to niche markets where they preach to their demographic choirs. I have to wonder whether any of my colleagues felt the same queasy mix of emotions I did on hearing about the assassinations in Paris: beneath the outrage, sorrow and solidarity, a small, irrational twinge of guilt that we’re not doing anything worth shooting us over.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. likened the cumulative firepower of all the art and literature directed against the Vietnam War to “the explosive force of a very large banana-cream pie — a pie two meters in diameter, 20 centimeters thick, and dropped from a height of 10 meters or more.” A lot of artists in America tend to be self-deprecating futilitarians, because we’ve grown up in a culture in which art doesn’t matter except, occasionally, as a high-end investment. When art has been controversial here it’s most often been because it’s deemed obscene. (Sex is our tawdry Muhammad, the thing that cannot be depicted.) But it’s hard to think of a time in our recent history when art gave any cause for alarm to anyone in power.

January 15, 2015
[crime] The murder that obsessed Italy … Engrossing true crime story from Italy about the investigation of the murder of Yara Gambirasio‘The investigation was, by Italian standards, unusually secretive. Locals couldn’t understand why police hunting the murderer of a 13-year-old girl were taking DNA samples of elderly women. Bonicelli – a fan of the fictional detectives Maigret and Montalbano – says that the investigation “was lacking the traditional, human element: the sort of person who goes into a bar in the village … and puts someone at ease so that something slips out.” Locals felt there was something cold about this investigation, with its invasive demands for DNA samples. And it was changing the atmosphere in these small communities. People thought, says Bonicelli, “that the murderer was here, amongst us. So there was a sort of – not panic, but fear.”’
January 14, 2015
[fake] 86 Viral Images From 2014 That Were Totally Fake … a fascinating collection of well faked images …

Fake Nazi Candy

January 13, 2015
[politics] MPs Mistaking Arms For Anus … anus errors from the official record of the House of Commons and the House of Lords … ‘November 14, 2000, Dr Jenny Tonge: I want now to discuss my favourite topic of anus embargoes, to which the Minister would expect me to refer.’
January 12, 2015
[comics] Paul Gravett interviews/profiles Dylan Horrocks‘I remember when photocopying machines became plentiful (and cheap) in the 1980s, which led to a blossoming of the small press, mini-comics and zines. It felt like a revolution. But the internet takes that to a whole nother level. Not surprisingly, many publishers and retailers are struggling to adapt, but the main thing for me is the explosion of new and incredibly diverse artists who are embracing comics and are taking them in countless new directions online. Living in a tiny country at the bottom of the world, I’m especially conscious of the possibilities opened up by the internet to empower previously marginalised artists and writers: not just in terms of nationality, but also gender, sexuality, ethnicity and more. Not that everything’s peachy, of course. Governments and corporations are doing their best to bring the internet under their control, and things are changing quickly. Interesting times… The other huge change in comics since the days of Pickle is the rise of the graphic novel. Twenty years ago, the idea that comics would be regularly reviewed in classy literary journals and nominated for major book awards seemed as utopian as Hicksville. I still find it hard to believe. And I still love finding some strange little hand-stapled mini-comic at a local zine-fair….’
January 11, 2015
[comics] Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris‘Liberation called me and said, “Crumb, can you do a cartoon for us? About what you think about this, you know, you are a major cartoonist, and you live in France.” So I thought about it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’m doing the dishes, or whatever, I was thinking, “What should I do for that cartoon…” I had a lot of ideas. Other people come up with these, you know, clever cartoons that comment on it, like…This one guy did a cartoon showing a bloody dead body laying there, and a radical Muslim standing over him with a Kalashnikov, saying, “He drew first!” Stuff like that. That’s good, that’s clever, you know, I like that. But, me? I gotta like, you know, when I do something, it has to be more personal…’
January 10, 2015
[comics] Dylan Horrocks on Depression, Magic Pens and Tasteful Comics Porn … interview with Dylan Horrocks on his new comics Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen … ‘The book is partly a kind of experimental laboratory, where I create a series of situations fraught with moral complexity and then see what happens when I drop certain characters into them. Every now and then, I try taking a clear position, to see how that feels. But I always tried to undermine, question or challenge those positions at the same time — by surrounding them with the very pleasures they were condemning, or by allowing a sense of unease to creep over the reader. I wanted to build a big, fun, slightly-dangerous adventure playground, where I could play around and push my own limits, even if things got a little scary at times. Hopefully a few other people will enjoy playing there too, and if we’re lucky we might learn something about ourselves and each other. Well, that was the idea. But I’ll settle for getting a few laughs. The central question, in a way, is asked out loud by Sam halfway through: “Do we bear a moral responsibility for our fantasies?” The book sets out to have a conversation about that question.’
January 9, 2015
[religion] The pope has said that he would baptise a Martian – but would they want our religions?‘The Vatican has already covered the angles, it seems. In 2008, its chief astronomer, José Gabriel Funes, publicly accepted that there could be life on other planets. “Why can’t we speak of a ‘brother extraterrestrial’?” he said. “It would still be part of creation.” Aliens might even be closer to God than us, Funes suggested, and humans could be the “lost sheep” of the universe.’
January 8, 2015
[quotes] Flash Card Quotes

Robert Frost: Life It Goes On

January 7, 2015
[crime] Steve Bell on the Charlie Hebdo Magazine Attack‘Why are the fuckers still laughing at us?’
[food] Ten of the most impressive food heists‘In 2009, a man and woman in New Zealand were arrested after being caught with boxes containing 20 1kg blocks of vacuum-packed cheddar, stolen that morning from a train. As the police chased the couple, cheese was flung out of the vehicle on to the road, in what will probably go down as one of the more bizarre car chases in history. It is said that cheese is the most stolen food type. One report in 2011 went so far as to label the product “high risk” after finding £4.9m of it was stolen in the UK that year alone.’
January 6, 2015
[funny] 36 Truly Terrifying Middle-Class Injuries‘Today I suffered the most middle class injury ever. I hurt my wrist while rinsing kale.’
January 5, 2015
[comics] Ed Brubaker Looks Back At Batman Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 … Brubaker is interviewed by Chris Sims … ‘I was at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and [DC Executive Editor] Mike Carlin was there. He had been reading the flats of Scene of the Crime when they were coming in because he was a fan of Michael’s — my whole career is based on editors being fans of artists that I’ve worked with. So Mike Carlin came to me and said “Why don’t you try and write something for the DCU?” And I said “I don’t think I have any ideas for superheroes.” [Laughs] This is fifteen years ago, and I can look back on it now and it’s funny that I would’ve said it, but at the time, I really didn’t think I could do anything like Batman, and he said “Well, if you can write a mystery comic, you can write Batman.” So he just insisted that I do something, and I went home and sat around trying to think of a pitch for a one-shot, and they were still doing Elseworlds at the time, so I pitched Gotham Noir. Which was how I ended up getting hooked up with Sean Phillips, too.’
January 4, 2015
[science] Is the Universe a Simulation?‘But one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. This may strike you as very unlikely. But the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not. If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one.’
January 3, 2015
[fails] 11 Spectacular 3D Printer Failures‘Just because you have a 3D printer doesn’t mean you’re going to make anything remarkable. It doesn’t even mean you’re going to wind up with what you set out to produce. Believe it or not, 3D printing requires some skill. And when you don’t have it, things go delightfully askew.’

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