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January 1, 2012
[moore] Alan Moore’s alternative Thought for the Day … Broadcast yesterday on Radio 4’s Today Programme … ‘The big advantage of worshipping an actual glove puppet of course is that if things start to get unruly or out of hand you can always put them gak in the gox. And you know, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want to go gak in the gox, they have to go gak in the gox.’
[best_of_metafilter] A few things we learned on the way to the Moon … nice collection of links on the Apollo program …‘What about the 800 plus pounds of rocks and dust brought back from the Moon? Surprisingly, they’re similar to Earth rocks, giving weight to the Giant Impact Theory. But the most amazing fact is that with no true atmosphere, there’s no erosion. The Moon rocks, laying on the surface for billions of years, contain information about the universe from early era of the universe, which also reveals the conditions of Earth shortly after it was formed.’
January 2, 2012
[science] Stephen Hawking Seeks Geek To Maintain His Unique Wheelchair ‘…the ideal candidate must be able to work under pressure, maintain “black box” systems with no instruction manual or technical support, be a whiz with computers and electronics, be able to speak to large audiences and show others how to use complex systems. Not a big ask, then. The salary is roughly £25k…’
January 3, 2012
[tv] Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism‘The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn’t through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think.’
January 4, 2012
[comics] Abhay Khosla tries to predict the Watchmen 2 Announcement

Allusion to Alan Moore’s prickly relationship with the company— Moore is “unavailable” for comment at time of press and/or declines to comment. Maybe, maybe he says something pithy like “All of those characters are already dead to me. I’m busy writing a 10,000 page poem about a molehill’s evolution over 20,000 years. But why doesn’t anyone working in comics have their own ideas, I wonder?” (Jason Aaron tells him to fuck himself again 4 months later, then goes back to architect-ing X-Men vs. The Hulk crossovers).

January 5, 2012
[comics] Batman Says… Stop, Look and Listen

Batman and Kids Crossing Road

January 6, 2012
[comics] Ronald Searle was our greatest cartoonist – and he sent me his pens … Martin Rowson remembers Ronald Searle … ‘It is interesting to note how men of Searle’s generation – Spike Milligan being another notable example – translated the unimaginable trauma of the war into stuff like St Trinian’s or The Goon Show. And how distinctly unsettling it is to when you look at the drawings he produced in secret on the Burma Railway, and then see direct visual quotations of torture and beheadings in his later St Trinian’s cartoons. Even if most Britons will remember him as ‘the St Trinian’s cartoonist’, Searle was much more than that. Without him, it’s almost impossible to imagine cartoonists like Scarfe or Steadman or the subsequent generations inspired by them.’
January 8, 2012
[flight] Software bug fingered as cause of Aussie A330 plunge‘The problem was fixed by turning the unit off and then on again. It’s not clear what caused the ADIRU to shift into failure mode, as this is only the third time that it has happened in over 128 million hours of operation – although one of those other incidents was down to the same ADIRU in that aircraft. The investigators checked all the usual suspects, including the use of electronic equipment by passengers, but were unable to find a fault and suggested it may be down to a high-energy atmospheric particle striking one of the integrated circuits within the unit.’
January 9, 2012
[comics] Were Rorschach’s Speech Patterns Based On Herbie, the Fat Fury?‘When discussing Rorschach, [Alan Moore] shared that the tone of his diary was inspired by the letters Son Of Sam David Berkowitz sent to the news papers, and (confirming my own theory) that his speech patterns were based on Herbie the Fat Fury.’
[comics] Charlie Brooker on Batman: ‘There’s a new Dark Knight film out this year. Calling Batman “the Dark Knight” is like calling Papa Smurf “the Blue Patriarch”: you’re not fooling anyone.’
[tech] Computers in space … a look at the supposedly antique technology used in space missions … ‘The ISS is packed with processors to keep its crew happy, or at least alive, but at the core of its operational hardware are the Command and Control Computers. They’re 80386SX-20s. But they’ve got 80387 co-processors! A couple even have hard drives!’
January 11, 2012
[press] An Express Year .. a fascinating look at the varieties of Daily Express headlines for a year … ‘Speaking of princesses, Diana remained dead: DIANA INQUEST SAMPLES SWITCHED (May 10), DIANA DEATH FILM COVER-UP (Jul 2), DIANA POLICE FACE ARREST (Jul 22), DIANA’S SECRET ENGAGEMENT (Aug 17), PRINCES BACK IN DIANA’S FLAT (Dec 18)’
[watchmen] Doomsday Clock moves one minute closer to midnight‘The Doomsday Clock, a symbolic gauge of nuclear danger, has moved one minute closer to midnight because of “inadequate progress” on nuclear and climate issues. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) announced the move – to five minutes before midnight – on Tuesday.’
January 12, 2012
[food] On the impracticality of a cheeseburger‘A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.’
January 13, 2012
[people] Ronald Searle Obituary written by Nigel Molesworth of St Custard’s

ART is for weeds and sissies whose mater hav said Take care of my dear little Cedric, he is delicate you kno and cannot stand a foopball to the head. Whenever anebode mention Art they all sa gosh mikelangelo leenardo wot magnificent simetry of line. Shurely the very pinnackle of western civilisation etc.etc. Pass me my oils Molesworth that I may paint my masterpeece. The headmaster sa gosh cor is that the medeechi venus hem-hem a grate work so true to life reminds me of young mrs filips enuff said.

Molesworth sa on the contry the most beatiful form in art is a Ronald Searle GURL from St Trinian’s in a tunick with black suspenders and armed with a hockey stick to beat the daylites out of another gurl or maybe just a teacher chortle chortle.

January 16, 2012
[movies] Blade Runner Sketch Book … scans of a rare out-of-print Blade Runner production sketch book. [via YMFY]

January 17, 2012
[comics] Joe Colquhoun Interview From 1982 … fascinating interview with the artist of Charley’s War and apparently the only one he ever did. Spotted on the well-done Charley’s War website‘I’ve tried very hard to bring out the realism in the trenches and most of the sequences in the story are based on factual incidents. That might lead to a certain amount of authenticity which is possibly lacking in the more blood and thunder, action-packed World War 2 stories. Finally, and this is only my own opinion, it illustrates a period that was already dying then. When words like Honour, Duty, Patriotism meant something, I think most decent kids reading this epoch, will have a sneaking, almost atavistic feeling that in this present sick and rather selfish world, with violence and amorality seeming to pay dividends, they may think they’re missing out on something.’
January 18, 2012
[books] In the Land of the Non-Reader … On stopping reading books …‘Books can steady a chair and a soul. The former use is not recommended for Kindle.’
January 19, 2012
[moore] Cold Reading – A rationalist ghost story from Alan Moore

I mean, do I believe all of the things that I tell people? In my heart, I can’t say that I do. But then, what about priests? You can’t tell me that all of them believe every last word of what they preach, but do they get called ‘ghouls in cardigans’ or ‘Vincent Price, but camp’? No. No, they don’t. That’s because people recognise all of the reassurance and the comfort that religion brings to people, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not. Or doctors, it’s like doctors when they say that a placebo, that’s like, what, a sugar pill? That a placebo can work wonders without any side effects, but that they can’t prescribe them ’cause of all the medical red tape and ethics, health and safety, all that business. That’s me. I’m a spiritual sugar pill, but I do people good. I’m sorry, but I touch their lives.

January 20, 2012
[blogs] LUV & HAT On Tumblr: ‘…it’s a blogging platform. But it’s not like BORING blogging platforms like WordPress (for squares) or Blogger (all right GRANDDAD). Tumblr gets us. It knows we’re social – that’s why it lets us follow people. And it knows we’re busy. We have eyeliner to apply. We have fingernails to paint individual colours. We have motherfucking badges to pin to our hoodies and skate shoes to painstakingly scuff and unlace. We don’t have time to sit down, log in, then use words to describe how alienated we feel or how niche we are. I mean seriously. Words. What is this, Vietnam?’
January 23, 2012
[funny] In Which I Fix My Girlfriend’s Grandparents’ WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero‘The people did beseech the warrior to aid them. They were a simple people, capable only of rewarding him with gratitude and a larger-than-normal serving of Jell-O salad. The warrior considered the possible battles before him. While others may have shirked the duties, forcing the good people of Ferndale Street to prostrate themselves before the tyrants of Comcast, Linksys, and Geek Squad, the warrior could not chill his heart to these depths. He accepted the quest and strode bravely across the beige shag carpet of the living room…’
January 24, 2012
[comics] What If Herge And H.P. Lovecraft Had Collaborated?

January 25, 2012
[comics] Chaykin’s Shadow is back… ‘The Howard Chaykin issues were great, the Andy Helfer, Bill Sienkiewicz and Kyle Baker issues were magnificent. And to be honest, I’d rather given up hope of ever seeing them again.But maybe not – because after securing the rights to The Shadow in 2011, Dynamite Entertainment has finally announced they’ll be reprinting the Howard Chaykin 4 issue Shadow: Blood & Judgment series from 1986…’
January 26, 2012
[tech] The Wirecutter | A List of the Best Gadgets .. if you’re thinking of buying some technology this would be a great place to visit before making the decision.
January 27, 2012
[shining] The Top 5 Wacky Theories About ‘The Shining’ in New Frontiers Doc ‘Room 237′ … some perfectly reasonable theories about The Shining from a new documentary about Kubrick’s movie … ‘One of the more spectacular theories in the movie: That Kubrick was hired by the American government to fake the Apollo moon landing, and “The Shining” is his way of explaining himself. An interviewee says that owning “The Shining” on Blu-ray allows one to see enough detail to reach this conclusion. Jack Torrance’s constant bickering with his wife about his job responsibilities voice Kubrick’s own justification for why he had to comply with government orders.’
January 28, 2012
[blogs] Let’s Make A Sandwich … On Blogs as sandwiches … ‘Think about blogging — the way I do it — like I think about sandwiches. There’s a basic form, and a nearly inifinite number of expressions of that form. This particular blog is a mishmash of things that are interesting to me — and because it’s my sandwich, I avoid ingredients that I’m not fond of. Like pickles. There are no pickles on this blog.’
January 30, 2012
[religion] Swallowed by a whale — a true tale? … a writer for Salon investigates if people were ever swallowed by whales and what would happen to them if they were …

‘I went to the Illness drawer and scanned the divider labels: Asthma, Bowels. Cold virus, Colic, Consumption, Convulsions / Fits, Distemper, Dropsy, Faintings, Food Poisoning, Homesickness, Depressed, Kidney, Lips, Measles, Pleurisy, Pox, Prickly Heat, Scurvy, Seasick, Smallpox, Typhoid, Venereal.

Venereal was the thickest category. Eighty-seven notecards referencing 87 mentions in close to 87 logbooks – that’s one-third more than the Scurvy category and a magnitude thicker than the Homesickness category. I thumbed through Venereal and found, slid between endless Syphilis cards, an archaic Lady’s Fever, the whimsical Blue boar in groin, and the enigmatic doby itch. Of all the Illnesses, it appeared the stops on shore hit the whalemen the most, the damage done in the arms of a woman. One 19th-century writer calculated that during whaling season in the port of Lahaini, Hawaii, there were ”upwards of 400 instances of intercourse daily.”

Crammed between Depressed and Kidney, at only 10 notecards thick, was the file I was looking for: Injury by Whale.’

January 31, 2012
[books] Flick Books – Can you tell the movie from the book Cover? … a fun little quiz … ‘A movie adaptation is rarely the first time someone gets to give a visual representation of a book. It is usually the cover illustrator who gets the job to draw how he thinks the story should look. However, as soon as a book is turned into a movie, the illustrator’s work is usually thrown in the bin only to be quickly replaced by a “you’ve seen the movie… now read the book” approximation of the movie poster as a cover.’