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March 20, 2015
[comics] R.I.P. The Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club (1994-2015) … Evan Dorkin completes his Eltingville Club series of comics after 21 years … ‘I have a tremedous urge to burn the pages as soon as they’re all scanned. Dressed as a Universal Studios villager, pitchfork and torch. I hope the actual reading experience won’t be as messy as the book itself. There’s a bunch of good gags and some crazy crowd scenes, and some hopefully good shots at comic book behavior. It’s not exactly the ending I’d wanted, I think the first issue works ends the series well enough on its own, but I always wanted to do a “ten years later” story, so, whatever. I can’t wait until it’s all really over and done with, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.’
March 19, 2015
[comics] Art For Art’s Sake: Blade Runner special… the Forbidden Planet blog posts a great gallery of art inspired by Blade Runner. Below: Blade Runner Rachel by KR0NPR1NZ

Rachel From Blade Runner

March 18, 2015
[comics] Dave Sim Checks Himself Into Grand River Hospital … the creator of Cerebus has been taken seriously ill and hospitalized … ‘Sim checked himself into Emergency at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener this afternoon. He’d been having severe, painful stomach cramps all weekend. He arrived about 2 pm. I checked in on him around 8 pm. He was dressed in a frock, laying on a bed, hooked up to a saline drip. I asked if he’d ever been in Emergency before. He said no, never. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he refused the painkillers they offered him.’
March 17, 2015
[tv] At 18, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Still Revolutionary … looking back at Buffy The Vampire Slayer … ‘In many ways, Buffy was a conventional television heroine, in that she was pretty and blonde and perky, and she talked a mile a minute about clothes and homework like a normal teenage girl (as opposed to the theatrical soliloquies delivered by characters in The WB’s next teen drama, Dawson’s Creek). But the show’s subversiveness was spelled out by creator Joss Whedon in the opening scene, as a nervous blonde girl and a cocky, older-looking guy in a leather jacket break into Sunnydale High School late at night. The girl seems scared and keeps hearing noises. “We’re just going to get in trouble,” she tells him. “You can count on it,” he replies, licking his lips. Finally, once she’s certain there’s no one else around, she reveals her distorted vampire features and sinks her teeth into his neck.’
March 16, 2015
[royalty] What happens when Queen Elizabeth II dies? … fascinating look at the first few days after the Queen dies … ‘For at least 12 days — between her passing, the funeral and beyond — Britain will grind to a halt. It’ll cost the British economy billions in lost earnings. The stock markets and banks will close for an indefinite period. And both the funeral and the subsequent coronation will become formal national holidays, each with an estimated economic hit to GDP of between £1.2 and £6 billion, to say nothing of organisational costs. But to focus on the financial disruption doesn’t begin to describe the sheer magnitude of it. It will be an event unlike anything Britain has ever seen before. There will be trivial disruptions — the BBC will cancel all comedy shows, for example — and jarring cultural changes. Prince Charles may change his name, for instance, and the words of the national anthem will be changed, too. The deaths of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both brought on waves of public mourning and hysteria. But the Queen, due to her longevity and fundamental place atop British society, will be on a whole new level above that. The vast majority of British people have simply never known life without the Queen. It will be a strange, uncertain time…’
March 15, 2015
[movies] Tears in rain? Why Blade Runner is timeless … a look back at Blade Runner … ‘Ford’s Deckard may or may not be as gripped by uncertainty about his job as Dick’s original blade runner. In any case, his brusque “lack of affect” provides one of the long-standing puzzles of the film: is he, too, a replicant? Certainly Ford’s perpetual grumpiness (it sometimes seems his default acting position), his curdled cynicism, put up barriers to feeling that suggest it is as disturbing for him as it is for the hunted Leon or Roy. Though some still doubt, it seems clear that Deckard is indeed a replicant, his imaginings and memories downloaded from some database, his life as transitory as that of his victims. However, as we watch Blade Runner, Deckard doesn’t feel like a replicant; he is dour and unengaged, but lacks his victims’ detached innocence, their staccato puzzlement at their own untrained feelings. The antithesis of the scowling Ford, Hauer’s Roy is a sinister smiler, or someone whose face falls at the brush of an unassimilable emotion.’
March 14, 2015
[email] Emkei’s Instant Mailer … When you absolutely have to send fake email from a tooth fairy I recommend Emkei’s Instant Mailer. Accept no substitutes.
March 13, 2015
[movies] The Grantland Q&A: Errol Morris … big interview with Errol Morris … On Donald Rumsfeld: ‘But I think — and I could be just making excuses for myself — that there’s a portrait that emerges [in The Unknown Known] that’s very different and far more interesting than the portrait you would’ve gotten by having him walk off the set or repeatedly refuse to answer questions, which is what would’ve happened. There’s something about his manner that reveals to me much about the man. A refusal to engage stuff with any meaning is really frightening, and I think that’s part of who he is. There’s a whole class of people who love to push people around but don’t love to think about stuff carefully.’
March 12, 2015
March 11, 2015
[science] 13 Science Myths You Probably Believe … … ‘Whether you can roll your tongue or not depends on your genes – In a 1940 study some children managed to learn the skill. Eleven years later, some scientists showed that the number of tongue rollers among Japanese school children increased by 20% between the ages of 6–7 and 12. So it can’t be purely genetic.’
March 10, 2015
[space] A Dust Devil on Mars … go take a look at this amazing picture taken from a satellite orbiting Mars.
March 9, 2015
[ukip] Why the media are wrong about UKIP: They’re not dangerous, they’re an irrelevant spent force … Rob Manuel On UKIP … ‘If you want to get a sense of what it’s like to be here – read these three sentences followed by huge cheers: “I want you to imagine that tomorrow the Channel Tunnel is blown up!” “The old establishment parties and their willing lapdogs in the media!” “We cannot even choose what vacuum cleaners we use!” I found myself drifting off and accidentally clapped a speech out of reflex, then panicked that another journalist might have seen me – my secret UKIP-loving shame!’
March 8, 2015
[tech] This guy’s light bulb performed a DoS attack on his entire smart house … the downside to smart-houses: more technology in your life means more tech support problems … ‘He realized that his light fixture had burned out, and was trying to tell the hub that it needed attention. To do so, it was sending continuous requests that had overloaded the network and caused it to freeze. “It was a classic denial of service attack,” says Rojas. The light was performing a DoS attack on the smart home to say, ‘Change me.’” Rojas changed the bulb, which fixed the problem.’
March 7, 2015
[web] What does HTML’s “HREF” stand for?‘Today it occurred to me that, after a little over ten years of basic fluency in HTML, I have absolutely no idea why the href attribute is named “href”. Why not “url”, “link”, or even just “ref”?’
March 6, 2015
[aircrash] How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? … well-written alternative theory on what might have happened to missing flight MH370

I realized that I already had a clue that hijackers had been in the E/E bay. Remember the satcom system disconnected and then rebooted three minutes after the plane left military radar behind. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how a person could physically turn the satcom off and on. The only way, apart from turning off half the entire electrical system, would be to go into the E/E bay and pull three particular circuit breakers. It is a maneuver that only a sophisticated operator would know how to execute, and the only reason I could think for wanting to do this was so that Inmarsat would find the records and misinterpret them. They turned on the satcom in order to provide a false trail of bread crumbs leading away from the plane’s true route.

It’s not possible to spoof the BFO data on just any plane. The plane must be of a certain make and model, 17equipped with a certain make and model of satellite-communications equipment,18 and flying a certain kind of route19 in a region covered by a certain kind of Inmarsat satellite.20 If you put all the conditions together, it seemed unlikely that any aircraft would satisfy them. Yet MH370 did.

I imagine everyone who comes up with a new theory, even a complicated one, must experience one particularly delicious moment, like a perfect chord change, when disorder gives way to order. This was that moment for me. Once I threw out the troublesome BFO data, all the inexplicable coincidences and mismatched data went away. The answer became wonderfully simple. The plane must have gone north.

March 5, 2015
[politics] Bill Clinton portrait artist hints at Monica Lewinsky scandal … how an artist incorporated Monica Lewinsky’s Blue Dress into a portrait of Bill Clinton … ‘“If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” Shanks said. “It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there.”Lewinsky’s stained blue dress itself became a symbol of the scandal during the 1990s. The shadow “is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him,” Shanks said.’
March 4, 2015
[blog] LinkMachineGo – 15 Years Of “A Hypertext Reference Equals” – I did it! :) …

One Does Not Simply Blog For 15 Years

March 3, 2015
[life] What is blue and how do we see color? … a look at why the Ancient Greeks could not see the colour blue … ‘Davidoff says that without a word for a color, without a way of identifying it as different, it is much harder for us to notice what is unique about it — even though our eyes are physically seeing the blocks it in the same way. So before blue became a common concept, maybe humans saw it. But it seems they did not know they were seeing it. If you see something yet can’t see it, does it exist? Did colors come into existence over time? Not technically, but our ability to notice them may have…’
March 2, 2015
[crime] The strange case of the ‘time travel’ murder … a look at the fallibility of DNA in crime investigations … ‘In Germany in 2007, traces of DNA belonging to an unknown female were found at the scene of the murder of a police officer. When run through the German database, identical DNA was found to have been present at the scene of five other murders in Germany and France, along with several burglaries and car thefts. In total, the woman’s DNA was found at 40 separate crime scenes. The German authorities spent two years and thousands of hours searching for the culprit, only to discover that the DNA had in fact been present on the swabs the crime scene investigators had been using to collect their samples. The swabs had been accidentally contaminated by a woman working at the factory that produced them.’
March 1, 2015
[tech] How To: Some Basic (And Not-So-Basic) Photo Management … a useful guide to dealing with a large messy collection of digital photos … ‘I recently consolidated and organized my photo library. At the start of the project, I had 13,000 photos dispersed between a number of locations: DVDs, an external drive, an android phone (and Google plus/android instant backup), a Macbook Air, a Windows desktop’s hard drive, another internal hard drive, and Dropbox. It was what anyone would call a “cluster.” Also, it was more than a little daunting since photos were duplicated across several locations with various names, states of Exif data (present, corrupted, or not present). This is the evolving story of how I got it together…’
February 28, 2015
[politics] Ukip delegates find a great deal to be unhappy about … a political sketch from the Ukip Conference In Margate …

“The polls are also looking good,” Nuttall continued. This provoked several sharp intakes of breath, before everyone realised he hadn’t been talking about the Poles. To make up for this momentary lapse, they gave Ukip supporter Harjit Singh a standing ovation for being a Sikh.

Elsewhere there was nothing but trouble. Our fish were being stolen, our nuns were being sneered at, our vacuum cleaners were being abused and our foreign aid budget was being spent on teaching Africans to dance. MEP Nathan Gill proudly introduced his new publication, 8 Reasons for Cutting Foreign Aid that featured a photo of a starving African child on the front. “Charity begins at home,” he said. Even our dogs were going to the dogs. All those fancy new cockapoos and labradooodle what nots.

Into this hellish pit of despair, stepped a heavily made-up Nigel Farage…

February 27, 2015
[life] The truth about evil … a long-read from John Gray on the nature of evil and how politicians deal with it … ‘Here Blair is at one with most western leaders. It’s not that they are obsessed with evil. Rather, they don’t really believe in evil as an enduring reality in human life. If their feverish rhetoric means anything, it is that evil can be vanquished. In believing this, those who govern us at the present time reject a central insight of western religion, which is found also in Greek tragic drama and the work of the Roman historians: destructive human conflict is rooted in flaws within human beings themselves. In this old-fashioned understanding, evil is a propensity to destructive and self-destructive behaviour that is humanly universal. The restraints of morality exist to curb this innate human frailty; but morality is a fragile artifice that regularly breaks down. Dealing with evil requires an acceptance that it never goes away.’
February 26, 2015
[hst] Hunter S. Thompson, Existentialist Life Coach, Gives Tips for Finding Meaning in Life‘Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH. Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds…’
February 25, 2015
[moore] Huge Alan Moore interview from Mustard comedy magazine … Alan shares another theory on who Jack the Ripper might be: ‘In our local paper there was a report about a man called Mallard who believed that Jack the Ripper was a member of his family from the Doddridge Church area of Northampton. His somewhat slender grounds for this theory were that a father in the family had committed suicide and one of the sons then moved down to London and was working in a slaughterhouse in the Whitechapel area during the time of the murders. Not the most convincing theory, but I was quite taken with this story because my mother’s maiden name was Mallard and her family lived around the Doddridge Church area. So in answer to Matt’s question, I’d say that after all of my researches, it turns out that Jack the Ripper was probably my granddad. It’s funny how these things work out, but what can you do?’
February 24, 2015
February 23, 2015
[comics] Dan Clowes Portrait by Drew Friedman … go look at this wonderfully done portrait of Clowes by another cartoonist.
February 22, 2015
[politics] The Daily Telegraph’s promise to its readers, sponsored by Canesten the Daily Mash reprints an announcement from the Telegraph … ‘Once only a newspaper, the Daily Telegraph is now a groundbreaking multi-platform operation comparable to Canesten Combi which is both a cream and a pessary to deal with both the symptoms and the root cause. For the avoidance of any doubt, we have no regard for the burning sensation that Ed Miliband arouses in rival media organisations, believing that he is a parasitical infection on our body politic that can only be alleviated using the market-leading techniques that have made Britain, and by association Canesten, great.’
February 21, 2015
[tech] How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last … a fascinating look at the NSA’s collection of malware … ‘Beyond the technical similarities to the Stuxnet and Flame developers, Equation Group boasted the type of extraordinary engineering skill people have come to expect from a spy organization sponsored by the world’s wealthiest nation. One of the Equation Group’s malware platforms, for instance, rewrote the hard-drive firmware of infected computers—a never-before-seen engineering marvel that worked on 12 drive categories from manufacturers including Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, IBM, Micron, Toshiba, and Seagate. The malicious firmware created a secret storage vault that survived military-grade disk wiping and reformatting, making sensitive data stolen from victims available even after reformatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system. The firmware also provided programming interfaces that other code in Equation Group’s sprawling malware library could access. Once a hard drive was compromised, the infection was impossible to detect or remove.’
February 20, 2015
February 19, 2015
[comics] Nick Abadzis remembers Brett Ewins who sadly died this week‘Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon gave me my start in comics as a creator. I’d worked for Marvel UK and Fleetway before I worked for Deadline, but it was Brett and Steve who looked at my portfolio and saw some potential there and gave me a chance as a cartoonist. Brett found a loose, lanky stick man I’d hidden at the back of all the other drawings and asked if the character had a name. He didn’t, but the two of them read the two-page strip and laughed. I can still hear Brett saying, “Yeah, we’ll have this. Can you give us two or three pages of this every month?” They paid fifty quid a page. Later, the name Hugo Tate attached itself to the character, and Brett and Steve gave me more pages as the strip became more popular.’

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