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April 25, 2015
[comics] Review of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer … from Andrew Rilstone‘Dark Batman is more interesting than the silly Batman (who never quite existed outside of the KAPOW television series). Dark Batman is more in keeping with the basic premise of a character built of rage. But just because Dark Batman is cool is does not follow that Dark Superman and Dark Spider-Man and Dark Paddington Bear would be equally cool. The darker the dark character is the more he needs a bright character character to stand next to. And the brighter the bright characters the darker and cooler the dark, cool one will look. (This is the point of Robin.)’
April 24, 2015
[space] That Time the US Accidentally Nuked Britain’s First Satellite … a fascinating, forgotten fragment of space history … ‘On July 9, 1962, mere weeks after Ariel-1 was put into orbit and had successfully begun transmitting data about the ionosphere back to Earth, British scientists were shocked when the sensors aboard Ariel-1 designed to measure radiation levels suddenly began to give wildly high readings. Initially, they assumed that the satellite’s instruments had failed or were otherwise just malfunctioning. As it turned out, as Ariel-1 was happily free-falling around the Earth, the US military had decided to detonate an experimental 1.4 megaton nuclear weapon named Starfish-Prime in the upper atmosphere…’
April 23, 2015
[election] UKIP Royston Vasey Local Election Leaflet … via their Twitter account‘We only accept local people in the local party.’

UKIP Royston Valley Election Leaflet

April 22, 2015
[google] What does Google need on mobile? … a look at Google’s mobile strategy from Benedict Evans… ‘Google has gone from a world of almost perfect clarity – a text search box, a web-link index, a middle-class family’s home – to one of perfect complexity – every possible kind of user, device, access and data type. It’s gone from a firehose to a rain storm. But on the other hand, no-one knows water like Google. No-one else has the same lead in building understanding of how to deal with this. Hence, I think, one should think of every app, service, drive and platform from Google not so much as channels that might conflict but as varying end-points to a unified underlying strategy, which one might characterize as ‘know a lot about how to know a lot’.’
April 21, 2015
[apollo] 45 years after Apollo 13: Ars looks at what went wrong and why… Ars Technica on what caused the explosion on Apollo 13?‘For Apollo 13, keeping calm and working the problems as they appeared allowed three astronauts to escape unharmed from a complex failure. The NASA mindset of simulate, simulate, simulate meant that when things did go wrong, even something of the magnitude of the Apollo 13 explosion, there was always some kind of contingency plan worked out in advance. Controllers had a good gut-level feel for the limits of the spacecraft’s systems when trying to work through emergency problems.’
April 20, 2015
[web] HTTP Error 447: Gone until I get the attention I deserve … a new type of HTTP error … ‘The 447 response is primarily intended to assist the task of ego maintenance by notifying the recipient that the resource is intentionally but temporarily unavailable and that the server owners desire that people pay more attention to them. Such an event is common for resources belonging to emotionally unstable individuals when they feel the world is no longer going their way. ‘
April 19, 2015
[beards] Men seeking plausible beard exit strategies … as reported by the Daily Mash … ’28-year-old Wayne Hayes said: “Mine got stuck in a door, it was a case of pull it out by the roots or starve to death. “As an unreconstructed alpha male who doesn’t give a shit about media-driven style trends and is basically a raw sexy ape I chose the former but purely for survival reasons. “Then I applied moisturiser to the affected area.”’
April 18, 2015
[comics] Crossed+ 100 Annotations … work-in-progress collection of annotations for Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade’s Crossed+ 100 series of comics.
April 17, 2015
[comics] Sketches of Naxos & Iraklia, Greece … go look at these amazing sketches of Greece by Simon Gane

Sketch Of Greece by Simon Gane

April 16, 2015
[comics] The Masterpiece That Helped Transform Comics and Culture – Books … Dan Clowes talks about Eightball At 25… ‘The funny thing about reading all my comics, but especially those old comics—which I usually avoid like the plague, but when I was putting this collection together, I went back and read every single issue—is that it’s really like a record of your life. Almost everything in the comic is based on something, a joke I had with one of my friends or a real-life experience, and all the characters are based vaguely on people I know… It all feels like reading a diary almost, even though it’s entirely fictional.’
April 15, 2015
[cheese] Cheese changed the course of Western civilization … How cheese was discovered 9000 years ago by lactose-intolerant nomads. ‘With the discovery of cheese, suddenly those early humans could add dairy to their diets. Cheese made an entirely new source of nutrients and calories available for adults, and, as a result, dairying took off in a major way. What this meant, says Kindstedt, is that “children and newborns would be exposed to milk frequently, which ultimately through random mutations selected for children who could tolerate lactose later into adulthood.” In a very short time, at least in terms of human evolution—perhaps only a few thousand years—that mutation spread throughout the population of the Fertile Crescent.’
April 14, 2015
[tv] Matthew Weiner on Mad Men’s Origins, Peggy’s Baby, and Why There Will Never Be a Spinoff … interview with the Mad Men’s creator … ‘TV and film, in general… some of it is designed for escape, designed to satisfy the lack of justice that we feel in everyday life. We find heroes and we get to have the wish fulfillment of, for example, a woman who has it all, who talks tough and tells people where to go and, yeah, they fail sometimes. There’s not a lot of that on the show. I give the example of how we try to make it less abstract by making it more like real life: If a young man runs into a beautiful woman at a party on Mad Men and she gives him her phone number and he writes it on a piece of paper and then he loses his coat, he will, on a normal TV show, end up figuring out how to find her. On Mad Men, he will never see her again.’
April 13, 2015
[space] Death in space: The ethics of dealing with astronauts’ bodies. … fascinating look at how to deal with death in space … ‘The more frequent suggestion for the disposal of bodies is to simply open the airlock and send them off into the cosmos, à la Dr. Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The problem here is that, as Body Back designers Karin Tjerrild Lund and Mikael Ploustrup found out, a U.N. charter forbids littering in space. This includes corpses, even if the astronaut’s expressed wish is to have his or her body launched into open space. This is probably for the better, Wiigh-Mäsak told me, given that these bodies could potentially become hazardous impactors for other spacecraft or end up contaminating pristine extraterrestrial environments—also like Dr. Poole who, following his death in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, “became the first of all men to reach Saturn.”’
April 12, 2015
[games] Gridrunner on the App Store on iTunes … Jeff Minter’s classic shooter game Gridrunner now free for iPhones and iPads.
April 11, 2015
[papers] Daily Express weather warning: beware a shower of extreme inaccuracy … George Monbiot on the weather headlines of the Daily Express … ‘No winter approaches without predictions in the Express of Snowmageddon. In November 2012, Rao’s headline warned us: “Coldest Winter in 100 Years on Way”. In November 2013, he promised “100 DAYS OF HEAVY SNOW: Britain now facing worst winter in SIXTY YEARS warn forecasters”. In October 2014, a story by the same author told readers “Winter 2014 set to be ‘coldest for century’. Britain faces ARCTIC FREEZE in just weeks”. In November, another article of his was headlined “POLAR VORTEX WARNING: Latest winter weather models show UK faces MONTHS of heavy snow”. And so it went on all the way until the end of January, when the front page blared: “Britain on RED alert: ‘Displaced polar vortex’ to unleash crippling snowstorms next week”. Needless to say, it was all bollocks with bells on.’
April 10, 2015
April 9, 2015
[social media] Many, many Facebook users still don’t know that their news feeds are filtered by an algorithm … a look at how Facebook automatically filters your news feed … ‘Without understanding Facebook’s algorithm, these participants resorted to developing other theories for why their social lives changed on the site. Some blamed themselves for being bad at Facebook. “These participants felt that they missed friends’ stories because they were scrolling too quickly or visiting Facebook too infrequently,” the researchers write. Others figured that their friends had stopped sharing with them. “I have never seen her post anything!” one study participant said of a friend. “And I always assumed that I wasn’t really that close to that person, so that’s fine. What the hell?!”’
April 8, 2015
[apollo] The Armstrong Purse: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Artifacts … fascinating look at a bag of miscellaneous “trash” Neil Armstrong brought back from the moon and kept in a closet till he died. ‘…they would describe to mission control the container with the “odds and ends” as, “10 pounds of LM miscellaneous equipment.” It was important they account for the amount and distribution of any added weight so that the return trajectory and entry parameters could be calculated with precision. As far as we know, Neil has never discussed the existence of these items and no one else has seen them in the 45 years since he returned from the Moon. (I asked James Hansen, Neil’s authorized biographer if he had mentioned the items, and he had not.) Each and every item has its own story and significance, and they are described with photographs in extraordinary detail in an addendum to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. But two of the items are especially timely. Both have been placed on display as part of the recently opened temporary exhibition Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity. The first is the 16mm Data Acquisition Camera that was mounted in the window of the lunar module Eagle to record the historic landing and “one small step” made by Armstrong as humankind first set foot on another world…’ [via Kottke]
April 7, 2015
[quotes] The Complete Quips of Mad Men’s Roger Sterling‘(To psychiatrist) “I’m just acknowledging that life, unlike this analysis, will eventually end, and someone else will get the bill.” (S6, E1)’
April 6, 2015
[twitter] What Good Is Twitter? … Is Twitter such a good way for websites to share content? ‘Last Monday, I published an article about the history of American innovation as seen through a study of patent text literature. This study found that chemistry concepts dominated science in the early 20th century, but from the 1980s on, the most-cited terms in patent texts were almost entirely in the fields of medicine and computers. Yesterday, chemistry; today, computers. This seemed like a catchy parallel, which might strike some as illuminating and others as over-simplifying. In other words, the perfect tweet. I wrote this message, with a link, and a picture. By Friday morning, it had about 155,260 impressions. According to the new Tweet activity dashboard, 2.9 percent of those users clicked the image, and 1.1 percent retweeted or favored it… but just 1 percent clicked on the link to actually read my story. One percent.’
April 5, 2015
[tv] The Original Rainbow Cast Out of Costume … Go look at this rare cast photo from the fondly-remembered children’s TV programme.
April 4, 2015
[serial] Dana Chivvis: ‘We were at the centre of this whirlwind and we were just hunkered down’ … Interview with a Producer of the Serial podcast‘There isn’t a whole lot happening right now. Adnan has a hearing, at the June session [of the court of special appeals], which will most likely lead to an appeal, because if he wins then the state will appeal, and if the state wins he will appeal. Deirdre from the Innocence Project is in contact with Sarah about Adnan’s case on and off.’ [via Feeling Listless]
April 3, 2015
[life] Inspiration Quote … by Michael Kleinman.

Inspiration Quote

April 2, 2015
[mac] Plugging a 1986 Mac Plus into the modern Web … It’s surprisingly difficult to plug a vintage computer into the modern web … ‘So, with the Raspberry Pi, MacTCP, and MacWeb all in place, it was time to surf the Web! Right? Right?! No. No surfing yet. The MacWeb developers apparently took a look at the HTTP 1.0 spec, decided, “Who would ever need name-based virtual hosting?” and left out the feature that 99 percent of the sites on the modern Web relied on. No support for virtual hostnames meant you got whatever you saw when you used the server’s IP address alone in the HTTP request, and for most sites, that was jack squat. Oh, and HTTPS, cookies, and CSS hadn’t been invented yet. AAARGH!!!’
April 1, 2015
[politics] Labour would bring back Jimmy Savile, warn Tories … Breaking Election 2015 news from the Daily Mash‘The Tories accused Labour of harbouring secret plans to construct a special underground laboratory designed to reanimate the corpses of several leading paedophiles paid for by hiking the National Insurance contributions of hardworking families.’
March 31, 2015
[comics] 37 Things You Learn From Working In A Comic Shop … what Hayley Campbell learned from working in Gosh Comics in London … ‘Anyone who buys Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is a total wrong’un, yet on a Tarot week you will absolutely read it on your lunchbreak.’
March 30, 2015
[comics] Astonishing comics that ‘save your game’ when you turn the page … a profile of Jason Shiga’s Comics … ‘Over time, his interactive comics grew more even more complex, including stacks of panels that you read by locking and unlocking different sections with pegs, and others where moveable parts shifted images around in troughs. Although these comics were incredibly clever and unique, each had to be created by hand, turning them into boutique items that were impossible to digitize and difficult to mass-produce. Shiga sometimes created less than a hundred copies of each, limiting their audience to the several dozen readers lucky enough to stumble across his table at a comic book convention. His experiments reached their apex with a comic called Theater Eroika, which involved a series of five overlapping wheels that would spin together to reveal different sequential images. “That one was so crazy that I only made one copy of it,” says Shiga. “I was like, I’ve reached the pinnacle of complexity. This is just insane. This is too nuts.”‘
March 29, 2015
March 28, 2015
[space] Why Does The International Space Station Have Such A Weird Shape?‘ It had to be assembled from pieces that would fit in the Orbiter payload bay or the payload fairing of a Proton rocket. This dictates a maximum length and diameter for each component. We can therefore expect ISS to be composed largely of cylinders, linked together like sausages. Those two delivery vehicles dictate other characteristics. The Space Shuttle Orbiter could deliver a completely unpowered cylinder, remove it from the payload bay and attach it using the robotic arm and attach it to the ISS. But, the Russian Proton rocket deposits its payload in low Earth orbit and that payload then has to fly itself to the ISS. That means each of the Russian modules are self-contained spacecraft. They have to have thrusters and fuel tanks and navigation and communication sensors and antennae.’
March 27, 2015

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