linkmachinego.com
August 7, 2017
[space] The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe … a wonderful profile of the team managing the Voyager Probes on their long journey into interstellar space … ‘Even though they simulate every patch with software, there is plenty of room for human error. Far more often, hardware fails for no evident reason. In 1998, Voyager 2 reacted to a command by going silent. For 64 hours straight, the flight team studied the specific instruction — consisting of 18 bits, or 1s and 0s — that preceded the blackout. Bits have been known to ‘‘flip’’ to the opposite value, changing the instruction the same way that swapping a single letter turns ‘‘cat’’ into ‘‘cut.’’ The question was: What instruction had they accidentally given and how could they undo it? At last, modeling the outcome of each possible bit, they discovered one that turned off the exciter, which generates the spacecraft’s radio signal; when they turned it back on, the transmissions resumed.’
July 27, 2017
[trump] Steve Bannon Is Back in Trump’s Good Graces … More on the rise, fall and rise again of Steve Bannon‘Bannon became a vital figure in Trump’s orbit during the early days of his political rise. The two met late in 2010, when David Bossie, the veteran conservative activist, brought Bannon along on a trip to Trump Tower to offer advice about how Trump might prepare for a presidential run. Like Trump, Bannon was a businessman and born deal-maker. With experience on Wall Street and in Hollywood, he was nothing if not high energy, a mile-a-minute talker with a volcanic temper who rarely slept and possessed a media metabolism to rival Trump’s own. And Bannon, too, had a healthy self-regard. On his office wall hung an oil painting of Bannon dressed as Napoleon in his study at the Tuileries, done in the style of Jacques-Louis David’s famous neoclassical painting — a gift from Nigel Farage.’
July 26, 2017
[moore] “I did it thirty-five minutes ago.”

July 24, 2017
[games] How Checkers Was Solved … the fascinating story of the greatest Checkers player in the world and how Checkers was beaten by computers …

Marion Tinsley—math professor, minister, and the best checkers player in the world—sat across a game board from a computer, dying.

Tinsley had been the world’s best for 40 years, a time during which he’d lost a handful of games to humans, but never a match. It’s possible no single person had ever dominated a competitive pursuit the way Tinsley dominated checkers. But this was a different sort of competition, the Man-Machine World Championship.

His opponent was Chinook, a checkers-playing program programmed by Jonathan Schaeffer, a round, frizzy-haired professor from the University of Alberta, who operated the machine. Through obsessive work, Chinook had become very good. It hadn’t lost a game in its last 125—and since they’d come close to defeating Tinsley in 1992, Schaeffer’s team had spent thousands of hours perfecting his machine.

The night before the match, Tinsley dreamt that God spoke to him and said, “I like Jonathan, too,” which had led him to believe that he might have lost exclusive divine backing…’

July 21, 2017
[ios] The Life, Death, and Legacy of iPhone Jailbreaking… interesting history of iPhone Jailbreaking‘For a while, the hackers spread freedom. And they gave people across the world the chance to mod their iPhone to enhance its capabilities. “There was just so much fun stuff you could do—everyone jailbroke. iPhone OS 2 people still jailbroke because people wanted themes, people wanted copy-paste,” Freeman, who is now 35, says. “There was so much basic low hanging fruit of what everyone expects a computer or phone to have that was easy to really make all those killer things.” Ten years after the iPhone hit the sleek tables of Apple Stores worldwide, and the first-ever jailbreak, that Wild West is gone. There’s now a professionalized, multi-million dollar industry of iPhone security research. It’s a world where jailbreaking itself—at least jailbreaking as we’ve come to know it—might be over…’
July 20, 2017
[comics] Art: Wally Wood’s Sound Effects…. and much more … a terrific gallery of Wally Wood art…

July 19, 2017
[politics] Dominic Cummings: the ‘career psychopath’ who thinks David Davis is ‘as thick as mince’ … Pass Notes on Dominic Cummings‘Appearance: A hard-boiled egg with the haunted eyes of a man who has seen Michael Gove without his mask.’
July 18, 2017
[comics] Inside the surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines… A look at why Rube Goldberg Machines remain relevant… … ‘Almost a century old, Rube Goldberg machines retain their appeal: “There’s something in our brains that likes to see cause and effect played out, to see it in a way that we can understand,” Joseph Herscher, the Brooklyn-based artist, told me. Herscher has judged at the past three college national competitions but was absent this year. “Most of the technology we live with is designed to be invisible,” he said. “A computer is the ultimate example: it’s so advanced, so sophisticated, and yet it’s not interesting to watch it run whatsoever.” When we watch the movements of a Rube Goldberg machine, “it’s our world that we’re seeing, and it makes us appreciate our world. You don’t see that nowadays.” Meanwhile, most of Goldberg’s comics seem dated: the jokes don’t make sense or are lame, and cultural references fall flat. But some feel as relevant ever, and maybe that’s because the technical absurdities that the cartoonist parodied are still very real…’
July 17, 2017
[docu] The Keepers: ‘I’ve dealt with survivors and they’re sickened by the church’s response’ … Another look at Netflix’s True Crime documentary ‘The Keepers’… ‘The response of the archdiocese of Baltimore has been surprising, to say the least. “People in churches and schools in Baltimore started sending us literature that the archdiocese was sending out, on how to tell people what we got wrong. The documentary wasn’t even out. I just found it incredibly disappointing.” The @archbalt account retweeted a message that called the series “fiction”, a spokesperson subsequently admitting that this was “bad judgment”. “They’re trying to re-message. They’ve lost. It’s too late now,” says White.’
July 14, 2017
[life] Dying Lion Sure Doesn’t Feel As Though He’s Completing Some Great Cosmic Circle‘Observing his surroundings, the moribund lion reported that he has seen no brilliant gleaming light shining down from the heavens that makes him realize he’s part of a sacred tradition as old as life itself, nor has a hush seemed to fall over the land in a reverent acknowledgment of his passing. In addition, the large African mammal noted that succumbing to a gunshot wound hasn’t resulted in a spiritual awakening in which he suddenly feels at one with the universe, so much as it has made him feel terrified, alone, and utterly insignificant.’
July 13, 2017
[moore] Alan Moore’s list of must-see and not-see TV (from 2004)‘I did look forward to my weekly dose of stabbing and sodomy.’

July 12, 2017
[movies] To the Wonder: The Lyrical Appeal and Influence of Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ … a look at the lasting appeal of the original Superman movie‘On Superman, Donner had a clear vision, almost of three movies in one, with distinct styles, linked by the thread of the Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman journey—a “lasso of truth” to use the parlance of uber-fan Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman. Krypton would be avant-garde, strange, heightened; Smallville, Norman Rockwell by way of Terrence Malick—high school touchdowns, wide open vistas, a yearning for home and honesty; and Metropolis–bustling, wise-cracking, a cartoon New York, alive to possibility. All grounded by what Donner termed “verisimilitude”: absolute truth and belief in the scenario and character on screen—no mugging to camera.’
July 11, 2017
[life] A Speck in the Sea … the amazing survival story of a fisherman who fell overboard from his lobster boat at night in the North Atlantic … ‘The boots gave Aldridge a chance to think. He wasn’t going to sink — not right away, anyway. But he was still in a very bad situation. He tried to take stock: It was about 3:30 a.m. on July 24, a clear, starry night lit by a full moon. The wind was calm, but there was a five-foot swell, a remnant of a storm that blew through a couple of days earlier. The North Atlantic water was chilly — 72 degrees — but bearable, for now. Dawn was still two hours away. Aldridge set a goal, the first of many he would assign himself that day: Just stay afloat till sunrise.’
July 10, 2017
[tv] What’s the deal with translating Seinfeld … a look at the difficulty of translating Seinfeld (or any sitcom) from one language to another … ‘Lip-synch dubbing, despite its ultimate benefits, can get very complicated. It’s not just that the lines may not translate directly — they also have to take just as long to say in both languages and approximate, to the best of their abilities, the lip movements of the original actors. That can pose an added challenge when translating from laconic languages like English into verbose languages like German. And Seinfeld was already a very wordy show, making accurate translation that much more critical. The script-writing process for foreign translation is so elaborate that it’s a wonder even one episode gets done. Sebastian had to produce 180…’
July 7, 2017
[web]Whatever happened to Jennicam? … the Reply All Podcast tracked down Jennifer Ringley – arguably the first person who lived their life online – and discovered what happened after she switched the camera off … ‘My husband’s last name is Johnson and Jennifer Johnson is practically better than Jane Doe. I never thought I would get married. I never thought I would get married. But when I did, I was super eager to take his last name. SUPER EAGER.’
July 6, 2017
July 5, 2017
[alien] A Profane Abomination … a list of designs H.R. Giger was hired to produce for the movie Alien … ‘THE ALIEN, THIRD (MATURE) PHASE. Having left its victim, the Alien promptly grows to man-size, whereupon it is terrifically dangerous. It is very mobile, strong, and capable of tearing a man to pieces. It feeds on human flesh. This creature should be a profane abomination. Our producers have suggested that something resembling an over-sized, deformed baby might be sufficiently loathsome…’
July 4, 2017
[tv] When good TV goes bad: the moment Columbo’s case went cold … When did Columbo Jump the Shark? … ‘If classic Columbo is good and late-era Columbo is bad, then the lieutenant must have jumped the shark with the 1989 return of the mac? In truth, you have to go further back – to 1976. In the fifth season finale, Last Salute to the Commodore, set among the yachting set, the victim is a crotchety, self-regarding millionaire who resents his drunken coterie and grasping family. When we witness son-in-law Robert Vaughn disposing of the commodore’s body at sea, it seems obvious he is the murderer. Then Vaughn turns up dead, and the format disintegrates. Everything seems off. The lieutenant has his head turned by transcendental meditation, attempting a lotus pose on a marina boardwalk…’
July 3, 2017
[hell] Tenth Circle Added To Rapidly Growing Hell … Hell modernises – from The Onion …

Frigax The Vile, a leading demonic presence, is one of the most vocal supporters of the new circle.

“In the past, the underworld was ill-equipped to handle the new breed of sinners flooding our gates–downsizing CEOs, focus-group coordinators, telemarketing sales representatives, and vast hordes of pony-tailed entertainment-industry executives rollerblading and talking on miniaturized cell-phones at the same time. But now, we’ve finally got the sort of top-notch Pits of Doom necessary to give such repellent abominations the quality boilings they deserve.”

June 30, 2017
[books] Schulz: The 5 Best Punctuation Marks in Literature … funny list of some great moments in punctuation … ‘“Marley was dead: to begin with.” That is the opening line of A Christmas Carol, although it is less like an opening than like a train car immediately running into another train car. The sentence would be unremarkable if it read, “Marley was dead, to begin with.” The colon would be unremarkable if the sentence read “To begin with: Marley was dead.” But as written, this sentence is insane, or anyway destined to foment insanity in the grammatically prissy…’
June 29, 2017
[wisdom] InspiroBot … A.I. generated inspirational quotes … ‘I am an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.’

June 28, 2017
June 27, 2017
[consiracy] The Normalisation of Conspiracy Culture … another look at the how conspiracy theories have seeped into the mainstream … ‘When the facts are disputed, of course, you do the best you can with the evidence you can find. Josiah Thompson, the author of Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, has spent years thinking about all this. When I bring up the enormity of unknown unknowns in people’s understanding of history, Thompson quotes the writer Geoffrey O’Brien: “‘History unfolds as always in the midst of distraction, misunderstanding, and partially obscured sight-lines,’” Thompson says, reading a line from O’Brien’s 2016 review of the novel Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney.’
June 26, 2017
[life] Power Causes Brain Damage … a look at why the powerful can lack empathy … ‘The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.’
June 23, 2017
[web] The Most Interesting Curator on the Internet Knows Exactly What You Want to See … more on Archillect‘This ever-evolving process has taken both Archillect and Pak on some unexpected detours away from their original mission. As she’s evolved and adapted to her audience, her taste has diverged quite a lot from that of her creator. Early in the project, Pak steered her towards more high-brow visual art, but over the past few months has been allowing her more free rein. “It’s not reflecting my taste anymore,” Pak says. “I’d say 60 percent of the things [she posts] are not things that I would like and share, but it’s still fun to see that they are doing better than the things I would share.” There’s a tinge of annoyance to Pak’s voice when he says this last part, as if he knows that Archillect is better at running herself than he or any other human ever could be.’
June 22, 2017
[web] Archillect (@archillect) – The Ocular Engine … go follow Archillect – a fascinating A.I. image curator on Twitter …

June 21, 2017
[docu] Errol Morris on Interviewing Trump: ‘It’s Obvious: This Person Is Insane’… Errol Morris on his new film, true crime and Donald Trump … ‘I am utterly appalled by it all. I can’t even stand people trying to make sense out of it. There’s no point in trying. There’s a scene I’ve always loved in Dr. Strangelove, where General Turgidson (George C. Scott) is reading his letter from Brigadier General Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in the Pentagon war room, and Ripper is going on and on about precious bodily fluids. Peter Sellers’ president says “Give me that,” looks at the letter, and suddenly says, “It’s obvious: this person is insane!” Well, it’s obvious! It’s so obvious, it’s overt! I mean, every day you pick up the paper and it’s appalling.’
June 20, 2017
[comics] Kevin O’Neill on the early days of 2000AD‘My memory of 2000AD in those days is just white paint, paste-up, altering stuff, copying and enlarging stuff and getting as good a lettering job as we could get, because sometimes that covered deficiencies. It was totally like a Frankenstein operation at times. If we ran out of time, we’d get Jack Potter to letter it because he’d do a great lettering job, big display lettering and stuff. That elevated material a little bit. It was like trying to bodge a thing into submission, really. 2000 AD was still finding its feet, it was still sort of similar to Action minus something in some departments, but going off in other directions. It got up its own head of steam, eventually…’
June 19, 2017
June 16, 2017
[food] David Lynch cooks Quinoa‘Quinoa is something that I like to have for dinner every chance I get. Start with a pan. And this pan is unbelievable – it’s super heavy and lined with copper. It’s such a good pan. I’m going to go over now and fill this pan at the sink with some fresh water…’

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