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March 7, 2014
[comics] League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo: Roses of Berlin annotations … more LOEG annotations from Jess Nevins‘Panel 2. “Heil, Hynkel.” As shown in the previous issues of League, there is no Adolph Hitler in the world of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, just as there is no Mussolini and various other major world figures. What we have instead are literary or filmic analogues for these characters. In this case, Hitler is replaced by Adenoid Hynkel, the Hitler analogue from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940).’
March 6, 2014
[tv] TV palate-cleansers: after Breaking Bad, viewers need Cake Boss‘There is only so much of, say, Borgen that one can take before it all gets too much. You find yourself either shuffling around with your brow furrowed as you wrestle with the weighty thematic issues of whatever you’re binge-watching, or trapped in a desperate cycle of increasingly hyperbolic praise for a show that you only really like because a broadsheet newspaper said you should. When this happens, you need crap. You need a palate-cleanser. You know the sort of shows I’m talking about. Cake Boss, for example, is the perfect antidote to Game of Thrones. Sometimes, when you’ve watched 350 different but identically named characters from 200 barely distinguishable regions shout frilly exposition at each other for four straight hours, you just want to watch a man make a cake. Possibly a cake shaped like a Transformer. Possibly while doing all he can to push the limits of New Jersey’s workplace harassment laws.’
March 5, 2014
[movies] The Original Robocop Was A Christ Allegory‘We could view Robocop as Verhoeven’s response to a kind of mythological or narrative challenge: retell the life, death, and resurrection of Christ (as an historical figure or a religious one, it’s up to you) in a way that’s relevant for our contemporary context. The idea that someone like Verhoeven might respond to that challenge by inventing a murdered cop who is brought back to life by technical wizardry, only to walk the Earth again as a robot, is pure genius, almost hilariously so. It not only suggests an awesomely freewheeling response to an ancient storyline; it also raises the absolutely gonzo interpretive possibility that the machines and devices around us, from police drones to television sets, are able to bear religious, mythic, or theological implications.’
March 4, 2014
[curtis] Adam Curtis: “We don’t read newspapers because the journalism is so boring” … another interview with Adam Curtis … ‘So much of the way the present world is managed is through – not even systems – its organizations, which are boring. They don’t have any stories to tell. Economics, for example, which is central to our life at the moment … I just drift off when people talk about collateralised debt obligations, and I am not alone. It’s impossible to illustrate on television, it’s impossible to tell a story about it, because basically it’s just someone doing keystrokes somewhere in Canary Wharf in relation to a server in … I dunno … Denver, and something happens, and that’s it. I use the phrase, ‘They are unstoryfiable’. Journalism cannot really describe it any longer, so it falls back onto its old myths of dark enemies out there.’
March 3, 2014
[web] Only 90s Web Developers Remember This … HTML tag nostalgia … ‘The 1×1.gif — or spacer.gif, or transparent.gif — is just a one pixel by one pixel transparent GIF. Just like the most futuristic CSS framework of today but in a billionth of the file size, 1×1.gif is fully optimized for the responsive web.’
March 2, 2014
[movies] Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future … and tomorrow, yesterday and next week…
March 1, 2014
[comics] Clintonlovespizza: “Wolverine, bring me a cheese pizza.” …

"Wolverine, Bring Me A Cheese Pizza."

February 28, 2014
[ships] Russia’s Giant Secret Spy Ship Killed Rats, Ruined Careers and Almost Got Blown Up TWICE … fascinating story of the Russian ship Ural… ‘Ural didn’t just kill turtles. She also became what Russian Navy Blog described as “one of those rare ships free of rats.” When her electronics were all switched on, something—radiation, perhaps—swiftly killed all the rodents aboard. Rats “only reappeared when the ship moored at the pier.”’
February 27, 2014
[movies] RoboCop writer Ed Neumeier discusses the film’s origins‘In both of the movies I’ve written for Paul, they both seem—and I would say this is mostly my fault—they are often called prescient, in that they seem to predict things that are coming. Certainly Detroit’s decline seems to be predicted very well, but that was already happening. I got to a metric, if you want to call it that, wherein I would say, “If you want to predict the future, just think about how bad it could be and make a joke out of it, and there you go.” And if you look at Starship Troopers that way too, it may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a projection of what’s already happening, and where things were going.’
February 26, 2014
[people] Ghosting … a long read from Andrew O’Hagan on what it’s like ghostwriting for Julian Assange … ‘ I am sure this is what happens in many of his scrapes: he runs on a high-octane belief in his own rectitude and wisdom, only to find later that other people had their own views – of what is sound journalism or agreeable sex – and the idea that he might be complicit in his own mess baffles him. Fact is, he was not in control of himself and most of what his former colleagues said about him just might be true. He is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits. It may turn out that Julian is not Daniel Ellsberg or John Wilkes, but Charles Foster Kane, abusive and monstrous in his pursuit of the truth that interests him, and a man who, it turns out, was motivated all the while not by high principles but by a deep sentimental wound. Perhaps we won’t know until the final frames of the movie.’
February 25, 2014
[tv] Twin Peaks: How Laura Palmer’s death marked the rebirth of TV drama … Looking back at Twin Peaks after twenty years … ‘It would be wrong to attribute all that’s since taken place to the creative impact of Twin Peaks but Lynch’s legacy can nonetheless be seen in dramas in a whole range of recent TV shows. For a start, Lynch helped make television attractive to film stars. Kyle MacLachlan, who played the other-worldly Special Agent Dale Cooper, had been the lead in Blue Velvet. The message was that television was no longer a Hollywood ghetto. Without Agent Cooper perhaps there would have been no Jack Bauer. Similarly, it’s hard to imagine that JJ Abrams’s high-concept genre-mashing with Lost would have happened if Lynch hadn’t pioneered the way. And in David Chase’s casting in The Sopranos it’s possible to see the influence of Lynch, who used almost forgotten character actors like Richard Beymer.’
February 24, 2014
[history] Time travellers: please don’t kill Hitler … Why Killing Hitler is a bad idea … ‘This is overlooked surprisingly often, so it bears repeating: Hitler didn’t win. Whatever you think of the present, we don’t live in some bleak wasteland dominated by a global Reich. Because Hitler and his armies lost. Although it was a costly victory, it was still technically a victory, so why risk going back and interfering with an outcome you favour? And arguably, it was due to Hitler’s incompetence as a strategist that the war panned out the way it did. In a way, Hitler had the perfect combination of drive, charisma, evil and incompetence to unite the world against him and ensure that his forces lost.’
February 23, 2014
[weird] The 38 Most Unexplainable Images On The Web … WARNING: Contains traces of Garry Glitter. NSFW. Tasteless.
February 22, 2014
[tv] What happens at Netflix when House of Cards goes live‘Edberg said the last time House of Cards launched, the engineers figured out that the entire season was about 13 hours. “And we looked to [see] if anybody was finishing in that amount of time,” Edberg said. “And there was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content. So basically, three total minutes of break in roughly 13 hours.”‘
February 21, 2014
[power] U.K. National Grid status … Statistics about the UK’s electicity supply in near real time … ‘Gridwatch was born, first of all to scrape the data off the BMreports site every 5 minutes and inject it into an SQL database where it would be easy to perform specific searches and do statistical analysis. Then, in a rather retro and humorous way, to display the data in terms of analogue instruments and moving graphs. This is pure personal amusement, I like dials and graphs.’ [via As Above]
February 20, 2014
February 19, 2014
[movies] 26 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About RoboCop‘Despite the image depicted on the iconic movie poster, Weller couldn’t fit inside his police cruiser while wearing the full costume. So in any scene where he’s at the wheel of the cop car, RoboCop is pantsless.’
February 18, 2014
[crime] Death of a Playmate … a long-read on the murder of Dorothy Stratten‘The irony that Hefner does not perceive or at least fails to acknowledge is that Stratten was destroyed not by random particulars, but by a germ breeding within the ethic. One of the tacit tenets of Playboy philosophy—that women can be possessed—had found a fervent adherent in Paul Snider. He had bought the dream without qualification, and he thought of himself as perhaps one of Playboy’s most honest apostles. He acted out of dark fantasies never intended to be realized.’
February 17, 2014
[comics] Cover Version: Daredevil 230 and Cutting Techniques … an analysis by Matt Fraction of one issue of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic “Born Again” arc … ‘Miller’s work, which at its most baroque during this phase could be almost Faulknerian in its narrative shifts, tells “Born Again” across multiple plotlines and times. There are two different first person narrators and a close-third omniscient narrator. there is literally one instance of a nondiagetic narrative insertion in the issue of three total across the whole storyline. And the cuts come anywhere and everywhere — at some points across four different locations/times/storylines on a single page. what i really wanted to do was pick his sense of cutting apart a little bit, just to get a feel for how they did it. i wanted to pay attention to that tonight.’
February 16, 2014
[life] Distant Planet Terrified It Might Be Able To Someday Support Human Life‘The 5.2-billion-year-old celestial body, which is located roughly 1,100 light years from Earth, said that for both its own sake and that of its entire solar system, it can only hope to never possess the necessary planetary characteristics and chemical elements needed to support either a deep-space human outpost or, more gravely, an entire human colony. “Luckily, with my high levels of atmospheric sulfur dioxide, methane, and radon, there’s no way any human could survive on my surface for more than a few seconds,” said WR 67c, adding that it is “incredibly lucky” to have developed extremely violent and widespread volcanism in addition to its poisonous atmosphere.’
February 15, 2014
[politics] Toward a Unified Theory of Scandal-Naming … on the devaluing of the “-gate” suffix for scandal … ‘Column-inch-limited headline writers in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, and especially the UK have all imported “-gate” for their own homegrown scandals. Many involve sports. Some involve bolognese sauce: The Montreal restaurant community was rocked last year by Pastagate, when Québéc’s language enforcers warned an upscale restaurant to stop using Italian words like “pasta” on its menu instead of the French equivalent. Very few rise near the level of Watergate. We need a new term for these sub-gate scandals.’
February 14, 2014
February 13, 2014
[comics] Garry Trudeau On Extended Break From Doonesbury‘I’ve always thought of myself as a comic-strip lifer, which is common in our industry and an annoyance to younger cartoonists. I love working for newspapers, and can’t imagine life without them. Which is why I’m keeping one foot in with the Sundays.’
February 12, 2014
[politics] Rory Stewart: ‘The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere’ … a fascinating interview with a Tory MP …

In a way, he says, ordinary Afghans are far more powerful than British citizens, because at least they feel they can have a role in one of the country’s 20,000 villages. “But in our situation we’re all powerless. I mean, we pretend we’re run by people. We’re not run by anybody. The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere.” Some commentators, he says, think we’re run by an oligarchy. “But we’re not. I mean, nobody can see power in Britain. The politicians think journalists have power. The journalists know they don’t have any. Then they think the bankers have power. The bankers know they don’t have any. None of them have any power.”

And this from a man who only two years ago attended the Bilderberg conference, a highly exclusive and secretive gathering of the world’s most powerful bankers, politicians and businesspeople?

“Well there we are, you see,” he smiles. “I can tell you, there is nothing there. It’s like the wizard of Oz. This is the age of the wizard of Oz, you know. In the end you get behind the curtain and you finally meet the wizard – and there’s this tiny, frightened figure. I think every prime minister has sort of said this since Blair. You get there and you pull the lever, and nothing happens.”

February 11, 2014
[comics] The UK Government is now *literally* getting its immigration policy from Judge Dredd‘Citizenship is a privilege – Not a right!’
February 10, 2014
[mac] Unboxing a 30-year-old Macintosh 128K‘On eBay, gdavis6610 has been selling classic Apple equipment for a few years. In 2012, he sold a Macintosh 128K for $3519.84, over $1000 more than the original launch price. Fortunately, he takes pretty detailed photographs of his eBay kit. Here are some photos from his memorable unboxing of the original Macintosh 128K.’
February 9, 2014
February 8, 2014
[people] New Blog Piece On Woody Allen To Settle Everything‘The truly essential 1,200-word online article, which, given its unique and illuminating insights into the topic and its wealth of arguments previously unconsidered by all other blog pieces on the subject, definitively answers all open questions about the 20-year-old case and effectively ends any dispute over Woody Allen’s culpability, how Americans should feel about his work, and his eventual standing in the annals of American cinema.’
February 7, 2014
[posh] The 28 Poshest Things That Have Ever Happened‘This birth announcement in The Times: On 29th March 2013, to Emily (née Kew) and Christian, a son, Biggles George Fittleworth, and a daughter, Posie Betsy Winifred, a brother and sister for Tuppence.’
February 6, 2014
[watergate] The Red Flag in the Flowerpot … a writer looking at the personal archives of Ben Bradlee (Woodward and Bernstein’s editor) exposes doubts about some of the reporting of Watergate …

Later in the interview, Ben talked about Bob’s famous secret source, whom he claimed to have met in an underground garage in rendezvous arranged via signals involving flowerpots and newspapers. “You know I have a little problem with Deep Throat,” Ben told Barbara.

“Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen? … and meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage … There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.”

I read it over a few times to make sure. Did Ben really have doubts about the Deep Throat story, as it had been passed down from newsroom to book to film to history? And if he did, what did that mean?’


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