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July 12, 2014
[books] 30 Writers Other Writers Loved To Hate‘Saint David Foster Wallace: a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullshit package.’ — Bret Easton Ellis on David Foster Wallace.
July 11, 2014
[disa] Nature’s Most Perfect Killing Machine… a profile of the Ebola virus… ‘I first read Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone when I was 11 years old or so, and have since been in the habit of weighing every potential catastrophe against “death by Ebola virus disease.” The book is lurid and dramatic; the iconography of a dying patient crying blood and shitting out their intestines is, I admit, compelling. Terror-inducing as it may be, though, it’s perhaps not the most accurate portrait of the threat this particular monster poses…’
July 10, 2014
[savile] David Hare on Jimmy Savile: biography of the man who ‘groomed a nation’‘In his own words: “I am a man what knows everything but says nothing.” As he moved to consolidate his position and to work for the knighthood that he believed would make him untouchable, he took to raising vast sums of money for charity, most especially for a spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville. His first question on arriving in any town was to ask where the hospital was. This was not just because a hospital offered sexual pickings and a captive audience for his ceaseless self-glorying monologues. Nor was it wholly because he needed the immunity that came from apparent respectability. Most important of all, he believed that the day would come when he would have to offer his good works as some mitigation against a final reckoning.’
July 9, 2014
[batman] The Real Dynamic Duo: Kane and Finger … Mark Evanier on Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Batman … ‘For those who don’t know: Bill Finger wrote the first Batman story and most of the early ones that established key things about the character and his world. He was a friend of Kane’s and a very good writer, and while Kane argued with some accounts of exactly what Finger had invented, even Bob had to admit that Bill made a vital contribution to the property.’
July 8, 2014
[people] How’s H.P. Lovecraft’s lovelife?‘Her arms and legs bend in both directions so you can’t see if she’s facing you.’

How is H.P. Lovecraft's Love Life?

July 7, 2014
[crime] Pablo Escobar’s hippos: A growing problem … a strange legacy of the the late Colombian drug lord … ‘[Carlos] Valderrama, whose job until recently included watching over the hippos in the Magdalena, has seen animals up to 250km (155 miles) away from Hacienda Napoles. Fishermen are terrified of the three-tonne herbivores, he says. At night, the animals roam the countryside, wandering into ranches, eating crops and occasionally crushing small cows.’
July 6, 2014
[web] Report mobile and Internet Service Providers blocking sites… what British ISP’s are blocking your website? Turns out I’m blocked by Talk Talk. ‘20% of sites tested were blocked.’
July 5, 2014
[people] Rolf Harris, Savile and Clifford all pulled the wool over my eyes… Simon Hattenstone reflects on his interviews with three celebrity sex offenders…

I have never felt so strongly the presence of two contrasting characters as when I interviewed Harris. For much of the interview he performed, just as he did in court – he sang, he laughed in that exaggerated way, he whispered in that exaggerated way, he drew me a miniature flick cartoon book. Then, when he wasn’t performing, he was miserable as sin.

Whereas Clifford and Savile never appeared to question their essential goodness as men and altruists, Harris hated himself. He talked about what a useless father he’d been – selfish, paying more attention to strangers than to his wife and daughter, chasing his own dreams and desires, ignoring those of his family. He had recently written an autobiography and it had forced him to reassess his life. “You start writing it by thinking what a great guy I am. I’ve done this, that and the other. Then you suddenly think it’s all been inward focussing, only me, me, me, me, me, me, me, and people who are really close …” I never began to suspect why he was so tortured. At the time he came across as a man with humility, in touch with his flaws. But in retrospect, I think even here he was indulging himself – only this time, it was his guilt rather than his libido

July 4, 2014
[hackgate] “Do his phone.” – Andy Coulson. Boom! Journalism!

Andy Coulson: Do his phone.

July 3, 2014
[movies] Dressing The Future … a fascinating look at the costume design process on the movie Alien … ‘When Sigourney Weaver turned up for dress rehearsal, she found something other than grimy space-wear. “When they first dressed me up as Ripley it was in one of those pink and blue uniforms,” she said. “Ridley Scott came in and said, ‘You look like fucking Jackie O’NASA.’” Luckily, Scott decided to improvise…’
July 2, 2014
[dailyfail] The Daily Mail is a Drug … an interesting thought on why the Daily Mail is successful … ‘The reason for the Daily Mail’s continued growth is simple. For every story it runs it asks itself, “How can I present this story in manner that will generate a feeling of disgust in the reader?” The paper is, by now, phenomenally good at presenting news stories so that they always do generate that emotion of disgust. From that, all else follows…’
July 1, 2014
[religion] Bedtime Story From Fucking Bible Again‘Andrew Neel was exasperated to learn Thursday that the bedtime story his mother would be reading him was once again from the fucking Bible, sources confirmed. “Oh, please no, not another one of these,” Neel reportedly said to himself upon hearing his mother begin telling yet another tale about shepherds, adding that he’s listened to the account of that little shit Zacchaeus probably a hundred fucking times now and that he just wants to hear a regular goddamn bedtime story with a talking frog or a modern kid who maybe has some sort of magical adventure, even if it’s Amelia fucking Bedelia.’
June 30, 2014
[lego] A Common Nomenclature for Lego Families … how to name all the different types of Lego … ‘Every family, it seems, has its own set of words for describing particular Lego pieces. No one uses the official names. “Dad, please could you pass me that Brick 2×2?” No. In our house, it’ll always be: “Dad, please could you pass me that four-er?” And I’ll pass it, because I know exactly which piece he means. Lego nomenclature is essential for family Lego building. “Dad, I’m building a roof for the medical pod, but I need a hinge-y bit to make it open up. You know, one of those four-er flat hinge-y bits.” Yes I do know. I’ll keep my eye out for one…’
June 29, 2014
[comics] Chris W’s Cerebus Character Index … a comprehensive index of all the characters who appeared more than two times … ‘Missy (52): #114, #118, #124, #136, #141-2, #144-57, #162-70, #173, #191 (flashback), #218 (dream), #230-4, #237-8, #242, #246, #254, #261, #265, #300 (flashback)’
June 28, 2014
[movies] Mandy Patinkin on playing Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride‘And in my mind, I feel that… when I killed the six fingered man, I killed the cancer that killed my father. And for a moment he was alive…’
June 27, 2014
[people] The 17 Most Furious People In Local Newspapers … Buzzfeed condenses down Angry People in Local Newspapers‘These people are angry because someone keeps leaving bags of poo in Hoo.’
June 26, 2014
[comics] Alan Moore Early Career Timeline … … ‘Swamp Thing 24 – Roots (February 1984) … Monster (Scream #1 – March 1984) Boy buries his father, then goes to investigate the mysterious locked door upstairs which his father was killed going up to. Story ends with a to-be-continued, and was picked up by John Wagner – was about a deformed man living in the attic who was gentle but usually homicidal, apparently.’
June 25, 2014
June 24, 2014
21 Screengrabs That Will Make You Quit Facebook Immediately‘U have a brain us it!!! Don’t make me ur brain that thinks for u.’
June 23, 2014
[crime] Sleazy, bloody and surprisingly smart: In defense of true crime … an appreciation of true crime books …

The very thing that makes true crime compelling — this really happened — also makes it distasteful: the use of human agony for the purposes of entertainment. Of course, what is the novel if not a voyeuristic enterprise, an attempt to glimpse inside the minds and hearts of other people? But with fiction, no actual people are exploited in the making.

I love crime fiction, too, but lately I’ve come to appreciate true crime more, specifically for its lack of certain features that crime fiction nearly always supplies: solutions, explanations, answers. Even if the culprit isn’t always caught and brought to justice in a detective novel, we expect to find out whodunit, and that expectation had better be satisfied.

June 22, 2014
[war] America’s Nuclear Arsenal Still Runs Off Floppy Disks‘The control room was not what Stahl—or I—expected: There’s no “big button,” but there are floppy disks. Like the old, big 8-inch floppy disks. Like the kind, […] that are often featured in a computer history museum or found in your attic, beneath old DOS manuals. Like, not even the newer, 3.5-inch model of floppy disk. That’s how they control our nuclear missiles. At 23 years old, the deputy missileer said she had never even seen a floppy disk before finding one that can help wreak untold carnage on planet Earth.’
June 21, 2014
[movies] Mike Judge answers the question: “What Is a TPS Report?”‘According to Rolling Stone, Judge was asked this at a 10th Anniversary screening of Office Space. He replied, “When I was an engineer, it stood for Test Program Set. Isn’t that exciting?” A Test Program Set a document describing the step-by-step process in which an engineer tests and re-tests software or an electronics system. Before getting his start with Beavis and Butthead, Mike Judge earned a degree in physics and was an engineer and programmer for a subcontractor working on military jets.’
June 20, 2014
[tv] Cooking with Hannibal: The Supercut … … all the scenes of Hannibal cooking from the TV Series edited together.
June 19, 2014
[life] Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence?… engrossing profile of “outsider thinker” David Birnbaum … ‘There is no shortage of people who would say no, at least in Birnbaum’s case. His work, said a commenter on the Chronicle’s website, “reads like L Ron Hubbard had drunken sex one night with Ayn Rand and produced this bastard thought-child”. One scholar who became professionally involved with Birnbaum described the experience as “unsettling, unfortunate and, to my knowledge, unprecedented in academic circles”. Another just called him “toxic”. But then again – as Birnbaum pointed out to me, more than once, during the weeks I spent trying to figure out exactly what he was up to – just suppose that a scrappy, philosophically unqualified Jewish guy from Queens really had cracked the cosmic code, embarrassing the ivory-tower elites: well, isn’t this exactly the kind of defensive response you’d expect?’
June 18, 2014
[comics] Alan Moore’s Lost Comic Miracleman Has Returned‘A Dream of Flying is lovely, but the truly jaw-dropping stuff is just a few months away. You’ll get to see “Scenes From the Nativity,” in which Moran’s wife gives birth to a superpowered infant in an infamously (and, in its way, beautifully) graphic manner. You’ll experience the astounding conclusion of Moore’s run: a city-demolishing fight between Miracleman and Johnny Bates that will turn your stomach and expand your mind, followed by an issue in which Miracleman assumes his rightful role as a god and creates a worldwide quasi-socialist utopia. You’ll delight in Gaiman’s series of short stories about life in that utopia — one of which is a gorgeous little tale narrated by an undead Andy Warhol. You’ll read about modern myths and see better worlds. And soon, God (Miracleman?) willing, you’ll find out how it was all supposed to conclude. ‘
June 17, 2014
[tv] Hannibal, slasher TV for the chattering classes … The Guardian On Hannibal … ‘When Hannibal – or CSI: Whitby Goth Weekend as I like to call it – aired in America earlier this year the cascade of acclaim spewing over its beauty and poetic themes was pretty spectacular. As an intellectual myself, I can only agree. Clearly, us highbrow types can’t get enough of juddery flashback scenes set to sinister circus music, or martinis made from children’s tears, or frosty psychopaths muttering weird jokes as his guests tuck into lung sushi. A body turns up, scooped out like a kiwi and filled with poisonous flowers. A thousand clever viewers politely applaud the artistry of it all.’
June 16, 2014
[comics] The Joker’s Utility Belt … I wonder what the Joker does with the small cork? …

The Joker's Utility Belt

June 15, 2014
[comics] Five Great Comic Book Adaptations Of Movies … some great comics to watch out for on this list. On Kirby’s 2001: ‘It’s hard to imagine two sensibilities more opposite in tone than those of Jack Kirby and Stanley Kubrick. Kirby’s grandiosity acts as a stark contrast to the calculated distance of Kubrick and for this alone, his eight-years-after-the-fact adaptation of 2001 really shouldn’t work. Against everything, though, the adaptation succeeds by choosing to take a new path, mashing up three different versions of the material — novel, screenplay and final product — and adding Kirby’s off-kilter dynamism to create a final product that’s as wonderful as it is “wrong.”The original film is (obviously) full of space, figuratively and literally. Kubrick allows the camera to rest, giving the audience an opportunity to breathe in the recycled air and vastness of the universe. An absence of dialogue and narration helps further the film’s atmosphere, providing a base from which the stunning visuals stand out even more. This draws the audience in, forcing them to pay attention to what’s not being said just as much as what is. This sort of subtlety is exactly the sort of thing that Kirby has no interest in; he’s going to tell you the story. With words and pictures. Deal with it.’
June 14, 2014
[scifi] Wikipedia’s List Of Fictional Living Planets‘This is a list of fictional living planets, planets in fiction which are said to be alive, and in some cases, intelligent. This includes worlds covered by a single immense organism (such as Solaris) or whose biosphere is composed of organisms which are linked into a hive mind.’
June 13, 2014
[politics] Five myths about UKIP … that should make the Conservatives happy … debunking some widely held ideas about the UKIP…‘Myth two: More Britons wish to leave the EU than in 2009 – The opposite is true. Five years ago we divided narrowly in favour of a complete withdrawal from the EU; today, by a modest margin, we prefer to remain a member…’

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