December 5, 2022
[nihilism] Super Mario Nihilism … What if Werner Herzog designed Super Mario?
December 2, 2022
[comics] The Great Swamp Monster Confluence of 1971 … A great look at how three fictional swamp monsters for comics were created around the same time and place in the 1970s. ‘A couple of other odd coincidences involving Len Wein have a bearing on our tale of swampy confluence. Since the age of 14, Len had been best friends with Gerry Conway, the Man-Thing’s first scripter. Not only that—the two young comic book writers were roommates during the few months in which both the first Man-Thing story and the first Swamp Thing story were written.’
November 28, 2022
[time] The Thorny Problem of Keeping the Internet’s Time … The story behind the internet’s N.T.P. Protocol. ‘A loose community of people across the world set up their own servers to provide time through the protocol. In 2000, N.T.P. servers fielded eighteen billion time-synchronization requests from several million computers—and in the following few years, as broadband proliferated, requests to the busiest N.T.P. servers increased tenfold. The time servers had once been “well lit in the US and Europe but dark elsewhere in South America, Africa and the Pacific Rim,” Mills wrote, in a 2003 paper. “Today, the Sun never sets or even gets close to the horizon on NTP.” Programmers began to treat the protocol like an assumption—it seemed natural to them that synchronized time was dependably and easily available. Mills’s little fief was everywhere.’
November 23, 2022
[comics] An Appreciation of Kevin O’Neill, 1953-2022 … David Roach remembers Kevin O’Neill. ‘In an industry that could often default to a mass-produced conformity, Kevin was that rarest of things, truly unique, with an artistic voice that was unmistakably his own. In his long career he never once tried to fit in or compromise; indeed, he was seemingly incapable of being anything other than himself. ‘
November 21, 2022
[moore] Fantasy Must Be Sharper: An Interview With Alan Moore … ‘Davey Jones is a genius. I’ve only ever had brief contact with him, back in the 80s when he was working with an anarchist concern called, I think, Blast and I was briefly in touch with them and then I noticed his work coming out in Viz where he’s the author of so many of my favourite strips. I’m genuinely impressed that there’s such an incredible standard of craftsmanship throughout Viz, blinding cartoonists, writers, and creators on that book. I must admit that the only problem I have with Jones’ work — and it’s not any fault of his, it’s purely me — it’s Tin Ribs; the ghastly physical torture that is visited on Mr Snodgrass. Every issue he’s having slices of his skin ripped off [laughs] it’s a bit rich even for my blood!’
November 18, 2022
[comics] Neurotic Boy Outsider: An Interview With Grant Morrison 30 years In The Making … Grant Morrison looks back at some of their British comics from the start of their career. ‘But certainly at the end of the eighties and the nineties, it was still that sense of we were there to protest. We were the working class and we’d suddenly got a grasp of these means of expression. We’d got hold of comic books, we could make our own records. It was that punk rock DIY thing that came through the comics.’
November 17, 2022
[cats] Neko: History of a Software Pet … A page about Neko – a cat that ran around the screen chasing the mouse pointers in the 1990s. ‘The original software based on this concept, as far as I’ve been able to trace back, was written in the 1980’s by Naoshi Watanabe (若田部 直). It was called NEKO.COM and ran on the Japanese computer NEC PC-9801 in the MS-DOS command line.’
November 15, 2022
[life] Are You a Parent of a Toddler or an Assistant to a Male CEO of a Tech Startup? … ‘He refuses to wear shoes.’
November 14, 2022
[comics] Alan Moore Remembers Kevin O’Neill … I was very sad to hear of the death of Kevin O’Neill last week. The link above is what Alan wrote for a New York Times Obituary for Kevin. ‘I am going to miss him like I’d miss sunsets.’
November 10, 2022
>> I don’t know who need this today but here’s some joyful old clips of Vincent Price riding roller coasters. You’re welcome.
November 9, 2022
[vaccines] No One Knows What’s Inside the Smallpox Vaccine … The fascinating mystery story inside our oldest vaccine. ‘Scientists call it vaccinia, and it is pretty much found only in the vaccines. No one knows where vaccinia came from in nature. No one has ever found its animal reservoir. No one knows quite what vaccinia is—even as it has been used to inoculate billions of people and saved hundreds of millions of lives. It is a ghost of a virus that has survived by being turned into a vaccine.’
November 8, 2022
[tech] Can a Computer catch a Spy? … The story of an American Spy – Aldrich Ames – and a look at how computers can replace human intuition in the hunt for spies.
November 7, 2022
[comics] Ten years of 2000 AD… … Many of Tharg’s art, writing and editorial droids discussing the success of 2000AD in 1986.
November 4, 2022
[concentration] The Ultimate White Noise Player • Design Your Own Color … A website that helps you generate brown noise which can help with mental focus apparently.
October 31, 2022
[truecrime] Bible John: Creation of a Serial Killer … An engrossing BBC podcast looking at the Scottish serial killer Bible John.
October 28, 2022
October 26, 2022
[comics] Marvel’s Miracleman Omnibus shows how Alan Moore paved the road to Watchmen… Slate on Marvel’s reprint of a full collection of Miracleman along with a look at it’s impact. ‘It’s remarkable how powerful the book remains in spite of its occasional unevenness. Moore is easily the medium’s most important just-writer (as opposed to writers who draw their own scripts, which Moore does very rarely), having demonstrated a complete grasp of its intricacies and potential almost from the beginning of his career. He is, in some sense, a composer, and the people working in comics who can match that formidable perfection are cartoonists themselves—no other writer really comes close.’
October 25, 2022
[space] Saturn: 1993 – 2022 … Go Look at this visualisation of Saturn’s 22yr Orbit Round the Sun which recently completed. ‘Constructed from individual images made over 29 Earth years, the split panorama is centered along the ecliptic and crossed by the plane of our Milky Way galaxy.’
October 24, 2022
>> Glanced at: Trump Betrayed by His Diet Coke Valet, Walt Nauta … BY MY DIET COKE VALET, BETRAYED!!! ‘Donald Trump could ultimately be done in by his Diet Coke habit. Not physically (though drinking 12 diet sodas a day doesn’t seem great for your health) but legally. The Washington Post reports that his former White House valet — the man who had to respond every time the president pressed his famous Oval Office Diet Coke button — provided key evidence that led to the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago in August.’ [via jwz]
October 21, 2022
[retro] Don’t Piss Off Bradley, the Parts Seller Keeping Atari Machines Alive … An amusing story about the cantankerous gatekeeper of a huge collection of ancient Atari hardware. ‘Best’s catalog is only available in print. It costs $7.50 plus shipping, is the size of a small phone book, and is more than 20 years out of date. It needs to be cross-referenced with an “addendum” section on the Best website, where Koda has logged about 65 typewritten pages’ worth of piecemeal price changes and other corrections over the past two decades. Anyone who can’t figure out this system risks being deemed a time-waster. In emails to customers, Koda often laments his busy schedule, and he seems to take distractions personally.’
October 14, 2022
[moore] Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’… … Another interview with Alan Moore in the Guardian and here is a review of Illuminations – his new collection of short stories. ‘He shuns new tech to the extent that we speak down a landline, so I can’t see the lavishly bearded face from which his gentle Northampton burr issues. “When the internet first became a thing,” he says, “I made the decision that this doesn’t sound like anything that I need. I had a feeling that there might be another shoe to drop – and regarding this technology, as it turned out, there was an Imelda Marcos wardrobe full of shoes to drop. I felt that if society was going to morph into a massive social experiment, then it might be a good idea if there was somebody outside the petri dish.” He makes do, instead, with an internet-savvy assistant: “He can bring me pornography, cute pictures of cats and abusive messages from people.”’
October 7, 2022
[lauguage] Compound pejoratives on Reddit – from ‘buttface’ to ‘wankpuffin’ … An important study of compounded swearwords on Reddit. ‘As a corpus, Reddit has the virtue of being uninhibited in its profanity, and on the cutting edge of new coinages. For example, Google Books Ngram Viewer, which indexes the majority of all books published in English up to 2019, gives no results for fuckwaffle, whereas the term has been used in 1,096 Reddit comments.’
October 3, 2022
[queen] BBC Television Channels – 1830BST 8th September 2022 – Announcing The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II … Grid showing BBC Television channels as they announced the Queen’s death.
September 30, 2022
[photos] 5 Unintended Consequences of Photography … ‘Photography Gave Us an Appreciation of Time – The big events of life usually pass too slowly for us to observe. But photographs freeze the instants of change so we can see our child getting older by degrees, or our parents gradually aging across the years. And we can piece together a year from a thousand photographed memories of events our memories consider too minor to keep handy. We take this power of capturing time for granted, but it simply didn’t exist prior to photography.’
September 23, 2022
[truecrime] What Serial Gets Wrong … After Adnan Syed’s recent release, an examination (from 2014) of what the Serial podcast got wrong. ‘I have no idea who lied fifteen years ago, and I doubt we’ll ever find out. Lies have a way of burrowing into the brain and reshaping and reforming into truth after awhile. Whatever Adnan and Jay believed then could have changed by now. What does seem clear to me, though, is that there was rampant and serious misconduct by Baltimore law enforcement. It seems impossible that, as a defendant, Adnan got within the realm of a fair shake here. And even if law enforcement’s shady behavior didn’t rise to illegal misconduct, there’s a reasonable possibility that it could have had a tangible effect on the outcome.’
September 21, 2022
[moore] Discover Alan Moore’s Surprising First Published Superman Stories … A look at some long-forgotten UK published stories from Alan Moore. ‘That second Superheroes Annual in 1983…There was a two-page text piece by Alan Moore, with illustrations by the brilliant Bryan Talbot. The story was titled “Protected Species,” and it was about an alien who traveled the universe collected endangered species from lost planets that he would then bring to his bosses who would keep the survivors on a sort of zoo…’
September 19, 2022
September 16, 2022
[queen] The short unhappy life of Elizabeth Windsor … Politico sum up the life of Queen Elizabeth. ‘She knew a lot about the things she had inherited and not much about anything else. She drove — fast — about her estates in a beaten-up Land Rover and dedicated her life to fiercely protecting the promulgation of the family firm. But it was almost as if she was absent from her own story — her legend as rigorously curated and spun as that of any autocrat. To provide her United Kingdom with the monarch she felt it needed, she sacrificed an ordinary life and the other things most of us take for granted. But then the curious nature of hereditary monarchy never offered her another path.’
September 14, 2022
[queen] Inside British newsrooms on the day Queen Elizabeth II died: secret codes, chaos and black ties …
September 12, 2022
[queen] Who the hell updated Queen Elizabeth II’s Wikipedia page so quickly? … ‘It’s not as simple as changing “is” to “was.” After Sydwhunte made the initial death edit, Elizabeth II’s article underwent more than 55 edits in the subsequent 15 minutes — adding sources, changing the tense, updating the infobox with the length of her reign, and updating her categories (she’s no longer in the category “living people,” for example). Over on the article for now-King Charles III, there was a frenzy of title changes as editors waited for his regnal name to be announced. Charles’ article changed titles five times while people waited for his official regnal name.’