22 July 2024
[comics] 10 major cartoon characters entering the public domain between 2024 and 2034‘Popeye the Sailor (2025) – Popeye first appeared in the “Thimble Theatre” newspaper comic strip in 1929. He soon became the strip’s star, and Olive Oyl’s new boyfriend (replacing her previous beau, one “Harold Hamgravy”). Popeye made the leap to animation in 1933.’
17 July 2024
[morris] Errol Morris on whether you should be afraid of generative AI in documentaries… Errol Morris interviewed. ‘Film isn’t reality, no matter how it’s shot. You could follow some strict set of documentary rules…it’s still a film. It’s not reality. I have this problem endlessly with Richard Brody, who writes reviews for The New Yorker, and who is a kind of a documentary purist. I guess the idea is that if you follow certain rules, the veritical nature of what you’re shooting will be guaranteed. But that’s nonsense, total nonsense. Truth, I like to remind people — whether we’re talking about filmmaking, or film journalism, or journalism, whatever — it’s a quest.’
16 July 2024
[space] Five of Saturn’s Moons in a Group Portrait‘On July 29, 2011, Cassini captured five of Saturn’s moons in a single frame with its narrow-angle camera. This is a full-color look at a view that was originally published in September 2011’

Five of Saturn's Moons in a group portrait.

11 July 2024
[podcast] Things Fell Apart… A BBC Podcast by Jon Ronson on the many, varied stories behind the culture wars.
10 July 2024
[comics] Batman’s Aff His Nut … Possibly the best Scottish poem about Batman ever written. ‘Mate, I’m worried aboot ye I know your ma and da died But everybody’s ma and da dies And we’re no aw runnin aboot Hookin muggers and Kickin psychopaths in the baws.” And that was when Batman went “Aye, but do ye ever feel like it? Do you ever look at the world and feel like it?’
5 July 2024
[comics] The Secret Life of Steve Ditko: Spider-Man Co-Creator’s Family Opens Up … Some insight into Steve Ditko’s life from his family. ‘One crispy Christmas during the early 1960s, Mark, only four or five, asked his uncle to sketch him a picture of a gorilla. Using only a pencil, his uncle cast a spell across the paper, and there he was: Konga, in all his glory. “Uncle Steve,” Mark beamed. “You are really good.”’ (archive link)
4 July 2024
[politics] The End of the Tories … Tanya Gold sums up the Conservative election campaign. ‘Old hands in British media call this a rolling goat fuck. The question as we reach the end is not who won’t vote for the Tories but who will. Remainers hate them because Brexit happened. Brexiteers hate them because Brexit has failed. Liberals hate them because they are tough on immigration. Right-wingers hate them because they are not tough enough. Those who hate public services think taxes are too high. Those who love public services think they do not work. Young people hate them because they have no housing. Old people hate them because Sunak left ghost troops on the beaches of Normandy. They have no constituency left.’
2 July 2024
[travel] Obvious Travel Advice … Useful list of thoughts on travel. ‘Time seems to speed up as you get older. And you wonder—is it biological, or is it because life had more novelty when you were a child? Travel partly answers this question—with more novelty, time slows way down again.’
1 July 2024
[politics] Aggregating Predictions for the General Election … A website collecting seat-by-seat poll predictions for the 2024 UK General Election.
27 June 2024
[vending] A day in the life of (almost) every vending machine in the world … A wonderfully written profile on the world of vending machines. ‘At 12.45am, a white-chocolate Twix dropped into the well of a machine in Blackfriars in London. At a taxi depot in Belfast, drivers on overnight standby thumbed in coins to buy keep-awake Cokes. Cans of sugar-free Tango slammed down in the surgeons’ staffroom at an Edinburgh hospital. Bottles of Mountain Dew, already long past expiry, turned another hour older inside a Covid-shuttered office in North Carolina. A Japanese accountant, several hours ahead of Europe and the US in a southern prefecture called Ehime, eyed the familiar choices in a cup-noodle machine by his desk…’
26 June 2024
[hannibal] I don’t know who needs this today but here is an ASMR cooking video with Hannibal Lecter.

24 June 2024
[dads] Trolley Problem Variations for Dads … Another list from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. ‘Dad is given both options of the Trolley Problem. But as he begins to think it over, he keeps saying, “This is exactly like the Kobayashi Maru!” He then spends so much time explaining how Captain Kirk cheated to win the scenario that he never pulls the lever.’
21 June 2024
[crime] Why Did a Father of 16 Hire a Dark-Web Hit Man? … What I learned from this true crime story is that it is very hard to hire a hitman on the dark web. ‘Christopher was an unlikely client in the murder-for-hire trade. He was not violent and had no criminal record. When he wasn’t logging ten-to-12-hour days working, often while listening to one of his favorite Christian rock bands, he was helping his wife, Michelle, raise their 11 biological and five adopted children.’
20 June 2024
[internet] What the Internet Was Like in 2004‘Blogging was still niche in 2004, but it was increasingly where daily conversations online were happening. I started out in 2002 using a desktop app called Radio Userland, but in early May 2004, I switched to a browser-based blog platform called Movable Type. The “blogosphere” was kind of a prototype for social media, because it was where people learned to be opinionated and express ‘takes’ on the internet. The beauty of the blogosphere was that it was truly decentralised.’
19 June 2024
[akira] Kaneda’s Bike from Akira in Lego … A wonderful design from Arvo Brothers.

Kaneda’s Bike in Lego

18 June 2024
[tech] How to Copy a File From a 30-year-old Laptop … A technology archaeology story. ‘While the laptop has no networking software, it does have fax software. We confirmed the modem could dial, so this might just be crazy enough to work. The first question was how to turn the audio file into something faxable. The laptop contains a collection of games. Alongside them is a resource editor, called ResEdit, which had previously been used to inspect and modify the aforementioned games. Let’s see what it can do…’
17 June 2024
[q&a] Jon Ronson: ‘It’s getting harder to be optimistic’… A “This Much I Know” Q&A with Jon Ronson. ‘I’m scared of not being able to work. That’s why I wrote You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, because being publicly shamed and prevented from working is the biggest horror I could think of – not so much the shaming part but the being prevented from working part.’
11 June 2024
[comics] Why is the Sonic comic so controversial? … A really fascinating look at the personalities, controversies and lawsuits around Archie’s long-running Sonic The Hedgehog comic.

10 June 2024
[polictics] What Have Fourteen Years of Conservative Rule Done to Britain?… A powerful look at what years of Tory leadership have done to Britain. ‘In the accident theory of Brexit, leaving the E.U. has turned out to be a puncture rather than a catastrophe: a falloff in trade; a return of forgotten bureaucracy with our near neighbors; an exodus of financial jobs from London; a misalignment in the world. “There is a sort of problem for the British state, including Labour as well as all these Tory governments since 2016, which is that they are having to live a lie,” as Osborne, who voted Remain, said. “It’s a bit like tractor-production figures in the Soviet Union. You have to sort of pretend that this thing is working, and everyone in the system knows it isn’t.” The other view sees Brexit as an unfinished revolution…’
5 June 2024
[comics] Greatest Comics Of All Time as Chosen by 45 Writers and Artists… Al Ewing on Dan Clowes Ice Haven: ‘It’s really hard to pick a favorite from Dan Clowes’s work, and I actually like The Death Ray more, but in many ways this is the perfect starting point for a modern Clowes enthusiast-a small town mystery presented as a collection of one-page comic strips. It’s filtered through the various personalities who live there, each with their own voice, which Clowes communicates through shifts in his own style, showing off his absolute mastery of the medium and the comics form. He’s arguably the greatest cartoonist living today, and you owe it to yourself to read his work.’
4 June 2024
[music] Hear the Song Written on a Sinner’s Buttock in Hieronymus Bosch’s Painting The Garden of Earthly Delights‘Several years ago, the Internet became excited when an enterprising blogger named Amelia transcribed, recorded, and uploaded a musical score straight out of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted between 1490 and 1510. The kicker? Amelia found the score written on a suffering sinner’s butt. The poor, musically-branded soul can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the painting’s third and final panel, wherein Bosch depicts the various torture methods of hell.’
3 June 2024
[space] A Few Notes on the Culture, by Iain M Banks … The Culture explained. ‘The galaxy (our galaxy) in the Culture stories is a place long lived-in, and scattered with a variety of life-forms. In its vast and complicated history it has seen waves of empires, federations, colonisations, die-backs, wars, species-specific dark ages, renaissances, periods of mega-structure building and destruction, and whole ages of benign indifference and malign neglect. At the time of the Culture stories, there are perhaps a few dozen major space-faring civilisations, hundreds of minor ones, tens of thousands of species who might develop space-travel, and an uncountable number who have been there, done that, and have either gone into locatable but insular retreats to contemplate who-knows-what, or disappeared from the normal universe altogether to cultivate lives even less comprehensible.’
29 May 2024
[politics] Tory Policy Generator … Generate a Tory Policy for Election 2024. ‘Hard Working Common Sense Fox Hunts’
28 May 2024
[watchmen] On the Cutting Edge of Innovation: This guy Just Found a New Way to Misinterpret ‘Watchmen’‘Roche sat down in a recent interview to explain his journey of bastardizing Moore’s iconic series. “I started off like everyone else,” Roche explained. “I was like, oh, Rorschach freaking rules. He’s just Batman if he was a normal guy. Like, he’s just rational and everything he does makes perfect sense. Why would you cripple a criminal when you can kill his dogs, chop off his arm and burn his house down?” Roche’s shelf is littered with comic books and a weird shrine to Steve Ditko–which he kept trying to avert our gaze from by aggressively coughing.’
27 May 2024
[life] A Billionaire Can Never Be Held Accountable… [via]

16 May 2024
[emoji] Emoji history: the missing years … A deep dive into the early history of emojis. ‘I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing because I was under the impression that the first emoji were created by an anonymous designer at SoftBank in 1997, and the most famous emoji were created by Shigetaka Kurita at NTT DoCoMo in 1999. But the Sharp PI-4000 in my hands was released in 1994, and it was chock full of recognisable emoji. Then down the rabbit hole I fell…’
14 May 2024
[pins] Most Common PIN Codes … A heatmap of the most common 4 digit pin codes.
10 May 2024
[life] 101 Additional Advices … More Advice From Kevin Kelly. ‘When you are stuck or overwhelmed, focus on the smallest possible thing that moves your project forward.’
8 May 2024
[comics] Every Issue of Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” Ranked by How Likely They’ll Get a Conservative Book Ban‘Swamp Thing #42 (November 1985): “Strange Fruit” – Swamp Thing burns down a plantation haunted by racist ghosts. – They hate this one. They fucking HATE this one.’
6 May 2024
[comics] Escape Magazine … Escape Magazine, a British comics anthology magazine from the 1980s has been fully scanned and is online at the Internet Archive.

Escape Magazine 05 Cover