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November 16, 2018
[comics] Blinded By The Hype: An Affectionate Character Assassination [Part 1 | Part 2] … Alan Moore on Stan Lee in 1983- Alan’s postion on this has hardened over the years but this is still a fascinating read. ‘I’ve often noticed that the most sparkling examples of the industry at the peak of it’s form seem to have an ultimately deleterious effect upon the medium as a whole. As a for instance, the original E.C. Mad comic, undeniably brilliant in it’s own right, has doomed us to a situation where any new humour magazine that appears is almost forced by law to have a title associated with mental illness (Cracked, Sick, Crazy, Frantic, panic, Madhouse, etc. etc.) and features a pale imitation of Mad’s stock in trade genre parodies without reflecting any of the wonderful drive and imagination of the original. The same is true for Stan Lee.’
November 15, 2018
[comics] Remembering when T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan interviewed Stan Lee, 1975 … Bolan discussed interviewing Lee whilst being interviewed by Marvel UK’s Neil Tennant! ‘A time when the T. Rex singer would host a BBC radio show and interviewed his heroes. One of those heroes, it would seem, was the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee. “It was nice meeting Stan last year, he was lovely to interview,” Bolan told Tennant. “Really he’s a hustler, a solid gold easy hustler! That’s just the way Comic guys should be, he’s got such a lot of energy. We talked about the possibility of me creating a superhero for him. Something along the lines of Electric Warrior, a twenty-first century Conan. In fact, I don’t like Conan as a character—I think he should be something less of a barbarian, more like one of Michael Moorcock’s characters,” Bolan added.’
November 14, 2018
November 12, 2018
[politics] How to explain Jacob Rees-Mogg? … An attempt at understanding Jacob Rees-Mogg – reminds me a little of Adam Curtis. ‘Rees-Mogg’s journey also helps explain his increasingly powerful but still quite opaque son, Jacob: not just as a supporter of Brexit, but as an unsentimental and nimble “sovereign individual” of exactly the type his father envisaged. Simultaneously, Rees-Mogg Jr has managed to become a successful player in the modern, borderless financial industries, and a nationalist politician with an instantly recognisable retro image. He has seduced some Labour MPs with his old-fashioned manners; and he has met privately in a Mayfair hotel with the would-be guru of the international far right, Steve Bannon. This lack of squeamishness about how the conservative establishment holds on to political and economic power has been passed down the Rees-Mogg generations.’
November 8, 2018
[truecrime] Is Our Love of True Crime Shows Really About Social Justice? … more analysis of the True Crime documentary genre. ‘While audiences were divided over Steven Avery’s guilt following the first season of Making a Murderer, most agreed that the evidence presented in the documentary and at his trial—at least what they saw—made a strong argument for it to be reexamined. Making is less about a case being closed and more about how Avery was prosecuted, which is why series co-directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos prefer to call it a “social justice” series, rather than a true crime one. “I think what scares me about [the true crime label] is often people think it’s fetishizing death or somehow exploiting someone’s tragedy, and that’s certainly not at all what we were about,” Ricciardi told Deadline.’
November 7, 2018
[comics] A Crowded Life in Comics – Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson … Some amusing memories from John Adcock of meeting Bob Kane. ‘The second interesting occurrence was related to a sketch of Batman and Robin. I think it was during my first visit. He asked if I would like a drawing of Batman. Sure; thank you! He brought out a huge sheet of Ross Board (a drawing paper with a patterned grain), and with a Flair pen, in one corner started drawing the famous outline of Batman’s head, bat-ears (or whatever they are) and all… until the right “ear” was drawn shorter than the one on the left. A curse under his breath, and Bob spun the paper and started drawing in another corner. A similar discrepancy. To myself, I thought, “Why not do a pencil preliminary?” and “Hasn’t he drawn Batman a million times?” The fourth time was a charm…’
November 6, 2018
[comics] Early Work from Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Carlos Ezquerra … from the Wizard comic in 1976. (Spotted on Lew Stringer’s Blog.)

November 5, 2018
[comics] JAKA’S STORY: What It Was in 1988, and What Cerebus Used to Mean … Some Thoughts on Dave Sim and Cerebus. ‘MELMOTH was spent talking about the illness and slow death of Oscar Wilde, at a time people were still dying regularly from AIDS and little was even being tried to stop it. It was deeply sensitive and empathetic. And I still see nothing insincere in Dave’s empathy and affinity to Oscar Wilde, both in the more fictionalized version of Oscar here, who is never not entertaining, but also MELMOTH where it’s virtually the real man himself. That’s what makes later on so baffling. Immediately after he acted like he was purging every bit of that…’
November 2, 2018
[trump] The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique … Donald Trump and Nihilism … ‘A nihilist is someone who dedicates himself to not giving a shit, who thinks all meanings are shit, and who yearns with all his heart for the “aesthetic pleasure” of seeing the shit hit the fan. Arguing with a nihilist is like intimidating a suicide bomber: The usual threats and enticement have no effect. I suspect that is part of the appeal for both: the facile transcendence of placing oneself beyond all powers of persuasion. A nihilist is above you and your persnickety arguments in the same way that Trump fancies himself above the law.’
October 31, 2018
[true crime] Out Came the Girls… a creepy, true crime story – Adolescent girl BFF murderers obsessed with Slender Man.

After their arrests, over the course of nearly nine combined hours of interviews, they claim that they were compelled to kill her by a monster they had encountered online. When discovered, the girls were making their way to him, heading to Wisconsin’s Nicolet National Forest on foot, nearly 200 miles north. They were convinced that, once there, if they pushed farther and farther into the nearly 700,000-acre forest, they would find the mansion in which their monster dwells and he would welcome them.

Morgan and Anissa packed for the trip—granola bars, water bottles, photos by which to remember their families. (As Anissa tells a detective, “We were probably going to be spending the rest of our lives there.”) Though they were both a very young, Midwestern twelve, they had been chosen for a dark and unique destiny which none of their junior-high classmates could possibly understand, drawn into the forest in the service of a force much greater and more mysterious than anything in their suburban-American lives. What drew them out there has a name: Slender Man, faceless and pale and impossibly tall. His symbol is the letter X.

October 30, 2018
[demons] Report: Students Who Take Latin Have Better Chance Of Summoning Demon Later In Life‘On the whole, young people who studied root languages like Latin had a much easier time communicating in tongues, and could sometimes even convince spirits to do their bidding. However, those who didn’t were more prone to lag far behind their peers and often died at the hands of a bloodthirsty, vengeful succubus.’
October 29, 2018
[arcade] Atari Asteroids: Creating a Vector Arcade Classic … the inside story behind Atari Asteroids. ‘Production started in late 1979. In an interview back in 1981, Mary Takatsuno, a marketing analyst at Atari, gave an interesting insight to the reaction to the game within the company: “Asteroids is the only game that ever stopped production lines in our plant. At break time, the entire assembly line would run over to play the machines that were ready to be shipped out. With other games, the guys would just assemble them and box them up, and that was that. But with Asteroids, nobody wanted to work.”‘
October 26, 2018
[life] 104-Year-Old Reveals Secret To Long Life Being Cursed By Witch To Wander Earth Eternally‘I do try to eat healthy, but most food turns to ash the instant it crosses my lips. I also walk a lot, but that’s mostly to escape the ever-present torment of seeing generations of loved ones pass on to the next life while I’m trapped here in perpetuity.’
October 25, 2018
[iphone] iPhones are hard to use … some nicely-done criticism of Apple’s iPhone interface. ‘You have to shake your iPhone (or giant iPad Pro) to undo an action. You discover this by accident as you get up from a restaurant table with your phone in your hand, only to be greeted with an Undo Typing dialogue box. Unless you are an expert, you have no idea what just happened.’
October 24, 2018
[docu] Adam Curtis: “Social media is a scam” … Brief Interview with Adam Curtis. ‘I’ve always thought John Le Carré did spies a great service because he made it seem as if there were endless depths of mystery and darkness when in fact, if you’ve ever researched the spies, they are a) boring and b) useless. I mean really, really useless. I researched MI5 once and they hardly ever manage to capture any traitors … it’s usually someone else who points them in the right direction.’
October 23, 2018
[akira] Alan Partridge / Akira … an epic mashup by Gavin Mitchell.

October 22, 2018
[tech] It’s Impossible to Prove Your Laptop Hasn’t Been Hacked. I Spent Two Years Finding Out … a deep technical dive into the difficulties around proving if a computer has tampered been with. ‘There is a sneaky class of attack, called “evil maid” attacks, that disk encryption alone cannot protect against. Evil maid attacks work like this: An attacker (such as a malicious hotel housekeeper, for example) gains temporary access to your encrypted laptop. Although they can’t decrypt your data, they can spend a few minutes tampering with your laptop and then leave it exactly where they found it. When you come back and type in your credentials, now you have been hacked. Exactly how an evil maid attack would work against your laptop depends on many factors: the type of computer you use, what operating system you use, which disk encryption software you use, and the configuration of firmware used to boot your computer, firmware which I’ll call “BIOS,” although it can also go by acronyms like EFI and UEFI. Some computers have considerably better technology to prevent evil maid attacks than others – for example, attackers have to do more advanced tampering to hack a Windows laptop encrypted with BitLocker than they do to hack a Mac laptop encrypted with FileVault (as of now, anyway) or a Linux laptop encrypted with LUKS.’
October 19, 2018
[email] There is no non-wanky way to sign off an email, study finds‘Professor Henry Brubaker said: “Does anyone actually know what ‘kind regards’ means? Also it sounds a bit drippy and outdated, as if you’ve somehow received an email from a Victorian aunt. “An abrupt ‘thanks’ sounds sarcastic, or as we academics would describe it, ‘a bit pissy’.’
October 18, 2018
[trump] The Original Donald Trump … Profile of Roy Cohn and his influence on Donald Trump. ‘Trump practiced bigotry on a grand scale, was a world-class liar, and ripped off customers, investors, and the city itself. Yet for many among New York’s upper register, there was no horror he could commit that would merit his excommunication. As with Cohn before him, the more outrageously and reprehensibly Trump behaved, the more the top rungs of society were titillated by him. They could cop out of any moral judgments or actions by rationalizing him as an entertaining con man: a cheesy, cynical, dumbed-down Gatsby who fit the city’s tacky 1980s Gilded Age much as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s more romantic prototype had the soigné Jazz Age of the 1920s. And so most of those who might have stopped Trump gawked like the rest of us as he scrambled up the city’s ladder, grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed down.’
October 17, 2018
[brexit] Diamond Geezer’s 100 Brexits‘8) The one with a permanent customs union but called something different.’
October 16, 2018
[mind] Your Inner Mind Is a Work of Imagination … A fascinating look at why the unconscious mind might be a myth. ‘The reality is that the things we’re conscious of—experiences, thoughts, fragments of conversation—are completely different in type from the things we’re unconscious of—all these mysterious brain processes, which lay down and retrieve memories, piece fragments of information together, and so on. The brain is doing lots of unconscious work—but it is not thought in any way we understand it. At the everyday level, thought is what flows through my mind—images, pains, fragments of language. But the unconscious brain activity that generates such thoughts is not more of the same. If we could understand the processes by which billions of neurons cooperate to help us recognize a face or interpret a fragment of speech, we would find these as unrelated to the stream of consciousness as the operation of the liver.’
October 15, 2018
October 12, 2018
[books] 100 Best Thrillers of All Time … long, varied book list with something for everyone. ‘Jaws by Peter Benchley – No one on this book’s editorial team, not even Benchley himself, thought a novel about a killer shark would resonate with readers. Benchley was criticized for the lack of characterization when it came to the human characters, but readers praised the intense scenes featuring Jaws himself. The novel’s inclusion in the Book of the Month Club captured the attention of Steven Spielberg, who turned it into the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time. Years later, Benchley expressed guilt over giving sharks a bad name, insisted Jaws was fiction, and became a passionate marine life conservationist.’
October 11, 2018
[tech] Reboot Your Dreamliner Every 248 Days To Avoid Integer Overflow … Why Boeing 787s need to be rebooted regularly to avoid integer overflows. ‘Basically it says that all Boeing 787 Dreamliners have to be switched off every 248 days. If they are not reset then the generator control units GCUs will go into failsafe mode and the plane will lose all electrical power. Why exactly? To quote the FAA directive: This condition is caused by a software counter internal to the GCUs that will overflow after 248 days of continuous power. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of all AC electrical power, which could result in loss of control of the airplane.’
October 10, 2018
[comics] How to Read Alan Moore’s Providence… a useful trail of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories onto Moore & Burrows Providence.
October 9, 2018
October 5, 2018
[comics] Classic British Comics: Who Owns What? … A list of what publishers own which characters in British comics. ‘Over the years, a number of companies have purchased rights to various comic brands and characters, often prompting questions about whether that company will start publishing collections of characters they don’t own on social media. This list, based where possible on information supplied by the companies listed, attempts to identify the comics key companies own, and is largely focused on “classic” brands rather than ongoing titles such as 2000AD, Beano, Commando and The Phoenix.’
October 4, 2018
[movies] Introducing the Horror Oscars: The 40 Best Scary Movies Since ‘Halloween’ … Great list of the horror movies since 1979 onwards. ‘1980 – The Shining: Slowly but surely in the 1980s, consensus started to shift—the box office grew steadily, the critical reputation was bolstered, and within a decade, The Shining was an American classic. Why? Like Alien, it is technically magnificent and eerily tense, like waiting for an ocean of blood to pour from an elevator shaft. The Krzysztof Penderecki score is deeply unnerving. Shelley Duvall, with her long face, eight-ball eyes, and pallid complexion, is the most vulnerable subject of spousal torture ever put on screen. There are moments of shock, psychological torture, and bloodcurdling terror. (RIP, Scatman Crothers.) It’s so mystifying and intoxicating, that it has become the subject of wildly imaginative conspiracy theorizing.’
October 3, 2018
[comics] Fascist Spain meets British punk: the subversive genius of Judge Dredd … Remembering Carlos Ezquerra – who sadly died earlier this week. ‘Dredd looks like no other comic character before or since. His design makes no practical sense. It has no symmetry or logic to it. No one at the time thought it would work. “Fucking hell,” his co-creator John Wagner said when he first saw the designs. “He looks like a Spanish pirate.” But somehow, for reasons no one can quite articulate, it is perfect. Ezquerra’s art exploded off the page. It was dynamic and gritty, and yet always unfussy, practical and full of economic storytelling. His thick slabs of ridged inks and expressive characters are embedded in the brains of countless readers.’
October 2, 2018
[moore] The Cardinal and the Corpse … Go watch this little-seen 1992 docudrama by Iain Sinclair & Chris Petit. Alan Moore appears as himself along with Derek Raymond, Michael Moorcock, Tony Lambrianou amongst others.