linkmachinego.com
May 24, 2019
[internet] Why People Fake Cancer Online … A look at why people fake illness on the Internet. ‘This condition of faking illness online has a name: “Munchausen by internet,” or MBI. It’s a form of factitious disorder, the mental disorder formerly known as Munchausen syndrome, in which people feign illness or actually make themselves sick for sympathy and attention. According to Marc Feldman, the psychiatrist at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa who coined the term MBI back in 2000, people with the condition are often motivated to lie by a need to control the reactions of others, particularly if they feel out of control in their own lives. He believes that the veil of the internet makes MBI much more common among Americans than the 1 percent in hospitals who are estimated to have factitious disorder.’
May 23, 2019
[movies] Burning desire: John Wick and the undying appeal of the revenge thriller‘Though John Wick primarily attracts audiences for its simplicity of gun-fu action ecstasy, the film-makers clearly have more universal existential ideas on their mind. Sure, John Wick as played by Keanu Reeves is an ex-assassin left broken by his wife’s death and only capable of exorcising his pain through mass murder and vengeance. But he’s also an individual trapped in the system that created him, desperate to live freely and “retired” on his own terms, without the need to kill again.’
May 22, 2019
[people] It’s Still Roy Cohn’s World, And You’re Living in It … A great comic profile from Levi Hastings and Josh Trujillo.

Ray Cohn comic profile panel

May 21, 2019
[truecrime] Who killed the prime minister? The unsolved murder that still haunts Sweden … Fascinating long-read about the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986 and the botched investigation and conspiracy theories that followed. ‘By the start of the 1990s, so much time and money had been spent fruitlessly pursuing Pettersson and the PKK that basic questions about the night of the murder remained unanswered. Where was the murder weapon, which was believed to be a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver? Why were witness reports of men with walkie talkies near the site of the killing not taken seriously? Was the police incompetence too extreme to be accidental?’
May 20, 2019
[newsletter] Recs … Another newsletter I’ve been enjoying – lots of media recommendations from Rex Sorgatz. ‘…Media, tv, podcasts, film, games, apps, music, books, tech, art, and design; also, a super dumb pun on my name’
May 17, 2019
[comics] 5 Modern Day Treasures That Got Saved In The Craziest Ways … Amongst other things this article looks at how Moore and Sienkiewicz’s unpublished Big Numbers #3 found it’s way to the Internet. ‘Padraig O Mealoid saw an item on eBay that claimed to include not just Big Numbers #1 and #2, but also a “rare unpublished xerox” of #3 for the low, low price of $49.99. As it turned out, a friend of the seller had worked with Moore on the series, and had been smart enough to hang onto his preview copy of the third chapter. And since there was no legal way for anyone to own a copy anymore, they did the ’90s equivalent of putting it on a torrenting site — they xeroxed a bunch of copies and passed them out to diehard fans, one of whom eventually put his copy up on eBay.’
May 16, 2019
[truecrime] The real story behind Harper Lee’s lost true crime book … An interesting look at one of Harper Lee’s unfinished books. ‘“He might not have believed in what he preached, he might not have believed in voodoo,” she once wrote, “but he had a profound and abiding belief in insurance.” In the course of her reporting, she turned up dozens upon dozens of insurance policies, all taken out by Maxwell, seemingly without the knowledge of the insured, with his home address as the correspondence address and naming himself as the beneficiary. The more she learned about the earlier deaths, the more convinced she became that at least five of them were murders, even though he had never been convicted of any of them.’
May 15, 2019
[books] A supposedly great article I’ll never read the same way again … A look at inaccuracies in the journalism of David Foster Wallace. ‘One accusation was made in 2011 by Wallace’s good friend Jonathan Franzen, who offhandedly accused Wallace of making up dialogue in his famous “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” piece. “Those things didn’t actually happen,” he told New Yorker editor David Remnick. “You notice he never published any nonfiction in your magazine.” Franzen seemed salty about it at the time, leading plenty of people to accuse him of levying a cheap shot, but probably not as salty as he should’ve been, knowing how famous his (admittedly dead) friend had gotten as a dogged truthteller by sort of making some of it up.’
May 14, 2019
[comics] Katsuhiro Otomo’s Sleeping Beauty … the creator of Akira’s version of the fairy tale.

Panels from Katsuhiro Otomo's Sleeping Beauty

May 13, 2019
[life] John Horton Conway: the world’s most charismatic mathematician … enjoyable profile of John Horton Conway – the creator of the cellular automaton called Game of Life.

Conway made what he called “The Vow”, promising himself: “Thou shalt stop worrying and feeling guilty; thou shalt do whatever thou pleasest.” He no longer worried that he was eroding his mathematical soul when he indulged his curiosity and followed wherever it went, whether towards recreation or research, or somewhere altogether nonmathematical, such as his longing to learn the etymology of words. Conway’s fate now was to do all the stuff that he had formerly feared his fellow mathematicians might floccinaucinihilipilificate. “Floccinaucinihilipilification” is his favourite word. He reckons it’s the longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary (it is certainly in the top three), and without prompting he gives an account of its etymology: it is a Latin-based word, invented circa 1730 at Eton as a schoolboy’s joke. And, Conway recites nearly verbatim the OED’s definition: “the action or habit of estimating as worthless.”

May 10, 2019
[comics] No, I’m not counting that appearance in Super Friends … Mike Sterling looks back at the shock of the JLA’s appearance in Swamp Thing #24. ‘Alan Moore had already been reexamining (or “deconstructing,” if you will) the superhero genre over in England with his reintroduction of original Captain Marvel 1950s knock-off Marvelman. What was once bright and cheery with that character is now menacing and mired in modern day government conspiracies and violence. But the JLA’s appearance in Swamp Thing set the tone for nearly all future appearances of superheroes in this series. They’re never just “as-is,” it’s always in the context of “what’s wrong with this,” or “here’s what’s really odd about them,” or “did you ever realize this?” They’re all recontextualized in the comic’s tone, designed to make you see them differently, to reconsider them, to be kept off-balance by them.’
May 9, 2019
[life] Mariko Aoki phenomenon … Do you have a urge to defecate after entering a bookshop? You are not alone! ‘Persons with a history of experiencing the Mariko Aoki phenomenon were described as having a “book bowel” tendency (Japanese: 書便派 sho’ben-ha) in Vol. 41 of Book Magazine.’
May 8, 2019
[work] Moderately Motivated Gen-Xer for Hire‘Candidate understands that individual contributions often have limited value in the wider context, and is content to follow orders with no grasp of said orders’ ultimate purpose or importance. Gratification on a severely delayed timetable is perfectly acceptable. Candidate is accustomed to a reporting structure that includes multiple redundant levels of management.’
May 7, 2019
[alien] Alien 40th Anniversary Short Films … Six official short films celebrating Alien’s 40th anniversary.

May 3, 2019
[comics] Grown Man Who Owns Bane Action Figure Has Love To Give‘Saying that he is here, that he is caring, and that he is available, local man Philip Gorney, who owns a 6-inch Mattel action figure of the comic book villain Bane, confirmed Thursday that he has love to give. “I could make somebody happy, I am loving, and I deserve to be happy, too,” said the 31-year-old man who has drawn several full-color illustrations of the superhero Swamp Thing…’
May 2, 2019
[newsletter] BLAST! … I’ve really been enjoying Mo Morgan’s new newsletter – a nicely designed and well focused collection of links and thoughts. Recommended.
May 1, 2019
[canals] Does Birmingham Have More Canals Than Venice? … Jez Higgins compares the two cities. ‘In fact, the difference between the two is rather less than you might think – Birmingham has around 58km of canal, while Venice has 42km. Given a population about around a million against Venice’s 62,000, that actually means that Birmingham is vastly under-canaled. It has a trifling 5⅘cm of canal per head of population against Venice’s magisterial 67¾cm. For Birmingham to reach Venice-equality we would need to build another 620km of canal.’
April 30, 2019
[tech] Death by PowerPoint: the slide that killed seven people … How Microsoft PowerPoint contributed to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. ‘Typing text on a screen and reading it out loud does not count as teaching. An audience reading text off the screen does not count as learning. Imagine if the engineers had put up a slide with just: “foam strike more than 600 times bigger than test data.” Maybe NASA would have listened. Maybe they wouldn’t have attempted re-entry. ‘
April 29, 2019
[comics] Why are comics shops closing as superheroes make a mint?‘While superheroes have never had a higher profile, the gap between cinema and comics has never been wider. The days when you could pick the latest issue of Spider-Man or Batman from the newsagent’s shelves are long gone. Last week, comic writer Ron Marz tweeted that, during a presentation to a school class, one girl raised her hand and asked him where she could actually buy comics…’
April 26, 2019
[tech] Illustrations of Imaginary Cyberpunk Gadgets … by E Wo Kaku Peter. Below is a portable anti-vampire kit.

April 25, 2019
[favicon] Tiny Mirror … a webpage that uses your webcam to create a tiny image within it’s favicon.
April 24, 2019
[comics] ‘What Gets Us Through is Just Getting Through’: Tom King Looks Back on Mister Miracle‘When I read the Fourth World stuff, to me it reads like an incredibly personal work. It reads to me as a guy who’d been through war and come back from it; it reads to me as a guy who’d achieved his greatest dream in life, which was to become this sort of comic creator for his family and then lost it, and was trying to recover it when he moved from Marvel to DC. It’s known that he originally developed the Fourth World for Marvel as this kind of Asgardian world, then he brought it over to DC when he felt disrespected how Marvel treated him. To me, when I read it, I see all of that mixed up – all that anger at Stan Lee, Marvel, all of that combined with a guy who grew up in the Jewish ghettos of the Lower East Side and had to scrap for everything he ever had, and fought his way through World War II – to me, it reads as an entirely personal work’
April 23, 2019
[conspiracy] Why conspiracy theories are getting more absurd‘It’s incredibly empowering to believe you have the true picture of reality and that everyone else is delusional. And if you look at conspiracists today, even the wackiest, like those writing about QAnon, they see themselves as the cognoscenti. They understand how the world really works, and they understand that the rest of us are brainwashed.’
April 21, 2019
April 18, 2019
[life] Paris Vows To Rebuild Notre Dame Despite Cosmic Absurdity Of Seeking Inherent Meaning In Fleeting Creations Of Man‘“We will come together as a nation to reconstruct Notre Dame, no matter the fundamental irrationality of imbuing mere man-made structures of stone and wood with any sort of deeper meaning in an existence where entropy is the only universal truth,” said French president Emmanuel Macron in a press conference, adding that the government had already received more than $700 million in pledged funding for a restoration project that will “serve as but a momentary impediment to the corrosive sands of time.”’
April 17, 2019
[games] iOS Games Worth Playing … fun list of iPhone / iPad games to download and play.
April 16, 2019
[comics] Lenny Henry’s guide to Graphic Novels and Comics‘Halo Jones – Alan Moore. Designed to be the antithesis of the super-tough women of superhero comics, Halo Jones was a driven everywoman character who lives in the 51st Century. Moore wanted specifically to add a female character to 2000AD comic. The first story arc centred entirely around Halo and her friend going shopping. However, when you live in a crime-riddled floating city, where regular, potentially fatal riots take place, such a simple task requires military planning and precision…’
April 15, 2019
[brexit] TV fans delighted as Brexit renewed for another season‘Television critics have never been keen on Brexit and many cite it as the only show which managed to jump the shark before it even began. “Good writing in any genre is founded on truth,” said critic Victoria Dean. “There was just so much unbelievable guff in Brexit’s trailer that it was obviously going to be a shit show. “I mean, all that stuff written on the bus! The ‘breaking point’ poster. The cartoon villains with no shred of humanity.”’
April 12, 2019
[web] The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook … Interesting look at early skeptical views of the Web in the 1990s. ‘Ellen Ullman, who has continued to critique the tech world from the inside, might have made the most perfect critique of how the human desire for convenience would rule how technology was seen. “The computer is about to enter our lives like blood in the capillaries,” she wrote. “Soon, everywhere we look, we will see pretty, idiot-proof interfaces designed to make us say, ‘OK.’” The on-demand economy would rule. “We don’t need to involve anyone else in the satisfaction of our needs,” she wrote.’
April 11, 2019
[people] Ghosting … seems like a good time to repost this 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.’