linkmachinego.com
December 6, 2019
[politics] Uncovered: reality of how smartphones turned election news into chaos … Interesting attempt to study how Social Media influences election news. ‘Several participants were observed sharing articles on Facebook without clicking the links, and excitedly diving into comment sections for an argument before looking at the articles. Most showed a tendency to read news that confirmed their existing views. Some behaviours were more surprising, hinting we may be becoming a nation of trolls. One 22-year-old Conservative-voting woman was observed going out of her way to read reputable mainstream news sources so she had a balanced understanding of Labour policies. But she would then seek out provocative far-right blog posts to share on Facebook because their headlines would anger her leftwing friends and create online drama.’
December 5, 2019
[comics] Best comics and graphic novels of 2019 … With mentions of Ware, Moore & O’Neill and Seth among others. ‘At the heart of the epically inventive Rusty Brown (Jonathan Cape) is a single day at a Nebraska school in the mid-1970s, from which Ware spins the life stories of a shy nerd, his frustrated father, the privileged class jerk and a thoughtful, banjo-playing teacher. A doll is lost, a space mission charted, a car crashed and cupcakes baked, while snow tumbles, pages turn red with trauma and panels shrink to postage-stamp proportions – this is beauty you have to squint at.’
December 4, 2019
[time] The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time … How mobiles phones and social media changed our perception of time. ‘Using a phone is tied up with the relentless, perpendicular feeling of living through the Trump presidency: the algorithms that are never quite with you in the moment, the imperishable supply of new Instagram stories, the scrolling through what you said six hours ago, the four new texts, the absence of texts, that text from three days ago that has warmed up your entire life, the four versions of the same news alert. You can find yourself wondering why you’re seeing this now — or knowing too well why it is so.’
December 3, 2019
[history] Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’‘A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.’
December 2, 2019
[life]Try Beautiful News … Need a lift? Try this site.

November 28, 2019
[trolls] That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It … How Russian disinformation/trolling campaigns look in 2019. ‘We have experienced a range of emotions studying what the IRA has produced, from disgust at their overt racism to amusement at their sometimes self-reflective humor. Mostly, however, we’ve been impressed. Professional trolls are good at their job. They have studied us. They understand how to harness our biases (and hashtags) for their own purposes. They know what pressure points to push and how best to drive us to distrust our neighbors. The professionals know you catch more flies with honey. They don’t go to social media looking for a fight; they go looking for new best friends. And they have found them.’
November 27, 2019
[books] The 50 best nonfiction books of the past 25 years … Slate’s list of the best nonfiction. David Carr’s Night of the Gun: ‘For The Night of the Gun, Carr applied his reporter’s eye to his own story, digging into those lost years and uncovering painful and frightening truths about the man he was while in the throes of addiction. Released into a post–James Frey, post–JT LeRoy era when skeptics found memoir increasingly unreliable, Carr’s live-wire combination of autobiography and journalism explores not only the secrets of his own life but also the ways in which the stories we all tell ourselves evolve into the versions we can live with. The Night of the Gun makes plain how hard, and how necessary, it is to face the past with diligence and humility.’
November 26, 2019
[lists] Lists: Best of the 2010s Decade … Rex Sorgatz is aggregating Best-of Lists related to the 2010s.
November 25, 2019
[movies] Every Joke from ‘Airplane!’ Ranked‘McCroskey, on phone to wife: “I want the kids in bed by nine, the dog fed, the yard watered, and the gate locked. And get a note to the milkman… no more cheese!”’
November 22, 2019
[funny] Ballad of a WiFi Hero… Animated adaption of the Mike Lacher’s McSweeney’s article. ‘And at last the warrior arrived at the Router. It was a dusty black box with an array of shimmering green lights, blinking on and off, as if to taunt him to come any further. The warrior swiftly maneuvered to the rear of the router and verified what he had feared, what he had heard whispered in his ear from spirits beyond: all the cords were securely in place. The warrior closed his eyes, summoning the power of his ancestors, long departed but watchful still. And then with the echoing beep of his digital watch, he moved with deadly speed, wrapping his battle-hardened hands around the power cord at the back of the Router.’

November 21, 2019
[work] Pointless work meetings ‘really a form of therapy’ … This article is from BBC News, not the Onion. ‘Many regular, internal meetings might seem entirely “pointless” to those taking part, says Prof Hall. But he says the real purpose of such meetings might be to assert the authority of an organisation, so that employees are reminded that they are part of it. Such meetings are not really about making any decisions, he says.’
November 20, 2019
[comics] The Death of the Age of Stuff … Interesting 2013 comic from Peter Bagge on being a cartoonist in the internet age.
November 19, 2019
November 18, 2019
[royals] High-stakes gamble on TV interview over Epstein backfires on Duke of York … Some analysis about Prince Andrew’s Newsnight Interview on Jeffrey Epstein. ‘Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website, said: “I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad.”’
November 15, 2019
[comics] The A.V. Club’s 25 best comics of the 2010s … Really interesting end-of-the-decade list highlighting how comics are changing. ‘Hark! A Vagrant: Long before Hamilton hit the scene, Hark! A Vagrant made funny, pop culture references to history cool. In the humor comic, based on historical events and famous works of fiction, creator Kate Beaton’s skill with pacing and sense of humor are excellent, and her ability to convey a lot of information in a single panel has made her work eminently meme-able. (You might recognize the final panel of her comic about the relationship between Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne.) A limited grayscale palette and sketchy lines give Beaton’s work a retro feel, and allows the facial expressions and ridiculous situations to be at the fore. It’s surprising that a comic about the history of murderous royals and rampant disease is laugh-out-loud funny, but Hark! A Vagrant really is just that good.’
November 14, 2019
[tv] The 5th Young One: Pay No Attention to the Girl Behind the Sofa … She was hidden in plain sight all along – How could we have missed the 5th Young One? ‘And yes, the 2012 YouTube video shows it: a fifth housemate appearing at least once in every episode of the entire first series. She never moves, she never speaks, you never see her face, and her presence is never acknowledged by any of the other characters, but she’s there.’
November 13, 2019
[scams] I was an astrologer – here’s how it really works, and why I had to stop … An insiders story about Astrology. ‘I also learned that intelligence and education do not protect against superstition. Many customers were stockbrokers, advertising executives or politicians, dealing with issues whose outcomes couldn’t be controlled. It’s uncertainty that drives people into woo, not stupidity, so I’m not surprised millennials are into astrology. They grew up with Harry Potter and graduated into a precarious economy, making them the ideal customers.’
November 12, 2019
November 11, 2019
[xmas] And in the eleventh month… Diamond Geezer preaching about the early arrival of Christmas. ‘And the angel answered and said unto her, It’s never too soon to start buying seasonal provisions, which is why the shops are full of them already. An early start is important to allow poorer folk, like shepherds, a longer window to stock up on essential festive goods, like tubs of peanuts and chocolate Santas. Would you like a mince pie? The sell-by date is next week, so I need to finish off the packet before then.’
November 8, 2019
[politics] Man who spent all year mocking ‘virtue signallers’ pretty keen for you to notice his massive poppy‘Dave Williams, 48, has spent most of the year telling people that liberal virtue signallers are responsible for most of society’s ills, and that this ‘sickness’ has led to the erosion of societal values such as free speech and being able to blame immigrants for stuff. However, he insists that his massive poppy is not a signal of his virtues, and is, in fact, something very different.’
November 7, 2019
[blogs] The good internet is history… A look at the slow death of corporate blogging. ‘…there have been more obituaries. They’re still being written today about the ghost ship of Deadspin, a pristine example of what Gawker-founder Nick Denton once called “the good internet.” To read Will Leitch or Katie Baker or David Roth or any of the murderers’ row who’d cycled through there was to have an unmitigated experience of hope about what writing in the 21st century could be. It was a site that embraced the most maligned forms of internet writing (the listicle), as well as its most highly-regarded (the long read), and gave them energy in juxtaposition. What would it mean to acknowledge that sports are both bone-shakingly stupid and also the most important thing? Were these critics writing to you or talking to you? At what point did the jokes transmogrify into penetrating insights? When did this meandering conversation about memories of old baseball players turn into something poignant? And why would anybody have ever wanted this to stop?’
November 6, 2019
[politics] My life in the ethical wild west: our sketch writer on his three years of Brexit hell … John Crace on Brexit. ‘Then there was Chris Grayling, the transport secretary under May, who awarded a ferry contract to a company with no ferries and whose time as cabinet minister cost the country £3bn. We could have paid him £1bn to stay at home doing nothing and still had money left over to build two hospitals. There is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the idiot’s idea of a thinking man, and Mark Francois, the exploding molehill. And, of course, Nigel Farage, who has returned to the fray to lead the Brexiters Against Brexit 12-step group. Then there is Boris Johnson himself, a byword for untrustworthiness, duplicity and laziness who is now our prime minister. Some countries have all the luck.’
November 5, 2019
[crime] Inside the Phone Company Secretly Run By Drug Traffickers … A fascinating look at a company who sold encrypted phones to criminals. ‘For MPC, the process of setting up the devices was relatively simple: MPC would take a Google Nexus 5 or Nexus 5X Android phone, and then add its own security features and operating system, according to social media posts from MPC and a source with knowledge of the process. MPC then created the customer’s messaging accounts, added a data-only SIM card (which MPC paid about £20 a month for), and then sold the phone to the customer at £1,200. Six-month renewals cost £700, the source added. MPC only sold around 5,000 phones, the source said, but that still indicates the business netted the company some £6 million.’
November 4, 2019
[trump] Follow This Twitter Account… Pres. Supervillain (@PresVillain) … Red Skull and Trump mashed up.

Red Skull / Trump Mashups

November 1, 2019
[funny] I Am Just Trying to Have a Civil Online Conversation About Vampires‘My sympathies. I am sorry your sister had such a terrible experience. But she admits she’d invited him into her apartment before this, right?’
October 30, 2019
[morris] “The World Is, of Course, Insane”: An Interview with Errol Morris … The New Yorker interviews Errol Morris on Steve Bannon amongst other things.

Ed Gein was the famous “Psycho” killer, arrested in Plainfield, Wisconsin, in 1957. A kind of American fable, if you like, and I really, really wanted to meet Ed Gein. I remember lying to people about how I had met him, when I hadn’t. And then I thought to myself, why lie about meeting him when you can actually meet Ed Gein?

I got in to see Ed, finally, because I had these letters of introduction from various forensic psychiatrists at Berkeley School of Criminology. The head of the hospital, Dr. Schubert, was probably as nuts as Ed Gein. I ask him if there’s any truth to the claims that Ed was a cannibal. He seems insulted, he says absolutely not. I asked Ed about this very issue, and he told me that, although he had tasted human flesh many times, that he didn’t like it.

See, I live for this kind of thing. It confirms some kind of satisfying idea about the world that the world is really fucked. It’s really insane. Our heads are such foreign countries. Such strange, uncharted territories. And it’s fun. It’s fun for me to talk to geniuses, it’s fun for me to talk to monsters.

October 29, 2019
[comics] Ed Brubaker Takes Criminals From Comic-Con To Amazon Prime … Ed Brubaker interview updating on recent work in TV and his comics with Sean Phillips. ‘I think there’s something very special about comic books, and the whole trek to the comic shop every week to see what’s out. I think everyone should put more effort into making the single issues less of just a chapter of a trade, you know? Make the comic itself something special. Then make the trade or hardback collection special too. They’re different formats, they each have advantages, but a lot of publishers single issues seem like afterthoughts lately. So I want to make sure our comics stand out from that, and are always worth your money. I take a great amount of pride in that, even though almost no one but me seems to care.’
October 28, 2019
[anime] The best 25(-ish) anime of all time … Mefi lists Glass Reflection’s Top 25-ish Recommended Anime.
October 25, 2019
[comics] Untold Constantine Tales … Steve Bissette on one of the inspirations for John Constantine. ‘We’ve always talked about the Police and Sting‘s role in Quadrophenia, the movie (1979), but it was indeed Sting‘s ominous presence and role in Richard Loncraine‘s theatrical film adaptation of Dennis Potter‘s Brimstone & Treacle (1982) that fueled those fires back in 1983-84 for us.’
October 24, 2019
[email] Was E-mail a Mistake? … A good look at synchronous Vs. asynchronous communications. ‘The dream of replacing the quick phone call with an even quicker e-mail message didn’t come to fruition; instead, what once could have been resolved in a few minutes on the phone now takes a dozen back-and-forth messages to sort out. With larger groups of people, this increased complexity becomes even more notable. Is an unresponsive colleague just delayed, or is she completely checked out? When has consensus been reached in a group e-mail exchange? Are you, the e-mail recipient, required to respond, or can you stay silent without holding up the decision-making process? Was your point properly understood, or do you now need to clarify with a follow-up message? Office workers pondering these puzzles—the real-life analogues of the theory of distributed systems—now dedicate an increasing amount of time to managing a growing number of never-ending interactions.’