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February 16, 2018
[life] Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life‘It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life. Is there any other way to live?’
February 15, 2018
[london] Diamond Geezer on London’s best secret daffodils. ‘You need to see these daffodils.’
February 14, 2018
[life] A Catfishing With a Happy Ending … A Catfishing story for Valentines Day … ‘When four red heart emojis appeared on her screen, Emma was thrilled. Unlike her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie seemed mature and attentive. Ronnie was easy on the eyes, funny, and caring, but there was one problem: He did not exist. Ronaldo Scicluna was a fictional character created by Alan Stanley, a short, balding, 53-year-old shop fitter—a decorator of retail stores. Alan lived alone in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Like one of the Bard’s shapeshifting characters, Alan used a disguise to fool women into romance, and to prevent himself getting hurt.’
February 13, 2018
[valentines] David Cronenberg Valentines … Perfectly romantic cards for Valentines.

February 12, 2018
[tech] What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death … On the obsolescence of an 2012 iPad Mini. ‘If my old iPad could talk, it might ask me what has changed. If it could feel indignant, it might suggest that it isn’t the problem, and that everyone and everything else is. While it would be wrong according to the logic of its creation, it wouldn’t be incorrect. It is a piece of consumer technology, so you would expect that everything around it — its own software, Apple’s new products, the internet on which it depends — would have improved in the last five years, and that it would suffer in comparison. What seems unfair is that my old iPad, because it does nothing but provide access to these ever-evolving services, necessarily has to get worse and that it may, before long, have nowhere to go. Above all, my old iPad has revealed itself as a cursed object of a modern sort. It wears out without wearing. It breaks down without breaking. And it will be left for dead before it dies.’
February 9, 2018
[tech] Today I Learned: Why does misdetected Unicode text tend to show up as Chinese characters? … I also learned what Mojibake means. ‘If you look at a graphic representation of what languages occupy what parts of the BMP, you’ll see that it’s a sea of pink (CJK) and red (East Asian), occasionally punctuated by other scripts. It just so happens that the placement of the CJK ideographs in the BMP effectively guarantees it.’
February 8, 2018
[moore] Fossil Angels – Part 1 | Part 2 … Alan Moore on Magic … ‘Something inchoate and ethereal once alighted briefly, skipping like a stone across the surface of our culture, leaving its faint, tenuous impression in the human clay, a footprint that we cast in concrete and apparently remain content to genuflect before for decades, centuries, millennia. Recite the soothing and familiar lullabies or incantations word for word, then carefully restage the old, beloved dramas, and perhaps something will happen, like it did before.’
February 7, 2018
[tv] Paradise found: how The Good Place divinely remixed the sitcom … Stuart Heritage on The Good Place‘Decency is baked hard into the DNA of The Good Place. It’s the show’s entire reason to be. Its characters are trapped in a terrible scenario, and they can’t escape unless they improve as people. They are in a hopeless situation, but hope is their only way out. Forget all the formal bells and whistles. Forget that they are learning to be better because they are studying the works of pre-eminent ethicists and philosophers – even if it has caused some bookshops to set out “Chidi’s Choice” tables laden with all his go-to literature – just the fact that basic positivity is the engine room of a sitcom in 2018 is refreshing.’
February 6, 2018
February 5, 2018
[history] Archaeologists may have found architects’ camp for Stonehenge … and future site of Larkhill Resettlement Camp from V for Vendetta … ‘The team have been investigating a causewayed enclosure – these are thought to be ancient meeting places or centres of trade – on army land at Larkhill close to Stonehenge.They found an alignment of posts that matches the orientation of the circle at Stonehenge, leading to the theory that Larkhill could have been some sort of blueprint for the temple.’
February 2, 2018
[comics] Man Prefers Comic Books That Don’t Insert Politics Into Stories About Government-Engineered Agents Of War‘At press time, Land was posting on a subreddit that he wished comics didn’t force him to identify with gay or black superheroes when all he wanted was stories about oppressive governments rounding up mutants whose only crime was to be born different.’
February 1, 2018
[lists] Top 10 Errant Teenagers in Fiction‘Tetsuo in Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. Tetsuo is a boy who quite literally contains apocalypse, badness bursting out of him so furiously that he fears his head will explode.’
January 31, 2018
[comics] Amazing Gallery of David Mazzucchelli Original Art … from a 2009 Gallery Exhibition.

January 30, 2018
[herzog] Werner Herzog: I Killed And Ate Timothy Treadwell In 2003‘Timothy and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were setting up camp by a salmon stream when I approached them, aggressively batted them around, and then tore them limb-from-limb while they screamed. His judgment was perhaps clouded by his optimistic view of nature, which, in the end, sadly led to me picking his bones clean.’
January 29, 2018
[history] Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace … a fascinating deep-dive blog post on the life of Ada Lovelace from Stephen Wolfram. ‘When Ada wrote about Babbage’s machine, she wanted to explain what it did in the clearest way—and to do this she looked at the machine more abstractly, with the result that she ended up exploring and articulating something quite recognizable as the modern notion of universal computation. What Ada did was lost for many years. But as the field of mathematical logic developed, the idea of universal computation arose again, most clearly in the work of Alan Turing in 1936. Then when electronic computers were built in the 1940s, it was realized they too exhibited universal computation, and the connection was made with Turing’s work.’
January 28, 2018
[music] Phil – an old friend of the blog – on Mark E. Smith …

In 1978, I worked as a bingo caller. And for a few other summers too.

The only pop record to my knowledge which mentions bingo is The Fall’s “Bingo Master’s Break-Out”. It’s not all that good but it introduced me to the band.

Spplltt. Or sounds like that. I didn’t discover The Fall in 1979 like all the newbies telling their tales in The Guardian. I was listening in 1978 — although I only acquired the original vinyl 45 a few years ago, you know … because … there was so much going on.

That bloke made me laugh so fucking much. And I am not sure why I laughed.

January 26, 2018
January 25, 2018
[comics] Jamie Delano and Neil Gaiman on the 30-year anniversary of Hellblazer … I can’t believe I picked up the first issue of Hellblazer thirty years ago! ‘Jamie Delano is currently exploring a prose fiction career and his latest novels concern a character called Leepus living in a post-apocalyptic landscape known as Inglund. The books have a lot of synergy with his early Hellblazer work. Has he kept up with Constantine since departing? “My relationship with Constantine was a difficult and intense one,” he says. “Consequently I found it hard to maintain a monthly relationship once I’d abandoned him to the imaginations of others. I’ve dipped in now and again across the years, but inevitably we have drifted apart. I do believe one of the beauties of the complex character we have all jointly created, is his ability to represent, through different aspects of his personality, a diversity of intellectual and creative vision.”‘
January 24, 2018
[onion] Report: Friend Doing Sober January Must Have Really Fucked Shit Up Over Holidays‘I don’t know if it was an out-of-control Christmas party or what, but it obviously rattled the hell out of him. When you ask him about it, he just gets quiet and says something vague about ‘just cooling off for a few weeks,’ which you know means it was something pretty fucking scary.’
January 23, 2018
[lsd] A Fateful Hunt for a Buried Stash of the Greatest LSD Ever Made … a wonderful gonzo tale about the history behind a legendary lost stash of LSD – a gentle Breaking Bad set in Wales in the 1970s. ‘Over the years, Smiles hasn’t featured in any of the books or TV documentaries about Operation Julie, so I assumed he didn’t want to speak about those years any more. But I knew he was still around: I’d heard from a good source that he’d recently appeared at the funeral of one of the other men convicted in the 70s, and that he’d got everyone stoned in the smoking area of the wake. If anyone knew whether there was still some mythical LSD buried in the ground, it would be Smiles. In the end, finding him wasn’t too hard at all, and after a day of correspondence he invited us round for tea.’
January 22, 2018
[wormwood] The Bitter Secret of ‘Wormwood’… Another Look at Errol Morris’ Wormwood. ‘If Morris had simply recounted the facts, even in a way that emphasized the real suffering of the victims, that would have shocked nobody. They are the stuff of every spy movie, a genre that has successfully turned state surveillance and assassinations into seductive excitement. But unlike that genre, Wormwood—a word for a bitter poison, used by Hamlet to describe bitter truths—doesn’t produce dramatic tension by exploiting our desire to be in on the secret. It exposes us to the baser side of that desire: the narcissism, mean-spiritedness, and contempt that are so often the psychological realities of secrecy.’
January 19, 2018
[books] Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham‘I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am!”

January 18, 2018
[tv] The Sopranos to Blackadder – what are the definitive series of the best TV shows? … On Series 4 of Peep Show: ‘The elements that made Peep Show so brilliant are all here: the scene-stealing secondary characters in Super Hans, Sophie and Johnson; dialogue that is clever, funny and contains revelatory human truths. It feels like writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong felt bold enough to push the farce as far as they could. Their skill is making even the most outlandish feat – being an accessory to arson (episode one), eating a dead dog (episode five), urine soaking through the church ceiling on to the hats of wedding goers below (episode six) – feel believable, because we’ve been on the excruciating path that got Mark and Jeremy there.’
January 17, 2018
[comics] Jim Baikie: An Appreciation by Alan Moore … AM remembers the Scottish comic artist Jim Baikie who died last month. ‘It would have been three or four years after that, while attending the second British Comics Convention as a fifteen-year-old in 1969, that I received a proper introduction to Jim’s art – he’d provided the cover for the convention booklet, a Tolkien-esque fantasy image that mid-period Wally Wood would have been proud of – and, thanks to the agency of his fellow young comics professional Steve Moore, a proper introduction to Jim himself: he was much younger than I’d expected from the accomplishment of his artwork, a good-looking and irrepressible man in his twenties who was bursting with good humour and who, at that age, was already cool enough to have played with the Savoy Brown Blues Band (ask your Dad), but was still happy to chat to an infatuated teenager with a bad pudding-basin haircut and an off-putting regional accent.’
January 16, 2018
[comics] Starlord Cover Gallery … a cover gallery for Starlord – a short-lived science-fiction comic from 1978 with some great art from Kevin O’Neill and Carlos Ezquerra …

January 15, 2018
[life] An Open Letter to the Box of Loose Cables in My Closet … a touching letter between a man and his spare cable box. ‘She looks at you and only sees a knot of ethernet cords gripping the backs of forgotten TiVo remotes, but I see much more. I see USB’s and Firewires commingling with DVI’s and IDE’s. Wax-coated earbuds waiting patiently to be called back into service. Half-drained AAA batteries begging to come out of early retirement and give my beard trimmers that last gasp of life. I see possibility. I see potential. I see my own live-in box of technological understudies with solutions at the ready. What would I do without you?’
January 12, 2018
[weird] The human feet that routinely wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest, explained‘Why feet? It turns out that in water, human bodies naturally disarticulate, or come apart at the joints, so hands and feet often disconnect from corpses after soaking in the ocean for a while. “Feet easily disarticulate and when they are attached to a flotation device such as a running shoe, they are easily washed ashore,” wrote Gail Anderson, co-director of the Center for Forensic Research at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, in an email.’
January 11, 2018
[politics] What Putin Really Wants … Some interesting analysis of Vladimir Putin’s motivations and objectives.

A forgery, a couple of groups of hackers, and a drip of well-timed leaks were all it took to throw American politics into chaos. Whether and to what extent the Trump campaign was complicit in the Russian efforts is the subject of active inquiries today. Regardless, Putin pulled off a spectacular geopolitical heist on a shoestring budget—about $200 million, according to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This point is lost on many Americans: The subversion of the election was as much a product of improvisation and entropy as it was of long-range vision. What makes Putin effective, what makes him dangerous, is not strategic brilliance but a tactical flexibility and adaptability—a willingness to experiment, to disrupt, and to take big risks.

“They do plan,” said a senior Obama-administration official. “They’re not stupid at all. But the idea that they have this all perfectly planned and that Putin is an amazing chess player—that’s not quite it. He knows where he wants to end up, he plans the first few moves, and then he figures out the rest later. People ask if he plays chess or checkers. It’s neither: He plays blackjack. He has a higher acceptance of risk. Think about it. The election interference—that was pretty risky, what he did. If Hillary Clinton had won, there would’ve been hell to pay.”

January 10, 2018
[tech] Wikipedia articles invented by a neural network‘Friends and existence. How to draw a coconut. Tree donkey. Category:People who can’t speed.’ [via jwz]
January 9, 2018
[comics] Being Chris Ware … Profile of Chris Ware. ‘Ware has a deadpan self-abnegation that is, by all accounts, genuine. But in such an enormous book as this, which is fairly bursting with photographs of his accomplishments and friends, and all the amazing drawings documenting his rise from lonely, fatherless child to fifty-year-old genius, it does seems a terrific struggle to keep the humble pie hot through 275 pages…’

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