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September 27, 2021
[moore] How Alan Moore ripped James Bond to shreds … A deep dive into Alan Moore’s loathing for James Bond. ‘I admire how completely Moore vivisects the iconography of 007. The Craig films tend to get discussed as darker or more humane variations on the James Bond theme, but he’s still a guy who saves the world, leaving a trail of weird foreigners and attractive corpses behind him. I’ve noticed a general growing tendency in film criticism to give every reboot several benefits of doubt, with a baked-in assumption that any three-decade-later legacy sequel or recast reboot is obviously expressing something thoughtful about a franchise’s troubled legacy. With Jimmy, Moore seems to say: Cut the crap. This stuff is rotten, and making it look young and cool again won’t make it any less rotten.’
September 24, 2021
September 20, 2021
[columbo] Celebrating Murder by the Book’s 50th anniversary … A look back at the first episode of Columbo. ‘However, what most makes Murder by the Book sing is the presence of Jack Cassidy as the ultimate foil to the scruffy Columbo. His Ken Franklin is urbane, stylish, arrogant, extroverted – and utterly heartless. Yet being a double murderer never seemed such fun given Cassidy’s gleeful wickedness that makes him one of the series’ most cherished guest stars. Cassidy is my favourite Columbo guest star killer of all. I rate many others extremely highly, but Cassidy had the X-factor and was the absolutely perfect choice to play Franklin. Just as Donald Pleasence was born to play Adrian Carsini in Any Old Port in a Storm, no one could have embodied Franklin better than Cassidy. His contrast to the earthy Falk makes their every encounter absolutely zing.’
September 15, 2021
[comics] Jonathan Ross in conversation with Alan Moore … a long forgotten interview from 2002.

MOORE: Swamp Thing is probably more of a template for the Vertigo books than Watchmen was, but with Swamp Thing, you’ve got all these stories which are really horrible, really grim and really depressing… but then you’ll have these little stories like the Swamp Sex Issue, a love poem more or less.

ROSS: Yeah, some of them were quite light.

MOORE: In a way it’s crueler, if you give people a love poem they’ll numb out and switch off… it keeps the horror fresh if you…

ROSS: …give a little taste of sorbet in between the death and desolation.

MOORE: You feel the pain much greater…

September 14, 2021
[wikipedia] One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia … A fascinating look at how lots of Nazi history on Wikipedia is essentially fanfiction and the difficulties in clearing it up. ‘In the spring of 2016, Coffman goes through hundreds of articles about the winners of various Nazi medals, including one called the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. She removes biased sources and any information based on those sources. When she is done, typically, there is nothing left to the article—nothing to say about the person—other than the fact that he won an award. She then insists that an award isn’t reason enough for a stand-alone Wikipedia article. Without a reliable source telling your life story, you can’t be notable. Poof. Another Nazi legend bites the dust.’
September 13, 2021
[comics] Ten Days of Steve Ditko … Arlen Schumer’s collection of ten key comic images from Steve Ditko.

September 9, 2021
[web] Why are hyperlinks blue? … a deep-dive into the history of web browser user interfaces. ‘We’ve now been able to narrow down the time frame for the blue hyperlink’s origin. WWW, the first browser, was created in 1987 and was black and white. We know that Mosaic was released on January 23, 1993 and was credited as being the first browser with blue hyperlinks. So far, we have been unable to find blue being used for hyperlinks in any interface before 1987, but as color monitors become more available and interfaces start to support color, things change quickly…’
September 6, 2021
[covid-19] Oh My Fucking God, Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks‘Oh, you’re afraid of fucking side effects? Fuck you. You know what has fucking side effects? Fucking aspirin, fucking Tylenol. You could be fucking allergic to pineapple, you fucking fuckwit. Everything has side effects. You’re being a big fucking baby with a huge diaper full of fucking diarrhea, complaining about maybe feeling slightly tired for a day or two while your asymptomatic COVID case you get and pass to some innocent fucking kid could wind up killing them or someone else. Fuck you, you fucking selfish fucking shit-banana, you unredeemable ass-caterpillar, you fucking fuck-knob with two fucks for eyes and a literal poop where your heart should be. ‘
September 2, 2021
[people] Michael Gove is Raving … from Mitch Benn.

August 31, 2021
[retro] Behind the scenes at Atari … A look back at the wild, early days of Atari. ‘It was during the birthday celebration of a VP who shall remain nameless, but it might have been the one who used to keep a canister of nitrous oxide and another of pure oxygen in his office. The nitrous oxide was for getting high and laughing some time away, while the oxygen was used for rapid sobering up in the event a spontaneous meeting was called (which happened regularly at Atari). As the party raged on, a small crew of revellers migrated to the small but accommodating hot tub room…’
August 24, 2021
[movies] 31 Things We Learned from Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ Commentary‘Paranoid schizophrenics often look for messages in between the lines of signals, so that’s why Dollarhyde’s TV has the vertical hold out of sync. “It may be a completely meaningless detail to discover.”’
August 23, 2021
[netflix] Self-Learning Netflix Algorithm Produces Jeffrey Dahmer Stand-Up Special‘“Our proprietary algorithm has always served our viewers the most engaging content possible, and we’re thrilled to announce its latest creation, Jeffrey Dahmer: Losing It!” said Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who shared his hopes that the infamous serial killer’s “incisive and unapologetic takes on relationships, cannibalism, the working life, drinking, necrophilia, and human dissection” would have viewers “unable to turn away” from their screens. ‘
August 20, 2021
[food] Meat-rich diet of 14th-century monks caused digestive issues, research finds … Important historical research into medieval monks laxtative recipes. ‘There is a laxative recipe featuring various fruit extracts. Or a monk can perhaps feel better if they “take a pese of soepe, make hit smale and putt it yn youre fundamewnt and then rest upon your bed”. Carter said he had no intention of trying out the recipes, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were highly effective”.’
August 19, 2021
[movies] Nestflix … A pretend streaming website showing fake TV shows and movies shown within real TV shows and movies. So well done!

August 17, 2021
[lego] How Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick … A look at the progress Lego are making in creating recycled plastic bricks. ‘The key here is, out of the 3,500 or so different shapes Lego produces, the 2 x 4 brick is one of the most popular it. If the company can replace such a component with a recycled plastic version, it will have a significant impact of the environmental goal of Lego to be using fully sustainable materials in its products by 2030. “We have what we call ‘high runners,’” says Brooks. For example, we know that most sets will have a 2 x 4, certainly we know pretty much every set will have a 1 x 1 dot. That is by far the most common brick that we make.”‘
August 13, 2021
[movies] RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film … A deep dive into the structure of the original Robocop movie. ‘I have no idea if the makers of RoboCop intended for it to be so symmetrical. The fact that they accomplished this feat while still making a fast-paced action film that never feels like it’s repeating itself is simply amazing.’
August 12, 2021
[windows] What are the cool tools to install for windows? … Reddit discuss Windows apps. Mine are: Notepad++, 7zip and Irfanview.
August 11, 2021
[tech] Why CAPTCHA Pictures Are So Unbearably Depressing‘Here’s the thing, ultimately, about Google’s CAPTCHA images: They weren’t taken by humans, and they weren’t taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google’s CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.’
August 10, 2021
[comics] Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List … Great list of recommended comics from Stephen L. Holland. ‘To reach new people accessibility is all, so this isn’t a guide to the cleverest comics ever created (although they are all exceptionally clever); it’s a selection of the very finest and most beguiling which have proved to be perfect introductions to those curious about comics during my 25+ years as curator of Page 45, so often kick-starting a lifetime’s newfound adoration and exploration of our beloved medium.’
August 9, 2021
[life] Fake iceberg injures guests at Titanic museum‘In the most compelling evidence to date that the universe is controlled by a malevolent overlord who takes sick joy in our species’ misfortunes, visitors at a Titanic museum in Tennessee have been injured after a fake iceberg fell on them…’
August 5, 2021
[movies] The Story Behind That Richard Nixon-RoboCop Photo‘Hopefully for Nixon, his appearance fee for the December event made up for the fact that he didn’t even get to meet the real RoboCop. When asked in a recent email if he ever shook (held?) hands with the president, actor Peter Weller confirmed that he “never met him.”’

When Richard Nixon met Robocopy

August 4, 2021
[music] New Order’s 30 greatest tracks – ranked!‘Fine Time (1989) – A baffling choice for a first single from Technique – largely instrumental, not much of a melody – Fine Time is still impossibly exciting: an urgent, clattering rhythm track, acid house squelches, sampled voices. Steve “Silk” Hurley’s remix turned it into streamlined, straightforward house music, but the idiosyncrasies of New Order’s approach to the genre are part of the appeal.’
August 2, 2021
[apollo] Here’s an unprecedented look at Apollo 13’s damaged service module / Apollo 13: Enhanced images reveal life on stricken spacecraft … Ars Technica and BBC News takes a look at a collection of digitally remastered photos from the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. ‘While working on Apollo 13 images, Saunders said he was struck by how calm Lovell and the other two crew members, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, appear. Much of the film he worked on was shot in the lunar module, after the oxygen tank exploded. The crew was exhausted, it was cold, and the astronauts found themselves in the gravest of situations. And yet they appeared to be in good spirits.’
July 30, 2021
[tv] Columbo: an origin story … A look at the early origins of the TV detective series and the three versions of Columbo. ‘It became a case of third time lucky for Levinson and Link (and the Lieutenant) when they heard Universal were on the lookout for good mystery scripts in 1967. The Prescription: Murder teleplay was duly picked up by the studio, but who to cast as Columbo – a character more pivotal to the story than originally intended? Lee J. Cobb, then in his 50s, is said to have been the first choice, but his schedule was too full to allow it. Bing Crosby was famously offered the role but turned it down as he was enjoying retirement (and the lure of the golf links) too much. Instead, and despite reservations about him being ‘too young’, Levinson and Link turned to Peter Falk, who had just turned 40. Filming wrapped up in late 1967. The rest, as they say, is history.’
July 29, 2021
[metafilter] What are some impeccably designed, everyday, simple objects? … I always find something interesting in these lists – and TIL that the British plug is a design classic.
July 28, 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis Knows Exactly What’s Wrong With Right Now … The documenatary filmaker is interviewed about his latest series Can’t Get You Out of My Head.

In his new epic series, Curtis pulls together such disparate threads as Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, the stoner duo who created the Illuminati conspiracy theory, Tupac Shakur, and Dominic Cummings. Through these personal histories – and many, many, more – the six-part film picks apart the rise of individualism, the fall of democracy, failed revolutions and corrupt systems of power, the addictive nature of social media and the combined psychological impact all of that has had on us.

If that particular synopsis makes it sound like the whole world is burning, while we sit helplessly and watch, Curtis wants you to know that is not his intention at all. While there are several points in the documentary that have quite nihilistic undertones, he directs me to the opening quote in the first film, by anthropologist David Graeber: “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is just something we make, and could just as easily make something different.”

July 27, 2021
[music] How we made Beat Dis by Bomb the Bass … Tim Simenon: ‘I grabbed a smiley face image from Alan Moore’s Watchmen for the sleeve and it transformed into this symbol for acid house which threw me off as it was never my intention. I would always struggle when people said: “You’re acid house.” Bomb the Bass was a lot of different things thrown together at once – there didn’t seem to be a name for that.’
July 26, 2021
[funny] Effin’ Birds … Twitter’s rudest birds.

July 21, 2021
[apollo] Alan Shepard smacked golf balls on the Moon — and now we know where they landed … It turns out that golf on the Moon is harder than you’d imagine. ‘Image specialist Andy Saunders recently analyzed archival stills taken by the astronauts with their Hasselblad cameras, as well as video from the lunar ascent module as it lifted off from the surface. Saunders managed to identify not only Shepard’s golf balls, but also his footprints from his stance and his divots. By comparing these to more recent satellite images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Saunders was able to measure the distance on Shepard’s second shot. The result? A rather tame 40 yards (120 feet).’
July 20, 2021
[lifehacks] The Simple Genius of Checklists, from B-17 to the Apollo Missions‘Checklists proliferated to every corner of habitable environment of Apollo 11 and became what astronaut Michael Collins called the spacecraft’s “fourth crew member” – and, for all intents and purposes, its real commander. Checklists even covered their spacesuits, for example, the left gloves of Armstrong and Aldrin.’