[religion] God Watches You Google … a religious blog poses the question of how we should feel about the morality (or lack of) displayed in our search requests …
This woman goes from searching about pregnancy, to realizing that the father does not want to keep the baby, to researching abortion clinics, to researching whether she can, according to her faith, choose abortion, to dealing with a miscarriage. And at the end of it all, life goes on and she seems ready to be married.
What is so amazing about these searches is the way people transition seamlessly from the normal and mundane to the outrageous and perverse. They are, thus, an apt reflection of real life. The user who is in one moment searching for information about a computer game may in the next be looking for the most violent pornography he can imagine. Back and forth it goes…
[quote] Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72:
On page 39 of California Living magazine I found a hand-lettered ad from the McDonald’s Hamburger Corporation, one of Nixon’s big contributors in the ’72 presidential campaign: PRESS ON, it said. NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF PERSISTENCE. TALENT WILL NOT: NOTHING IS MORE COMMON THAN UNSUCCESSFUL MEN WITH TALENT. GENIUS WILL NOT: UNREWARDED GENIUS IS ALMOST A PROVERB. EDUCATION ALONE WILL NOT: THE WORLD IS FULL OF EDUCATED DERELICTS. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE OMNIPOTENT. I read it several times before I grasped the full meaning.
[quote] ‘The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.’ — Scott Adams, Crazy or Disciplined?
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[quote] ‘Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There’s genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ’s sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can’t find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don’t know crap about life.’ — Robert McKee in Adaptation.
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[quote] ‘What’ll it be next? Choice extracts from the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations? Trotting out the Nietzsche and the Shelley to dignify some old costumed claptrap? Probably. Sometimes you wonder, in an interconnected universe, who’s dreaming who? — Grant Morrison.
Indeed, [Microsoft] the company that won last decade’s browser war has a best-served-cold approach to search, an eerie certainty that at some point, people are going to want more than what Google’s algorithm can provide. “If we don’t have a paradigm shift, it’s going to be very, very difficult to compete with the current winners,” says Harry Shum, Microsoft’s head of core search development. “But our view is that there will be a paradigm shift.”
[comics] Wilson … Tom Spurgeon produces the first review of Wilson – Dan Clowes latest comic … ‘It’s Clowes being Clowes, and Wilson all by itself makes 2010 a pretty good year for comics no matter what happens from here on out.’
[internet] In Praise of Online Obscurity … ‘In 2007, [Maureen Evans] began a nifty project: tweeting recipes, each condensed to 140 characters. She soon amassed 3,000 followers, but her online life still felt like a small town: Among the regulars, people knew each other and enjoyed conversing. But as her audience grew and grew, eventually cracking 13,000, the sense of community evaporated. People stopped talking to one another or even talking to her. “It became dead silence,” she marvels. Why? Because socializing doesn’t scale…’
[wisdom] Malcolm Tucker on Bloggers: ‘I read all the blogs because I’m an under-employed fat fucking loser with nothing better to do with my time than sit in my bedroom like a fat space hopper in a tracksuit reading inconsequential, un-spellchecked shit, fabricated by other fat fucking losers.’
He was the existential loner outcast from society who sought solace by riding the waves (the Silver Surfer). He was the military industrial complex (Nick Fury). He was the hippies who rejected the Cold War consensus, and wanted to create their own counterculture (the Forever People). He was the artist who tried to escape his degrading background (Mister Miracle). He was feminism (Big Barda). He was Nixon and the religious right (Darkseid and Glorious Godfrey).
[comics] Wally Wood Should Have Beaten Them All … overview of the comics career of artist Wally Wood … ‘Wood was a tremendously ambitious journeyman. He had a genius and a love for a medium that, until recently, ground down its abundant geniuses, celebrating creation while pointedly not rewarding the creator.’
…you can tell the abductees are lying or delusional because their descriptions of the aliens and their craft are always so unimaginative. As he writes in The Eerie Silence, the giveaway is the banality of the aliens’ putative agenda, which seems to consist of grubbing around in fields or meadows, chasing cows or cars like bored teenagers, and abducting humans for Nazi-style experiments.
Nixon: I do not mind the homosexuality. I understand it. (14-second beep to hide personal information) But nevertheless, the point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify on public television homosexuality… even more than you glorify whores. Now we all know that people go to whores. …we all have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? What do you think that does to 11 and 12 year old boys when they see that? …You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.
Ehrlichman: But he never had the influence that television had.
Now, at this distance, I realise Venables is nearly 30. I find the confluence, if that’s the word, of his ruination and my visibility disturbing. At some level, I will always feel I could have been Venables and the more opportunity I get to make myself understood, the more it becomes obvious that he will never escape condemnation, the thing John Major called for more of in his statement at the time of the trial. I have dreams about the boys, and sometimes dream I am the person in the CCTV footage who walks past them with a shopping bag at the exact moment they abducted James. I can see the butcher’s shop where James’s mother is waiting for her change; I see the floor tiles reflecting shadows and hear the mall’s muzak bending sinister as the shoppers go about their business. I hear the echoing swimming-pool clamour of the ordinary day about to go wrong…
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24 March 2010
[mars] Abstract And Affecting, The New Mars Pictures Are A Confrontation With The Sublime … Sam Leith On Photographs Of Mars… ‘These photographs inspire not only awe and wonder, but also a sort of longing. None of us alive at this moment – possibly no human ever – will see these landscapes with our own eyes. And yet here are the pictures. For me, they have the same effect as great paintings or photographs – a feeling that something impossible has been made present, while remaining just out of reach.’
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25 March 2010
[work] Intranet Secrets … ‘Our most popular intranet blog post ever was a rant that complained about the queuing system at the supermarket next door. It had even more hits than when we announced the bonus payment.’
[morris] New Details on Errol Morris’ Next Documentary, Tabloid … ‘His next film, Tabloid, is a considerable departure from his previous film, Standard Operating Procedure, and centers on the fascinating figure of former Miss Wyoming, convicted rapist, and dog-cloning supporter Joyce McKinney.’