[web] How The Drudge Report Got Popular and Stayed on Top … ‘A big part of the reason he is such an effective aggregator for both audiences and news sites is that he actually acts like one. Behemoth aggregators like Yahoo News and The Huffington Post have become more like fun houses that are easy to get into and tough to get out of. Most of the time, the summary of an article is all people want, and surfers don’t bother to click on the link. But on The Drudge Report, there is just a delicious but bare-bones headline, there for the clicking…’
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[docu] How The ‘Ecosystem’ Myth Has Been Used For Sinister Means … Adam Curtis on the history behind self-organising systems … ‘Field Marshal Smuts was one of the most powerful men in the British empire. He ruled South Africa for the British empire and he exercised power ruthlessly. When the Hottentots refused to pay their dog licences Smuts sent in planes to bomb them. As a result the black people hated him. But Smuts also saw himself as a philosopher – and he had a habit of walking up to the tops of mountains, taking off all his clothes, and dreaming up new theories about how nature and the world worked.’
‘Lund’s appeal perhaps is that she’s not so much a woman in a man’s world as a traditionally male character in a woman’s body – a maverick like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and a frightening obsessive like John Wayne in The Searchers, though neither as self-righteous nor gun-happy as either. She’s a loner guided by a superior intelligence who pursues her investigation ruthlessly, stepping on the toes of town hall politicos and lame-brained bosses alike, treating her male colleague Jan Meyer as part-chump and part-servant, hardly ever sparing the feelings of Nanna Birk Larsen’s bereaved parents when she turns up, Columbo-like, with just one more question.’
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[tech] Information Overload, The Early Years … ‘But around 1500, humanist scholars began to bemoan new problems: Printers in search of profit, they complained, rushed to print manuscripts without attention to the quality of the text, and the sheer mass of new books was distracting readers from the focus on the ancient authors most worthy of attention. Printers “fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libelous, mad, impious and subversive; and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness,” wrote Erasmus in the early 16th century…’
Over the three-day course in Wales, my scepticism drained away entirely and I became a Hare devotee. I think the other sceptics felt the same. He was very convincing. I was attaining a new power, like a secret weapon. I felt like a different person, a hardliner, not confused or out of my depth as I had been when I’d been hanging around with Tony in Broadmoor. Instead, I was contemptuous of those naive people who allowed themselves to be taken in by slick-tongued psychopaths.
My mind drifted to what I could do with my new powers. If I’m being honest, it didn’t cross my mind to become some kind of great crime fighter, philanthropically dedicated to making society a safer place. Instead, I made a mental list of all the people who over the years had crossed me and wondered which of them I might be able to expose as having psychopathic character traits. Top of the list was AA Gill, who had always been very rude about my television documentaries and had written a restaurant column in which he admitted to killing a baboon on safari.
“Item 8 Callous/lack of empathy,” I thought, and smiled to myself.’
[apocalypse] Bullets That We’ve Dodged As A Species … Philip Greenspun provides a list of predicted catastrophes that didn’t happen … ‘Famine – Environmentalist Lester Brown predicted imminent famine in 1974, 1981, 1984, 1989, 1994, and 2007, in a 1967 book titled Famine, 1975!, and by MacArthur genius Paul Ehrlich in a 1968 book The Population Bomb (repeated, but without a predicted date, in a 2008 book, The Dominant Animal).’ [via Jorn Barger]
[lifehacks] F.lux … nice little software programme that automatically adjusts the colour of your computer display for the time of day – less harsh at night, brighter during the day. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
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June 12, 2011
[funny] Arty Bollocks Generator … Create an instant artistic mission statement with no effort … ‘My work explores the relationship between acquired synesthesia and emotional memories. With influences as diverse as Wittgenstein and John Lennon, new synergies are crafted from both simple and complex meanings…’
[crime] The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist … Another must-read stranger-than-fiction true crime story … ‘If Wells did as he was told, the instructions promised, he’d wind up with the keys and the combination required to free him from the bomb. Failure or disobedience would result in certain death. “There is only one way you can survive and that is to cooperate completely,” the notes read in meticulous lettering that would later stymie handwriting analysis. “This powerful, booby-trapped bomb can be removed only by following our instructions… ACT NOW, THINK LATER OR YOU WILL DIE!” It seemed that whoever planned the robbery had also constructed a nightmarish scavenger hunt for Wells, in which the prize was his life.’
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June 15, 2011
[dailyfail] Istyosty.com … A handy proxy website which allows you to visit and link to the Daily Mail without giving them any traffic or accepting any advertising they may send your way whilst browsing.
[comics] “When I first heard about virtual reality I thought: is there any other kind?” … Alan Moore interview from the New Statesman … Moore on Books: ‘I accept that things change and that the future of reading might be in the form of a Kindle or an iPad, but somehow I tend to think that the book is perfectly adapted. It’s like a shark; sharks haven’t evolved in millions of years because they don’t need to. They’re really really good at being sharks I think the same is true of a book.’
Weiner needed a more private channel of communication for flirtations up to and including pictures of his package. Since the women followed him already, he could send them direct messages. But to receive their replies, he had to follow them in return. Only then could he engage in flirting or sexual repartee.
Weiner seemed not to realize the extent to which Twitter’s rules still made him vulnerable. The women were publicly listed among those accounts he followed. Since he only followed around 200 people, these new followers seemed out of place among the politicians, journalists, and celebrities on his list. It was all too easy for a political foe to notice that Weiner was adding young women (and in at least one case, a porn star) to his followers soon after a public exchange.’
[press] Will The Guardian bring down Rupert Murdoch? … ‘It is, frankly, an amazing story. The indomitable patriarch who will shortly be forced to plead age and infirmity; his headstrong son whose eagerness to do what his father would have done will shortly doom him; the loyalists who will unquestionably fall on their swords; an upending of the moral landscape in which the miscreants once happily functioned; and the virtuous newspaper, perhaps the last great newspaper, with a last great editor, who, long waiting for and never believing it would get such an opportunity, now has the devil in its sights.’
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[books] Kevin Kelly On When Books Disappear:‘We are in a special moment that will not last beyond the end of this century: Paper books are plentiful. They are cheap and everywhere, from airports to drug stores to libraries to bookstores to the shelves of millions of homes. There has never been a better time to be a lover of paper books. But very rapidly the production of paper books will essentially cease, and the collections in homes will dwindle, and even local libraries will not be supported to house books — particularly popular titles. Rare books will collect in a few rare book libraries, and for the most part common paper books archives will become uncommon. It seems hard to believe now, but within a few generations, seeing a actual paper book will be as rare for most people as seeing an actual lion.’
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[books] The 100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books … ‘After keen debate at the Guardian’s books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing, organised by category, and then by date.’
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June 25, 2011
[comics] Garen Ewing: from a Golden Age to a rainbow orchid … missed this when it was first published: comic creator Garen Ewing interviwed by Mondoagogo … ‘One of my very favourite comics was, and is, Charley’s War, but I’m not certain that I feel particularly influenced by Pat Mills — but I’m sure it must be there in the mix to some degree. What child that grew up in the 1970s and went on to make their own comics doesn’t have Pat Mills in there somewhere?!’
[internet] Social Fax Machines … James Shelley On Social Media … ‘Imagine that you were one of 300 people with fax machines. Each one of you program your respective machines to carbon copy every fax to all 299 other machines. Then, together, you go about your day diligently reading the faxes that pour in.’ [via Sore Eyes]
[tv] How to be… a Top Gear presenter … ‘The key attribute required of a Top Gear presenter is unerring devotion to the idea of the car as history’s most perfect vehicle. This devotion must be so irrational that, if anyone dares to suggest something is better than a car – perhaps a boat, or a train, or a BMX, or a bobsleigh, or a jet fighter – you must feel compelled to immediately challenge one to a race.’