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August 6, 2012
[sex] Fifty Shades Generator … an incredibly NSFW Lorem Ipsum generator producing text in the style of 50 Shades of Grey … ‘ I awoke the next morning with my bearded haddock pasty still flowing. I thought it was over but his washington monument had other ideas.’
August 7, 2012
[comics] 40 MORE Of The Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings … more selections of the most awful comic art from Rob Liefeld… ‘Do you know how many drawings a comic book artist pumps out over the course of 20 years? SO MANY DRAWINGS. So the truth of the matter is that there can never truly be a 40 “Worst” Rob Liefeld drawings until the dude is dead and gone and his remains have been blasted into the sun in a gold-plated space shuttle with diamond-encrusted control panel. Maybe not even then. There are so many awful Liefeld drawings that B and I could probably do a list of 40 every other month, forever.’
[security] How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking … a sobering look at how one man’s digital life – Google Account, Apple Account – was compromised and his iPhone and Mac were remotely wiped … ‘I asked him why. Was I targeted specifically? Was this just to get to Gizmodo’s Twitter account? No, Phobia said they hadn’t even been aware that my account was linked to Gizmodo’s, that the Gizmodo linkage was just gravy. He said the hack was simply a grab for my three-character Twitter handle. That’s all they wanted. They just wanted to take it, and fuck shit up, and watch it burn. It wasn’t personal.’
August 8, 2012
[politics] So, bumbling Boris Johnson is lovable and funny? Well, have I got news for you … What is Boris Johnson really like? … ‘[Max] Hastings, who has known him for nearly 30 years, still has affection for his former protege but has also sounded warnings about his unsuitability to become PM, not least because of his “startling flashes of instability”. To those who have worked closely with Johnson, his outbursts of temper are notorious; even his sister, Rachel, describes his approach to those who dare to criticise him as “Sicilian”. Female members of the London Assembly have lodged a formal complaint about his offensive conduct.’
August 9, 2012
[comics] Alan Moore: one of the finest exponents of the comic book art form to have ever lived. … another Alan Moore interview – this time from Nottingham’s Leftlion website …

Q: You’ve always refused to put your name to film adaptions of your work. I know this is going to be hard to put a figure on, but how much money do you think you’ve turned down, for taking a moral standpoint on this?

Alan: Well, they asked me if they could give me a huge amount of money to bring out these Watchmen prequel comics – which they were going to do anyway – and that was probably a couple of million dollars. I should imagine with all of the films it would be another few million? In a way it’s really empowering to do that.

You can’t buy that kind of empowerment. To just know that as far as you are aware, you have not got a price; that there is not an amount of money large enough to make you compromise even a tiny bit of principle that, as it turned out, would make no practical difference anyway. I’d advise everyone to do it, otherwise you’re going to end up mastered by money and that’s not a thing you want ruling your life. Money’s fine if it enables you to enjoy your life and to be useful to other people. But as something that is a means to an end, no, it’s useless.

August 10, 2012
[comics] Against Pussiness: An Interview with Howard Chaykin … A fascinating (and indiscreet) interview with Howard Chaykin … ‘I have a very strange reputation, because in the fans, I’m regarded as an obnoxious asshole, and yet – [raised eyebrows] oh no, they say it, trust me. Believe me, I have no illusions or confusions about who I am – while, in the context of the profession, I’m regarded as a go-to guy that can be depended on all the time, and it’s a very different relationship. And I’m more interested in being well-received by my colleagues and my employers – my clients – than I am that I give a shit about the fans. I mean, I was a fan. I have a picture of myself at 17. I weighed 265 pounds, and I was that kid. I was those guys. But I’ve learned a certain distance. I said once that for comic-book readers, it’s every Wednesday at the book store, for me it’s every morning on my desk. And that makes a difference in the relationship. But I love the process, enormously. I’m very… I am so grateful.’
August 14, 2012
[history] Alcatraz Escapees’ Tale Still Captivates, 50 Years Later … Did the only three men to ever escape from Alcatraz make it?… ‘At Alcatraz — onetime home to notorious inmates like gangster Al Capone and Robert Stroud, who came to be known as the Birdman of Alcatraz — Morris and the Anglins spent 18 months preparing for the breakout. They stitched together 50 prison-issued WWII-era raincoats, cotton with rubber backing, into a raft and life vests. They chiseled through the walls with spoons and other kitchen utensils. A hollow space above the cellblock served as a storage area for tools and the decoy heads, which they crafted from barbershop hair, plaster and paint. On the night of June 11, 1962, each man wriggled through his own chiseled shaft into a utility corridor and then onto the prison roof. They shimmied down a pipe, climbed two barbed wire fences and launched the boat into the dark waters…’
August 15, 2012
[life] The ‘Busy’ Trap … Why being busy all the time is bad for us … ‘Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.’
[war] War Sand … an interesting look at the microscopic remanants of WWII left on the beaches of Normandy …

Archaeology magazine highlights the presence of spherical magnetic shards—remnants of the D-Day operations of World War II—found hidden amongst natural sand grains on the beaches of Normandy. “Up to 4 percent of the sand is made up of this shrapnel,” the article states; however, “waves, storms, and rust will probably wipe this microscopic archaeology from the coast in another hundred years.”

August 16, 2012
[books] Fifteen Shades of Grey :: A Digested Read … Fifty Shades of Grey in 15 sentences … ‘I’ll agree to the fisting…’
August 17, 2012
[space] Alone in the Void … On the meaning of Voyager 1

Even if we could find a way to increase the speed of our spacecraft a hundredfold — about the same ratio of speeds between a horse-drawn cart and a 747 jet plane — they would still take almost a thousand years to reach nearby stars, and as long to return. And while exciting theoretical research is under way into pilotless probes to the stars, the real possibility of large-scale human interstellar culture is considerably less thrilling.

Think about it. No salvation from population pressure on the shores of alien worlds. No release from the threats of biosphere degradation in the promise of new biospheres. No escape from our own destructive tendencies by spreading out among the stars like seedpods in the wind. For as many epochs in the future as there are epochs of human history in the past, we may simply have to make do, get by with what we have and, in the end, learn to get along.

August 20, 2012
[comics] ‘Jesus, What Is It Now?’ Says Man Putting Down Swamp Thing Comic To Answer Phone Call From Wife

Throughout the brief phone call, Bogen repeatedly said “uh-huh” as he scanned the story that showed Swamp Thing ripping gigantic, finger-like roots from the earth and causing the lake to empty out and wash away the vampires in a rush of water.

“Yes, I am listening,” added Bogen, focusing entirely on Alan Moore’s prose, which switched the point of view to the pained thoughts of the vampires as the surging water peeled the rotted flesh from their skeletons. “Of course I want to hear about it.”

“Tell me when you get home,” Bogen added.

August 21, 2012
[space] Voyager at 35: Break on Through to the Other Side‘Voyager 2 became the longest-operating spacecraft on Aug. 13, 2012, surpassing Pioneer 6, which launched on Dec. 16, 1965, and sent its last signal back to NASA’s Deep Space Network on Dec. 8, 2000. (It operated for 12,758 days.)’
August 22, 2012
[funny] Jacob Von Hogflume Blue Plaque‘Inventor Of Time Travel’

Jacob Von Hogflume Blue Plaque

August 23, 2012
[murder] The Unsolved Murder Of Julia Wallace … Fascinating story of an unresolved very English murder from the 1930s … ‘‘The Wallace case of 1931 is regarded as the classic English whodunnit, a labyrinth of clues and false trails leading everywhere except, it seems, to the identity of the murderer… The setting is wintrily provincial, the milieu lower middle-class, the style threadbare domestic. J.B. Priestley’s fog-filled Liverpool remembrance of “trams going whining down long sad roads” is the quintessence of it. Events turn tantalisingly on finical questions of time and distance; knuckle-headed police jostle with whistling street urchins for star billing, while at the centre of the drama stands the scrawny, inscrutable figure of the accused man, William Herbert Wallace, the Man from The Pru…’ (Roger Wilkes, editor, The Mammoth Book of Unsolved Crimes, 2005)’
August 24, 2012
[life] Why Only Yuppies Feel Busy: An Economic Theory‘We all live on two things: time and money. And people who have extra income don’t get much, if any, extra time to spend it. As a result, Hamermesh argues, each of their hours seems more valuable, and they feel the clock ticking away more acutely. Much the way it’s more stressful to order dinner from a menu with 100 items than 10, choosing between a night at the symphony, seats at the hot new play, or tickets to Woody Allen’s latest flick is in some senses more stressful than knowing you’ll have to save money by staying in for the evening.’
[politics] Britannia Unchained: the rise of the new Tory right … The Guardian profiles a group of right-wing Tories and wonders if history ever repeats itself … ‘In radical right circles, it is strikingly common to hear comparisons between Cameron’s government and that of his Tory predecessor Edward Heath: narrowly elected in 1970, briefly tough before a chaos of U-turns, replaced in 1974 by an often equally beleaguered Labour administration – before the right’s big moment finally arrived in 1979, with Thatcher’s election. If history repeats, which it rarely does exactly, we should expect the Unchaining of Britannia to commence in 2019.’
August 25, 2012
[comics] I wonder if they’ll call it “Heckblazer.” … Mike Sterling on what might happen to Hellblazer after issue 300 … ‘I suspect this series, now DC’s highest numbered series being published, is getting a little long in the tooth in this era of digital sales and reboots and people wanting to be able to get the “whole” story right away rather than just jumping in and hanging on. The recent retooling of the Hellblazer trade paperback line, reprinting all the issues in consecutive order in books with actual volume numbers on the spine, is a start in rebuilding some readership, I suppose, but I think a restart after 300 is within the realm of possibility.’
August 26, 2012
[movies] The legacy of British director and minor Hollywood legend Tony Scott … Alex Pappademas sums up Tony Scott … ‘2005’s spastic, pummeling Domino is probably the best example of how the New Jitteriness freed up Scott to make his movies that much more Tony Scott–like, and it’s thrilling, at least until it wears out your last neurotransmitter. 2004’s Man on Fire is even better, a biblical revenge flick in which Scott uses every image-destabilizing technique in his utility belt to put you right in damaged mercenary Denzel’s increasingly unhinged head space. The colors are gorgeous, too — it’s easily the most ravishingly beautiful movie ever made in which the hero kills another character by sticking an explosive device up that character’s ass.’
August 28, 2012
[space] Was Neil Armstrong a real hero?‘The weekend’s retelling of the 1969 moon landing reminded us just how risky it was and how Armstrong’s quick wits and calmness saved the day. The Eagle landing craft contained no more computer power than a modern washing machine, and was heading slightly off course for the rocks when Armstrong took over the controls manually. He landed with 20 seconds’ worth of fuel, and got the Eagle back up again to rendezvous with Apollo 11. There was no backup plan, no way of rescuing the crew. Sitting in the co-pilot’s seat with his spear (well, you never know, do you?), even Achilles might have been grudgingly impressed, though Armstrong’s lack of melodrama would have annoyed him. And therein perhaps lies the clincher for Armstrong’s heroic status. No boasting, no bullying, just a soft-spoken man who insisted he was only doing his job.’
August 29, 2012
[comics] The Adventures Of Sexy Batman

Sexy Batman and Catwoman

August 30, 2012
[comics] Some Thoughts on David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again Artist’s Edition‘This is a book made more for looking than for reading, I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s Miller’s finest application of his hard boiled noir obsession to comic book heroes. There’s an emotional intelligence here that immerses us in the particular world being depicted, so that the characters around Daredevil, particularly the writer Ben Urich, assume primary importance. Urich is intimidated, his wife is nearly killed, and finally he himself kills, all in harrowing detail, and all because of the ripples from his subject’s actions. Yes, the Catholic redemption of Daredevil is important, but nothing is more (to use Mazzucchelli’s phrase in his introduction) gut-wrenching than watching the smashed up lives of the minor characters.’
August 31, 2012
[comics] Thirteen Comics Purchases You Can Make For The Same Price As Buying Before Watchmen As Serial Comics … some interesting ideas for new comics to explore from Tom Spurgeon‘I’m hoping to engage a broader point about what comics cost and what is presented to us as something to buy. $145 at the comics shop is what one of the major players in the market is telling me is a worthwhile way to spend my money. Here are 13 other pretty casually gathered-together options for that same outlay.’