December 2, 2013
[lego] How to build a Lego Monolith Anomaly
… a brief guide to building the Monolith from 2001
… ‘A scaled down Lego Monolith Anomaly (LMA) would be 7 1/2 units high but there are no 1/2 height pieces. Flat Lego pieces are 1/3 height. I find coupling 7 standard 1×4 bricks with 2 flat 1×4 pieces to be the most geometrically sound.’
December 3, 2013
[funny] Man Smoking E-Cigarette Must Be Futuristic Bounty Hunter
… ‘Sources told reporters that the man, who inhaled deeply on the mechanized smoking apparatus, causing the tip to glow a bright cobalt hue, probably traveled back in time to track down a deadly fugitive hiding in the early 21st century or something. Reports further indicated that the person, who in all likelihood is a futuristic soldier of fortune with off-world military training, stared off into the distance, scanning the building across the street with what must be enhanced optical implants to locate an elusive outlaw’s bio-signature, then exhaled what appeared to be an odorless vapor.’
December 5, 2013
[cthulhu] Alexis Madrigal on Big Data and H.P. Lovecraft: ‘…data is merciless. It will correlate all its contents. And then what?’
December 6, 2013
[politics] Ten political assumptions
… a list of assumptions that drive much thinking within the political mainstream … ‘Devaluing professional autonomy and ethics. The counterpart of the elevation of management is – in schools, universities and hospitals – a denigration of traditional professional standards and ethics.’
December 9, 2013
[mobiles] The Second Operating System Hiding in Every Mobile Phone
… all your worst fears about computer/phone security are true … ‘So, we have a complete operating system, running on an ARM processor, without any exploit mitigation (or only very little of it), which automatically trusts every instruction, piece of code, or data it receives from the base station you’re connected to. What could possibly go wrong? ‘
December 10, 2013
[lovecraft] Charlie Stross on what scared H. P. Lovecraft
… ‘I believe that Lovecraft’s sense of cosmological dread emerged from the exponential expansion and recomplication of the universe he lived in—it eerily prefigures the appeal of today’s singularitarian fiction, which depends for its dizzying affect on a similar exponential growth curve. Lovecraft interpreted the expansion of his universe as a thing of horror, a changing cosmic scale factor that ground humanity down into insignificance.’
December 11, 2013
[comics] Eddie Campbell on From Hell and The From Hell Companion
… interviewed by Pádraig Ó Méalóid … ‘From Hell is like a huge big machine with a nice clean orderly front panel. And when you unscrew it and take that off, beneath it you see a complex of wires and cogs and moving parts caked with lubricant. That’s the Companion. After only seeing the front panel for years, this new version of the machine makes the whole thing interesting in ways you never thought of before.’
December 16, 2013
[funny] 55 Sensational TV Screenshots
… … ‘Man With Bizarre Name Arrested: Beezow Doo-doo Zopittybop-bop-bop.’
December 17, 2013
[words] OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?
… ‘1970. Your OED birthday word is: laugh-out-loud, adj. Meaning: Likely to cause one to laugh out loud; hilarious.’
December 18, 2013
[mystery] The Internet Mystery That Has The World Baffled
… the fascinating story of a complex internet hunt / puzzle that nobody knows who created. ‘…a scavenger hunt that has led thousands of competitors across the web, down telephone lines, out to several physical locations around the globe, and into unchartered areas of the “darknet”. So far, the hunt has required a knowledge of number theory, philosophy and classical music. An interest in both cyberpunk literature and the Victorian occult has also come in handy as has an understanding of Mayan numerology. It has also featured a poem, a tuneless guitar ditty, a femme fatale called “Wind” who may, or may not, exist in real life, and a clue on a lamp post in Hawaii. Only one thing is certain: as it stands, no one is entirely sure what the challenge – known as Cicada 3301 – is all about or who is behind it.’
December 19, 2013
[life] How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood
… how Objectivism and family life do not mix …
Our objectivist education, however, was not confined to lectures and books. One time, at dinner, I complained that my brother was hogging all the food.
“He’s being selfish!” I whined to my father.
“Being selfish is a good thing,” he said. “To be selfless is to deny one’s self. To be selfish is to embrace the self, and accept your wants and needs.”
It was my dad’s classic response — a grandiose philosophical answer to a simple real-world problem. But who cared about logic? All I wanted was another serving of mashed potatoes.
December 20, 2013
[tech] 11 parental IT support issues you can expect if you go home this Christmas
… ‘No, change the screen resolution back, please. I prefer all my windows to be blurry and weirdly elongated.’
December 23, 2013
[tv] Has the internet killed Have I Got News For You?
… Stuart Heritage on the long, slow death of HIGNFY … ‘Back in the show’s heyday, you could rely on it to deliver the definitive satirical reaction to the news. But now it’s competing with The Daily Show, humour sites such as The Poke and millions of would-be wags on Twitter who fall over themselves to mine every last microLOL from every single news story a nanosecond after it breaks in a rabid bid for retweets. By the time Friday night rolls around, all Have I Got News For You has left to work with is the chaff.’
December 24, 2013
[xmas] Did Coca-Cola Invent the Modern Image of Santa Claus?
… ‘Santa Claus is instead a hybrid, a character descended from a religious figure (St. Nicholas) whose physical appearance and backstory were created and shaped by many different hands over the course of years until he finally coalesced into the now familiar (secular) character of a jolly, rotund, red-and-white garbed father figure who oversees a North Pole workshop manned by elves and travels in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer to deliver toys to children all around the world every Christmas Eve.’
December 25, 2013
[xmas] A Ghost Gave Me Triplets! Xmas Horror! – Epic Christmas Misery from That’s Life! Magazine …
December 27, 2013
[winter] When’s The Deep Midwinter?
… Is it Winter now – around the time of the shortest day? ‘…for most people (away from the highest latitudes), temperature is more an indicator of winter than daylight length, and the Earth has a lot of mechanisms that cause seasonal delay, so the coldest day is a month or so after the shortest. In short, the ground holds on to warmth, and water even more so.’
December 30, 2013
[movies] Why we need to re-evaluate the films we once called great
… Joe Queenan on films that fail the test of time. ‘…other movies fall into the I-guess-you-had-to-be-there category. Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless will no longer leave anyone breathless. In Five Easy Pieces, Jack Nicholson’s maverick loner character now seems like a punk. Warren Beatty is just a bit too goofy in Bonnie and Clyde, and just a bit too goofy in McCabe & Mrs Miller. Three Days of the Condor is hamstrung by one of those nauseating, 70s smooth-jazz soundtracks. 2001: A Space Odyssey simply will not end. Richard Gere’s hair makes it impossible to watch Pretty Woman any more, and Val Kilmer’s obstreperous do has a similarly disruptive effect in the festively homoerotic Top Gun. The Blues Brothers is 133 minutes of unadulterated self-indulgence, and Animal House and Caddyshack now seem more and more like infantile twaddle only frat boys could love.’
December 31, 2013
[london] Norman Collier Street Sign
… ‘Adv c d W rning M j r Gas Works’