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June 17, 2013
[dailyfail] What do Daily Mail commenters think about young criminals? … a look into the mind of a commenter on the Daily Mail’s website… ‘The Daily Mail is a newspaper generally catering to a right-leaning audience that mourns the death of England proper. Its website’s commenters fit that mould and there is plenty that they would like government to resurrect. Typing in “bring back” shows some of the things that they are after. Corporal or capital punishment is at the top of their list with some comments stating adamantly that the birch should make a return.’
June 18, 2013
[crime] Russian Mafia Tombstones … Live Fast and leave a gravestone to be puzzled over by archaeologists in a 1000 years time … ‘These photos were taken in the cemetery of Dnepropetrovsk, in the Ukraine, a place much like the mafia-infested Yekaterinburg, in Mother Russia. Although the two cities are 2,000 km apart, mafia fashion is very much the same. During the Russian Mafia Wars of the ’90s bosses started commissioning these lavish tombstones for them and their loyal subjects.’
June 20, 2013
[tech] Internet Anonymity Is The Height Of Chic … A look at the plausibility of remaining anonymous from Google and the Internet … ‘In the 1930s, HG Wells wrote of a “world brain” through which “the whole human memory can be … made accessible to every individual”. Today, perhaps we have that world brain, and it is called Google. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance and regulation at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, sounds an Orwellian note about this: “Quite literally, Google knows more about us than we can remember ourselves.” No wonder some dream of slipping under Google’s radar.’
June 21, 2013
[people] James Gandolfini, 1961-2013 … David Remnick remembers James Gandolfini …

Gandolfini was the focal point of “The Sopranos,” the incendiary, sybaritic neurotic who must play the Godfather at home and at the Bada Bing but knows that everything—his family, his racket, his way of life—is collapsing all around him.

As the seasons passed, Gandolfini gained weight at an alarming pace. His death, at the age of fifty-one, in Italy, does not come entirely as a shock. But that makes it no less a loss. Gandolfini was not a fantastically varied actor. He played within a certain range. Like Jackie Gleason, he’ll be remembered for a particular role, and a particular kind of role, but there is no underestimating his devotion to the part of a lifetime that was given to him. In the dozens of hours he had on the screen, he made Tony Soprano—lovable, repulsive, cunning, ignorant, brutal—more ruthlessly alive than any character we’ve ever encountered in television.

June 24, 2013
[tv] Clive James on The Sopranos‘The abiding complexity of Tony’s character lies in the way he must bring into balance two different considerations. Outside the house, his powers are unlimited. Inside it, he can affect the behaviour of others only to a certain extent, because they know he won’t kill them. Vivid as it is, this is a real conflict, genuinely subtle and complicated, continually surprising. Tony’s wife, Carmela, and his children A. J. and Meadow, are for ever cutting down to size the very man who would take a long knife to them if they were not his property.’
June 25, 2013
[security] Anatomy of a Hack: How Crackers Ransack Passwords Like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” … A fascinating look at how easy it is to crack passwords … ‘Even the least successful cracker of our trio—who used the least amount of hardware, devoted only one hour, used a tiny word list, and conducted an interview throughout the process—was able to decipher 62 percent of the passwords. Our top cracker snagged 90 percent of them.’
June 26, 2013
[people] Tony Blackburn’s Autobiography Compressed … amusing collection of Smashie and Nicey-style quotes from Blackburn’s autobiography …

Excerpt from Tony Blackburn's Autobiography

June 27, 2013
[comics] 60 Comics Everyone Should Read … great list of comics from Buzzfeed highlighting why it’s a great time to be reading comics at the moment … On Jimmy Corrigan – The Smartest Kid on Earth: ‘The story is so densely rich, packed with graphic delights and somber realizations, but mostly it’s heartbreaking — so heartbreaking that you’ll occasionally have to put it down, collect yourself, and start reading again as your heart sinks further and further into your gut. A masterpiece, indeed.’
June 28, 2013
[numbers] Pi Versus Information Theory … searching for meaning in Pi… ‘Is all of life written in pi? No. There is nothing there. For every fact you might find, you would also find the exact opposite. For every name of someone you might love, there would be countless other names. Claude Shannon would tell us that a sequence of random numbers contains no information, which he describes as “the removal of uncertainty.” No uncertainty is removed through perusal of the digits of pi.’
July 1, 2013
[web] Google Translates Lorem Ipsum‘We will be sure to post a comment. Add tomato sauce, no tank or a traditional or online. Until outdoor environment, and not just any competition, reduce overall pain. Cisco Security, they set up in the throat develop the market beds of Cura; Employment silently churn-class by our union, very beginner himenaeos. Monday gate information. How long before any meaningful development. Until mandatory functional requirements to developers. But across the country in the spotlight in the notebook. The show was shot. Funny lion always feasible, innovative policies hatred assured. Information that is no corporate Japan’
[web] Google Reader Closedown: Find LinkMachineGo’s RSS Feed Here Or Follow LMG On Twitter.
July 2, 2013
[jobs] A Matrix of the Worst Jobs in the World … take your pick between the most treacherous, difficult, disgusting or tedious jobs in world history … ‘Bog-Iron Hunter, circa 800AD, Scandinavia: Wade through bogs and lakes year-round, poking at soil with spear to locate lumps or ore.’
July 3, 2013
[comics] Bryan and Mary Talbot’s Top 10 Graphic Memoirs … great reading list from the creators of Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes — Below, they discuss Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

Briggs’s loving tribute to his London working-class parents stretches from their first meeting, as a milkman and a lady’s maid, in 1928 to their deaths in 1971. Both moving and funny, Ethel and Ernest is the personal story of a couple in a rapidly changing world that they often struggled to come to grips with. The Great Depression and the second world war were major events impacting on their lives, but so were the arrival in the home of radio, television and the washing machine.

July 4, 2013
[conspiracy] Top 10 Most Hilariously Bonkers Conspiracy Theories‘Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is legendary comic Bill Hicks.’
July 5, 2013
[funny] Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks … Screenshot Showing Typical Windows 95 Desktop Icons:

Typical Windows 95 Desktop Icons

July 9, 2013
[comics] MAD MENTAL CRAZY! The True Life of the Fabulous Zenith Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 … a three-part history of the British super-hero Zenith and a look at the murky legal situation regarding ownership of the character … ‘2000 AD maintain that they own the rights while Grant Morrison contends that they do not have the paperwork to prove that. This is not an argument that Morrison had at the time of initial publication, rather one he put forward in later years in greater understanding of the situation, so early interviews with the writer at the time are not entirely illuminating. There are however other pieces of the jigsaw that help build a larger picture. 2000 AD maintain that they have never sought creator owned work and the implication was always that comics were created on a work for hire basis. However, they also operated without contracts in many cases before the early ’90s, and under UK law a creation belongs to the creator until the rights are signed away – regardless of publication or payment.’
July 10, 2013
[tea] How to make perfect tea without teabags‘In 1968, only 3% of households in Britain used teabags – a foreign, American invention that went against our love of leaves.’
July 11, 2013
[space] How Many People Are In Space Right Now?‘6’
July 12, 2013
[life] Study: Anxiety Resolved By Thinking About It Real Hard … The Onion reports on dealing with Anxiety …

“The key to beating anxiety is to let yourself become totally consumed with intrusive, irrational thoughts until you actually raise your pulse and blood pressure,” said assistant researcher Dana Kelley, who said that blinding stress headaches were a crucial indicator that one’s anxious feelings were disappearing. “If you can get to a point where you legitimately feel short of breath and begin to perceptibly tremble, that means you’re progressing. In fact, the more tense your neck and shoulders are, the closer you are to moving past your anxiety altogether.”

July 14, 2013
[web] Stop Externalising Your Life … yet another look at why Social Media is bad for you … ‘The key thing to remember is that you are not enriching your experiences by sharing them online; you’re detracting from them because all your efforts are focussed on making them look attractive to other people. Your experience of something, even if similar to the experience of many others, is unique and cannot be reproduced within the constraints of social media.’
July 15, 2013
[batman] A Reader’s Guide To Grant Morrison’s Batman … useful guide to Morrison’s recently concluded long run on Batman … ‘If there is one question I’ve answered more than any other in the past few years in regards to Batman, it is “what is the reading order of Grant Morrison’s run”, or some variation thereof. So I have created this list as a permanent resource and answer to that question.’
July 16, 2013
[politics] The 10 Most Scandalous Euphemisms … a list of catchphrases generated by political scandals … ‘Hiking the Appalachian Trail – When South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared for six days in 2009, his aides told reporters he had gone for a walking holiday along the US’s most celebrated hiking route. In fact, it soon transpired Sanford had been with his Argentine mistress in Buenos Aires. The phrase quickly ignited the imaginations of the press corps.’
July 17, 2013
[email] What Your Email Sign-off Really Means … looking at the social minefield of choosing the best way to conclude an email… ‘You can sign off with “regards”, which means, quite literally, “I have no regard for you at all”. Or you can use the more extreme “warmest regards”, which means, “never contact me again you insufferable bastard”. Then there’s “yours”, which means, “I don’t even know who you are or what you wrote to me about”, and its cousin, “yours sincerely”, which means, “you owe me money and I will make your life a living hell until I get it”. Some people sign off emails with “best”. Not “best wishes”, which is used when the emailer is for some reason under the impression they’re writing in a Christmas card, but just “best”, which is a slightly creepy sign-off, like writing “be seeing you REALLY soon…”. Best? Best what?’
July 18, 2013
[tv] The Forty-Year Itch … is there a forty year cycle of nostalgia influencing pop culture? … ‘Though pop culture is most often performed by the young, the directors and programmers and gatekeepers—the suits who control and create its conditions, who make the calls and choose the players—are, and always have been, largely forty-somethings, and the four-decade interval brings us to a period just before the forty-something was born. Forty years past is the potently fascinating time just as we arrived, when our parents were youthful and in love, the Edenic period preceding the fallen state recorded in our actual memories.’
July 20, 2013
[comics] Explorers on the Moon 1969 … Tintin and Gang greets Neil Armstrong on the Moon in 1969 …

Tintin and Gang greet Neil Armstrong on the Moon

July 24, 2013
[comics] Comics Are Educational, Part One: How to Kill Juggling Nazis‘Yes, Kurt, you are good at juggling apples… But how good are you at juggling — A… A GRENADE?!’
August 5, 2013
[people] Steve Coogan: ‘There is an overlap between me and Alan Partridge’ … fascinating profile of Steve Coogan / Alan Partridge …

I follow Coogan’s fast-moving white Dunlops up the cliff and back to the hotel. “It started out not being like me at all. It’s probably got more like me,” puffs Coogan, as the wind buffets his impeccable Partridge hairpiece. “It’s recognising your own vanities and insecurities and turning the volume up on them. Anyone who is creative puts something of themselves in what they do, and I’ve put lots in, but it’s the warped, prejudicial side of myself. It’s not just a mocking caricature. It has to have some degree of humanity. On one level, Alan is very likable because he makes mistakes and vocalises a lot of the insecurities that people feel. He’s also a contemptuous Little Englander, the kind of person who I see as my life to rail against. Part of him is everything I hate about Britain. It’s a bit complicated.”

August 6, 2013
[comics] I Am NOT the Beastmaster: Morrison in Glasgow … notes from a keynote lecture Grant Morrison gave at the University of Glasgow last month … ‘Morrison argued that shared-universe, corporate-owned superhero stories ought to be generational, circular, and repetitive—since they cannot be brought to an end, writers might as well play up the mythic angle and retell stories for each new generation of readers. One young guest wanted to know what Morrison’s favorite comics from his own catalogue were. (His answers: The Filth, Doom Patrol, and Superman Beyond 3D.)’
August 7, 2013
[watchmen] Five More Notes About Before Watchmen … more from Tom Spurgeon on Before Watchmen … ‘I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Before Watchmen was an awesome project. I don’t think it was evil; I think it was sad. That was a lot of talent aimed at books whose nature allowed only the tiniest chance that remarkable art would result; talent that probably could have gone to bolstering the new superhero comics line or that could have been pushed in the direction of their own, similar achievement. So much of it smacked of parody — they really did a Dollar Bill comic book! With Steve Rude art! — that the whole thing was hard to fathom.’
August 8, 2013
[wikipedia] Wikipedia:Terminal Event Management Policy … Wikipedia’s amusing protocol for saving the encyclopedia’s data in the event of an apocalypse … ‘Following the implementation of the level 2 warning, editors are expected to commence the transfer of the encyclopedia to other media. As an immediate measure, it is suggested that editors print as many articles as possible, with due regard to any personal safety concerns that may be faced in these extraordinary events.’
[history] The Great Train Robbery … Diamond Geezer visits the site of the Great Train Robbery.
August 9, 2013
[books] Stephen King’s Family Business … a warm profile of Stephen King and his family … ‘At times in his life, [Joe] Hill actually contemplated hiring an actor to do readings of his work, to conceal that unmistakable resemblance to his father. By the time “Heart-Shaped Box” was published and he had forged ahead with some readings, his alias had been blown. In the end, in light of the book’s success, that did not seem to matter; now he’s comfortable writing in a genre his father dominates. “Sometimes I think the kid who’s like, ‘I’m never going to be like my dad in any way whatsoever,’ is less his own person,” he said.’
August 12, 2013
[drugs] Breaking Bad: Why doesn’t the UK have a crystal meth problem?‘One of the reasons for its unpopularity may be that British drug users have plenty of other stimulants available to them. “The UK is a relatively small drug market overall and it’s a market that has been well served,” says [Harry] Shapiro.’
August 13, 2013
[life] 27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand‘That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you’re not mentally prepared to chat.’
August 14, 2013
[space] 13 Little Things NASA Did to Get Alan Shepard Ready for Space‘Even the flight surgeon had a little bit of a man crush on the astronauts: “The physiological bradycardia (pulse rate 60 to 70) and normotensive (blood pressure 110/70) state both give some indication of the calm reserved air of confidence which typifies both of these pilots.” I bet they smelled good, too.’
August 15, 2013
[funny] Pharmacy Fail

Pharmacy Fail

August 16, 2013
[books] Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences … Stephen King discusses the opening sentences of books … ‘When I’m starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep. I will lie there in the dark and think. I’ll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph. And over a period of weeks and months and even years, I’ll word and reword it until I’m happy with what I’ve got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book. Because of this, I think, my first sentences stick with me. They were a doorway I went through.’
August 19, 2013
[batman] The Killing Joke Ending Revealed? … Grant Morrison has an interesting theory about the conclusion of The Killing Joke … ‘That’s what I love about it- Batman kills the Joker…that’s why it’s called The Killing Joke…The Joker tells the ‘killing joke’ at the end and Batman reaches out and breaks his neck… and that’s why the laughter stops…the light goes out because that was the last chance of crossing that bridge. Alan wrote the ultimate Batman Joker story… because he finished it… the laughter stops, it abruptly stops, it’s quite obvious.’
August 20, 2013
[comics] Chris Ware Q&A … a live chat with Guardian readers …

Q: Did you base Jimmy Corrigan’s looks on Piers Morgan? Come on, you can tell us.

Chris Ware: Honestly, I don’t know Piers Morgan, though I suppose I could google-image-search him. Jimmy Corrigan has my grandfather’s hair, Charlie Brown’s eyes, Tintin’s pants and my self-doubt and that’s about it, I’m afraid.

August 21, 2013
[funny] Father Teaches Son How To Fly Into Rage Over Completely Inconsequential Bullshit … The Onion on a heart-warming father/son relationship … ‘In an effort to help guide his son’s development, Dalton explained that he consistently tries to embody the qualities of irritability, hostility, and bitterness in his daily life, emphasizing to his fourth-grade son the importance of letting his annoyance over an inconsequential matter develop into a lingering, biting resentment that makes others feel uncomfortable to be near him. In addition, the 42-year-old market researcher said that he has been making a concerted effort of late to show his boy how to obsess over such ultimately trifling things as a driver going too slow in the left lane or a person who is slightly holding up a line, and to interpret these incidents as if they were significant, deliberate personal slights.’
August 22, 2013
[comics] Grant Morrison on bringing back Wonder Woman … Morrison also discusses Rebellion’s reprinting of Zenith.

…one particular title from the late 1980s made headlines earlier this year. Rebellion, the publisher of 2000AD, announced it was planning to reprint Zenith, Morrison’s subversive superhero strip. Shallow, sarcastic and frequently used as a way for Morrison to criticise the Conservative party, the hero’s five-year run in 2000AD ended in 1992. Zenith has been out of print ever since, due to a legal dispute over who owns the rights. So Rebellion’s announcement of a £100 preorder-only hardback complete collection raised rather a lot of eyebrows, with Morrison unable to comment. But, choosing his words carefully, the writer is now able to talk a little about what’s happening.

“Well, it’s very simple,” he begins with a wince. “We, uh, we spent five grand on lawyers’ fees. They sent [Rebellion] letters. We were very keen to discuss it and we’ve never heard back from them. All I can say is that we tried to get into a discussion with them and they just didn’t reply. I don’t know what to do at this stage.”

[funny] BREAKING NEWS: Guardian ordered to destroy bourgeois lifestyle articles‘The Guardian has destroyed nauseatingly middle-class articles about garden furniture and teenagers failing to get a place at Oxford. Ministers said it was in the national interest to destroy the articles as they make the UK a target for radical anti-narcissism groups.’
August 23, 2013
[batman] Wondermark: A Knight is Technically an Aristocrat‘I want to dress in a bat costume and punch individual muggers.’

Wondermark on Batman

August 27, 2013
[wikipedia] Updating a Printed Wikipedia … How many printers would you need to print out the English version of Wikipedia? … ‘Six printers isn’t that many, but they’d be running all the time. And that gets expensive. The electricity to run them would be cheap—a few dollars a day. The paper would be about one cent per sheet, which means you’ll be spending about a thousand dollars a day. You’d want to hire people to manage the printers 24/7, but that would actually cost less than the paper. Even the printers themselves wouldn’t be too expensive, despite the terrifying replacement cycle. But the ink cartridges would be a nightmare.’
August 28, 2013
[space] Astronaut Recounts His Near-Drowning On Spacewalk … Who knew you could drown in Space? ‘…he pondered what he would do if the water reached his mouth. The only idea he had, he said, was to open the safety valve on his helmet and let out some of the water. “But making a ‘hole’ in my spacesuit really would be a last resort,” he wrote.’
August 29, 2013
[people] Ask Ayn Rand … John Hodgman rediscovers long-lost Ayn Rand magazine columns from 1980 …

My moral philosophy is founded on the idea that there is an objective reality, and that man’s senses can perceive this objective reality. This faculty, which is man’s reason, is paramount above all else. He takes for evidence only his own experience, his own judgment, and that is why I do not hesitate to say, objectively, definitively, that “Caddyshack” is the year’s best movie.

Rodney Dangerfield plays a self-made man who is not ashamed of his ambition, who does not apologize for his success, and who gets excitement from the joyful reality that we are all going to get laid if we are willing to be productively selfish and to stop coddling the weak. In other movie news, I did not like how easily the boy escaped Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I have solved all the hedge mazes in the United States and Europe, and I can tell you they are not that complicated.

August 30, 2013
[bbc] How Biased Is The BBC? … Apparently it’s not biased in the ways you might think… ‘Conservative politicians were featured more than 50% more often than Labour ones (24 vs 15) across the two time periods on the BBC News at Six. So the evidence is clear that BBC does not lean to the left it actually provides more space for Conservative voices.’
September 2, 2013
[funny] A Cartoon Guide To Shark Anatomy

Shark Anatomy

September 3, 2013
[language] The Rad New Words Added to the Dictionary in the ’90s: Where Are They Now?… Alexis Madrigal investigates what new words added to dictionaries during the 90’s made it into common usage today … ‘Cypherpunk: In the early days of both computing and the Internet, cryptography to keep people from spying on you was all the rage. For obvious reasons, both the term and idea of cypherpunk are coming back, I think.’
September 6, 2013
[comics] The 50 Greatest Graphic Novels Of All Time … according to the Scotish Herald … ‘#3 Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth, Chris Ware (2000) – Eight years in the making, Ware’s graphic novel may on the page look like the most formally precise title in this list, yet that perfection can be misleading. It moves so easily between the past and the present, reality and imagination that you can get lost in its labyrinth. “Sophisticated like free jazz,” suggests Metraphrog cartoonist John Chalmers. “It changed the way I looked at the world, at comics, the way I drew,” adds Stephen Collins.’
September 9, 2013
[movies] Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs: out of time?… Twenty years after the release of Jurassic Park how realistic were the dinosaurs … ‘New finds show that the forelimbs of tyrannosaurs were rather closer together than previously assumed – on screen those famous little arms are set far up the side of the animal, but in fact should be much closer together and almost underneath the head. These are minor details in appearance compared to the probability that Tyrannosaurus had feathers, or the fact that there’s no good evidence that Velociraptor was a pack hunter or especially smart (or as fast as a cheetah while we’re on the subject), and the giant frill and venom-spitting in Dilophosaurus is basically fiction.’
September 10, 2013
Facebook is just fine … How to hide your way to a better Facebook … ‘My newsfeed is almost all signal. This is, in part, because I am ruthless. If you are overtly negative (which is different than having opinions differing from my own), you get hidden. If I don’t find value in your postings, you get hidden. If you’re a high school friend I friended just to be nice, I hide. I hide unhesitatingly. I hide remorselessly. Hiding is your super power. Hiding is one of those few pure joys of the Internet through which — amidst the near-endless entropy of online content — you can take a stand, push back in a way that meaningfully affects the data you see.’
September 11, 2013
[web] The Pinterest Skeptics Board … pushing back at fake, misleading or wrong quotes on Pinterest.
September 12, 2013
[mail] In the Sorting Office … depressing long-read on what the happens after the Royal Mail is privatised … ‘Every week Dutch households and businesses are visited by postmen and postwomen from four different companies. There are the ‘orange’ postmen of the privatised Dutch mail company, trading as TNT Post but about to change their name to PostNL; the ‘blue’ postmen of Sandd, a private Dutch firm; the ‘yellow’ postmen of Selekt, owned by Deutsche Post/DHL; and the ‘half-orange’ postmen of Netwerk VSP, set up by TNT to compete cannibalistically against itself by using casual labour that is cheaper than its own (unionised) workforce. TNT delivers six days a week, Sandd and Selekt two, and VSP one. From the point of view of an ardent free-marketeer, this sounds like healthy competition. Curiously, however, none of the competitors is prospering.’
September 13, 2013
[funny] Instasham‘Make a funny face or something you little shit.’

Pandyland: Instasham

September 15, 2013
[comics] Twitter / MattBors: ‘The quintessential comics fan—reading books he can’t stand for 45 years.’
September 16, 2013
[comics] Howard Chaykin on his lewd, depraved, banned graphic novels … a short interview with Chaykin but has plenty of pages and panels from his long career … Chaykin on digital illustration: ‘I work with and use Photoshop in my comics work. I also believe that web comics are the future of comics, a future with little or no room for me, since I produce a page-designed product, and web comics are aspect-ratio based. An iPad is either portrait or landscape, with zoom and click: a factor that obviates my primary skillset.’
September 17, 2013
[history] Early recollections of Adolf Hitler: “Eccentric but quite a pleasant fellow” … a profile of Adolf Hitler published in the New Statesman in 1933 …

In those days in Munich I lived in the Thiersh Strasse, and I frequently noticed in the street a man who vaguely reminded me of a militant edition of Charles Chaplin, owing to his characteristic moustache and his bouncing way of walking. He always carried a riding whip in his hand with which he used incessantly to chop off imaginary heads as he walked. He was so funny that I inquired from neighbours who he might be: most of them, owing to his Slav type, took him to be one of these Russian émigrés who abounded in Germany at that time, and they freely talked of his being probably a trifle mentally deranged. But my grocer told me it was a Herr Adolf Hitler from Braunau in Austria, and that he was leader of a tiny political group which called itself the “German National Socialist Workers Party”. He lived as a boarder in the apartment of a small artisan, wrote articles for an obscure paper called the Völkischer Beobachter, and orated in hole-and-corner meetings before audiences of a dozen or two. Out of curiosity I bought the paper once or twice, and found it a scatter-brained collection of wild anti-Jewish stories and articles interlarded with panegyrics on the Germanic race. My obliging grocer closed his information on Hitler by remarking that he frequently purchased things in his shop and was, despite his eccentric appearance, quite a pleasant fellow, though inclined to talk sixteen to the dozen about anything and everything.

September 18, 2013
[twitter] First World Problems on Twitter‘It’s generally a fact that there is no kale available in Crouch End because of the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook. #unbearable’
September 20, 2013
[comics] The DC New 52 Timeline of Departures, Firings, and Bridge-Burnings … a look at recent internal strife at DC Comics … ‘8/9/2013 – Justice League 3000 was to be a “dream team” book reuniting writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with artist Kevin Maguire. Somewhere along the way, DC got cold feet with the lighter direction of the book (before the first issue had hit the stands, of course, because why wait for the fans’ reactions) and fired Maguire, replacing him with Howard Porter. “I’m still a bit perplexed as to how it got to this point,” said Maguire, reflecting the feelings of many fans who wondered why DC would even hire the beloved Justice League International veterans in the first place if they didn’t want a book that was anything like Justice League International.’
September 23, 2013
[books] Stephen King: on alcoholism and returning to the Shining … King is interviewed by Emma Brockes.

…without labouring the point, [Doctor Sleep] has good allegorical bones: the sick buzz one gets from consuming the grisliest news stories. It also captures the reality of a recovering alcoholic, a state with which King is intimately familiar. “The hungover eye,” he writes, “had a weird ability to find the ugliest things in any given landscape.” Danny turns his life around and starts going to AA meetings, where, King writes, he discovers that memories are the “real ghosts”. It is a book as extravagantly inventive as any in King’s pantheon, and a careful study of self-haunting: “You take yourself with you, wherever you go.”

September 24, 2013
[movies] Errol Morris on How Donald Rumsfeld Sees His Own Legacy … interesting preview of Errol Morris’ new film on Donald Rumfield. Here’s the trailer.

The most distinctive thing about Rumsfeld is his use of language. Is it Orwellian? In 1984, language is used as a means of control—but it is conscious control. With Rumsfeld, I felt I was witnessing something more complex: a man using language to obscure the world from himself as well as from others. In his Pentagon press conferences he would frequently quibble over the meaning of words: “pre-emption,” “insurgency,” “quagmire.” It was almost a way of keeping a safe distance from reality.

Most people remember that Rumsfeld’s famous comment about “known knowns,” “known unknowns,” and “unknown unknowns” happened at a press conference, but few remember that it was in response to a question about what evidence we had that Saddam Hussein was linked to terrorist organizations—which was the justification for the war in the first place. The more I studied this performance, the more I realized that what Rumsfeld said wasn’t really an answer. It was an attempt to change the subject, to turn reporters’ questions about intelligence into a lofty question about the nature of knowledge: “Sometimes we have evidence for things and sometimes we don’t; sometimes we know what we’re looking for and sometimes we don’t.”

September 25, 2013
[mac] World’s smallest working Mac is a tiny work of art … forget about your new iPhone – take a look at this is incredible mini retro-computer … ‘Make no mistake — this is a full working Mac running System 6. In fact, if anything, it’s a bit more impressive than the original Mac as it has an Ethernet port, two USB ports and HDMI output. Inside, there are also WiFi and Bluetooth dongles attached to an internal USB hub to provide wireless connectivity. Mini Mac is made at one-third scale, with the exterior pieces lovingly cut from Sintra PVC plastic with an X-Acto knife, filed and sanded to match the bevels and curves around the screen, and then glued together.’
September 26, 2013
[apollo] The Family that Went to the Moon … How a picture of a family ended up on the moon …‘The portrait shows Charlie, his wife Dorothy, and their two sons Charles and Thomas. It looks like they are sitting on a bench in the summertime.The family photo, gingerly wrapped in clear plastic and slightly crumpled from being stashed in the pocket of a space suit, was left on the Moon. It presumably still sits there today…’

A Family Photo Left On The Moon In 1972

September 30, 2013
[books] Hotel That Inspired The Shining Plans to Dig Up Its Pet Cemetery … File under: THIS ENDS BADLY … ‘The most common complaint from neighbors concerns the noise likely to be generated by the excavation. Meanwhile, one local psychic with a head on her shoulders, was practically the only one to point out that maybe it’s not the best idea to disturb a bunch of pet graves on the property of the hotel that was not only the inspiration for one of the most terrifying horror novels of all time, but also the set of the book’s miniseries adaptation.’
October 1, 2013
[politics] Digested Read: Power Trip by Damian McBride

I should stress that never at any time did Gordon or the two Eds have any idea whatsoever that I was leaking stories to the media or briefing against colleagues. Every time something to our advantage dominated the headlines, they would all three gasp with amazement and say: “Wow! What a brilliant coincidence. Aren’t we lucky to have so many coincidences! Are you sure you didn’t have anything to do with this?” And I would reply: “I know I’ve got a reputation for being a bit of a liar, but I promise I’m not lying this time. Believe me, if I’d known the minister was shagging his secretary, I’d have told the Mail ages ago.” And they would say: “You’re so sweet, Damian.”

October 2, 2013
[spiders] Dancing With Black Widow Spiders … What it’s like to be bitten by a black widow spider … ‘ I decided to go fishing for dinner. On the same front porch where I had removed so many black widows, I kept a pair of water shoes and some fishing tackle. I put the shoes and the tackle in my car and drove eight miles to my favored hole. I donned the shoes before walking to the edge of the water. Within about a dozen steps, I felt a stinging sensation on the second toe of my left foot, as if there had been a thorn inside the shoe. Then the pain increased to about that of a wasp’s sting. I sat on a rock and removed the shoe. The squashed remains of a spider were smeared across the insole. I realized instantly what must have happened: a black widow from the porch had made its home in my shoe. For a long moment, I stared at my throbbing toe and wondered what to do…’
[dailyfail] Should I Read The Daily Mail? … There can only ever be one correct answer to this question.
October 3, 2013
[politics] Conservative conference: Ukip and Thatcher give David Cameron a headache… fascinating look at the state of the Conservative Party right now … ‘The man in the waistcoat is another Tory who supports a deal with Ukip. “We both want the same thing,” he says, “and it’s foolish to fight each other.” But the closing music after Cameron’s speech is unlikely to appeal to the faragists – Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop, with its mantra: “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” The Ukippers reckon yesterday can be brought back…’
October 4, 2013
[dailymail] How Much Are You Hated By The Daily Mail? … they hated me by question 9.
October 7, 2013
[comics] Quincy, M.E. … great spoof comic cover by Michael Kupperman

Quincy M.E. Comic Cover

October 8, 2013
[movies] What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about “The Shining” … a look at Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick’s different approaches The Shining‘The two men represent diametrically opposed approaches to creating narrative art. One is an aesthete and the other is a humanist. Kubrick was a consummate and famously meticulous stylist; King’s prose is workmanly and his novels can have a shambolic bagginess. The great theme of King’s fiction is the capacity of the average person — especially working-class or similarly humble men and women — both for evil and for heroism. Although there’s almost always a battle against a supernatural antagonist in King’s books, the best of his novels hinge on the protagonists’ struggles with themselves. In “Doctor Sleep,” it is just as valiant for Danny Torrance — the psychic child character in “The Shining,” now grown up — to stay sober as it is for him to challenge the novel’s Big Bad.’
October 9, 2013
[batman] Top 12 Moments From Grant Morrison’s Batman Run … Interesting list of high points from IGN … ‘Morrison established the idea of Batman as a redemptive force. For Damian, the idea of becoming a hero and battling evil proved more captivating than inheriting the world’s largest criminal empire. Batman inspired him to become something better than he was, just as it inspired every Robin before him.’
October 10, 2013
[movies] Classic Movie Quotes Updated For The Digital Age‘SAY TWERK AGAIN’
[funny] Royal Mail Privatisation: New ‘While You Were Out’ Card Issued‘Could not be delivered earlier: Because even Magaret Thatcher thought it was bonkers.’

Post Office Privatisation While You Were Out Spoof Card

October 14, 2013
[funny] Depraved Masochist Enjoys Following The News … more from The Onion … ‘Sources confirmed that Petrillo makes no effort whatsoever to conceal his insatiable desire for self-inflicted torment, going so far as to take pride in his familiarity with issues such as America’s distribution of wealth, the latest jobs report, what’s happening in Congress recently, and the nation’s current incarceration rate. In fact, he is reportedly not content with simple masochism, and often spreads the anguish of his knowledge to his fellow citizens. “Whenever I come across an interesting article online, I like to email it to my friends and try to get a conversation going,” said Petrillo, his voice betraying no shame.’
October 15, 2013
[dailymail] Daily Mail Guidance To Staff In The 1960s … Things have certainly changed at the Mail. ‘1. No member of the staff intrudes or is called on to intrude into private lives where no public interest is involved.’
October 16, 2013
[life] Once a celebrity has been linked with a silly object, they stay connected for ever… Can public figures be defined by ridiculous objects they stumble upon? … ‘I’ve never been convinced that Philip Larkin was right when he wrote that all that remains of us is love. After Bill Clinton is dead and gone, it’s not love that I’ll remember him for. It’s an object – and I don’t even mean that cigar that went on holiday somewhere in Monica Lewinsky’s nether regions. The object was brought to my attention in Alastair Campbell’s diaries, in a story where Tony Blair, Kevin Spacey and Bill Clinton are all sitting in a McDonald’s restaurant. In Blackpool. “So there we were,” Campbell writes, “drinking Diet Coke and eating chicken nuggets as he [Clinton] poured forth on the theme of interdependence and the role of the Third Way in progressive politics.” Obviously, it is the chicken nuggets that get me.’
October 18, 2013
[apple] Did you know that the iPhone 2G is a collector’s item?‘There are several examples of “new” iPhones with open boxes going for north of $600, with sealed boxes successfully selling for as much as $1,999.’
October 21, 2013
[tv] Breaking Bad accuracy: The show’s biggest errors and mistakes, from “blue meth” and Spanish accents to Osama bin Laden.‘5. Hydrofluoric acid would not eat through a bathtub.’
October 22, 2013
[politics] Margaret Thatcher: five things you didn’t know about her

On holiday on the Islay estate of her aide Peter Morrison, Thatcher – wishing to avoid post-dinner party games – went for a nocturnal walk. Her protection officers, thinking her asleep, were in the pub, but one policeman was still on duty. Suspecting the unknown figure, in a long, hooded cloak, was an intruder, he unleashed his alsatian, who knocked Thatcher down and pinned her to the muddy turf. “The incident passed into legend among her inner circle,” writes Aitken, “with the punchline question: ‘How on earth did the dog dare?'”

October 23, 2013
[science] Science For The Epic Motherfreaking Win… a profound meditation on the glory of science … ‘Science… fuck yeah. The cool part about learning science on Facebook is that they use pictures and the words aren’t very big and you get to browse Facebook the entire time. Plus, the swearing. You can’t swear in school which is bullshit. I think I would like school a lot more if it was compacted down into meme format. Like instead of summer reading we could just look at like 10 to 20 different memes a day. Neil deGrasse Tyson for the motherepic shit win.’
October 24, 2013
[funny] Lost Wormhole‘Do not attempt capture because you’ll totally screw with the Space/Time Continuum Bro.’

Lost Wormhole

October 25, 2013
[apple] Retail Therapy: Inside the Apple Store: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble. … customer support stories from Apple Stores … ‘When Apple employees are asked what they love most about their job (and they are asked often) most invariably answer “the people.” They mean their co-workers, not the customers. Because the daily expectations for customer service go beyond anywhere else in retail, only those with managerial ambitions will invoke their commitment to helping people. Some thrive on that. Others get diagnosed with PTSD. Consider that the flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is open 24 hours and has more annual foot traffic than Yankee Stadium, yet only one door. Every day, in every Apple Store, people flood to customer service, when what many truly need is therapy.’ [via Sore Eyes]
October 28, 2013
[funny] Romantic-Comedy Behavior Gets Real-Life Man Arrested … more from The Onion …

Hamilton made the call to police at approximately 7:30 p.m., when she discovered that the bearded cable repairman she had let into her apartment was actually Marzano in disguise.

“Thank God he’s in custody, and this nightmarish ordeal is finally over,” said Hamilton, a single mother struggling to raise an adorable, towheaded boy all alone in the big city. “I repeatedly told him I wasn’t interested, but he just kept resorting to crazier and crazier schemes to make me fall in love with him.”

October 29, 2013
[books] 12 Unpublished Novels We Wish We Could Read … A look at unpublished novels from many notable writers. On Harper Lee’s never seen book The Long Goodbye: ‘Lee was halfway through the followup to her Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill A Mockingbird when she just… stopped. Was it the pressure? The alcohol? Capote? No one knows. We don’t even know what the book was supposed to be about. All we know is she wanted to be the “Jane Austen of Southern Alabama,” and write “a series of novels chronicling small-town life.” She began another project in the 80s, a true crime piece about “a renegade Alabama preacher whose wives and close relatives had a nasty habit of ending up dead,” but abandoned that as well. She refuses to speak to anyone about either.’
October 30, 2013
[batman] The Many Faces Of The Joker … a nicely done animated GIF showing the many faces of the Joker in movie and television adaptations along with the actors who played him.
October 31, 2013
[comics] Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Rises Again … The Guardian reviews Gaiman and J. H. Williams III’s new Sandman comic … ‘Gaiman’s return to Sandman was always one of those idle “wouldn’t it be great?” things for me, alongside “wouldn’t it be great if they made a new Indiana Jones movie?” and “wouldn’t it be great if the Sex Pistols reformed?” Which goes to prove you should be careful what you idly ponder. The Sandman story doesn’t need more telling; Gaiman presumably doesn’t need the money. I can’t say I’d heard people clamouring for the untold story of what Dream was doing before he was captured by Roderick Burgess. Therefore there can only be one possible reason for this comic’s existence, and that has to be because it’s great.’
November 1, 2013
[weird] British Man Discovers Secret Dungeon Under His New Flat‘Curious shape in the corner. Bed, or crypt. It’ll make a good seat for a potential home cinema, or else for a dungeon party.’
November 4, 2013
[batman] What happens when you look up Adam West in the phone book?‘West, Adam …. See Wayne, Bruce (Millionaire).’
November 5, 2013
Facebook of the Dead‘When, if ever, will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than of living ones?’
November 6, 2013
[books] 40 Trashy Novels You Must Read Before You Die … fun list from Flavorwire … ‘The Second Lady by Irving Wallace – The premise of this alone sells it: the Russians have, through extensive plastic surgery, created a replica of the First Lady. But once installed, her doppelganger discovers that mimicry is not as easy as it looks.’
November 7, 2013
[comics] A History of American Comic Books in Six Panels … by Matt Madden …

American Comic Book History In Six Panels

November 8, 2013
[health] Setting the Record Straight: Debunking ALL the Flu Vaccine Myths … With flu season’s arrival this is a very timely debunking of myths about Flu vaccines … ‘Myth #18: If I get the flu, antibiotics will take care of me. (No, they can’t.) Influenza is a virus. Antibiotics fight bacteria (anti = “against”; biotics = “of life,” referring to living bacteria, not to viruses). All the antibiotics in the world won’t help you fight off a flu infection.’
November 11, 2013
[book] At the Shredding Plant … Inside a Book Shredding Factory … ‘Confetti rains down from the shredding machines. Strewn everywhere on the floor is a babel of printed scraps: a non-stop factory of literary recombination and experimentation. Pressed tight into 650-kilo bales and stacked ready for delivery to paper mills, they are huge three-dimensional cut-up poems, only their surfaces of tiny orphaned fragments legible. Here, books are nothing special, just part of a wider ecology of continual destruction, recomposition and miscegenation: books; toilet paper; office waste; files; receipts; and in a second warehouse next-door, the non-paper waste – crates of bicycles; video cassettes; Zimmer frames. The shredder is powerful, omnivorous, indiscriminate.’
November 12, 2013
[internet] Netflix Has Taken a Huge Bite Out of File Sharing … interesting look at what’s being downloaded on the Internet these days … ‘BitTorrent, the report notes, now accounts for only 7.4 percent of traffic during peak period, while file-sharing in general hovers below 10 percent. And that’s a sharp drop—only five years ago, BitTorrent managed to draw 31 percent of daily streaming traffic and even twice that 10 years ago.’
November 13, 2013
[retro-computing] Google BBS Terminal … How Google search would behave if it had been created in the 1980’s.
November 14, 2013
[work] Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User … Whatever happened to Keynes idea of a Leisure Society? ‘The economic impact of hyperemployment is obviously different from that of underemployment, but some of the same emotional toll imbues both: a sense of inundation, of being trounced by demands whose completion yields only their continuance, and a feeling of resignation that any other scenario is likely or even possible. The only difference between the despair of hyperemployment and that of un- or under-employment is that the latter at least acknowledges itself as an substandard condition, while the former celebrates the hyperemployed’s purported freedom to “share” and “connect,” to do business more easily and effectively by doing jobs once left for others competence and compensation, from the convenience of your car or toilet.’
November 15, 2013
[lists] Top Nine Things You Need To Know About ‘Listicles’ … a list about Internet lists … ‘A listicle feels more democratic than a hierarchically structured argument, as well as more in tune with a conception of history and the world as just one damn thing after another. The foundational text of Protestantism was a listicle nailed to a church door: Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” posted at Wittenberg. So it makes sense that in our culture, which makes a fetish of anti-authoritarianism, the listicle should have spread everywhere, like mould.’
November 18, 2013
[german] Toilettenbürstenbenutzungsanweisung … the #1 very long word you’ll only find in a German toilet – it translates as “Toilet brush instructions for use”.
November 19, 2013
[lego] The Lego Pain Scale …

Pain Scale Using Lego Minifigs

November 20, 2013
[movies] 10 remarkable things about Superman IV: The Quest For Peace … looking back at the least sucessful of Christopher Reeves’ Superman movies … ‘The film’s most infamous money-saving location, though, is its use of a Milton Keynes bus station as a stand-in for New York’s United Nations Headquarters on 42nd Street. As Christopher Reeve gloomily put it in his autobiography Still Me, “…we had to shoot at an industrial park in England in the rain with about a hundred extras, not a car in sight, and a dozen pigeons thrown in for atmosphere.” It’s impossible to imagine just how depressing it must have been to set up this particular shot. You’re in Milton Keynes, you have a few dozen extras, and Christopher Reeve walking around in his cape, yet the location still doesn’t look like New York; it looks like a lonely part of a modern British city.’
November 25, 2013
[web] 17 Ancient Abandoned Websites That Still Work … I remember CNN’s O.J. Simpson trial website from 1996. I feel old.
November 26, 2013
[web] Motherfucking Website … a lovely sweary rant on website design … ‘Cross-browser compatibility? Load this motherfucker in IE6. I fucking dare you.’
November 29, 2013
7 Ways To Be Insufferable On Facebook … the humblebrag, image-crafting, attention craving – a pretty comprehensive list of annoying approaches to Facebook … ‘A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.’
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 4, 2013
[comics] (Not Quite) Wally Wood’s 22 Batmans That Always Work!! … by P. J. Holden after Wally Wood

22 Batman's That Always Work

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 13, 2013
[weird] An amazing list of actual reasons for admission into the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum from the late 1800s‘Venereal Excesses.’
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.’