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January 1, 2015
[comics] Happy New Year … 2000AD Prog 451 cover for The Ballard Of Halo Jones by Ian Gibson …

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2015
[serial] Jay Speaks Part 3: The Collateral Damage of an Extremely Popular Podcast about Murder … Jay On life after Serial: ‘What’s so frustrating about this is that there haven’t been any clear fights. It hasn’t been confrontational. It’s been a hundred little things that have happened, like cars parked outside my house for an hour, somebody just stops talking to me at work before I was let go, people taking pictures. It’s the doorbell ringing, and my wife jumping up six feet into the air, because she’s so scared. It makes me feel paranoid. And it also makes me really angry, because the mistakes I’ve made are on me and not on my family. And there’s a part of me that just wants to break away from them and live in the bushes or the Appalachian mountains, so they can be safe.’
January 3, 2015
[fails] 11 Spectacular 3D Printer Failures‘Just because you have a 3D printer doesn’t mean you’re going to make anything remarkable. It doesn’t even mean you’re going to wind up with what you set out to produce. Believe it or not, 3D printing requires some skill. And when you don’t have it, things go delightfully askew.’
January 4, 2015
[science] Is the Universe a Simulation?‘But one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. This may strike you as very unlikely. But the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not. If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one.’
January 5, 2015
[comics] Ed Brubaker Looks Back At Batman Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 … Brubaker is interviewed by Chris Sims … ‘I was at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and [DC Executive Editor] Mike Carlin was there. He had been reading the flats of Scene of the Crime when they were coming in because he was a fan of Michael’s — my whole career is based on editors being fans of artists that I’ve worked with. So Mike Carlin came to me and said “Why don’t you try and write something for the DCU?” And I said “I don’t think I have any ideas for superheroes.” [Laughs] This is fifteen years ago, and I can look back on it now and it’s funny that I would’ve said it, but at the time, I really didn’t think I could do anything like Batman, and he said “Well, if you can write a mystery comic, you can write Batman.” So he just insisted that I do something, and I went home and sat around trying to think of a pitch for a one-shot, and they were still doing Elseworlds at the time, so I pitched Gotham Noir. Which was how I ended up getting hooked up with Sean Phillips, too.’
January 6, 2015
[funny] 36 Truly Terrifying Middle-Class Injuries‘Today I suffered the most middle class injury ever. I hurt my wrist while rinsing kale.’
January 7, 2015
[food] Ten of the most impressive food heists‘In 2009, a man and woman in New Zealand were arrested after being caught with boxes containing 20 1kg blocks of vacuum-packed cheddar, stolen that morning from a train. As the police chased the couple, cheese was flung out of the vehicle on to the road, in what will probably go down as one of the more bizarre car chases in history. It is said that cheese is the most stolen food type. One report in 2011 went so far as to label the product “high risk” after finding £4.9m of it was stolen in the UK that year alone.’
[crime] Steve Bell on the Charlie Hebdo Magazine Attack‘Why are the fuckers still laughing at us?’
January 8, 2015
[quotes] Flash Card Quotes

Robert Frost: Life It Goes On

January 9, 2015
[religion] The pope has said that he would baptise a Martian – but would they want our religions?‘The Vatican has already covered the angles, it seems. In 2008, its chief astronomer, José Gabriel Funes, publicly accepted that there could be life on other planets. “Why can’t we speak of a ‘brother extraterrestrial’?” he said. “It would still be part of creation.” Aliens might even be closer to God than us, Funes suggested, and humans could be the “lost sheep” of the universe.’
January 10, 2015
[comics] Dylan Horrocks on Depression, Magic Pens and Tasteful Comics Porn … interview with Dylan Horrocks on his new comics Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen … ‘The book is partly a kind of experimental laboratory, where I create a series of situations fraught with moral complexity and then see what happens when I drop certain characters into them. Every now and then, I try taking a clear position, to see how that feels. But I always tried to undermine, question or challenge those positions at the same time — by surrounding them with the very pleasures they were condemning, or by allowing a sense of unease to creep over the reader. I wanted to build a big, fun, slightly-dangerous adventure playground, where I could play around and push my own limits, even if things got a little scary at times. Hopefully a few other people will enjoy playing there too, and if we’re lucky we might learn something about ourselves and each other. Well, that was the idea. But I’ll settle for getting a few laughs. The central question, in a way, is asked out loud by Sam halfway through: “Do we bear a moral responsibility for our fantasies?” The book sets out to have a conversation about that question.’
January 11, 2015
[comics] Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris‘Liberation called me and said, “Crumb, can you do a cartoon for us? About what you think about this, you know, you are a major cartoonist, and you live in France.” So I thought about it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I’m doing the dishes, or whatever, I was thinking, “What should I do for that cartoon…” I had a lot of ideas. Other people come up with these, you know, clever cartoons that comment on it, like…This one guy did a cartoon showing a bloody dead body laying there, and a radical Muslim standing over him with a Kalashnikov, saying, “He drew first!” Stuff like that. That’s good, that’s clever, you know, I like that. But, me? I gotta like, you know, when I do something, it has to be more personal…’
January 12, 2015
[comics] Paul Gravett interviews/profiles Dylan Horrocks‘I remember when photocopying machines became plentiful (and cheap) in the 1980s, which led to a blossoming of the small press, mini-comics and zines. It felt like a revolution. But the internet takes that to a whole nother level. Not surprisingly, many publishers and retailers are struggling to adapt, but the main thing for me is the explosion of new and incredibly diverse artists who are embracing comics and are taking them in countless new directions online. Living in a tiny country at the bottom of the world, I’m especially conscious of the possibilities opened up by the internet to empower previously marginalised artists and writers: not just in terms of nationality, but also gender, sexuality, ethnicity and more. Not that everything’s peachy, of course. Governments and corporations are doing their best to bring the internet under their control, and things are changing quickly. Interesting times… The other huge change in comics since the days of Pickle is the rise of the graphic novel. Twenty years ago, the idea that comics would be regularly reviewed in classy literary journals and nominated for major book awards seemed as utopian as Hicksville. I still find it hard to believe. And I still love finding some strange little hand-stapled mini-comic at a local zine-fair….’
January 13, 2015
[politics] MPs Mistaking Arms For Anus … anus errors from the official record of the House of Commons and the House of Lords … ‘November 14, 2000, Dr Jenny Tonge: I want now to discuss my favourite topic of anus embargoes, to which the Minister would expect me to refer.’
January 14, 2015
[fake] 86 Viral Images From 2014 That Were Totally Fake … a fascinating collection of well faked images …

Fake Nazi Candy

January 15, 2015
[crime] The murder that obsessed Italy … Engrossing true crime story from Italy about the investigation of the murder of Yara Gambirasio‘The investigation was, by Italian standards, unusually secretive. Locals couldn’t understand why police hunting the murderer of a 13-year-old girl were taking DNA samples of elderly women. Bonicelli – a fan of the fictional detectives Maigret and Montalbano – says that the investigation “was lacking the traditional, human element: the sort of person who goes into a bar in the village … and puts someone at ease so that something slips out.” Locals felt there was something cold about this investigation, with its invasive demands for DNA samples. And it was changing the atmosphere in these small communities. People thought, says Bonicelli, “that the murderer was here, amongst us. So there was a sort of – not panic, but fear.”’
January 16, 2015
[charlie_hebdo] When Art Is Dangerous (or Not) … Tim Kreider On Charlie Hebdo …

Much as I admire Steve Bell’s caricatures of George W. Bush as a dung-flinging chimpanzee, it’s hard to imagine them landing the former president in The Hague. Most daily editorial cartoonists in the United States produce work about as incisive as a prime-time sitcom, and the rest are consigned to niche markets where they preach to their demographic choirs. I have to wonder whether any of my colleagues felt the same queasy mix of emotions I did on hearing about the assassinations in Paris: beneath the outrage, sorrow and solidarity, a small, irrational twinge of guilt that we’re not doing anything worth shooting us over.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. likened the cumulative firepower of all the art and literature directed against the Vietnam War to “the explosive force of a very large banana-cream pie — a pie two meters in diameter, 20 centimeters thick, and dropped from a height of 10 meters or more.” A lot of artists in America tend to be self-deprecating futilitarians, because we’ve grown up in a culture in which art doesn’t matter except, occasionally, as a high-end investment. When art has been controversial here it’s most often been because it’s deemed obscene. (Sex is our tawdry Muhammad, the thing that cannot be depicted.) But it’s hard to think of a time in our recent history when art gave any cause for alarm to anyone in power.

January 17, 2015
[moore] Poet has first book published thanks to old school pal Alan Moore‘The book includes a seven page foreword by Alan in which he says Dominic’s “words speak of an almost-gone emotional reality, a since subsided proletarian warmth, an honesty entirely unafraid of sentiment, a great clarity of the heart.” In Spring Lane School there is a noticeboard displaying laminated pictures of Alan and Dominic to encourage the pupils which they are both very proud to feature on.’
January 18, 2015
[herzog] 24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog‘Get used to the bear behind you.’
January 19, 2015
[moore] Why has Nick Griffin ripped off the ‘V for Vendetta’ logo for his new party? … Life imitates Alan Moore again… ‘We attempted get in touch with Griffin to get a comment on this and he told us to ‘do one’ and accused us of being part of the ‘zonist media’.’
January 20, 2015
[tv] Jon Ronson in Conversation with Adam Curtis … Curtis discusses his Bitter Lake – his new film … ‘I found a man in the [BBC Archives] who spends his time recording the bits in between the programmes when they are broadcast. He writes down in detail all the announcements and the trailers, plus all the bits where things go wrong. So far his log of this stuff has got to 7,500 pages. He’s convinced that we don’t really understand television. He says the idea that you can break television up into discrete programmes is wrong. He believes television is really one long construction of a giant story out of fragments of recorded reality from all over the world that is constantly added to every day, and has been going on for 70 years. But what really opened things up for me was the realisation that there was an even further forgotten source of images. Not in London, but hidden all over the world. A BBC news cameraman called Phil Goodwin came to me and told me that the BBC offices in major cities have kept all their recorded footage in cupboards and store rooms. There are hundreds of tapes of what are called rushes – the original, unedited material from which news reports are created. And they were just lying there…’
January 21, 2015
[funny] Artist Always Carries Around Sketchbook In Case He Feels Like Making Someone Uncomfortable‘You never know when you’ll catch a glimpse of some random person and feel that sudden urge to sketch them without their permission as they fidget under your gaze…’
January 22, 2015
[herzog] Werner Herzog Inspirational Posters‘And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food.’

herzog-inspirationals-bears

January 23, 2015
[moore] Twenty-two comic books Alan Moore was looking forward to in 1988 Part 1 | Part 2
January 25, 2015
[lovecraft] HP Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space … a look at how H.P. Lovecraft foresaw the future in one of his short stories …‘Lovecraft’s creature is a symbol of something that, at the time he wrote, was just coming into being. The prophecy develops through a number of rifts in the text, some of which align the extraterrestrial entity with technical innovations still nascent at the time the novella was written. For one we learn that the meteorite fell in 1882, which happens to be the year Thomas Edison switched on the world’s first commercial power station in New York City. Furthermore the scientists who study the meteorite discover that its chemical composition bears an affinity with silicon, a metalloid that, unbeknownst to Lovecraft, would enable the development of the semiconductor, without which there would be no digital age. Finally, the effect of the preternatural color on plants and wildlife is eerily prescient of radiation sickness—the radioactivity of electronic devices being common knowledge now. Through these and other elements, the story connects the advent of alien light and color to wider technological processes that have transformed the landscape.’
January 26, 2015
[politics] Greeks vote for the Germans to pay for everything‘Some economists have suggested that Greece doesn’t have any money because nobody has bothered paying any tax for the ten or fifteen years, but these concerns cut no ice amongst Greeks. “We’ve got to get away from the old arguments about who did what and who is to blame in order to move forward with our exciting plans”, said Dmitropolos said.’
January 27, 2015
[wikipedia] Wikipedia’s List of lists of lists… includes many useful lists of lists such as Lists of Emmerdale characters and Lists of golfers. ‘This article is a list of articles that are themselves lists of articles that are also lists of articles on Wikipedia; i.e., the articles linked each index numerous lists on a topic.’ [via Kottke]
January 28, 2015
[games] The Untold Story Of The Invention Of The Game Cartridge … the little-known history of an huge innovation in video gaming technology …

Inserting and removing socketed electronic assemblies had, until then, been an activity reserved for trained technicians, engineers, and military personnel. Taking a sensitive circuit board and putting it into the hands of a consumer—who might be prone to stepping on it, dunking it in the toilet, or leaving it baking in the sun—posed a considerable design challenge. Obviously, the board needed a protective shell of some kind.

Talesfore zeroed in immediately on the familiar form of the 8-track tape cartridge, an audio recording format which gained significant traction in the 1970s through its use in car audio systems. Relatively rugged, easy to insert and remove with one hand, and vibration-resistant, the 8-track tape proliferated where the comparatively delicate vinyl record feared to tread. He chose a shape and size for his new game cartridge enclosure that closely matched the 8-track tape standard. Then he added ribbing around the edges for improved grip, and selected a bright yellow plastic color to make a statement. Cartridges were the true star of the show, he figured, so they deserved to stand out.

January 29, 2015
[consipracy] Every single celebrity murdered by the sinister Illuminati, as revealed by Google Autocomplete‘Google autocompletes are based upon what people type into Google. Therefore they are always true and never wrong, and this turns out to be a completely brilliant way of finding out which celebrities have been murdered by the sinister Illuminati cult that runs our world.’
January 30, 2015
[web] What the Web Said Yesterday … a New Yorker profile of the Internet Archive and Brewster Kahle …

“Every time a light blinks, someone is uploading or downloading,” Kahle explains. Six hundred thousand people use the Wayback Machine every day, conducting two thousand searches a second. “You can see it.” He smiles as he watches. “They’re glowing books!” He waves his arms. “They glow when they’re being read!”

One day last summer, a missile was launched into the sky and a plane crashed in a field. “We just downed a plane,” a soldier told the world. People fell to the earth, their last passage. Somewhere, someone hit “Save Page Now.”

Where is the Internet’s memory, the history of our time?

“It’s right here!” Kahle cries.

The machine hums and is muffled. It is sacred and profane. It is eradicable and unbearable.

January 31, 2015
[books] Charts and Diagrams Drawn by Famous Authors … fascinating collection of diagrams authors have used to plan their work … ‘Writers often use plot charts to organize the threads of complicated stories, but they’ve also been known to crank out diagrams of the travels of other people’s characters, chart-style teaching tools, and even hand-drawn maps.’
February 1, 2015
[space] What Does Space Sound Like? … It turns out that Space is very noisy … ‘I met NASA astronaut Ron Garan in early 2012, when he had just returned from a six-month mission on board the International Space Station. He explained to me that the sonic environment in a real spacecraft is a long way from being serene. Even outside on a spacewalk (his previous mission had included a walk that lasted six and a half hours), there is no silence. Indeed, it would have been worrying if there had been, because it would have meant that the pumps circulating air for him to breathe had stopped working. Spacecraft are full of noisy mechanical devices, such as refrigerators, air-conditioning units, and fans. Theoretically, the noise could be reduced, but quieter, heavier machines would be expensive to lift into orbit.’
February 2, 2015
[funny] 5 People on Etsy Who Are Clearly Serial Killers Part 1 | Part 2

etsy-serial-killers

‘Hey, remember that nightmare you had once where you wandered into that rural cult compound and everyone celebrated the arrival of an outsider by tying you to a banquet table, putting on their ceremonial animal masks, and drinking your blood from a chalice? Well, even if you don’t, this nice woman sure does, and she was really hoping you’d like to be reminded for only $30. She’s a Canadian photographer and expert in subtle terror. Objectively, there’s nothing scary about a kid wearing a plastic animal mask, and yet her pictures are so ominous, they look like something you’d find in the attic of a house no one will buy.’
February 3, 2015
[politics] 25 Things That Will Definitely Happen In The General Election Campaign‘A UKIP candidate will say something ridiculous and be forced to resign.’
February 4, 2015
[movies] Typeset In Space: Alien … a wonderfully done blog post on the design and typography in Alien … ‘Back to the action. Ripley is safely on board the shuttle, with no sign of the alien. But wait – just when we think all is rosy, it turns out that the damned thing has also stowed away on the shuttle. Gah! Thankfully, this shuttle comes equipped with a system that pipes highly toxic and flammable SPECIAL GASES into the main cockpit at the press of a button: It’s not immediately clear why this is a particularly useful or safe feature to have in a shuttle. Nonetheless, it certainly comes in handy when there’s an alien hiding in the wall.’
February 5, 2015
[facebook] The Creepiest Things You Can Do on Facebook‘Facebook has essentially just dropped this one right in your lap. If you go to someone’s profile, look to the left. If they have chosen to keep their relationship status hidden, you’ll see a small line prompting you to prod them for that very same sensitive information they’ve actively chosen to keep private. The future!’
February 6, 2015
[comics] The Quotable Alan Moore … a collection of Alan Moore quotes … ‘Eventually you’ll use everything. You usually put them in some kind of code unless you’re doing a straightforward biography. There’s things I did like ‘A Small Killing’. The central event in that was a boy burying some bugs in a bottle. I did that when I was 8 or 9 and it haunted me. In ‘Big Numbers’ the writer was me, not exactly, but there was enough experience. I borrowed voraciously from my friends lives, sometimes that can feel a bit dodgy. These people, they’re your friends and they’ll pour out details of their lives and part of your brain is this cold vampiric thing writing it all down to use later. I can’t help it I’m a writer.’
February 7, 2015
[life] Health Experts Recommend Standing Up At Desk, Leaving Office, Never Coming Back … some working life advice from The Onion … ‘We encourage Americans to experiment with stretching their legs by strolling across their office and leaving all their responsibilities behind forever just one time to see how much better they feel. People tend to become more productive, motivated, and happy almost immediately. We found that you can also really get the blood flowing by pairing this activity with hurling your staff ID across the parking lot.’
February 8, 2015
[politics] Tories Bring US-Style Political Attack Adverts To The UK In Time For The Election … the Tory party are exploiting a gap in the law and using YouTube to target voters … ‘The new campaign tactic, a first in UK politics, enables the Tories to completely bypass Britain’s strict ban on paid-for political TV adverts and allows the party substantially more freedom to target video adverts at individuals in marginal constituencies. What’s more, unlike expensively produced political party broadcasts which are shown in carefully allocated slots on national TV channels, this form of YouTube advertising could enable the Conservatives to produce fast-turnaround negative attack adverts within hours based on recent events.’
February 9, 2015
[murder] The Chelsea Girl, the Playboy, the Honest Cop and the Proven Lawyer … a fascinating true crime story from 1967 about the murder of a young French woman in Swinging London … ‘Her body was discovered on the Tuesday by a Mark Shaw Lawrence, the landlord. She had lived in a bedsitter at 17 Walpole Street since July. She was face down on a divan, naked except for a bra and a pyjama top. Dr Donald Teare, the pathologist, after a post-mortem on Wednesday said that death was due to “suffocation following cerebral haemorrhage as a result of blows to the head”. Claudie Danielle, as she was known, a French girl, was said by a neighbour who didn’t want to be named to have “masses of boy friends”. And “her clothes were so extraordinary. She wore long vests like skirts and sombreros”. The police were visiting clubs and discothèques (then a word just coming into English usage) in Chelsea with photographs of Claudie. A ‘vital clue’ taken away by the police from the bedsit was a bundle of some 200 letters and cards, many from boyfriends. No murder weapon had yet been discovered at the crime scene. A description of a man in ‘a red military tunic’ and ‘mod gear’ and with long blond hair had been given to the police. He had been seen waiting outside Claudie’s room at 3am some two weeks earlier. A description that must have fitted half a million guys in the London autumn of 1967.’ [thanks Phil]
February 10, 2015
[funny] Paul Dacre leaves house wearing unflattering suit, sporting high forehead haircut, and no make-up … wonderfully done spoof Daily Mail article … ‘Although his outfit showed off none of the assets you come to expect in the Daily Mail, the lack of ‘cleavage’ and ‘side moob’ was more than compensated for by the hole at the top of his shirt exposing a right tit To make things worse, he walked out of his front door with no make-up.’
February 11, 2015
[tv] Sorkinisms II – The Sequel … another supercut of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue recycling on TV and movies. [thanks Feeling Listless]

February 12, 2015
[tech] $10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience … does anybody actually believe this audiophile nonsense?‘Pay close attention to how you plug in the “ultra-performance RJ45 connector made from silver”, because these are directional Ethernet cables (apparently in ignorance that in the digital sphere, frames travel both way on the cables).’
February 13, 2015
[curtis] Infinite Adam Curtis … go watch a perfectly done, never-ending Adam Curtis documentary … ‘Four hundred times a second, on the Moon, Condoleezza Rice tried to undermine Marilyn Monroe. A tipping point which would later be disastrous for those who study their careers…’
February 14, 2015
[movies] A Blade Runner Valentine

Blade Runner Valentines

February 15, 2015
[comics] New Yorker Covers You Might Have Missed … a gallery of astounding Chris Ware magazine covers.
February 16, 2015
[tv] Totally Mexico! How the Nathan Barley nightmare came true … a look back at Nathan Barley

“When he started out, Nathan wasn’t what we’d now call a Shoreditch hipster,” Brooker says. “I’d never even been to Shoreditch. It was more about moneyed young guys who claimed to be working in television when really they were living off their parents. He was more of a Made In Chelsea figure, and he kind of morphed into a Hoxton idiot for the TV show.”

Chris Morris, the creator of The Day Today and Brasseye, had written listings in secret for TVGoHome. Around 2000 he suggested that they try to develop a show around the Nathan character and east London’s increasingly absurd club/art scene. “We talked about the show for years before we made it,” says Brooker. “Chris was adamant very early on that there should be a tiny acorn of likability to Nathan, something irrepressible. He does terrible things but he has an endearing sort of rabbity enthusiasm to him. In the fake listings he really was a cunt, whereas in the TV show he’s a twat – and there is a difference.”

February 17, 2015
[comics] When did the comic-book universe become so banal? … Jonanthan Jones on comics … ‘American cartoonist Chris Ware is considered a brave, modern artist. But how, exactly? With his puppet-like people, isolated in minimalist Edward Hopper-style scenes, his comics are easy to decode once you ‘get’ his style. The studied melancholia of his drawings is unconvincing as visual art, because it all looks so contrived and rigid. His art is basically a set of tics and mannerisms. Yet Ware is the best graphic novelist of the moment – so if he is a cut-price Paul Klee, we should be concerned about the genre. The work of many graphic novelists looks as if they took the same college drawing course; all have learned that good graphic art communicates information. In a comic, this advances the story, but such a functional approach undermines true art…’
February 18, 2015
[war] What ISIS Really Wants … great long read on the ideology of ISIS …

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

February 19, 2015
[comics] Nick Abadzis remembers Brett Ewins who sadly died this week‘Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon gave me my start in comics as a creator. I’d worked for Marvel UK and Fleetway before I worked for Deadline, but it was Brett and Steve who looked at my portfolio and saw some potential there and gave me a chance as a cartoonist. Brett found a loose, lanky stick man I’d hidden at the back of all the other drawings and asked if the character had a name. He didn’t, but the two of them read the two-page strip and laughed. I can still hear Brett saying, “Yeah, we’ll have this. Can you give us two or three pages of this every month?” They paid fifty quid a page. Later, the name Hugo Tate attached itself to the character, and Brett and Steve gave me more pages as the strip became more popular.’
February 20, 2015
[books] Non-Fiction Books Everyone Should Read Infographic … from David McCandless’ Knowledge is Beautiful

Non-Fiction Books Everyone Should Read

February 21, 2015
[tech] How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last … a fascinating look at the NSA’s collection of malware … ‘Beyond the technical similarities to the Stuxnet and Flame developers, Equation Group boasted the type of extraordinary engineering skill people have come to expect from a spy organization sponsored by the world’s wealthiest nation. One of the Equation Group’s malware platforms, for instance, rewrote the hard-drive firmware of infected computers—a never-before-seen engineering marvel that worked on 12 drive categories from manufacturers including Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, IBM, Micron, Toshiba, and Seagate. The malicious firmware created a secret storage vault that survived military-grade disk wiping and reformatting, making sensitive data stolen from victims available even after reformatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system. The firmware also provided programming interfaces that other code in Equation Group’s sprawling malware library could access. Once a hard drive was compromised, the infection was impossible to detect or remove.’
February 22, 2015
[politics] The Daily Telegraph’s promise to its readers, sponsored by Canesten the Daily Mash reprints an announcement from the Telegraph … ‘Once only a newspaper, the Daily Telegraph is now a groundbreaking multi-platform operation comparable to Canesten Combi which is both a cream and a pessary to deal with both the symptoms and the root cause. For the avoidance of any doubt, we have no regard for the burning sensation that Ed Miliband arouses in rival media organisations, believing that he is a parasitical infection on our body politic that can only be alleviated using the market-leading techniques that have made Britain, and by association Canesten, great.’
February 23, 2015
[comics] Dan Clowes Portrait by Drew Friedman … go look at this wonderfully done portrait of Clowes by another cartoonist.
February 24, 2015
[books] Our Dear, Departed Books… By Tom Gauld.

Our Dear Departed Books

February 25, 2015
[moore] Huge Alan Moore interview from Mustard comedy magazine … Alan shares another theory on who Jack the Ripper might be: ‘In our local paper there was a report about a man called Mallard who believed that Jack the Ripper was a member of his family from the Doddridge Church area of Northampton. His somewhat slender grounds for this theory were that a father in the family had committed suicide and one of the sons then moved down to London and was working in a slaughterhouse in the Whitechapel area during the time of the murders. Not the most convincing theory, but I was quite taken with this story because my mother’s maiden name was Mallard and her family lived around the Doddridge Church area. So in answer to Matt’s question, I’d say that after all of my researches, it turns out that Jack the Ripper was probably my granddad. It’s funny how these things work out, but what can you do?’
February 26, 2015
[hst] Hunter S. Thompson, Existentialist Life Coach, Gives Tips for Finding Meaning in Life‘Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH. Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds…’
February 27, 2015
[life] The truth about evil … a long-read from John Gray on the nature of evil and how politicians deal with it … ‘Here Blair is at one with most western leaders. It’s not that they are obsessed with evil. Rather, they don’t really believe in evil as an enduring reality in human life. If their feverish rhetoric means anything, it is that evil can be vanquished. In believing this, those who govern us at the present time reject a central insight of western religion, which is found also in Greek tragic drama and the work of the Roman historians: destructive human conflict is rooted in flaws within human beings themselves. In this old-fashioned understanding, evil is a propensity to destructive and self-destructive behaviour that is humanly universal. The restraints of morality exist to curb this innate human frailty; but morality is a fragile artifice that regularly breaks down. Dealing with evil requires an acceptance that it never goes away.’
February 28, 2015
[politics] Ukip delegates find a great deal to be unhappy about … a political sketch from the Ukip Conference In Margate …

“The polls are also looking good,” Nuttall continued. This provoked several sharp intakes of breath, before everyone realised he hadn’t been talking about the Poles. To make up for this momentary lapse, they gave Ukip supporter Harjit Singh a standing ovation for being a Sikh.

Elsewhere there was nothing but trouble. Our fish were being stolen, our nuns were being sneered at, our vacuum cleaners were being abused and our foreign aid budget was being spent on teaching Africans to dance. MEP Nathan Gill proudly introduced his new publication, 8 Reasons for Cutting Foreign Aid that featured a photo of a starving African child on the front. “Charity begins at home,” he said. Even our dogs were going to the dogs. All those fancy new cockapoos and labradooodle what nots.

Into this hellish pit of despair, stepped a heavily made-up Nigel Farage…

March 1, 2015
[tech] How To: Some Basic (And Not-So-Basic) Photo Management … a useful guide to dealing with a large messy collection of digital photos … ‘I recently consolidated and organized my photo library. At the start of the project, I had 13,000 photos dispersed between a number of locations: DVDs, an external drive, an android phone (and Google plus/android instant backup), a Macbook Air, a Windows desktop’s hard drive, another internal hard drive, and Dropbox. It was what anyone would call a “cluster.” Also, it was more than a little daunting since photos were duplicated across several locations with various names, states of Exif data (present, corrupted, or not present). This is the evolving story of how I got it together…’
March 2, 2015
[crime] The strange case of the ‘time travel’ murder … a look at the fallibility of DNA in crime investigations … ‘In Germany in 2007, traces of DNA belonging to an unknown female were found at the scene of the murder of a police officer. When run through the German database, identical DNA was found to have been present at the scene of five other murders in Germany and France, along with several burglaries and car thefts. In total, the woman’s DNA was found at 40 separate crime scenes. The German authorities spent two years and thousands of hours searching for the culprit, only to discover that the DNA had in fact been present on the swabs the crime scene investigators had been using to collect their samples. The swabs had been accidentally contaminated by a woman working at the factory that produced them.’
March 3, 2015
[life] What is blue and how do we see color? … a look at why the Ancient Greeks could not see the colour blue … ‘Davidoff says that without a word for a color, without a way of identifying it as different, it is much harder for us to notice what is unique about it — even though our eyes are physically seeing the blocks it in the same way. So before blue became a common concept, maybe humans saw it. But it seems they did not know they were seeing it. If you see something yet can’t see it, does it exist? Did colors come into existence over time? Not technically, but our ability to notice them may have…’
March 4, 2015
[blog] LinkMachineGo – 15 Years Of “A Hypertext Reference Equals” – I did it! :) …

One Does Not Simply Blog For 15 Years

March 5, 2015
[politics] Bill Clinton portrait artist hints at Monica Lewinsky scandal … how an artist incorporated Monica Lewinsky’s Blue Dress into a portrait of Bill Clinton … ‘“If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” Shanks said. “It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there.”Lewinsky’s stained blue dress itself became a symbol of the scandal during the 1990s. The shadow “is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him,” Shanks said.’
March 6, 2015
[aircrash] How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? … well-written alternative theory on what might have happened to missing flight MH370

I realized that I already had a clue that hijackers had been in the E/E bay. Remember the satcom system disconnected and then rebooted three minutes after the plane left military radar behind. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how a person could physically turn the satcom off and on. The only way, apart from turning off half the entire electrical system, would be to go into the E/E bay and pull three particular circuit breakers. It is a maneuver that only a sophisticated operator would know how to execute, and the only reason I could think for wanting to do this was so that Inmarsat would find the records and misinterpret them. They turned on the satcom in order to provide a false trail of bread crumbs leading away from the plane’s true route.

It’s not possible to spoof the BFO data on just any plane. The plane must be of a certain make and model, 17equipped with a certain make and model of satellite-communications equipment,18 and flying a certain kind of route19 in a region covered by a certain kind of Inmarsat satellite.20 If you put all the conditions together, it seemed unlikely that any aircraft would satisfy them. Yet MH370 did.

I imagine everyone who comes up with a new theory, even a complicated one, must experience one particularly delicious moment, like a perfect chord change, when disorder gives way to order. This was that moment for me. Once I threw out the troublesome BFO data, all the inexplicable coincidences and mismatched data went away. The answer became wonderfully simple. The plane must have gone north.

March 7, 2015
[web] What does HTML’s “HREF” stand for?‘Today it occurred to me that, after a little over ten years of basic fluency in HTML, I have absolutely no idea why the href attribute is named “href”. Why not “url”, “link”, or even just “ref”?’
March 8, 2015
[tech] This guy’s light bulb performed a DoS attack on his entire smart house … the downside to smart-houses: more technology in your life means more tech support problems … ‘He realized that his light fixture had burned out, and was trying to tell the hub that it needed attention. To do so, it was sending continuous requests that had overloaded the network and caused it to freeze. “It was a classic denial of service attack,” says Rojas. The light was performing a DoS attack on the smart home to say, ‘Change me.’” Rojas changed the bulb, which fixed the problem.’
March 9, 2015
[ukip] Why the media are wrong about UKIP: They’re not dangerous, they’re an irrelevant spent force … Rob Manuel On UKIP … ‘If you want to get a sense of what it’s like to be here – read these three sentences followed by huge cheers: “I want you to imagine that tomorrow the Channel Tunnel is blown up!” “The old establishment parties and their willing lapdogs in the media!” “We cannot even choose what vacuum cleaners we use!” I found myself drifting off and accidentally clapped a speech out of reflex, then panicked that another journalist might have seen me – my secret UKIP-loving shame!’
March 10, 2015
[space] A Dust Devil on Mars … go take a look at this amazing picture taken from a satellite orbiting Mars.
March 11, 2015
[science] 13 Science Myths You Probably Believe … … ‘Whether you can roll your tongue or not depends on your genes – In a 1940 study some children managed to learn the skill. Eleven years later, some scientists showed that the number of tongue rollers among Japanese school children increased by 20% between the ages of 6–7 and 12. So it can’t be purely genetic.’
March 12, 2015
[books] The Poke updates Ladybird Books for a new generation

Offending Internet People

March 13, 2015
[movies] The Grantland Q&A: Errol Morris … big interview with Errol Morris … On Donald Rumsfeld: ‘But I think — and I could be just making excuses for myself — that there’s a portrait that emerges [in The Unknown Known] that’s very different and far more interesting than the portrait you would’ve gotten by having him walk off the set or repeatedly refuse to answer questions, which is what would’ve happened. There’s something about his manner that reveals to me much about the man. A refusal to engage stuff with any meaning is really frightening, and I think that’s part of who he is. There’s a whole class of people who love to push people around but don’t love to think about stuff carefully.’
March 14, 2015
[email] Emkei’s Instant Mailer … When you absolutely have to send fake email from a tooth fairy I recommend Emkei’s Instant Mailer. Accept no substitutes.
March 15, 2015
[movies] Tears in rain? Why Blade Runner is timeless … a look back at Blade Runner … ‘Ford’s Deckard may or may not be as gripped by uncertainty about his job as Dick’s original blade runner. In any case, his brusque “lack of affect” provides one of the long-standing puzzles of the film: is he, too, a replicant? Certainly Ford’s perpetual grumpiness (it sometimes seems his default acting position), his curdled cynicism, put up barriers to feeling that suggest it is as disturbing for him as it is for the hunted Leon or Roy. Though some still doubt, it seems clear that Deckard is indeed a replicant, his imaginings and memories downloaded from some database, his life as transitory as that of his victims. However, as we watch Blade Runner, Deckard doesn’t feel like a replicant; he is dour and unengaged, but lacks his victims’ detached innocence, their staccato puzzlement at their own untrained feelings. The antithesis of the scowling Ford, Hauer’s Roy is a sinister smiler, or someone whose face falls at the brush of an unassimilable emotion.’
March 16, 2015
[royalty] What happens when Queen Elizabeth II dies? … fascinating look at the first few days after the Queen dies … ‘For at least 12 days — between her passing, the funeral and beyond — Britain will grind to a halt. It’ll cost the British economy billions in lost earnings. The stock markets and banks will close for an indefinite period. And both the funeral and the subsequent coronation will become formal national holidays, each with an estimated economic hit to GDP of between £1.2 and £6 billion, to say nothing of organisational costs. But to focus on the financial disruption doesn’t begin to describe the sheer magnitude of it. It will be an event unlike anything Britain has ever seen before. There will be trivial disruptions — the BBC will cancel all comedy shows, for example — and jarring cultural changes. Prince Charles may change his name, for instance, and the words of the national anthem will be changed, too. The deaths of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both brought on waves of public mourning and hysteria. But the Queen, due to her longevity and fundamental place atop British society, will be on a whole new level above that. The vast majority of British people have simply never known life without the Queen. It will be a strange, uncertain time…’
March 17, 2015
[tv] At 18, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Still Revolutionary … looking back at Buffy The Vampire Slayer … ‘In many ways, Buffy was a conventional television heroine, in that she was pretty and blonde and perky, and she talked a mile a minute about clothes and homework like a normal teenage girl (as opposed to the theatrical soliloquies delivered by characters in The WB’s next teen drama, Dawson’s Creek). But the show’s subversiveness was spelled out by creator Joss Whedon in the opening scene, as a nervous blonde girl and a cocky, older-looking guy in a leather jacket break into Sunnydale High School late at night. The girl seems scared and keeps hearing noises. “We’re just going to get in trouble,” she tells him. “You can count on it,” he replies, licking his lips. Finally, once she’s certain there’s no one else around, she reveals her distorted vampire features and sinks her teeth into his neck.’
March 18, 2015
[comics] Dave Sim Checks Himself Into Grand River Hospital … the creator of Cerebus has been taken seriously ill and hospitalized … ‘Sim checked himself into Emergency at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener this afternoon. He’d been having severe, painful stomach cramps all weekend. He arrived about 2 pm. I checked in on him around 8 pm. He was dressed in a frock, laying on a bed, hooked up to a saline drip. I asked if he’d ever been in Emergency before. He said no, never. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he refused the painkillers they offered him.’
March 19, 2015
[comics] Art For Art’s Sake: Blade Runner special… the Forbidden Planet blog posts a great gallery of art inspired by Blade Runner. Below: Blade Runner Rachel by KR0NPR1NZ

Rachel From Blade Runner

March 20, 2015
[comics] R.I.P. The Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club (1994-2015) … Evan Dorkin completes his Eltingville Club series of comics after 21 years … ‘I have a tremedous urge to burn the pages as soon as they’re all scanned. Dressed as a Universal Studios villager, pitchfork and torch. I hope the actual reading experience won’t be as messy as the book itself. There’s a bunch of good gags and some crazy crowd scenes, and some hopefully good shots at comic book behavior. It’s not exactly the ending I’d wanted, I think the first issue works ends the series well enough on its own, but I always wanted to do a “ten years later” story, so, whatever. I can’t wait until it’s all really over and done with, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.’
March 21, 2015
[philosophy] ‘Kant is a moron’: vandals critique the philosopher’s home … 210 years after his death an unknown critic vandalizes Immanuel Kant’s home … ‘The Russian word used is a relatively mild term of abuse for a slow-witted or foolish person, and could also be translated as “loser,” “dumb-ass,” or “chump”. The vandals did not, however, leave any accompanying critique of Kant’s thinking to justify the smear on his intellectual powers. Kant (1724-1804) is generally considered one of the most formidable philosophers to have lived, and is credited with breakthroughs in epistemology and moral philosophy that continue to define the fields to this day.’
March 22, 2015
[space] A Brief History of the Ballpoint Pen and Whether NASA Really Spent Millions Developing a Pressurized Version Instead of Just Using Pencils‘This brings us to these space pens. As the story goes, when the space race was heating up, NASA invested millions (sometimes stated as billions) into developing a pen that would work in orbit. However, when the Russians went into space they just took pencils. It’s a famous story that is mostly false. Although Soviet cosmonauts did use pencils in space for a time, so did the Americans. However, it quickly became clear that pencils were a very bad idea since they had a habit of breaking and sending tiny eye-seeking fragments of pencil lead and wood bits into the air. There were also some concerns over these fragments potentially damaging equipment, even perhaps causing a fire. So there was a need for pens that could work in space…’
March 23, 2015
[religion] 8 Short-Lived Religious Manias That We’re Lucky Didn’t Stick Around … Rule of Thumb: Religious Manias never end well. ‘The nuns were a contemplative order, and had very little contact with the outside world. This is a shame, because contact with the outside world might have helped new novices realize that initiation into a convent shouldn’t involve large amounts of oral sex with the mistress of novices. Perhaps a more open atmosphere would have given the first three nuns Maria Luisa turned on a chance to get away before they were poisoned to death.’
March 24, 2015
[history] Daily Mash: Richard III a great guy apart from killing those kids‘Cheering crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the former king’s coffin, with supporters claiming the princes in the tower were probably pretty annoying anyway. Historian Mary Fisher said: “If you look at paintings of Richard’s nephews who were entrusted into his care, you get the impression they were really demanding. I bet they were always pestering Uncle Richard to buy them ponies, and playing with his sword then not putting it back in the armoury. “So you couldn’t really blame him if they met with a little accident. I mean, we’ve all thought about it when our kids kick off in the supermarket.”’
March 25, 2015
[life] 12 Devastating Middle Class Problems‘A huge amount of my time is spent picking coriander out of things.’
March 26, 2015
[tv] Clarkson Agonistes … great analysis of the Jeremy Clarkson sacking by Tom Ewing … ‘So for Jeremy Clarkson, the man who plays this superhero, to be laid low by the dull grind of consequence, of taking responsibility for his actions, is a great betrayal. The carefree promise of no consequences – the heart of the Top Gear magic – has been broken. It’s not surprising – though still pathetic – that denial would be an easy reaction to this, a stamped-foot, fingers-in-ears assertion that the facts don’t matter, that breaktime hasn’t ended, that every logic and common sense fact of workplace relationships be suspended so that our hero can – yet again – jump free and rollick on to his next adventure.’
March 27, 2015
[comics] Tintin and Captain Haddock: Easy Riders … by Frank Margerin.

Tintin and Captain Haddock - Easy Riders

March 28, 2015
[space] Why Does The International Space Station Have Such A Weird Shape?‘ It had to be assembled from pieces that would fit in the Orbiter payload bay or the payload fairing of a Proton rocket. This dictates a maximum length and diameter for each component. We can therefore expect ISS to be composed largely of cylinders, linked together like sausages. Those two delivery vehicles dictate other characteristics. The Space Shuttle Orbiter could deliver a completely unpowered cylinder, remove it from the payload bay and attach it using the robotic arm and attach it to the ISS. But, the Russian Proton rocket deposits its payload in low Earth orbit and that payload then has to fly itself to the ISS. That means each of the Russian modules are self-contained spacecraft. They have to have thrusters and fuel tanks and navigation and communication sensors and antennae.’
March 29, 2015
[funny] 19 Trees Totally Sucking On Things … Who knew there was a Reddit for Trees Sucking On Things?
March 30, 2015
[comics] Astonishing comics that ‘save your game’ when you turn the page … a profile of Jason Shiga’s Comics … ‘Over time, his interactive comics grew more even more complex, including stacks of panels that you read by locking and unlocking different sections with pegs, and others where moveable parts shifted images around in troughs. Although these comics were incredibly clever and unique, each had to be created by hand, turning them into boutique items that were impossible to digitize and difficult to mass-produce. Shiga sometimes created less than a hundred copies of each, limiting their audience to the several dozen readers lucky enough to stumble across his table at a comic book convention. His experiments reached their apex with a comic called Theater Eroika, which involved a series of five overlapping wheels that would spin together to reveal different sequential images. “That one was so crazy that I only made one copy of it,” says Shiga. “I was like, I’ve reached the pinnacle of complexity. This is just insane. This is too nuts.”‘
March 31, 2015
[comics] 37 Things You Learn From Working In A Comic Shop … what Hayley Campbell learned from working in Gosh Comics in London … ‘Anyone who buys Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is a total wrong’un, yet on a Tarot week you will absolutely read it on your lunchbreak.’
April 1, 2015
[politics] Labour would bring back Jimmy Savile, warn Tories … Breaking Election 2015 news from the Daily Mash‘The Tories accused Labour of harbouring secret plans to construct a special underground laboratory designed to reanimate the corpses of several leading paedophiles paid for by hiking the National Insurance contributions of hardworking families.’
April 2, 2015
[mac] Plugging a 1986 Mac Plus into the modern Web … It’s surprisingly difficult to plug a vintage computer into the modern web … ‘So, with the Raspberry Pi, MacTCP, and MacWeb all in place, it was time to surf the Web! Right? Right?! No. No surfing yet. The MacWeb developers apparently took a look at the HTTP 1.0 spec, decided, “Who would ever need name-based virtual hosting?” and left out the feature that 99 percent of the sites on the modern Web relied on. No support for virtual hostnames meant you got whatever you saw when you used the server’s IP address alone in the HTTP request, and for most sites, that was jack squat. Oh, and HTTPS, cookies, and CSS hadn’t been invented yet. AAARGH!!!’
April 3, 2015
[life] Inspiration Quote … by Michael Kleinman.

Inspiration Quote

April 4, 2015
[serial] Dana Chivvis: ‘We were at the centre of this whirlwind and we were just hunkered down’ … Interview with a Producer of the Serial podcast‘There isn’t a whole lot happening right now. Adnan has a hearing, at the June session [of the court of special appeals], which will most likely lead to an appeal, because if he wins then the state will appeal, and if the state wins he will appeal. Deirdre from the Innocence Project is in contact with Sarah about Adnan’s case on and off.’ [via Feeling Listless]
April 5, 2015
[tv] The Original Rainbow Cast Out of Costume … Go look at this rare cast photo from the fondly-remembered children’s TV programme.
April 6, 2015
[twitter] What Good Is Twitter? … Is Twitter such a good way for websites to share content? ‘Last Monday, I published an article about the history of American innovation as seen through a study of patent text literature. This study found that chemistry concepts dominated science in the early 20th century, but from the 1980s on, the most-cited terms in patent texts were almost entirely in the fields of medicine and computers. Yesterday, chemistry; today, computers. This seemed like a catchy parallel, which might strike some as illuminating and others as over-simplifying. In other words, the perfect tweet. I wrote this message, with a link, and a picture. By Friday morning, it had about 155,260 impressions. According to the new Tweet activity dashboard, 2.9 percent of those users clicked the image, and 1.1 percent retweeted or favored it… but just 1 percent clicked on the link to actually read my story. One percent.’
April 7, 2015
[quotes] The Complete Quips of Mad Men’s Roger Sterling‘(To psychiatrist) “I’m just acknowledging that life, unlike this analysis, will eventually end, and someone else will get the bill.” (S6, E1)’
April 8, 2015
[apollo] The Armstrong Purse: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Artifacts … fascinating look at a bag of miscellaneous “trash” Neil Armstrong brought back from the moon and kept in a closet till he died. ‘…they would describe to mission control the container with the “odds and ends” as, “10 pounds of LM miscellaneous equipment.” It was important they account for the amount and distribution of any added weight so that the return trajectory and entry parameters could be calculated with precision. As far as we know, Neil has never discussed the existence of these items and no one else has seen them in the 45 years since he returned from the Moon. (I asked James Hansen, Neil’s authorized biographer if he had mentioned the items, and he had not.) Each and every item has its own story and significance, and they are described with photographs in extraordinary detail in an addendum to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. But two of the items are especially timely. Both have been placed on display as part of the recently opened temporary exhibition Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity. The first is the 16mm Data Acquisition Camera that was mounted in the window of the lunar module Eagle to record the historic landing and “one small step” made by Armstrong as humankind first set foot on another world…’ [via Kottke]
April 9, 2015
[social media] Many, many Facebook users still don’t know that their news feeds are filtered by an algorithm … a look at how Facebook automatically filters your news feed … ‘Without understanding Facebook’s algorithm, these participants resorted to developing other theories for why their social lives changed on the site. Some blamed themselves for being bad at Facebook. “These participants felt that they missed friends’ stories because they were scrolling too quickly or visiting Facebook too infrequently,” the researchers write. Others figured that their friends had stopped sharing with them. “I have never seen her post anything!” one study participant said of a friend. “And I always assumed that I wasn’t really that close to that person, so that’s fine. What the hell?!”’
April 10, 2015
[comics] Kieron Gillen Talks Watchmen

April 11, 2015
[papers] Daily Express weather warning: beware a shower of extreme inaccuracy … George Monbiot on the weather headlines of the Daily Express … ‘No winter approaches without predictions in the Express of Snowmageddon. In November 2012, Rao’s headline warned us: “Coldest Winter in 100 Years on Way”. In November 2013, he promised “100 DAYS OF HEAVY SNOW: Britain now facing worst winter in SIXTY YEARS warn forecasters”. In October 2014, a story by the same author told readers “Winter 2014 set to be ‘coldest for century’. Britain faces ARCTIC FREEZE in just weeks”. In November, another article of his was headlined “POLAR VORTEX WARNING: Latest winter weather models show UK faces MONTHS of heavy snow”. And so it went on all the way until the end of January, when the front page blared: “Britain on RED alert: ‘Displaced polar vortex’ to unleash crippling snowstorms next week”. Needless to say, it was all bollocks with bells on.’
April 12, 2015
[games] Gridrunner on the App Store on iTunes … Jeff Minter’s classic shooter game Gridrunner now free for iPhones and iPads.
April 13, 2015
[space] Death in space: The ethics of dealing with astronauts’ bodies. … fascinating look at how to deal with death in space … ‘The more frequent suggestion for the disposal of bodies is to simply open the airlock and send them off into the cosmos, à la Dr. Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The problem here is that, as Body Back designers Karin Tjerrild Lund and Mikael Ploustrup found out, a U.N. charter forbids littering in space. This includes corpses, even if the astronaut’s expressed wish is to have his or her body launched into open space. This is probably for the better, Wiigh-Mäsak told me, given that these bodies could potentially become hazardous impactors for other spacecraft or end up contaminating pristine extraterrestrial environments—also like Dr. Poole who, following his death in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, “became the first of all men to reach Saturn.”’
April 14, 2015
[tv] Matthew Weiner on Mad Men’s Origins, Peggy’s Baby, and Why There Will Never Be a Spinoff … interview with the Mad Men’s creator … ‘TV and film, in general… some of it is designed for escape, designed to satisfy the lack of justice that we feel in everyday life. We find heroes and we get to have the wish fulfillment of, for example, a woman who has it all, who talks tough and tells people where to go and, yeah, they fail sometimes. There’s not a lot of that on the show. I give the example of how we try to make it less abstract by making it more like real life: If a young man runs into a beautiful woman at a party on Mad Men and she gives him her phone number and he writes it on a piece of paper and then he loses his coat, he will, on a normal TV show, end up figuring out how to find her. On Mad Men, he will never see her again.’
April 15, 2015
[cheese] Cheese changed the course of Western civilization … How cheese was discovered 9000 years ago by lactose-intolerant nomads. ‘With the discovery of cheese, suddenly those early humans could add dairy to their diets. Cheese made an entirely new source of nutrients and calories available for adults, and, as a result, dairying took off in a major way. What this meant, says Kindstedt, is that “children and newborns would be exposed to milk frequently, which ultimately through random mutations selected for children who could tolerate lactose later into adulthood.” In a very short time, at least in terms of human evolution—perhaps only a few thousand years—that mutation spread throughout the population of the Fertile Crescent.’
April 16, 2015
[comics] The Masterpiece That Helped Transform Comics and Culture – Books … Dan Clowes talks about Eightball At 25… ‘The funny thing about reading all my comics, but especially those old comics—which I usually avoid like the plague, but when I was putting this collection together, I went back and read every single issue—is that it’s really like a record of your life. Almost everything in the comic is based on something, a joke I had with one of my friends or a real-life experience, and all the characters are based vaguely on people I know… It all feels like reading a diary almost, even though it’s entirely fictional.’
April 17, 2015
[comics] Sketches of Naxos & Iraklia, Greece … go look at these amazing sketches of Greece by Simon Gane

Sketch Of Greece by Simon Gane

April 18, 2015
[comics] Crossed+ 100 Annotations … work-in-progress collection of annotations for Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade’s Crossed+ 100 series of comics.
April 19, 2015
[beards] Men seeking plausible beard exit strategies … as reported by the Daily Mash … ’28-year-old Wayne Hayes said: “Mine got stuck in a door, it was a case of pull it out by the roots or starve to death. “As an unreconstructed alpha male who doesn’t give a shit about media-driven style trends and is basically a raw sexy ape I chose the former but purely for survival reasons. “Then I applied moisturiser to the affected area.”’
April 20, 2015
[web] HTTP Error 447: Gone until I get the attention I deserve … a new type of HTTP error … ‘The 447 response is primarily intended to assist the task of ego maintenance by notifying the recipient that the resource is intentionally but temporarily unavailable and that the server owners desire that people pay more attention to them. Such an event is common for resources belonging to emotionally unstable individuals when they feel the world is no longer going their way. ‘
April 21, 2015
[apollo] 45 years after Apollo 13: Ars looks at what went wrong and why… Ars Technica on what caused the explosion on Apollo 13?‘For Apollo 13, keeping calm and working the problems as they appeared allowed three astronauts to escape unharmed from a complex failure. The NASA mindset of simulate, simulate, simulate meant that when things did go wrong, even something of the magnitude of the Apollo 13 explosion, there was always some kind of contingency plan worked out in advance. Controllers had a good gut-level feel for the limits of the spacecraft’s systems when trying to work through emergency problems.’
April 22, 2015
[google] What does Google need on mobile? … a look at Google’s mobile strategy from Benedict Evans… ‘Google has gone from a world of almost perfect clarity – a text search box, a web-link index, a middle-class family’s home – to one of perfect complexity – every possible kind of user, device, access and data type. It’s gone from a firehose to a rain storm. But on the other hand, no-one knows water like Google. No-one else has the same lead in building understanding of how to deal with this. Hence, I think, one should think of every app, service, drive and platform from Google not so much as channels that might conflict but as varying end-points to a unified underlying strategy, which one might characterize as ‘know a lot about how to know a lot’.’
April 23, 2015
[election] UKIP Royston Vasey Local Election Leaflet … via their Twitter account‘We only accept local people in the local party.’

UKIP Royston Valley Election Leaflet

April 24, 2015
[space] That Time the US Accidentally Nuked Britain’s First Satellite … a fascinating, forgotten fragment of space history … ‘On July 9, 1962, mere weeks after Ariel-1 was put into orbit and had successfully begun transmitting data about the ionosphere back to Earth, British scientists were shocked when the sensors aboard Ariel-1 designed to measure radiation levels suddenly began to give wildly high readings. Initially, they assumed that the satellite’s instruments had failed or were otherwise just malfunctioning. As it turned out, as Ariel-1 was happily free-falling around the Earth, the US military had decided to detonate an experimental 1.4 megaton nuclear weapon named Starfish-Prime in the upper atmosphere…’
April 25, 2015
[comics] Review of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer … from Andrew Rilstone‘Dark Batman is more interesting than the silly Batman (who never quite existed outside of the KAPOW television series). Dark Batman is more in keeping with the basic premise of a character built of rage. But just because Dark Batman is cool is does not follow that Dark Superman and Dark Spider-Man and Dark Paddington Bear would be equally cool. The darker the dark character is the more he needs a bright character character to stand next to. And the brighter the bright characters the darker and cooler the dark, cool one will look. (This is the point of Robin.)’
April 26, 2015
[web] The Failed Promise of Deep Links… a depressing look at how deep linking is becoming an idea for mobiles rather than the Open Web … ‘With mobile’s deep links, everyone seems to have collectively wiped the buzzword slate clean and started fresh — no context, no memory. No depth. It’s as if someone started a new comedy act today and called it “Monty Python” without offering any sign of knowing the name had a history. This cluelessness is extra-ironic because, originally, the exact purpose of links was to make this kind of connection clear. The people who invented the link saw it as a tool for relating ideas in illuminating ways — for making conceptual leaps and connecting disparate thoughts. If these visionaries had achieved their aim, the kind of tech-cultural amnesia represented by the recycling of the term “deep links” shouldn’t have been possible, two decades into the Web era. The links with true depth that they envisioned would have made sure of that.’
April 27, 2015
[politics] Bye Bye Labour … a depressing look at Labour’s position approaching the General Election … ‘Labour has accepted Conservative precepts. The private sector knows, and grows, best. The City is untouchable: it may be chastised, but never seriously confronted. Unemployment is a form of dependency, best dealt with through market discipline. Competition is the law of all social and economic life, and it is the role of the state to encourage it and to secure public participation in it. And the British state, and its military commitments, are sacrosanct. In the months leading up to the Scottish independence referendum – the sole recent instance of mass, enthusiastic democratic participation in the UK – Labour found itself campaigning alongside the Conservatives, with the result that in May’s election it will be all but wiped out north of the border. The logic of its position has compelled Labour to attack the SNP far more vehemently than it has the Conservatives. Miliband has been forced, under Tory pressure, to rule out a post-election coalition with the SNP, which may be enough to end any prospect of a viable Labour government.’
April 28, 2015
[health] Yes, You Can Catch Insanity: Reviving the debate about the immune system and mental illness. … a look at the connections between the immune system, inflammation and mental health … ‘Nothing cemented the link between body and brain quite like syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. Before antibiotics, a syphilis infection could be a slow-motion death sentence. In addition to ravaging the body, late-stage syphilis victims often escalated into what doctors at the time called neurosyphilis, a sort of manic, delusional state, before edging over into paralysis and death. It was a clear, common case of an infection causing psychosis.Syphilis was so common it was called “the disease of the century.” Most patients were middle-class men; according to one estimate, 10 percent of patients in turn-of-the-century asylums were there because of neurosyphilis.’
April 29, 2015
[politics] 15 Malcolm Tucker Quotes That Perfectly Explain The 2015 Election‘You Look Like You've Shat A Lego Garage.’

You Look Like You've Shat A Lego Garage

April 30, 2015
[crime] Anatomy of a Hijack … The story of an attempt to fraudulently commandeer a phone and bank account … ‘Check the online banking – I can’t get in. So I call the bank and get immediately routed through to the fraud department and go through an unusually large amount of security. They inform me that yes, something strange is happening, and did I by any chance recently make a large transfer out of my retirement savings? Er, NO.’

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