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January 2, 2018
[life] Ask Metafilter: What is a life-changing realization you wish you had sooner?‘Worrying does not help.’
January 3, 2018
[morris] The Truth Is Out There: Errol Morris’ ‘Wormwood’ … Errol Morris discussing his Netflix documentary …

“In its essence, Wormwood is a story about a very, very smart young boy, now a man in his 70s, who has been involved in an epistemological journey into the nature of his father’s death. And I like to think that the movie, in its attempt to examine these questions, matches his own sophistication about these questions. How do we know what we know? How do we know that my father was murdered? What does that murder mean? He asks this question again and again and again, particularly near the end of the film. It’s one of my favorite sections of Wormwood, when he asks, ‘What does it mean?’

“It’s the same question that I’m always asking: What does it mean? And this irony, which I learned from Eric, is not something I imposed on the material—the irony of, How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to know something? Knowledge comes with a cost. And to what extent is knowing something worth the price that we have to pay to know it? The other option is to live in a fantasy, but if you ask me if there’s anything that makes us great, it’s the pursuit of truth. It’s the fact that we attempt to reach outside of ourselves and to know something about the world around us, and ourselves.

January 4, 2018
[religion] Jesus is… [via Archillect]

January 8, 2018
[religion] Man On Verge Of Self-Realization Instead Turns To God‘For a second there it seemed like he was going to seriously consider the cause-and-effect relationship of his own actions and elevate himself to a new level of compassion and understanding, but then he suddenly changed course and asked God to swoop in and fix everything.’
January 9, 2018
[comics] Being Chris Ware … Profile of Chris Ware. ‘Ware has a deadpan self-abnegation that is, by all accounts, genuine. But in such an enormous book as this, which is fairly bursting with photographs of his accomplishments and friends, and all the amazing drawings documenting his rise from lonely, fatherless child to fifty-year-old genius, it does seems a terrific struggle to keep the humble pie hot through 275 pages…’
January 10, 2018
[tech] Wikipedia articles invented by a neural network‘Friends and existence. How to draw a coconut. Tree donkey. Category:People who can’t speed.’ [via jwz]
January 11, 2018
[politics] What Putin Really Wants … Some interesting analysis of Vladimir Putin’s motivations and objectives.

A forgery, a couple of groups of hackers, and a drip of well-timed leaks were all it took to throw American politics into chaos. Whether and to what extent the Trump campaign was complicit in the Russian efforts is the subject of active inquiries today. Regardless, Putin pulled off a spectacular geopolitical heist on a shoestring budget—about $200 million, according to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. This point is lost on many Americans: The subversion of the election was as much a product of improvisation and entropy as it was of long-range vision. What makes Putin effective, what makes him dangerous, is not strategic brilliance but a tactical flexibility and adaptability—a willingness to experiment, to disrupt, and to take big risks.

“They do plan,” said a senior Obama-administration official. “They’re not stupid at all. But the idea that they have this all perfectly planned and that Putin is an amazing chess player—that’s not quite it. He knows where he wants to end up, he plans the first few moves, and then he figures out the rest later. People ask if he plays chess or checkers. It’s neither: He plays blackjack. He has a higher acceptance of risk. Think about it. The election interference—that was pretty risky, what he did. If Hillary Clinton had won, there would’ve been hell to pay.”

January 12, 2018
[weird] The human feet that routinely wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest, explained‘Why feet? It turns out that in water, human bodies naturally disarticulate, or come apart at the joints, so hands and feet often disconnect from corpses after soaking in the ocean for a while. “Feet easily disarticulate and when they are attached to a flotation device such as a running shoe, they are easily washed ashore,” wrote Gail Anderson, co-director of the Center for Forensic Research at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, in an email.’
January 15, 2018
[life] An Open Letter to the Box of Loose Cables in My Closet … a touching letter between a man and his spare cable box. ‘She looks at you and only sees a knot of ethernet cords gripping the backs of forgotten TiVo remotes, but I see much more. I see USB’s and Firewires commingling with DVI’s and IDE’s. Wax-coated earbuds waiting patiently to be called back into service. Half-drained AAA batteries begging to come out of early retirement and give my beard trimmers that last gasp of life. I see possibility. I see potential. I see my own live-in box of technological understudies with solutions at the ready. What would I do without you?’
January 16, 2018
[comics] Starlord Cover Gallery … a cover gallery for Starlord – a short-lived science-fiction comic from 1978 with some great art from Kevin O’Neill and Carlos Ezquerra …

January 17, 2018
[comics] Jim Baikie: An Appreciation by Alan Moore … AM remembers the Scottish comic artist Jim Baikie who died last month. ‘It would have been three or four years after that, while attending the second British Comics Convention as a fifteen-year-old in 1969, that I received a proper introduction to Jim’s art – he’d provided the cover for the convention booklet, a Tolkien-esque fantasy image that mid-period Wally Wood would have been proud of – and, thanks to the agency of his fellow young comics professional Steve Moore, a proper introduction to Jim himself: he was much younger than I’d expected from the accomplishment of his artwork, a good-looking and irrepressible man in his twenties who was bursting with good humour and who, at that age, was already cool enough to have played with the Savoy Brown Blues Band (ask your Dad), but was still happy to chat to an infatuated teenager with a bad pudding-basin haircut and an off-putting regional accent.’
January 18, 2018
[tv] The Sopranos to Blackadder – what are the definitive series of the best TV shows? … On Series 4 of Peep Show: ‘The elements that made Peep Show so brilliant are all here: the scene-stealing secondary characters in Super Hans, Sophie and Johnson; dialogue that is clever, funny and contains revelatory human truths. It feels like writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong felt bold enough to push the farce as far as they could. Their skill is making even the most outlandish feat – being an accessory to arson (episode one), eating a dead dog (episode five), urine soaking through the church ceiling on to the hats of wedding goers below (episode six) – feel believable, because we’ve been on the excruciating path that got Mark and Jeremy there.’
January 19, 2018
[books] Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham‘I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am!”

January 22, 2018
[wormwood] The Bitter Secret of ‘Wormwood’… Another Look at Errol Morris’ Wormwood. ‘If Morris had simply recounted the facts, even in a way that emphasized the real suffering of the victims, that would have shocked nobody. They are the stuff of every spy movie, a genre that has successfully turned state surveillance and assassinations into seductive excitement. But unlike that genre, Wormwood—a word for a bitter poison, used by Hamlet to describe bitter truths—doesn’t produce dramatic tension by exploiting our desire to be in on the secret. It exposes us to the baser side of that desire: the narcissism, mean-spiritedness, and contempt that are so often the psychological realities of secrecy.’
January 23, 2018
[lsd] A Fateful Hunt for a Buried Stash of the Greatest LSD Ever Made … a wonderful gonzo tale about the history behind a legendary lost stash of LSD – a gentle Breaking Bad set in Wales in the 1970s. ‘Over the years, Smiles hasn’t featured in any of the books or TV documentaries about Operation Julie, so I assumed he didn’t want to speak about those years any more. But I knew he was still around: I’d heard from a good source that he’d recently appeared at the funeral of one of the other men convicted in the 70s, and that he’d got everyone stoned in the smoking area of the wake. If anyone knew whether there was still some mythical LSD buried in the ground, it would be Smiles. In the end, finding him wasn’t too hard at all, and after a day of correspondence he invited us round for tea.’
January 24, 2018
[onion] Report: Friend Doing Sober January Must Have Really Fucked Shit Up Over Holidays‘I don’t know if it was an out-of-control Christmas party or what, but it obviously rattled the hell out of him. When you ask him about it, he just gets quiet and says something vague about ‘just cooling off for a few weeks,’ which you know means it was something pretty fucking scary.’
January 25, 2018
[comics] Jamie Delano and Neil Gaiman on the 30-year anniversary of Hellblazer … I can’t believe I picked up the first issue of Hellblazer thirty years ago! ‘Jamie Delano is currently exploring a prose fiction career and his latest novels concern a character called Leepus living in a post-apocalyptic landscape known as Inglund. The books have a lot of synergy with his early Hellblazer work. Has he kept up with Constantine since departing? “My relationship with Constantine was a difficult and intense one,” he says. “Consequently I found it hard to maintain a monthly relationship once I’d abandoned him to the imaginations of others. I’ve dipped in now and again across the years, but inevitably we have drifted apart. I do believe one of the beauties of the complex character we have all jointly created, is his ability to represent, through different aspects of his personality, a diversity of intellectual and creative vision.”‘
January 26, 2018
[pope] The Pope has a bad idea…

January 28, 2018
[music] Phil – an old friend of the blog – on Mark E. Smith …

In 1978, I worked as a bingo caller. And for a few other summers too.

The only pop record to my knowledge which mentions bingo is The Fall’s “Bingo Master’s Break-Out”. It’s not all that good but it introduced me to the band.

Spplltt. Or sounds like that. I didn’t discover The Fall in 1979 like all the newbies telling their tales in The Guardian. I was listening in 1978 — although I only acquired the original vinyl 45 a few years ago, you know … because … there was so much going on.

That bloke made me laugh so fucking much. And I am not sure why I laughed.

January 29, 2018
[history] Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace … a fascinating deep-dive blog post on the life of Ada Lovelace from Stephen Wolfram. ‘When Ada wrote about Babbage’s machine, she wanted to explain what it did in the clearest way—and to do this she looked at the machine more abstractly, with the result that she ended up exploring and articulating something quite recognizable as the modern notion of universal computation. What Ada did was lost for many years. But as the field of mathematical logic developed, the idea of universal computation arose again, most clearly in the work of Alan Turing in 1936. Then when electronic computers were built in the 1940s, it was realized they too exhibited universal computation, and the connection was made with Turing’s work.’
January 30, 2018
[herzog] Werner Herzog: I Killed And Ate Timothy Treadwell In 2003‘Timothy and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were setting up camp by a salmon stream when I approached them, aggressively batted them around, and then tore them limb-from-limb while they screamed. His judgment was perhaps clouded by his optimistic view of nature, which, in the end, sadly led to me picking his bones clean.’
January 31, 2018
[comics] Amazing Gallery of David Mazzucchelli Original Art … from a 2009 Gallery Exhibition.

February 1, 2018
[lists] Top 10 Errant Teenagers in Fiction‘Tetsuo in Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. Tetsuo is a boy who quite literally contains apocalypse, badness bursting out of him so furiously that he fears his head will explode.’
February 2, 2018
[comics] Man Prefers Comic Books That Don’t Insert Politics Into Stories About Government-Engineered Agents Of War‘At press time, Land was posting on a subreddit that he wished comics didn’t force him to identify with gay or black superheroes when all he wanted was stories about oppressive governments rounding up mutants whose only crime was to be born different.’
February 5, 2018
[history] Archaeologists may have found architects’ camp for Stonehenge … and future site of Larkhill Resettlement Camp from V for Vendetta … ‘The team have been investigating a causewayed enclosure – these are thought to be ancient meeting places or centres of trade – on army land at Larkhill close to Stonehenge.They found an alignment of posts that matches the orientation of the circle at Stonehenge, leading to the theory that Larkhill could have been some sort of blueprint for the temple.’
February 6, 2018
[coma] If you’re reading this you’ve been in a coma for almost 20 years…

February 7, 2018
[tv] Paradise found: how The Good Place divinely remixed the sitcom … Stuart Heritage on The Good Place‘Decency is baked hard into the DNA of The Good Place. It’s the show’s entire reason to be. Its characters are trapped in a terrible scenario, and they can’t escape unless they improve as people. They are in a hopeless situation, but hope is their only way out. Forget all the formal bells and whistles. Forget that they are learning to be better because they are studying the works of pre-eminent ethicists and philosophers – even if it has caused some bookshops to set out “Chidi’s Choice” tables laden with all his go-to literature – just the fact that basic positivity is the engine room of a sitcom in 2018 is refreshing.’
February 8, 2018
[moore] Fossil Angels – Part 1 | Part 2 … Alan Moore on Magic … ‘Something inchoate and ethereal once alighted briefly, skipping like a stone across the surface of our culture, leaving its faint, tenuous impression in the human clay, a footprint that we cast in concrete and apparently remain content to genuflect before for decades, centuries, millennia. Recite the soothing and familiar lullabies or incantations word for word, then carefully restage the old, beloved dramas, and perhaps something will happen, like it did before.’
February 9, 2018
[tech] Today I Learned: Why does misdetected Unicode text tend to show up as Chinese characters? … I also learned what Mojibake means. ‘If you look at a graphic representation of what languages occupy what parts of the BMP, you’ll see that it’s a sea of pink (CJK) and red (East Asian), occasionally punctuated by other scripts. It just so happens that the placement of the CJK ideographs in the BMP effectively guarantees it.’
February 12, 2018
[tech] What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death … On the obsolescence of an 2012 iPad Mini. ‘If my old iPad could talk, it might ask me what has changed. If it could feel indignant, it might suggest that it isn’t the problem, and that everyone and everything else is. While it would be wrong according to the logic of its creation, it wouldn’t be incorrect. It is a piece of consumer technology, so you would expect that everything around it — its own software, Apple’s new products, the internet on which it depends — would have improved in the last five years, and that it would suffer in comparison. What seems unfair is that my old iPad, because it does nothing but provide access to these ever-evolving services, necessarily has to get worse and that it may, before long, have nowhere to go. Above all, my old iPad has revealed itself as a cursed object of a modern sort. It wears out without wearing. It breaks down without breaking. And it will be left for dead before it dies.’
February 13, 2018
[valentines] David Cronenberg Valentines … Perfectly romantic cards for Valentines.

February 14, 2018
[life] A Catfishing With a Happy Ending … A Catfishing story for Valentines Day … ‘When four red heart emojis appeared on her screen, Emma was thrilled. Unlike her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie seemed mature and attentive. Ronnie was easy on the eyes, funny, and caring, but there was one problem: He did not exist. Ronaldo Scicluna was a fictional character created by Alan Stanley, a short, balding, 53-year-old shop fitter—a decorator of retail stores. Alan lived alone in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Like one of the Bard’s shapeshifting characters, Alan used a disguise to fool women into romance, and to prevent himself getting hurt.’
February 15, 2018
[london] Diamond Geezer on London’s best secret daffodils. ‘You need to see these daffodils.’
February 16, 2018
[life] Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life‘It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life. Is there any other way to live?’
February 19, 2018
[politics] Jacob Rees-Mogg shows just how much the British love a caricature … The New Statesman attempts to understand Jacob Rees-Mogg. ‘There is a strange internal logic about the rise of Rees-Mogg, connected to both Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s survival and ideological confidence, mad as it sounds, brings new vitality to the Conservative extreme: Labour are doing it, perhaps we should, too. No wonder Rees-Mogg has carefully praised Corbyn’s “integrity”. As Stephen Bush recently explored in these pages, Rees-Mogg is being positioned as the appropriate and symmetrical cure to the Corbyn problem.’
February 20, 2018
[cthulu] Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum … Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

“Fools!” said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. “We must prepare today’s youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods—not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!”

February 21, 2018
[twitter] Meanwhile, on Twitter… ‘Remember that you are Butt Dust…’
February 22, 2018
[tech] Go look at some Anime Floppy Disks

February 23, 2018
[food] How the sushi boom is fuelling tapeworm infections … Oh, Dear God, Tapeworms! ‘The patient had complained of abdominal pain. During a bout of bloody diarrhoea, reports Bahn, “he says: ‘I look down and I look like there’s a piece of intestine hanging out of me.’ What’s racing through his mind is he thinks he’s dying … He grabs it and he pulls on it and it keeps coming out. ‘What is this long piece of entrail?’ And he picks it up and looks at it and what does it do?” There is a dramatic pause to enhance the horror. “It starts moving.” Bahn said that the tapeworm had probably come from the patient’s daily intake of salmon sashimi. “He told me he was freaked out, but I guess when you think you’re dying because your entrails are shooting out your bottom and you find out it’s not you, but something else, that’s probably a good thing.” The story has attracted attention all over the world, as these things tend to do…’
February 26, 2018
[tech] What free software is so good you can’t believe it’s available for free?‘#1 – Google maps on a cell phone. Navigation systems used to cost hundreds of dollars not too long ago.’
February 27, 2018
[politics] Paul Manafort couldn’t convert PDFs to Word documents … Rule of thumb: Sucessfully executing a criminal conspiracy requires robust IT skills. ‘So here’s the essence of what went wrong for Manafort and Gates, according to Mueller’s investigation: Manafort allegedly wanted to falsify his company’s income, but he couldn’t figure out how to edit the PDF. He therefore had Gates turn it into a Microsoft Word document for him, which led the two to bounce the documents back-and-forth over email. As attorney and blogger Susan Simpson notes on Twitter, Manafort’s inability to complete a basic task on his own seems to have effectively “created an incriminating paper trail.”’
February 28, 2018
[books] Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read … and what we watch and listen to. ‘The lesson from his binge-watching study is that if you want to remember the things you watch and read, space them out. I used to get irritated in school when an English-class syllabus would have us read only three chapters a week, but there was a good reason for that. Memories get reinforced the more you recall them, [Jared] Horvath says. If you read a book all in one stretch—on an airplane, say—you’re just holding the story in your working memory that whole time. “You’re never actually reaccessing it,” he says.’
March 1, 2018
[cartoons] Chuck Jones’ Rules for Road Runner Cartoons‘Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy.’

March 5, 2018
[ODG!] This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It’s Taking Over Europe … Life will find a way. ‘The earliest report of the creature comes from a hobbyist who told Dr. Lyko he bought what were described to him as “Texas crayfish” in 1995. The hobbyist — whom Dr. Lyko declined to identify — was struck by the large size of the crayfish and its enormous batches of eggs. A single marbled crayfish can produce hundreds of eggs at a time. Soon the hobbyist was giving away the crayfish to his friends. And not long afterward, so-called marmorkrebs were showing up in pet stores in Germany and beyond. As marmorkrebs became more popular, owners grew increasingly puzzled. The crayfish seemed to be laying eggs without mating. The progeny were all female, and each one grew up ready to reproduce. In 2003, scientists confirmed that the marbled crayfish were indeed making clones of themselves.’
March 6, 2018
[web] The Onion: We Don’t Make Any Money If You Don’t Click The Fucking Link‘If you enjoy any of this content, any of it at all, it is highly recommended that you take one measly second out of your life to actually navigate to any of our many, many articles that grace your social media feed for free. Or, hell, you could even look at our homepage once in a while. Because unless you actually visit the website, there eventually won’t be one, you ungrateful pricks.’
March 7, 2018
[pizza] How mozzarella became the perfect pizza cheese … A look at the science behind pizza toppings. ‘To investigate, the team sprinkled grated mozzarella, cheddar, colby, edam, emmental, gruyere, and provolone on pizza crusts and baked them in an oven for a set time. Then the pizzas were shunted under a camera to be photographed for computer analysis. The software quantified the colour uniformity of the cheeses, with high uniformity meaning that there were no browned spots. Each cheese was also put through its paces in a standard panel of cheese tests, assessing its stretchiness, moisture content, how much oil it releases as it melts, and at what temperature it melts.’
March 8, 2018
[mario] Mario on shrooms … Running a Conway’s Game of Life simulation on Mario.

March 9, 2018
[movies] Watching a film with mum on Mother’s Day? Don’t see these‘Remember when you were 14, and you were watching TV with your mum, and a sex scene unexpectedly came on, and the shame and embarrassment you both felt ended up causing all manner of long-lasting psychological scars? This film is pretty much one long sex scene, and it’s about a mother and her son, and watching it with your own mother absolutely isn’t worth the decades of therapy bills. Again, this one was actually released to coincide with Mother’s Day in the UK.’
March 12, 2018
[brexit] What are they after?: How Could the Tories? … What do the Brexiteer Tories Want From Brexit?… ‘For all his idiosyncrasies, Johnson typifies something about contemporary conservatism, which might best be understood biographically. The cultural forces shaping the new conservatism resolve in a particular stereotype: men born between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s, with some constellation of expat backgrounds, famous fathers and first careers in the media. All four things apply to Johnson, but a Venn diagram of these various characteristics would also include Michael Gove, Douglas Carswell, Daniel Hannan and Jacob Rees-Mogg. The result of these disparate characteristics is a comfortable familiarity with the myths and rituals of the British state, but a blasé indifference to the impact of policy.’
March 13, 2018
[movies] How we made 2001: A Space Odyssey … Keir Dullea and Douglas Trumbull discuss the making of 2001 … ‘Some of the crew wanted the miniatures and sets to be part of a travelling show, but Kubrick didn’t want the mystery of how it was produced revealed. A schoolteacher was tutoring his daughter and he gave him the Aries 1B spacecraft as payment. The guy’s family recently discovered it and sold it to the Academy. The orbiting space station ended up in a dump in Stevenage. I have no idea why.’
March 14, 2018
[science] The Brighter Side of Rabies … A brief look at how scientists are using the rabies virus for research into the brain. ‘Ian Wickersham, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who helped Callaway engineer the modified rabies virus eight years ago, is now at work on another version. The original, Wickersham told me, “kills infected cells quite quickly: by about two weeks after infection, they’re all either dead or in dire shape.” This meant that the scientists had a limited time to observe the virus’s movement in the brain. His goal, he said, is to make the rabies virus “innocuous, so infected neurons are completely healthy,” which might enable scientists not only to see how individual neurons are connected but also to watch the connections form. In other labs, different modified viruses are being used to target cancer, enhance food safety, and cure certain forms of color blindness. A modified strain of H.I.V., Callaway noted, is often used in labs to transfer genes between organisms.’
March 15, 2018
[movies] Dr. Strangelove in Color‘Do I look all rancid and clotted? You look at me, Jack. Eh? Look, eh? And I drink a lot of water, you know. I’m what you might call a water man, Jack – that’s what I am. And I can swear to you, my boy, swear to you, that there’s nothing wrong with my bodily fluids. Not a thing, Jackie.’

March 16, 2018
[books] Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks… A long-read on Iain M. Banks Culture Series of books. ‘One can see then why Horza might dislike the Culture. On the surface, his complaint is that they surrendered their humanity to machines. But what he really wants is a culture that can serve as a source of deeper meaning, which is the one thing that the Culture conspicuously fails to provide – on the contrary, it turns everything into a joke. The Culture may be irresistible, but for essentially stupid reasons. (“Horza tried not to appear as scornful as he felt. Here we go again, he thought. He tried to count the number of times he’d had to listen to people – usually from third- or low fourth-level societies, usually fairly human-basic, and more often than not male – talking in hushed, enviously admiring tones about how It’s More Fun in the Culture… I suppose we’ll hear about those wonderful drug glands next, Horza thought.”) It is precisely because of this decadence, as well as lack of seriousness, that the Idirans themselves assumed that their victory over the Culture was a foregone conclusion. When one compares the soft decadence of the Culture to the harsh militarism of the Idirans, it just seemed obvious that the Culture would not fight, but would quickly fold. This was, however, a miscalculation. In fact, the Culture would never give up.’
March 19, 2018
[crime] Worst Roommate Ever … quickly escalating worst-case housesharing story – worth reading for the twist at the end.

In 2012, Bachman had shown up at the home of a woman across town named Melissa Frost, claiming to be a New Yorker whose home had been destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Overcome with pity, Frost let him in — and nearly lost her house. In an expensive and frightening ordeal that dragged on for months, Bachman slowly laid claim to the space, using his intricate knowledge of tenancy laws to stay one step ahead of her. He scuffed up the floors, kicked down the doors, and clogged the toilets with cat litter. “He went from being this cordial, polite person who understood he was a guest in my house,” Frost said in one of the articles, “to someone who was approaching me aggressively and flat-out saying, ‘This is my house now.’ ”

March 20, 2018
[movies] 47 Things We Learned from Nicolas Cage’s Vampire’s Kiss Commentary … Nic Cage looks back at Vampire’s Kiss. ‘The scene where Cage runs down the street after assaulting Alva in the basement had to be re-shot because he was running too fast for Bierman’s camera. Cage told the director “Well if you want me to run slow I’m going to run like this!” and that’s the run that made the cut. He caught a lot of criticism from people saying it was over the top, but Cage gives that no weight. “’Over the top’ is one of those things that doesn’t work with me because I don’t believe in such a thing. It’s just stylistic choices.” He says that Bierman caught him during his more experimental phase, something he hasn’t really explored since.’
March 21, 2018
[chaos] xkcd on Chaos

March 22, 2018
[comics] Talking Booze and Banter with the Writer of Viz’s Drunken Bakers … Barney Farmer interviewed about heavy drinking, crap jobs, Viz and The Male Online. ‘Oh god yeah, the main comic I read was Viz. In my teenage years, somebody had a copy of Viz when we were in some dismal car park of some kind and said, ‘Have you seen this?’ It was probably the 16th or 17th copy of Viz, passed it backed to us, and it absolutely killed us. I’d never seen anything as funny in comic form, and I genuinely think it’s been hugely influential on British comedy. If you look at alternative comedy in the 80s it was terrible. Viz is about working class people. Although it’s educated and intelligent, its base and low at the same time, it’s witty and foul, like Frank Carson with Chris Morris’ brain.’
March 23, 2018
[web] What Your Favorite Website Says About You‘MySpace.com: You died in 2005, at age twenty.’
March 26, 2018
[weird] 16 Weird Things You Won’t Believe People Used To Believe, Believe Me‘Preformationism was another of Aristotle’s theories. He claimed that inside each human sperm was a tiny person, and inside that tiny person was more people-sperm (i.e, sperm = Russian dolls). What’s more, he believed this embryonic sperm was all that was needed to generate life: the woman was just the oven, and the resulting baby took 100% of its characteristics from the man. Cheers, Aristotle.’
March 27, 2018
[fun] Play Speak and Spell Online … the education toy emulated at the Internet Archive with many other handheld game consoles.
March 28, 2018
[art] 70s Sci-Fi Art: Spacewrecks … Gallery of Sci-Fi Spaceship art from Stewart Cowley’s ‘Terran Trade Authority’ books – the one below is drawn by Angus Mckie.

March 29, 2018
[religion] Easter egg truthers: the annual religious row over chocolate … an overview of the War on Easter from Martin Belam … ‘Chocolate is halal by default because it does not contain meat products or anything haram. Cadbury’s social media team is kept busy at Easter repeatedly explaining that: “In UK our chocolate is suitable for vegetarians & those following a Muslim diet, however they’re not Halal certified. The only animal related products we use in UK are milk & eggs.” This year, Sainsbury’s bore the brunt of the annual backlash. The retailer’s social media team has been forced to repeatedly correct a tweet that claimed all their Easter eggs were specifically “halal-certified”, rather than simply suitable for a halal diet.’
April 3, 2018
[health] What do doctors say to ‘alternative therapists’ when a patient dies? Nothing. We never talk. … Fascinating article from a Doctor regarding alternative cancer treatments … ‘I have little expectation that someone who would sell false hope to a vulnerable patient would talk me through their reasons why. I once ran into a licensed doctor who oversaw $500 vitamin infusions for cancer patients. The moment when we discovered what the other did was awkward to say the least. My expression asked, “Why?” I saw him struggle with the answer before he said, “Because patients want it.” There was no common ground for a conversation and we slid away into the crowd.’
April 4, 2018
[weird] Doll That Will Kill Again … [via Matt Fraction’s Tumblr]

April 5, 2018
[2001] 2001: The aliens that almost were … A look at the work Kubrick and his team put into creating alien special effects for 2001 that were eventually never used. ‘From the very outset of work on the film we all discussed means of photographically depicting extraterrestrial creatures in a manner that would be as mind-boggling as the being itself. And it soon became apparent that you can not imagine the unimaginable. All you can do is try to represent it in an artistic manner that will convey something of its quality. That’s why we settled on the black monolith – which is, of course, in itself something of a Jungian archetype, and also a pretty fair example of “minimal art.”‘
April 9, 2018
[space] Exploring the Secrets of Soothing Spaceship Sound … a look at the soothing white noise of fictional spaceships … ‘In the intervening years, Snell has taken it upon himself to sample and loop the ambient hums of dozens of science fiction ships, building an unlikely but sizeable YouTube presence of over nine million views and over a hundred videos. Whether it’s the calming tone created by the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation, or the throbbing pulse of Dr. Who’s Tardis, Snell aims to shine a light on an important element of science fiction that most people don’t often think about—what the spaceships sound like.’ [via MetaFilter]
April 10, 2018
[watchmen] Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen‘Kevin O’Neill Art Inspired the Alien Design: This one was pointed out to me my fellow Moore fan, Flavio Pessanha. In the annotations for 8.11.3, Klinger quotes Moore’s script stating that the alien should resemble the progeny of a squid and “a Kevin O’Neill” drawing. Presumably, this might be from O’Neill’s demonic aliens in Nemesis the Warlock, which first appeared in 1980.’
April 11, 2018
[sos] “The Clock Is Ticking”: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades … William Langewiesche on the sinking of the cargo ship SS El Faro. ‘As is usually the case, the catastrophe was unfolding because of a combination of factors that had aligned, which included: Davidson’s caution with the home office; his decision to take a straight-line course; the subtle pressures to stick to the schedule; the systematic failure of the forecasts; the persuasiveness of the B.V.S. graphics; the lack of a functioning anemometer; the failure by some to challenge Davidson’s thinking more vigorously; the initial attribution of the ship’s list entirely to the winds; and finally a certain mental inertia that had overcome all of them. This is the stuff of tragedy that can never be completely explained.’
April 12, 2018
[shining] What if The Shining was an 8-bit Video Game?

April 13, 2018
[funny] Go watch: Facebook Employees Explain Daily Struggle Of Trying To Care About Company’s Unethical Practices When Gig So Cushy
April 16, 2018
[timemachinego] The Rise in Self-Proclaimed Time Travelers … fascinating overview of the epidemic of Time Travellers online. ‘With time travel, you can step outside the eternal stream of time. You can conquer physics. You can deal with loss and overcome death. In this way, these clickbait time-travel stories are a very American form of existentialism: We like to believe we can shape the future, and we need to know that everything will be okay.’
April 17, 2018
[conspiracy] How a Liberal Scholar of Conspiracy Theories Became the Subject of a Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory … The odd tale of how an academic studying conspiracy theories became one. ‘More prevalent, and more bewildering, are the ambiguous cases—a subtly altered photograph, an accurate but misleading statistic, a tendentious connection among disparate dots. Between the publication of “Republic.com 2.0” and “#Republic,” Sunstein became a target of the same online rumor mill he’d been studying from a distance, and many of the conspiracy theories about “Conspiracy Theories” fell into this gray area—overheated, but not wholly made up. “If you had told me that this obscure paper would ever become such a publicly visible and objectionable thing, I would have thought it more likely that Martians had just landed in Times Square,” Sunstein said. “In hindsight, though, I suppose it’s sort of appropriate that I got caught up in the mechanisms I was writing about.”’
April 18, 2018
[crime] A Guy Walks Into a Bar — and Is Never Seen Again … An overview of the disappearance of Brian Shaffer. ‘Law enforcement seized a videotape from the surveillance camera that scanned the bar’s entrance area. It tracked Brian, Clint and Meredith riding the escalator to the upstairs bar at 1:15 a.m. An hour later, Clint and Meredith left in the opposite sequence: bar, escalator, street level. Brian should have come back down, too. He didn’t. Detectives gazed at the recording, rewinding and fast-forwarding it over and over again. A second camera was positioned outside an emergency exit, and they examined that footage too. Everyone who entered the bar that night was accounted for. Everyone except Brian. When the police reported his disappearance to the FBI, it sounded like an April Fools prank, a guy-walks-into-a-bar joke without a punchline. “Med student seems to disappear into thin air,” reported the media. The footage stymied detectives for the next decade.’
April 19, 2018
[comics] Jack Kirby’s unpublished adaptation of ‘The Prisoner’ … some good scans of Kirby’s attempt to adapt The Prisoner to comics. [via Neilalien]

April 20, 2018
[comics] Once Upon A Time: Kirby’s Prisoner … Charles Hatfield examines Kirby’s adaptation of The Prisoner. ‘The Prisoner must have appealed to Kirby the storyteller on a gut level, as it raised philosophical questions in a disarmingly accessible form. McGoohan and Co. used the then-popular spy genre for all it was worth – despite its intellectual ambitions, and portentous tone, The Prisoner was filled with chases, fisticuffs, and intrigue; its thematic conceits were grounded in a credible, almost palpable world. In short, the series used a familiar genre, and a hard-hitting style, to allegorize weighty issues. Sound familiar? This might be a capsule description of Kirby’s Fourth World. Just as The Prisoner had treated the spy genre as an intellectual vehicle, Kirby had tried to make the superhero comic a platform for ideas. Kirby’s Prisoner, in the wake of the Fourth World, represents another attempt to wring significance and depth out of his style – a style forged in juvenile adventure comics yet responsive to Kirby’s own preoccupations and concerns.’
April 23, 2018
[jsw] Reader, it me… Man still knows where all the rooms are in Jet Set Willy‘It’s all still there, rotating around in my head, every room, every item, every inch of that marvellous multi-coloured blocky mansion. Even when I’ve forgotten my own name I reckon I’ll still know how to get that tricky item in The Orangery.’
April 24, 2018
[comics] #Comicsgate: How an Anti-Diversity Harassment Campaign in Comics Got Ugly—and Profitable … Understanding comics offshoot of Gamergate. ‘Meyer’s whole business model, like Milo and Vox Day before him, is predicated on outrage, Farago said. Like many independent comics people, Meyer uses crowdfunding to get his creative projects off the ground. Courting controversy and picking fights with convenient targets—say, with a shadowy cabal of assistant editors, comics critics, and early-career creators—raises his profile, which leads to more followers, which leads to more money for his projects. “The comics industry is small enough to where it’s not that difficult to get yourself known,” Farago said. “I think Meyer saw a niche and realized he could fill it.”’
April 25, 2018
[tech] People Who Tried to Take Panorama Shots and Ended Up Opening the Gates of Hell

[movies] The Five Types Of Nicolas Cage Movies … Nicely done taxonomy of Nic Cage movies. ‘That get at the heart of what Cage is: a worker. He enjoys being an actor. If given the opportunity to work, he’s gonna do it. Cage is on record as rejecting the idea that selectivity is the hallmark of a successful actor. “Film acting is one of the only industries where you’re criticized for working hard,” he said in 2013. “In any other industry it’s considered a quality and something to behold.” I don’t really see the lie there.’
April 27, 2018
[books] 30 years of Culture: what are the top five Iain M Banks novels?‘Three: Consider Phlebas – After almost drowning the hero in sewage in it’s opening scene, the first published Culture novel goes on a rip roaring killing spree across the major sights of the Banksian universe. Space pirates, ringworlds, cannibal cultists, a lethal card game, and a Planet of the Dead… the Culture is shown through the eyes of those who hate and fear this machine lead society, creating by far the darkest of all Banks’s science fiction writing.’ (Previously, Previously, Previously)
April 30, 2018
[comics] Frank Miller: ‘I wasn’t thinking clearly when I said those things’ … Revealing interview with Frank Miller. ‘It’s worth noting that whatever his detractors may think of his politics, Miller still happily inveighs against “white, heterosexual family values” and has no interest in defending his views on Occupy Wall Street. “I wasn’t thinking clearly,” he confesses. Does he support Donald Trump? “Real men stay bald,” he says with a grin, lifting his hat to run a hand over his bare scalp.’
May 1, 2018
[movies] Ghostbusters’ Slimer was created in a cocaine frenzy, artist who made him says … The surprising creation story of Ghostbusters’ Slimer. ‘He found out that Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd had always wanted Slimer in John Belushi’s likeness as a tribute to their deceased friend—something no one had bothered to tell Johnson throughout the six-month process of creating the ghost. (“I said, What the fuck are you talking about?” he adds.) So that night, Johnson took an eight ball of coke, cut up a gram of cocaine on top of a stack of headshots of Belushi, and that’s when things started to get creative…’
May 2, 2018
[comics] The 100 Most Influential Pages in Comic Book History … this isn’t a a particularly convincing list – but was worth browsing for the origin of the term “Injury-to-the-eye Motif”.

May 3, 2018
[funny] Go Look: Hilariously Disturbing Photos Of Bearded Men Looking Straight Up
May 4, 2018
[lifehacks] The Littlest Lifehack … small life improving hacks from Ask Metafilter. ‘You don’t actually need to peel your kiwis at all.’
May 7, 2018
[space] Akin’s Laws of Spacecraft Design’34. (Roosevelt’s Law of Task Planning) Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.’
May 8, 2018
[life] Report: Putting Head In Hands And Moaning Quietly Still Best Way To Get Through Next Several Seconds‘We also discovered that if you follow up this process by leaning forward such that your elbows are positioned on a flat surface, and then push back your hair with both hands while massaging your temples with your thumbs, the next several seconds will all be over soon enough.’
May 9, 2018
[books] Roger Moore’s 1973 Book About The Making Of Live And Let Die Is Straight-Up Bonkers … An amusing look at Roger Moore’s warts-and-all account of filming Live and Let Die … ‘B-Day Twenty-two started off on a very black note when in the middle of my knees-bend morning work-out Mike Jones, my hairdresser, telephoned from London to tell me he would not be joining me in Jamaica as a unit hairdresser after all. Mike, who chopped off my locks for Bond, has been with me for several years but out of two hairdressers on the unit list it was decided to bring only one to Jamaica. Harry chose to axe my man which displeased me no end. I finished my work-out in a furious mood and flung my breakfast toast across the room in rage.’
May 10, 2018
[tech] Go Watch The First Pizza Ordered by Computer in 1974‘The first call went to Dominos, which hung up. They were apparently too busy becoming a behemoth. Mercifully, a humane pizzeria — Mr. Mike’s — took the call, and history was made.’

May 11, 2018
[tech] Notepad gets a major upgrade, now does Unix line endings … It’s only taken since 1985 to get this feature into Windows! ‘But in the next update to Windows (likely to arrive in October or thereabouts), Notepad will handle Unix and classic MacOS line endings in addition to the Windows kind. This will make the editor much more useful than it currently is. And if you don’t like the idea, there’s a registry setting to make it stick with its traditional behavior.’
May 14, 2018
[weird] Meeting Their Makers: The Strange Phenomenon of Fictional Characters Turning Up in Real Life … with stories from Alan Moore, William Gibson, Dave McKean and Doug Moench. ‘Authors have reported seeing their fictional creations act in this independent manner not only in their minds, but also ‘in real life’ – especially in the worlds of science fiction and comic books. Alan Moore himself has mentioned in an interview that he once saw one of his creations, the mage John Constantine (from the Hellblazer series), in a sandwich bar in London. “All of a sudden, up the stairs came John Constantine,” Moore revealed. “He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, stared me straight in the eyes, smiled, nodded almost conspiratorially, and then just walked off around the corner to the other part of the snack bar.” Moore contemplated whether he should go around the corner and double-check if it really was his own character that had walked into the bar, or whether he should just finish his sandwich and leave…’
May 15, 2018
[comic] Comixploitation! … Great explainer on the venality of Marvel and DC Comics by Robert Boyd. ‘The contract [Siegel and Shuster] signed with DC promised them “a percentage of the net profits accruing from the exploitation of Superman in channels other than magazines.” It’s vague, but it’s there—Siegel and Shuster should have been getting a cut of everything right from the start. If Siegel and Shuster had had a lawyer on their side, or a business advisor, they probably would have done better. Their youth and naiveté betrayed them, as did their working class background. When faced with slick businessmen like Donenfeld and Liebowitz, they lost every time…’
May 16, 2018
[cthulhu] Why We’re Here – A Cthulhu Tract … By Fred Van Lente and Steve Ellis. 🐙 ‘Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!’ 🦐

May 17, 2018
[life] Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful … long list of concepts for explaining things. ‘Unknown Unknowns — “Known unknowns refers to ‘risks you are aware of, such as cancelled flights….’ Unknown unknowns are risks that ‘come from situations that are so out of this world that they never occur to you.’ (related: Cynefin framework)’
May 18, 2018
[drink] How I let drinking take over my life … powerful long-read from William Leith analysing his heavy drinking. ‘Some people drink, and then they drink more, and at a certain point, they become obsessed with drink. I always used to notice bottles, the shapes of bottles, the labels and coloured glass. Just looking at the bottles would make me feel a rush of desire. I would know which pubs stocked the strongest beers and ciders, just in case. I loved walking around off-licences, and picking up bottles, and holding them. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, I’d go into an off-licence for a few minutes and talk about wine or whisky with the person behind the counter. For a year, I took a wine course, because wine seemed civilised. I sat in a classroom, one evening a week, talking about wine, and drinking wine, and taking notes. Afterwards, I’d go off with another member of the class, or perhaps two, for a couple more bottles of wine. There were always bottles in my life, bottles everywhere, more bottles than I could believe.’
May 21, 2018
[web] I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore … A look at why the Web isn’t fun anymore. ‘And then, one day, I think in 2013, Twitter and Facebook were not really very fun anymore. And worse, the fun things they had supplanted were never coming back. Forums were depopulated; blogs were shut down. Twitter, one agent of their death, became completely worthless: a water-drop-torture feed of performative outrage, self-promotion, and discussion of Twitter itself. Facebook had become, well … you’ve been on Facebook. In the decade since I took that computer class, the web browser has taken over the entire computing experience. There is nothing to “learn” about computers, really, except how to use a browser; everything you might want to do is done from that stupid empty address bar. Today, through that web browser, there are movies and TV shows and every song ever recorded; it’s where I do my writing and chatting and messaging; it’s where my notes and calendars and social networks live. It’s everything except fun.’
May 22, 2018
[comics] Go Look at Alan Moore’s Only Judge Dredd Script … Turned down by Alan Grant but later published in The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore.

12. Smallish panel. Close-up of Judge Curtis’ boots. They are about eight inches above the ground and kicking wildly. Maybe we can see a hint of a tentacle, wrapped around his leg just below the knee…
BOX: …HE DOESN’T MAKE IT!
CURTIS: EEEEEYAARRRGHH…
SOUND F.X.: SNAPP!!
(Possibly the “SNAPP” could be arranged to fit across the scream, cutting it off sharply.)

May 23, 2018
[docu] From ‘Making a Murderer to ‘Evil Genius’: Netflix’s Golden Age of True-Crime … Examining Netflix’s successful approach to True-Crime documentaries. ‘They invite speculation and discussion by pulling at the threads of a mystery rather than defining and/or vilifying its subjects. They benefit from the Netflix model, which has allowed viewers to chart a case in either parceled-out chapters or, thanks to the service’s tendency to dump full seasons in a single bound, to inhale it as one continuous stem-to-stern investigation. They have a tendency to treat the sensationalistic material with a narrative seriousness that’s often missing from the tabloid-style shows. “There’s a lot of true crime content out there, right?” Nishimura told Business Insider. “What made [Making a Murderer] compelling and interesting and for me … was that commitment to the level of storytelling.” And they allow for viewers to get to know the players in these complex stories, and gives them the chance to understand their motivations rather than simply condemn their actions.’
May 24, 2018
[comics] Steve Oliff’s Hand Painted Colours for 1982 Wolverine art from Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein … Spotted on The Bristol Board.

May 25, 2018
[comics] Inside the biggest comic book collection in the world … Interview with a man who has the biggest collection of comics in the world. ‘Bretall displays his most valuable and treasured comics and collectibles in a large showcase room in his California home, with the rest in a three-car garage filled with long boxes — 391 at the moment, along with some 50 short boxes, 30 magazine boxes, 45 diamond boxes, 10 bookshelves and two spinner racks.All told, he’s got about 105,000 comics at the moment — over 3,000 more than when his record was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014. Remarkably, he’s assembled the collection largely by purchasing single issues. That said, he has been at it awhile, as the shopping stretches back to 1970, with The Amazing Spider-Man #88.’
May 28, 2018
[cthulu] Sorry, But I Don’t See How Nyarlathotep’s Death Cult Is Negatively Affecting American Discourse … 🐙 Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! 🦐 … ‘I don’t see any problem with the death cult’s High Priest getting a recurring op-ed in the New York Times. He worked hard to get where he is, and last I checked, this is still the country where, if you put in enough hard work, time, energy — and self-castration to please the abhorrent Anti-God, apparently — you can make it. The cult is a small but troubling percentage of our population, but we can’t just silence them because they call in eerie unison for a “Great Offering.” Yeah, if I was on the editorial board I might see about diversifying with another woman, or perhaps a person of color, or hell, even someone slightly left-of-center, but I imagine it’s pretty hard to quickly turn a ship as large as the USS Gray Lady. These institutions don’t change overnight. Unless Nyarlathotep wills it, I suppose.’
May 29, 2018
[books] 25 Best True Crime Books of All Time … Strong list of True Crime books. ‘Skip Fatal Vision, the true crime book written by a journalist who was embedded with a man who was ultimately convicted for killing his pregnant wife and their two other children. Instead, get more meta and read ace cultural critic Janet Malcolm’s study of the relationship between the two men in The Journalist and the Murderer. It’s more thrilling than any book about ethics in crime journalism has any right to be.’
May 30, 2018
[fiction] Why is pop culture obsessed with battles between good and evil? … A look at why the structure of stories has changed over time and the connection to Nationalism. ‘As part of this new nationalist consciousness, other authors started changing the old stories to make a moral distinction between, for example, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Before Joseph Ritson’s 1795 retelling of these legends, earlier written stories about the outlaw mostly showed him carousing in the forest with his merry men. He didn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor until Ritson’s version – written to inspire a British populist uprising after the French Revolution. Ritson’s rendering was so popular that modern retellings of Robin Hood, such as Disney’s 1973 cartoon or the film Prince of Thieves (1991) are more centrally about outlaw moral obligations than outlaw hijinks. The Sheriff of Nottingham was transformed from a simple antagonist to someone who symbolised the abuses of power against the powerless. Even within a single nation (Robin Hood), or a single household (Cinderella), every scale of conflict was restaged as a conflict of values.’
May 31, 2018
[movies] Toy Shining… A Mashup between Toy Story and The Shining by Kyle Lambert.

Toy Shining Mashup

June 1, 2018
[comics] From Hell: Eddie Campbell explains why he’s coloring graphic novel … Includes some examples of coloured pages and talk about the possibility of a new appendix from Alan Moore. ‘The thing with the color is, it gives me another layer of expression to lay over everything. Of all the layers of expression that are already in From Hell, it gives me another layer of suggestion. I can make things more suggestive than you can in black and white. In black and white I do it with the cross-hatching. The cross-hatching is still there, but now I can take it and make it gray, put a dark gray over a light gray, or vice versa. There are all these subtleties and differences, there’s a million choices for everything I’m looking at. For somebody who’s already familiar with it, it’ll be like for seeing it for the first time.’
June 4, 2018
[amazon] Jeff Bezos Announces Customers Can Delete All Of Alexa’s Stored Audio By Rappelling Into Amazon HQ, Navigating Laser Field, Uploading Nanovirus To Servers … Amazon’s new Privacy Policy seems reasonable. We take privacy concerns seriously, and I want our valued customers to know they can erase all the information their Amazon Echo has gathered just by being dropped from a helicopter over one of our towers, using a diamond-tipped glass cutter to carve out a hole in a 32nd-story window, and then employing advanced cyberwarfare techniques to compromise our data centers…’
June 5, 2018
[conspiracy] Looking for Life on a Flat Earth … A profile of the Flat Earth movement.

Flat-Earth logic is by turns mesmerizing and maddening. There is no gravity, nothing to restrain it, but as a theory it explains fewer phenomena than the theory it seeks to supplant. In the corridor, I met a documentary filmmaker—there were several milling around at the conference—who had been following the flat-Earth community for months. His face bore a look of despair. “If you’re going to dismiss everything as a hoax, you’d better have something clear to replace it,” he said, his voice rising toward apoplexy. “If you tell me your car isn’t blue and I ask you, ‘Well, what color is your car?,’ don’t fucking tell me, ‘I don’t know, but it’s not blue.’ What color is your fucking car?!”

June 6, 2018
[life] I Am A Recently Divorced And Laid-Off Middle-Aged Man With A Lot Of Health Problems, And Everything I Say Is Incredibly Depressing. Ask Questions At Me.‘It’s important to remember that though you might think you’re going through one enormous loss, there are actually hundreds of other, tinier losses you’ll experience along the way. For example, one thing you don’t realize until you get divorced is that only one of you gets to keep all the baby photos of your kids. I try to use my faith as a way to cope with all the pain of losing my job and my family. It hasn’t worked for me so far. One time I flipped to a random page in the Bible and put my finger down, hoping to land on something encouraging, but instead I landed on a verse about God ruining a man’s life as an example to others.’
June 7, 2018
[tech] Y Combinator’s Xerox Alto: restoring the legendary 1970s GUI computer … Fascinating look into the complexities of restoring the first computer with a GUI and major inspiration for the Apple Macintosh. Here’s a page collecting information, blogposts and videos from YouTube on the project: Restoring a Xerox Alto II Extended.

The Alto was introduced in 1973. To understand this time in computer hardware, the primitive 4004 microprocessor had been introduced a couple years earlier. Practical microprocessors such as the 6502 and Z-80 were still a couple years in the future and the Apple II wouldn’t be released until 1977. At the time, minicomputers such as the Data General Nova and PDP-11 built processors out of hundreds of simple but fast TTL integrated circuits, rather than using slow, unreliable MOS chips. The Alto was built similarly, and is a minicomputer, not a microcomputer. The Alto has 13 circuit boards, crammed full of chips. Each board is a bit smaller than a page of paper, about 7-5/16″ by 10″, and holds roughly 100 chips (depending on the board).

June 8, 2018
[social] Meet the people who still use Myspace: ‘It’s given me so much joy’ … Reads slightly like an Onion article but I can relate… I am available for interviews on people who still blog. :) ‘The homepage automatically pulls in articles from other websites, giving the ghost town a veneer of vitality. However, a prominent invitation to “connect with” Avicii, the Swedish DJ who died in April, acts as a jarring reminder of the site’s zombie status. “It’s almost like I’ve taken over a dead site,” he said, noting that at least women did not block him or remove his comments any more. “I think it’s funny. I’ll leave comments and messages for girls who haven’t been on there for years.” Scalir achieved minor celebrity status in the 1990s and 2000s through several appearances on TV dating shows including Blind Date, Love Connection and Singled Out. Myspace offered an alternative way to meet women. “I always hoped I’d get a girlfriend out of it, but it never really happened,” he added.’
June 11, 2018
[movies] The 25 Best Heist Movies Of All Time … Great list but can’t agree with Heat not being in the top five. ‘Dog Day Afternoon (1975): Director Sidney Lumet bathes the film in New York atmosphere, but it’s equally dazzling in its depiction of the troubles that can occur when ill-prepared men undertake a foolish, dangerous endeavor. But what makes Dog Day Afternoon resonate is Lumet and his cast’s ability to erase the line between these fools and us — Pacino’s one-terrible-day desperation humanizes his character’s neediness and growing panic, putting the audience in the bank with him as he tries to tap-dance his way out of disaster.’ [via MetaFilter]
June 12, 2018
[funny] North Korea is so Bracing

June 13, 2018
[music] Go Look: 3D Print Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures Cover.
June 14, 2018
[thinking] 9 Mental Models to Solve Difficult Problems … Another look at mental models. ‘Hanlon’s Razor – Hard to trace in its origin, Hanlon’s Razor states that we should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity. In a complex world, using this model helps us avoid paranoia and ideology. By not generally assuming that bad results are the fault of a bad actor, we look for options instead of missing opportunities. This model reminds us that people do make mistakes. It demands that we ask if there is another reasonable explanation for the events that have occurred. The explanation most likely to be right is the one that contains the least amount of intent.’
June 15, 2018
[phones] Why Doesn’t Anyone Answer the Phone Anymore? … Alexis Madrigal wonders about the death of analog phone culture. ‘If someone called you, if you were there, you would pick up, you would say hello. That was just how phones worked. The expectation of pickup was what made phones a synchronous medium. I attach no special value to it. There’s no need to return to the pure state of 1980s telephonic culture. It’s just something that happened, like lichen growing on rocks in the tundra, or bacteria breaking down a fallen peach. Life did its thing, on and in the inanimate substrate. But I want to dwell on the existence of this cultural layer, because it is disappearing…’
June 18, 2018
[the sea] The Thieves Who Steal Sunken Warships, Right Down to the Bolts … Fascinating story which feels like the start of a Dirk Pitt adventure. ‘For the most part, this kind of theft tends to be a low-tech job. Salvagers pose as fishermen aboard ramshackle boats anchored at the site, and then dive the wrecks for particular parts. Sometimes, they’re audacious enough to arrive with a barge and crane and bring up heavier pieces. They make off with valuable parts first, like those made of brass and copper. But even as salvagers move on to less valuable things like aluminum shafts, they’ll leave plenty of debris in their wake—fasteners, broken metal plating, and of course, the hulls of the ships themselves. That’s a huge part of what is so mysterious about these Java sea wrecks: Not a single bolt remains. Highly unusual, even for skilled and ambitious salvagers.’
June 19, 2018
[charts] Spurious Correlations … Amusing graphs proving that Correlation is not Causation.

June 20, 2018
[wiki] Galloway’s war of words with a mystery Wikipedia editor … A look at George Galloway’s feud with a supposedly bias pseudonymous Wikipedia editor… ‘He’s recently caught the attention of bloggers and has been the subject of stories in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Russian state-owned outlets Sputnik and RT. There have been allegations on social media – all unproven – that he’s a government agent, employed by rich and powerful media interests, or is a mainstream journalist with an obsessive hobby.’
June 21, 2018
[comics] Notes Toward a Future Understanding of Wally Wood … Some interesting views on Wally Wood. ‘The violence in Total War and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents isn’t bloody, but it is blunt. You don’t empathize with the civilians, but you recognize that brutality has been done. It’s not the villains that are doing the destruction here, but the artist, and it’s directed inward. That his focus and his allegiance to his craft remains crystal clear as this battle is waged—-yes, here we come to part of what I think makes Wood so important and why I always want to read one of his stories. He is there, in every one of them, and often there with pain, though he never indulges it.’
June 22, 2018
[art] How to spot a perfect fake: the world’s top art forgery detective … Fascinating look at using forensics to find forged art. ‘Like criminals of every stripe, modern forgers have kept easy pace with the techniques that attempt to trap them. The mismatch between the purported age of a painting and the true age of its ingredients is the workhorse of Martin’s technique. So forgers have grown more rigorous in their harvesting of materials, taking the trouble, for instance, to source wooden panels from furniture they know is dateable to the year of the fake they are creating. (The trick isn’t wholly new; Terenzio da Urbino, a 17th-century conman, scrabbled around for filthy old canvases and frames, cleaned them up, and turned them into “Raphaels”.) Forgers also test their own fakes to ensure they’ll pass. Wolfgang Beltracchi, a German artist who served three years in prison for forging paintings worth $45m, surveyed the chemical elements in his works by running them under X-ray fluorescence guns – the same handheld devices, resembling Star Trek phasers, that many art fairs now train upon their exhibits.’

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