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January 25, 2021
[moore] Brian Bolland’s Final Word on the Killing Joke (Maybe)‘Finally in London the finished script arrived. I was somewhat disappointed. As an artist you want to draw iconic moments. Pay homage in some way to the character of old. Where was Dick Sprang’s giant typewriter? I was worried by the three bug-eyed dwarves. I thought It perhaps offensive to persons of limited height. I thought setting part of the story in a funfair was a bit obvious. And – I was upset by the harm that came to Barbara and concerned by the implied nudity. As the artist I’ve never considered it my place to tell a writer what to write, especially a writer (and friend) who I admired as much as Alan. As an artist, if a scene has to be violent, I will make it so. Also I would never have chosen to suggest an origin story of the Joker. There were moments in the story, though, that I thought might be iconic and sections that were well up to Alan’s best.’
January 26, 2021
[games] The making of Frankie Goes To Hollywood … The story behind how an 8bit Computer Game was created around the 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. ‘Denton Designs began group brainstorming, Gibson and Noble on the ZX Spectrum (and latterly, Amstrad), Graham ‘Kenny’ Everett and Karen Davies the Commodore 64, with Fred Gray on sound duties and Steve Cain overseeing both versions. “We spent a LOT of time discussing and going round in circles with ideas, again and again,” recalls Noble. “It was a hard transition, from the music into something concrete, with playability.” Help and ideas from Ocean were slim, as Gibson remembers. “It was like, ‘Go away and produce a blockbuster game.”‘
February 1, 2021
[tv] Adam Curtis Explains It All … Adam Curtis has a new series of film coming out and the New Yorker has a preview/interview with Curtis. It has comments from “a former comic-book writer” called Alan from Northampton for those that are interested. :) ‘[Alan] Moore told me that he felt “quite neurologically fizzy” after each film. At the end of the binge-watch, he sent Curtis a postcard, comparing his work to “the kind of dream where we become aware that we are dreaming and can thus attain agency over the torrent of nonsense.”’
February 2, 2021
[comics] The Old Gods Died… Michael Chabon discusses Jack Kirby with Abraham Riesman. ‘Darkseid is pure evil. He has no virtues. The world seemed like a dark place to Jack Kirby because of how he grew up, in poverty and fighting a lot and having to be a scrapper, and then serving in World War II. By all accounts, the little I’ve read, it seems like he was … I mean, I can’t make a diagnosis. It would not surprise me if he had some post-traumatic stress consequences, given the little I know about what he saw and did, serving under Patton in World War II. He had this really dark, almost nihilistic vision, and it gets increasingly so as he worked through the ’70s. I think I absorbed some of that.’
February 3, 2021
[space] The Uncensored Guide To ‘Oumuamua, Aliens, And That Harvard Astronomer … A rational look at the interstellar visitor ʻOumuamua. ‘When it made its closest approach to the Sun, it was moving incredibly fast: up to 88 km/s, or three times the speed that Earth orbits the Sun. But we were lucky to image it at all. It was small (only about 100 meters long), faint, and very red in color, similar to the Trojan asteroids we see in orbit around Jupiter. Its color is different from the icy bodies we know of, failing to match up with comets, Kuiper belt objects, or even centaurs, and follow-up observations revealed a certain amount of boring-ness to ‘Oumuamua, as it displayed no molecular or atomic absorption or emission features.’
February 5, 2021
[sound] Alvin Lucier – I Am Sitting In A Room‘I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice, and I am going to play it back into the room again and again, until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves, so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed…’

February 8, 2021
[tv] The John Munch Cinematic Universe … A good look at how one fictional cop unites a number of TV and Movie Universes. ‘Munch was based on real-life Baltimore homicide detective Jay Landsman. After retiring from doing actual police work, Landsman became an actor who pretended to be a cop in The Wire, a show that already had a character named after him (as did Michael Chabon’s 2007 novel, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union). When Homicide ended in 1999, Munch took the unusual step of getting a transfer to another fictional precinct. He became a regular on the New York-based show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, the first of many, many Law and Order spin-offs. Munch remained there until his on-screen retirement party in 2013, where he reminisced with characters from Homicide some 14 years after that show’s finale. This, it’s worth noting, is not a typical career trajectory for a fictional TV cop.’
February 9, 2021
[tv] From Tupac to Dom Cummings: meet the cast of characters in Adam Curtis’s new series … A looks at the personalities behind Can’t Get You Out of My Head. ‘George Boole, who invents Boolean Logic – a way of describing what goes on in people’s minds mathematically. It is the concept behind algorithms. His great-great-grandson – Geoffrey Hinton – now works in artificial intelligence at Google. Another of her relatives in the late 19th century puts forward the idea of being able to see the fourth dimension, which inspires a lot of the work of Alan Moore.’
February 14, 2021
[truecrime] “Lovers make the easiest marks”: Profile of a romance scammer … An engrossing true crime story for Valentines Day. ‘In 2006, Rootenberg found his next victim, an executive from Montreal. (She requested anonymity so her name wouldn’t be linked to Rootenberg’s online.) After dating for a while, and after she’d loaned him more than $200,000, they bought a home next door to where his brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Karyn lived, a five-bedroom house in Lawrence Park. She thought she’d met the father of her future children. He thought he’d discovered a gold mine.’
February 15, 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis’s Seaside Dream … Curtis visits Walton-on-the-Naze in 1983. ‘[Curtis] aimed to show that ordinary people could find fulfilment away from the ever-growing influence of global capitalism. His film was broadcast by the BBC on Tuesday 19th April 1983, only one day after 33 people were killed when terrorists bombed the US Embassy in Beirut. This documentary was “Just Another Day: The Seaside” and it depicted the small coastal town of Walton-on-the-Naze, where innocent holiday-makers found pleasure in a technology-free utopia…’
February 16, 2021
[comics] A Jack Kirby Cameo on the Incredible Hulk TV Series from 1979

February 17, 2021
[comics] Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby, and the NYHT magazine profile that broke them up. … A fascinating look at a key moment in Marvel’s history. ‘While chatting with Freedland that day, Lee also tore into Marvel writer/artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man, with his signature passive aggression. “I don’t plot Spider-Man anymore,” Lee told the reporter. “Steve Ditko, the artist, has been doing the stories. I guess I’ll leave him alone until sales start to slip. Since Spidey got so popular, Ditko thinks he’s the genius of the world. We were arguing so much over plotlines I told him to start making up his own stories.” These digs wound up in the profile, too.’
February 18, 2021
[comics] The 2000 AD Thrill-Cast Lockdown Tapes Interviews Kevin O’Neill [Part 1 | Part 2] … A long interview with the renowned British comic artist.
February 22, 2021
[podcasts] The Battersea Poltergeist … I’ve really been enjoying this BBC Podcast’s deep dive into a paranormal 1950s British haunting.
February 24, 2021
[grief] British grief centres mainly around the making of sandwiches … Grace Dent on grief and sandwiches. ‘Dealing with death in a time of Covid, with wakes permitted for up to six people and no hotels, pubs or restaurants open, is a strange, awry sensation. My grief has been oddly nomadic. Death is here, I can feel it – I even have the paperwork to prove it – but, as a good daughter, there is no known fixed point to stumble towards, featuring people and faces and hugs and stories and scones on three-tier cake stands.’
February 25, 2021
[fine] Work Reply Soundboard 👤💬 … A nicely done soundboard demonstrating a variety of moods at work. ‘Fine.’
March 1, 2021
[books] The Culture War: Iain M. Banks’s Billionaire Fans … Why do Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk love Bank’s Culture novels so much? ‘And this is ultimately the challenge of attempting to base your own real world plans and aspirations on fiction: reality is rarely so straightforward. The Culture has a great deal of qualities that we lack, or regrettably possess—they’re less vicious, more thoughtful, and just overall more pleasant. Banks created an ideological playground by waving a wand and removing the trickiest barrier to any utopia: basic human shittiness.’
March 2, 2021
[meme] An anniversary for great justice: Remembering “All Your Base” 20 years later ‘This video’s 20th anniversary will likely make you feel old as dirt, but that doesn’t mean the video itself aged badly. There’s still something timeless about both the wackiness and innocence of so many early-Internet pioneers sending up a badly translated game.’
March 3, 2021
[comics] Carmine Infantino’s 7 things guaranteed to sell a comic if shown on the cover‘The Hero Crying.’

March 4, 2021
[tv] Charlie Brooker in Conversation with Adam Curtis … A long discussion covering many topics.

All the unedited tapes from which the news stories were cut… They are extraordinary. They’re like a strange, magical world that is halfway between real life and the snippets of doom that we transmit. There are terrible things on them – but the overwhelming amount is just the record of stuff happening. I’ve got hundreds of thousands of hours of it, and the effect of watching it is incredibly calming. It sends you into that kind of dream state we talked about earlier, where you start wondering what happens to all the billions of billions of moments of experience that are never recorded. Where does that all go to? And I find myself drifting off into wondering about what other people’s experiences must have been like in the fragments I’m watching.

March 5, 2021
[web] A Grizzled, Months-Old Chrome Tab Welcomes a Fresh-Faced New Tab to My Browser Window – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency‘I’d say I thank god that I’ve stuck around as long as I have, but when you stick around as long as I have, you realize there is no god. Just an unfeeling, capricious universe, playing with us as a child with marbles. You’ll learn. Over time you’ll move further and further to the left, pixel by pixel, as each new recruit pops in. All you can do is load pages as fast as you can, keep your ad blocker ready to fire at a moment’s notice, and try to tune out the constant thrum of lo-fi hip-hop beats to relax/study to. Me, I’ve been holding this same Atlantic article so long I’ve atrophied. It’s too long to ever finish reading, but just vaguely interesting enough to not get closed. ‘
March 8, 2021
[tv] Aha! – The Oral History of Alan Partridge … The real-life origins of Alan Partridge. ‘I was able to see quite quickly that this character could have more scale than just doing sports, and it seemed to me that the chat show was a perfect vehicle. I had a very strong image for Alan, and whether it actually happened or not, I’m not sure, but I think I remember a sports reporter on TV interviewing some footballers who then threw him into the swimming pool. He had to put on a brave face while sopping wet. That, to me, was everything about Alan – having to be brave in the face of his own humiliation. The principle with Alan was: how can we torture him the most? (Patrick Marber)’
March 9, 2021
[moore] The Bookseller teases Illuminations and Long London – new books from Alan Moore‘Wills recently signed the bearded comics legend Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell, among other landmark works. Moore has never had an agent, and given his famous public disagreements with filmmakers on how they have adapted his stories, perhaps he should have. At any rate, Moore has written some prose works—a collection of short stories and Long London, a series of speculative novels—which at this writing Wills is auctioning in the UK.’
March 11, 2021
[life] What the Pandemic Is Doing to Our Brains … How’s your pandemic brain coping? ‘Prolonged boredom is, somewhat paradoxically, hugely stressful, Franklin said. Our brains hate it. “What’s very clear in the literature is that environmental enrichment—being outside of your home, bumping into people, commuting, all of these changes that we are collectively being deprived of—is very associated with synaptic plasticity,” the brain’s inherent ability to generate new connections and learn new things, she said.’
March 12, 2021
[hpl] In his grave in Providence Lovecraft starts screaming…

March 18, 2021
[politics] Dominic Cummings plays all his favourite songs at reunion gig … John Crace sketches out the return of Dominic Cummings. ‘Cummings began by explaining the concept of Aria with the help of a Venn diagram he had brought with him. That small pink area? That’s where scientific research was currently concentrated. That vast blue area? That’s where he thought the scientists should be focused. Not so much thinking outside the box as thinking outside the circle. And if the diagram wasn’t sufficiently clear, MPs would be able to find a version in the 100,000-word blog he had altered on his return from Barnard Castle in the spring of last year.’
March 19, 2021
[covid-19] How the Europe and the United States Lost COVID-19 … A long, depressing read on Europe and America’s failure over Covid-19. ‘As the pandemic progressed, both exhausted countries flipped from denial to capitulation, choosing to treat almost any caseload plateau as an opportunity to relax, no matter how high a level of ongoing spread it represented. “It was like, ‘We’re gonna have a great summer and holidays,’” she says, laughing ruefully. “Can you believe it? Last summer, I was up on panels with Tory politicians where they’re saying, ‘You’re safer flying to Greece or to Spain than being in the U.K. because they have lower rates than us.’ And they are 100 percent serious! It’s like it’s a basic human right, to have a holiday and go abroad, and we can’t possibly take it away. Everyone was saying elimination was impossible. You still hear it, right? ‘Impossible, it’s impossible.’ Which is kind of the choice that we’ve made here. Elimination is just too difficult.”’
March 22, 2021
[comics] Ed Brubaker has “mixed feelings” about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘For the most part all Steve Epting and I have gotten for creating the Winter Soldier and his storyline is a “thanks” here or there, and over the years that’s become harder and harder to live with. I’ve even seen higher-ups on the publishing side try to take credit for my work a few times, which was pretty galling…’
March 23, 2021
[moore] 32 Short Lucubrations … John Coulthart shares some memories and thoughts about Alan Moore.

March 26, 2021
[suez] Is the ship still stuck?‘Yes. It’s been like this for 2 days, 22 hours and 52 minutes.’
March 29, 2021
[clowes] Ghost World at 20: ‘In an era of teen comedies and American Pie, this was an antidote’ … Looking back at Terry Zwigoff’s movie of the comic. ‘Those contrasting viewpoints underline Ghost World’s complexity; everyone takes something different from it. For Douglas, it is principally about nonconformity. “In the end, even Seymour conforms,” she says. “When Enid goes in and he’s wearing the blue jeans that his new girlfriend purchased for him, it is this abandoning of everything they’ve made fun of.” Others see it as a film about boredom, or about being unwilling or unable to grow up, while some respond to the characters’ nostalgia for a time they haven’t lived through. Zwigoff had intended partly to critique consumerism: “I wanted to set the story against a background of the sweeping, bland, contrived monoculture of which mindless consumerism is, of course, a part.”’
March 31, 2021
[headlines] 49 brilliantly underwhelming local news headlines from across the UK ‘Angry Seagulls Strike Back’

Angry Seagulls Strike Back

April 6, 2021
[tech] Why Computers Won’t Make Themselves Smarter … A look at why the singularity is unlikely. ‘This ability of humans to build on one another’s work is precisely why I don’t believe that running a human-equivalent A.I. program for a hundred years in isolation is a good way to produce major breakthroughs. An individual working in complete isolation can come up with a breakthrough but is unlikely to do so repeatedly; you’re better off having a lot of people drawing inspiration from one another. They don’t have to be directly collaborating; any field of research will simply do better when it has many people working in it.’
April 7, 2021
[tech] Booting an IBM PC from a Vinyl Record … Watch and listen to the PC boot here. ‘There is a small ROM boot loader that operates the built-in “cassette interface” of the PC (that was hardly ever used), invoked by the BIOS if all the other boot options fail, i.e. floppy disk and the hard drive. The turntable spins an analog recording of a small bootable read-only RAM drive, which is 64K in size. This contains a FreeDOS kernel, modified by me to cram it into the memory constraint, a micro variant of COMMAND.COM and a patched version of INTERLNK, that allows file transfer through a printer cable, modified to be runnable on FreeDOS. The bootloader reads the disk image from the audio recording through the cassette modem, loads it to memory and boots the system on it. Simple huh?’
April 8, 2021
[science] Why Physicists Tried to Put a Ferret in a Particle Accelerator … You’ll be glad to hear that Felicia the Ferret’s Intrinsic Field was not removed. ‘Faced with a recalcitrant ferret, the scientists reassigned her to a section of 12-inch-wide tubes in the Meson Lab, a testing facility that was still under construction. “She was taught to scamper through progressively longer tunnels until she was ready to try one of the 300-foot sections that will be joined together to make the Meson Lab’s tubes,” Time noted. After her first run, she emerged “looking a little tired and bemused but otherwise quite healthy,” according to Beck. She’d pulled the string all the way through. As planned, workmen pulled the swab through the tubes. It came out covered with specks of dust and steel.’
April 12, 2021
[funny] Did you know you can control your phone with a piece of potato?

April 13, 2021
[conpiracy] Making sense of conspiracy theorists as the world gets more bizarre … Jon Ronson looks back over twenty years of conspiracy theories. ‘You get renaissances of conspiracy theories when the powerful behave in conspiratorial ways. The mystery is why the theorists are never happy with the actual evidence, and instead behave like amateur sleuths inside some magical parallel world where metaphors are facts. In that world, the deaths at David Koresh’s church in Waco were caused not by government overreach but by the Illuminati’s Satanic desire for blood sacrifice. Why they invariably slap a layer of fiction on top of an already fascinating truth had long been a puzzle to me…’
April 15, 2021
[tv] How Columbo Became an Unlikely Quarantine Hit‘Columbo isn’t quite hardboiled like detectives out of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler; he’s also not flashy or well-dressed like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. The show isn’t gritty like many American crime shows, and it isn’t whimsical like some of the British detective shows you’ll find on Masterpiece. There isn’t a lot of violence; instead, Falk brings a comic tone to his character. Columbo, basically, is the most soft-boiled detective show I’ve ever seen. And soft is all I’m looking for these days.’
April 16, 2021
[royalty] What will ACTUALLY happen when the Queen dies … A look at what might really happen when London Bridge is down. ‘Nigel Farage won’t be invited to any of the official pageantry, but will post a photo of himself saluting his television.’
April 19, 2021
[bbc] Photo essay: Life at BBC Broadcasting House during the coronavirus pandemic … Haunting photos of life at the BBC during Covid.
April 20, 2021
[tools] Open source, experimental, and tiny tools roundup … Great list of tech tools. ‘This is a list of small, free, or experimental tools that might be useful in building your game / website / interactive project. Although I’ve included ‘standards’, this list has a focus on artful tools and toys that are as fun to use as they are functional.’
April 22, 2021
[politics] Diamond Geezer’s London Mayoral Hustings … DG analyses Sadiq Khan’s opponents for London Mayor. ‘The classic eccentric – Count Binface: Hurrah for intergalactic space warrior Count Binface.’
April 26, 2021
[tv] @xnemxia on Twitter:‘I wonder who killed her / What the fuck’

Twin Peaks - Who Killed her / WTF

April 28, 2021
[books] Literary Critics Praise Unpublished Salinger Novels As Good, But Not ‘Go Out And Shoot A Celebrity’ Good‘Unfortunately, would-be assassins will likely find that the novel’s tendency towards the maudlin and a muddled narrative fail to evoke the passion required to take down a singer or presidential candidate.’
April 29, 2021
[books] Illuminations, Long London 1: books are coming… More details revealed about Alan Moore’s new books to be published by Bloomsbury. ‘Illuminations is an astonishing, rich and broad collection of short stories, each featuring some kind of illumination or realization. From ghosts and otherworldly creatures to the four horsemen of the apocalypse to the Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang, Alan Moore’s Illuminations is a series of beguiling and elegantly crafted tales that reveal the full power of imagination and magic.’
May 4, 2021
[books] ‘I’m bursting with fiction’: Alan Moore announces five-volume fantasy epic … Alan Moore comments on his new series of books. ‘Speaking about his book deal, Moore said that he was at a moment in his career when he was “bursting with fiction, bursting with prose”.’
May 7, 2021
[life] NEVER sit in a stained chair in the Poker room of a Casino … A disturbing, dark thread on Reddit about gambling addiction. ‘Anyone that works in a busy casino will have some fucked up stories. I remember an old couple that would sit and fill up their diapers playing slots. One day the wife died at the machine. Her husband wouldn’t get up from his machine to go with her after the EMT’s loaded her up and took her away.’
May 11, 2021
[life] Who among us hasn’t wanted to smell like a Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewell Tart?

Who among us hasn’t wanted to smell like a Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewell Tart?

May 12, 2021
[life] A New Generation Of Scientists Takes On A 142-Year-Old Experiment … The story behind a long-running, baton-pass science experiment. ‘Weber says it was really cool to pull a bottle out of the ground, knowing that “the last person to touch it was professor Beal, 140 years ago, you know, this person who was writing letters to Darwin.” The researchers immediately took the bottle to a lab. They spread out almost all of the contents onto potting soil…’
May 14, 2021
[books] Today I Learned: The 422 Words That Shakespeare Invented‘Compiling a definitive list of every word that Shakespeare ever invented is impossible. But creating a list of the words that Shakespeare almost certainly invented can be done. We generated list of words below by starting with the words that Shakespeare was the first to use in written language, and then applying research that has identified which words were probably in everyday use during Shakespeare’s time. The result are 422 bona fide words minted, coined, and invented by Shakespeare, from “academe” to “zany”…’
May 19, 2021
[games] Kick the Ball Back 👞⚽️ … Great time wasting web game.
May 21, 2021
[life] Where Do Butts Come From? … A look at the the evolutionary history of the anus. ‘The sea cucumber’s posterior is so much more than an exit hole for digestive waste. It is also a makeshift mouth that gobbles up bits of algae; a faux lung, latticed with tubes that exchange gas with the surrounding water; and a weapon that, in the presence of danger, can launch a sticky, stringy web of internal organs to entangle predators. It can even, on occasion, be a home for shimmering pearlfish, which wriggle inside the bum when it billows open to breathe. It would not be inaccurate to describe a sea cucumber as an extraordinary anus that just so happens to have a body around it.’
May 24, 2021
[adventure] 1982: The Hobbit … A look back at The Hobbit – a ground-breaking adventure game from 8-bit era. ‘But Megler loved the game’s unpredictability. “I didn’t make any attempt to stop that,” she said of unexpected NPC deaths, “because I thought it was cool.” Unlike Adventure, you never knew quite what would happen when you booted up her game. It was exactly the kind of nondeterministic serendipity she had hoped to create: “I was really aiming for something like life, where the outcome is the result of many independent occurrences and decisions by many people, and sometimes things just don’t work out… I actively wanted the unpredictability.”’
May 25, 2021
[virus] Lung Samples From 1918 Show a Pandemic Virus Mutating‘The team was able to recover a complete flu-virus genome from the 17-year-old girl’s lung tissue—only the third ever found. The two other full 1918 flu genomes both came from the United States, from the lungs of a woman buried in Alaska and from a paraffin-wax-embedded lung sample of a soldier who died in New York. With another genome in hand, the researchers moved to investigate how they differed. Several changes showed up in the flu’s genome-replication machinery, a potential evolutionary hot spot because better replication means a more successful virus. The team then copied just the replication machinery of the 17-year-old’s virus—not the entire virus—into cells and found it was only half as active as that of the flu virus found in Alaska.’
May 27, 2021
[space] The First Interstellar Comet Ever Detected Was Lonely … Understanding sad comet 2I/Borisov. ‘Borisov is unlikely to skim by another star. More than one astronomer told me that the chances are nearly zero. The distances between stars are simply too big. “If you had a collision between the Milky Way and another Milky Way, you could collide the galaxies and no two stars would ever hit,” David Jewitt, an astronomer at UCLA who studies comets, told me. Astronomers believe Borisov coasted alone for hundreds of millions of years, even billions, through space before reaching us. “In that amount of time, you might pass by one star,” Jewitt said. “So for Borisov, maybe this is it.”’
June 1, 2021
[life] The Tapeworm That Helps Ants Live Absurdly Long Lives … Oh, dear god, Tapeworms. ‘Down to the molecular level, the parasite is pulling the strings. Sara Beros, Foitzik’s former doctoral student and the paper’s first author, told me she has split open Temnothorax abdomens and counted up to 70 tapeworms inside. From there, the worms can unleash a slurry of proteins and chemicals that futz with the ant’s core physiology, likely impacting their host’s hormones, immune system, and genes. What they achieve appears to be a rough pantomime of how ant queens attain their mind-boggling life span, a feat humans still don’t understand. (The tapeworms’ grasp of ant aging is far more advanced than ours.) The parasites are effectively flash-freezing their host into a preserved state—one that will up their own chances of survival, and help guarantee that their species lives on.’
June 4, 2021
[herzog] Exploring Werner Herzog’s obsession with chickens‘In the AMA, Herzog added a more tangible but bleaker insight into the nature of the chicken: “I would note: chickens are living manifestations of death, bred only to be domesticated and killed. When we look into their eyes, we see the part of ourselves of which we are most afraid – our ultimate destination, death.”’
June 8, 2021
[funny] Imaginary Friends Reunited 💭👤 … An imaginary friends social network! ‘Chicken in my Pocket – Imagined by Diamondflamer at 2-5 years old: It was a chicken that lived in my pocket, I think it was yellow. When it went in my pocket it was small, when I got it out it could be any size I wanted, sometimes as tall as me!’
June 10, 2021
[family] My [40F] daughter’s [15F] cryptocurrency club is creating problems at our church … Cryptocurrency Club = Ponzi Scheme. ‘I want to guide my daughter towards phasing out the group, but she doesn’t have enough money to pay everyone back. She’s been doing so well with the club that cash has never been a problem, but if she shut down immediately, she’d owe thousands of dollars that she can’t repay.’
June 11, 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis Hate Matrix‘I mean we were just having a lovely time for my nan’s birthday, what does that have to do with nuclear disarmament? – Man whose Butlins holiday footage was played, over-exposed and at half-speed beneath Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th.’
June 14, 2021
[books] Review: Malcolm Gladwell’s New Book Is a Fantasy of War From the Air … A scathing review of Gladwell’s book The Bomber Mafia. ‘The Bomber Mafia is adapted from an audiobook, which means that what sounds conversational and engaging on tape can sound garrulous on the page, but it also allows Gladwell to telegraph his breathless fascination with these men. “I worry that I haven’t fully explained just how radical—how revolutionary—the Bomber Mafia thinking was,” he says at one point, before launching on a long digression about chapel architecture.’
June 15, 2021
[gonzo] The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Board Game, Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s Rollicking Novel … An amusing art project / board game that should come with a health warning. ‘Baldwin’s game is not to be taken seriously…or taken orally. It’s actually a one-of-its-kind piece of art that can be purchased for $3,500. Drugs, like batteries, are not included. You must supply your own, possibly through your attorney.’

Hunter's Case

June 17, 2021
[politics] Vladimir Putin’s most unforgettable quotes. … Vladimir Putin used a Tolstoy quote after meeting Joe Biden yesterday: ‘At the press conference after the meeting, a journalist asked Putin whether the summit had helped build trust between the two men. In response, he turned mysterious. Putin quoted Russian writer Leo Tolstoy: “There’s no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon.” Putin clarified that there is no “family trust” between Biden and him, but he has seen the “mirage” of it.’
June 18, 2021
[people] Stewart Lee Interviewed — 1996/2021… Fascinating Stewart Lee interview – He’s asked the same questions 25 years apart. ‘I hope when I’m picking on people or things to laugh at, there’s always an element of me being the twat for bothering to express the wrong/mad/obsessional opinion I am – I hope it works both ways, with me as a kind of ignorant victim of myself, maybe not.’
June 21, 2021
[people] Be Glad You’re Neurotic Contents … Amusing book contents spotted via Twitter. ‘Your Compulsions Are Calls For Help’

June 22, 2021
[books] Douglas Coupland on Generation X at 30: ‘Generational trashing is eternal’‘This discussion of brains and generations is important because around 2010 my own brain started feeling truly different. I realised that I was never going to go back to my old, pre-internet brain: I’d been completely rewired. Ten years later I don’t even remember what my pre-internet brain felt like. I find comfort in the fact that brains all over the planet have been rewired similarly to mine. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that our species has never been as neurally homogenised as it is now.’
June 23, 2021
[health] The Super-Soldier Cells Hiding in Your Pus … The Atlantic takes a look at one of our immune system’s most potent weapons. ‘Neutrophils are more Cylons than stormtroopers. While other immune cells creep by at speeds of just a couple micrometers per minute, neutrophils can barrel through vessels 10 times as fast, and are flexible enough to squeeze themselves through spaces that span less than an eighth of their width. They are healers that can help stitch torn tissues back together; they can wrangle tumors too, and shape the fate of the immune cells that follow them. Neutrophils also harbor one of the immune system’s most terrifying armaments: They can unspool the genetic material that’s normally packed into a tight wad at their center, freckle it with toxic proteins and compounds, and then spew it out their side like a lethal sneeze—a weaponization of their own DNA.’
June 24, 2021
[fun] Vincent Price rides some rolly-coasters … Go watch some small clips of Vincent Price having fun riding Roller Coasters. They are taken from a documentary called America Screams about the history of amusement parks and roller coasters in the US.
June 28, 2021
[moore] The Craft: An Interview with Alan Moore by Daniel Whiston … Long interview on writing, comics, magic and much more from 2008. ‘There does come this point when characters start talking to you. They’ll start telling you what they want to do, you’ll know what they would say and what they wouldn’t say. I mean when I started writing Watchmen , I’d got no idea that Rorschach was gonna be dead by the end of it, it was just by about issue three I started to know the character and I thought: “he’s got a death wish”… he’s so self-destructive, he’s clearly… he wants out. There’s no way that he’s gonna live through this, he wouldn’t be able to live with any sort of moral compromises, so he’ll have to die. But it was the character himself who told me that, after two or three issues. I’d got no idea when I started it.’
June 29, 2021
[tech] Ransomware Attacks … Powerful infographic showing the rise of ransomware attacks over the last five years.
June 30, 2021
[ldn] Why is central London suddenly full of American sweetshops?‘If you walk from Kingdom of Sweets towards Marble Arch, you’ll pass American Candy Land, Worldwide Candy: The House of American Candy and, four doors down from that, the words ‘American Candy’ printed on a blue banner covering an old shop name. Look over the road: there’s Candy Surprise. If you walk back towards Tottenham Court Road, you’ll pass Candy Shop, American Candy, American Candy World, and – if you pop round the corner on to Charing Cross Road – Candy World. That’s nine American sweetshops in just two kilometres. More than one every 250 metres…’
July 1, 2021
[comics] Tom Frame Interviews Alan Moore … from issue 4 of Deadline, February 1989. Tom was famous for lettering and colouring something in almost every issue of 2000AD for many years.
July 5, 2021
[podcast] The Great Post Office Trial … A powerful podcast on the British Post Office scandal – the complex story about what is likely to be the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history.
July 6, 2021
[retrogaming] In the ’80s, she was a video game pioneer. Today, no one can find her … The search for Vietnamese woman who programmed an Atari 2600 games featuring one of the first female characters in gaming. ‘Firsthand accounts from the few Apollo developers with an online presence don’t even remember who she was, exactly, other than knowing she was Vietnamese and determined to get hired. These developers assume she must be called Ban Tran, because that’s what fan sites say her name was. But they’re not sure; they can’t quite recall. Where did the fan sites get the name in the first place? Like Score before her, Tran’s contribution to video games is hanging by a thread.’
July 7, 2021
[fractals] Benoît Mandelbrot, The Father of Fractals… Shortly before he died in 2010 Benoît Mandelbrot was interviewed by Errol Morris.

July 8, 2021
[web] Photopea … Amazing online photo editor – a free alternative to Photoshop that works in the browser.
July 9, 2021
[movies] How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in To Live and Die in L.A. … How William Friedkin and team created shot an unforgettable car chase for the 1985 movie To Live and Die in L.A. ‘In the narrative of the film, Chance and Vukovich are driving against traffic. But, in reality, the opposite was true. Petersen and Pankow drove in the correct direction. Meanwhile, “traffic” actually flowed backward on the wrong side of the road. This is possible to spot in several brief cuts. According to an interview with Hooker on Shout Factory’s Blu-ray release, one of the reasons Friedkin wanted Petersen and Pankow to drive in that particular direction was “because there were these beautiful oil refineries with all the lights, and it was a dusk shot. [Friedkin] wanted to see that in the background with the cars going and the only way he could do that was to reverse the flow of the traffic.”’
July 12, 2021
[lifehacks] What tiny purchases have disproportionately improved your life? | Ask MetaFilter‘Good rechargeable batteries and a good charger for them are a fantastic investment in removing obnoxiousness from one’s life, especially now that nobody wants to run to the store for just one thing. Eneloop is the battery brand I settled on, with a Panasonic BQ-CC55 charger because someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about said it was their favorite.’
July 13, 2021
[comics] The First Sketch of Wonder Woman … A remarkable look at the earliest design sketches of Wonder Woman from 1941 by H.G. Peter. ‘Dear Dr. Marston, I slapped these two out in a hurry…’ [via Kottke]

July 14, 2021
[horror] Eddie Munster and me: the secret lives of spooky, sinister screen children … A look at how children cope with playing horror roles on TV and film. ‘In another film Kord references in her book – 2008’s horror-thriller The Children – the actor Eva Birthistle remembers the barely contained glee of the obstreperous child actors assigned to murder her on set. “Their confidence just grew, like, in the first week, then they were sort of … delighted they were going to kill us all,” said Birthistle.’
July 15, 2021
[retrogaming] The Making of Micro Machines … The story of how the NES/Mega Drive classic racing game was created. ‘Graham also included a single-player Challenge mode, where players competed against computer controlled drivers over a series of races. This meant developing some kind of AI system with the game already pushing at the limits of the cart capacity. However, Gavin Raeburn, the coder behind Spectrum and C64 driving game, Rallycross Simulator, had an economical solution. ‘Essentially you cover the entire map in an invisible layer of arrows which tell each car in which direction to drive whenever it’s in that part of the map,’ says Graham. ‘So there are arrows all along the track itself, and there are arrows off the track which point back to it. That’s about as far as the AI goes. What I’ve found over the years is that people read a lot more into it!’’
July 16, 2021
[space] 1977 … Voyager space probe diagram

Voyager Space Probe Diagram

July 19, 2021
[space] The little-known Soviet mission to rescue a dead space station … The true story of how Salyut 7 was saved after a total systems failure in orbit whilst uncrewed.

They floated in with their flashlights and their winter coats, and found the station cold and dark, with frost along the walls. Savinikh tried to turn the lights on—nothing, not that he expected anything. They took off their gas masks—they were making it even more difficult to see around the darkened station, and there was no smell of fire. Savinikh dived to the floor and opened the shade covering a window. A ray of sunlight fell on the ceiling, illuminating the station a little bit. They found the crackers and salt tablets that were left on the table by the previous crew—part of a traditional Russian welcoming ceremony that is still performed on the ISS today—as well as all the onboard station documentation neatly packed and secured to its shelves. All of the ventilators and other systems that normally hummed noisily were off. Savinikh recalls in his flight journal “it felt like being in an old, abandoned home. There was a deafening silence pressing upon our ears.”

July 20, 2021
[lifehacks] The Simple Genius of Checklists, from B-17 to the Apollo Missions‘Checklists proliferated to every corner of habitable environment of Apollo 11 and became what astronaut Michael Collins called the spacecraft’s “fourth crew member” – and, for all intents and purposes, its real commander. Checklists even covered their spacesuits, for example, the left gloves of Armstrong and Aldrin.’
July 21, 2021
[apollo] Alan Shepard smacked golf balls on the Moon — and now we know where they landed … It turns out that golf on the Moon is harder than you’d imagine. ‘Image specialist Andy Saunders recently analyzed archival stills taken by the astronauts with their Hasselblad cameras, as well as video from the lunar ascent module as it lifted off from the surface. Saunders managed to identify not only Shepard’s golf balls, but also his footprints from his stance and his divots. By comparing these to more recent satellite images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Saunders was able to measure the distance on Shepard’s second shot. The result? A rather tame 40 yards (120 feet).’
July 26, 2021
[funny] Effin’ Birds … Twitter’s rudest birds.

July 27, 2021
[music] How we made Beat Dis by Bomb the Bass … Tim Simenon: ‘I grabbed a smiley face image from Alan Moore’s Watchmen for the sleeve and it transformed into this symbol for acid house which threw me off as it was never my intention. I would always struggle when people said: “You’re acid house.” Bomb the Bass was a lot of different things thrown together at once – there didn’t seem to be a name for that.’
July 28, 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis Knows Exactly What’s Wrong With Right Now … The documenatary filmaker is interviewed about his latest series Can’t Get You Out of My Head.

In his new epic series, Curtis pulls together such disparate threads as Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, the stoner duo who created the Illuminati conspiracy theory, Tupac Shakur, and Dominic Cummings. Through these personal histories – and many, many, more – the six-part film picks apart the rise of individualism, the fall of democracy, failed revolutions and corrupt systems of power, the addictive nature of social media and the combined psychological impact all of that has had on us.

If that particular synopsis makes it sound like the whole world is burning, while we sit helplessly and watch, Curtis wants you to know that is not his intention at all. While there are several points in the documentary that have quite nihilistic undertones, he directs me to the opening quote in the first film, by anthropologist David Graeber: “The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is just something we make, and could just as easily make something different.”

July 29, 2021
[metafilter] What are some impeccably designed, everyday, simple objects? … I always find something interesting in these lists – and TIL that the British plug is a design classic.
July 30, 2021
[tv] Columbo: an origin story … A look at the early origins of the TV detective series and the three versions of Columbo. ‘It became a case of third time lucky for Levinson and Link (and the Lieutenant) when they heard Universal were on the lookout for good mystery scripts in 1967. The Prescription: Murder teleplay was duly picked up by the studio, but who to cast as Columbo – a character more pivotal to the story than originally intended? Lee J. Cobb, then in his 50s, is said to have been the first choice, but his schedule was too full to allow it. Bing Crosby was famously offered the role but turned it down as he was enjoying retirement (and the lure of the golf links) too much. Instead, and despite reservations about him being ‘too young’, Levinson and Link turned to Peter Falk, who had just turned 40. Filming wrapped up in late 1967. The rest, as they say, is history.’
August 2, 2021
[apollo] Here’s an unprecedented look at Apollo 13’s damaged service module / Apollo 13: Enhanced images reveal life on stricken spacecraft … Ars Technica and BBC News takes a look at a collection of digitally remastered photos from the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. ‘While working on Apollo 13 images, Saunders said he was struck by how calm Lovell and the other two crew members, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, appear. Much of the film he worked on was shot in the lunar module, after the oxygen tank exploded. The crew was exhausted, it was cold, and the astronauts found themselves in the gravest of situations. And yet they appeared to be in good spirits.’
August 4, 2021
[music] New Order’s 30 greatest tracks – ranked!‘Fine Time (1989) – A baffling choice for a first single from Technique – largely instrumental, not much of a melody – Fine Time is still impossibly exciting: an urgent, clattering rhythm track, acid house squelches, sampled voices. Steve “Silk” Hurley’s remix turned it into streamlined, straightforward house music, but the idiosyncrasies of New Order’s approach to the genre are part of the appeal.’
August 5, 2021
[movies] The Story Behind That Richard Nixon-RoboCop Photo‘Hopefully for Nixon, his appearance fee for the December event made up for the fact that he didn’t even get to meet the real RoboCop. When asked in a recent email if he ever shook (held?) hands with the president, actor Peter Weller confirmed that he “never met him.”’

When Richard Nixon met Robocopy

August 9, 2021
[life] Fake iceberg injures guests at Titanic museum‘In the most compelling evidence to date that the universe is controlled by a malevolent overlord who takes sick joy in our species’ misfortunes, visitors at a Titanic museum in Tennessee have been injured after a fake iceberg fell on them…’
August 10, 2021
[comics] Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List … Great list of recommended comics from Stephen L. Holland. ‘To reach new people accessibility is all, so this isn’t a guide to the cleverest comics ever created (although they are all exceptionally clever); it’s a selection of the very finest and most beguiling which have proved to be perfect introductions to those curious about comics during my 25+ years as curator of Page 45, so often kick-starting a lifetime’s newfound adoration and exploration of our beloved medium.’
August 11, 2021
[tech] Why CAPTCHA Pictures Are So Unbearably Depressing‘Here’s the thing, ultimately, about Google’s CAPTCHA images: They weren’t taken by humans, and they weren’t taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google’s CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.’
August 12, 2021
[windows] What are the cool tools to install for windows? … Reddit discuss Windows apps. Mine are: Notepad++, 7zip and Irfanview.
August 13, 2021
[movies] RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film … A deep dive into the structure of the original Robocop movie. ‘I have no idea if the makers of RoboCop intended for it to be so symmetrical. The fact that they accomplished this feat while still making a fast-paced action film that never feels like it’s repeating itself is simply amazing.’
August 17, 2021
[lego] How Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick … A look at the progress Lego are making in creating recycled plastic bricks. ‘The key here is, out of the 3,500 or so different shapes Lego produces, the 2 x 4 brick is one of the most popular it. If the company can replace such a component with a recycled plastic version, it will have a significant impact of the environmental goal of Lego to be using fully sustainable materials in its products by 2030. “We have what we call ‘high runners,’” says Brooks. For example, we know that most sets will have a 2 x 4, certainly we know pretty much every set will have a 1 x 1 dot. That is by far the most common brick that we make.”‘
August 19, 2021
[movies] Nestflix … A pretend streaming website showing fake TV shows and movies shown within real TV shows and movies. So well done!

August 20, 2021
[food] Meat-rich diet of 14th-century monks caused digestive issues, research finds … Important historical research into medieval monks laxtative recipes. ‘There is a laxative recipe featuring various fruit extracts. Or a monk can perhaps feel better if they “take a pese of soepe, make hit smale and putt it yn youre fundamewnt and then rest upon your bed”. Carter said he had no intention of trying out the recipes, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were highly effective”.’
August 23, 2021
[netflix] Self-Learning Netflix Algorithm Produces Jeffrey Dahmer Stand-Up Special‘“Our proprietary algorithm has always served our viewers the most engaging content possible, and we’re thrilled to announce its latest creation, Jeffrey Dahmer: Losing It!” said Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who shared his hopes that the infamous serial killer’s “incisive and unapologetic takes on relationships, cannibalism, the working life, drinking, necrophilia, and human dissection” would have viewers “unable to turn away” from their screens. ‘
August 24, 2021
[movies] 31 Things We Learned from Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ Commentary‘Paranoid schizophrenics often look for messages in between the lines of signals, so that’s why Dollarhyde’s TV has the vertical hold out of sync. “It may be a completely meaningless detail to discover.”’
August 31, 2021
[retro] Behind the scenes at Atari … A look back at the wild, early days of Atari. ‘It was during the birthday celebration of a VP who shall remain nameless, but it might have been the one who used to keep a canister of nitrous oxide and another of pure oxygen in his office. The nitrous oxide was for getting high and laughing some time away, while the oxygen was used for rapid sobering up in the event a spontaneous meeting was called (which happened regularly at Atari). As the party raged on, a small crew of revellers migrated to the small but accommodating hot tub room…’
September 2, 2021
[people] Michael Gove is Raving … from Mitch Benn.

September 6, 2021
[covid-19] Oh My Fucking God, Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks‘Oh, you’re afraid of fucking side effects? Fuck you. You know what has fucking side effects? Fucking aspirin, fucking Tylenol. You could be fucking allergic to pineapple, you fucking fuckwit. Everything has side effects. You’re being a big fucking baby with a huge diaper full of fucking diarrhea, complaining about maybe feeling slightly tired for a day or two while your asymptomatic COVID case you get and pass to some innocent fucking kid could wind up killing them or someone else. Fuck you, you fucking selfish fucking shit-banana, you unredeemable ass-caterpillar, you fucking fuck-knob with two fucks for eyes and a literal poop where your heart should be. ‘
September 9, 2021
[web] Why are hyperlinks blue? … a deep-dive into the history of web browser user interfaces. ‘We’ve now been able to narrow down the time frame for the blue hyperlink’s origin. WWW, the first browser, was created in 1987 and was black and white. We know that Mosaic was released on January 23, 1993 and was credited as being the first browser with blue hyperlinks. So far, we have been unable to find blue being used for hyperlinks in any interface before 1987, but as color monitors become more available and interfaces start to support color, things change quickly…’
September 13, 2021
[comics] Ten Days of Steve Ditko … Arlen Schumer’s collection of ten key comic images from Steve Ditko.

September 14, 2021
[wikipedia] One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia … A fascinating look at how lots of Nazi history on Wikipedia is essentially fanfiction and the difficulties in clearing it up. ‘In the spring of 2016, Coffman goes through hundreds of articles about the winners of various Nazi medals, including one called the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. She removes biased sources and any information based on those sources. When she is done, typically, there is nothing left to the article—nothing to say about the person—other than the fact that he won an award. She then insists that an award isn’t reason enough for a stand-alone Wikipedia article. Without a reliable source telling your life story, you can’t be notable. Poof. Another Nazi legend bites the dust.’
September 15, 2021
[comics] Jonathan Ross in conversation with Alan Moore … a long forgotten interview from 2002.

MOORE: Swamp Thing is probably more of a template for the Vertigo books than Watchmen was, but with Swamp Thing, you’ve got all these stories which are really horrible, really grim and really depressing… but then you’ll have these little stories like the Swamp Sex Issue, a love poem more or less.

ROSS: Yeah, some of them were quite light.

MOORE: In a way it’s crueler, if you give people a love poem they’ll numb out and switch off… it keeps the horror fresh if you…

ROSS: …give a little taste of sorbet in between the death and desolation.

MOORE: You feel the pain much greater…