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September 30, 2022
[photos] 5 Unintended Consequences of Photography‘Photography Gave Us an Appreciation of Time – The big events of life usually pass too slowly for us to observe. But photographs freeze the instants of change so we can see our child getting older by degrees, or our parents gradually aging across the years. And we can piece together a year from a thousand photographed memories of events our memories consider too minor to keep handy. We take this power of capturing time for granted, but it simply didn’t exist prior to photography.’
October 3, 2022
[queen] BBC Television Channels – 1830BST 8th September 2022 – Announcing The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II … Grid showing BBC Television channels as they announced the Queen’s death.

October 7, 2022
[lauguage] Compound pejoratives on Reddit – from ‘buttface’ to ‘wankpuffin’ … An important study of compounded swearwords on Reddit. ‘As a corpus, Reddit has the virtue of being uninhibited in its profanity, and on the cutting edge of new coinages. For example, Google Books Ngram Viewer, which indexes the majority of all books published in English up to 2019, gives no results for fuckwaffle, whereas the term has been used in 1,096 Reddit comments.’
October 14, 2022
[moore] Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’… … Another interview with Alan Moore in the Guardian and here is a review of Illuminations – his new collection of short stories. ‘He shuns new tech to the extent that we speak down a landline, so I can’t see the lavishly bearded face from which his gentle Northampton burr issues. “When the internet first became a thing,” he says, “I made the decision that this doesn’t sound like anything that I need. I had a feeling that there might be another shoe to drop – and regarding this technology, as it turned out, there was an Imelda Marcos wardrobe full of shoes to drop. I felt that if society was going to morph into a massive social experiment, then it might be a good idea if there was somebody outside the petri dish.” He makes do, instead, with an internet-savvy assistant: “He can bring me pornography, cute pictures of cats and abusive messages from people.”’
October 21, 2022
[retro] Don’t Piss Off Bradley, the Parts Seller Keeping Atari Machines Alive … An amusing story about the cantankerous gatekeeper of a huge collection of ancient Atari hardware. ‘Best’s catalog is only available in print. It costs $7.50 plus shipping, is the size of a small phone book, and is more than 20 years out of date. It needs to be cross-referenced with an “addendum” section on the Best website, where Koda has logged about 65 typewritten pages’ worth of piecemeal price changes and other corrections over the past two decades. Anyone who can’t figure out this system risks being deemed a time-waster. In emails to customers, Koda often laments his busy schedule, and he seems to take distractions personally.’
October 24, 2022
>> Glanced at: Trump Betrayed by His Diet Coke Valet, Walt Nauta … BY MY DIET COKE VALET, BETRAYED!!! ‘Donald Trump could ultimately be done in by his Diet Coke habit. Not physically (though drinking 12 diet sodas a day doesn’t seem great for your health) but legally. The Washington Post reports that his former White House valet — the man who had to respond every time the president pressed his famous Oval Office Diet Coke button — provided key evidence that led to the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago in August.’ [via jwz]
October 25, 2022
[space] Saturn: 1993 – 2022 … Go Look at this visualisation of Saturn’s 22yr Orbit Round the Sun which recently completed. ‘Constructed from individual images made over 29 Earth years, the split panorama is centered along the ecliptic and crossed by the plane of our Milky Way galaxy.’
October 26, 2022
[comics] Marvel’s Miracleman Omnibus shows how Alan Moore paved the road to Watchmen… Slate on Marvel’s reprint of a full collection of Miracleman along with a look at it’s impact. ‘It’s remarkable how powerful the book remains in spite of its occasional unevenness. Moore is easily the medium’s most important just-writer (as opposed to writers who draw their own scripts, which Moore does very rarely), having demonstrated a complete grasp of its intricacies and potential almost from the beginning of his career. He is, in some sense, a composer, and the people working in comics who can match that formidable perfection are cartoonists themselves—no other writer really comes close.’
October 28, 2022
[music] Matt Berry performs the theme to the BBC sitcom Sorry!

October 31, 2022
[truecrime] Bible John: Creation of a Serial Killer … An engrossing BBC podcast looking at the Scottish serial killer Bible John.
November 4, 2022
[concentration] The Ultimate White Noise Player • Design Your Own Color … A website that helps you generate brown noise which can help with mental focus apparently.
November 7, 2022
[comics] Ten years of 2000 AD… … Many of Tharg’s art, writing and editorial droids discussing the success of 2000AD in 1986.

November 8, 2022
[tech] Can a Computer catch a Spy? … The story of an American Spy – Aldrich Ames – and a look at how computers can replace human intuition in the hunt for spies.

It was a $5,000 deposit in cash made on July 5. Three days earlier the chronology read: Lunch with Chuvakhin. Grimes knit her brow and grabbed the last deposit slip. It was for $8,500 in cash, deposited on July 31. And the chronology showed that on the very same day — Ames had had lunch with Chuvakhin.

“That was it for Sandy,” Grimes said, referring to herself by name. “I said, ‘You guys won’t believe it, this is it — you won’t believe it.” She ran down the hall to tell the head of the CIA’s counterintelligence division, Paul Redmond. “I closed the door and I didn’t wait for him, I just said, ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on here: Rick is a goddamn Soviet spy.”

November 9, 2022
[vaccines] No One Knows What’s Inside the Smallpox Vaccine … The fascinating mystery story inside our oldest vaccine. ‘Scientists call it vaccinia, and it is pretty much found only in the vaccines. No one knows where vaccinia came from in nature. No one has ever found its animal reservoir. No one knows quite what vaccinia is—even as it has been used to inoculate billions of people and saved hundreds of millions of lives. It is a ghost of a virus that has survived by being turned into a vaccine.’
November 10, 2022
>> I don’t know who need this today but here’s some joyful old clips of Vincent Price riding roller coasters. You’re welcome.
November 14, 2022
[comics] Alan Moore Remembers Kevin O’Neill … I was very sad to hear of the death of Kevin O’Neill last week. The link above is what Alan wrote for a New York Times Obituary for Kevin. ‘I am going to miss him like I’d miss sunsets.’
November 15, 2022
[life] Are You a Parent of a Toddler or an Assistant to a Male CEO of a Tech Startup?‘He refuses to wear shoes.’
November 17, 2022
[cats] Neko: History of a Software Pet … A page about Neko – a cat that ran around the screen chasing the mouse pointers in the 1990s. ‘The original software based on this concept, as far as I’ve been able to trace back, was written in the 1980’s by Naoshi Watanabe (若田部 直). It was called NEKO.COM and ran on the Japanese computer NEC PC-9801 in the MS-DOS command line.’
November 18, 2022
[comics] Neurotic Boy Outsider: An Interview With Grant Morrison 30 years In The Making … Grant Morrison looks back at some of their British comics from the start of their career. ‘But certainly at the end of the eighties and the nineties, it was still that sense of we were there to protest. We were the working class and we’d suddenly got a grasp of these means of expression. We’d got hold of comic books, we could make our own records. It was that punk rock DIY thing that came through the comics.’
November 21, 2022
[moore] Fantasy Must Be Sharper: An Interview With Alan Moore ‘Davey Jones is a genius. I’ve only ever had brief contact with him, back in the 80s when he was working with an anarchist concern called, I think, Blast and I was briefly in touch with them and then I noticed his work coming out in Viz where he’s the author of so many of my favourite strips. I’m genuinely impressed that there’s such an incredible standard of craftsmanship throughout Viz, blinding cartoonists, writers, and creators on that book. I must admit that the only problem I have with Jones’ work — and it’s not any fault of his, it’s purely me — it’s Tin Ribs; the ghastly physical torture that is visited on Mr Snodgrass. Every issue he’s having slices of his skin ripped off [laughs] it’s a bit rich even for my blood!’
November 23, 2022
[comics] An Appreciation of Kevin O’Neill, 1953-2022 … David Roach remembers Kevin O’Neill. ‘In an industry that could often default to a mass-produced conformity, Kevin was that rarest of things, truly unique, with an artistic voice that was unmistakably his own. In his long career he never once tried to fit in or compromise; indeed, he was seemingly incapable of being anything other than himself. ‘
November 28, 2022
[time] The Thorny Problem of Keeping the Internet’s Time … The story behind the internet’s N.T.P. Protocol. ‘A loose community of people across the world set up their own servers to provide time through the protocol. In 2000, N.T.P. servers fielded eighteen billion time-synchronization requests from several million computers—and in the following few years, as broadband proliferated, requests to the busiest N.T.P. servers increased tenfold. The time servers had once been “well lit in the US and Europe but dark elsewhere in South America, Africa and the Pacific Rim,” Mills wrote, in a 2003 paper. “Today, the Sun never sets or even gets close to the horizon on NTP.” Programmers began to treat the protocol like an assumption—it seemed natural to them that synchronized time was dependably and easily available. Mills’s little fief was everywhere.’
December 2, 2022
[comics] The Great Swamp Monster Confluence of 1971 … A great look at how three fictional swamp monsters for comics were created around the same time and place in the 1970s. ‘A couple of other odd coincidences involving Len Wein have a bearing on our tale of swampy confluence. Since the age of 14, Len had been best friends with Gerry Conway, the Man-Thing’s first scripter. Not only that—the two young comic book writers were roommates during the few months in which both the first Man-Thing story and the first Swamp Thing story were written.’
December 5, 2022
[nihilism] Super Mario Nihilism … What if Werner Herzog designed Super Mario?

December 8, 2022
[xmas] ‘Which bit of the turkey is this supposed to be?!’ I ate 12 Christmas dinners in 12 days – here are the best and worst!‘Traipsing up another A-road, I feel like a prize turkey for failing to realise many of these chain pubs are attached to Premier Inns in the middle of nowhere. It occurs to me I could be hacked to death outside this Beefeater and not be found for weeks, which might be preferable to its Christmas dinner, which comes with cardboard yorkshire pud, boring boiled carrots, what look like Aunt Bessie frozen roasties and turkey roll seemingly processed by the ghost of Bernard Matthews. Score: 2/5’
December 9, 2022
[xmas] Christmas Links 2022 … Stuart over at Feeling Listless is collecting seasonal links as he did in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018,2019, 2020 and 2021. As always, he does a better job than I ever have! :)
December 13, 2022
[blogs] ooh.directory … A 2022 directory of blogs including a recently updated list. How retro. :)
December 19, 2022
[internet] The Founding Fathers – ARPANET Logical Map, March 1977

ARPANET logical map, March 1977

December 20, 2022
[herzog] The Infinite Conversation … An AI generated conversation between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žižek. ‘I think I’m finished with him. He gives me a feeling of decadence. And I don’t want to work with decadence any more. I don’t want to be a decadent. Yes, I remember very well that we talked a lot. I think it was in January 1974, a Sunday.’
December 21, 2022
[politics] ‘Everyone calls to say how marvellous I am’ – Matt Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries, Digested … A digested read from John Grace. ‘Jonathan Van-Tam invites me to visit a hospital. Says it will improve morale in the NHS. On the nightshift I manage to save the lives of three patients. It is a very humbling moment for the doctors.’
December 23, 2022
[trump] Donald Trump’s War on Christmas … A look at an attempt Trump made to evict residents from one of his NYC properties in the 1980s. ‘In 1981, Trump bought the apartment building at 100 Central Park South. He then spent a decade trying to push rent-controlled residents out, so he could tear it down and build luxury condos. Part of this effort involved banning all Christmas decorations from the lobby. But tenants fought back…’
December 24, 2022
[comics] Christmas Eve Panic! … A surprise for Santa from Al Feldstein in 1953. Go read how Panic #1 got banned in Massachusetts.

Christmas Eve Panic!

December 26, 2022
[trump] Donald Trump 2024: His Final Presidential Campaign … Profiling Trump in 2024.

‘On his way to defeat and isolated by the pandemic, the president started to scare even those who had been willing for years to forgive anything.

“I think that really fucked up his head,” the first former White House official said. “He was already on that path, he was so desensitized and emboldened, and then during COVID, his interactions with real people were so cut off. During this tragic time where horrible things were happening, he wasn’t experiencing any of it. It was an ugly cocktail of the pandemic and race — after George Floyd — these things that activated his worst features. He lost touch with what was real, whatever limited ability he had before to connect was just gone.” He was more inclined to crack than others. “Here’s a person who is so untethered as it is, who largely escapes accountability, and there were always weird people around him, but the more the normal people disappeared, and all he’s surrounded by are the cuckoo birds,” the official trailed off. “His brain was vulnerable too because I think he was probably whatever his version of depressed is.”’

December 27, 2022
[nostalgia] ‘Who remembers proper binmen?’ The nostalgia memes that help explain Britain today … A look at nostalgia memes popular within UK social media. ‘Worzel Gummidge. Sweets by the ounce. Icicles hanging from the window frame (“Before central heating!”). Miss World (“All natural. Not a bit of botox in sight”). The power cuts of 1972-4 (“we coped, we were strong”). Scrubbing and polishing your front steps (“That’s when people had pride in where they lived”). Outdoor toilets. Cigarette machines. Flares. Playing in bombsites. Jumping in puddles. Roland Rat. There are no births, marriages or deaths here, no wars, no world-historic events, no great men and women of history. There is no post asking “who remembers the Cuban missile crisis?” or “who remembers the sinking of the Belgrano?” Those questions are too remote from ordinary life. Over here, we have abacuses and Listen With Mother to talk about. The banality is the point. This is a world where a picture of three butter knives can attract 1,300 comments of fond recollections and reflections.’
December 30, 2022
[comics] After nearly 30 years, there’s finally a new issue of Miracleman by Neil Gaiman‘I’m a recent convert to the church of Miracleman, and even I felt those decades of anticipation building up as I opened up the latest issue of the story. I’m excited to see what comes next, and how this 30-year-old story ends up picking up in medea res. The layers of meta-text in this continuing story make for an incredible retrospective on the entire history of the superhero genre.’