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June 29, 2009
[tweets] Jon Ronson (posted on Twitter): ‘dennis neilson did the Braille translation of my book, Them.’
June 26, 2009
[1984] Caught On Cam: Here Lies Eric Arthur Blair‘There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.’ [via a Smursh of Pete]
June 14, 2009
[books] Ask MeFi: What books do people proselytize about?‘I think these books are types that suggest a single, clear lens through which the world and all life experience can be viewed. When certain, perhaps impressionable or at least eager people read these books and take the theses as gospel,’getting religion,’ as it were, that this author has hit on the EXACT TRUTH about things, they can’t stop talking about them to others.’
May 14, 2009
[books] Revolutionary Espresso Book Machine launches in London ‘…at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait. Signalling the end, says Blackwell, to the frustration of being told by a bookseller that a title is out of print, or not in stock, the Espresso offers access to almost half a million books, from a facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland to Mrs Beeton’s Book of Needlework.’
May 8, 2009
[lists] 10 Best Head-Scratching Stories, Explained‘Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth: Jimmy relives his granddad’s life. He finally meets his father, who then dies. Superman can’t save him.’
May 2, 2009
[books] Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world … more from Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible “expert” advice for their retirement. Economic life should be definancialised. We should learn not to use markets as storehouses of value: they do not harbour the certainties that normal citizens require. Citizens should experience anxiety about their own businesses (which they control), not their investments (which they do not control).’ [via Metafilter]
April 16, 2009
[books] Unspeakable Horrors – H. P. Lovecraft was a Racist‘Race prejudice is a gift of nature, intended to preserve in purity the various divisions of mankind which the ages have evolved.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
March 15, 2009
[books] Review of The Black Swan … from Dan Hill‘Those of us who have struggled through nearly 20 years of hearing that the market was the best way to run everything – from schools and hospitals to childcare, housing, energy generation and transport infrastructure – have this recent ‘performance’ of the financial system itself as an additional indication that, well, it patently isn’t that simple. It’ll take some time for those purveyors of that mindless rhetoric to take on board that ever freer markets are not the only solution – much of this book would quickly help with that understanding, even if it is written from the perspective of someone who lives in, and loves at some level, those markets.’
March 10, 2009
[books] New York’s bright young man grows up … an interview With Jay McInerney …‘Bright Lights, Big City turns 25 this year.’
January 20, 2009
[rEDrUM] Finally Published: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy by Jack Torrence … you can buy a copy at blurb.com: ‘If it’s nearly impossible to read, let us take a moment to consider how difficult it must have been to write. One is forced to consider the author, heroically pitting himself against the Sisyphusean sentence. It’s that metatextual struggle of Man vs. Typewriter that gives this book its spellbinding power’
January 15, 2009
[funny] Hunter S. Thompson Motivational Posters … [via Fimoculous]

hunter s. thompson on professionalism

January 11, 2009
[books] 15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will‘Many people need desperately to receive this message: “I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”‘
December 10, 2008
[books] Philip Pullman answers your questions‘I am a devout believer in the complete democracy of text. It sounds to me as if you think reading is surrounded by rules and prohibitions and commands. It isn’t! Not a bit of it! Once a book is in your hands, ITS INTERPRETATION BELONGS TO YOU. You can read it in any way you like, and take away any meaning that makes sense to you. That’s the great freedom of reading.’
December 7, 2008
[books] Gonzo’s back! … an interview with Ralph Steadman about Hunter S. Thompson … ‘Steadman didn’t go with Thompson on the fateful trip to Vegas, but he was there in spirit. “He thought of taking me, but in the meantime he’d met this lawyer called Oscar Acosta,” he laughs. “They had a lot in common, drugs-wise. So that’s why he decided not to take me. And anyway, as he said, ‘I might need a lawyer!'”‘
December 3, 2008
[comics] The End … Michael Lewis on Wall Street – twenty years after he wrote about it in Liar’s Poker

‘This was what they had been waiting for: total collapse. “The investment-banking industry is fucked,” Eisman had told me a few weeks earlier. “These guys are only beginning to understand how fucked they are. It’s like being a Scholastic, prior to Newton. Newton comes along, and one morning you wake up: ‘Holy shit, I’m wrong!’ ” Now Lehman Brothers had vanished, Merrill had surrendered, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were just a week away from ceasing to be investment banks. The investment banks were not just fucked; they were extinct.’

December 1, 2008
[books] The dumb, dumb world of Malcolm Gladwell … Andrew Orlowski tears into Malcolm Gladwell and fans … ‘Gladwell is a walking Readers Digest 2.0: a compendium of pop science anecdotes which boil down very simply to homespun homilies. Like the Digest, it promises more than it delivers, and like the Digest too, it’s reassuringly predictable. The most famous book Tipping Point, takes an epidemiological view of social trends and throws in a bit of network theory. You won’t draw anything more profound from this than “we’re all connected” – gee! …’
September 16, 2008
[books] Robert Heinlein’s Fan Mail Form Letter … a 1960’s solution for authors dealing with fan-mail …


September 1, 2008
[books] Philip Pullman’s essential reading list … includes a couple of comics … ‘The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé – Hergé was the best at everything: plots, draughtsmanship, jokes, characterisation, timing – he could do the lot, and this is his best book.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
August 21, 2008
[books] Novelist Neal Stephenson Once Again Proves He’s the King of the Worlds … update on what Neal Stephenson is up to …‘That’s right—brain surgery is one of the things Stephenson is tinkering with. He and his team are helping refine some mechanical aspects of a new tool, a helical needle for operating on brain tumors. It’s the kind of cool job one of his characters might have.’
August 6, 2008
[bdj] Ask a call girl … Salon asks three American High-Class Call Girls: How Realistic is the Belle de Jour TV Series? (compare and contrast with the time the Guardian asked Cynthia Payne the same question) … ‘I guess as an ex-call girl, it’s fun watching the show and seeing what is real and what’s completely off. I think it glamorizes the business a bit. Being a high-class call girl is a cool life if you know what you’re doing, but a very hard life too, which I don’t think they depict well on the show — just how stressful it really is.’ [via Fimoculous]
July 7, 2008
[books] Spotted on Flickr: Coups neatly executed

Coups neatly executed
originally uploaded to flickr by russelldavies.

May 12, 2008
[007] The name’s Ronson, Jon Ronson … Ronson follows one of the journeys of James Bond …

I phone Zoe Watkins at the Ian Fleming Centre, the literary estate. She’s known within Bond circles for having an encyclopedic knowledge of the books.

“I want to recreate a great Bond journey,” I say. “I want to take a passage from one of the novels and assiduously match Bond car for car, road for road, meal for meal, drink for drink, hotel for hotel.”

“What a wonderful idea,” she says. “But which journey do you want to recreate?”

“I dunno,” I shrug. “One in Moonraker?”

“Moonraker is basically a drive from London to Margate,” Zoe says. “Fleming’s fans were disappointed by the absence of exotic locations.”

May 2, 2008
[movies] Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 Diary … the diary entries concern the time he spent working with Stanley Kubrick on 2001 …‘July 9. Spent much of afternoon teaching Stanley how to use the slide rule — he’s fascinated.’
April 2, 2008
[books] The Return of Neal Stephenson‘Stephenson, author of Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, etc., you know who he is, has a new novel out this September. It’s called Anathem…’
March 15, 2008
[books] The 100 Best Last Lines from Novels‘P.S. Sorry I forgot to give you the mayonnaise. –Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America (1967)’ [via Kottke]
March 9, 2008
[42] What on earth is 42? … BBC News on the Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything … ‘The answer can be interpreted in two ways. One is that it is a bad joke, implying that there simply is no answer, no meaning, no sense in the universe, and you would be no worse off if you jumped into the nearest black hole. But the other interpretation is that the joke was wise. It shows that seeking numerical answers to questions of meaning is itself the problem. Digits, like a four and a two, can no more do it than a string of digits could represent the poetry of Shakespeare.’
March 2, 2008
[wikipedia] Nicholson Baker on The Charms of Wikipedia‘Without the kooks and the insulters and the spray-can taggers, Wikipedia would just be the most useful encyclopedia ever made. Instead it’s a fast-paced game of paintball. Not only does Wikipedia need its vandals—up to a point—the vandals need an orderly Wikipedia, too. Without order, their culture-jamming lacks a context.’ [via Metafilter]
March 1, 2008
[books] 50 Crime Writers To Read Before You Die‘We wanted to compile a list of writers we had, jointly and severally, loved. We wanted to include writers like Dashiell Hammett, who brought something new and exciting to the genre; like Elmore Leonard, who turns an old trick in it with incomparable style; and like Poe, who invented it. We did not, except incidentally, take into account popularity.’ [via Metafilter]
February 20, 2008
[books] Youth of Today — Charlie Stross wonders about the what his future readers will be like … ‘There have always been cameras in shops and schools and other public places, although there are more of them than there used to be. Old folks grumble about privacy, but really, you’re being watched wherever you are. If you don’t like it, get a hoodie.’
January 9, 2008
[funny] Improbable Pop-Up Books — funny photoshop contest from somethingawful.com

an improbable pop-up book


December 18, 2007
[funny] Porn For Girls By Girls.com — another spoof website from The Internet Now in Handy Book Form

roughly taken...

December 17, 2007
[kipple] Philip K. Dick on Kipple — brief 43 Folders post on Kipple‘I think kipple is the main problem with my computers. It’s not just adware (on the Windows box), but the weird little things that wind up in the nooks and crannies. Installers for demoware. Photographs of children. Zipfiles loaded with mp3s… of songs that I already have in other directories, or on other machines, or on CDs on the shelves on my walls.’
November 22, 2007
[evil] Ask Mefi: What fictional evil has great corporate branding?‘OCP, Omni Consumer Products. From Robocop.’
November 21, 2007
[books] Interview with William Gibson from Rolling Stone‘The very first time I picked up a Sony Walkman, I knew it was a killer thing, that the world was changing right then and there. A year later, no one could imagine what it was like when you couldn’t move around surrounded by a cloud of stereophonic music of your own choosing.’ [via Kottke]
October 26, 2007
[books] Children’s Books You’ll Never See‘The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator’ [via linkbunnies.org]
September 18, 2007
[books] The legacy of Hollywood’s favorite sci-fi writer — The Los Angeles Times on Philip K. Dick … ‘When was the last time Hackett saw her father? Well, in a way it was 2005. That’s when a team of scientists — all of them among Dick’s many devotees in the wired world — put his face on an eerie android with lifelike skin, camera eyeballs and an artificial intelligence that allowed it to recognize old friends. When Hackett saw the face she almost fainted…’
September 17, 2007
[books] What single book is the best introduction to your field (or specialization within your field) for laypeople? — great list from Ask MetaFilter … ‘This is, almost certainly, the most expensive thread in the history of Ask.Metafilter.’
September 1, 2007
[comics] Edgar Allan Poe — Allergic to alcohol? — nicely done short comic biography posted on Scans Daily

biographical cartoon about edgar allan poe

August 13, 2007
[books] Space to think — the Observer interviews William Gibson‘I’m reminded of something Gibson once said: ‘I didn’t imagine that art girls in the Midwest would be flashing their tits in cyberspace… but I’m glad that they’re doing it.’ Does he retain that optimism? ‘You could say, in some ways technology and entertainment culture does not look that good from outside. I mean, if you looked at the internet objectively, sometimes you would think it was just a tsunami of filth, something you would not want anywhere near your children.’ It is though, he believes, an intimately human form of culture. ‘I think that one of the things that sets us most thoroughly apart is the ability to preserve our individual memory. The information of the cave paintings becomes Borges’s library, Borges’s library becomes a laptop computer.’ The internet is the shared memory of the species.’
July 5, 2007
[blogs] Lowdham Book Festival Lecture Notes — Mike of Troubled Diva’s guide to Blog-to-Books… ‘There is something which has recently come to be seen (in certain quarters) as the Holy Grail to which every personal blogger must aspire. Two little words, which have an almost mystical hold over certain sections of the blogosphere… …and I’m going to say them now… BOOK DEAL!
June 27, 2007
[books] Henry Raddick’s Amazon Reviews — spoof book reviews on Amazon. Raddick reviews God, Why Did Dad Lose His Job?: … ‘A truly wonderful guide which has enabled me to explain my recent sacking for vandalising company property to my children in terms of a minor act of redemption. First rate.’
June 13, 2007
[books] The Digested Read: God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens‘The purpose of this book is not to prove God does not exist; it is to prove I am cleverer than Richard Dawkins.’
June 12, 2007
[books] TwitterLit — neat idea – twittering the first lines of books … ‘Albert Einstein was born in 1879, in Ulm, Germany, with a head shaped like a lopsided medicine ball.’
June 4, 2007
[books] Sci-fi writers join war on Terror‘”We’re well-qualified nuts,” says Jerry Pournelle, co-author of the best sellers Footfall and Lucifer’s Hammer and dozens of other books. […] During a coffee break at the conference, Walker, Bear and Andrews started talking about the government’s bomb-sniffing dogs. Within minutes, they had conjured up a doggie brain-scanning skullcap that could tell agents what kind of explosive material a dog had picked up.’
May 18, 2007
[books] Spoof Amazon Customer Reviews for Richard Littlejohn’s New Book: ‘After reading this searing deconstruction of our liberal, permissive society, I was almost blind with rage. And so I followed Littlejohnson’s example and did the only thing open to a red-blooded, patriotic Briton: I buggered off to America. Luckily, before I left I went out speeding one last time and managed to run over an immigrant, who I believe was also homosexual – as is my God-given right as an Englishman. God bless you, Littlejohnson, God bless you.’ [via qwghlm.co.uk]
May 5, 2007
[books] Long Zoom: Interview with Steven Johnson — he discusses his book The Ghost Map amongst other things … ‘I called up my editor and he asked, “How’s it going?” I replied, “It’s kind of like Emergence, you know, if Emergence were a disease thriller.” And he said, “Yeah, it’s like Emergence if the slime molds started killing people in chapter four.” And that became my mantra as I was writing it: “Just think Emergence with killer slime molds and you’re golden.”’ [via Kottke]
April 25, 2007
[blogs] The Diary of a Nobody, as a daily weblog‘This is a weblog version of The Diary of a Nobody, written by George Grossmith and originally serialised in Punch magazine in 1888 and 1889. Bringing Charles Pooter into the 21st century, his diary is now available as a selection of weblog-style RSS feeds which you can subscribe to…’ [via As Above]
April 9, 2007
[self-help] Ask Metafilter: What is the dumbest, funniest, most peculiar piece of advice you have ever found in a self-help book?‘From the worst ‘How To’ book on screenwriting ever written (“How to Write a Movie in 21 days” by Viki King): WEAR YOUR LUCKY SOCKS.’
March 17, 2007
[books] Douglas Coupland on bloggers, YouTube and Bubble 2.0‘In the future, all these kids now with MySpace pages who put absolutely everything out there, like number of tampons they used, everything, in 40 years there’ll be a political culture where stuff like that, minor details, don’t shock anymore. Now in the States if you hire a maid who doesn’t have her papers you have to withdraw from politics. I hope I live to see the day when stuff like that doesn’t matter, but at the moment I think after a certain age – I tag it arbitrarily at 22 – everyone’s more withdrawn in fear.’
March 16, 2007
[blogs] Shaggy Blog Stories — Mike at Troubled Diva has succeeded in publishing a collection of funny blog stories for Comic Relief in a week. Buy a copy Here‘Make no mistake: this is one absolute BELTER of a book: a showcase of British Blogging at its finest. Most of the entries, and indeed many of the submissions which didn’t make it to press, have made me laugh out loud. Sometimes, I have been in stitches. Yes, that might have been simple hysteria. But never has hysteria felt so sweet.’



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