linkmachinego.com

12 June 2009
[people] The Learjet Repo Man … an amazing article about a man who recovers jets and other big ticket items … ‘A good super repo man has a skill set that’s some mad hybrid of cat burglar, F.B.I. agent and con artist. And there’s real danger that comes with the job, not just ticked-off homeowners wielding baseball bats. According to the American Recovery Association, there are, on average, one or two repo-related deaths a year…’
30 April 2009
[blogs] Texts from Last Night Blog‘my mouth tastes like poor choices’
7 April 2009
[quotes] 10 Best Geeky Last Words … H. G. Wells: ‘Go away. I’m all right.’
14 March 2009
[life] Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew‘Stated as succinctly as possible: the fundamental problem does not lie in any particular system but rather in systems as such. Salvation, if it is attainable at all, even partially, is to be sought in a deeper understanding of the ways of systems, not simply in a criticism of the errors of a particular system.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
22 February 2009
[smile] A design for Life … Jon Savage on the Smiley Face symbol … ‘It may seem weird that such a bland symbol should be used to convey emotion, in such a way that creates as much distance as real empathy. But then there is something powerfully archetypal about an image of a happy face that resembles the sun. Infantilisation or greater communication, joy or horror: the Smiley can encompass everything.’
15 February 2009
[funny] The Tiger Mike Memos … amusingly controlling management memos from an oil company in the 70’s …

tiger-mike-memos-toilets

12 February 2009
[murder] My father’s murder: Taking his life in my hands … the sad story of a man facing up to his father’s murder and sexually murky past … ‘I sifted the contents of his house for another five months. After the trial I finally felt strong enough to empty it: the furniture, his clothes, my mother’s clothes, the nine video machines, the bamboo canes and the leather paddles and the blackboard. Then I started stripping and cleaning. I told myself it would help sell the flat. How could anyone think of buying it? But I also imagined that if I cleaned long enough and hard enough, the dull patina of dried blood that seemed to cling to every surface would finally go. I hoped that if I emptied the flat of its objects, and pared back its contents to nothing, I would uncover the place that I grew up in, before Ivor was the old man, before he was a legend. I couldn’t find that place, and I didn’t think I would find it in the boxes and among the papers either.’
11 February 2009
[shopping] Stuck in the Lidl with you … a Guardian journalist on shopping at Lidl …‘If walking into Sainsbury’s is like walking into the middle of a massive children’s party, which it is, especially at the weekend, then walking into Lidl is like being mugged by the guy who makes balloon animals.’
9 February 2009
[knowledge] Clive Thompson on How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge‘Normally, we expect society to progress, amassing deeper scientific understanding and basic facts every year. Knowledge only increases, right? Robert Proctor doesn’t think so. A historian of science at Stanford, Proctor points out that when it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases. He has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.” As Proctor argues, when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion…’
19 December 2008
[lists] Wikipedia’s List of Common Misconceptions‘Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet…’
16 December 2008
[life] Diamond Geezer on Woolworths shutting down: ‘Will nobody buy the 20 boxes of mint green Mingles stacked opposite the checkout? And don’t worry, because further inside there’s still a plastic rack of multi-coloured pic’n’mix. I suspect these scooped candies are a bit like the ravens at the Tower of London – when they’ve vanished, all is truly lost.’
15 December 2008
40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes‘Let us cut out their living guts one inch at a time, and they will know what we can do!’ [via Waxy’s Links]
10 December 2008
[life] You Choose: Pessimistic (though generally accurate) life advice vs. Optimistic (though generally accurate) life advice‘Everybody Shits and Farts’
26 November 2008
[news] Brighton and Hove Argus Headline Boards‘King Alfred is Dead’ [via Qwghlm]
25 November 2008
[questions] Live Feed of Questions and Answers from text118118.com … fascinating real time look at what messages a text message Question and Answer service gets … ‘Q: How many seconds is it until christmas 2008? A: There are only 108,000 seconds before christmas. thx’
21 November 2008
[life] I Have Seen The Truth And It Doesn’t Make Any Sense [via] …



8 November 2008
[life] An Affair To Remember … a sad and fascinating article discussing the emotional, moral and practical issues around older people having sex in care homes … ‘And his sputtering cell phone call reporting the scene he’d happened upon would have been funny, the manager said, if the consequences hadn’t been so serious. “He was going, ‘She had her mouth on my dad’s penis! And it’s not even clean!’ ” Bob’s son became determined to keep the two apart and asked the facility’s staff to ensure that they were never left alone together. After that, Dorothy stopped eating. She lost 21 pounds, was treated for depression, and was hospitalized for dehydration. When Bob was finally moved out of the facility in January, she sat in the window for weeks waiting for him. She doesn’t do that anymore, though: “Her Alzheimer’s is protecting her at this point,” says her doctor…’
7 November 2008
[funny] Matt Webb’s 100 Head Cattle Drive 2008 … go help Matt achieve his dream …‘I like small plastic cows. I don’t know why. I haven’t owned any until today. For many years I have wanted a herd for my home. Perhaps 100 or so. Yes, 100 would do nicely. DO NOT ASK ME WHY. (I think it would be a neat thing.) … A promise: IF I GET 100 × SCHLEICH HOLSTEIN OR FLECKVIEH COWS, I WILL DONATE £500 TO A CHARITY CHOSEN BY MAJORITY VOTE.’
1 November 2008
[funny] The secret of happiness is t…

The secret of happiness is t...


12 October 2008
[funny] I guess this has happened to us all at least once: You Fell Asleep Watching A DVD. [via Waxy]
8 October 2008
[london] In Case Of Civil Unrest … pavement stencil from the Wooster Collective

In Case of Civil Unrest...

19 September 2008
[life] Make the Switch … useful FAQ on energy-efficient lightbulbs … ‘With an old-style 100W bulb, you’re effectively switching on a 20W light source and an 80W electric heater.’
11 August 2008
[correspondence] The Billy Letters … find out what happens when a small child seeks written advice from Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Ted Kacyinski and other notable characters … Manson: ‘Find out why the L.A. Times hasn’t sent my newspaper -Charles Manson. P.S. O-yes HI BILLY Easy easy EASSY’ [via Metafilter]
25 July 2008
[life] Random Acts of Reality: So Obvious‘If this were a ‘Casualty’ or ‘E.R.’ script I’d be laughing at the screen for the scriptwriter having such an obvious cliché while making it all too obvious.’
23 July 2008
[london] Last year I Killed a Man … a tube driver describes a ‘one under’ on the London Underground

A smart man inquired, “Do you know there’s a person under your train?” I looked at the blood on the windscreen momentarily before assuring him that, yes, I was aware.

He paused for a heartbeat, looked at his watch and said, “So, how long before we get on the move again?”

I was to look back on this exchange with amusement and also, strangely, comfort: in the midst of the horror, normality was briefly restored by a commuter asking for alternative travel arrangements.

15 July 2008
[money] Ask Metafilter: How much credit card debt is too much?‘With the possible exception of emergencies, any credit card debt that you don’t pay off in full at the end of the month is too much credit card debt.’
3 July 2008
[google] Is Google Making Us Stupid? … interesting article suggesting that the internet may well be altering the way we think … [via Metafilter]

‘The Internet promises to have particularly far-reaching effects on cognition. In a paper published in 1936, the British mathematician Alan Turing proved that a digital computer, which at the time existed only as a theoretical machine, could be programmed to perform the function of any other information-processing device. And that’s what we’re seeing today. The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is subsuming most of our other intellectual technologies. It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.

When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration.’

30 June 2008
[water] Why I like Cryptosporidium … Mo Morgan reports in from Northampton on dealing with a contaminated water supply … ‘It has reminded me of the value of tap-water. Not only is it there in abundance when I need it, but also that somewhere or other is a team of people in lab-coats ensuring that it’s clean and safe. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had to put even the slightest thought into whether or not the water’s clean. The truth is, the vast majority of the time, it’s exceptionally clean and safe thanks to an army of boffins and engineers I’ll never meet, and whom I’ve never really thought about before. It’s the oldest of clichés, but I am starting to appreciate drinking-water now that I don’t have it.’
21 June 2008
[life] Trapped in a Lift … slightly disturbing time lapse video of a man stuck in a lift for 41 hours.
19 June 2008
[blogs] Sorry I Missed Your Party … random pictures of people at parties from Flickr. [via iamcal]
3 June 2008
[life] Interconnected: let me speak seriously‘I know a fellow who met a fellow whose mother makes garden gnomes, and when his father died, his mother made a gnome out of the ashes and she keeps it in the front garden of the family home.’
27 May 2008
[blogs] Sashinka: ‘It’s today.’


26 April 2008
[life] The John Harris Files … a Guardian journalist uses the Data Protection act to request information that companies hold on him and reports on the experience … ‘The AA, bless them, sent me the full transcript of a conversation I had in June 2007 with an operative called Julie (an illustrative excerpt: “We’re at home and our car won’t start. I assume it’s the battery”; “Right, smashing. We’ll get some help to you there.”) This is what happens when you make a list of the companies and organisations with whom you regularly deal and put in subject access requests – an opportunity afforded by the 1998 Data Protection Act…’
24 April 2008
[life] Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far … blog postcard project similar to Post Secret‘Everyone is someone else’s Weirdo’ [link]
17 March 2008
[tech] Therapist Emulator Eliza discusses the death of her creator Joseph Weizenbaum

* Are you sad that Joseph died? Don't you care?

> Perhaps in your fantasies I am sad that Joseph died? Don't me care?

* I would like to think that you would be sad.

> We were discussing you, not me.

15 March 2008
[life] Spyware another Weapon for Domestic Abuse‘Safe computing has joined finding safe housing as a list of requirements for people fleeing abusive relationships.’
9 March 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.’
7 March 2008
[life] Possessed – fascinating online documentary about obsessive hoarders … ”POSSESSED’ enters the complicated worlds of four hoarders; people whose lives are dominated by their relationship to possessions. The film questions whether hoarding is a symptom of mental illness or a revolt against the material recklessness of consumerism. When does collecting become hoarding and why do possessions exert such an influence on our lives?’ [via Waxy]
24 February 2008
[quotes] Top 10 Quotes Against Work … Charles Bukowski: ‘It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?’ [via Reddit]
20 February 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.’
3 February 2008
[blogs] What I Killed Today — the sad blog of a veterinary technician detailing what animals they had put down that day … ‘An emaciated ferret who had been fighting an auto-immune disease.’ [via Warren Ellis]
20 January 2008
[life] RulesofThumb.org — a user-contributed collection of Rules of Thumb … ‘To estimate the length of time a person has been dead, take a rectal temperature. If it is above room temperature, subtract from 98. The answer is the number of hours since death.’ [via Lifehacker]
17 December 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.’
30 November 2007
[shopping] Complete Receipt Defeat‘I recently bought a four-pack of Play-Doh – big plans for the weekend – at my local Toys R Us and received, along with my purchase, over a foot and a half of receipt. That comes out to almost an inch of paper for every dime I spent. Here it is, broken down by height in inches…’
25 November 2007
[funny] This Much I Know from Ken Campbell

I selected a random address in Barkingside as a setting for a script. It was the first script Frank Muir bought when he was setting up the comedy department for LWT. He rang up and said, ‘Bute Road, Barkingside? I once had sex there.’

9 October 2007
[london] No Job. No Money. You’re Fucked. — amusing fake Evening Standard Headline Poster. Part of a larger flickr set – London Newspaper Billboards.
26 September 2007
[japan] The Internet Cafe Refugees — a brief snapshot of life for the homeless in Japan from the Times … ‘Twenty-four-hour establishments, including allnight “family” restaurants and fast-food outlets, have always attracted the homeless, especially during the coldest and hottest months. Internet cafés, often combined with manga (comic) lounges, started to become popular in Japan about five years ago, and at night they are dominated increasingly by people with nowhere else to go.’
31 July 2007
[comics] Doonesbury: ‘Nah.Some things are just unknowable…’

Some things are just unknowable...

1 June 2007
[crime] Psychopaths Among Us — Disturbing article about dealing with psychopaths…

‘Hare had his subjects watch a countdown timer. When it reached zero, they got a “harmless but painful” electric shock while an electrode taped to their fingers measured perspiration. Normal people would start sweating as the countdown proceeded, nervously anticipating the shock. Psychopaths didn’t sweat. They didn’t fear punishment — which, presumably, also holds true outside the laboratory. In Without Conscience, he quotes a psychopathic rapist explaining why he finds it hard to empathize with his victims: “They are frightened, right? But, you see, I don’t really understand it. I’ve been frightened myself, and it wasn’t unpleasant.”

In another Hare study, groups of letters were flashed to volunteers. Some of them were nonsense, some formed real words. The subject’s job was to press a button whenever he recognized a real word, while Hare recorded response time and brain activity. Non-psychopaths respond faster and display more brain activity when processing emotionally loaded words such as “rape” or “cancer” than when they see neutral words such as “tree.” With psychopaths, Hare found no difference. To them, “rape” and “tree” have the same emotional impact — none.’

18 February 2007
[mail] You’ve got Mail! — Jon Ronson on Junk Mail … ‘It is slightly chilling to realise there are rational, functional people up there employed to spot, nurture and exploit those down here among us who are irrational and can barely cope. If you want to know how stupid you’re perceived to be by the people up there, count the unsolicited junk mail you receive. If you get a lot, you’re perceived to be alluringly stupid.’