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December 15, 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]
December 10, 2008
[life] You Choose: Pessimistic (though generally accurate) life advice vs. Optimistic (though generally accurate) life advice‘Everybody Shits and Farts’
November 26, 2008
[news] Brighton and Hove Argus Headline Boards‘King Alfred is Dead’ [via Qwghlm]
November 25, 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’
November 21, 2008
[life] I Have Seen The Truth And It Doesn’t Make Any Sense [via] …



November 8, 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…’
November 7, 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.’
November 1, 2008
[funny] The secret of happiness is t…

The secret of happiness is t...


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

In Case of Civil Unrest...

September 19, 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.’
August 11, 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]
July 25, 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.’
July 23, 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.

July 15, 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.’
July 3, 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.’

June 30, 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.’
June 21, 2008
[life] Trapped in a Lift … slightly disturbing time lapse video of a man stuck in a lift for 41 hours.
June 19, 2008
[blogs] Sorry I Missed Your Party … random pictures of people at parties from Flickr. [via iamcal]
June 3, 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.’
May 27, 2008
[blogs] Sashinka: ‘It’s today.’


April 26, 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…’
April 24, 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]
March 17, 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.

March 15, 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.’
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 7, 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]
February 24, 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]
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.’
February 3, 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]
January 20, 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]
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 30, 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…’
November 25, 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.’

October 9, 2007
[london] No Job. No Money. You’re Fucked. — amusing fake Evening Standard Headline Poster. Part of a larger flickr set – London Newspaper Billboards.
September 26, 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.’
July 31, 2007
[comics] Doonesbury: ‘Nah.Some things are just unknowable…’

Some things are just unknowable...

June 1, 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.’

February 18, 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.’
January 26, 2007
[life] Ask Metafilter: What’s the term (if there is one) for a previously-unfamiliar concept that you suddenly encounter all over the place for no apparent reason?
January 23, 2007
[brain] Free Will: Now You Have It, Now You Don’t — The New York Times on Free Will … [via Kottke]

‘In the 1970s, Benjamin Libet, a physiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, wired up the brains of volunteers to an electroencephalogram and told the volunteers to make random motions, like pressing a button or flicking a finger, while he noted the time on a clock. Dr. Libet found that brain signals associated with these actions occurred half a second before the subject was conscious of deciding to make them. The order of brain activities seemed to be perception of motion, and then decision, rather than the other way around. In short, the conscious brain was only playing catch-up to what the unconscious brain was already doing. The decision to act was an illusion, the monkey making up a story about what the tiger had already done.’

January 16, 2007
[lifehacks] 5 Ideas for Stressful Living‘I’ve compiled a short list of ideas for those who wish to add a dash of stress into their lives — all fairly easy to implement, not to mention widely encouraged by society at large and often easily observed in the behavior of those around you…’ [via Lifehacker]
December 2, 2006
[life] ‘Our two poos have combined…’ — Jon Ronson reporting from the toilets on a RyanAir Flight. ‘…here in the toilet, I have an epiphany. “If there’s someone waiting outside,” I think, “I’m going to hold the door open for them!” I nod to myself and open the door. There’s a man standing there. “Here you are!” I say cheerfully. Together, we glance at the space I’m welcoming him into – a tiny, brown, disgusting cubicle. He furrows his brow, slightly taken aback, and enters. I cram myself back in my seat. “That was a nice and well-balanced thing for me to do,” I think.’ [Related: Out Of The Ordinary: True Tales Of Everyday Craziness on Amazon]
July 5, 2005
[tips] Londonist asks: Do We Need To Dry Clean?‘To maximise the length of time between launderings, air your clothes as much as possible, especially after being in a smoky pub. The posh cleaners Jeeves of Belgravia recommend hanging your clothes in the bathroom after you’ve taken a shower “to absorb the freshness.”‘
May 10, 2005
[ukblog] Walking the Streets — a weblog by a Traffic Warden … ‘There’s no rotation scheme, and how the streets are managed is very much down to the feet on the street. A place might not get any visits for two weeks for one reason or another, but as soon as the problems start to build up, we’re there. It is random, it is erratic; and the methodology varies from Enforcement Officer to Enforcement Officer, which serves to keep the wrongdoers on their toes.’
May 9, 2005
[life] That’s Enough Entertainment, Thanks — Armando Iannucci on “Choice Fatigue” … ‘I’ve suddenly sensed how much pressure we are under to view and hear everything. The constant thrum from the arts pages and review sections of the weekend papers, the non-stop shrill from monthly magazines and cultural round-ups on television and radio, insist that we simply have to see that film and order those CDs and set the video for the next 19 episodes of this unmissable drama. And yet, as those unread supplements pile up, as the VHS tapes filled with recordings of old but as-yet unwatched episodes of The Nazis: A Warning From History and Spaced form a mountain on the floor, what we are left with is an ever-expanding sense of failure to catch up with all the sensory experiences that have been made available to us.’
April 26, 2005
[ads] London Review of Books Personal Ads‘The LRB’s own Son of Jor-El, stuck in the Phantom Zone of the personal ads for three years now. Reckon I could still lick anyone of you wusses. Man, 36. Alone. Tonight, and very possibly forever. Box no. 07/12’ [via Yoz]
March 3, 2005
[ukblogs] Random Acts of Reality on Mobile Phones: ‘I’ve been trying to resuscitate dead patients when their mobile phone has rung – I look at the screen and see that the person trying to call them is “MUM”.’
February 7, 2005
[coffee] Latte Nerve! — article on the gridlock caused by Starbucks offering wi-fi in their coffee shops … ‘Alex Jacobson, a 32-year-old Internet developer who spends 40 hours a week at the Union Square branch of the ubiquitous coffeehouse. “Working in my apartment became very isolating, so when Starbucks rolled out wireless, I started working here.” The advantages are manifold: For the price of two decafs a day, his new office space offers a short walk to work (he lives above the store), high-caliber eye candy (“lots of models come here in the afternoon for meetings”) and friendly co-workers (the informal network of fellow Starbucks surfers who also run their virtual empires from Javaville). The only real disadvantage: He has to take his computer with him to the bathroom.’ [via Feeling Listless]
January 13, 2005
[death] Watery Grave — article about dead bodies found in the Thames and some of the stories behind them … ‘I must must have walked along, over and indeed under the River Thames hundreds of times. A bald and astounding police statistic comes back to me every time I look into its steely waters: along the 213-mile long Thames, a body is retrieved from the river on average every week. The majority (39 last year) are found in the London area.’