linkmachinego.com
May 1, 2018
[movies] Ghostbusters’ Slimer was created in a cocaine frenzy, artist who made him says … The surprising creation story of Ghostbusters’ Slimer. ‘He found out that Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd had always wanted Slimer in John Belushi’s likeness as a tribute to their deceased friend—something no one had bothered to tell Johnson throughout the six-month process of creating the ghost. (“I said, What the fuck are you talking about?” he adds.) So that night, Johnson took an eight ball of coke, cut up a gram of cocaine on top of a stack of headshots of Belushi, and that’s when things started to get creative…’
April 30, 2018
[comics] Frank Miller: ‘I wasn’t thinking clearly when I said those things’ … Revealing interview with Frank Miller. ‘It’s worth noting that whatever his detractors may think of his politics, Miller still happily inveighs against “white, heterosexual family values” and has no interest in defending his views on Occupy Wall Street. “I wasn’t thinking clearly,” he confesses. Does he support Donald Trump? “Real men stay bald,” he says with a grin, lifting his hat to run a hand over his bare scalp.’
April 27, 2018
[books] 30 years of Culture: what are the top five Iain M Banks novels?‘Three: Consider Phlebas – After almost drowning the hero in sewage in it’s opening scene, the first published Culture novel goes on a rip roaring killing spree across the major sights of the Banksian universe. Space pirates, ringworlds, cannibal cultists, a lethal card game, and a Planet of the Dead… the Culture is shown through the eyes of those who hate and fear this machine lead society, creating by far the darkest of all Banks’s science fiction writing.’ (Previously, Previously, Previously)
April 25, 2018
[movies] The Five Types Of Nicolas Cage Movies … Nicely done taxonomy of Nic Cage movies. ‘That get at the heart of what Cage is: a worker. He enjoys being an actor. If given the opportunity to work, he’s gonna do it. Cage is on record as rejecting the idea that selectivity is the hallmark of a successful actor. “Film acting is one of the only industries where you’re criticized for working hard,” he said in 2013. “In any other industry it’s considered a quality and something to behold.” I don’t really see the lie there.’
April 24, 2018
[comics] #Comicsgate: How an Anti-Diversity Harassment Campaign in Comics Got Ugly—and Profitable … Understanding comics offshoot of Gamergate. ‘Meyer’s whole business model, like Milo and Vox Day before him, is predicated on outrage, Farago said. Like many independent comics people, Meyer uses crowdfunding to get his creative projects off the ground. Courting controversy and picking fights with convenient targets—say, with a shadowy cabal of assistant editors, comics critics, and early-career creators—raises his profile, which leads to more followers, which leads to more money for his projects. “The comics industry is small enough to where it’s not that difficult to get yourself known,” Farago said. “I think Meyer saw a niche and realized he could fill it.”’
April 23, 2018
[jsw] Reader, it me… Man still knows where all the rooms are in Jet Set Willy‘It’s all still there, rotating around in my head, every room, every item, every inch of that marvellous multi-coloured blocky mansion. Even when I’ve forgotten my own name I reckon I’ll still know how to get that tricky item in The Orangery.’
April 20, 2018
[comics] Once Upon A Time: Kirby’s Prisoner … Charles Hatfield examines Kirby’s adaptation of The Prisoner. ‘The Prisoner must have appealed to Kirby the storyteller on a gut level, as it raised philosophical questions in a disarmingly accessible form. McGoohan and Co. used the then-popular spy genre for all it was worth – despite its intellectual ambitions, and portentous tone, The Prisoner was filled with chases, fisticuffs, and intrigue; its thematic conceits were grounded in a credible, almost palpable world. In short, the series used a familiar genre, and a hard-hitting style, to allegorize weighty issues. Sound familiar? This might be a capsule description of Kirby’s Fourth World. Just as The Prisoner had treated the spy genre as an intellectual vehicle, Kirby had tried to make the superhero comic a platform for ideas. Kirby’s Prisoner, in the wake of the Fourth World, represents another attempt to wring significance and depth out of his style – a style forged in juvenile adventure comics yet responsive to Kirby’s own preoccupations and concerns.’
April 19, 2018
[comics] Jack Kirby’s unpublished adaptation of ‘The Prisoner’ … some good scans of Kirby’s attempt to adapt The Prisoner to comics. [via Neilalien]

April 18, 2018
[crime] A Guy Walks Into a Bar — and Is Never Seen Again … An overview of the disappearance of Brian Shaffer. ‘Law enforcement seized a videotape from the surveillance camera that scanned the bar’s entrance area. It tracked Brian, Clint and Meredith riding the escalator to the upstairs bar at 1:15 a.m. An hour later, Clint and Meredith left in the opposite sequence: bar, escalator, street level. Brian should have come back down, too. He didn’t. Detectives gazed at the recording, rewinding and fast-forwarding it over and over again. A second camera was positioned outside an emergency exit, and they examined that footage too. Everyone who entered the bar that night was accounted for. Everyone except Brian. When the police reported his disappearance to the FBI, it sounded like an April Fools prank, a guy-walks-into-a-bar joke without a punchline. “Med student seems to disappear into thin air,” reported the media. The footage stymied detectives for the next decade.’
April 17, 2018
[conspiracy] How a Liberal Scholar of Conspiracy Theories Became the Subject of a Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory … The odd tale of how an academic studying conspiracy theories became one. ‘More prevalent, and more bewildering, are the ambiguous cases—a subtly altered photograph, an accurate but misleading statistic, a tendentious connection among disparate dots. Between the publication of “Republic.com 2.0” and “#Republic,” Sunstein became a target of the same online rumor mill he’d been studying from a distance, and many of the conspiracy theories about “Conspiracy Theories” fell into this gray area—overheated, but not wholly made up. “If you had told me that this obscure paper would ever become such a publicly visible and objectionable thing, I would have thought it more likely that Martians had just landed in Times Square,” Sunstein said. “In hindsight, though, I suppose it’s sort of appropriate that I got caught up in the mechanisms I was writing about.”’
April 16, 2018
[timemachinego] The Rise in Self-Proclaimed Time Travelers … fascinating overview of the epidemic of Time Travellers online. ‘With time travel, you can step outside the eternal stream of time. You can conquer physics. You can deal with loss and overcome death. In this way, these clickbait time-travel stories are a very American form of existentialism: We like to believe we can shape the future, and we need to know that everything will be okay.’
April 13, 2018
April 12, 2018
April 11, 2018
[sos] “The Clock Is Ticking”: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades … William Langewiesche on the sinking of the cargo ship SS El Faro. ‘As is usually the case, the catastrophe was unfolding because of a combination of factors that had aligned, which included: Davidson’s caution with the home office; his decision to take a straight-line course; the subtle pressures to stick to the schedule; the systematic failure of the forecasts; the persuasiveness of the B.V.S. graphics; the lack of a functioning anemometer; the failure by some to challenge Davidson’s thinking more vigorously; the initial attribution of the ship’s list entirely to the winds; and finally a certain mental inertia that had overcome all of them. This is the stuff of tragedy that can never be completely explained.’
April 10, 2018
[watchmen] Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen‘Kevin O’Neill Art Inspired the Alien Design: This one was pointed out to me my fellow Moore fan, Flavio Pessanha. In the annotations for 8.11.3, Klinger quotes Moore’s script stating that the alien should resemble the progeny of a squid and “a Kevin O’Neill” drawing. Presumably, this might be from O’Neill’s demonic aliens in Nemesis the Warlock, which first appeared in 1980.’
April 9, 2018
[space] Exploring the Secrets of Soothing Spaceship Sound … a look at the soothing white noise of fictional spaceships … ‘In the intervening years, Snell has taken it upon himself to sample and loop the ambient hums of dozens of science fiction ships, building an unlikely but sizeable YouTube presence of over nine million views and over a hundred videos. Whether it’s the calming tone created by the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation, or the throbbing pulse of Dr. Who’s Tardis, Snell aims to shine a light on an important element of science fiction that most people don’t often think about—what the spaceships sound like.’ [via MetaFilter]
April 5, 2018
[2001] 2001: The aliens that almost were … A look at the work Kubrick and his team put into creating alien special effects for 2001 that were eventually never used. ‘From the very outset of work on the film we all discussed means of photographically depicting extraterrestrial creatures in a manner that would be as mind-boggling as the being itself. And it soon became apparent that you can not imagine the unimaginable. All you can do is try to represent it in an artistic manner that will convey something of its quality. That’s why we settled on the black monolith – which is, of course, in itself something of a Jungian archetype, and also a pretty fair example of “minimal art.”‘
April 4, 2018
April 3, 2018
[health] What do doctors say to ‘alternative therapists’ when a patient dies? Nothing. We never talk. … Fascinating article from a Doctor regarding alternative cancer treatments … ‘I have little expectation that someone who would sell false hope to a vulnerable patient would talk me through their reasons why. I once ran into a licensed doctor who oversaw $500 vitamin infusions for cancer patients. The moment when we discovered what the other did was awkward to say the least. My expression asked, “Why?” I saw him struggle with the answer before he said, “Because patients want it.” There was no common ground for a conversation and we slid away into the crowd.’
March 29, 2018
[religion] Easter egg truthers: the annual religious row over chocolate … an overview of the War on Easter from Martin Belam … ‘Chocolate is halal by default because it does not contain meat products or anything haram. Cadbury’s social media team is kept busy at Easter repeatedly explaining that: “In UK our chocolate is suitable for vegetarians & those following a Muslim diet, however they’re not Halal certified. The only animal related products we use in UK are milk & eggs.” This year, Sainsbury’s bore the brunt of the annual backlash. The retailer’s social media team has been forced to repeatedly correct a tweet that claimed all their Easter eggs were specifically “halal-certified”, rather than simply suitable for a halal diet.’
March 28, 2018
[art] 70s Sci-Fi Art: Spacewrecks … Gallery of Sci-Fi Spaceship art from Stewart Cowley’s ‘Terran Trade Authority’ books – the one below is drawn by Angus Mckie.

March 27, 2018
[fun] Play Speak and Spell Online … the education toy emulated at the Internet Archive with many other handheld game consoles.
March 26, 2018
[weird] 16 Weird Things You Won’t Believe People Used To Believe, Believe Me‘Preformationism was another of Aristotle’s theories. He claimed that inside each human sperm was a tiny person, and inside that tiny person was more people-sperm (i.e, sperm = Russian dolls). What’s more, he believed this embryonic sperm was all that was needed to generate life: the woman was just the oven, and the resulting baby took 100% of its characteristics from the man. Cheers, Aristotle.’
March 23, 2018
[web] What Your Favorite Website Says About You‘MySpace.com: You died in 2005, at age twenty.’
March 22, 2018
[comics] Talking Booze and Banter with the Writer of Viz’s Drunken Bakers … Barney Farmer interviewed about heavy drinking, crap jobs, Viz and The Male Online. ‘Oh god yeah, the main comic I read was Viz. In my teenage years, somebody had a copy of Viz when we were in some dismal car park of some kind and said, ‘Have you seen this?’ It was probably the 16th or 17th copy of Viz, passed it backed to us, and it absolutely killed us. I’d never seen anything as funny in comic form, and I genuinely think it’s been hugely influential on British comedy. If you look at alternative comedy in the 80s it was terrible. Viz is about working class people. Although it’s educated and intelligent, its base and low at the same time, it’s witty and foul, like Frank Carson with Chris Morris’ brain.’
March 21, 2018
[chaos] xkcd on Chaos

March 20, 2018
[movies] 47 Things We Learned from Nicolas Cage’s Vampire’s Kiss Commentary … Nic Cage looks back at Vampire’s Kiss. ‘The scene where Cage runs down the street after assaulting Alva in the basement had to be re-shot because he was running too fast for Bierman’s camera. Cage told the director “Well if you want me to run slow I’m going to run like this!” and that’s the run that made the cut. He caught a lot of criticism from people saying it was over the top, but Cage gives that no weight. “’Over the top’ is one of those things that doesn’t work with me because I don’t believe in such a thing. It’s just stylistic choices.” He says that Bierman caught him during his more experimental phase, something he hasn’t really explored since.’
March 19, 2018
[crime] Worst Roommate Ever … quickly escalating worst-case housesharing story – worth reading for the twist at the end.

In 2012, Bachman had shown up at the home of a woman across town named Melissa Frost, claiming to be a New Yorker whose home had been destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Overcome with pity, Frost let him in — and nearly lost her house. In an expensive and frightening ordeal that dragged on for months, Bachman slowly laid claim to the space, using his intricate knowledge of tenancy laws to stay one step ahead of her. He scuffed up the floors, kicked down the doors, and clogged the toilets with cat litter. “He went from being this cordial, polite person who understood he was a guest in my house,” Frost said in one of the articles, “to someone who was approaching me aggressively and flat-out saying, ‘This is my house now.’ ”

March 16, 2018
[books] Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks… A long-read on Iain M. Banks Culture Series of books. ‘One can see then why Horza might dislike the Culture. On the surface, his complaint is that they surrendered their humanity to machines. But what he really wants is a culture that can serve as a source of deeper meaning, which is the one thing that the Culture conspicuously fails to provide – on the contrary, it turns everything into a joke. The Culture may be irresistible, but for essentially stupid reasons. (“Horza tried not to appear as scornful as he felt. Here we go again, he thought. He tried to count the number of times he’d had to listen to people – usually from third- or low fourth-level societies, usually fairly human-basic, and more often than not male – talking in hushed, enviously admiring tones about how It’s More Fun in the Culture… I suppose we’ll hear about those wonderful drug glands next, Horza thought.”) It is precisely because of this decadence, as well as lack of seriousness, that the Idirans themselves assumed that their victory over the Culture was a foregone conclusion. When one compares the soft decadence of the Culture to the harsh militarism of the Idirans, it just seemed obvious that the Culture would not fight, but would quickly fold. This was, however, a miscalculation. In fact, the Culture would never give up.’