linkmachinego.com
March 7, 2019
[life] Mob deep: Russian mafia gravestones … Collection of oddly compelling photo-realistic gravestones of Russian gangsters and family.
March 6, 2019
[winning] ‘I’d get 400 toilet rolls at a time’: how it feels to win a lifetime supply … amusing look at what it’s like to win a life-time supply competition. ‘The toilet rolls started arriving three months later. I was at design school in Orange County and living in a rented room, so my housemates were pretty excited when I got a phone call from UPS saying there was a big order for me to pick up. I pulled up at the depot in my Mini Cooper expecting a large package, and was met by two pallets, piled high with about 20 boxes, containing hundreds of rolls. I couldn’t get it all in the car. I folded the seats down, opened up boxes and shoved packets in every footwell. I was sweating. It was like something out of a movie. This would happen every two or three months; I would receive up to 400 rolls at a time. I’d go to the warehouse, or a haulage truck would pull up outside my house…’
March 5, 2019
[internet] The Internet is Full of Bullshit … a perennially useful animated GIF from Swear Trek.

March 4, 2019
[mind] Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness … A look at the mystery of consciousness from Oliver Burkeman. ‘Common sense may tell us there’s a subjective world of inner experience – but then common sense told us that the sun orbits the Earth, and that the world was flat. Consciousness, according to Dennett’s theory, is like a conjuring trick: the normal functioning of the brain just makes it look as if there is something non-physical going on. To look for a real, substantive thing called consciousness, Dennett argues, is as silly as insisting that characters in novels, such as Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter, must be made up of a peculiar substance named “fictoplasm”; the idea is absurd and unnecessary, since the characters do not exist to begin with. This is the point at which the debate tends to collapse into incredulous laughter and head-shaking: neither camp can quite believe what the other is saying. To Dennett’s opponents, he is simply denying the existence of something everyone knows for certain: their inner experience of sights, smells, emotions and the rest. (Chalmers has speculated, largely in jest, that Dennett himself might be a zombie.) It’s like asserting that cancer doesn’t exist, then claiming you’ve cured cancer; more than one critic of Dennett’s most famous book, Consciousness Explained, has joked that its title ought to be Consciousness Explained Away.’
March 1, 2019
[life] Man destroys kitchen trying to spread cold butter on toast‘The first spread just kind of broke the butter and tore the toast a bit, then the second went straight through the kitchen counter and fucked the dishwasher. After the third I couldn’t see because of all the dust and masonry. I didn’t give up, because I really fancied some toast…’
February 28, 2019
[comics] Star Wars in 2000AD [Part 1 | Part 2] … Nostalgic look back at the influence of Star Wars on 2000AD. ‘The first mention of the movie appears in the letters page in prog 8 (16 Apr 1977). This would have been my first exposure to the title “Star Wars” — but I don’t remember it. Fun fact: prog 8 was the first issue to print readers’ letters.’

February 27, 2019
[moderation] The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America … this long article about the working lives of Facebook moderators is very dark and worth your time. ‘When I ask about the risks of contractors developing PTSD, a counselor I’ll call Logan tells me about a different psychological phenomenon: “post-traumatic growth,” an effect whereby some trauma victims emerge from the experience feeling stronger than before. The example he gives me is that of Malala Yousafzai, the women’s education activist, who was shot in the head as a teenager by the Taliban. “That’s an extremely traumatic event that she experienced in her life,” Logan says. “It seems like she came back extremely resilient and strong. She won a Nobel Peace Prize… So there are many examples of people that experience difficult times and come back stronger than before.”’
February 26, 2019
[movies] An Oral History of ‘Office Space’ … Amusing look at the making of Mike Judge’s classic office comedy.

Gilbert: I went out and found 20 printers that were all the same, because we’re smashing it, right? I took them all apart myself to make them all weaker, so when they hit them with baseball bats, it would come apart. Every take where we broke one and we got more parts, we kept throwing those broken parts onto the inside of the printer.

Livingston: I just walk around in the background with a baseball bat. I wanted it to be the idea that I was blooding these guys a little bit—this was their initiation into this kind of thing. The two of them, all the stuff they did was hilarious.

Naidu: The idea that it takes on the element of a full-on gangster beatdown was very clear to me. I used what little tae kwon do training I had left over and everything I remember from every gangster movie I had. I’d give it a massive hammer kick. That comes from Master Kim when I was 12. Make sure the leg comes above the head.

February 25, 2019
[comics] Divorced because of comic books … scan of a story from a newspaper in 1949. ‘SALT LAKE CITY — Mrs. Ida Thompson Thursday sued Henry G. Thompson for divorce because he “frequently bought comic books by the dozens and sat around and read them while refusing to help care for our baby.”‘
February 22, 2019
[tv] ‘We’ve had a love-hate relationship’: Steve Coogan on bringing Alan Partridge back to the BBC‘But timing is everything, and the alchemy that sees Partridge back at the BBC on the cusp of such huge national change couldn’t be more perfect. Like King Arthur in Avalon, he waited for his time to come. And come it has. Although the show doesn’t directly reference Brexit, because it’s a train that is moving too fast, and they’re not in the business of political satire, it hints at the current divisions over everything from gender politics to the #MeToo movement and lets Partridge grapple with them. Coogan says Partridge’s lack of a mental gatekeeper is the gift that keeps on giving…’
February 21, 2019
[comics] The UKCAC ’86 Portfolio [Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12] … A great collection of sketches produced at a UK Comic Convention in 1986. Sketches from Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kevin O’Neill and many more…

February 20, 2019
[movies] Office Space at 20: how the comedy spoke to an anxious workplace … Looking back at Mike Judge’s office comedy. ‘The aggressive regular-guy-ness of Livingston empowers anyone sharing his middle-income lot – not well-off enough to enjoy being rich; not poor enough to have the hardship to account for his misery – to access him as a surrogate, making his strike against the coffee-slurping overlords into a slacker wish-fulfillment fantasy. His version of getting unplugged from the matrix comes when a hypnotherapist drops dead in the middle of their session, which leaves Peter in a state of new enlightenment. It means all he must do to change direction is simply decide to do so. He starts coming to work in flannel shirts and jeans, ignoring the memos telling him things he already knows, and eventually skipping out entirely to embrace absenteeism as a philosophy.’
February 19, 2019
[life] Do Animals Have Feelings? … A powerful examination of the consciousness of animals. ‘If one of the wasp’s aquatic ancestors experienced Earth’s first embryonic consciousness, it would have been nothing like our own consciousness. It may have been colorless and barren of sharply defined objects. It may have been episodic, flickering on in some situations and off in others. It may have been a murkily sensed perimeter of binary feelings, a bubble of good and bad experienced by something central and unitary. To those of us who have seen stars shining on the far side of the cosmos, this existence would be claustrophobic to a degree that is scarcely imaginable. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t conscious.’
February 18, 2019
[socialmedia] The Lonely Life of a Yacht Influencer … Profiling the life of a Instagram influencer. ‘Jimenez leveled with me — once upon a time, he had been excited by the idea of partying on a yacht. After all, who wouldn’t be? But now he was basically just a working stiff. He too had a home and a family, with kids he didn’t see as much as he could because his “feet were never on dry land.” He had considerable yacht expertise and knew all the major players in the yacht world, buyers and sellers and their glorious boats. He had been on the 100-foot yachts and the 500-foot yachts, and seen yacht-related activities he assured me exceeded any fantasies, dark or light, that I could ever imagine. Yet all that meant he was now just another yacht worker, someone who punched the clock — or the pearl-faced wristwatch, in his case — the same as the kitchen staff, the bartenders and the yacht’s crew.’
February 15, 2019
[sleep] How to Sleep. .. A doctor advises on how to sleep well. ‘ Could soldiers be trained to function in sustained warfare with very little sleep? The original studies seemed to say yes. But when the military put soldiers in a lab to make certain they stayed awake, performance suffered. Cumulative deficits accrued with each night of suboptimal sleep. The less sleep the soldiers got, the more deficits they suffered the next day. But as with my own residency experience, they couldn’t tell that they had a deficit. “They would insist that they were fine,” said Dinges, “but weren’t performing well at all, and the discrepancy was extreme.” This finding has been replicated many times over the intervening decades, even as many professions continue to encourage and applaud sleep deprivation.’
February 14, 2019
[watchmen] Will Smith as Genie Dr. Manhattan‘I am tired of Earth…’

February 13, 2019
[blogs] What is Diamond Geezer’s Blog about?‘Overall, if there’s one thing I suspect truly defines this blog, it’s that I actually visit the places that I write about. A lot of the media publish stories based on press releases they’ve been sent, using the attached images or nabbing them off Google, whereas I invariably get off my backside and go there myself. Partly that’s because I want my own photos, but mainly it’s because I can collect background detail and additional observations I’d never get unless I went in person. Also, I have the time. I’m not up against a deadline, or trapped in an office, so if it takes an hour and a half to get somewhere and another three hours to wander around, so be it.’
February 12, 2019
[sleep] The best thing you can do for your health: sleep well‘Strikingly, all it takes is one hour of lost sleep, as demonstrated by a global experiment performed on 1.6 billion people across more than 60 countries twice a year, otherwise known as daylight saving times. In the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep, there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day. In the autumn, we gain an hour of sleep opportunity, and there is a 21% reduction in heart attacks. Most of us think little of losing an hour of sleep, yet it is anything but trivial. Sleep disruption has further been associated with all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety and suicidality. Indeed, in my research over the past 20 years, we have not been able to find a single major psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal.’
February 11, 2019
[health] The unbearable wrongness of Gwyneth Paltrow … another satisfying take down of Gwyneth Paltrow and her health and wellness business. ‘It’s strange. One week, Paltrow is claiming she’s found the perfect diet. The next week, she says she needs to detox to undo damage from whatever she’s been throwing into her body. For a brief moment, while reading through every ridiculous diet Paltrow has put her body through (or put through her body), I felt bad for her. Nevertheless, Paltrow’s dieting advice now borders on the pathological. Her quest for health began when she sought out the advice of Dr. Alejandro Junger, a Dr. Oz acolyte who says you can cleanse the toxins from your body by avoiding gluten, nightshades, soy, peanuts, dairy, sugar, and alcohol — you know, basically all food. Junger’s battery of bullshit tests told Paltrow that it was in her best interest to eat this way (and, likely, purchase the doctor’s $475, 21-day diet program) to restore her health.’
February 8, 2019
[drinking] ‘Hangxiety’: why alcohol gives you a hangover and anxiety‘Another key cause of hangxiety is being unable to remember the mortifying things you are sure you must have said or done while inebriated – another result of your compromised glutamate levels. “You need glutamate to lay down memories,” says Nutt, “and once you’re on the sixth or seventh drink, the glutamate system is blocked, which is why you can’t remember things.”’
February 7, 2019
[life] Did you consent to being born? Why one man is suing his parents for giving birth to him … A look at Antinatalism from Pass Notes. ‘Antinatalism is a system of belief that holds that it is morally wrong for people to procreate, and a vast amount of human misery could be avoided by people simply not existing in the first place.’
February 6, 2019
[tech] The curious case of the Raspberry Pi in the network closet‘The data directory didn’t have any data stored (as in: collected data) but there was a nodejs app which was heavily obfuscated and to this day I can’t tell exactly what it was doing. It seems to talk via a serial connection to the dongle but I can’t extract what data is actually collected. I can only assume that it collected movement profiles of bluetooth and wifi devices in the area (around the Managers office) and maybe raw wifi packets.’
February 5, 2019
[movies] Mann – Magic Act … a tribute compilation to the movies of Michael Mann.

February 4, 2019
[life] Why People Wait 10 Days to Do Something That Takes 10 Minutes … The Atlantic on procrastination. ‘Being conscious of your habits does seem to have an impact on procrastination, but in ways more complicated than I had first assumed. In 2011, the Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck published findings that suggest decision fatigue more negatively affects people who already expect their willpower to be low. People who expect themselves to fail toward the end of the day, in other words, often do. Maybe task delayers could all be better around the house if we simply stopped granting the premise that “bad” is the default with which we are stricken. Procrastination researchers, it should be mentioned, all seem to answer their emails in a timely manner.’
February 1, 2019
[funny] Nihilist Dad Jokes, Part 2‘I bought a cheap elephant ride yesterday… I got it for peanuts! I sat on the beast hoping to excavate some boyish excitement. Yet I felt nothing. When I was young I dreamed of changing the world with my ideas. But people care not for ideas — they value conformity, popularity, and the fantasy of having sex with someone who has never thought about them. So I gave up on philosophy. Now I spew jokes like a trained circus animal.’
January 31, 2019
[true crime] The Haunting of 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey … This creepy, true-crime story will put you off ever buying a house.

‘Two weeks after the letter arrived, Maria stopped by the house to look at some paint samples and check the mail. She recognized the thick black lettering on a card-shaped envelope and called the police. “Welcome again to your new home at 657 Boulevard,” The Watcher wrote. “The workers have been busy and I have been watching you unload carfuls of your personal belongings. The dumpster is a nice touch. Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will.”

This time, The Watcher had addressed Derek and Maria directly, misspelling their names as “Mr. and Mrs. Braddus.” Had The Watcher been close enough to hear one of the Broadduses’ contractors addressing them? The Watcher boasted of having learned a lot about the family in the preceding weeks, especially about their children. The letter identified the Broadduses’ three kids by birth order and by their nicknames — the ones Maria had been yelling. “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me,” it said.

January 30, 2019
[tv] Smart TVs Are Dumb … Alex looks at the business model around Smart TVs. ‘Earlier this month, Vizio’s chief technology officer, Bill Baxter, told The Verge that the reason his company can sell TVs so cheaply now is that it makes up the money by selling bits of data and access to your TV after you purchase it. Baxter called this “post-purchase monetization.” “This is a cutthroat industry,” he said. “It’s a 6-percent-margin industry, right? … The greater strategy is I really don’t need to make money off of the TV.” This is why your TV was so cheap.’
January 29, 2019
[map] Just time zones … The world mapped by time zone (by Cartographers without Borders).

January 28, 2019
[truecrime] Netflix’s Ted Bundy documentary and the problem with peak true crime … Some criticisms of True Crime documentaries. ‘The portrait painted is of the David Brent serial killers – obviously evil and deranged but also obsessed with the limelight and entirely unaware of the ludicrous figure he cuts as he insists on defending himself at trial. Yet it’s unclear whether Berlinger understands how much of a black hole his protagonist is. The makers of Conversations with a Killer seem almost hypnotised by Bundy. That’s another flaw with “Peak True Crime”: the insistence that we, too, are bedazzled by their subjects (see also Michael Peterson in The Staircase, Marjorie Diehl in Evil Genius etc).’
January 25, 2019
[blogging] “The Linux of social media” — How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging … A brief history of LiveJournal. ‘When friends started complaining about the unsheared “walls of text” that some of their peers would post, Fitzpatrick added a “post” button so they could space out their paragraphs. There was no way to respond to other people’s output initially, no matter how insipid—until, of course, Fitzpatrick decided that he wanted to make fun of one of his friend’s posts. He next added in the comment functionality just to post “a snarky-ass comment.” “Everything was like that,” Fitzpatrick says. “Current mood, current music, profile pics—it was all screwing around and trying to add whatever new things we could do or what the Web supported at the time.” At a certain point in his college career, around the year 2000, Fitzpatrick realized that LiveJournal had turned from a fun way to mess around with CGI scripts into something approaching an actual business…’