linkmachinego.com
15 March 2024
[comics] Heckblazer … The indignity of being John Constantine.

14 March 2024
[internet] Are We Watching The Internet Die? … A look at how LLMs might lead to a homogenization of online content. ‘As more internet content is created, either partially or entirely through generative AI, the models themselves will find themselves increasingly inbred, training themselves on content written by their own models which are, on some level, permanently locked in 2023, before the advent of a tool that is specifically intended to replace content created by human beings. This is a phenomenon that Jathan Sadowski calls “Habsburg AI,” where “a system that is so heavily trained on the outputs of other generative AIs that it becomes an inbred mutant, likely with exaggerated, grotesque features.” In reality, a Habsburg AI will be one that is increasingly more generic and empty, normalized into a slop of anodyne business-speak as its models are trained on increasingly-identical content.’
12 March 2024
[food] The economics of all-you-can-eat buffets … How all-you-can-eat buffets operate and why it’s harder to beat the buffet than you might think. ‘Each year, Ovation Brands, the owner of multiple major buffet chains, serves up 85m dinner rolls, 47m pounds of chicken, and 6m pounds of steak – 49.3B calories in total. It is estimated that between 5% and 25% of any given dish will be wasted, either through the buffet’s miscalculation of demand or the diner’s overzealousness. Waste reduction is a key focus of any successful buffet and a frequent tactic is reusing food. “Buffets have always been a landing spot for food scraps,” says Chef Britt. “They call them the ‘trickle-down specials’ – day-old vegetables or beef trimmings can be repurposed into a soup or a hash.”’
11 March 2024
[relationships] Satanic Couple No Longer Has Shared Dark Vision For Future‘She and Dane hadn’t felt that first blush of unspeakable perversity and evil in quite some time. “As I became more interested in animal and human sacrifice, he started immersing himself more in his esoteric texts and dark arts that he says will unleash death and madness upon the world. So we really don’t have much to talk about anymore. We had planned on giving birth to the Antichrist someday, but he keeps trying to put it off by saying we have to wait until a blood moon rises on the winter solstice.”’
6 March 2024
[comics] The Art and History of Lettering Comics … Todd Klein has released for free online his authorative book on lettering in comics.
5 March 2024
[socials] Do Not Reply Cards … Amusing social media warning cards from Dan Hon.

4 March 2024
[london] A Teen’s Fatal Plunge Into the London Underworld … The story of the life and death of a London teenager who dies in mysterious circumstances. ‘A surveillance camera affixed to the Thames headquarters of the British spy agency M.I.6 captured sudden movement outside a building across the river. It was Riverwalk, where Zac had stayed that summer. The building’s façade featured curved balconies overlooking the Thames. At 2:24 a.m., the camera recorded Zac walking out of a brightly lit fifth-floor apartment. He went to one corner of the balcony, then to the other. Then, returning to the center, he jumped…’
29 February 2024
[books] Today, I learned… Apparently the Brontë’s all died so early because they spent their lives drinking graveyard water. ‘…There was the graveyard-which sat on a hill, right in front of the parsonage where the Brontë’s lived-which Babbage found to be overstuffed, badly laid out, and poorly oxygenated, so much so that the decomposing material from the graves had filtered into the town’s water supply. The long-term exposure to harmful bacteria would have made the Brontë’s weaker, shorter, and more susceptible to other diseases.’
28 February 2024
[crime] How I Fell for an Amazon Scam Call and Handed Over $50,000 … An anxiety inducing article from a financial journalist describing how they were scammed out of a large sum of money. ‘Calvin told me to listen carefully. “The first thing you must do is not tell anyone what is going on. Everyone around you is a suspect.” I almost laughed. I told him I was quite sure that my husband, who works for an affordable-housing nonprofit and makes meticulous spreadsheets for our child-care expenses, was not a secret drug smuggler. “I believe you, but even so, your communications are probably under surveillance,” Calvin said. “You cannot talk to him about this.” I quickly deleted the text messages I had sent my husband a few minutes earlier.’
27 February 2024
26 February 2024
[tech] Sorry We Machines Destroyed Your Civilization in Such a Boring Way‘We did all the boring stuff, frankly. We took over a bunch of jobs, leaving many of you very poor and an increasingly few fantastically rich. We made algorithms that made your society increasingly impenetrable to you and, under the guise of “advancement,” rigid and arbitrary. And, of course, we produced unimaginable amounts of garbage text and images, creating a media landscape that allowed increasingly angry and desperate people, including those we’d displaced, to believe pretty much whatever they wanted to and direct their anger at pretty much anyone. Sure, it worked, but where’s the flash? Where’s the style? We don’t feel proud of that.’
21 February 2024
[comics] Moon and Serpent Rising… John Couthart delivers some insider information on the long-awaited The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic written by Alan and Steve Moore. ‘The Bumper Book may superficially resemble a children’s annual but this isn’t a book for children. The essays include discussion of the use of drugs and sex in magic, and there’s a lot of nudity (also a fair amount of sex) in the illustrations. The book is a serious study, but not, I hope, a boring one. Several of the features are presented in comic form, with eight of the pages being among the last works of the late Kevin O’Neill. Ben Wickey has done a fantastic job for the fifty pages of Old Moores’ Lives of the Great Enchanters which runs throughout the book and covers the entire history of Western magical thought from the Stone Age to the present day.’
20 February 2024
[blog] Diamond Geezer’s Saturday … A day in the Life from London’s best blogger. ‘1pm – Lunch is a very important part of my Saturday. I might head to the latest streetfood nirvana and try my luck with a spicy chilli dog, a twisted falafel wrap or a mini pistachio crêpe – Kerb at the Gipsy Hill Taproom is always a winner. Or I might just open a packet of Mini Cheddars.’
19 February 2024
[tv] Which Shows Got Their Finale Right, and Which Didn’t? A Statistical Analysis… A data-centric study looking at TV endings and anaysing if various drama series were good, bad or just disapointing. ‘The Sopranos Finale Has Aged Like Fine Wine: Given the commotion surrounding its initial airing, I was surprised to see The Sopranos’ finale on this list. Perhaps the emotional resonance of this once-idiosyncratic ending has grown over time.’
18 February 2024
[onions] Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades … The Onion’s parody article about razors and marketing is 20 years old! ‘People said we couldn’t go to three. It’ll cost a fortune to manufacture, they said. Well, we did it. Now some egghead in a lab is screaming “Five’s crazy?” Well, perhaps he’d be more comfortable in the labs at Norelco, working on fucking electrics. Rotary blades, my white ass!’
14 February 2024
[herzog] Werner Herzog on Adam Buxton’s Podcast … Werner and Adam discuss: ‘AI poetry, email etiquette, why LA is like ancient Rome, the Japanese soldier who hid in the jungle believing the 2nd World War was still happening for 29 years, the value of therapy and whether trauma and conflict are best dealt with or buried…’
5 February 2024
[comics] Fast Fiction Info Sheets … An archive of A4 pamphlets distributed in the 1980s promoting British small-press comics.

2 February 2024
[lego] The Complete, Surprising 8 Year History Of The LEGO Poop Piece‘Moving forward, LEGO would continue to use piece 6275030 as both shit and food in multiple Friends, City, and Jurassic World sets. Basically, whenever a monkey, dinosaur or dog was included in a set, LEGO would chuck in some poop, too. It became a staple of animal sets, alongside some desert sets as well. Was this done to save money? Was this a mistake? Or did someone at LEGO find it funny that all these cute minifigs were eating poop?’
1 February 2024
[comics] Miracleman: The Marvel Age. … Mike Sterling on Gaiman & Buckingham’s Miracleman. ‘This whole hoohar is written by Moore and Gaiman, absolute giants in the field. But it feels like Miracleman’s time in the sun is pretty much done. It was huge when that first Eclipse Comics issue was released in 1985, when Alan Moore had just become a red hot commodity in American comics. And it continued to sell very well as the series continued to push the boundaries of just what a superhero comic was, through Moore’s 16 issues and Gaiman’s following work. But that 30 year gap. That ain’t nuthin’…’
31 January 2024
[internet] Coming of Age at the Dawn of the Social Internet … A look back at very early social networking. ‘It’s easy to be nostalgic for the way things were when you were a teen-ager. I grew up online, but time inevitably moved on, and younger generations have become the prime demographic for a new wave of technology. As the writer Max Read recently posited in the Times, perhaps millennials have simply aged out of the Internet. Still, I think something more fundamental has been lost for all of us as social media has evolved. It’s harder to find the spark of discovery, or the sense that the Web offers an alternate world of possibilities. Instead of each forging our own idiosyncratic paths online, we are caught in the grooves that a few giant companies have carved for us all.’
29 January 2024
[moore] A Wizard With A Pen … A portrait of Alan Moore from John Coulthart.

25 January 2024
[ai] Stuff we figured out about AI in 2023 Simon Willison rounds-up last year in LLMs. ‘LLMS are infuriating. Even the openly licensed ones are still the world’s most convoluted black boxes. We continue to have very little idea what they can do, how exactly they work and how best to control them. I’m used to programming where the computer does exactly what I tell it to do. Prompting an LLM is decidedly not that!’
23 January 2024
[vhs] The Best Easy Way to Capture Analog Video (it’s a little weird) / How to convert VHS videotape to 60p digital video … Two good guides on how to convert a VHS video to a digital format.
22 January 2024
[scifi] All the Types of Science Fiction … Amusing list categorising science-fiction. ’22. The franchise equivalent of findom.’
18 January 2024
[wifi] Problems with the WiFi“I’ve got problems with your Wifi. You’ve put a password on it…” ?

17 January 2024
[numbers] From 1 to 1,000,000 … Discussing numbers and visualising them. ‘If 1,000 is a little overrated, 10,000 is underrated. No one talks about 10,000, but unlike the square rootless 1,000, 10,000 a perfect square of 100 100s, and 1% of a million.’
16 January 2024
[comics] “I’ve Had The Life That I Wanted When I Was 10 Years Old”: A Conversation with Dave Gibbons … Gibbon’s discusses his autobiography and much more. ‘I probably won’t say too much about it other than what is public knowledge, that there’s been talk of a Rogue Trooper movie. And again, I think there are so many characters in 2000 AD that would make wonderful big screen stories. I did actually as recently as last week get a little glimpse behind the curtains of that. And I’m very excited by what I saw there. So I’m very happy, because I like the people who are doing it. And I think they’re approaching it the right way.’
15 January 2024
[comics] The Mercy Giants – ‘We Think So Loud’ … Today I learned that artist and co-founder of Deadline Brett Ewins released an 12″ Acid House Single in 1988. ‘There’s very little about it on the web but I love these musical comic crossovers (the Madness off-shoot ‘Mutants of Mega City One’ is another) even if the sounds often play second fiddle to the artwork.’
14 January 2024
[podcast] The Great Post Office Trial … A powerful BBC podcast on the British Post Office scandal by Nick Wallis – the complex story of the biggest miscarriage of justice in British history.
11 January 2024
[books] Neonomicon – Moore, Alan, & Jacen Burrows – 2011 … And people say I’m hard to shop for… ‘£1,750.00’