linkmachinego.com
June 15, 2015
[politics] What’s the worst British law of all time?‘Last but certainly not least is another Act from the early days of the New Labour government, which is notable for one reason above all others: It made it an offence to detonate a nuclear bomb. What is the punishment for such an act? Life imprisonment. During its time in office, New Labour passed a remarkable volume of legislation. There was one new offence for every day Tony Blair was in office and the passing of a criminal justice bill became a de facto annual event. This law gives some indication as to why that might be. One imagines other laws, not least of all the law against murder, might have covered it. But apparently not.’
June 14, 2015
[web] A Complete Taxonomy of Internet Chum … some analysis of those grids of advertisements you see on web pages… ‘Like everything else on the internet, traffic flowing through chumboxes must be tracked in order for everyone to be paid. Each box in the grid’s performance can be tracked both individually and in context of its neighbors. This allows them to be highly optimized; some chum is clearly better than others. As a byproduct of this optimization, an aesthetic has arisen. An effective chumbox clearly plays on reflex and the subconscious. The chumbox aesthetic broadcasts our most basic, libidinal, electrical desires back at us. And gets us to click. Clicking on a chumlink—even one on the site of a relatively high-class chummer, like nymag.com—is a guaranteed way to find more, weirder, grosser chum. The boxes are daisy-chained together in an increasingly cynical, gross funnel; quickly, the open ocean becomes a sewer of chum.’
June 13, 2015
[movies] Christopher Nolan explains Inception’s ending… ‘The film-maker explained that he saw the concept of reality in the film – and real life – as entirely subjective. So DiCaprio’s character doesn’t wait to see if the spinning top drops because he no longer cares to distinguish between a possible harsh reality and a potentially wonderful dream.’
June 12, 2015
[space] Ceres: Weird white spots are still weird. … What are the White Spots on Ceres? … ‘You can bet every penny you have planetary scientists are poring over these images and examining every detail. These bright spots are unique; no other such high-contrast feature is seen on airless, rocky bodies. We know Ceres has a lot of water ice under the surface, so it’s not too far out to think that may be what we’re seeing. A recent impact could’ve dredged up ice (we’ve seen that on Mars, in far smaller craters), splashing it around the crater, and also caused that darker spray. But right in the exact center of that big crater (which is clearly much older)? That seems like a big coincidence. Could it be from some sort of vent?’
June 11, 2015
[music] How the compact disc lost its shine … A look at the rise and fall of the CD … ‘The CD was introduced to the British public in a 1981 episode of the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, in which Kieran Prendeville mauled a test disc of the Bee Gees’ Living Eyes to demonstrate the format’s alleged indestructibility. It caught the public imagination, but Immink found the claim puzzling and embarrassing because it was clearly untrue. “We should not put emphasis on the fact it will last for ever because it will not last for ever,” he says. “We should put emphasis on the quality of sound and ease of handling.” (Paul McCartney recently recalled the first time George Martin showed him a CD. “George said, ‘This will change the world.’ He told us it was indestructible, you can’t smash it. Look! And – whack – it broke in half.”)’
June 10, 2015
[dick] All Richard Nixon, all the time … a tumblr about Richard Nixon … ‘I LIKE DICK’

Dick Nixon Campaign Badge

June 9, 2015
[fifa] How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that toppled Sepp Blatter … some fascinating background on the FIFA scandal … ‘The best way for Americans to imagine Andrew Jennings is to roll Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein together, then add a touch of a Scottish burr and plenty of flannel. Jennings was born in Scotland but moved to London as a child. His grandfather played for a prominent London soccer team, Clapton Orient (now called Leyton Orient), but Jennings had little interest in the sport. He did, however, have a nose for journalism.’
June 8, 2015
[politics] The undoing of Ed Miliband – and how Labour lost the election … More on the downfall of Ed Miliband … ‘In a car park in Hastings, Miliband unveiled an 8ft 6in slab of limestone, into which had been carved Labour’s six election pledges. The mockery was so intense that the location of the “Ed Stone” became the subject of frenzied media speculation after the election. “The only reason it got through 10 planning meetings was because we were all distracted, looking for a way to punch through on the SNP,” one adviser said.The stone’s demolition, in the event of a Labour loss, had been agreed at the time it was commissioned. After the election, the party drew up two plans for its disposal: one was simply to smash the stone up and throw the rubble onto a scrap heap. The second was to break it up and sell chunks, like the Berlin Wall, to party members as a fundraising effort. The first attempts to destroy the stone had to be postponed when the media tracked its location to a south London warehouse. There are claims it has been destroyed, but even Miliband’s close advisers cannot confirm its fate’
June 7, 2015
[comics] 36 Things That Will Always Happen At A Comic Convention’14. Someone will ask a question at a Q&A that’s actually just a long story about themselves and the answer will be silence.’
June 6, 2015
[games] Behind a pizza-slice smile: the dark side of Pac-Man… a look at Pac-man’s dark heart … ‘Researcher Alex Wade draws comparisons between Pac-Man’s inescapable maze and the Labyrinths imagined by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges – the exits are just entrances to other parts of the whole. Similarly, comic writer Zach Weiner, has pictured the game as a sort of terrifying Kafka-esque nightmare, in which a man wakes up to find he has been reduced to a living mouth that must consume to survive. This ties in with another interpretation of Pac-Man as the ultimate modern shopper, trapped in a cycle of meaningless consumption and endless binging on electronic treats in a sterile technological landscape. “He is the pure consumer,” wrote Poole in Trigger Happy.’
June 5, 2015
[war] Letters of Note: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade… Eisenhower’s Order of the Day On June 5th, 1944 … ‘Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.’
June 4, 2015
[life] Highlights From The Guardian’s Soulmates Dating Site… ‘I have simple tastes – I want a man who enjoys cross training on Hampstead Heath, Kurdish folk music retrospectives at the Barbican and the ability to quote every Polly Toynbee column from the last 18 months.’

Highlights From The Guardian’s Soulmates Dating Site

June 3, 2015
[comics] How Vincent D’Onofrio Became the Best New Villain on TV … D’Onofrio discusses playing Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil … ‘Vincent D’Onofrio had a ritual he went through every time he needed to get into the mindset of Wilson Fisk, the all-powerful, ultra-evil mobster he plays on Netflix’s hit series Daredevil. The 55-year-old actor would go someplace quiet, pull out his smartphone and stare at paintings of the character from Marvel’s latter-day Daredevil comics. “The way they drew him . . . it wasn’t just that he was this imposing, kind of massive guy,” says D’Onofrio. “He looked broken. That was the key.”‘
June 2, 2015
[comics] Daniel Clowes Hasn’t Forgiven Shia LaBeouf … a recent interview with Dan Clowes … ‘Q: With the superhero-movie explosion in full force, what do you think Dan Pussey would be up to today? A: You know, it’s funny, ’cause in that one story I did, “The Death of Dan Pussey,” it takes him into the future, where comic books are completely forgotten. But you know what? He’d be king of the world right now. This is his era.’
June 1, 2015
[tech] Someone Tried to Mine Bitcoin on a 1960s Punchcard Computer … Unsurprisingly, retro-computing and Bitcoins don’t mix … ‘He wrote out code for running the algorithm on 85 executable assembly punch cards, put the cards into the computer (manually), and fired her up. It started solving an old hash from a successfully mined block of Bitcoin—very, very slowly. “To mine a block at current difficulty, the IBM 1401 would take about 5×10^14 years (about 40,000 times the current age of the universe). The electricity would cost about 10^18 dollars. And you’d get 25 bitcoins worth about $6000,” he wrote.’
May 31, 2015
[comics] Annotations for Providence #1 … notes on Alan Moore and Jaycen Burrow’s latest comic … ‘Page 17, Panel 3: “The Repairer of Reputations” in The King in Yellow is set in an alternate future New York in the 1920s, which featured legalized suicide chambers and a concluded European war with an American victory; this further reinforces the layered fictionality of Providence, where the reality of the comic book is not our reality, nor even Lovecraft’s.’
May 30, 2015
May 29, 2015
[london] London’s Most Mysterious Mansion … some detective work on who owns London’s largest mansion … ‘Beneath the forecourt, in front of the main house, the new owners have built what amounts to an underground village—a basement of more than forty thousand square feet. (The largest residential property in Manhattan is said to be a fifty-one-thousand-square-foot mansion, on East Seventy-first Street between Madison and Fifth, owned by Jeffrey Epstein.) This basement, which is connected to the Orangery, includes a seventy-foot-long swimming pool, a cinema with a mezzanine, massage rooms, a sauna, a gym, staff quarters, and parking spaces for twenty-five cars. In late 2013, the local council approved plans for a second basement, beneath the gatehouse, which will connect that building to both the main house and the Orangery. Earlier this year, the owners also sought planning permission to extend an underground “servants’ passage.” When the refurbishment is complete, Witanhurst will have about ninety thousand square feet of interior space, making it the second-largest mansion in the city, after Buckingham Palace. It will likely become the most expensive house in London.’
May 28, 2015
[kubrick] The 10 Most Outrageous Theories About What The Shining Really Means‘Stuart Ullman’s Paper Tray is Trying to Have Sex with the Audience – Top-notch conspiracy hunter Jay Weidner has many, many theories about the work of Kubrick (and other things) but some of the more eye-popping are his thoughts about how the director used the subliminal messaging of advertisers in his films. To wit: In the scene where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) meets Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) in his office and, Weidner says in 237, his hips line-up perfectly with his paper try making it look like an erection.’
May 27, 2015
[comics] Does Wally Wood Deserve a Creator Credit on Netflix’s “Daredevil”? … I’m no expert on early Daredevil but it sounds like he does deserve credit … ‘No one is more important to ‪‎Daredevil‬ than Wallace “Wally” Wood! After leaving his historic 12-year hit run on MAD Magazine, in 1964, Wood took over the then foundering, near-cancellation fledgling Daredevil comic after issue #4. Wood created the RED Daredevil character design, the interlocking double-D logo (which inspired the nickname “DD”), developed the visualization of the Radar Sense, created the grappling-hook cane/Billy-club cable, technological enhancements to DD’s senses, themes used through the Frank Miller run, and beyond. Lee and Everett are acknowledged at the opening of the Netflix-Marvel series and many more comic-book talents are thanked in the ‪‎Netflix‬ Daredevil show but not “Kid Daredevil Himself, Wally Wood” as Marvel sometimes called him!’
May 26, 2015
[death] The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner … fascinating overview of the career of a Medical Examiner in New York …‘When Judy Melinek was considering where to begin her career as a medical examiner — New York or LA? — she was given great advice. “If you really want to learn forensic pathology, do a rotation in New York City,” her chief resident said. “All kinds of great ways to die there.” Including, but not limited to: plummeting down a manhole, attack by egg-roll machine, miscalculating the tensile strength of cable cord and scaffolding collapse. In Melinek’s first week on the job, the tone became clear. As one novice began describing the case of “a man who was shot by a lady,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Seymour Hirsch corrected him. “Shot by a woman,” Hirsch said. “Ladies don’t shoot people.” And so began Dr. Judy Mel­inek’s education in life and death in New York City…’
May 25, 2015
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick’s Keys To The Shining … going far too deep on Kubrick’s The Shining and a conspiracy / cover-up by NASA‘Stanley Kubrick embedded the Narrative of a Murder in this Film. I believe it was His wish that it be found – by his Audience. I’m motivated to share this Narrative here, because ultimately it contains information that is profoundly pertinent – to All of Us.’

Kubrick - Ear, No Ear.

May 24, 2015
[tech] Executor 2.0 for MS-DOS … Check out this Mac Emulator running on MS-DOS within a Javascript Emulator.
May 23, 2015
[music] CIA Allegedly Behind 1980s Club Hit About Sleeping Dominatrix … a true story that reads like something James Ellroy might write if he wrote about the Seventies … ‘In 1978, the CIA was caught up in a BDSM Cold War affair. A potential Soviet asset had fallen for a professional dominatrix who made decent money peeing on entertainment lawyers. Also in play was Mary Tyler Moore’s landscaper, merely because he was sweet on the dominatrix and her record collection. The most actionable intelligence from these black leather ops would not be obtained by the Agency, but by the landscaper himself, Stuart Argabright. Under the alias Dominatrix, Argabright recorded “The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight,” a New York club hit released in 1984…’ [via jzw]
May 22, 2015
[wikipedia] Death means a lot of bureaucracy on Wikipedia‘When someone dies, on their Wikipedia article a diligent editor is supposed to update the following things…’
May 21, 2015
[batman] The True Creator of Batman Never Got Credit, and Now His Granddaughter Fights to Correct History … the story of Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger and his grand-daughter Athena … ‘In part, it was the character’s global reach that inspired Marc Tyler Nobleman to research the creator who’d been sidelined. “I saw that he never had a book to himself, and it just seemed like a gross cultural injustice,” says Nobleman, who began his work in the early 2000s. Nobleman, who had previously written a book on Superman’s creators, dug through high school yearbooks, fanzines, and death certificates. He had assumed Finger had no living heir. Then one day in 2007, Nobleman spoke to a nephew of Bill’s who suggested he talk to the writer’s granddaughter. “I said, ‘He doesn’t have a granddaughter. His son Fred was gay and died in ’92 without children,’ as if I’d know better than the family,” Nobleman recalls. The nephew didn’t recall Fred’s daughter’s name but passed Nobleman off to other kin. Eventually, Nobleman learned her name was Athena Finger. He then landed on her MySpace page. “The first thing I saw was a picture of a dog whose name was Bruce Wayne,” Nobleman says.’
May 20, 2015
[movies] Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane! … the creators of Airplace look back at the creation of the classic comedy movie …

Jim Abrahams: I always felt that part of what made it so endearing to have those guys in the movie was that everyone knew that [Robert] Stack and [Lloyd] Bridges and Leslie [Nielsen] and Peter Graves were having a laugh at the expense of their own images. That kind of self-effacing humor is endearing, and as we reflect on Airplane! and the fact that it’s lived so long, I think that’s part of the reason why: It’s not really mean-spirited, it’s actually sort of sweet.

Jerry Zucker: Everyone was terrific, really, but Leslie was the one who was just a fish in water. Leslie just loved it, every minute of it, and practically didn’t need direction, because once he got what we were doing, that was just his thing. He loved it.

May 19, 2015
[people] Kay Burley becomes self-aware … surprising news about the Sky News journalist and news anchor … ‘Burley, who on 9/11 reported that the entire eastern seaboard of the USA had been decimated by a terrorist attack, apparently recognised herself as a human being, separate from the environment and other individuals, and capable of introspection, after five hours of belligerently trying to interview “that sour-faced woman in the mirror”. Self-awareness usually begins in humans at the age of 18 months when toddlers recognise their own reflections.’
May 18, 2015
May 17, 2015
[funny] Nick Clegg to become masked vigilante ‘the Liberal Democrat’ … senses-shattering news from News Thump

When asked how he intended to fund the expensive life of a costumed avenger, it was pointed out that Parliamentary expenses are ‘surprisingly flexible’.

“You had your chance,” said Clegg in a recorded message left pinned to the chest of an unconscious Green Party councillor.

“You could have chosen to follow good men, like Gladstone and Vince Cable.”

“In five years time you’ll look up from your Conservative government and factional left/ right squabbles and shout save us!” he added.

“And I’ll look down and whisper; No.”


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