linkmachinego.com
December 4, 2015
[law] One lawyer’s crusade to defend extreme pornography … fascinating profile of Myles Jackman‘Jackman fervently believes he has to lead a crusade against what he sees as the unjust obscenity laws and that he absolutely must succeed – or else fail himself, his allies and the wider cause of civilisation as he sees it. He maintains that pornography is a class issue, a gender issue, a philosophical issue, a freedom issue, an everything issue. (One of his many dicta: “Pornography is the canary in the coal mine of free speech.”) And his campaign is against both state and statutes alike. By day, beneath the dark lawyerly suits that strain to contain him, he likes to wear Batman socks; by night, he wears Batman T-shirts. In the last six years or so, he has transformed himself from being just another lawyer into the Batman of obscenity.’
December 3, 2015
[guardian] 22 Times We Reached Peak Guardian In 2015‘Do you have to be middle-class to like rocket? (I think it’s horrible)’ [link]
December 2, 2015
[london] Sexy Fish: not so much a restaurant as a museum of London’s rich … amusing review from Tanya Gold of a new fish restaurant for the super-rich in London … ‘It is huge — a former NatWest — and decorated with a glittering Frank Gehry crocodile, a Damien Hirst mermaid — how did Hirst ever pass for revolutionary? — and Iran. (Apologies. I misread the PR babble. The floor is from Iran.) The golden ceiling — which I read about in the London Evening Standard, because ceilings can be news, if they are ‘it’ ceilings — is apparently by the style-editor-at-large of Vanity Fair, which I thought was a made-up job but apparently is not. In the basement private room there is a fish tank, where the ‘sexy’ fish — brightly coloured, minute and somehow heartbreaking — swim like tiny fishy slaves. I have never seen a restaurant whose ethos is so clearly and comprehensively, so preeningly and unapologetically: ‘Fuck you, I’m rich and I want a golden cave and servants. I want a pony and all the hookers I can strangle. I want a pyramid of cocaine and an Audi -Quattro.’ It is like being punched in the face by Abu Dhabi.’
December 1, 2015
[religion] Religious Symbolism in E.T. … a look at the similarities between E.T. and Jesus … ‘Occasionally incongruous pieces of religious symbolism are sprinkled throughout the film. The children’s mother is called Mary, a fact emphasised by her children calling her by her first name throughout the movie. Elliot promises to believe in E.T. his whole life—implying, curiously, that the event would later become a matter of faith. The iconography is also Biblical — a rainbow in the sky, E.T.’s glowing heart, and the famous image of the boy’s and alien’s fingers touching—suspiciously reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam.’
November 30, 2015
[headlines] Evening Standard Billboard Flashback: November 2005 …

Evening Standard Headlines - November 2005

November 29, 2015
[war] Behind the Design of the Doomsday Clock … the story behind one of the most memorable information designs of the last century … ‘Langsdorf and his fellow scientists began circulating a mimeographed newsletter called the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In June 1947, the newsletter became a magazine. Langsdorf’s wife, Martyl, was an artist whose landscapes were exhibited in Chicago galleries. She volunteered to create the first cover. There wasn’t much room for an illustration, and the budget permitted only two colors. But she found a solution. The Doomsday Clock was born.’
November 28, 2015
[isis] 7 Things I Learned Reading Every Issue Of ISIS’s Magazine‘Dabiq is an area in Northern Syria where, according to prophecy, Allah will do the whole “pillar of salt” thing on the armies of the West. For that to happen, we need to actually put our armies in Dabiq first. One thing reading 11 issues of Dabiq makes very clear is that ISIS considers a future U.S.-led invasion to be inevitable. They view the regional powers around them as destined to fall and, when that happens, in rides Uncle Sam and out pops the apocalypse.’
November 27, 2015
[black friday] “It’s Bla…”

Batman Slapping Robin - "It's Black Fri..."

November 25, 2015
[tv] Too Weird for Prime Time … Salon looks at what killed Twin Peaks … ‘The dominant media narrative—even in the above SNL skit, in which Kyle MacLachlan, in character as Cooper, bullheadedly ignores plain-as-day evidence about the killer—was that Twin Peaks was toying with viewers. For the network and a sizable portion of the TV audience, at a time when most shows tied up loose ends and reverted to the status quo in time for the late news, the idea that the creators of Twin Peaks might be making it up as they went along was cause for alarm. “It had better be able to satisfy the whodunit desires of viewers weaned on Columbo and Perry Mason,” the Chicago Tribune cautioned before the Twin Peaks pilot had even aired.’
November 24, 2015
[life] Our Dust, Ourselves … The story your house dust tells about you … ‘The sex of a home’s human occupants also played a role in shaping the indoor ecosystem. Lactobacillus bacteria, which are a major component of the vaginal microbiome, were most abundant in homes in which women outnumbered men. When men were in the majority, however, different bacteria thrived: Roseburia, which normally lives in the gut, and Corynebacterium and Dermabacter, which both inhabit the skin. Corynebacterium is known to occupy the armpit and contribute to body odor. “Maybe it means that men’s houses smell more like armpits,” Dunn suggested. “That’s probably—microbially, that’s a fair assessment.” The findings may be due to sex differences in skin biology; men tend to have more Corynebacterium on their skin—and to shed more skin microbes into the environment—than women do. (In the paper, the researchers also acknowledge the possibility that a bachelor pad’s bacterial signature could be the result of “hygiene practices.”)’
November 23, 2015
[moore] Alan Moore has wrote his first tweet on Twitter… ‘This is Life Eternal, right here. Be fulfilled, be happy, be kind, be in love, and never do anything that you can’t live with forever.’

Alan Moore's First Tweet...

November 20, 2015
[london] How Deep Does London Go? … A look at how far down the tunnels are under London … ‘The tube varies greatly in depth, but is typically 24m. The deepest point is below Hampstead Heath at Bull and Bush (where a station was part-built, but never completed), which reaches 67m. The deepest space in London is the recently completed Lee Tunnel, a relief sewer that slopes down to 80m beneath Beckton.’
November 19, 2015
[dailyfail] Panic spreads as hundreds die after reading Daily Mail … Terrible news that reading the Daily Mail seems to kill people every day … ‘Critics have long warned of the dangers inherent in reading the Mail. Jacky Felcher, spokesperson for the anti-news campaign group GABS, announced that her organisation had been receiving reports of problems for some time. “One woman actually watched helplessly as her husband choked on his croissant while reading the Melanie Phillips column at breakfast. It was horrific.” Despite medical reports showing that not one of the deaths are directly due to actually reading the Daily Mail, the headlines are still appearing as if the facts are some how irrelevant, ensuring a significant public backlash.’
November 18, 2015
November 17, 2015
[fanfic] The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal’ … the fascinating story around the worlds worst Harry Potter fanfiction … ‘It still inspires people to do creative work. The most notable example is (My) Immortal: The Web Series, a collection of 15 filmed episodes inspired by the infamous story. These aren’t derisive dramatic readings — they’re original scripts based on the ridiculous characters and logic of “My Immortal,” right down to referring to many of the characters by their misspelled names. “The most common comment I get from viewers is, ‘I can’t believe I started to sympathize with Enoby,” series creator Brian McLellan said. It’s so beloved that its fans have even created fanfiction and dozens of pieces of fan art based specifically on the series. That means there are people creating fanfiction about fanfiction inspired by fanfiction that may or may not have been a parody of fanfiction. It’s a strange world.’
November 16, 2015
[tv] Everyone needs a Super Hans: the life lessons Peep Show has taught us‘Drugs are a tricky business: “Super Hans, are you trying to skin up with your feet again? Because it doesn’t work does it? It just makes a mess.” Peep Show provided many invaluable lessons in recreational drug use such as this. Crack’s really moreish, “foghorn” ecstasy has a “nice, floaty launch with a soft crunchy landing”, and that over-indulgence can end in someone doing “the bad thing.” And nobody wants that.’
November 13, 2015
[alanmoore] Alan Moore donates £10,000 to help friend bring his African wife to the UK … File under: Greatest Living Englishman … ‘Since Moore’s donation was made public, Cousins’s case has spread across the web, with a series of small donations made to a crowdfunding page set up by his son. “If it’s a good enough argument for Alan Moore, it’s good enough for me,” wrote one anonymous donor on the page.’
November 12, 2015
[tech] The Room Where the Internet Was Born … A visit to the place where the first messages over the internet were sent from … ‘In a strikingly accurate replica of the original IMP log (crafted by UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History) on one of the room’s period desks is a note taken at 10:30 p.m., 29 October, 1969—“talked to SRI, host to host.” In the note, there is no sense of wonder at this event—which marks the first message sent across the ARPANET, and the primary reason the room is now deemed hallowed ground.’
November 11, 2015
[tv] Friends for Dinner … Hannibal mashed up with the Friends theme tune … ‘It’s nice to have an old friend for dinner.’

November 10, 2015
[movies] 50 Brilliant Science Fiction Movies That Everyone Should See At Least Once‘Robocop: Another totally subversive science fiction movie from the 1980s, this film picks up Tron’s obsessions with corporate fascism and runs in a different direction, with the evil OCP trying to take over Detroit’s police force and remake the struggling city as Delta City. RoboCop himself is a great example of science fiction’s struggle with the ways technology changes or negates our humanity, and 20 years before The Dark Knight, this film manages to delve into similar questions about how far we’ll go to keep society safe from crime. A surreal blend of cyberpunk, Frankenstein and action movie, this film remains Verhoeven’s greatest statement.’
November 9, 2015
[books] The flyaway success of the Ladybird art prank … the story behind the spoof Ladybird book We Go to the Gallery‘The artwork for the original Peter and Jane series was produced by collaging photographs and overlaying them with a watercolour wash. So Elia needed child models to remake hers. Her search for “the right sort of children” took her to a modelling agency in Yorkshire because “London children just didn’t look right”. She sourced period clothes from a costumier friend who worked on the recent Kray twins film Legend, making pictures that replicated the look – “red lipstick for Mummy is important” – while creating something subtly different.’
November 6, 2015
[comics] 5 Amazing Superhero Debuts In Comic Books … Wonder Woman: ‘Rightly hailed as one of the best introductions in comics, Wonder Woman’s debut in All Star Comics #8 starts off with the Amazon princess abducting the pope and flying him to Mount Olympus to prove that the Greek gods are real. Holding the squirming pope up by his robes, Wonder Woman forces him to witness Apollo’s sun chariot racing across the sky and see the divine smith Hephaestus forging a lightning bolt on his anvil. Wonder Woman then refuses to let the leader of the Catholic Church return to the Vatican until he renounces his religion and screams, “Jesus is a lie!”’
November 5, 2015
[twitter] The Decay of Twitter … a look at why Twitter seems to be declining …

On Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets “are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers.”

Anthropologists who study digital spaces have diagnosed that a common problem of online communication is “context collapse.” This plays with the oral-literate distinction: When you speak face-to-face, you’re always judging what you’re saying by the reaction of the person you’re speaking to. But when you write (or make a video or a podcast) online, what you’re saying can go anywhere, get read by anyone, and suddenly your words are finding audiences you never imagined you were speaking to.

I think Stewart is identifying a new facet of this. It’s not quite context collapse, because what’s collapsing aren’t audiences so much as expectations. Rather, it’s a collapse of speech-based expectations and print-based interpretations. It’s a consequence of the oral-literate hybrid that flourishes online. It’s conversation smoosh.

November 4, 2015
[comics] 10 great comic book films … a list of ten comic adaptations work watching … ‘American Splendor: This portrait of underground comic book writer Harvey Pekar blurs the boundaries between drama and documentary to disorientating effect. Paul Giamatti stars as Pekar, a Cleveland file clerk who turned his own mundane existence into profound popular art through a series of autobiographical comics. The film’s masterstroke is that Pekar and his wife Joyce narrate, wryly commenting on the dramatisation of their own lives. Hilarious, poignant, piercingly insightful and formally dazzling, American Splendor warrants comparison with Woody Allen at the height of his powers.’
November 3, 2015
[funny] Evil Genius Seeks Minions‘No Weirdos.’

Evil Genius Seeks Minions

[tech] A Spreadsheet Way of Knowledge … a fascinating historical article from the early days of Spreadsheets by Steven Levy‘The computer spreadsheet, like the transcontinental railroad, is more than a means to an end. The spreadsheet embodies, embraces, that end, and ultimately serves to reinforce it. As Marshall McLuhan observed, “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” The spreadsheet is a tool, and it is also a world view — reality by the numbers. If the perceptions of those who play a large part in shaping our world are shaped by spreadsheets, it is important that all of us understand what this tool can and cannot do.’
November 2, 2015
[comics] Robert Crumb Hates You … odd interview with Robert Crumb … ‘I recently took a look through my collection of underground comics from the late 60’s – early ‘70s. Very few of them were coherent or readable, a surprisingly small number. Most of the artists were so fucked up on drugs they couldn’t make anything readable. Who was buying and trying to read this crazy shit? But Wilson and Green stood out, they were at the top, outstanding. My work reached a mass audience because I used a very traditional way of drawing to say something more personal and wacko. I used the traditional, standard newspaper comic strip style to say something crazy, some personal things that somehow reached people. Also, I was always very aware of orienting my work for an audience, what to do and not to do to make it readable, to keep it entertaining.’
October 30, 2015
[life] Goldfish’s attention span now better than yours … unsurprising news from The Daily Mash … ‘Professor Henry Brubaker said: “The goldfish has sufficient concentration ability to swim up from the bottom of its bowl and grab a food pellet from the surface of the water. “You couldn’t do that. You’d get halfway there and be like – oh, the internet. I’d better check some message type thing, buy some trousers or look at a pornographic video. “So you’d stop to do that, then end up looking a dozen other things of equally poor quality, then have lost all recollection of your original objective.”’
October 29, 2015
[movies] In Cold Blood: why isn’t the movie of Capote’s bestseller a masterpiece? … looking back at the film version of In Cold Blood‘All of In Cold Blood’s virtues are encapsulated in that opening: the black-and-white camerawork of cinematographer Conrad Hall; the music of Jones; and the performance of Robert Blake. Hall’s work draws on news-footage aesthetics, achieving a true-crime tabloid griminess that evokes photographers such as Walker Evans and Robert Frank. Jones sonically anchors his two killers (Smith and Richard “Dick” Hickock, played by Scott Wilson) with unnerving twinned acoustic basses and found sounds. And Robert Blake is Robert Blake, in the keynote performance of his career.’
October 28, 2015
[mp3] Learning to Love Low Bit Rates … on the experience of listening to low quality MP3’s … ‘The underwater compression of a low-quality mp3 is our generation’s vinyl crackle or skipping CD. It’s a limitation of technology that defines the experience of an era.’