October 7, 2019
[comics] Alan Moore Episode / Neil Gaiman Episode … Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman have both been on BBC Radio 6 Music show Paperback Writers recently.
October 4, 2019
[aircrash] What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max … William Langewiesche on the downfall of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft.
All signs are that the reintroduction of the 737 Max will be exceedingly difficult because of political and bureaucratic obstacles that are formidable and widespread. Who in a position of authority will say to the public that the airplane is safe?
October 3, 2019
[life] List: Famous Philosophers’ Pick-Up Lines … from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. ‘Arthur Schopenhauer: “Life is nothing but a meaningless fluctuation between pain and boredom. And we are but worms. And our only chance of freedom is to embrace the dark nothingness that surrounds us. And to cast off the burdensome yoke of individualism. And to embrace the void. And to become one with the unyielding Will of the universe. Anyhoo… wanna smush?”’
October 2, 2019
[kubrick] ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’: Kubrick’s Pioneering Achievement As One of the Most Significant Films Ever Made… Huge page of digital artifacts from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. ‘Dear Mr Clarke: It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie…’
October 1, 2019
[books] The cult books that lost their cool … A list of books that have not aged well. ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, 1970 – So, yes, Jonathan Livingston Seagull really is a seagull, but he’s a seagull with aspirations, a non-conformist who yearns to soar above the flock and up into the heavens, just as the book itself conquered the bestseller charts back in the day. Its saccharine idealism isn’t made any more palatable by learning that Richard Nixon’s FBI director, L Patrick Gray, ordered all his staff to read it, and a 1973 movie adaptation, complete with Neil Diamond soundtrack, did it no favours either.’
September 30, 2019
[comics] ‘I envy writers who suffer from no self‑doubts’: inside the world of graphic novelist Chris Ware … Interview with Chris Ware in the Guardian … ‘As a kid I was made fun of for reading superhero comics, but once I grew up I lost all interest in them. Which is why I find it a little disquieting, though not necessarily surprising, that such stuff has become mainstream American culture, and one that adults now find a satisfying diversion. Then again, mythologies aren’t going away anytime soon. For me, however, regular human life is already so extra strange, moving and complicated I’m more than happy not plugging it into any amplification.’ [Previously]
September 27, 2019
[games] The mysterious origins of an uncrackable video game … The BBC looks at video game archaeology and in particular an Atari 2600 Game called Entombed. ‘During their research, Aycock and Copplestone were able to interview one of the people involved in [Entombed’s] production, Steve Sidley. He too remembered being confused by the table at the time. “I couldn’t unscramble it,” he told the researchers. And he claimed it had been the work of a programmer who developed it while not entirely sober: “He told me it came upon him when he was drunk and whacked out of his brain.” Aycock tried to contact the programmer in question but got no response. Maybe no-one ever really understood the logic of the algorithm. But there it is, in a 1982 Atari game, posing a seemingly unanswerable question.’
September 26, 2019
[tech] Moore’s Law graphed vs real CPUs & GPUs 1965 – 2019 … Nicely done visualisation. [via jwz]
September 25, 2019
[health] The Most Overhyped Wellness Promises, Debunked … ‘Meditation isn’t always soothing – For some people, it can lead to hyper-arousal, sensitivity to light and sound, and intense negative emotions.’ [Previously]
September 24, 2019
[politics] Has Dominic Cummings Resigned Yet? … ‘No.’
[people] My (33F) husband’s (35M) career in academic philosophy is ruining our marriage… Epic Reddit r/relationships posting. ‘His obsession with Hegel himself has reached the point of creepiness. At one point he literally told me that all other work either agrees with Hegel so is redundant, or disagrees with Hegel and is wrong. He keeps a framed picture of Hegel on the nightstand in our bedroom. In fact, he even changed his phone’s background from a picture of me to this same picture of Hegel. I feel like I am competing with a 200 year old philosopher for my husband’s attention.’
September 23, 2019
September 20, 2019
[comics] Rusty Brown by Chris Ware, reviewed. … Slate reviewer attempts a not entirely sucessful Chris Ware takedown review. ‘Rusty Brown has two kinds of stories: Either a character is punished by the world because he deserves it, or he’s punished by the world even though he doesn’t. The book’s 356 pages contain more upskirts of underage girls (two) than complex human characters (maybe one) because actual people would revolt at being treated and depicted in such a fashion. The view of humanity in the book is dime-store Freudianism: Scratch a character and you’ll find their primal wound, which then overdetermines their behavior. There’s little compassion to be found in Rusty Brown, because compassion requires curiosity, and Ware has worked out everything too carefully for that. The schematic lifelessness that results creates a kind of numbing effect. You may not know the story in advance, but you know where it’s headed: straight to Sadtown, Population: Everyone.’
September 19, 2019
[emoji] 📙 Emojipedia — 😃 … for all your Emoji needs. ‘😱 Face Screaming in Fear 😱’
September 18, 2019
[fandom] Superfans: A Love Story … A profile of fandom from the New Yorker.
Annie Wilkes, [Stephen] King told me recently, was inspired in part by Mark David Chapman, who assassinated John Lennon hours after getting his autograph. As an author, King is familiar with fan enthusiasm gone awry. “There was a lot of backlash about the way that the ‘Dark Tower’ books ended,” he told me, referring to his multipart fantasy series. “Those fans were absolutely rabid about those books.” Not long after “Misery” came out, King and his son were at a baseball game when a man broke into his house with what he said was a bomb, claiming that Annie Wilkes had secretly been based on his aunt. “My wife ran out in her bare feet and called the cops,” King recalled, “and the guy was cowering in the turret of the third floor of our Victorian home.” The bomb turned out to be a bunch of pencils in a rubber band. Still, it unnerved King: his novel about a stalker fan had summoned a stalker fan. “People have gotten invested in culture and make-believe in a way that I think is a little bit unhealthy,” King said. “I mean, it’s supposed to be fun, right?”
September 17, 2019
[games] An Oral History of ‘Snake’ on Nokia … How the Snake Game came to be installed on Nokia phones. ‘We made it so the hardest level is actually as fast as the snake can possibly go. Considering screen-refresh rates, and how fast the software could calculate the next snake position, I needed to add delays in the slower levels to give more time between steps. In the fastest level, there is no delay and thus no way to make it faster than that. But it wouldn’t be so fast that it would crash the phone.’
September 16, 2019
[comics] Tales Of The Black Freighter: Marooned – Reconstructed … Watchmen’s EC comic-within-a-comic recreated using existing panels and word balloons.
September 13, 2019
[podcasts] Go read and then listen… What are the best in-depth investigative podcasts? … ‘On the podcast “You Must Remember This”, I completely enjoyed the series they did on the Manson Family.’ [Related: You Must Remember This – Charles Manson’s Hollywood]
September 12, 2019
[brexit] This Is How Dominic Cummings Sees The World — And What It Means For Brexit … ‘One Whitehall source, pointing out that there’s more to government than what Cummings saw at the Department for Education, acerbically noted that the bureaucracy he despises exists to stop poor performances such as departments producing error-strewn financial statements. This was something Cummings’ own department did. Another source familiar with his work offered a particularly withering assessment, describing him as “a man with a history degree — who has seen Terminator.”’
September 11, 2019
[cia] From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets … A long read on the death of Frank Olson. ‘As the family were rising to leave, Gottlieb pulled Eric aside. “You are obviously very troubled by your father’s suicide,” he said. “Have you ever considered getting into a therapy group for people whose parents have committed suicide?” Eric did not follow that suggestion, but it left a deep impression on him. For years, he had been confused and depressed by the story of his father’s death. Only after meeting Gottlieb, however, did he resolve to bring his search for truth to the centre of his life. “I didn’t have the confidence then in my scepticism to ignore his ploys, but when he made that therapy group suggestion – that was the moment when he overplayed his hand,” he said. “At that moment, I understood how much Gottlieb had a stake in defusing me. And it was also at that moment that the determination to show that he had played a role in murdering my father was born.” Eric Olson waited another decade – until after his mother died – before taking his next step: arranging to exhume his father’s body.’
September 10, 2019
September 9, 2019
[comics] How Ex-CIA Officer Tom King Became the World’s Hottest Comic Book Writer … The Daily Beast profiles Tom King. ‘The most inspired moments in Mister Miracle relegate the physical war against Darkseid to the background, often literally. In one sequence, Scott and Barda deflect lasers, wade past freakish sea monsters, and take out armed guards as they break into Apokolips. They spend the entire scene—nine-plus pages—discussing little more than the cons and merits of decluttering their condo. After Scott is sentenced to be executed in a rigged trial, they spend a day at the Santa Monica pier, then stuck in traffic, shooting the shit in the comfortable banter of a long-term couple. And Darkseid’s most memorable transgression, apart from being an evil warlord, is double-dipping a half-bitten carrot in a veggie platter’s ranch tray.’
September 6, 2019
[kubrick] How Stanley Kubrick Staged the Moon Landing … Analysing the classic conspiracy theory that Kubrick left cryptic messages about staging the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in the Shining. ‘The clincher comes when the Danny gets up from his tricycle and walks down the corridor, following a mysterious call, the sort that a government might make to a filmmaker in a time of crisis. The caretaker’s son is wearing an Apollo 11 sweater—weird, huh? It shows a rocket over the words Apollo 11. When he stands, it seems as if the rocket is blasting off, whereas of course it isn’t because it isn’t real. Danny walks, thus the rocket flies, until he finds himself outside Room 237. Danny, who stands for the child in Kubrick, the artist, has traveled to 237, that is, all the way to the moon. Only he hasn’t. Is any of this real? Of course not. It’s a face in the clouds.’
September 5, 2019
[sealand] A Visit to Sealand, the World’s Tiniest Nation … The bizarre creation story of the micronation of Sealand along with more recent history. ‘As we finished one last cup of tea in the kitchen, Michael grinned. He seemed as proud of the convoluted story behind his family’s bizarre creation as he was of Sealand’s resilience. Taking advantage of a gap in international law, Sealand had grown old while other attempts at seasteads never made it far beyond what-if imaginings. The Bates family was certainly daring, but the secret to Sealand’s survival was its limited aspirations. It had no territorial ambitions; it wasn’t seeking to create a grand caliphate. In the view of its powerful neighbors, Sealand was merely a rusty kingdom, easier to ignore than to eradicate.’
September 4, 2019
[blogs] Any old-school bloggers still posting? … Long list of operational blogs from Ask Metafilter.
September 3, 2019
[internet] Go Look: Usage Share of Internet Browsers 1996 – 2019 … A fascinating infoviz – mainly because it neatly illustrates Internet Explorer’s total domination of browser share for much of the early 2000s and later the rise of Chrome.
September 2, 2019
[comics] We Almost Got an Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill Bizarro Comic? … Details on one of AM’s unstarted projects. ‘Me and Kevin O’Neill would really love to do a Bizarro mini-series, examining this whole Bizarro world. I mean, it’s square. How do the physics work on a world like that? What about the people who live on the corners? If you look at the pictures of the Bizarro world, there are continents that fold around the corners, so presumably you must have people living at right angles to each other. I just want to see Kevin draw it. I’m sure he’d be up to it.’
August 30, 2019
[anime] Go look: We Ranked Anime’s Top 10 Static Shots of Power Lines With Cicada Noises … ‘One Punch Man – That classic beautiful low angle shot of power lines on a hot summer day. The cluttered crisscross of the lines juxtaposed by the openness of the sky makes this one of the best power line shots ever.’
August 28, 2019
[truecrime] The Killing of Julia Wallace: An Impossible Murder … Go read this real-life locked room-style true crime story. ‘The Wallace case is like a jigsaw puzzle where the last piece never fits. No matter how many times we reassemble it, it stubbornly refuses to form a complete image. At the centre of that fragmented picture remains the unknowable figure of William Herbert Wallace; flustered insurance salesman or criminal genius?’
[comics] Dr Manhattan – Don’t blame me. I voted for chaos with Ed Miliband. (Hat Tip: @MartinBelam)