linkmachinego.com
August 25, 2020
[life] A Calendar for 2020‘Today is March 178th, 2020.’ [via jwz]
August 24, 2020
[lovecraft] Arkham Board of Health Feedback On Miskatonic University’s Draft Plan for a Safe Campus Reopening … How is Miskatonic University coping with the Covid-19 Era? ‘Social distancing in classrooms – You write that “through queer and monstrous perversions of geometrical laws, students will be seated at blasphemous angles outside the curves of our dimensions, thus remaining safely six feet apart.” Please clarify whether safe distancing could be achieved without resort to “loathsome horrors beyond human conception.”’
August 19, 2020
[covid] The Nurses Working to Save Coronavirus Deniers … How nurses cope with Corona deniers seriously ill with Covid-19. ‘What really keeps Jack up at night, though, is how this virus can cause deniers to take a bad turn so fast. One minute their babbling about the new world order, the next they’re crashing into respiratory arrest seemingly out of nowhere. “I can understand denial when people first come in; initially, it presents as pretty benign. With other illnesses, there’s a linear progression to it,” Jack says. “But these people, they go from FaceTiming with their families, to 90 minutes later, I’m shoving a tube down their throat.”’
August 18, 2020
[tv] Alan Partridge Gets Lucky… Go watch Partridge looping to Get Lucky.
August 17, 2020
[tech] The Quest to Liberate $300,000 of Bitcoin From an Old Zip File‘Stay at least knew which zip program had encrypted the file and what version it ran. He also had the time stamp of when the file was created, which the Info-ZIP software uses to inform its cryptography scheme. From a massive pool of passwords and encryption keys, Stay was able to narrow it down to something on the order of quintillions.’
August 14, 2020
[covid] The Pandemic’s Biggest Mystery Is Our Own Immune System … A beginners guide to the human immune system. TL;DR: It’s really complicated. ‘The immune system’s reaction to the virus is a matter of biology, but the range of reactions we actually see is also influenced by politics. Bad decisions mean more cases, which means a wider variety of possible immune responses, which means a higher prevalence of rare events. In other words, the worse the pandemic gets, the weirder it will get.’
August 13, 2020
[movies] Brian Blessed: Flash Gordon is the Queen’s favourite film‘The Queen, it’s her favourite film, she watches it with her grandchildren every Christmas.’
August 11, 2020
August 10, 2020
[mp3] ‘You’ve been smoking too much!’: the chaos of Tony Wilson’s digital music revolution … How Tony Wilson foresaw the digital music business in 1998. ‘Arriving in summer 2000, music33 developed a barmy way of protecting clients’ tracks. Songs purchased came in a PDF; users tapped in a password to play the music. “I’m still trying to understand it even now,” Clarke chuckles. Pre-broadband dial-up internet was so slow that “you’d plug in a modem to download one track, which could take 15 minutes,” says Clarke. Music33 featured a little robot avatar named Howie, who explained how to use the site. Wilson’s plan to get Keith Allen to do its voice never came off.’
August 6, 2020
[tea] Tea in a microwave? New research says it could be the perfect cuppa … Chinese scientists discover the perfect way to make Tea.

Do they make it in a pot or a mug? They make it in a microwave.

Well, I’ll just be leaving the country now. Relax, these are Chinese scientists.

Chinese? What do the Chinese know about making tea? They invented tea…

August 5, 2020
[internet] Man who claims his freedom of speech is under threat never shuts the f**k up‘Bill McKay is so outraged that ‘Leftwaffe cultural Marxists’ are stopping him speaking out that he posts about it on Facebook for all the world to read approximately three times an hour…’
August 4, 2020
[doom] The Endless Doomscroller … All your Doomscrolling needs in one place. ‘No Safe Path. Recovery Elusive. New Restrictions Coming.’
August 3, 2020
[tv] Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Columbo’‘Columbo is one of the very few American series fueled by class warfare. Whether they are driven by coldblooded entitlement, delusions of grandeur or simple greed, the murderers treat the self-deprecating, ostentatiously low-grade cop with seething annoyance, willful condescension or hypocritical benevolence. It is hard to overstate how satisfying it is to see smug criminals get caught right now. Imagine the joy of seeing a rebooted Columbo go after hedge-fund managers, big-game hunters, studio chiefs, YouTube influencers, real-estate magnates or celebrity chefs who picked killing as an acceptable problem-solving method.’
July 24, 2020
[crime] MARIE KONDO ARRESTED AS A SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER‘She said that the people did not ‘spark joy’ and therefore she drilled holes in their heads and poured in prussic acid.’
July 23, 2020
[moon] NASA and the Secrets of Moondust … What can moondust tell us about the origins of the Moon and Earth? ‘In the next year, Sehlke, along with other scientists and their teams, will receive tiny lunar samples, untouched for close to 50 years, that were collected during the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions. Some were frozen or stored in helium-filled containers shortly after arriving on Earth. One sample has never been exposed to Earth’s atmosphere; it was packed and vacuum-sealed on the moon by the last astronauts to walk on the surface, in 1972. Sehlke and other researchers still have many questions about the workings of the moon—even about the popular hypothesis for its creation, which doesn’t completely add up—and searching for answers within these pristine samples is a thrilling prospect.’
July 22, 2020
[apollo] Bitcoin mining on an Apollo Guidance Computer … Using Apollo-era tech for bitcoins. ‘The Apollo Guidance Computer took 5.15 seconds for one SHA-256 hash. Since Bitcoin uses a double-hash, this results in a hash rate of 10.3 seconds per Bitcoin hash. Currently, the Bitcoin network is performing about 65 EH/s (65 quintillion hashes per second). At this difficulty, it would take the AGC 4×10^23 seconds on average to find a block. Since the universe is only 4.3×10^17 seconds old, it would take the AGC about a million times the age of the universe to successfully mine a block.’
July 21, 2020
[apollo] 13 Minutes to the Moon [Series 1 | Series 2] … Outstanding BBC Podcast on the inside story of Apollo 11 and how Apollo 13 was saved.
July 20, 2020
[apollo] Apollo 11: Mission Out of Control … The nail-biting story of Apollo 11’s descent to the moon’s surface. ‘ The computer automatically entered the next phase of the descent, followed by another reboot and another go command from Mission Control until finally, at less than 2,000 feet above the lunar surface, the computer had its worst crash yet.The alarm blared and the lander’s readout went dead. For 10 long seconds, the console displayed nothing—no altitude data, no error codes, just three blank fields. Armstrong’s heart began to race, rising to 150 beats per minute, the same as that of a man at the end of a sprint. With the moonscape zipping by outside his window, he was the closest any human had ever been to another world, but, like a distracted driver, his attention was focused on the computer. Finally the console came back on line. Mission Control confirmed: It was another 1202. “I never expected it to come back,” Armstrong later said.’
July 16, 2020
[apollo] Moon landing 50th anniversary: why people like Steph Curry have supported conspiracy theories … A look at who benefits from moon landing conspiracy theories. ‘The belief that the moon landing was shot in a Hollywood studio actually seems sort of quaint. How cute, a theory that probably won’t end up hurting someone! Perhaps on the 50th anniversary of the NASA moon landing — which definitely happened — we can appreciate the moon landing conspiracy for what it was: a mostly harmless piece of entertainment that possibly also led to the normalization of conspiracies in general, which is harmful.’
July 15, 2020
[cthulu] Worm found in tonsil of Japanese woman with sore throat … 🐙 LOVECRAFT WAS RIGHT! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! 🦑 ‘The worm was identified as a nematode roundworm – one of several parasites that can infect people who eat raw fish or meat. The 25-year-old patient confirmed that she had eaten assorted sashimi five days before the worm was removed. According to the journal, doctors said the worm was a fourth-stage larva of the worm, adding that the infection had been caused by its younger incarnation as a third-stage larva that was present in her sashimi dish.’
July 14, 2020
[apollo] How a long-gone Apollo rocket returned to Earth … The story of an asteroid that turned out to be a Apollo rocket from 1969. ‘They made a startling discovery: J002E3 appeared to be covered in paint — specifically, white, titaniumoxide (TiO2) paint. According to Kira Jorgensen Abercromby at California Polytechnic State University, who also studied J002E3 while at the Air Force Maui Optical & Supercomputing observatory, “What we saw were features in the spectral data that matched other upper-stage rocket bodies launched during a similar time frame [to the Apollo missions] and the data also matched typical features found in organic paints that looked like TiO2.” This information pointed toward a very specific object as the identity of J002E3: a spent third stage from an Apollo-era Saturn V rocket, which were historically covered in this specific kind of paint.’
July 13, 2020
[comics] An oral history of Carol Kalish: the most important comic book figure you’ve never heard of … Remembering the influential marketing exec at Marvel. ‘What she did was just bring sensible business practices to an industry that, when she started, largely worked out of cigar boxes. She modernized the comics industry in a lot of ways.’
July 10, 2020
[fun] This Meme Does Not Exist… Memes generated by A.I. almost work. Almost.

AI Generated Meme

July 9, 2020
[covid] The Coronavirus and Our Future … Kim Stanley Robinson on the Coronavirus. ‘I’ve spent my life writing science-fiction novels that try to convey some of the strangeness of the future. But I was still shocked by how much had changed, and how quickly. Schools and borders had closed; the governor of California, like governors elsewhere, had asked residents to begin staying at home. But the change that struck me seemed more abstract and internal. It was a change in the way we were looking at things, and it is still ongoing. The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.’
July 7, 2020
[scarfolk] Scarfolk Council: Beer Mats of the 1970s … Beer Mats from Scarfolk pubs as they reopen.

Scarfolk Beer Mat

July 6, 2020
[comics] The Wreckage Part One | Part Two … Engrossing long read on Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. ‘So I guess I’m talking around the problem, said problem being – these comics don’t sit as easily as they might once have, for a number of reasons. They don’t seem so radical, for one thing, now that all their best moves have been copied by subsequent generations. It seems like these book have a lot of something that was very, very cool in 1990 and thereabouts, but which really isn’t quite the same thing precisely as “cool” in 2019. And it’s not like it’s uncool exactly, but nether is it the rather deathless 1960s Batman show, the virtues of which seem more and more enduring with every passing year, as we see that camp silliness was never really something anyone hated but self-righteous nerds. Stuff that purposefully eschews any attempt to be cool often ages better…’
July 3, 2020
July 2, 2020
[comics] Grant Morrison Batman Reading Order … I’ve been trying to work out the reading order of Grant Morrison run on Batman and Final Crisis – It’s complicated.
July 1, 2020
[books] We Can’t Ignore H.P. Lovecraft’s White Supremacy … Powerful look at Lovecraft’s racial bigotry, comparing with racism today. ‘But the need to “save” a man dubbed the “horror story’s dark and baroque prince” by Stephen King is itself questionable. His legacy is firmly planted. His cosmology sprawls from popular culture to niche corners of scholasticism. Complaints of a potentially tarnished reputation are more concerned with bolstering the illusion of Lovecraft as a sacrosanct figure. Even further, to divorce his racism from his literary creations would be a pyrrhic victory; what results is a whitewashed portrait of a profound writer. And from a criticism standpoint, what’s lost is any meaningful grappling with the connection between Lovecraft’s racism and the cosmic anti-humanism that defined his horror.’
June 30, 2020
[comics] Milton Glaser and the DC Bullet … Todd Klein analyses the symbol designer Milton Klein created for DC Comics in the 1970s. ‘DC was still using letterpress printing for all their comics. Glaser’s design, with it’s thin lines and thin white spaces, looked great at a larger size, but comics printing wasn’t really up to making it work well at the small size used on covers. In the 1980s DC began gradually transitioning away from letterpress to offset printing with much better and more accurate presses, and then the original DC bullet would have worked fine.’