6 July 2023
[photos] Palette – Colorize Photos … A powerful AI powered photo colorization tool.
5 July 2023
4 July 2023
[comics] FROM HELL! The COMPLETE Cartoonist Kayfabe Review of the Jack The Ripper Masterpiece! … Go watch the Cartoonist Kayfabe team’s complete review of From Hell.
3 July 2023
[books] Where to start with: Iain Banks … A beginners guide to the novels of Iain Banks. ‘The one to drop into conversations about AI – All Banks’s Culture novels feature Minds, hyperintelligent mirror-surfaced ellipsoids that run starships and other large engineering structures. But in Excession, the Minds become the primary protagonists, as they debate what to do about the titular phenomenon – an inscrutable alien artefact that seems to be older than the universe itself – and about a barbarous competing civilisation that glories in the name “the Affront”. As Minds are persons, they are not obliged to be open and honest with one another or anyone else, and some conspire to allow “gigadeathcrimes” on utilitarian principles, rather like crazed effective altruists.’
2 July 2023
[space] Bicycle Racing In Space Could Be A Thing … Hard science fiction gives us the possibility of MAMIL’s in space! ‘…the idea for the space bike comes from a short story called Grand Tour by Charles Sheffield, who was a mathematician, physicist and writer of hard science fiction. The story is about an annual race called the Grand Tour du Système. The route starts out from low Earth orbit going to Lagrange point 4 (L4), a location along the Moon’s orbit where the Earth’s and Moon’s gravitational fields conspire to provide a stable position. From L4, the route continues halfway to the Moon and then returns to Earth orbit. Altogether it’s around 600,000 kilometers long.’
30 June 2023
[lego] The Surprising Magic of the Macaroni LEGO Brick [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] … Who knew you could do so much with the macaroni LEGO brick?

28 June 2023
[crime] ‘Why I might have done what I did’: conversations with Ireland’s most notorious murderer… Fascinating article on Malcolm MacArthur, Ireland’s GUBU double-murderer.

‘“Well,” he said, wasting no time, “the first thing to be said is that I lived a blameless life until 1982. Entirely blameless. If you were to plot my life along a graph, morally speaking, you would see a very flat line for the first 37 years, then one very sharp spike in the middle, followed by another completely flat line right up until the present day.”

“Given,” I said, “that that seems to be the case – ”

“Oh, it is the case,” he said.

“Well, I thought we might try to talk about why it happened.”

“Fine,” he said. “But you must remember that this was a financial situation. It wasn’t what you might call irrationality, or lack of control. There was a problem to be solved. And you might well ask, well, why solve it using this particular technique? And that’s a legitimate question. But it wasn’t an act of madness.”

After the call ended, I sat on the bench, staring at the words I had scribbled in my notebook as we spoke. I circled the word “problem”, and then the word “technique”.’

26 June 2023
[iphones] How to (Really) Bypass Paywalls in Safari on iOS in 2023 … A great guide to avoiding newspaper paywalls on iPhones.
25 June 2023
[space] Mars and it’s smallest moon Deimos (from r/spaceporn)‘The UAE’s Hope spacecraft captured Mars’ smaller moon, Deimos, from a distance of about 62 miles (100 km). This Deimos image is the 1st-ever high-resolution view of the far side of the little moon…’

23 June 2023
[tv] Best ‘Black Mirror’ Episodes, Ranked‘A pair of men hunker down during a blizzard at a remote outpost to share three tales of deception and murder, but they’ve both got secrets galore. In what must be the darkest Christmas special ever made, Jon Hamm relates his past life of sleazy seduction-coaching by night and torturing digital copies of living people by day, racking up a host of futuristic sins along the way. His companion Rafe Spall isn’t much better, having handled his separation from his wife, shall we say, poorly. As mini-twists give way to jaw-dropping mega-twists and the episode’s core concept gets frightfully postmodern, both actors deliver skin-crawling work as villainous but sympathetic figures.’ White Christmas Episode
22 June 2023
[fiction] Fictional Brands Archive… A collection of fictional brands created for films, TV and video games. ‘NERV (German for “nerve”) is a special organization that was put together to combat the Angels after the Second Impact and is the organization responsible for the creation of the Evangelions. NERV is an international organization with their center of operation located in the city of Tokyo-3, Japan. More specifically, they run the majority of their research and operations out of NERV Headquarters, a large facility located in the GeoFront.’NERV
21 June 2023
[excel] Microsoft Excel v1.00 (san inc crack) … Use the first version of Excel in your browser. Click below but it needs a fast link to download quickly.

20 June 2023
[games] Arcade Authorship – High Score Table Credits … Designers of early video games sneaked their initials into high score tables as credits – this article expands the initials into names. ‘The practice was birthed in a time both when displaying any but the most crucial text on screen was novel and the value of people making the games by the companies themselves was poorly thought of. Sneaking one’s name into the game had precedent before high score tables, yet with their advent it became a subculture. Sometimes rebellious, sometimes intricate, and oftentimes serving as an aspiration for high score chasers, this phenomenon largely of the 1980s was one of the few ways game creators could signal themselves to game players.’
16 June 2023
[comics] The Comic-Book Aesthetic Comes of Age in “Across the Spider-Verse” … A good look at what makes Across the Spider-Verse worth watching. ‘ It leans hard into, and emulates onscreen, the storytelling devices and the visual flair that make comic books special. Even more than its predecessor, “Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), the film feels designed to show young people, many of whom were raised on superhero movies, why they might care about the comics that launched these characters. It does this so well that, at a time when some Marvel movies haven’t been doing so hot at the box office, “Across the Spider-Verse” has already raked in nearly four hundred million dollars. At 7 P.M. on a Wednesday night, with local schools still in session, my seventh grader and I found most of the seats in our suburban multiplex full.’
14 June 2023
12 June 2023
[life] Dead Ringers … The compelling story, from 1975, about identical twin gynecologists who died together under mysterious circumstances in New York. The story was an influence on David Cronenberg’s movie Dead Ringers. ‘On Tuesday, July 14, Cyril lurches one last time out of the twins’ final nesting place. He stumbles as he is about to cross the threshold to the outside world. The doorman who offers to assist Cyril thinks he “looks like death.” Out on the sidewalk Cyril looks at life without Stewart. The first thing he will have to do, he knows, is explain things. It’s not hard to explain why he returned so soon to that crypt in 10H. Only in those two minutes he languished in the womb after his brother’s departure could Cyril have been more alone. He double-locked the door behind him. He pushed an armchair up against it as a further barricade…’
8 June 2023
[comics] 2 Kinds of Anger by Justin Green

7 June 2023
[www] Inside Snopes: the rise, fall, and rebirth of an internet icon … The inside story behind Snopes – the early internet fact checking site. ‘Mikkelson had adopted a surname of William Faulkner’s creation, a family “of pure sons of bitches,” who appear in a number of Faulkner’s works. Mikkelson was very familiar with their saga: Flem Snopes, the central character, possessed a talent for verisimilitude, which helped him climb from outcast sharecropper to bank president and church deacon. Mikkelson would go on to say that he had chosen snopes “simply because it was short and distinctive,” and he’d only shrug noncommittally when asked if he was a fan of Faulkner’s. But people have often pondered the connection to an alias along the lines of snipe, snicker, sneak, or snake. “We all felt that it was deeply, deeply appropriate,” says Teasley.’
5 June 2023
[ai] Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People … This talk about AI and much more from 2016 by Maciej CegÅ‚owski seems worth revisiting.

What I find particularly suspect is the idea that “intelligence” is like CPU speed, in that any sufficiently smart entity can emulate less intelligent beings (like its human creators) no matter how different their mental architecture.

With no way to define intelligence (except just pointing to ourselves), we don’t even know if it’s a quantity that can be maximized. For all we know, human-level intelligence could be a tradeoff. Maybe any entity significantly smarter than a human being would be crippled by existential despair, or spend all its time in Buddha-like contemplation.

Or maybe it would become obsessed with the risk of hyperintelligence, and spend all its time blogging about that.

1 June 2023
[internet] Doug Rushkoff Is Ready to Renounce the Digital Revolution… A profile of Douglas Rushkoff in 2023. ‘I first encountered Rushkoff’s writing around this time, in 2010, while I was working for a site called The site’s premise was that connecting everything and everyone to the web would allow people to freely lend the stuff they already owned, creating further abundance for all. Room-sharing platforms would reduce housing costs, and ride-sharing platforms would reduce the number of cars on the road. Rushkoff was a proponent of reorganizing the internet according to peer-to-peer principles, and he became one of the site’s most popular contributors. As platforms like Airbnb and Uber took over, leading the world into a new age of inequality and increased resource consumption, his dream of participatory decentralization died hard. But even amid mounting cognitive dissonance, certain parts of Rushkoff’s faith held out. On reflection, he says, “I blamed capitalism and held the technology itself innocent.”’
25 May 2023
[comics] A short history of newsagents and how you bought your American comics from them … The story of how American comics made it into British newsagents from the 1970s to 1990s and created a generation of comic readers. ‘This company was an absolute powerhouse which supplied nearly every newsagent in the UK. They had an incredible range. John Byrne getting a Superman annual as a kid is thanks to T&P. Alan Moore picking up early DC/Marvel titles. Dave Gibbons picking up Green Lantern. Kev O’Neill, etc all got into comics partly due to seeing and buying US comics in newsagents.’
24 May 2023
[comics] Brian Bolland – THE Cover Artist … Long Brian Bolland interview by the Cartoonist Kayfabe team.

23 May 2023
[lost] Into Thin AirPods … Amusing tale of an attempt to find some lost Airpods using Apple’s Find My” app. ‘I texted a group chat that I had lost my AirPods, but was hot on the trail of the thief in a natural history museum, as if my life were a damn Hitchcock movie. I told them I thought I had eyes on the perp, but couldn’t be sure. “Confront!!” They urged. “Apprehend the teen!!! You of all people can take him!!” But what if I was wrong? I couldn’t ruin some nice adorable family’s Friday afternoon, even if it was just to ask a few innocent questions, like, “Hey–You guys look like you ski. Do you ski? What about stealing? Do you steal?”’
22 May 2023
[truecrime] 50 True Crime Docs Guaranteed to Keep You Guessing … Fifty of the best true crime documentaries available to stream. ‘The Staircase (2004) – My God, if you were around when the 2004 French-produced docuseries first made a stir in the US, leading to endless coverage since, you know this is some piping-hot content. Given unguarded access to novelist Michael Peterson as he faces trial on charges of murdering his wife, the filmmaking team wisely lets Peterson’s all-around shadiness and the endless legal angling do the talking. Come away convinced one way or another, or at least transfixed by the “owl theory.”‘
19 May 2023
[tv] All Roll Is B-Roll … Interesting analysis and criticism of Adam Curtis’ latest documentaries. ‘The success of TraumaZone is the success of a work with downsized, or at least redirected, ambitions. Perhaps Curtis has been listening to the growing group of critics accusing him of dealing in sensationalized conspiracy theories coated in a thin sheen of intellectualism. Certainly he seems to have listened to the criticisms of HyperNormalisation’s relentless pessimism – hence the David Graeber quote that bookends Can’t Get You Out of My Head: “THE ULTIMATE HIDDEN TRUTH OF THE WORLD IS THAT IT IS SOMETHING WE MAKE, AND COULD JUST AS EASILY MAKE DIFFERENTLY,” leavening that series’s fundamental doomerism with a light optimism of the will.’
16 May 2023
[mac] Infinite Mac … Fascintating website that lets you run every version of the classic Macintosh operating system within a browser. ‘Pick any version of System Software/Mac OS from the 1980s or 1990s and run it (and major software of that era) within a virtual machine. Files can be imported and exported using drag and drop, and System 7 and onward have more advanced integrations as well – refer to the welcome screen in each machine for more details.’
15 May 2023
[web] The Internet Isn’t Meant To Be So Small … A strong analysis of why the web seems smaller and less fun. ‘In the late aughts, Twitter and Facebook still valued curiosity, but over the next decade they realized that it wasn’t good for business; curiosity brought people to their platforms, but then it whisked them away. So Facebook began paying news companies to make videos that could be hosted on the site, so that users would never leave the page. Twitter changed its algorithm to suppress tweets containing links. The goal of social media became entrapment instead of facilitating and servicing the curiosity that brought people online in the first place. You can feel the difference on those platforms, now. The fun has been drained out it.’
12 May 2023
>> I don’t know who needs this today but here’s the literal version of the Tears for Fears video Head over Heels. You’re welcome.

11 May 2023
[crime] ‘Doppelganger murder’: German prosecutors claim woman killed lookalike to fake death … A crazy true crime story from Germany – Dopplegangers, beauty blogging and murder. ‘When the blood-covered body of a young woman was found last August in a parked Mercedes in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, reports initially identified the victim as Sharaban K, a Munich-based 23-year-old beautician with Iraqi roots. Even though some members of Sharaban K’s family had identified the body, an autopsy report the next day raised questions over its identity. The victim was eventually named as Khadidja O, an Algerian beauty blogger from Heilbronn in the neighbouring state of Baden-Württemberg, also 23.’
10 May 2023
[et] Fixing E.T. for the Atari 2600 … A deep dive into Atari’s infamous E.T. 2600 video game. Turns out it’s not so bad after all… ‘Why is E.T. green? You need to ask Howard Scott Warshaw about that. E.T. is brown, however, not green. There is absolutely no reason why the game shouldn’t use a proper color for E.T.’