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January 23, 2013
January 22, 2013
[comics] Alan and The Mad Reader … a look on the early influence of Mad Magazine on Alan Moore … ‘The chief importance of the Superduperman story to Moore seems to have been the basic idea of a totally fresh way of looking at Superman, a character whose stories at that time were extremely formulaic. Apart from this, one small point worth noticing is the way in which the emblem of the hero’s chest keeps changing – just like that of Dourdevil in Moore’s Daredevil parody “Grit” (The Daredevils #8, 1983).’
January 21, 2013
[war] WWII lard washes up on beach at Angus nature reserve‘Staff at St Cyrus nature reserve said four large, barrel-shaped pieces of lard have appeared on the shore. The fat is believed to have escaped from the wreck of a merchant vessel that was bombed in WW II. Scottish Natural Heritage said the lard was still a brilliant white and smelled “good enough to have a fry up with.” The lard would have originally been stored in wooden barrels, which have long since rotted away.’
January 18, 2013
[politics] Could Ed Miliband be Labour’s Margaret Thatcher? … some interesting similarities highlighted by Andy Beckett… ‘Miliband has a history of being underestimated – just as she was when opposition leader, and during her early years as prime minister. Like her, he was unexpectedly elected party leader. Like her, his public manner was then quickly judged unpalatable, his voice too nasal as hers was too shrill. Like her, he can seem too much of a party stereotype for broad appeal: the bourgeois north London leftie to her prim shire Tory. Like she did, he faces a smooth premier – “Sunny Jim” Callaghan for her, David Cameron for him – considered by journalists and voters to be more “prime ministerial”, but also made vulnerable by internal splits and the lack of a Commons majority. As she did, Miliband has led his party to a substantial but not always solid poll lead. Two and a quarter years into his tenure, it is identical to her party’s at the same stage: hovering around 10%.’
January 17, 2013
[war] What You Wear to Kill Osama bin Laden … some exhaustive details on what you need to kill the world’s most wanted man …

First he laid out his Crye Precision Desert Digital combat uniform, a long-sleeve, partially camouflaged shirt and cargo pants combo with ten pockets, “each with a specific purpose.” In the pockets he put assault gloves, leather mitts for “fast-roping,” an assortment of batteries, energy gel, two PowerBars, an extra tourniquet, rubber gloves, an SSE (forensic) kit, an Olympus point-and-shoot digital camera, and $200 in cash. The money was for a bribe or a ride, if needed. “Evasion takes money, and few things work better than American cash.”

January 16, 2013
[space] Skylab 4 Rang in the New Year with Mutiny in Orbit … the little known story on a mutiny in space … ‘Long work periods and seemingly endless lists of tasks took their toll on the rookie astronauts. The crew found themselves exhausted, falling badly behind schedule. NASA was pushing them too hard, they said, and they couldn’t keep working such long hours. Ground crews in mission control disagreed. They felt that the astronauts were complaining needlessly, that they should be working through their meal times and rest days to catch up. It was expensive having a crew in orbit for 84 days, and NASA intended to get all the work out of the men it could manage. About six weeks into the flight, a few days before New Year’s Eve, the Skylab 4 crew hit their breaking point…’
January 15, 2013
[comics] The New (and very liberal) Superhero Power Couple … fabulous mock up by Phil Noto of a 1972 Esquire cover with Black Canary & Green Arrow …

Black Canary & Green Arrow

January 14, 2013
[comics] A Collection Of Quotes From Alan Moore’s Weeping Gorilla‘I guess all the Waltons must be dead by now.’
January 10, 2013
[google] The many different things the world wants to know how to do … as reported in the 2012 Google Zeitgeist‘Japan: how to save [battery] power. Kenya: how to abort. Mexico: how to vote. Netherlands: how to survive. New Zealand: how to screenshot.’
January 9, 2013
[space] World’s Largest Scale Model of the Solar System Covers Sweden … fascinating blog post with pictures … ‘The Sweden Solar System is the world’s largest model of our planetary system, built at a scale of 1:20 million and stretches the entire length of the country. The Sun is represented by the Globe arena in Stockholm, the largest spherical building in the world. The planets are placed and sized according to scale with the inner planets being in Stockholm and Jupiter at the International airport Arlanda. The outer planets follow in the same direction with Saturn in Uppsala and Pluto in Delsbo, 300 km from the Globe. The model ends at the Termination shock, 950 km from the Sun.’
January 8, 2013
[disease] Charlie Brooker On The Norovirus:

The fascinating pitter-patter of stomach contents against the back of your teeth as a fearsome torrent of spew erupts from within like a liquid poltergeist fleeing an exorcism. The impressive way your backside emits high-pressure jets of hot fluid, like the Hulk squeezing silty boiled water from a Fairy Liquid bottle by clenching it abruptly in his fist. The searing aftermath, as your throat rages as though sandpapered and your anus screams like a scalded button. This is nature in all its raw majesty. Film it in HD, get David Attenborough to record the soundtrack, and you’ve got a Sunday evening treat for millions.’

January 7, 2013
January 4, 2013
[comics] The Comics Reporter’s 50 Comics Positives For 2012 … a great list of good things that happened in comics during the last year … ‘Stan Lee Turned 90’
January 3, 2013
[lists] The Hundred Best Lists of All Time … the New Yorker provides a list of historic and important lists.
January 2, 2013
[death] The Cold Hard Facts of Freezing to Death … fascinating longer read on what it’s like to die of cold in the open … ‘You’ve now crossed the boundary into profound hypothermia. By the time your core temperature has fallen to 88 degrees, your body has abandoned the urge to warm itself by shivering. Your blood is thickening like crankcase oil in a cold engine. Your oxygen consumption, a measure of your metabolic rate, has fallen by more than a quarter. Your kidneys, however, work overtime to process the fluid overload that occurred when the blood vessels in your extremities constricted and squeezed fluids toward your center. You feel a powerful urge to urinate, the only thing you feel at all.’
January 1, 2013
[uk] 21 Brilliant British People Problems‘I don’t feel well but I don’t want to disturb my doctor.’
December 31, 2012
December 30, 2012
I Am Facebook Friends With Ryan Lanza … What happens if you’re friends on Facebook with somebody who is suddenly receiving a lot of media attention … ‘I found myself inundated with messages, some from journalists seeking confirmation, many from people saying angry and bizarre things to me or about Ryan. One demanded to know how I could be friends with such a monster. Could I help a random internet sleuth create a “psychological profile”? Did I see warning signs in Ryan? Why did I suspiciously post cartoons about mass shootings only days before? That was very tasteless. A text to my phone from an unknown number read “looks like this killer is a fan of yours.” A Twitter user declared me a “snitch” for sharing Ryan’s post. Someone accused me of having something to do with the killings, “which you take delight in,” they wrote, and hoped the FBI would hold me accountable.’
December 28, 2012
[crime] The Myth of the Lone Villain … Kevin Kelly looks at why lone, murderous, technically advanced super-villians don’t work in the real world … ‘The lone evil genius works in a high tech haven, hidden from others, all by himself. At this point, the scenario is total fiction because no one can run all that technology by themselves. It is hard to keep 3 computers and a network going all by yourself. The madman’s electronic door hatch probably crashes once a month, particularly if the madman just invented it. So can you invent and keep operational the death ray? No. Way. No solo genius can destroy mankind. That kind of power takes cooperation.’
December 27, 2012
Here’s How Facebook Gives You Up To The Police … a fascinating look at what Facebook hands over to the Police after a legal subpoena … ‘Your entire Facebook browsing history – When you click on someone’s profile, it’s logged. Other Facebook users don’t know you’re looking at their profiles, but Facebook itself most assuredly does. Or rather can, if the police come asking.’
December 20, 2012
December 19, 2012
[comics] Alan Moore: why I turned my back on Hollywood … a profile of Moore from The Observer … ‘When another of Moore’s old computer keyboards was put up for auction on eBay, last year, the seller hazarded that it “may contain otherworldy powers”. It went for £461, despite having a faulty Z key. Walking in Northampton, Moore explains that his old keyboards have ended up on eBay, or in that museum in Charleroi, because he has had to decommission so many of them. He currently writes on an industrial-strength keyboard made of metal, properly meant for use in foundries and conflict zones. The plastic sort used to last him a few months before melting under the constant spray of cigarette ash, or otherwise breaking from overuse.’
December 18, 2012
[comics] How to make Batman squirt in your face … a look at a remarkable Batman water pistol from a more innocent time … ‘Why so legendary? Well it was made in the late sixties at a time when kids, and adults alike for that matter, wouldn’t look at that and instantly start cracking wise about its design. Where do I start? Batman’s prone position bending forwards while reaching back seemingly to grab his buttocks? The fact that the water for the gun is refilled in his butt with a big plug hanging out…’
December 17, 2012
[xmas] Unicode Holiday Xmas Tree ☃ … a collection of festive Christmas Tree made out of unicode characters to send to friends and family … ‘Each tree is made of valid, semantic, and imageless HTML and CSS!’
December 12, 2012
[comics] Dave Sim On Creating A Judge Dredd Cover‘I originally thought, “Well, Dredd has easily the most complicated costume of any costumed character, so there’s no way I will be able to do that costume accurately in these tiny little spaces.” I was going to do the drawings twice up and have the IDW production department reduce them and place them. “Dave Sim work-made-for-hire cover: some assembly required”. But then it came time and I thought, “Hell, if Brian Bolland can do it, I can do it.” So there I was with a fresh Hunt 102 and my magnifying glass.’
December 11, 2012
[google] The best way to use Gmail and Google Calendar on your iPhone … useful guide to using Google services with the iPad and iPhone … ‘The trick here is combining the Gmail app with two syncing protocols called CardDAV and CalDAV (don’t worry, you’ll never actually need to know what these are to get them to work). You’ll need an iOS device running version 5.0 or above to take advantage of these, but each offers better and more powerful integration with Google’s services than just tapping “Gmail” when you first set up your email accounts on your phone. Much like the momentary pain of digging into your Facebook privacy settings, the five or ten minutes spent setting up this system will save you email stress for months to come.’
December 10, 2012
[christmas] Vintage British Argos 1976 Catalogue … this set of scans might come in handy if you’re searching for a retro christmas gift and have a time machine. [More: Vintage British Argos 1985 Catalogue | Vintage British Argos 1986 Catalogue]
December 7, 2012
[life] Dying rock stars’ famous last words‘Barry White (to his nurse): Leave me alone, I’m fine.’
December 6, 2012
[tv] New Season Of ‘Downton Abbey’ Jumps Forward To Year 2121

“Downton fans around the world will be thrilled with what we have in store for the Crawley offspring and their service drones as they navigate life in the 22nd century,” Fellowes said of the new season, which features eight new episodes and a film-length Christmas special set on a distant vacation crater. “Robert, Earl of Grantham, once saved Downton by marrying the American heiress Cora. Now, new and old worlds collide again as their progeny vie for territory against a proud lineage of space clones who have forcibly invaded the family’s colony.”

December 5, 2012
[comics] Brendan McCarthy: ‘Best Of Milligan & McCarthy Due 2013’‘Expect a big announcement on that from a major comics company soon. It will include pretty much all the classic ’80s material from Peter Milligan and myself: Paradax!, Rogan Gosh, Skin, Freakwave, etc., plus some early, archival snippets from The Electrick Hoax and Summer of Love.’