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11 October 2014
[gif] Skipping Pylons … one more nicely done animated GIF. [more…]
10 October 2014
[arcade] Polybius (video game) … fascinating urban myth about a arcade video game from the early 1980’s that mentally disturbed it’s players then disappeared … ‘Polybius is a theoretical arcade cabinet.’
9 October 2014
[tories] Top universities a ‘breeding ground’ for Tories, warn Islamic groups … … ‘The Federation of Student Islamic Societies has identified 40 English universities where there could be a “particular risk” of people being recruited to the youth wing of the UK Conservative Party. National Union of Students president Aaron Porter echoed the concerns raised by Islamic groups. “The problem of conservatism at universities has been apparent for some time, I think we’ve seen a steady increase in incidents on campus,” He said there had been numerous cases of “people wearing barbour jackets”, as well as “hate incidents directed towards the unemployed, the sick and foxes”.’
8 October 2014
[planes] The Human Factor … long-read on the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009 by William Langewiesche … ‘Bonin continued to pull back on the stick, jerkily pitching the nose higher. Was he yearning for the clear sky he believed was just above? Was he remembering an “unreliable airspeed” procedure that is meant for low altitude, where power is ample and the biggest concern is to climb away from the ground? Did he think that the airplane was going too fast? Evidence emerged later that he may have, but if so, why? Even if he did not hear the stall warning, the nose was up, the available thrust was low, and with or without valid indications, high-speed flight in those conditions was physically impossible. A renowned cockpit designer at Boeing—himself a transport pilot—once said to me, “We don’t believe there are any bad pilots. We believe there are average pilots who have bad days.” He called this a principle that underlies Boeing’s cockpit designs. But if Bonin was an average pilot, what does that say about the average?’
7 October 2014
[movies] The League of Gentlemen Vs. 2001‘Dave, my wife tells me there is a block in your toilet!’
6 October 2014
[buffy] Ayn Rand’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer

BUFFY: My shoulders are naked and I am drenched in the blood of my enemies. You are my physical and mental equal. I wish to express my respect for you in the physical embodiment of my ideals: the act of love. Let us have sex now.

ANGEL: Buffy, I can’t. You know that if I were to experience even a moment of perfect happiness I would lose my soul.

BUFFY: This sounds like a problem for you, not a problem for me.

ANGEL: I can’t –

BUFFY: We’ll just do me, then. Kneel.

5 October 2014
[life] 26 Times Waitrose Outright Ruined The Lives Of Decent People‘It would be much easier if Waitrose kept the carrot batons next to the houmous.’
4 October 2014
[comics] Marvel by Moebius. … a gallery of Moebius’ wonderful view of various Marvel characters.
3 October 2014
2 October 2014
[tech] Londoners Give Up Eldest Children In Public Wi-Fi Security Horror Show … seems like a reasonable deal to me! … ‘The experiment, which was backed by European law enforcement agency Europol, involved a group of security researchers setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot in June. When people connected to the hotspot, the terms and conditions they were asked to sign up to included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up.’
1 October 2014
[apple] And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’ … a long, fascinating read on the creation of the iPhone … ‘As early as 2003, a handful of Apple engineers had figured out how to put multitouch technology in a tablet. “The story was that Steve wanted a device that he could use to read e-mail while on the toilet — that was the extent of the product spec,” says Joshua Strickon, one of the earliest engineers on that project.’
30 September 2014
[comics] Nine Comic Books About Jim Gordon And Gotham City Police … a list highlighting some interesting Batman comics … ‘Gotham Central – While the series has great stories like “Soft Targets” and and “Half a Life” — and while the entire series delivers the gritty-crime-in-a-superhero-universe feel that the show aspires to — Gotham viewers will probably be most interested in checking out “Unresolved” (Gotham Central #19 – 22 and handily available in paperback), a story that focuses on Harvey Bullock. At the time, Bullock had been kicked off the force in disgrace after taking the law into his own hands, but the unfinished business of a brutal case involving the Mad Hatter and the Penguin pulls him back in and shows just how far he’s willing to go in the pursuit of justice.’
29 September 2014
[comics] Trash! … an early, little-remembered Alan Moore fumetti comic from 1982.
28 September 2014
[movies] The 10 Best Quotable Films‘Airplane!, 1980 – It’s not just about “Don’t call me Shirley”, surely. Airplane! made shameless use of repetition (“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking / smoking / sniffing glue”), misunderstandings (“Nervous?” / “Yes” / “First time?” / “No, I’ve been nervous lots of times”), and fnar fnar jokes to create one of the most juvenile films of all times – and one that regularly tops “funniest film of all time” lists. Its rapid-fire wordplay is as cringe-inducing as it is amusing, but the deadpan delivery by Leslie Nielsen and co ensures they don’t seem aware of their own comedy.’
27 September 2014
[space] 62 Kilometers above Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko … absolutely stunning picture from the spacecraft Rosetta which continues to orbit the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
26 September 2014
[batman] How To Kill The Batman Book … a striking fake book cover.

How To Kill The Batman

25 September 2014
[life] The Eleven Worst Plants … an amusing list of awful plants … ‘#3 Yucca – Utterly, utterly loathsome. Why is the bottom a hazardous nest of spikes and sticks, while the top is a nauseating puff of white fuzz? Whither so tall? What colors run riot here? Sickly facsimiles of green, pungent half-dead attempts at brown. This is a corpse attempting to revive itself. I would take a flamethrower to the entire San Joaquin valley if I could rid the country of them.’
24 September 2014
[books] Ten things you should know about HP Lovecraft‘Lovecraft died of cancer of the small intestine in 1937. In keeping with his lifelong fascination with science, he kept a detailed diary of his eventually mortal illness. When he died, Lovecraft was buried in Swan Point Cemetery and listed on his mother’s family’s monument. This wasn’t enough for Lovecraft’s fans: in 1977, a group funded and installed a separate headstone. In 1997, a particularly avid fan attempted to dig up Lovecraft’s corpse under the headstone, but gave up after finding nothing from digging three feet.’
23 September 2014
[movies] Jamie Zawinski watches all nine Hellraiser movies… ‘Hellblazer #9 – Revelations: Despite the reviews, I must say, I enjoyed this one! Maybe I was a little punch-drunk by the time I made it this far, though. And anything would be a step up from Hellworld. It starts off with some shaky-cam nonsense, but fortunately they didn’t keep that up. A couple of jerky bro teens go to Mexico, murder a hooker, and pick up a Lament Configuration from some dude in a bar, you know, like you do. Most of the movie is told as a flashback at a dinner party with their jerky family, when one of them escapes from hell and shows up skinless on the veranda. Antics ensue.’
22 September 2014
[movies] Ghostbusting Lovecraft … great analysis of how the movie Ghostbusters beats back H. P. Lovecraft’s worldview …

…the busters’ typical enemies are ghosts of the Poltergeist persuasion, the Big Bad of the movie, a formless alien god from Before Time summoned by a mad cultist-cum-art deco architect, is basically Lovecraftian. From Gozer’s perspective—or the perspective of the Gozer cultist—human beings are small mammals clustered close to the firelight of their pathetic “reason,” etc. etc. etc. Standard Lovecraftian spiel. The skyscraper (and by extension New York and all human civilization) is the illusion. Scratch its skin and you’ll find a heartless alien reality beneath.

But Gozer loses. And the shape and consequences of his loss undercut the Lovecraftian dichotomy between apparent reality and actual horrifying reality. In Ghostbusters that horrorscape isn’t the truth either—it’s a mistaken interpretation of an underlying world that’s gross, evolving, playful, social, compassionate, and way more interesting than the dry surface layer.

21 September 2014
[tech] These Two Guys Tried to Rebuild a Cray Supercomputer … recreating a 1976 supercomputer as a small computer using modern hardware … ‘The thing that turned out to be tricky, actually, was the software. No one had preserved a copy of the Cray operating system. Not the Computer History Museum. Not the U.S. government. It was just gone. Fenton searched high and low, eventually finding an old disc pack that contained a later version of the Cray OS…’
20 September 2014
[politics] Daily Mash: Government Policy To Be Anecdote-Based‘Some of the anecdotes we’ve gathered are frankly shocking. Apparently there’s a man in Chester who’s signing on but gets a new 52” TV and a massive slap-up curry delivered to his house every day. Yes, every day. Anecdotes have also been helpful in David Cameron’s anti-porn campaign, with one Mumsnet user reporting that her son had stumbled across images of large-breasted milfs after typing ‘GCSE revision guides’ into Google.’
19 September 2014
[movies] How ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Went From In-Joke to Blockbuster … on the comic book origins of the TMNT franchise … ‘The Turtles literally started out as a joke. Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were comic-artist wannabes when they spent a November 1983 evening doodling the masked, weaponized reptiles to entertain themselves. Each adjective in Turtles’ title represented a hot superhero-comic trend at the time — mutants were the stars of Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men; DC’s New Teen Titans had teenage protagonists; and future Sin City impresario Frank Miller had stuffed his groundbreaking run on Daredevil full of ninjas. By throwing it all together atop a funny-animal framework — which, from Carl Barks’ Donald Duck to Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck, had long been a route to comic-book gold — Eastman and Laird simply obeyed the Spinal Tap doctrine of cranking it to eleven.’
18 September 2014
[scotland] This Is What It Will Be Like If Scotland Votes For Independence‘Queen: You lost a whole bloody country, you dishfaced twat.’

Angry Queen Punches PM

17 September 2014
[funny] Werner Herzog’s Note To His Cleaning Lady‘I have conquered volcanoes and visited the bitter depths of the earth’s oceans. Nothing I have witnessed, from lava to crustacean, assailed me liked the caked debris haunting that small plastic soap hammock in the smaller of the bathrooms. Nausea is not a sufficient word.’
16 September 2014
[gif] The Thin Yellow Line … astounding animated GIF of a crowd leaving Wembley stadium. [via jzw]
15 September 2014
[books] Don Estelle: Sing Lofty (Thoughts of a Gemini) – An important and definitive guide … Scary Duck reads Don Estelle’s autobiography so we don’t have to … ‘If there’s one thing that stands out from Sing Lofty it’s this: Despite his prodigious singing voice, he was certainly no writer. And this comes out in his haphazard style, swinging from one subject to the next, recalling his exact mortgage payment at the time of the Suez Crisis and the name, address and post code of every booking he ever had, to his (probably righteous) rage at his lack of TV work after It Ain’t Half Hot Mum finished. If there’s an alternative title for this book, it’ll be Modern Life Is Shit… ‘
14 September 2014
[people] In conversation with Werner Herzog: ‘Facts do not constitute truth’ … highlights from an evening with the eccentric movie director in Brooklyn …

Holdengräber reminded him of the dictum, attributed to Blaise Pascal, that opens Lessons of Darkness, Herzog’s 1992 documentary: “The collapse of the stellar universe will occur – like creation – in grandiose splendour.”

Herzog repeated it. He said, “Actually, Pascal didn’t write that. I wrote that.”

Holdengräber said: “But it sounds so very like Pascal.”

“Pascal should have written it,” Herzog said, of the 17th-century philosopher. “That’s why I signed his name.”

13 September 2014
[comics] The Moon Knight Portfolio … another gallery of art by Bill Sienkiewicz and Christie Scheele from 1983.
12 September 2014
[wisdom] The original hand-written Oblique Strategies … by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1974 … ‘Honor thy error as hidden intention.’

Original Oblique Strategies