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22 September 2011
[books] Has Neal Stephenson Become Too Accessible?‘Putting aside the daunting question of how even a writer of Stephenson’s talents could continue to keep topping himself every time out, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t head in a different direction every now and then. What’s more — I thoroughly enjoyed “Reamde.” I couldn’t put it down — which, for a thriller, has got to be the highest praise. Despite its 1,000-plus pages, “Reamde” moves right along.’
21 September 2011
[momentOfMoore] How Alan Moore Introduced Himself To American Readers… ‘When he is an old man, he will look like the evil twin brother of Father Christmas.’
20 September 2011
[comics] Why We Will Read Cerebus … another attempt to evaluate Dave Sim and Cerebus … ‘[Dave Sim] is a very smart man, and even at his worst he expresses his (often completely illogical) ideas with such forceful conviction that you cannot help imagine yourself in some kind of personal dialogue with him. After reading 300 issues of Cerebus, the reader feels / believes / thinks that he or she knows Sim. Tim Callahan is right to stress the fact that Cerebus is “as autobiographical as any comic book ever written.” That is precisely why it is so hard to separate the man from the work. It’s not just that Sim’s ideas permeate the book, it’s that Sim permeates the book, to the point where any discussion of the book inevitably devolves into a discussion of Sim himself.’
19 September 2011
[comics] Brannon Costello Interviewed By Tom Spurgeon … interesting interview discussing Howard Chaykin – Costello has just compiled a book of interviews with Chaykin‘I’d also argue that Chaykin was the most successful of the design-oriented mainstream artists up until the mid-1980s to use design not just for dramatic effect but also to develop a set of themes or even an ideological worldview. And I think the fact that Chaykin continues to work steadily in the mainstream, using pop comics as a vehicle to explore new angles on his recurring themes and obsessions in his own voice and with a great deal of craft, is remarkable. He’s not the only creator of his era still doing that sort of work, but he’s one of a few, and certainly one of the most prolific.’
16 September 2011
[movies] Silent Running Movie Poster … lovely poster in that 70’s movie poster/book cover style …

Silent Running Poster

15 September 2011
[twitter] The insane ramblings of Betfair Poker on Twitter … Betfair Poker seems to have had a corporate breakdown on Twitter‘I’ve invented a new kind of pizza. I’ve replaced the cheese with disappointment.’
14 September 2011
[comics] The V for Vendetta mask: a political sign of the times‘More than 100,000 [V For Vendetta] masks a year are now being sold.’
[wordpress] How to upgrade WordPress via SSH … this is my #1 geek tip for using WordPress … ‘If you know how to log in via SSH (Secure Shell Access), then you will be able to upgrade your WordPress site in three minutes or less by using the following lines of code.’
13 September 2011
[web] Go Look: In 60 Seconds On the Internet… ‘694,445 Search Queries’
[life] A Deathbed Story I Would Never Tell … a story about a stopped clock and Richard Feynman’s Wife …

I’m thinking about the great American physicist, Richard Feynman, sitting in New Mexico, at the bed of his dying wife. He’d been called, and told that she had only hours to live; he’d hitchhiked from Los Alamos, where he was working on the top secret atomic bomb project. It was 1945.

He walks to her bedside, kisses her; she is breathing shallow breaths. We are still at war and six weeks later, America will explode its first atomic bomb. He stands there, sits there, watches her, kisses her, and very quietly, the Hodgkin’s disease that had attacked her young body takes her. She was in her 20s, he was 27. They’d been married only two years. The nurse records the time of death: 9:21 p.m. He is empty with loss. What few things she had, he packs up; he arranges for a cremation, walks back into her room and sees that the clock had strangely stopped ticking. The hands are frozen at 9:21, the very moment of her death.

I know how this story would feel to me. It would be as though the universe had somehow noticed what had happened, that some invisible hand slipped into my world and pointed, as if to say, “We know. This is part of the plan.”

So many of us, I think, would have this sense. Lawrence Krauss, in his new biography of Feynman, Quantum Man, says, “We seem to be hard-wired to find that what happens to each of us naturally appears to take on a special significance and meaning, even if it’s an accident.” But Feynman, he says, was unable to think that way. He couldn’t and he wouldn’t.

What he did was, he remembered that the clock had been fragile. He had been asked to fuss with it; he’d fixed it several times. In his memoirs (that is, in his version of this story), he says the nurse must have picked up the clock to determine the time of death, unsettled the workings inside, and the clock stopped. No miracle. Just an ordinary, accidental jostle. Here he is, describing a moment of enormous significance, and he won’t allow a Signifier.

12 September 2011
[life] Modern Love – When an Ex Blogs, Is it O.K. to Watch? … a NYT writer on blog stalking … ‘I knew all the daily ups and downs of someone I had not laid eyes on in two decades. And let’s face it, at this point that kind of intimacy usually comes only with someone you live with, someone you have to listen to, someone with whom you have no choice. But I had a choice. I pictured myself as ex’s shrink, the old-fashioned kind who doesn’t say much as you lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling. The undercurrent of despair in his posts was real. Was he asking for help?’
9 September 2011
[google] How Google Dominates Us … a profile of Google from James Gleick… ‘…your search history reveals plenty-as Levy says, “your health problems, your commercial interests, your hobbies, and your dreams.” Your response to advertising reveals even more, and with its advertising programs Google began tracking the behavior of individual users from one Internet site to the next. They observe our every click (where they can) and they measure in milliseconds how long it takes us to decide. If they didn’t, their results wouldn’t be so uncannily effective. They have no rival in the depth and breadth of their data mining. They make statistical models for everything they know, connecting the small scales with the large, from queries and clicks to trends in fashion and season, climate and disease. It’s for your own good-that is Google’s cherished belief.’
8 September 2011
[comics] Bargain Bin #6: Alex & Droogs … What If Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was a comic book?

Alex & Droogs

7 September 2011
6 September 2011
[life] Hugging: fear the feel and do it anyway … a Guardian writer visits a Cuddle Workshop … I’ve never been a hugger. As far as I’m concerned, the words “hello” and “goodbye” are perfectly valid ways to tell people that you’ve a) arrived and b) decided to leave. Smooshing your bodies together on top of that seems like overkill. The process is fraught with unanswered questions. What if I go in for a hug but the recipient expects only a peck on the cheek? What if I miscalculate my approach and end up burying my face in their neck? What if it’s a warm day? Should I draw attention to my sweaty back?
5 September 2011
[books] The Book Collection That Devoured My Life‘I do have a few hundred books that I reread or consult fairly regularly, and I have a lot of books pertaining to whatever current or future projects I have on the fire, and I have many, many books speculatively pointing toward some project that is still barely a gleam in my eye. I have a lot of books that I need for reference, especially now that I live 40 minutes away from the nearest really solid library. I have some books that exist in the same capacity as the more recondite tools in the chest of a good carpenter — you may not need it more than once in 20 years, but it’s awfully nice to have it there when you do. Primarily, though, books function as a kind of external hard drive for my mind — my brain isn’t big enough to do all the things it wants or needs to do without help.’
31 August 2011
[comics] Masked Anonymous Protesters Aid Time Warner’s Profits‘The mask resonates with the hackers because it was worn by a rogue anarchist challenging an authoritarian government in “V for Vendetta,” the movie produced in 2006 by Warner Brothers. What few people seem to know, though, is that Time Warner, one of the largest media companies in the world and parent of Warner Brothers, owns the rights to the image and is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask.’
30 August 2011
[wordpress] Take 5 Minutes to Make WordPress 10 Times More Secure … If you’re running WordPress you probably should take the time to read this.
29 August 2011
[comics] Grant Morrison on the Death of Comics … a non-standard interview with Morrison – well worth reading if you follow his work …

With comics, the quality now is better than it’s ever been, there are more people now who are really good at what they do, doing what they do. Everything’s available for free, I think that’s the real problem, nobody wants to buy it anymore. One comes out, you see it immediately online and you can read it. That’s the way people want to consume their information, the colors look nicer. I think that’s more the problem, but that’s a problem for everybody, it’s not just for comics, everyone’s going to start feeling that one.’ — Morrison discussing the death-spiral of superhero comic books

25 August 2011
[comics] A post on Scans Daily revisiting the first issue of ROM Spaceknight from 1979‘ROM SPACEKNIGHT issue 1 gives us all of the pieces of the story that will span nearly 80 issues. It starts out like a 50s sci-fi monster movie, only the strange being from outer space is actually here to help humanity, but because of his foreboding appearance and the ambiguity of his actions (and the general suspiciousness of folk in the Marvel universe), he’s believed to be a rampaging monster. Meanwhile, the enemy he has hunted for two centuries appears to be regular people, due to their shapeshifting abilities. An everyman human meets the “alien monster” and the beginning of a friendship is formed, and we learn the broad strokes of ROM’s origin: a highly advanced culture, with little to no martial presence took a great chance on an untested and dangerous technology, leaving its defenders with diminished “humanity” that they will always pine for.’
24 August 2011
[funny] Go Look: Herbert West, Data Entry Specialist‘REAL MEN DON’T USE MENUS.’
23 August 2011
22 August 2011
[tech] Gizmodo: Unedited Thoughts About Technology Better Left Unposted … On Nerds:

You know more about technology than anybody else, and anybody who knows less than you is a total dipshit. I love you for that. But normal people deserve wonderful technology too. And half the shit you call computing-running custom ROMs, reinstalling OSes, fucking with network settings-is like a chef sharpening his knives over and over and calling that cooking. Real computing is the actual stuff you do-cutting videos, editing photos, writing. Or at least it should be. Not the shit people do to make all of that work.

20 August 2011
[web] TinEye Reverse Image Search … this is a useful way of searching for images – especially if you want to credit the creator of an image you’ve found on the web … ‘TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.’
19 August 2011
[web] Google’s Official List of Bad Words‘boob, boobs, booobs, boooobs, booooobs, booooooobs, breasts’
18 August 2011
[life] Tetrapharmakos … Epicurus’ four-part cure for leading a happy life …

“The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety,” writes D. S. Hutchinson.

17 August 2011
[useful] Super Remove Dead Tracks‘Surveys iTunes for tracks whose files are no longer available (so-called “dead” tracks, as indicated by a “!” next to their names) and removes them.’

16 August 2011
[life] The Digital Storage of Analog Memories … how to let go of keepsakes and tchotchkes … ‘Do you have a bunch of physical items stuck in storage? Objects you’ve kept over time that you can’t get rid of because you have a set of memories attached to them? Objects are keystones of memory, but pictures of those objects are still adequate keystones…’