The trouble with leaving it so long between posts is where to begin, when the news keeps piling up and being newsworthy. A Hurricane Sandy post-mortem? Obama’s re-election? The Jimmy Savile fallout? Or how about on the home front: the whole family coming down with a virus for two weeks? Edging towards a start-date for building work on our attic, which we’ve been working towards all year? Zürich, which we visited in October—or Switzerland, for that matter, which I’ve now visited five times in two years, and am soon to visit again for work? It would all need so many words to do it justice, yet once again I have to write more words of assignment feedback instead.
I really shouldn’t have abandoned the post-a-little-every-day idea, as it’s the only way to chip away at this stuff. Maybe I’ll reward myself with a post or two between feedback sheets.
Read More · 15 November 2012
Depressing Greek parallels with Nazism in the rise of Golden Dawn. The clue is in the flag.
Wilma Hurskainen’s Growth is one of the better examples of this kind of photo project. They’re a bit of a growth industry.
It takes more than 21 days to form a habit. And, as the collapse in daily posting to this blog showed in May, less than 21 days to break it.
Can the Wachowskis top The Matrix?
Stem cells bring back feeling for paralysed patients. Not just any old stem cells, either. Coming soon to an episode of The Moral Maze near you.
The four biggest bubbles of the last forty years.
7 September 2012
Some incredible DNA research was reported recently: we now have a better-quality genome from a few fragments of Denisovan bone found since 2008 than we have from all the Neanderthal bones found in history. And as with Neanderthal genes in all populations outside Africa, some of those Denisovan genes persist in Pacific and Asian populations today.
This is the kind of news you stumble across when you’re spotting untapped words to write limericks about.
In the frosty Siberian ground,
A Denisovan pinky was found.
Its genes have revealed
The truth it concealed:
Descendants, still roaming around.
7 September 2012
Neil Armstrong’s close call. Armstrong recorded an hour-long interview last year in an unlikely venue.
Rhesus Christ! (Sadly, I can’t claim credit for that line, which comes from the comments.)
Flight of the Conchords go Band Aid with “Feel Inside (and Stuff Like That)”.
Jumbo fingerprints made by Kevin Van Aelst.
I won’t get to see A Touch of Cloth until it hits DVD soon, but here are The Making Of, a Charlie Brooker interview, and (for post-viewing consumption) Charlie Brooker and Dan Maier in The Writers’ Room.
The world’s new wonder material (via MeFi, like a few others here).
28 August 2012
A great meditation on identity and authorship, which could apply to more than book-writing.
What is the internet? by Paul Miller, who’s taking a year off from it.
A perfect Japanese word: Tsundoku (n.) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread.
Read More · 20 August 2012 · x1
Nikola Tesla’s letterhead was a thing of beauty.
England as seen by Americans.
A Conversation With My 12-Year-Old Self deserves the buzz it’s been getting.
One young man’s tribute to Trololo.
The IRL Fetish.
I doubt I’ll ever read Finnegans Wake, but Michael Chabon’s account of doing so is a great read.
Tantalising glimpses of Sibelius’s 8th Symphony, which maybe, just maybe, could emerge one day. Forget shoring up Nokia, all Finland’s efforts should be focused on this.
Jimmy Wales on when to use Wikipedia as a source.
Running a desktop computer apparently costs twenty times as much as charging an iPad. But of course there are things iPads can’t run, such as Flash. Fortunately, you can do anything on your iPad at HTML5 ZOMBO.COM.
Depressing news: an invasive plant is killing wombats. First koalas, then Tassie devils, and now this. Before long Australia will be down to Eastern greys and tiger snakes.
15 July 2012
Interview with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
Interview with safecracker Ken Doyle. Thanks, Paul.
Small world: as I was enjoying these BBC readers’ pictures of the transit of Venus I realised one of them was taken by my cousin in Deniliquin.
Elisha Emerson @7x20:
I’m pretending you’re a computer, my small son said and stared at me until I cried.
Read More · 17 June 2012
This break wasn’t intentional, but at marking time it was probably inevitable. Normal service will resume soon; in the meantime, some links.
The flying stegosauri of 1,000,000 B.C.
Pop’s most significant errand.
Tiny police chase.
Total Paperclips of the Heart.
Take Me Home, Ray Bradbury’s last published story. The Illustrated Man was one of the defining books of my childhood; his stories were all a bookish kid could have wished for. When I hit the atmosphere, I’ll burn like a meteor.
12 June 2012
Webuyanycat.com is web parody in the finest tradition, along with sister sites Cats4Gold (“swap your shabby tat for a tabby cat”) and Cat Converters. Turns out it’s a subtle viral campaign, but with puns like these who cares.
Speaking of cats worth buying, we introduced W. today to the joys of Maru. Great to see he’s still going.
Popular has been immortalised by Saint Etienne. Blimey.
The Seven Realities of Social Networking.
Daleks of Scotland.
Feeling deflated after the end of the excellent The Bridge. Bring us Series Three of The Killing, quick!
22 May 2012
How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet.
Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine on record company skullduggery:
The contract we did in 2001 basically gave me ownership of the tapes, and then ... when the new regime came in, the tapes disappeared. That was relevant because even though I was the owner, it would only revert back to me if I remastered from the original tapes—if the tapes were gone, I couldn’t remaster from them and hence I couldn’t ever own them.
Easter Island heads have bodies.
Historical perspectives on the LEGO gender gap [via Mefi]. Further reading: When Lego lost its head and Lego Club membership—are you a girl, or are you normal?
Small, Far Away: The World of Father Ted.
20 May 2012
Charlie Brooker attempts to reconnect with popular culture:
It is the worst film that has ever co-starred Anthony Hopkins and Stellan Skarsgård, unless they’ve teamed up to make Vileda Supermop: the Movie while I was sleeping.
14 May 2012
Teeny tiny things (in Russki, via Meefski). Click the links that say “как это делается” to see how each one was made, and marvel at their ingenuity.
2 May 2012
Oh man, I’m dying here: Melodica Cover of the Jurassic Park Theme Song (thanks, James). In the same vein, wheeze along to The Bodyguard Theme Song.
Speaking of wheezing: The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of this recharger (via Twitter).
30 April 2012
I’m not sure if this is still worth doing now that third parties fill the gap, but here’s another batch of Twitter archives (see previously). I only started archiving them because I didn’t trust that Twitter would last, and maybe in the long run that’s still true. I’ve been using it mainly as a links blog anyway, and have posted many of those links here this year, but not everything has made it across. I couldn’t be bothered checking for link duplication below, but have omitted a few course-related tweets and some featured in earlier posts. Either way, there’s bound to be a link or retweet here worth a look.
Read More · 28 April 2012
The stuff of nightmares: a brilliant account of the sinking of the ferry Estonia in 1994 [via Mefi].
Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?
Lonely Boy (slow to start, but stick around until the halfway mark).
21 April 2012
The siren songs of telly and sleep were too strong tonight, so I didn’t post the links I had queued up. This note tapped out on the iPad will have to serve as placeholder. [Next morning:] Okay, here are the links I was going to post.
Meet the New Boss, Worse Than the Old Boss? A long piece questioning whether the digital model of music distribution is better for the artist.
The Guardian’s Battle for the internet series, for future reference.
Isaac Asimov imagines digital learning in the Electronic Age (1989). Why are so many surprised that one of the leading hard-SF writers was good at predicting technological trends? (See also Arthur C. Clarke.)
The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future. I liked Tom Ewing’s response: “This may all be true but, ah, so what? Expecting a paradigm shift every five years isn’t ‘disruptive’ or ‘innovative’, it’s just greedy.”
Hacking the Non-Disposable Planet. Lots of interesting ideas here, but I’m not sure that hackstability is likely just because it’s an attractive alternative to collapse. Surely it still needs an oil-replacement and the world’s coastal areas not to be flooded.
20 April 2012
The FT interviews Larry David.
A clever take on the influence of Photoshop on modern standards of beauty.
Stock and flow and Dance the flip-flop, from Robin Sloan, author of Fish (which I have now Looked At several times).
Over at MetaFilter, a MetaTalk post asked to hear from active users who have been there the longest. I chipped in with my own Mefi memories, which I will now quote in their entirety (with an edit or two) below the Read More fold. Because I can.
Read More · 16 April 2012
Every “Exterminate” From Doctor Who. Nearly as many as you’d hear in a typical lunchtime in my primary school playground.
Peter Serafinowicz’s Dalek Relaxation Tape—one of the finest moments of his recent 6Music run. Hearing this on the podcast almost had me doubling up in the sauces aisle of Tesco. Almost as good as the T-WOG$.
9 April 2012 · x1
The discovery of feathered tyrannosaur Yutyrannus huali reinforces what palaeontologists like Jack Horner have long said: birds are latterday dinosaurs. Which means that all those cartoons showing cavemen living alongside dinosaurs weren’t wrong after all. Exhibit A; Exhibit B.
Six months ago: Trove of Dinosaur Feathers Found in Canadian Amber.
4 April 2012
I’m limping to the finishing line for March without any inspiration at all, having used up my February buffer completely. But if I can make this entry 112 words long, the average since January 1 reaches 274 and I win! (For now.) What I win is another question entirely.
Read More · 31 March 2012
Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing under plans being considered by a Lancashire council. “You can see where this is going,” tweeted Glyn Moody. Sequencing the dog mess genome? Surely not cloning the stuff.
The spectacular rise and fall of a space shuttle booster rocket [via Mefi].
17 March 2012
Rolling Stone on Climate Change and the End of Australia.
I don’t always feel very triumphant, but apparently I am.
Kurt Vonnegut’s letter home after being freed from Slaughterhouse Five.
Traiiiins innnn spaaaaaace!
The Curator’s Guide to the Galaxy, a proposal to formalize “via” links online. The problem is that I can’t remember where I found half of these links by the time I post them (probably Metafilter, but possibly not). But hey, squiggles.
“I’m not a ‘curator’”—that’s more like it. Squiggle Stephen Poole.
Anil Dash on taming web comments. Not a problem right here, where the comments boxes are like those shop counters in sleepy towns where the proprietor rushes in from another room looking surprised whenever someone wants to buy something.
Photos 1: The Poverty Line by Stefen Chow.
Photos 2: Car Poolers by Alejandro Cartagena.
Photos 3: Sea Change by Michael Marten.
The Clouds have reformed, hooray! They should use one of these (by Berndnaut Smilde) as their next album cover.
Why Finish Books?
14 March 2012
Before and after the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong by William D. Nordhaus.
The Body Counter.
Adam Curtis: The Ghost of the Colonels
Infinite Stupidity: “We might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we’re being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet.”
Those Fabulous Confabs, on TED, its imitators and its critics [via Mefi].
Those fabulous phasmids: the rediscovery and rescue of an enormous Australian insect.
4 March 2012
“Last month TfL applied to issue anti-social behaviour orders which would not only stop [a group of urban explorers] undertaking further expeditions and blogging about urban exploration but also prohibit them from carrying equipment that could be used for exploring after dark. Extraordinarily, it also stipulates they should not be allowed to speak to each other for the duration of the order—10 years.”
China Miéville on Apocalyptic London (soon to be expanded).
Skilled migrants to lose the right to settle in UK. Theresa May replaces carrot with turnip.
Why is the Sun prioritising benefit fraud when the tax gap is 100 times bigger? Why is the Pope Catholic?
Banksy on advertising.
3 March 2012
Marie Colvin’s final report: “We live in fear of a massacre.”
Joseph Stiglitz: “A banking system is supposed to serve society, not the other way around.”
The Australian mining industry’s big lie.
Eternal Copyright: a modest proposal.
How audio engineers tweak music for the iPod age.
The Difference [via Mefi]. Also: being God is a big responsibility.
“Brainstorming seems like an ideal technique, a feel-good way to boost productivity. But there is a problem with brainstorming. It doesn’t work.”
How do you become fluent in 11 languages?
“Everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne.”
A blog about creative uses of paper.
The Machete Order for watching the Star Wars saga. This is actually pretty convincing; I’m going to try it out on my experimental subject, er, son.
A scale Lego model of the Death Star would be 3.5km across, would cost US$10 trillion in bricks, would have to be built in low-earth orbit to support its weight, and at that height would eclipse the sun. And my son would still want one for his birthday.
26 February 2012
Rhodri Marsden asked Twitter for people’s worst Valentine’s Day experiences and stories of awful dates, and got back plenty of pithiness and pathos.
Romance Novels, The Last Great Bastion of Underground Writing. Don’t miss the jaw-dropping synopsis of The Sheik.
The Death of the Cyberflâneur by Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion (which this might even inspire me to read at last). His model of cyberflânerie seems to be old-skool blogging of the LinkMachineGo kind.
The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World. I don’t know about “most”, as it’s missing some wonderful bookshops I’ve seen myself, but there are certainly some impressive ones here.
It’s a Snap! by Henry and Aaron: probably the most amusing TAFE recruitment video ever. Made me homesick for Australia, and went some way to making up for that Gina Rinehart poem. Warning for the faint of heart: you might faint.
The competing claims for the Falklands. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what unsettles me about Argentina’s claims, and I think it’s the echoes of Indonesia’s stance towards East Timor and West Papua. But the parallels aren’t exact.
[All via Mefi: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.]
19 February 2012
The Ministry of Justice claims that the Freedom of Information Act has not improved government. This quote in particular is a sign of serious cognitive dissonance: “civil servants believed freedom of information was not being used to increase accountability, but instead by journalists fishing for a story”. Some civil servants seem not to understand the first thing about modern democracy. (A pertinent link via Heather Brooke.)
Nick Cohen on the Twitter joke trial appeal: Where are the judges fit for the internet age?
Al Murray on same: Problem is, the law don’t do funny.
Matthias Lenke’s macrophotography (not serious business, but seriously good).
16 February 2012
I’ve been collecting useful links on ACTA, the international equivalent of SOPA, and had been meaning to post some here; but events are outpacing them, with political support for the treaty in at least some European countries fast collapsing. Still, here they are. Glyn Moody’s Twitter feed is a good source for the latest updates.
Read More · 16 February 2012
A colleague and I ran a guest session on e-learning in one of our school’s other masters programmes yesterday, part of which was a practical exercise exploring different ways of delivering and discussing information online. The focus of the exercise (which was fairly arbitrary) was on how to nurture creativity. One group watched a couple of TED talks, by Ken Robinson and Elizabeth Gilbert, which are both good viewing if you haven’t seen them yet. The other looked for whatever they could on the web. Then they paired up online to discuss their impressions.
I did the same search myself alongside the second group, combing through pages of Google hits to uncover the following. A few of these look like sites worth returning to, and they’re all worth a look.
Read More · 15 February 2012
I was going to post something more sensible tonight, but I’ve been idly browsing Regretsy and OH MY GOD, SLEEVE SCARF AND BLUE TIGHTS MAN and OH MY GOD, CROCHETED VIKING BEARDS. Actually, the beards are pretty cool. I have some friends who would be prime candidates for those.
Bonus Oh-My-God-ness: John Lennon Charcoal Picture.
14 February 2012
I’m not really one for reading parent blogs, but this blog by a father about his daughter as a baby and then a toddler is hilarious, or at least what I’ve read so far is. Just a tiny taste of the wisdom it contains:
One Way To Tell When You Are Becoming An Adult
You start to root for the Coyote instead of the Road Runner.
13 February 2012
Oh no, the Beeminder yellow brick road is starting to oppress me... I have a four-thousand-word ace up my sleeve, but I’m not ready to play it just yet. In the meantime, I need to post at least 215 words today to keep on track. Here they come, one link at a time.
Read More · 10 February 2012
If you are or have ever been a cat owner, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “Boy, I sure do love my cat. I would do anything for her, as shown by my willingness to open this disgustingly fishy-smelling tin of cat food. And that isn’t just because tiny cat parasites have invaded my brain and modified my behaviour, making me (as a male cat-owner) more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules.” Well, you might want to think again about that. [Via Mefi.]
9 February 2012
Darkness, une très amusant webcomic (or, more accurately, webbandesdesinee) written and drawn in 26 hours [via Mefi].
Eagles Are Turning People Into Horses. Also: The Kiss. Also: Next Time on Lonny. [Mefi again.]
Box Canvas Print of Paul Ross at Amazon. For the comments.
3 February 2012
Just in case you were feeling sorry for yourself: A Letter to My Old Master. Great ending.
1 February 2012
Two brilliant and related webcomics: Star Wars age 9 and Alien age 11 [via Mefi]. Makes me once again regret this moment of madness.
31 January 2012
If you’ve ever looked at a monster truck tyre and thought, “I could totally climb inside that and roll around in it,” dream no more. Dynosphere Auto Runs on One Wheel (1932): “Speeds of thirty miles an hour, with two occupying the seat, have been comfortably attained.” [Via io9, which is actually starting to draw me into the Gawkersphere in a way that Lifehacker and Gizmodo hadn’t.]
29 January 2012
“Research has long backed the therapeutic value of diary-keeping for teenage girls and boys. But according to a new study, when teenagers detail their woes onto a blog, the therapeutic value is even greater. Blogging, it seems, can be good for you.” Psychiatric validation at last.
29 January 2012
A nostalgia trip for those of a certain age who loved The Kenny Everett Show (where I first saw it): Bambi Meets Godzilla.
Yes, it’s another day where I have no time to meet my 274-word target, only the post-a-day one. Don’t worry, they won’t last forever.
27 January 2012
Angry Birds Is No Super Artillery: or, What Kids These Days Don’t Learn From Technology, from the excellently named Nobody Reads Your Blog: “The assumption that kids naturally learn technology just by being left alone with it is fundamentally flawed. It is flawed for one major historical reason: it is based on observations about my generation. And since we’ve grown up, technology has evolved to the point where kids no longer need to learn the inner workings of a computer just to make it run.”
That’s Not Online!
What were you raised by wolves?
This timelapse video of Yosemite is the second I’ve seen in a week that uses M83 to soundtrack a time-manipulated video. The other was about surfing at Teahupo‘o and used “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun”. Both worth a watch and a listen.
23 January 2012
Some relevant links collected during today’s SOPA blackouts, from Twitter, Metafilter and Metatalk.
Read More · 18 January 2012
Uh-oh. Better post a link before midnight, or I’ll turn into a pumpkin.
The world’s smallest unit of magnetic storage, using just 96 atoms to create one byte of data.
16 January 2012
I missed this in August: 25 minutes of new music from Röyksopp, on their site for free. But hang on: turns out I also missed a whole year’s worth.
12 January 2012 · x1
A bunch of links trawled from Mefi, Twitter and elsewhere.
Read More · 12 January 2012
Looking for children’s gift ideas for next Christmas? How about a Safe, Harmless Giant Atomic Bomb? Or another of these dozen nuclear toys (not all guaranteed safe and harmless)?
I was trying to think of War on Terror equivalents, but I doubt there’s much mileage in a Safe, Harmless Towel and Bucket.
10 January 2012
The Corpus of Historical American English looks like a great resource for limerick etymologists and other word fanciers. For some reason the rise and fall of mustn’t caught my attention. [Via Mefi.]
8 January 2012
My Pingu-loving four-year-old must never see this: Pingu vs The Thing [via Mefi]. Or not for ten years, at least.
4 January 2012
With this update for December 2011, the Feed is closed again. Stick around here instead for all your 2012 links-blogging needs.
4 January 2012
Weblog in 2007