On the Thin Ice

Easter Craiglockhart Hill Nature Reserve, Edinburgh, 8 February 2015.
Easter Craiglockhart Hill Nature Reserve, Edinburgh, 8 February 2015.

Honk. (Mouseover: Quack.)

9 February 2015 · · Journal

Tsubu Tsubu

Chocolates that represent Japanese onomatopoeic words to describe texture.

The Hundred Birds Project.

The threshold effect.

Half of the DNA found on the New York subway matches no known organism.

Funding cuts in Australia prompt young scientist to reject prestigious fellowship.

The joy of a deadpan Amazon review when you least expect it. Nice punchline in the comments.

Let’s talk crap.

7 February 2015 · · Weblog

Cultural Churn

Google’s romance with librarians is over.

Cory Doctorow: It would be madness to hand over our archives to VCs (Boing Boing).

All my blogs are dead (“so I’ve started backing up my work”: oh dear, oh dear).

Social media explained with donuts.

Has instant news left us hungry for slow-burning stories?

How Twitter makes money.

Why did everybody do the Harlem Shake?

Twitter CEO addresses the platform’s persistent harassment issues.

Mark Ames of The eXile on the geometry of censorship and satire.

7 February 2015 · · Weblog

Boom! Shake it Off, the Room

Alan Partridge quotes on Taylor Swift pictures. Because.

Mad archery skills.

“A part of me wants to build monuments to myself. But another part of me wants to disappear completely.”

Africa’s quiet solar revolution.

Paul Krugman: “Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves.”

Have a dekko at Cathy Wilcox’s grouse cartoon A-Z of all things Oz.

It's now impossible to satirise Tony Abbott.

South Sydney 55 Wests Tigers 11.

The making of a climate refugee.

Ancient human jawbone surfaces off coast of Taiwan.

How to eradicate grey squirrels without firing a shot.

The ATM bombers.

31 January 2015 · · Weblog

Je suis grand, je contiens des multitudes

A few final links on Charlie Hebdo I missed before, plus some further thoughts first posted in the giant Metafilter thread about them.

Je suis Charlie? It’s a bit late.

“All eyes are on us, we’ve become a symbol.”

How the “survival issue” was made.

“It’s okay, you’re alive, you’ll be able to keep drawing me.”

Read More · 31 January 2015 · · Events

Adventures in Prodgers

When I first moved to Edinburgh in 2001, I spent a lot of time in its second-hand and antiquarian bookshops, which were more prevalent then than they are now. On one visit I found a small hardback with a title and author that seemed to come from one of those “awful books” compilations, and picked it up for a pound on a whim.

Read More · 22 January 2015 · x2 · Site News

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Why the modern world is bad for your brain.

Algorithms aren’t gods, they’re caricatures.

Has David Cameron really gone to war on encryption? He can’t ban it... but if he gets his way he won’t have to.

Fascism arrives as your friend.

Jon Ronson interviews Adam Curtis on his forthcoming film Bitter Lake.

Electricity plants.

Everything that could wipe out humanity in one handy infographic.

21 January 2015 · · Weblog

Knit Your Own Owl

“The stories we absorb seem to shape our thought processes in much the same way lived experience does.”

Philip K. Dick: A Day in the Afterlife.

Satellite images reveal the extent of Boko Haram’s destruction in Baga. I posted a MetaFilter thread on the attacks the other day.

Week one of the new EU VAT rules. Terrible for digital small businesses.

Ship Your Enemies Glitter. Offer may not be available in the EU.

Dutch universities dig in for a long fight over open access.

Why the EU doesn’t need new anti-terrorism legislation. It isn’t as if there aren’t other laws that could be used to prosecute. Pretty obvious and old ones.

“There’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it.”

David Hicks “has every right to sue the current Australian government for false imprisonment”.

Read More · 18 January 2015 · · Weblog

The Mysterious Floating Attention Span

Cory Doctorow: How laws restricting technology expose us to greater harm.

Who invented the fake Ayn Rand film review?

The mysterious floating orb.

Graham Linehan on Count Arthur Strong. I love the TV series more than I ever did the radio show.

Tom Stoppard on the real thing.

What we’ve lost by changing the way we sleep.

How Lego became the Apple of toys.

Boko Haram escapee’s harrowing story.

12 January 2015 · · Weblog

Le vrai Charlie

Charlie Hebdo’s Zineb El Rhazoui on her colleagues (English translation) (French original).

Portraits of editorial meetings at Charlie Hebdo before the massacre and after.

Cartoonists Ted Rall, Cathy Wilcox, Ruben Bolling and Robert Crumb on Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo victim was “a friend of Islam, Turkey”.

A longtime reader’s letter to my British friends.

Charlie Hebdo and the right to be offended.

Why is the response to a strike against free speech more surveillance?

The biggest hypocrites marching for free speech in Paris.

[Most links via Mefi.]

12 January 2015 · · Events

Qui est cet Charlie Hebdo?

My first reaction to the events in Paris this week was, obviously, dismay, not just that this depressing drumbeat of the 21st century was still sounding, but that this time the target was a satirical magazine, an enterprise close to my heart. My only previous exposure to Charlie Hebdo had been seeing it at magazine stands in French-speaking countries, but I knew it was something like the French Private Eye, and that was enough to empathize with the French people’s reaction to, not just an act of terror, but an attack on a beloved national institution.

Read More · 10 January 2015 · · Events

Comic 8.1.15 part 1

Read More · 8 January 2015 · x1 · Comics

January 2015