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

Rise Up

Bread is a large number of small holes entirely surrounded by bread. —Lennie Lower

Now that the year has got going properly, I’m going to have to get this blog going again, so here it is. This month’s banner theme, if it isn’t clear, is bread: I’ve been baking a lot of it in recent months, trying out recipes by Paul Hollywood and the Bourke Street Bakery, getting a sourdough starter going, and wondering why all my baguettes end up as flat as ciabattas. For Christmas, I got a baking stone and a copy of Brilliant Bread by past Great British Bake-Off runner-up James Morton, and tried out several of his recipes. At this point I can confidently say that it’s the only bread book you really need; it’s certainly the only cookbook I’ve read cover-to-cover in 25 years of cooking. I would start recipe blogging to document it all, except that it’s hard to take photos of wet dough when your hands are covered in it, and I’d just end up plagiarising all of James’s recipes. Buy his book instead.

Read More · 8 January 2015 · · Journal

Saughton Park, Edinburgh, 29 December 2014
Saughton Park, Edinburgh, 29 December 2014.

A belated Merry Christmas, and a premature Happy New Year. Here’s the winter sun; mouseover for the moon.

With growing children it’s harder than it once was to use this time to write my traditional end-of-year lists, but I’ll try to get a few up before the week is out. I was going to redesign the site for 2015, even port it over to WordPress, but wintry inertia has defeated me so far. Nevertheless, There Will Be Resolutions of an online nature, so pop back sometime to see the snail’s new shell.

31 December 2014 · Site News

Pre-millennial Popular.

Read More · 29 December 2014 · Music

What Do You Call This Place?

The Internet that wasn’t.

A gel that stops bleeding instantly.

Jon Ronson visits the supposedly worst school in America.

Still too relevant: BabaKiueria.

Ayn Rand reviews children’s movies.

How Chan-style anonymous culture shaped #gamergate.

29 December 2014 · Weblog


I’ve taken so many photos at Jupiter Artland over the past few years that one gallery wasn’t enough. This one is art- and architecture-free, featuring instead its changing flora across the seasons.

9 December 2014 · Journal

December 2014