Author Topic: browsing


« on: January 08, 2010 »
Slate Star Codex
Best blogroll taxonomy ever

Uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking

Always bring your camera

You have to study a great deal to know a little

Uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow. Or so they say

I Blame the Patriarchy
A platform from which to practice writing run-on sentences

Maxine Udall
Girl economist

James Wolcott
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity

'Cause I'm a sucker for portmanteaus

The Inverse Square Blog
He blinded me with science

Schneier on Security
Is it safe?

The Panda's Thumb
The picayune to the pedantic

Diamond Geezer
Life viewed from London E3

More than just wallpaper

Photoshop Disasters
Worth it just for the captions

The Straight Dope
He had me at The story of Schroedinger's cat (an epic poem)

Wisdom from the Medium Lobster et al

Hyperbole and a Half
She loves ham
Dog owners click here

Ruthless Reviews and Film Freak Central
Reviews with bite

Stuff White People Like
Bikes made the list

Easily Distracted
Culture, politics, academia and other shiny objects

spEak You're bRanes
ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougo livethere


« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2010 »
YouTube doing what it does best:

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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010 »
I don't have an opinion about aerospokes one way or the other, but this thread over at the London Fixed-gear and Single-speed forum made me laugh. It's a pity that some of the pictures have disappeared.


« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010 »
Eric Spitznagel, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt:

I have very distinct memories of who my grandfather was. He was a man who adored leftist politics, and wrote angry letters to The Nation and The New Republic whenever he felt they were leaning too far to the middle. He was a man who'd gone bald at 30, at roughly the same age he started believing his waistline began just under his nipples. He was a man whose 70th birthday present to himself was personally reshingling his house — not to prove that he was still self-sufficient, but because roofers were "crooks" who wanted to rob him blind. He was a man who wrote all of his correspondence (and even his "to-do" lists) on an antique Smith-Corona typewriter, which was missing an L key that he never found it necessary to replace. He was a man who began every conversation by explaining exactly why you were wrong. And above all (at least for me), he was a man who loved his grandkids but couldn't help but look at them with an expression that said: "If you want a hug, I'm gonna need a blood test."

But I never thought of my grandfather as a man who had sex. I know he must've done it at some point (my mother and her siblings were living proof), but I just assumed he had sex like a cheetah — fast and unemotional and without any eye contact. I certainly never thought of him as somebody who had sex for pleasure or would, if given the opportunity, dress up like a "soiled and morally indecent farmer" and ravage his girlfriend in the nearest abandoned barn.

"I want you to be inside of me," one of the letters from a woman named Betty confessed. "I want to smell your manly musk as you hold me down and have your way with me, making me feel afraid and so terribly excited at the same time!"

Wow. Just... wow.


« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2010 »
In his dreams, his voice has never left. In his dreams, he can get out everything he didn't get out during his waking hours: the thoughts that get trapped in paperless corners, the jokes he wanted to tell, the nuanced stories he can't quite relate. In his dreams, he yells and chatters and whispers and exclaims. In his dreams, he's never had cancer. In his dreams, he is whole.

photo by Ethan Hill

...In fact, because he's missing sections of his jaw, and because he's lost some of the engineering behind his face, [Roger] Ebert can't really do anything but smile. It really does take more muscles to frown, and he doesn't have those muscles anymore. His eyes will water and his face will go red — but if he opens his mouth, his bottom lip will sink most deeply in the middle, pulled down by the weight of his empty chin, and the corners of his upper lip will stay raised, frozen in place. Even when he's really angry, his open smile mutes it: The top half of his face won't match the bottom half, but his smile is what most people will see first, and by instinct they will smile back. The only way Ebert can show someone he's mad is by writing in all caps on a Post-it note or turning up the volume on his speakers. Anger isn't as easy for him as it used to be. Now his anger rarely lasts long enough for him to write it down.

Esquire article spotted at Alas! A Blog


« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010 »

Charlotte Cooper writes: I started to notice the Headless Fatty phenomenon a couple of years ago, when the current wave of the War on Obesity (also known in the press as the Global Obesity Epidemic, the Obesity Crisis, etc) began to get coverage. Every hand-wringing article about the financial cost of obesity, and every speechifying press release about the ticking time bomb of obesity seemed to be accompanied by a photograph of a fat person, seemingly photographed unawares, with their head neatly cropped out of the picture.

Since then, the Headless Fatty has become a staple of news journalism. It's quite bizarre, fat people are in the news all the time, almost constantly; "Obesity" returns more than twice as many Google News hits as "Madonna." But we are presented as objects, as symbols, as a collective problem, as something to be talked about. Unless we play the game and parrot oppressive, self-hating, medicalised views about fat, fat people's own voices, feelings, thoughts and opinions about what it is to be fat are entirely absent from the discourse.


« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010 »
These come by way of, an archive of vintage photos mostly sourced from the Library of Congress. Click on pics for enlargements.

Western Union courier, 1911

Bike shop, 1919

Winners of Times bicycle contest, 1921

Trick cyclist, 1921.

Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1890

Club Messenger Service, 1913

R.J. O'Connor, inter-city championship bicycle races, 1925

On the farm, 1939


« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010 »
Julian Emre Sayarer, This is not for charity:

This will not grin for the adverts and grimace for the film crew, this will not be narrated by a monotone harbinger of doom. This will not be the slice of human spirit to be purchased by Lloyds TSB, Profit Hunters or Bright Orange Futures, in order that they can claim to have the human concerns their businesses work actively against. This will not claim to be Everyone; this will reject the claims that a Telephone Company creates Everyone, because I know drug addicts and asylum seekers and shit hole towns that no Telephone Company has ever cared about or cared to even mention the existence of. This will not be the media and marketing carnival that encourages everyone to smile. This will state that society is not just not right but that it is wholesale wrong. That it is wrong for inept bankers to take multi-million pound, taxpayer-paid pensions, whilst forty-year old taxpayers work fifty-hour weeks at minimum wage to save their mortgages. Wrong that Tesco can trumpet 10,000 new jobs without mention of the 2,000 small businesses and livelihoods they help close down each year... Wrong that halfwits and hooligans can join our police force with the misunderstanding that they are to be masters rather than servants of the public. Wrong that MP's can between them claim £93,000,000 in expenses, plus a £63,200 basic salary, for presiding over a society so destitute that 280,000 people choose to leave it for crack-cocaine or heroin addictions anyway.


« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2010 »
Uncomfortable Questions: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?
We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.

Like many, I was fed this story when I was growing up. But as I watched the video, I began to realize that all was not as it seemed. And the more I questioned the official story, the deeper into the rabbit hole I went...

"Compelling evidence that we all may be the victims of a fraud of immense proportions"


« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010 »

A classic

A suitable homage

As dead as mainstream media

Not many subscribers in the flyover states

What, no barenaked lady?

Or won't


« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2010 »
If you were born before the 1950s, you may have eaten two bananas in your life. If you're younger, chances are you've eaten only one.  Of course, you may be fond of plantains, or be lucky enough to live in an area where your grocery provides more variety, but for most of America and Europe "banana" actually means "Vietnamese cavendish banana." That's the banana that's sold in these markets today. 

Before the Cavendish, the bananas sold in most markets went by the name of Gros Michael -- the Big Mike. Big Mike was carefully selected for a whole set of properties that made it a terrific banana for the market.  It had a bright, attractive, relatively unblemished skin. It wasn't just pretty, it was also tough. The yellow skin peeled easily, but was thicker than that on other bananas and Big Mike lasted for a longer period without becoming overripe. That made it easier to ship the bananas without refrigeration. Many people who ate them in their childhood still have the memory of bananas being better back then -- and they are right.  It's not just nostalgia. The Gros Michael had a smooth texture, along with a taste that was sweeter than today's Cavendish. 

Breeding for market appeal isn't new and it isn't unique to bananas....

image from The Church of the Banana

The Daily Kos is better known as a political site, but it ranges far and wide and interests people like me with stories like this. Kos is also known as the Orange Satan by some progressives. I'm put off by the anti-Naderism and the need for constant validation-by-rec in the comments, but sheer volume ensures enough quality to make visiting worthwhile.


« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2010 »
Mother's Day was of course invented by the porn industry as part of a many-pronged marketing campaign to generate interest in a new moneyshotmaking genre. Only later was it co-opted by florists, themselves compromised by association with pistils and stamens and Georgia O'Keefe. Mumsnet uncovers another revenue stream:

Infant creeper available from Cafe Press. Here's one for watersports. Is there no escape?

"The country's most popular meeting point for parents" (The Times), who by definition have had sex, has much to offer in the way of advice and reviews. Unfortunately you may have to watch your back on the discussion boards, reportedly prowled by bullies and a "cabal of sanctimonious bossy-boots... who consider it their duty to comb messages for evidence of heterodoxy."

Try the baby name finder:

Garabaldis feed growing Alexanders or Mabels. Only the cynical will suggest it's random; I prefer to think that painstaking research has been conducted.

Lunchbox Dos and Don'ts
Don’t forget that what you pack is open to scrutiny - not just by other kids but by other mums. So if your child's going to a friend's house after school, make sure that's not the day you give in to Fruit Shoots and Greggs sausage rolls. Stick a few stray aduki beans/arugula leaves/ seaweed sachets in the lunchbox. Your child might be a tad confused but your position as Alpha Mother will be assured for ever more!

Where Alpha Mothers roam and their day is in May

Although on the internet anybody can be a mum, mumsnet gives dads a shed, presumably to assemble that first bike. Budding weight weenies may be interested in the Isla Rothan and avoid Raleigh's Chuckles the Monkey.

Sounds familiar.



« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2010 »
Speaking of mothers:
"People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway."


« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2010 »
What would be even more awesome is if you pulled on a certain book, the whole thing would swing around and reveal a secret building.

Images you won't believe aren't Photoshopped.

From the same site, this fascinating article by David Wong:

If you've ever been addicted to a game or known someone who was, this article is really freaking disturbing. It's written by a games researcher at Microsoft on how to make video games that hook players, whether they like it or not. He has a doctorate in behavioral and brain sciences. Quote:

"Each contingency is an arrangement of time, activity, and reward, and there are an infinite number of ways these elements can be combined to produce the pattern of activity you want from your players."

Notice his article does not contain the words "fun" or "enjoyment." That's not his field. Instead it's "the pattern of activity you want."


The terrible truth is that a whole lot of us begged for a Skinner Box we could crawl into, because the real world's system of rewards is so much more slow and cruel than we expected it to be. In that, gaming is no different from other forms of mental escape, from sports fandom to moonshine.

The danger lies in the fact that these games have become so incredibly efficient at delivering the sense of accomplishment that people used to get from their education or career. We're not saying gaming will ruin the world, or that gaming addiction will be a scourge on youth the way crack ruined the inner cities in the 90s. But we may wind up with a generation of dudes working at Starbucks when they had the brains and talent for so much more. They're dissatisfied with their lives because they wasted their 20s playing video games, and will escape their dissatisfaction by playing more video games. Rinse, repeat.


« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2010 »
It's Not A Race
We all know ‘The Game’.

We may never have dared to speak of it or confess its power over us, but we’ve all heard its seductive voice whispering in our ears, daring us to chase that shaven-legged (like a girl) roadie though our lungs threaten to burst out of our chest. We’ve all been stung by its bitter laughter when the skinny kid on the slicked-up mountain bike dropped us when we weren’t really paying attention (though in our hearts, we know that was no excuse), but we’d be damned if we were going to let him get away with it.

Oh yes, we all know The Game.

Now The Game has a name and that name is ‘Silly Commuter Racing’, itself a hollow denial of the seriousness with which The Game is played. Mock if you will, but eventually you will come to realise that we do not play The Game, no
The Game plays us.


« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2010 »
If you're not a cat person, hearing them play atonal music isn't likely to change your mind. Personally I like them well enough, but we don't tend to travel in the same circles.

Cory Arcangel: Recently I took a few months of my free time and decided to recreate Arnold Schoenberg's 1909 op. 11 Drei Klavierstücke (aka Three Piano Pieces) by editing together videos of cats playing pianos downloaded from Youtube. Schoenberg's Op11 is often considered the first piece of "atonal" music, or music to completely break from traditional western harmony which means it's not written in a "key". Below you will find the three videos (one for each piano piece), a technical description & the score.

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See also his collection of video links, including every Sopranos profanity. (Speaking of which.)

Found on entschwindet und vergeht.

PS. Oh my dog.