• πŸ”— Teenage bloodbath: the 2010s in review
    A solid State of the Union from Sam Kriss, poking at Rise of Skywalker and The Irishman as ways to understand our current cultural milieu. Also some clues as to why nearly all of the people I know under 20 are so very fucked up.

  • πŸ”— What the Death of iTunes Says About Our Digital Habits
    A decade ago I was a digital hoarder. I was getting rid of physical media but downloading more and more, music especially. I still hoard digital files and have the hard drives to prove it, but I often feel between two stools. Spotify is my go-to music place now, along with YouTube for the occasional lookup. It feels right, but it also feels very wrong.

  • πŸ”— Interview with Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet
    On the wonderfully titled blog Discard Studies, this is a nice Q&A about the myths surrounding recycling, specifically exports from rich countries to poor, and the strong feelings people have about what happens to their recycling as opposed to the origins of the stuff they’re discarding. Fascinating stuff.

  • Found this rock which looked like it had been sliced by a sushi chef.

    Sushi Rock

  • πŸ”— Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Snowflakes
    I’ve been fascinated by the study of snowflakes since coming across Wilson Bentley’s photos from the 1880s, so this up to date survey of the field was a lot of fun.

  • πŸ”— Proposal for a book to be adapted into a movie starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson
    An oldie by Robin Sloan, rediscovered as I’m reading his novel Sourdough (about someone with no interest in cooking who finds themselves in the middle of a Sourdough cult, so kinda apt for my life) and it holds up, so much that I genuinely expect the future to turn out like this.

  • Surprisingly good sunset for a January holiday in Wales…

  • πŸ”— Brian Taylor to Adapt Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy as a TV Show
    I’m… not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand having the ideas of RAW out there in Peak-TV style would be a good thing. On the other, Illuminatus! has always been something you stumble upon while searching for the good stuff. The notion of it being on billboards and pushed by Amazon or Netflix is just… weird… On the third hand, it’ll mean talking about Discordianism won’t involve going back to first principles every time. So that’s something.

  • πŸ”— London’s electric buses are getting fake noise.
    I love stories about how new technological developments have to be mitigated until humanity reprogrammed itself to deal with them. At the dawn of the motorcar drivers had to be led by a man waving a red flag in urban areas to warn pedestrians to keep out of the way, something which seems absurd now. Silent vehicles are a danger today but give it a generation at the concept of them playing ambient drone music will seems equally daft.

  • πŸ”— This is How a Society Dies
    Sober and lacerating analysis of the terminal decline of US and British societies, contrasting them with the decline and fall of the Soviet empire. “Anglo-American society is now the world’s preeminent example of willful self-destruction. It’s jaw-dropping folly and stupidity is breathtaking to the rest of the world.” (Annoyingly posted to Medium which required me to have an account to read this, but adding it to Pocket bypassed that nonsense.)

  • πŸ”— A Frank Conversation with My Rabbi About The Rise of Skywalker
    Judaism has always struck me as the nerdiest of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions, so this reading of the also deeply nerdy pseudo-religion of Star Wars through the perspective of a Rabbi was great fun.

  • πŸ”— 136 Mindblowing & Groundbreaking Internet Videos
    I remember when you felt you’d seen all the cool stuff on the internet (yes, I’m aware of All Your Base, thanks) and then suddenly that was impossible. It was around the time video really took off. This is a nice history of the form with some key milestones and a bunch of stuff I’d not seen. Prepare to waste a few hours…

  • Misty in Birmingham last night.

  • πŸ”— The Blundering Brilliance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson
    A rather hagiographic explainer of Johnson for American readers by Andrew Sullivan who knew him at Oxford, but it’s worth skimming to the end section:

    “He has done what no other conservative leader in the West has done: He has co-opted and thereby neutered the far right. The reactionary Brexit Party has all but collapsed since Boris took over. Anti-immigration fervor has calmed. The Tories have also moved back to the economic and social center under Johnson’s leadership.”

    I don’t think I agree, but it’s an interesting strategy - embrace the extremists to silence them. I wonder if it will work… (via)

  • So it seems LED Xmas lights flash at a high, but not that high, frequency rather than stay on constantly. Waggle them in front of your camera if you don’t believe me.

  • πŸ”— Be Gay, Do Crimes. Untitled Goose Game: Is it Good to be Bad?
    Grace does a deep dive into the leftist interpretations of the Goose game, one of the few actual computer games I’ve played in the last decade. It was fun, but it was also work, so I’m not sure if it was really fun. See also Don’t Play Untitled Goose Game.

  • πŸ”— Please for the love of Blarg, Start a Blog
    A call to get all that great stuff off Twitter and back onto blogs, where it belongs.

  • πŸ”— For the many
    A more sober than usual piece by Sam Kris on why you should seriously consider voting for the Labour party this election, running through and answering the standard objections. His bit on antisemitism, as someone “absurdly, unnecessarily Jewish”, is particularly vital.

    I also like the line “Full disclosure: I am still basically some sort of Marxist (the Still-Basically-Some-Sort-Of-Marxists being an ancient and august political sect, established only a few years after Marxism itself, and named after the slightly whiny noise we all make when asked to actually pin down our political commitments).”

  • πŸ”— New Atheism: An Autopsy
    A nice overview of whatever happened to the New Atheist movement that was all over the dial a few years back. The answer given here is the progressive atheists became progressives while the nutjobs, sorry, more libertarian athetists realised that the things they hated about religion could also come from secular areas. In other words, it’s about how people organise themselves in society, not what god they believe in. I’ve was brought up with a total absence of religion so I’ve always found atheists an oddly angry bunch, often as weird as the religious folk. This article gives me a nice label, apatheists, those who don’t consider the subject of godly existence relevant. via

  • πŸ”— On the Farm
    Daisy Hildyard discusses animal sentience with the great anecdote of cows so determined to the reunited with their calves that they overcame all the fences and gates that had held them capture for years, implying they “were able to get out at any time, if only they wanted to badly enough.” And then goes on to cover multitudes more. A great read.

  • πŸ”— Cyberpunk is Dead by John Semley
    Nice overview of all that was Cyberpunk back in the 80s, from the obvious Neuromancer to reminding me to rewatch Tetsuo: The Iron Man one of these days, in service of demolishing the idea that Cyberpunk today is anything other than nostalgia and cultural recycling.

  • πŸ”— Sasha Baron Cohen Says Tech Companies Built the “Greatest Propaganda Machine in History”
    Keynote speech for the Anti Defamation League that is well worth 25 minutes of your watching time. Main takeaway is this is not inevitable. This is the result of a business model that is optimised for attention through outrage and that business model can be reigned in through regulation without affecting free speech.

  • Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart was one of the best movies of this year and for some reason I found myself looking for the poster just now. It turns out there are quite a few variants, including a wacky 80’s-style National Lampoon tribute, but I was particularly taken with this grid montage which is totally up my aesthetic. (No, I’m not writing you a thinkpiece about why a movie about 2010’s teens uses a grid of polaroids - you know the answer to that.)

subscribe via RSS