Event Horizon

The battle for attention.

Recyclable wind turbine blades made of wood.

It’s harder to guess the time and location of old photos than it looks.

Guess who’s back.

Venezuela loses its last glacier.

Plunging into a black hole.

Grim to see the flack this photographer got for complaining about being ripped off by another artist. Just because he’s a painter and she isn’t doesn’t make it okay. It wasn’t okay when Roy Lichtenstein did it, either, even though I loved his comics-copying pop art when I first encountered it.

13 May 2024 · Weblog

Map Map Map Men Men

My youngest and I became obsessed recently with the Map Men: Jay Foreman, an English comedian with an interest in geography, and Mark Cooper-Jones, a former geography teacher who’s also very funny. Their highly entertaining YouTube channel, which was shoved in our direction by the YouTube algorithm on our smart TV, is chock full of educational cartographic goodness. The recent episodes on undersea internet cables and country codes wouldn’t be a bad place to start for the extremely online, or try the ones on enclaves and exclaves and the world’s squarest country instead. Even the ads are worth watching.

And when you’re done with those, there’s Jay Foreman’s Unfinished London and Politics Unboringed (for UK definitions of “unboringed”). Hours of fun! (N.B. Approximately 6 hours and 36 minutes of fun.)

As posted to Metafilter, more or less.

13 May 2024 · Comedy

C.J. Strolin’s Limerick Def Club Band

Twenty years ago—yes, to the day— / Chris J. Strolin got poets to play / With an old five-line form / To define a vast swarm / Of Aa words. Still going? No way!
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10 May 2024 · Words

Pink and Pretty Green

Heaven. Such a simple video, to such dramatic effect.

When do we stop finding new music? Not yet. (See immediately above.)

Working class bands can’t afford to tour.

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28 April 2024 · Weblog

Civil Review War

I’ve enjoyed Alex Garland’s work over the years, both as writer for Danny Boyle on 28 Days Later, Sunshine and The Beach and as writer-director of Ex Machina and Annihiliation. His thoughtful, visually striking, near-future science fiction (as most of his films are) is my kind of entertainment. So I had been thinking I’d get along to Civil War, even though its reception had been mixed. My cousin was visiting last week and had liked it, so I took that as my prompt to go along on Saturday night.

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22 April 2024 · 1 Comment · Film

Death and/or Destruction

How bad movie remasters happen.

How Disney lost the technology to do much better than green screen.

A common plastic additive is especially toxic for kids with autism and ADHD.

One possible reason Neanderthals went extinct.

The Jewish doctors who secretly documented the effects of Nazi starvation policies.

The new science of death.

21 April 2024 · Weblog

Horrors of War

An op-ed in Haaretz recently discussed Israel’s unconscious drive for self-destruction. There doesn’t seem much that’s unconscious, however, in an article that appeared recently on its use of AI to direct the bombing in Gaza, which must be the most horrifying article on AI this year. +972 Magazine, an independent site run by a group of Palestinian and Israeli journalists, reports that Israel’s Lavender targeting system has been deployed with “little human oversight and a permissive policy for casualties”. What oversight there is typically involves “twenty seconds to authorize a bombing … just to make sure the target is male”.

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21 April 2024 · Events

Manual Instructions

I asked DALL-E to show me “a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw hands”. Explains a lot.

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DALL-E 2 rendition of a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw hands

24 March 2024 · Infotech

Getting Done by Brexit

Today was the Day For Rejoin, with modest events held around the UK. It’s a start, but it’s going to be a long road back. I wouldn’t expect us back in the Single Market before the election after next, and the EU itself, who knows. But I can still remember getting a mad-looking flyer in the 2005 election from some bunch of no-hopers called UKIP, and look what they achieved.

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23 March 2024 · Politics

Ship of Fools

Farewell Karl Wallinger, gone too soon at the age of 66. I left some thoughts on his albums in the comments about “She’s the One” at Popular. (Blimey, that was a decade ago… is it like today?)

The story of Air’s Moon Safari.

The story of Girls Aloud’s What Will the Neighbours Say?

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17 March 2024 · Weblog