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

Oishii Desu!

The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel.

Endlessly quotable interview with Chris Rock.

An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington.

Of ice ages and men.

Black Death in Big Red.

Episode VII Trailer: The George Lucas Special Edition (and the original).

Toilet paper machine.

Shrimp cannon.

6 December 2014

Wasting Time on the Internet

Burning NH4Cr2O7 with HgSCN opens a portal to Hell.

Burning hydrocarbons threatens to open a portal to Hell.

Frank Serpico (of Al Pacino movie fame) on today’s out-of-control cops.

Escape from Jonestown.

Why we should give free money to everyone.

Why I am teaching a course called “Wasting Time on the Internet”.

Musician plays an actual keyboard cat.

George Costanza in Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”. Pretty slight, but I’ll take whatever reminders of Seinfeld I can get.

If cities were lit only by the stars (via Wired).

I vant to be alone.

24 November 2014

Creating and Doing

How to win the lottery (via Mefi).

Against productivity.

How to shut down Tolkien (Mefi).

Don’t assume that the last one is only for programmers; it’s almost entirely about writers, and has lessons for anyone seeking to create anything. It’s made me reflect on my own efforts to create stuff online, and how and why they’ve dwindled in recent years; it might even serve as a spur to do something about it.

On that note: Dan Ariely on managing your time (via, erm, Time).

11 November 2014

Ghost Country

World maps without New Zealand.

Text Messages From a Ghost and its sequel.

The Hot Zone and the mythos of Ebola.

A Nigerian virologist on Africa’s response to Ebola.

More late poems by the still-not-late Clive James: My Latest Fever and Rounded with a Sleep.

In memoriam: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam and Cate Blanchett thanks Whitlam for free education.

A five hundred year moment? (Via Mefi.)

The Internet’s First Family (or, What Is All This “Via Mefi” Stuff, Anyway).

11 November 2014

When Women Stopped Coding. I was a teenager when personal computers were first making their way into homes and schools and being monopolised by boys. Before then, everyone taking computer science at university was coming to it cold, so young men and women were starting on a level playing field. By the time I took first-year comp sci, you could already see the “computers are for boys” narrative bedding in.

In a related vein: The Dads of Tech.

The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing.

11 November 2014

Pecked to Death by Ducks

I’ve spent far too much time in recent weeks following the depressing saga of Gamergate, a collective outburst that should really have lasted no more than a day but thanks to Twitter has dragged on for months, making life miserable for numerous female gamers, developers and critics. As someone who was a nerdy, shy teenaged male obsessed with computers and games, my sympathies are naturally with... the people who haven’t been waging a misogynistic hate campaign. I mean, Jesus.

Read More · 9 November 2014

We Accidentally Replaced Your Heart With a Baked Potato

Reheating carbs makes them act more like fibre.

Engkey, the robot English teacher from South Korea.

A six-hour comedy sketch posing as an animated airline ad.

Isaac Asimov on creativity.

Beslan massacre families urge the UK not to leave the ECHR.

UKIP's own goal: support for the EU at its highest in 23 years.

The man with the golden blood.

Predicting the future of evolution.

27 October 2014

Okay, You Can Keep the Rock

Neill Cameron of The Phoenix on why reading comics matters. Makes me wish for some way back to cheap-paper black-and-white comics with four-colour covers. Also part two, the (new) golden age of children’s comics.

Anil Dash: 15 lessons from 15 years of blogging.

Ebola swamps a city in Sierra Leone.

The Thread.

Lego Tarkus.

How flash photography changed American politics.

E.T. is ready for his closeup.

A solar cell that stores its own power.

Trouble at the Koolaid Point [Wired mirror].

Unseen Moon footage.

11 October 2014

We Shall Resume in an Hour

Twelve things the British public are wrong about.

The Star Wars throne room minus John Williams.

Bygone photographic oddities.

Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich.

The Terrible Sea Lion.

“Japanese Maple” by Clive James.

28 September 2014

Doom Loops

Hoverbikes: up, up, and away.

The secret German scheme to invade America before the First World War.

A citizen’s income would make Britain fairer. I remember favouring this idea back in the 1980s, when nobody ever mentioned it; good to see it getting some traction now. [Edit: And according to the Radio 4 evening news, it’s now Green Party policy.]

The strange and curious tale of the Maine phantom.

Dramatic reading of YouTube comments from a One Direction video.

Mary Beard takes on her sexist detractors.

Crappy crappy joy joy.

Fantastic break by Röyksopp and Robyn at 1:48 in the “Sayit” video (2:28 in the song proper).

A sorry fate for one of the better long-haul airlines.

The procrastination doom loop.

Three children injured as tornado hits their tent. Poor kids. Glad we weren’t camping further south that weekend.

5 September 2014

Wonders of Nature

The visual microphone.

Wired interviews Edward Snowden.

The Home Office’s campaign against a mother (and part two).

Ethan Hawke’s Black Album from Boyhood. The film was stunning; like watching life itself.

The Funeral with Carol Burnett and a young Robin Williams (via MeFi). Also, James on RW.

A Gun for George by Matt Holness.

Slug Solos.

Chanel’s shopping centre.

It will almost never be as bad as you think.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, together again.

If Michael Bay had directed Up.

How scientists feel about climate change.

Clive James’s retreat from this hot sun.

How the sun sees you (via io9).

How to Talk Australians (via MeFi).

The double identity of an anti-Semitic commenter.

22 August 2014

Potato Beans

Taming overlooked wild plants to feed the world.

Five ways that Seinfeld changed television.

How classic Seinfeld episodes were written.

Krieg der Sterne am Flughafen.

Graham Linehan tweets the Running of the Bulls.

Richard Linklater reviews his films.

UK authors’ incomes collapse.

Maps of an alternate North America.

Photographs inspired by kids’ nightmares.

SF writer Greg Benford on terraforming the moon.

SF writers predicted the Ukraine conflict; now they’re fighting it.

Photographs of Chernobyl post-accident.

Ohio replaces lethal injection with humane new head-ripping-off machine.

30 July 2014

The Big Cask

Once in every lifetime.

Believe it or not, Pete isn’t at home...

People can’t really multitask, except for these people.

Why you’re (probably) not a great communicator.

How not to say the wrong thing.

You are the best thing in the world.

Another breakthrough in solar panel manufacture.

Goebbels handpicked the perfect Aryan baby, not knowing she was a Jew.

Cory Doctorow précises Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.

XKCD précises the land mass of the solar system.


4 July 2014

Brothers Gonna Work It Out

“A massive space battle is a thing of beauty and I will require many more of them in the future”: 19-year-old watches classic blockbusters for the first time (via MeFi).

Stop banking on a carbon future. Written by the former federal leader of the party Tony Abbott now heads in government.

Reuse Everything turn discarded PET bottles into thatch roofing.

The Archimedes wind turbine slashes noise pollution and offers better efficiency with smaller blades. I want one for my next PET-thatched home.

Making sense of chemical stories.

Philosophy is a bunch of empty ideas, says philosopher.

Rubber bands make one inventor ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Several hundred of them from our son’s primary school, no doubt.

Dancing in the Street, the musicless video.

Reading: The Struggle.

Al Gore’s hope for the climate.

22 June 2014

Ren and Jemp All Day

Hey kids, it’s Hector, the Lump of Coal!

“Only one in ten Americans (12%) know that 90% or more scientists have concluded human-caused global warming is happening.”

3D tattoos.

Australian government surprises returning graduate expats with the precious gift of debt.

Will British voters surprise British expats with the gift of forced repatriation?

UKIP voted no to rules against human trafficking in the last EU Parliament. Expect more of the less as UK influence wanes.

You’re probably using the wrong dictionary.

The Internet with a human face.

The oldest living things in the world. Huon Pine represent.

Child showing mother a picture on a laptop. Greek, circa 110 BC.

Honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland.

The Internet in a box, locked up with locks: You Are a Pirate! (and the original version, courtesy of Icelandic kids’ TV).

The Which English? test pegged my dialect as 1. English (England), 2. New Zealand, 3. Australian. (Ahem.)

Haruki Murakami walks to Kobe: “In a sense our lives are nothing more than a series of stages to help us get used to loneliness.”

7 June 2014

Hamster Dances

The world’s most toxic money pit.

Copyable text from any online image.

Hamfter fafe changef.

Worst hold music ever?

On the set of The Empire Strikes Back.

Ancient tundra lies under Greenland’s ice sheet.

Warming water lies under some of Antarctica’s ice sheets.

Geoff Dyer’s rules for¬†writers.

“OK nighty night. No, don’t even.”

The Westographer of Melbourne’s fading suburbs.

British public wrong about nearly everything.

15 May 2014

The Gospel According to Kermit

How to solve iOS battery drain.

Smartphone batteries that charge in 30 seconds.

How Biz Stone faked his way into Google. I remember his “genius” schtick. Now I feel old.

Adrian Mole’s last diary.

Muppet Christ Superstar.

Daily Mail headlines replaced with user comments.

Broken Mirror/Evening Sky (via io9).

23 April 2014

For a Limited Time Only

Climate change refugees are evacuating their island homes.

Rising CO2 is causing the nutritional content of crops to fall.

The chance that climate change is not manmade is 0.01 percent.

Life on the tar sands.

The spectacular fall in the cost of solar power.

Mitigation is a bargain, but for a limited time only.

All the water on earth.

If all the ice melts, these will be our maps.

23 April 2014

Disappearing Worlds

What do music fans of 13 and 64 have in common?

We missed losing every hard-disk on Earth by nine days in 2012.

Sellotape selfies go viral.

Kafka’s joke book.

Local news for local people.

John Steinbeck’s advice to his son on falling in love.

Geoff Dyer: “When I stood up half the world had disappeared.”

Most red-state Americans now believe climate change is real.

Dead currents, stagnant oceans, H2S skies and the next mass extinction: Our future in a world without ice caps.

31 March 2014

Into the Valley of Death Metal

The sacking of Louvain in August 1914. You would never guess it of Leuven today.

George Takei lived in an internment camp as a child.

Do climate dissenters like climate change?

Zadie Smith: Elegy for a country’s seasons.

George Monbiot: Addicted to comfort (via Then Play Long).

Fear and loathing in Glasvegas.

Adam Curtis on pop, rock and journalism.


Read More · 19 March 2014

Life and Death

Man still remembers teacher who made him fall in love with writing.

What a grocery store looks like without honeybees.

Peter Freuchen, Arctic explorer. Call that a knife?

The pleasant morning of an evil day.

Majorité opprimée (via Mefi).

Mary Beard on the Miss Triggs question (Mefi).

On authenticity, appropriation and eating (Mefi).

On not going home (Mefi).

Oceanic force and mystery (Mefi).

Rolling Stone’s 500 worst reviews of all time (Mefi). Essential reading for any past subscribers who bought their share of “four-star” turkeys on their say-so.

Film Crit Hulk on THE LEGO MOVIE. Saw it with W. the other day; recommended for any Lego kids and parents.

The Things. For fans of the singular John Carpenter.

20 February 2014

Your One-Stop Running-Away-From-Things Shop

Happy new 95.34% of a year. As you can guess, I’ve been busy elsewhere, and that’s likely to be true for a while, so the blog side of things might be quieter than usual in 2014. But I’m keeping the lights on just in case.

In the meantime, here are two clips of people running away, from floods and fireworks.

17 January 2014

Weblog in 2013