Old and Lost Rivers

Time travel.

The sounds of 2015.

South African students have turned on their parents’ generation.

What kind of baby-soothing sorcery is this?

Whale Fall.

Was Stonehenge Welsh?

Grim reading, but important.

The 2015 Comedy Wildlife Awards.

Shrine to a dead cockroach.

Public wifi is a public health hazard.

Aus Liebe zum Automobil.

Time-lapse ride to the top of 1 World Trade Center.

Old and Lost Rivers.

28 December 2015

One, Two, Three, Four, Five Balloons

Fake Black Friday deals from Obvious Plant.

Thom Yorke and George Monbiot chat about climate change.

David Graeber: Why isn’t Turkey cutting off Islamic State’s supply lines?

There are only four circles, and none of them touch.

Count Buckules’ finest hour: The Counting Song.

29 November 2015

Underwater Forests

Papua New Guinea’s witch hunts.

iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel.

It’s time to nationalise Twitter. The origin of tweet.

Exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change by the mid-1980s—and denied it. The harm Exxon Mobil has done. Who will pay for climate change?

A time bomb that could blow up a free internet.

Four months hand-cutting a paper microbe.

Read More · 24 November 2015


Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds.

Real-time expression transfer for facial reenactment.

The guerilla campaign to save Star Wars.

Eradicating complex academic writing.

Suggestions for stock photos in abortion articles.

When two become one.

Solar microgrids in rural Kenya.

I want to believe.

1 November 2015

Mining for Rags

Compulsive decluttering.

The mansplaining of Taylor Swift.

An atlas depicting every colour imaginable.

The stranger and the ring.

Permanent Holiday. Wait for the bit around the four-minute mark.

A tumor stole his memory. Then it all came back. Most amazing story I’ve read this year.

Bitcoin mining “adds to the demand for coal-fired power ... slowing the pace at which fossil fuels can be phased out”.

The genius of The Great British Bake Off.

“Believe me, I’ve faced worse than tablespoonfuls of cinnamon during my life.”

Has a victim’s brother solved the Lockerbie bombing?

“I thought I had lost my daughter. I think I aged 10 years.”

The death and life of a British pub.

Mining for 100-year-old jeans.

14 October 2015

Political Obituaries

The thoroughly humiliating and extremely satisfying demise of Tony Abbott. First Dog on the Moon anticipating last week’s schadenfreude months ago. Bonus First Dog.

The UK media’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn.

What the British were really laughing about on Monday.

British Constitutional Law 401: Death of the Monarch.

Read More · 23 September 2015

Wattle and Daub

Marketing legends.

More Buxton Bowie—it’s Cobbler Bob.

Chimps and monkeys have entered the Stone Age.

One Aussie bloke’s awe-inspiring hobby.

When English earthworms met the forests of New England.

Kudzu, the vine that never truly ate the South.

How the ballpoint changed handwriting.

How media fluff helped Hitler’s rise. A new theory of Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Hitler’s world.

Refugees’ worldly goods.

Duck army.

10 September 2015

In a Scary Cave with Bats

Your next selfie could be your last.

Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 travel expense report.

Bowie, Eno and Visconti record “Warszawa”. Brilliant work from Doctor Buckles.

The invention of the AeroPress.

The guy behind Australia’s greatest ever meme. (Parental Advisory Warning: your kids won’t know who John Howard was.)

The year the old internet finally died. Not if I have anything to do with it. (I have very little to do with it.)

Warner Music hid evidence that “Happy Birthday” is in the public domain. All together now: “Class ac-tion law-suit, class ac-tion law-suit...”

Zoological insights could help fight bacterial drug resistance.

A computational approach for obstruction-free photography.

Climate change nightmares are already here. The Pentagon prepares for a century of climate emergencies. The scariest part isn’t what we know, but what we don’t.

12 August 2015

Hotter Than July

The world’s fastest shoelace knot.

Earth’s land mammals by weight.

“We are building skyscraper favelas in code —in earthquake zones.”

It’s not climate change — it’s everything change.

The art of the car chase.

What’s the deal with translating Seinfeld?

The source of bad writing.

The web we have to save.

The end of capitalism has begun.

1 August 2015

Changing Colours

I followed my stolen iPhone across the world.

Comic artists’ obsession with Mad Max: Fury Road.

The dead of World War II, visualised.

Maasai women lead a solar revolution.

Madagascar’s Panther Chameleon is actually eleven different species.

Missing link found between the brain and the immune system (Nature article, via Mefi). Louveau had better clear a space on his shelf for a Nobel.

How well can you hear audio quality? (Three out of six for me. Eyes boxes of CDs warily...)

Australian maths academics “could be jailed for delivering online course material to foreign students”.

The undoing of Ed Miliband.

How a fake news story wrecked three people’s lives.

12 June 2015

Shiny and Chrome

The man who cut out his own appendix. There’s a potential joke to be made here about socialised medicine, but I’m too in awe. (The jokes could go either way, I suppose... mine would be on the “Bow Down to the Awesome Resolve of its Surgeons!” side.)

If you don’t speak French, how can you judge if Charlie Hebdo is racist?

Inspirational Tasmanian MHA and Senator Christine Milne’s journey.

Windows is Shutting Down.

Why the New York of the movies doesn’t exist any more.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Twenty.

Self-driving trucks are going to crash into the US economy.

Time-lapse mining from internet photos. The coolest image-manipulation I’ve seen since seam carving.

“Why should you thank someone for not killing you?”

Octoploid, Bartholomew the Rhinoceros, and more sculpture by Jud Turner.

On the road again with George Miller. Fourteen-year-old me from 1982 grabbed me by the throat and dragged me to the nearest cinema to watch Mad Max: Fury Road on the big screen. It was stunning: every bit as good as the hype has it. Rewatching the originals over the weekend was worthwhile, too; even Thunderdome came off better than I’d remembered.

22 May 2015

Y’all Doomed

There’s no point posting most of the post-mortem links I gathered after the election, but here’s a few that stuck.

Paul Mason: Labour haven’t just failed to win—it’s worse than that.

John Prescott: Labour lost the election 5 years ago.

Inside the Milibunker: the last days of Ed.

The reinvention of the SNP.

Six reasons you don’t want to be George Osborne right now.

The arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false.

Which human right would you give away?

22 May 2015

Fixed Terms

With only a few days to go, some legal and economic views on the General Election. Minority governments under the Westminster system. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act. The myth of British Euroskepticism. Paul Krugman on austerity.

Australia, Renovation Nation. Episode 2. Episode 3.

Have these solar-powered blood banks saved lives in Nepal? You can only hope.


India searches for the perfect cookstove. (We got a rocket stove to take camping last year. It’s so efficient we’ve ditched our portable barbecue and bags of charcoal; a few handfuls of dry sticks can cook a meal.)

Why can’t we read anymore?

Class privilege and “doing what you love”.

Many undergraduates don’t see plagiarism as a big deal. Looks like they should.

4 May 2015


What prisoners eat. What astronauts eat.

A school orchestra with a difference.

Taking notes by hand, vindicated.

Lost in emoji translation.

Punk’s Sistine Chapel.

Father Ted’s legacy.

Renewable energy at an industrial scale. Is it too late?

25 April 2015


How to talk Comedy Writer.

Let’s Speak English.

Why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?

Paraguay’s awful history.

The man who missed killing Hitler by 13 minutes.

Read More · 19 April 2015

Lactose Intolerance

“Mars One’s candidates have been vetted by a single person, in a 10-minute Skype interview.”

The foodbank dilemma.

A bee sting saved my life.

The death of Ebola’s unsung hero.

Cheese changed the course of Western civilization.

200 Years of immigration to the U.S., visualised.

The end of the line for the Dictionary of American Regional English.

Read More · 3 April 2015

A Magazine, Stickers and a Flute

Illness and work combined to break my blogging habit* for a month, so here’s a backlog of links.

The privileged are taking over the arts—pop culture is doomed.

Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories.

Vanilla Bright Like Eminem.

Frankie Boyle on offence and free speech.

Rain-soaked photographs like impressionist paintings (source).

Wolf Hall was essential television, but how true to history was it? Count up the bodies.

Octopus gets crabby.

Why the Internet could be the next failed state.

The girl who gets gifts from birds.

Read More · 13 March 2015

Tsubu Tsubu

Chocolates that represent Japanese onomatopoeic words to describe texture.

The Hundred Birds Project.

The threshold effect.

Half of the DNA found on the New York subway matches no known organism.

Funding cuts in Australia prompt young scientist to reject prestigious fellowship.

The joy of a deadpan Amazon review when you least expect it. Nice punchline in the comments.

Let’s talk crap.

7 February 2015

Cultural Churn

Google’s romance with librarians is over.

Cory Doctorow: It would be madness to hand over our archives to VCs (Boing Boing).

All my blogs are dead (“so I’ve started backing up my work”: oh dear, oh dear).

Social media explained with donuts.

Has instant news left us hungry for slow-burning stories?

How Twitter makes money.

Why did everybody do the Harlem Shake?

Twitter CEO addresses the platform’s persistent harassment issues.

Mark Ames of The eXile on the geometry of censorship and satire.

7 February 2015

Boom! Shake it Off, the Room

Alan Partridge quotes on Taylor Swift pictures. Because.

Mad archery skills.

“A part of me wants to build monuments to myself. But another part of me wants to disappear completely.”

Africa’s quiet solar revolution.

Paul Krugman: “Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves.”

Have a dekko at Cathy Wilcox’s grouse cartoon A-Z of all things Oz.

It's now impossible to satirise Tony Abbott.

South Sydney 55 Wests Tigers 11.

The making of a climate refugee.

Ancient human jawbone surfaces off coast of Taiwan.

How to eradicate grey squirrels without firing a shot.

The ATM bombers.

31 January 2015

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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

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

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

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

Weblog in 2014