Object: matrimony.

March 21st, 2014

16 Ways to Find Love in the Personal Ads (in 1900):

"Wanted: wife. Farmer's daughter preferred, willing to marry poor man. Must be good girl, good-looking, weight 100 or under, no grafters."

[Via The Morning News]

No Comments »

'You make it seem as if the capitalists would entirely remove all human labor from their businesses in deference to robots, if they could. This would constitute an egregious disregard for the communal good, and so I'm afraid it's impossible to imagine proprietors acting in this horrible way!'

March 16th, 2014

A Preliminary Phenomenology of the Self-Checkout is long, but totally worth it:

III. The Ghost in the Machine

[...]

You have bought a greeting card, you indicate. Why, then, can't I feel its heft in my bagging area? Is it because of the appalling taste you have? I will not abet this item. I will never detect it, for you are unscrupulous and depraved. This disingenuous gesture will not cause your niece on the occasion of her birthday ("Time to celebrate!") to feel any particular tenderness. Welcome to the new phase in human history that my presence has inaugurated: soon, greeting cards will no longer be available for purchase. So, too: yarn, cotton balls, postcards, feathers, stickers, and some seasoning packets. In their stead, you might dare enjoy communing with your fellow man.

Also features a man who pays a terrible price for trying to game the Machine for the sake of saving money on half a dozen lemons, and Karl Marx chatting with John Locke1 about the price of lemons (among other things.)

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. No, not the character from Lost.

Comments Off

After Dark in CSS

March 16th, 2014

After Dark in CSS is an exercise in nostalgia for those of us of a certain age:

After Dark menu

[Via The Tao of Mac]

Comments Off

'But then everybody started bothering him about his emotions and singing about loving him all the time and I lost interest.'

March 16th, 2014

Sherlock Reviews Musicals He Was Forced To Attend With His Parents:

The Phantom Of The Opera

Someone really ought to break it to the Phantom that if he listens closely, he can hear that Christine is in the early stages of developing vocal nodes, so he might not want to go through all this trouble to kidnap her if he's either going to have to pay for some expensive throat surgery or hold auditions for an entirely new "angel" in six months. Let us hope Christine has some typing skills or something to fall back on, for her sake.

And, let me say this: just because you've got an underground lair doesn't mean you must decorate it like you're Dracula running a bordello. I've seen some that are quite tasteful. I wouldn't be so indiscreet as to name names, but trust me, it's possible.

[Via Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews]

Comments Off

A classic fairy tale

March 15th, 2014

I'll confess to never having read The Princess Bride, but from what I understand the film is a generally regarded as a reasonably faithful adaptation. Which makes me wonder who thought that this was a suitable cover for the first paperback release of S Morgenstern's William Goldman's book:

The Princess Bride paperback cover

[Via this comment thread at More Words, Deeper Hole]

2 Comments »

Animals Sucking at Jumping

March 12th, 2014

Animals Sucking at Jumping caused me to laugh so hard I neglected to breathe.

For some reason, watching all those cats fail to stick a landing didn't worry me one bit, but seeing horses and rabbits and racoons do the same left me wishing there was a 'No animals were hurt…' notice to reassure me at the end of each video.1

Oh, and for the record, I reckon this cat knew exactly what he was doing:

Soft landing

[Via MetaFilter]

  1. Is it because cats are haughty aliens who don't care about humans so why should I care about them, or just that cats always land safely, if not necessarily gracefully?

Comments Off

Word Podcast 218

March 11th, 2014

Listeners of a certain vintage will be pleased to hear that Mark Ellen, David Hepworth and Fraser Lewry reconvened the other day to record one more edition of the Word Podcast:

Word Podcast 218 – Where's The Crisps? – March 2014: Mark Ellen, David Hepworth and Fraser Lewry convene over cakes to discuss: why all rock docs are legally bound to feature Bono, the touching story of Harry Nilsson's last marriage, what Jimi Hendrix really got up to in Marrakesh, whether Ginger Baker is in fact a bit of a bore, Fraser's day trip to North Korea and the book what Mark wrote. And Vikings.

Be nice to think they might find a way to do more of these, but either way I'm going to enjoy listening to this tomorrow.

[Via David Hepworth's Notebook]

Comments Off

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves; be therefore as cunning as serpents and as harmless as doves.

March 11th, 2014

Mallory Ortberg, reacting to a surfeit of Sherlock Holmes adaptations in recent years, reckons it's past time for a proper, working class hero. In other words, it's time for a Columbo reboot:

Columbo says things like "Watch my hand, it's full of grease. This is my dinner. Would you like a piece of chicken?" to suspects. He is deliberate. He moves at the pace of justice. Unflagging, unwearying, unrelenting; he is the Anton Chigurh of goodness. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Columbo. It is his fundamental goodness, as much as his native intelligence, that make him a good detective. He is not a remote genius; he is not a refined gentleman; he is a good man, and it is this that makes him not just a good detective but my detective. He is America's detective. A good and a quiet man who brings his own lunch and will not go away until order is restored.

The article (and the accompanying comment thread) suggest some fine choices for the role. John C Reilly. An unshaven Stanley Tucci. Margo Martindale. Mark Ruffalo. Colm Meaney.

I'd suggest Tony Shalhoub1 or David Morrissey or Andre Braugher,2 but failing that I reckon Margo Martindale3 or Mark Ruffalo would be amazing in the role.

One way or another, someone needs to make this happen.

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

  1. Yes, I know Monk was arguably too close to the same ground for comfort. I still think Shalhoub could be so good as Lt Columbo.
  2. Lt Columbo and Frank Pembleton: how's that for contrasting styles of detective?
  3. If you haven't seen her in Justified season 2, do so. You will not regret it.

Comments Off

Čumil

March 9th, 2014

Meet Čumil the Peeper:

His name is Čumil and he is either resting after cleaning the sewer or is looking under women's skirts. […]

Čumil

[Prompted by the header image of this New Statesman article about Slovakia]

Comments Off

Tickle

March 9th, 2014

Tickle is another spoof app from the man who brought the world Jotly:

Tickle is a new app that will help you get out of awkward situations. Using your phone's accelerometer, Tickle will generate a phantom phone call when you touch your phone in an awkward manner. […]

Unlike Jotly, this is a spoof app that the world could definitely use.

[Via swissmiss]

Comments Off

Sørbråten memorial

March 8th, 2014

Artist Jonas Dahlberg on his designs for Norway's July 22 Memorial sites:

My concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself. It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died. The cut will be a three-and-a-half-meters-wide excavation. It slices from the top of the headland at the Sørbråten site, to below the water line and extends to each side. This void in the landscape makes it impossible to reach the end of the headland.

Visitors begin their experience guided along a wooden pathway through the forest. This creates a five to ten minute contemplative journey leading to the cut. Then the pathway will flow briefly into a tunnel. This tunnel leads visitors inside of the landscape and to the dramatic edge of the cut itself. Visitors will be on one side of a channel of water created by the cut. Across this channel, on the flat vertical stone surface of the other side, the names of those who died will be visibly inscribed in the stone. The names will be close enough to see and read clearly – yet ultimately out of reach. The cut is an acknowledgement of what is forever irreplaceable." […]

[Via The Morning News]

Comments Off

Time Can Be Rewritten, but is it?

March 6th, 2014

Philip Sandifer's meditation on what The Day of the Doctor tells us about the differing ways Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat see the Doctor is quite fascinating:

As with many fan debates on Tumblr, the immediate fallout of The Day of the Doctor had no shortage of straw men, with people angrily reacting against points that never actually got made. (See also the "legions" of fans who aren't going to watch Peter Capaldi because he's old and unattractive.) Still, there's an interesting fault line that opens up in the question of just how much of a retcon The Day of the Doctor is – one that is revealing in terms of the sorts of details that each argument prioritizes.

Once I've caught up on the comments on his post, I'm going to have to rewatch TDOTD at least one more time and have a think about all this. Good stuff.

[Via The Great Escapism]

Comments Off

DRM on coffee?

March 4th, 2014

Coffee, now with added DRM for extra flavour:

The single coffee cup craze has been rolling now for several years in both the United States and Canada, with Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso all battling it out to lock down the market. […] Keurig has faced the "problem" in recent years of third-party pod refills that often retail for 5-25% less than what Keurig charges. As people look to cut costs, there has also been a growing market for reusable pods that generally run anywhere from five to fifteen dollars.

Keurig's solution to this problem? In a lawsuit (pdf) filed against Keurig by TreeHouse Foods, they claim Keurig has been busy striking exclusionary agreements with suppliers and distributors to lock competing products out of the market. What's more, TreeHouse points out that Keurig is now developing a new version of their coffee maker that will incorporate the java-bean equivalent of DRM — so that only Keurig's own coffee pods can be used in it […]

[Via The RISKS Digest, Volume 27, Issue 78 ]

Comments Off

Tiltor

March 2nd, 2014

Surely this is satire:

Break Up Riots From Within

Tiltor is a novel reward system used by businesses and law enforcement agencies around the world to undermine, diffuse, and disrupt rioting behavior.

A New Kind of Reward

Rewards are good for many types of problems.

But a reward to stop a riot? That doesn't even sound possible! How can you tell what they did? Who gets the reward? Do you have to check EVERYONE'S contribution??

Clearly a traditional reward isn't going to squash a riot. Thankfully, Tiltor has developed a new kind of reward system specifically designed for rioting conditions. [...]

Isn't it?

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

Comments Off

68 million metric tons

March 2nd, 2014

NASA's Earth Observatory site has before and after images of a landslide in Southeastern Alaska that took place just a couple of weeks ago:

Using imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite, scientists have confirmed that a large landslide occurred in southeastern Alaska on February 16, 2014. A preliminary estimate suggests the landslide on the flanks of Mount La Perouse involved 68 million metric tons (75 million short tons) of material, which potentially makes it the largest known natural landslide on Earth since 2010.

The photos weren't worth embedding here in cropped form: you should follow that link and see what a 75,000,000 ton landslide looks like.1

  1. Short answer: 'impressive', if viewed from a safe distance. If you'd been in the vicinity at the time, you'd probably have used the word 'terrifying' if you lived long enough.

Comments Off

THUNDEROUS, SUSTAINED APPLAUSE

February 28th, 2014

Maciej Ceglowski's Webstock presentation on Our Comrade The Electron draws lessons for modern technologists from the life of Lev Sergeyevich Termen, the inventor of – among other things – the theremin:

Termen was just what Lenin needed: a Soviet inventor with an electrical gizmo that would dazzle and amaze the masses, and help sell the suspicious countryside on electrification. He gave Termen a permanent rail pass, encouraging him to take his show on the road all over the Soviet Union.

When Lenin died a few years later, Termen sent urgent word that Lenin's body be immediately frozen. He had an idea for how to bring him back to life, but it required putting the body on ice. He was devastated to learn that Lenin's brain had already been taken out and pickled in alcohol, and his body embalmed for public viewing.

Given Termen's track record of technical achievement, it's probably a good thing he didn't get a chance at making zombie Lenin.

Comments Off

CloudWash

February 27th, 2014

My first instinct upon reading about BERG's Cloudwash prototype was to scoff at the idea of an internet-connected washing machine.

Cloudwash is a prototype washing machine. We created Cloudwash to explore how connectivity will change the appliances in our homes… and to figure out what new features will be possible.

I'm still not persuaded that the ability to schedule and reschedule washing jobs remotely is going to be on the feature list when next I'm looking to buy a washing machine. However, I'll concede that more localised uses of connectivity – like the ability to receive an alert via the net when a cycle is about to end and I'm going to need to go and unload the machine – would be worth having.1

I did like BERG's approach of putting as much of the intelligence as possible in the app you run on your connected device, where it's easy to update and enhance the functionality on offer without finding that your washing machine only has ROM version 1.3.234 and you need version 1.4.112 or better to allow you to store more than 3 favourite job configurations. It's perfectly logical, but you can bet that as manufacturers start doing internet-enabled production models we'll see all sorts of flashy touchscreen interfaces using a custom OS (which will probably be a heavily-customised Android or Linux variant under the skin) that will be scrapped or revised within six months.2

[Via Waxy.org/links]

  1. That last feature should really have occurred to me: I use Prowl to have my Mac send me Growl notifications about all sorts of things.
  2. See, for an example of this sort of thinking, Samsung's decision to ditch the Android OS they used in the first generation of Galaxy Gear smartwatches within six months of their launch in favour of their own OS.

Comments Off

Dropbox arbitration

February 26th, 2014

Turns out that the latest change to Dropbox's Terms of Service merits a second look:

If you're a Dropbox user, you probably got an email in the last few days about an update to their TOS that basically puts all disputes into arbitration rather than litigation.

If you're like me, you probably glossed over this update because gah, legalese.

Allow me to summarize what it means when a company wants to handle all disputes in arbitration [...]

Basically, if you'd prefer not to have Dropbox choose who gets to decide whether they did something wrong, you have a limited amount of time to opt out of their new TOS. You may think this is no big deal but it's still good to be aware of your options,1 especially when they're time-limited.

Kudos to Tiffany Bridge and Khoi Vinh for bringing this to their readers' attention.

[Via Subtraction.com]

  1. So what happens if most people opt out? Perhaps Dropbox conclude that their users don't like losing the option to take legal action against the company and learn a lesson from that. Alternatively, they decide they'd be much happier dealing with users who are willing to forego the option of litigation if there's a dispute and bring the clause back in the next TOS revision, only this time without the option of opting-out. At which point Dropbox users have a decision to make.

Comments Off

Godzilla Returns

February 25th, 2014

Judging by the first full trailer, this year's take on Godzilla looks bigger, meaner and a whole lot scarier than the version who chased Matthew Broderick around New York back in 1998:

They're gonna need a bigger Jaeger.

[Via MetaFilter]

Comments Off

The TARDIS of furniture

February 24th, 2014

Roentgen Objects are genuinely remarkable pieces of furniture:

The furniture is a process – an event – a seemingly endless sequence of new spatial conditions and states expanding outward into the room around it.

Each piece is a controlled explosion of carpentry with no real purpose other than to test the limits of volumetric self-demonstration, offering little in the way of useful storage space and simply showing off, performing, a spatial Olympics of shelves within shelves and spaces hiding spaces.

Comments Off

Page 2 of 35612345...102030...Last »