September 14, 2014
There once was a time when your working knowledge of, say, Junot Diaz or Radiohead was all you needed to show some conversational with-it-ness. Now, though? Restaurants - the currency of the young and cash-strapped - are the key to the cultural kingdom.
With Saturday being the 15th anniversary of the tragic departure of the Moon from Earth orbit, it's a good time to visit The Boneyard, home to all the disassembled remains of the Eagles used in the Space 1999 series. [more inside]
Those of you here who are jazz fans may have heard a little about Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild. Her nickname "Nica" is enshrined in many a jazz composition's title, for example Nica's Tempo, Nica's Dream, Blues for Nica and, simpy, Nica. She was, as you'd imagine, a devoted lover of jazz, and an inestimably important benefactor, patron and enabler of many of the jazz legends of her time, especially the great Thelonius Monk. Learn more about her in this Guardian article: The jazz baroness and the bebop king.
Douglas E. Smith, creator of the classic 8-bit computer game Lode Runner, which got a second life as one of HudsonSoft's most iconic Famicom titles in Japan, has died at the age of 57. [more inside]
A week of Ctrl-Alt-Del posts on Raymond Chen's blog The Old New Thing begins with a simple blog post: Who wrote the text for the Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog in Windows 3.1?. What followed was a mixture of confused tech journalism and Chen's patient Windows archaeology. [more inside]
How pointe shoes get made, at Freed's of London (official shoe makers of the Royal Ballet). Has that whet your appetite? You can try your hand at the Royal Ballet's company class (or the Bolshoi's, if that is more your speed). If you never got a chance to take ballet as a kid, be inspired by the adult beginner ballet students of Kathy Mata. [more inside]
In the late 1990s, Portland-based programmer Kevin Lewandowski shifted his musical discography efforts from a manually maintained drum'n'bass website to a community-built effort, and named the effort Discogs. The site grew, slowly at first, focusing on documenting any and all details of electronic records, then hip hop, rock and jazz, and eventually any sort of recorded audio, more or less. Other key changes include the 2005 addition of the Discogs Marketplace, and the contentious Version Four update, which changed the way submissions are moderated, making all pending submissions publicly visible. The latter change resulted in "the oggercide," but it was the former that brought about a vinyl revolution, uniting a world of record sellers small and large in one well-visited vinyl (and CD, cassette, DVD, etc.) record store. Last month, Discogs held its first in-person record sale, in Portland, Oregon.
Al-Qaeda deliberately targeted the 9/11 attacks at the backbone of the world's financial system in lower Manhattan, to cripple US and world banking. That totally didn't happen and, national emergency aside, the US's (and world's) financial systems kept operating as normal, with no runs on banks and the NYSE trading at normal volumes just a week later. With the destruction of the physical infrastructure of banking and telecommunications in lower Manhattan, Alan Greenspan stranded in Zurich, and no one having any idea what was going on, how did that happen? Within 41 minutes, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson issued a short statement on Fedwire that the Fed fund transfer system was fully operational and the Fed would remain open until "an orderly closing could be achieved." Within 3 hours, the Fed issued a short statement that "The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs." The financial system, the Fed declared, would not fail. [more inside]
Ten Second Songs covers pop songs in twenty different styles: Linkin Park - In The End, Ariana Grande - Problem, Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty To Me [more inside]
It's not always obvious, but Cracked does some amazing true life interviewing and reporting buried in a (very) thin veneer of black humour. From John Cheese's writings on growing out of alcoholism to Robert Evans' personal experience articles, they do a surprisingly good job at telling intense, hard-to-read stories. This is their take on sex slavery. Holy shit trigger warnings.
Entangled. "Forced to care for her catatonic lover Malcolm after a secret quantum experiment goes awry, Erin is determined to uncover the cause of his condition — even at the risk of her own life. This riveting contemporary science-fiction story, from one of the writers of Orphan Black, bridges alternate dimensions as it explores how far a person will go for someone they love." From the TIFF 2014 festival.
No, the above quote is not the answer to “How many total episodes are there of the various “Law & Order” franchises?”. In actuality, those nine words conclude one of the most exciting films of the 1940’s (and the direct ancestor of Dick Wolf’s prolific franchise). Welcome to “The Naked City”. [more inside]
“True, the Nazis were trying to find the Ark of the Covenant so they could destroy the world,” Canuto says. “But methodologically and legally they were in the right.” Why archeologists hate Indiana Jones. Also, why doctors don't like medical dramas; what is inaccurate about TV portrayals of lawyers and the legal process (PDF); and, finally, the terrific analysis of the portrayal of academics in children's books. When your profession is portrayed on TV, what do they get wrong?
"It irritates me because it seems such a self-conscious way to live. But, to be fair, it’s almost always completely unselfconsciously done. It’s people like me, carping at the camcordsters, who are overthinking how life should be experienced. We’re the ones who are trying to impose our opinion of how things should be enjoyed. 'Why can’t you just look at a view!?' we fume, but we never ask ourselves: 'Why can’t you just let people enjoy the view in the way they want!?' Exasperated by people staring at their phones instead of the world around them, we end up staring at people staring at their phones, miss the sunset, fireworks display or penguin feeding time, and don’t even walk away with a video to watch later." (SLGuardian)
In the 1960s, the city of Sheffield redeveloped their neglected market square into a Hole in the Road. "A small early forerunner to Meadowhall-type malls; but with more drunks and dodgy smells," the Hole was filled in and paved over in the 90s. [more inside]
'I place the blame for gaming history at the feet of the medium itself, or rather the industry that runs it. You can turn on the radio and hear the entire post-Beatles spectrum of popular music history represented as you run down the dial; flip through cable channels on a Sunday afternoon and you're as likely to see yet another repeat airing of an '80s release like Die Hard or Back to the Future as you are something that hit theaters in the past five years. For games, though, you practically have to go digging to find the classics. And chances are you won't even find them.' Jeremy Parish on the preservation and availability of classic video games. [more inside]
They have a very sexy cow in Murky Waters, the tiny, rural village you find yourself in for the duration of Chapter 4. The peasants are devoted to their cow, and dedicate themselves to her every need, guarding her jealously and evangelising about her voluptuous udder. They seem to take less care of their daughters, who keep wandering off and getting killed. Quick, better screw some of them first!Kate Simpson is collecting all the ladycards in The Witcher: part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. (The Witcher, for those who don't know, gave the player collectable trading cards for each character they ahem "romanced".)