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Manfeels Linky

Unexpectedly, for the first time in literally years, I’m having twinges of hope about fate of the planet this week. Prompted by these two things:

(1) A new Al Gore piece in Rolling Stone, in which he points out that the climate change battleground is shifting, using Obama’s recent moves to point out a whole lot of significant positive changes like rapid changes in solar.

(2) Climate Voter, an apolitical initiative by a number of NGOs (350, WWF, Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, Gen Zero, Oxfam) to basically build up a petition of people indicating how climate will drive their voting behaviour. This is a really elegant way to put these issues on the table. They’re hitting 15K as I write which is pretty solid but if climate change is an important issue for you I urge you to sign up as well. Do it now! I’ll wait!

Grantland has a great account of a convention for Diplomacy players – this game’s reputation as “the game that destroys friendships” is well-deserved.

I wondered out loud when someone would write about how Tumblr has changed comics. Kieron Gillen pointed me at this great article on how Marvel Comics is being shaped by Tumblr. I think there’s more to say – like how gender-bent/race-bent cosplay pics are changing the visual vocabulary of supers storytelling – but this covers a bunch of good stuff. Recommended to comics nerds of course but also anyone interested in social media as a phenomenon.

David R celebrated the 25th birthday of Tim Burton’s Batman with this supercut of Batman mentions:

Manfeels Park – hilarious new webcomic mashing together Pride & Prej images with man-pain internet comments. (by Marrog & Erin, hello Marrog & Erin)

Make up routine to make you happy. I have never learned as much about the intricacies of feminine psychology. (via Sophie O’Doom)

Charting the adaptation of Game of Thrones – which chapters to which episodes

Pugs as Game of Thrones characters

Homemade Hoth

Being a neocon means never having to say you’re sorry

This story is amazing: guy who ended up irrevocably lost when he was 4 years old later tracked down his home by searching google maps for familiar scenes (via Sarah E)

And finally… Nick Offerman narrates this very funny short about an intrusive narrator in an old west saloon


Flick Kick International


Flick Kick Football Legends, the football-kicking free-to-play mobile game I wrote for, has updated and is even more fun. I particularly like the International Cup, where your team goes to Brazil to compete after your national team gets abducted by aliens. I wrote almost all of the dumb dad-joke commentary, and the absurd little storylines that run in-between matches. I love every character, but I think I love the mad Doctor most of all.

Get the game!

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Leopold Linky

It was Bloomsday! Here’s Jung writing to Joyce about Ulysses.

Aucklanders – The Black Hoof, restaurant/tapas bar/gastropub/place – opens in August. These are my friends, so maybe think about checking it out sometime? (Facebook page)

As a child I thought I knew what the coolest thing in all the universe was: Boba Fett. But, this photo.

58 cognitive biases that screw up everything you do. I quibble over some of the specifics, but the length of this list should give you pause. We are no so smart. (via Stephen Fox)

FBI lexicon of twitter slang. The existence of this document is delightful. In my mind’s eye, Albert Rosenfeld is trying to describe it to Gordon Cole.

I dip into Rookie Mag from time to time because, although I am not the audience (teenage girls) I appreciate the fact that Rookie is pretty much perfect. Here’s another example of why: they reposted for father’s day “Ask A Grown Man” featuring special guest advice guru Steve Gevinson aka the father of Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson. It’s kind of perfect. Hits a peak about 3 minutes in, if you just want the quick version.

Amazing graduation photos mocking movie posters. The Captain America one is gorgeous.

Rap Battle from History – featuring Weird Al as Isaac Newton. The man is a legend.

Where to get coffee in Edinburgh? A blog. For y’all in Edinburgh. (via Erik)

Grab your next desktop background from here – cells from Miyazaki movies (via Mundens!)

Well-researched essay on how “mana”, a Polynesian word and concept, ended up used in loads of video games to mean “magic points”.

The Ruminator reviews a sausage

Key & Peele’s Mexican Standoff is amazing.

The internet means long literary novels will die out, says grumpy old white man. Sharing this one for the lulz.

Ah, Tony Blair, you do make it easy to keep my rage white-hot. The money quote: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this.” This is completely wrong, and staggeringly poorly-phrased. Yet there is some sense to the claim – the invasion of Iraq was not the sole cause of the troubles of an entire region. Witness how self-serving Blair is, however, in drawing his big picture: “Poor governance, weak institutions, oppressive rule and a failure within parts of Islam to work out a sensible relationship between religion and Government have combined to create countries which are simply unprepared for the modern world.” And yet no mention of Western exploitation and interference in the region, from the celebrated (e.g. the Balfour Declaration) to the criminally ignored (e.g. the British and American overthrow of Mossadegh in ’53). I do not know what punishment could possibly fit Blair’s crimes, but I am confident he will be forever incapable of comprehending his own wilful blindness.
(see also Giovanni Tiso‘s acidic rewriting)

Sad footballers (via Bruce, who says “you just don’t get to see things like this in rugby”)

Why didn’t Harry use Avada Kevadra vs Voldemort? Answered on stackexchange’s new SF/F platform (via d3vo!)

Insane record collections & their people

And finally…

even more finally, via Jenni Talula:


People’s Poet Linky

Rik Mayall, eh? Bugger. This is the clip to watch – my first thought was to seek it out but then lots of other people had the same thought before me (including you Jet). The Bottom stage show, when Mayall and Edmondson go a bit off-script. (Some of this out-of-character banter was apparently scripted, but they both corpse out completely about halfway through.) It’s marvellous stuff. NSFW of course.

VERY well done – Aliens in Lego

Marvellous – Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, emerged from retirement to secretly be a guest artist on another comic strip. (WaPo coverage)

Mark Hamill does the Joker meets Luke Skywalker

Many, many recreations of classic photos and paintings using Star Wars figures

19yo blogs watching Star Wars for the first time

Game of Thrones characters as 80s yoofs… some of these seem to absolutely nail the characters, and some seem really really wrong to me.

The shocking moment from the most recent Game of Thrones ep (s04e09), with appropriate musical sting (via Paul Wilson)

The More Things Change Dept: when playing Chess was going to make kids more violent (via Craig Oxbrow)

Amazingly this week a 13-year-old boy convinced some adults he was a human being.

Britney as feminist icon? Lengthy article about her Vegas residency musters part of an argument in this direction. I skimmed it, and mean to come back to it – the phenomenon of Britney is fascinating.

Also Vegas: man stuck at Vegas airport overnight makes a music video (via Nick Tipping)

Newspaper ad for an 1890s detective agency, the only one with “lady detectives”.

Can you identify the book from its map? (Guardian quiz, via Elizabeth Knox)

Shakesville: we need to talk about the abuse women receive when they are visible online. (That’s a conversation that’s been slowly starting to gain momentum in the last year or so, and I’d expect this post will be a significant moment when we look back say a year from now.)

Why the Dog Whisperer should not be your idol. (Includes: the surprising connection between Nazi science and dog whisperering!)

Chimps regularly beat humans in strategy games.

Disney Doctor Who (scroll down for the slightly adjusted version he made in response to feedback)

Western Art History: women ignoring men

And finally… The ultimate Nicolas Cage prank


Unboxing Linky

Get nostalgic for how we did nostalgia in the good old days: The Wonder Years cast reunited

This sounds craaazy. WaPo headline: Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds (Via Tom Crosby)
Of course, there are methodological issues, so maybe it’s all just a hurricane in a teacup.

Marvellous, unusual Ukrainian art for Lord of the Rings (via Craig Oxbrow)

The person who mapped Batman’s Gotham City

D-Day photographs – then and now

You stay here. I’m going out there alone to check it out. (A supercut.)

All of Star Wars, intercut with the sequences that inspired Lucas. Amazing. (I’ve only dipped into it but was very impressed with the bits I saw.)

Or, Star Wars, in alphabetical order:

Rankin-Bass does Star Wars

And finally… YouTube is full of “unboxing” videos. If you’ve ever seen one, and you’ve seen the film Seven (or “Se7en” depending on how frustrating you are), then you’ll appreciated this. Um, spoilers.


Legopunk Linky

Sam Burke found this neat description of a more effective way to win arguments than saying “I can prove you’re wrong!” Not suitable for all circumstances, but I’m adding it to my arsenal.

The 25 most underrated movies of the 90s (via Edel)

Cyberpunk city made out of Lego

Gustave the crocodile has his own wikipedia page. He is believed to have killed 300 people. (I discovered his existence through the Snap Judgment podcast’s Monsters episode.) (The Wee Beastie watched today an episode of a Disney kids show featuring an alligator called Gustov… coincidence or conspiracy?)

The worst waiter in history

Low-budget Beasts (shared with love, costuming the Beast is HARD)

A great 7-minute film pointing out how Edgar Wright uses all kinds of filmmaking tricks to make his films funny, while other comedy directors… don’t. (Via Dave Chapman)

Arthur Chu is a self-identified nerd who found a weakness in the design of the legendary US gameshow Jeopardy, and proceeded to become a (somewhat controversial) champion. He’s just revealed another talent, for the written word – and for clear insight into the troubling misogyny infecting nerd culture. I was going to make this linky clear of all references to the recent awful events in the US, but this one deserves a wider audience.

The science of Bruce Lee’s one-inch-punch.

On the latest This American Life, Molly Ringwald and her 10-year-old daughter watch The Breakfast Club together.

Chinese bootleg Star Wars comics (via Jamie Norrish)

Artists create works inspired by pages in an 90s X-Men coloring book. (via the Alligator)

Gem’s Wilder Web is always worth a look but this week’s crop of links is particularly genius. Homemade Disney costumes, Cliff Curtis interviewed, the Modern Maori Quartet doing the Game of Thrones theme, and moar! Go and check it out…

And finally, via Pearce, the many delights of Liartown USA (warning, often NSFW!)


Reparations Linky

If you follow one linky this week, make it this: Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic about the case for reparations for Black America. It’s an incredible piece, rigorous and searing and delivered in calm and measured tones but you can feel the acidic rage sitting underneath. Coates focuses on property as his way into racial divisions and the continuing reality of white supremacy; the stories in the last few linkys about the wasteland communities of New Jersey are given stark context here. It’s tough, challenging, and might just become one of those pieces that is referenced and remembered for decades after publication. Read it.

Why do we eat the way we do? We think we’re in charge of how we eat, but, nope.

Infographic: am I reading a Gothic novel?

Flaws only a protagonist could have.

Genuine headline: Crocodile injured by falling accountant

Psychic Sally falls flat in front of an audience in the UK. Fascinating to see how she loses the crowd here.

Everything is broken – this piece could also be titled “why your computer will never, ever be secure”

The New York Times lost 80 million homepage visitors—half the traffic to the page—in two years. The lack of vision/comprehension/courage within news organisations astonishes me. Even now, in 2014, digital-delivered news keeps pretending to be a newspaper. Madness. The NYT’s self-review on this subject is interesting reading – the full leaked report is here and I mean to give it a close read one of these days, in the meantime Nieman Labs has a great overview/summary of the key insights. Basically, the NYT knows it’s messing up, but it isn’t doing a great job of fixing that. Metadata is a huge mess, to pick one obvious sign of disarray.

I should link to my vision of the future of online news, a year ago on the Ruminator. The NYT is doing some things – the “Times Topics” present news aggregated by general topic, e.g. on Stop & Frisk, but it looks to me more like a search result page than something that has been curated. And that, I think, is where the future opportunities are for news organisations – curation and editorial direction at this level, instead of offloading that to an automated process.

The report did point me at a place that is trying to do some of the things I wondered why no-one was doing. launched a couple months ago with an express aim of providing context to its news coverage, e.g. using what they call a “StoryStream”. Here’s an example on the Abramson ouster story, while we’re talking NYT. It’s pretty thin, and I mean that literally as well as figuratively – it links a bunch of stories vertically, sure, but where’s the horizontal links to other, related, issues and story streams? Nevertheless, it’s obviously been collated by a human with an eye toward noting how the pieces make up a larger story, so that’s something.

One media trend I didn’t discuss in that piece is the growing trend towards smartening up a longform piece using smart scrolling and dynamic images. (The one everyone cites is Snow Fall.) Certain kinds of feature journalism can work like this but the investment is high, and even then it feels like only a small step. Still, here’s a great example frm the last week: The Reykjavik Confessions: The mystery of why six people admitted roles in two murders – when they couldn’t remember anything about the crimes.

Why do people keep believing stuff even when they’re shown it isn’t true? This New Yorker piece has gone quite viral, even though it’s all quite old news. Depressing old news.

Should we have trigger warnings on academic classes?

David Lynch’s Return of the Jedi. (Lynch was offered the gig, but turned it down. This applies the full suite of Lynchisms to Jedi – it’s neat fun.) (via Andrew Watters)

Non-paradoxical Swedish poster (via Mike Sands)

The new Guardians of the Galaxy poster is terrible! The “fixed” version at this link is great.

So a couple linkys back I had a story about American Football coming to China. Here’s the very different story of American Football coming to India. Spoiler for the difference – the China league started because a young Chinese guy thought “this would be awesome!”, the India league started because a wealthy US woman thought “Indians need to learn how to be manly and also we can make money from this”.

Chart of the vocal ranges of popular/famous singers

And finally, the most scandalous photo in Doctor Who history, rendered in Lego.


Miss a Meal Linky

It’s May! That means it’s time to Miss a Meal for Kaibosh, the excellent charity that smartly sews up the systemic gaps to take leftover retail food to the hungry people who need it. Skip a takeaway night and send the $$ to Kaibosh, do eeet… (Those outside NZ might look for a local equivalent charity, there are others around on the same model)

I think I’ve linked before to the great, five-minute text game Sacrilege about a young woman in a nightclub looking at her options for taking a guy home. The creator has now written a post-mortem a year on from its release. Play it, then read about it.

RIP Hans Rudi Giger. Freaky dude. The excellent Alien filmmaking nerdery blog Strange Shapes has a brief but insightful obit.

Did you know the age of Miss America correlates with the number of people scalded to death by steam in that year? Just an example from a daily blog of surprising relationships between two things! (Making the point that correlation is not causation, of course.)

I’ve linked before to these images of Disney characters as university students, but it has been massively updated, heaps of new characters.

If the moon were only 1 pixel in size: a tediously accurate map of the solar system

Why does every novel set in Africa have the same cover?

“You can get all the equipment you need to properly sharpen a pencil for less than a thousand dollars” – pencil sharpening done right, a ten-minute movie (via Svend and various other sources)

Perfect: [ALTHOUGH the GRRM account is a fake, curses, thanks Johnnie for setting me straight]

Even more perfect: perhaps the greatest use of Twitter ever. (Check the dates.)

Some amazing photos of cool stuff at the Chicago Field Museum over the last hundred years. (via AndyMac) Just all sorts of interesting bits and pieces!

Screenwriter types: this article about how one writer stepped up his game when he went to work with Dan Harmon on Community is smart, packed with in-jokes, motivational, and (crucially) has a pre- and post-rewrite version of a celebrated Community script for the compare and contrast. Awesome.

In December, I linkied this great Rolling Stone piece by Matt Taibbi about the New Jersey city of Camden coping with Chris Christie’s decision to pull out the police force. (Christie has since had a very dramatic few months…) Anyway, here’s a great companion piece about Camden: Kathy Dobie writing in GQ about the little league that has been created, and is thriving, in America’s most dangerous city.

And while we’re talking Chris Christie and New Jersey, the New Yorker has an intriguing piece about Mark Zuckerberg committing a hundred million dollars to education reform in Newark… Spoiler: it doesn’t go well.

And finally: all 178 episodes with Tom Baker as Doctor Who, simultaneously


Vocabulary Linky

Who displays the biggest vocabulary in hiphop, and how does it compare to Shakespeare? (via Tom Crosby; some of this unsurprising – Kool Keith! – some of it quite surprising indeed…)

Huh, since I added that to the file it kinda went big, maybe bigger than it deserved – the analysis is pretty shallow! But anyway.

Also going viral in a big way, Buffy as Monkey-Island style point-and-click adventure

Live HD video of Earth, from space.

All you need to know about NZ’s boy in the NBA, currently in playoff mode, you can glean from these headlines:
The complete list of people ejected for hitting Steven Adams and Power rankings: Who will punch Steven Adams in the face?

Moulin Rouge did a kids matinee in the 50s… (via Calum)

Nice piece on what John Hughes’s Sixteen Candles did right. (While not forgetting all the stuff it did… less right.)

Visual guide to petting animals properly

What’s really going on when people get grumpy about children getting prizes for trying, not for winning

The five great works of software

Star Wars is actually bees. (via Jamie N)

Quoting Svend, who sent this link: Nothing says “different worldview” like “humorous” newsreel segments

Sounds like NYC has finally caught up to little old Wellington in the coffee stakes

Semi-finally, Creepy Full House

And finally, via Julian von Sligo, the Rite of Spring set to Travolta/Curtis aerobics. Provocative stuff.


May Day Linky

Insight into the lovely True Detective title sequence

Disney princesses as drawn as Game of Thrones characters, and via Stephanie, genderswapped Disney characters (beautifully painted, those!)

Basically all my friends in coding shared this article in the last couple days: Programming Sucks. It’s hilarious and cutting and should be read by non-coding people wondering why the whole wired world is the way it is now.

A doco about the LGBT gaming scene (pay what you want) (via Scott Common) – trailer:

Ha ha, some HBO ads lovingly dramatise watching awkward moments on TV with your parents in the room. (via Andrew Salmond)

The definitive ranking of Babysitters Club cover outfits. (via Pearce, of course, who else)

I know there will be some readers who won’t be able to resist this: Duck Tales the theme song as a groovy slow jam

This clip tipped me over into going to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (It isn’t a clip from the movie.) Irresistible.

If you only ever watch one of Jimmy Fallon’s lip sync battles, make it this one, because emma stone Emma Stone EMMA STOOOOONE

Inequality is the big issue of the moment, and in that world, everybody’s talking Piketty. Here’s Max Rashbrooke with an NZ perspective on this gamechanger. (The Spectator has a bluffer’s guide, too.)

TNC writes about that racist NBA owner getting banned. His take is, as always, smart and sharp. It’s also a bit less celebratory than you’d expect.

And finally, a song that could justify the entire subgenre of “Christian rap music”: