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History Linky

Old amigo Malcolm Craig, formerly of this parish but now back in that parish, has launched a new podcast (with a friend). It ties in more-or-less with the undergrad American history course they’re teaching at University of Edinburgh. First ep is about slavery, and is up now in all the usual podcasty places.

Urban design foolishness of the week: apparently the standard city street lane in the US is 12 feet. That is… very wide indeed. And it’s killing people.

Master Jedi David-R Kenobi advised me that the completely mad shot-by-shot recreation of Empire Strikes Back is now finished. He recommends the asteroid sequence, at 38 mins-ish. I just randomly clicked into several places, and of the bits I saw, the C3PO at 34:45 was my favourite. Perfection.

British military black ops teams planted fake evidence of black masses in Northern Ireland to convince people that paramilitaries were also Satanists, or something. (via Robert Whitaker)

Deadspin’s explainer for Gamergate is great. Because Gamergate is a mess. It started with dumb misogyny, grew, and currently claims to be a respectable movement for journalist ethics in computer games, but identifies the principal ethical dangers as “social justice warriors making games all feminist and stuff”. Or something. (The death threats continued of course.) But better than talking through the madness of Gamergate, this article also identifies the patterns sitting in here and how they are the future of the culture wars – when the Tea Party is made up of digital natives, these are the tactics they’ll use. A great read, if hugely frustrating.

I’ve linked before to the marvellous levitation photos of Natsumi Hayashi. I received an email: she’s got an Artsy page now, love from a person connected with Artsy. Artsy is a thing with artists where you can follow them, explore their work, buy prints etc. Check it out.

Predator: The Musical. The voices for all the supporting characters are perfect.

And finally, pretty sure this is indeed the worst cat ever. Certainly the least photogenic.


Misconception Linky

The world’s most contagious falsehoods – things that ain’t true that keep getting spread around… (via Steve Ellis)

Newsweek has a short piece on the Swedish pre-school adoption of a gender neutral pronoun. (via Jenni)

Nate Silver with some wisdom:

Adventure Time gets a gritty reboot that apparently tugs at the heartstrings if you know Adventure Time

New Yorker writer eagerly tells us why the Twin Peaks revival will suck: because every other revival sucks. Crucial flaw in his argument: no other revival has ever been entirely directed by David Lynch.

Cool comic by Toby Morris on just going out and creating stuff. His inspirational example: Flat 3, which I raved about last linky.

If you have some questions about feminism, the Womansplainer can help you. Very reasonable rates.

Anita Sarkeesian’s talk from XOXO, about the crazy harrassment she was subjected to for the crime of being a woman on the internet, is now up. It’s well worth watching. Not pleasant viewing, although there’s a positive atmosphere in the room and even a few jokes.

That leads into this piece – an epic no-holds-barred account by Kathy Sierra, who was targeted by online trolls, and one in particular. Essential, and somewhat bleak, reading.

And finally, this just got announced and it cheered me right up: Archie vs Predator


L-Boogie Linky

Talib Kweli writes a stirring defence of Lauryn Hill. I still remember listening to Miseducation for the first time, getting enraptured by it.

Comics that retell Lovecraft stories in one page. Only a few so far, but they’re all pretty great.

This is shaping up to be my most-shared tweet ever. I should have taken a better photo.

Via Gem Wilder – interview with special effects head about the intricate opening shot of Back To The Future:

BTTF – The Opening Scene – Kevin Pike Interview – Part 1 @Jamieswb from Jamie Benning on Vimeo.

JSTOR Daily – this looks great! Weekly feature articles on a range of subjects, plus daily blog posts that provide backstory to complex issues of the day, all linked in to scholarly articles within the JSTOR archive. Top of the line as I type: a detailed smackdown of that claim that couples who split the household chores have less sex.

Swedish scientists competing to sneak Dylan lyrics into their publications.

Five-and-a-half minutes of Reza Aslan smoothly taking apart the blind prejudice of CNN anchors trying to interview him.

Everyone seems to love this GE lightbulb ad starring Jeff Goldblum. It is pretty special.

Kiwi webseries Flat 3 has returned for another 6-episode season! I love this so much. Gleefully profane with loveable characters and just watch it watch it watch it. The new season starts with Episode 13:

And finally, this has to be seen to be believed – re-editing David Cameron word-by-word so he ends up rapping over the “Lose Yourself” beat. And the rapping is amazing. Loads of internal rhymes, great rhythm, some incredibly smart couplets, and brutally on-point. I am just in awe of this. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it now. If you have seen it, watch it again, because it can never be watched too many times.


Friendzone Linky

Fantastic, infuriating piece by David Roberts at Grist – is it possible to convince the American right wing that climate change is real? (Go on, take a wild guess.)

Vox: Three reasons why NZ has the best electoral system in the world. I could niggle with the details, but I’m genuinely pretty happy with the system we have here.

Opening credits for an imaginary Buffy animated series. So good! And packed with in-jokes.

Now here’s a treat: the entire film “Hopeless” is available to watch free on the NZ On Screen site! It’s kind of an NZ slacker comedy, but with so much heart to it, and a lovely shaggy-dog rhythm. I last watched it just a few years ago, and it held up very well I thought. Bookmark this one for a quiet moment, highly recommended!

David R pointed out to me that the “Star Wars minus the music” thing I linkied last week was just one of an amazing set of vids by the Auralnauts. Here’s an 18-minute reimagining of Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, using redubbed dialogue and clever editing to tell a rather different tale. It is marvellous!

15-minute Firefly fan film that is apparently pretty good. (I haven’t watched it.)

That speech Emma Watson gave at the UN on feminism and how men need it too – it really is very good. (I have watched this one.)

And – because the website for it was actually tricky to find, google didn’t even give it to me the other day – here is the actual campaign site for He For She, which is the UN thing she’s promoting. I’ve signed up.

Wildlife photos of the year

Tumblr of beautiful, close-reading analysis of Gaiman’s Sandman. (I can’t handle these kind of animated images, but the content seemed good while I stayed.)

Soderbergh has a re-edited Raiders of the Lost Ark to force focus on the visual storytelling, shot composition, and other elements of what he calls “staging” (John Fouhy tipped me off on this first).

One of the highlights of my week at the moment is watching (a big chunk of) weekly comedy-news show, Last Week Tonight. Fronted by the divine John Oliver, this show has transcended the format pioneered by the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, producing lengthy explainers using archive-trawling and some investigation to really educate you about something that is genuinely worth getting grumpy about. It is a very special show. It airs Sunday night in the USA, then the big story gets uploaded to YouTube the next day so everyone can watch it. (It gets regionlocked out of the Uk for another 24 hours I think so their local affiliate can broadcast? Anyway.) And the big story is BIG. It is usually fifteen solid minutes of exploration into one story. If you haven’t jumped on the LWN train yet, start right here with this piece from the latest show on the Miss America Beauty Pageant. It does what you expect, and then does a whole bunch more stuff that you won’t expect, and it absolutely nails every aspect. Also, it’s funny as hell. Watch this, people!

Oliver, of course, is well-known to podcast aficionados for his co-host role in long-running comedy news thingy The Bugle. The Bugle has just had its first new episode since Oliver got really busy doing something or other – hopefully they’ll manage to keep them coming. Give it a listen!

And finally, this music video about horror movie monsters as high-school students going to prom is very, very good. And absolutely PACKED with gags and references. I caught heaps but I know I missed lots more. (The song is… forgettable.)


Vote Like A Pirate Linky

Voting is underway now, so it’s a good time to share – what it will be like if Scotland votes for independence? (via Morag) (the Vox one made me lol)

If you haven’t seen this yet, it is marvellous marvellous marvellous.
Grandparents on Facebook keep accidentally tagging Grandmaster Flash into their messages.

Star Wars minus the Williams score: the Throne Room scene. So good.

Some things you can literally do in your sleep.

Hahaha after a Judge ruled Christian pamphlets could be handed out in Florida schools, but other religions could too… Satanic Temple Children’s Activity Book. This is culture jamming at its finest.

Dylan Horrocks did a great Pecha Kucha on his Year of Belief, in which he did some delving into religion and faith

You can listen to a sampler of the stories from Baby Teeth, the scary-children horror anthology I contributed to, in the latest Tales to Terrify podcast. Dan has the scoop.

And finally… from the depths of my unused linky folder, how about the comic prequel to the Golden Girls in which they are super-spies?



Pour Vous Linky

The actual rules for “tu” and “vous” in French. Lovely. (via @adzebill)

The Atlantic: Why do people believe in ghosts?

Luc Besson’s “Lucy” inspired much derision due to a (very dumb) “10% of the brain” thing. Anna K recasts this as metaphor for a Lovecraft-style expanded perception, and finds much to admire. I haven’t seen the film but this is the first review of it that has remotely made it sound appealing to me.

IKEA instructions for movie monsters (via Tof)

Pearl Jam covered (a few lines of) “Let It Go”, the song from Disney juggernaut Frozen, by request of Vedder’s 5yo daughter. (via Susan H)

What it would be like dating the Disney princes:

Insightful essay on the BBC News site about how Scotland got to the point that a vote for independence is gaining popular support – this sure wasn’t always the case! (Here’s a hint as to why: Thatcher + austerity.) It’s one of those awful “long-scrolling multimedia” things that news organisations think are very clever (because Snow Fall won the pulitzer I guess) but that already look massively dated; if you can put up with that, this is a great read. (Via Andrew Watters)

Also, Monbiot’s latest column on the Scottish Independence Referendum is probably the single most optimistic thing I’ve ever seen him write: Scottish independence will spark a new progressive movement that will transform (what’s left of) the UK! I’ll believe it when I see it, but he is right that Scottish independence will be hugely influential outside of their borders.

Craig Oxbrow has made me aware that Harvey Keitel is reprising his Pulp Fiction character in a series of ads for an insurance company. The video is region-locked, so I can’t watch it, and from Craig’s description I suspect that’s probably just as well.

And finally, the Duck Tales theme song with real ducks:


Conical Linky

(Super-short linky this week. I don’t know why, just haven’t come across much linkable stuff.)

A board game invented for the TV show ‘Parks & Recreation’ was played for real, for charity, at GenCon.

The Guardian has an interesting take on the narrowing margin in the polls as the Scottish independence referendum date approaches, and particulary how the vote is being talked about down at street level, in the pubs and nightclubs. (It certainly has the Scottish contingent on my social media streams busy!)
Also: George Monbiot’s column on the subject certainly has people talking, 3500 comments and counting…

A history of classical music, in the form of cat GIFs. (via Bruce N)

Fascinating photoset of soldiers’ kit from 1066 to 2014.

And finally, this book review about a noir mystery with a cast of teddy bears is sensible enough. But the comment section… ah, the comment section. It just gets better as it goes along.


Badwell Linky

This week in Malcolm Gladwell schadenfreude: the 10,000 hour rule isn’t real

It’s the election in NZ soon, and as with most constituencies, the parties need to work really hard to actually get people to the voting booth. NZ independent journo Nicky Hager, talking in the wake of his expose book about dirty political tactics in NZ (it would all be pretty ordinary stuff in other countries but we are trying to keep a lid on those tactics here), offered his big suggestion for election day:

This, I note, is precisely the plan I came up with after a conversation with a Green party candidate when I tried to apply my social psyc masters to electoral strategy. If we can make voting a social event, participation will jump. A little. (Note that in NZ, like in all sensible countries, voting is on a weekend day.) It’s a really good idea. says D&D is officially cool again. Unsure where the “again” part of the headline comes from, but, yup – more & more hipsters been flinging those twenty-sided dice lately. Artisan, hand-crafted action adventure fun – how can you go wrong?

Peter Capaldi’s Oscar-winning 20-minute short film:

“On the evidence of the last few weeks, what we are seeing is the end of gamers, and the viciousness that accompanies the death of an identity.” The end of gamers (via Kieron Gillen)

Israeli & Palestinian kids go to the U.S. together, and it helps. An interesting & encouraging exploration of the contact hypothesis, and like the best psyc experiments, it’s about boys going to camp.

The Fawlty Towers hotel set recreated in Lego. Marvellously done!

Thoughts about class in Australia (via saniac/Stephen Judd): “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that citizens in contemporary Australia are now implicitly divided into those who bother and those who don’t. It seems poverty and wealth can no longer be attributed – even in part – to social origins; they are apparently manifestations of character.”

This made me lol:

Via Allanah: enter the Useless Web

The final linky is always something baffling, but you might wonder how I can find something more baffling than those two items. Don’t worry, I got you covered…
And finally, Irresistible Horse Hoods


Aw Yiss Linky

Aw Yisser, Beaton style.

Usagi Yojimbo stop-motion short! (via Gareth Skarka)

Last week I shared the 538 coverage of the NZ-expat King of Scrabble! D’oh, his reign is over.

Email will never die

This is really very good indeed: the first part of a legit adaptation of Jack Chick’s fabled D&D-will-make-you-worship-Satan comic, DARK DUNGEONS:

Professional Wrestling tells the story of capitalism

Johnny Cash has been everywhere (Via Svend)

Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman script

Willie Nelson’s card trick

Bogie and Bacall starred in a radio drama serial!?

This is lovely – a Read-Along StoryBook for The Thing:

Shower thoughts with Nick Offerman

via Svend – airplane cutaways!

Also via Svend – ornate dragons painted with a single brush stroke

And last via Svend, Dan Geer’s talk at a Black Hat hacking conference on Cybersecurity as Realpolitik (text) – svend says it “has a bunch of interesting ideas about how he would solve things”

And finally, Robin Williams & Craig Ferguson dance to Britney


Mork and Linky

(I’ve basically read none of the things I’m linking this week, only skimmed them. Far too much going on in the world right now. Many of these links are via the marvellous Nextdraft.)

Longreads has pulled out from their archive some long pieces on Robin Williams.

This mash-up of the Muppets (doing Danny Boy) and the Beastie Boys is one minute of perfection.

Journalism: You’re a teenager and you’re a pedophile. You don’t want to hurt anyone. What do you do? – Plus an interview with the writer of that piece.

More on the methodological knife fight going down in my academic field, social psyc.

Weirdly effective: the opening credits of Twin Peaks, in 8-bit form.

Every Hitchcock cameo.

The Wonder Years: An Oral History

Organize your life: be like a chef. (Sound right, Gator?)


The New Zealander who is the best Scrabble player on Earth.

Spacewar! – a computer game from 1962

“The assumption is that history is linear – from ignorance to enlightenment. It’s true that we’re closer to racial justice than we were, say, a century ago, but here’s the paradox: while we might be more diverse, more tolerant and more committed to racial justice than our ancestors, we’re committed to an ideology that makes racial justice impossible – colorblindness.” Morgan Godfery on the insidious racism built into NZ culture.

How high-quality action movies are made now – this sequence, lasting all of two seconds, is a blur of cool people doing stuff when first seen. But when inspected closely, as you do in this age of blu-ray and animated gif, you can see exactly what is going on – and what is revealed is way way cooler than you ever guessed. This is storytelling happening in such density that you can only pick up on it through detailed study (or by following this link). Amazing.

And finally (again via Dangerous Minds): the ambient sound of a Star Wars X-Wing, for 12 hours.