Microlog//2012.03

Microlog entries posted in March 2012

5.4: Pitchfork, 1995-present
A comprehensive critical history of the music review site. Give yourself a good half hour or so to digest the whole thing, it’s worth it. #   ·

One Town’s War on Gay Teens
Here’s my alternative standfirst: Why wretched people like Michelle Bachman and her supporters are dangerous and evil and must be stopped. #   ·

Spelling: A Rebuttal From Wired’s Copydesk
Specifically, a rebuttal of Anne Trubek’s assertion that we should do away with spelling rules altogether. I’ve long argued about this, being both a subeditor and one who condones conversational grammar: we need to learn the rules before we can break them. #   ·

The Ghosts of D&D
An in-depth look at the state of tabletop RPG gaming, past, present and future. See also: more background on the series from its author. #   ·

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cumin recipes
Not sure about the cumin cookies so much, but now I’m craving kofte. #   ·

Happiness takes (a little) magic
An essay on cutting back one’s digital lifestyle to enjoy the finer things. I’m not sure I’d save three hours a day like Brian Lam does, but I see his point. #   ·

The Human Lake
“Instead of being lashed to a lab bench for years, carrying out experiments to illuminate one particular fold in one particular protein, we [science writers] get to play the field. We travel between different departments, different universities, different countries, and—most important of all—different disciplines. And sometimes we see links between different kinds of science that scientists themselves have missed. Which is why… I presented my audience with this photograph of a lake. For the next hour, I tried to convince them that their bodies are a lot like that lake, and that appreciating this fact could help them find new ways to treat diseases ranging from obesity to heart disease to infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” Carl Zimmer’s talk on the importance of the human body’s microbial system. A long read, but fascinating stuff [c/o Kottke]. #   ·

Would the last postmodernist please turn out the lights?
“In the end, consumer and celebrity culture defeated postmodernism by embracing it. When everything is ironic, nothing is ironic. If the movement was born on March 15th, 1972, it surely died on November 11th, 2011, when our very own Nama sold Andy Warhol’s silkscreen painting Dollar Sign in New York, having taken it from the property developer Derek Quinlan in lieu of unpaid debts. The Dollar Sign paintings were classic postmodern statements of the irony of a consumer aesthetic in which what we see in a work of art is the money it’s worth. Where’s the room for irony when the possession of such an image is embraced by one of the Celtic Tiger’s poster boys as a sign of his arrival?” Fintan O’Toole passing judgement. #   ·

How to draw… wolves
The big kid in me loves this. #   ·

The world’s biggest cities: How do you measure them?
“Defining the borders of a city is no easy task - and there is no international standard to ensure consistency” [c/o @StudioXNYC]. #   ·

Cooking for Geeks
I need to get this at some point. #   ·

The Wire’s John Zorn Primer
Handy intro to the avant jazz saxophonist’s oeuvre. #   ·

1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

Phoney politeness and muddled messages: a guide to euphemisms
“A culture without euphemism would be more honest, but rougher.” Indeed; directness has its place, but euphemisms make life, shall we say, colourful. #   ·

The IMF’s latest forecast: Perverse austerity
Some economists really do live in a different world, don’t they? #   ·

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for crushed butterbeans with red pepper paste
This would make the perfect side dish, maybe with lime and coriander marinaded chicken… #   ·

30 Days Of Netflix
A curated selection of the best things available for us users in the UK and Ireland. It’s definitely better for TV series so far, but this is a good start. #   ·

Learning Processing
Beginner, intermediate and advanced tutorials for the digital art programming language. Filing this for when I get around to catching up with Code Year. #   ·

Reviewing DC Comics’ new brand identity
It’s slightly too clean and bland on its own, but I like its versatility, even if it is perpetuating the Gotham meme in marketing design. You know what else would help? Ben-Day dots. Just a thought. #   ·

Barack Obama’s presidency, three years on - is it time to give up hope?
The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland on the diminishing expectations for change. I’m reserving judgement till next year, if/when Obama gets re-elected; then we’ll know if he can forgo political expediency and show his ‘stomach for a fight’. #   ·

The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us
Adam Gopnik elucidates the ways in which technology changes society, and how people react to this change: the clash between the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers and the Ever-Wasers [c/o Infovore]. #   ·

Designing Google Maps
On Google’s design iteration process. Great for maps, especially when they add usefulness like public alerts; not so good for the Google UX, which seems to change on a whim every few weeks. #   ·

Minutemen Swissted poster by Mike Joyce
If anybody wants to buy me this, y’know, I wouldn’t mind. Just sayin’. #   ·

Black Flag’s Damaged Changed Punk, and LA
A vivid snapshot of Black Flag’s early history circa 1981 [c/o Lexicon Devil]. It’s hard to imagine today the kind of shit that band went through… unless you substitute ‘band’ with ‘protester’. #   ·

Bootstrap Generator
For getting started with Twitter’s Bootstrap web/app design framework. #   ·

The Ex and Brass Unbound live in Dublin
Brilliant video of their gig I missed last year. #   ·

Figures of Involvement
An academic appreciation of the Minutemen. Like I need any excuse to post something about my favourite band. See also: An Econo History Of The Minutemen #   ·

Grind to Death’s best grindcore of 2011
Good listening fodder here; I’ve already heard and dig some (Dead Neanderthals and Cloud Rat especially) but I need to catch up. #   ·

The US schools with their own police
Why is the state criminalising normal childhood behaviour?’ Indeed, Is this not a prime example of a police state in practice? #   ·

Jonathan Zittrain: The personal computer is dead
More to the point, the ‘personal’ in personal computer is dying as closed-shop devices and environments become so streamlined as to take the user and their unique requirements out of the equation. I hadn’t been much worried about it before as I always thought there was a place for both: the tinkerer that wants control over every aspect of their set up, and the average joe who just wants something that works. But now I’m not so sure… #   ·

Tetsuo Kondo’s suspended ramp, Tallinn
Says its creator: “In the elegant woods of Kadriorg, we added a path. The path is supported by the trees as it floats through a forest that is over 300 years old. I feel that the appearance of the woods changes slightly when you walk along this path. We are no longer looking up at the trees from the ground but we come closer to the leaves and glide through the branches.” When do we get one? #   ·

Gardens and Zoos
BERG’s Matt Jones posts his talk on ‘the near-future of connected products’. #   ·

Introducing The MakerBot Replicator
Oh, if only I had a spare two grand! #   ·

The Restart Page
Geek alert: you could easily lose an hour with these simulated start-up routines for various OSes. A lovely little piece of computing history. #   ·

My Guantánamo Nightmare
The shocking story of one man’s abuse at the hands of a system (and a society) determined that ‘someone’ should pay for evil deeds done, whether they’re guilty or not. Utterly shameful. #   ·

Everything you need to know about buying a camera
Probably the most comprehensive guide on this you’re ever gonna find. #   ·

Every writing system, ever, pretty much
And this is why the web is awesome. #   ·

Dogs I meet: a set on Flickr
This man meets a lot of dogs. #   ·

Vassal: The open-source boardgame engine
Vassal is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games, live or by e-mail. And it looks fantastic [c/o MetaFilter]. #   ·

Stealth Mountain’s favourites
Stealth Mountain is a Twitter bot that alerts other users who type ‘sneak peak’ when they meant ‘sneak peek’. The vitriol it gets in response has to be seen to be believed. #   ·

What novels best capture the spirit of Dublin?
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

Wikipedia entry on the ‘commonplace book’
“Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books.” I guess today we do that with websites, too. #   ·

Screenplay Basics
Filing this for future reference. #   ·

Freakonomics: What Went Wrong?
Well, people mistaking interesting-but-frivolous thought experiments for the real thing, for one [c/o 3 Quarks Daily]. #   ·

Raiders of the Lost Archives
A shot-by-shot comparison of Raiders of the Lost Ark with scenes from 30 different adventure films made between 1919-1973 [c/o MetaFilter]. Spielberg the student of cinema paying tribute to his favourites, perhaps? #   ·

The Damning Backstory Behind “Homeless Hotspots” at SXSWi
“This is my worry: the homeless turned not just into walking, talking hotspots, but walking, talking billboards for a program that doesn’t care anything at all about them or their future, so long as it can score a point or two about digital disruption of old media paradigms. So long as it can prove that the real problem with homelessness is that it doesn’t provide a service.” When I saw the first headlines about Homeless Hotspots, I would have bet money it was an Onion satire. But it’s very real, and very disappointing. #   ·

Once Upon a Tram (1958)
A nice little short film at the Europa Film Treasures archive capturing one of the last runs of the Hill of Howth tram. My grandmother on my mam’s side was on the last ever tram, if I’m not mistaken. #   ·

David Carr #NYT and fearless journalism…
Deadline is the BBC Storyville title for Page One, which is on Netflix in Ireland and probably worth a month’s subscription alone. #   ·

Hacker-Journalism 2011: A year of “show your work”
It’s all about making sense of data. And it’s something I really should be sinking my teeth into this year. #   ·

Lost Type Co-Op
Some beautiful fonts here, available on a pay-what-you-can basis. #   ·

Ireland has done what the IMF wanted, but where is the reward?
It’s lovely that the bureaucrats and politicians think of Ireland as some kind of grand economic experiment. But, y’know, there are real people here, a few million of us actually… #   ·

The Unofficial Lego Advanced Building Techniques Guide
Tips and tricks for master builders. It’s amazing the stuff you can do. Also: there’s an online Lego shop for Ireland now? When did that happen? #   ·

This page is a reverse chronology of Microlog entries by MacDara Conroy filed under March 2012. You will find many more in the Archives.