Today’s Links


20th century email newsletters

I kept meaning to look back at some of the email newsletters I used to subscribe to in the 1990s and, with Dan Hon and Laura E. Hall’s Internet of Newsletters appearing today, I thought I should get it done.

I’ve been subscribed to the TidBITS newsletter for 18 years, Popbitch for 12. Crikey.

The abovementioned webring for newsletters.
The 49-U6U Slaughterhouse

In the early hours of 27 January 2014, a chain of events was set in motion that caused what is arguably the largest single player vs. player combat engagement in the history of online gaming.

Silk: The Clerks’ Room
Three plays on Radio 4, based on the brilliant/terrible courtroom drama.
Ronnie Moore: Tranmere Rovers manager admits FA betting charge

Moore’s breach relates to Rule E8(b) of the FA’s regulations.

This states that any participant in football “shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on the result, progress or conduct of a match or competition in which the participant is participating, or has participated in that season; or in which the participant has any influence, either direct or indirect.”

Ronnie Moore: Tranmere Rovers sack manager after betting breach

Tranmere have sacked manager Ronnie Moore after he admitted breaking the Football Association’s betting rules.

‘Uncertainties’ for Tranmere Rovers

…the latest accounts from Tranmere Rovers Football Club Ltd, which have just been posted at Companies House and were signed off at the end of March, include “fundamental uncertainties regarding the future of the business”.

Today’s Links


Simple Public License (SimPL-2.0)

This Simple Public License 2.0 (SimPL-2.0 for short) is a plain language implementation of GPL 2.0.  The words are different, but the goal is the same - to guarantee for all users the freedom to share and change software.

SMS-powered money transfer system arrives in Europe

No smartphone required: Kenyan-developed M-Pesa enables basic banking services.

Only in Romania, for now. I really don’t understand why M-Pesa is only now making its way to Europe, almost a decade after its launch in Kenya.

Government takes important step towards modernising copyright

Changes to bring UK copyright law up to date for the digital age have taken an important step forward today (27 March 2014), as the government publishes the final Exceptions to Copyright regulations for consideration by Parliament.

It’s now legal to rip the CDs and DVDs you own. Phew.

Action Movie Kid
Small child granted superpowers by DreamWorks dad.
Third life: Flickr co-founder pulls unlikely success from gaming failure. Again
Glitch begat Slack, just as Game Never Ending begat Flickr.

Today’s Links


Three Mozilla board members—including two former CEOs—step down
Quite why Mozilla appointed a paid-up homophobe as CEO remains a mystery.
Mozilla announces Javascript for heterosexuals

Javascript For Heterosexuals, created by incoming CEO Brendan Eich, is a static, rigidly typed, prototype-based language with first-class functions, and second-class ones.

Tee hee.


GridCoin is a new peer-to-peer internet based cryptocurrency that aims to benefit humanity by participating in BOINC projects that may lead to advances in medicine, biology, mathematics, science, climatology, and astrophysics.

The MtGox 500

In February 2014 MtGox, one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges, filed for bankruptcy protection. On March 9th a group posted a data leak, which included the trading history of all MtGox users from April 2011 to November 2013. The graphs [on this page] explore the trade behaviors of the 500 highest volume MtGox users from the leaked data set. These are the Bitcoin barons, wealthy speculators, dueling algorithms, greater fools, and many more who took bitcoin to the moon.

ASCII Delimited Text

…use ASCII  31 as your field separator instead of comma or tab, and ASCII 30 as your record separator instead of new line.

Where Art Meets Gif: The Hypnotic Animated Gifs of David Szakaly

Since 2008 Hungarian/German graphic designer David Szakaly has been churning out some of the most dizzying, hypnotic and wholly original gifs on the web under the name Davidope

Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public

On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.

The Scotcoin Project - Creating Digital Opportunities for the Scots People

The Scotcoin Project is a voluntary, opt-in crypto-currency, available to anyone that is over 18 years of age and is located in Scotland.

…with a Facebook or Linkedin account.

Today’s Links



A paper notebook that syncs to the cloud

Fill up your notebook, post it to Mod using the pre-paid shipping envelope stored in the back cover, they scan it and sync the PDFs to Dropbox, Evernote and their own web app. Clever. US-only, though.

Homeopathic remedies recalled for containing real medicine
Not The Onion.

An archaeology of text-generating mechanisms.

Our Comrade The Electron
A talk by Maciej Cegłowski.
Robert Hood on Being David in a Techno World of Goliaths

The minimal techno pioneer breaks down the many guises he’s taken on through his lengthy career.

Free Philip K. Dick: Download 13 Great Science Fiction Stories

Get acquainted with one of the great science fiction writers of our time, Philip K. Dick. Here we have gathered together 13 free stories, some in text, some in audio.

Our long-term economic plan for Britain

Want to find out what the Conservatives are doing for your area? Now you can!

Funny! Also: not funny.

Reuters investigates – More about The Child Exchange

Ongoing Reuters coverage about the online marketplace where parents offer adopted children they no longer want to raise.

Atos ‘misled ministers’ to win lucrative contract assessing disabled for benefits
Conspiracy and cock up. Brilliant.
Champion tea-making brownie has a smashing time

1984 Tea Maker of the Year. 650 proudly displayed cups and saucers. What could go wrong?

Student fees policy likely to cost more than the system it replaced

The proportion of graduates failing to pay back student loans is increasing at such a rate that the Treasury is approaching the point at which it will get zero financial reward from the government’s policy of tripling tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

Today’s Links


Parodies: living dangerously

There are plenty of examples of parodies being taken down because they infringed copyright. Here are a few of them.

Google Will Eat Itself

We generate money by serving Google text advertisments on a network of hidden Websites. With this money we automatically buy Google shares. We buy Google via their own advertisment! Google eats itself - but in the end “we” own it!

By establishing this autocannibalistic model we deconstruct the new global advertisment mechanisms by rendering them into a surreal click-based economic model.

Shit Rich College Kids Say: A Friendly Restaurant

Anonymous asked: Can you explain why Europeans were much more technologically advanced than the indigenous populations of Africa?

Watch as a slow-witted racist is crushed under a mountain made of history.

Doge 4 Water
I love the way Dogecoin–originally a cheeky joke at the expense of the unsavoury Bitcoin community–is morphing into the default cryptocurrency for charitable donations.
EDL Girls: Don’t Call Me Racist

Documentary exploring the lives of three women within the English Defence League’s ranks - a committed ‘EDL Angel’ as female members are known, a new member and a teenager.

Worth watching, but the ‘committed EDL angel’ is given a very easy ride. See A potted history of EDL racist Gail Speight.

Today’s Links


Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88

Former cabinet minister dies at his home in west London surrounded by family members

The Setup / John McAfee

My accessory tools are mostly extremely strong espresso and research chemicals from China that are classed as “Smart Drugs”. They allow me to solve 2nd order partial differential equations in my head and to spontaneously create 4 dimensional images of software structures that I can mentally manipulate.

Amazing. The whole thing reads like 4chan copypasta.

I am Tim Berners-Lee. I invented the WWW 25 years ago and I am concerned and excited about its future. AMA.
Great stuff, if you can cope with Reddit’s godawful threaded comment format (see below).

Interviews with interesting people, pulled from Reddit, organized, and made prettier.

The Web is 25

It’s not that well-known that certain Netscape people reached out to Playboy, convinced them to do this Web thing, and helped them build the site.

Your Name in Life

Your Name in Life allows you to create a unique Game of Life based on your name.

Grind Your Enthusiasm
A grindcore tribute to Larry David!
Neil Young launches new music player based on magic beans and unicorn poop.

Neil Young has unveiled at SXSW a new $400 pocket music player that only plays one specific file type, encoded at “high resolution”. The file type will only be sold through a single proprietary store.

High resolution audiophile nitwittery. Solving the wrong problem, too: ‘loudness wars’ mastering and compression–as in dynamic range, not data–is the reason so much music sounds a bit rubbish.

Profits Of Doom
From the new Popbitch magazine, educated guesses on the profitability of the Daily Mail website (spoiler: they’re probably not raking it in, despite the huge readership).
GDS becomes political as Labour launches digital government review

Labour is also critical of GDS’s apparent hostility to large IT suppliers.


8 pronunciation errors that made the English language what it is today
I didn’t know that ‘[w]asp used to be waps; bird used to be brid and horse used to be hros’. Time to jump on the aks for ask bangwagon‽
Multi-digit Number Recognition from Street View Imagery using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks
The house numbers that fox the neural network are identified by humans via ReCAPTCHA.

Today’s Links


Grime Numbers Station
Oh, this is just glorious.
MINIX 3 Successfully Ported To ARM

The MINIX 3 operating system has been successfully ported to ARM and is starting to be supported by some ARM development boards.

New Scotland kit reflects country’s tradition of twee indie music

SCOTLAND’S new away kit represents the country’s history of producing delicate indie music for manchildren, according to the SFA.

It should ideally be viewed in Kelvingrove Park in the early autumn sunshine, but kit manufacturer Adidas has reassured fans that it can also be enjoyed through the viewfinder of a Super 8 camera.

MC5: A True Testimonial
Great documentary that toured the festivals in 2002, but was never released due to a legal squabble between the producers and Wayne Kramer.
sexisminschool: Tales of School Sexism from a 10 year old

Why can’t we all be treated as equals?

How do we sort this out?

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, &c..

Government complicit in redaction of exam questions on evolution

The National Secular Society has discovered that exam boards, the exam regulator and the government have been colluding with faith schools to accommodate creationism in schools.

The OCR allows schools to redact questions on evolution, on the basis that the exam board ‘respect[s] their need to do this in view of their religious beliefs’.

BABYMETAL - Doki Doki☆ Morning
Thrash metal meets K-Pop. Not just a one-off, either–this is an actual proper grenre in Japan and Korea.
Blind date

Would you introduce him to your friends?

To my Christian American ones.

I think I’m safe in saying that wardrobe stylist Suave Gordon did not enjoy his blind date with educator Andrew Martin.

Today’s Links


Vulnerable man starved to death after benefits were cut

44-year-old died months after sickness and housing benefits were stopped following Atos fitness-for-work assessment.

According to Atos, Mark Wood’s ‘mental state was “normal”’. According to his GP, Wood ‘was “extremely unwell and absolutely unfit for any work whatsoever”’.

An Atos spokeswoman said, ‘Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Wood at this difficult time’.

Are Windows 8 tablets too expensive?

I have bought four Android tablets – a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (Wi-Fi/3g) in 2011 and three Google Nexus 7 tablets, including new and old models – and they have all had problems. This year I tried another 2012 Nexus 7. All was well for a few days until Android updated to KitKat (4.4.2 KOT49H), when I started having exactly the same touch screen problems as I had had with both 2013 units.

Four crappy devices, but the iPad is barely worth a look because it’s ‘closed’ and, er, a man in John Lewis said they can’t play BBC videos. Jesus.

The Popcorn Oldies Story
A short documentary on the Belgian Popcorn scene.
Belgium’s ‘Popcorn’: the last underground music scene in Europe
Parallell universe Northern Soul!
PLOS’ New Data Policy: Public Access to Data

…we are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article.

Tainted Love played by Floppy Disc Drives - now with vocals!
Added my Marc Almond himself! Lovely.
A Long Lost Arthur Russell Interview
From Melody Maker, 1987.
Politics doesn’t change anything

There’s a lot of geeks I talk to who tell me that politics doesn’t change anything, and that the “disruptive” changes comes from individuals and businesses building things in the marketplace.

The worst thing about being interested in technology is the constant exposure to this brand of right-wing individualist bollocks from Ayn Rand-licking bellends.

Via Blech.

American Promise

American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

The Pelican Project
A compendium of Pelican covers.
Github: Rendered Prose Diffs
In the future, a Github user will be shocked to learn that the site started out as a platform for programmers to collaborate on code.

Today’s Links


Orwell was hailed a hero for fighting in Spain. Today he’d be guilty of terrorism

If George Orwell and Laurie Lee were to return from the Spanish civil war today, they would be arrested under section five of the Terrorism Act 2006. If convicted of fighting abroad with a “political, ideological, religious or racial motive” – a charge they would find hard to contest – they would face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

How Iowa Flattened Literature

With CIA help, writers were enlisted to battle both Communism and eggheaded abstraction. The damage to writing lingers.

See also the creative writing post-grad course at UEA (in terms of flattening, not CIA involvement!)

Mark Steel’s in Town

Mark visits Birkenhead, Wirral, where the local life has included monks and a Bantam Army.

The ‘mobility scooter strip-tease in Moodz’ anecdote is just sublime. On the downside, half the audience seem to think it’s acceptable to refer to the Wirral as ‘Wirral’. Dickheads.

You’re not going to read this

Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, which measures real-time traffic for sites like Upworthy, dropped a bomb: “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading”.

Losing graciously
Ubuntu in squabble-free systemd adoption shocker!
The Public Voice of Women
Mary Beard on the ‘well-known deafness that’s nicely parodied in the old Punch cartoon: “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”’
Facebook Diversity

When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self. An important part of this is the expression of gender, especially when it extends beyond the definitions of just “male” or female.” So today, we’re proud to offer a new custom gender option to help you better express your own identity on Facebook.

MetaFilter got this right a decade or so ago: no options to choose from, just a text field labelled ‘this is free-form, go nuts’.

The incredible hulks: Jonathan Meades’ A-Z of brutalism

It was mocked and misunderstood. But it produced some of the most sublime, awe-inspiring buildings on the planet. Jonathan Meades, maker of a new TV series about brutalism, gives his A-Z

Today’s Links


How do vaccines cause autism?
I’ll never tire of sarcastic single serving sites.
Hawala: The Working Man’s Bitcoin

A cautious World Bank paper cites a rigorous study that found that hawala payments “account for up to 15 percent of small-scale trade between India and Bangladesh.” A less conservative academic paper cites a 2003 study finding that informal transfer systems like hawala account for $100-$300 billion in annual flows, an Interpol estimate from the same year that almost 40% of India’s GDP moves through the hawala system, and the Pakistani finance minister claiming in 2000 that only one sixth of Pakistani money transfers went through traditional banks.

Papers on hawala from the Centre for Applied South Asian Studies.
The Restart Page

Free unlimited rebooting experience from vintage operating systems

Extreme operating system nostalgia!

Today’s Links


I am excited for what 2014 could mean for brands and people!
David “Shingy” Shing works as a Digital Prophet at AOL. He is a real man, who really believes the things he says.
Immigration minister Mark Harper quits over cleaner’s visa

Immigration minister Mark Harper has resigned from the government after it emerged his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.

Hilarious! Unless you’re the cleaner in question, obviously.

In Defense of Twitter Feminism
Good piece. Though whenever I read stuff about the US left on the web it comes across as a historical re-enactment full of anachronisms, especially when it comes to intersectionality type stuff–however will we cope with these shocking new ideas from The Guardian’s letters page circa 1990?
Deposing the chairman of the Technical Committee
My top three fave soap operas:
  1. Brookside
  2. Coronation Street
Occupy Wall Street leader now works for Google, wants to crowdfund a private militia
Why am I not surprised by this?
You Know We’re Living in the Computer Age? Computer History According to Law & Order

Artist Jeff Thompson received a Rhizome commission in 2012 for his project Computers on Law & Order, for which he watched every episode of the long-running television series and took screenshots of all the computers. Thompson will present an illustrated lecture based on the project  this Saturday, Feb 1 at 4pm at the Museum of the Moving Image, followed by a discussion with Law & Order graphic designer Kevin Raper. In this article, he shares some of his findings.

Fela Kuti
48 albums, $9 a pop.
DevArt. Art made with code.

DevArt is a new type of art. It is made with code, by developers that push the possibilities of creativity and technology.

Er, artists have been making work with code since the early 1960s. Still, this looks good.

Desmond Paul Henry (1921–2004)
Talking of making art with code, Desmond Paul Henry’s work probably doesn’t count–he built drawing machines out of analogue bombsight computers–but it is very lovely:

Today’s Links


22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution

I asked 22 self-identifying creationists at the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate to write a message/question/note to the other side…

Your usual ‘creationists in glassy-eyed idiocy shocker’ until Creationist #7 asks, ‘What about Noetics?’!

After a spot of Googling I suspect #7 isn’t a fan of Aristotelian metaphysics, instead referring to The Institute of Noetic Sciences (an outfit founded by a former astronaut to ‘research’ stuff like ‘alternative healing practices, consciousness-based healthcare, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities, psychokenesis and survival of consciousness after bodily death’).


Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity.

The Year of Code’s neoliberal agenda

So the Year of Code isn’t about doing fun stuff with JavaScript, Python and Ruby. It’s about building another element of a society where those that don’t work don’t eat, and where the rewards of work are skewed ever further towards a tiny minority at the top of the pile. Read Dickens and Orwell if you want to know how much fun that is. It’s about creating childhoods overshadowed by adult anxieties about work and economic survival. It’s about replacing the broad expanse of education – with all the exploration, creativity and genuine freedom that implies – with the narrow tunnel of schooling. It’s training children to have “relevant” employer-friendly skills and the right attitudes and politics to go with them. All social concerns are subordinated to a particular kind of economic settlement. The state is reduced to a vehicle for expanding and defending private property. This is neoliberalism.

Too poor for pop culture

The idea of information being class-based as well became evident to me when I watched my friends talk about a weeks-old story as if it happened yesterday.

A Linguist Explains the Grammar of Doge. Wow.

But what is it about shiba inus that makes them violate the selectional restrictions of certain English modifiers?

Bonus points for featuring my fave doge meme: