Various and Sundry

The Blob Opera Endures

In clearing out some old emails and other materials dating back to the height of the pandemic, when we were looking for so many distractions, I came across my sharing of this machine-learning curiosity, which is not only still functioning, it seems like it may be enhanced. So launch up your favorite browser and enjoy. Considering the recent departure of two folks who contributed much to world silliness, re-introducing this bit of silliness seems appropriate…

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Various and Sundry

The Hot Wing Torture Interview Method: John Oliver Edition

I’m a big fan of John Oliver’s investigative comedy on Last Week Tonight, so I’m happy that the show is returning this weekend. That does mean he’s making the rounds of media appearances, for example, he and Steamboat Mickey can be seen on Colbert from earlier this week. But the one that especially caught my eye was his interview for Hot Ones, which I confess I did not realize had been going on since 2015.…

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Various and Sundry

Pulp Break

Based on several standing meeting cancellations and trip pics on social media, I have deduced that Spring Break is in the air for many people. And Spring Break often means travel. And travel often means reading material. And such reading material is often… pulpy. So thanks to Open Culture, I now know that the Internet Archive has thousands of issues of the pulp magazines available for your reading pleasure. And now so do you. Use…

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Various and Sundry

A Business Model to Optimize Crap

Hey, if you think that’s a startling headline, the original title of the article by Cory Doctorow in Wired is not-safe-for-work. But it does touch on something you may have suspected or outright observed about social media sites and their lifecycle of desperately needing content and eventually not being that useful, but obnoxiously necessary. It may motivate you to think rather unsociable thoughts. In any case, I found it interesting and in line with many…

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Various and Sundry

I’m Afraid the Force is with this Mashup, Dave

Look, I wasn’t looking for this. You weren’t looking for this. But the Internet finds ways of creating things we weren’t looking for. So enjoy one of the classics of sci-fi (2001) cited occasionally by some for why they don’t like sci-fi mashed up with another one of the classics of sci-fi (Star Wars) cited continually by too many as something that “ahktshually, isn’t science fiction.”

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Writing

Sci Fi versus Fantasy

A meme tickled Twitter users’ fancy late last month and for good reason: it was a pair of pithy comments contrasting science fiction and fantasy and skewering the related tropes for both. Mignon Fogarty has a good collection over at the Grammar Girl, but be warned! You’ll start wanting to do your own. To whit: Sci Fi is this blog on an encrypted server you’ll need some cyberpunk hacker to access. Fantasy is this blog…

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Various and Sundry

That Piece on Focus You will Forget to Read

This interview, by Vox‘s Sean Illig with journalist Johann Hari, came out in February… and then I finally checked it out in March… and now I’m only posting about it in May. The way I finally got to it was actually to listen to it, because the article is actually a summation of a more detailed slightly-more-than-an-hour audio interview. It’s full of useful insights especially… dang, I might need to listen to it again.

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Various and Sundry

The New Generation Combating Online Misinformation

I’ve been offline for much of the past few weeks, but –in a sense– that’s okay, because the Internet can be dark and full of terrors… and terrible misinformation. Luckily, there are some energetic folks who have just may have found their calling, or a significant first act, learning how inane conspiracy theories and misinformation propagate on the Web. Learn more in this long-form article by Oscar Gonzalez for c|net. And stay curious… and skeptical.

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Various and Sundry

Globetrotting – Radio Edition

I remember playing around with shortwave radio growing up in the previous millennium and the excitement at finding broadcasts from other countries. Well, thanks to some enterprising folks over in the Netherlands, you can do some globetrotting yourself without leaving the comfort of your Internet browser. Radio Garden is a project that allows you to tune into all sorts of small radio stations all across the globe. Be warned, it can be a bit of…

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