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May 12, 2016

“Social Network Algorithms Are Distorting Reality By Boosting Conspiracy Theories” points out how social networks (like Facebook, of course, first among others) try so hard to serve us what we’ll like that they fail to challenge our preconceptions and, in fact, lead participants even further into misguided mindsets… like, oh, being against fluoridated water.

One example from the article that hits very close to home:

“People in Portland, Oregon, voted in 2013 to stop the fluoridation of water—a common practice to improve dental health. Depending on which opposition group you asked, fluoridation was either a technique used by fascist regimes to pacify their citizens or a toxic chemical that causes cancer.”

I railed about that one myself, at the time. Not that it changed anything.

This is a good long-form read. Via Waxy

The Dragons of Portland

January 24, 2016

Perched atop the Union Station tower, and various bridges, the Dragons of Portland watch over us as if we were all precious golden coins…

Studio Catawampus showcases “the art of Rebecca Flaum, a Portland, Oregon based artist and illustrator” who often mixes fantasy and local PDX icons to really good effect.

Via a years-old post on a Tumblr called “this isn’t happiness” (sometimes NSFW).

So now I like a Nicki Minaj song?!?

January 1, 2016

Starships! Set to video on Vimeo by “bironic,” and found via the “Abi’s Parhelia” sidebar on Making Light. Abi apparently got it from Ann Leckie, who’s worth reading in her own right…

Old Stomping Grounds

February 16, 2015

Whoa… no less an authority than the New York Times says that the hot new neighborhood in Los Angeles is… Koreatown?!? My wife and I spent five years in an apartment near 3rd and Berendo, but that was a long time ago (yes, we were there during the riots in 1992). Apparently, we were only about 20-25 years too early, this time.

Via Haddock, this time.


February 14, 2015

There’s a segment of the population for whom pitting fictional characters and weapons from various different creators against each other is an obsession.

I am not in that segment; for the most part, I don’t care whether a Battlestar could kick ass against the ship from Independence Day, or how either would fare against the kid from that Twilight Zone episode based on Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life.”

And Star Wars vs. Star Trek? —that’s the most overdone gedankenexperiment in this whole freakin’ metafictional laboratory.

But then there’s this:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: The Trailer

With a moment of awesome between young Kirk and the Emperor Palpatine that seriously sent chills down my spine… this is worth watching even if you’ve never wanted to put Hercules and the Hulk into a cage match.

[That’s a single YouTube link, by the way routed through a site that strips out the surrounding sidebar and comments, apparently (so it says) without violating YouTube’s TOS. The original post I saw on BoingBoing is at, if you’d rather see it the usual way.]

We’re All Devo

January 22, 2015

He was shut up as the car pulled out from the bay into the road with a great voo-ooo-ooom! A gale roared past Barlow’s head, though the windows seemed to be closed; the impression of speed was terrific. He located the speedometer on the dashboard and saw it climb past 90, 100, 150, 200.
[…]Barlow stiffened as he realized that the rush of air past his ears began just a brief, unreal split second before the car was actually moving.[…]
—Excerpt from Cyril M. Kornbluth, “The Marching Morons,” 1951

C.M. Kornbluth freakin’ nailed it.

As seen on Metafilter.


January 2, 2015

All was quiet on New Year’s Day… at least until this guy opened his mouth again. At least there’s a (sort of) apology for Apple’s crass iTunes stunt. (Via Metafilter.)