1 minute read # Monday Jan 28, 2013
Ballardian banality comes from not getting the future that we were promised, or getting it too late to make the promised difference.
This is because we look at the present day through a rear-view mirror. This is something Marshall McLuhan said back in the Sixties, when the world was in the grip of authentic-seeming future narratives. He said, “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
1 minute read # Tuesday Jan 22, 2013
Where does that leave me? I just spent 40 hours playing Far Cry 3. I have become bro, destroyer of worlds.
1 minute read # Friday Jan 18, 2013
She said, “When Julia Roberts does topless scenes, she makes the whole crew shoot in their boxers! I want that!” And the whole crew just rolled their eyes and was like, “We’re not doing that. We’ll do that for fuckin’ Julia Roberts, but not you. Go find another crew; we’ll just leave.”
1 minute read # Friday Jan 4, 2013
But isn't a language that deletes code crazy?
No, wanting to keep code that demonstrably has bugs according to its own specifications is crazy. What good could it possibly serve? It is corrupted and must be cleansed from your codebase.
Vigil will do this for you automatically.
Vigil deleted a function. Won't that cause the functions that call it to fail?
It would seem that those functions appear to be corrupted as well. Run Vigil again and it will take care of that for you. Several invocations may be required to fully excise all bugs from your code.
1 minute read # Monday Dec 31, 2012
What's the benefit here? I'm not sure I buy the argument that long-form storytelling gives the material room to breathe, or even shows particular fidelity to the writings of Tolkien, Rowling, etc. I fear the real motivation is more cynical than that. It's the movie equivalent of pumping chickens full of water – bulking out the produce to maximise revenue.
A paradoxical noun because it means beauty but is itself one of the ugliest words in the language. Same goes for the adjectival form pulchritudinous. They're part of a tiny elite cadre of words that possess the very opposite of the qualities they denote. Diminutive, big, foreign, fancy (adjective), colloquialism, and monosyllabic are some others; there are at least a dozen more. Inviting your school-age kids to list as many paradoxical words as they can is a neat way to deepen their relationship to English and help them see that words are both symbols for things and very real things themselves.
-- David Foster Wallace, word notes in the Apple dictionary for "Beauty"1 minute read # Monday Dec 17, 2012
1 minute read # Tuesday Dec 4, 2012
If you play a lot of video games, or a lot of a video game, you slowly learn the map, it stays in your head. It doesn’t exist, it’s an imaginary place, but you can find your way around in it, even give directions within it.
A shared fiction is like a shared map, a space we can inhabit, a shared memory palace, even for a brief period.
1 minute read # Thursday Nov 15, 2012
To her family, I want to say: I am ashamed, I am culpable, and I am sorry. For every letter to my local politician I didn't write, for every protest I didn't join, for keeping quiet about abortion rights in the company of conservative relations and friends, for becoming complacent, for thinking that Ireland was changing, for not working hard enough to secure that change, for failing to create a society in which your wife, your daughter, your sister was able to access the care that she needed: I am sorry. You must think that we are barbarians.
1 minute read # Monday Oct 1, 2012
The OED's very first citation of "foodie" is from 1980, an oozing New York Times magazine celebration of the mistress of a Parisian restaurant and her "devotees, serious foodies". "Foodie" has now pretty much everywhere replaced "gourmet", perhaps because the latter more strongly evokes privilege and a snobbish claim to uncommon sensory discrimination – even though those qualities are rampant among the "foodies" themselves. The word "foodie", it is true, lays claim to a kind of cloying, infantile cuteness which is in a way appropriate to its subject; but one should not allow them the rhetorical claim of harmless innocence implied.
1 minute read # Monday Apr 2, 2012
While more than a million humans run marathons voluntarily each year, most animals we consider excellent runners — antelopes and cheetahs, for example — are built for speed, not endurance. Even nature’s best animal distance runners — such as horses and dogs — will run similar distances only if forced to do so, and the startling evidence is that humans are better at it, Lieberman said.
Modern humans and their immediate ancestors such as Homo erectus sport several adaptations that make humans, instead of some ferocious, furry, or fleet creature, the animal world’s best distance runners.