The Beeb, my own projects (updates on this soon!), the radio show, a festival and several minor and major life changes later, I’ve realized that I haven’t done this for a while. Although I swore I’d never do the “sorry for not updating, all my faithful readers” thing – I now find myself doing just that. In other words, sorry Jonas. I’ll do better.
Interview: Hunter Hunt-Hendrix Of Liturgy
tags: music, black metal, creativity
Responsible for the so-called 3rd wave of Black Metal, this is a must-read if you are into transcendental black metal or generally the more extreme sides of music.
Hunter Hunt-Hendrix talks blast vs. burst beat, the intellectual side of Black Metal and the destruction of form as a creative act. Actually, if you are creative in general, this is worth a skim at the very least. Preferably while listening to this: Liturgy – Renihilation
Essay: The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan
tags: media, mcluhan, future of everything, mindmelt
You will need to make yourself a coffee and make sure you are sitting comfortably for this one. Playboy (when Playboy was cool and smart) interviews Mr. McLuhan in 1969, with the mission to let him express and explain his theories in his own words – with as much space as he needs. What follows is an extensive but terribly articulate romp through McLuhan’s thoughts, from the usual mankind’s relationship with technology, to the re-tribalization of man, sex, drugs and even race. Veering from the brilliant to the slightly… errh… odd, this is a fascinating look into one of the greatest minds of our technological era. HIGHLY recommended, if nothing just for having your mind blown on a sunday morning.
A Life Worth Ending
tags: health, ageing, death, future of medicare
This one is hardcore, but certainly though-provoking. Michael Wolff talks about his mothers final years with a body that was physically fine but a mind that had slipped into advanced dementia. With our increasingly healthy lifestyles we might live longer, but the flip side of this is that it might be harder to die – and that sometimes, with the onset of dementia and depends, life may become a curse and death a blessing. As Mr. Wolff puts it: “The traditional exits, of a sudden heart attack, of dying in one’s sleep, of unreasonably dropping dead in the street, of even a terminal illness, are now exotic ways of going. The longer you live the longer it will take to die. The better you have lived the worse you may die. The healthier you are—through careful diet, diligent exercise, and attentive medical scrutiny—the harder it is to die.”.
Welcome to the Future Nauseous
tags: future of everything, futurism,
Essential reading for anyone who has ever dabbled in predicting what the future will be – and I know most of you probably have jobs where this is a large part of what you do. Venkatesh Rao believes the future is here but invisible to us. Or as he puts it “we live in a continuous state of manufactured normalcy. There are mechanisms that operate — a mix of natural, emergent and designed — that work to prevent us from realizing that the future is actually happening as we speak. To really understand the world and how it is evolving, you need to break through this manufactured normalcy field. Unfortunately, that leads, as we will see, to a kind of existential nausea.”
The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist
tags: heist, crime, awesome
OK, seriously! Best heist story eva! You saw Oceans 11 right? Well this is better – and it’s real. Somehow, it is supremely comforting to know, that people who are capable of breaching a three ton steel vault with a state-of-the-art alarm system still exist in our otherwise super-regulated society. They even have cool nick-names like “The Genius”, “The Monster” and “Speedy”. Awesome!
The Facebook Fallacy
tags: advertising, facebook, business models
Albeit a bit doom and gloom, Mr. Wolff does make a strong argument for why Facebook – and ultimately the web – needs to find a new and better business model than relying on advertising.
Information Design for an Instrumented World
tags: user data, big data, visualization, design
I seem to be forever stuck in the user data space. Don’t get me wrong, it continues to be an exceptionally interesting thing to get ones head around. This deck of slides from Hannah Donovan, which essentially deals with how to make user data meaningful to users, is really simple, useful and generally worthwhile for anyone who has anything to do with “the comet tales of personal history trailing in our wake”. Awww thats a nice mental image isn’t it?
Charles Manson interview with Charlie Rose
tags: manson, 60s, counterculture, murder
Mr. Manson at his most and least lucid in this video interview. Manson has been a pet-fascination of mine for a while (no, I don’t plan on moving to a ranch and starting a “family”) and this interview is one of the better ones out there. As the killer of the american dream (What? Nice middle-class girls taking up knives, butchering innocents???) and destroyer of the hippy movement (What? Nice long-haired hippies taking up knives, butchering innocents???), Manson frames himself as the ultimate product of society – to paraphrase Manson himself “I was fathered by all men who came before me”. Agree, disagree, think what you want – Manson marked the beginning and end of eras.
The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel
tags: artificial intelligence, sci-fi, HAL, complexity
Great article on consciousness that quite frankly boggles the mind. From the incredible complexity of the human mind (look out for the part where Christof Koch explains the complexity of the wiring of the human mind), to why the internet might feel sad, this is the stuff of pure science fiction – except it’s real and happening all around us. Beautiful.
Stop publishing web pages
tags: content, web, design, topics, streams
I had a (highly theoretical and in no way indicative of anything) conversation with a colleague a while ago, which basically ran along the lines of “What if we stopped sending people to new pages all the time and tried to keep them on page. Say we turned the whole thing into a tumblr page? What if the history section of the BBC was just one page? What would that do?” This seems to tie in with the current buzz around topic pages, categorization as the new organizing principle and of course streams, glorious streams. This is an interesting read – to go with a somewhat painful implementation. However, many of the principles are good, yet the strain the Washington Post puts on the User in terms of actual discovery, is too much I think. Maybe if you just flipped the principle – start with the most relevant, allow users to add sources rather than deselect them?