Listing all posts tagged long_reads

February 16th 2012

Misc. links Jan 15th - Feb 15th

This article, The Rise of the New Groupthink, does much to explain why I need my own office, and why I hate brainstorming meetings. ···

Slavoj Zizek writes about The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie. ···

The Scale of the Universe 2 is an interactive Powers of Ten. ···

EUscreen is an archive of free videos from a number of Europe’s public TV broadcasters. Portuguese RTP is conspicously absent — after all, our state broadcaster is notorious for its expensive and thoroughly copyrighted archives, despite being funded by taxpayers (our government does intend to fix this, though, by privatizing all this publicly-funded heritage as prescribed by the neoliberal zeitgeist, rather than giving free access to the archives to those who paid for them — for that would be Socialism, and therefore evil). ···

It seems an English plainclothes police officer was running after himself for a while after being mistaken for a burglar by the CCTV operator. The whole incident has ‘idea for short film’ written all over it. ···

Here are recipes for ‘old-school Instagram filters’. Meaning: how to take analog photos that look like those digital photos that look analog… I think I’ll have an headache. No wonder I’m more interested in messing with JPEGs. ···

GIF: A Technical History is quite an interesting and accessible post about that nasty but cute, little image format that won’t go away. ···

David Bordwell’s analysis of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is something I recommend you read if you’ve seen the film. I’ve found it great and demanding like a very fragile but precise piece of clockwork. It’s unfortunate we spectators aren’t used to stories this intricate told in such an economical fashion. I’d like more of this, please. ···

Lists of Note lists lists. Of note. ···

Rob Bechizza’s Mixtape of the Lost Decade. A pop history of the phantom decade between the 1970s and the 1980s. Which explains a lot, even if it’d mean I would now be on my forties. ···

On Goals Scored, a blog about great football (soccer) infographics. Football for nerds, yay! ···

musicForProgramming(); has a few cool ambient mixtapes that are quite good for all kinds of work that require focus (and not just computer programming). ···

January 15th 2012

Misc. links Jan 1st - 14th

This is the Future, today: Bruce Stering and Jon Lebkowsky debate the State of the World. There’s the coming war on general computation, the reason why I think everyone should learn how to code, as that would be the only thing protecting free speech from enclosure in a walled garden of infinite bullshit. The same general movements, in turn, might also explain why fashion and style got stuck in a loop since the 80s, as having things looking the same is the best way, it seems, to have people accept the radical changes underneath the surface (as a petty example, look at the ridiculously retro Fuji X1Pro — nice to have hardware exposure controls by the way). And in the meantime, it seems that all you need to become a world-class arms dealer these days is a laptop and an internet connection (but screw that — you could do it with an iPad probably). After being busted you can sell the film rights and still make a fuckload of money. ···

Getting paid for what you love harms your love for what you do. Well, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise: Everyone who ever followed sports a bit has seen promising players lose their motivation despite becoming millionaires, and perhaps because of it. But still, this shouldn’t be read by greedy ‘employers’ as an excuse not to pay interns, for fear of damaging their priceless intrinsic motivations (this “we won’t pay you because you will love us” seems a recurrent theme among sleazy internship ads here in Portugal). On the contrary, the article is right to point out that a removal of an extrinsic motivation can also be damaging. ···

Mark Pagel on why we are, as a species, stupid plagiarists. ···

James Meek’s In the Sorting Office. Economic liberalism as Dutch housewives earning a pittance as ‘freelance’ postwomen, allowing their ‘employers’ to provide physical spam services to mail order companies at competitive prices. Among other nasty things, all in the mail delivery microcosm. An upsetting read. ···

Pico Iyer about the point of writing in long and winding sentences. My reading tastes are pretty strange for the ‘mainstream’ portuguese reader, as I like really long and difficult books that allow me to feel like a tourist in that world during the months they might take me to read, and I like long, tree-structured sentences that force me to pay attention. The vox populi here immediately associates long sentences with the writing of José Saramago and the mainstream consensus again is that his works are boring and impenetrable (both untrue), even if said consensus can’t explain how his books sell so well, and even documentaries about him get so many viewers in a country where no portuguese films have any viewers, let alone documentaries — it’s as if portuguese are secretive hypocrites in their appreciation of the long sentence (and it might very well be the truth that reading Saramago is a bit of a guilty pleasure — after all, forcing an author upon students in high school is the best way to make him unhip for life). ···

Occasional Dispatches from the Republic of Anhedonia by Colson Whitehead is a long and entertaining account of the writer’s experience as a player in the Poker World Series in Las Vegas. ···

Eat, Pray, Love may very well be the worst movie of all time. I haven’t seen the film, read the book, or even watched the book author’s TED talk, but I find the notion of rich people going on ‘self-discovery’ vacations and attaining ‘an enlightment’ through self-indulgence without the slightest bit of self-sacrifice (i.e. do these people ever give away their fortunes, or stay in a refugee camp for life?), then lecturing everyone about it while making an arms dealer’s fuckload of money in book and film deals, to be truly an insult to the rest of humanity. So yes, I agree with the article, on the basis of the film’s repulsive premise and my realization things like Sex and the City at least are honest in their depictions of self-indulgence. Ennui is something that only afflicts the well-off, and if you can plug the big hole in your soul with — let’s face it as that’s what it is — a big pile of money made manifest in sex tourism and shopping abroad, good for you. Some of us are only lucky enough to use Tumblr. ···

The Ballad of @Horse_ebooks: endless Zen, avant-garde writing, and humour from a Twitter spambot. ···

The Physics Factbook. Might be useful. ···

Here’s a very realistic Adobe Photoshop ‘simulator’. It really captures my experience using Adobe software. Nice. ···

The Restart Page. Really, are we nostalgic about rebooting our computers now? What the hell is wrong with us? I’m almost ashamed to admit I did get nostalgic when I ‘rebooted’ the Amiga Workbench. But why? Why? ···

Again, because it deserves its own entry: Become a Programmer, Motherfucker. You really should. Here’s a list of free books to get you started. ···