• "However I am just as impressed but the extent in which Scarry’s work has in fact not dated very much at all. While the book covers an almost bafflingly broad range of occupations and includes sections on the extraction and transformation of raw materials, there is one notable omission: large-scale manufacturing. And without industry, from a Western perspective the book seems in fact almost presciently current. Some of the jobs the author describes have evolved, very few of them have all but disappeared (you can’t easily bump into a blacksmith, much less one who sells tractors); the texture of our cities has changed and those little shops have given way to larger chain stores; but by and large we still do the things that occupy Scarry’s anthropomorphic menagerie: we fix the sewers and serve the meals and cut down the trees and drive the trucks and cultivate the land and so forth. It’s almost as if Scarry made a conscious effort to draw only the jobs that could not be outsourced overseas, and had thus future-proofed the book for his domestic audience." I read this when I was very small, and loved it; fond memories, and sharp analysis
  • "Command line work isn't a separate task that should live on its own—it's an integrated part of your natural workflow. DTerm provides a context-sensitive command line that makes it fast and easy to run commands on the files you're working with and then use the results of those commands." This looks great. Will report back on it.
  • "This is where I write about social & political stuff, mostly relating to sex. Yes, there's going to be a book. As an ex-sex worker, you can imagine what my bias is. Nevertheless, I am also a scientist, so will do my best to present the evidence base for each post." Brooke's new blog. This looks like it could be good.
  • Joe Moran on Daniel Miller's "The Comfort Of Things", which has gone straight onto my wishlist.
  • "For instance, when a film critic with a Twitter account says that video games are not art, the natural followup becomes, "Well then… what is art?" And suddenly we're in some goddamn flourescent-lit student lounge, sitting on a nine-dollar couch across from a dude whose shirt is self-consciously spattered with daubs of encaustic, hip-to-hip with the girl who stamped each page of a copy of The Feminine Mystique with an ink print of her own labia, hearing the guy over our shoulder mention Duchamp for the sixth time this week, and it all just needs to stop right now." Well said, Steve.
  • "I missed the selection, the album art, and the dusty trays and hand-written CD-Rs. The absence of the compact disk reminded of another format that had recently gone away: the 3.5" floppy diskette. The Floppy Stereo attempts to recreate that ceremony within a single device. An album's playlist file is stored on a floppy disk, complete with the album art. When it is loaded, the playlist is read and retrieves the songs from my MP3 collection." There's a similar tactility in the 3.5" disk to, say, an eight-track cart. I like that.
  • "The history of roads is the history of ourselves: our desire for community and our fears about its fragility; our natural instinct to expand the possibilities of life set against our premonitions of death, destruction and loss; and our fierce arguments about what is valuable and beautiful about the world. But this history, like the road itself, is full of loose ends and detours, unfinished stories and stalled narratives."
  • "ASBOrometer is a mobile application that measures levels of anti-social behaviour at your current location (within England and Wales) and gives you access to key local ASB statistics… This app was created by Jeff Gilfelt and made possible by the data.gov.uk initiative, which is opening up UK government data for public reuse." What sensationalist rot; no number of pretty visualisations make this kind of fearmongering acceptable. It's nice that the data is open; it's a shame this is the best thing people can think to do with it. Whether you like it or not, this information is very, very loaded.
  • "4chan is, I contend, the most interesting angle we have on the evolution of human consciousness. It is a shamanic experience, a bardo of becoming, where the soul is detached from the body, set free to wander in the wilderness of banality until it encounters the epic lulz of meeting itself… and finding that it, itself, is the most disturbing thing on 4chan." o_O. Just worth linking to for the eyeball-expanding prose; there may be something in there, but I'm not sure.