Linked List: July 2020

Cadillac Assembly Line

From Detroit, Michigan, I send you this Friday Song, a 1976 single by Albert King, the velvet bulldozer of the blues. It’s sunny here, I’m wearing a nice mask from Studio Holler, and will hop on another empty aeroplane soon. Peace out.

Really Bad Chess

Chess with totally random pieces. For pocket computers.

Frostblade NeWT Update

I just transmitted the following update via my other website on the internet for the hundreds of people emailing and calling at all times asking about Condensed Anthem Lazer Power: Frostblade NeWt.

Wednesday Noita: Missed Proximity Mine

Another in a series of passings in cave pixels thriller Noita. A click on the image loads an animated GIF.

Proximity mine Noita death.

How Speakers Make Sound

Detailed animations by Jacob O’Neal showing how speakers like the Presonus Eris E3.5s I have written about transmit sound into your ears.

Why Humans Create

A short history of humankind by Saul Bass, a graphic designer who made title sequences and posters for Hitchcock’s films.

Have you ever thought that radical ideas threaten institutions then become institutions and in turn reject radical ideas which threaten institutions?

Worms Armageddon Patch 3.8

A patch is out for one of my all-time favorite hot-seat multiplayer computer romps, a video game from a time when it was still more common to be in the same room with the people you played, 21 years ago.

It makes animations silkier and lets you play cooperatively with a friend online against computer-controlled opponents amongst a can-load of other improvements.

It’s 2020, so here’s a trailer for the patch. Never played Worms? Get it on Steam, or in the Humble Bundle for 80% off for the next three days.

Blaze of Glory

Apologies for the delay in this Friday Song. My excuse is that Sam needs lots of my help to keep from falling down lately.

I also apologize for impaling this Jon Bon Jovi power ballad deep into your skull until next Friday.

PICO-8 Fantasy Console

Minimalist game making interface for Mac, Windows and Linux, found via Team Avocado.


Lawrence Wright, writing in The New Yorker:

In Austin, the city where I live, I also have treasured the absence of the usual traffic roar, the neighborhood streets given over to pedestrians and exhilarated children on bicycles. I have been inspired by photographs of Los Angeles looking eerily pristine, and by newfound vistas of the Himalayas from Punjab, hidden for decades by smog. Could these images have a galvanizing effect, like the 1972 photograph of Earth taken from space by the crew of Apollo 17, which helped bring the environmental movement to life? The atmosphere feels scrubbed clean; the stars are sharper and more visible. The relationship between humanity and the natural world is more balanced and harmonious. Such ecological restorations, of course, have come at the cost of collapsed economies and punctured dreams. Traffic will necessarily resume, oil will be pumped, airplanes will take off. But I wonder if the glorious experience of living with less pollution, however momentary, will linger in our consciousness as an achievable destiny—and as a reminder that major transformations are possible.

Inefficiency is Human

I realize I say this from a position of privilege, but despite various attempts to “teach” me otherwise, I seemed to know intuitively, from an early age, that not working too much is good for the soul and for the environment, and I am glad more people seem to be thinking about this lately, during The Situation.

Bruce Schneier:

But inefficiency is essential security, as the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us. All of the overcapacity that has been squeezed out of our healthcare system; we now wish we had it. All of the redundancy in our food production that has been consolidated away; we want that, too. We need our old, local supply chains – not the single global ones that are so fragile in this crisis. And we want our local restaurants and businesses to survive, not just the national chains.

Via Tim Bray, who writes:

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” sang Leonard Cohen. And there need to be cracks in the surface of work, in the broader organizational fabric that operates the world. Because that’s where the humanity happens. You can be like the people who optimize warehouses and call the gaps “waste”. But that path, followed far enough, leads to a world that we really don’t want to be living in.

Excuse me, now. Death Stranding just finished downloading.

Unite The Divided

Death Stranding is out for PC in a few hours. I have heard it’s the Toccata and Fugue in D minor of video games.

I discovered Hideo Kojima’s work when I randomly bought Metal Gear Solid V a few years ago, and many hours and laughs and moments of joy and pure excitement later it remains one of my top five all-time favorite video games.

So I’m looking forward to playing Death Stranding, and the only question is: Do I wait until all Frostblade NeWT’s parts arrive to install and play on the new machine, or get the game and start delivering packages myself now?

Microsoft Flight Simulator Launches 2020 August 18th

Should arrive just in time to try with a new PC, and the digital versions of the XCub and the Shock Ultra should tide me over until Dead Stick is ready or I can afford a real pilot’s license. Here’s the launch trailer.

IL-2 BoX Aircraft Familiarization Tutorial Missions

I showed you how to take off in my favorite flight simulator’s namesake aircraft, and since this blog is also a place for me to find links that I forgot about this is a reminder to you and I that Utopioneer has a full cargo load of missions for us to familiarize ourselves with the rest of the flapping machines in this poetic video game about flight.

If you want to travel through the air in hard-core-engine-management mode, perhaps to venture out in scary online servers where ace home pilots dwell, consider replacing the photo of your darling on your favorite airplane’s dashboard with these checklists, if only temporarily, so you know how to keep your engine from smoking and giving away your position.

$20 Off Your First Blurb Book

Just ordered what I hope is the final maquette of my first book of photographs, and Blurb told me that you can have a $20 discount to create your own first book there by following the link above and inputting your email address.

Thirteen Days

…Since thirteen days ago, and another Friday Song. This time by J.J. Cale, from his album 5.

Neowise Comet

I saw Comet Halley in 1986, and am excited to look to the Northeast an hour or two before dawn this month to see our new visitor.

Eris E3.5 Speakers

A mini-review of my speakers has just been added to the page chronicling my new PC: Condensed Anthem Lazer Power: Frostblade NeWT.

Just Try To Be Decent

Anne Applebaum, writing in The Atlantic:

Or perhaps the only antidote is time. In due course, historians will write the story of our era and draw lessons from it, just as we write the history of the 1930s, or of the 1940s. The Miłoszes and the Hoffmanns of the future will make their judgments with the clarity of hindsight. They will see, more clearly than we can, the path that led the U.S. into a historic loss of international influence, into economic catastrophe, into political chaos of a kind we haven’t experienced since the years leading up to the Civil War. Then maybe Graham—along with Pence, Pompeo, McConnell, and a whole host of lesser figures—will understand what he has enabled.

In the meantime, I leave anyone who has the bad luck to be in public life at this moment with a final thought from Władysław Bartoszewski, who was a member of the wartime Polish underground, a prisoner of both the Nazis and the Stalinists, and then, finally, the foreign minister in two Polish democratic governments. Late in his life—he lived to be 93—he summed up the philosophy that had guided him through all of these tumultuous political changes. It was not idealism that drove him, or big ideas, he said. It was this: Warto być przyzwoitym—“Just try to be decent.” Whether you were decent—that’s what will be remembered.

We Need A Basic Income, Now

Deb Perelman, writing in The New York Times:

Let me say the quiet part loud: In the Covid-19 economy, you’re allowed only a kid or a job.

Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Why are we not hearing a primal scream so deafening that no plodding policy can be implemented without addressing the people buried by it? Why am I, a food blogger best known for such hits as the All-Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough and The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake, sounding the alarm on this? I think it’s because when you’re home schooling all day, and not performing the work you were hired to do until the wee hours of the morning, and do it on repeat for 106 days (not that anyone is counting), you might be a bit too fried to funnel your rage effectively.

The Far Side: New Stuff

One of my all-time favorite cartoonists is back, and I just spotted the perfect gift in the shop section. It is humor, not angry gods, that saves us.

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.

Commercial Airliner Made From Manila Folders

Somewhat more involved than your regular paper airplane.

Time Well Spent

Bianca Bosker writing about Tristan Harris and Joe Edelman’s Time Well Spent project (now called Center for Humane Technology):

While some blame our collective tech addiction on personal failings, like weak willpower, Harris points a finger at the software itself. That itch to glance at our phone is a natural reaction to apps and websites engineered to get us scrolling as frequently as possible. The attention economy, which showers profits on companies that seize our focus, has kicked off what Harris calls a “race to the bottom of the brain stem.” “You could say that it’s my responsibility” to exert self-control when it comes to digital usage, he explains, “but that’s not acknowledging that there’s a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job is to break down whatever responsibility I can maintain.” In short, we’ve lost control of our relationship with technology because technology has become better at controlling us.

Helvetica in Comic Sans

The logotype for my new video game playing and streaming PC, Condensed Anthem Lazer Power: Frostblade NeWT, was designed using two of the greatest typefaces in the history of typography: Futura and Comic Sans.

You can impress your friends with your good taste with a custom t-shirt.

How Do I Deal With My Deep-Rooted Violence?

Here is a rough transcription of this video of a 1981 talk by Jiddu Krishnamurti in Ojai, California:


There is a deep root of violence in me. I know it is there behind my other feelings. How do I deal with it?


What is violence?

The shooting of people? That’s part of violence. The hurting of others? That’s part of violence. War, is the essence of violence. With its bestiality, cruelty. Appalling things, war does. And anger, hate, invitation, is violence. Conformity is violence.

I don’t know if you follow all this. And, is one aware of all this, in oneself. That one is conforming all the time to a pattern. To an idea. To a concept. Imitating. Comparing oneself with another. Aggression. Is one aware of all this as violence, or only the killing of somebody with a gun?

You answer (?)

Is it not violence when you believe very strongly in something, another believes equally strongly about some belief, and you are trying to convert the other, and the other is trying to convert you. Conflict. Is that not violence?

This hectic propaganda that’s going on, in the name of religion, in the name of everything. Is that not violence?


So, what is one to do? The question asked.

First, if one may point out, don’t create its opposite, which is non-violence. I wonder for insta (?), may I do want an explanation of this (?). That is, I’m violent, and I have been trained, there’s part of my habit to say “I must not be violent”.

Follow? I’m violent, and I have created the ideal of non-being violent. So, I’ve a conflict. You follow? Being violent, and not wanting to be violent, is conflict. Right? And that very conflict is violence. I wonder if you see this. Are we communicating?

So, the first realization is not to create the opposite. Right? Then, I am faced with the fact. Not with its opposite. The opposite has its roots in its own opposite. Right? C’mon, c’mon. So I am faced with the reality of violence. Not with the idea “I must not be violent.” Which is an illusion. Is not a fact. The fact is I’m violent. See how we have been trained not to deal with facts?

So I realize I’m violent. I have no idea of trying to become non-violent. Its completely gone out of my blood. So I’m only dealing with fact. Now, how do I look at that fact? As an observer looking at something to be observed, or the observer himself is violent. You get the point? I wonder if you do. Are we together in this? C’mon sirs.

The man, the entity, or the thought that says “I am violent and it must be changed, or transformed to something else.” and the transformer is part of that violence. There is no separate entity, superior entity, who’s not non-violent. Who’s peaceful. You understand (?) That’s under invention, or thought, to escape from the basic fact that I’m violent, and, so, please just follow this, give a little attention — you may be tired — but just give a little attention to this. That is, there is no division between the observer and the observed. Right? There is only the fact. There’s only the observation of the fact, not “I observe the fact”. Right? There’s only the pure observation of that reaction, which in the past, the name, a word has been given to that reaction which is violence.

So I realize the word is not the thing, but the actual movement of that feeling, of that reaction, and I and that reaction are not separate. There is only reaction. This requires, you understand, very close watching. Then you’ll see, when you come to that point, which is you giving tremendous attention to the fact. There’s attention of the fact, and that attention, is like a light put on something, that dissipates the violence.

Have we got it? Not got it from me. See the fact. See how deceptive, we are. It becomes so deceptive, is so dishonest, all this.

So when you allow time to dissolve an issue, that issue increases. Multiplies.

It’s only the mind that sees clearly, acts.


Photo Requests from Solitary

Photo Requests from Solitary (PRFS) is a participatory project that invites men and women held in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and then finds a volunteer to make the image. The astonishing range of requests, taken together, provide an archive of the hopes, memories, and interests of people who live in extreme isolation.

On any given day, at least 80,000 people are held in solitary in the United States prisons and jails, either in supermax or other segregation units. Some will remain for months, years, or even decades in conditions that have been shown to cause deep and lasting psychological and physiological harm.

They spend at least 22 hours a day in a cell that measures on average of 6 x 9 feet, either in supermax prisons or in segregation units in other prisons and jails. Meals usually come through slots in the solid steel doors of their cells, as do any communications with prison staff. Exercise is usually alone, in a cage or concrete pen, for no more than one hour a day. People in solitary may be denied contact visits, telephone calls, television, reading materials, and art supplies.

Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

…Is this Friday’s song, by Marvin Gaye, from his What’s Going On album, coming to you from a link posted to the internets from New York City, with love.

Petition to Rename Columbus Circle

It is past time to take down the statue honoring the a vain person directly responsible for the mass murder of countless people. I suggest renaming the location simply The Circle.

Toys from Trash

My favorites are the flying ones. By Arvind Gupta.