Linked List: October 2023

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

Happy Halloween! Streams will happen later today.

Ranking Powered by Gravity

Hacker News is a bit like the Whole Earth Catalogue’s “Access to Tools” sections.

Curated, gravity-powered links are the article.

Ranked comments often with more links to further information are the books related to the article displayed on the sidebar.

South Pole Medevac, June 2016

Okay, I feel like playing flight sim again.

Mooncraft 2000

John Calhoun, who also made the classic Mac paper airplane video game Glider, writing about his shareware game with a voxel engine, set on Earth’s moon:

I have to say though, that is perhaps what drew me to computers and simulators decades ago. Whether you were flying an airplane, commanding a submarine, or trying to land a lunar module on the surface of the Moon, the computer had the ability to pull you into the fantasy and you began to feel as though you were really there.

Here’s the source code.

Legging it Inside Stations like Garrett Orbital

I’m enjoying Elite’s Halloween event. Creepy audio, and the name Garrett brings to mind Thief: The Dark Project.

Would Frontier Developments please add stealthy foot exploration inside stations like Garret Orbital to the game? Preferably after EVA space-sneaking in via a service airlock?

It would make for a lovely 40th birthday preset to Elite next year. Ta!

♫ Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565

J.S. Bach’s masterpiece performed by organist Hans-André Stamm on the Trost-Organ of the Stadtkirche in Waltershausen, Germany.

Body Electric

NPR and Columbia University Medical Center study on the relationship between our technology and our bodies. Summary: Move around more, at least 5 minutes every half hour. And go for a 30–60 minute long walk every day.

Dutch Cycling Lifestyle

Playful web app that adds a touch of Dutch to your street by showing how it could look if bicycles were given priority over cars.


J. B. Crawford, writing about yet another Internet of Things abomination infesting stores called Cooler Screens:

Engagement is something like the cocaine of the computer industry. Perhaps in the future we will look back on it as the folly of quack practitioners, a cure-all for monetization as ill advised as the patent medicines of the 19th century. At the moment, though, we’re still in the honeymoon phase. We are cramming engagement into everything to see where it sticks.


Free, open source map of the world. With ongoing changes at monolithic companies many are replacing proprietary maps with open source ones.

Half-Line Miami

Indie mashup of Half-Life 2 and Hotline Miami by technical artist Thomas Kole. Download for free at

Voyager’s Grand Tour

Visualization of Voyager’s mission, 1977–today.

Star Citizen Seamless Gamespace Demo

Maybe the ongoing technology demo becomes a never-ending space sandbox game. One day. Fingers crossed. One day.

Whole Earth Index

Here lies a nearly-complete archive of Whole Earth publications, a series of journals and magazines descended from the Whole Earth Catalog, published by Stewart Brand and the POINT Foundation between 1970 and 2002. They are made available here for scholarship, education, and research purposes.

Random example pages:

The Ur-Quan Masters

Free remake of one of my favorite video games from the 1990s, currently on sale on Steam: Star Control II. The people who made the game are making a sequel, too. Update: The Ur-Quan Masters is now also available on Steam!

Stream Clips Process

I configure a button on my StreamDeck to insert a clip marker and press it a few moments after something funny or weird or scandalous happens. Spoiler: If I’m high when streaming, whatever I thought was amazing or funny was probably…not so 😂

After the stream I go to (be sure to replace YourTwitchUserName with your username), click on “Clips I’ve Created” on the top, and then go through the clips and edit the titles if they are decent ones, or delete them if not.

I also click on the little || arrow-pointing-up-above-a-tray icon on the right side to edit the clip to vertical orientation to send it to my YouTube channel with the #shorts tag.

If you don’t have a StreamDeck, you can also click on the Clip That button under Quick Actions in your Twitch dashboard

A Few Notes on The Culture

Iain M. Banks, author of The Culture series of science fiction books:

The market is a good example of evolution in action; the try-everything-and-see-what-works approach. This might provide a perfectly morally satisfactory resource-management system so long as there was absolutely no question of any sentient creature ever being treated purely as one of those resources. The market, for all its (profoundly inelegant) complexities, remains a crude and essentially blind system, and is - without the sort of drastic amendments liable to cripple the economic efficacy which is its greatest claimed asset - intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between simple non-use of matter resulting from processal superfluity and the acute, prolonged and wide-spread suffering of conscious beings.

It is, arguably, in the elevation of this profoundly mechanistic (and in that sense perversely innocent) system to a position above all other moral, philosophical and political values and considerations that humankind displays most convincingly both its present intellectual [immaturity and] — through grossly pursued selfishness rather than the applied hatred of others — a kind of synthetic evil.

The Culture, of course, has gone beyond even that, to an economy so much a part of society it is hardly worthy of a separate definition, and which is limited only by imagination, philosophy (and manners), and the idea of minimally wasteful elegance; a kind of galactic ecological awareness allied to a desire to create beauty and goodness.


Found while digging into the past for bits tier badge graphics for my stream, made from video games that remained in memory.

QX82 Sokoban

Fun game demo made in QX82, a “Javascript engine that lets you create games and experiences inspired by the look and feel of a retro 80s computer”!

Benefits of Throttle and Pedals

The main benefit of a throttle and pedals is that if you need to fly a real airplane at some point, maybe because you had no choice but to nick the local flight school’s Beechcraft, Cessna, or Diamond to escape in the nick of time, then having practiced with real controls means the realism will be there and you’ll be able to take off without requiring a keyboard.

Also, more buttons for everything so you can keep your Hands On Throttle And Stick. Even if you’re too lazy to map them, it’s reassuring to know they are there.

It’s also just nicer and more pleasant and precise, as others have said, especially if you use a smoooooth controller that moves just a little bit instead of a lot when you move your hands and arms just a little.

I like and recommend VKB devices.

Manna (novel)

The narrator recalls his first minimum wage job at Burger-G fast food joint in the early 21st century, and describes the Manna system, which was installed there as a simple store management tool that guided the minimum-wage workers via headset. He describes how advances in networking, robotics, and computer-vision drove the Manna system to dominate the service industry, leading to mass unemployment and extreme income inequality. After Manna finally takes over his current education job he is forced into a massive, cheaply built government welfare housing project, with little hope of regaining employment or escaping. After a year in the housing projects he is visited by two women who tell him that because his father bought stock in the Australia Project years prior, he’s invited to live in Australia, an advanced society with Universal Basic Income.

Added to maybe-read list.

Internet Checkpoint

First time hearing about taia777, via this chat between Fraidycat creator Kicks Condor and Hobune about archiving things.

User mAdLaDtHaD17776 on Reddit summarizes it thus:

old video game music with related background + foreign title made an aura/vibe of detachment, being not there, if that makes sense.

the end result was people who saw it shared their experiences, maybe because of the vibes, most likely because of others spilling. they spoke of their life, goals, fears, hates. told the story of their life, now and in the future. it was pretty surreal scrolling through the comments, seeing peoples struggles, relating to their situations and sharing your own.

maybe I’m romanticising the past or smth, lmao

SCP Foundation

Staircases that go on forever, mechanical gods from the beginning of time, otherwise regular humans who reshape reality with their mind: these are the kinds of things that, if known to the public, could cause mass hysteria and start wars on scales unprecedented. Due to that, there exists an organization called the SCP Foundation, whose job is to research paranormal activity, keep these creatures and objects concealed from the public, and protect humanity from the horrors of the dark.

My favorite secured, contained, and protected find in my investigations so far is SCP-1733, a “digital recording of the 2010–2011 NBA season opening game played at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on 10/26/2010 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.”

240p Resolution on Cathode Ray Tube vs Liquid Crystal Displays

Also see this amazing “Trinitron” slow motion aperture grille scanline animation in 140 characters of JavaScript.

Is vvilllld!

Glypher Studio

In-browser font editor useful for hobbyist type designers.

♫ Scenes from an Imaginary Film

Bassist John Patitucci’s free album of music.

♫ Windward Composition at MyNoise

Facing the wind streaming over a cliff above the sea.

MSFS PT-17 Stearman Flight Model Realism Mod

For this afternoon’s flight with Bruce and whoever else wants to join at EGTH Old Warden Shuttleworth, home of the Shuttleworth Collection.

Atomic Habits Summary

Computer, I’m ordering James Clear’s Atomic Habits from the library and want to see an overview. Could you summarize the book for me, listing the 10 most important points in the book, please?

Certainly! “Atomic Habits” by James Clear is a popular self-help book that focuses on the power of small habits and gradual improvements to achieve significant personal and professional growth. Here are the 10 most important points from the book:

  1. The Power of Atomic Habits: Clear emphasizes that small, consistent habits, or “atomic habits,” can lead to transformative changes over time. These habits are the building blocks of personal and professional success.

  2. The Four Laws of Behavior Change: a. Cue: Identify the triggers or cues that initiate a habit. b. Craving: Develop a desire or craving for the habit’s rewards. c. Response: Implement the habit itself. d. Reward: Enjoy the benefits or rewards of the habit.

  3. Make It Obvious: To create a new habit, make the cues for that habit obvious and visible. Clear discusses strategies for increasing awareness of cues.

  4. Make It Attractive: Increase your motivation by associating the habit with a positive feeling or reward. Linking habits to something enjoyable makes them more appealing.

  5. Make It Easy: Simplify your habits to reduce friction and make them easier to adopt. Clear discusses the importance of lowering the activation energy required to start a habit.

  6. Make It Satisfying: Reinforce positive habits by rewarding yourself immediately. The brain associates satisfaction with the habit, making it more likely to repeat.

  7. The Two-Minute Rule: Break down new habits into small, manageable tasks that can be completed in just a couple of minutes. This approach makes it easier to start and maintain habits.

  8. Habit Stacking: Build new habits by linking them to existing, well-established habits. This leverages the power of routine and consistency. Making notes and gathering them on a personal website or wiki is a good way to “stack” and link habits together. —Ed

  9. Plateaus and the Valley of Disappointment: Understand that progress isn’t always linear. Plateaus and periods of slow improvement are natural, but persistence is key to overcoming them.

  10. Identity-Based Habits: Shift your focus from achieving outcomes to adopting the identity of someone who consistently engages in desired habits. This change in self-perception can lead to lasting habit changes.

These principles provide a framework for creating and sustaining positive habits while minimizing the impact of negative ones. “Atomic Habits” is a practical guide to personal development and behavior change, emphasizing the cumulative power of small actions over time.

Thanks! Can you summarize the book in 5 paragraphs?

Certainly! Here’s a concise summary of “Atomic Habits” by James Clear in five paragraphs:

“Atomic Habits” explores the transformative potential of small, consistent habits in achieving personal and professional growth. Clear introduces the Four Laws of Behavior Change: Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward, which form the foundation for habit formation. To make positive changes, Clear advises making habits obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. By optimizing these aspects, individuals can create new habits and break old ones effectively.

Clear introduces practical strategies such as the Two-Minute Rule, which encourages breaking down habits into tiny, manageable steps, and Habit Stacking, which involves connecting new habits to existing routines. He emphasizes the importance of immediate rewards to reinforce positive habits and the role of identity in habit formation. Shifting one’s self-perception to align with desired habits can lead to lasting changes.

The book acknowledges that progress is not always linear and discusses the concept of plateaus and the “Valley of Disappointment.” Understanding that setbacks and slow progress are part of the journey is essential for long-term success. Clear also illustrates the power of small habits through real-life examples and scientific insights.

In essence, “Atomic Habits” provides a comprehensive guide to harnessing the potential of habits to achieve personal and professional goals. It offers actionable advice and a clear roadmap for readers to build and sustain positive habits while gradually eliminating negative ones. By focusing on the cumulative impact of small changes, the book empowers individuals to create lasting improvements in their lives and work.

Thank you, computer.

Simon Willison’s AI Publishing Rule

I will not publish anything that takes someone else longer to read than it took me to write.

Seems like a good rule because losing the ability to write means losing some of your ability to think.

Not that this will stop the marketing bots from taking over interwebs writing, like SEO spam has, so we’ll continue filtering with the help of the good blogs and books and music and video games and cinema that we find and learn from.

Taste matters, and it’s worthwhile to aim for being the dumbest person in the study room, band, writer group, and so on, so you learn and grow.

Via Jeremy Keith.

Altus Plateau

Palady and Joan Rambo overlooking the Altus Plateau in Elden Ring.

Joan Rambo and Palady overlooking the Altus Plateau in last night’s Elden Ring coop stream.

♫ My Silver Lining

Beautiful song by indie folk duo First Aid Kit.