Angry Robot

It's the Inequality, Stupid

a series of graphs that will make you upset about income inequality in the US. (via)

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Krugman sees Klein’s theory at work in Wisconsin

Open the Future: Homesteading a Society of Mind

‘”Society of Mind” – the idea that the conscious mind is an emergent process resulting from multiple independent sub-cognitive processes working in parallel’

Ten Sexy Ladies

Josh Allen reviews things on a scale of one to ten sexy ladies.

Skyrocketing oil puts recovery at risk

Large bag of movie popcorn has fat equal to two Big Macs

no wonder I like it so much. Sigh.

Gilles Deleuze on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

let’s see if I can get myself to read this instead of watching wrestling videos on YouTube.

Arab Revolution

“Arabs are kicking out their oppressors one at a time! This blog will document this journey. 2 down & 21 to go. ☑Tunisia ☑Egypt”

The beaver's new brand: eco-saviour

beavers insure against drought, fight pollution, and increase fish stock.

Prophesies of McLuhan

“The future of the future is the present.” Plus link to his early TV appearances. I love McLuhan.

YouTube – Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer

now that’s a video game trailer. (via)

Criterion jumps from Netflix to Hulu

in the US, obviously, as Canuck Netflix doesn’t come close to having Criterion in it.

Ubisoft on next-gen portable dev: 3DS / PSP2 first, 'the other machines' next

this is interesting: Ubisoft plans to launch games first for 3DS and NGP, followed by cheaper versions for smartphones. Sort of like the theatrical-followed-by-DVD window system in film.


I expect him to fizzle out any day now. But no, it just gets worse – recently I saw two twentysomething males on the streetcar sporting Bieb hair. (Yeah, twentysomething.)

However, his recent showing at 299 Queen St. drew disappointing crowds. It was because of the weather alert; presumably the parents of the would-be throngs had prioritized blizzard avoidance over temporary satiation of their tweens’ crush glands. The barricades ran crowdless down to Richmond. Pay duty officers stood around, bored. The storm never materialized. It was the opposite image of what was required: what good are your fans if they won’t stand around for hours in a blizzard? Especially a pretend one?

Perhaps that was the moment Bieber began his inevitable substance abuse problem – an exploratory first lungful of delicious hair product.

Interim Apple Chief Under Fire After Unveiling Grotesque New MacBook

Onion gold

The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator

works as advertised.

Smart phones and tablets becoming video game machines

underwhelmingly-titled article has quotes from John Carmack on the topic I was just discussing – “Carmack said there’s a chance the new 3DS and NGP could be the last generation of specialized handheld game consoles ever built.”


The big lesson of the past generation of games consoles, both portable and non-, is that casual beats hardcore. Simple, low-tech, accessible games will do better than complex, expensive, fancy ones. The DS was the best-selling portable system, and the Wii the best-selling TV-attached one. Both had lower specs than their competitors, but more accessible control systems.

In the portable market, a dedicated games system can no longer position itself as casual. iOS and Android are games platforms in and of themselves, but as games platforms that run on generalized devices such as smartphones and tablets, they are already dominating the casual market. Only the hardcore will spend an extra $200+ on a portable games system when they already have a smartphone. In fact, even the hardcore may be satisfied by iOS. It was significant that EA brought a version of Dead Space to iOS, but not to the DS or PSP1.

This is not to say Sony and Nintendo’s new machines won’t sell a substantial amount of units. The Kindle, a dedicated reading device for hardcore readers, is still selling well despite the e-book capabilities of the iPad. But the Kindle’s sales are a fraction of that of the generalist device: estimates put it at the low millions over the lifetime of the Kindle, versus 14 million iPads last year. And note that the Kindle starts at $140 now, compared to the iPad’s $500.

The Playstation Suite for Android indicates that Sony realizes what it’s up against and is hedging its bets. The Suite is a games market full of old PSone titles and some new properties that will run on compatible Android handsets. One of those handsets will be a gaming-oriented phone from Sony Ericsson, the Experia Play. The fact that they haven’t announced a price for the NGP, though, which means it’s probably high, makes me worry for Sony’s plans. The 3DS’ $250 price tag is a giant misstep – the DS debuted at $150 in 2004, before the smartphone market took off.

The future may be full of battles like this. A few years ago, people like myself were buying PCs to hook up to their TVs to stream video from home libraries and from services like Netflix. Soon the games consoles added similar features. Now the TVs themselves are getting smart – I’ve been looking for a new TV, and the top-of-the-line units now have Netflix and suchlike built in. How long until they start carrying games stores? How long until Apple opens the AppleTV up to third party applications? It’s just a matter of time.

Well, at least Sony kinda has a leg up in the TV set business.

1 One article I found estimates Apple sold 120 million iOS games in 2010, compared to 130 million for the DS. And sales of iOS devices are going up dramatically, while sales of DSes and PSPs are going down.

The Detroit Ad

From the Superbowl, via Broken City Lab (despite the fact that I was theoretically watching said Bowl):

Whatcha think? I think it’s too bad the message had to be about luxury and not simply good quality. Hearing comments about luxury mixed in with stuff about Detroit’s troubles is a bit jarring, no? On the flip side, perhaps 40% reality is better than 0%.

Doctor Who Infographic

some stuff I didn’t know!

Robot Orders a Scone in Mountain View, Ca.

not an autonomous robot, but still. (via)

Hybrid Urban Games And #Tahrir Square

The Pop-Up City on some developments in augmented reality

Penny Arcade and the Dickwolf Saga

I’ve always loved black humour, and have run up against people taking offense before. So my initial reaction was in support of the comic. If rape jokes are not allowed, are then murder jokes forbidden? And then jokes about old people, men, women, Jews, Asians, etc. etc. Better to live in a world where anything can be made fun of. Humour isn’t something we use to escape from reality. It’s something that should actively criticize reality.

But then, I’ve also been aware that power is an issue with comedy. As with any exercise of power, it’s different to make fun of the powerless vs. the powerful. Context, and nuance, are important. Imagine a Jewish comedian making self-deprecating jokes about Jews. Now imagine an anti-semite making horrific jokes about Jews.

There are a lot of interesting points being made in criticism of the comic, Penny Arcade, and those who defend it. The concept of rape culture figures prominently. Also, the context of gaming is important to understand. I don’t play against online strangers because I do not wish to hear constant rape, fag and n-word talk. And as for the murder comparison, the specific thing the offendees are bringing up is that rape jokes are a trigger, and no murder victims are likely to be triggered by murder jokes. Furthermore, as this astute comment points out, “most conversations about murder trials don’t begin with speculation about whether or not the victim might have faked their own death.”

My dad died recently, and from having spent so much time in nursing homes in the year leading up to his death, I find myself getting prickly when I hear jokes about dementia or even old people in general. But I reserve the right to make jokes about it myself – I still need humour to help cope with big, scary things in my life.

It’s clear at this point that the reaction is worse than the initial incident. This is so common that I’d love to make a larger point about it, but I’m afraid it’s out of scope at the moment. I don’t think I’ve made up my mind which “side” is “right”, and I really hope not to (reducing things to sides and assuming only one is right is the beginning of a whole ball of hurt). That’s perhaps the takeaway point – use things like this as an opportunity to better understand issues from different perspectives, rather than a chance to get angry because of one’s principles. (As I write that I become aware that it is clearly targeted at one group and not the other – the idea of telling a rape victim not to get angry makes me sad.)

I sent this draft to my friend Ÿ and he commented, “it seems like so much of this action on the internet arises from people not being able to see the hurt in other people’s eyes.” We should remember that.

UPDATE This post, summarizing an older version of the “pratfall” timeline, originally stated that speakers had pulled out of PAX. This is incorrect. I’d also like to point out this post from Geek Feminism Blog as a good defence of the original comic.

The unaffordable city: how did Toronto get so !@#$%&* expensive—and is it worth it?

I feel for the writer – we recently bought a house too, and there are a lot of surprise expenses that no one really warns you about. But I question the wisdom of that opening paragraph. And I have relatives in Dublin and London UK, so I’m well aware that housing prices are under no obligation to stay reasonable.

Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration

for anyone who makes things, or wants to, this is an incredible interview.