Angry Robot

OneCity: a first step in the conversation about Toronto transit

RIM shares plunge: 'It's a matter of survival now'

“It’s like watching a puppy die. It’s terrible”

OneCity Transit Plan for Toronto

Stintz’s surprisingly ambitious new transit plan. (via)

I See Cats

“An artificial intelligence discovered cats on the internet.”

Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?

“The question’s not ‘Why do some people do bad things?’” Lynam told me by phone. “It’s ‘Why don’t more people do bad things?’” Fascinating article, with a lot of info about adult psychopaths as well as “callous-unemotional” children


Every heart in which
the light of love shines–
whether worshipper in a mosque
or member of a church–
and those who write their names
in the book of passion
are liberated from hell
and free of paradise.
Omar Khayyam

Urban Plant Tags

The Austerity Agenda

Krugman – “spending while the economy is deeply depressed is a self-defeating strategy, because it just deepens the depression”

David Lowery Might Be Right About Some Things, But He’s Wrong About Streaming, Money, and Artists

followup to the Coulton link from earlier (thanks, y)

10-Year-Old Ryan Gosling Busts a Move to “Everybody Dance Now”

this one’s for my lady

Surface: Between a Rock and a Hardware Place

Gruber on the significance of the new Microsoft tablet

RiFF RAFF is mesmerizing

And I am mesmerized.

I read Pitchfork Reviews Reviews now and then. You might have noticed the Gawker article in my links a few days ago; that was written by David Shapiro, who writes PRR, and is awesome. But that article wasn’t my first experience with Riff Raff, it was this video, also gotten via PRR:

I will allow that Kitty Pryde is also mesmerizing in her own right and worthy of a YouTube dig at some point, but for now, I cannot get over the Riff Raff package: Texas drawl, hair like a lion, bad tats, Kool Keith style nonsense raps. Plus he pulls a full Dylan in interviews and just bullshits constantly.

As Shapiro points out, he even lied about his height. That, his penchant for changing his name, and interest in doing characters (Jody Highroller) – makes you wonder: is this a person or a persona? Is he another Die Antwoord, a Borat?

It’s almost beside the point because this guy can rap. Observe the freestyling herein, let it play out…

He has a surprising number of videos on YouTube. They follow a strange formula: songs like personal favourite Porsche Cayenne:

Jose Canseco, Mike Tyson, Versace Bentley. There is a deep well of them; I’ve been watching for hours and have yet to reach the bottom. Riff Raff has uploaded 3 videos to his YouTube page in the past week, ten in the past month. They always feature a guest star. Riff Raff does one verse exactly. The songs have distinctive yet apparently meaningless names.

He’s like the rap game eHow, a one-man content farm, spamming out videos based on bizarre keywords. His penchant for putting keywords strings like “RiFF RAFF JAMES FRANCO SPRiNG BREAKERS HARMONY KORiNE MOViE” into the video descriptions only adds to this impression. (The story behind that is in the Shapiro article, but basically: Korine invited Riff Raff to play himself in his latest movie, Spring Breakers, but Raff didn’t respond to the email so Korine hired Franco to play him.)

The persona sucks you in. He guests on this low-budge post-apocalyptic video by an LA band. They seem pretty normal but there is Riff Raff the lion-clown king in the background, dragging your eye toward him, until he finally gets his verse in and it’s just such beautiful gibberish:

When my day begins, flawless women friends
With tactical air brushed golden skin, unblemished physique
Rap Game Dawson’s Creek
Volcano liquid lava Benz
Feels like the world is about to end

Because of the bullshit in the interviews and the mysteries about the real person, in combination with the sheer volume of nonstop free-associative flow on YouTube, the net effect is that you can learn a great deal about his subconscious, but next to nothing about his conscious self. Riff Raff likes rice, diamonds, golden skin, math. I know this. But I don’t know how old he is.

After a loose affiliation with Soulja Boy, Raff is now signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent label, which hopefully means big things. Maybe some great beats. Maybe he’ll write a song that surpasses the power of his freestyles. Maybe he will explore his character a bit more. Maybe not putting out three songs a week will be good for him. Or not. Who the fuck knows. He’s a powerhouse, right now.

Emily and David

Jonathan Coulton weighs in on a debate about free music, supporting artists and the future (of Lego)

Not In The Cards

Magic vs D&D, the history

Riff Raff's Got a Record Deal: Making Sense of the Most Viral Human Being in Music

Xbox 720 document leak reveals $299 console with Kinect 2 for 2013, Kinect Glasses project

Helmets may protect your head but mandatory helmet laws will likely make cyclists less safe


video game maker Valve has hired an economist to help with their virtual economies

Snuff: Murder and torture on the internet, and the people who watch it

The Verge

Hollywood gripped by pressure system from China

“The suppressive tendencies of a foreign nation are altering what is seen not just in one country but around the world.” (via)

Three streets, four legal challenges! City's outdated, cyclist unfriendly planning on John, Front and Jarvis

think of what we could accomplish if we could just accept two things: 1. we need a dedicated transit tax. 2. we are going to lose some parking spots on arterial streets. That real estate is just too valuable to be used as car storage all the time.

Research Shows That the Smarter People Are, the More Susceptible They Are to Cognitive Bias

“The problem … is that the driving forces behind biases — the root causes of our irrationality — are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence.” (via)

Jeffrey Zeldman on his Web Design Manifesto 2012

“If we don’t focus on content, readers will remove our designs.” Zeldman quite rightly thinks web design has to be stripped down to basics to survive. I agree. I’m going one column as soon as I get the time to redesign.

Sad Snoopy

One night when I was a child my mother came up to check on me and found me crying in my bed. I had been listening to a Peanuts album, and Snoopy sang an incredibly sad song about the passage of time. That kids grow up, and things change. Possibly, it was the first time I had reflected on the concept.

That’s how I remember it, anyway. I sometimes think back, wonder what the song was, and do a few google searches, returning empty-handed. I started to think I had imagined the whole thing; perhaps I was a melancholy child and somehow projected onto an innocent song about Snoopy’s harmless doggish frolicking. What kind of a song is that for a kids’ album anyway? Remember that Smurfs musical number about the Rwandan Genocide? Remember when Optimus Prime caught robot AIDS and danced a heartbreaking tango? Me neither.

Well my friends, with the patient help of my pal Y, the song is found. I did not imagine it! although I did get the details wrong. It is Charlie Brown singing about Snoopy getting older. That must have confounded my googling these many years.

It’s from “Snoopy! The Musical”, it’s called “Where Did That Little Dog Go?” and here it is.

Enjoy weeping quietly about your lost youth!

Ted Sarandos’ High-Stakes Gamble to Save Netflix

they are counting on original shows to offset DVD subscriber and catalog losses. Dunno, I feel like Netflix’s appeal is a deep archive.