Angry Robot


My 1.75-year-old daughter received an animal puzzle as a gift. It has pieces shaped like different animals, and when you place them in the appropriate spots, it plays that animal’s sound. Which is great! She’s gotten pretty handy with it, which is also great. Only problem is that the zebra sensor-thing has gotten out of whack, and it goes off seemingly at random. Like late at night when you are tiptoeing through a quiet house. Which is not great, because have you heard what a fucking zebra sounds like?

Here you go

I can say without hyperbole that a zebra sounds like a clown that got bitten by a werewolf and then fell into a vat of toxic chemicals.

Stallone + Russell + four directors = the truly strange Tango & Cash

Nathan Rabin on a film that has been a source of constant delight for me

1994: The year the T-dot broke

Ghetto Concept and Saukrates

The Continuously Measured Self

Speaking Lies for Power

John Barber lays into the Toronto dailies:

Before the vote, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives had lost 91 of the 92 seats they contested in Toronto this century. During the vote, they lost that one seat due to a campaign even more inept and anti-urban than their usual efforts. And yet three of the four major Toronto dailies endorsed them.

A 'Yo' Is Lovely to Receive

David Shapiro


On the ideological problems with SimCity

How Ann-Marie MacDonald learned to let go of the past

The death of the American mall

That time when Star Trek fever gripped Scarborough

Ed (Retrontario) writes about the magic that was cable access Trek show Ten Forward.


Bad Day for Bad Patents: Supreme Court Unanimously Strikes Down Abstract Software Patent

This is good news.

Taiwan's Quanta to start mass production of Apple's smartwatch in July: source

Fresh rumours about the iWatch from Reuters. 2.5” screen is big – I was hoping for no screen at all.

Videogrep: Automatic Supercuts with Python

The script will make edits to a video file by parsing the closed captioning file. If modified, this could theoretically generate a rough cut of a promo based on a script. Yikes – how long until promo producers are obsolete?

The Timeless Beauty Of Studio Ghibli's Movies

Indeed, they make good desktops.

7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq

Juan Cole.

Paper Airplane to Drone in 60 Seconds


Slurpy, the Toronto mayor’s famous doppelganger, among the hopefuls auditioning for Rob Ford the Musical

Slurpy’s back in the news!

The Economics of Star Trek

This was linked to in the post about rarity and is worth a read:

Imagine there’s some level of welfare benefits in every country, including America. That’s easy. That’s true. Imagine that, as the economy became more efficient and wealthy, the society could afford to give more money in welfare benefits, and chooses to do so. Next, imagine that this kept happening until society could afford to give the equivalent of something like $10 million US dollars at current value to every man, woman and child. And imagine that, over the time that took to happen, society got its shit together on education, health, and the dignity of labor. Imagine if that self-same society frowned upon the conspicuous display of consumption and there was a large amount of societal pressure, though not laws, on people that evolved them into not being obsessed with wealth. Is any of that so crazy? Is it impossible?

It really depends on society generating enough money that such a guaranteed income is actually doable for the whole population. While that might indeed be possible now if we increased our top marginal tax rate to eat up 90% of the 1%‘s earnings (I would love to see an economist weighing in on that), my hope is that eventually a sort of “robot tax” is instated. More and more people are going to be put out of work by machines, until eventually all of us will. We need to plan for that.

AppleTV the Console Edges Closer

Here’s a take on how AppleTV could disrupt gaming.1 Consoles, pursuing hardcore gamers, have gotten more and more expensive relative to PCs. As I’ve mentioned many times before, smartphones & tablets have replaced consoles for casual gamers. They are general-purpose devices that happen to run games really well. Why buy a dedicated gaming device when you have something that does the job in your pocket?

Like the iPhone and iPad, AppleTV also runs iOS, just a more restricted version, without the App Store. As this post details, though, recent changes to iOS mean that the AppleTV is just about ready to transform into a pretty great gaming box. It would be easy to play the games on your phone on your TV, with an optional hardware controller (like one of these). There would be better performance than before (the new AppleTV would presumably have the chip currently in the iPhone & iPad, but this may even work on current-gen AppleTVs). Games you buy on your AppleTV would also work on your phone & tablet. Suddenly the console of choice for casual gamers – and many hardcores – would become clear.

1 Like Gruber I think the two tiers of AppleTV are one tier too many.

Daring Fireball: Only Apple

Perceptive take on the significance of WWDC this year.

Progs rocked

Goldsbie – “In Trinity-Spadina and Beaches-East York, NDP legacies come to an end”

Ontario Votes 2014

So the election happened. For the first time since I’ve been voting I had trouble deciding who to vote for, and I’m not sure how I feel about the result. I feel similar to Ram here. I want to have hope that the Liberals will do well with their majority, but I feel that’s somewhat naïve.

You Need to Hear This Extremely Rare Recording


  <blockquote>        <p>“Rare” is such an quizzical descriptor, a blatant contradiction of the very nature of digital culture. Rarity describes a state of scarcity, and as we enter a proto-post-scarcity economy, digital stuff defies such shortages… Rarity itself has become very rare.</p>     </blockquote>