Saturday, 10 September 2016

"Okay boys, this is what they pay us for"

This Politico oral history of the passengers of Air Force One on 9/11 is fascinating. What is mind blowing is that George W. Bush and company were getting most of their information via rabbit ears from broadcast stations that faded in and out as they cruised for hours.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Forget what they're selling, their home page animated gif is amazing

Cards against humanity has opened a new service for creators of things to do proper distribution and package mailouts. Looks perfect for people who successfully pull off Kickstarters then must deliver the damn pledges.

But the header gif by Paul Robertson is something else.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Vice tried to buy the News Of The World from Rupert Murdoch

Keach Hagey writing in the Wall Street Journal

[Vice co-founder Shane] Smith says he really got to know the younger Mr. Murdoch when Vice tried to buy News Corp’s News of the World tabloid at the height of its phone-hacking scandal, arguing he could use the paper’s notoriety to turn it into a new kind of international news outlet. The idea didn’t fly, but Mr. Murdoch “liked our cockiness,” Mr. Smith said.

H/T James Waterson

Politico: NY Times is opening a Canadian newsroom

Joe Pompeo, writing for Politico

Morning Media has learned that the next two places The New York Times is targeting for expansion are Canada and Australia. The company has already dispatched research teams to lay the groundwork and has begun recruiting journalists to build out small newsrooms in both countries, similar to the Mexico City-based, digital Spanish-language operation for Latin America that the Times launched earlier this year.

I have actually noticed a lot of Canadian stories lately in the New York Times, beyond Justin. It’s a good plan: Postmedia has been cutting back its reporters, particularly on culture. Sure, the Canadian market is only 10 per cent the size of the US market, but what newspaper would turn down possible 10 per cent growth now?

This story reminded me of the a 1990 article in Spy Magazine after they noticed that the Globe & Mail had placed 29 boxes in New York City.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead

Last November, illustrator Rick Meyerowitz, former editor Tony Hendra, and former art director Peter Kleinman discussed the National Lampoon, moderated by graphic design historian Steve Heller. It’s a great session.

I need to watch the doc, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead on iTunes soon.

London police have set up a team of super face recognisers

Patrick Radden Keefe, writing in the New Yorker

Prosopagnosics often have strange stories about how they cope with their condition. The subjects had their own curious tales about being on the other end of the spectrum. They not only recognized character actors in movies—they recognized the extras, too. In social situations, prosopagnosics often smiled blandly and behaved as if they had previously encountered everyone they met, rather than risk offending acquaintances. Russell’s subjects described the opposite adaptation: they often pretended that they were meeting for the first time people whom they knew they’d met before. After all, if you’re introduced to someone at a party and you remind him, in pointillist detail, about the circumstances of a brief meeting years earlier, he might reasonably conclude that you are a stalker. One of the subjects described an ex-boyfriend’s referring to her as a “freak of nature.”

As someone who has a terrible time recognising faces — self-diagnosed prosopagnosia — I find this fascinating.

You can take the test that the Met puts its face recognition applicants through here.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Former 1960s bondage-film actress is waging legal combat for ownership of the SeaMonkeys fortune

Yolanda Signorelli von Braunhut is a onetime heir to the considerable fortune still generated by her husband Harold’s iconic invention, Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys. As her lawyer told it, she was now isolated, cash-starved, often without electricity or running water on a palatial estate on the Potomac River in southern Maryland. Having retreated to a single room in the old mansion, she was prepping for her second freezing winter, barricaded by thick quilts, her bed next to a fireplace stocked with split wood. From this bunker, Signorelli von Braunhut has been waging legal combat against Sam Harwell, chief executive of a big-time toy company whose name seems straight out of a Chuck Jones cartoon: Big Time Toys. NY Times

I had SeaMonkeys as a kid in the 70s, but the pinnacle of my love for the brine shrimp was when I persuaded my then-employer,, to install a SeaMonkey cam on my desk in 2000. In 2000! What other wonders would this Internet future conceive?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Author of the Anarchist Cookbook has only made $35,000 in royalties after 2 million copies sold

In 1971, William Powell wrote the Anarchist Cookbook, the next 40 years are a tale of regret and IP sales.

In 1989—not the early 1980s, as Powell wrote—Lyle Stuart sold his publishing house to the Carol Management Corporation for $12 million. A man named Steve Schragis was in charge of the new imprint, which focused on controversial books; one title, Final Exit, instructed people on how to kill themselves. But Schragis objected to The Anarchist Cookbook, saying it had “no positive purpose,” and declined to reissue it. So Stuart bought the title back for $75,000 and published it under his new company, Barricade Books. At some point during this back and forth, Powell signed over rights to future royalties, telling me that Stuart sent him a check for $5,000.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Prague's 1990s ex-pat English language newspaper war

Two of my closest friends Heather Faulkner and Ginger Sendalova left Vancouver in the late 90s, jumping into the void that was post-Communist Czechoslovakia. Both had secured positions at the romantic sounding Prague Post.

After moving to London in 1999, and thanks to cheap flights by the now-defunct Go, I probably visited them a dozen times in two years, spending hours and hours in the Post‘s offices. It looked like every student newspaper office that I have every visited, and probably ran on the same budget, but the Post always punched far above its weight in news, photography and design, outclassing even the International Herald Tribune and The European.

But my friends were working for the winner in a newspaper war over the hearts and minds of a generation of Western 20-whatevers who had come seeking what Post editor-in-chief Alan Levy called “the Left Bank of the ’90s.”

“For some of us, Prague is Second Chance City; for others a new frontier where anything goes, everything goes, and, often enough, nothing works. Yesterday is long gone, today is nebulous, and who knows about tomorrow, but, somewhere within each of us, we all know that we are living in a historic place at a historic time.“—The Prague Post, October 1, 1991 (first issue)

Here, Jacques Poitras, talks about the paper that lost, Prognosis and what might have been.

“These American kids start the first English-language newspaper. … It can’t help but thrive, right?” Welch’s friend, Ken Layne, told me in an e-mail in 1995. “It sputters along for several years, getting a million dollars in free press, no business plan, no financial plan, no discipline, just bumbling along, just like all of Prague is doing. And just like the fucking Communists, Prognosis is living off subsidies,” a reference to the money from relatives and foundations in the United States. “Meanwhile, the Czechs figure it all out. They toss away a lifetime of anti-capitalist bullshit and turn Prague into a fucking money machine. Everybody figures out how to run a business, how to make cash, how to succeed — everybody but these American kids who refuse to even acknowledge the need for money, for success.

“If [Post publisher] Lisa Frankenberg is your villain,” Layne added, “you’ve bought into the biggest piece of fabricated history ever. If they had figured out how to use Lisa’s smarts … Prognosis would be a thriving media empire today instead of a dead newspaper fondly remembered by fifty people. The results speak for themselves. Lisa is no monster. A hundred other people have felt the same way about the half-ass manner in which Prognosis was run.”

Prague Reverb: Revisiting an American Newspaper War Abroad

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Predicted date of Uber in Vancouver

Here’s my prediction to the world: Uber will be permitted in Vancouver approximately 1 April, 2015.

How do I forecast with such accurate precision? Because that’s two weeks after thousands of Ted Conference attendees arrive, pull out their phones, and then look at the Provincial and City officials as if they were covered in hayseed.