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More Kim Thompson backup vocals please.



Cover art by Frank Utpatel.

Zero History on Paper

Zero History on Paper

William Gibson’s character map for Zero History from the most recent volume of the Paris Review.

this book—besides being a modcult trap—sure makes you pay more attention to the pants people are wearing on the subway.

Hand Drawn Graph Paper

Hand Drawn Graph Paper

Hand drawn graph paper pads by Louise Naunton Morgan. Available here.

Did you find this while looking for huge graph paper?

Yep, found some 22” x 17” squared pads.

Also, I should mention that I came across Whitelines while looking for isometric paper.

“Our special today is mesquite-grilled sushi, Cajun style.”

—‘Max Headroom’ Ronald Reagan Cafe ’80s Menu Robot in Back to the Future II, accurately predicting how people in the 2010s will imagine ’80s food.

The USA Is Not Actually Getting Worse

The USA Is Not Actually Getting Worse

23rd St and West Side Highway, 1975. More.

( via pretty sure i saw this on Anil’s shake a few months ago)

Why Can’t I Just Buy Feelings Directly?

A study on iOS In-App Purchase behavior shows that most money spent on IAP is for things of fleeting value, like the eagle that skips you over a level in Angry Birds:

While the consumer is indeed purchasing virtual items that are most often consumable, what’s most important to understand is the psychology behind these games. In freemium games, consumers are experiencing compelling, immersive entertainment. They feel gratified when they progress, accomplish goals, create a unique world, and in some cases, show off to their friends. In exchange for this gratification, they are willing to spend real money, and lots of it.
And in the blue corner, we have Tarn Adams from Dwarf Fortress:
Tarn sees his work in stridently ethical terms. He calls games like Angry Birds or Bejeweled, which ensnare players in addictive loops of frustration and gratification under the pretense that skill is required to win, “abusive” — a common diagnosis among those who get hooked on the games, but a surprising one from a game designer, ostensibly charged with doing the hooking. “Many popular games tap into something in a person that is compulsive, like hoarding,” he said, “the need to make progress with points or collect things. You sit there saying yeah-yeah-yeah and then you wake up and say, What the hell was I doing? You can call that kind of game fun, but only if you call compulsive gambling fun.” He added: “I used to value the ability to turn the user into your slave. I don’t anymore.”

What I want to know is, when game designers get good enough that they are really playing chords on the same neurochemical brainstrings as drugs and gambling are, well, what happens next? I don’t understand why people are so hung up on the violent content of games, which seems totally and utterly harmless to me, and why the moral panic brigade seems to ignore the increasingly skillful way in which game designers manipulate the risk/anticipation/reward loop in people’s brains.

Jody examined the deer hide. It was large and handsome, red with spring. The game seemed to him to be two different animals. On the chase, it was the quarry. He wanted only to see it fall. When it lay dead and bleeding, he was sickened and sorry. His heart ached over the mangled death. Then when it was cut into portions, and dried and salted and smoked; or boiled or baked or fried in the savory kitchen or roasted over the camp-fire, it was only meat, like bacon, and his mouth watered at its goodness. He wondered by what alchemy it was changed, so that what sickened him one hour, maddened him with hunger, the next. It seemed as though there were either two different animals or two different boys.

The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

That’s where the money is!”

"That's where the money is!"

The one thing holding up Apple’s transition from consumer products company to religion was a suitable holiest of holeys. Thousands of people in Clearwater, Florida are throwing up their hands: “E-meters! Celebrities! Why didn’t we make a goddamn iPod!”

Also, I really hope this thing has like, a keyhole aligned to the setting sun during the vernal equinox or something. If they miss this opportunity to create Applehenge, well, fie on them! That’s for sure.

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TV Shows I Enjoy Imagining…

…And the pages that inspired them:

  • But Mom!: Various moms from different subcultures take their middle-school aged daughters back-to-school shopping. Ideally the subcultures the mothers and daughters identify with are as different as possible, and the kids as awkwardly middle-schooly as possible, and the moms as anxious as possible, The prototype episode in my mind has a Berkeley urban farmer with a long grey ponytail agreeing to take her sparkly daughter to Sephora as long as she reads this Naomi Wolf book. During this exchange, the daughter’s eyes never leave her phone’s screen.
  • Rapemen: Shellac and Odd Future compete to make the most money on a ‘tour’ of the world They don’t have any shows booked and they never know where they are going. The producers drop them off in each city and we watch them scrambling around to see who can make the most money while they are in town by booking a show, doing in-stores, selling merch. Etc. It’s a contest. Plus there will be all sorts of challenges and punishments, like if Odd Future makes more money in a town, Albini has to personally digitally remaster the Big Black catalog. Also, under the credits, Brooklyn Vegan commenters are shot by a firing squad. That’s just a bonus.
  • Ghostface Killah Presents The 84th Academy Awards: Ghostface hosts the Oscars, just like James Franco and Anne Hathaway, only hilarious and coherent. Plus there’d be a million guest appearances. Also, there’d be a memorable sketch involving RDJ as Iron Man and Ghost as Toney Starks.

Lookbook Preview

Lookbook Preview

We’re reaching deep into the archives for the launch of Modcult’s apparel line. This pant and tunic were dredged out of a German moor and date to the fourth century. The peat bog-based tea-dying process is time-consuming and expensive, but necessary to achieve that rich, Iron Age color. Footie pants are huge for S/S 2012. Your move, McNairy.

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The Artificial Part of My Body, is, In Some Sense, Immortal”

"The Artificial Part of My Body, is, In Some Sense, Immortal"

“We want the bionic limb to have a humanlike shape but we don’t want the bionic leg to look human. We want it to look like a beautiful machine, to express machine beauty as opposed to human beauty — and the reason is, we want the user to pull a black sock over their bionic limb and have their limb appear to be fully biological and then the very next evening, go to a fancy party where they pull that sock off and they expose the fact that part of their body is bionic.”

Amazing interview with mountainman/prosthetic limb designer/anodized-in-the-aluminum transhumanist Hugh Herr. His group at the Media Lab is called The Biomechatronics Group.

PS bonus points for the Le Corbusier chair in the press photo

New Strategy

Every Jumbotron, every Bloomberg, backseat of every cab, every phone, every shop window full of crummy TVs, this video. No one could riot, sell a stock, loot, shoot down a Chinook, or do anything but spread loving-kindness while watching this cheery whale. Look at him swim!