This was written for my newsletter, but it's also pretty bloggy, and there isn't a service that reliably does both email and RSS, so...
Sadly we had Joy put down today. She's had snuffles now since Easter and it took a turn for the worse. Basically she couldn't breath and was in pain. I'll doubtless write more about this wonderful rabbit soon, but for now we're just taking it easy. If I'm honest, putting this together has been a useful distraction from it all.
Highlights from the two years she was with us will be appearing on the Bunstagram account over the next few days.
I've had an art accepted for STELLAR, a group gallery show curated by Lumen and running at Vivid in Birmingham from April 27th to March 4th. Mine will be an installation using some (or maybe all) of the hundred-odd lenses I've collected over the last few years, hanging them in a dark room and shining light through them. Please come and see it! either at the opening on the 27th of the closing on Digbeth First Friday.
I went to a couple of gallery launches in Birmingham and came away very impressed with three young artists, two at the start of something interesting, and one who has made a massive leap into something very special. So I wrote about them. Please enjoy the work of Joe Mulford, Georgia Sandy and Lewes Herriot.
The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars
This last week we as a country have mostly been bombing the Middle East again, and there's been some rumblings about how this might be the start of World War Three. Which is reassuring. This overview of the many players and their wants and needs was very useful in starting to make sense of it all. For example, why does Russia give a shit about Assad? Their only naval port in the Mediterranean is there and they'd rather have a strongman dictator than some Iranian-style theocracy. And so on.
Post-Authenticity and the Ironic Truths of Meme Culture
If you have a cursory interest in how culture has been moving in this internetted age, or are confused by young people, this is worth a read. Reports from the front line of "what people are doing and why" are always fraught with bias and assumption but with that in mind this is a fascinating and fun read. It reminded me of the Trashcast analysis of Jake and Logan Paul which explained people slightly younger than them in a way that people fairly older than them could just about get their heads around if they squinted. Only much less patronising. Ultimately this attempts to answer the question, how do people function in a post-truth world where nothing is real?
Drones will soon decide who to kill
Beyond the expected horror of "how we do war" now, this is also interesting as it plays to ideas of systems divorcing themselves from human control once it's assumed that the system can "get it right", quickly followed by unforeseen stuff happening. We saw this in the NHS, where a system was implemented demanding that waiting times be reduced to one day, which seemed like an obvious universal good thing, but in order to comply doctors stopped taking appointments beyond "tomorrow", even for things that . The system was only overhauled when Tony Blair was informed of it at an election Q&A - somehow the message that they system wasn't working hadn't filtered up.
Related: West Midlands Police have some new drones of their own are desperate to show them off.
"Crowded Fields" by Pelle Cass
A new body of work by Cass building on his time-crunching composites, this time focussing only on sporting events. There's a nice little interview here and a sample of his 10,000 selfies project which reveals that he uses a white balance card to keep things consistent across the frames as light changes. Of course! So obvious now I see it.
See also: Nic Felton's Photoviz book, where I first came across Cass.
The world’s largest ice carousel
I'd not heard of ice carousels before. They're normally small-ish and appear on rivers where they're spun by the currents. This one is huge, measured by lasers, cut from a lake with chainsaws and spun by offboard motors. Kottke has the pics and vids.
It occurred to me I subscribe to a fair few newsletters. Here's a few you might also like.
Laura Olin - Not even sure who she is to be honest, or why I subscribed, which is a bit odd but turns out it's kinda nice having these missives arriving devoid of context. Her newsletter is a Top Ten list of links and observations that's good for a graze.
Dan Hon - The Daddy of the long-form stream of consciousness newsletter who has this amazing trick of not making 3,000 words feel like an obligation. You can read them in depth or skim through with equal benefit.
Joanne McNeill - Essentially her media-diet blog, but the way she writes about films and books she's enjoyed is delightful and seductive. One for the pleasure of reading someone's enthusiasm.
Zeynep Tufekci - Zeynep is one of the big critical thinkers in the world of tech politics (she was writing about the problems with Facebook years before the current brouhaha) but she's like a firehose that's impossible to keep up with. This newsletter means I can do so, plus she's a bit more relaxed here. I really liked the stuff about scuba diving in her latest issue.
Noticing - New venture from Jason Kottke and Tim Carmody, rounding up a week of the Kottke blog, which as you may know is the BEST blog on the internet, as well as one of the longest running. Without Kottke I'd be nothing, and this is a nice new angle to approach the goodness from.
Warren Ellis - My relationship with Warren's stuff is weird in that I've never been that bothered by his books and comics but I do like his more informal online writing and find how he's build a community of peers (aka, other freaks like him) really interesting. His weekly newsletter is a little cornucopia of delights, some really useful to me, some kinda bemusing but always worth reading.
A conversation about absurd computer interfaces in sci-fi reminded me of a wonderful scene from the otherwise daft-as-all-hell Agents of SHIELD tv series. I have now watched this clip at least 10 times.