Dive bar Christmas

Tacky fairy lights strung along liquor bottle shelves, splashes of neon diffused on begrimed wood panelling, your favourite bar stool; a vivid dream of a Christmas half imagined, half remembered.

Tech will eat itself

Scopely, a mobile-game publishing company, rewards a new hire—or anyone who can deliver one—with eleven thousand dollars wrapped in bacon, an oil portrait of himself, and a harpoon gun.

The New Yorker on tech’s talent war.

Film vs digital again again

“This is why I prefer film to digital,” Nolan said, turning to me. “It’s a physical object that you create, that you agree upon. The print that I have approved when I take it from here to New York and I put it on a different projector in New York, if it looks too blue, I know the projector has a problem with its mirror or its ball or whatever. Those kind of controls aren’t really possible in the digital realm.”

Christopher Nolan talks to The Guardian.

Edward’s midwives

We had a son last week. The little blighter and his amazing mum are doing great. These were his midwives, Marie and Matilde. They were brilliant:


Cerebrate good times (Asimov on creativity)

From Isaac Asimov’s 1959 essay on how people get new ideas:

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

Later in the piece he invents brainstorms, though he calls them cerebration sessions:

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.


Oven gloves and swimming goggles


“It really feels like I’m reaching out to the world through this screen,” he told the audience. “You guys extend your bodies all the time — you use oven gloves to reach into the oven; you wear goggles to swim underwater; you send your voice down phone wires and into space. I’ve extended myself into this screen, just like that. Using robots to move through places you can’t go is useful and fun — but if your movements are constricted like mine are, it’s life-changing, because often you can’t go anywhere.”

From computer scientist (and quadriplegic) Stuart Turner’s talk at Wired2014. 

Tech companies nailed

The inclusion of egg freezing as an employee benefit partakes of the techno-utopian fantasy on which companies like Facebook and Apple subsist—the conviction that there must be a solution to every problem, an answer to every question, a response to every need, if only the right algorithm can be found.

New Yorker, who else.