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We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us. After a quarter century of complacency, in which we were invited to believe in bubbles that would never burst, prices that would never fall, the end of history, the crude repackaging of the triumphalism of Conrad’s Victorian twilight — Hubris has been introduced to Nemesis. Now a familiar human story is being played out. It is the story of an empire corroding from within. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myth. It is our story.
Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto - 2009

Christopher Columbus: raping, murdering, enslaving, genocidal pedophile



The latest of The Oatmeal makes a pretty compelling case for hating Christopher Columbus, whose achievements (“discovering” America, sailing from Europe to America, proving the curvature of the Earth) are all BS. More importantly, though, is what Columbus did do: launched a campaign of genocide in order to terrorize indigenous people gold-mining slavery, a program buoyed up by mass slaughter, mutilations, and systematic sexual slavery of girls as young as nine or ten.

Read the rest…

Whilst I have no axe to grind vis a vis Columbus as such, challenging the commonly held assumptions about history always speaks to my firmly held conviction that the world would be a better place if we accepted that almost everything we culturally create as human beings must be seen as socially mediated and agreed upon, rather than supposedly representing some kind of “truth”.


"Look, let me explain something to you. I’m not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

Attention all Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, if you’ve got $8500 burning a hole in your ringer pocket, you’ll be able to purchase your own super awesome The Big Lebowski pinball machine in a few months’ time. This amazing machine was created by Dutch Pinball, who just unveiled and demoed to prototypes at the Grand Cafe Lebowski in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The cabinet and backbox are beautifully decorated with Lebowski imagery set over a Persian rug background. There’s no doubt that it would really tie a room together.

The machine’s playfield is chock-full of elements from and references to The Big Lebowski such as the Dude’s white russian, the bowling alley, Maude Lebowski’s golden Valkyrie, erm, bowling balls, to name a few examples. But there’s so much more. Lotta strands for old Duder’s head.

Head over to Pinball News for many additional photos and a couple videos.

We recommend storing your gaming quarters in one of our modest coffee can urns. That is, assuming Donny isn’t still in there.

[via Geekologie]

A thing of beauty


In Praise of the Humble Comma

The gods, they say, give breath, and they take it away. But the same could be said — could it not? — of the humble comma. Add it to the present clause, and, of a sudden, the mind is, quite literally, given pause to think; take it out if you wish or forget it and the mind is deprived of a resting place. Yet still the comma gets no respect. It seems just a slip of a thing, a pedant’s tick, a blip on the edge of our consciousness, a kind of printer’s smudge almost. Small, we claim, is beautiful (especially in the age of the microchip). Yet what is so often used, and so rarely recalled, as the comma — unless it be breath itself?

Punctuation, one is taught, has a point: to keep up law and order. Punctuation marks are the road signs placed along the highway of our communication — to control speeds, provide directions and prevent head-on collisions. A period has the unblinking finality of a red light; the comma is a flashing yellow light that asks us only to slow down; and the semicolon is a stop sign that tells us to ease gradually to a halt, before gradually starting up again. — Pico Iyer, 2001. Via Time.

Let us praise the humble comma!

What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.
Bill Bryson, Notes From A Small Island, 1995
Time is to clock as mind is to brain. The clock or watch somehow contains the time. And yet time refuses to be bottled up like a genie stuffed in a lamp. Whether it flows as sand or turns on wheels within wheels, time escapes irretrievably, while we watch. Even when the bulbs of the hourglass shatter, when darkness withholds the shadow from the sundial, when the main-spring winds down so far that the clock hands hold still as death, time itself keeps on. The most we can hope a watch to do is mark that progress. And since time sets its own tempo, like a heartbeat or an ebb tide, timepieces don’t really keep time. They just keep up with it, if they’re able.
Dava Sobel, “Longitude - The True Story of a Long Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time”, 1996
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