The shapes of stories

Shape of StoriesYes, I’m aware I’m linking to yet another brain pickings article, but I don’t care as I love this one. it’s Kurt Vonnegut drawing the shapes of stories, which leads him on to discussing the difficulties with distinguishing good news and bad news. And there’s a great video too.

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories and Good News vs. Bad News

Going retro

Following on from that earlier The Last Typewriter article from the BBC, here’s another of theirs, on why we should still use them. I was expecting this to be a little flippant but I liked its take on the generational issue: “while ‘older folks’ resist technology, the youngest missed the original typewriter experience, hence the interest now.” You remember the iPad typewriter thing I mentioned earlier, right?

Five reasons to still use a typewriter

So, farewell then, typewriter

UglyA sad day perhaps, but if we’re being honest, those modern typewriters look bloody awful. The BBC article talks of typewriters holding “a special place in the hearts of members of the public”, but I’m guessing that applies to only certain typewriters and certain generations of the public. I loved the ones I had, but can not imagine, as a student, say, completing a dissertation with one. I know others did, but jeez, can you imagine?

UK’s ‘last typewriter’ produced

Secret suffering as mental health stigma silences anxious voices

“If you do not disclose you have a problem, universities cannot help you,” he said. “Institutions are generally very supportive to disabled staff, but people need to feel they can come forward and talk about their mental health problems.”

Secret suffering as mental health stigma silences anxious voices

Dr. Strangelove film review to end all others

Dr. Strangelove film review to end all others

… In addition to numerous sexual images and jokes throughout the film (including large phallic cigars, mating airplanes, guns, Ripper’s impotent “loss of essence”, and the orgasmic atomic bomb that Kong rides between his legs), many of the absurd, omnipresent names of the male, military characters (caricatures) have sexual connotations or allegorical references that suggest the connection between war, sexual obsession and the male sex drive: …

Your New TV Ruins Movies

“Maybe you got a new TV for Christmas. Or maybe you just got one recently. Maybe you are thinking of buying one. Whichever is the case, take heed: your TV will try very, very hard to make whatever movies you watch on it look not just bad, but aggressively, satanically, puppy-drowningly bad.” …

Your New TV Ruins Movies

Technoetic Art

Roy Ascott on technoetic art:

Art is stationary conventionally. We can read it from a work of art, be it a painting, a sculpture or a drama. Technoetic art stresses interaction. You can interact with the environment, the painting and the sculpture. Our movements are making changes on them. No stationary works exist as long as there is interaction. Visitors and users are all involved in the creating of these works, whether the works are in words or in pictures. This represents a major innovation in art.

A Unique Monkey King Created by Father of Technoetic Arts Professor Roy Ascott

19th-Century Mathematical Illustrations of Consciousness

19th-Century Mathematical Illustrations of Consciousness

Simply cannot think of a more intriguing headline. I could quite easily reblog all these Brain Pickings articles, but this one in particular caught my eye. Imagine, being able to actually see–let alone draw–consciousness. Benjamin Betts thought he could.

Why we write

Maria Popova’s found a chapter from Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem from 1968 that resonates today, with our blogs and twitters and instagrams.

Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook
Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

An anxious malcontent. Hmm.

We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.

Owner occupier

I increasingly feel like this is the only place on the internet I really own. The place I’m sure of. Twitter, Instagram etc feel like places that could be snatched away at somebody’s whim. Which would, sort of, be fine but, sort of, be not. I’m backing them up like I’m backing this up. But the files without the social context would be a little thin.

A post from Russell Davies carrying on that Personal Cloud line of thought.

Antique typewriters converted to keyboards

Love this, being a big fan of antique typewriters. You can either buy an antique typewriter already converted or just the kit to convert your own. The Underwood was my favourite. They’re heavy buggers, them. I think I’ve still got my old Remington though. Might give this a go.

Antique typewriters converted to keyboards

Getting back in touch with text files

appdotnettextfiles1I was very intrigued by this post from Gabe Weatherhead about how he “organizes everything with plain-text notes“. I think I’ve been looking for a reason to give Dropbox another go, and his method of twinning it with TextDrop (and a bunch of other stuff) looked like something to try out. But it was only when I remembered I’d got an IFTTT account did things start to knit together. (Here’s something I wrote about IFTTT earlier this year.)

TextDrop allows me to publish a MultiMarkdown document into a public Dropbox folder, so here’s one I prepared earlier: a list of my current IFTTT recipes.