The Pipwick Papers

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I write this as I wait (impatiently) for a breakfast delivery. Yes. I have discovered somewhere that will deliver a cooked breakfast on a Sunday morning and, yes, this is the most exciting event of 2015. In case you have a similar service in your area, here is some reading material for you to consume in between running to the window and peering out from behind the curtains. If you are breakfastless, just enjoy the articles, I guess. If you can.

  • Adam Sternbergh’s piece for Vulture on purge-watching TV shows (consuming them just to get them off your to-watch list) sums up exactly how I’m feeling about Pretty Little Liars right now
  • Brendan O’Connor attends the 2015 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for The Verge
  • The machine moves through 73 steps in less than a minute, suggesting a desperate search by Rube as he upends his house looking for the comic. At one point, a ball drops, and a mechanized dog springs out of his house to grab it. The machine finishes — the cartoon was in a cupboard — and Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come On, Eileen” plays. (The name of the machine, I learn, is “Eileen.”)

  • Channel 4 has launched a news wall on Tumblr aimed at delivering news to 16-24-year-olds. It’s heavy on gifs which I get, but the gifs they’ve created at the moment are basically headlines which flash up word by word and en masse they start to look both samey and incoherent. Is that what you get from looking at the page or am I just Too Old For These Shenanigans?
  • Co.Design has this on Disney’s cool idea for cheap 3D printables which lets you control your smartphone via ultrasonic waves
  • Leighton Woodhouse looks at the story of a teacher pushing back against Los Angeles Unified School District’s weapon search policy
  • Rogue Wounds by Daniel Mason for Lapham’s Quarterly is a fascinating piece dipping into the history of faking illnesses


    1. Jackablade says:

      The lack of full sequences of Rube Goldberg machines in that video is rather frustrating.

    2. Fomorian1988 says:

      Having just checked out that Channel 4 Tumblr, I got the feeling that’s one of those cases where older people are unsuccessfully trying to pander to the young people they don’t get.

      • LionsPhil says:

        That’s whack, man. Bogus.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Yeah, I cautiously applaud the idea, but… I’d be surprised if it proved that successful, by whatever metric they’re measuring the success of such things. It just looks ugly and visually off-putting to me, and I don’t think it’s because of encroaching old*. There are plenty of things on Tumblr where I react with a raised eyebrow and a “Uh, so this is what the kids are into?” but I can still see the appeal. This isn’t one of them.

        *Although given my love of loud, abrasive dubstep, grime, trap and so on the comments on RPS whenever a trailer makes with the wubs or something similar are very good for making me forget my age.

      • Horg says:

        ”Seizure Warning: Some of the images included on this site may contain visual content which could cause seizures.”

        The entire front page could cause a seizure. It’s a wordstorm of migraine inducing proportions. 30–50 images all competing for my attention by flashing snippets of broken text, all out of sync with each other, is unbearable to endure. I spent 30 seconds staring at that picture of the cat, as the only island of calm in the word-hurricane, before I had to bail out and massage my eyes.

        • Shuck says:

          It’s insane – looking at it will drive you mad, and it looks like a disturbed person created it. It’s baffling.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I clicked through to the main page, just so they’d have one more data point on people who see that mess of a layout and don’t click a single link.

      • yhancik says:

        The Channel 4 Tumblr looks more like a net art project than news

      • Cockie says:

        This is one of the cases of “who the hell thought this was a good idea?”

    3. SuicideKing says:

      Is that what you get from looking at the page or am I just Too Old For These Shenanigans?

      Well, you must be 22 then, because it was just too noisy for me. I just sat there for a minute trying to figure out what the fuck was up with the page.

      And obviously Switzerland is the happiest county in the world, they haven’t had a war there in years.

      • LTK says:

        It’s not just too noisy, you have to look at each gif for half a second per word if you want to read the entire headline. Whoever thought that was an effective means of presenting news needs to be fired.

        • Sarfrin says:

          And most of the time you don’t start looking at the start of the headline so you have to sit through a confused half sentence before finding out what’s going on. Awful. But I am old.

          • Shuck says:

            All the animated gifs caused a problem in my browser where it was dropping frames. Suddenly, none of the “headlines” made any sense, no matter how long I waited. “Know Snow,” “James do gear,” “Help US Republicans,” “Dog tractor M74,” “Police heist jewelry,” etc. It’s probably better that way.

      • C0llic says:

        That whole page feels like a marketing graduate doing what they think is ‘cool’. I’m pretty sure no one will like it. Regardless of age-group. No one uses .gifs like that.

    4. Anthile says:

      Somebody said space gifs? No? Have some space gifs anyways.

    5. Canadave says:

      That news wall is ridiculous, and it just made my brain blend a bunch of headlines together.




      • Horg says:


        About damn time!

      • Ejia says:

        All of it orchestrated by Labor, too! You’ve gone too far! Who knows what’ll happen to the world’s chocolate now that Switzerland is gone!

        I suppose Germany will have to pick up the slack. Well, that’s not so bad, I guess. More of those 250g blocks of Ritter Sport alpine milk for me!

    6. FurryLippedSquid says:

      I can’t imagine a delivered, full English breakfast, being at all palatable.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Unless I was massively hung over. Probably still even drunk.

        • porcelain_gods says:

          Surely that’s what last night’s takeaway is for??

          We’ve reach a new low if people are ordering a full english

          • April March says:

            A ‘full English’ sounds like some sort of sex thing.

            • Llewyn says:

              As indeed it is. A cooked breakfast, “The Works”, is our preferred national modus operandi. And much as we wish to practice tolerance, it’s so hard to avoid looking slightly askance at those who do it Continental style.

              And lest I be branded a breakfast bigot I feel I ought to point out that I personally have not had a full English in years, I find it disagrees with me so.

            • Orix says:

              Good point, I’ll stick with my full monty.

      • Llewyn says:

        I imagine it being like breakfast in a really awful chain hotel in a provincial tourist town, prepared by people who don’t care for people who don’t know. Probably the night before.

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