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The Pipwick Papers

Get your reading on

As half of RPS swan off to GDC the other half – the good half – remain in the UK, beavering away and looking at links. Like beavers. Beavers who are building a dam out of URLs. I don't know why the beavers would do this instead of using logs. Logs have worked really well for years, beavers. This is a stupid and unnecessary embracing of technology. Anyway, I – like those idiot beavers who don't exist outside an analogy which went wrong – have built a URL dam in the flow of this blog.

Shut up, Pip.

This is not the Sunday Papers.

  • Climate clues point to a deadly combination of gerbils and fleas being responsible for the fourteenth century spread of bubonic plague rather than the previously assumed rats and fleas combo:
  • "We show that wherever there were good conditions for gerbils and fleas in central Asia, some years later the bacteria shows up in harbour cities in Europe and then spreads across the continent," Prof Stenseth said.

  • Sesame Street's version of House Of Cards, featuring Frank Underwolf is sublime.
  • Watch on YouTube

  • A bill which is going up to the state senate could made baby boxes – little incubators – available in Indiana to allow people unable to cope with parenthood to safely and anonymously surrender their newborns. The idea is being described as an extension to safe haven laws which allow parents to surrender their newborns to designated people. It reminded me of the foundling wheels and hatches which came up when I was studying medieval church architecture at uni. A parent (usually the mother) would put the baby in a cylinder from an opening outside the church and then rotate it so that the baby ended up inside. They would then ring a bell before leaving so people would know there was a baby in need of care.
  • Co.Design's Sophie Weiner talks about Yoyo – a tool for turning gifs into interactive animations.
  • Hopes and Fears has a linguistic explanation of Starbucks cup naming errors thanks to Ben Macaulay. I should maybe confess that I hated the confusion my name caused in Starbucks so much that I switched to giving my name as Sarah when I ordered.
  • Gabriel Thompson charts the history of The Anarchist's Cookbook over on the Harper's blog:
  • Leaving meant that Powell was cut off from news in the United States, often living without a telephone, and so had no idea where his book was turning up in the 1980s: the apartment of Puerto Rican separatists who planted a rash of bombs; the storage locker of antiabortion extremist Thomas Spinks, found guilty for bombing ten abortion clinics; the storage unit of Walter Leroy Moody, Jr., convicted of the bombing murders of a federal judge in Alabama and an attorney in Atlanta. To what extent these criminals relied upon Powell’s book is unclear, though the basic instructions he included are apparently correct; the FBI’s laboratory division determined the explosive section “appears to be accurate in most respects.”

  • There has been a lot written about the death of Leonard Nimoy at the age of 83. He's one of those people whose death I never considered - he had this aura of calm which I think I interpreted as timelessness. This is his obituary in the New York Times, written by Virginia Heffernan. There's another over on io9 by Charlie Jane Anders, and another on NPR by Eric Deggans.
  • In the end, Leonard Nimoy was the best example of an artist who took the early typecasting of a popular role and used it to fuel an expansive and creative career — giving fans the treat of seeing his signature character mature in the process.

  • Ran Ortner produces these spectacular trompe l'oeil ocean wave paintings.
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