The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Hypercity Novo

Wait, seriously, São Paolo has 20 million people? And no ads? And it’s a real city, not a character in a William Gibson novel?

P.S. Okay, I admit it: I just wanted to steal the title “Hypercity Novo.” It sounds like an anime series, doesn’t it?


The Opening Lines

I have not read any Nabokov. However, based on these amazing opening lines, I think I am going to have to.




“Enaalso,” he said in Iraqi slang. It’s a new Iraqi word, a phrase used to explain being turned in by an informant to a militia and then being killed. Literally it means he was “chewed up.”



A Database of Facts

PolitiFact from the St. Pete Times and CQ. Backstory.

Great power can flow from default reference link status; think Wikipedia, IMDB, etc. Can PolitiFact achieve default reference link status for political claims? Would be very cool if it did. Snarkmarket will assist with link love whenever possible.

As an aside: It’s totally rad to see the St. Pete Times stepping up in a national way like this. More, more!


William Gibson and the New Baroque

Terrific interview with William Gibson over at The Onion A.V. Club — it includes this bit:

I don’t know what constitutes “noir” in 2007. I mean, would The Wire be noir? I don’t think so. Actually, noir — I was taught in college — is a kind of baroque pop version of literary naturalism. Anyway, that’s the way some critics have looked at it. I think that a show like The Wire is the closest we come these days to naturalism. It’s a genuine, authentic attempt at naturalism. I’ve never really attempted naturalism before, but I value it a lot, so all of its more baroque forms have been very valuable to me. One of them, I think, is noir.

I haven’t thought about stuff like that since I was an undergraduate. [Laughs.] I’m amazed I can still do it.

Not to get too undergraduate myself here, but I am finding “baroque” a more and more useful concept these days. What is The Postal Service if not baroque? What is The Arcade Fire if not chamber pop?

Any more nominations for modern baroque in any medium? Or, jeez, good definitions? I feel like I know what it means but can’t necessarily articulate it with any great precision.


Realize it’s old news to some, but just in case: Comments

Catacombs Are Rad

BLDGBLOG (who lives in my neighborhood now! Yes!) on underground cities. As always the key thing is that he writes about this stuff with such glee:

Today’s city planners need to read more things like this! How exciting would it be if you could visit your grandparents in some small town somewhere, only to find that a door in the basement, which you thought led to a closet… actually opens up onto an underground Home Depot? Or a chapel. Or their neighbor’s house.

Via Design Observer, which is so worth subscribing to.


Chance and Will

Nassim Taleb says nobody can predict anything, so:

Random tinkering is the path to success. And fortunately, we are increasingly learning to practice it without knowing it — thanks to overconfident entrepreneurs, naive investors, greedy investment bankers, confused scientists and aggressive venture capitalists brought together by the free-market system.

Note however that the corollary is not that life is random; it’s that success must therefore come through the recognition of amazing accidents and lucky breaks, and the grabbing hold of them with both hands.


Social Hardware

Grawww this is too cool: Webhead polymaths Schulze and Webb have built a prototype social radio. Think for a second about what you think a “social radio” might be before clicking that link… then check it out. The second of their three big ideas is my favorite.



Xeni Jardin just posted the oddest thing over at Boing Boing: ten minutes of ambient audio from La Antigua, Guatemala.

It’s very well-recorded, quite weird, and somewhat transporting (as I sit here listening, typing away on other things, in a San Francisco office basement).

Do these things exist en masse anywhere on the web? I know lots of people (well, you know: musicians, documentary filmmakers, etc.) record them. Seems like someone must have assembled an archive.

And, I am now officially in love with the idea of capturing stretches of ambient noise in cities that I visit — as a means to teleport back, on demand, any time in the future.