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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Technological progress. You can now have a ZX Spectrum on your phone. Amazing. Our retrogame fantasies are almost all fulfilled / collectable records, via the minimal web zen. The site focuses on the sprawling supergroups of the 60s and 70s, the artwork is nonetheless compelling. It was an era when a simple gatefold just wasn't enough (more Hawkwind). All this is lost on the CD buying generation, and might as well never have existed for the mp3-only kids who are coming through, equipped with an iTunes account and an iPod (as opposed to a paper iPod), the people for whom a blank tape is a strange and confusing object, one without any real use value whatsoever. They’ll end up visiting web-based shrines such as visualstereo to learn about the genre.

This 'webcam' has a pleasant, if slightly creepy, ambience. Watch for updates (via bifurcated rivets, via NTK). It reminds me of MR James’s classic short story, 'The Mezzotint': 'And indeed there was - hardly more than a black blot on the extreme edge of the engraving - the head of a man or woman, a good deal muffled up, the back turned to the spectator, and looking towards the house.' Related: all about the mezzotint process.

Environmental group Planet Ark have launched a new consumer opt-out list to save us from the 4 billion pieces of junk mail that arrive in the UK each year. The Mail Preference Service already exists, but I'm not sure how effective it is. However, we signed up for the Fax Preference Service about two years ago and rubbish survey faxes and offers of cheap printer toner cartridges declined by about 95%. All these things were somehow connected to the bizarre organisation that is the True Bible Code, but I forget how. More on Bible codes at wikipedia.

Padeidolia (via me-fi) is the scientific term for seeing forms in other forms. Not very interesting aside, but at a wedding last year I saw the face of Jesus on the wall of the church, an uncanny alignment of blotchy patches of plaster forming – at an extremely oblique angle – the classic bearded Turin Shroud-style visage. Once you’ve seen something like that it totally holds your attention; you can barely turn your eyes away lest the ‘vision’ vanish back into the wall. Of course, as soon as the service had ended I stood up and approached the ‘face’ – only to have it dissolve into nothing once the viewing angle was shifted. Although I’m not of the religious persuasion, it was nonetheless quite an exhilerating discovery, and a stark reminder of how quickly the brain rushes to assemble that which is familiar from an often unlikely source. Unsurprisingly, Padeidoliacs see Jesus everywhere.

Bruce Hale’s images of post-industrial ruins, via Coudal. Related: British industrial ruins, Tim Edensor’s evocative black and white pictures of the UK's many derelict sites, - some of which appear frozen at the moment everyone downed tools and left: I, II, III. Good links, too. The places aren’t mentioned (I don’t think), but this image is the iconic Brynmawr Rubber factory, demolished in a moment of extreme short sightedness two years ago. Even Prince Charles liked it, for goodness sake! More about the Brynmawr factory. The only pleasure gained from the loss is schadenfreude from seeing the vast site stand empty and unwanted, and perhaps resented even more (you can also see the factory knitted in wool, but that's another story). Related: our gallery of Battersea power station, in a state of advanced, but not quite terminal, disrepair, and with a vast regeneration scheme forever waiting in the wings. More pictures tomorrow, hopefully.

Elsewhere. the more you know links to Confluence.org, the art of finding 'confluence points' - latitude and longitude integer degree intersections. Read this BBC story and see this world map of mapped points / Sara Lovering's photolog / the ladies of science fiction (in Italian), via the cartoonist / Gehry Technologies, the business arm of Frank Gehry's global architectural machine / the eyes have it, weblog, also via penny dreadful / London’s paltry collection of (not very) tall buildings.