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Wednesday, November 12, 2003
A few things I've picked up from my current book, Tom Vanderbilt's excellent Survival City ('Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America'). Philip K.Dick’s novel The Penultimate Truth is all about a population being sent to live underground in ‘tanks’ to escape a nuclear war (synopsis). Except the Earth's surface hasn't become an uninhabitable nightmare – the war was a hoax, and a calm, empty planet is now occupied by a bunch of feudal-style lords, who keep the masses at bay with false information. Reminiscent of a much-hyped cinematic trilogy?

In his journey round the bunkers, silos and shelters that litter America, Vanderbilt also cites the infamous ‘Report from Iron Mountainhoax - a classic parody that appeared to be leaked directly from the heart of the military-industrial complex. Claiming that a state of everlasting war was best for economic prosperity, the report posed a few costly 'alternate enemies' (such as an extraterrestrial threat, or massive global environmental pollution) to keep the populace on side in the frightening event of peace breaking out. Naturally, the report (which you can still buy) was (and still is) widely thought to be real - finding its way into Oliver Stone's JFK for example. As is so often the case, there's a comprehensive Wikipedia overview. Related: a heritage map of Underground London, showing US bases, WWII deep level shelters, sewers and more.

Elsewhere. Las Vegas Sign Graveyard, via scrubbles. The host page for the signs, quartzcity.net, is also home to the Spacemen 3 archives / photographer Andrew Cross’s images of the new American landscape / Metafizix, a weblog with a behind-the-scenes in TV theme.

Yasse.org, creative and cultural expression, including Emese Gal's photographs of colour-saturated San Diego / a PC re-make of classic Spectrum game Head over Heels (via iamcal). Links to more re-makes here, including Ant Attack and Skooldaze. Even more at Retrospec.

Architecture of Silence, David Heald’s photographs of France’s Cistercian Abbeys (via Conscientious, who also links the related Nuns and Monks) / traditional letterpress work at Pressure Printing (via Kaliber 10000) / New Urbanism, Mon Amour!, a humorous critique.

Future Applications Lab, 'nostalgia for an age yet to come' - new ways of perceiving a future of near-ubiquitous computing. Related: Sonic City, personal soundscapes. A slightly eerie concept - that of a device that distills the ambient and not-so-ambient sounds of the city into your very own soundtrack, uniquely related to your journey. Via creativity machine, related to the autounfocus weblog / another tweak to the haddock interface, this time including link blogs.

London's lost Roman Road? (found, while looking for information on subsidence, unfortunately, amongst other silly things at Frank Xerox, including this 'happy version' of Guernica and a new take on the Haywain) / the Blackheath Cavern.