War of the Worlds, at War

This is one of the most truly gripping podcasts I’ve listened to – Radiolab’s War of the Worlds Episode. Without mentioning the Tom Cruise big fat nuthin’, this looks into the original radioplay that caused so much  panic.

I thought I knew the story, but not that things got so out of hand that the police at the time were telling people to stay tuned to the radio – for the best advice on what to do. Much of the chaos was caused by people missing the ‘this is a play’ warning at the start – channel surfing after listening to a lackluster show on a more popular station. It includes great insight into how the ploy was so effective (including the recent invention of ‘we interrupt this broadcast’ newsflashes, WWII undertones, and the performers listening to the coverage of the Hindenberg airship crash, to amplify the authenticity of their horror).

If that’s not interesting enough, it also goes into the 1960’s Buffalo Halloween remake, that surprisingly also fooled people. Things just get stranger, however, as it covers the 1940’s Equadorian version – featuring a full military mobilization and the razing of the radio station. Tragically, many of the performers died in the inferno. A great example of radio looking at itself and wondering what on earth it is capable of.

The Backdoor Men

A new discovery from that decade of 60’s revivalism – Sweden’s The Backdoor Men. There are a bunch of bands with a similar name (including a couple of Doors cover bands), but this one (that started way back in the early 1980’s) feels like finding a hidden gem. Read about them more here. If you want to get one album I guess it would be Sodra Esplanaden, Vol. 4, but check out this jangly Stones-esq single for a taste. Added to the New Music List.

Mom Spam


MomSpam is a collection of the last year’s most sugary-sweet images, alarmist news reports, and photoshopped surreal images from the past few years. Choose from classics like ‘Funny Road Signs’, ‘Why I Owe My Mother’, or ‘Sunsets From Around the World’. Add her email, and she’ll never feel email neglected again.


Update: My mum just emailed to say ‘I love these reminders you’re sending me.’

Fighting Rupert Murdoch

This old edition of Lifehacker is so tasty, just listing the ingredients makes me want to eat it:

~ How to get free subscriptions to online newspapers

~ How to get free wireless access

~ Getting onto Gmail when it’s down

~ Accessing busy sites

~ Bypassing country-based internet blocks, and

~ Downloading YouTube.

Oh, and setting up your own proxy service. Sounds like an average hour on the internet these days.

You can read the full how-to guide here.

Chatbot Talking to Itself

Cleverbot gets its weirdness on from incorporating the sum total answers of the thousands of people using it each day. Which makes this video of Cleverbot arguing with itself even loopier.

The End of the World

This is how the Lybian town of Sirte looked at the end of the uprising – something from the end of the world.

Cinema Is Great Light

When I first saw Carousel, I thought it was a clip from a Cannes-winning feature length film – something like Russian Ark for the 2010’s. As an ad it’s still amazing – Phillips made it to showcase their monitors (they even went so far as to make up a fake special effects program, to hide how it was made). You can see a short clip of how it was done here which shows it’s mainly just people standing really really still. More, please.

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