All posts made in Oct. 2001:

Whoops. My mouse finger just slipped and I went and ordered one of these. Ah, well, we all make mistakes.

(Does anyone know of a light cover/slipjacket for those things, just to keep it clean in my backpack? Tell me.)

Cheap RAM. No pun.

The future of urbanism. For yer reading pleasure.

Infectious Awareables. Buy ties to demonstrate your awareness of cholera, anthrax, breast cancer, etc. Better than a Biology degree. Cheaper, too.

I have been remiss with the Upsideclone (well, I've been busy, but that's no excuse), which is a shame because it's been particularly good these last couple of weeks. So it's plug time, just to remind you that if you want to read great creative writing every Friday, 'clone is the place you should be.

Kevan Davis is up this week with Ask The Audience: "I'm told they give furtive net-curtain shots of houses without cameras, every couple of hours, for a bit of a comic relief, a bit of viewer conformity reassurance, a bit of an excuse to bring out the placards and the petrol bombs". Brilliant. And a bundle of throwaway near-future ideas too.

Last week 'clone was host to RavenBlack with Don't You Just Hate Stupid People: "As he left, conversation around the shop returned to normal - apparently trivia about the television, and famous actors, in case another Mensa were to enter unexpectedly. In truth, we each translated our conversation on the fly, in-depth conversation about the political issues of the day". Go now. Good reading.

And, just to complete the plug, don't forget you can receive these articles by email. Subscription details are at the bottom of the Upsideclone 'site, as are submission details. We're looking for writers, so if you'd like to get involved we'd love to have you.

New 'clown today, and it's one I wrote. Read Ludo, of games and love. Enjoy.

get your war on: "Oh my God, this War On Terrorism is gonna rule! I can't wait until the war is over and there's no more terrorism!" [cheers Sam].

So it would appear that there's a weird secret Apple thing coming out!

My guess: Speakers that plug into your Mac that don't broadcast noise but radio, so you can pick up your own music on whatever stereo all over the house.

Yes, and: If you lick them, they taste of sound.

I've been playing not a small amount with the Wayback Machine, a browsable archive of a pretty large slice of the last five or so years of the www. Extremely impressive (use the Advanced Search to see what snapshots of a 'site they have available). Via this MeFi thread, which has a few choice links. Now, shouldn't all this be browsable from a top level .gone domain instead. I think yes.

What is Some interesting security related links there, including the CIA World Factbook 2001 Edition which looks like a superb quick reference to the government structures and recent economic history of, oh, everywhere.

"The unmanned frying stations in the Himalayas were a challenge, but were a boon for lost mountain climbers. And soon they'd done it - wherever you stood on the globe you were no more than two minutes from a Big Mac."

I forgot to mention this last Friday, but there's a great new Upsideclone up by Martin Griffiths: Your Nearest McDonalds...

(Incidentally, I like the way 'clone can just be a place for people who don't usually do this kind of writing to experiment. It makes me want to expand, provide more space.)

Oh, and -- I haven't mentioned this Monday's Upsideclown either. If you've ever wondered how the deadly pressure of deadlines plays with people's minds... Well, Neil's latest piece will show you what happens. He's having a little trouble concentrating, in Morning After.

"I feel the need to say something suitably momentous. But what? I've no idea. It could sound trite, or meaningless. Best recycle old catchphrases, old ideas, in the hope of snagging some kind of deeper meaning simply by the virtue of history."

And then I think: Can history be a virtue? Why is time passing a Good Thing? How can we say that getting older is great, unless it's because otherwise we'd go crazy from the inevitability? Hey, from age comes wisdom. Hey, it's lucky if a bird shits on your head. Hey, if you die you'll live forever. Hello? Hello? Hello?

Nooface | Hyper-G: "Hyper-G is an attempt at a second-generation Web system that tries to solve many of the problems programmers are now having with HTML and the Web. The system is heavily influenced by the ideas of Ted Nelson, who coined the term "hypertext" and envisioned a web-like system with his Xanadu design long before the Internet emerged." [thanks blackbeltjones]. Looks fascinating.

"Now, with wings."

The comma is important.

Three series of children's/young adult fantasy books I'd recommend to anyone:

  • The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. The eternal battle between good and evil, Arthurian myths, the Welsh and Cornish landscapes. Five books.
  • The Song of the Lioness, by Tamora Pierce. Knights, superb characters, honour, growing up. Four books.
  • His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. Vividly imagined, vividly told. Three books.

All three of these series I've read recently, have drawn me a world I've not wanted to leave, have engaged me emotionally. There are worse ways to spend your time.

I don't usually say stuff like this, but: Due to one thing and another I'm currently running at about a week or more behind in my personal email. So, many apologies if I haven't got back to you. Saturday will be devoted to an Inbox purge, so stand by for the weekend. Busy work, busy life. The internet enables fast and effective communication. Some fast and effective! Some communication!

"It's not so much the time we spend together, as the time we don't. It's been a month or two since the last time we saw each other, and each day that goes by I miss you more and more."

Jamie's had a drink or two too many and started sharing on the Upsideclown. Today it's All I need.

Some large, high-resolution photos of Mars.

Boids is a simple algorithm to model flocking behaviour (eg, as in birds). From only three rules it produces some surprisingly realistic and beautiful results [via Whump].

Here's a thing: There's a free slot on Upsideclone (creative writing website) this coming Friday. If you'd like to take it, we'd love to have you. Drop us a line at if you're interested.

"Don't tell me you haven't thought about it. Or maybe you should. Maybe this is just a me thing. Maybe you live in Trondheim, and as such any potential campaign of mass terror would get sick of asking for directions and fuck off home in a strop. Possibly I just need to stop and get a little perspective. More dangerous crossing the road. Which I do anyway, so thanks a lot for those sleepness nights."

Dan today at the Upsideclown. Superb. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Recent Events seem to have changed the style of writing at the 'clown. So much darker, more vivid.

le piano graphique [via dutchbint] is superb. Music and sounds through your keyboard... 'Angular entropy' is remarkable Squarepusher, and the others are also fantastic. Play, play.

(procmail sorts your email into folders. Useful if you get a lot of email. Which I do.)

look at me LOOK AT ME NOW. i'm hearing SOUNDS THAT AREN'T HERE. i'm listening to music that's been RECORDED these things AREN'T HAPPENING and nobody else can hear them but I CAN because i'm wearing headphones. HEADPHONES!! bits of plastic and mesh and metal that SOUND LIKE PEOPLE SINGING! what do you think of that? it's like fucking ANGELS or something. a miracle. it's the beginning of time. sounds! sounds that aren't here! in my head! good christ!! THE FUTURE IS NOW


The Net Art Idea Line [via blackbeltjones] is good for two reasons: It's an interesting and usable interface; it links to a large amount of great net art I never knew existed.

Adults gullible; children less so: "Hours spent playing complex video games may have helped teens see through propaganda of war" [via Fark]. Interesting.

"In accordance with the principles of the Urr dog-people of Guatemala I am to create set-pieces from the surplus produce. The Urr see such art as a powerful symbol of mortality, the eventual rotting of the fruit and vegetables as a visual reminder, a totem if you will, of the decay attendant on all life."

Victor has moved into the fruit and vegetable trade at Upsideclown: Green Gauges. Fucking funny.

If we looked at our bodies as swarms rather than machines, instead of braces and splints we'd have compression funnels and pipes.

Tony Blair's Conference speech. America, Europe, democracy as a value-system to be evangelised. Good.

Magnetic man has magnetic grandson. Can we breed this ability into the general population?

Random password generator (Java applet). Useful.

"The postal pipe hugs the curb, rivulets of rain on it trembling every time a package flies along it. Here and there it forks, and a pipe splits off to serve a shop or another street. I'm crouching, and I'm sure the tail of my coat is getting soaked."

I've gone a little sci-fi in today's Upsideclown: Gifts, contracts, and whispers.

question 1 | If all the heavy elements are formed in stars, picked up by the accretion disk, and from there find their way into planets -- why do we find seams of gold, iron, tin and so on? Shouldn't it all be mixed up? Or have the past few billion years been a case of constant subtle perculation and distillation, tiny statistical differences having huge effects over geological time, moving all like materials to the same places? Answers.