Open Memory Box: hundreds of hours of East German home movies, 1947-1990

149 families' home movies are archived on Open Memory Box, a massive archive of 415 hours of footage from the former East German, shot from 1947-1990. The video is indexed and searchable by 2700 search-terms, and makes for fascinating browsing as well. (via Kottke) Read the rest

1941 film shows striking animators brandishing a working guillotine at the Disney studio gates

The 1941 Disney animator's strike was bitterly fought, as Walt Disney refused to grant the concessions that all the other animation studios had agreed to, and instead grew paranoid and accusatory, convinced the "Communist infiltrators" had turned his animators against him. Read the rest

Coop's tribute to Randotti Skulls, from the golden age of Haunted Mansion merchandise

From the 1950s until the 1980s, Randy and Dotti Smith supplied a line of fantastic cast sculptures sold in Disney theme-park gift shops, especially a line of skulls sold in shops associated with the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean rides; these Randotti skulls haven't been sold in decades, you can still find used ones (at high prices) online, as Boing Boing pal and fabulous illustrator Coop discovered when he sourced an impressive collection of Randotti sculpts.

alt.interoperability.adversarial

Today, we are told that the bigness of Big Tech giants was inevitable: the result of "network effects." For example, once everyone you want to talk to is on Facebook, you can't be convinced to use another, superior service, because all the people you'd use that service to talk to are still on Facebook. And of course, those people also can't leave Facebook, because you're still there. Read the rest

A visual history of Soviet anti-religious artwork

Inspired by Marx's aphorism that "Religion is the opium of the people," the USSR commissioned a wealth of anti-religious artwork, much of it very clever and striking. A new book called Godless Utopia: Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda, edited by Roland Elliott Brown, Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell collects the most striking examples of the form. The Guardian has a tremendous gallery of excerpts from the book. Read the rest

Samuel Delany's 1977 Star Wars review: why is the future so damned white and male?

Samuel Delany (previously) is one of science fiction's titans, a pioneer who was the first openly gay writer in the field, as well as one of the first Black science fiction writers to attain prominence. Read the rest

Just look at this Emshwiller galactic 1961 F&SF banana

Just look at it.

(Thanks Robbo!) Read the rest

The lost audiobooks of Roger Zelazny reading the Chronicles of Amber

When I was a kid, my whole circle of D&D-playing, science-fiction reading pals was really into Roger Zelazny's ten-volume Chronicles of Amber, but somehow I never read it; for years, I'd intended to correct this oversight, but I never seemed to find the time -- after all, there's more amazing new stuff than I can possibly read, how could I justify looking backwards, especially over the course of ten books? Read the rest

Paleocomputing watch: Tech magazines cover the BBS scene

The wonderful folks at Paleotronic (previously) have rounded up scans of articles from 1980s-era computer magazines that advised new computer users on navigating the burgeoning world of dial-up BBSes. Read the rest

Read: Jeannette Ng's Campbell Award acceptance speech, in which she correctly identifies Campbell as a fascist and expresses solidarity with Hong Kong protesters

Last weekend, Jeanette Ng won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 2019 Hugo Awards at the Dublin Worldcon; Ng's acceptance speech calls Campbell, one of the field's most influential editors, a "fascist" and expresses solidarity with the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. Read the rest

The Folio Society is releasing a facsimile of Marvel Comics #1

The Folio Society's limited, slipcased editions (previously) are some of the most beautiful books being produced today; the company's $225 Marvel: The Golden Age 1939-1949 ships in late September, and includes a facsimile of the ultra-rare Marvel Comics #1, reproduced from one of the last surviving mint-condition 1939 copies. Read the rest

Podcast: "IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my essay "IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization, published today on EFF's Deeplinks; it's another installment in my series about "adversarial interoperability," and the role it has historically played in keeping tech open and competitive. This time, I relate the origin story of the "PC compatible" computer, with help from Tom Jennings (inventor of FidoNet!) who played a key role in the story. Read the rest

"IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

Adversarial interoperability is what happens when someone makes a new product or service that works with a dominant product or service, against the wishes of the dominant business. Read the rest

Kickstarting "The Decline of Mall Civilization," a sequel to the long-out-of-print "Malls Across America" book

Michael Galinsky's 2011 photo-book "Malls Across America" went out of print quickly and now sells for upwards of $1000/copy; Galinsky is now kickstarting a sequel, The Decline of Mall Civilization, featuring 112 pages of images of American malls from 1989. Read the rest

How F Scott Fitzgerald conjugated the verb "To cocktail"

F Scott Fitzgerald, in a 1928 letter to Blanche Knopf: "As ‘cocktail,’ so I gather, has become a verb, it ought to be conjugated at least once." (via JWZ) Read the rest

In 1943, the chairman of the NY Fed backed Modern Monetary Theory: "Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete"

Modern Monetary Theory is the latest incarnation of chartalism, the economic theory that holds that government spending -- and a federal jobs guarantee -- doesn't create inflation, so long as the spending is on things that the private sector isn't buying: if a factory can produce ten widgets but is only producing five because that's all the public sector wants to buy, the government can put in an order for five more widgets, putting more workers to work, without driving up the price of widgets. Read the rest

How To: play Vlad Taltos in an RPG

Vlad Taltos is the (anti)hero of Steven Brust's stupendous, longrunning fantasy series (which is nearly complete, a generation after it was begun!); Issue 220 of Dragon magazine (August 1995) included a feature by Ed Stark explaining how to play the human assassin and witch who lives amidst a race of nearly immortal elves, against whom he bears a serious grudge. I just love that there's a stats-sheet for Vlad! The only thing that would make me happier would be the next goddamned book. Read the rest

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