Five Things #33

The Skinned by Jarla Tangh is a powerful tale of the evil that people do, and the redemption that they seek.

Joe Darlington explores the paradox of reduced choice and the popularity of animation on Netflix.

Simon Brew looks at low quality streaming, unavailable films and movie edits by stealth and argues that physical media matters more than ever in the streaming age.

Tom Hayes of the BEERG Brexit Blog takes a look at the current state of UK/EU negotiations and points out that sometimes, you just can’t compromise.

David Graeber, author of “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” looks at the lessons from coronavirus. Not all jobs are bullshit, but many are.

Five Things #32

How do you deal with a sentient hologram that thinks it’s Napoleon? Find out with Charles Payseur’s amusingly silly Foie Gras.

“Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Someone asked this question on Quora and Nate White replied in spectacular fashion. The original question has been deleted but nothing is ever gone for good, and a grumpy old man on LiveJournal has reproduced the answer in full. (Thanks to Denzil for the link)

2020 marks 60 years since ALGOL 60 laid the groundwork for a multitude of computer languages. Richard Speed looks looks back at the greatest computer language you’ve never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree.

More history, this time from Meilan Solly who uncovers the best board games of the ancient world. I’ve played six of them.

In an unassuming Brussels street, not far from Midi station, you’ll find Europe’s most productive independent animation studio. Ian Mundell visits Brussels animation studio, nWave.

Five Things #31

The Time Traveler’s Advice to the Lovelorn by Adam-Troy Castro is a gentle, sf inflected reworking of the three wishes trope.

“There is a small but very influential group of politicians and commentators who approach a nexus of issues in the same way be it Brexit, coronavirus, climate change, immigration, sexual harassment or any number of other things. It’s always the same people, and always the same blokey, angry, resentful, constantly triggered but can’t-you-take-a-joke-snowflake, sneeringly superior yet self-pitying victimhood schtick.” Chris Grey examines the connections between Brexit and responses to the coronavirus crisis.

I was slightly surprised to learn that Charles Band is still releasing films. I was a lot less surprised to discover that his latest film is Corona Zombies. Chris Coffel at Film School Rejects takes the opportunity to provide a brief history of exploitation films.

Robbert Dijkgraaf remembers the Unstoppable Freeman Dyson. Physicist, mathematician, writer and idea factory, he died on February 28th at the age of 96, but his influence lives on.

In The Real Lord of the Flies, Rutger Bregman discovers what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months.

Five Things #30

The Intergalactic Shoemaker’s Revenge by Jordan Rivet pitches space pirate against cobblers. It’s marvelous.

The Flemish village of Boortmeerbeek is notable for being the only place in Europe where a train transport of Jews was stopped by resistance fighters. Denzil asks who stopped the April 19 1943 train to Auchswitz.

Since being almost exterminated in the 1970s and 1980s there are now almost 200 pairs of Peregrine Falcons in Belgium. Some of these have returned to urban environments and, over the years, Brussels has become the city of Peregrine Falcons. Falcons for Everyone has cameras live-streaming the nesting pairs.

Slightly over a year ago eleven MPs split from their existing parties to form the Independent Group for Change. Tim Adams asks: Did Change UK change anything?

When copyright goes mad: Simon Brew delves into Bob Monkhouse, his movie collection, and the bizarre Serious Crime Squad case.

Five Things #28

Unmended by Mike Loniewski is a strange, yet powerful story of family and sacrifice.

Reuben Baron explains how Craig McCracken, creator of The Powerpuff Girls, was inspired by The Beatles to come up with the idea for such a uniquely creepy and fabulous villain as HIM.

Simon Brew argues that Alita: Battle Angel in something of an anomaly in modern cinema, and one that deserves more support.

Jennifer Ouellette reports on the vital research into the effect of altitude on classic Diet Coke and Mentos fountain.

Bruce Sterling has a list of over 100 sites from which you can download literature. Pretty handy when you’re under quarantine.