This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Did Furby spy on your family?

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Outstate, Technology Updated: April 29, 2014 - 12:36 PM

 More to the point, was Furby spying a thing? No. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

WEB A piece about web design trends that need to be dropped included a link to the Hipster Logo Design Guide, which is marvelous. In a just world it would have killed that trend graveyard-dead, but there are still clients who want them. You know, these:

One of the trends the author doesn’t like was the Long Shadow trend. Was that ever a thing? You know, a thingThe use of the word “Thing” to indicate manifestation or popularity made me believe this headline wasn’t a typo:

Surely this was the next generation of slang. Man, that’s so thing.

This funky-monkey site  site also has an iWatch roundup, giving you the latest news of something that does not exist and for all we know will never exist. It’s like the Apple TV, except a bit less vaporous. The Apple TV was the item industry analysts said the company had to make, because it A) gave them something to write about, and B) let them opine about how the lack on AppleTV meant the company no longer innovated, even though there was nothing innovative about an Apple TV. Also, there is an Apple TV, and it’s called the AppleTV.

Anyway, here’s a new concept by Mark Bell, as seen on Behance:

It's pretty, but good luck hitting those icons. 

There are some things the device could do well - time, for example. It’s amusing how millions of people stopped wearing watches because their phones had the time on the lockscreeen, and you could take it out like a pocket watch. (I’m still amazed no one sold vests and iPhone chains so you could complete the 19th-century cliche.) The device could also tell you the weather and display texts, which will lead to more fractured conversations: if your phone gives a twitch or a buzz in your pocket while you’re talking to someone, you can ignore it, but if your wrist tingles in the middle of a conversation it will be impossible not to look at it. Take someone from 1958 and drop them in a hip cafe in 2016 after everyone’s wearing a smart watch, and he’d wonder why everyone is looking at their watch every few minutes. Is everyone bored and impatient with the person to whom they’re talking?

But it’s this that makes me laugh.

I saw that movie on iMax 3D. Never once wished I could see it again at the 3/8” X 1/12” aspect ratio.

HISTORY Have researchers discovered the lost tomb of Alexander the Great?

A team of archaeologists and historians from the Polish Center of Archaeology, that were conducting some research in the crypt of an ancient christian church, have revealed a mausoleum made of marble and gold that could well be the long lost tomb of Alexander III of Macedon,  who went down in history as Alexander the Great.

Before you raise your hand and say “it doesn’t matter, the tomb would be empty, the body having been moved to Venice centuries ago,” let us consider another story from the site:

There’s also a story about Ghandi’s loincloth selling for millions of dollars at an auction.

(shudder)

Related, at least in the sense of being about ancient history, and also spurious: “The Roman Republic fell because of the use of concrete as a building material, a leading academic has claimed."


Dr Penelope Davies, a historian with the University of Texas believes that the rise of concrete as a building material may have weakened ancient Rome's entire political system as Consul Pompey and Julius Caesar began "thinking like kings”.

When they learned they could make large-scale permanent buildings, they adopted a monarchical mindset similar to the Egyptians who built pyramids. Originally, the story said this:

The real reason behind the downfall of the Roman Empire might not have been lead contaminating in the water, which is the most popular theory, but the use of concrete as a building material.

Which of course is nonsense. The article was rewritten to replace “Empire” with “Republic,” but no note was made of the change, leading to confused comments wondering how a scholar could possibly think Rome was brought low by concrete.

Even after the correction, it’s still nonsense. Egyptian Pyramids and temples were for a small stratum of the population; Roman bridges and aqueducts were for everyone, and the great civic buildings of Rome were for public functions - ceremonial, bureaucratic, commercial. Rome rose because of concrete.

Votd Some people have a deplorable definition of “prank.”

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