All Otter Shows

Hello internet friends,

first things first: happy Year of the Fire Rooster!

On Friday the dumpster fire on the other side of the Atlantic has escalated even more. The Verge is looking at how the CEOs auf Silicon Valley companies are responding. Meanwhile this is how things look like from the Middle East. At least the reaction of the American public is somewhat encouraging with protests all over the country and a record sum of donations to the ACLU.
idk people, all of this really scares me and I doubt that things will get any better soon.

Well, let’s forget about the future that will be for a while and remember the future that could have been. It’s always weirdly soothing to look at drawings by Syd Mead.

Another way to calm our nerves might be reading the works of one of the many self-help gurus out there. Turns out – and this is the real surprise here – these people are usually not what they seem to be.

We all liked Jurassic Park, right? Well, just imagine how adorable (and probably even more terrifying) it would have been with huge otters. I mean – huge otters are scarier than huge chicken, right?

One of those cheesy authors that keeps getting reposted into my Tumblr dashboard once said we’re all made of stardust. :unamused:
But do you want to know what is really made of stardust? The dirt and grime on our roofs. Turns out, eh?

Stay safe out there. Stay sane.

The Last Log

Hello internet friends,

well, that was a bit of a crappy week, wasn’t it?
The only thing that sort of fills me with some hope for the future were the Women’s Marches on Saturday – well done, ladies. You’re the good ones in this situation.
(Oh, by the way: if you think that what the world needs right now are strong, authoritarian and nationalistic leaders, you are invited to click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this email.)
((No, if you want to unsubscribe anyway – how dare you! – I don’t necessarily think you’re one of those people.))

Onwards to our usual escapism!

The pinacle of escapism is Star Wars and because we’re now living in a world where this is provided to us on a yearly basis, we’re looking forward to the next one, which will now be called “The Last Jedi.”
And now we have a couple of months to wonder if “jedi” is plural or singular and if singular, if it is female or male. Oh the nerd joy!

More nerd joy! Logarithms! I honestly have forgotten all about them. Which is obviously so much of a mistake that to atone I even link to Forbes. (I honestly don’t know how that helps. The article is pretty good, though – even if you’re not too firm on the logarithms.)

Instagram news! If you’ve noticed that Instagram keeps changing around stuff you’re not alone. (And if you’re grumpy about it, because you’re getting older and you’d rather like things to stay the way you’re used to them, hi! Welcome to the club.) Either way – here’s an interesting look into the way Instagram is changing.

Very fascinating: the history of headscarves. Including a lot of on-the-ground reporting from the Headwrap Expo in Detroit, which is apparently a thing.

And now for something completely different: the history of hiding alcohol. Cheers to that.


Diminishing Returns

Hello internet friends,

as so many of us I quite enjoy the idea of a shower beer. I mean, this brewer here even created a beer that is specifically made for shower consumption.
But after some serious experimentation I realised that this is yet another thing where I like the idea of something a lot more than the actual experience. I’m probably a slow drinker, so beer is getting luke-warm for me even in normal conditions. But in a hot shower? How’s that supposed to work?

Remember that alien megastructure that wasn’t a megastructure at all but we don’t quite know what it is? Turns out it might actually be a star eating a planet!
This is all pretty exciting stuff. Would you like to know more?

It’s not all stars and planets up there in space. There is also a lot of space junk that we humans left there. And sometimes that stuff falls back to earth and somehow survives that fall. And that’s what amateur space debris enthusiasts are looking for.

CES seems to be a weird, weird place to visit while being sober. I’d rather not imagine what it would be like on LSD. Luckily I don’t have to imagine, because that’s how it is.


A Sad Parody

Hello internet friends,

I hope you’re all doing well. Me personally? Eh, could be better. I could do with a hug and maybe one of those multi-week (months?) digital detox retreats in some weird hippie commune. (Aww, man, I did have such a fun article on one of those places and I can’t find it anymore. Technology! Ugh. I mean, honestly. Not even Creepy Chrome’s history search is helping me. Maybe read this essay on the 20 year anniversary of “The Beach” from last summer instead? Idk.)
Or maybe I’ll just become a priest?

One thing that I just know will probably always stay in the stage of being a concept and yet is very fascinating to me is Personal Rapid Transit – you know, the idea of small-ish self-driving pods on dedicated little tracks. Turns out the idea is not really all that new and just like so many things from that era will probably turn into a sad parody of itself.

Another fascinating thing: maps! Here is one of Chinese merchant shipping routes from the 17th century.

Now here we go, three articles from the New Yorker that are worth reading:

  1. The Vertical Farm – the future!
  2. The Voyeur’s Motel – wtf?
  3. A Selection of the 30 Most Disappointing Under 30 – disappointingly enough I wasn’t even able to get on that list. Mostly due to my advanced age.

I’ve said it on Twitter before: my favourite new genre of literatur is “reviews of books by Marie Kondo” – here is one of her new book: Did Marie Kondo’s Spark bring me Joy?

Take care out there.


Hello internet friends,

first email of the year! Yay.

Now for some Star Wars. Because obviously.
Why Carrie Fisher Should Be Remembered As General Organa, Not Princess Leia – very much so. I mean – both, but still. She was the best part of The Force Awakens and given that I quite liked that movie, that’s something. (She also was by far the best part of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” – but we better forget about that movie pretty quick.)

A wonderful piece of fan fiction is this obituary to General Organa. It’s so well written and so obviously by a nerdy fan without being too… well, nerdy-fan-y.

While much has been said about the Star Wars costume designer’s love for multiple pens one thing is pretty amazing: We don’t see many written words in these movies. Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate. So maybe these are not pens but terrible USB sticks or something?

Robot news!
I’ve been sternly warned that enough is enough with the robot sex articles. So: none of those this week. (That is pretty easy, though. I didn’t even see one anywhere.)
What else do we have, then? There’s this overview of companies that work on robots that take us places. And there is this robot that takes care of your child.
Robots are going to take our jobs. But do they want to?[2]
Either way, robots and AIs are going to be in the future a lot. And here we have one company that is really happy about it.

Turns out bats are a lot like us. Just, you know, better.


  1. Or as we say in the business: Eh. Same Shit, Different Year. Don’t ask in what kind of business.  ↩

  2. As usual with these “robots are going to take our jobs” articles: the real problems aren’t the robots. The real problem is capitalism.  ↩