“Shakespeare”, by Ungry Young Man

Macbeth is a creepy play.

Actors have long been superstitious about acting in it. That’s partly because performances have been riddled with accidents and fatalities; indeed, actors consider it bad luck to even utter the name of the play. (They call it “The Scottish Tragedy”.) And it’s partly because the basic substance of the plot is eldritch: You’ve got black magic, witches, a gore-flecked ghost and walking forests.

But fans of Macbeth often say its freaky qualities are deeper than just the plot devices and characters. For centuries, people been unsettled by the very language of the play.

Actors and…


Surprise!

Hey nerds: I recently stumbled across “Marginalia Search”. It’s a search engine with a fascinating design — rather than give you exactly what you’re looking for, it tries to surprise you.

How does it do this? By up-ranking web sites that are text-heavy, and downranking ones that are highly visual, loaded with modern web cruft, and SEO-optimized.

The upshot, as the creator suggests, is that you wind up with a lot of weird results very different from the usual fare coughed up by Google or Bing or even DuckDuckGo. Marginalia is doing …

… in a sense the opposite of…


It’s Monday again. Just like … last week, right?

Since you’re clearly not ready to do any work yet, chill out with this week’s Linkfest — the finest surfings I could locate, just for you.

Let us begin …

1) 🏒The first photo of women’s hockey, from 1890

Lord Stanley, the sixth Governor-General of Canada, was a big proponent of hockey; it’s where “The Stanley Cup” comes from.

He was also a big supporter of women’s hockey, and at Rideau Hall — the official residence for the Governor General in Ottawa — he set up a rink for women to play.


Behold Facebook’s new Ray-Ban “smart” glasses — with two cameras, so you can feed pix to their feed all day long

Over a decade ago, I began reporting on “wearable computing”. Back in the 90s and 00s, this meant interviewing DIY hardware hackers who’d built their own rigs.

They discovered some pretty cool uses for a head-mounted computer. Often they used their wearable as a form of “extended memory” — they’d jot down notes on the fly and retrieve them when needed, even years later, peering into their tiny eye-level screens. They also liked to engage in ambient, floating text-chat with friends. Wearables, they all told me, could amplify your cognition.

But the one thing nearly everyone told me?

If you…


Every new form of entertainment brings a moral panic.

In recent years, parents and authority figures have freaked out over violent video games (they’ll make you a remorseless killer), casual video games (they’ll get you addicted and waste your time), or visual social-media like Tik Tok or Instagram (they’ll make you narcissistic), to pick just a few.

And hey, these critiques are always partly correct! Casual games really can be compulsive; game companies spend billions making sure of it. Social media, with its relentless casinofied mechanics of seduction, really can lure us in for hours of mindless scrolling. …


Yesterday, I skipped my usual Monday pub-date for the Linkfest, because in the US here I was on holiday!

But I couldn’t leave you folks all stranded. So here’s a good fun hour’s worth of intriguing reading material …

1) 📚 Tiny pocket books

Isolarii is a press that produces these adorably tiny paperback books. I’m a fan of really small paperbacks — back in 2013 I wrote a piece for Smithsonian magazine about how “pocket books” of the 1940s were the hot entertainment tech of the day, and how they presaged our love of portability with today’s smartphones.

If you subscribe to Isolarii, they…


“Skelly + Manhattan”, by tcb613

Imoved to New York 23 years ago, and quickly discovered that one of the best parts of living there was riding the subway. It’s a gorgeous riot of life — one of the best people-watching venues on the planet. As a tech nerd, I also loved the subway’s steampunk engineering, a turducken mix of modern flat-panel displays and Victoria-era relay switches. Even though I worked from home and didn’t need to commute, I still rode public transit several times a week while meeting friends for drinks, running errands, or doing interviews in my job as a journalist.

I owned a…


A year and a half into remote work, a cultural divide has emerged: Most people either love it or hate it.

A recent survey by the New York Times found 31% of people want to stay home permanently, while 45% want to get back to the office, full-time. (The remainder want a blend of the two).

What gives? Why are people having such radically different experiences? It’s a complex question, obviously, because there are a ton of variables here, such as whether you have kids at home, how much room you’ve got, and your demographic.

But there’s one other intriguing…


It’s Monday. Again. They just keep on coming, don’t they?

To help you avoid work, here’s an hour’s worth of top-quality procrastination — with the finest-quality links I could find …

1) 🏘️ “Townscaper” is a soothing, delightful building game

“Townscaper” (above) isn’t really a game, as its creators tell you on their Steam page:

Build quaint island towns with curvy streets. Build small hamlets, soaring cathedrals, canal networks, or sky cities on stilts. Block by block.

No goal. No real gameplay. Just plenty of building and plenty of beauty. That’s it.

omg is it delightful. I was instantly hooked. It’s like any other soothing mini-game, except with a…


Okay nerds: If you want to see the future of laptop design, check that video above.

It’s PCWorld’s teardown of the new Framework laptop. “Teardown” is actually an unfair word to use, because this laptop is designed to be easily — even sweetly — disassembled.

The laptop — Framework’s site is here — ships with its own screwdriver (!), straightforwardly encouraging you to open it up. Remove the back casing, and le voilà: You behold all the laptop’s components cleanly arranged and easy to pop out. Framework even labels each part (and its slot) with the component’s name and…

Clive Thompson

I write three times a week about tech, science, culture — and how those collide. Writer for NYT mag/Wired; author of “Coders” and “Smarter Than You Think”

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