✩ Want You To Know: “Russia is fake news”

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Just a few recent quotes that caught my attention.

"That's possible."

— Betsy DeVos, responding to a question at her confirmation hearing as to whether she and her family had donated as much as $200 million to the Republican party.

"the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake"

— Donald Trump, during that press conference yesterday.

"I'm only a small time little toad."

— Regina Doherty, Government Chief Whip, on RTE's Drivetime on Tuesday during a defence of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's mea culpa in the Dail earlier that day. The toad comment is at about 4:23.

"making seafood-related DNS requests every 15 minutes"

— The Internet Of Things That Really Shouldn't Be Connected To The Internet, University Edition

And a bonus, and most relevant, classic.

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

— H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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Gastaloops, Nicola Gastaldi

Totally Confused

Shit sandwich, 'Shark Sandwich', whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, Humble Freedom Bundle and grilled cheese standoff.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: Cheeto Benito Day Is Finally Here

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Well, it's been a while, and for that I apologise. I've no excuse so I won't even try and come up with one.

Inauguration day seemed like a good day to get back into it.

2016 catch up

This is probably all you need: Best Memes 2016

Although if you're looking for some off the beaten track listening, Bandcamp's best albums of 2016 isn't a bad place to start.

2017 look forward

"Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now" 

Peter Serafinowicz's ongoing Sassy Trump series on YouTube is worth a few minutes of your time. All Trump's own words.

Another ongoing effort worth keeping an eye on is Amy Siskind's attempt to document the subtle changes happening in the USA as Trump takes office.

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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'Daily Life: January 2017', Boston Globe

Totally Confused

Animals and mirrors, creativity through limitation, radio.garden, 'Trump charging into a goblin's nest' and 'me arriving at yr house party with a bag of cans'.

That's it for today. If, fingers crossed, we are all around this time tomorrow I hope to make this newsletter a regular thing once again.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: Mid Month Miscellany

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A is for Acid, your brain on it.

B is for the Bot that composes villanelles.

C is for the importance of the Comma.

D is for the Duke whose wealth should be celebrated.

E is for Einstein's leather jacket.

F is for Fish Oreos.

G is for Gymnastics, and how Simone Biles broke it.

H is for a Honeypot for assholes.

I is for the Internet of (insecure) things.

J is for Just joking, in the Trump style.

K is for Susan Kare, an interview with.

L is for Life expectancy versus health expenditure.

M is for Maps of the fantasy kind.

N is for Niku.

O is obviously for Olympics, but in space.

P is for Pessimism, grumpiness and the benefits thereof.

Q is for wine Queen.

R is for Robot apocalypse.

S is for Sharks that live a long time.

T is for Tim who cleans loos to pay the mortgage and frets over Norwegian nipple clamps.

U is for United Airlines and their atrocious online security.

V is for Vets, the Schrödinger type.

W is for Web Design in 4 minutes.

X is for X-rays of portraits.

Y is for the best of If X Were Your Y.

Z is for Zika and the mutant mosquitoes

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: Roger Casement Sex Dance

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The good people of Kerry were scandalised, SCANDALISED by a piece of art last weekend. The scandaliser in chief turned out to be the Project Arts Centre, already in trouble with people who like to complain about things over a mural that people were talking about. Those who complained about the mural didn't like the tone of the conversation it had started or indeed the fact that the conversation was happening at all. After the complaints the mural was removed and this led to international media interest in the story. Reproductions and remixes of the mural appeared all over the country. The mural even assumed doughnut form. It is unclear at this time whether those who complained vociferously about the mural were aware of the Streisand Effect.

In the United States the Democratic National Convention went off well, although some of the newspapers managed to not put a picture of the woman who had made history by becoming the first female presidential candidate for either of the major parties on their front pages. Anyway, now that all the formalities are out of the way it's on with the head to head competition between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Or, as John Scalzi swearily but accurately puts it, between "normal versus highly fucking abnormal."

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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'Transparent Lollipops Containing Galaxies and Famous Paintings'

Totally Confused

A reptile dysfunction, Foamhenge, emojillate, purple orb crab fight and tasteful slang for yer naughty bits.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: Takes Of All Temperatures

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Newsy things normally slow down around this time of the year, as the important people who do newsworthy things go on holidays. Not so much this year as we're now midway through the spectacle that is convention season in the US presidential election – one down, one to go. Shootings in shopping malls in Europe, shootings of unarmed black men in America, they're still ongoing.

The Washington Post has taken the apparently unprecedented step of not endorsing Donald Trump in a stinging piece from its editorial board. Twitter banned Milo Yiannopolous. Laurie Penny wrote a piece about hanging out with Milo at the Republican Convention, just after the ban had been handed down. Lots of people liked Penny's piece, but Shanley Kane didn't. Someone in The Irish Times got wind that there was a disturbance in the force relating to freedom of expression on the internet. The resulting column was remarkably free of context and even facts.

Pokémon Go continues to provide not just news stories but also extensive opportunities for takes of all temperatures.

There were serious privacy concerns, which have already led to threats of legal action in Germany. The app featured an even more labyrinthine EULA than usual, with binding arbitration that a user has to opt out of. Marketing folks and local businesses blessed by the geolocation gods are enthusiastic. Reporters have been scolded in press briefings for playing it. Players in Bosnia were warned about the dangers of wandering into minefields while playing it. A chap in Brooklyn caught them all. Some youths made an illegal border crossing in Montana because of it.

Such was the volume of takes that Medium, now the undisputed unofficial home of hot takes added a Pokémon Go section to its navigation bar.

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The most interesting of the lot to me was this, on the history of letterboxing, or your great-grandad's Pokémon Go. 'What Each Pokemon Would Taste Like And How To Eat It' wasn't half bad either.

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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Passport Index

Totally Confused

Napoleonic battlefield scavenging, crow funerals, cathedral by hand, accidental movie star and the woman who put men on the moon.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: Point / Counterpoint

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Apologies for the longer-than-expected absence, but 2016 just won't slow down, will it? The big news out of the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is that The Donald's wife Melania appears to have plagiarised big chunks of Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This will provide a convenient issue for the media to get their teeth into, while ignoring the disturbing white supremacism and bigotry on show throughout the day. For example, Steve King, a proud Iowan who keeps a Confederate flag on his desk informed us that no other group of people has contributed as much to civilisation as white people. So that event can only build from here.

"I spliced Michelle and Melania together. Judge for yourself."

This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won’t

How My Dream Gap Year In Africa Turned Into A Nightmare /
How My Dream Gap Year In Europe Turned Into A Nightmare

Back in the land of Brexit, a Japanese company just expressed an interest in purchasing the good half of the British technology industry. The establishment gritted their teeth and opined that his was in fact a Very Good Thing™, even a vote of confidence in Britain, Brexited but not broken.

The sorry saga of Yahoo! and the things it has bought continues. It's now written off half of the $1 billion it paid for Tumblr. Now we wait to see if anyone is interested in buying Yahoo!.

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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'Anatomical Venuses'

Totally Confused

Band name linguistics, swipe that MetroCard, Tattoos 4 U, 'she managed to masticate and lucubrate far into the night' and trolling the FBI.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: The Very Opposite Of A Guardian Angel

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Police in the US have shot and killed another black man, Alton Sterling. Over at Facebook, the bastion of anti-transparency, Mike Monteiro has had his account suspended for reporting gun sales which breach Facebook's own terms and conditions.

This long New Yorker piece by George Saunders follows Trump's campaign from rally to rally across the country, trying to ascertain what it is his supporters see in him. It reaches this unhappy conclusion

Although, to me, Trump seems the very opposite of a guardian angel, I thank him for this: I’ve never before imagined America as fragile, as an experiment that could, within my very lifetime, fail.

From an ostensible man of action like Trump we move on to the inactive men and women of the Irish parliament. It's thirty three years since the Eighth Amendment was introduced, when the government of the day ignored the advice of the Attorney General that very bad situations could arise as a result of the amendment. It's twenty four years since what that Attorney General had forecast came to pass in the form of the X case and the current government is now using the advice of the Attorney General to justify continued inactivity. Palpable foot-dragging, as Kathy Sheridan puts it in the Irish Times.

Meanwhile, in the face of that profound human suffering, we seem to have all the time in the world to meditate on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

But that's Ireland for you. The Best Small Country In The World Not To Be A Pregnant Woman In.

In continuing disturbing news from the world of robotics, boffins have now taught a robot to hunt prey.

Related: The Katmai BearCam is back.

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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'I Spent 15 Years Photographing Cities In Water Drops'

Totally Confused

Wee on court, Snapchat filter theft, England: A Beginner's Guide, Patrick Stewart sings and the opposite of Brexit.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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✩ Want You To Know: “Sometimes we must interfere.”

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The quote in the subject line is from Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1986. Full quote below, via Kottke.

And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.

Enough of the grimdark current affairs and on to the ephemera. From the surprising 'wearables I was all ready to sneer at but which might actually be pretty cool' department comes the Basslet, a subwoofer for your wrist. Wub wub wub will never be the same again.

Worth Pondering

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Eye Candy

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Subterranean Singapore

Totally Confused

Tetris trilogy, the most metal words, beautiful cheese board, I photo the firework and What is a Witch.

Yours etc., @loughlin


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Hey! Want to be part of something hip and retro like a mailing list? Of course you do? Then head on over here to subscribe. I promise not to spam you or sell your email address to Facebook. Or Google. Or Twitter. Or anyone else at all.

Follow @WantYouToKnowHQ on Twitter for more bits and bobs.