As a result, the sharks got Twitter

I pretty much live for quoting Deep Blue Sea on this blog, so this was an obvious one for me.

Scientists have attached transmitters to more than 320 sharks, including great whites, which monitor their movements up and down the coast. When a tagged shark swims within about a kilometre of a beach, it triggers an alert which is picked up by computer. That computer then instantly turns the shark’s signal into a short message on Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s (SLSWA) Twitter feed.

As a result, the sharks got Twitter

Kottke remaindered links and the tab attic

I was thrilled to spend last week editing It’s a fun time introducing a larger audience the stuff I like on the Internet. When posting on Kottke, I obviously post a lot more often than I post here, and from time to time I’ll have a problem with pacing. I’ll see something awesome, but not have the time to write it up right then, and then 5 other awesome things show up for which I have to make time. But then I’ve gone and posted too much that day, and so the original awesome thing will have to wait until tomorrow. I’ll just leave the tab open and get back to it.

To me tabbed browsing is equal parts blessing and curse. I’ll open a link in a new tab with the intention of doing something with it, and I’ll leave it there forever if I have to. When I started this post I had 75 tabs open. I have a problem. (There’s a Firefox extension that makes it so anytime you restart Firefox, the tabs don’t load until you click on them again. This extension is an enabler, and makes the whole tab attic idea possible. Tab attic: noun describing the brain space occupied by unopened tabs you know are in a row up above somewhere, but you’re not ready to use. The more tabs you have open, the heavier the tab attic is.

In any case, I wanted to share a bunch of links that definitely could have gone on Kottke last week (maybe some of them still might?), but didn’t because they got locked up in the tab attic. This post took a ton of time and I realized because it’s actually 10 posts in one.
Damien Hirst and the great art market heist.

Hirst is not only the world’s richest artist, but a transformative figure who can be assured of his place in history. Sadly – for him and for us – this is not because of the quality of his work but because he has almost single-handedly remade the global art market in his image: that is to say, the image of the artist as celebrity clown, the licensed working-class fool who not only shits on us from on top of his pile of cash, but persuades us to buy that shit and beg for more. This cockney chancer routine, perfected in the 60s by the likes of David Bailey and Keith Moon, has deep roots in British pop culture. We have a lot of affection for guys like these, who seem to be getting away with it, sticking it to the man.

Also, here’s Felix Salmon on How Damien Hirst recaptured his market.

I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter.

The answer: they don’t. The days when a celebrated chef might wait until the end of a distinguished career and spend years polishing the prose of the single volume that would represent his life’s work are gone. Recipes are product, and today’s successful cookbook authors are demons at providing it — usually, with the assistance of an army of writer-cooks.

Gwyneth Paltrow denied having a ghostwriter in a Tweet with a grammatical mistake.

Jorge Louis Borges on The Task of Art.

For a poet, the symbols are sounds and also words, fables, stories, poetry. The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours. Your are continuously receiving things from the external world. These must be transformed, and eventually will be transformed.

Extreme Maple Syrup. This one I was going to post because it mentions my friends Jamie and Matt in the first paragraph, and I was going to tie it to Making the Grade: Why the Cheapest Maple Syrup Tastes Best which has been in the tab attic since November.

Martin Picard! You make the macho chefs of America look like sissies—except maybe your fellows in the group that calls itself the International Hoof and Snout Mafia: Chris Cosentino; Fergus Henderson; Anthony Bourdain; Matt Jennings, of Farmstead, in Providence; Jamie Bissonnette, of Coppa, in Boston, and a former vegetarian. Inventor of foie gras poutine, popularizer of head cheese, butcher: Picard, at his Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, has for almost a decade been outdoing just about everyone in decadent down-home cooking.

-I don’t know if this one would have made it in, but it was opened as a maybe, and I am in tab attic prune mode. Sasha Frere-Jones: Good Things About Twitter.

That’s the vegetables. What else is on Twitter? A poetic spambot named Horse_ebooks that spits out isolated phrases like “monopoly on your radio” or fragments like “33 Dependence on chance may seem a burden and a limitation on fraternity.” Occasionally this found poetry comes with a link to a terrible e-book such as Pizza Recipes, which would seem to be the original purpose of Horse_ebooks. Adrian Chen of Gawker recently reported on the feed’s origin (Russia) and purpose (inept commerce) and poetic engine (maybe automated, maybe human). Why do more than fifty-five thousand people follow Horse_ebooks? Because he/it tweets “Pocket Change Written Plan Ball Games Family Haircuts” and, after you’ve read the name Santorum for the 456th time, these are the words that keep hope alive.

The Secret Ingredient. “Liquor companies love to claim they use closely guarded, centuries-old recipes. usually it’s just marketing.”

As Breaux points out, even if he were to determine the exact formula for Chartreuse or Campari, it’s not as though customers would come clamoring for his imitations. The makers of the originals are “going to outspend me in marketing,” he says. Breaux notes that the best-selling spirit globally is vodka, behind which there are no significant production secrets at all. It’s essentially pure ethanol; the main added ingredient is marketing.

-I really like talking about pig breeds and breeding habits, so I was excited to share this article from a couple months ago. Hogs Wild by Ian Frazier should remind you of Ossibaw pigs, a post I put on Kottke the summer before last.

In frontier times, farmers let their hogs run loose, then collected them with the help of dogs on butchering day. Many hogs chose to skip this event, naturally. After America became rich, circa 1890, sportsmen with money imported Eurasian wild boars to stock hunting preserves. When these animals escaped and crossbred with feral swine, they created a tougher and even better-adapted (some say) feral hog. The fact that wild swine have been living in America for centuries does not dissuade wildlife biologists from referring to them as a “non-native” species. Feral hogs of the species Sus scrofa live on every continent but Antarctica, and also on many islands and archipelagoes. Except in the original range of the Eurasian wild boar, feral hogs are non-native everywhere.

-One of the best parts of editing are the people who send in links. I still haven’t quite hardened myself to not feeling guilty about not using these links. This is a job for sociopaths, I think. In any case, former ShareBro Jonah Keri, sports statistics advocate, writer, and all around bon vivant sent me this link and I thought it was a no-brainer for posting, but didn’t have the time to get through the article, or even start it. I’m fascinated by this topic for a movie, and the fact that it rose organically out of the Internet. How One Response to a Reddit Query Became a Big-Budget Flick. I’ve posted about this project twice before, and Jason may have, as well, but this is a great definitive profile of James Erwin.

The encyclopedias proved that he had talent and erudition, but they didn’t bring him any attention—the buyers were mainly libraries—and barely earned him minimum wage. But writing the encyclopedias did teach him a crucial set of skills. He now knew how to mine history for tragedy and comedy. He could instantly recall huge swaths of fact. (Erwin competed on Jeopardy! in 2009, walking away a two-time champion and $23,598 richer.) Perhaps most important, he could compose large blocks of text with astonishing speed.

Kevin Nguyen of the Bygone Bureau (why are you here? go there!) sent over a bunch of awesome things that…fuck. These really should have been posted. Well, two of the links, the rest were boring. Kevin’s taste is only slightly attuned to mine. Now I’m just being a jerk to goad Kevin into an angry Tweet.
Dance the flip-flop by Robin Sloan:

Sculpt eight different vases. PHYSICAL

Take photos of those vases. DIGITAL

Find those photos and combine them somehow into a single vase. DIGITAL

Print that new vase in plaster with a 3D printer. PHYSICAL

Take photos of that new vase. DIGITAL

Make an animated GIF! DIGITAL

And I don’t know how to describe except as Kottkeporn. This one would have been perfect.

Also, if you think 75 tabs is a lot, Jason uses 3 different browsers at the same time.

Kottke remaindered links and the tab attic


Square is hiring all the best Silicon Valley talent, not Twitter, Zynga, or Facebook. This is good because I hope they put the companies that manage credit card transactions out of business. I actually did laugh out loud at the reaction.

Our recruiter does not give Square perfect grades for its recruiting, however. She insists the company is making a big mistake hiring so many Ruby on Rails developers, who tend to be ‘hipsters with neckbeards.’ We asked a source close to Square for his reaction to this concern, and he said, ‘LOL.’


A collection of Red Sox related Tweets I liked on the occasion of their season being over

The Red Sox have had a pretty up and down season. I’m still not sure what to say about it, but there’s humor in pain. Especially other people are making fun of my pain. Anyway, I thought these Tweets were good.






Via Stellar

A collection of Red Sox related Tweets I liked on the occasion of their season being over

Jack Dorsey profile

In this Vanity Fair profile of Twitter/Square founder Jack Dorsey, he’s described as extremely focused (“Dorsey is unusually good at staying focused”), but then it also describes the year he spent learning botanical illustration, the year he spent becoming certified in massage therapy, his interest in fashion design, and his long time interest in transportation logistics. It seems kind of contradictory to me, but really what’s being described is the ability to focus intensely on what’s interesting at the moment. Not a bad thing, just different than extreme focus.

Jack Dorsey profile

Chuck Klosterman’s travel trouble

Like much of the east coast, Chuck Klosterman’s travel plans appear to have been impacted by yesterday’s weather. He documented his path through the several stages of traveler grief on Twitter, and then he stopped. Either his flight left, he ran out of batteries, or something more nefarious happened. In any case, enjoy.

-If I am allowed on this flight, I will become a better person. I will change. I will do whatever it takes. 6 hours ago
-Nothing is off the table. 6 hours ago
-I feel like I have entered a new level of desire. Things are clear now. I will give up everything for one thing. 4 hours ago
-If you (a.) need a kidney and (b.) control runway traffic at JFK, I’m ready to negotiate. #NotAHighQualityKidneyToBeHonest 3 hours ago
-How many people in this airport would kill a stranger with a hammer in exchange for air travel? #EveryoneExceptMaybeMyWife 3 hours ago
-A woman in the terminal is trying to stretch her legs by goose-stepping. The guy next to me is talking about Douglas Adams like he’s alive. 3 hours ago
-“My mother is optimistic about this flight,” says the goose-stepper. “That’s better than nothing.” #ActuallyIt’sTheSame 3 hours ago
-Maybe I should start wearing a sweater around my shoulders. I’ve probably been living wrong. This is my fault. 2 hours ago
-None of these people with sweaters around their shoulders seem upset. It’s like they understand the big picture, you know? They get it. 2 hours ago
-FYI: They don’t sell SARS masks in Huson News. 2 hours ago
-Whatever happened to SARS? That used to be so hot. 2 hours ago
-“My brother went to Simon’s Rock,” says the redhead sitting across from me. “He said, ‘Never go there. It’s a fishbowl.’ That was his take.” 2 hours ago
-Oh my God. The guy at the gate just got a phone call. Oh my God. What does this mean? What does this mean? Why isn’t he reacting? 2 hours ago
-WHY IS HE NOT REACTING? This dude is the Robert Parrish of Delta employees. React! React! YOU ARE ALIVE, MAN. 1 hour ago

This seems like as good a place as any to continue the Chuck Klosterman blog project Chuck Klosterman Chuck Klosterman Blog Project.
-Klosterman recently started selling his essays for $0.99 a pop. People keep predicting this is the future of essay writing/magazine articles, but I think it’s going to take a second to catch on. If there’s a good delivery system, though, all bets are off.

-Back in September, he had 5 ideas to make the NFL better. I agree with all of them.

Lastly, How Modern Life Is Like a Zombie Onslaught, which makes some good points about the Twilight series.

Chuck Klosterman’s travel trouble

Twitter as Information Network

Mike Champion with a really smart look at the problem of Twitter as “information network”. Basically, it’s difficult to find Twitter accounts that Tweet only about subjects that interest you, which then creates a lot of noise. I think this might be one reason celebrities and brands are so popular; people are more inclined to find the non-basketball related musings of their favorite basketball player interesting because it’s their favorite basketball player! Mike uses the example of being less interested in the non-Ruby related musings of Ruby hackers… Until Twitter makes it more possible to follow interests, rather than accounts, it’ll face this challenge.

Twitter is increasingly being described as an “information network” rather than a social network or “fun-like-ice-cream” novelty. That seems accurate, but the challenge is that Twitter is currently designed like a social network. Even with its innovative asymmetrical following relationships what you follow on Twitter are accounts [1] not “interests”. As a result, it is difficult to consume information effectively and to tweet for disparate audiences.

PS Congrats on the baby, Mike and Sam.

Twitter as Information Network

It’s hard to get people to do stuff on the internet

On this year’s World AIDS Day, several celebrities “died” or gave up Twitter in an effort to raise $1 million dollars (at which point they could begin Tweeting again) as The Daily What points out, they didn’t do so hot raising only $104K (up to $184K now).

The most notable thing to emerge from this experiment is how, in the span of 24 hours, with millions upon millions of followers among them, these celebs were only able to collect about as much money as one of them makes in a minute.

Hey famous people, here’s an idea: Instead of using your limelight to shuck cash off common Internet folk, maybe you pull out your gilded checkbooks and donate the million dollars out of those fortunes happenstance so graciously awarded you.

This is a good example of what Anil Dash wrote about in January, the number of Twitter followers doesn’t really matter if they’re not engaged. It’s incredibly difficult to get people to do things on the internet, and it’s not surprising Kim Kardashian’s 5.4 million followers didn’t bring her Twitter account back to life. Elijah Wood gets a pass because he only has 8K followers.

It’s hard to get people to do stuff on the internet

A New Use for Twitter

I’m not sure this is what Biz and Ev had in mind. Last week Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff live-blogged the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner’s with 3 Tweets. Seems like Shurtleff is responding to criticism by digging in further. His latest Tweet? “Astonishing that no retweet whiner express outrage that Gardner shot 2 men in the face, & a cop; nor one word of empathy for their families.”

A New Use for Twitter