When you learn your housemate died via social media

Mohamed Aboelez recently learned his roommate, a person he shared a residence with, had died. But no one called to say so, instead Aboelez read the news on Facebook: I froze. I hadn’t seen Paul in about two days. I had assumed he’d been with his friend. But not dead. Of course no … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 4 hours ago

Meta AI, coming to your Instagram or Facebook page, like it or not

Anyone checking into their Instagram or Facebook pages in the last few days, will have no doubt noticed the presence of Meta’s AI “assistant”, named, um, Meta AI. Britney Nguyen, writing for Quartz: The tech giant said on Thursday that it is bringing Meta AI to all of its platfor … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 1 day ago

Extra-terrestrials may not want Earth as part of their galactic empire

A conquering interstellar civilisation could bring the entire galaxy under its yoke in about a million years, assuming said civilisation could traverse the Milky Way at about ten percent the speed of light. I expect it’d be a multi-generational undertaking. It’d also be up to tho … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 3 days ago

Pub Choir gather nineteen thousand people to sing Africa by Toto

From time to time, a few years ago now, I found myself walking passed a bar called The Dock (Facebook page), on Monday evenings. The bar, located in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern, was host to something I’d not witnessed at a watering hole before: everyone singing. And, as fa … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 4 days ago

The ghostwriters and AI filling the world with garbage ebooks

An eye-opening article by Constance Grady, writing for Vox. AI and unscrupulous ghostwriters are combining to flood the world with poor quality ebooks, sometimes called garbage ebooks, and giant online booksellers seem to be doing little about it: Here is almost certainly what wa … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 4 days ago

A not so deep dive into a not so new neologism

When it comes to what’s published online, I consider myself a moderately well-read person. Obviously, I’m not across every last thing posted on the web, but I probably spend a good couple of hours a day following news sites, what’s on the RSS feeds I subscribe to, social media, a … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 5 days ago

How crush proof is the average marriage? Maybe not much

Gabe Trew, owner of Australian market retailer POP Canberra, decided to run a Valentine’s Day competition this year. He invited social media followers to send him, anonymously I believe, stories about the great love crushes of their lives. Entrants would be in the running to win … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 days ago

AI Pin by Humane pricked by poor user reviews

Fans of Star Trek series The Next Generation will be familiar with the communication devices crew members used. Or should I say: wore. The small, yet high powered, long range devices, were typically attached to the shirt of a crew person’s uniform. With a mere tap, those on the s … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 days ago

Suspected terror attack at Westfield Bondi Junction

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): A shopping centre in Sydney’s east has been evacuated amid reports of multiple stabbings and potentially a number of deaths. An eyewitnesses told the ABC shots were fired. NSW Police said emergency services were called to Westfield B … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 8 days ago

The 2024 Stella Prize for Australian literature shortlist

And talking of Australian fiction, the shortlist for the 2024 Stella Prize, the Australian literary award that recognises the work of Australian women and non-binary writers, was unveiled last week. The following six title were selected: Abandon Every Hope: Essays for the Dead, b … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 9 days ago

No one can interpret your dreams except you

I sometimes write about books, novels, here. Usually Australian fiction, which I make a point to read as much of as possible. I’m currently (still) reading Before You Knew my Name, the 2021 debut of Melbourne based New Zealand author Jacqueline Bublitz. I guess therefore that’s c … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 10 days ago

Third best coffee on Earth? Sydney. Tenth best? Melbourne…

Sydney has been adjudged the third best city in the world for coffee, this according to American magazine, Food & Wine. Copenhagen, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes in at number one, followed by Tokyo in second place. But here’s where things may get contentious: Melbourne — perhaps … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 11 days ago

A tribute to Kurt Cobain by his daughter Frances Bean Cobain

Thirty-years ago, last Friday, 5 April, Kurt Cobain, American musician, and founder of grunge act Nirvana, died. It was one of those remember-where-you-were-when-the-news-broke moments. I was sitting on the carpeted stairs of friend’s house, as we listened to a radio report about … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 12 days ago

The Internet is not written in pencil, nor is it written in stone

An excerpt from Manuel Moreale’s recent interview — from his excellent People and Blogs series — with Oregon based American web designer and writer, Matt Stein. I rewrite and edit heavily to try and find what I want to say. I wrote obscenely long answers to these questions and ha … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 13 days ago

Independent publishers jeopardised by Google search changes

Google seems to have it in for small, and or independent publications and blogs… Google: whatever did we do to you? Changes last month — known as core updates, which occur regularly — to the way the search giant indexes and ranks websites on search results, have seen scads of sit … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 14 days ago

Pre-production expenses: cost accounting for sex and drugs

In this case, pre-production expenses would appear to relate to the costs associated with procuring illicit drugs, and the services of sex workers. The term came to light during proceedings in the Australian Federal Court last week, in the course of a defamation case between a fo … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 16 days ago

Is the Sun conscious? Can a great ball of fire think for itself?

Maybe I’ve been watching too much of Universe, the Brian Cox made documentary about, well, the universe, and am way too willing to take in all manner of ideas, no matter how outlandish they may seem. So when this article (PDF), exploring the possibility the Sun is a conscious ent … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 17 days ago

Only one in five Australian musicians earn a full time income

The latest Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) survey of the pay and work conditions of Australian musicians makes for grim reading. In particular, the stand-out finding that half of local musos earned less than six thousand dollars last year. Six thousand dollars. The … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 18 days ago

Workers using cafes as offices may reduce their profitability

Malcolm Knox, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald: Then there are rents, insurance, equipment and other fixed costs. In a Sydney suburb near me, a new cafe is paying $5000 a week in rent. At $1000 per 7am-to-1pm shift, they need to be selling 300 coffees a day to make it worth … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 19 days ago

Personal branding overkill is killing solo content creators

Image courtesy of Pexels. Rebecca Jennings, writing for Vox, on the tyranny of the personal brand, and the stifling effect they are having on content creators: The internet has made it so that no matter who you are or what you do — from 9-to-5 middle managers to astronauts to hou … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 20 days ago

Trailer for Heartbreak High second series, airing 11 April 2024

The first episode of season two of Sydney set, Australian high school drama, Heartbreak High, goes to air on Thursday 11 April 2024. This is a day fans of the rebooted show (which aired in 2022), and indeed the original 1990’s series, will have marked on their calendars. Check ou … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 21 days ago

Prolonged volcanic activity killed the dinosaurs not an asteroid

Well, this is interesting. All these years I’ve thought the demise of the dinosaurs was occasioned by the impact of an asteroid that struck Earth sixty-six million years ago. That may be still the case, but some scientists believe relentless volcanic activity, spanning more than … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 24 days ago

Could Christopher Nolan make an exceptional horror film?

Pretty much anything British/American film maker Christopher Nolan touches, turns to gold. The Batman saga, Inception, Interstellar, Oppenheimer, Tenet, Dunkirk, The Prestige (which I wrote about way back in 2006), Memento. You name it, they’re all winners. Then consider how well … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 25 days ago

The Acolyte, a new addition to the ever expanding Star Wars universe

The great thing about the Star Wars universe is the way it can move up down left right forwards and backwards. Like any good fiction franchise, the potential to create new stories, new universes within a universe even, are virtually limitless. This even though I’m way behind on a … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 25 days ago

Seen, read, and heard, books, film, TV, and music March 2024

Long time readers of Kottke have doubtless seen his semi-regular media diet posts, where he writes about the movies and TV shows he’s seen, plus books he’s been reading. Kottke is a voracious consumer of media if those posts are anything to go by. In comparison, my consumption is … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 26 days ago

An app that points to centre of the Milky Way galaxy

Image courtesy of Pexels. Tangentially related to my previous post… product designer and technologist Matt Webb has created an app, named Galactic Compass (link to Apple app store), that points to the centre of the galaxy. When on the (far less light polluted) NSW Central Coast, … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 27 days ago

A patch for computer software one light-day away on Voyager 1

One of the computers on NASA’s deep space probe Voyager 1 is experiencing some sort of malfunction, with recent signals from the probe containing no usable data. Mission engineers are apparently confident the problem can be resolved, even though Voyager 1 is almost a light-day di … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 28 days ago

To go where no one has gone before, the limit of the universe

German animation and design studio Kurzgesagt have been producing excellent informative and educational videos for what seems like half the lifespan of the universe. Let’s hope Peak-Kurzgesagt is a situation that never comes to pass. Their latest video, the Paradox of an Infinite … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 1 month ago

Stalkerware users should be watching themselves, not others

Sydney based Australian author Kerri Sackville, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, on the subject of stalkerware, insidious apps that track the activities of a person you want to keep tabs on: But I had nothing to gain from spying on him because I already knew what to do. In … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 1 month ago

Weather forecasting has improved, sadly weather apps remain oddly deficient

Four day weather forecasts are now as accurate as one day forecasts from thirty years ago. That’s good news. Access to accurate weather information is perhaps more vital than many of us can appreciate. Weather forecasting has come a long way. In 650 B.C. the Babylonians would try … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 1 month ago

So Close to Home, debut novel of Mick Cummins, has been published

Mick Cummins, the Melbourne based former social worker and screenwriter, who won the unpublished manuscript award in the 2023 Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, has had his debut work, So Close to Home, published by Affirm Press. The manuscript was originally titled One Divine N … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 4 months ago

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, a film by Wes Anderson

Are we at peak Wes Anderson yet? With Asteroid City still showing in some cinemas, maybe some film-goers would welcome a break from the American filmmaker. If that’s not you though, then check out The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, trailer, a short film made by Anderson, based o … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Life getting in the way at disassociated

Regulars will have noticed the slowdown in posting at disassociated recently. It’s a tad busy at the day job, but more excitingly I’ve also been working on a large (think novel size) writing project in recent weeks. It’s the same one I’ve been chipping away at for years mind you, … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

September temperatures gobsmackingly bananas say climate scientist

American climate scientist Zeke Hausfather has described global temperatures in September 2023 as gobsmackingly bananas. This month was, in my professional opinion as a climate scientist — absolutely gobsmackingly bananas. JRA-55 beat the prior monthly record by over 0.5C, and wa … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Jon Fosse wins 2023 Nobel Prize for literature

Norwegian author and playwright Jon Fosse has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize for literature, for what judges describe as “his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.” Fosse’s work spans over seventy novels, poems, children’s books, essays and theatre play … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Incredible Doom, life as a teenage proto-blogger in 1999

Book cover of Incredible Doom Vol 1, created by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden. Incredible Doom is a serialised comic strip about two American teenage proto-bloggers, Dougie and Anna, in 1999, by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden. If you were on the web in 1999, as I was, this cou … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Screenwriters strike win seen as victory over generative AI

The recent long running strike by members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in the United States, has ended. But the settlement secured by the WGA not only means fairer pay and conditions for screenwriters, it is also seen as a victory over Generative AI technologies, which w … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Loneliness is an affliction of epidemic proportions, a visual essay by Alvin Chang

Twenty-four hours in an invisible epidemic is an especially poignant edition of visual essay magazine, The Pudding, produced by New York City based journalist Alvin Chang. The epidemic in question is not Covid-19, though the lockdowns triggered by the pandemic have aggravated ano … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

The 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize shortlists

The shortlists for the 2023 ARA Historical Novel Prize were announced earlier today. The award is presented in two categories, Adult, and Children and Young Adult. The three finalists in each category are as follows: Adult Salonika Burning by Gail Jones Iris by Fiona Kelly McGreg … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Islands of Secrets by Stefanie Koens wins 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction

Stefanie Koens has been named winner of the 2023 Banjo Prize for unpublished Australian fiction, with her manuscript titled Islands of Secrets, a work of historic fiction that spans several decades: Shortly before Christmas in 2018, schoolteacher Tess McCarthy flies to Western Au … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Should political leaders be elected to office by sortation?

Adam Grant, an organisational psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, writing for The New York Times, suggests sortation, a method of selecting public office holders in Ancient Greece, be given consideration: People expect leaders chosen at random to be less effective tha … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

An alternative to a Voice: an Indigenous Australian state?

In a few weeks Australians will vote in a referendum to decide whether the Australian constitution should be amended to include a Voice, an advisory body, for the nation’s Indigenous people. It’s an idea some people are not in favour of though, including a number of First Nations … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 6 months ago

Amy Winehouse: In Her Words, for book for her fans

Book cover of Amy Winehouse: In Her Words. Amy Winehouse: In Her Words, published by HarperCollins, one for fans of late British musician and singer Amy Winehouse. Much has been said about Amy Winehouse since her tragic death aged just 27. But who was the real Amy? Amy Winehouse: … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago

The conduct of live music fans is just as bad as cinema-goers

The recent, post pandemic lockdown, sometimes poor behaviour of film-goers has been the subject of some discussion recently. Many of the problems frustrated cinema patrons have reported stem largely from the gratuitous use of smartphones during screenings. It’s enough to make you … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago

Noctalgia: when you miss seeing the light polluted night sky

Noctalgia is the recently minted neologism for the phenomenon of missing dark skies at night. Noctalgia is something astronomers could tell you about. Dark, light pollution free, skies are essential for their work, but they’re not so commonplace anymore. And here we have a dilemm … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago

The Super Models, Cindy, Linda, Christy, and Naomi, reunited

Nineties supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington, were household names thirty years ago. At least in my household, that is, because when you had an aspiring fashion photographer in your midst, little that the four did would go unm … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago

Poison ivy to bloom, become more toxic, thanks to global warming

Poison ivy, a noxious plant often found in North America, and parts of Asia, could become more common place as global warming creates an environment conducive to its growth. Poison ivy is poised to be one of the big winners in this global, human-caused phenomenon. Scientists expe … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago

El Nino weather event formally declared for Australia

Australia is officially in the grip of an El Niño weather event. This means affected areas can expect higher than normal temperatures, and reduced rainfall. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology announcement on Tuesday confirmed what many people had suspected for some time. The Bu … | Continue reading

@disassociated.com | 7 months ago