and I quote

december 2011

click for permalink December 29, 2011

Top 20 Books of 2011 (roughly in order)

  1. GreenbergManufacturing Depression: The Secret History of A Modern Disease by Gary Greenberg
  2. Shadow Divers The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson
  3. Area 51 An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen
  4. I'm Down (A Memoir) by Mishna Wolff
  5. Lost in Shangri-La A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff
  6. Alone Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan
  7. Cleopatra A Life by Stacy Schiff
  8. Priceless How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman
  9. 2012: Science or Superstition by Alexandra Bruce
  10. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  11. Skyjack: The Hunt For D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray
  12. The Psychopath Test A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
  13. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms... by Simon Winchester
  14. The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson
  15. No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt
  16. Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff
  17. The Invention of Air A Story of Science, Terror, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson
  18. Quirk Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality by Hannah Holmes
  19. Griftopia Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi
  20. The Company We Keep A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story by Robert Baer
  21. Pad: The Guide to Ultra-Living by Matt Maranian
  22. WikiLeaks Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh


Best Shoes

That's right, I said shoes. Now... I can accept the fact that Alexander McQueen's designs have continued to appear on the pages of fashion magazines long after his untimely death (after all, who wants to contemplate a future when this will no longer be true?), but what I cannot accept is that these shoes, which obviously exist (I have photographic evidence) seem not to be for sale anywhere. Do I have to say it?

I only need to know one thing... where. they. are.

HR Giger Alexander McQueen


A few more Best Articles...

All the qualities that make you a great journalist make you a terrible person: gossip, urgency, obsession, noisiness, theatrics and hysterics. I help anyone who asks for it. Just this past Friday, I got an email at 3:38 a.m. from a Pulitzer-winning friend who wanted my help with a New Yorker assignment; I called back at 3:39. I never wanted to be one of those broken, bitter people. Why would anyone want to lose friends and alienate people?"-- Richard Morgan, Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How To Make Vitamin Soup

  1. Too Much Information by John Jeremiah Sullivan, GQ
  2. The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology by Lawrence Wright, New Yorker
  3. My Summer at an Indian Call Center by Sam Baldwin
  4. The Incredible Story of the Collar Bomb Heist Rich Schapiro, Wired
  5. How Google Dominates Us by James Gleick
  6. You Say You Want a Devolution? by Kurt Andersen, Vanity Fair
  7. Generation F*cked: The making of a lost generation by Maria Hampton, Adbusters
  8. The Devil at 37,000 Feet by William Langewiesche, Vanity Fair
  9. Christopher Hitchens Takes on Nietzsche: Am I Really Stronger?
  10. — A repository of excellent articles submitted and catalogued by people who actually know. Extensive archives categorized By Topic | By Writer | By Publication and by era.


Random Bests (not in order and the Lists are in Bold)

The Theory of Hipster Relativity

  1. Retronaut — "The past is a foreign country. This is your passport." Navigate the timeline from 0-1800s to the 2010s, or pick from a list that includes ABANDONED, FASHION, STEAMPUNK and EPHEMERA. Some I've enjoyed:
    1. Vintage Air Hostesses
    2. Jewelled Skeletons, 1600s
    3. On the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953
    4. The inexplicably satisfying Then and Now by Irina Werning
  2. The 25 most used passwords of 2011—"Password" is #1. Like the intro says, check out the full list, then go change your password.
  3. buzzwordsCharlie Brooker: A guide to the buzzwords of 2011 — UK-style (in case you're wondering what "docusoaps" are).
  4. You Suck at Craigslist -- Pretty much what you'd expect, but even funnier.
  5. — Jason Kotte's web presence is a little like this list, only every day since 1998.
  6. Brain Pickings — A little like the above, only focused on art, science and other highbrow intellectual coffee table book material.
  7. — Read it later.
  8. The craziest thing you'll ever see on the web — The Warriors of Goja (btw, don't even bother trying to find the lyrics to that song on the internet in reliable English, although by the time I finish typing this I'm sure someone somewhere will have posted them.)
  9. The 20 Unhappiest People You Meet In The Comments Sections Of Year-End Lists
  10. Thirteen movie poster trends that are here to stay and what they say about their movies

movie postersmovie posters


click for permalink December 26, 2011

The Year in Review continues...

Watched in 2011

1. Mad Men: Seasons One and Two. What's that, you say I'm a little late? Have you met me? Well, if I'm not all caught up by the end of Christmas break, it won't be for lack of trying. I've already got the next available copy of Season Three reserved at the library (so if it's about to take a u-turn into Alias/Heroes territory, please don't tell me). Right now it's about as close to perfect as television gets. The crisp dialog, the subtle humanity and depth of even the shallowest characters; the Sorkinesque obsession with historical accuracy in every peripheral detail. Although I am getting a little sick of hearing myself say, "oh my god I love that dress" several times per episode.

2. Louis CK Live at Beacon Theatre — He released his latest self-produced comedy special on his web site, only $5 and available through PayPal. Within 10 days sales surpassed $1 million. I jumped on the bandwagon too, and not just because he's hilarious (or a Virgo) but because this isn't just supporting one artist, it's like a vote for the Internet. He's donating about 1/3 of it to charity and his genuinely flabbergasted response has been as newsworthy as the news itself:

I've never had a million dollars all of a sudden, and since we're all sharing this experience and since it's really your money, I wanted to let you know what I'm doing with it... I guess I want to set an example of what you can do if you all of a sudden have a million dollars that people just gave to you directly because you told jokes."

BB3. Breaking Bad — every season (I'm only a few episodes behind on this one) and it just keeps getting better. Quite an accomplishment for a show that introduced us to the main character the day he received a death sentence (lung cancer, now in remission). Combined with its stellar cast, there's probably something about that death sentence in EP01 that gives the show its exhilarating momentum. After three seasons, the feeling that absolutely anything could happen next has only intensified.

(Bonus points to this show for sparking one of the most surreal work-related conversations I've had since I stopped working in restaurants. We were drinking on the rooftop deck after work one Friday when the subject of television came up. A few people (myself included) murmured something about not watching TV and then someone mentioned Breaking Bad and all of a sudden the whole group — me, a senior VP, two IT guys, and someone from HR — were gushing excitedly about how much we love this show.)

Joan Rivers4. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work — Anyone who likes comedy, even — or especially — if you don't think you like Joan Rivers, really should watch this documentary. It gave me a whole new perspective on someone who really deserves a lot more respect and consideration (and is, in fact, a lot funnier than I remembered). In the opening scene, we follow Rivers in a sequined jacket, full hair and makeup, through a seedy maze of peeling drywall and narrow, dangerous-looking stairs before emerging onto the darkened stage of a packed comedy club. For an instant, you think, Whew, okay. Maybe that's just what a "stage entrance" looks like. But after catching her breath (the woman is 78), Rivers quickly disabuses us of this comforting thought: "How depressing! Forty years in the business and this is where you end up!"

You quickly realize that, whatever you've heard about anyone else, this is the hardest-working woman in show business, and the fact that she's chosen to do this in the massively male-dominated arena of standup comedy makes her tenacity and success all the more impressive. I've never imagined what comedians do to be easy, by any stretch — more often, I've wondered if more comedians die young than rock stars — but this intimate glimpse into the life of one of its veterans reveals that what they do is almost unimaginably hard.

5. Sins of my father: what if you were the son of Pablo Escobar? A fascinating documentary on the Shakespearean tragedy of Columbia's greatest drug lord/ gangster/ anti-hero from the perspective of his only son, who has been living in exile under a different name since his father's death in 1993. In case all you know about this story is what you saw on the news, before the assassinations and bombings began, Pablo Escobar had successfully cultivated the image of an ultra-extravagant Robin Hood in his native Medellin, and in nearby Bogota, the nation's capital. He funded public projects like parks and soccer fields for poor neighborhoods, and built numerous hospitals, schools, churches and an entire housing project to provide permanent shelter for Medellin's homeless.

20+ years later, this image still survives in the minds of Columbia's poor, who benefited the most from his campaign to win hearts and minds... but then (as tends to happen in these stories) everything went terribly wrong. His son was 16 when he and his sister and their mother were forced to flee Columbia for their own protection. This is the first time he's spoken out in public. (I would just like to add that I learned more about Columbian history from this documentary and the DVD commentary than in all my years in American schools.)

Bite-Sized Watched in 2011

  1. Beyond the still — Canon/Vimeo co-sponsored this contest to create a short film in eight parts, each by a different director who would pick up the story where the last one left off, and eventually they would put them together and see what they had. You might be thinking it sounds kind of like those drawings you did at camp (or on drugs), where you fold up a huge piece of paper and let each person in the room fill in one square, then you unfold the paper and — voila! Hm... A page full of weirdly disconnected patchwork scribblings with no unifying style or direction. Good thing this is nothing like that.
    Month after month, aspiring filmmakers were invited to pick up where the previous winning short film ended — on an evocative photograph. Contestants then reinterpreted that still... in a short film of their own. [T]he collective film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival."Vimeo
  2. Mr. DeityMr. Deity — A delightfully clever web series with comic pacing and blasphemy on a par with Kevin Smith or Aaron Sorkin, built to scale in 5-minute doses.
  3. The Johnny Cash Project — Crowdsourcing the man in black... almost sounds sacrilegious, doesn't it? But then some people thought the same about him covering a Nine Inch Nails song — Trent Reznor, for one — but both work beautifully. After seeing the video for Johnny Cash's remake of "Hurt" for the first time, Reznor reportedly said: "Wow. I feel like I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore."
  4. Love You, Will Smith — You know you love him too.
  5. Short Film: Bad At Math — "About me vs. gun vs. Xanax." The Last Psychiatrist wrote a "short story" called Bad At Math (alternately referred to as both fact and fiction on his site, but my guess is fact+time) and Henrique Cartaxo (a fan) asked if he could use the idea to make a short film. This opens up the field for such adaptation-ready sophomore efforts as A Trip You May Have Taken and Everything Is A Teachable Moment When You Are A Piece Of Garbage. Speaking on behalf of TLP's fan club, we can hardly wait... although I have to say I was shocked at how many reacted negatively and voiced their displeasure in the comments. (Chalk it up to "that's not how I would've drawn it" syndrome.)

click for permalink December 24, 2011

Happy Xmas Eve, everyone... the list of lists continues.

Japan tsunamiThe Best Year in Pictures Collections of 2011

  1. The Onion News Year In Review — "Study: 96 Percent Of Humans Would Rather Be Animatronic Bear."
  2. Buzzfeed Most Powerful Images of 2011
  3. The Guardian's 2011 Year in Review photomontage wall is appropriately epic.
  4. Google Zeitgeist's 2011 in Review Video
  5. The New York Times' 2011: The Year in Pictures

My Top 10 Pictures of 2011

Uranus' rings, animated. Courtesy of NASA's Cassini space probe.

As The Last Psychiatrist put it, Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng "giving the people's elbow to some sodding British bloke who thinks unethical behavior is important enough to throw a pie at." His dignity got through the day unscathed. His media empire, not so much. [Photo credit: Partial Objects]

During the long and violently suppressed protests in Cairo's Tahrir square, Christians protected their fellow Muslim protesters against attack from pro-government forces while they prayed. [Photo credit: MSNBC]

In March, horrific scenes of destruction in Japan as several coastal towns are devoured by the relentless tide of a massive tsunami. [Photo credit:]

This photo had a guaranteed spot on everyone's year-end list the moment it went viral in June. Thanks to these two crazy kids, this is the image that will be remembered when the world thinks back on Vancouver's Jocks Gone Wild moment (well, thanks to them and the fact that, after mass protests in Wisconsin, riots in Greece and London, Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, a few drunken losers setting a police car on fire barely merit a blip on the civil unrest radar screen (despite what some breathless, hyperbolic reports would have you believe).

[Photo credit: Robert Lam]

While half the world was taking a stand against "the Man" the other half was taking a beating from Mother Nature. One of this year's record-breaking 1,817 tornadoes touched down in Joplin, Missouri in April, nearly wiping the small town off the map. Tornadoes killed 548 people across the US, compared to 564 over the previous ten years combined.

[Photo credit:]


In Texas, forest fires burned out of control disastrously close to Los Alamos Laboratories.

On July 5, an apocalyptic dust storm descended on Phoenix, AZ, killing no one but looking unbelievably badass. [Photo credit:]

The aftermath of Hurricane Irene which devastated Nags Head, NC on August 28. (Is it just me or do natural disasters seem to like my birthday?). [Photo credit:]

Money by xkcd. "A chart of (almost) all of it, where it is and what it can do." He's being modest of course.

Money To call this a "chart" is to imply that it belongs in the same category of such things as, say, a table that shows you what tax bracket you should be in based on your net income, or a fanciful PowerPoint diagram illustrating the concept of EBITDA and faking out the part of your brain that's capable of critical thought by slipping a mickey to the part that likes colorful geometric objects with the 2 o'clock drop shadow effect. The Money chart does none of those things, and it does a whole lot of other things I've never seen another chart do (none I was interested in looking at, anyway). I'm not even sure I was born with whatever part of the brain you would have to use to create a chart like this, but I'm glad someone was.


Top 12 TEDTalks of 2011

  1. Paul Nicklen: Tales of ice-bound wonderlands
  2. Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"
  3. Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world
  4. John Hunter on the World Peace Game
  5. Sarah Kaminsky: My father the forger
  6. Deb Roy: The birth of a word
  7. R's TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out
  8. Tie (they're both under 5 minutes so they count as one):
    1. Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter and
    2. Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed
  9. Cynthia Kenyon: Experiments that hint of longer lives
  10. Phil Plait: How to defend Earth from asteroids
  11. Mike Biddle: We can recycle plastic
  12. Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations

click for permalink December 11, 2011

The annual year-end List of Lists mania is upon us! But the results will necessarily be revealed in small installments over the course of the month, as my stamina for marathon sessions of commenting, linking, formatting and proofreading (endless, endless proofreading and the neurotic rearranging of punctuation and conjunctions) isn't what it used to be.

The 10 Best Articles of 2011

1. The Big Fish: Ten years later, the story of, the first great web site By Matt Sharkey

I discovered while working at my very first, very temporary job in Vancouver. It was a cool, exposed-brick-and-glass-walled ad agency in Gastown, conveniently situated over a very popular sports-and-oyster bar. In my desperation to make myself indispensable to the fledgling "interactive" department, of which the executive who I was assisting was the head, I spent my days learning HTML the old fashioned way (from a paperback instruction book I found at the library) and asking everyone in the department if I could help them with anything.

I wrote top ten lists for a "coffee break" site that our content team — a turtleneck-clad ex-journalist and two snowboarder kids — updated daily with lotto numbers, movie listings and other minutiae. I proofread things for anyone who would let me. I became the go-to Internet search expert, able to find just about anything faster than anyone. Back in 1996, this was not the no-brainer it is today. There was no Google — there was only Excite, Yahoo, InfoSeek, something called Lycos and a handful of other short-lived competitors whose clever names are lost to time — and each of them sucked in their own unique way, so you pretty much had to use all of them to perform a thorough search, or if the first four turned up nothing of value.

Most importantly, though, when I wasn't working on giving myself a brand new set of "interactive" skills, I was surfing and was one of a very few sites that published every day. This became more and more relevant after my boss unexpectedly vanished. We came in one morning to find his office emptied of personal belongings; nobody knew for sure whether he quit or was fired, but I knew it didn't bode well for my future in interactive advertising.

I waited for the three-month bell to toll, when I knew that my name would suddenly reappear on someone in HR's radar screen, feeling a growing certainty that I would be cast out to rejoin the ranks of the Temporary. Until then, I would spend my days reading and Salon, The Onion and Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, nurturing an obsession with the idea of working for an internet company, an obsession which would eventually pay off.

Which is probably why I found this passage so striking:

Heather [Havrilesky] had a great observation one time," says contributor Tim Cavanaugh, "that one of the most important things you can do is create this illusion of an "in crowd" that you're not in on. And it really does work, right? The ideal for a magazine would be like Mad's usual gang of idiots, where you have this sense that there's this really wacky crew all getting together to come up with these really great ideas. You really want to be part of that, you feel like you're on the outside looking in on that."

Two years and a few steps up the career ladder later, I can honestly admit that I probably reacted with more genuine shock and childlike glee after receiving a one-line reply from Tim Cavanaugh in response to a letter I wrote to, which they published the following day, than when I found out The Vancouver Sun was going to publish an article of mine. Don't get me wrong — that was fantastic (I mean they paid me and everything) — but Suck was just so cool. I wanted to be a part of it.

Anyway, about the article — it's awesome. It's like turning on the TV by accident just in time to catch an episode of "Behind the Music" about a band that you loved 10 years ago, but hadn't thought about in ages because, well, maybe it all goes back to Napster, but what the hell ever happened to them anyway? So you're watching it and having all these flashbacks of that time, and the person you were then, and you realize that this music really was the soundtrack to an entire period of your life in a way you never thought about before. You feel grateful and nostalgic and inspired and introspective all at once, learning about the lives of these strangers whose music was so inextricably woven into the fabric of your experiences. The realization that such a significant part of you, that you've been carrying around with you all this time, is actually a part of this great shared collective memory, makes you feel like somehow you really were a part of it.

2. Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have "Nothing to Hide" by Daniel J. Solove lays out all the rebuttals to the Sergey Brins and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world that you've wished you could articulate, but were all too often reduced to sputtering, paranoid-delusional sounding incoherence every time the subject came up. (Is it really possible that we are in the minority?)

3. Letter to a Dead Man About the Occupation of Hope by Rebecca Solnit,

If you've gone out of your way this year to read nothing about the triggering event that sparked a movement, that snowballed as if out of nothing into a rolling revolution, and which we (or your descendants) may one day look back on as the pivotal moment when everything changed — maybe not immediately, but fundamentally and forever — read this.

Dear young man who died on the fourth day of this turbulent 2011, dear Mohammed Bouazizi, I want to write you about an astonishing year — with three months yet to run. I want to tell you about the power of despair and the margins of hope and the bonds of civil society. I wish you could see the way that your small life and large death became a catalyst for the fall of so many dictators in what is known as the Arab Spring."

Occupy4. Five Ways We Ruined the Occupy Wall Street Generation by John Cheese for is a sincere apology from one member of Generation X to the entire generation camped out in cities across the country and getting belittled and pepper-sprayed for their trouble — for Implying That College Would Guarantee You a Good Job, and Creating the Idea that Entertainment Has No Monetary Value, among other things.

[Photo by Travis McCrea]

5. Killing Orson Welles at Midnight by Zadie Smith

The final paragraph of her essay on "The Clock," which is by all accounts a brilliant film consisting of 24 hours of footage from 100 years worth of films collected and edited together by Christian Marclay, which I will probably never see, begins with this:

Really an essay is not the right form in which to speak of it. A visual representation of some kind would be better; a cloud consensus, or a spectacular graph. It's hard to convey in words what Marclay does with data, how luminous he makes it. And if this data were all lined up on a graph, what conclusions would we draw? That life is epic, varied, and never boring, but also short, relentless, and terminal. The Clock is a joyful art experience but a harsh life experience because it doesn't disguise what time is doing to you."

6. Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library by Maria Bustillos

Wallace committed suicide in 2008. There has been a natural reluctance to broach questions surrounding the tragedy with his family and friends, just as there was reluctance to ask him directly about his personal history when he was alive. But there are indications—particularly in the markings of his books—of Wallace's own ideas about the sources of his depression, some of which seem as though they ought to be the privileged communications of a priest or a psychiatrist. But these things are in a public archive and are therefore going to be discussed and so I will tell you about them."

What follows is an expedition into the once-guarded heart of Wallace's inner darkness, a heart that was laid open for her by the curators of the Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Her beautifully-written exploration of what she discovered there is a deliberate yet sensitive attempt to build upon a foundation of bereavement and resignation, filled with sadness and unanswerable questions but determined to challenge that impossibility, to draw meaning from the tragic void left by suicide — anyone's suicide — but which is amplified exponentially when the tragedy is shared with the whole of humanity.

That's just the thing about recognizing our common humanity, our common burden. We're suspended for a moment on this spinning blue pearl, here together and alive right now, conscious, though no one knows why. It is a question of caring. When one of us considers the experiences of another, all the failings and the achievements in someone else's life, we are seeing from this common place, knowing that it's all taking place in doubt and the absolute solitude and terror of being human, and knowing that it's all temporary. All those who are unsure of themselves and suspect themselves of the worst falseness and wrong, bad things are to be not only pitied but loved, identified with and known. Wallace taught that, and suffered for it, and in a way he died of it, too."

Several months later, an addendum was posted by the writer when she learned that 25 of the self-help books in David Foster Wallace's collection had been unexpectedly removed from the archive, making her one of a very (privileged?) few who will ever have the experience about which she wrote so poignantly:

It never occurred to me that Wallace's estate would be in a position to rescind part of the sale of his documents to the Ransom Center; I wrote what I did under the assumption that these books would remain available to anyone who was interested in seeing them. I was very sorry—or rather, entirely freaked out—to learn that that will no longer be the case.

Debt7. Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber will undoubtedly figure prominently on my Best Books of 2012 list (although technically it was published this year, it hasn't been released as an audio book yet, and so we wait), however, essays like "To Have Is to Owe" and Capitalism Eating Itself, the latter of which appeared in Adbusters' pre-Occupy Wall Street issue, offer a tantalizing preview.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant. As a result, we're all sitting around dumbfounded as the whole apparatus falls apart."

8. Dealing With Your Own Cultural Irrelevance (at Age 28) by Edith Zimmerman is so much funnier than I expected.

[T]he Internet is a new kind of barometer for keeping track of exactly how old you feel... Unlike in generations past, when (I imagine) you just kept doing what you and your same-aged friends did, and aged into obscurity in comfort on a cloud of your own tastes and generational inclinations, until you died either thinking you all were still the coolest or not caring anymore about being cool, these days the Internet exists in part to introduce you to all these things you didn't know about, but in part to remind you how much there is out there that you'll never know about. The Internet is basically like being at a house party and trying to find the bathroom and opening up a door to a room where a bunch of kids are playing a game or doing a drug or having an orgy (metaphorically) or something and you get all flustered and say, "Oh, my God, I'm sorry!" and they all look at you like, "You pervert," and you quickly slam the door shut. Everywhere you go on the Internet there are rooms you don't understand, people playing games you don't know the rules to, teenagers doing drugs you've never heard of and can't even pronounce. And you just walk through the halls of this house party, aging in fast forward, until you open the one last door at the end of the hallway and it's Death. Ha, ha. Again, this may be just a truly long-winded way of saying I saw a video that made me feel old."

9. The Ultimate War Simulation Game by David Wong, (technically from 2007, which at least rhymes with 2011).

Like my Grandpa always said, there were no naked human pyramids in Starcraft... There were no whiny anti-war Hollywood types or questionable war motives or granola-munching protesters. I'm starting to think that even World in Conflict, a real time strategy game so "realistic" it takes a NASA-built Quantum supercomputer to run it, has left me woefully unprepared to fight an actual war."

This article was linked to in a comment on the Last Psychiatrist's blog, a reply from Alone himself to a question about his literary influences. The style of this scathing "open letter to the strategy gaming cartel" bears some striking resemblances to TLP's eloquent brand of world-weary idealism, but it's the way he so artfully weaves together equal parts bipartisan political cynicism, jaded hawkishness and hardcore MMP geekery that gives me pause. The only way one attains such levels of the latter is by dedicating many, many hours to gaming, and this would be in addition to the already credulity-stretching hours TLP spends watching first-run movies and prime time cable television, after ostensibly spending his days in an inner-city clinic tending to LA's medicinally challenged. If The Last Psychiatrist is the author of this article, then he is far from Alone, but rather an amazingly coherent collective that perversely delights in fooling us all.

10. Revealed: the capitalist network that runs the world by by Andy Coghlan and Debora MacKenzie, The New Scientist

the 1,318According to this article, "science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy." To be exact, 1,318 companies "collectively own the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms, representing 60 per cent of global revenues." Further analysis revealed that "a 'super-entity' of 147 tightly knit companies — less than 1 percent — control 40 percent of the entire network." Conveniently for me, this article ends with a list, with which I will leave you until the time comes for me to post another list.

The top 20 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc