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Bill Watterson Briefly Returns to the Comics Page →

June 09, 2014 |

Wow. Bill Watterson, THE Bill Watterson, returned to the comics page for the first time in 19 years to ghost-write a few panels of Pearls Before Swine:

Let me tell you. Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me? But he was. And he had a great sense of humor about the strip I had done, and was very funny, and oh yeah…. …He had a comic strip idea he wanted to run by me. Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.

Bill Watterson is famous for being fiercely protective of his own privacy. He almost never, ever comes out of hiding. He doesn’t do interviews or talks, unless it’s an extremely special occasion. It just doesn’t happen. He’s a legendary character and yet very few people have actually met him.

The fact that he voluntarily stepped out of anonymity to do something like this is incredibly amazing. If I was Stephan Pastis I’d also feel like I’d just met Santa Claus.

But why reappear now, if only for a brief moment? Could it be that he actually misses the comics page? Could it be the first step towards a more extended return?

Here’s hoping.

Via Ren.

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Letting go →

June 04, 2014 |

Matt Gemmell:

You definitely can’t work effectively when you’re angry, or drained, or upset, or depressed. I don’t subscribe to the ‘acquired immunity’ theory of personal experience, where we must be endlessly tempered by disagreement and adversity; that’s another thing that we take too far. I don’t want to be exposed in the first place – because I’d rather be making something I truly care about.

Matt is absolutely killing it lately.

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I’m New Here →

June 03, 2014 |

Neven Mrgan:

It was maybe two years after the move that I started thinking full-time in English, a language I’d previously only used in the classroom. Oddly, English felt more comfortable in my brain than Croatian ever had. Long sentences were easier to build, idioms were deeper in meaning, and new phrases came more naturally and more frequently. I didn’t feel myself tripping over the grammar or worrying about the vocabulary as much. There always seemed to be a different way to say something if I got stuck on a word.

Such a wonderful article. I agree with pretty much everything he said, especially this bit about the English language.

Via Marco.

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Mac keyboard shortcuts →

May 22, 2014 |

Excellent article by Matt Gemmell on how to master your Mac’s keyboard shortcuts. A must-read:

I recently wrote an article about [being productive on a small screen](, which mentioned my belief that the most effective route to productivity on a computer is learning the available keyboard shortcuts. In this piece, I’d like to share some of the keyboard shortcuts and related functionality that I use every day on the Mac.
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Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets | Vox →

May 17, 2014 |

I was a bit surprised to see John Gruber’s link to this article on Daring Fireball:

This doesn’t mean that if all American bikers leave their helmets at home, New York is going to suddenly turn into Copenhagen. But it does mean that safety officials’ emphasis on helmets is totally misplaced — and that required helmet laws mainly make biking more dangerous by taking bikers off the road.

This struck home for a couple of reasons. First, it’s well-written and objective, which is rare. This is a subject about which most people have first-hand experience: they either know someone who was tragically killed but would have been saved had he been wearing a helmet (probably not), or someone who was saved from certain death only because he was wearing a helmet (again, probably not), or they themselves had a scare and were relieved to have been wearing a helmet at the time. These unsubstantiated claims (arguing about what could have happened is not how Science works) typically turn into pretty strong opinions that are based on anecdotal evidence rather than objective, statistically meaningful data.

The truth, however, is that the most you should realistically expect from your helmet is for it to save you from a couple stitches and bruises, and possibly a minor concussion. This is admittedly not bad at all, and a perfectly good reason to wear one. But at the end of the day, you’re wearing a piece of styrofoam on your head, not exactly an indestructible shield.

Secondly, I’ve been closely involved in this topic for the past year or so due to the recent push for pro-helmet legislation led by our current government here in Spain. Their plan was to change the existing legislation in order to ban cycling without a helmet in Spanish cities. The proposed reform sparked an intense debate with numerous pro-cycling associations, and faced such strong opposition that the government finally gave in and settled on a less ambitious reform: only minors under 16 will be banned from cycling without a helmet in Spain.

The end result is, quite frankly, ridiculous, as there’s no logical reason to allow helmet-less cycling by adults but not by minors. As far as I know, people don’t magically grow a steel-reinforced skull when they turn 16.

Alas, our government is not the most receptive when it comes to political debate, particularly when they have a majority in Congress, as it is the case now. They don’t need to listen to anyone; they can just approve whatever reforms they want because they have the votes to do so. Which is why the fact that they backtracked on this is so telling: they were so clearly and stubbornly wrong that the only way they could rectify and still save some face was this last-minute, minors-only compromise that serves nobody.

Welcome to Politics in Spain. No wonder we’re so screwed.

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Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Streaming Music Service | Re/code →

May 14, 2014 |

Lauren Goode, writing for Re/code:

I’ve been exploring some of the lesser-known features of streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio and Beats Music. Beats, of course, may soon be acquired by Apple for $3.2 billion. There’s a handful of others out there, including Rdio, Songza, Google Play Music and iHeartRadio, but the first four I mentioned are the ones I focused on for this column.

I’ve been a Spotify user for years, always with a paid Premium subscription, and I’ve always been very happy with it. They recently redesigned all of their client apps, which is a nice touch that helps keep the service fresh and attractive in my mind. And of course, their music catalog is top-notch.

As good as Spotify is, however, they’re facing increasingly tough competition from other streaming services like Rdio, Pandora, etc., so no matter how happy you are with your chosen service, it’s always good practice to keep an eye open and see what the others are doing.

At his point though, they’re all pretty good, so it’s probably a matter of personal preference more than anything. If you want to try one but are still undecided, I can easily recommend using Spotify. The fine folks over at The Sweet Setup, however, disagree and they recommend Rdio instead, so keep in mind that your mileage may vary. Fortunately, most services offer free tiers, so you can always try a couple and see which works better for you.

Via The Loop.

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The Roast in the Fridge →

May 13, 2014 |

Erika Hall writes an amazing piece over at Medium:

Well into the 21st century, billions of women and girls are still denied the ability to simply live their lives, control their bodies, and pursue their personal ambitions. All too often—that is to say way more than never—blameless life choices result in a death sentence. Even in our affluent “innovative” disembodied internet culture, outspoken women are viciously mocked and threatened in an attempt to silence them.

Via Daring Fireball.

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Move Over, Tennis Elbow; Wrist Injuries Increasingly Plague Stars | NY Times →

April 30, 2014 |

Dr. Richard Berger, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester:

“This is energy that springs from the legs, up through the spine, down the arm to the forearm and across the wrist to the racket. At some point, either through genetics or the playing style, the structural integrity of any of those structures is exceeded. For any given individual, the force is greater than the structures are capable of withstanding. That’s where the injury comes from.”

Tennis’s evolution in the past decade has moved towards a game where it’s all about overpowering and outlasting the opponent rather than outmaneuvering or outsmarting him. It may be great for spectacle, having gladiatorial-like 5-hour matches every weekend, but unfortunately, this almost-superhuman physicality has its consequences. Something needs to change.

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