In this new link roundup, the upcoming demise of Google Reader, LACMA’s new collections website, the machine that turns itself off, the Cyprus crisis, California’s 13th largest city goes bankrupt, Baudelaire on criticism, Wittgenstein on Facebook, sign painters, 507 mechanical movements, the ends of man, death penalty is sought for James Holmes, Game of Thrones sets a new record on BitTorrent, unemployment in Europe, the beauty of letterpress, Simondon at Cerisy, the Chinese word for “crisis”, Fujifilm doesn’t manufacture motion picture film anymore, Louis C.K., Roger Ebert and John Coltrane.

Images link directly to the content they illustrate. All those links were first collected on @aphelis (Twitter).

• • •

  • Google Official Blog: “A second spring of cleaning” March 13, 2013.

    We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.

    This announcement triggered a lot of reaction (online) by tech journalists and commentators. Alternatives to Google Readers already exist and more of them are expected to emerge in the upcoming weeks. On the relevance and usefulness of RSS technology, one can read “Why I love RSS and You Do Too” by Brent Simmons (March 14, 2013). Brent Simmons was the creator of NetNewsWire which was later acquired by BlackPixel. NetNewsWire was the very first RSS feed reader I used before switching to Reeder. Reeder developer Silvio Rizzi has put up a statement to the effect that Reeder will continue to work after July first.

    As always, Aphelis will remain fully accessible through its RSS feed. Posts are made available in full (i.e. not truncated) and since I do not use FeedBurner ―which is also owned by Google― I don’t have to worry about this service going down as well. Besides, the Facebook Page for Aphelis was specifically set up as an alternative notification system for those who do not like RSS feeds or do not know how the technology works.

    Google reader

  • The LACMA blog: “What Do Cats Have to Do With It? Welcome to Our New Collections Website” by Amy Heibel, March 14, 2013. In March, LACMA launched its new collections website where, among many things, one can download over 20,000 high-quality images of art, a quarter of which are in the public domain.

    LACMA new collection website

  • The Wall Street Journal: “Inventors Dream Up Machines That Exist Only to Turn Themselves Off; ‘Unspeakably Sinister’” by Abigail Pesta, March 12, 2013. If the link leads you to a paywall, try searching for the title in Google instead, or even searching for the link itself.

    He also dreamed up the useless machine, although the name he gave it was the “ultimate machine.” His mentor at Bell Labs, Claude Shannon, built one and kept it on his desk, where the science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke spotted it one day. “There is something unspeakably sinister about a machine that does nothing—absolutely nothing—except switch itself off,” Mr. Clarke later wrote, saying he had been haunted by the device. Mr. Shannon built a few more and handed them out to people at Bell Labs. Those versions used little doll hands to flip the switch, Mr. Minsky says.

    Shannon machine

  • The Guardian: “Cyprus crisis: limits on bank withdrawals to last ‘about a month’” by Helena Smith, March 28, 2013.

    I posted many more links about the Cyprus crisis on Twitter during the past three weeks. Although feared bank runs didn’t happened and bank accounts under €100,000 were left untouched (for the moment), the situation is still dire. At the same moment in the United-States, the 13th largest city of the state of California was authorized by a federal judge to proceed with bankruptcy (see below).


  • Reuters: “Court says city of Stockton, California may proceed with bankruptcy” by Jonathan Weber, April 1st, 2013.

    In a case being studied by other cash-strapped American cities including Detroit, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Klein’s decision was a setback for bondholders and insurers who had resisted the California city’s bankruptcy filing. Stockton is the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy.

    The crisis is just starting to unfold. The next problem is to know who will get paid between retired city workers (to whom a pension is due for work done) or the bondholders.


  • University of Chicago Press: The Cruel Radiance. Photography and Political Violence by Susie Linfield, 2010.

    In 1846, Charles Baudelaire wrote a short essay called “What Is the Good of Criticism?” This is something that virtually every critic asks herself at some point, and that many have had trouble answering; it has been known to evoke hopelessness, despair, even self-loathing. Baudelaire didn’t think that criticism would save the world, but he didn’t think it was a worthless pursuit, either. For Baudelaire, criticism was the synthesis of thought and feeling: in criticism, he wrote, “passion… raises reason to new heights,” and he urged his fellow critics to eschew antiseptic writing that “deliberately rids itself of any trace of feeling.” A few years later he returned to the subject, explaining that through criticism he sought “to transform my pleasure into knowledge”: a pithy, excellent description of what criticism should be.

    Cruel radiance

  • University of Reading / Staff Portal: “Wittgenstein has personal profile on Facebook” January 14, 2013.

    As part of his research into the life and work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dr John Preston, Senior Lecturer in and Head of the Department of Philosophy has collected a large amount of biographical material. So much material that he realised that he could recount the events that happened in Wittgenstein’s life day-by-day as they occurred one hundred years ago on a Facebook account

    See the webpages and the Facebook pages.


  • Sign Painters is a 2013 documentary film directed by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon.

    There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.

  • is an online edition of the classic technical reference from 1868 Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements by Henry T. Brown (see “About”; get a free copy of the book on

    This site contains the original illustrations and text from the 21st edition of the book, published in 1908. It also includes animated versions of the illustrations, and occasional notes by the webmaster. The animated versions are not yet complete. They are identified by color images in the thumbnail pages.

    Mech movements

  • Backdoor Broadcasting Company: “Catherine Malabou – From the Overman to the Posthuman: How Many Ends?” March 22, 2013.

    In this presentation, I will read and discuss Derrida’s text The Ends of Man (Margins Of Philosophy), and ask what remains of the notions of The Human, Humanity, and Humanism after deconstruction. To what extent are we still allowed to elaborate a notion of the “proper” of man? This will also be a reflection on Nietzsche and current biology.

    Catherine Malabou wasn’t able to attend the event and her text was read by Professor Jon Goldberg-Hiller. Audio only, which can be played online or downloaded.


  • The New York Times: “Death Penalty Is Sought in Shooting at Colorado Theater” by Jack Healy, April 1st, 2013.

    James E. Holmes deserves to die for killing 12 people in a storm of bullets inside a packed Colorado movie theater last July, prosecutors said in a hearing here on Monday.

    Holmes death penalty

  • TorrentFreak: “Game of Thrones Pirates Break BitTorrent Swarm Record” by Ernesto, April 1st, 2013.

    With a million downloads on BitTorrent in less than a day, the season premiere of Game of Thrones is breaking records on multiple fronts. Never before has there been a torrent with so many people sharing a file at the same time, more than 160,000 simultaneous peers. Data gathered by TorrentFreak further shows that Australia has the highest piracy rate of the popular download destinations, while London tops the list of pirate cities.

    Game of Throne

  • New York Times: “Unemployment in Euro Zone Reaches a Record 12%” by David Jolly, April 2, 2013. Get the original news release from Eurostat: PDF.

    The jobless crisis is hitting hardest in the south of Europe. Eurostat said Greece, with its economy in free fall, had the euro zone’s highest unemployment rate ,at 26.4 percent in December, the latest month for which data are available. Among Greek youth, the jobless rate has hit a staggering level, 58.4 percent.

    Greece unemployment

  • The Beauty of Letterpress is a brand new website dedicated to the art of letterpress printing:

    The Beauty of Letterpress is brought to you by Neenah Paper featuring Crane® Papers as an online resource and showcase, featuring the best and most innovative letterpress work in the industry today. In addition, the community will be assisting the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in their efforts to relocate and effectively salvage a priceless piece of letterpress history. There will be monthly issues curated by prominent designers, highlighting their favorite projects on the site. (read more)


  • Centre Culturel International de Cerisy: “Gilbert Simondon et l’invention du futur”, April 5 to April 15, 2013. Program with abstracts. Found via 10 Secondes Tigre.

    Récemment redécouverte, l’œuvre de Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989) inspire désormais de nombreux travaux novateurs en France (notamment à l’Atelier Simondon) et de par le monde. Une nouvelle génération de philosophes et de chercheurs en sciences humaines s’attelle non seulement à commenter cette pensée encyclopédique, mais aussi à la réactualiser en l’appliquant aux problématiques contemporaines.


  • “danger + opportunity ≠ crisis: How a misunderstanding about Chinese characters has led many astray” by Victor H. Mair, September 2009.

    There is a widespread public misperception, particularly among the New Age sector, that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of elements that signify “danger” and “opportunity.”


  • Fujifilm Global: “Discontinuation of Motion Picture Film production”, April 2, 2013.

    As previously announced, Fujifilm has stopped production of the majority of Motion Picture Film products by March, 2013. […] Products in discontinuation of manufacturing: Color Positive Film, Color Negative Film, B&W Positive and Negative Film, Intermediate Film, Sound Recording Film, High Contrast, Panchromatic Films, Chemicals (Japan only).


  • The New York Times: “The Joke’s on Louis C.K.” interview with Dave Itzkoff, April 4, 2013.

    So how did Woody Allen approach you?

    It just came out of nowhere. I got this e-mail: Woody Allen wants you to come in for something. I’ve been waiting for that e-mail my whole life.


  • Roger Ebert’s Journal: “A Leave of Presence” by Roger Ebert, April 2, 2013.

    Thank you. Forty-six years ago on April 3, 1967, I became the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Some of you have read my reviews and columns and even written to me since that time. Others were introduced to my film criticism through the television show, my books, the website, the film festival, or the Ebert Club and newsletter. However you came to know me, I’m glad you did and thank you for being the best readers any film critic could ask for.

    American film critic Roger Ebert died two days later, on April 4th, 2013.


  • YouTube: “The World According To John Coltrane” a 60 mins documentary film directed by Robert Palmer and Toby Byron and released in 1990. See Wikipedia for more information (it is not listed on IMDb). Watch it below:


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