Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 16:42 on 10-01-2014, Dan H
I confess to never having heard of Shia LaBoeuf before this incident.

Although I'd note that at least some of the commentary online shows the usual total lack of understanding about what "plagiarism" means. Chris Straub of Chainsawsuit fame, for example, summarises the incident as: "shia laboeuf ... made a short film which completely ripped off the premise and story beats and even dialogue from cartoonist daniel clowes".

As far as I know, the only one of those things which is remotely protected by copyright is dialogue. I can't believe for a second that you can actually "plagiarise" a "premise" or a "story beat".
at 14:11 on 06-01-2014, Arthur B
Yeah, it's the co-ordinated nature of the disappearance which makes me think that, like any secret society worthy of the name, they simply cut all media contact and went underground. No true Rosicrucian openly admits to being a Rosicrucian and all that.
at 12:41 on 06-01-2014, Adrienne
I'm not sure anyone is actually clear what happened to the Aristasians -- they all sort of disappeared, in a fairly coordinated fashion, a few years back. They were certainly delightfully bizarre.
at 11:18 on 05-01-2014, Arthur B
I was under the impression that they'd flinched away from public contact and instituted a media blackout policy rather than being replaced?
at 03:17 on 05-01-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Well, 2014 has had a promising start: I've spent the past few days learning about the Aristasians, a Traditionalist secret society created at Oxford in the 1960s that centered around a paracosm inhabited solely by women and modeled on interwar Britain. It's actually kinda sad what happened to them; they'd managed to keep going for about 3-4 decades, but in the beginning of the 2000s they began to nose out onto the Web, and within a few years their whole society had been erased and replaced with a charmless otakukin replica.

I've gotta admit that I dig some of this underground stuff; sometimes people just don't fit into the world, and they can often do very interesting things to find a place to belong.
at 22:02 on 02-01-2014, Adrienne
Robinson L and Michal -- congrats on your degrees! that's awesome! I still hope 2014 is EVEN MORE awesome for you guys.

(Me, I had surgery in January of 2013 and my year didn't really improve from there. 2014 won't have to work too hard to be better than 2013.)
at 18:49 on 02-01-2014, Alice
Happy New Year to all and sundry. May 2014 kick 2013's ass. (Adrienne)

I second this emotion wholeheartedly. (Major congrats to all who completed their degrees and/or achieved great things in 2013, though.)
at 23:31 on 01-01-2014, Michal
McGill isn't even mailing my degree until January 6th, to my great annoyance.
at 15:36 on 01-01-2014, Robinson L
Indeed, Happy New Year, everyone.

... As for kicking 2013's ass, though, for me personally, it's gonna be pretty tough to beat out getting my MA (as a matter of fact, my diploma arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, no kidding). I'm open to being pleasantly surprised, though.
at 10:51 on 01-01-2014, Adrienne
Happy New Year to all and sundry. May 2014 kick 2013's ass.
at 11:57 on 31-12-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi

That's the one. It's been 10 years since I was around there, so the blocks seem to have converged into a single block in my mind or something.

On the BitCoins, I have a friend who mined back in the day and is understandably very much for the thing. Since he has more than a hundred bitcoins and even sold bitcoin merchandize for a time. Since even if you can't buy food or useful stuff(beyond medicine for your underground surgery clinic), getting bitcoin themed cufflinks makes it all worthwhile.

If for some reason bitcoins became the de facto currency in the future, he would control a sizeable portion of that currency with a very small investment and very little effort. So from his perspective, it would be a much better world.
at 11:10 on 31-12-2013, Axiomatic
BitCoin is ancient history, people. Get with the program - DogeCoin is the new hotness.


much crypto

very currency
at 03:45 on 31-12-2013, Melanie
a so far two part saga

Oh, oh! My favorite part (so far!) is in the comments of the first one, where someone comments that there is, quote, "a Bitcoin ATM somewhere in Canada" and they should just "Go there, or have a relative/friend go there."

Somewhere in Canada.
at 03:03 on 31-12-2013, Melanie
All I know about BitCoin I learned while reading this

That's fascinating. In a gruesome way. Especially when it gets to this part:

Bitcoin supporters often recommend performing Bitcoin-to-dollars transactions in person, which not only sort of defeats the idea of it being an anonymous digital currency, but also feels uncomfortably like arranging a drug deal.

*slow clap*
at 02:52 on 31-12-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
All I know about BitCoin I learned while reading this, but what you posted seems par the course.

At this point, I'd accept that BitCoin is either a proof-of-concept that got way, way out of hand, or a fairy trap concocted by a devious leprechaun to steal the money of the greedy and credulous.

While we're on the subject, have a gander at some of the frankencomputers people have build for mining their bitcoins.
at 18:34 on 30-12-2013, Arthur B
The whole BitCoin thing is hell of dodgy and built, so far as I can tell, on a bizarre techno-libertarian house of cards which could topple at any second, and this only confirms my suspicions: a so far two part saga detailing one man's epic attempts to convert his BitCoins, supposedly worth a ridiculous amount of real money per coin, into actual cash he can use to pay for stuff, which you'd think would be a basic function an actual currency would offer.
at 00:00 on 28-12-2013, Jamie Johnston
It's this one. Not really opposite the station but fairly close, so I imagine it's the same one you're thinking of — I'd be surprised if there were two Who shops in East Ham! Maybe it's moved a bit up the road or something.
at 23:20 on 26-12-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Is that the one in East Ham opposite the tube station. I used to live right by it, but that was pre-resurrection, so I had an awareness of Dr. Who, but no real interest in that. There was a real big Dalek in the window thohg and they had a bunch of other stuff and books there as well. A nice store altogether.
at 13:10 on 25-12-2013, Jamie Johnston
Maybe part of the plan is for Ryde to become a sort of major geek destination, like Glastonbury for New-Agers. Some people will travel quite a long way for niche stuff. There's a Doctor Who shop in a fairly remote bit of East London that does sell online but also has a pretty big physical retail premises, which suggests more actual face-to-face customers than I'd expect from the local area.
at 21:42 on 24-12-2013, Arthur B
Yeah, I mean I'd assume they'd also be able to get by on distance selling except you'd actually have to be really, really determined to work out how to buy anything through their website so I'm not sure how that would even work.
at 21:09 on 24-12-2013, Sonia Mitchell
And yet it's an actual real shop, not just a dodgy website. I drove past it a couple of weeks ago.

I will concede that it is on the same road as an established Doctor Who shop (but I've always believed that he must do most of his business via distance selling), but surely this is even more niche.
at 08:19 on 24-12-2013, Shim
It's very in-constructiony. Several pages list the same non-existent "artists" as their representatives for Books, Sweets and whatever. The indexy sort of page is just random typing, the poor man's Lorem Ipsum. Even on the slightly more coherent pages, there are links that don't work and there's not a single page that actually functions. The whole thing basically looks like something I might have in a folder on my hard drive while constructing it, but not anything I'd dream of putting online. Which is to say nothing of the actual design.

It's probably not actually sus, but I'm a bit chary of it.