We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Grab the entire list as a Readlist.
Tom Scocca digs into how the new 'RoboCop' remake misses the point of the original.
Gawker: Tom Scocca - The New RoboCop Is What RoboCop Meant to Kill
Idiotopian satires can't help but undermine themselves. Their existence is a tribute to the attractiveness of what's being parodied: It's fun to be stupid and violent and to buy stuff. We can dread where our civilization is headed because we understand the reasons it will go there.
The process of rebooting RoboCop wiped all of this away—the anger, the comedy, and the underlying self-awareness. A movie about our world going to hell is now a movie about a cop who is part robot. A "robo-cop," if you will. Nothing more.
George Packer reports on Jeff Bezos and Amazon's effects on the book industry.
New Yorker: George Packer - Cheap words
Before Google, and long before Facebook, Bezos had realized that the greatest value of an online company lay in the consumer data it collected. Two decades later, Amazon sells a bewildering array of products: lawnmowers, iPods, art work, toys, diapers, dildos, shoes, bike racks, gun safes, 3-D printers. Amazon’s code of corporate secrecy is extreme—it won’t confirm how many Seattle employees it has, or how many Kindle e-readers have been sold—so it’s impossible to know for sure, but, according to one publisher’s estimate, book sales in the U.S. now make up no more than seven per cent of the company’s roughly seventy-five billion dollars in annual revenue.
From the Pan Am spacecraft shoes to the Hilton Space Station signs, Dave Addey exhaustively analyzes Kubrick's use of typography in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Typeset In The Future: Dave Addey - 2001: A Space Odyssey
Following a brief speech in a moon base, three American chaps take a spacecraft to visit a suspicious-looking monolith. What could possibly go wrong? Either way, their map makes good use of a mix of Eurostile Bold Extended, Futura Medium and something that looks like it’s probably a condensed form of Univers.
Lexy Savvides goes behind the scenes of Getty's pro photographers in Sochi.
CNET Australia: Lexy Savvides - Photographing the Sochi Winter Olympics with Getty
"The gameplan was to set up as many robotics as we could," said Hannagan. "The problem with robotics is limited a little by the stadiums. What has happened is that the guys have got in and realised a lot of the roofs are not set up for robotics and there is no way we can access up there in the roof and hang robotics off."
The Dissolve's Scott Tobias has an interview with Ed Neumier, the writer of the original RoboCop.
The Dissolve: Scott Tobias - RoboCop writer Ed Neumeier discusses the film’s origins
You’d be surprised how many times people wanted me to say what year this was, and I just felt… “Well, this is stupid. It’s the future. That’s it.” In any event, that turned out to be our aesthetic, because we couldn’t afford much future on RoboCop. It was a really, really tightly budgeted movie.
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Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.