Saturday leftovers

  • Michael Schaub on being an English major:

    I remember being an English major at a Big 12 school in the mid-’90s. This was an agriculture- and engineering-heavy school where liberal arts departments were isolated in a building that permanently smelled like paint thinner. Whenever I’d tell people I was an English major, they’d look incredulous and say “What are you going to do with that? Teach?” Like in the same tone you’d say, “What are you going to do with that? Trade blowjobs for meth?” Good times!

    I was an English major at a pretty agriculture- and engineering-heavy school myself, so I know the feeling. Even my undergraduate advisor told me, “You know, you really can’t get a job with this degree.” (My advisor within the English department was a lot more encouraging, but I met with him all of once, the day I declared, and he left Penn State around the time I graduated. So take from that what you will.)

  • Are you now, or have you ever been, a Lovecraftian horror? [via]
  • Will we be telling our grandchildren (or even our children) about this thing we used to call “fish”? [via]

    While the climate crisis gathers front-page attention on a regular basis, people–even those who profess great environmental consciousness–continue to eat fish as if it were a sustainable practice. But eating a tuna roll at a sushi restaurant should be considered no more environmentally benign than driving a Hummer or harpooning a manatee. In the past 50 years, we have reduced the populations of large commercial fish, such as bluefin tuna, cod, and other favorites, by a staggering 90 percent. One study, published in the prestigious journal Science, forecast that, by 2048, all commercial fish stocks will have “collapsed,” meaning that they will be generating 10 percent or less of their peak catches. Whether or not that particular year, or even decade, is correct, one thing is clear: Fish are in dire peril, and, if they are, then so are we.

  • Sorry I missed this around Halloween (and by dint of not living in Chicago), but I think a zombie-preparedness fitness class is a terrific idea!
  • Has xkcd been watching the Penn State Monty Python Society’s Mall Climb?
  • Ken Jennings takes the logic of Pixar’s Cars maybe a little too far.
  • Speaking of Pixar, this Pixar opening parody is pretty great. [via]
  • Imagine if the producers of FlashForward had gone with Robert J. Sawyer’s original concept and made the Large Hadron Collider responsible for everything that happens? Imagine how laughable the show might seem then. [via]
  • I’ve never been remotely tempted to buy a bootleg DVD, despite an abundance of them on the streets of Manhattan. Still, their cover art can be pretty delightfully bizarre. [via]
  • NBC sued over font usage. Really.
  • Well, Coldplay does kind of put me to sleep anyway… [via]
  • According to a recent survey:

    Almost half of British consumers have lied to their friends about seeing a classic film to avoid the embarrassment of admitting ignorance of great movies.

    I’m reminded — as it seems I often am, often enough that I should probably get around to reading the book — of the literary parlor game described here, where everybody one-ups each other with all the books they haven’t read. (The “winner is an American professor who, in a rousing display of one-downmanship, finally announces that he’s never read Hamlet.”)

    For the record, of the “top ten classic films people most lie about seeing,” I’ve seen all but one of them. Can you guess which one I haven’t seen? [via]

  • I often find it a little ridiculous what parts of the internet they do and don’t block in my office:, but not;, but not Twitter itself. We have a YouTube channel, for instance — I’d link to it, but there’s nothing there right now — except I can’t visit it at work, even when I’m working with our UK team to upload video to it. Glad I’m not the only person who thinks these policies are a little outdated:

    As I’ve said a whole bunch of times, the “competition” for those of us in traditional media industries—book publishing, broadcasting, newspapers and magazines—is no longer other book publishers, broadcasters, or newspapers and magazines. Instead, our “competition” is now the plain fact that, even if you stipulate that 99.9% of the for-free internet is worthless nonsense, the remaining 0.1% is large enough to absorb anyone’s attention full-time for the rest of their life. For anyone with an internet connection, running out of interesting things to read is completely a thing of the past.

  • This is probably the subtlest Rickrolling I’ve ever seen. [via]
  • And finally, Birds on the Wires [via:

    Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

2 thoughts on “Saturday leftovers

  1. A particularly choice collection of links this time, I think! I don’t seem likely to get tired of Lovecraftian humor any time soon, judging by how much that flowchart made me chuckle.

    Re: Cars, I still like the explanation one of my friends had: that the movie is actually an alternate-universe sequel to Maximum Overdrive, in which the vehicles won.

    Having once had to deal — long-distance, fortunately — with an infestation of ladybugs in a radio telescope, I am sympathetic to CERN’s bird-related problems.

    And of those most-lied-about movies, I’ve only seen It’s a Wonderful Life and Gone with the Wind. Well, not even all of Gone with the Wind. Family members were watching it, and I’d wander in, watch for twenty minutes or so, wander off, come back half an hour later and watch some more… Oddly, I don’t actually feel like I missed anything.

  2. I had the same reaction when I was majoring in English – what are you going to do with that?

    Now that I’m doing an MA in cultural studies, it’s happening all over again. Fortunately, I already have a job, so people assume that I secretly want to teach.

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