- I am strangely fascinated by NASA’s book for the visually impaired, Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters. It’s sold out right now; they do have the text and an audio version freely available, but that seems like it misses the whole point of a tactile book. [via]
- Have we all been playing Monopoly wrong all these years? I like Waxy.org’s post about it, in which Andy Baio writes, “It’s interesting to see a commercial game see the same sort of cultural variation as other children’s folk games.”
- TV’s ‘Cash Cab’ kills pedestrian in Vancouver. Reality television is dangerous, people! [via]
- Can you survive Baltimore’s 5k run? Sounds like The Wire meets The Walking Dead. [via]
- And finally, the Empathic Civilisation [via]
- “The government is always going to go after the guy with the most money, regardless of culpability…” The Forfeiture Racket is a lot worse than you might think. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for convicted criminals who lose their property, particularly property used in the commission of a crime. And my first thought, when I read about an accused large-scale meth dealer who might lose his beloved comic book collection (the link that led me to the one above), was well, good, if he’s convicted, he probably should lose his property. But forfeiture laws go way beyond that, down all sorts of crazy, corruption-filled paths.
- But yes, by all means, let us cut funding to poison control. [via]
- Oh that Chris Brown…still a class act.
- Okay, I’ve got to admit, this is a pretty neat zombie T-shirt.
- And finally, I’m no copyright expert, but I think inscribing a passage from James Joyce into the genome of a synthetic microbe is covered by fair use. The Joyce estate, apparently, does not agree. [via]
- Your end-times moment of the day: chocolate drought predicted by 2014 [via]
- Did you know “the total literature of Iceland is [only] under 50,000 books”? Makes the idea of putting it all online not sound so far-fetched, now doesn’t it? (And is this the literary equivalent of a seedbank? A Canticle for Sveinbjörn perhaps?) [via]
- So Fringe might actually be safe from cancellation? We just have to hope a network executive wasn’t ly — oh crap, it’s doomed, isn’t it?
- Say what you will about Joe Biden, the man certainly has a sense of humor about himself. [via]
- And finally, the Zombie Tabernacle Choir. Some things don’t have to be useful or even particularly interactive to still be sort of strangely neat. [via]
- I don’t know why I find this particularly interesting, but I do:
The post office ignores the return address for Netflix DVDs and sorts them separately for a Netflix truck to pick them up early in the morning for processing.
Discs are shipped back to the nearest processing facility, regardless of the address on the return envelope; that address is there just for legal reasons, apparently. This seems like something I maybe sort of already knew, but it’s a reminder of the volume they (and by extension the post office) have to process.
- John Seavey’s Open Letter to Zombie Story Writers:
In essence, the human body is a machine, like an automobile. You are trying to describe the ways this machine can malfunction to produce a specific effect, and that’s good, but please stop explaining to me how it keeps going without wheels, gasoline, or a functioning engine.
He raises some interesting points, although I don’t think they apply to the “zombies” in films like 28 Days Later, as he seems to. At least from my recollection — and I re-watched the movie pretty recently — the infected population there a) don’t act at all like George Romeroesque zombies (i.e., no human flesh, no brains), and b) don’t continue acting beyond physically believable limits. Beyond normal pain tolerances, sure — there’s the one guy who keeps running even though he’s literally on fire — but into the realm of sheer impossibility.
- “What is, come with me if you want to live, Alex?” So you may have heard: a computer has won at Jeopardy. (There goes that Weird Al remix idea!) I’m still looking forward to the televised rematch next month, though perhaps not so much to the subsequent robot apocalypse.
- It’s worth it for Goodnight Dune alone: Five Sci-Fi Children’s Books. [via]
- And finally, Jeff VanderMeer on Everything You Need to Know to be a Fiction Writer.
- What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?. Well, questions like this are used for making people like me feel old. (See, also, this video of French children playing with vintage technology.) [via]
- Nuclear bomb photo archives. Exactly what it says on the (likely radioactive) tin. [via]
- The Meaning of Dog Barks. Take the interactive quiz! [via]
- There’s something utterly charming about the idea of fifteen-year-old John Updike writing a fan letter to the creator of Little Orphan Annie.
- And finally, Choose your own Night of the Living Dead adventure