Wednesday various

  • You kind of have to love Umberto Eco’s answer to the question “What’s one thing you’re a fan of that people might not expect?” He said: “My last grandchild.”
  • John Seavey pitches Evil Toy Monkey — The Series. I’d watch that.
  • “It was nearly toast, but Coney Island Bialys and Bagels is on a roll again after Muslim businessmen Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali recently took over the 91-year-old mainstay of the Jewish noshes.” Now if we could just figure out how the Middle East is like a bialy shop… [via]
  • Ken Jennings suggest weaning ourselves from our GPSes:

    But as much as I love GPS, I worry that wayfinding is yet another part of our brains that our culture has decided it’s okay to outsource to technology. A famous 2000 study on London cab drivers showed that the hippocampus, the brain’s seat of spatial knowledge, grows physically as our geographic knowledge increases. Many people believe their sense of direction is hopeless, but in reality, that just means they need more practice. In experiment after experiment, researchers have learned that repeating a few simple exercises can turn lousy spatial thinkers into good ones. Without that exercise, our skills get flabby.

  • And finally, Firefly the Animated Series. Oh, if only. [via


Monday various

Tuesday various

  • Dyslexie, A Typeface Designed To Help Dyslexics Read. [via]
  • Sure, it was silly and ridiculous when it happened on The Office, but it can be deadly serious when your GPS gives you the wrong information. [via]

    Suddenly, that suggestion that mapmakers sometimes intentionally include false information to prevent copyright infringement sounds fairly irresponsible.

  • On the pleasures of dining alone [via]
  • Speaking of food, this may be the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. And I watch Bizarre Foods pretty regularly. Seriously, it’s perfectly SFW, but you may want to exercise caution visiting that link, much less watching the video. It’s of a “dancing squid” in a Japanese restaurant, reportedly, and it seems like nothing more than cruelty masquerading as novelty.

    I am not a vegetarian, and I’ve eaten squid. I quite enjoyed the calamari I had on Saturday evening, for instance. But I think we have an obligation towards the food that we eat, the animals that we kill to sustain us. If they give up their lives, they deserve a quick an merciful end. They do not deserve to be toyed with like this.

    That said, if it’s fake…I’m not sure I feel a whole better about it. Although there’s a lot of evidence and commentary (here as well) to suggest it’s real.

  • And finally, on a happier note, Monty Python member Graham Chapman isn’t going to let a little thing like being dead stand in the way of his making a new movie.

Tuesday various

Tuesday various

  • Peter Jackson adding more female roles to The Hobbit? On the one hand, I’m all for this. More strong female characters all around, yes, thank you. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that wants to shout, “But it’s not in the book!” On the other other hand, I find myself surprisingly unenthusiastic about the whole thing. Maybe I’ve just had my fill of Peter Jackson Tolkein movies.
  • Speaking of Tolkein, though, apparently the Eye of Sauron is at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 4151. Who knew? [via]
  • How I Passed My U.S. Citizenship Test By Keeping the Right Answers to Myself. [via]
  • In this post, Mark Evanier relayed something that several people had told him via e-mail — namely that “Map-makers sometimes include phony names and places on maps in order to identify when someone plagiarizes their work.” I’d never heard of this practice, but apparently it’s quite common.
  • And finally, people will tell you — professional writers and editors will tell you — don’t respond to negative reviews. It’s a losing game, even if you think you’re right. Even if you are right. But one thing’s for certain: you should never, ever, ever respond to a negative review like this. [via]