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Dystopias on my mind…

September 8, 2017

For the librarian and reader in all of us… this is a really good list of dystopian fiction (from Vulture, via Metafilter.)

From the many works on the list that I’ve already read, I think the reviewers (multiple) did an excellent job both of selecting items to include, and of capturing why the book needs to be on the list—which gives me reason to want to read the others…


Small Things Other People Like

May 20, 2017

Proctor-Silex 1L electric kettle(Picture from BoingBoing)

We’ve got one of these too (as do our friends A&A, it turns out), and yep, it’s been pretty good at doing just the one thing it’s supposed to do…

And what about East Virginia?

May 6, 2017

If you want to see what happens in a one-industry state when organized labor loses its strength, just take a look at West Virginia today.

How West Virginia Lost the Workers’ Revolution” is a long and really good introduction by one Hamilton Nolan to just how my home state went to hell. There isn’t anything really new here, but Nolan brings a lot of threads together to present a coherent picture.

The tl;dr version: WV has been owned (and systematically duped) by its coal companies for more than a hundred years, but it’s only gotten worse in the 21st Century.

Some more telling quotes from Nolan’s article:

There are plenty of towns down here too small to have a store, but none too small to have a church.


[Matewan’s] local branch of the United Mine Workers has 800 members—and all of them are retired.

Oh, and one link from the comments, which for a wonder aren’t entirely a cesspit this time: a reminder that Hillary Clinton actually had a plan to help coal towns get out of the 19th Century:

Just so you know…

Urban dystopias (keyword search results)

April 28, 2017

Whoa… serendipity.

From Web Urbanist, found via DuckDuckGo:
Urban Dystopia: 11 Short Sci-Fi Films Set in Future Cities

An impressive amount of creativity to click to—including a video starring the irrepressible Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. A couple of the YouTube links have gone stale, but I found ’em by going to YouTube itself and searching. It’s all good…

Mad Men at Work

March 20, 2017

This is why newspapers shouldn’t print advertising directly on an image of their front page—at least, not without double-checking on what damage that does.

I’m sure that the original headline read “ONE-WOMAN WELCOME WAGON,” but that’s not what this truncated version says, is it?

The Sunday Oregonian ad wrapper and headline, Sunday, March 12, 2017

“E-Woman Come Wagon”—probably not what they meant

Morning Squick

March 18, 2017

A couple of days ago now, I awoke at 4:00am to a disturbing sound in my left ear—a kind of squelching, skittering sound on my eardrum that I thought at first was water or accumulated cerumen (earwax) or both. But after turning and tilting my head in various ways to try to dislodge the obstruction, I noticed that it didn’t slosh, and it kept occurring, intermittently. It didn’t sound or act like liquid. In fact, it sounded like… legs.

There was nothing else to do. I got out of bed, gathered a container of warm, clean water and a syringe, then stood over the bathroom sink and flushed out… an ant. Just a tiny sugar ant, to be sure, but still—eurgh.

This is perhaps the creepiest single thing that’s ever happened to my body—I’ve been very lucky, I know.

As one of my coworkers said, though, “It could have been worse. It could have been a spider.”


Consider the Heptapod

March 16, 2017

Okay, for those of you who have seen the Oscar-winning film Arrival: what does the label on this wine bottle say?

Sphere pinot noir label

Sphere pinot noir label