Big Brother Wants to Chat

According to The Times of India, the Chinese government is reverting to the same PR tactics used by dot com's in the 90's. They've enlisted a band of carefully-selected undercover operatives to go into chat rooms, and basically defend and glorify government policies on any boards where there's dissent. But what's the value in turning The Peoples' frown emoticons upside down? Posing as "ordinary netizens," the special forces are expected to guide public opinion, and help control the over 100 million Chinese Internet users currently frolicking about the "˜net. Of course, I'm not sure who's going to tell the Minister of Propaganda that quite a few of the companies that resorted to such innovative chat room stratagem have either experienced significant backlashes, or found themselves belly-up by the end of the decade.

Asia Media (via

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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