Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
Last week, President Bush declared large parts of the Pacific Ocean as marine national monuments, permanently restricting commercial usage (like fishing and oil exploration) in those areas. Described as "vast," the protected areas total more than 195,000 square miles, which the New York Times reminds us is "an area larger than the states of Washington and Oregon combined" and also "bigger than California." Involved in the decision to protect those waters was Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, an oceanographer who has... READ ON
Way back in April of 2007 I pointed you to McSweeney's Reviews of New Food. These reviews veer from hyperliterary nostalgia-laced foodpoems (The Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges: "If P.E. was the Crimean War of my middle-school life, then cheese was my Florence Nightingale.") to terse microstories that can only hint at the writer's painful inner life (Doritos X-13D: "The best thing about Doritos X-13D is the way your vegetarian girlfriend tries one before she looks at the package and sees that these... READ ON
As we welcome another year, many of our readers are making resolutions to improve themselves. We've rounded up five iPhone apps (plus bonus apps, many of them free) to help you keep your New Year's Resolutions. Read on, if you dare....
1. Get In Shape
So you're a couch potato. 2008 was full of so much awesome TV and other passive entertainment that you packed on the pounds and really let your muscle tone go. Abs? What are those? You just have fabs, the squishy, huggable ab substitute. You... READ ON
Have you ever wanted to see classic poems "read" by their long-dead authors via creepy computer animation? Well, now you can! On YouTube, poetryanimations has published a nearly 250-part series of poems that feature photos of their authors, modified so that they appear to be talking. Have a look at this creepy, but kind of awesome, example, in which Lewis Carroll "reads" his poem "Jabberwocky":
A few more favorites after the... READ ON
As a Public Radio Nerd (PRN), I've long enjoyed Science Friday, the weekly NPR call-in show that brings popular science to the masses. Hosted by Ira Flatow, a certifiable nerd in his own right -- I've run across him in aquarium hobbyist message boards, and Mac nerd message boards -- the show carries the tagline "Making Science User-Friendly™." And I think it succeeds. But it also has deep nerd cred, including a Twitter feed, three podcast feeds, and a website designed by FlatoGraphics: presumably... READ ON
My father went to Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and he recently came across a nice article in Haverford's alumni magazine about Theodor Geisel. Now, Geisel is not a Haverford alum...but his agent Herb Cheyette is. I've collected a few choice bits of trivia from the article below, but I encourage you to read the full article for a fond remembrance of Geisel from his friend and agent Herb Cheyette.
Geisel had a closet next to his studio filled with hats sent to him from children around the world,... READ ON
Editor's Note: This was our most popular post of 2008.Yesterday I came across a slightly mysterious website -- a collection of Polaroids, one per day, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. There's no author listed, no contact info, and no other indication as to where these came from. So, naturally, I started looking through the photos. I was stunned by what I found.In 1979 the photos start casually, with pictures of friends, picnics, dinners, and so on. Here's an example from April 23,... READ ON
Epistolary history is full of open letters, those that are written with the intent that they'll be read by a wide audience. Here we've collected six of the best (or at least, most influential) open letters of all time.
1. Letter from Birmingham Jail
Writer: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Recipients: "Fellow Clergymen"
Key statements: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"; "Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."... READ ON
As you settle down with family and friends this holiday season, be prepared: load up your iPhone (or iPod Touch) with applications to get through common holiday disasters. We've got a complete roundup here -- from fun photo moments to actual medical emergencies, these apps will get you through the holiday season intact...but your journey will be perilous. Read on, if you dare!
1. Save Grandpa's Life
The family is settled in for a feast. The wine is flowing, there's a large bird to be consumed,... READ ON
The Obsolete Technology Website is full of goodies. It's got links to classic video games of yore (many now playable online), a history timeline of the personal computer, and -- my favorite -- a collection of old computer ads. These ads harken back to a simpler time, when "portability" meant that a computer weighed under 30 pounds, when a color monitor was an optional feature, and when Bill Cosby was the most trusted adman in America. Here are a few choice selections from the Obsolete Technology... READ ON
Dr. Ruth was trained as a sniper by the Israeli military.