This morning I discovered a flyer in my mailbox advertising "Wordsworth and Keats Fine Interior Housepainting: special attention paid to metre and rhyme." Part of me wanted to believe this was a real service, perhaps featuring painters who speak in couplets and scrawl secret verses on your walls before they slap up a coat of Benjamin Moore. Alas, the website the flyer lists turns out to be completely unrelated to poetry or paint. I guess the whole point was just to get people's attention, in which case, it... READ ON
Wait, what day is it again? From The New Yorker:
According to some of the calendars and appointment books floating around this office, Monday, February 19th, is Presidents' Day. Others say it's President's Day. Still others opt for Presidents Day. Which is it? ... The answer, strictly speaking, is none of the above. Ever since 1968, when, in one of the last gasps of Great Society reformism, holidays were rejiggered to create more three-day weekends, federal law has decreed the third... READ ON
Do not, repeat, do NOT click on this link if you actually have something even slightly, vaguely important to do today, or if you are at all worried about maintaining your sanity.
Okay, fine, click.
Loituma Girl is the most spellbinding thing I've ever seen, and the worst part is, I can't explain why. At least Wikipedia can explain what:
Loituma Girl (also known as Leekspin) is a flash cartoon set to a gibberish section of the traditional Finnish folk song "Ievan Polkka" sung by the Finnish quartet... READ ON
There's an interesting debate going on at the Guardian about why English-speakers use the word Allah to refer to the Muslim version of God:
There is no logical reason for this. Why use an Arabic word in English-language news reports when there is a perfectly good English word that means exactly the same thing?
Various Arabic words -- jihad and sheikh, for example -- have crept into everyday usage because no precise equivalent exists in English, but "Allah" is not of that type. It is simply the normal... READ ON
.. the fact that this fantastic blogger took the trouble to photograph and post every single ad in Times Square, or the fact that one of them is for "Legally Blonde: The Musical!"
UPDATE: Just finished reading the blogger's post. He had the exact same... READ ON
I've mentioned this worthy organization on the blog before (albeit in passing), but one of our readers thought we ought to bring it to full attention in order to make the world a better place:
CHAIN LETTERS ANONYMOUS
At Chain Letters Anonymous, we understand the anxiety of breaking the chain. We want to help you overcome "forward-button addiction" and the superstitious intoxication that brings computer networks to a crawl.
Not everyone has the strength to quit cold turkey, and we fully... READ ON
So, you know those scientific studies that recruit participants through ads on the subway and on college bulletin boards? This one's sooooo much cooler:
SYDNEY (AFP)—An Australian zoo is putting humans on public display in its orangutang enclosure in a month-long scientific experiment that will also include a popularity contest.
Six humans have already taken up residence in the Adelaide Zoo pen for the experiment, dubbed "the human zoo."
Groups of humans will spend week-long shifts locked in... READ ON
If you thought mummies came only from Egypt, this news story will astound you. Actually, it ought to astound anyone because it's so. freakin'. cool:
Hands over her eyes and her face gripped with terror, the woman's fear of death is all too obvious.
The remarkable mummy was found in a hidden burial vault in the Amazon. It is at least 600 years old and has survived thanks to the embalming skills of her tribe, the Chachapoyas or cloud warriors.
Eleven further mummies were recovered from the massive... READ ON
Good news for those of you who couldn't get enough of my constant posts about Japan (all two of you) -- a reader named "Professor Solomon" writes to tell us he also enjoys spouting off about the country, and that he's done it in book form.
Across the sea is the land of Japan. With its ancient shrines, sumo wrestlers, Zen masters, capsule hotels, Laughing Festival, fortunetelling birds, haiku masters, phantom foxes, mania for bathing, musical crickets, tea masters, Living National Treasures, Moon Viewing... READ ON
I just wrote a piece about stem cells, and I'd like to take a moment to talk about one of the things I briefly mention in the article: teratomas, which, like most of the best things in medicine, are both intellectually fascinating and spectacularly gross. (For the sake of the squeamish, I'm not including any pictures except the one at left [apparently her name is "Tabitha"], but there is a disgusting one here.)
Teratomas are essentially tumors made of cells that have decided to differentiate into any... READ ON
At points in the 1990s, 50% of all CDs being produced worldwide were for AOL.