Sometime between 10:14 and 15:44, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The Elements of Spam.: Form the possessive of nouns by adding 's, just an apostrophe, just an s, a semicolon, a w, an ampersand, a 9, or anything. "My wifesd*porcupine hot pix for u."
  • Stephen King fan publishes Shining’s Jack Torrance’s novel: A Stephen King fan has published an 80-page version of the book which novelist Jack Torrance obsessively writes during King's The Shining, where his descent into madness is revealed when his wife discovers that his work consists of just one phrase, endlessly repeated.
  • W. and the damage done: After a couple of presidential terms, mismanagement in every area of policy — foreign, domestic, even extraterrestrial — starts to add up. When George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001, he inherited peace and prosperity. The military, the Constitution and New Orleans were intact and the country had a budget surplus of $128 billion. Now he's about to dash out the door, leaving a large, unpaid bill for his successors to pay. To get a sense of what kind of balance is due, Salon spoke to experts in seven different fields. Wherever possible, we have tried to express the damage done in concrete terms — sometimes in lives lost, but most often just in money spent and dollars owed. What follows is an incomplete inventory of eight years of mis- and malfeasance, but then a fuller accounting would run, um, somewhat longer than three pages.
  • Milky Way Transit Authority: I was re-reading Carl Sagan's novel Contact recently, essentially a series of arguments about SETI wrapped into a story, and he alludes to some sort of cosmic Grand Central Station. That, coupled with my longtime interest in transit maps, got me thinking about all of this.
  • How big Jurassic flying reptiles got off ground: Habib used CT scans of the bones of 155 bird specimens and a dozen species of pterosaurs and found that they were greatly different in strength, size and proportion. In birds, the hind legs were stronger than the front and in some pterosaurs the front legs were several times stronger than the hind ones. "It's a lot like a leapfrog," Habib said, describing how he figures the pterosaurs got off the ground. "They kind of pitch forward at first, the legs kick off first, then the arms take off." That allowed some of the ancient giants to get into the air in less than a second. Habib calculated that the 550-pound pterosaur called Hatzegopteryx thambema launched at a speed of 42 miles per hour.