No Love for White Gloves, or: the Cotton Menace: “Rare books, unlike many museum objects, are still used today in the same way that they would have been when they were new centuries ago – they’re held and opened, and their pages are turned. It would make sense that these historical objects should be handled with white gloves to keep them clean, right? WRONG! Well, mostly. But we’ll get to that part later.”

Sometime between January 18th and January 19th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • H. G. Wells on ‘Metropolis’ (1927): "Never for a moment does one believe any of this foolish story; for a moment is there anything amusing or convincing in its dreary series of strained events. It is immensely and strangely dull. It is not even to be laughed at. There is not one good-looking nor sympathetic nor funny personality in the cast; there is, indeed, no scope at all for looking well or acting like a rational creature amid these mindless, imitative absurdities. The film's air of having something grave and wonderful to say is transparent pretence. It has nothing to do with any social or moral issue before the world or with any that can ever conceivably arise. It is bunkum and poor and thin even as bunkum. I am astonished at the toleration shown it by quite a number of film critics on both sides of the Atlantic. And it costs, says the London Times, six million marks! How they spent all that upon it I cannot imagine. Most of the effects could have been got with models at no great expense."
  • Offline Book "Lending" Costs U.S. Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion: From what we've been able to piece together, the book "lending" takes place in "libraries". On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange for a "card". But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons. Although there's no admission charge and it doesn't cost anything to borrow a book, there's always the threat of an onerous overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle of not paying for copyrighted material.
  • AirTran 297 – Anatomy of an Urban Legend: Since the flight and initial media reports, several blogs and Internet sites have recounted the incident as portrayed by a passenger originally scheduled for the flight. Below is that passenger’s account (unedited in any way including spelling and grammar), as reported on several blogs. Highlighted between the passenger’s account, are the factually accurate circumstances surrounding this incident. We bring this to your attention in order to dispel myths that are beginning to make the rounds in chat rooms, blogs and conspiracy theorists’ Web sites.
  • Dear God, please confirm what I already believe: God may have created man in his image, but it seems we return the favour. Believers subconsciously endow God with their own beliefs on controversial issues. "People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want," the team write. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."
  • Insanely Vulgar ‘Better Off Ted’ Outtakes (NSFW Video): "ABC's 'Better Off Ted' recently had an episode where a mistyped inter-office memo encouraged employees to swear insults at each other, with PG-rated results for broadcast. Below are the ridiculously NSFW outtakes, scripted for Web-only release. If you are offended — not even 'easily' … but, like, even slightly, by graphic language, do not watch this video, which is like melding the Disney-owned TV network with 'The Aristocrats.' According to a network spokesperson, ABC did not post this."