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Banned Book Week is here -- and I've been all a'writin about it. I was a little early with some Steinbeck opposition, I noticed one of the most contested books gets advertised on TV, I talk about what happens when the censors put out their own books, and a huge reading event gets revised because the book of honor was objectionable to some parents. #

Eugenics, the philosophy of selective breeding in humans, wasn't strange enough on its own: it took numerous bizarre and odd tangents. via. #

The rule is that no living person shall be honored with a US postage stamp, but living people do slip through sometimes. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Mount Rushmore, a stamp was engraved from a photograph by photographer Robert Frankenfeld -- in the lower right hand corner of the stamp is a woman and boy, who were none other than Mrs. Frankenfeld and their 3-year-old son. A few decades later that young boy, Don Frankenfeld, would go on to become a lawyer and a South Dakota state senator. #

Who knew they learned life lessons so young? Corporate failures touch the lives of 5th graders. Verdict: corporations are run with the same intelligence and knowledge as a random jumble of 'tweens. Yay, capitalism! #

The Daily Show and the Colbert Report aren't just one-liners and satirical jibjabs at the world around us -- it contains an immense amount of silent visual puns and graphical humor, created by people who never appear onscreen. PRINT magazine, however, brings these visual artists to the front, and talks to them about their work and how they do it. #

Dinosaurs: lucky bastards. It really fits with evolution, and shouldn't surprise anyone -- the better survivor may look deliberate in hindsight, but when you consider the selection occuring in the environment over a period of time, it looks more and more like luck. Shake a box of paperclips long enough, you'll start to think they naturally come linked in chains and the unlinked ones were 'failures'. #

My favorite Saturday Night Live sketches: Celebrity Jeopardy, transcribed. They always make me laugh. You'll rue the day, Trebek! #

Alaskan governor and V.P. hopeful Sara Palin has claimed international relations experience due to proximity to Russia. Russian Life magazine, however, has uncovered amazing, unbelievable evidence that Palin has single-handedly led small-scale invasions into Russian territory to deliver spies and insurgents, and perform "secret missions." Who knew! #

Clay Venuses (like that from Willendorf) are rare to find; they've found many, many fragments of the figures around the kilns used to bake the shaped-clay fertility figurines of Dolni Vestonice due to explosions while baking. Ceramics experts now believe that the explosion is intentional based on composition and temperature, and possibly reflects an integral part of the ceremony itself. #

The Republicans have converged on St. Paul, and were greeted with a video extolling the virtues of the Twin Cities. They, however, build up MSP by tearing down Fargo. The entire quote is: "It's not the frontier, it's not flyover country and it ain't Fargo." Oh, the group that created the film does their best to explain that they were referring to the movie Fargo...in which Minneapolis and St. Paul both feature significantly. A flub of that sort does make some sense, but, well, it should've been a bit obvious that the actual Fargo might see it as a slight. Still, the Fargo Nice bleeds through in the response from the local tourism center: "If they#

Harrison Bergeron may be here soon. While the article is mostly fluff, it does assemble a bunch of relevant bits into one: the medications that pharmaceuticals push, those that "cure" unpleasant social "disorders" are really just removing our uniqueness, forcing a uniformity limited by what drugs are able to do to our brains. Bergeron suffered from excessive talent, which offended the untalented around him. That's not going to happen either, is it? All hail the Handicapper General. #

The Northwest Passage now may exist perennially: the arctic ice has receded to the point where a boat can travel from Greenland to Russia along the Canadian coast, or from Alaska to Norway along the Russian coast, through the quite-large water gap caused by the melting ice cap -- but what makes it remarkable is that the ice cap doesn't touch any of the major continental land masses anymore. (via) #

The current issue of Popular Mechanics features a car-shaped lab beaker. The beaker wasn't digital or drawn, but it was artistically created. PM used a master glassblower from the Corning Museum of Glass to create over a dozen automobile beakers to pick from for the feature article. #



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