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Some guy named Stephen Fry, who should be more familiar to me but isn't, has been Twittering for some time and attracted a following — including a skilled illustrator devoting one hundred days to drawing the action of each of Fry's twits. Twittings? Tweetles? Anyhow, it reminded me of the nearly forgotten art of illustrating spam email subject lines, which I found more entertaining than the Twitterings of some british guy. #

In 1787, two years before the Constitution established a national mint, states were experimenting with minting coins of their own. Expert in gold coins Ephraim Brasher produced a small number of gold "doubloons" in a U.S. coin style as proofs for the state of New York. Seven have turned up over the past two hundred years, found in various places from the Mint's to-be-melted bouillon pile to a Philadelphia sewer, but all have been in the hands of professional collectors since. That is, except for the DuPont Doubloon, which was stolen at gunpoint from the DuPont estate in 1967, and turned up six months later taped to the leg of a wife-beating criminal who got his just deserts. #

Today's the Digital Switchover: analog television (except in rare cases) has ceased to exist in the United States. If you could get an image before, now degraded digital signals will just result in a blank screen or a 'no signal' message, with no chance to try and make out an image through the fuzz - a far cry from the ominous description from Neuromancer, comparing the sky to the color of a TV on a dead channel. Children for the past ten or twenty years have know that color as a solid blue field, changing the feel of the quote completely. There is an opportunity therein: you now have a nearly uninterrupted opportunity to watch the cooling background radiation of the Big Bang on every channel. It is like a clear night sky devoid of light pollution, but for the radiotelescope set. #

Language watch: I've noticed it more and more frequent online, in blog searches and product searches: people are using the word "bathrope" to describe a cloth pull-over with sleeves for wearing while drying off. There is a rather obscure bathing accessory known as a bathrope, but the two are hard to mistake for one another. The error is so uniform, I'm leaning towards it being a phonetic approximation by non-english-speakers of a word that they've only heard spoken and rarely read. #

Esquire magazine has a little infographic in July regarding people's satisfaction with the place they live. North Dakota, among several western states, have the highest resident satisfaction level. It's data without context, because satisfaction can be affected by a lot of things. Is the low population and remoteness of these states the reason? Is it because only people that like it here are willing to stay? Is it because the population is so homogeneous that there's little dissent or conflict? I prefer to think that the harsh weather really does keep out the riff-raff that could make a place intolerable; northern states, in general, are more satisfied with where they live, so cold winters must make you happy! #

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