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It was at this point that I decided to kill him. After all, would the world really miss this fatuous little suppository, with his preening self-confidence and emetic cuteness? At first I thought of trampling the bespectacled vontz, but I felt that to do the job properly I’d need about two hundred more head to really stomp him good. There were no rocky cliffs where I could brush against the wretch with a little hip action and send him plummeting. Then it hit me. A nature walk had been mentioned, and all were anxious to participate. All, that is, except for a certain cringing homunculus, who carried on like Duse over the prospect of being in the woods among Lyme ticks and poison oak. He chose to remain in his room and make phone calls to check on the grosses of his new movie, which Variety had said would have limited appeal and suggested should open in Atlantis. My plan was to enter the house, sneak up on him from behind, and strangle the nattering little carbuncle with a sash. With everyone away, it would appear to the police to be the work of a drifter. –“Udder Madness,” Woody Allen, The New Yorker
Things smart people should have seen coming:
the intellectual (and financial) bankruptcy of the creative class;
Sarah Palin at Fox News;
Afghan fighters stop hibernating, start killing in winter
The history of games is as old as civilisation. Competitive games are recorded as far back as 2,600BC, while archaeologists have found game “boards” that were apparently scratched onto the backs of statues by bored Assyrian guards in the 8th century BC. Technology has not changed human nature but it has given unprecedented rein to some of our innate impulses and, in particular, to those parts of us that the world of work and business have not used to best advantage: our love of exploration, learning, interaction and, perhaps above all, our sense of fun. Playfish has created ten games to date, and most of them are a long way from the traditional idea of videogames as a violent, crude form of escapism. Its first title, Who Has the Biggest Brain?, is an IQ quiz. Starting to play it takes less than 30 seconds: having logged into Facebook or MySpace (or switched on your iPhone), you look up the application and, after a few clicks and no expenditure, start playing…. The game does all the basics well: it features a bouncy, appealing interface and is challenging without being infuriating. The key to its success, though, is its integration into the social network itself. The moment you finish a game, it tells you how you rank compared to anyone on your “friends” list who has played the game and invites you to send a “taunt to a friend” to show off your prowess. –“All the World Is Play,” Tom Chatfield, Prospect
There are people out there who reject the existence of the tribe and have willed away their own sense of tribal affiliation. These dissidents think that sports fans are simpletons–immature, shallow, mentally damaged people without inner lives, who need vicarious attachments to feel like they are at least minimally alive. Such people view eternal tribal warfare–such as that between Sunni and Shiite Moslems–as the specific ongoing consequence of an ancient dispute over religious doctrine. They don’t see that tribal blood is lifeblood, that it can flow out of a body, but it can never go away. People who have opted out of the tribe–many are academics and intellectuals highly serious about subjects like deconstruction and penis envy–seem to be spectral figures, too thin, gnawing on the insides of their cheeks, hopped up over abstruse ideologies and theoretical abstractions. They are like atheists who, now that they have reasoned God out of existence, are disconsolate about having no one to blame for their troubles. –“Tribal Bloods,” John Wenke, The Gettysburg Review
Design of world’s first “sex robot” laudably focused on “appealing to the mind”;
meanwhile, back at the office, it seems that women act differently at work than men because they are different than men at work;
show of hands: who wants to be embalmed?
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”