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In the end, though, I’m happy with how things turned out for the Knicks, and you should be, too. That’s kind of my specialty: convincing fans that their uneven, flighty team is in fact a thing of beauty. And, with a dark age about to fall where next to no team, other than Miami, has a shot at a title, this kind of off-beat charisma and a sense of danger is about the most you can hope for. Forget the competitive pressures of playing in New York; in large part, New York City athletes just need to justify their celebrity status. –“Why New Yorkers Should Still Be (Kind Of) Excited About The Knicks,” Bethlehem Shoals, The Awl
Jon and I met in World of Warcraft, a game that my wife, Cat, and I have played ever since it launched in 2004. We met because he and Cat had the same dress. Jon plays a (male) character of the same in-game race as her – they’re both Tauren Druids – and when he saw her walking past sporting a “white wedding dress” he quickly equipped an identical item. This was so, he later explained, he could use the “looks like we both shop at the same store” line to break the ice. –“Friendship, travel and World of Warcraft,” Tom Chatfield, What Happens Next?
Indeed, it is truly remarkable how little new information “Top Secret America” presents. The last entry in the three-part series, “The Secrets Next Door,” discusses what the NSA does in its massive sprawl of buildings in Ft. Meade, MD: cryptology, eavesdropping, linguistics, and so on. It sounds scary, but that’s all publicly available on the NSA website. You don’t need special access to see, as the paper points out in “National Security, Inc.,” that the entirety of the Dulles Toll Road is lined with military and intelligence contractors—as journalist Tim Shorrock has noted, you can drive around in your car, unrestricted, and see all of these buildings. Authors Dana Priest and Bill Arkin make a point to remind readers that they aren’t posting addresses or identifying buildings of any agencies… but even the supposedly secret Liberty Crossing, which houses the National Counterterrorism Center and the Director of National Security, is easily found in Google Maps based on their description (you can even see the entrance to the facility in Street View). –“What’s Secret in ‘Top Secret America?’” Joshua Foust, Columbia Journalism Review
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”