April 2011 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Alright, already, a little late. I’ll explain in a moment.

Hey, TWD has 863 “likes” on Facebook. Awesome. I hope we hit 1,000 before the whole Zuckerbergian shebang goes belly-up. I read a news story last week that said FB is ludicrously over-valued and early investors are trying to unload their shares (I believe the actual phrase they used was “claw their way out”) before reality sets in and the bubble bursts.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop in Cybertopia has been a kind of hobby of mine for years. Way back when (mid-90s) I thought Cliff Stoll was right on the money in branding the whole net-evangelist circus (Negroponte, et al.) as “Silicon Snake Oil,” and Nicholas Carr and Evgeny Morozov are both worth reading on the subject of the internet and society, especially claims made recently that Twitter and Facebook will be the magical agents of a global wave of freedom.

Which is not to say that the internet doesn’t have its good points. A few years ago I suggested that people check out Arts & Letters Daily for pointers to interesting long-form articles. ALD is still going strong (though listing a bit to starboard much of the time), but I’m happy to report that several other sites have since appeared that also point to worthwhile things to read on the net. Best of the breed at the moment is probably The Browser, closely followed by Longreads and the aptly-titled Give Me Something To Read. There’s usually a bit of overlap between the sites at any given moment, but checking them all once a day certainly beats hanging out on Fark (Woman Survives Tornado by Hiding in Tanning Bed!) or, God forbid, the Huffington Train Wreck.

By the way, I changed the layout of this page from 90% fluid to 1000 px wide so that the columns would end closer to where they should. Let me know if this is screwing up anything at your end. Any screen resolution 1024 x 768 or higher shouldn’t have a problem. You people on iPads should just suck it up and tilt your heads or something.


We interrupt this digression for an important announcement: The Word Detective website depends on your support to pay the bills. If you find this little circus helpful, interesting, amusing and/or worthwhile, please subscribe or contribute to our survival. Fifteen bucks per year is only four pennies a day, but it makes a huge difference at this end. It’s like magic. Here’s your chance to be a magician.


Onward. Um, has anyone noticed that there seems to be something pretty seriously wrong with the weather? We’ve been spared the horrible destruction in the South, but it’s been raining more or less non-stop for two weeks, often violently, and we’ve had two tornadoes hit within a mile of us in the past month (both following precisely the same path, which is very weird).

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