A Mathematician Goes to the Beach: Topology and modesty.
Semicolon (Lonely Island): Some inappropriate lyrics and some questionable punctuation advice.
How to Brand a “Useless” College Degree: It’s education puff piece season. Stay tuned for September when we learn how (North American) college students can’t spell and don’t know math.
Why MBA-Bound Johnny Still Can’t Write: Sure, I’m a writer, so I have a bit of a bias here. But I majored in physics. I learnt this stuff in high school, and I wasn’t about to hand in sloppy work during the odd humanities elective of my post-secondary coursework. But graduate program business majors, portrayed here as the quintessential D-students, study everything from business communication to marketing, then complain about being put upon for basic writing skills like grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It’s called branding, friends. Employers want someone smart and hard-working, and this isn’t how you project that image. Way to devalue the degree.
21 Jokes Only Nerds Will Understand: I’m afraid there are two I just don’t get.
What You Wish For: Windows 8 is the worst.
Real Monopoly: “. . .[N]o one ever actually reads the rules of Monopoly. Monopoly is something you learn through word-of-mouth in childhood, like riding a bike or tying your shoelaces. . . . So the set of rules we play by is the shared cultural set of rules passed down through the generations, and not the ones written on the booklet inside the box.”
How to design a small rental apartment: Zen and the art of tiny apartment living. Both form and function are critical.
Haruki Murakami and the Art of Japanese Translations: “The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. . . . Alternatively, English is often lauded for its specificity. Henry James advised novelists to find the figure in the carpet, implying that details and accuracy were tantamount to literary expression. Is it possible that Japanese and English are two languages so far apart that translators can only reinvent their voices by creating entirely new works?”
15 Ways to Improve Winnipeg: From my first newspaper, U of W’s Uniter, a very well-done and thought-provoking special issue.
Canada Vs. USSR in Nintendo’s Ice Hockey: Damn it, Canada, I mean, what the hell!?
Interview Tips for When Someone Asks, “What Questions Do You Have For Us?”: Really some deceptively good questions.
Douglas Adams is still the king of comic science fiction: “[I]t makes you wonder why, 12 years after his death, no one has been able to supplant him from that throne.”
Who Will Be the Next Douglas Adams? Hopefully, Nobody: “Nor am I particularly concerned about taking science fiction’s humor crown from Adams; that’s like trying to take the melodic pop crown from Lennon/McCartney. You can try, but they’re just going to call you ‘Beatlesque.’”
Dinosaur Comics: “Alex Trebek announces his retirement from Jeopardy. . . Of COURSE the show ends with Trebek. It was always to end with Trebek.”
This Plastic Printing Pen Lets You Draw in 3D: How is it that we had 3D printers without first creating 3D pens? At least somebody’s filled in the gap.
More, More, More — How Do You Like It?: “The industry’s arms race with itself simply is not sustainable. Yet here’s Sony, blithely promising to build a bigger gun. They’d better watch out—the recoil’s a bitch.”
To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe (Dinosaur Comics): “Okay, so we start with a superheated and dense force-unified space–”
The dystopian future of casual games: personalized, targeted pricing and mechanics: “This sort of thing is already happening in retail. Where you are could determine how much an item you view online costs. ‘A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. . . If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price.’”
The Ten Essential Genre Films of 2012: There are a few here I’ve missed. Time for a rental or two, mayhaps.
Art History Through Sci-Fi Coloured Glasses: Nothing to add.
The Offer on Old Man’s War: A Ten-Year Retrospective: “Patrick making an offer on Old Man’s War quite literally changed my life, and almost entirely for the better. The eight novels I have written since are because of that offer and everything that’s resulted from it. . . . Professionally, I have become who I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s amazing.”
Beautifully Geeky Book Sculptures: I wish I were a librarian so I could blow the budget on some of these. (For display purposes only — cannot be checked out.)
The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Howard Andrew Jones: His newest book comes out today, and my review will probably run this Saturday. A pretty interesting new writer you may want to check out.