waiting at the counter

Hello, my pronunciating friends! I’m pleased so many of you enjoyed learning how to say names yesterday, especially Ayn Rand (“well-fare recipient”). Today this is late because it was allllmost done but my computer is ancient and the browser gets extremely bogged down and it can take many hours to put a newsletter together, because it often takes a full two minutes to open a tab and the computer cannot do anything else while this is happening. It speeds up a bit if I restart the browser, which I did, and tinyletter had eaten several hours’ worth of newslettering. So. I was in a pretty good mood, but at this point I kind of want to cry. :/

Anyway, maybe these awesome links will cheer me up? My favorite news story in a long time is about a terrorism trial up in Canada, where the accused wanted to set off a volcano. His next plan was to blow up a rail bridge between Toronto and New York that was not actually on a rail line between those two cities, and THEN he tried talking a random Muslim chef into poisoning people at an army base. “The man stopped taking his calls.” It’s like this guy lives in a season of Arrow.

My favorite music thing in a long time is this recording of all the sounds lost when “Tom’s Diner” was compressed to mp3 format. I’ve always wondered what is really lost in compression, and now I know! It’s very cool to listen to — basically a ghost song. Despite that, no one can actually tell the difference between audio quality/devices. I like that article because the guy is like “I just wanted to review this widget, but there is a holy war I didn’t know about!” Is this your first day on the internet, guy? There is a holy war about everything!

Other recent favorites include interesting articles about places, like life in a secret Chinese bitcoin mine and a walking tour of Apple’s home town and also Chicago’s secret libraries. I have only been to a third of them; I’ve got some librarying to do!

Interesting internet places to read about include youtube, which is turning ten and has profoundly impacted pop culture. That story goes down well with this more personal retrospective, about music and community and mood:

Cover versions are about living with music. They’re about letting a song daze and entrance you, studying its surfaces and running your finger along its edges and angles, taking it apart and putting it back together again until the only thing left to do is to reshape it in your own image. You trace its highs and follow its lows and figure out the center so you might figure out a part of yourself. There’s something strange and voyeuristic about watching strangers on a screen do this. These aren’t the kinds of performances that aspire toward stardom; it’s unlikely that these clips will land anyone a spot on tour with a pop star. More often than not, they communicate a kind of intimacy and generosity, a gift that asks nothing in return but an ephemeral moment of communion. Maybe someone in that vast, unknowable audience will like it enough to share it with someone else. […] At a time when living on the Internet has the capacity to feel dispiriting and casually abusive, these clips feel like the very opposite of trolling.

No bullet points today, so be careful out there, everyone. Be especially careful of roadside cupping, roadside doctoring, roadside ear candling, and roadside reiki — that last link, man, it leads to reiki cat, which has the best science and the clearest infographic… actually, let’s just look at this thing:

I don’t even want to talk about the apostrophes, but check out all those arrows! Doesn’t it look like if I cut my thigh open with a rusty utility knife and acquired an infection, the cat can purr sort of near my legs and I will be healed?? But apparently it is trying to say that purring helps the CATS with their own infections, which is also pretty dubious.

Sorry, back to being careful out there; it’s a rough time of year in the winter half of the world. It’s particularly terrible in Antarctica, and Alaska has lost all its snow because it’s in Boston, where the mayor would like residents to stop jumping out of windows into the snowdrifts (“Stop this nonsense,” he says, brandishing his cane. “Get off my lawn!”). As for walking on ice, take a hint from the penguins.

I tend to move like I’m cross-country skiing or skating, and rarely pick my feet up. But whatever, speaking of penguins! Everyone saw this story, right, about the old guy in Australia knitting tiny sweaters for penguins?

Fake. Sort of. The dude is definitely knitting jumpers, but that’s a PR photo. ☹
Other fake things include all these photos from 2014 and everything Brian Williams ever said and oh, apparently my earlier signoff. Consider that last rectified! Really this time, be careful out there, and thanks for making me feel better. ❤

Originally published at tinyletter.com.

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