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Stuff I found while waiting

Rat Jr. should be home within the next hour or so.  I’ve been catching up on the RSS feeds in the meantime.

1. The Periodic Table of Science Fiction is a collection of very short stories, each of which has some relation to one of the elements of the Periodic Table.  118 short stories, each of which has a (sometimes tortured) connection to an element.  Take Flourine, for example:

The John Birch Society was right. Fluoridation is a plot. Not of Communists, however.

Toothpaste, it turns out, is a virus from outer space.

Impossibly distant, wonderfully evolved aliens detected our existence long eons ago. Benevolent creatures of ethereal purity, they resolved to do what they could to improve our lives. At enormous cost, they devised viral messengers of great subtlety and launched them across the void.

For a million years, the dust floated between stars. Hominids emerged from the African veldt and, as foreseen, built civilizations. Finally, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the viral messengers arrived, floating down unnoticed from the night sky.

Nanomachines unpacked themselves. Insights spontaneously blossomed within human brains. By a series of what seemed logical decisions, fluoride was introduced into the drinking water.

Unfortunately, the aliens had conquered their baser instincts so long ago that they had completely forgotten about war, racism, aggression, and all the myriad woes we humans bring upon ourselves. These they could easily have cured. But they knew nothing of them. So they gave us the greatest gift they could think of.

The purpose of fluoridation is to prevent tooth decay.

That’s it.  The whole story.  Kind of clever, as are the rest of them.  Lithium deals with God’s bi-polar disorder.  Ununhexium deals with Spanish Witches.  And, Helium (which is funnier if you have read Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Mars stories) is about Jane Carter, granddaughter of Deja Thoris.  This won’t appeal to everyone, but if you are fascinated by different types of constrained writing, you might like it.  (My apologies to Michael Swanwick, the author.  I don’t like copying a whole post, but I couldn’t figure out how to excerpt any of the stories in a way that gives a sense of what the series is about.  And, I really want you to go read them.) (via GeekPress)

2. If that’s not to your liking, how about this 9 year old kid making a hockey shot that is absolutely stunning.  (I can’t remember where this link came from.  Somehow I deleted the source while I was writing.  Sorry.)

3. The fallout from yesterday’s performance by the Great Blando.

4. Or, on a more serious note, regulators in California are going to limit the amount of electricity a big-screen TV can use, requiring them to be more energy efficient, so as to potentially save their owners up to $30 a year.  Wow.  (via Captain Captialism, who adds the comment, “What I love is how nobody in California seems to be capable of linking this to their 13% unemployment rate.“)

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