There’s really only one web comic I read anymore: xkcd. Randall Munroe continues to turn out thoughtful gems, and I really appreciate the ad-free nature of the site. I also find his What-If? series delightful; the first episode is one of my favorite interweb jewels!
But it’s his insight to the human condition and ability to nail a point with such brilliant brevity that I most relish. I value some of his comics as highly as I value favorite quotes; both are pithy petards against our myths and illusions.
And sometimes he even hoists my petard a bit!
On the one hand, global climate change is likely to make things very — strictly in the curse sense — “interesting” for the human race as this millennium progresses. The effects already are obvious, visual, striking, and — one would think — undeniable.
Randall Munroe, of xkcd, has created another of his brilliant graphics, this one showing the history of climate change. It’s well-worth checking out (do it now). It makes the point in a visually striking, and — one would think — undeniable way.
On the other hand, it’s very — in the usual sense — “interesting” that we’re here at all.
For my money, Sir Terry Pratchett is the greatest fantasy author ever. That includes Tolkien, Verne, Wells, Burroughs, and Howard. (Martin isn’t even in this conversation to my mind, but then neither is Lucas.) Pratchett’s work has incredible social relevance. His keen sense of people, his deft hand with humor, and his ability to weave a rich, textured story as engaging as it is fantastic, gives his work a substance that sticks to the soul.
A recurring theme in Pratchett is the power — and the reality — of belief. Is Superman real? Or Sherlock Holmes? If millions believe in them, if so many stories are told about them, how can they not be real? One might say the same of all the gods we worship.
There’s also the bit about the frogs.
A whale of a tale.
Somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean swims what is said to be the loneliest whale in the world. He (or she, but here I’m going to assume he) is known as the 52-hertz whale. That designation comes from the sound of his whale song, which has a much higher pitch than any known species fitting his migratory pattern.
His calls were first heard by Woods Hole in 1989 and again in 1990 and 1991. His cries have been detected every season since 2004. His movements (he’s been tracked, but never seen) don’t match blue or fin whales any more than his cries do. One theory is that he was born deaf and never learned to sing like others of his species.
All of which gives me a real affinity for the poor guy!
It’s important to begin this with due proper credit. This is not my idea; I’m doing a bit of a riff on an idea that belongs to someone else. But it’s such a great idea that I think not only should it be shared but embraced. At the end, I will encourage you to do your own riff, your own version of the 960.
Science fans who spend a lot of time on the interweb (I’m sure there must be some who don’t) are familiar with Randall Monroe‘s outstanding über-geek web comic, xkcd. There is a lesser-known one, Abstruse Goose, that I think is in the same class and which has connected with me even more than xkcd has (which is to say: oodles). So far, for me no other web comics come anywhere close to these two.
This post is about 900+ little blobs, and it is an idea from Abstruse Goose.
The next few posts are from a collection of Funny Emails I’ve gathered over many years. They come from a time before email was common—a time long before social media. Back then we didn’t have the vast onslaught of material as there is now. The online world was much smaller, slower. And because the Era of the Image hadn’t arrived, the funny emails were usually just text.
A “pack rat” by nature, I saved those that really tickled my fancy. That was possible (and sensible) then; these days there’s too much to save, and one can count (more or less) on it remaining in place “out there” if you need it again. (That in itself is an amazing thing: we live in an era of an online, free, permanent information resource.)
I’m starting off with one of my very favorites: an examination of the implications of assuming Santa is real…