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Items from all over

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My browser is starting to slow down due to the number of windows I've got open. So here's a compendium of assorted items with no theme:

  • Send a fax by email. But the page hasn't been updated since 1999, so I don't know whether this service is still available.
  • The Kingdom of Loathing, a wacky online "roleplaying game"/adventure game, in which you get character classes like "Accordion Thief." ("The scourge of mariachis and polka bands, the Accordion Thieves have plied their malign craft since time out of mind. Their Moxie serves them well in both their adventures and their interactions with 'the ladies.'") I haven't played, and probably won't (given how little free time I have these days), but I confess to being intrigued at the thought of fighting "hordes of fierce Ninja Snowmen."
  • A list of Colleges sorted by male/female ratio. There are still four all-male colleges, plus one that's 99% male (!). I think Rose-Hulman was all male when I was in high school (they sent me a bunch of wacky recruiting brochures), but they're now up to 1/6 female. Mudd is still two-thirds male, but I think Kam says that's much more balanced than when she was there. Most of the well-known liberal-arts colleges are pretty balanced. St. Olaf (where my grandmother went) is nearly 60% female; Skidmore (which a lot of people confuse with Swarthmore) is 60% female. Vassar is still just over 60% female. Bennington is two-thirds female, and Sarah Lawrence three-quarters. And there are still thirteen all-female colleges.
  • Woman tattoos ad on her forehead for $10,000.
  • Random word and name generators that generate (among other things) names based on the letter patterns of words in a given real-world language. So if you're writing a fantasy novel with an Arabic flavor and you want Arabic-sounding names that aren't real Arabic names, you can use this. Of course, you could also just use real Arabic names. But it's still pretty cool. Also includes lots of other name and word generators, such as randomly generated names for kung-fu moves.
  • Bloglines lets you view blogs in various ways, including viewing a collection of blogs all together (like an LJ friends list). It also has a bunch of other features; for example, if you look at their archive of a blog, you can view related feeds. I was intrigued by the list of feeds related to my blog (a.k.a. "People Subscribed To This Feed Also Read"); the system seems to do a reasonably good job of collaborative filtering.
  • An old item, from back in early 2001: Researchers Test Adhesive Tape as Storage Medium.
  • Did y'all know they're making a movie of Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving? (Also Stephen Fry, Tim Pigott-Smith, Stephen Rea, et alia.) Screenplay written by those Matrix guys, the Wachowski brothers. Sadly, Moore has disassociated himself from the movie, and cut ties with DC when he felt they didn't sufficiently retract a claim from producer Joel Silver that Moore was "very excited about" the movie. Meanwhile (according to that linked article), Moore says the next volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is "'the best thing ever. Better than the Roman civilisation, penicillin.... [Better than the human brain] and the human nervous system. Better than creation. Better than the big bang. It's quite good."
  • If you can't play that great video game Katamari Damacy, I guess the next best thing is dressing up as the characters. Sadly, the two people involved don't seem to have taken any photos of themselves rolling things into balls.
  • Media Activists Who Smile and Throw Cheese, an article about a news monkeywrenching group called the Newsbreakers.
  • I've never seen VeggieTales, but I was amused by the very silly and rather catchy song The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything; that page features both a transcribed script and the corresponding audio clip. "We are the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything! We just stay home and lie around. And if you ask us to do anything, we'll just tell you ... We don't do anything!"
  • Jay H sent me a link to an entertaining Wall Street Journal article about the Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection, a set of nearly 1100 paperback from Penguin that Amazon is selling for the discounted price of only $8000. With free shipping. That's nearly tempting, if not for the fact that I don't have $8000, I don't have room for another 1100 books, and I don't have time to read the books I've already got. The article is titled "Clicking for the Classics," and you may be able to read it by following that link, but it stops being available to non-subscribers a few days from now.
  • Back in 1997, I wrote a Words & Stuff piece about wind-related words, and every now and then I still get emails from people asking me about "They call the wind Maria." So it left me with an ongoing interest in weather words. What I didn't know back then, but do now, is that "The Arizona Monsoon is a well-defined meteorological event (technically called a meteorological 'singularity')." That page describes such weather terms as haboob and gustnado. (I had mentioned haboob in my column, but had only known of it as "a dust storm in the Sudan"; had no idea they occurred in North America). Meanwhile, an old Tiptree travel article ("Harvesting the Sea," 1974) refers to "a broiling, roaring hot south wind the Mayas call But Kann, the Stuffer. It blows for days and nights, 'stuffing' the north, which then spews it back as a norther."
  • For those who missed this year's BayCon, you can view BayCon photos at Flickr.

Whew. I think that's all for now.

6 Comments

The best part of the name generator, IMHO, is the Jack Vance Dying Earth spell generator (which doubles as a D&D spell generator, since D&D is very Dying-Earthy). We get gems like:

Oxelado's abovementioned oracle
Neperuqua's ironic architect
Darayan's independent stinkpot
Luzailike's cold boyhood
The call of the provisional bluejacket
Ellornar's servile squint
The agency of remiss vertigo
Orotsome's lifelike inadequacy
Launtz's affluent cartilage
Maishko's unique tongue

...and so on, 500 at a time.


I knew about Vendetta, but did you know that originally James Purefoy was slated to be in it? For those of you not addicted to hunky little-known Brit males, he's 1) Edward in A Knight's Tale, 2) Spence in Evil Dead, and 3) Rawdon in Vanity Fair.

Time will tell whether or not it was a good career move for him to pull out of Vendetta. *sigh* I need to be his agent.


Warning: Kingdom of Loathing is a devastatingly addictive timesink. (My character has been playing there for about a year, first as an Accordian Thief, now reincarnated as a Disco Bandit.)


I'm a little confused about the Amazon deal: $8000 for 1100 books comes out to over $7/book, which seems like a lot for paperbacks; or at least not a big discount. How much would it cost if you just bought your favorite 500 of them individually?

Ah, I guess they're trade paperbacks rather than mass market paperbacks, so $7 per is a pretty good discount. Still, you can get 700 of them for $11 per and still come out ahead.

If you're a collector or a completist, it's pretty neat, though. And heh, I wonder if it's the most expensive thing Amazon sells. :^)


Could you tell how the colleges on that list were picked? There's got to be more than 105 accredited colleges in the US. Just to start with, I don't see any UCs.


Dan P -- at a glance it looks as though it could be
the list of top liberal arts colleges from the US News & World Report ranking:


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