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Fantastic Metropolis has published my

Fantastic Metropolis has published my "(non-exhaustive, non-proscriptive) list of several noteworthy books that I read this year (including one book I'm in and a bunch of books by my pals and cronies)"
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link (Small Beer Press, 2001)

Kelly's first short story collection is wondrous, an 11-pack of fanciful gems. Link writes these understated, surreal gems that stick in your head for weeks and months after you've finished 'em. Summarizing a Link story is nearly impossible, as is figuring out how they work, so strange is their structure and style. That they are wonderful is indisputable, but it's one of those deals where you gotta read 'em to get 'em. Count yourself lucky to be alive and reading in the oughts, when Kelly Link's work is being published.

Link Discuss

Unicode is imperialism! Here's a

Unicode is imperialism! Here's a long, detailed and fascinating history of character codes, from Morse Code to Unicode. Unicode, it turns out, is a bit of a raw deal for the Chinese:
The reader might be asking him/herself how could all the world's characters be squeezed into 65,536 character points when it was mentioned above that a character set of about 65,000 characters is being developed at the University of Tokyo just for Japanese? The answer is that this was to be achieved through the "unification" of similar characters. No, all the 'A's in alphabetic scripts were not to be unified into one character point. What was to be unified were the thousands of Chinese characters that make up the scripts of East Asian languages. In fact, the Unicode Consortium has set up a Chinese/Japanese/Korean Joint Research Group (CJK-JRG) that is busily carrying out the Unicode Consortium's main goal, "Han Unification," even though the vast majority of the people living in the Han cultural sphere are probably not aware of what they are doing. To date, they have assigned approximately 20,000 Chinese characters to code points, and there are another 30,000 code points left to be filled. Although Unicode has been criticized as being little more than an exercise in
Link Discuss (Thanks, Allen)

StatsCan! The Globe and Mail's

StatsCan! The Globe and Mail's omnibus statistical roundup of Canadian survey responses in 2001:
88% of Canadians oppose human cloning while 4 per cent would want themselves to be cloned.

78% of Canadians eat peanut butter for breakfast; 54 per cent have it on toast and 9 per cent say they consume it straight from the jar.

58% of Canadians prefer sleep over sex.

48% of the population say the best remedy for depression is to spend more time with friends and family; 17 per cent say it's best to go shopping and 14 per cent advocate drinking more alcohol.

40% of men would have sex with a total stranger, compared with 12 per cent of women (16 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women also say they would make love to their best friend's partner).

Link Discuss

Cheating gift-cards. It turns out

Cheating gift-cards. It turns out to be fantastically easy to hack the magnetic in-store gift-cards sold at the point-of-sale of many chain stores.
A thief at a store buys a single gift card, but while standing in line, looks at the account numbers printed on the next 10 cards. Since the store’s cards are only glued to a piece of cardboard, rather than encased in packaging, the account numbers are easy to see.

The thief then goes home, and using a credit card encoder, reprograms the magnetic stripe to one of the account numbers lifted while in line. He then calls the 800 number provided by the store and finds out how much value was placed on the “stolen” card by a consumer who has since purchased it. The moment he is sure the card has been charged, the thief goes back into the store and spends the victim’s funds. Even though the account being drained is different from the account printed on the card the thief is using, the store is never the wiser, because clerks rarely check to see if the numbers match.

Link Discuss (via /.)

Unspeakably cool galley of

Unspeakably cool galley of Fisher Price Little People, decorated to look like characters from: The Addams Family, Alice in Wonderland, Batman's Villains, Calvin and Hobbes, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Chronicles of Narnia, Dukes of Hazzard, Deep Space Nine, Empire Strikes Back Fisher Price, Flintstones, Fraggle Rock, Futurama Fisher Price, G-Force/Battle of the Planets, Gilligan's Island, Gotham City, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones Fisher Price, Jetsons, JLA/Superfriends, Land of the Lost, Legion of Doom, Muppets Fisher Price, Muppet Babies Fisher Price, Muppets Tonight Fisher Price, Nativity Fisher Price, New Titans, The Norm, Return of the Jedi Fisher Price, Rocky Horror Picture Show Fisher Price, Scooby-Doo, Sesame Street Fisher Price, Simpsons, Sleeping Beauty Fisher Price, Space Ghost, Spider Man, Star Trek, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars:Episode Two, The Matrix, The Phantom Menace, Wedding Cake Topper Fisher Price, The Wizard of Oz, The X-Men, Universal Monsters, and the X-Files. Link Discuss (via Fark)

The old gas con. Fascinating

The old gas con. Fascinating story of a WWI-era conman who bilked Ford and others out of a fortune for a mythical substance that turned water into gasoline. Link Discuss (Thanks, Xowie!)

Heather Champ of harrumph.com was

Heather Champ of harrumph.com was the high bidder on my first iron-on, and she is holding a contest to give it away. Link Discuss

Leaked casting notes for Harry

Leaked casting notes for Harry Potter 2.
Hugh Mitchell, 12, will reportedly play Colin Creevey, Harry's biggest fan, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Bonnie Wright will reappear as Ginny Weasley, the site reported.

Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones' Diary) will play Moaning Myrtle, the ghost who haunts the girls' bathroom. Alfred Burke will appear as Hogwarts' former headmaster, Armando Dippet, and Julian Glover will provide the voice of Aragog the giant spider, the site reported.

Link Discuss

Palm Desktop Beta for OSX

Palm Desktop Beta for OSX released today. Link Discuss

Teresa's produced a spectacular, humorous

Teresa's produced a spectacular, humorous and exhaustive roundup of worthy Tolkien resources online on Making Light. Link Discuss

Stefan sez: "New Zealand postage

Stefan sez: "New Zealand postage stamps feature scenes from the Fellowship of the Ring movie! You can buy the entire set for about US$110 plus shipping. Y'know, if NZ can get advance shots from The Two Towers, they could have stamps that would bring them a windfall from Norte Americana fanboys." Link Discuss

First-hand shoebomb account. A blogger

First-hand shoebomb account. A blogger who'd been seated a few rows over from Richard Reid describes his experiences on Flight 63.
I wake up as my sister smells burning. Like a match burning, or some plastic. We look around and a flight attendant tells 29H to "put it out". 29H was a bit of a dodgy guy. Tall, with a hate and unshaven. The flight attendant panics into the aisle and cries out for people to restrain him. At this point I imagined an explosion around the guy. Scary. We later find out she had been bitten and is bleeding. General panic ensues, but some rather large guys (not the crew, they were old and weak) start twisting his arms, wrestling him, and hold him down. People throw water on him (everyone had smelt the burning). There were no restraints on board at all: we used belts, headphone wires, anything.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Joey and Nat!)

Please review Boing Boing's new

Please review Boing Boing's new official disclaimer. Thanks to KPMG for providing the template. Template? It's more than that. KPMG's disclaimer is the gold standard for stupidity. Carpetbaggers, go home! Link Discuss

Infopocalypse plans. From the FOI-list:

Infopocalypse plans. From the FOI-list: "Here is an fascinating report on telecommunications disaster planning, which includes very helpful charts on the worst tornados, the worst hurricanes, the worst floods, the worst earthquakes, chemical spills, rail disasters, etc...Something tells me that this site will become more sanitized in the near future, so you may wish to look around while it is still there." Link, Link, Link, Link Discuss (via Interesting People)

Bush's Arab guard kicked off

Bush's Arab guard kicked off plane. "An Arab-American member of President Bush's security detail was denied passage on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Dallas Tuesday evening." The Secret Service and pilot pulled him off the flight, questioned him for 1.5h, refused to check his story out, and kicked him off the flight. Link Discuss