I wrote a story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases
, a forthcoming anthology of funny, faux-Victorian illnesses edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts. Other contributors include Michael Moorcock, Neil Gaiman and Elliot Fintushel. Every copy is signed by all contributors, and I just read through a galley and found myself laughing aloud all the way through. Here's some of my disease, "Pathological Instrumentation Disorder (The Man With Two Watches Problem)":
The patient, a Mr. Gary Warren, presented symptoms typical of extreme mental distress--elevated pulse, perspiration, acute abdomen, dilated pupils--at the Queen St. Mental Health Center, where a preliminary diagnosis of acute stress disorder was made. The patient's serotonin levels were normalized through quick trepanning, and he was entered into a course of group therapy sessions in the newly installed microgravity chill-rooms. Mr. Warren's symptoms worsened, however, despite daily trepannings. The only visible relief came when in close proximity to diagnostic equipment (EEG, e-meters, MRI/CT Scan apparatus). Even a wall-clock, a PDA, or a thermometer seemed to help.
Mr. Warren was moved to the Bertelsmann-AOL-Netscape-Time-Warner clinic and into the care of Dr. Jojo Fillipo, a specialist in media disorders. Under clinical observation, Mr. Warren was presented with a variety of diagnostic tools, beginning with those found on his person at his admission:
* A Palm Computing "Wrister" wristwatch
* A small, homemade RFI detector
* An integrated wireless appliance of baroque appearance
* A multifunction handheld medical unit, apparently stolen from a Mexican clinic (sphygmomanometer, EEG, blood-sugar/HIV/Hep G/Pregnancy diagnostic)
* An elderly, analog light-meter
* A DNA-signature encoder
* A distributed location/presence device marketed to children for the purposes of playing text-based role-playing games
* An elderly "turnip"-style pocket watch--not working
* A "commando"-style knife with an integrated compass and thermometer
Devices were provided to the patient singly and in combination. Alone or in small groups, the devices produced a marked lessening in the patient's symptoms--in fact, the mere presence of devices intended to measure Mr. Warren's symptoms appeared to alleviate them. In larger groups, or in certain combinations (the wireless appliance and the location/presence-device, for example), symptoms were exacerbated to alarming levels. At one point, Mr. Warren lost consciousness for a period of three days, during which doctors defibrillated his heart twice due to unusual cardiac events.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]