Letters of Note finally in print

Letters of Note, the most excellent blog collecting intriguing letters sent by noteworthy persons, is finally to be an excellent book.

"This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher's eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic."

Previously: Letters of Note -- blog of written correspondence from well-known people
Letters of Note, the book

Landscape alphabet (c.1818-1860)

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In the 19th century, Charles Joseph Hullmandel illustrated a glorious series of landscapes shaped as the letters of the English alphabet. You can see them all in the British Museum's online collection: The Landscape Alphabet (via Juxtapoz)

Read the previously unpublished letters of Charles Darwin

More than 1000 letters written between Charles Darwin and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, including 300 never before published, are now available free online for your reading and research pleasure.

Frank Sinatra's "pull my hairpiece" challenge

"I will allow you to pull my 'hairpiece;' if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?" -- Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra's "pull my hairpiece" challenge

An epidemiology alphabet

The only alphabet guaranteed to make you want to wash your hands. Made by one, Jennifer Gardy.

In related news, this video taught me that the parasite giardia is sometimes called "beaver fever". Why? Because one of its major reservoirs — species that can comfortably host a parasite and pass it on to others — is, yes, the beaver.

Now here's the part you probably don't want to hear. Giardia is transmitted via what's known as the "fecal-oral route".

Now, nobody intentionally goes out and eats beaver shit. (One hopes. But this is the internet.) But beavers do shit in the woods. Near woodland streams. Which means that unwary hikers and backpackers can end up ingesting giardia when they drink from what appears to be crystal-clear waters.

Via the Worms and Germs blog

More men join the ranks of Former Eagle Scout

On Monday, I published a letter from my husband, Christopher Baker, to the Boy Scouts of America. In that letter, Baker returned his hard-earned Eagle Scout award and explained that he no longer wanted to be associated with an organization that discriminated against gay teenagers and GBLT parents.

Read the rest

Eagle Scouts stand up to the Boy Scouts of America: *UPDATED*

If you aren’t familiar with American Boy Scouting’s Eagle Scout award, it might be a little hard to explain how important this story really is.

Read the rest

Philip K. Dick on Blade Runner

"I came to the conclusion that this is not science fiction; this is not fantasy, it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism" [Philipkdick.com via Frankie Boyle]

Most highlighted passages on Kindle

The most highlighted passage on Kindle is "because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them," from Susanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Following is Jane Austen: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Then, more from The Hunger Games. A lot more. [Amazon via @laurenleto]

Love letter found 53 years late

lettttter.jpg Postal workers found an ancient love letter, sent in 1958, at a Pennsylvania mailroom. They're trying to track down the intended recipient. Reuters writes: 'The letter had been addressed to Mr. Clark C. Moore, then a junior at the university, which was known at the time as California State Teachers College, she said. It included a return address, but little other information about the sender, who signed the letter, "Love Forever, Vonnie."' Follow @BoingBoing on Twitter.