Anthrax letters now on display

Untitled In Smithsonian, read about the new National Postal Museum exhibition where you can see the anthrax-laden letters that were sent to media outlets and two Democratic senators in 2001 and the mailbox into which they were dropped.

Letter sent in 1945 just now returned to sender

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The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper received this returned mail last week. The USPS label says: “Not deliverable as addressed. Unable to forward.” No surprise, considering the letter was mailed in 1945 and the intended recipient had moved from that address before 1970 and has since died. The reporter who mailed the letter is also long dead. "How did a 68-year-old letter get delivered to the Chronicle?"

Yahoo mail changes anger Yahoo mail users

In what Nicole Perlroth describes as "the online equivalent of a riot", Yahoo Mail users are revolting against recent updates to the service. Apparently they turned it into a confusing gmail clone with gaudy backgrounds and display advertising, or something.

Mysterious letterbox on bridge in Uri Geller's village

Gellll A red mailbox has mysteriously appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the River Thames in Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire, England. Even village resident Uri Geller (yes, that Uri Geller) is puzzled by it. The Royal Mail was quick to comment that "It is certainly not an operational posting facility." (BBC News)

Excellent DIY mailboxes

Excellent collection of DIY geeky and arty mailboxes. "22 unusual and creative mailboxes you don’t see everyday" (via MAKE)

Proposal: cats could deliver mail

A variety of animals have been used to deliver mail over the years, from camels and dogs to horses and pigeons. But cats? According to a 19th century article in the New York Times, around 1877 the Belgian Society for the Elevation of the Domestic Cat tested 37 cats for the task by taking them far from the city of Liege where they "promptly proceeded to 'scat.'" Within 24 hours, they had all returned home.
NewImageThis result has greatly encouraged the society, and it is proposed to establish at an early day a regular system of cat communication between Liege and the neighboring villages. Messages are to be fastened in water-proof bags around the necks of the animals, and it is believed that, unless the criminal class of dogs undertakes to waylay and rob the mail-cats, the messages will be delivered with rapidity and safety.
"Domestic Explosives and Other Six Column Fancies: (From the New York Times.)" - William Livingston Alden

USPS ending saturday letter delivery

Ron Nixon: "The Postal Service is expected to announced on Wednesday that it will stop delivering letters and other mail on Saturdays, but continue to handle packages, a move the financially struggling agency said would save about $2 billion annually as it looks for ways to cut cost." [NYT]

Mailifest Destiny: U.S. expansion visualized as post offices

Derek Watkins created a visualization tracking the spatial distribution of U.S. postal offices from the 18th to the 20th century. Gathering data from the USPS Postmaster Finder, with lat/long coordinates extracted from the USGS Geographic Names Information System, the results were animated using Processing. [Thanks, MR!]

Mail carriers will abuse your package more if it's marked as "Fragile"

Popular Mechanics and National Instruments put national mail carriers to the test, concealing accelerometers inside packages to see what pressures the boxes were subjected to. USPS was gentlest, but USPS packages fly express via FedEx, so it's a little inconclusive. This is the finding that I'll remember: "Our package received more abuse when marked Fragile or This Side Up."