October 13th, 2010

Odd Lots

  • Don Lancaster has released a free PDF of his classic RTL Cookbook . No catch. Just go get it.
  • One serious problem with legalizing marijuana, for medical use or otherwise, is that there is no one "marijuana." Like breeds of dogs, weed comes in a multitude of varieties, with various strengths and compositions and effects on human beings. You simply can't predict what will happen to you when you take it, which isn't what I like to see in medical therapies--or, for that matter, recreational activities.
  • This is good, but not for the reasons you might think: If Macmillan is consigning much of its backlist to a POD agreement with Ingram/Lightning Source, the line between "conventional" publishers and POD publishers begins to get blurry indeed. That's good, as discrimination against POD titles by reviewers and other gatekeepers in the publishing and retailing businesses has been very discouraging. Mainstreaming POD has got to happen at some point, and the gatekeepers will have to--gasp!--evaluate titles on their own merits. (But that's...work!)
  • Those who think cellular phones were the first mobile phone technology are almost forty years off, as this excellent detailed history of mobile (car) telephony shows. This stuff was huge (as in takes up much of your trunk), hot (as in temperature), and fiendishly expensive, but over a million people were using it in 1964. Love those early-60s control heads!
  • I just heard that a lost and never-performed composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams has been discovered in the Cambridge University Library, and will soon be performed for the very first time. He's my all-time favorite composer, and it's delightful to think that there's still something he's written that I have never heard. (Thanks to Scott Knitter for the link.)
  • We got missed (barely) by a 35-foot asteroid yesterday, but I'm guessing that there are plenty more where that came from. And does 35 feet qualify one as an asteroid? I would think they had to be bigger than that. I would call it "modestly scary space debris."
  • Maybe you have to have been an electronics geek for 47 years (like me) to appreciate the humor, but this made me laugh. Hard.