Needles to say, at 70 cents a minute I wasn't going to be doing much Internet research while we were on our recent cruise. So most of today's Odd Lots are from my tireless friends, whose efforts are very much appreciated. (Hey, next year let's all get together on a cruise, and experience Internet withdrawal around the stern pool with mojitos in our hands!)
During mealtime cruise ship chitchat, we learned that an enormous new cruise ship was so big it had a hard time getting under a bridge that blocked its maiden voyage from the shipyard in Finland to the sea. Aki Peltonen sent a nice news item on Allure of the Seas, which holds 8,500 people. The 200+ foot high boat cleared the bridge by one foot. Clearly, Allure might be considered a...brinkmanship.
My cell contract comes up next year, and just in time, Consumer Reports has published its January 2011 cover story on cell phones and (more significantly) cell providers and plans. Well worth buying the print magazine for. Right on the cover is the money quote: "Sorry, AT&T." (And guess which provider I have now? Changes are acumen in...)
Don Lancaster has released his TV Typewriter Cookbook as a free PDF. And speaking as I was of memoir the other day, here's a bio sketch Don sent me, Yes, he's a few years older than I am, but it's uncanny how much his story aligns with mine, right down to the planetarium, the acorn tube radios, Carl & Jerry, and much else.
Pertinent to my entry of November 30, 2010, there is apparently a term for memoirs written without the intent to publish generally: legacy writing, which is writing one's life story for recreational, family, or therapeutic purposes. The definition comes from this article, sent to me by Pete Albrecht.
Also pertinent to that same entry: A longish but very good article from Smithsonian about how memories form in the brain, and why they sometimes don't reflect precisely how reality happened. (Thanks to Dave Lloyd for the link.)
From the FB In The Original Sense File: Popular Mechanics mailed a box containing a thermometer and a three-axis accelerometer, both feeding a data logger, to see how much trauma a package would undergo from each of the major courier services. Summary here. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for the link.)
I've heard rumors of this, but now it's official: Borders is going to try to acquire Barnes & Noble. So we'll soon be down to one major national book retailer. Dare we hope that the doors will re-open to the knowledgeable one-off shop or local chain? Owned and run by people who actually read books? (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
From the With Delegates Like These, Who Needs Skeptics? Department: A group of college students attending the UN's COP 16 climate change conference in Cancun this week circulated a hoax petition calling for the banning of dihydrogen monoxide, a widely used industrial solvent that, while harmless in liquid form, contributes strongly to greenhouse heating as a vapor. Video of delegates cheerfully signing the petition here. (Don't those people watch Penn & Teller?)