Thanksgiving Quick Hits

  • Whatever you do, don’t panic: The drama of a call to the emergency services. Transcripts and audio recordings of calls to 999 in the United Kingdom. Interesting for lay readers because most people never actually hear what these sound like; interesting for my colleagues because the PDI is basically the same and, modulo the accents, the calls themselves are basically the same, too.
  • Principles of the American cargo cult: “I wrote these principles after reflecting on the content of contemporary newspapers and broadcast media and why that content disquieted me. I saw that I was not disturbed so much by what was written or said as I was by what is not. The tacit assumptions underlying most popular content reflect a worldview that is orthogonal to reality in many ways. By reflecting this skewed weltanschauung, the media reinforces and propagates it. I call this worldview the American Cargo Cult, after the real New Guinea cargo cults that arose after the second world war. There are four main points, each of which has several elaborating assumptions. I really do think that most Americans believe these things at a deep level, and that these misbeliefs constantly underlie bad arguments in public debate.”
  • LaCie imaKey USB flash drive: WANT.
  • The Toaster Project: “I’m Thomas Thwaites and I’m trying to build a toaster, from scratch – beginning by mining the raw materials and ending with a product that Argos sells for only £3.99. A toaster.” Take that, localvores!
  • Shawn Colvin: Born to be telling her story. Strikingly interesting interview with one of my favorite artists about one of my very favorite albums.
  • Because it’s on TV tonight, and because this is one of my favorite pieces of fan-created SF tie-ins: The Endor Holocaust. Knowing this totally changes the way you watch Return of the Jedi. See also these guys for more ways to kill beloved childhood popular culture memories.