Things I’d never do

Bryan Appleyard has picked up on a good meme going the rounds:

Ten things I would never do.

He hasn’t challenged anyone in particular to do this meme, but I rather like it so I will have a go.

1. Have another child

2. Read or buy  a book "by" a pop star, model or person famous for having their photograph taken

3.  Give a recital at the Royal Albert Hall

4. Jump out of a plane with or without parachute

5. Uninstall Internet Explorer when told it will solve my broadband problem by a person in India answering BT’s customer service phone number

6.  Stop reading Frank Wilson’s blog Books, Inq (or indeed, a lot of other people’s blogs)

7. Wear jewelry and make-up

8. Take up ballet

9. Work in advertising

10. Watch reality TV shows

Anyone else want to have a go at this "infuriatingly irresistible"meme, as Bryan describes it? Drop the  link in the comments if so.

Scientific anniversaries

Last week I noticed that it was New Scientist magazine’s 50th anniversary (I noticed this fact because a great big 50 was plastered all over the front cover of the copies in our office).

On the New Scientist website is a facsimile of the first-ever issue with a link to an article "How New Scientist got started". There is a forum in which readers can suggest the "biggest scientific advances" of the past 50 years, and a selection of past articles on topics like television without wires, a baby computer  (the Burroughs E101), a threatened influenza epidemic from Hong Kong in 1957, the relationship between diet and heart disease, and so on.

Two articles in particular caught my attention, one for me and one for Debra Hamel. Mine: The Thing About Beards (which, sadly, turns out to be about a "shaving device"); Debra’s: Wind in the loo, reporting a new type of commode for the space shuttle. "From the outside it looks much like the uncomfortable apparata in jet airliners. In the works, however, liquid and solid wastes are directed into separate pipes by high velocity air streams (apparently not warmed)." More gory details ensue, but I will draw a veil and leave Debra to comment on those if she is so inclined.

Incidentally, Nature has the full contents of its first issue, published 4 November 1869,  on its website. Unfortunately, it does not contain the journal’s mission statement, as this seems to have missed the deadline. That is in the second issue (11 November) , and can be seen here.

A mixed bag of books

I was musing in a comment on Its a Crime… or a mystery earlier tonight about whether to post my "real" Christmas book list — the actual books I have in my Amazon wishlist (emailed to my nearest and dearest) and those that I have bought for my family. I’d quite like to, but am hampered by the fact that two out of three of my little nuclear lot do visit my blog occasionally and might get their surprise spoiled.

So for the time being, I’ll make do with some more suggestions I’ve come across on various blogs. First up is Crime Scraps, which gives Citizen Vince a good few stars. I was very impressed by Jess Walter’s  first book, Over Tumbled Graves, but slightly disappointed in the sequel, Land of the Blind. Because the subject matter of Ruby Ridge (true crime) and Citizen Vince (Elmore Leanordy political) doesn’t particularly interest me, I gave them a miss. But having read Norm/Uriah’s review of Citizen Vince, I’ll obviously have to read it. Jess Walter’s latest, The Zero, came out in the UK this autumn; I don’t know anything about it but maybe I should find out.

I’ve just visited a blog entitled Take off your Running Shoes, which, confusingly, exists to promote a book called Take off your Party Dress (link goes to first post of blog). The blogger, Diana Rabinovich, has breast cancer, and her blog is partly a diary of her experiences in that department, and partly about publication of her book, subtitled "when life is too busy for breast cancer".  She has just fallen out with her publishers,  but not to the extent of an OJian cancellation.

Because of the huge type, I’m going to mention only one more book before my post gets too long. It was inevitable, I suppose: there is now a "proper" book about Second Life , the online world in which millions of us now live, work and play. You have to smile, don’t you? I wonder how long Second Life will keep going as a sustainable "Linden dollar" economy, given that someone has now managed to write a program that can duplicate anything that has been created in there.