Today is the anniversary of the day that the humble pencil eraser received its patent from the United States government. Hail to you, Hymen L. Lipman!
A lot of newspapers are cutting back on staff these days, but the Los Angeles Times may have let go of a few too many people.
Twitter is a bewildering enough phenomenon all by itself, but now famous people are hiring ghost twitterers.
Police in Germany have been tracking a serial killer for two years. They found her DNA at over 39 different crime scenes, but never got anywhere near identifying their culprit. Ultimately, they began offering a 300,000 euro reward for any information that led to her arrest.
I’d love to know who finally made the big, silly, embarrassing discovery that ended the investigation: The DNA belonged to the factory worker who packaged the cotton buds used to collect the samples.
Full story here. It’s a great story, although I have to admit it sounds too good to be true. Do you really leave DNA traces on every single thing you touch? Maybe the factory was hot, and this factory worker sweated a little bit on to every single cotton swab?
Or maybe the factory worker really is the serial killer! Has anybody thought about that? It’s the perfect crime!
Apple cider doughnuts are awesome.
Lee Goldberg is at continual war with the concept of “fan fiction” and those who write it. I personally have no problem with fanfic as long as the author isn’t trying to make a profit off of it, and as long as it’s clearly labeled with something like “If you think this is a piece of crap, don’t blame J.K. Rowling, she had nothing to do with it.”
But Goldberg occasionally comes across someone who does intend to make some moolah off somebody else’s work. Today he gives us a beaut: A fanfic author who is actually putting out press releases announcing that her new “tribute sequel” to Twilight is for sale. The priceless part is her rationale of why Stephanie Meyer’s copyright is invalid and she can do whatever she wants — something about “legal boundaries becoming blurred” when fictional characters become “part of the popular psyche.” It’s really very imaginative. She should write fiction.
Update: Here’s her latest overblown press release. It looks like they’ve changed their mind about selling it.
The new version of the Winston Breen site has launched! Still needs a tweak here and there, but in general I’m pretty happy with how it came out.
Every Monday, Lea gets a new list of spelling words. Part of her homework on Monday nights is using six of these words in sentences. Last night she used the word “write” in the following sentence:
“I love to write.”
But, aha. She left a mile-long gap between the second and third words. Why did she do that? I asked her and she supplied me with a reason that makes absolutely perfect sense if you are six years old. Care to guess her logic?
Here’s the latest on this year’s Washington Post Hunt. It’ll be on May 17th, starting at noon. I’ll be back at the Red Roof Inn — it’s less than a mile from the Hunt start point. It’s $189 for that Saturday night and $209 for the Sunday night, which is not exactly dirt cheap but isn’t a punch to the gut, either. (As I recall, last year those prices started to climb as the date got closer, so I’d reserve sooner than later.) I hope to see a bunch of you there!