Friday, May 16, 2008

Utter Miscellany

Because May 2008 has turned into the kind of month where acts of nature don't count as "bad news" if they don't kill tens of thousands of people in continental Asia, I found this news item about invincible ants plaguing Houston to be kind of whimsical. For some reason I always find ants fascinating. The new guys drive out fire ants, leading to the excellently evoked silver lining: "While the new ants will also bite humans, it reportedly doesn’t hurt nearly as much as a fire ant bite." So grace, as ever, visits us in the details.

Since the new ants also chew up electronic wiring when they find it, it's obviously only a matter of time until the Pentagon is dropping $50 million on a plan to weaponize these guys.

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From this article in Slate I learned that the United States has a recent habit of totally phoning in their World's Fair pavilions, since Congress has prohibited the expenditure of public funds on it. I'm a bit surprised, but I admit I can't get too exercised about this issue. Germany would be really happier with us right now if we'd sprung for a better pavilion in Hanover eight years ago? Also, this guy writes "the State Department salvaged a couple of old geodesic domes" (for a 1992 expo in Spain) like it's a bad thing. That's pretty economical, and geodesic domes are awesome.

What we should do for the 2010 Shanghai Expo is just plop down a chunk of Flushing Meadows with a sign that says "You Know, Your Fair Is Just Going to Turn Out Looking Like This Someday, So Fuck It."

My favorite thing about the 2010 Shanghai Expo is their mascot, who I call "Happy the Wonder Squib" and who is frequently visible in advertisements around Shanghai. The only piece of memorabilia I was tempted to purchase in Shanghai's touristy knickknack shopping district was a small Happy the Wonder Squib refrigerator magnet, which I was forced to decline due to the clerk's unfortunate insistence on charging much more than the item's zero-dollar manufacturing cost. I carry around fond memories of his smiling face and minty-fresh good humor, though.

The word "squib" has a somewhat unrelated literal definition, but whatever.

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Is your hard-plastic Nalgene bottle silently killing you? Scientists say: more research is needed! Usually I write off consumer-driven product anxiety as meaningless, uninformed concern, but I'm thinking twice here because I keep a Nalgene at my desk at work and have been drinking it down at least three times a day for the past five years. So whatever that gets you, I'm going to be first in line for it.

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I don't care one way or the other about Andrea Bocelli, and I sympathize with the man for his midlife crisis being covered by the Times of London, but you've got to admit that formulating the thought "I regret being forced by circumstances to do things that were very profitable" takes some kind of . . . something. Yeah, circumstances, they'll do that to you.


Blogger Pete said...

For the record, I proudly represented the USA at the Hannover World Expo back in 2000, as part of the Three Rivers Music Showcase. Holdin' it down on the mellophone front. I wouldn't say the expo missed all that much - there were a couple interesting buildings, I guess.

Also, I think its great that Jack occasionally puts links to things up on the blog, since that seems like what blogs are actually supposed to do.

5/17/2008 7:56 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Actually, blogs are supposed to do this.

5/17/2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Oh so true!

5/19/2008 6:29 AM  

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