Anti-grav Slinky, I am the 0.1%, Costumes, Christmas books

A slow-mo analysis of a slinky as it falls seems to show that the bottom end floats in space. There’s a scientific explanation, but I just think the video is cool–not to mention anything to do with slinkies. Surely any confessions of geekdom on my part would come as no surprise by now?

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Here’s an interesting article on what happens if we look at income disparity in a global context instead of just America. In short, I am the 0.1%. Not to belittle the problems we face in our country, but our idea of crushing poverty is most of the world’s idea of “the good life”. Just something to think about.

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Had I had the time, resources, and inclination to make a Halloween costume I should have dressed myself up as a can of orange soda, added a cape, a bow-tie, and a half-mask and gone as The Fanta of the Opera. Fortunately for everyone, I did not have the time, resources, or inclination. You may go about your lives, citizens.

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I am a regular reader of Orson Scott Card’s column “Uncle Orson Reviews Everything“–at least as regular as I can be, considering that it’s published first in a newspaper and then later on his website when his webmaster gets around to it. Not that I’m at all bitter about being made to wait several weeks at a time sometimes for a new column to read. I’m very patient and magnanimous that way. Really.

But I digress. I find his tastes in movies quite similar to mine, if not always for the same reasons, and on occasion I have tried some of the books he recommends and enjoyed those, too. I appreciate him as my personal entertainment bird dog.

But now and then he waxes prosaic about human nature through little slices of life, and I like that, too. Card’s books are usually very character-driven, and I love how he takes characters apart to show you what makes them tick, even as he often bashes them about so that by the end of the book they tick in a different way (Vee haff veys off meking you ‘tock’!). So of course¬† I enjoyed his lead-in to his yearly column on books to give as gifts for Christmas:

We’re coming up on Christmas, and a lot of you are wondering what to get nieces and nephews or grandchildren.

The nice thing about being a grandparent or uncle or aunt is that you don’t have to get them a gift they’ll be thrilled about, because you won’t be there to see the splash of boredom and ingratitude that crosses their eager little faces.

That’s why, all through my early childhood, one set of grandparents got away with sending us new pajamas every Christmas.

It was a great gift — they had decent taste, and it really helped my parents because buying new jammies is an expense that can chew into the budget of a growing family.

But come on, was I ever thrilled to get the jammies from Nana Lu and Grandpa? I was a good kid, but not thatgood. The jammies were nice. I set them aside.

And that was OK, because they weren’t in the room, so they couldn’t have their feelings hurt by my momentary ingratitude. And then, for months and months to come, I wore those pajamas and yes, I did remember that I got them from my dad’s folks.

Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents, you are in the marvelous, enviable position of being free to give your young relatives the best and yet least-appreciated gift of all: Books!

Least-appreciated, because if the kid hasn’t read it yet, a book is just a stack of paper with letters printed on it. (Unless it’s a sequel in a series, and you already ascertained that this was the next book the kid wanted, in which case it’s a gift from a wish list and not a surprise at all.)

The best gift, because books as Christmas gifts sneak up on the recipients.

Go here to keep reading. I can’t vouch for your personal taste, so I won’t tell you to trust his recommendations, but it’s still worth reading.