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Books 1-10.
11. The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron.
12. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith writing as Claire Morgan.
13. Surviving the Siege of Beirut: A Personal Account by Lina Mikdadi.
14. Mammoths of the Great Plains by Eleanor Arnason.
15. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.

16. The Robotics Primer by Maja J. Matarić. Last year when I was reading The Challengers of the Unknown, I was for some reason particularly intrigued by the "honorary" female Challenger June Robbins/Walker, who is initially introduced as a robotics expert. I mused over the idea of writing some kind of Challengers proposal that would spotlight her, but I realized that I don't actually know much about robots. Anyway, that proposal may or may not happen, but this book--by the co-director of USC's Robotics Research Lab--strikes me a pretty great intro to the subject for just about anybody. It's written for anyone from elementary school to university students, and people like me who just want a grasp of the fundamentals. Matarić covers the basic challenges and common approaches to them well, and provides some illustrative examples, although there are times, when she discusses more conceptual problems, that the examples were lacking and I missed them badly. Overall, though, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the topic, and probably particularly to youngish kids who are scientifically inclined; I'm planning to loan my copy to one such kid.
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I seem to have no capacity to write anything interesting or clever today, so I am stealing links from my f-list.

Via [ profile] warren_ellis: Scientists may have located the seat of free will in the human brain. I don't know about you, but I am getting ready to exercise that part of my brain in order to run and hide from the scientists who are currently making plans to remove it.

Via [ profile] glvalentine: Keanu Reeves to star in an adaptation of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." This will only be good if Alex Winter plays Hyde.

Via [ profile] matt_ruff: Artificial Owl, a blog of structures humans made and then abandoned. See also [ profile] urban_decay and [ profile] rural_ruin right here on LJ. (Also: They made a SERIES out of Life After People?!? And me having gotten rid of the History Channel, too. Sigh.)

Via [ profile] tanaise: The makers of the (extremely awesome) Samorost games are coming out with a full-length game called Machinarium.

Finally, because it makes me happy:

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A 64-year-old woman has reported to doctors at Geneva University Hospital the presence of a pale, milky-white and translucent third arm.

Sure, that happens. But then there's this:

The upshot is that the woman can use the apparitional extremity to relieve very real itches on the cheek. It cannot penetrate solid objects.

You know that's what she's pissed about. She was hoping to take up doin' crimes.

(Via [ profile] porphyre.)
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One, my brother Steve is raising money for the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. Steve works at the Golden Valley branch of the Humane Society, and they do good work there. Check out his page, and send some cash his way if you're so inclined.

Two, I won't be online much today due to an unexpected road trip. Long story short, if you're in Marshall, Minnesota and are going to see Kelly Link and Alan DeNiro read tonight at SMSU, looks like you may be getting me as well. Should be fun.

Three, I was watching the Discovery Channel yesterday and I found out that people are trying to reverse genegineer dinosaurs from birds. This will be important later, I think. Take notes.
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Archaeology! Ancient City Found in Mexico! Village Discovered Near Stonehenge! Police to Reunite! (At the f*&%ing Grammys. Now I have to watch the Grammys. Someone kill me.)

Warren Ellis subjects us all to shares an excerpt from Jeff Lint Steve Aylett's surreal parody comic "The Caterer." SMOOTHING THE CHEEK OF REALITY HAS ITS DANGERS!

Hannah links to the poem "Library" by Albert Goldbarth, which turns out to be awesome.

I have discovered that, along with those annoying ads along the side, I have been given the power of polls. Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Here's the thing. I am, by most objective measures, a fairly geeky person. But I find that many things which are considered more or less core geek loves drive me up the wall. Perhaps you are also somewhat geeky, and encounter this same phenomenenonon. This poll is for you!

[Poll #917082]


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April 2011

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