Writing a sci-fi novel? Need some quick ideas for your fictional hellscape? Then you need Randomized Dystopia, a tool which suggests basic liberties that your imaginary dictators can suppress.
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. "The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee." Pair with: Sullivan's essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.
Sean Manning of the Talking Covers blog spoke with a bunch of authors, editors and artists to take a long, close look at the work of Lorraine Louie, the designer “who came up with the uniform, De Stijl layout” of the inimitable Vintage Contemporaries. And while on the topic of book covers, check out Tammy Fortin’s “New Covers for Old Classics” series she put together for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Writers of facial stage direction, beware: it is not actually the epitome of irony that smiling and crying can seem so oddly similar. At Aeon, Princeton professor Michael Graziono argues that the seemingly opposite gestures may just share evolutionary origins. (Pair with: Darwinist theories about "the evolution of the novel.")
Two weeks ago, the Internet Gods (meaning: the Unicode 7.0 update) gave us hundreds of new emoji symbols, including the middle finger and peace dove. By now our emoji usage patterns can be used by psychologists to understand our minds. “People who use no noses tend to be tweeting more about... Justin Bieber. They have younger interests, younger concerns, whether or not they’re younger.”