Links for 2009-09-17

  • "God clearly did not mean for humans to eat chicken, bacon, and low-quality, gelatinous cheese at the same time. I was suddenly struck with a strange urge to keep kosher. Each bite became a grueling endurance test, as the cheese and grease began to override the chicken breasts, and the sandwich grew more revolting-looking with each bite."
    (tags: food avclub silly)
  • "Schedenfreude proves unruly."
  • "In 2007, the AAUP's Committee on Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity recognized that a focused empirical study of success stories could offer role models and strategies to the 92 percent of schools not yet on the LGBTQ-friendly list. The committee obtained funding from the Arcus Foundation, the Small Change Foundation, and the Gill Foundation to conduct interviews with faculty and staff members, administrators, and students at twenty schools that had, within the last eight years, adopted same-sex domestic partner health benefits policies, employment nondiscrimination policies addressing sexual orientation and gender expression, or other LGBTQ-supportive policies."
  • "Many in the publishing industry look to Brown as some kind of book-selling savior amid generally dismal post-Potter sales, but "serious" readers tend to dismiss The Da Vinci Code and its ilk as being nothing more than pop-mysticism packaged in the trappings of a rousing adventure yarn. The impression is that Brown's avid readership, despite their love for his "hyperventilating" prose, have no interest in reading any other books by a different author, ever. Well, people, we're here to help, and have taken the trouble to offer some Brown-related (sort of) book suggestions for the Langdon set."
  • "[A]n international team of astronomers led by Didier Queloz of Switzerland's Geneva Observatory has used the HARPS spectrograph at La Silla Observatory in Chile to measure the mass of CoRoT-7b. HARPS makes very accurate measurements of the velocity of the planet's parent star, which allows astronomers to observe the "wobble" induced on the star by the orbiting planet.

    By observing this wobble for a total of 70 hours over several months, the team concluded that CoRoT-7b has a mass about five times that of Earth. The density is therefore about the same as Earth, suggesting that the exoplanet has a similar rocky composition. "

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Dan Brown (admittedly I've only read The Da Vinci Code, and only two-thirds of that) is a unique writer. The Da Vinci Code is absolutely dreadful and I wanted to put it down from page 3 onwards but just ... couldn't. I've never read anything like it, and it's telling that the not-especially-funny sneering you linked can't even find mocking comparisons to it, let alone serious ones.