Tag Archives: featured

Hypebeasts Save the USPS

It’s a cultural phenomenon unseen since the iPhone lines of the late 2000s.

Roughly 200 people line the sidewalk on a brisk winter morning on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Some, packing away camping gear, have been here since 6 the previous evening. Only minutes past 8 a.m. now, hundreds more are expected to join the queue by the end of the hour. Continue reading Hypebeasts Save the USPS

Most Excellent Fancy

An excerpt from the novel.

The best thing about undergrad labs is that the fume hoods are just for show. Under ideal circumstances, any chemical of any significant volatility or toxicity should be dispensed and handled in these ventilated plexiglass cabinets. The brilliance of a fume hood is that no matter how skin-meltingly eye-wateringly trachea-burningly reproduction-preventingly carcino-/muta-genically toxic a given chemical is, it’s safe for even an undergrad with questionable fine motor skills to manipulate fearlessly in a hood, the chemical, because the complex HVAC assembly1 housed in the ceiling above the hood constantly pulls air in from the room and across the offending chemical, picking up fumes as it goes, the air, and whisks them through a series of tubes2 straight up to the roof of the CoC3 tower where they disperse into the atmosphere to be forgotten, the fumes, until some day in the (hopefully very) distant future. But undergrad chemistry labs are entirely unlike undergrad physics lectures.4 No, in the undergrad lab, the empty fume hoods drone dumbly in the corner, while students bustle around making off-color but mostly on-topic jokes,5 poking each other with Pasteur pipettes and slopping volatiles across bench tops like skim milk across dining hall tables. Which, the combined effect of the underutilized hoods and the cavalier use of what really are alarming amounts of acetone and dichloromethane is that working in the undergrad organic chem lab just past the elevators down the absurdly long CoC hallway is exactly like working in a perfume department at the mall if the mall were a Brutalist interpretation of a Cro-Magnon skull and if perfumes were stupor-inducing ethers and noxious aldehydes. So like I said, working in the undergrad lab is exactly like working in a perfume department at the mall, and it smells great, too. Continue reading Most Excellent Fancy

The Tales of Gaijin

For those who are unaware of the stale and the fresh tea, I am bi and generally find myself more attracted to women than men. However, I married a man, Michael, for reasons that would embarrass him were I to share them here. We moved to Japan shortly after our wedding so Michael, who actually speaks Japanese, could teach English, while I, who do not speak Japanese, could labor endlessly to prove myself in the Land of the Rising Sun. With any luck, the Japanese would notice my diligent efforts; however, the White Devil has no luck in this land. Continue reading The Tales of Gaijin

My Octopus Overlord

In 2010, with just five words and a few mathematical symbols, Jaron Lanier changed the course of science forever. In his book You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier offered the following equation for contemplation:

Cephalopods + Childhood = Humans + Virtual Reality

Scientists everywhere were flummoxed by the calculus, which appeared to have been handed down from somewhere beyond our own realm. Gradually, it inspired a frenzy of outraged disbelief and panicked confusion. As the equation destabilized centuries of natural science, researchers everywhere began questioning the relevance of their lives’ work. Ever since, bands of feral biologists have roamed forests the world over, undone by the sheer brilliance of Lanier’s discovery. Continue reading My Octopus Overlord