A few years ago, when it suddenly occurred to us that the internet was a place we could never leave, I began to keep a diary of what it felt like to be there in the days of its snowy white disintegration, which felt also like the disintegration of my own mind. My interest was not academic. I did not care about the Singularity, or the rise of the machines, or the afterlife of being uploaded into the cloud. I cared about the feeling that my thoughts were being dictated. I cared about the collective head, which seemed to be running a fever. But if we managed to escape, to break out of the great skull and into the fresh air, if Twitter was shut down for crimes against humanity, what would we be losing? The bloodstream of the news, the thrilled consensus, the dance to the tune of the time. The portal that told us, each time we opened it, exactly what was happening now. It seemed fitting to write it in the third person because I no longer felt like myself.
How the Astounding magazine created most of our memorable science fiction (please click through on this one, if only to browse the old magazine covers! Incidentally, this led me to the illustration work of Elliott Dold)
Explaining weird natural phenomena: hair ice (makes you wonder how much more is out there to be explained!)
People who play MMORPGs really do live inside them: here’s a story about “dramatic events” inside EVE Online
Another thing that blew my mind: I came across somewhere and had to validate it, and then found this news article from 2006 about it (emphasis mine):
The doctor noticed that the student’s head seemed a little larger than normal and he referred him to Dr Lorber for further examination.
Dr Lorber examined the boy’s head by Cat-scan to discover that the student had virtually no brain …
In hydrocephalus the cerebrospinal fluid, which circulates through brain channels called ventricles builds up pressure that balloons up the ventricles pressing the overlying brain tissue against the cranium. This insult from within causes a loss of brain matter and many hydrocephalics suffer intellectual and physical impairment …
Hydrocephalus is usually fatal in the first months of childhood and, if an individual survives, he/she is usually seriously handicapped. However, the Sheffield student lived a normal life and graduated with an honours degree in mathematics.