I have to start by saying that The Arithmancer by White Squirrel is the first fanfiction I've ever read, unless you count mainstream works like The Mists of Avalon. I wouldn't have given it a chance if it hadn't been recommended by mathemusician Vi Hart. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Having now finished the second book in the series (Lady Archimedes), I'm ready to lay out why I think you should read it, too.
I got an email a few days ago informing me that I'm in the top 5% of users of a service called Pocket -- I've used their free service to read more words on more Web pages than 95% of their users. This is a totally unpaid and unasked-for endorsement, but chances are you haven't even heard of this service, so let me introduce you to why I use it so much:
This is a response to a blog post called "When will White People Stop Making Movies like Avatar?" by Annalee Newitz. The post made me upset when I first read it, but I hadn't seen Avatar yet, and besides, her argument is protected by the good old rhetorical ploy, "If this makes you feel defensive, you must be a racist." Now that I've seen the film, I disagree more strongly on a number of po
Soon after I bought my first recumbent bike, I became a devotee of chain wax instead of oil. When I was a kid, we always used 3-in-1 oil on our chains, but it only took one application of that stuff to the long dangly chain of a Bike-E to make me realize my error -- oil got all over my leg! I had to remove all the oil with a rag and replace it with wax. I was so sold on wax that once when I took my bike to a small-town shop for unrelated work and the well-intentioned mechanic thought my chain looked "dry" and oiled it for me, I made him wipe the oil back off and gave him a
Back in September, I wrote about our frustration in trying to follow Consumer Reports' guidance in buying appliances, including a dehumidifier. Then in November I reported on the energy consumption of our appliances, including the dehumidifier, which was the number one energy hog in the house, costing us an estimated $593.09 per year to maintain the relative humidity at 50% (dry enough to keep mold from growing).
Many of my friends in Fairfield, Iowa, are in an uproar right now about a new cell-phone tower that, unlike the existing two towers on the outskirts of town, is near homes and a few blocks from an elementary school. Here's some of the existing press about the controversy:
I knew I'd have to buy a bunch of appliances shortly after moving into the house, so I subscribed to Consumer Reports' online edition. Although it's been better than nothing, it was not as helpful as I had hoped. Here are my experiences so far.