Critical Linking: April 6, 2013

…horseracing, fiction, and capitalism came to form a mutually nurturing threesome, and it is easy to see why. Each of the three is a form of speculation. Each of the three is a complex endeavour that does not easily give up its secrets (and maybe there are no secrets; maybe every success or failure is pure chance). Each of the three is a microcosm of existence – a brief and intense series of lost or gained fortunes and thrilling or terrifying plot twists. 

And so is a weekend in Vegas.


The single-cell protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, help termites digest wood. The researchers decided to name them after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe.

It’s always nice to see something real named after something fictional.


Kobo says that 460 stores have signed up for the program and that it plans to have 1,000 signed up by the end of the year. That’s much more than Google ever had and it’s a vote of confidence in the industry for the strategy: sell the e-reader, sell the ebooks.

And I bet Kobo won’t give up in a couple of years, just when everyone’s gotten used to them.


Perhaps the global gratitude shown toward Ebert will make a few publications think twice before replacing their critics and culture writers with celebrity gossips and recappers of reality TV. That would be legacy enough, although Ebert leaves behind much more. Cumulatively, in fifty years of passionate prose, he created something as grand and improbable as a ship that sits atop a mountain.

I give this tribute, and the man it is about, two thumbs up.


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