Death Comes for the Microbot — Flash Fiction by Aimee Picchi

Bee walked on six spindly legs to the spot where Spider had stopped moving. Bee, whose job was to record the doings of the lab, had been across the room, but its video feed had captured the moment. The tiny arachnid-shaped bot had been monitoring the bio-nanobot colonies when it teetered and fell, alone. “Can you fix Spider, Dr. Nesbeth?” Bee asked. “Death Comes for the Microbot” is a flash…

If you think I’m wrong that the media fairly covered the Cannon Hinnant murder, but you’re still reading, then I welcome you.

Plenty of news organizations have reported on the tragic case of a white boy who was murdered while riding his bicycle. One must ignore easily verifiable opposing evidence to claim that “the media” are universally ignoring this story. It’s even more unhinged to latch upon the conspiracy theory that the reason for this (non-existent) lack of coverage is that the media organizations are unified in their intention to control a…

What are ‘Judeo-Christian values’? Analyzing a divisive term

block of American society. ­But for critics of how the term is used today, Judeo-Christian is vague, historically flawed and even inflammatory. These opposing views reflect a deep rift in American society and illuminate very different fundamental political beliefs.

“This is a term defined by exclusion,” said Shalom Goldman, a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, arguing that the term is often used to reject secular values and Muslims.

“It’s essentially saying our values are not the values of the Enlightenment or the Constitution, but instead our values are the values of the Bible,” he said.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance, called the term a “generalization” and said it is one “Christians in particular use to put a patina of universality on a certain Christian culture in the United States.”

The ‘Cancelling’ of Flannery O’Connor? It Never Should Have Happened

I regularly teach Flannery O’Connor, and assign a whole book of her short stories when I taught an American Lit 1915-Present course. Now that I’m teaching “American Lit 1776-Present” I keep her stories in rotation, but I have more material to cover, so I have to be more selective. O’Connor’s fiction contains many themes and shining moments that celebrate and repudiate and transcend the Southern culture that formed her, the…

VIRUS DIARY: For these kids, no adventures to choose

BURKE, Va. (AP) — On a recent car ride, my sons, Billy and Jimmy, were discussing an interactive “Minecraft” show on Netflix that allowed them to choose the direction of the story. I said it sounded like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, an artifact of my 1980s childhood. Then Billy, who’s 10 years old, surprised me. He had heard of “Choose Your Own Adventure.” “My friend had one. He…

Our Publication Stands By the Decision to Give a Platform to the Sea Monster Trying to Devour Our Entire Town

We understand many readers find the kraken’s point of view dangerous, but that is why we offered it for public scrutiny and debate. Though Trallonous’ position may have seemed clear from the moment he regurgitated thousands of sailor bones to block every exit out of town, it is always important to critically examine where the other side is coming from. Doing so allows us to better understand the sea demon’s perspective (we should be his food) as well as our own (no we shouldn’t).

The worst-case scenario Converging in a tense section of Huntsville: A white police officer fresh from de-escalation training, a troubled black woman with a gun, and a crowd with cellphones ready to record

This article focuses on a police officer who had just completed training in how to de-escalate an encounter with a mentally ill citizen, and just three days later found himself face-to-face with a mentally ill woman with a gun (and her toddler with a sippy cup). De-escalation training gives cops better tools than AR-15s, and more options. But that’s only a start. A different cop (reflecting on the events described…

I went with frisse.

German uses esse “to eat” for people, but frisse “to feed on” for animals.   This is a bear, so “I am eating a potato” should naturally be “Ich frisse eine Kartoffel.”   But it’s an anthropomorphized talking bear, which implies the self-awareness of “Ich esse eine Kartoffel.”   But surely a bear that knows German grammar this well would chafe at the demeaning spectacle of performing for the privilege…

Donald Trump Is a Broken Man (Assessment by Speechwriter for Reagan and both Bushes)

Powerful assessment of Donald Trump, written by Peter Wehner, a speechwriter who served Reagan and both Bushes. For context, here’s what Wehner writes about the conservative movement during the Reagan years: The conservative movement in the 1980s, although hardly flawless, was intellectually serious and politically optimistic. And Reagan himself was a man of personal decency, grace, and class. While often the target of nasty attacks, he maintained a remarkably charitable…

Masks serve many purposes. How sad that they’ve become politicized.

I’ve seen the original meme on my social media feed. I’ve fixed it. The purpose of the first three masks differs from the purpose of the fourth mask. The first three masks are designed to protect the wearer from breathing in harmful things in the environment. The mask Dr. Fauci wears is designed not to protect Dr. Fauci from the virus, but to protect people around Dr. Fauci from droplets…

No, this photo of people wearing coats standing in front of bare trees was not a fake news media attempt to misrepresent what’s happening in Texas and Arizona in July

It’s distressing and shocking to realize that some people are more willing to spread conspiracy theory shit than it they are to check their sources. Isn’t it the bad guys who are supposed to be spreading lies? I like reading news stories for myself, rather than spreading disinformation on social media. How hard is it to Google for “Refrigerated trucks requested in Texas and Arizona as morgues fill up due…

What the police really believe: Inside the distinctive, largely unknown ideology of American policing — and how it justifies racist violence.

“That whole thing about the bad apple? I hate when people say that,” Rizer tells me. “The bad apple rots the barrel. And until we do something about the rotten barrel, it doesn’t matter how many good fucking apples you put in.” Fascinating story, that starts by focusing on Arthur Rizer, a former military police officer who directs the criminal justice program at “a center-right think tank in DC.”  Also…

Thinking about physical therapy and cheerful, chatty older gents…

I feel like I’m living in a sitcom. A cheerful, chatty older gent was using the physical therapy table next to me this morning, delivering a constant stream of pleasant banter on the order of “Are you workin’ hard, or hardly working?” I’m attending PT twice a week because I noticed a decreased range of motion in my right shoulder. From the conversation I overheard at the next table, I…

After a pretty crappy day, I found shreds of joy in this clip of socially distanced salsa.

In my discipline, teaching small seminars typically depends on students sharing their weaknesses and vulnerabilities in pairs and small groups, gradually building trust while the teacher moves through the room, listening and joining in and backing away as appropriate. Masked students who are 6 feet away from each other will have to shout their failures from behind their masks, which is a totally different dynamic than having students put their…

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The Most Toys (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 22) Data Abducted by Eccentric Collector

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. The crew react to losing Data in a freak shuttle accident, but he’s been kidnapped by a trader who wants him for his collection. An odd, low-stakes episode that gives us a good look at Data’s ethical principles and negotiating technique, as he calmly debates with his captor and experiments with ways to resist. I got a little tired of the eccentric Fajo. He…

Wearing A Mask Is A Sign Of Mutual Respect During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Shortly after my region ended their lockdown, I went to my local Walmart to return something I had purchased online. I was shocked that more than half of the people there weren’t wearing masks. I got in and out quickly, wondering all the while whether the chance to get infected was really worth the $22 bucks I had coming to me for returning a defective rechargeable LED utility light. When…