The New Oxford American Dictionary has named its word of the year for 2009: unfriend. As in, “I was forced to unfriend her on Facebook because she kept posting those pouty-lipped self-portrait photos that are all the rage these days.”
It turns out that Budget Travel magazine is not closing or laying off staff, as had been previously reported by New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog.
Ross Douthat (pronounced “DOW-thut”) is, according to some, The New York Times‘ token conservative columnist. He’s reasonable and smart, and the points he makes often have me nodding along. Yesterday he wrote about unemployment and midterm elections, a topic he expands upon (with a handy graph) on his blog.
Slate has a fascinating story about how we might warn future humans (or other sentient species) of the dangers of buried radioactive detritus at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The Department of Energy created a report on the topic (which can be downloaded as a PDF by clicking here) that recommends a system of redundancy that would include the following:
Giant, jagged earthwork berms should surround the area. Dozens of granite message walls or kiosks, each 25 feet high, might present graphic images of human faces contorted with horror, terror, or pain (the inspiration here is Edvard Munch’s Scream) as well as text in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Arabic, and Navajo explaining what’s buried.
Even more fascinating is what the report suggests the earthworks might comprise:
The report proposes a “Landscape of Thorns” with giant obelisk-like stones sticking out of the earth at odd angles. “Menacing Earthworks” has lightning-shaped mounds radiating out of a square. In “Forbidding Blocks,” a Lego city gone terribly wrong, black, irregular stones “are set in a grid, defining a square, with 5-foot wide ‘streets’ running both ways. You can even get ‘in’ it, but the streets lead nowhere, and they are too narrow to live in, farm in, or even meet in.”