"You want to photograph me eating chicken?"
"Well, if I let you, I need you to help me deliver a message."
"I work at this library. And before that, I was coming here for twenty years. It’s my favorite place in the world. As many people know, the main reading room of this library is supported by seven floors of books, which contain one of the greatest research collections in the world. Recently, the library administration has decided to rip out this collection, send the books to New Jersey, and use the space for a lending library. As part of the consolidation, they are going to close down the Mid-Manhattan Library Branch as well as the Science, Industry, and Business Library. When everything is finished, one of the greatest research libraries in the world will become a glorified internet cafe. Now read that back to me."
“There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger!”
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, California
Antarctica, as my colleague Olga Khazan explained in 2013, is basically outer space on earth. Scientists who hole up at Antarctic research stations during the continent’s eight-month-long winter deal with serious burdens of both the physical and mental sort: the cold is deadly, the darkness oppressive. Once cabin fever sets in, it’s tempting to just knock yourself out with alcohol. But one particular line in Khazan’s article demanded further investigation:
Occasionally, they entertained themselves with daredevil stunts, like running from a 200-degree sauna to touch the South Pole while wearing nothing but shoes.
Make no mistake: Streaking at the South Pole isn’t an activity to be taken lightly. And it’s not something you do on a whim, after one too many shots of whiskey at Club 90 South. On the contrary, getting naked in Antarctica is a hallowed tradition that requires planning and teamwork.
China is in a frenzy for Airplane War, a cellphone game in which players wage aircraft battles and compete against their friends for high scores. Within two hours of its release in early August, the game was reportedly downloaded 180 million times. Stories of its addictive qualities have cropped up almost as quickly. According to one such tale, two drivers pulled over on a highway, one next to the other, just so they could finish their games. Another account describes serious thumb injuries; the South China Morning Post reported that two Hangzhou women were even hospitalized.
Airplane War’s success is the latest feather in the cap of WeChat, a Chinese messaging platform that has accumulated nearly 250 million users in less than three years. By combining games like Airplane War with free text-messaging, video chatting, and photo sharing—think WhatsApp meets Skype meets Instagram—WeChat has come to rival Sina Weibo, China’s most prominent social network.
Read more. [Image: Walter Newton]