flail to the chief
Today's big primate news, of course, happened at noon Eastern Standard Time. But I don't walk to talk about that, other than to hope that Neal Pollack's protest goes well. I want to talk about lesser-known primate news, like Raju, the trained monkey who rids New Delhi government buildings of other monkeys. (Thanks Felisa.)
The Junot Díaz story in the Christmas New Yorker has made me a convert. I saw Díaz read a couple years ago and thought he was fine and everything, but this one ("The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao") is incredible in all kinds of ways, especially its voice. It simply shouldn't be permissible to mix Chicano lingo with sci-fi dork-speak like this:
That May, Oscar was, for once, in better spirits. A couple of months earlier, after a particularly nasty bout with the Darkness, he'd started another one of his diets and combined it with long, lumbering walks around the neighborhood, and guess what? The nigger stuck with it and lost close on twenty pounds! A milagro! He'd finally repaired his ion drive; the evil planet Gordo was pulling him back but his fifties-style rocket, the Hijo de Sacrificio, wouldn't quit. Behold our cosmic explorer: eyes wide, lashed to his acceleration couch, his hand over his mutant heart.
Does it work? Of course. It's brilliant. The whole (rather long) story is like that, and it's ultimately very moving in that funny-sad way.
Virtual sex: scientific progress marches on. "The doll itself will be essentially passive, but certain key body parts would be motor driven."