Short Bursts

I’d Like You to Meet my Co-Author, Neil Gaiman Department

Today, I collaborated with Neil Gaiman on an original story using the power of Twitter.The idea was for Gaiman to start a story on Twitter and other Twitter users can then contribute to the story with their own tweets. Once the tale reaches 1000 tweets, the BBC editors will edit it into a (hopefully) coherent story. An audio version of the story will be made available in the iTunes store for free.My contribution was thus:

Scene 2 #23 “I can help. No strings attached, if you pardon the pun.”

You can read Scene 1, the rest of Scene 2 and most of Scene 3 before the experiment crashed Twitter on the BBC Audiobooks America site. Because of the crash, they are going to restart the collaborative story tomorrow.

I’m just happy I made the cut and look forward to downloading the original story. Although, I do wonder if they will give any kind of credit to the contributors.  I hope so. Lots of creative, smart people participating.

POD + Google = Digitized Texts On Demand Department

With book retailers struggling, Google has stepped up to fill a niche traditionally filled by used bookstores – the out of print book. Google is digitizing the two million out of copyright texts and setting up a Print On Demand option for $8.

Now I think this is a pretty cool idea. It won’t really cut into the sales of places like Borders and Barnes and Noble, but it certainly could hurt the traditional used bookstore. In the short term, this is a great way to find new/old books. Still, if I was Borders or Barnes and Noble I’d be worried because it really isn’t that hard to take that next step and have copyrighted books sold in the same way.

What A Great Bowel Movement Department

A recent study found that the top five posts on microblogging services such as Twitter were “working,” “home,” “work,” “lunch,” and “sleeping.”  While I think there are plenty of people who tweet only about what they are working on, how great it is to be home, what they are having for lunch and time for bed, I almost always gloss over those comments and focus on something I find really cool like breaking news or funny hashtags.

How do you Twitter?

Razor Blades in Your Apples Department

Did you go out Trick or Treating when you were a kid? Did your parents scare the bejeebus out of you with horror stories of some kid who ate an apple with a razor blade in it? Yeah, me too. It’s freakin’ crap.  Boing Boing has done the reasearch.

Lenore “Free Range Kids” Skenazy points out that there has never been a single substantiated incident of a kid being sickened, hurt or killed by doctored candy handed out during trick-or-treating in the history of America.

Ever.

Was there ever really a rash of candy killings? Joel Best, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, took it upon himself to find out. He studied crime reports from Halloween dating back as far as 1958, and guess exactly how many kids he found poisoned by a stranger’s candy?

A hundred and five? A dozen? Well, one, at least?

“The bottom line is that I cannot find any evidence that any child has ever been killed or seriously hurt by a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick-or-treating,” says the professor. The fear is completely unfounded.