Did you know that a soul goes for $400 on eBay? Or at least it did in 2001, which, adjusted for inflation, means the going rate these days would be around $508.34. Give or take a few cents. That’s a Job Lot-size sale, if you ask me.
This and a lot of other (more) though-provoking ideas came courtesy of Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality, which went into the fiction hopper earlier this week. It’s the most comprehensive and timely book I’ve read on why the Internet is bad for you, though it’s not as alarmist as all that. The author is a Stanford MD who treats patients with compulsive and addictive behavioral disorders, and he includes lots of juicy anecdotes about cray-cray ways in which people go online.
From El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency I learned that the U.S. government almost certainly allowed Mexican drug traffickers to smuggle opium into the country during both World Wars I & II with immunity. Wounded American soldiers need morphine, and the shipping lanes to our usual supplier – Turkey – were cut off by German U-boats. Put that poppy in your pipe and smoke it! In a Sino-Sinaloan opium den.
Finally, an ice dancer’s twizzle differs from a figure skating spin in that the skater moves across the ice instead of being centered in one spot. Here are reigning World Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White performing an Indian folk dance.
Research is fun, kids!
Update (3/5/11): When the cybercops come banging down my door, I’d like this post to serve as evidence that the search terms Improvised Explosive Device, J.F.K assassination, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were entered into Wikipedia in the same spirit as the above. I will be seeking pro bono legal counsel, if anyone’s interested.