The brilliant book that inspired Dune author Frank Herbert

That science-fiction extravaganza Dune allegorizes contemporary themes of imperialism, economic addiction to oil, and religious war is obvious. But it turns out that Frank Herbert's masterpiece owes much to one particular book in particular: Lesley Blanch's brilliant, half-forgotten Sabres of Paradise, about the warlords of the Caucasus, where Europe and Asia meet. Anyone who has…

Are Hazardous Vapors Seeping Into Basements Across the United States?

Photo courtesy of Michelle Le/Mountain View Voice. Reprinted with permission. This post by Lynne Peeples was originally published on Ensia.com, a magazine that highlights international environmental solutions in action, and is republished here as part of a content-sharing agreement When Jane Horton bought her dream 800-square-foot farmhouse in 1975, she thought little of the semiconductor manufacturing plant across the…

In Tanzania, Hepatitis Is a Serious Concern, but HIV/AIDS Remains Deadlier

Local media have dubbed the disease the ‘silent killer’. Credit: PesaCheck.org This article was originally published on PesaCheck.org, East Africa’s first fact-checking initiative. In a story published by The Citizen newspaper in Tanzania, Dr. John Lwegasha, the head of the gastroenterology and hepatology unit at Muhimbili National Hospital, was quoted as saying that hepatitis B…

The Perils of Military Engagement Against North Korea

A detail from the Mansudae Grand Monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Stefan Krakowski via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) The $20 million we spend daily maintaining the US nuclear arsenal could instead be used to provide $1,000 per day for every one of the twenty thousand children who die from hunger. – J.…

Mexico Earthquake: ‘I Thought I Was Going to Die When Pieces of the Ceiling Began to Fall’

Mexico City employees working on debris removal. Image by J. Tadeo. Mexico has been hit by two violent earthquakes in September 2017. The first, which registered 8.2 on the Richter scale, occurred on September 7 and caused close to 100 deaths, mostly in Oaxaca and Chiapas in southwestern Mexico. The second, which occurred on September 19, killed at…

There’s a Black Mirror book coming, and I’m gonna help write it

This morning, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker and Random Penguin announced that he's editing a series of anthologies of Black Mirror novellas; I'm writing one of the three stories for the first volume, along with Claire North, and Sylvain Neuvel. I'm pretty goddamned thrilled about this. (more…) Source: Boing Boing (published under a Creative Commons license)

Watch this absolutely wonderful skateboarder marriage proposal

Pro skateboarders Amelia Brodka and Alec Beck first met at the Vans Combi Bowl skatepark in Orange, California. Beck's recent marriage proposal to Brodka at that same skatepark is absolutely wonderful. Their joy is infectious. (via r/MadeMeSmile) https://youtu.be/0hB_RdBvx1A Source: Boing Boing (published under a Creative Commons license)