This Guy Literally Has Superhands, And He Puts Them To Good Use

A street-corner chef named Kann Trichan was selling chicken in Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, when a squirrel fell into one of his bubbling-hot frying pans. It splashed the oil all over his face and arms. Naturally, he went home to nurse his wounds.

But the next day, he found that he had no burns or blisters.

Now calling himself “Superhands,” Trichan’s corner business is extremely popular, as it’s part food cart, part street performance. The man dazzles customers by frying his hens and sticking his hands deep in the scorching-hot liquid.

Usually, I’d prefer that people touch my food with their hands as little as possible, but honestly, when it comes to Superhands, I’m more impressed than disgusted. How is this possible?

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Rupert Murdoch turns 81 today!/pourmecoffee/status/178857279829983232

If you haven’t already, you can follow Rupert Murdoch on Twitter here. He always has plenty to say, and here’s two quotes to sum him up quite well. Happy birthday Murdoch. Here’s to another 100 years. What would you tell Murdoch today on his birthday?

Most newspaper companies still have their heads in the sand, but other media companies are aggressive.-Rupert Murdoch

— Kibi (@KibDeals) March 11, 2012

All forms of government ultimately are not going to succeed in trying to control or censor the Internet – Rupert Murdoch #Business

— Business Quoter (@businessquoter) March 11, 2012

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Business Cat Is At It Again

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The Future Of The Future Of Books

Thoughts on Amazon, e-books, and the future of how we read words.

Nathan Pyle / BuzzFeed

Everything Is About to Change (for Real This Time)

The year I graduated high school, the media was overrun with speculation about a new technology set to shake the foundation of the world. What was it? We weren’t told, exactly. All we knew was that code name “IT” was so revolutionary that we would have to rebuild our cities from scratch. Techie god Steve Jobs declared it “as big a deal as the PC.”

At the end of the year, the product that was about to blow our minds to the future was revealed: the Segway.

A dorky scooter.

Instead of forcing us to rebuild our major metropolises, the Segway managed to be a prop for blowhards on TV sitcoms. I think I’ve seen one twice in real life.

I was thinking about the Segway again as I’ve fallen into a hole of reading about Amazon versus Hachette, e-books, self-publishing, and Kindle Unlimited. Most articles and nearly every comment thread are filled with declarations that e-book dominance is already here. The publishers are “dinosaurs” who don’t see the “paradigm-shifting” “sea change” and aren’t creating “proactive” new “business models” in the wake of this “disruptive” “revolution.” Anyone who reads print is a “luddite” propping up a “dying industry.” If they don’t get on board soon, they’re doomed!

Strangely, you can read those same comments in articles from last year. Or five years ago. Or 10.

It’s been over 15 years since the first dedicated e-readers were released, and over seven since the first Kindle. Today, about 15% of consumer spending on books is electronic and about 30% of books sold are e-books. The majority of book readers still only read in print, and only 6% of readers read e-books exclusively. It’s clear that e-books are here to stay, but it’s less clear that the complete dismantling of the publishing industry is around the corner.

Technology Is Only a Straight Line in Retrospect

I’m the online editor for Electric Literature, an organization dedicated to new literary models and technologies. I’m active on social media, I’ve crowdfunded a book, and I’ve published e-only works. I’m hardly a luddite who hates the internet, and indeed I get excited about the new possibilities for reading and literature out there.

Still, I roll my eyes at the constant declarations that the future is here all over again. Every new product is a revolution, every app will completely change how we communicate. A pair of “smart boxers” that monitors your farts per day is the future of underwear. An e-toothpick that tweets your gum health is a paradigm shift in dentistry. It’s true that there are always people who resist change, and industries that collapse because of it. It is also true that new “revolutions” fail to occur on a monthly basis. Even the most forward-thinking writers get their predications way off.

Technological progression always looks like a straight line in retrospect, but only because we ignore the supposed sea changes that fail. Movies were black and white without sound, then black and white with sound, then color with sound. But what happened to Smell-O-Vision? And five years after Avatar, why hasn’t 3D completely taken over the way we watch movies instead of being a declining sideshow? On the one hand, it’s easy to see the progress from early cell phones to modern smartphones. And yet, the fact that it was phones that progressed that quickly instead of, say, consumer vehicles (still no flying cars?) would shock time travelers from as recently as 1994.

The Future of Books Is Hypertext! No. It’s POD! No. It’s Enhanced E-Books! Apps! Netflix for Books! None of Those? Wait. It’s Cloud Storage!

In Bloomberg, Leonid Bershidsky recently declared that the Amazon-Hachette dispute is silly because both companies “fail to recognize is that in the world of digital literature, book ownership will soon be an anachronism.” The actual future of books, according to Bershidsky, is “an enormous digital library in the cloud, where any book could be borrowed.”

I could see a cloud service working, but it’s another amusingly confident prediction that contradicts previous confident predictions. Is the future cloud borrowing instead of Netflix model? Is it “an interactive novel read on a Google Glass“? Is it apps? Social writing networks like Wattpad? Print on demand (POD) machines on every corner? Nano-narrative book bots plugged directly into your eyeball?

Likely all of those things will have some role, however small, in 10 years’ time. But one thing that all of these predictions miss is that people actually like physical books. They like holding them. They like putting them on bookshelves and coffee tables. Hotels and retail stores buy bulk used books for decoration. Many people who buy exclusively e-books still like to browse in physical bookstores and look at physical books.

The printed book is far from dead.

Nathan Pyle / BuzzFeed

Books Are Not Music

The favorite comparison for print doomsayers is the music industry. Although Bershidsky rightly points out that financially the publishing industry is adapting to the digital world much better than the music industry did, he still falls back into the default comparison:

[…] the book market is following the music market’s technological development path. It progressed from hardcover and paperback books — analogous to vinyl LPs and CDs — to Amazon’s Kindle, which could be used to purchase books from Amazon the way Apple Inc. sold songs to iPod users through its iTunes store.

Since this comparison is made ad nauseam, I’d like to take a detour and list some reasons why I’ve always thought it was off:

  • New music formats were improvements while new print formats were variety. New music formats had more functions (fast-forwarding, skipping around, etc.), were smaller, and held larger amounts of information. Trade paperbacks were cheaper, less sturdy version of hardcovers, and mass market paperbacks were cheaper and flimsier still. Book formats were meant to capture different parts of the market; music formats were meant to replace previous formats.
  • In a 20-year period, consumers were asked to move from vinyl to cassette tapes to CDs to MP3s –and to buy new devices to play them with each time. You read paperback and hardcover with the same set of hands and eyes.
  • There are numerous industry differences too, but in the interest of keeping this relatively short I’ll stick to one: the music industry was built around using singles to sell albums. Customers often felt forced into paying full album price just to access the one or two songs they wanted. Readers, however, do not buy novels to read the one chapter they like over and over.

Dinosaurs Don’t Always Die

Even if you believe that the publishing industry is just another bunch of “dinosaurs” like the music and movie industries, it doesn’t follow that the big publishers are dying. Last time I checked, the rise of Netflix and YouTube haven’t stopped the box office from being dominated by the same movie studios rebooting the same franchises with the same famous actors. While a few superstars have risen from self-publishing, it still remains the usual pack of Big 5 Kings and Rowlings topping the best-seller lists.

As a fan of independent music, small presses, and weirdo films, I’m not cheering this on. I wish that the early ’00s vision of the internet allowing the passionate indies to topple the giant corporations had panned out. At best, though, we’ve traded a handful of old corporations for new, larger ones (Amazon, Apple, Google, etc.) and actually made it harder for artists to survive.

The internet has made people expect “content” (a gross term for art) to be very cheap or free…even when that content is advertising for rich corporations. While everyone can produce and spread art, it’s becoming increasingly hard to actually make any kind of living off of it. The people in position to capitalize are always the rich, and so the big movie studios are able to leverage the global markets and the established music industry players have been able to leverage music licenses to car commercials. While a lot of self-publishers have this idea the Big 5 hate and fear them, the truth is closer to the opposite: The Big 5 have started to look at the typo-ridden Wild West of self-publishing as a kind of digital slush pile from which they can snatch up the works that build an audience. (Publishers are even trying to re-create this dynamic under their umbrellas.)

The dinosaurs, it would seem, are much better at adapting than we think.

The Future of Books Tomorrow…Today!

Since I’ve taken some jabs at other people’s overconfident predictions, here’s where I post my own predictions for future bloggers to mock.

It’s possible that in the distant future we will “read” by injecting word venom into our bloodstream, but I don’t think printed books are going away anytime soon. (Predictions beyond a decade are pretty pointless in conversations about contract negotiations or what way to publish your work today.) E-books will continue to grow, but print will remain a large portion and probably capture a majority of dollars spent for the near future. If there’s a reason to be bearish on print, it’s the shuttering of physical bookstores (although indie bookstores are experiencing a bit of a comeback). If there is any reason to be bearish on e-books, it is that dedicated e-readers are already nearly obsolete.

The reason that neither e-books nor print will die is that both have separate advantages. Print books are easier to flip through, easier to write in, look nicer on your shelf, and — as recent studies have indicated — the human brain processes information on them better. (That’s before getting into questions of DRM, poor formatting, the inability to loan or resell your e-books, and so on.) E-books obviously have advantages too. You can bring one slim device on a long trip instead of a half-dozen books. If you are connected to the internet, you can purchase instantly, look up words, and share bits with friends. Etc.

The film industry seems like a good comparison in how the mediums don’t compete as much as capture different markets. Diehard fans go to the theater and buy Blu-rays, regular fans go to theater now and then and maybe rent from iTunes, and casual fans just watch whatever happens to come to Netflix or Redbox. It’s easy to imagine diehard readers buying special editions or hardcovers, while regular readers get the paperback or e-book, and readers who don’t care as much about specific authors will buy whatever e-books go on sale.

And what about these “Netflix for books” services? People have been predicting their ascendance for some time, but I’m still skeptical. A big part of how Netflix works is by having a ton of crappy films and shows that casual viewers would never pay movie ticket prices for but will watch for no additional charge. My guess is that there are fewer readers like that, and people who do read that way can fill that need with extremely cheap used books or self-published e-books (thousands of which can be gotten for between $0.00 and $2.99). Unless these services figure out how to offer something new — exclusive content à la Netflix? — they won’t be a major force.

The ease of e-book publication combined opens up a lot of possibility for companies and organizations to become their own publishers. We have already seen magazines and newspapers start to publish e-books. Not only will this trend increase, but it will expand to other areas. TV shows and movie franchises publishing additional e-book material for diehard fans perhaps?

What about self-publishing versus print generally? I tend to think that framing them as opposing forces obscures the fact that they are, to a large degree, different worlds. Self-publishing has opened up new markets — some that big publishers overlooked, some that they didn’t want to be involved in — more than it has eaten away at traditional publishing sales. (If Amazon succeeds in drastically lowering e-book prices, the reverse may happen though.) Rather than self-publishing or traditional publishing, authors in genres like romance, fantasy, and sci-fi will increasingly go “hybrid.”

Despite the regular hyping of enhanced e-books/hypertext/apps/interactive books, I don’t see those going anywhere outside of a few specific markets like children’s books and textbooks. The problem is that we already have a whole industry devoted to interactive narratives: video games. Art forms survive by figuring out what makes them unique, not by trying to emulate other mediums.

What Can Books Do Better

Currently, publishers just convert their paperback books to e-book and self-publishers POD the same books they sell digitally. Just as art forms need to push their unique advantages, I think the future of books is pushing the unique advantages of different formats.

In print, you will see more focus on design. In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in special editions, beautifully designed and smartly curated series, and books that really have to be read on paper due to unique layouts or interior art.

In e-book land, I can see a lot of ways to exploit the advantage of digital files. A lot of self-published authors “bundle” short novels or stories together to let readers sample different authors. There is no reason that traditionally published authors couldn’t do that too. Maybe presses will sell cheap “samplers” of the writers on their catalog like music labels used to do. An e-book file can be as long as you want, so why not include bonus materials that would muck up a print book? (Here’s a more dystopian e-book vision: e-book apps that are free to download and start, but require in-app purchases to finish the entire narrative or get bonus material.)

And what about using POD technology to allow customers to create their own anthologies from a publisher’s catalog? Publishers need to find ways to use the different advantages of each type of book, and figure out what kind of work can be done on e-book but not print, or POD but not hardcover.

You will also, I think, increasingly see e-books used to supplement the print edition. From J.K. Rowling writing new Harry Potter stories on her Pottermore website to Adele Waldman writing an e-single story from the POV of a minor character in her novel, writers are starting to figure out how to use digital distribution to provide additional material to readers.

In short, the various formats will cohabitate peacefully…at least until the next dinosaur-killing, paradigm-shifting, sea-changing, revolutionary technology appears.


Lincoln Michel’s fiction appears in Tin House, Electric Literature, Unstuck, NOON, and elsewhere. He is a co-editor of Gigantic magazine and Gigantic Worlds, a forthcoming anthology of science flash fiction. Sometimes he draws authors as monsters. He tweets at @thelincoln.

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Weiner keeps his pants on for NYT Mag cover; Giggles still ensue [pic]!/ananavarro/status/323775796126834691

Giggles! Gee, we wonder why they aren’t smiling? Why are Huma and Anthony so sad in New York Times Magazine cover photo?

Twitter has the answer: Junk pics are serious business

Serious biz recovering from Tweet-your-peepee MT @ananavarro Huma-Anthony cover. Don’t ppl smile in pictures anymore?…

— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) April 15, 2013

@ananavarro I don’t blame her. she’s married to a creep.

— Edward Moran (@EdMahmoud) April 15, 2013

@ananavarro Fit for office..

— Jeff(@Hooch474) April 15, 2013

On the plus side, at least he kept his pants on for this photo.

Anthony Weiner is on the cover of NYTimes magazine today with his pants on!!!

— Lew Karp (@LewKarp) April 14, 2013

But, wait!

“@evanasmith: Unobstructed view of Anthony Weiner’s crotch on cover of @nytimes magazine may have been conscious?” #wearedoomed

— Mike McCoy (@mikecher) April 14, 2013

Oh, the humanity.


Kirsten Powers says Anthony Weiner deserves a second chance

Heh: Reporter still waiting to hear why Anthony Weiner sent crotch pics to strangers

Anthony Weiner’s oh-so-perceptive brother: ‘There was definitely a douchiness about him’

TWSS-bait: Drudge scores giggles with headline on Anthony Weiner comeback

Heads up, everybody: NYT Magazine teases new Anthony Weiner story

Conservatives suggest bumper stickers for Anthony Weiner mayoral campaign

‘Are you kidding me?’: Actor Dean Cain responds to potential Anthony Weiner comeback

Uh oh: Anthony Weiner is tweeting strange stuff again

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Sally Kohn shows lib desperation on Ebola in one hacktastic tweet!/BabyGirlHarlow/status/528192057769480192

Sally Kohn, no stranger to the pages of Twitchy, is at it again. Check out her latest, this time a “desperate” attempt to link Ebola to one of the favorite lib talking points that decries those darn MALE politicians who keep making medical decisions:

Yes, Sally. Do blame the males. Those stupid, stupid males! But is it really just a male problem as you say?

For example Sen. Mary Landrieu, as we reported, is for the same Ebola travel restrictions as her male counterparts. Why doesn’t Sen. Landrieu’s opinion count?

Or what about Sen. Kay Hagan?

She is most definitely a woman, too. Also the latest polling shows that 80 percent of all Americans are in favor of Ebola quarantines. You don’t have to have a degree in Common-Core math to know that women make up a sizable portion of that 80 percent. So, what’s really going on here?

Ding! Ding! Ding! Yes, this is about Sally Kohn and other self-righteous libs telling us what’s best, because they think we can’t figure it out for ourselves.

No, silly. That’s not the same.

A good question.

Kohn has no real answers for this. Because male politicians who she agrees with are totally cool; it’s just the male politicians who should doesn’t agree with who are the problem.

Don’t give Sally any ideas, Angry Baldiwn. You just know that racism is the next Ebola-infected shoe to drop.


Full Twitchy coverage of Sally Kohn here.




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But Thats None Of My Business

But Thats None Of My Business

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This Is Why You Hire Professionals When You Need To Raze A Structure

There’s nothing more defeating than when you have to call a handyman to take care of business, but when it comes to demolition, you should definitely leave it to the professionals.

This guy was tired of his old silo, so he decided to take a sledge hammer to it himself. I’m sure he just wanted to put a dent in it, but wait until you see what happened.

Warning: language is definitely NSFW.

I’m not even sure what happened here. Is this guy really that strong, or was his silo built out of graham crackers? Either way, I’m glad he got out of there before gravity could punish him for following through with such a horrible idea.

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Lindsey Graham optimistic about prospects of Shamnesty!/GrahamBlog/status/320910313107095552

On NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ and via his Twitter account, Sen. Lindsey Graham cheerfully reports that progress on “immigration reform” (aka amnesty) legislation is coming along.

The agreement between labor and business regarding high skill and low skill labor program is essential for the bill. #immigration

— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 7, 2013

I’m confident the agreement we have today will hold unless we continually revisit issues relating to temporary workers. #immigration

— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 7, 2013

And we are confident that compromising core principles could easily lead to the downfall of the Republican Party.

This is our best chance for comprehensive #immigration reform and I’m optimistic we will be able to soon produce a bill.

— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 7, 2013

He also declared that, “the politics of self-deportation are behind us.”

@politics24x7 Lindsey Graham is a RINO Progressive! South Carolina, he needs to be Voted OUT!!

— james day (@jamesda57) April 7, 2013

Lindsey Graham is encouraged by the leadership Obama is showing? Pull your head out of your ass buddy. #tcot #mtp

— aGinTexas (@ag_texas) April 7, 2013

Why don’t we just forget all of the immigrants who are legally and patiently waiting in line for citizenship?

@lindseygrahamscDo not cave! Do not reward CRIMINALS with path to U.S. Citizenship,Do not punish people waiting to legally immigrate!

— Obama Lied (@AmericaDied) April 7, 2013

@lindseygrahamsc said U.S. Economy cannot grow without legalizing criminals BS!Americans will grow economy if government gets out of the way

— Obama Lied (@AmericaDied) April 7, 2013

Senator Lindsey Graham: “Self deportation is a thing if the past.” “Grand bargain including additional revenues is possible.” Stunning!

— Chip Sayre (@acsayre) April 7, 2013

.@grahamblog and the borders will stay open and you can do it all over again in 10 yrs. BTW the 11 million number is bogus. Its closer to 40

— Alan Levesque (@DailyPamphlet) April 7, 2013

Where was the discussion about border security?

Hey #marcorubio, Lindsey Graham happily invoked ur name on #meetthepress but no mention of border security until the last second.#tcot

— Thomas Blom (@BlomTom) April 7, 2013

Many just want to know why Graham is such a frequent guest on Sunday shows.

Question: Would it be too much to ask Sunday show bookers to give us a week off from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham? Kthx.

— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) April 7, 2013

Once again, @meetthepress mistakes the fact that Lindsey Graham is always willing to talk with the idea that anyone is willing to listen…

— J P (@RileyRebel129) April 7, 2013

I am really bored with the media pretending that John McCain or Lindsey Graham are somehow spokespeople for the @gop .

— Marc T Grove (@mtgrove) April 7, 2013

Editor’s note: This post was edited to correct a typo in the headline. We apologize for the error.


Schooling with truth and civil discourse: Michelle Malkin, Jose Vargas tweet-talk illegal immigration

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Karl Rove makes Howard Kurtz wonder if cable news networks are too partisan!/HowardKurtz/status/267756697156734976

So, it took Karl Rove’s on-air performance on Election Day to inspire Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz to ask if television news networks should “drop partisans” from their lineups? Not only does Kurtz write for Newsweek — the magazine this week featuring President Obama dressed as Napoleon on its cover — he also hosts CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” so we assume he owns a TV and gets CNN and some of those other networks.

Twitter tries to clue him in to what’s been going on in network newsrooms for the past, oh, 50 years.

@howardkurtz You mean like @gstephanopoulos@joetrippi I mean, really. They’re still entrenched Democrat operatives.Please.

— Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz You mean like James Carville on CNN?

— Randy Johnson (@RandyJohnsonLA) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz how about George Stephaneous and Joe Trippi?

— lindapetrou (@lindapetrou) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz Yes, party operatives need to go. CNN should ditch Begala, Castellanos They’re savvy, but they’re shills.

— Edward St. Clair (@EdwardAloysius) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz WTF? Has Matthews or O’Donnell or Bashir or others at most biased network ever gone 2 far? You just hate that Fox rules.

— Depoguy (@depoguy) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz If all networks dropped partisans, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC would all go out of business.

— Wes Stephens (@RockyTop_VA) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz STILL on that Howie?You really do get hung up on goofy things Rs do.Matthews and Bashir comments so much worse than Rove

— JUDY STAHL-REYNOLDS (@judyastahl) November 12, 2012

Will Kurtz approach CNN management and demand to be let go?

@howardkurtz Then they should drop you…correct?

— john giglio (@lilium479) November 11, 2012

@howardkurtz The Question is Should YOU be on Television or CNN!

— Chitown2424 (@chitown2424) November 11, 2012


Howard Kurtz, Rick Klein, other media squee: Obama is ‘rising above,’ totally meant to give lame DNC speech

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