Friday, April 01, 2011

Today's Top News

As usual, the first of April is the date for a blizzard of surprising news, with a vast panoply of unexpected and odd happenings. Antick Musings will strive to list as many of these unusual news stories as possible, as we have in past years. But we do caution readers to always look at their calendars when evaluating the fact content of any new piece of information.

(Past installments of this annual round-up include 2010's A Most Auspicious Day, 2009's Greetings of the Day, and 2008's April's Fools. Prior to that, they were held on the now-defunct blog I wrote for my then-employer, who shall remain nameless here.)
  • Today's issue of Shelf Awareness, the independent booksellers' newsletter, includes articles on Len Riggio firing himself, Jeff Bezos's response to being pulled over for speeding, Borders's new plans to save itself, news of a new distributor for Miskatonic University Press, and more.
  • has an excerpt from John Scalzi's upcoming book The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City. Update: Scalzi himself also writes about his new project.
  • All-Friday, all-the-time at Funny Or Die!
  • ComicMix has the news of a new team on Wonder Woman: Dave Sim will handle the main feature, with Scott Adams contributing a backup strip about her non-superhero life.
  • ComicMix also reports a rumor that a fan-favorite actor is jumping into the current Zack Snyder-directed movie Superman: Man of Steel.
  • From the other side of my life comes word that the IRS will offer a discount for cash on this year's returns.
  • YouTube has the top viral images of 1911.
  • Spike from Peanuts shares his favorite joke of the day.
More news will certainly appear throughout the day; this post will be updated as they are found. Antick Musings welcomes any links to pieces of April-specific news; please place them in comments or e-mail the proprietor using the address to the left of this very post.

Update 1: A Dribble of Ink quotes George R.R. Martin's UK editor about the imminent splitting of A Dance With Dragons into two books. Coming soon: A Menagerie of Midgets!

Update 1-A: GRRM himself refutes this rumor: Dance With Dragons is being split into five books!

Update 2: Charles Stross' popular blog, Charlie's Diary, has been acquired by Cheezburger, and it was yummy.

Update 3: Google has a flood of exciting new products and services this year, with Gmail Motion -- a Kinect-style way of interfacing with your cloud-based e-mail --  already in beta, and a version for Google Docs in development. Google Voice has introduced the Voice-alyzer, which allows users to set up filters to prevent drunk dialing. Google is also looking to expand its team of Autocompleters. It's also a good idea to google "helvetica" today.

Update 4: The webcomic The New Adventures of Queen Victoria has been seized by Homeland Security.

Readercon has announced their "book club" selections for this year.

Jay Lake is ditching his current life to become a monk.

The great report on the 1957 spaghetti harvest is available on YouTube.

The Huffington Post has erected a paywall -- which only applies to New York Times employees.

Starbucks has found a way to be even more ubiquitous.

Google's display ads are going old-school.

Speaking of retro, Hulu is all about the mid-90s.

DC Comics will crack down on tattooed representations of their trademarked properties.

PLAYMOBIL has a new Apple Store playset, for hipster children.

Two words: lightsaber popsicles.

My younger son would appreciate the Minecraft USB Desktop Nether Portal.

Update 5: DC Comics's next big crossover, Disarmed, brings new meaning to the phrase "right to bear arms."

Locus magazine, the newspaper of the SF world, has its usual April news shockers:
  • Shaun Tan will join Dancing with the Stars.
  • SFWA is suing just about everyone for the fact that the real world is copying SF.
  • Paolo Bacigalupi and Peter Watts, not content to be individually depressing, are teaming up to edit an anthology of the world's most wrist-slashing stories.
Update 6: The long and storied history of Tor Books.

Update 7 and final (a day later): Pixar will be creating a 3D CGI American version of Hayao Miyazaki's beloved My Neighbor Totoro.

The ebook publisher Smashwords bought Amazon.

Google launched an Android app that translates what animals are saying.

The British government imposed quotas for foreign authors in UK bookshops.

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