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The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.

Recent posts:

  • Bacteria Panic
    "Never play this game with the real victims of disease." Arizona Republic - May 3, 1991 Washington Post - May 7, 1991
  • Follies of the Madmen #283
    "But, Betty, I can't fit the corpse into the upright model so easily!"
  • Stealing Boosts Staff Morale
    Companies do all kinds of things to boost staff morale. They hire motivational speakers, have team-building exercises, give employees gifts, etc. But the industrial psychologist Lawrence Zeitlin, in an article published in June 1971 in Psychology Today ("A little larceny can do a lot for employee morale"), argued that the most effective way a business could boost morale was by allowing its employees to steal a little from the company. He argued that theft added to a sense of "job enrichment" by making the job more interesting. It gave employees a sense of satisfaction at getting away with it. Also, workers "often looked upon theft as a condition of employment." Furthermore, he noted, allowing the theft could be cheaper than installing elaborate security precautions. In her book Management and Ideology, business author Judith Merkle provides some background info on Zeitlin's article: Before its publication in Psychology Today the Harvard Business Review had previously turned down the article. It was, after all, a classic application of amoral Scientific Management techniques, and it offended the HBR down to its puritan roots. The interesting point is, however, that the control practices recommended in this article bear a close family resemblance to the working practices of Stalinism. Allowing theft, while keeping the rules against theft, certainly makes theft more thrilling, but it also opens up the way to arbitrary and discriminatory uses of power through the selective application of dead-letter rules. This is, of course, the first step in the destruction of the rule of law, and, in the long run, leads to the introduction of de facto totalitarianism. Sydney Morning Herald - May 30, 1971
  • Jackety Jack
    Your language lesson for the day.
  • Motivational Bull Castration
    Continuing the theme of odd ways coaches have motivated players (started with yesterday's post about the coach who bit the heads off live frogs) — In 1992, Mississippi State Coach Jackie Sherrill arranged for a bull to be castrated in front of his players before a game, as an "educational and motivational experience." Asked how it was motivational, Sherrill replied, "That's everybody's different perception." His team did win the game. The Tennessean - Sep 15, 1992 The Tennessean - Sep 18, 1992 Asbury Park Press - Sep 15, 1992
  • Beer Can Launcher
    Send beer cans flying straight into some innocent bystander's head into space with a .22 shell? I'm sold!

The Inferior 4+1 is a Livejournal community maintained by Paul, lizhand, Paul Witcover, lucius-t and ljgoldstein.

Recent posts:

  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE May 26, 2016
    Two Hard SF titans:
  • Lost City of the Pain God May 22, 2016
    Very glad finally to snag a copy of this Ellison prequel.
  • Free Story! May 18, 2016
    My story "Sawing" is now available at Nightmare magazine.  There's also an Author Spotlight saying a bit about the story.
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE May 18, 2016
    Four novels by Frank Herbert!
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE May 12, 2016
    I look at a new story collection:
  • Story Is Out! May 1, 2016
    Nightmare Magazine, with my story "Sawing," is live now.  Right now you have to subscribe to read it, but it will become available on May 18.I actually have something to say about this story, which isn't the case with some of them.  Sometimes I'll start a book or short story by smashing together subjects that seem interesting and seeing if they turn into something.  So, for example, with my novel Dark Cities Underground I put together children's books, subway systems, and Egyptian gods, and, much to my amazement, they gelled into a story.  I don't recommend this as a system for writing because it works about as often as it doesn't, which can be very frustrating.Anyway, the things I put together for "Sawing" were the Depression in the 1930s, live magic shows, and one other thing, which I can't mention because it's a spoiler.