For your reading pleasure:
- nancylebov writes about her discovery of the unique idyll that is the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. I'm not sure how portable that region's social model is to regions which don't share its distinctive history, but it's certainly worth noting.
- Via dsgood, a blogger's happy experience listening to a Geoff Ryman lecture in London on the nature of the genre of science fiction and what it should be, engaging with the world in some recognizable form. It's a contestable thesis as dsgood notes, but I'm strongly inclined to accept its validity.
- gareth_wilson imagines what a (broadly-defined) Earth-like planet orbiting an old metal-poor star like Barnard's Star would be like.
- Via landsmand, Peter Klauser's "Principles of the American Cargo Cult". Granted that these false principles aren't only American, being common to most every mass-consumptiuon society out there, this makes them all the more relevant.
- imomus reflects on the recent death and long slow decline of Syd Barrett and its implications for popular music.