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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
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What would convince you to eat another human being? – Important Question? Podcast
Posted 16 December 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Important Question?

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In this very first episode of Important Question? we ask, under what circumstances would you be enticed into eating the flesh of another human being? Cannibalism isn’t common and it certainly isn’t culturally accepted in most areas of the world, but surely you could be convinced, right?

Caleb J. Ross and Gordon Highland explore possible scenarios that might support having a bite or two of a fellow human being. One part peer pressure + one part devil’s advocate = one very Important Question?

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Review of Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk [video]
Posted 30 November 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Video

Beautiful You seems to be Chuck Palahniuk’’s response to and commentary on the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey series and the proliferation of commercial erotica born from that series. But Beautiful You never rises to the deep social analysis that Palahniuk’s early stuff does. Beautiful You remains simply clever and superficial, becoming more a book belonging to the commercial erotica genre rather than a commentary on it. But still, it’s a damn fun read. Read More

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Beer vs. Book – Moby D Ale vs. Moby Dick [video]
Posted 23 November 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Video

I present the second of what I hope to be a long-running series: Book vs. Beer. The premise is simple. We (me and Gordon Highland) find beers that have literary origins. Then we talk about the beer as well as the source material.

For this second episode we discuss Moby D Ale (from Buzzards Bay Brewing) and Moby Dick, the novel by Herman Melville. Read More

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It Takes a Man to Get a Vasectomy
Posted 24 October 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Funny Learning Series/ Longform/ Science

Vasectomy humor

AmazonKindleRead-VasectomyLogo-150The first successful–and purposeful[1]–vasectomy was done on a dog. There’s no documentation to support any of the possible theories as to why a dog was chosen, let alone the specific dog. It’s possible that a dog’s penis is similar to a human penis and therefore suffices as an anatomical stand-in. It’s possible that an ultra-capitalist breeder ordered the vasectomy to artificially curb supply for the particular breed. I prefer to imagine that the dog in question had aggressive genes and that its owner, not willing to have it euthanized, agreed to either of two alternate options: 1) dog condoms or 2) experimental wiener surgery. The wiener surgery was ultimately chosen I assume because at that time, 1823, condoms were “made of fish and animal intestine”[2] and nobody wanted to be the guy to wrap sheep guts around a dog boner.[3]

This dog–we’ll assume for the sake of a just and humorous god is a wiener dog–is not the sole recipient of animal testing for the sake of safe human sexual intercourse.

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Tiny People in Your Semen: The Discovery of Sperm
Posted 16 October 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Funny Learning Series/ Longform/ Science

Discovery of Sperm

AmazonKindleRead-DiscoveryofSpermLogo-150We take for granted the simplicity of procreation. Sperm + egg = baby. Sure there are superfluous operations often wedged within the greater formula, generally including + alcohol, – inhibition, or / legs (and in my case so many nights spent as the remainder), but there are three sex laws we have always been certain of, right? 1) Spermatozoon hunts for ovum, 2) ovum receives spermatozoon, and 3) sex leans toward brevity, both in the bedroom and in the dictionary (before shortening further to “sperm,” “spermatozoon” had seven additional syllables and drove a NYC taxi).

But math isn’t so simple. Consider this: the number zero wasn’t always a thing. Think about that. There was a time when an adolescent me, charged with the question “so how many girls have you kissed?” would have been morally justified to simply shrug my shoulders and let implication lie for me. But those damn Babylonians had to invent the zero, making it impossible to ethically skirt not only pre-teen sex surveys (the unwritten entrance exam to so many cliques) but also slightly more important questions like “so how many sperms do you see?”

“Zero” would no longer be an acceptable answer after Dutch amateur lensmaker and lonely guy Antonie van Leeuwenhoek combined his microscope-making hobby with his other hobby in 1677 to magnify some human ejaculate. Microscope + semen + zero = sperm! Read More

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I Stopped Writing Fiction…and that May be a Problem
Posted 5 October 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Book News/ General News

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About one year ago I stopped writing fiction. Despite being very proud of my output (five books of fiction, dozens of short stories and essays) and despite developing a small but eager audience of readers who looked forward to my work, I stopped. No ceremony. No real reason (that I know of, anyway). One moment I considered myself a writer of fiction. The next moment I did not.

Why is this a problem? I have a collaborative novel (written with the amazing Nik Korpon, Richard Thomas, and Axel Taiari) to be published by Dzanc in 2015. Dzanc is a dream publisher, and the three aforementioned authors are dream collaborators. Luckily, I don’t need to be an active writer in order to promote the hell out of this forthcoming book (which I do plan on doing, so get ready world). However, I can’t help but think that with my dissolved passion for writing fiction, my promotional efforts may seem disingenuous. Imagine Aunt Jemima giving lectures to halls filled with syrup makers decades after she turned syrup warehouse into an airplane hanger. Read More

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Hang a book on your wall! $50 giftcard giveaway to Postertext.com [video]
Posted 22 August 2014 / By Caleb J. Ross / Video

It’s my birthday! So, I’m giving something away. The owner of Postertext.com asked if I wanted to give away a $50 giftcard to one of my subscribers. I said yes. Thus, this video. Read More

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Books I’ve Written
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