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Another technology story, but this one touches on another thing I try to look at in my writing – the idea that as much as media, technology and communication change, we’re all still people trying to do and say the same things. Joking around with friends, flirting, having meaningful conversations, miscommunication… whether they’re in person, over the phone or on Snapchat, it’s still how we interact.

Social media tends to get a bad rap. We constantly hear how each Snap or text deteriorates our ability to have real, meaningful conversations. But the truth is, they’re just the new medium we use to be social.

Our Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds and even our text messages are all mediums we use to connect socially. Our phone’s contact list is on equal footing with our friend lists and follower counts. They’re all the latest tools that we use to communicate the yada, yada, yada of our lives.

Humans are hardwired to be social. We’re constantly looking for the newest way to connect with our friends and family members. Currently it comes in the form of tweets and texts. During the Seinfeld era it was the face-to-face pop-in. In the 50s it was the telephone. Every generation creates a new way to communicate with each other and at the same time people from the previous generation decide the new way will ruin humanity’s ability to communicate.

Read “From Seinfeld to Snapchat” on Backchannel/Medium

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The end of the world from the inside of a corporate office.

When the sky turned red and space rocks started falling from above, and the seas all rose and hurricanes started buffeting the shores, and the forests were consumed with flames and all the nuclear missiles started counting down, there wasn’t really anywhere to run. Instead we all laid on our backs on the conference table and looked at the ceiling.

“How many ceiling tiles do you think there are?” asked Sheila, from accounting.

“I don’t know,” said Jim. He turned his head. “Do you mean here, or in the whole building? Or in the whole world?”

Read “Meeting” on Medium

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New story on Medium about OUTER SPACE!! (andfeelingsoflonelinessanddissolution)

“You stink,” he said, and started to walk away.

I stopped him with a hand on his chest, I think. It was somewhere in what I’d call the upper torso region. “Woah,” I said, “I do not stink. If I smell like anything, it’s your ship.”

“You smell like the Earth,” he said. “You haven’t been through the Cleansing.”

“The Cleansing,” I echoed. “Is that like a bath or something?”

He scratched something on the top of his head. “You’re really the one your planet sent to travel with us?”

Read “The Ritual” on Medium.

“This Native of Randolph Center, Vermont, Quit a Job as an Auto Mechanic to Return to the Family Farm” by Jane Cooper / National Archives at College Park (via Flickr)

This great story by Karin Tidbeck in the speculative fiction magazine “Strange Horizons” introduces into the lexicon (or my personal lexicon, at least) the concept of a “Sadgoat” – a literal scapegoat for all your troubles.

Dr. Andersson was in the office already. She took a chair in what was supposed to be the cosy corner: two armchairs, a little table with a box of tissues, a vase of flowers. On the wall hung a painting of a moose cresting a hilltop. Dr. Andersson looked like she usually did. Today, her bowl haircut and shapeless green muumuu were complemented by a necklace of wooden zebras. She was holding a leash. At the end of the leash, standing beside her chair, was the goat. It was small, reaching up to my knees, and jet black with floppy ears. It was nibbling on the armrest. I sat down in the opposite chair.

“This is your new treatment,” said Dr. Andersson. “It’s the latest in experimental therapy. I thought we might let you have a try, seeing as you’re a bit hesitant about ECT.”

“I see,” I said.

Dr. Andersson adjusted her glasses. “Do you know the origins of the word ‘scapegoat’?”

“Sure,” I replied. “Old Hebrew stuff. A goat sent out into the desert for everyone’s sins.”

“Exactly.” Dr. Andersson scratched the goat behind the ears. “This is a Sadgoat.”

I looked at the goat. It looked back at me, its horizontal pupils narrowing.

“I’m confused,” I said.

“I Have Placed My Sickness Upon You” by Karin Tidbeck