Some Interesting Links

I won’t try to write full posts about any of these; my brain is so listless this weekend they would likely turn out as empty bloviation.

**1.** Strange Horizons has posted [an article about how fiction becomes urban legend] [tfv]. In 1888 Ambrose Bierce published a hoax article about three abrupt vanishings. Like the [Angels of Mons] [aom], the storied passed into folklore (or maybe into [fakelore] [fake]), being reproduced in book after book of weird mysteries.

My favorite detail–indicating the level of “scholarship” that goes into these volumes–is the author who salted his reference books with misinformation to detect plagiarists.

**2.** [There’s a strain of symbiotic bacteria in your elbow] [elbow]:

>The crook of your elbow is not just a plain patch of skin. It is a piece of highly coveted real estate, a special ecosystem, a bountiful home to no fewer than six tribes of bacteria. […] They are helping to moisturize the skin by processing the raw fats it produces, says Julia A. Segre of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

These are not generic bacteria, and the article isn’t using elbows as a random example body part. These bacteria *specifically evolved to live in elbows*.

>Dr. Segre reckons that there are at least 20 different niches for bacteria, and maybe many more, on the human skin, each with a characteristic set of favored commensals. The types of bacteria she found in the inner elbow are quite different from those that another researcher identified a few inches away, on the inner forearm. But each of the five people Dr. Segre sampled harbored much the same set of bacteria, suggesting that this set is specialized for the precise conditions of nutrients and moisture that prevail in the human elbow.

**3.** Kit Whitfield examines one of the rarely-identified [stock characters] [stock] of modern fiction: the [Macho Sue] [whit]. (Via [Slacktivist] [slack].)