You've probably heard this, but the Simpsons is over. They can’t get past this one. TMZ:

Every 'Simpsons' fan's worst nightmare just came true -- Harry Shearer ... one of the key voices on the show is leaving after contract talks broke down.
According to Shearer ...  co-creator and executive producer James L. Brooks' attorney broke the news that Harry would "not be part of" the show going forward.

If I still watched the Simpsons, this would be bad; as it stands I can only figure Harry’s made an enormous pile already. I can’t imagine walking away from that much money, especially if it was obtained by speaking other people’s words for a few days once a year. I should also note that declaring how long it’s been since one watched the Simpsons is not a sign of good taste or discernment. It just means you’re unaware of what the show is like today. It went from being my favorite show on the air to something I decided not to watch any more, and there are millions who had the same experience. That’s an amazing amount of good will to pour down the drain.

Which reminds one of the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. It’s been ten years since the show went off the air; here’s a piece on BLASTR about the ten best episodes. And as long as we’re on the subject, this is getting some negative attention from that variety of fan known as “the humorless dork”:

Yes, yes, yes I know the Enterprise couldn’t fly down that trench, let alone make it into the interior of the Death Star. But c’mon.

SCIENCE The Aral Sea: a “cautionary tale.” National Geographic puts it like this:

Things changed after the Uzbek S.S.R. became part of the fledgling Soviet empire in the early 1920s and Stalin decided to turn his Central Asian republics into giant cotton plantations. But the arid climate in this part of the world is ill suited to growing such a thirsty crop, and the Soviets undertook one of the most ambitious engineering projects in world history, hand-digging thousands of miles of irrigation canals to channel the water from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya into the surrounding desert.

It’s a well-known story. It typical Soviet style, it was brutish and incompetant:

Unfortunately, the primitive construction of the canal allows almost 50 percent of the water to escape en route, creating lakes and ponds along the canal, and a rise in groundwater leading to widespread soil salinization problems. The canal is also a major factor leading to the Aral Sea environmental disaster.

As the article notes, Kazahks are still required by law to pick cotton once a year. So what’s the “Cautionary Tale,” exactly? Don’t be like the Soviets? Noted. And no, the Salton Sea isn’t the same story. Speaking of which:

Imagine living in a world where music is illegal, where simply owning a Beatles record could get you arrested and sent into the wilderness to die. Imagine knowing that, and still buying those records, sharing them with your friends, and spending hours upon hours figuring out how to make your own. Imagine loving music so much that you're willing to risk your life for a scratchy, two-and-a-half minute recording of "Rock Around the Clock." Welcome to the Soviet Union in 1950.

It’s a piece about the brave souls who made records out of discarded X-ray plastic. This is why Soviet Chic is annoying to some people. The Gawker network had some ads asking for ads, using Soviet-style propaganda tropes, which ought to be considered the same way as using Nazi images. Yet for some reason: no. I'd post an example, but there's not even an ad on their site right now. 

TIME WASTER I don't know who's writing these, but he or she is brilliant. Your Clickadventure awaits!