- An Outtake from Word Freak: The Enigmatic Nigel Richards. Possibly the world’s greatest Scrabble player…though he doesn’t take much enjoyment from the game. [via]
- Israeli Man Changes Name to Mark Zuckerberg to goad the company into suing him. I have no love for Facebook, but his company seems like a pretty clear violation of Facebook’s terms of service, and the man himself seems like an ass.
- Jon Scalzi on the “flying snowman”:
This is not to say that, when encountering fantasy work, one has to abandon all criticism. But if you’re going to complain about one specific element as being unrealistic, you should consider the work in its totality and ask whether in the context of the work, this specific thing is inconsistent with the worldbuilding.
- Zach Handlen on the TV adaptation of Bag of Bones:
A good genre story is designed in such a way as to distract you from its inner machinations. Intellectually, you can go back and say, yes, this was a scene of rising action, this was a character development moment, this was a piece of information that will become crucial later on, this was was a resolution of an earlier mystery. Everyone quotes Chekhov’s comment on a gun in act one going off in act two, and at heart, that’s all stories really are: First you load the pistol, then you aim it, then someone pulls the trigger. It’s a method of delivery for a series of stimuli designed to provoke audience response, and the better the book, movie, or TV show, the less time you spend thinking about the mechanics of the process, and the more time you spend luxuriating in the response.
I have to admit, I kind of want to see it now.
- I noted this on Twitter, but it bears repeating: if you’re offended just by the idea that some Americans are not Christian…then you are a bigot.
- Terry Gilliam continues to dream the impossible dream.
- As much as I think I’d love any movie where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy do nothing but talk to one another, I kind of hope they don’t make another Before Sunrise movie. The two, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset work so well together, and I feel like revisiting the characters would be going to the well one too many times. (They also appear in Waking Life together.) Still, I’m willing to be proven wrong.
- A gorgeous photo of the Milky Way from the top of the world [via]
- Speech Synthesizer Could ‘Resurrect’ Dead Singers. I think that sound you’re hearing is the echo along the Uncanny Valley. [via]
- And finally, some wonderful bedtime stories from Doctor Who cast members:
- Tintin’s Lovecraftian Adventures
- Along the same lines: What If…Herge Created the X-Men?
- And also, what if Charles Schulz illustrated H.P. Lovecraft? [via]
- Today in infographics: The Rules of Magic, Doctor Who Timeline, and Good Versus Evil in the Superhero Comic Color Palette [via and via]
- The truly odd story of New York’s Hartwick College and their “Methuselah” trust from a one-time benefactor:
Because thanks to an eccentric New York lawyer in the 1930s, this college in a corner of the Catskills inherited a thousand-year trust that would not mature until the year 2936: a gift whose accumulated compound interest, the New York Times reported in 1961, “could ultimately shatter the nation’s financial structure.” The mossy stone walls and ivy-covered brickwork of Hartwick College were a ticking time-bomb of compounding interest—a very, very slowly ticking time bomb.
One suspects they’d have rather gotten a new squash court. [via]
- Sorry, folks on my Christmas list: Mailing Chicken Pox Lollipops Is Illegal, Reckless. Maybe just a card? [via]
- A Tree Grows in Queens (Right Through An Auto Body Shop!) [via]
- “Sure. Alternate realities. You could have, like, a world without shrimp. Or with, you know, nothing but shrimp…” – Anya
First top predator was giant shrimp with amazing eyes. (“You have amazing eyes! Please don’t eat me, giant killer shrimp!”)
- The Higgs boson: Why scientists hate that you call it the ‘God particle’ [via]
- And finally, Bobby McFerin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale [via]:
- Zombie Font Generator. Presumably, when the zombie apocalypse comes, all correspondence will be written in this. It’ll be like Dawn of the Dead meets The Postman. [via]
- Clint Eastwood’s family will star in a reality show. And, in other news: Wait, wha–?!
- Willard Asylum Suitcases:
In 1995, the New York State Museum staff were moving items out of The Willard Psychiatric Center. It was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health, and would eventually become a state run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams was made aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard, and since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left.
I’m really not sure how I feel about this. Are these photographs art? [via]
- Dubai: come for the human rights violations and widespread corruption, stay for the sewage trucks and typhoid and hepatitis!
- And finally, Theodora Goss on H.P. Lovecraft’s racism and the World Fantasy Award:
Did Lovecraft intend that message? I seriously doubt it, and yet it’s there. The story is not the writer. The story is always, if it’s a living story, smarter than the writer.
- Peter Jackson adding more female roles to The Hobbit? On the one hand, I’m all for this. More strong female characters all around, yes, thank you. On the other hand, there’s a part of me that wants to shout, “But it’s not in the book!” On the other other hand, I find myself surprisingly unenthusiastic about the whole thing. Maybe I’ve just had my fill of Peter Jackson Tolkein movies.
- Speaking of Tolkein, though, apparently the Eye of Sauron is at the center of spiral galaxy NGC 4151. Who knew? [via]
- How I Passed My U.S. Citizenship Test By Keeping the Right Answers to Myself. [via]
- In this post, Mark Evanier relayed something that several people had told him via e-mail — namely that “Map-makers sometimes include phony names and places on maps in order to identify when someone plagiarizes their work.” I’d never heard of this practice, but apparently it’s quite common.
- And finally, people will tell you — professional writers and editors will tell you — don’t respond to negative reviews. It’s a losing game, even if you think you’re right. Even if you are right. But one thing’s for certain: you should never, ever, ever respond to a negative review like this. [via]
- RIP Frank Buckles, the last remaining American WWI vet. [via]
- I’m quite disappointed to learn that The Ethicist is ending, apparently for no particular reason other than that the New York Times thinks any change is good change. I think they’re sadly mistaken.
- PodCastle, “the world’s first fantasy audio magazine,” is looking for readers.
- Ever wonder what happens when you stick your head into a particle accelerator? Better to read this than actual try it. [via]
- And finally, a simply stunning photo of crows — lots and lots of crows. It looks like if Jackson Pollock had done the cover for an H.P. Lovecraft novel. [via]