Tuesday various

Wednesday various

Tuesday various

  • Peter Sagal on the difference between an opinion and a bias:

    A bias doesn’t mean that you think that what a certain candidate says is idiotic; a bias means that not matter what he says, you’ll attack him. Or, if it’s a bias in favor of him, no matter what he says, you’ll forgive him, or simply choose not to draw attention to what doesn’t make him look good. You know your opinion after you read the day’s paper; you know your bias before you open it.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I bathe every day. [via]
  • In case you were wondering: what happened to the Doctor Who companions?
  • Original estimates of the untapped oil reserves in Alaska only off by…oh…about ninety percent [via]
  • Amal El-Mohtar on a steampunk without steam:

    I submit that the insistence on Victoriana in steampunk is akin to insisting on castles and European dragons in fantasy: limiting, and rather missing the point. It confuses cause and consequence, since it is fantasy that shapes the dragon, not the dragon that shapes the fantasy. I want the cogs and copper to be acknowledged as products, not producers, of steampunk, and to unpack all the possibilities within it.

    I think I like the idea of calling this subgenre “retrofuturism,” with steampunk just one sub-subgenre of that. While, of course, differentiating the whole thing from alternate history, since that posits a specific branching point, a moment in history — the Nazis win, the South doesn’t lose, etc. — rather than an historical era. It’s only the ubiquity of steampunk that, to my mind, is the problem — insofar as this is a problem; it’s the fact that it chokes out other retrofuturistic viewpoints, necessitates a very specific and limiting aesthetic, keeps retrofutrism tethered (much like steampunk’s zeppelins) to specific countries, eras, worldviews.

    If steampunk were just one type of story, rather than the all-consuming and defining aspect of retrofuturism, I think we’d be seeing less backlash against it.