- 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:
- SETI and the problems with searching for alien life [via]
- Grant Morrison Comic Bingo [via]
- Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism:
To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, Scooby Doo has value not because it shows us that there are monsters, but because it shows us that those monsters are just the products of evil people who want to make us too afraid to see through their lies, and goes a step further by giving us a blueprint that shows exactly how to defeat them. [via]
- The darker side of Groupon. Apparently it kind of sucks for small businesses. [via]
- The Myths at the Bar, Debunked
- The harrowing story of What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447. Warning: you almost certainly will not want to fly after reading this. (Also: FAA approves iPads in the cockpit.) [via]
- The AV Club compiles a list of 26 destructive fictional therapists. I keep thinking there’s maybe a book in this, but that’s maybe just my day job talking.
- When William Gibson wrote, “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel,” did he really mean Fox News? Does Newt Gingrich want to make Neuromancer come true? [via]
- Star Trek People Drinking Coffee. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- And finally, the lovely video for “In Your Arms” by Kina Grannis. After, I recommend the making-of video. [via]
- 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]:
- PTSD’s Trauma Symptoms Ring Out Through Ages. (Bookslut remains slightly skeptical.)
- Quite late to post this, but Whole Foods instructs stores not to promote Ramadan. As always, it’s couched in non-racist soundbites, but can you imagine Whole Foods deciding not to market kosher foods or Passover because a neo-Nazi group wrote them an angry letter?
- A boy with a compromised immune system sends a robot to school in his place. [via]
- Noel Murray on nostalgia, the pop culture of our youth:
On one level, they call to me, in the way so much popular culture of the past does, as a doorway to the half-remembered. But there’s a melancholy there, too—deep, powerful and true.
- And finally, Monsters of Grok. Cute T-shirt ideas. [via]
- Wonder Woman: Who Needs A Father Figure?
The issue goes to the very heart of Wonder Woman’s character and the nature of her message. Diana has been presented as an Amazon, beholden to no man from birth and therefore unbound from the question of patriarchal control. Though she has often worked for (with?) the gods in the stories — even joined them temporarily as the goddess of truth — Wonder Woman is presented as a woman of her own identity independent of boyfriend, husband, or father figure. Despite years of the old ’will she/won’t she’ with male characters like Steve Trevor, Superman, Nemesis and even Batman, Wonder Woman has remained a woman devoid of close male ties outside of friendship. She has provided readers with a portrayal of a woman outside of the boundaries of the patriarchy that she speaks out against. By including a male parent with as powerful a hand and presence as Zeus — not to mention with such a history of philandering — the story has shifted to add a new familial dynamic and a new, powerful patriarch to Diana’s life.
I don’t have any great familiarity with the character, although I read (and was a little confused by) the first issue of the new reboot. But I’m not sure boiling everything down to daddy issues is really the best way to go. It seems like they’re grafting Clash of the Titans onto the mythos, and that’s not good for anybody.
- More on fixing comics’ “women problem”: Female Super-Hero Characters and Sex: Creators Explain How Comics Can Do Better. I think Kieron Gillen says it well:
If you treat your characters as objects instead of characters you are, by definition, objectifying them, and if you constantly objectify your female characters you come across as sexist. [via]
- Global warming was all fun and games, but now it’s affecting peanut butter and chocolate, and it’s serious. [via]
- Starbucks concerned world coffee supply is threatened by climate change. It’s possible the world’s ecological problems will only be solved when it’s in industry’s best interests to do so. [via]
- And finally, The Electronic Publishing Bingo Card