Tuesday various

  • “This will end us.” Oh, Cooks Source, you say that like it’s a bad thing. (That you say it with many, many typos is just sort of amusing.)

    Seriously, though, had there not been scores of examples of Cooks Source being a copyright-theft-for-profit publication, and had each “apology” from Monica Griggs not smacked of arrogance and shifting of blame, I might be sympathetic. I might chalk it up to an honest mistake, crossed wires in communication, overly tired people saying things they later regret. But Cooks Source‘s actions and attitudes speak for themselves.

  • Far be it from me to badmouth a fledgling genre magazine, but…Sci-Fi Short Story Magazine launches with impressive art and no pay.

    In theory, I wish them really well. But seriously? $11.99 for 34 pages (that’s about 35 cents a page!), plus a site heavy with ads, and you can’t pass along any of the money to the writers and artists? I give next to nothing at Kaleidotrope — I recognize that what I’m able to offer is only a token payment — but I think it’s still important to offer it. And Kaleidotrope, it should be noted, does not turn a profit. If you’re charging twelve bucks and hosting lots of ads, and you’re still not making any money, maybe it’s time to rethink your business model. And if you are making money, I feel you have an obligation to share some of that money with the people who provide you with content.

  • Physician, heal thyself! A newly elected Maryland Republican, who campaigned strongly for repealing Obamacare, wonders why he can’t have his government-paid health care right away. [via]
  • Which lends itself immediately to this question for the Democrats: when it’s increasingly clear that your opposition is a walking Onion headline, why do you keep insisting on caving into them? It’s hard to argue with the position that “every time Republicans are on the opposite side of an issue from the public, it’s the Democrats who cave and talk about ‘compromise.'” [via]
  • And finally, the big news today is that the Beatles are finally on iTunes. As Rob says, “Hopefully now The Beatles will finally get the publicity and sales they deserve.”

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.

Wednesday various