- 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]
- “The days of aliens spouting gibberish with no grammatical structure are over…” Creating a new language for A Game of Thrones
- Along the same lines, 20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world. I particularly like
Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) â€“ â€œthe wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to startâ€ [via]
- Are we truly living in the age of fanfiction?
What’s been truly bizarre, though, is the way the mainstream has slowly headed in the same direction, and without anyone noticing it, we seem to have handed over our entire industry to the creation of fanfiction on a corporate level, and at this point, I’m not sure how we’re expecting the pendulum to ever swing back. I know people love to blame Spielberg and Lucas for creating the modern blockbuster age, but at least when they decided to pay tribute to their inspirations, they did so in interesting ways. Spielberg has talked about how his frustrations at hearing that only English filmmakers could direct James Bond movies led to the creation of Indiana Jones, and Lucas was working out his love of Flash Gordon when he created “Star Wars.” Those are healthy ways to work through your love of something, and absolutely make sense as important pieces in the creative process. What’s scary is how these days, filmmakers wouldn’t bother with that last step, the part where you take your inspirations and run them through your own filter. Now, instead, we live in an age where we are simply doing the source material again and again and again, and where original creation seems to be almost frowned upon as a “risk.” [via]
- See also: they’re re-making Starship Troopers. And The Munsters. As a “dramatic re-imagining.”
- It’s so sad to see Monty Python members fight among themselves.
- Blackwater is changing its name. This is like if the Devil started asking us to call him Gus.[via]
- David Milch to adapt William Faulkner? I am so there.
- They’re coming to crowd-fund you, Barbara… â€˜Living Deadâ€™ Fans Digging Up Funds to Keep Chapel from Going Under
- Bruce Wayne’s medical records [via]
- And finally, I haven’t seen the new Tintin movie, but this fan-made opening sequence is really quite wonderful. [via]
Not a super eventful day, beyond some running around in the morning to the post office.
…where, I have to say, some people are just insanely impatient. “No wonder they’re going bankrupt,” several seniors in front of me groused to themselves, when faced with the prospect that, at the single busiest shipping time of year, they might actually be asked to stand in a line for all of five minutes. Not everything about the local post office, or the post office in general, thrills me, but we still pay a ridiculously low postage rate for better than not service. And just because your horribly important morning is compromised when you have to wait a few minutes to buy Christmas stamps…well, just be quiet, okay? This is actually why the post office is in so much trouble. Could individual services be improved? Could they hire a few more staff for busy pre-holiday weekends? Sure, but they don’t have the money for it. And you grousing honestly isn’t making anything better. You’re just being smug and self-righteous and, quite frankly, annoying…
But I digress.
Beyond that, I spent the day hanging out with the dog, while my mother was out and my father was leading Boy Scouts on a hike around Manhattan. I spent the time watching Fair Game and Limitless, both of which were pretty good if not entirely remarkable.
And that was my Saturday. One day of vacation down, fifteen more to go.
- Mike Daisey remembers Steve Jobs:
Mr. Jobsâ€™s magic has its costs. We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Appleâ€™s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to. If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. We would also see a man who in the end failed to â€œthink different,â€ in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.
- Actress sues IMDb for revealing that she’s totally old and gross. It’s an interesting case, although I don’t think IMDB has a responsibility to lie in order to combat Hollywood’s unfortunate age- and sexism.
- Mysterious paper sculptures [via]
- I’m sure by now you’ve heard this, but it’s still pretty remarkable: Online Gamers Make Discovery in HIV Battle
- And finally, learning the wrong lesson from 127 Hours.
- Wonder Woman: Who Needs A Father Figure?
The issue goes to the very heart of Wonder Womanâ€™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 â€” even joined them temporarily as the goddess of truth â€” Wonder Woman is presented as a woman of her own identity independent of boyfriend, husband, or father figure. Despite years of the old â€™will she/wonâ€™t sheâ€™ 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 â€” not to mention with such a history of philandering â€” the story has shifted to add a new familial dynamic and a new, powerful patriarch to Dianaâ€™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