Friday various

  • 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:

Tuesday various

Wednesday various

Tuesday various

  • Silicon Valley billionaire reveals plan to launch floating ‘start up country’ off San Francisco. Yeah, that’s gonna end well. [via]

    When I first saw that, I asked, “Are there any words scarier than ‘inspired by Atlas Shrugged‘?” To which DoctorHu rightly responded, “Are there any funnier or more appropriate than ‘We want looser building codes in our floating city?'”

  • But what do they care? Apparently, the very rich have less empathy. [via]
  • Speaking of the divide between rich and poor, if you’re like me and were wondering how Blackberry’s became the organizing tool of rioters and looters recently in England, here’s an interesting article on their shift from executives to the urban poor. [via]
  • Marvel Bribes Retailers to Destroy DC Comics.
  • And finally, Bert and Ernie are not gay. So sayeth Sesame Workshop, and you know, I’m with Mark Evanier on this. It was just ridiculous from the get-go:

    One could also argue, as I would if I could stand to devote five more minutes to this whole ridiculous matter, that there’s a nice lesson in Bert and Ernie not being retrofitted as gay lovers. It is possible for two men or two women to be close friends and live together and sleep in adjoining beds without their sexuality being an issue or someone saying, “They must be gay!” I don’t think same-sex wedlock threatens so-called “traditional” marriages in any way. I don’t think the idea that two males might just be really close friends (and nothing more) threatens gay marriages.

Wednesday various