Sunday, March 29, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @straczynski

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @DavidOAtkins

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Fire Ants to the Rescue

Joan Murray (skydiver) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Random skydiving GIF for visual interest.

I don't even ...
On September 25, 1999, Murray went on a skydive, jumping at 4400 meters. Her main parachute could not open, and although her backup parachute opened at 200 meters, it quickly deflated. She approached the ground at 130 kilometers per hour, landing on a mound of fire ants. Doctors believe that the shock of being stung over 200 times by the ants released a surge of adrenaline which kept her heart beating.
Not only did she survive. (Although I imagine she had plenty of adrenaline pumping from the whole plunging-to-her-certain-death part of the experience. The ant mount probably helped soften the ground -- but, WTF do I know?) She went skydiving again.

via r/todayilearned 

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Teaching Evolution at UK

Orion Magazine | Defending Darwin
Painting by Alexis Rockman
Some students take offense very easily. During one lecture, a student asked a question I’ve heard many times: “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” My response was and is always the same: we didn’t evolve from monkeys. Humans and monkeys evolved from a common ancestor. One ancestral population evolved in one direction toward modern-day monkeys, while another evolved toward humans. The explanation clicked for most students, but not all, so I tried another. I asked the students to consider this: Catholics are the oldest Christian denomination, and so if Protestants evolved from Catholics, why are there still Catholics? Some students laughed, some found it a clarifying example, and others were clearly offended. Two days later, a student walked down to the lectern after class and informed me that I was wrong about Catholics. He said Baptists were the first Christians and that this is clearly explained in the Bible. His mother told him so. I asked where this was explained in the Bible. He glared at me and said, “John the Baptist, duh!” and then walked away.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @FW_WOTD

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Fifteen Years a Cryptonaut

c-i-e celebrates its Pedroia Anniversary

Today marks fifteen years since Triptych Cryptic launched into the blogosphere. Like a shambling zombie, cryptonaut-in-exile (now just a tych, I suppose) continues to lunge at your grey matter. Not to chomp; only to tickle.

As always, in case I don't say it enough, I appreciate more than is, strictly speaking, reasonable or healthy when you take a moment to argue, agree, or just set me straight when I go off-the-rails. It's a big internet and c-i-e is about as backwater a string of 1s and 0s as you'll find on it. That anyone stops by at all, is a mystery and delight. Thanks for that.

What am I up to off the internet these days? Let's time capsule a few tidbits:
  • Reading Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty
  • Last read (well, listened to the audiobook of) A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren
  • Watching iZombie (but not The Walking Dead), Arrow, The Flash, Archer, Doctor Who (of course), Gotham, and my that's a lot of comic book-inspired fare for a fella who was never all that much into comic books
  • Recently attended Wizard's Raleigh Comic Con
  • Recently promoted to the fancier-sounding-than-it-is title of Principal Systems Analyst at the day job
  • Waiting to hear if youngest brother lands a promotion that'll move him to California soon
  • Not discovering much in terms of new music or catching new movies lately, but want to see: Boyhood, John Wick, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Top Five, and Only Lovers Left Alive

Things c-i-e / TC Is Older Than / Has Outlasted

America's participation an any war -- yes, even Afghanistan.
The iPod
friendfeed (also twitter & facebook)
The CW
My Chemical Romance, among other notables.
The MLB careers of Don Mattingly, Juan Pierre, & John Lackey. (The names of some 14-year NBA players are flashier: Rip HamiltonDennis Rodman, David Robinson.)
America's Test Kitchen & Smallville both debuted in 2001.
Shanghai Noon & The Way of the Gun debuted later in 2000.

Other Things in History That Happened on a March the 26th

Doctor Who relaunched under Russell T. Davies (2005)
The Book of Mormon first published (1830)
The Battle of Iwo Jima ends (1945)
Bangladesh breaks away from Pakistan (1971)
Dr. Kevorkian convicted (1999)
Leonard Nimoy was born (1931)
Sandra Day O'Connor was born (1930)
John Stockton was born (1962)
Keira Knightley was born (1985)
Beethoven died (1827)
Walt Whitman died (1892)
Eazy-E died (1995)
Camp David peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the White House (1979)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Would-Be President Ted Cruz Doesn't Quite Understand (Among Other Things) How To Internet | Home

Ted Cruz sure has his ducks in a row:

Racist. Science denier. Not a "natural born citizen." Hypocrite. Incompetent. Essentially, a malevolent buffoon. Or, put another way, the perfect Tea Party candidate for President.

By all means, please nominate him. And, hey, if he can't get the nomination, you folks that like him, please empty your wallets to help him run as a third party candidate.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @badjokebaton

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The Smartphone Society

The Smartphone Society | Jacobin:

Smartphone via the Jacobin

Today, in a period characterized by financialization and globalization, where “information” is king, the idea of any commodity defining an era might seem quaint. But commodities are no less important today, and people’s relationships to them remain central to understanding society. If the automobile was fundamental to grasping the last century, the smartphone is the defining commodity of our era.
I carry a Samsung Galaxy S4 (yes, still) these days. Have to admit I don't think often about the supply chain. Knowing there is one, and assuming it's every bit as much a horrorshow as Apple's, loads every tweet I favorite about white male privilege (either demonstrating, or reacting to its omnipresence, there's almost no other kind?) with all kinds of meaning I/we generally choose not to see.

~squeezed by the Invisible Hand, the author moves on to the next article~

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @LOLGOP

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At 18, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Still Revolutionary

At 18, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Still Revolutionary — The Atlantic:

Buffy via The Atlantic

Eighteen years ago, Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired for the first time on The WB in a two-part debut. “Welcome to the Hellmouth” introduced viewers to Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a likable, popular 16-year-old who just happened to have a destiny that included saving the world from the undead; while also introducing Buffy to Sunnydale, a small, run-of-the-mill California town that just happened to sit on a Hellmouth—a portal of mystical energy that attracts demons, vampires, and other boogeymen.
Just a note that it was tremendous fun to listen to James Marsters speak about Buffy in the panel discussion Blake and I attended at Raleigh Wizard Con last weekend. It was subversive then, and while the female action hero genre has taken off since, the effects of it haven't transformed society to the extent we would have hoped. (Check the latest news about fraternities, for example. Penn State's and NC State's disgraces are just two of the most recent. So skeeved right now.) So, we need more Buffys.

Amelia Earhart's Last Words

Last Words - Futility ClosetFutility Closet

Amelia Earhart via Futility Closet

May 20, 1928

Dearest Dad:

Hooray for the last grand adventure! I wish I had won, but it was worth while anyway. You know that.

I have no faith we’ll meet anywhere again, but I wish we might.

Anyway, good-by and good luck to you.

Affectionately, your doter,

This blog's 15th blogiversary is coming up soon ... it's had me going back and surfing the archives again. The exercise gets me thinking, "If this blog outlives me, what will it say to my kids about their dad?"  (It also reminds me I'm never as clever as I sometimes think I am, nor do I always communicate what I intend very well. ~groans~ )

My daughter is named Amelia, in part, because I hoped that tiny baby would grow up to be her own woman -- with the courage to explore, and to live her life to make herself happy.

She's 8-years-old now. I hope she knows already, and I never let her forget, that whatever adventure she chooses, I'll fight for her. If it's worth it to her, then it's worth it to me. I know that.

TFS's Harry Made the Front Page of CNN!

"The real reason religion is so powerful has nothing to do with theology," Thomson says. "It's the coming together of congregations. And one of the main problems in the secular movement is that they don't have good rituals for bonding." 
Some atheists are trying to change that.
Harry is trying to change that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TIL: The Word 'Nothing' in the title of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' was Elizabethan Slang ...

TIL: The Word 'Nothing' in the title of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' was Elizabethan Slang for 'Pussy.' : todayilearned

I feel like I should remember this stuff from my college days. It may not be a TIL for me but, if not, it's certainly a TIWR.

There's also this bit from Hamlet that my Pelican edition is not completely forthcoming about in providing context -- though, surprisingly, it doesn't shy away from "country matters":

Oh, Shakespeare!

New ☆ Tweet from @Suzanne_Heath

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Sherlock’s Christmas Special Is Set in the 1800s

Sherlock’s Christmas Special Is Set in the 1800s -- Vulture:

When Benedict Cumberbatch was photographed dressed up as original-recipe Sherlock for Sherlock's upcoming special episode, we wondered: Was it time travel? A dream sequence? A masterful bit of trolling? Now, thanks to Steven Moffat, we have our answer: None of the above! As it turns out, the entire special will be set in the 1800s, and none of it is canon.
Since it's not Sherlock canon, but if they encounter the Paternoster Gang could it be canonical in another TV universe?

Just sayin'.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @NoEscalators

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Wizard World Raleigh Comic Con

Wizard World Raleigh Comic Con :: Out and About at

My photos, as you might expect if you're familiar with my m.o., stunk. Better ones captured by the pros at the link above.

Had a great time though and hope to attend with whole family next year.

Gives me time to work on my War Doctor cosplay.

The AAC Championship & Wizard Comic Con Raleigh Had To Be On Same Day

Headed up to Raleigh with Number One Son today for our first con together, so that's great. But, when I got the tickets, I didn't think there'd be a conflict with AAC tournament. UConn can steal a bid to the NCAA tournament with a win today ... and I'm going to miss it. (Well, I'll surely be checking my feed for updates from @adimeback and @noescalators, but y'know ... )

Anyways, Go Huskies! #BleedBlue and all that ... we're off to get our nerd on.

This, by the way, is almost exactly what I thought while watching the game yesterday:

Although, with apologies to the missus and Joe D'Ambrosio, my first thought during all the stretches where the Huskies couldn't score was more along the lines of, "C'mon, ESPN, put the camera back on DB," without considering whether Joe would be in the shot or not. Or anyone else. ~swoons~

Friday, March 13, 2015

Could A Female Actor Play The Doctor As An Unlikable Grump (And Get Away With It?)

Never embedded a tumblr here before, so let's see how this looks:

The short answer, I think (hope) is, "Yes." Will it happen? Could it be a woman of color? Could it be a woman of color who openly identifies as LGBTQ+? Well, again, I hope the answer is "yes" on all fronts.

Am I naive? I'm sure those scenarios would spark some reactionary comments from some factions of fandom ... but would it overwhelm the show or hurt the ratings, all other things being equal?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tutankhamun's unbroken rope seal, just before it was broken ...

Tutankhamun's unbroken rope seal

Imagine, you're about to open a door that was sealed shut by human hands over three millennia ago ... Yeah. I'd want a picture of what the rope looked like before it was undone, too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @LOLGOP

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TIL: There's This Law Called The Logan Act

18 U.S. Code § 953 - Private correspondence with foreign governments | LII / Legal Information Institute

It's not very long, can quote the whole of it:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
Learned of it because 47 Republican Congresspersons appear to be violation of it. Hence the trending hashtag #47traitors ...

Apparently, the law is all-but ignored, so chances of anything coming of this are between slim and none.

Here's the letter all the fuss is about: [original document]

In short, I'm not about to get my undies in a bunch and sign a petition requesting the 47 be charged, though it would oh so fun to watch Eric Holder make them sweat. Still, is this the brand the GOP is after? Knobshiners for Netanyahu? Chickenhawk Traitors?

O Hartford, So Much To Answer For

Grew up in East Hartford, worked a little, and played a lot in Hartford for several years; so, when I flipped past this the other day while channel surfing, it caught my eye. (Not something I'd watch otherwise.) Those Channel 3 and Channel 61 microphones in the clips from the local news broadcasts where Latin Kings and Los Solidos members were interviewed gave me a nostalgic feeling as I recalled what it was like in 80s, when there was a new murder or two being covered seemingly every night ...

Monday, March 9, 2015

New ☆ Tweet from @mattzollerseitz

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The Moral Philosophy of Calvin and Hobbes

The Moral Philosophy of Calvin and Hobbes

via io9

"The late political scientist James Q. Wilson described "Calvin and Hobbes" as "our only popular explication of the moral philosophy of Aristotle." Wilson meant that the social order is founded on self-control and delayed gratification—and that Calvin is hopeless at these things. Calvin thinks that "life should be more like TV" and that he is "destined for greatness" whether he does his homework or not. His favorite sport is "Calvinball," in which he is entitled to make up the rules as he goes along.

Day-in, day-out, Calvin keeps running into evidence that the world isn't built to his (and our) specifications. All humor is, in one way or another, about our resistance to that evidence."
I'm not so sure that all humor is about our resistance to the fact the universe doesn't care what we think or desire, but if that's a fair explanation of C&H's enduring appeal, then some of the best is.

'The Rocket' Coming to the Big Screen

'Imitation Game' Producer Nabs Roger Clemens Project, 'The Rocket' (Exclusive) - Hollywood Reporter

Roger Clemens


But, I'll watch it. That first twenty strikeout game (watched on TV) is an indelible memory and, no matter how tarnished his legacy, I'll never forget what it was like to watch him pitch in a Red Sox uniform.

Street Graffiti (That Could Be This Blog's Avatar)

Social Media Street Graffiti = Stenciled Signs of Our Times | Urbanist

RIP FriendFeed FriendFeed's Closure Another Painful Loss from a Vibrant Era of Social Media:

Amidst all the Apple watch hoopla today, FriendFeed's blog announced the long-ignored social networking pioneer was finally going to be taken out back behind Facebook's brilliant new campus and be put down for good.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wizard World Comic Con Raleigh 2015

Raleigh ǁ North Carolina ǁ Raleigh Convention Center ǁ Wizard World Comic Con Raleigh

I'll be there Sunday, so will miss William Shatner, and staying on a budget so didn't get the David Tennant VIP tickets either, but should still be a fun time with Number One Son.

Haven't been able to assemble a War Doctor cosplay kit yet, so will just be in my civvies. But, I'll be all old and grizzled per usual, so that's part way, I suppose.

The Underpants Gnomes Phase 4

Capitalism has for its several centuries-long history promoted the so-called “interests” of the individual as supreme. It is not really the general individual that the system has in mind, though, so much as the entrepreneur who, given complete lack of restraint, is assumed to be able to produce goods and services beneficial to society, and can do so only with the freedom to ignore non-market values and the possibility that this kind of individualism — which can be called hyper-individualism — will magically yield freedom and justice for all. 
 Indeed, at the heart of the standard capitalist narrative is magic, as if the will to realize the abstract ideal of a cornucopia for all will itself — through fervent wishing and belief that can only be called religious — bring about the imagined state. It is the “invisible hand” idea from Adam Smith — the conviction that there really is a hidden force that given free rein sets everything aright. It is the God meme in capitalism and its writings, Smith’s among them, that is to capitalism what the Torah is to Judaism, the Gospels to Christianity, and the Koran to Islam: holy texts whose authenticity and reality must not be challenged or questioned unless as an adolescent moment of doubt, eventually subsumed by the re-embrace of total belief.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Mind of Evil - "People who talk about infallibility are usually on very shaky ground."

BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Mind of Evil - Details

Season 8, Story 2 (Overall Series Story #56) | Previous - NextIndex

Season 8, you're a strange beast and I adore you. You introduced Roger Delgado as the Master in the last story, you give us another action heavy, competently directed story in the mode of last season's "The Ambassadors of Death" in this story, and then you get your bizarre on in "The Claws of Axos." The Doctor gets to leave Earth again after that, and you close with a story hints at the Hinchcliffe era that's still a few years out. You've got the Brigadier and UNIT, Jo's a solid companion and you're (mostly) still in color -- this story being the notable exception.  (Full disclosure: my DVD editions does a pretty fair job restoring the color to this story, so I didn't watch in black-and-white, which I may have done in the past [too long ago to remember for certain] if this one ever got broadcast on Public TV in the 70s or 80s, but I'm not sure it did.)

Part of why this story might be hard to recall is structural, it's a six-parter with two quite different plots that only overlap because they're both part of plot by the Master to cause a World War and, I guess, get himself killed since he's stuck on Earth? Anyways, we've got to be able to put it all together to recall it's the one with the teleporting, alien-powered, evil-sucking, phobia-exploting Keller Machine used to pacify the violent offenders in Swiss and English prisons until it builds up enough strength pursue its own agenda. It's also the one where UNIT is providing security, rather poorly, for a global peace conference that's running short of delegates and in the crosshairs of *cue dramatic music* the Master!

Should we complain that the Master's scheme is Byzantine beyond all reason? Well, it's certainly a fair cop. But I'll watch Roger Delgado charm and menace his way through ludicrous plan any chance I get. More of an issue here is how shunted Jo is in this story, except when she's being far more action heroine than we're accustomed to seeing her, what with wrangling firearms from rioting prisoners and the like. Katy Manning is marvelous, but Jo is written as if by someone who wasn't familiar with her character and so gets it wrong when giving her something to do, then gives her not much to do but get scolded.

You know with a Chinese delegation at the peace conference, we're in perilous territory. I'm the guy who bent over backwards to defend "The Talons of Weng Chiang," so I recognize that I'm not writing from a the most unassailable of positions when it comes considering how well, or how awfully, this story handles matters of race. Still, I don't think this story deserves much of the criticism leveled at it on that front. When the American delegate to the conference sees Chin Lee as a terrifying (?!) dragon (dubbed 'Puff the Magic Dragon' on set), that's pretty awful. Awful looking, and awfully racist, but that's the American senator's problem, not the show's. Yates commenting that Chin Lee is a "quite a dolly" is more problematic, as it's not clear the show understands what a twat Yates is, yet. Lee is at least played by an actual Asian actress -- the writer's wife, I learned from the DVD's infotext -- not a yellowed-up Anglo. Fu Peng is also played by an Asian actor, a lousy one (lousy actor, I hasten to clarify), but again we're not always so fortunate.

The most bizarre aspect of the Chinese element of the story is that the Doctor seems to have been buddy-buddy with Chairman Mao, a rather surprising association. (He doesn't seem to have much of an issue with Nixon or Churchill either, so maybe distressingly less surprising than it ought to be?)

When it comes to questions like, "Is it appropriate to use physical means to change the minds of prisoners in order to correct their behavior?" this story is punching a bit over its head. Not exactly in an admirable way, although not completely flailing either, as critics have accused. Sandifer, for example, argues that the story has no issue with what is done to Barnham and seems to be endorsing the idea of lobotomizing criminals. When we look at what actually happens in the story, I think we should reach the opposite conclusion. Barnham is treated by duped scientist, a tool of the Master. What looks like a fairly innocuous bit of tech is actually an alien menace, any evident success as a result of its use has actually been fueling a disaster. Barnham himself become an object of pity as a result of his treatment, reduced to childlike simplicity. He behaves heroically, but I think does so hoping to destroy himself in the process, not functioning in the narrative as a hero made by the solution imposed on him. This, to me, reads like a condemnation of attempting to directly alter the minds (by altering the brains) of humans, no matter their crimes. The Doctor rejects the machine and the intention, acting as the conscience of the story.

The criticism here I think should be that the Doctor's position should have been more forcefully argued and a constructive alternative presented. That's asking a lot of the sort show Doctor Who is though. It's been too many years since I've watched the Star Trek episode "Dagger of the Mind" to use it as a yardstick by which to measure this story's handling of similar themes. (It's on Prime, so perhaps for a future revision of this post.)

Stray Observations:

This is an early (first?) instance of one of the Doctor's hearts stopping.

The Doctor tells Jo a tale of being imprisoned by Elizabeth I in the Tower of London with Sir Walter Raleigh (who droned on and on about potatoes). Strange he doesn't recall it when the War Doctor, Ten, and Eleven being imprisoned together in the Tower of London by Elizabeth I in "Day of the Doctor."  He/they may have forgotten about it. Her not mentioning it is understandable since it must've been about thirty years in her future that those events happen based Raleigh's timeline.

Following up on the comment I made about the direction of this story, it's a shame this was director Timothy Combe's last for DW. He might have been one of the best they ever hired. Even colorized, this one looks great thanks to his director's eye.

Giving Kristopher Kum grief above for his stilted, halting portrayal of Fu Peng probably means I should point out he must have been an improvement on the other guy. Evidently, the scenes with Fu Peng were re-shoots after the first actor's performance was reviewed by the production staff and found to be intolerable.

Some other tidbits I picked up watching this one with the Infotext turned on: Stangmoor, the name of the prison in "The Mind of Evil" was a mash-up of Strangeways and Broadmoor; and that's how I learned the context for the Smiths album title I am blushing with embarrassment to admit I didn't have before; and pointed me towards a bit of trivia about Lis Sladen, who was one of the first to participate in a program to bring theater to inmates in the late 60s. (She discusses her visit to Strangeways briefly in her autobiography.)

RIP Harve Bennett, Producer of Star Trek Movies

R.I.P. Harve Bennett, the man who helped bring Star Trek movies to the world | Newswire | The A.V. Club

Harve Bennett, as he appeared in Star Trek V
No sooner have the Leonard Nimoy memorials been erected in Star Trek Online than news of another blow to the extended Star Trek family breaks.

Brian Singer to Bring Heinlein's 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' To the Big Screen

'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen - Slashdot 

Read and re-read Heinlein voraciously as a kid, still have a shelf and a half of his books, though it's hard to get my today head around the fact younger me thought that they were that great. (Wish I'd spent some of that time giving Asimov another shot instead.) Still, I'll be interested to see what Brian Singer makes of TMIAHM.

If the new adaptation is news, the old news I (can't believe I) missed is that Red Planet was made as an animated miniseries back the early 90s and "All You Zombies" was made as Predestination with Ethan Hawke just last year. Throwing an embed of the former below, even if it's unlikely I'll make the time watch it myself -- though I remember the novel (both the 1949 release and the uncut version) fondly -- but the movie looks to be worth checking out.

We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed | fifteeneightyfour

We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed | fifteeneightyfour

What I find most interesting about these new imaginative forays into outer space is how the fantasy can’t quite return to the unvarnished optimism of the old “consensus future”; it can’t quite get the bad taste of the 1970s out of its mouth. Firefly has the human race entering outer space, but only after the Earth-That-Was was all-used-up; its take on Star Trek’s benign Federation is the Alliance, a hygienic fascism that experiments on children and mass poisons its population, opposed by bandits and criminals whose political ideology (such as it is) most closely matches the American Confederacy. And the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek is hardly much better: the supposedly peace-loving Federation is (even more) militarized and paranoid in the new timeline than it was in the old one, losing Vulcan to a brutal terrorist attack and nearly losing Earth itself to a botched coup by its black-ops division. After two movies, the Enterprise has barely left spacedock, much less boldly gone where no one has gone before. The trailer for Episode 7 starts off looking more like a slasher movie than a rip-roaring space adventure; though the frenetic appearance of the Millennium Falcon near the end suggests some excitement is on the menu, all indications are that the happy ending of Return of the Jedi is going look a lot less happy to us in retrospect, its fairy-tale promise of restoration and liberation never quite materializing for our heroes.

Friday, March 6, 2015

How to ride out the zombie apocalypse

Scientists determine the nation’s safest places to ride out a zombie apocalypse - The Washington Post:
A “realistic” zombie outbreak, as Alemi calls it, both conforms to popular interpretations — and breaks them. For instance, densely populated regions are just about the worst place to be, a fact assumed in any number of zombie flicks. But unlike the movies, which often depict diffuse saturation and numerous locations simultaneously affected, a true outbreak wouldn’t work like that. It would take hours, days, months and even years to spread into every underpopulated nook and cranny of the United States.

No fault, no blame, no crime.

If no one is at fault, then no one is to blame, and that’s how most police departments and prosecutors treat these shootings: no fault, no blame, and no crime. 
But you can absolutely predict tragic outcomes from irresponsible gun-storage practices, and you can easily assign blame. I’ve never heard of unintentional child shootings in which the shooters were master safecrackers or expert lockpickers, bypassing layers of security in order to find the guns with which they shoot themselves or their siblings. No, they’re just kids, and most kids only ever access their parents’ guns if those parents leave their guns out where they can be accessed.

How to save Star Trek

How to save Star Trek: Make it the True Detective of science fiction - Vox

The wickedly sly and funny Jane Espenson, who's written for everything from Buffy to Once Upon a Time, also worked on Trek. Give her a dream cast and the budget to make a series of adventures featuring that cast, and I'd bet you'd see something amazing, and possibly more comedic than Trek usually gets.
Espenson is my choice to succeed Moffat on Doctor Who, but wouldn't mind seeing this approach to a new series.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bionic Lorem Ipsum News

Caught a few minutes of The Six Million Dollar Man (because, whoah, that takes you back) while eating lunch today. Noticed the newspaper articles weren't fleshed out very well.

"Of no less importance was the common recognition shown of the fact any menace from without to the  peace of our continents concerns all of us ... "
Star Trek fans may recognize the same

The episode, not that you were even wondering, was "The Bionic Boy, Pt. 1," and featured a young Vincent Van Patten. (As well as his dad.)

Local Ghost Hunter Sounds ... Traumatized?

North Carolina couple make business of tracking ghosts ::

Caminiti says he got involved in the hobby after he saw a misty apparition in his home when he was about 6. He said his father was a paranormal researcher, and he started watching his father's taped sessions. At 15, Caminiti said, he had an encounter he doesn't like talking about.

 "It was demonic in nature," he said.
Oh boy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Does Your State Have One? (Beer Cap Map)

North Carolina — Beer Cap Maps

Never mind state maps, the way breweries are cropping 'round here, I could make a case Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs could each support their own.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jackie Chan Breaking the Internet With His Duang

Jackie Chan Threatens to Break the Internet

NC Senate Renews Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage On Behalf Of The Sincerely Bigoted

NC Senate Renews Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage | WUNC

[S]ome Democrats said the proposal would have a broad impact throughout state government if it were to become law. Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) said that, for example, a clerk at the Department of Revenue could refuse to process a married gay couple's joint tax filings if the union is contrary to his or her religious beliefs. He gave other examples: a clerk at a zoo refusing to sell lesbian parents family tickets, or a Division of Motor Vehicles employee could refuse to change a married gay couple's last names on their driver's licenses.
Only some Democrats? Who are these wolves in sheep's clothing that don't think SB2 would have broad impact?

A Magistrate does not enjoy religious freedom. A person who happens to work as a Magistrate enjoys religious freedom and is free to practice their religion in their private life, just like everybody else. Their public duty is, not to put to fine a point on it, to do their fucking jobs.

You know how I know the Magistrates enjoy religious freedom in their private lives, where they are absolutely, inalienably entitled to it? Nobody is forcing them to marry some dude they don't want to marry.

The "right" to discriminate against citizens seeking equal protection under the law and to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is no right at all. (Closer to a "hate crime" than a "right," if you ask me.)

Don't want to marry people who don't share your religious beliefs? Find a job where that's not one of your duties.

Incarcerated Humanist Sues NC DOC For Group Study Privileges Christian And Muslim Inmates Enjoy

NC Prison Inmate Sues Department Of Correction For Atheist Group Study | WUNC

Kwame Teague
Teague asked officers at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution for group study space, similarly to how Christians receive room for Bible study. State Department of Corrections officials denied his request on the grounds that the department does not categorize as a religion either atheism or humanism, a set of beliefs and philosophies that Teague says he practices.
The secularism angle is what caught my eye, but the fact the subject of the story is an author and, apparently, is also a jailhouse apostate from Islam who now identifies as a humanist was intriguing. Whether he's innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted aside, he's got a fair point here. Prisons shouldn't be in the business of granting privileges for religionists they won't grant to atheists or humanists. This strikes me as something so obvious it ought to be non-controversial?

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