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Archive April 7 - April 28 2003
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Monday, April 28
Jeremy at Futurismic links to a page of robotic spiders. In other feakish technology news New Scientist reports that human protiens are being used to increase computer memory.

In Print: The new issue of Barracuda Magazine features a nifty cover story on the Batmobile. If you pass by a comic shop, might I be so bold as to recommend Image's The Agents. It's a cool little black & white book that starts with the premise that James Bond, The Thunderbirds, and Green Hornet all co-exist. Neat stuff.

Sunday, April 27
I became aware this week that my email account had been "spoofed," a flavor of vandalism I was previously unaware of. Aparently some unscrupulous soul is using my email address to send out bulk spam promoting graphic beastial porn. I want to say up front to anyone who receives such mail with my address on it that I in no way sanction or support images of young confused women cupping the taut scrotum and stroking the turgid, thick-veined shafts of horses.

The author of The Memphis Flyer's The Weathers Report (who, for some reason, doesn't put his first name on his opinion column) penned a rather scathing indictment and dismissal of religion this week, for which he gets my applause. I await the inevitable shrieking letters-to-the-Editor. Might I suggest that all would-be religious crusaders sworn and determined to brand unbelievers as amoral and unprincipled give the most recent Humanist Manifesto a thorough reading.

Saturday, April 26
Thanks to Mark Vadnais for the link tag over to the right.

Four Color Heroes has an interview with Top Ten artist Gene Ha.
Monkeybrain Books has released an image of the very cool cover to Heroes & Monsters, Jess Nevin's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations. The book is also solicited in the new issue of Previews.
Speaking of covers, Atlas Comics has posted a gallery of the 12 dumbest comic covers they could find.

Tech TV.com has a story about "Everquest Widows," women whose mates eschew the pleasures of the flesh in order to spend hours immersed in online role- playing games. I am certain that they are just tickled pink about the impending arrival of Rekonstruction, a post-apocalyptic RPG designed to support one million players as they (get this) repopulate the earth. I can see the potential appeal of an all-out planetwide real-time virtual orgy, but boys: fuck your women once in a while.

Friday, April 25
Tufts University is hosting an informative site about cosmic evolution and how cosmology, human development, and technological advancement are gradations of the same basic force. Heady stuff, but cool. This is fitting as Watson and Crick recently stated that they believe genetic modification is an inevitability in humanity's near future. This week Simon Smith discussed the genetic impact of body modification at Better Humans.

Andre Emmerich puts forth an interesting opinion that the disemination and marketing of Iraqi artifacts could be a good thing as it gives the items value.

Assorted Items: Locus reports that the list of Hugo nominees were released this week. SciFi.com has a chat with writer Lucius Shepard. John Byrne chimes in on shock value in comics at Slush Factory. Ninth Art's Antony Johnson analyzes the impact of sun spot activity on goth culture while the editorial board discusses the need in comics for a"sense of wonder"

Thursday, April 24
Greetings, citizens.
I trust you all behaved yourself in my absence.
I should explain the abruptness of my departure last week. I drove to distant southern climes to surprise my mother for her birthday, which was last Saturday. I could not discuss the devilish machinations of my scheme on this hallowed page lest my sainted mum (an avid Gravity Lens reader, y'know. Smart woman.) divine my intentions. My plan worked flawlessly, save for the traffic on the trip down (please note that the Washington Beltway is, in fact, one of the Circles of Hell). The past week was spent visiting family and friends along the way, shopping at various outlets, and sleeping at an affordable-yet-chillingly-similar "variety" of Red Roof Inns. I'm glad I am back, and hope you all had an enjoyable Passover/Easter/ Partiots Day/Administrative Professionals Day. Fuck Earth Day. I'm off to unpack and do laundry.

Robert Tracinski looks ahead to next week's Holocaust Remebrance Day.

Assorted Items: Mark Vadnais sends along an interview with Warren Ellis at SlashDot. There is also an interview with Porcupine Tree at Vox Online. Geekpress linked to a story about the mathematical algorithm needed for a good marriage.

Here's a gallery of vintage cheesecake magazine covers from Retrospice. Speaking of pin-ups: those located in striking distance of Boston may wish to partake of the Man Ray B& D Ball Friday night, hosted by the infinitely yummy Dita Von Teese.
Oh yeah, a check of my stats shows the whole mess of visitors to the Links Page are led there while searching for info and pictures of Kitana Baker. For your information, boys, she does have an official site, but I appreciate the traffic.

Thursday, April 17
Lovecraftian strangeness continues to plague the heavens: Earth-sized super-heated magnetic tadpoles swim in the tides of the sun's photosphere; nebulae hang ominously is the firmament like energy-being refugees from a Star Trek episode; and all the while, unseen by mortal eyes, a battle between rival universes rages.

You'd think with all the legitimately weird goings-on in the universe Yahoo could somehow avoid reprinting Weekly World News stories. I do not care how they label them, this is just irresponsible. 'Nuff said.

Assorted Items: Jonathan Jones of The Guardian discusses Saddam's taste in art. The Calgary Herald tells us that researchers are looking into the burning question of why radio personalities with sexy voices tend to be quite ugly. New evidence points to stem cells being able to regenerate heart tissue and repair nerve damage. Cinescape's Tony Whitt voices concerns over the recent wave of ultra-violence in comics.

Wednesday, April 16 (Full moon tonight, for those who care)
I'm giving y'all fair warning that tomorrow's posts will be the last updates to Gravity Lens for about a week, give or take. Your humble narrator needs to feel wind in his (graying) hair, troll some museums, visit some friends, and otherwise calibrate his soul. Only the real world that allegedly exists at the fringes of the blogosphere will provide the needed sanctuary. Recent stat checks for this site put the number of daily readers at about 50, so I will leave some other blog links to act as methedone in my absence.

And if your wondering why a stouthearted curmudgeon such as myself needs the time off, the past week has wrought news stories about ancient gods, dark matter, and parallel universes. Having the pulp fantasies of my childhood seep un- filtered into my adult life is very unsettling and disconcerting.
Except of course when the Women of Star Trek get naked. I'm fine with that.

Tuesday, April 15
A moment of silence please for Dr. Willis E. McNelly who died last week. He compiled quite possibly the greatest act of fandom ever: The Dune Encyclopedia.

Locus Online reports that Saddam Hussein is a Rowena Morrill fan.

The masked wrestler who was elected to the Japanese government is sure to be a pop culture icon. Wasn't the Mayor on The Oblongs also a masked wrestler? If anyone can find a picture of him plese send it to me.

Gail Gregg asks "what are they teaching art students these days?"

New links at SciFi.com. Celestia is a neat little real time space simulator, while The Journal of Applied Treknology is pretty self-explanitory.

Monday, April 14
Assorted Items: Slush Factory has posted an interview with cover artist Tim Bradstreet. SciFi.com chats with horror author Laurell K. Hamilton. At Better Humans both James Hughes and George Dvorsky discuss the relationship between transhumanism and environmentalism.

New futurist blog on my Links Page: Futurismic.com

Scientists are tinkering with strange magnetic super-fluids that may someday act as blood for robots.

Even a robot's blood will quicken upon gazing at Retrocrush's magnificent pictorial tribute to the Goddess of Spies Diana Rigg.

Sunday, April 13
Mark Vadnais sends along this tale of an atheist stirring things up in Salt Lake City. I really wish I could have been there for this.

Dave Hibsher sends along many a useful reference link for the Links Page, such as this neat map of area codes and the Naval Observatory's Sun and Moon data site. These and others will go up on the Links Page today.

And here's a link for when you need just the right cliche.

Saturday, April 12
Public Service Announcement: If you fuck a hooker, get a receipt.

It is heart-warming to know that our knee-jerk reactionary government wants to ban something that we can't do anyway.

150 years later and Europeans are still arguing over who discovered Neptune.

Friday, April 11
Slush Factory has an interview with Ken Knudtsen, who writes ands draws the very brutal and funny comic My Monkey's Name is Jennifer.

The nominees for both the Eisner and the Bram Stoker Awards were posted yesterday.

England's The Guardian has published a story about how religious pressure is threatening science in the United States. I've yapped enough about the subject this week so I'll let the Brits have a go at it. Update: here's a related editorial from the same paper.

Thursday, April 10
I've repaired or replaced a lot of dead links on the Links Page. Thanks to all who reported them. I'm getting close to 1900 links now.

Recommended Readin': Ronald Bailey of Reason Onlne must have heard me rant about Leon Kass yesterday.
Mark Feeny of the Boston Globe says the traditional idealized perception of the Sixties is a bit skewed.
David Thompson wonders whatever happened to conceptualist art? Not that I miss any of the unpleasant, cossetted artists who produced the stuff, with their studied nonchalance and eyes so hyperglazed you'd think nothing short of invasive cranial surgery would get a rise out of them.

Assorted Items: The BBC reports that CD sales are down, bringing the record industry one step closer to its torturously-prolonged-yet-well-deserved demise.
Film Threat reveals the basic plot of Battle Royale 2.
On the latest episode of Bullshit! Penn & Teller paid homage to agricultural guru and champion Norman Borlaug.
Acid Logic's most recent Interesting Motherfucker: Tobe Hooper.

Comic Stuff: Slush Factory has an interview with writer Geoff Johns. Comic Book Resources talks with comedian Patton Oswald about his upcoming JLA minseries. Critic and idiot Michael Medved is apparently unhappy with Captain America, remaining blissfully unaware that he's a fictional character written by someone. Wizard has posted another gallery of Comic Book Babes.

Wednesday, April 9
Cool 30-Second Time-Waster: an interactive wireframe tesseract applet.

Music Stuff: Guitar.com has an interview with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree. Rush has donated several old instruments and stage props to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson talks about the time-honored tradition of plaster casting...ahem...band members. New Music Express has a story that Dave Grohl will be drumming on the new Killing Joke disc.

Film Threat reports that a new print of Thomas Edison's 14 minute Frankenstein movie, shot in 1910, will be shown at the Loew's Jersey Theater in Jersey City on April 26 as part of a Frankenstein Festival.
In other scary news, Comics Continuum has details on the Canadian premiere of Jill Thompson's Scary Godmother all-CGI special. No American airdates yet. The biggest news is that both Animation Magazine and Ain't It Cool News confirm that there are new Ren & Stimpy cartoons coming to TNN.

Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us exactly what an aurora looks like from space.

Transhumanist site Extropy.org has posted Michael Anissimov's profound point-by-point response to the primitive religious bleatings of Leon Kass and his puerile objections to biotech and life extension. For the record, Kass (who, as I've said in the past, is twice the age of the average life expectancy a century ago) also stands opposed to cloning, stem cell research, and has a book coming out next month called The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis. He dreads, of all the world's ills, a world without courtship. And he's in charge of bioethical policy for the country. I hope this demented fuck spends the last decade of his life hooked to a machine.

Speaking of cloning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that an endangered species has been cloned. The same paper also reports that the original Babar the elephant is dead at the age of 99 (far too old for Mr. Kass).

Thanks to Tom (get a site, dude) for the April Storm lore (please send me the link again), and to BlackStripe for putting me on their links page.

Tuesday, April 8
I've got nothing. Well, apparently nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Nothing at all.

Asssorted Items: Part two of Frank Beaton's interview with Alan Moore is up at Ninth Art. Sequential Tart has posted an interview with comic legend Julius Schwartz. Quantum Muse's April Artist of the Month is Keith Parkinson.

What does a busy modern clergyman do when he's plum out of ideas for homilies? Why, he visits Last Minute Sermon.com of course.

Monday, April 7
New astronomical word: Hypernova. Spread it around.

Friend Doug informs me that the new issue of People Magazine has an article on Jim Kakalios, the teacher who uses comics to illustrate science principles (since they are so hard to find in textbooks). Here are other stories on him from Physics Today, CBC News, Minnesota E-News, and Eurekalert. Now if only science could figure out why Doug was reading People...

Why would any self-respecting planet need 58 moons?

A couple new links at SciFi.com: A cool resource and reference page about Gryphons, and the homepage of the Radebaugh "Future we were Promised" exhibit in Philadelphia (which I hope to visit in the next few weeks).

Assorted items: BBC Science has a nice gallery of freaky and silly android pix from Robodex 2003.
Simon Smith at Better Humans discusses the Toronto SARS outbreak and what it means for medical science.
Peter Schwartz reminds us of an unpopular truth about war and the civilian casualties it incurs.
Edward Hudgins looks at the strange and fragile dynamic of the American Muslim community.
The companion site for the PBS mini-series Big Ideas has gone live.

Big kudos to Shauna (or Shawna, she doesn't care) for the heads-up on the upcoming Dane Cook shows in the area, as well as the local production of a fantasy film called The Silver Tree by BlackStripe Video.