Archive  June 9 - June 24 2003
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Tuesday, June 24
I read with interest this Guardian piece by Richard Dawkins about the movement to co-op the word "Bright" as a noun to define all people with "a naturalist worldview" (atheists, humanists, etc.). The website of the movement is an interesting read. As much as I harbor an admittedly anti-social aversion to most "movements" I commend the idea of classifying a group by what they are, instead of what they are not. The words "atheist" and "godless" only indicate (by their very definitions) that the concept of a god is absent in one's philosophy, as opposed to our life and works being central to one's philosophy. I haven't had a good idea to mull over in a while. This could be fun.

Assorted Items: Glenn Hough explores posthumanism through the lens of science fiction. Kilian Malloy interviews author Michael Bishop about his new book Brighten to Incandescence. Scientists now think there are two black holes at our galaxy's center. There are many cool custom action figures of cartoon characters at the site Inanimate Objects.

Monday, June 23
The Infidels News Wire is back up and being updated daily. My favorite story there today is the creation of Biblical Bobbleheads.

Recommended Readin': Peter Jones of The Spectator says that universities are becoming factories of jargon and illiteracy. Scott Wilson at SOLO discusses the inspirational aspect of flying. Simon Smith of Better Humans optimistically tells us that Intelligent Design Is an Endangered Species, while atheist Toby Wardman plays devil's advocate and defends the concept.

Sunday, June 22
I treated myself to a lengthy session of beer shopping yesterday, picking up some Old Rasputin Russian Stout and a four-pack of Rapscallion Creation Dark Reserve (a most potent brew, with a free snifter no less). I was compelled beyond reason to purchase a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale, which gets my vote for best packaging and label text. Such potable adventurousness has piqued my interest in this story about archeologists discovering 2000 year-old chinese wine.

Bruce Sterling discusses the world's "global" problems at Wired.

Saturday, June 21. First Day of Summer.
Metafilter has linked to a Washington Post story that Timothy Bottoms, who played the President in the short-lived Comedy Central series That's My Bush, will reprise the role for an upcoming TV movie about 9/11. God, does my brain hurt.

Friday, June 20
French criminals are so much more fun.

Comic Stuff (sort of): There will soon be a Cthulhu Superhero plush toy avail- able. The History Channel has a site up for their upcoming Comic Book Heroes Unmasked special (Update: Slush Factory has posted a piece about the special as well). Retrocrush gives us a double whammy of the worst super hero costumes ever and a gallery of smutty pulp covers. My favorite: Matador of Shame.

Stand Up Comic Stuff: As I am hopelessly addicted to laughter I was happy to learn that several of my favorite comedians are either on tour now or will be later this year. Among them are Dave Attell, Lewis Black, Dane Cook, and Eddie Izzard.

Thursday, June 19
For some unexplained reason, someone has decided that it's a good idea to turn microscopic organisms into colorful plush toys. I'm assuming there was no focus group involved in this.

Here's a creepy-looking image of the surface of the sun, which is probably the last thing these two comets saw before their heads were burned away. In other space news, research has begun on building a big tether system for slinging ships into orbit.

Assorted Items: Wizard has posted the first Anime Swimsuit Competition. Newsarama has a preview of Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth. Matthew Nisbet
of CSICOP looks at the debate over scientific literacy. Gregg Easterbrook of Wired has written a Skeptical Guide to Doomsday. has a cool gallery of strange instruments, including audio files of what they sound like.

Wednesday, June 18
Smug columnist Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian apparently thinks progress and advancement are unnessesary. Where have we heard that before?

With the hoopla over excising smoking scenes from movies and banning it in public (especially idiots), it's nice to see that Desire of The Endless still lights up.
In other comic news Avatar Press has posted the uber-cool cover to Alan Moore's Yuggoth Cultures, and Dark Horse has announced a new Victorian book called Scarlet Traces about the aftermath of The War of the Worlds.

The case of the Dali drawing stolen from a New Jersey jail has been solved.

Assorted Items: Urban Legend Magazine has linked to this bone-chilling gallery of 70's Swedish pop band photos. The Legos fanatic site Brick Frenzy gives us this sweet rendition of The Nebuchadnezzar from The Matrix. Mercator's World has a story and pictorial about Athanasius Kircher's 17th century maps of subterranean Earth. Modern Humorist has posted this very funny/true Guide to America. Photographer Andreas Praefcke has a gorgeous site dedicated to Theaters on Postcards (including some very old and very uninviting). And I whole- heartedly agree with National Post columnist Adrian John Burrus that There's Something About Vinyl.

New over at the Links Page: MarsQuest Online, Radio, and a tribute to beach bunny Deborah Walley.

Tuesday, June 17
It's been a while since our last headless body story.

Why on Earth was there no live television coverage of the Precision Guided Bomb Competition? Beer companies would have clamored over each others' gouged-out entrails to sponsor that.

Here's a couple of space-related stories: NASA is now contemplating the con- struction of a nifty morphing-wing aircraft, while a consortium of assorted space agencies is planning to simulate a long term mission to Mars down in Antartica.

Monday, June 16
Friend Dave Hibsher informs me that Wallace & Grommit have their very own brand of Wensleydale cheese.

Recommended Readin': George Dvorsky examines the inherent dangers of mysticism in The False Promise of Pseudoscience. Laura Cumming asks What's the Matter with Portrait Painters These Days? Leonard Pitts and O. Riccardo Pimentel discuss Eric Rudolph's status as a christian terrorist.

Sunday, June 15
Happy Fathers Day. Retrocrush looks back at famous TV dads.

Recommended Readin': Susan Sontag discusses the future of translation in lliterature. SF Crowsnest has an interview with fantasy artist Jael. Thrilling Detective has an essay by Gerald So about the moral codes of Robert Parker's Spenser and Hawk. This week's Hartford Courant Northeast magazine is dedicated to biker culture.

Saturday, June 14
Last night I caught the tail end of a promo for "The Future is Wild: The New Series" premiering July 8. The original special by this name aired on Animal Planet at the beginning of the year and became one of my favorite CGI documentaries. There is no listing for this new program on the network's website, at least none that I can find (the site is a little tough to navigate).

Scientists are one step closer to being able to recreating the Big Bang.

Thanks to Wrong Side of Happiness for the link.

Friday, June 13
I keep hearing about kids not learning cursive writing in school due to the proliferation of computers. The rather obvious solution to this (other than making handwriting skills required) is the optical pen interface.

Assorted Items: Wired has a story about the cool-looking White Knight re- usable spacecraft. Retrocrush has a great pictorial of swank 70's bedrooms. Acid Logic has deemed Alice Cooper to be an Interesting Motherfucker. This Sunday the Discovery channel will show Walking WIth Cavemen, the promos for which leave me pining for old episodes of Korg 70,000 B.C.

Thursday, June 12
Science stories today include more info on dark matter, NASA's planned December shuttle launch (as well as some future plans), and gizmos like bullet proof clothing, portable scanners, and a cool exoskeleton.

First they found Gilgamesh, now they think they've found Nefertiti. Can King Arthur be far behind?

And now a moment of silence for David Brinkley. And Gregory Peck

Wednesday, June 11
Christian A. Dumais of Slush Factory has a sit-down discussion with Gary Glenn, President of the AFA of Michigan about the recent Pittsburgh Con ordeal.

Assorted Items: It's been a while since we've seen a good line of trampy underage prostitute dolls. Modern Drunkard brings us Great Moments in the History of Hooch. It looks like Zippo has gotten a spiffy new facelift. The latest Sci Fi Weekly has a creepy cover illustration by somebody named Meats Meier. Here's his site.

Big thanks to Tom McMahon for the link.

Tuesday, June 10
I am having great mental difficulty deciding which of the following is coolest: These Marvin the Martian and Duck Dodgers insignia patches for the support crew of the NASA Mars Rovers, this P. Craig Russell poster featuring everyone's favorite dream king promoting the American Library Association, or this downloadable four dimensional Rubik's Cube.

I've added some science fiction sites to the Links Page. Among them: Sci- Fan, SFLovers, Quadrant, and Afrofuturism. Also put up the useful Multiverse Database and the Heinlein Book Cover Museum from We Grok

Monday, June 9
Recommended Readin': Philip Shropshire rips headlong into the new bioethics journal The New Atlantis at Better Humans. Also there, Sabine Atkins discusses the care and nurturing of artificial intelligence. Jonathan Rauch explores what constitutes corporate dishonesty at Reason Online. Kenneth Baker at SF Gate thinks we lack critical distance from our cultural interactions. John Naughton of the Observer is alarmed by the lack of a bell curve when it comes to the Web.

If you watched the Discovery documentary Journey to the Center of the Earth last night you may want to check out Pole Shift In other science news, a linux-run rocket is about to be launched, and researchers have regenerated ear sensory cells.

Seven thousand naked people...

Here's a fun site that claims it will teach you how to detect landmines via the time-honored tradition of dowsing. Testimonials from blind, limbless, satisfied customers are sure to follow.

Paul at Geekpress found this blog called Burden of Truth whose seminal posts appear focused on news about Google and other search engines. I have wondered why no one has designed a site that gives "traffic and weather reports" about the web and its overall usage.
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