Archive August 16 - 28 2003
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Thursday, August 28
A visit to the oft updated will be rewarded with a downloadable video feature of their appearance at the recent SARS benefit in Toronto. Notable moment of weirdness: The band breaking into an dead-on instrumental cover of the Stones' Paint it Black.

Recommended Readin':
Christopher Hitchens turns his critical gaze on the primitivism, vagueness, and immorality of the ten commandments at Slate.
Brian Doherty of Reason Online looks at the sport of robot combat.
Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel wraps up the Bill O'Reilly v. Al Franken spat.
Here's everything I need to recall my tortured adolescent spandex fetish about Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.

SF/Fantasy art legend Kelly Freas is recovering from hip surgery this week and will not be attending Worldcon in Toronto where he is Guest of Honor.

Comic Stuff: Both Slush factory and Cinescape have reading recommemdations for us while Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times writes a tribute to Jack Kirby.

Wednesday, August 27
It broke my heart to see the Cthulhu Monument dismantled and hauled away from the Alabama Courthouse today...

Wow: Self-assembling silicon "smart dust" is now a viable technology.

I recently stumbled upon The Map Room: A Blog About Maps. It hasn't been updated in a couple weeks, but trolling its archives is quite a blast. I am also hooked on Future Feed Forward, a site full of semi-twisted future news stories and a great timeline.

"Imagine the Red Planet becoming green with life and blue with oceans! If this is to be a real vision of our future rather than a science-fiction fantasy, we as individuals will need to hold allegiance to science fact and, more generally, to that rational capacity that is responsible for our progress. Further, we will need to appreciate that it will be private men and women and not governments that in the long run will transformation Mars." Planet becoming green with life and blue with oceans! If this is to be a real vision of our future rather than a science-fiction fantasy, we as individuals will need to hold allegiance to science fact and, more generally, to that rational capacity that is responsible for our progress. Further, we will need to appreciate that it will be private men and women and not governments that in the long run will transformation Mars."
Read the rest of Edward Hudgins The Spiritual Significance of Mars.
You can also celebrate our planet's long-awaited brush with Mars by visiting The Speculist and perusing his hefty cache of All Things Martian.
At least the weather on Mars is nice today, if a bit brisk.
And remember: Mars will not kill you.

Warren Ellis chimes in the soon-to-shoot Hellblazer movie starring Keanu Reeves.

Tuesday, August 26
'Tis a sad day: Bruce Sterling has retired his Schism Matrix blog.

Assorted Items:
Comic book retailer Michael Tierney is proposing a sweeping industry-wide rating system over at the Newsarama forums.
Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel thinks prolonged torture and painful death would be appropriate for the architects of the recent computer worm attacks.
Guy Gugliotta of the Washington Post tells us a science tale about efforts to study the remains of ancient writing systems to see how they died off. I get turned on by talk of dead alphabets and forensic linguistics.
And just because I like to say it: a Toyota that parks itself.

"Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, whose ability to find his way to the House unaided has long been a source of intermittent wonder, became inflamed while making a speech at a liberal fund-raising event and yelled: 'I don’t need Bush’s tax cut! I have never worked a fucking day in my life.' "
That brutal gem, as well as several others, can be found in Christopher Hitchens' review of  Robert Dallek's new book on JFK at the Times Literary Supplement.
Other political stuff: Ronald Bailey of Reason Online looks back at Martin Luther King's march on Washington, while Gail Sheehy of the NY Observer tells us of four 9/11 widows who are hunting for an ugly truth about what the U.S. government knew before the attacks.
If that doesn't nauseate you enough, try The Music of Senator Orrin Hatch.

Monday, August 25
The new edition of the Old Farmers' Almanac is predicting another bad winter. Considering the track record of weathermen last year, I'm willing to believe it.

Recommended Readin':
Courtland Milloy of The Washington Post scrutinizes the Ten Commandments.
Tibor Machan of SOLO HQ explains "why taxes are really a bad thing."
Nicholas Wade of the NY Times looks at recent life extension studies.
Jeremy Stangroom and Kenan Malik debate the virtues of Humanism in the pages of the philosophy site Butterflies & Wheels.
Mark Ward of the BBC is fed up (as am I) with bad science in science fiction films.
Rex Murphy of the Globe & Mail reminds us of something that no American columnist I've read has brought up: that Idi Amin was a mass murderer.

Big thanks to Copacetic Comics for the link.

Sunday, August 24
Recommended Readin':
Cory Doctorow writes a piece for the Boston Globe about the impact the internet might have on the next election.
This week James Randi points us to The Kabalarians, a group of "spiritual philosophers" who can divine your thought processes simply by you typing your name on their website.
The Harvard Moral Sense Test is now up and running. The test purports to gauge "moral intuition," yet the four rhetorical questions presented exclusively involve the death of a person or persons depending on the action or inaction of the test-taker, and three involve folks getting struck by trains. I look forward to reading the results.

Saturday, August 23
Places to Avoid: Tomorrow the city of Indianapolis is hosting both a Nazi rally and a Harley Davidson rally.

SF/Fantasy Artist Randall Ensley wrote to tell me about his very nice gallery at Epilogue. There's also fun stuff (if a tad infantile) at Popaganda: The Subversive Art of Ron English.

Because it was inevitable: The Ad Slogan Hall of Fame (via Metafilter).

Friday, August 22
124 holiday shopping days left: I want a self-contained robot suit.

Although I regretfully missed this year's International Swizzle Stick Collectors' Convention in Vegas, I may try to compensate by attending the Beer Can Collectors' Convention in Pitts-burgh. I am a sad, sad man.

Just found this: last month The Atlas Society website posted the wild, shirtless cover from a 1953 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries reprinting Ayn Rand's Anthem. Please note that this rapidly approaches irony by also featuring Metamorphosis by Kafka. Other authors who received trippy cover treatment in Famous were H.G. Wells, Jack London, Sax
Rohmer, and H. P. Lovecraft, a group that has more than a little bit of a League of Extra-ordinary Gentlemen vibe to it.
Speaking of crossovers, the other day I started wondering if there had ever been an attempt at doing a story involving both The Avengers and The Prisoner. If you care, the answer is yes: Jean-Marc Lofficier wrote the very short Acid Test in 1980.

Pete Vonder Haar of Film Threat reviews Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, which I look forward to finally watching August 31 on SciFi.

Home Furnishing: PCE has a nifty new model of future-fetish computer chair. Boys Stuff is selling a potentially naughty Twister bed spread. The online catalog for Design Object features this "Portable Chill-Out Room," which is apparently marketing-speak for "Inflatable Fuck Chamber."

Thursday, August 21
Congratulations, you're part worm. Wriggle for me, baby.

Lots o' Recommended Readin':
Ronald Bailey of Reason Online talks about some of the issues impacting the future of artificial wombs.
Chris MacDonald of explores the "secular priesthood" metaphor often applied to bioethicists.
Lee Rosenbaum of the Wall Street Journal discusses the chronic structural problems affecting Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.
Michael Riordan of Physics Today looks at the scientific fallout of "quark hunting."
Robert Lawrence Kuhn of American Scientist defines science as a democratizer.
Tricia Romano of the Village Voice says the blackout made New York night life fun again.
Slate's Jim Holt ponders the possibilities of the multiverse.
Michael Moorcock reviews the new Jeffery Ford novel The Portrait of Mrs Charbuque.

Comic Stuff: Newsarama has word on the soon-to-be-released Matrix comics.
Slush Factory talks to Jason Henderson about his upcoming Sword of Dracula.
Cinescape has Part Two of Tony Whitt's article on minorities in comics.
Steven Grant at Comic Book Resources discusses the history of graphic novels. has a cool shot of the second Conan bust from Dark Horse.
The first apocalyptic issue of Beelza Bob came out this week. Go buy it.

Meanwhile, Somewhere in the Blogosphere:
Brian Kane Online unearthed the long-overdue George Kennedy Appreciation Society.
Coudel Partners links to this excellent tribute to Women in Spacesuits.
If you want to spice up your blog Idle Type found this tool to Design Your Own Hell.

Wednesday, August 20
Some standout pieces about the blackout: Stephen Singer writes how ham radio operators really shined through, while David M. Brown explains what actual utility company dereg- ulation would be like.

Big kudos to Extrasonic for catching this one: In Melbourne, Australia, child-care facilities are banning children from wearing super hero costumes because they allegedly instill aggressive behavior (Link fixed. Sorry). Yes, this is idiotic, but how cool is it that kids dressing up as comic book characters are so prevalent and commonplace down under that they have to declare certain playgrounds "Super Hero Free Zones?" The only rampant sprees of costuming you ever see around here are adults at conventions.

Now they say we'll be living on the moon in twenty years, as if that makes up for the bitter fact that we should have been living there by now, driving our lunar buggies in snazzy jumpsuits and Ed Bishop haircuts. grumble grumble.

Writer-on-Writer Action: Gregory Benford interviews Kevin J. Anderson at SF Crow's Nest.

Gaze in awe at the meticulous origami sculpture of Mr. Joseph Wu.

Tuesday, August 19
Assorted Items:
HBO has launched a website for its upcoming creepy-looking show Carnivale.
Exclamation Mark found the uber-cool site Unreal Aircraft.
Here's a neat before & after picture of the northeast blackout from space.
Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe dutifully reminds us that we're all geeks now.
The Raving Atheist can't help but detect a pattern in the editorial cartoons about Bob Hope. has an interview with author John Kessel.

Monday, August 18
128 holiday shopping days left: I want these Sea Monkey action figures!

Ninth Art interviews cartoonist Peter Bagge.

Recommended Readin':
At Better Humans Simon Smith credits the Pope for supporting genetically modified food.
Doug Sanders of the Globe & Mail extolls the virtues of fake nature.
Dr. Greg Hedberg at New Bohemia praises the emerging return to realism in art.
Wired's Michael Abrams tells us about the future of high-speed gliding.
Kathleen Parker of the Orlando Sentinel ponders the California recall while on painkillers and finds that it makes a lot more sense.
Jeet Heer at the National Post reminds us what darkened cities of the past were really like.
John H. McWhorter of City Journal explores the negative effects of hip hop.
Kerry Howley of Reason Online tells us about one town's struggle to save mom-and-pop porn shops.

Sunday, August 17
Three unrelated things:
Astrobiology has part one of an interview with Freeman Dyson.
This Gallery of Mermaid Postcards was found by Exclamation Mark.
Friend Lee is currently touring New Zealand and Australia and is blogging the trip.

Saturday. August 16
One of my missions for this weekend is to correct dead links on the Amazing Colossal Links Page. If you discover one, please email me.

Nick Gillespie of Reason Online compares and contrasts the power outage with previous such events in Manhattan in the essay The Monsters Were Due on Maple Street.
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