Gravity Lens Archive Janurary 21- February 4 2004
Gravity Lens Main Page

Wednesday, February 4
Artists Kenn Brown and Chris Wren of Mondolithic wrote in to inform me that they provided the graphics for the print version of the convergence article in Wired I linked to yesterday. Go out and buy it. And check out their extensive online gallery of work.

Comic Stuff: Steven Grant of CBR gives us the history of his new book My Flesh is Cool.
Tony Whitt of Cinescape mourns the loss of those little asterisk footnote boxes in comics.
Michael Deeley of UGO Comics looks back at Action Comics # 1.
Broken Frontier lists their favorite Top Ten Villains.

Recommended Readin': Francis Wheen of the Guardian lists the top ten modern delusions.
Eric Scigliano of Technology Review lists the top ten technologies that refuse to die.
Ronald Bailey of Reason talks to congress on the impact of scientific information on policy.
James Pinkerton of Tech Central Station examines the recent rush to regulate TV content.
Ian Buruma of looks at the history of Occidentalism.
Ray Bradbury recalls the books he loves.
Cory Doctorow's new novel Eastern Standard Tribe is available as a free download.
Tuesday, February 3
You just have to love a news story that contains the line  "the pudding also had been served on plates on which inmates regularly rubbed their genitals." Yum. Update: On a related note, I found a great site all about Prison Flicks. It has a glorious section on the highest of all art forms, the women-in-prison film.

Future Stuff: Wired has a great feature on the ongoing convergence of biology and technology. Walter Cunningham of Tech Central Station assesses the finacial and human risks of future NASA projects, while Dale Carrico of Better Humans looks at ways to accept and distribute the risks inherent in all scientific advancement.

I was wondering why I was seeing so many news stories about stolen art lately. A little research showed me just how widespread the world of international art theft has become.

Monday, February 2 Ground Hog Day
It is February.
The God of the Month is Eshu-Elgbara, Master of Crossroads.
The Fungus of the Month is Phellinus Tremulae.
The Molecule of the Month is Combretastatin A-4.
The Quantum Muse Artist of the Month is Michel Bohbot.
The Campus Speech Code of the Month comes from Macalester College.
The Needlepoint Stitch of the Month is pattern couching.
Carry on.

Recommended Readin': The Objectivist Center reports on recent creationist claims that the Grand Canyon was made by the great flood.
Mary MacDonald of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal updates us on last week's Georgia decision branding evolution as a "buzzword." (as opposed to "intelligent design")
James Bovard of Reason tells of the sad state of airport security.
Sumanta Banerjee of Economic & Political Weekly looks at book censorship in India.
At the Boston Globe Cathy Young chimes in on the philosophy of  Laura Schlessinger while Darrin M. McMahon takes in contemporary conspiracy culture.
Patrick Moore of American Enterprise looks at the battle over biotech in the third world.
Dave Barry ate a lot of food on his recent cruise. interviews author George Clayton Johnson.
At SF Crowsnest author Ken MacLeod thinks about a return to the moon while Stephen Baxter discusses the current popular status of Mars.
And in case you haven't heard, the universe may have two new elements.

Favorite site of the weekend: The National Library of Medicine has a nice online exhibit called Dream Anatomy which chronicles the history of medical anatomical drawings from 1500 onward. The site hosts a massive gallery of this fascinating-yet-morbid artform.

Sunday, February 1
Assorted Items: Two big articles on nanotechnology, one from New Scientist about potential medical benefits, and one from the Washington Post about rising public concern. Oddly, out of all the novels that have incorporated nano into their plotlines, both articles choose the immeasurably shitty Michael Crichton book Prey as their hook.
Retrocrush exhumes horrors of our past with a gallery of kids' bedrooms from the '70s.
UGO Comics looks at the 1983 DC Comics/Post Cereal Create-a-Villain contest.
Warren Ellis linked to this wonderful flowchart on The Failure of Man.
James Randi tells us about a Canadian Bishop's problem with hypnotism in his weekly column, while Peter Tyson of Nova reminds us that most breeds of domesticated dogs were created by man.

Friday, January 30
Look, kids: more ignorant anti-evolution school policies from the South.

Here's a great streaming video of a guy playing harmonica and beatbox at the same time.

SCi Fi's Web Guide has posted a link to 3D Star Maps, a neat site about stellar cartography that features a section on real stars that appear in science fiction stories.
Anyone who read (let alone enjoyed) this past Bad Day Holiday Card about the secret art of "Cryptonumismatism" may enjoy the site Dream Dollars, a stunning gallery of The Official Currency of Nadiria, the Lost Colony of Antarctica from the mind of Stephen Barnwell.

More freaky art: Robot Chicks by Brent Harris.

The Economist wants to know: what ever happened to great political oratory? Oh, to have lived in a time when politicians like William Jennings Bryan gave fiery tirades, and even eccentrics like Emperor Norton had a flair for drama. For modern dull-as-dirt speechwriters here's an 1888 article on how to be an orator, and here's a list of sites that archive great political speeches.

Thursday, January 29
Comic Stuff: Someone is finally going to do Space Ghost right!
The WB Network is planning to shoot a TV pilot for Warren Ellis' comic Global Frequency.
Comic Book Resources chats with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

Recommended Readin': Here's a couple pieces from Eurekalert about nanotechnology and how it will affect undeveloped countries.
Keith Burgess-Jackson of Tech Central Station tells us how he escaped from ideology.
The BBC tells us all about the new form of matter: fermionic condensate.

Meat Stick. Say it. Meeeeeeat Stiiiiick.

Ronald Bailey of Reason has written a piece on the current trend of criticizing the existence of too much choice. I remember George Carlin once pointing out that there are hundreds of brands of breakfast cereal and dog food, but only two political parties. I personally dislike the fact that there is such a pathetic choice of decent science fiction films. Fortunately I have more than enough books, comics, wine and websites to make up for it.

Wednesday, January 28
There is word of software currently being developed that can detect when a person is getting annoyed. Now if only this talent could be installed in humans...

Last week Mark Vadnais linked to the Cyborg Name Generator. I love acronyms. I recently found the Dictionary of Acronyms, a list of Canonical Acronyms, and sites for Government and Space Acronyms. There is an archive for computer acronyms. TV Acres has a great index of acronyms used on TV shows. Here are some cartoons about acronyms. My favorite acronym at the moment is SPEBSQSA. It stands for the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.

SF Signal posted a link to this list of the 100 Top Science Fiction Novels from Phobosweb. Lists like this are completely arbitrary, but this one interested me because it featured some books that normally don't make such lists, like Simmons' Hyperion, Moorcock's Behold the Man, Bear's Eon, Pohl's Gateway and (most surprisingly) A. A. Attanasio's Radix. Other lists links that have surfaced recently stick closer to what's considered the SF canon. Nice to see a list reach for the big, weird stuff.

The new issue of Free Inquiry is online. Paul Kurtz looks at the "capitalism" of evangelism. Christopher Hitchens turns his icy gaze on Mother Teresa again. DJ Grothe and Austin Dacey remind us that atheism is not a civil right issue. Stephen Hanson looks at the actual value of abstinence.
On related notes, Carl Zimmer of posted this response to the recent report from the creationist site about finding a "middle ground" in the teaching of evolution and creation. Mr. Zimmer rightly points out that the group is treating science like politics. Also, Jonathan Rick of SOLO HQ explains how just about everything wrong with the Bush administration stem from his religious beliefs.

Tuesday, January 27
Assorted Items: A big "welcome back" to one of my favorite blogs Exclamation Mark.
The Map Room links to this very cool set of Logarithmic Maps of the Universe.
Nice opinion piece at about how everyone has an opinion about space.
Newsarama previews the upcoming fantasy comic Abadazad.

Recommended Readin': Ariella Budick of Newsday looks at the state of art forgery.
Francis Wheen of the Guardian traces the rise and rise of mystic mumbo-jumbo.
Waldemar Ingdahl of Tech Central Station examines current feelings about nanotech.
Edward Hudgins of the Objectivist Center says NASA won't get us to the moon.
Brian Doherty of Reason explains how modern democracy means you have no choice.
J.P. Dorigo of Broken Frontier misses the old Authority comic.

Given the amount of junk I have scattered around my place, it seems only fitting that I get an Electric Tiki maquette of Fred Sanford to oversee it all.

Monday, January 26
Cathy Young of the Boston Globe reminds us that intolerance exists in both the religious and secular realms.

Are you evil? Evil people are the single most persecuted minority in the U.S. today. Sure, rich evil people can own secret island bases and plot grand schemes, but what about your run-of-the-mill everyday Joe or Jane Evil? How can they cope with living in an intolerant society?
Is there a way for them to exist "under the radar" with their twisted ideas?
Well now there's the Evil Bastards' Rationalization Guild, a place where Evil-Americans can get advice on how to stay true to their evil heritage without being shunned by society.
(Warning: this is heavy duty socio-political satire bound to offend some folks out there.)
(Caveat: This is Bad Day Studio's first "client site." The opinions expressed, etc. etc.)

We've seen a lot of severely retarded law-making come out of the South, and I didn't think the public education system could get any more pathetic, but this, my friends, is bullshit.
All out war on ignorance and idiocy is required.
Update: It's not getting any better in Britain, either.

Sunday, January 25
The Martian probe Opportunity has landed on the red planet. The first photos are nice, but this shot of NASA controllers joyfully giving each other the finger is my favorite.

Retrocrush has posted a photo tribute to the uber-yummy Ann-Margret.

Recommended Readin':
James Randi touches on the Uri Geller/Michael Jackson connection in his weekly column.
Dan Brown of the CBC makes the case for less special effects in movies.
G. Stolyarov II of SOLO HQ looks at the current rewriting of history.
Cassandra Pinnick of Butterflies & Wheels asks whether feminist epistemology rests on sound foundations.

For those of you may care, there's some nifty banter between between Philip Shropshire and myself about my feelings on Star Trek going on in the Comment page. Feel free to join in, or just mock us.

Saturday, January 24
Tales from the Culture War:
Robert S. Boynton of the NY Times navigates the minefield of copyright law.
Jesse Walker of Reason tells a tale of satire in the form of counterfeit postage stamps.
Dave Hibsher introduces us to Paul Graham, who updates us on "moral fashion."

Friday, January 23
A moment of silence, please, for Captain Kangaroo.

Assorted Items: Warren Ellis talks about moblogging in his latest Brainpowered column.
Joshua Elder discusses the rise of "comic movies" at Tech Central Station.
SciFi Web Guide links to the self-explanatory Sci Faiku.
While it looks like the sad, no-longer-relevant Star Trek franchise may finally be coming to an end, it appears that Star Wars may be around forever...

Last night I was overcome by the urge to research the 1835 Moon Hoax. Sir John Herschel (in reality it was Richard Adams Locke) wrote a series of pieces for the New York Sun describing in detail his telescope observations of a society living on the moon. There have been theories of moon people throughout history, but this was a full blown hoax perpetrated on the Sun's readership. Most of the articles linked to here state that when the newspaper revealed the hoax it was treated with general amusement. I am looking for any editorials or letters from that period condemning the paper for such a stunt, as well as any online galleries of the drawings of moonlife that accompanied the stories. If you have any leads, send 'em here.

Thursday, January 22
Recommended Readin':
Laura Secor of the Boston Globe examines the standards for measuring morals.
George Dvorsky of Better Humans looks at space flight's role in human destiny.
Sandy Szwarc of Tech Central Station shows the pseudoscience of world obesity claims.
Linda Perlstein of the Seattle Times maps jargon's place in education.
Francois Trembey of SOLO HQ suggests standards for granting AI rights.
Cathy Young of Reason sees discrimination against the nonreligious.
Seth Shostak of thinks the aliens might be watching us.

Happy Year of the Monkey.

I have become utterly smitten with the site Diner City. Aside from its exhaustive state by state listings, it has a page of cafes and coffee houses as well as one on drive-ins and hot dog joints. There's even a link to a neat page full of "space age" roadside architecture. I'm beginning to crave another road trip.

There is an inresistible yummy/dirtiness to the idea of Jamie-Lynn DiScala playing Heidi Fleiss in the upcoming USA Network biopic.

Wednesday, January 21
Now more than ever, we need Pinky & The Brain.

Against all reason, but at the insistence of the more blog-literate folk who regularly chastise the primitive hand-crafted nature of this page, I have added a Comment link. It goes to the new Gravity Lens Page at Quicktopic, not a fancy post-by-post archive. Some day there will be a Bad Day chat room, but for now this is all you get. Pardon me as I take baby steps. (Thanks to Philip Shropshire for first suggesting this many moons ago.)

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