Gravity Lens Archive February 5 - February 19, 2004
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Thursday, February 19
Alright children, gather 'round and listen to Terence P. Jeffrey of Human Events as he explains how human cloning breaks all ten commandments, making it "the perfect sin." Fucking priceless. Not even The Rationalizer could whip up bullshit of this quality.

Among the neat Toy Fair images at AF Times are a prototype Hellboy Hand, as well as preliminary art for Star Trek Gorn and Orion Slave Girl figures and South Park's Satan. The best news, though, comes from who tell us the Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll from Trilogy of Terror is getting full size figure treatment. Sleep tight.

SF Writers Talk: David Hiltbrand of Philadelphia Inquirer interviews William Gibson.
Tasha Robinson of The Onion A.V. Club interviews Arthur C. Clarke.
Sharon Archer of SF Revu interviews Gene Wolfe.
And for you Larry Niven fans, how many Puppeteers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Wednesday, February 18
A recent Bad Signal email from Warren Ellis mentions, rather casually, that he has written an episode of the Justice League cartoon. The only mention I've found on the web about this is here. Also, Mr. Ellis' site has gotten a facelift.

The boys at Mondolithic whipped up this cool image of a DARPA-inspired military bot.

Astrobiology Magazine interviews astronomer Hayley Bignalla about the staggering concept of using interstellar gas clouds to make a telescope that's fifty light-years long. Also, you may have heard that this week's sighting of the most distant known galaxy was made possible thanks to a gravity lens.

Tour dates for the 30th Anniversary Rush Tour are up on their website.

Cool images out of Toy Fair 2004 in NYC include the DC Direct Adam Strange figure, plus toys from Family Guy and Ren & Stimpy. Also, there are no photos yet, but McFarlane Toys will be releasing a Conan line this year.

Tuesday, February 17
Coudal links to the wonderful Daring Planet, a science fiction web cartoon about a girl in a tight spacesuit, a robot, and a psychic monkey. The trailer has an awesome swank jazz soundtrack. Glorious.

Incoming Signals links to MonsterBlog, a loving tribute to the monster comics of Jack Kirby.

Terrance Griep at the excellent comic book history site Once Upon A Dime gives us his list of The Top Five Not-So-Latently-Gay Golden Age Super-Heroes.
(Whoops. A closer look reveals that this site is one of many promotional gimmicks for Mark Hammill's Comic Book: the Movie. If only real comic sites were this well-done...)
Also, go to the front page of Retrocrush and scroll down for evidence concerning the orient-ation and proclivities of a certain Dark Knight.

Newsarama reports that Michigan's county prosecutors have agreed not to enforce House Bill 4360, which would prohibit bookstores from displaying any materials (novels, comics, magazines, etc.) deemed to contain sexually explicit material.

Recommended Readin':
Azeem Azhar of Prospect Magazine looks at the role of open source in the marketplace.
Arnold Kling of Tech Central Station warns of the appeal of freedom without responsibility.
Nicholas Wade of the NY Times assesses the damage of the U.S. cloning ban.
John O'Connell of JournalNet tells us the office of president has lost credibility.
Dan Moffett of the Palm Beach Post informs us that the Bush administration is declaring about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning.
Marty Cortinas of Wired reports from the Lego Convention in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, February 16
After careful study, analysis, and meditation, I have come to the conclusion that there are simply far too many sites devoted to Grimace. Might I also recommend that you read Adam Selzer's beautifully Ginsbergian poem Howl (For Mayor McCheese).

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society invites you to submit spells and incantations as part of their Necronomicontest, going on through August. Still no substantial 2004 Cthulhu for President presence on the web.

I'll be the first to admit the U.S. has problems, but at least we don't have a black market for children's severed genitals (for magic potions, no less), and most of the populace is competent at kite flying without racking up a death toll.
We do have our share of freaks, though.

Assorted Items: In a lovely counterpoint to recent demands that creationism be taught in science class, the Institute of Public Policy Research thinks that atheism, agnosticism and Humanism should be taught in religion class. Oh, this should be fun.
On a somewhat related note Cathy Young of the Boston Globe examines the firestorm around Mel Gibson's Passion movie.
James Randi takes on a variety of charlatans in his weekly column. interviews horror writer Ramsey Campbell.

Sunday, February 15
Recommended Readin': John Lahr of The Guardian remembers comedian Bill Hicks.
Larry David talks about his Vietnam service in the NY Times.
And because it still holds true, here's an archved copy of author Robert J. Sawyer's lecture The Future is Already Here: Is There a Place for Science Fiction in the Twenty-First Century?

Via Fantastica Daily: It's official, Asimov's Science Fiction is now an "Adult Magazine." This after a mom got her 13 year old daughter a subscription through a school magazine drive. After last year's Texas decision that "comics are for kids" we should all watch this story closely.

From the Blogosphere: Coudal introduces us to The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo M. Cipolla with illustrations by James Donnelly. An excellent read. I don't agree with some portions of it, as I view stupidity as a volitional choice (albeit a subconsious one).
Grow-A-Brain found The Most Complete and Most Useless Collection of Pick-Up Lines.
Tom McMahon points to a fan site called And Who Disguised as George Reeves.
Exclamation Mark links to Kaiju Fan Online, a Japanese monster site that features a brilliant in-depth look at the evolutuion of Godzilla suits.

TV Land will be showing over three hours of Sid & Marty Krofft shows Tuesday night.

Comic Stuff: Newsarama previews the upcoming vampire comic Bite Club.
The Pulse tells us that Colleen Doran will be drawing Warren Ellis' Stealth Tribes. profiles artist Dave McKean.
ICv2 brings word that Topps will be reviving Wacky Packages stickers this year.

Saturday, February 14
Assorted Items: Astronomers report discovering evidence of a giant diamond inside the heart of a dead star. Anyone who read Arthur C. Clarke's 2010 knew this was inevitable.
Retrocrush pays tribute to pin-up artist Bill Randall.
As an aficionado of lost causes, I smiled when I saw a bumper sticker that read "Restore the Latin Mass." It bore the URL This got me wondering if the Catholic Mass was ever celebrated in Esperanto...

Friday, February 13
Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. When confronted with one, fake a heart attack.

Science Stuff: BBC tells us about virtual tours to the past.
New Scientist tells us the "sacred" institution of marriage can be expressed as an equation.
Rossella Lorenzi of Discovery tells us how Leonardo DaVinci made the first plastic.
Ronald Bailey of Tech Central Station looks at the impact of the Korean clone.
From Futurismic comes neat videos of water balloons in zero gravity. Science rules!

Due to editorial changes at The Comics Journal, Dirk Deppey is putting his excellent blog Journalista! on hiatus as he takes over the magazine. Today is the last post for a while.
ICv2 informs us that Popeye is returning to TV and DVD.
Andrew Wheeler of Ninth Art didn't buy any books this week.
Matt Maxwell at Broken Frontier reminds us that comics aren't real.

Speaking of comics, The last issue of Warren Ellis' Planetary dealt with the Baltimore Gun Club from Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. As romantic as the Victorian concept of a Space Gun may be, it stills reeks of something Wile E. Coyote would order from ACME.

Thursday, February 12
I usually avoid the Letter Column at Sci Fi Weekly because it tends to skew towards the sad avenues of fandom where people pontificate on the primacy of Star Trek, still mourn the loss of Xena and Buffy, and efficiently justify the rest of the world's dim view of sociopathic SF fans. For example: a couple days ago Mervius at Fantastica Daily spotted a letter that claims all time travel stories are inherently homosexual in nature. Scroll down to find it. It's titled The Man in the Mirror Falls in Love.

The guest list for April's Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey is shaping up. Lots of Irwin Allen alums, but I'm most excited about the appearance of the yummy Lana Wood, who played Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds are Forever.

Happy Darwin Day! On a day when we should be celebrating science, and more clone hysteria hits the news, we should assess the philosophical forces at work in the world: tracks the recent movements of the religious right, while Henry I. Miller of Tech Central Station looks at the "religious" dogmas of environmentalism.
Tim Cavanaugh of Reason reviews a new book about Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
John Maddox of New Humanist reviews Science and Religion - are they Compatible?

Wednesday, February 11
Science Stuff:
David F. Channell of Wired looks at the relationship between science and technology.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds of Tech Central Station examines the uphill climb facing nanotech.
Leonard David of previews the next wave of Mars rovers while BBC Science looks at some robot balloons that might do the job.
Science Daily tells to look out for the coming of robot trucks.
Randolph E. Schmid of Red Nova reports that chocolate is now good for you. Webguide links to a site about molecules will silly names. and Coming Soon both report that Karl Edward Wagner's Kane may be getting movie treatment soon.

Carolyn Faille informed me of the existence of evidence that psychologist and one-time Ayn Rand love-toy Nathaniel Branden is, in fact, the alien Exeter from This Island Earth. Scroll down to the bottom of this story for a better comparison photo. Too funny.

There's No Such Thing as Too Much Free Time: There's been many additions to the website of Edgar Governo: Historian of Things That Never Were since last I visited. This splendid time-waster links to hundreds of fan-written timelines for TV shows, comics, books etc. Reading meticulous chronologies of David Brin's Uplift series, the Cthulhu Mythos, Warren Ellis' Planetary and Alan Moore's Watchmen reminds me why we celebrate geekery.

The current shrieking reactionary piss-fest we call politics sent me running for the Orwell-inspired online Newspeak Dictionary, which features a section on new words. Speaking of language, I was sad to see that the great site has been taken over by the dreaded Lorem Ipsum.

Recommended Readin': George Dvorsky of Better Humans explores what effect economic class will have on genetic enhancement.
Jesse Walker of Reason updates us on the FCC's war on indecency.
Andre Zantonavitch of SOLO HQ looks at how reason and philosophy came into being.
Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart of the BBC ponder what aliens might look like.

Recent blips from the Blogosphere: Memepool links to a Times Literary Supplement article about laying odds on the Hamlet vs. Laertes swordfight.
Cruel Site of the Day introduces us to Holly and her Parasite Pals.
Exclamation Mark points to a site-load of die-cast toys of TV show vehicles.
Tom McMahon  has found some strange record albums.
The Maproom links to Dynamap, a company that makes multi-view maps. Check the demo.
Grow-a-Brain sends us to the required Big Lebowski Quote Generator.

Tuesday, February 10
Coming to the BBC: Popetown! This looks pretty funny. No surprise that the protest to keep this off the air has been brewing for a while.

Chris Mooney of CSICOP tells us how pro-Intelliegnt Design forces are at work within the Harvard Law Review.

Assorted items: Marv Wolfman, Mike Grell, and Neil Gaiman remember Julius Schwartz.
The website for one of my favorite bands Porcupine Tree earns many points for coolness by linking to the site Fuse the Sky, dedicated to collecting fan covers of their tunes and making them available for streaming.
Transhumanist site Better Humans has gotten a nifty facelift. George and Simon and company have turned BH into the single most news-intensive source for info on the science and philosophies that will shape the development of our species over the next century. You should visit them often, lest the future overwhelm you. (feel free to quote me, boys.)
In space, no one can send you mail. Astronaut Ed Lu returned from his stint on the International Space Station and found his credit cards were cancelled, his car registration expired, etc. Imagine if he was called for jury duty.

Monday, February 9
Will all the Christians on this flight please raise their hands...

A Sad Day: Dan Tyree of the Tullahoma News reports that the King Features' Flash Gordon comic strip is coming to an end.

Toys Toys Toys: I'm sorry, but this Mr. Freeze bobblehead prototype made me laugh.
Here are pix of the planned McFarlane Aliens Vs. Predator movie figures.
Exclamation Mark sends us back at the Golden Age of TV Show based board games.

Recommended Readin': Dave Barry dreams of going to Mars.
James Randi takes on a host of subjects in his weekly column.
Cathy Young of the Boston Globe looks at the recent outcry over sexual slavery.
Constance Adams of Popular Science has some ideas to improve NASA.
Linda Seebach of the Rocky Mountain News chimes in on The Brights.
Kerry Lengel of the Arizona Republic interviews author William Gibson.

Sunday, February 8
Locus and SIlver Bullet both report the death of comic and SF editor Julius Schwartz.

To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey, Retrocrush pays tribute to the 50 Coolest Apes of All Time.

Saturday, February 7
From the Mailbag: Doug writes to tell us about the latest dinosaur exhibit at the Yale Peabody Museum called Hatching the Past. A stone's throw north of there The Quadrangle in Springfield hosts the a robotic dinosaur exhibit. Both items look fun, but is there some reason two museums an hour apart can't coordinate their efforts to get better promotion?
Dave sends along this nice essay on the the concept of literacy during the middle ages, as well as the site for the Hempfield Candy Company, makers of those Cannabis Lollies that are causing so much trouble in England.

Friday, February 6
Raving Atheist points us to a new blog with the great title The Separation of State and Superstition. Also, is it me, or was there very little press of the Georgia "evolution" decision being overturned?

Thursday, February 5
This may be old news to some, but I just learned that keyboardist David Palmer, late of Jethro Tull, recently had a sex change operation. News stories here, here, and here.

Someone with a staggering poverty of intellect has decided it's a good idea to let Michael Bay make a science fiction movie. In the meantime Ryuhei Kitamura (who made the chilling Versus) is on tap to lens a Godzilla film. Perhaps the big G could find it in his radioactive heart do us a favor, cross the pacific, and destroy Hollywood.
Also, check out the trailer for Rae Shim's Dragonwar, full of big honkin' beasties terrorizing feudal villages and buzzing a modern city. Sweet.
Speaking of beasties, Discovery Channel is promoting another Nigel Marven CGI DInosaur documentary airing this Sunday night called Chased by Sea Monsters.

Breathe in the air, mate. The Australian Pink Floyd Show, a tribute band from downunder, is currently on an extensive Dark Side of the Moon 30th anniversary world tour.

Assorted items: Fox News interviews Ray Bradbury about Mars.
G. Stolyarov II of SOLO HQ gives us the Objectivist stand on the syllable "ph."
For those keeping track at home, we are one week out from Darwin Day, three months out from the National Day of Reason, and five months out from Free Comic Book Day.
New Scientist gives us a new cool word: Mindsight.
In other science news: it appears that genetically engineered mice can now produce monkey sperm and fish oil. No, I don't know why. I'm sure they have a very good reason. has this shot of the creepy Peter Sellers head sculpt for the upcoming 12 inch Inspector Clouseau figure, as well as pix of the Steve McQueen Great Escape figure.

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