Gravity Lens Archive
April 16 - May 3 2004          Gravity Lens Main Page

Monday, May 3
Comic Book Resources and Newsarama both had stories yesterday about comic writer Micah Wright, who had claimed throughout his career that he had served as an Army Ranger, recantng those claims on his website. Although I am unfamiliar with his work, I post this because I've met enough fake veterans from my barfly years in my life to know that this kind of deceit is rampant. I've never served myself, and I cannot fathom the magnitude of inner corruption that would drive one to construct such a fiction. This ranks up there with Munchausen Syndrome in my book.

Sunday, May 2
The upcoming National Day of Reason has failed to get recognition. In the meantime expensive expeditions are in the works in search of Atlantis and Noah's Ark. Sigh.
Also, the NY Times has a fluff piece on this thoroughly fucked-up "Darwin Free" creationist theme park (with biblical dinosaurs, no less).

Saturday, May 1
Happy Beltane!

It is May.
The God of the Month is Sophia, forgotten wife of God.
The Molecule of the Month is Osmium Tetroxide.
The Quantum Muse Artist of the Month is Jan Patrik Krasny.
The Campus Speech Code of the Month is from Indiana State University.
The Needlepoint Stitch of the Month is Two-Way Vertical and Horizontal Couching Patterns with Cross Stitch Tiedowns.
More to come.

SF Signals links to this BBC piece by author Stephen Baxter on Writing Science Fiction.

James Randi dissects the "powers" of a guy who talks to the dead in his weekly column.

Friday, April 30
Richard Corliss of Time has written a brief history of the rise and fall of EC Comics.

In honor of their IPO I give you the Google Drinking Game.

Recommened Readin': Douglas Kern of Tech Central Station takes a swipe at libertarianism and calls for "An Enlightened Paternalism" in culture.
Joe Nickell of CSICOP looks at the effectiveness of police psychics.
Colin Farrelly of Bioethics wants us to rethink the priorities of genetic enhancement.
Michelle Delio of Wired reports on a particularly brutal internet porn attack.
George Packer of Mother Jones is not a fan of blogging.
And Salon has finally decided that science fiction exists...

Coming soon to the Link Page: The Samurai Sword Museum, The National Hat Museum, The Museum of Elevators, The Banana Museum (via Exclamation Mark), The Soviet Exploration of Venus, A Collection of Word Oddities and TriviaFailed WWI Aircraft Designs, and Eric's History of Perpetual Motion and Free Energy Machines.

Thursday, April 29
All Praise the Web: Here's a smattering of magazine cover galleries for Popular Mechanics, Esquire, TV Guide, Mad, Field & Stream, Famous Monsters, Wired, Trouser Press, Bartender, and (of course) Playboy.
Also found galleries for the novels of Philip K. Dick and A. E. Van Vogt, as well as a collection of Captain Future covers.

Charles Arthur of The Independent discusses NASA's rather draconian plans for coping with human sexual urges on long space flights.

By moderately popular demand I've given Things You'll Find in Comics its own page.

Landover Baptist Church tells us about Unreal Tournament: The Bible Version.

I love Space Stations. Yes, the International Space Station is very cool, but by now we should have a sky full of enormous odd-shaped orbiting zero-gee habitats and platforms.
And do not get me started about flying cars...

Wednesday, April 28
Comic Book Stuff: Jason Pomerantz of Comic World News interviews Neil Gaiman.
Tony Whitt of Cinescape looks at the state of comics for kids.
Steven Grant at Comic Book Resources mourns the death of Gasoline Alley's Walt Wallet.
Silver Bullet Comics asks a number of creators what comics will be like in 2024.
Time for another round of Things You'll Find in Comics: More Robots, Airplanes, Dogs, Giants and Girls, Women Being Carried, "Living Bombs" Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Mathematics, Freemasons, and Blue Oyster Cult.

Here's a fun Fark Photoshop gallery of when SF movies collide.

Recommended Readin': Tim Cavanaugh of Reason looks at artistic censorship.
Michael Shermer tells us why we're all biased at Scientific American.
Richard Manning of Wired tries some of the new generation of genetically modified foods.

Today's Luncheon Special: Offal.
In other food news: The British love fish & chips, while Scottish food is more than haggis and Mars bars. Jeremy Caplan of Time explores the world of competitive eating. Doug Moe of The Capital Times discusses good and bad food. CBS has a story about food that does not sell. Space Daily gives us the menu aboard the International Space Station. Entomologist David George Gordon looks forward to eatin' some cicadas. National Geographic lists a number of food taboos. Laura Franklin of My Town asks "is gluttony really such a sin?"

Peter Schwartz of the Ayn Rand Institute examines the threat of a paternalistic state while  Matthew David Platts of SOLO HQ explains the rules of the Leonard Peikoff Drinking Game.

Blips from the Blogosphere: Idle Type links to this horrifying gallery of old prom photos.
Grow-A-Brain has found these rather disturbing stop-animation films done with Legos.
Secular Blasphemy points us to this great list of Creationist Quotes at Panda's Thumb.

Eye Candy Artgasm: Karl Kofoed's Galactic Geographic recently got a facelift. Michael Stribling has a nice gallery of work in assorted media. has a sweet collection of science fiction hardware CG models (I'm partial to the alien spaceship section). And here's the gallery at the site of comic legend Mike Grell.

Tuesday, April 27
Assorted Items: George Dvorsky at Better Humans explores technology that brings us closer to telepathy while BBC Science tells us about the advent of bionic Laser Vision.
Lucius Cook of Locus sings the praises of Futurama.
The Mondolithic Image of the Week is Rogue, a big ol' Earthbound asteroid.
Today is Ben & Jerry's Free Ice Cream Cone Day.
And proof of British idiocy continues...

Monday, April 26
Can I get an "AMEN" for Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping, defender of Mom & Pop stores everywhere.

Recommended Readin':
Cathy Young of the Boston Globe updates us on the current attack on secularism.
Richard Dawkins has some advice in The Telegraph on how to be a science writer.
Astrobiology chats with Dr. Michio Kaku about how advanced alien cultures might be. has a link to N Space, a neat flash-based exploration of the Larry Niven universe.

Next time I'm ruminating about how lonely it is to be a 40-something, comic-book reading, atheist, libertarian curmudgeon, I'll think about Glenn Coggeshell, a Christian conservative running for Congress by dressing up like a Lord of the Rings character, and I'll feel much better about myself.

Red Nova has an interesting piece exploring the boundary between biology and astronomy.

Sunday, April 25
Logan Feys of SOLO HQ has posted a wonderful short piece on conformity, normality, and a hermit covered in leopard spots.

Upcoming Toys I Want: A die-cast replica of the Red Dwarf, Skydiver from UFO, and the Monty Python Cow Catapult.

When Worlds Collide: The Justice League invades NASCAR.

Science & Technology: This week's news-of-the-future included liquid body armor, a fatherless mouse birth, and nanowire memory cells.
Andrew Zolli of Popular Science lists five hot emerging technologies.
New Scientist tells us empathy may not be uniquely human, why listening Mozart helps our brains, and interviews scientist Richard Glen Boire about the future of mind control.'s Tariq Malik informs us that sonic booms may be a thing of the past.
Jeff Hecht of Technology Review gives us an update on cold fusion.
Physics Web looks at a new college course on Physics in Films.

Saturday, April 24
James Randi looks at the track record of psychics and other stuff in his weekly column.

Listen in horror to the groan-inducing stylings of the Comedy Robot.

Friday, April 23
Recommended Readin': Phil Mullen of Spiked Online examines the social and economic effects of the world's ageing population.
Rowan Hooper of Japan Times looks at the role of Biomimetics in technology.
Sallie Baliunas of Tech Central Station gives an overview of climate change.
The Celebrity Cafe interviews Penn Jillette about faith and bullshit.
Jennifer Vernon of National Geographic tells us how often we use Shakespeare quotes.

Funniest thing I've seen all week: The lost Sleestak paintings of Claude Monet.

Assorted Items:
Gamera: The origami figure, the plush, the tattoo, and (my favorite) Gamera the Camera.
Also, here's a sweet diorama of Gamera vs. Godzilla.
Red Nova gives us a comparison of Earth and Mars (with some neat animations).
Here's a website dedicated to contortionists and one for sword swallowers.
An online museum of Advertising Mascot Toys.
Camelot in Four Colors: Arthurian Legend in comics.
Don't forget: tomorrow is 24 Hour Comics Day. Check for a participating store near you.

Thursday, April 22
The website for the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in San Antonio has posted the trailer for Moebius' animated web series Arzak Rhapsody, which premieres there next week. Apparently the DVD is forthcoming, but if anyone can read French I'd love to know when this will be available online.

My current favorite convention name: Black To The Future.

With all the buzz about the Mini-Cooper robot going around the web, I thought I would toss out this beautiful full-sized replica of the robot from the movie Laputa atop the Ghibli Gallery in Mitaka, Japan.

I'm in need of a sexy-retro-science fiction fix. Thankfully Pop Fiction hooks me up with links to future architecture, space age motels, streamlined houses, cars, and airplanes, and future worlds where we all dress alike.
There's also a link to The Venus Project, the utopian brainchild of futurist designer Jacque Fresco. His vision for a sustainable tomorrow involves intelligent cities established near oceans, smart houses of efficient design, and some wild transportation, all built with a human future in space in mind. We all need to be more aware of the people who are trying to get the future off the ground, like the X Prize folks and the Foundation for the Future.

Science Stuff: Astrobiology Magazine interviews author Ben Bova.
Seth Shostak of looks at the possibility of alien life being carbon-based.
And here's stories about a robot that dusts for fingerprints, a credit card that only works when you tell it to, and programmable matter (via Geekpress).

"Oh be a fine girl, kiss me."

Among the more profoundly illogical religious proclamations this week : Atheism requires more faith than theism (via Infidels), atheists were put on Earth to test the faithful (via Raving Atheist), and creationists are actually freedom fighters (via Butterflies and Wheels).
A reminder that the National Day of Reason is two weeks away.

Wednesday, April 21
Coudal links to this strange, creepy video of an armed mecha policing a developing third world country. The URL at the end of the piece,, goes nowhere, but I found some more info on it at last year's ResFest Video site.

Let's all curl up with the oh-so-cuddly Alien Facehugger Plush. reports that Gardner Dozois is stepping down as editor at Asimov’s Science Fiction. He's won the Best Editor Hugo 14 times.
In other SF news, Brian Aldiss will host the special Weird Science, a social history of science fiction on the radio, on BBC Radio 4 in May. Yes, there's a streaming feed available.

Assorted Items: George Dvorsky points us to futurist Nick Bostrom's life extension morality tale The Fable of the Dragon Tyrant.
Bruce Sterling sends us to this A-Z guide on anti-aging medicine.
Cognitive Liberty has a piece on the effect of political ads on brain activity.
Better Humans informs us that curry can save brain cells.
One of my favorite Transhumanist sites, Transtopia has gotten a facelift.
Thomas R. DeGregori of Butterflies & Wheels looks at criticisms of GM crops.

Eye Candy Artgasm: Check out the paintings of Christian Flora and Richard Hescox, the sculpture of Martin Dolan and Ian Moyer, the fantasy objet d'arts of J.M. LaRoche, the comic art of Richard Corben, and the freaky multimedia work of Alex Grey.

Here's very small Lego renderings of Yoda and Spaceman Spiff.

Tuesday, April 20
Comic Stuff: Jason Pomerantz of Comic World News annotates Neil Gaiman's 1602 #8.
UGO Comics interviews cartoonist Peter Bagge.
Comic Book Resources trumpets the return of Magnus: Robot Fighter.

And on the subject of robots, check out the site of Dr. Joanne Pransky: Robot Psychiatrist. Ask her a question. Meet her patients. Yes, she's aware of the Susan Calvin comparisons.

Happy 30th Anniversary to Penn & Teller.

The Mondolithic Image of the Week is of the Insectobots. Very cool. Kenn at Mondolithic also sends along a link to the beautiful blog Super Missile, whose author brought up a good point about the Legion of Super Heroes yesterday.

I got quite a chuckle out of this commercial for the Jesus Action Figure.

Speaking of figures: gaze, O my brothers, at this toy of Alex De Large from A Clockwork Orange. There have been some custom figures made before. and there was once a model kit. The prime droog also has a fanlisting website. By the way: Got Milk?

On a related note, Retrocrush has part one of a tribute to The Greatest Breasts in History.

I've become quite a fan of SciFi's Tripping The Rift. The many-tentacled Chode (voiced by Stephen Root) has now surpassed Lexx's Stanley Tweedle as my favorite immoral-yet-hapless starship captain. But because I am old, unhip, and otherwise dripping with obsolescence, I was unaware that the word "chode" had other connotations.

Monday, April 19
I don't follow movie development, so it wasn't until today that I realized the Godsend Institute cloning site is a promo for an upcoming film, as is the petition to shut it down. Clever.

Recommended Readin': SciFi talks to author Terry Bisson.
The Guardian profiles evolutionary philosopher Daniel Dennett.
Kristen Philipkoski of Wired tells us about overdue credit for the women of science.
Joann Loviglio of Red Nova reports on surgery to alter the human voice.
The BBC posted a story last week that gives us a glimpse inside the virtual church.
Gregory Anderson of The Space Review ponders the benefits of asteroid mining.

Weekend Blogospherics: Geek Press invites us to play the Star Trek Drinking Game.
Exclamation Mark points to Andy's Early Comic Archive.
Coudal links to this gallery of Comic Characters on European Stamps.

Sunday, April 18
The Nebula Awards were handed out last night.

It's About Time: For those of you waiting for the future to happen, we now have Star Trek communicators, information can be accessed through strange glowing orbs, and there are discussions going on about the long-range future of space exploration.

In the meantime, these guys are driving around England dressed as Batman and Robin...

Saturday, April 17
Recommended Readin':
Russell Blackford of Better Humans reminds us that our DNA does not contain our morality.
James Randi reports on Satan's recent activities in Italy in his weekly column.
Dr. David Whitehouse of BBC Science tells us of yet another distant planet whose discovery was made possible by a gravity lens.

Friday, April 16
Eye Candy Mini-Artgasm: Here's a gallery of mythology drawings by Barry Windsor-Smith, some freaky art by Jim Steranko, and some Metabarons action by Juan Gimenez.

Michael Berliner of the Ayn Rand Institute reminds us, as Earth Day approaches, that if environmentalism succeeds, human life will be impossible.

Clive Barker's website tells us that SciFi will be producing a miniseries of his play History of the Devil. This story is available as a three-hour "radio drama" at Seeing Ear Theater. It was also produced on stage a couple years ago.

Squirrel: The other white meat.

News of the Chunnel drill up for sale got me thinking about big drill machines, the kind you see in science fiction stories. I'm hunting for nice pix of big diggers. I know there's more than the paltry ones I've posted here. I can't even find good shots of the drill from The Matrix films.
Update: As usual, y'all found much better pictures. Here's another.Thanks.

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