Archive May 3 - May 25 2004      To Gravity Lens Main Page

Tuesday, May 25
I found this puzzle at the Monster Kid Magazine site. Identify all the different famous movie and TV robots that this monstrosity was constructed from. Here is the answer key.

If you need a reminder that we live in the future, be aware that there now exist robot astronauts, zombie computers, and virtual narcotics.

Leonard David of tells us about the coming of world's first true spaceport.

Monday, May 24
Bible comics are nothing new, but I found it odd that a day after this Christianity Today story about comic writer Jim Krueger adapting bible stories as comics appeared around the web, Newsarama talked to Michael Allred about his plans to adapt The Book of Mormon.

Super Missile reports that actor Richard Biggs died this weekend. TV Tome apparently confirms it.

Incoming Signals links to Eric Idle's downloadable The FCC Song.

Joe Trusnik of SOLO HQ reminds us that those who believe absurdities would commit atrocities. For further illustration of principle please take note of current events.

Sunday, May 23
Look! Up In The Sky! MSNBC has a story on the Ascender Airship, a giant V-Shaped vehicle designed as a launch point for low earth orbit.
Dave Barry links to these guys who are building a really big model airplane.
Exclamation Mark points to this great site of Flying Cars and Roadable Aircraft.
Last month a man began an attempt to go around the world in an autogyro. Yes, he's keeping an online diary.

Saturday, May 22
Recommended Readin':
James Randi takes on "proof of astrology" and other goodies in his weekly column.
Margaret Turnbull and Seth Shostak of make the case against little green men.
Jacob Sullum of Reason wonders "must we learn to love cicadas?"

Friday, May 21
Rise to your feet and rejoice, my brothers and sisters: Wacky Packages have returned!

George Dvorsky proves he is a force for evil in this world by linking to this truly psychotic optical illusion. I now have a headache, my eyes hurt, but I keep going back to it.

Something Awful celebrates Photoshop Phriday with more fake magazines.

I often stand in awe at the machinations of the cosmos. Take for example the fact that coffee and scotch balance each other out... (whoops, same joke was used on Fark)

Thursday, May 20
Making the Web Rounds: The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fills us in on the details of the Parents’ Empowerment Act, a house bill that relieves parents of the burden of raising their children.

The Way of All (Future) Flesh: Dr. Marianne Frey considers the challenges of spaceflight to human physiology and psychology at Astrobiology.
Rodney Brooks of Technology Review looks at the possibilities of programmable DNA.
Kate Kelland of Yahoo News covers the opening of the world's first stem cell bank.
Paul Rincon of BBC Science reports on studies of mysterious nanobacteria.
Gabe Romain of Better Humans tells us of research into random mutations.
Red Nova looks at a device that could herd harmful microbes.

Blogospherics: SF Signal linked to the Lovecraft Engine, which generates descriptions.
Idle Type points to the American Military Operation Name Generator.
Metafilter shows us this neat site all about Boccaccio's Decameron, with maps, no less.
Exclamation Mark discovered this page of vintage flight and space helmets.
Wrong Side of Happiness found the formula for how high the heels on shoes can go.
Coudal links to a great gallery of record covers.
Incoming Signals points to the funny Skinhead Hamlet.

Wednesday, May 19
It's official: Dark energy rules the heavens.

Recommended Readin': Mark Pesce of Mindjack looks at the current role of the television.
Ian Sample of The Guardian examines some of the recent "proof" of astrology.
Patrick Bailey of Better Humans welcomes the arrival of The Age of Purposeful Machines.
Stephan Wilkinson of Popular Science looks at a car designed entirely by women.

Comic Stuff: Brian Vaughn talks to Comic Book Resources about his upcoming book Ex Machina, while Peter David chats with Newsarama about doing a Multiple Man series.

Prepare to waste some time and be overcome with jealousy when you visit Sam's Toybox, a site where Sam shows us his sizable collection of old toys. My faves are the Helicopter Backpack, the Tiltin' Milton game, and the obscene-sounding Fist Faces. Even with all that fun stuff, he still wants more...

Tuesday, May 18
You see, Gunther, when two people love each other...

Some sweet pix of the upcoming McFarlane Toys Conan figures have been posted. The Official Conan site has more coverage. No word if they say "...and hear the lamentation of their women."

A moment of silence for Tony Randall.

The finalists for the 2004 Prometheus Award for Libertarian science fiction were announced. I read this right after reading the story of the amateur rocket that made it into space. I've always had a fondness for do-it-yourself space travelers like Doctor Cavor and Doctor Zarkov. Of course I cannot forget the short lived Andy Griffith series Salvage One.

The town of Blue Springs, Colorado received over a quarter million in federal dollars to study the dangers of Goth. That's a lot of glow sticks. (via Hit & Run)

220 Holiday shopping days left: I want a Batman Utility Belt.

Some good news: It's been discovered that there is a shortage of clowns. (if you get a registration page try it through Fark) Folks at the No Clown Zone will be happy to hear this, in fact there seems to be no shortage of anti-clown sites. Clowns are fucking scary. A fear of clowns is called Coulrophobia. Fortunately it is treatable. Or you can just buy the swag.

The recently refurbished SF Signal links to author James Patrick Kelly's new link-laden column at Asimov's on the subject of faster than light travel.

Eye Candy Artgasm: Mondolithic has nailed the cover of Discover magazine with this piece called The Philosopher's Stone. Randall Ensley has an beautiful illustration called As the Stars of the Sky appearing in The Leading Edge. Here's more stuff from Slawek Wojtowicz, a gallery of Craig Figley's work, and a page of art by Dany Boucher, who's got the "cover" of this week's Sci Fi Weekly.

Monday, May 17
The Christian Science Monitor warns us of the rise of the cyber-bully.

Newsarama reports that the legal tangle over the comic book character Grim Jack have been resolved. We can only hope this book appears again with a decent creative team. Grim Jack was one of the best books to ever see print, until idiotic changes drove it into the toilet.
Here's more info on John Ostrander's website.
In the meantime, the insidious influence of comics claims another victim...

Saturday, May 15
Act now and you can win a year's supply of dishwashing detergent, make up, wine, petrol, Guinness, cat food, shirts, chocolate, Sunny D, beef jerky, ice cream, Kotex, and condoms.

Assorted Items: Author J.G. Ballard looks at The Day After Tomorrow at the Guardian.
Devin Balkcom has built the first origami-folding robot (with video).
And, as usual, James Randi's weekly column.

Friday, May 14
Sam Sachdev of tells us how to test your home for parallel universes.

Something Awful shows us the cover to Mad Science Journal as well as other magazines we'll never see in its Photoshop Phriday gallery.

Nell Boyce and Susan Brink of U.S. News delve into the secrets of sleep. I for one await the day when biotech will eliminate, or at least reduce, the need for slumber.

Assorted Items: Apparently there's more going on in a bird's head than we thought.
The image of Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne breaking the 64km mark is a sweet one.
While browsing the website for the comic Xeno's Arrow I found this gem: Beettam and Geigen-Miller's 10 Laws of Bad Science Fiction.

Thursday, May 13
Astrobiology has an interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno, Vatican astronomer.

If you, like myself, think Keanu Reeves is a bad choice to play John Constantine, check out this picture of Alton Brown of Good Eats fame on the front of his website.

Tom McMahon links to this site that shows us how often sets from Mayberry were used on Star Trek. Other Assorted Trek Ephemera: A guide to the Gold Key Trek comics; a place to buy Trek costumes; a homemade Trek tarot; Trek chess pieces; a collection of Trek WAV. files; a collection of Trek fonts; Star Trek knitting patterns; The Center for Vulcanism; the home page of the Romulan Empire; The Ladies of Star Trek; The page for Gay Trekkies; Star Trek for Communists; a Guide to the Scholarly Literature of Star Trek; Trek limericks; hints for hosting a Trek theme party; and some reference sites about Star Trek weaponry. Also, a funny Landover Baptist piece that asks: Can The World of Star Trek Help Americans Understand Muslims and their Culture of Terror?

Wednesday, May 12
Ah, time for more conservative comic book bashing as Michael Lackner of Front Page Magazine takes recent issues of Garth Ennis' Punisher to task for being Un-American.

Signs of the Apocalypse: A witch is suing the mayor of Victoria, Australia for calling her a witch. Lawmakers want to give movies that feature smoking automatic "R" ratings. A book has been published completely devoid of verbs.

From New Scientist: Handsome men evolved thanks to picky females.

I received my personalized issue of Reason magazine in the mail yesterday. It has my name in big orange letters on the cover, just below of an aerial photo of where I live. It is equally creepy and cool.

Dr. David Whitehouse of BBC Science tells us the X Prize will be won by year's end.

Tuesday, May 11
The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society website has a very cool Miskatonic University Library Book Conversion Kit available as a free PDF download.

SF Crowsnest tells us that the old Dan Dare comics are being collected and rereleased. Between this and the relaunch of Adam Strange I'm hoping we will see some long-overdo activity from other pulp characters like Buck Rogers, Perry Rhodan, Flash Gordon, Tom Corbett, and Captain Future.
Related Neat Thing: A Map of Mongo.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Better Humans has a spiffy new facelift.

I'll admit it: I love big heads. Swollen, knobby ones with huge, menacing brains. I like'em freaky, flying through the air, made of rock, made of grass. Sometimes heads grant knowledge. Usually giant heads are a great source of evil. Evil I tell you.

Monday, May 10
Update on the War on Ignorance: William Speed Weed (love that name) of Popular Science made a list of every "scientific" claim he heard over the course of a day, then figured out which ones held water.

A moment of silence for Alan King.

Bioethics Update: Rich Brooks of the Herald Tribune criticizes the policies of Leon Kass, while Nancy Reagan calls for more stem cell research.

Neil Gaiman points us to Hunkin's Experiments, which will inspire you to burn away hours of your life trying to make a giant paper cup ball and pulling a string through your neck.

Plans are under way to send a robot up to fix the Hubble. Other robot news from the weekend included a demo of a flying photographer robot, and a robotic telepresence system that allows doctors to meet with patients "face to face."

Saturday, May 8
Comic Stuff: Newsarama talks to Grant Morrison about his upcoming Sea Guy and Jim Starlin about Cosmic Guard.
Comic Book Resources previews Andy Diggle and Pascal Ferry's Adam Strange.
And most of the local weekly papers in my area ran this story about the rivalry between Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly. I personally took some small joy in peering into a news kiosk and seeing R. Crumb art staring back at me.

As always, James Randi's weekly column.

Friday, May 7
Assorted Items:
I was unaware, until seeing a billboard near where I live, that America Needs Dirt.
Something Awful's Photoshop Phriday gives us Products of the Future.
Noah Shachtman of Wired looks at some of the advanced technology that NASA is looking into for future missions, like antimatter propulsion and a robotic defense armada.
Here's coverage of last weekend's Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore.

The H.P. Lovecraft Drinking Game.

Thursday, May 6
Gaze in wonder, my beloved brethren, at the glory of the Geekman Action Figure.

Check out the Aliens vs. Predator Chess Set!

SciFi Webguide links to the very cool retro SF site Tales of Future Past.

It's the National Day of Reason. Think, damn you!

Recommended Readin': At The Guardian Toby Green lists the top 10 utopias and dystopias.
Peter Svensson of Red Nova tells us of the threat of CD and DVD rot.
Leonard David of looks at the problem of space junk.
Simson Garfinkel of Technology Review explores the possibilities of gender among robots.
Gabriele Veneziano of Scientific American looks at string theory and the big bang.
Wired looks ahead to dream gadgets of the year 2014.

Eye Candy Artgasm: Check out the spaceships and spacescapes of Jason Chapman, and the neat science fiction galleries of Dawid Michalczyk, Joe Bergeron, Geoff Taylor, Kari Christensen, and Bart Willard.

Wednesday, May 5
If you didn't see this on Tech TV, there's a guy who has rigged his bicycle into a mobile wireless hot spot. I can imagine gangs of ethernet riders roaming through future cities, network connections blossoming in their wake...

Barbara Gunnell of New Statesman asks: Religion: Why do we still give a damn?

Comic Stuff: Steven Grant chimes in on the Micah Wright case at Comic Book Resources.
Newsarama talks to Antony Johnson about the upcoming Yuggoth Creatures.
Tony Whitt of Cinescape points us to his favorite online comic resources.
SIlver Bullet Comics asks The Panel if comics belong in libraries.

Are you a villain in need of a lair? Here's a number of sites about abandoned places: Buildings, houses, airfields, malls, amusement parks, ski areas, subway stations, drive-in theaters, railroads, turnpikes & highways, farms, towns & villages, asylums, and roadside attractions. Most of these can be visited simply by picking up an abandoned bike.

Tuesday, May 4
The Fungus if the Month for May is Coprinus Comatus.

Frank Rich has an excellent essay over at Modern Drunkard called Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Life I Learned from the Rat Pack.

Apothecary's Drawer links to the useful slang reference site Roger's Profanisaurus.

This week's SF Trope Link-Fest: Let's look at laser cannons, death rays, and doomsday guns. Heavy artillery weapon hardware aimed into the sky has been a staple in just about every science fiction franchise. And we cannot forget the bad guy's traditional climactic big orbital ordnance as seen in films like Akira, Final Fantasy, and a few Bond movies. Such superweapons are on display at Villain Supply.

Monday, May 3
Recommended Readin':
At Better Humans Philip Shropshire interviews RU Sirius of Mondo 2000 fame.
Andrew Bissell of SOLO HQ discusses the seamless transition from Easter to Earth Day.
Science Daily tells us we are one step closer to quantum computing.
John Wilson of the Boston Globe looks at the Philosophy of Disgust.
John Allen Paulos of ABC News looks at the math of assorted doomsday scenarios.
Oh, and there's a Brazilian psychic who wants the reward for finding Saddam...

The Mondolithic Image of the Week is The Brain Spa.

Friend Mark links to this political personality test produced by the Harvard Institute of Politics designed to gauge where college students stand politically in relation to others. I took this test a couple weeks ago and was told I was a Traditional Conservative, despite the fact that I "strongly disagree" with over half the attributes it ascribed to me. There's either been a major change in the definition of "traditional," or this proves that the current political landscape is artificial and built on patently false premises. Thank you Harvard for further perpetuating the lie.

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