Gravity Lens Archive August 18 - September 2
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Thursday, September 2
Comic Stuff: Tony Whitt of Cinescape looks at the latest batch of releases from Humanoids.
Newsarama has a preview of the upcoming Wachowski Brothers book Doc Frankenstein.
Larry Young returns to Comic Book Resources to discuss the comics blogosphere.

Coudal Partners links to this proof that the moon landing was faked.

Space Stuff: Yesterday the news was abuzz with stories about extrasolar planets and searching for alien spaceprobes. There was also this piece about using "virtual astronauts" for exploration. Meanwhile, Kennedy Space Center is shutting down in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Frances.
Stephen R. Schmitt has posted a handy Relativistic Star Ship Calculator as well as a Warp Factor Caluclator,

FTL starships are fine, but if you want to really get around you'll need some form of Transgalactic Teleportation, like a TARDIS or a Stargate.  I've always been partial to Metron's Moebius Chair, though the Boom Tube used by the New Gods is pretty sweet. There's the Farcaster Network from Dan Simmon's Hyperion, Frederick Pohl's Gateway system, and the Xeelee spacetime tunnels of Stephen Baxter. Spacing Guild Navigators hopped up on Spice can fold space, as can the Sikarians on Star Trek Voyager. The Borg use Transwarp Conduits. Gully Foyle was able to jaunt across spacetime with his mind in The Stars, My Destination. The greatest form of travel, in my opinion, is the Infinite Improbablity Drive.

Wednesday, September 1
It is September.
The God of the Month is Amaterasu, Goddess of the Japanese Sun.
The Molecule of the Month is Ubiquitin.
The Fungus of the Month is The Vomiting Russula.

I, your friend and humble narrator, turn 42 today, and continue my descent into full-blown curmudgeon-hood. 42, as you all know, is Deep Thought's answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything. It is also the atomic number of Molybdenum, an element mentioned in the title of one of my favorite albums. I happen to share my birthday with Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Assorted Johnnys, Most with Unlikely Last Names: Johnny Thunder, Johnny Lightning, Johnny Storm, Johnny Blaze, Jonny Quest, Johnny Mnemonic, Johnny Dollar, Johnny Quick, Johnny Speed, Johnny Zoom, Johnny West, Johnny Dangerously, Johnny English, Johnny Canuck, Johnny Astro, Johnny Apollo, Johnny Future, Jonni Future, Johnny Five, Johnny Bravo, the other Johnny Bravo, Johnny Theremin, and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
Now I'm hungry for Johnny Rockets.

Tuesday, August 31
To all my friends in Broadcasting, a Gallery of Television Test Graphics.

The Sci Fi Webguide links to this audio archive of the radio show X Minus One, as well as this Goth dating service.

Cyborgs have been around since long before William Gibson's Neuromancer and cyberpunk made them sexy. Among my favorites are the Scanners of the Cordwainer Smith stories and Man Plus by Frederick Pohl. There's also The Six Million Dollar Man (based on Cyborg by Martin Caidin) and his counterpart The Bionic Woman, Deathlok, Cyborg of the Teen Titans, Robocop, and, of course, the Borg. Much to my chagrin I can find no online info for Torque from A Man Called Sloane. Very sad.
Stelarc is a real live cyborg performance artist.
Here's a piece on Cyborg Ethics, The Cyborg Manifesto, and the Cyborg Name Generator.

Monday, August 30
Three Words: Jet Powered Wheelchair.

Newsarama previews Jimmy Palmiotti and Mark Texeira’s upcoming Conan and the Daughters of Midora. Let's hope the Cimmerian brought plenty of singles...

Monster Zero has links to several mirrored sites hosting preview footage of the upcoming Godzilla: Final Wars. Please note that Monster Zero has been notorious lately of coming up as "page not found" or "forbidden." It's there, trust me. Hit refresh.

Assorted Items: SciFi Weekly interviews author Neil Gaiman.
Frank Furedi looks at the dumbing-down of culture in the Sunday Herald.
The Cartoonist links to this excellent gallery of space station concepts.
Nancy Gohring of Wired reports on the return of the supercomputer.

Sunday, August 29
A shiek is claiming that Allah sent giant spiders to battle US soldiers. Ah, giant spiders.

Memepool links to this Japanese Starship Enterprise scooter, which rivals the X-Wing car and the gothic Carthedral for geek chic.

Saturday, August 28
MSNBC reports that, in keeping with the spirit of the X-Prize, there is now a cash incentive for developing space elevator technology.

Friday, August 27
James Randi looks at the required ingredients of eucharist among other subjects in his weekly column.

Here are some indexes of known eccentrics: We don't have any true old-school eccentrics in our culture anymore, at least none worth mentioning. Sure there are tinfoil hat-wearers, but nobody on par with Ludwig II of Bavaria, Nikola Tesla, Emperor Norton, Hetty Green, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, and William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland.

Meet the robot doctor, the robot interpreter, and the robot cockroach.

The Guardian had a special science fiction section yesterday. Among the items were Philip Pullman's discussion of The Science of Fiction and Alan Rutherford's look at mad geniuses. There's also a preview of Warren Ellis' Stealth Tribes.

Thursday, August 26
Recommended Readin':
Ronald Bailey of Reason looks at the tide against Transhumanism.
Harry Stein of City Journal examines what daytime TV tells us about our culture.
Red Nova looks at the space architecture planned for use in Antarctica.
Alok Jha of the Guardian reports on what SF films scientists think are the best.
Nick Farrell of The Inquirer tells us that Viacom is being sued for the lack of decent Trek.
(Via SF Signal)

Another awesome fake trailer, this one for Grayson, the story of Robin coming out of retirement to avenge the murder of Batman. Clocking in at over five minutes, this puppy is bursting with heroes and villains, including a few who switched sides. Very intense.

Land's sakes! It's outdated exclamation time! What in Tarnation! Zounds! Heavens to Murgatroid! Humbug! What in Blazes! Egad! I do declare! Jeepers! Zoot allures! Dagnabit! Fiddlesticks! Jumpin' Jehosaphat! Fancy that! Bully! The Hell you say! Balderdash! By Jove! Strewth! Oh my stars and garters! Pshaw! What in Sam Hill!
Your homework is to use at least two of these in conversation today. Carry on.

Wednesday, August 25
Neil Gaiman has posted some very cool photos from the upcoming film Mirrormask. He also mentions that he is MCing the Hugo Awards at next week's Noreascon 4.

The trailer for Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is up.

Geek Stuff: Art Bomb previews Warren Ellis' Apparat books coming from Avatar Press, which explore what adventure comics might have been if superheroes never caught on.
Millionaire Playboy shows us how to make our own Bat Phone.
The Forbidden Zone has posted The Planet of the Apes re-edited as a downloadable half-hour B&W Twilight Zone episode. It's a 61MB Quicktime file.

Other Planets to Visit: The Planet of Vampires (the comic), Planet of the Vampires (the movie), Planet of the Dinosaurs, Planet of the Spiders, Planet of the Gods, Planet of the Robot Monsters, Planet of the Lost Souls, Planet of the Horses, Planet of Blood, Planet of the Photoshoppers, Planet of the Babes (NSFW), Planet of the Geeks, Planet of the DorksPlanet of the Lost Things, Planet of the Cannibals, and the Planet of the Dubya.

Tuesday, August 24
Warren Ellis links to the stunningly beautiful retro-SF webpage of The Zephyr Syndicate.

One of my usual anti-Hollywood fulminations has made the letters page of Sci Fi Weekly.

Fredric Brown once wrote a story that went "The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door ..."
The first known tale of someone alone on Earth is "The Last Man", by Cousin de Grainville. Many apocalypse stories have followed suit. Richard Matheson's I Am Legend was made into a film twice, once as Last Man on Earth and again as The Omega Man. Other films that play with the idea include Where Have All The People Gone? and The Quiet Earth, but most zombie movies work on a similar theme. An empty earth was also the centerpiece of TV shows like Ark II and Logan's Run, although Peter Ustinov's Old Man from the movie was really alone. The Twilight Zone touched on the subject a few times, most memorably in Time Enough at Last. And we cannot forget Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth.   
In keeping with the theme, here's the Last Party on Earth, the Last Game on Earth, the Last Band on Earth, the Last Tour on Earth, and the Last Site on Earth.
UPDATE: Fred reminds me of The World, The Flesh, and the Devil. And the resource website Empty World catlogs a number of apocalyptic books and movies.

Monday, August 23
Currently Making the Rounds: This giant Cthulhu statue on sale from Nethercraft. No, the cute goth redhead is not included.

Building a Better Mouse: Liz Brown of Better Humans tells us of the "Adonis Mouse," while Kristen Philipkoski of Wired reports on mice that keep going and going and going.

I'm in a particularly idiot-intolerant mood right now, so I'll need someone to explain to me why the soon-to-be-patented 10 Ethical Laws of Robotics going around the blogosphere this weekend include this: "As transcendental follower, I will rejoice in the principles of mysticism by following the mystical values (ecstasy, bliss, joy, and harmony) while renouncing the corresponding vices (iniquity, turpitude, abomination, and perdition)."
Great. Hippie futurists. What's next, robots playing bongos?
On the subject of shit-for-brains, here's another imbecile who doesn't get Libertarianism.

From Sandy Collora, the director who brought you Batman: Dead End, comes the amazing fake trailer for a Batman/Superman World's Finest movie, complete with a battle-armored Lex Luthor. Download the 80MB version. Trust me.
That cheered me up. I'm better now.

Saturday, August 21
The schedule for Noreascon 4's First Night activities has been posted. About halfway down you will find a listing for an event called "Fannish Eye for the Mundane Guy," where unsuspecting citizens will have a new lifestyle imprinted onto them. Be afraid...
Will any regular Lens readers be attending the Con? Lemme know.

Friday, August 20
Some excellent websites about excellent comics: The Metabarons, Grim Jack, Faction Paradox, The Red Star, Hip Flask, V for Vendetta, Planetary, Astounding Space Thrills, Tongue*Lash, PvP, Lucifer, Flaming Carrot, Iron Empires, Transmetroplitan, Liberty Meadows, Supreme, and The Invisibles.

Assorted Items: Behold the Tales of the Plush Cthulhu.
This week's Something Awful Photoshop Phriday: Amazing Astronaut Adventures.
And a very wrong Disney character orgy by Wallace Wood (via Art Bomb)

Here's an ArtNet story about an installation in Antwerp that produces "something close to genuine, human shit."

Thursday, August 19
Here's early word on a planned Godzilla Imax 3D film. If the link doesn't work go here and scroll down to "Godzilla: Life After 50."

Incoming Signals points to The Lord's Prayer in Klingon.

How To be Anything You Want To Be: David J. Parker & Samuel Stoddard tell us how to be funny. Philip Greenspun shows us how to be a web whore. Reshma Memon Yaqub shows us how to be a sex goddess. John Wilkins shows us how to be an Anti-Darwinist. shows us how to be a bible apologist. Michael Shermer shows us how to be a skeptic. George Mikes shows us how to be an alien. Phil Milstein shows us how to become a cult guru. Bertrand Russell tells us how to become a man of genius. Raymi the Minx tells us how to be a drunk asshole and a small-town slut. Lord Whimsy shows us how to become a bon vivant.

Future Tech: This morning we woke up in a world one step closer to retinal implants, home automation, and quantum teleportation. Meanwhile George Dvorsky gives us a rundown of the recent Transvision conference at Better Humans.

I was trolling the submission guidelines at Strange Horizons when I came across this page titled "Stories We See Too Often." My favorites are "A place is described, with no plot or characters" and "Weird things happen, but it turns out they're not real."

Ronald Bailey of Reason explains why we should care about mouse longevity.

"'Twas Brillig": With the ActionScript version of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky going around the blogosphere, I was reminded that in 1998 Toy Vault planned to release an action figure based on the classic illustration of the beast. It never happened. Read the tragic story here. Also, here's a neat RPG game piece, a excellent two-foot tall plush toy, the old children's' magazine, a poster for the rerelease of the Terry Gilliam film, and an exhaustive list of other references.
And has anyone seen the Here Be Monsters plush toys? How great is Baba Yaga?

The latest edition of Modern Drunkard pays tribute to Piano Bars, informs us how to treat blackout-related injuries, goes Hooching with Hemingway, looks at the moonshine mystique of the Andy Griffith Show, and tells us the tale of Dr. Souse in the House.

Wednesday, August 18
Geek Items: Dave Barry confesses his undying love for Godzilla.
Newsarama chats with artist Frank Cho and posts some of his sweet art.
John Wong of Raving Toy Maniac reviews the upcoming Conan action figures.

Listen carefully, grasshopper, and learn the art of fighting: Chiun from The Destroyer novels is the master of Sinanju. Anbo-Jyutsu is popular in the Federation. The Klingons practice Mok'bara while Vulcans are deadly with the Lirpa. The Third Doctor was one of the few two-armed beings adept at Venusian Aikido. The Rangers from Babylon 5 wield a mean Minbari Fighting Pike. Honor Harrington is a 7th level black belt in Coup de Vitesse. Triad of the Legion of Superheroes is skilled in Tri-Jitsu. The Fremen of Arrakis fight with Fremen Kempo and are quick with a crysknife. The Mri of the Faded Sun books are just nasty.
Of course they all pale before the power of Gymkata!
Here's an article on Jedi fighting styles, plus pieces on how both the theory of relativity and gravity contribute to martial arts.
(And before you write in, D'Argo's Qualta Blade and Teal'c's staff weapon are energy based, more blasters than martial weapons.)

Some Assorted Ministries: The Ministry of Silly Walks, the Ministry of Sound, the Ministry of Space, the Ministry of Funk, the Ministry of Rhythm, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Comics, the Ministry of Whimsy, the Ministry of Toys, the Ministry of Dirt, the Ministry of Sex, the Ministry of Pizza, the Ministry of Digital Superculture, the Ministry of Magic, the Ministry of Prog, and The Ministry of Evil. Plus plain-old Ministry.

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