Archive August 11 - September 2 2005
Gravity Lens Main Page

Friday, September 2
James Randi looks at creationists and dinosaurs, the aftermath of Katrina, and the interogation methods of Scientologists in his weekly column.

Fact of Life: If you paint a picture of C-3PO nailed to a crucifix, you will piss someone off.

Thursday, September 1
The headline reads "Robotic space penguin to hop across the Moon."

There's going to be an exhibit of fantastic art from the Spectrum books shown at the Society of Illustrators in NYC starting next week. There's also a H.R. Giger exhibit opening at Art at Large.

It is September.
The God of the Month is Laima, Mother Destiny.
The Molecule of the Month is yummy Dioxin.

Today your's truly turns 43. This is wholly unacceptable, and I intend to take steps to rectify this injustice.

Wednesday, August 31
Talking 'Bout Comics: Steven Grant looks at the current big crossover events at Comic Book Resources, while Kurt Amacker of Cinescape opens the mailbag for thoughts on the current state of superhero comics. I link to this because the last letter quoted is mine, and I chime in on the subject with (ahem) my usual elegance and wit.

The 2005 Nebula Award Ceremony is now available on DVD. Any chance of this and the Hugos being webcast soon?

Tuesday, August 30
Yet another creepy-looking Japanese domestic robot.

I know it's old news, but I just read about the Human Exhibit at the London Zoo.
Keeping sentient beings in a zoo was, of course, the subject of a classic Twilight Zone. It also played a part in original Star Trek pilot, two animated episodes and a Next Generation as well. Zoos appeared in two episodes of Lost in Space and an Outer Limits. Other genre zoos include the one Superman has at the Fortress of Solitude, as well as the one he was held in on the cartoon. Marvel villain The Collector has a zoo. And we can't forget Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Update: John at Texas' Best Grok reminds me of the Outsider-built zoo in Dean Ing's Kzin stories. I'm certain I forgot others.
There's also the Virtual Zoo, the Cryptid Zoo, the Robot Zoo, and the Zoo Hypothesis.

Monday, August 29
The online Jack Kirby Museum went live yesterday. There isn't a lot to see yet, but some of his early work has gone up.

'Bout Freakin' Time: "The Genre Traveler is an e-zine covering travel topics for those interested in vacations that address their interests in various speculative fiction genres, mostly science fiction, fantasy and horror, but with some mystery and western sprinkled in."

Friday, August 26
The SciFi Webguide sadly informs us that it will cease to be next month. It seems like only yesterday that Gravity Lens was chosen as a Cool Pick.

Here's a neat entry at on fictional elements, including compounds and alloys. Here's a similar entry from Wikipedia which includes subatomic particles. And here's TV Acres index of fictional metals and minerals.

Thursday, August 25
Dial B for Blog gives us a gallery of comic book covers featuring big giant hands.

Assorted Items: Technovelgy has a story about one of my favorite science/art things: the wind-powered walking leviathans of engineer Theo Janson.
Bradley Carl Edwards at IEEE Spectrum takes a realistic look at space elevator technology.
Oh, To Be in England: This week historian Iain Wakeford will be leading a walking tour of sites from H.G. Wells War of the Worlds.
The Mirror tells us that the robot dog K-9 will be returning to Dr. Who.

Wednesday, August 24
Kurt Amacker of Cinescape makes an impassioned plea to comic readers to try something other than superheroes for a change.

A moment of silence, please, for Brock Peters.

NOT on my Christmas wish list: the disturbing Hot Lips Talking Radio.

Tuesday, August 23
Assorted Items: The BBC will be making classic episodes of Dr. Who and Red Dwarf available on UK cell phones.
McSweeney's gives us Klingon Fairy Tales.
Fans of Monty Python's Cheese Shop sketch can now reference this wonderful alphabetical listing of all known cheeses from

Monday, August 22
SciFi Web Guide links to the Sci-Fi Science Blunders Hall of Infamy, which lists such egregious errors by category.

New Scientist has decided to try its hand at alternate history by asking a panel of experts to speculate on the scientific pasts that might have been. The individual essays are for subscribers only, but it's also in the print version of the magazine.

Sunday, August 21
The latest intelligent design battle: Science vs. Norse Mythology!

Friday, August 19
Here's a gallery of famous paintings featuring the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast.

Recommended Readin': Red Nova reports on researchers creating life from scratch.
Chris Mooney of looks at Hollywood's love affair with the Frankenstein myth.
Sarah Boxer of the NY Times examines the emergence of web-comics.
James Gunn gives an overview of the evolution of SF at Science & Spirit.
And have you heard about the supposed link between Star Trek fandom and Pedophilia?

Out There: Mike Treder at Responsible Nanotechnology links to this great column by physicist Michio Kaku on the physics of extraterrestrial civilizations. A couple months back George Dvorsky linked to this much lengthier essay by Milan M. Cirkovic and Robert J. Bradbury that covered this subject.
Then there are the strange editorials at India Daily with headlines like "What is beyond the hyperspace that contains our Universe?" and "Like other parallel universes our physical universe started with ten dimensions. Are we products of a cosmic accident?" In fact, their whole Technology section is pretty trippy. Compare this with the Tech section of USA Today, which gives us a review of the new Bowflex and reports on the resurgence of the video game Pong. Sigh.
I also like the Shostak Institute for Sapient Studies over at the ArcBuilder Universe site.

Thursday, August 18
The always-excellent SF Signal links to a site dedicated to Talking Squids in Outer Space, as well as the very retro Microsoft promo site Escape to Yesterworld.
Also, check out this great Everything page on Swears in Science Fiction, and the Wikipedia page on Fictional Curse Words. Your homework is to use tanj, felgercarb, smeg, and frell in conversation.
Here's a guide to the Chinese phrases used in Firefly.

And, because it had to happen, someone wants to launch and deploy a cross into orbit. Of course, the band Camel did this back in '79.

Wednesday, August 17
BBC reports on a very sexy, totally silent futureplane design. Still waiting for Fireflash.

Cat People: The Cat. Oedi from Dreadstar. The Kzin Speaker-To-Animals. Thun of Mongo. Tigra. Tigorr of The Omega Men. Lt. M'Ress (a Caitain). Blackmane of The Futurians. Tigerman. Puma. Sabretooth. Hepzibah of the Starjammers (although she sometimes resembles a skunk) (UPDATE: Nyrath the nearly wise writes in to inform me she's named after a skunk from Pogo). The modern Cheetah. Tuftan from Kamandi. The Beastman. The Ishtarians. The Kilrathi. The goddess Bast. Cat from Red Dwarf. The Thundercats. Omaha the Cat Dancer.
People who dress like cats: Catwoman. Catman. Wildcat. The previous Cheetah. Black Panther. Yes, I know I left out a couple Cheetahs. No, I don't count Black Cat.
People that turn into cats: Irena Dubrovnana. Irena Gallier. Manimal. Sylvia. Isis.

Tuesday, August 16
Reporting on the brisk sales at a recent Star Trek convention, David McKee of Business Press writes "indicators show that the "New Geeks" who filled the convention halls and hotel rooms of the Las Vegas Hilton are the leading edge of an economic force with which to reckon."
I'm guessing this makes me an "Old Geek."

Assorted Items: 
Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry of the Wall Street Journal wonder where the future went.
Researchers in Singapore have developed a paper battery that is powered by urine.
SciFi Weekly tells us about some new toys based on Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

Monday, August 15
In filling out my calendar for the rest of the year I learn that not only are Talk Like A Pirate Day and Banned Book Week fast approaching, but that I must also prepare for Take a Model Train to Work Day and the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day.
Also, some sites have today listed as National Failures Day, but I can find no online info.

The Weekly World News, famous for such implausible stories as Leprechaun rapists and the man so fat that moons orbit him, tells us the eyebrow raising tale of a Star Trek fan getting laid. UPDATE: More fun at the expense of Trek fans with this Dateline Hollywood story about Trekkie discomfort with the movie 40 Year Old Virgin, and a Spoof list of upcoming Trek projects.

130 Shopping Days Left: The Rocketeer Helmet. 379 bucks.

Friday, August 12
The Wacky Patent of the Month is 1965's "Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force." I'm not certain whether this reminds me more of the spinning android duplicator from Star Trek or something out of one of my old Dr. Pain comics.

Thursday, August 11
Richard von Busack of Metroactive tells us about the time Superman took on the KKK.

Assorted Items: The headline reads "Pocket-sized computer 'soul' developed."
Ker Than of looks at some realistic plans for colonizing Mars.
Eye of the Goof shows us these blueprints for building a Dalek.

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