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Archive March 6 - March 20 2003
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Thursday, March 20
Assorted Items: Michael Moorcock has reread and reviewed the reissue of The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick for The Guardian and discovered that he has a few problems...
Apparently Shakespeare had a prescient understanding of neuro-cognition.
Retrocrush has a gallery of "risque" cheesecake-babe nose art from old war planes. Some of these come from the excellent site Bombergirl.com.
Robert Tracinski reminds us that the U.N. is useless.
And if you get a chance check out the Internet Censorship Explorer, where you can see how sites look after they've been filtered in various countries. Also mark your calenders, because the Privacy International Big Brother Awards are coming!

Wednesday, March 19
The Blue Man Group is going on tour to support their upcoming disc The Complex. No dates yet, but I'll keep you updated. I can see myself following them around like a godamned deadhead.

SciFi.com's Webguide has some cool new links. My favorites are HobbySpace, The Astro Society's Index of Stories with Good Physics (catagorized by subject, of course), and the best site title in a while: The Scifiguys.

There's a photo at Raving Toy Maniac of the upcoming Green Lantern Christmas Ornaments, while Figures.com has a story on future Monty Python toys including the Black Beast of Antioch plush. The story also mentions a 12 inch Minister of Silly walks due out this summer but, sadly, there is no picture. As much as I like Sideshow Toys Holy Grail figures I've always thought they needed to expand the Python line to include other memorable Flying Circus characters. Check out Wicked Cool Stuff's Python section.

Tuesday, March 18
Someone over at the rather purile Ninja Zone forums has taken the nom de guerre "Dr. Pain" for his posts and is using one of my old comic covers as a "signature." (you may have to scroll down through some questionable material to find it) The forum seems to attract an adolescent mindset, but then again so did my Dr. Pain books, and at least the good "doctor" is linking to me.

Mark Vadnais has decided to take a crack at posting daily entries over at his Inpoint site. His Monday post informed us of street dates for some highly anticipated DVDs. Go check it out and cheer him on through his first week.

A story in New Scientist reveals how the ability to put up to 100 hours of music on a single disc may be in our near future.

The first true fallout/backlash of the current psychic craze hit the fan this past weekend when British "mediums" hosted a pay-per-view special where they claimed to have contacted Princess Diana.

Recommended Readin': At Better Humans George Dvorsky discusses Hollywood's treatment of intelligent machines as slaves while James Hughes takes on the transformative role technology may play in the future of religion.
At Salon, internet architect David Reed explains how bad science created the broadcast industry.
Telepolis has a talk with cyber-rights pioneer John Perry Barlow about Digital Restrictions Management and the future of human knowledge.
Cyberculture chronicler Howard Rheingold's views on "smart mobs, smart environments, and smart choices in an age of connectivity" are the subject of a piece at Reason Online.
Brad Edwards of High Lift Systems discusses his plans for a space elevator and its implications for the future of space travel at Wired. There's also a story about how more Americans are turning to foreign news sources for war coverage.
And lastly in the Village Voice Sydney Schanberg reminds us all how the U.S. and its policies created Saddam and Osama.

Monday, March 17
Attorney Robert Gelinas sends along the great micro-heroes site of Jerome Galica, which features some interesting caricatures from the Amalgam Universe, Garth Ennis' Preacher, and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Other comic news: Barely half a year ago the creative team of The Red Star, one of my current favorite comics, made waves by announcing they were moving under the Crossgen banner. Well, after one issue, they've decided to go solo again. This epic techno-fantasy about a mythical Russia is breathtaking, even if it only comes out once every three months or so. I hope it doesn't vanish the way Soul Saga did.
Cinescape says that Maverick Films (owned by Madonna) has snagged the rights to another great current comic, Violent Messiahs.

Sunday, March 16
Part of me is looking forward to the film adaptation of Rendezvous With Rama. David Fincher directing, Moebius doing the designs, what's not to like? Then I read the Sci Fi Wire interview with Morgan Freeman. I quote: "The bugaboo there is the script, A picture like this, that is written by Arthur C. Clarke, the problem is trying to get someone to understand what it is."
Yeah, if they're an idiot.
Rama is by no means a tough book to digest. Anyone with a 1970's eighth grade science education can understand it (although the folks at Book-A-Minute disagree). Dumbing down this novel for the sake of a nice opening weekend would be criminal. As would the inclusion of a nu-metal power ballad in the trailer.

Saturday, March 15
Retrocrush takes a walk down the toy aisle of yesteryear with a gallery of vintage playthings. Not-so-distant happy memories come back to me with the news that new Bloom County strips will be available at My Comic Pages starting next week.

Friday, March 14
Probably not a lot of blogging this weekend. People to see, shows to go to, and epic religious jihads deciding the fate of the galaxy to watch. Monday is St. Patrick's Day, or as us seasoned drinkers call it, "amatuer night." remember the official medical name for a green-beer hangover is the "shamrock shakes."

Michael Swanwick has posted a statement against the pending war with Iraq. It's been signed by many SFWA writers.

Photos from last Saturday's King Crimson show at the Orpheum in Boston have been posted. Please note Warr guitarist Trey Gunn's all white Derek Flint- meets-the Man from GLAD outfit.

In strange entertainment news, Norman Lear is writing South Park episodes.

In strange science news, Geekpress has a link to a story about a robotic cow milking machine. No chance this could go horribly awry, is there? If you think that's frightening, how about an artificial hippocampus?

Cinescape has a scoop on the shitty make-up planned for the Ghost Rider movie. The really bad red-hairred skull was designed by Harlow FX, who apparently think that '70s horror movie masks are scary. Maybe Satan will be portrayed by a handpuppet.

Thursday, March 13
And now a moment of silence for Fred Freiberger, producer of Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Star Trek, Space: 1999. and a slew of other TV shows.

War with Iraq making you nervous? Relax, The Beastie Boys are here.

Gravity Lens sends kudos, salutations, and a shout out to Trevor Kirk, son of cartoonist/drummer/madman Brian Kirk. It seems the intrepid Kirk lad has been trolling this humble blog for ideas for his school science reports. In the wake of this discovery Attorney Robert Gelinas has taken it upon himself to christen me "The Educational Tool."
Trevor, my boy, these are for you: The oldest human footprints, some 350,000 years old, have been found in Italy. The Hubble telescope has reportedly witnessed a distant Jupiter-sized planet fall into its sun. And in these days of nervousness about spaceflight, its been announced that the next great orbiting telescope is set for launch. Now are there any other kids in need of corruption?

I really need someone to explain to me why they are remaking Harvey, let alone Topper. What congenital defect do you need to have corroding away your fevered brain for these mental turds to appear as good ideas? How soon before some unimaginative Hollywood fuck decides the world needs a modernized Citizen Kane? "Y'see, he's a media magnate, but he's disillusioned with the world and all its bullshit, man. And maybe Sinbad could play Mr. Bernstein!"
When is California falling into the sea?

Robert Garmong reminds us why we should privatize the space program.

Comicon's Splash Page is sadly going on hiatus. The current feature page has an interview with Ty Templeton about his new book Human Defense Corps. Pop Image has an interview with Adisakdi Tantimedh about his upcoming mini-series JLA: Age of Wonders.

Wednesday, March 12
The Voice of Iraqi Liberation is on the air.

Fantastic Plastic: Aside from the rather disturbing crotch configurations, the Superman, Bizarro and Brainiac figures due out this week rank high above the Man of Steel's previous outings (except possibly this homoerotic one). Ditto for the preview images of the upcoming Star Trek line. I personally am looking forward to the D.R. & Quinch statues (scroll down), however the Birdman and Blue Falcon maquettes leave a bit to be desired.
And lest you underestimate the impact of toys, apparently children are becoming afraid of Thomas the Tank Engine because of all the trainwrecks it portrays. What the fuck is wrong with kids today?

The Center for Free Inquiry, parent organization for both CSICOP and The Council for Secular Humanism, has opened an office in New York City.

In religious news: someone has come up with Seven Deadly Sins Ice Cream Treats (I'm hunting for photos of these), nothing demonstrates Jesus' love like a rodeo, and in the horrible town of Newmarket, Ontario, a strip club has been converted into a church. If that happened in New England there would be riots.

Tuesday, March 11
Science Fiction Hardware: Popular Science has a cool piece about a proposed design for a giant solar power plant. I love big engineering projects. I find them almost unbearably romantic. The last mythically huge project I can recall was the Three Gorges Dam in China. We need colossal structures like the Millennium Tower or the ocean city Freedom (recently featured in Grant Morrison's The Filth) to shimmer on the horizon and shunt us into the future. Until then The Big Dig will have to do. I guess it's a guy thing.

Here's some other guy things: new research indicates that men identify vehicles using the same brain circuitry used to recognise human faces.
The Village Voice's Tricia Romano writes an overview of the New Burlesque movement. Related bit: promotional material for the 1st Annual NY Burlesque Festival has begun to circulate.
And Retrocrush once again delivers by paying homage to those mighty paragons of desire: redheads.

Reason Online has posted Peter Bagge's very funny Just Say No to Intellectual Property.

Monday, March 10
Simon Smith discusses the strange fight for "headspace" between Transhumanism and religion in the essay Must We Destroy Gods to Become Them? at Better Humans.

Here's an update on the mass evacuation of paintings from Paris due to threats of floods this Spring. Some 100,000 pieces are being relocated.

I've done a lot of Raelian-bashing on this site. This weekend a bunch of Raelian women got naked to protest the war. You gotta respect that.

How has society endured for so long without a Haiku Periodic Table?

Sunday, March 9
I was made aware that many of the links on the My Favorite Women section of the Links Page were dead. I have repaired or replaced over a dozen of them, such as Lysette Anthony, Hunter Tylo, and live-action anime girl Apollo Smile. Let it never be said I don't know my priorities.

Highly Recommended Reading: World of Ends: What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else by Doc Searls and David Weinberger.

Saturday, March 8
I will watch in great interest as the Internet Book Database grows. This brilliant idea is off to a rocky start but shows infinite promise. One question, there is a lot of science fiction (which is to be expected) but where are the Left Behind books that are supposedly outselling everything? Hmmm. I hope this site has a long life, as it is sure to reveal some unpopular truths about American reading habits.

Leon Kass, President Bush's personal moral guardian, is not only against the idea of life extension but is a full blown enemy of retarding the aging process. This bleating, government-appointed nozzlehead is a savage. People are going to die prematurely and spend a larger quotient of their life debilitated as a direct result of his of his uneducated, theocratic policies. By hindering science it is he who is "playing god." It is my hope that after he is out of power he is called out by scientists and the elderly and made to answer for his sick actions. He also needs to be reminded that he is at least twice the median lifespan of only 100 years ago.

Friday, March 7
Forrest J. Ackerman has won his drawn out legal battle against the rodent- like Ray Ferry. Harry Knowles is celebrating.  

6.7 gigabytes. 6,800 miles. Under a minute. Damn.

Brainfood: The Guardian has a great story about Richard Dawkins and his believe that human life is much more interesting when we rebel against the forces of genetics. The L. A. Times' Zachary Karabell discusses the irresponsibility and danger of the Left Behind book series (Registration Required). Science Daily tells us that the earth is slowing down. And MSNBC reports that the inevitable has happened: the clever folks at Dr. Pepper are using a fictional blog to promote their new soft drink Raging Cow.

Thursday, March 6
Anyone who read Robert Harris' Archangel will get a chuckle out of this: Some old-school hard-line communists pining for the good-old days want to clone Stalin.

Moral outrage seems to be today's theme. The most prominent example is the ceaseless shrieking over right-wing-nut Michael Savage getting a prime time talk slot on MSNBC. The various groups are demanding that he not be allowed to express his views on TV, as if being on TV makes one invulnerable.
The politics at work here are irrelevant to me (it is, after all, a TV show). What snags my attention is the idea that the only way to defeat your opponent is to deny him the opportunity to play. Nowhere have I found anyone submitting the idea of debating him or dismantling his rhetoric on a philosophical level. Savage's well-known lack of honest discourse is bad enough without his detractors retreating to the use of mindless, reactionary anger as the only alternative.
(Update 3/12: The Savage show has had shitty ratings, coming in a distant third after CNN and Fox. Never underestimate the power of focused viewer apathy.)
Compare this with Arthur Silber's well-reasoned and fervent request that everyone boycott and de-blogroll World Net Daily for its lack of coherent morality in discussing current events. Ah, the marvels of modern journalism.

Other Reading: Thomas Sowell takes on the idiotic concept of "relevance" in modern education, while Llewellyn H. Rockwell looks at "The American Libertarian Instinct." The St. Petersburg Times has a neat story about a guy with a public access show about atheism. And here's a brilliant idea: if you can't reconcile the fundamental differences between Buddhism and Christianity, just invent a new faith that combines them.

If all of the above is too heady for you, you'll love this: a Metanexus interview with Stuart Hameroff M. D. conducted by Jill Neimark on the subject of morality existing at the quantum level. (which begs the question, can two wrongs make a right if they vibrate in different states of probability?)

More wonderfully advanced technology that will eventually be used mainly for unnatural sexual purposes: pressure -sensitive fingers for robots.

Mark Vadnais, who recently made his first visit to a casino, has linked to a fun site full of photos of miniature cars in real world surroundings.