December 19th, 2010
First, let’s be timely. Lunar eclipse over North America Monday night. Check it out.
Fox News has an article about the Gaskell Affair and there are over 4000 comments. I’m scared to look…
Vulcan Bait. Totally worth a nerve pinch.
Nine Crazy Things said in Bookstores. I’m floored by the parent whose daughter liked The Diary of Anne Frank and came in asking what else she had written.
A lot of my writer friends fear Google Books for violation of copyright issues and lost revenue. However, seems that amassing this knowledge can lead to some interesting research.
A great cartoon about global climate change. Maybe this is the right level to work on the willfully ignorant and anti-science right-wingers, but I doubt it. Maybe if Obama started calling it a hoax…(yes, they are that biased). And Discover is in this game too with 7 Visions of Our Hot, Awful Future.
Vonda McIntyre is making her Starfarers books available for free download for a limited time. Check them out. She’s a very fine writer, so enjoy.
The NSF has published their latest statistics about how many PhDs are bring granted and whose getting them. (Hint: more women, foreigners, minorities, although continuing to be skewed in particular ways.)
Racists pissed off about black Norse gods in the upcoming movie Thor. The folks complaining are asshats to be sure, but I kind of agree with them but for totally different reasons. Comic books and movies about superheroes already have a huge issue to deal with about suspension of disbelief. You kind of go into superheroes ready to turn off parts of your critical brain. I think it’s a bad move to have your audience suddenly in the middle of the movie go, “Hey, wait, is that Norse god black? I didn’t think they had blacks in Scandinavia back in the day…hmm, what was going on in this dumb movie anyway…” Maybe there’s an explanation, or the acting will be so brilliant I’m convinced he’s just a very tan Norse guy, but on the face of it, not the time or place to insert an actor of a mismatched race in my opinion. Some of the Marvel Comics characters have changed race in the movies (Kingpin in Daredevil and Nick Fury in the Avengers related movies) and I’ve been happy with those choices as the actors have delivered. Probably startled a few comics fans, but comic fans are not the majority of movie audiences. Even non-traveling culturally myopic Americans probably know about that the Norse people were a whiter shade of pale. Well, not my problem, except I want Thor to be great and successful…
50 Top Comic Book Artists. The link will go to the page for #10-8, starting with Alex Ross, one of my faves, and also Frank Miller, another. Doesn’t look like they’ve revealed the top 7 yet. Seem to have a list of fan-voted comic book writers, too. Alan Moore ought to top that one, in my opinion, and I would be happy to see Chris Claremont, Neil Gaiman, and Garth Ennis up there, too.
News from the Large Hadron Collider…no black holes, and perhaps a strike against string theory.
Religious wars in Texas…on bus ads. Christians get mad when atheists do the same things they do. Instead of realizing that advertising is annoying and stopping it, they escalate. Cue Sean Connery talking about how they do it in Chicago.
Some funny lines taken from peer review of scientific articles. Actually, I kind of want to talk about this a little more. A lot of the time the referee’s reports get forwarded as is to authors, and some anonymous referees are, frankly, assholes. I learned a long time ago from story critiquing how to be professional giving comments, but scientists are not taught how to do this. They’re just asked, out of the blue, to review a paper and write a report, and many don’t read the instructions well anyway. I’m making it a habit now of telling editors outright what I think of reviewers when I reply. I’ve had some very good and very bad positive reports, and the same for negative reports. Now, I do like to pretend that I have a perfect sense of what makes for a quality referee’s report, and I’m surely biased, but I am certain about some of the unprofessional asshattery I’ve witnessed. Enough for now.
(Almost) everything I learned about science I learned from Isaac Asimov. Asimov ruled. Out of date, unfortunately, on many topics now.
Astronomers find evidence of four other universes. Cool, maybe. Still sounds pretty speculative, but we’ll have better data soon and see if these strange circles in the microwave background radiation persist.
Cuddle Up in Front of the Electric Fire with a Good Book. Online geeky reading, including my own Diamonds in the Sky anthology. Looks like links at the bottom to more science fiction reading, too.
OK, that was a lot of stuff piled up, and I’m even on vacation with spotty internet. Hope you’re having a good one, too.