I’m not planning on ever getting tattooed, but if I were… some of these designs are mighty neat. I’m especially fond of The Philosopher’s Stone and “Entropy”: simple yet unusual little designs that pack a lot of meaning.
Check ’em out.
Check ’em out.
Crows have got nothing on these guys…
Crows have got nothing on these guys… I’d love to go see this in person someday, but unfortunately I don’t live near Oxford, England. The music is from a company called CSS Music. The track is “Soaring With The Sun”
I think this meme is getting out of hand.
Okay, so first we had lolcats. Then they upped the ante with lolbots.
Now here’s an awesome blog I just discovered: Paleo-Future, a look at how past generations saw the future (which is often our present). Domed, weather-controlled cities! Flying cars! Segways!
Now here’s an awesome blog I just discovered: Paleo-Future, a look at how past generations saw the future (which is often our present). Domed, weather-controlled cities! Flying cars! Segways! (seriously) Synthetic food! Robotic servants! (They better have those Three Laws, though…)
As one commenter said about such futurology: “it describes the present, with tailfins.” Heh.
Step one: go to Google Maps™
Step two: click on “Get directions”
Step three: enter “New York City” in the start address
Step four: enter “London” in the end address
Step five: click the “Get Directions” button
Or just click here.
I got this link at work, forwarded as a joke. “Ho ho, look at step 24 asking you to swim 3,400 miles across the Atlantic,” sort of thing. And yeah, I thought it was silly too. But then I thought about it some more; and really, it makes sense if you accept that Google Maps doesn’t know about ships or planes.
And then I started wondering about the details of this route. Why, for example, are we supposed to first drive from New York to Boston and then start swimming? Well, it’s probably the most efficient route. Not the shortest as the crow flies, but it makes for the shortest distance you have to swim. And since driving is faster, it’s a bit more efficient time-wise than if you cast off from, let’s say, the eastern tip of Long Island.
Right. That part’s clear. But the European end makes less sense. If we’re going to London, why are we first landing at Le Havre, then taking the highway to the Channel Tunnel? Is it really faster than landing at, e.g., Plymouth? According to Google Maps, it is. I also tried going to Cardiff, Dublin and Plymouth, and all three times I have to land at Le Havre. Likewise for Bordeaux, Madrid and Lisbon. Huh, is all I can say.
Just for a second, I wondered if the algorithm takes ocean currents into account and I’m actually taking the most efficient swimming route. But, nah. After experimenting a bit more, I found that even starting off from Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton or St-John’s, Newfoundland, I always swing by Boston. (The only difference being that for Canadian cities distances are measured in kilometres instead of miles. Go metric system!) So it looks like the algorithm has just this hard-coded connection between North America and Europe. The developers probably figured they wouldn’t need anything smarter. Can’t say I blame them, because who uses Google Maps to plan a transatlantic trip?
I discovered The Order of the Stick about a month ago (with this episode, to be precise), and was immediately hooked. It’s got great plots, character development, action and adventure and tons of humour. Half of that is the hilarious metagaming dialog which spoke to right to my geek heart.
I discovered The Order of the Stick about a month ago (with this episode, to be precise), and was immediately hooked. It’s got great plots, character development, action and adventure and tons of humour. Half of that is the hilarious metagaming dialog which spoke to right to my geek heart. All this talk of hit points and +5 modifiers and levels by the characters themselves took me back to those long-ago gaming Dungeons & Dragons™ sessions I played with my brother M and a few friends. Ah, memories: the rattle of the dice, the scribbling on character sheets, the memorizing of monster stats, pretending we were wizards or paladins or thieves… Good times, good times.
We started playing around age 8, even before the (1st Edition) Advanced D&D came along. I remember our first couple of games, on our grandfather’s dining room table. Good old module B2! We played with our older brother and dad—who’d introduced us to the game and bought the module and dice. He never wanted to play himself, and bowed out as soon as we found gaming groups of our own. M and I played for more than a decade (and two editions), up until our early twenties when the last of the old gang moved away. I didn’t mind not RPGing anymore, since by then I’d come out of the closet and finally had a bit more of a life. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I got to flex a lot of my creative muscles. Plus, let’s face it: there aren’t that many social outlets for awkward teens with hyperactive imaginations, and I’m grateful to our parents for, first, introducing us to the game, and second, ignoring the fundie-driven “D&D is Satanism” hysteria that flared up in the 80’s.
But though I haven’t felt like playing since, I do get nostalgic. Now, we used to read Dragon™ magazine for most of our gaming life. Dragon had excellent articles on many RPGs (not just D&D), art, modules, short stories… and comics in the back pages. After devouring the OOTS archives, I suddenly had a hankering for those long-ago comics.
What’s New? with Phil & Dixie lasted only a few years, delighting readers with its hilarious commentaries on games and the gaming world. The creator, Phil Foglio, has been keeping busy: check out the terrific steampunk adventure Girl Genius.
Yamara started in the late 80’s and apparently kept going for a bit after we let our Dragon subscription lapse in ’93-94. It was also chock-full of metagaming dialog, with this strip being the best example. And yeah, we totally did that too. Or would have, if our DM’s had introduced this kind of mystery monster.
And Wormy. A beautiful, intricately drawn story about a cranky cigar-smoking dragon, that ended abruptly in the late 80’s. Gremorly the wizard and Solomoriah the winged demon cat kicked all kinds of ass; I believe the July ’81 strip was my introduction to the story—and what a strip it was!
No trip down memory lane would be complete without a nod to Dungeons & Dragons, the TV show. Actually, more than a nod. I recently got my hands on the entire show on DVD, and I’m happily making my way through all the eps. I loved the show when it came out, and it still holds up pretty well. The voice talent is only so-so, the dialog was kind of clunky and (this being an 80’s kids’ show) full of “morally uplifting” messages, but that’s okay because the visuals are what I signed up for, then and now. Venger on his nightmare is still an awesome sight, as is Tiamat and pretty much all the various creatures and places the children see. The animators did a top-notch job of adapting to the screen the fantasy monsters I was already familiar with, and I can tell they had a lot of respect for the source material. Which is more than I can say for the losers responsible for that similarly-named abomination. Bleah.
Warning: Not for children or the faint of heart.
A few weeks ago, a hilariously weird and creepy entry came up on OTF Wank. There’s this guy, who’s married, and also has a girlfriend. His wife is happy being monogamous, but the girlfriend wants to have other partners and he’s jealous. So, okay, at first glance he just sounds like a controlling and selfish asshole, until you find out that his wife is a horse.
Warning: Not for children or the faint of heart.
A few weeks ago, a hilariously weird and creepy entry came up on OTF Wank. There’s this guy, who’s married, and also has a girlfriend. His wife is happy being monogamous, but the girlfriend wants to have other partners and he’s jealous. So, okay, at first glance he just sounds like a controlling and selfish asshole, until you find out that his wife is a horse. Not just “horse-faced” but really a horse, species Equus Caballus. And yes, they’re “married.” Had a ceremony and everything, apparently. It’s all twisted and creepy and the people involved need professional help—especially the horsefucker, but also the girlfriend, who doesn’t mind playing second fiddle to a horse. But Gawd help me, I laughed. Check out the girlfriend’s (yes, the human one) art for a chuckle or two.
Then I mostly forgot about it. But this weekend, I read Something Awful’s latest Second Life Safari, which features a lot of horse fetishism. (Don’t click on that link unless you can handle freaky fetish gear and virtual bestiality. Seriously, you’ve been warned.)
And there’s the latest installment of Something Positive’s Life With Rippy storyline. I’ll let that speak for itself.
So, to recap, we’ve got bestiality, virtual bestiality and freaky horse-fetishists, all in a very short span of time. It’s a good thing I don’t believe in “the power of coincidence” or what have you, otherwise I’d seriously wonder what the universe is trying to tell me.
Coolest-looking crab ever.
It lives near deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Pacific. It’s different enough from known decapods (in both physiology and genetics) to rate its own genus and possibly its own family. And it’s fuzzy.
Coolest-looking crab ever.
It lives near deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Pacific. It’s different enough from known decapods (in both physiology and genetics) to rate its own genus and possibly its own family. And it’s fuzzy. Read more on the yeti crab (Kiwa Hirsuta) here.
This is pretty neat.
Of course, there’s a lot of speculation as to what this stone snake was actually for. Was it indeed the site of religious rituals? What kind of religion did humans have 70,000 years ago? What did they believe, and how did they express it? How much of a language did they have, to tell each other stories?
Of course, there’s a lot of speculation as to what this stone snake was actually for. Was it indeed the site of religious rituals? What kind of religion did humans have 70,000 years ago? What did they believe, and how did they express it? How much of a language did they have, to tell each other stories? Maybe language didn’t play a big part; still, the collective art of a giant snake is pretty good evidence of abstract thinking (because you have to imagine a snake before you carve it out of the rock)—as is the sacrifice of the spear points, which seem to have been deliberately burned or blunted, because you wouldn’t make a ritual out of it unless you expected something in return: good weather, good hunting, lots of children, or just the Snake God generally smiling upon you.
Actually, that reminded me of similar happenings in the bogs of Northern Europe. I saw an exhibit on them at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa a few years ago, including a bit on how precious objects were ritually “killed” (e.g.: a pot would have a hole punched through it) before being placed in the bogs.
And I’ll tell you something else: I’ll never look at money thrown in fountains the same way again.
From Robot Chicken: Arise, O Great Pumpkin!
From AlterNet: The Thirteen Scariest People in America