Feb 272015
 

DHS carI have a suspension-of-disbelief problem whenever I see DHS (Department of Homeland Security) mentioned in fiction. I snicker. Usually when they are mentioned it’s to invoke the fear of a powerful government agency, meant either to protect or terrorize us, depending on the story. They’re charging in to save the day, or they’re menacing us with excess force. But in either case, they’re meant to be taken seriously.

And I just can’t. I remember the years before DHS existed. I recall the frantic hand-waving and flailing after 9/11, and I saw how panicked lawmakers threw together a handful of chimps, slapped an acronym on them, and told us we were safer. To me, DHS will always be a bunch of clowns feeling you up before you get on a plane, to act out a multi-billion-dollar security theater that everyone knows is a joke.

So when they are invoked as anything other than a joke it’s jarring, and I laugh, and the tense mood is ruined. Seriously writers, stick with something that is actually menacing and powerful – CIA, or maybe FBI. Something with a pedigree.

I was horrified when I realized last year that there is an entire generation growing up who DOES NOT KNOW THIS. For them, DHS is a legitimate authority. They don’t know to laugh, because everyone they know has kept a straight face when they’ve been presented with this facade of authority. Within my lifetime, these jokers could turn into something that people take seriously. I despair.

So I’m extremely happy when I hear that congress is having issues passing a bill to fund them. Good. I hope this gets tied up for years, and the agency starves to death and withers away, to be relegated to the bad jokes of history. 100 years from now, every portrayal of the DHS should be accompanied by Yakety Sax.

Feb 242015
 

potato chip bagUp until last week I had no idea how to open those sealed plastic bags that chips and other processed foods come in. Every time I tried to open them they’d explode and the contents would fly everywhere. My only hope was scissors nearby, and that couldn’t be replied upon.

It was embarrassing, so my whole life I’d avoided things that come in those bags for that reason. I’d never questioned why other people could open them so easily, and I could not. It was just a thing that makes people different. I don’t get poetry, others do. I can reach things on a high shelf, others can’t. I have brown hair, other people have blonde. Basic human diversity. That was a super power other people had, and I lacked. You just live with it.

I was complaining about this to my SO last week, and she grabbed a bag and showed me how to open it. I had no idea it was just a simple mechanical process. Basically a physical algorithm, with one step. All this time I thought it was an innate talent. And no one who knew the secret had bothered to tell me otherwise. (Although in fairness, most of them didn’t know of my handicap, due to the avoidance thing)

This is just one more thing I have to thank my SO for. :) But it does make me wonder how many other simple things that make my life frustrating I could fix simply by knowing a thing.

Feb 192015
 

Technicolor_Alien_Brain_by_ClaireJonesFrom Echopraxia (note that “Bicamerals” are humans that have self-modified to network their brains and thus reach post-human levels of intelligence) –

“You could look into the eyes of any cat or dog and see a connection there, a legacy of common subroutines and shared emotions. The Bicamerals had cut away all that kinship in the name of something their stunted progenitors called Truth

Those lines hit me right in the awe-sense. Yes. YES! I admire the HELL out of those people! That is true dedication to overcoming biases and gaining a correct model of reality. That is what a true love of Truth looks like. It is inspiring. It is amazing.

It is also scary, because it means cutting out parts of what makes us human. It is Peter Watts’ contention (if I read his book right) that it is even worse, akin to killing oneself, as you’d no longer be recognizable afterwards. If our species were to go down this path, it would be genocide, replacement by alien beings.

But it also seems to be his argument that such creatures would make humans obsolete. Never again would we be players on the stage of reality. We would become no better than pets, or chess pieces. The real players would be incomprehensible and unopposable. And that’s the true horror, for anyone who thinks such self-modification is inevitable. If you want to matter, you must leave behind your humanity. If you believe the change is radical enough to destroy your very self for all significant purposes, it means your choices are literally either meaninglessness or suicide.

On the one hand, I want to say “bring it on.” I’m very different from who I was ten years ago, and unrecognizably different from who I was twenty-five years ago. Evolution already killed (almost) all of us once, at puberty. It can do it again. I might as well beat it to the punch, and reincarnate in a form of my choosing.

On the other hand, I value myself a lot. The thought of killing myself, replacing myself with something not-me in order to affect the future, is fucking terrifying. Every practical concern in my body says “No. No. NO. NO!”

But… then that lure of the Truth comes out. Human brains can only know so much. These brains are better. All the hard-edged fiction I’ve ever read asks me “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your [loved one/planet/goal]?” I was raised to value the truth above all else, and to some extent I do. So when the heavens open up and the Lord asks me “How much does the Truth matter to you? How much are you willing to sacrifice for the Truth?” my lips reply “ALL OF IT.” and my soul cries “Yes, Yes, Yes!”

I don’t know if I’d make that decision IRL. And Peter Watts certainly is against it. But the emotions it stirs are awesome, and I hope the Noosphere deems  this work to be worthy of remembrance.

Feb 182015
 

Look, we all know why Oklahoma is banning AP History classes. They teach things that are unflattering and politically disadvantageous to the right. Of course they’re going to want to stop children from being exposed to that. I’m more than a bit annoyed by the faux-outrage of the left. I’ve been seeing a lot of demands to know how this can be justified. /sigh Is this even a useful tool? Aren’t we better off with candid discussion, rather than by spluttering with outrage over the “senseless idiocy” of the ban? And won’t use of the tool, even if effective, just degrade conversation and make us worse off in the long run?

Feb 172015
 

echopraxiaEchopraxia, by Peter Watts

Synopsis: A biologist joins a crew to retrieve a sample of an alien life form, and becomes embroiled in the machinations of competing post-human intelligences.

Book Review: The novel follows a baseline (non-upgraded) human, in a world that contains post-human intelligence (groups of humans that have self-modified and networked their brains, as well as a new species of human with vastly superior cognitive abilities). The first half of the book seemed to go extremely slowly. Not because things weren’t happening – there was a lot of action. But the protagonist’s actions didn’t seem to affect anything. They didn’t drive the story forward. It was slow even though the plot and pacing were fast. If you keep reading, you eventually realize why this is.

Because the post-humans in this novel are the equivalents of Lovecraft’s Gods.

Lovecraft is very popular nowadays, especially among people who’ve never read him. Cthulhu has huge name recognition, yet most people know him as a gothed-up Godzilla. Maybe that’s because if you do read Lovecraft now, he’s not that scary anymore. But you can still get the idea of what he was going for. Various sources (as well as my reading) postulate that the essence of Lovecraft is to make humanity brutally insignificant, through the use of opponents so powerful they can’t be opposed, and so alien they are incomprehensible. It doesn’t work in Lovecraft’s writings that well (anymore) because the unknown areas he was exploiting are less unknown now. We’ve been off this planet a few times, space is less mysterious. The deep ocean isn’t as murky. Psychic powers have been shown to not be real. Etc.

It’s been said that a good translator doesn’t translate a work directly on a line-by-line basis. A good translator writes the book that the author would have written if the author spoke the language natively.

This is the book HP Lovecraft would write if he was writing today.

The reason the protagonists actions don’t seem to affect anything is because he is a pawn, and the real players are post-humans. Every action he is contemplating has already been taken into account and incorporated. His decisions are as determined and integral to the real player’s strategy as the falling of a domino, and he has as much ability to alter his fate as that critical domino piece. But it is impossible for him to really know that, he can only determine it after the fact when it looks like everything he did appears to have been exactly what was planned for. So he has to keep believing that he can affect his own life, that his decisions are his to make, as an article of faith. Because maybe they really DIDN’T foresee the next thing he’s doing! The book is a relentless, non-stop campaign of seeing that faith crushed again and again and again. At every turn humanity is utterly powerless, their efforts are futility. Greater forces are now the true players. It is a bleak hellscape of hopelessness.

What’s worse is that we can’t even comprehend what the post-human minds are up to. We are literally incapable of grasping it all, which is why it is never explained. You can catch some hints of the plot of the book if you look hard, but always only in retrospect, and it never fully makes sense. The only way to write a story of a post-human conflict for human readers is to leave them as lost and confounded as the protagonist, because any plot a human could understand wouldn’t be post-human, would it?

And the mood of the writing constantly reinforces the murkiness. Not only are all the sets stark, and too dim or too bright, and rotating, and off-kilter; not only are all the ambient sounds clicking and scratching and buzzing; not only is everyone always holding something back and slightly out of touch… oh no. Watts even goes so far as to make the world require a lot of cognitive effort to understand. He doesn’t say something like “They crashed into an aircraft carrier,” and then proceeds to describe the crashing. He will describe the sensation of being thrown about, and screeching metal sounds, and then take you outside and describe the metal surfaces you are viewing, without ever saying the words “crashed” or “aircraft carrier”, so you have to figure that out for yourself. I don’t know if that was intentional, but it is fatiguing and it makes the world harder to understand, so reinforces the theme of “you are too small to grasp this”.

The isolation in this book doesn’t come from something quaint like being far away from people. It comes from humans slowly enfolding themselves in their own private groups and sub-groups more and more, wrapping themselves up in technological filter bubbles, until all that’s left is themselves. The insanity doesn’t come from looking at something eldritch, it comes from deliberate psychological and physical manipulation spread over a long period to drive you to a desired mental state that is not your own. And the horror of corruption isn’t just something ugly growing in your body, it is the twisting of your own mental processes until gradually you are no longer you… and you know it, but can’t stop it.

This is a horror novel, IMHO. I generally don’t find horror scary. This scared the living shit out of me. For the couple weeks I was reading it my IRL mood took a very dark turn, my life was unpleasant, and things sucked. This is a powerful and amazing book, and it should come with a memetic warning. If you can weather a temporary mood disruption, read this book. If this is not a good time in your life, or you’re worried about downward spiral effects, avoid it like the plague.

This is easily my favorite book of the past year, and I will not forget it for a long time.

Highly Recommended, given the previous warning.

 

Book Club Review: It feels like Watts is writing to a very specific audience. Readers of SF Horror who are familiar with the transhumanist scene and are somewhat smarter than me. And he doesn’t care if anyone not in that audience understands a single word of what he’s saying. I admire this, but it also makes the book less appealing to a wider audience.

If you can get to the message of the book, you have a lot to talk about. How should we proceed as we inevitably start leveling-up humans? Is it worth pursuing, given the costs? Is it, when you get down to it, basically a new form of genocide?

We got hung up on “What is the plot? Can we figure it out? Can we fill in the holes in our knowledge?” IMHO the answer is “Maybe a little, but not to a degree that matters, and look that’s really not what we should be focusing on. The whole point was that it’s incomprehensible. Let’s focus on the message Watts is pushing.” But the temptation was too great. The discussion was not as satisfying as it could/should have been, nor as in-depth. I’m not sure if this can be blamed on the writing style of the book, but it’s possible. If the emotion of a piece is so strong that it drowns out the message, that’s a flaw.

Still, we had things to talk about, it certainly wasn’t a boring evening, and the novel is great. Give everyone the memetic warning beforehand, ask if they want to expose themselves to a temporary vector of despair like this. If everyone consents – Recommended.

Feb 122015
 

There was a time not too long ago that whenever any Muslim anywhere did something morally reprehensible, the assholes on Fox News would demand that every Muslim everywhere repudiate those actions and engage in a public repentance ritual. There were some groups that were more than willing to do this, and went on air to publicly repudiate all acts of violence on behalf of all the Muslims in the world.  Then there were those people who said that asking for this sort of thing is kinda… well, I guess the word wouldn’t be racists, but whatever the religious equivalent of racism is. Two murderous psychopaths detonated a home-made bomb in Boston, and you expect all Muslims everywhere to denounce the act? You’re implying that the Muslim plumber in Oklahoma shares in the responsibility for that act somehow. Fuck you.

I side with the latter.

Interestingly, now that an atheist killed several Muslims,  some of those people appear to be flip-flopping. I’m going to ignore the weirdness that this looks to have been over a parking dispute rather than religious reasons. Likely the killer’s strongly negative views of the religious made it emotionally easier to pull the trigger. So let’s say that there was at least some religious motivation mixed in there. A number of prominent atheists have jumped up to publicly denounce these murders.

Now on the one hand, these are the equivalent of church leaders. It’s certainly a good idea, after this sort of thing happens, for a church leader to remind everyone in his church that we do not fucking do this sort of shit. Just so no one gets the wrong damn idea. We don’t want to be like those assholes secretly applauding the women’s-clinic bombings.

On the other hand, if I recall correctly, a lot of the people making these public statements are the same ones who said “Stop demanding that all Muslims repudiate every action of every crazy individual, you’re being racist.” Or as Scott would say, you’re building a Super-Weapon.  And yet, as soon as an equivalent situation crops up in atheist land, they immediately jump up and repudiate the action.

I’m left confused by the inconsistency. If you demand that others “own” every action by everyone in their religion, I’m going to think you’re an asshole, but at least you’re consistent when you then apologize for some psycho in another state killing people. If you protest that it’s bigotry to imply that a huge and diverse group all be tarred by the actions of individual nuts, I understand why you would refuse to accept the guilt-by-association when someone tries that on you. But if you claim that all Muslims shouldn’t be called on the carpet for every extremist’s action, and then also jump up to apologize for an unrelated atheist’s extreme actions, I’m left wondering… were you secretly trying to sabotage the Muslims earlier? Because you are clearly not heeding your own advice. In the realm of “Leading By Example” you are in the camp of judging an entire group by the actions of isolated extremists.

Maybe it’s just a tacit acknowledgement that we all know that people really do stereotype groups by the outliers they see in the news. A realpolitik acceptance that humans are simple, racist creatures, and it’s best to work with that fact when it comes down to brass tacks. We can talk a great, noble game of not judging groups when it is some other group that is being judged. This allows us to paint ourselves as noble. As soon as it’s OUR group that’s being judged, well shit, we all know that people really are racist, and the noble talk is all bullshit, so get the PR machine going and start telling everyone just how much we repudiate that guy.

Bleh. Hanson wins again.

Still, I don’t want anyone getting the idea that I’m not strongly against murder. o.O So let’s strike a balance…

Killing people is an abhorrent thing, and no one should do it. But anyone who wants to imply that I, or any other atheists, need to repudiate the actions of a murderer who is an atheist, is a bigoted asshole.

Feb 092015
 

HippogriffI love the Sad Puppies Saga. It’s making the SF Lit scene fun again!

Brief summary for those not in the know: the Hugo Awards are considered very prestigious awards for SF literature. They are awarded by SF Fandom at large – anyone can vote. There’s a group of conservative authors (led by Larry Correia) who feel that the awards are too liberal and intellectual nowadays, and are leaving out the SF base of fun, action-y novels (a lot like the written-word equivalent of Marvel movies). They’re pushing their fans to register for the Hugos in large numbers and nominate and vote for more conservative and/or old-school works.

I don’t know how many people still bother watching The Grammys or The Oscars. No one I know has bothered with that for well over a decade, because it’s self-congratulatory crap, and you already know which movie is going to win – and it’s never actually a good movie. Crap like Forrest Gump is called Oscar Bait for a reason.  Same reason you never see a ground-breaking work winning the Grammys.

I was worried the Hugos could fall into the same rut. Then along comes Larry and shakes the whole thing up. :D

Here’s the thing about the Sad Puppies Saga – both sides are very sympathetic.

Side Sad Puppies: Larry points out that most of the authors he’s pushing are incredibly successful and wildly popular. It very much gives the feeling of a large populist base being ignored by a snobby elite. It makes you want to root for them to win. He’s charismatic, his fiction is fun to read, and all around he just seems like a super fun guy to hang around with. It makes you want to see him win. And he’s involving you directly, reaching out to us personally, so we will be involved in this win as well. Just good normal folk vs the out-of-touch intelligencia. Hell yeah I’m on board! Let’s do this!

Side Happy Hippogryphs: Have you seen most of the shit that Hollywood spews out? Remember Transformers? Despite being awful, they make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they keep getting made! You know when I knew I wouldn’t see the new TMNT? When I heard that they put April O’Neal on a trampoline. They put motherfucking bad-ass April O’Neal on a goddamn motherfucking TRAMPOLINE! Fuck EVERYONE involved with that movie. (yeah, sore spot for me. Venting is over now.) Anyway, a lot of the stuff being pushed by Sad Puppies isn’t much better. A lot of it is fun, and popular, but… it isn’t something you’ll remember ten years from now as a game changer. Unlike, say Pulp Fiction. Which, you’ll note, did NOT win Best Picture. Happy Hippogryphs are here to prevent the equivalent tragedy from taking place in SF. They aren’t always on the ball – Perdido Street Station didn’t win its year (though Mieville did get one later as a mea culpa). But at least we don’t give out awards to our Transformers. Yes, Jim Butcher is great! He’s popular for a damn good reason, and should be rightly proud of his work. But it’s not really revolutionary, ya know? So the Sad Puppies barging in, demanding awards for their rewrites of old-school action novels that were cutting edge back in Heinlein’s day, is like watching Michael Bay demanding that Kubrick and Scorsese acknowledge how great he is.
(all this is acknowledging that awful stuff does get nominated, but it is fortunately winnowed out in the awarding process)

 

It’s easy to identify with either side, and you want them both to win. This makes for the BEST sort of conflict. Different types of good against each other. Good vs Good is soooo much better than boring ol’ Good vs Evil conflicts. And the battlefield for this isn’t some dumb slug-it-out match, it involves politics, manipulation of rules, riling up the emotions of the base… in short: social manipulation. Those are the most fun sorts of conflicts to watch! Good v Good in social manipulation struggles? It’s like I’m INSIDE my favorite books, except I don’t have to worry about the world ending if the wrong side wins. :) Everything about The Sad Puppies Wars makes me excited to see what will happen next. The speculation even seems to be spreading beyond the typical SF bounds, which means that even the wider non-SF world is finding our awards interesting! This is fun, and I’m glad it’s happening while I was around to see it and take part.

Feb 042015
 

friends_706_ross_joey_napLast Call was published in 1993 and is set in the then-present day, so it’s now a period piece. The most fascinating part of reading it came when the protagonist had to cross-dress as part of a disguise. Nowadays that’s no big deal. In the book he is so repulsed by the idea that he seriously contemplates a far weaker disguise that would likely get him killed. Take a great-than-50% chance of being killed, vs dress like a queer, was actually a serious dilemma. He’s grossed out by it, and he gets non-stop harassment from everyone. Literally random people on the street threaten him simply for being there. A cab driver first extracts a promise that the protagonist won’t rape him before he agrees to drive him anywhere.

It wasn’t because Tim Powers is homophobic or anything, this was required to make the story believable in its day.

I was reminded of the pilot episode of “Friends”. I saw it when it first aired and laughed. When I saw it in reruns years later, a scene jumped out and punched me in the face. Chandler and Joey had to share a blanket/bed for some reason, and one of them had to quickly assert that this doesn’t mean he’s gay (because back then sharing a bed made you insta-gay), and that the other one should not take this as an invitation to butt-rape him (because that’s what gay people do!). The other guy quickly asserted that he was also absolutely not gay, and he’s also expecting no queer stuff! Studio audience laughs.

This was just good family fun back in the day. It was so ubiquitous that I apparently didn’t notice or think anything of it in 1994. It was only watching it later that the insane homophobia of the joke was apparent, and I felt awful that I hadn’t seen it before. Even at 14 I should have seen that.

But this is the same series that later on had the napping episode, pictured above, where the guys discover that cuddle-napping on the couch is the best thing ever. During “Friends” 10 years on air, the culture shifted that dramatically. That’s kinda surprising. We’ve come a long way, and I’m old enough now I can even see some of the progress in my life time. It’s weird.

Feb 032015
 

Dionsaurs v CancerHaven’t done this in too long. So much to archive.

Image – well shit, I can’t argue with that. From Spiderman And The X-Men #2 (unverified), on sale now.

When a character receives gets a “First Edition” of The Iliad – The moment you know that everyone involved in this movie had run out of fucks.

Here’s a way I never thought of gender – “I think that some people don’t have that subjective internal sense of themselves as being a particular gender. There’s no part of their brain that says “I’m a guy!”, they just look around and people are calling them “he” and they go with the flow. They’re cis by default, not out of a match between their gender identity and their assigned gender.”

Google abandons basically all their archiving projects. :( “organizing the world’s information isn’t always profitable. Projects that preserve the past for the public good aren’t really a big profit center.”

FCC prohibits Wi-Fi blocking. Fuck yeah!

This story is *amazing*.
I feel bad quoting any part of it, because to take a tiny piece out of context doesn’t do either the piece or the whole justice. But just a tiny snippet…
“when it comes to beauty, we are insatiable. Art does not make us feel better. Love songs and Virtual Kenneths and Rembrandts only feed the fire that consumes us.”

The $3500 Shirt – A History Lesson in Economics. We’ve come a long way.

Quiet Hands, an article for the neurotypical.
1. When I was a little girl, they held my hands down in tacky glue while I cried.
2. I’m a lot bigger than them now. Walking down a hall to a meeting, my hand flies out to feel the texture on the wall as I pass by.
“Quiet hands,” I whisper.
My hand falls to my side.

An acquaintance recommended Rat Queens and it is awesome! Hilarious, tons of personality, and just a downright pleasure to read. Try to read the first five pages and not fall right in love.

A Career in Science Will Cost You Your Firstborn. Is there any career actually *doing something of value* that still pays decent money in the US? Or is it all just banking, admin, and finance gaming the system?

Backing up our intuitions with actual data – The first randomized controlled trial of police body cameras shows that cameras sharply reduce the use of force by police and the number of citizen complaints.

Eric Holder Orders End to DOJ Program that Shares Seized Assets with Police. I’m actually surprised that things can still become un-fucked. Does that mean I’m too jaded? I know it’s just one step, but it’s a very good first step!

France disappoints everyone by jailing people for speech days after the big freedom of speech rally in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. :(

The Expanse trailer looks awesome, hope the series lives up to it.

NASCAR’s Kurt Busch Testifies That Ex-Girlfriend Is An Assassin.
“She returned later to the hotel at which he was staying wearing a trench coat. Under it she was wearing an evening gown splattered with blood and other matter, Busch testified.”
Busch and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, are holding up Driscoll’s status as a mercenary to refute her claims that she was abused.
“I know that she could take me down at any moment,” Busch told his attorney Monday, “because she’s a bad-ass.”

United Replaces Unionized Baggage Handlers With Minimum Wage Contractors, Things Instantly Fall Apart. United! Stop screwing up my town! We’re doing really well, and we don’t need you destroying the super-important ski season.

1949 Sewing AdviceThe environment women were subjected to in the 40s-50s. Couldn’t even relax in their own home. (verified)

The Case Against Early Cancer Detection – “very few people die of thyroid cancer … And finding and treating more early cases of the disease did not change the death rate in any way”

Trolling level: Epic. “the European Union, not wanting to honor any country above any other, used for the background of the Euro banknotes pictures of abstract bridges that did not match any real bridge in any European country. So the Dutch went and built those exact bridges in the Netherlands.”

Julia Galef’s Slate debut!!

I am Samwise
“I suspect that the rationality community, with its “hero” focus, drives away many people who are like me in this sense. I’ve thought about walking away from it, for basically that reason.
[…]
Samwise was important. So was Frodo, of course. But Frodo needed Samwise. Heroes need sidekicks. They can function without them, but function a lot better with them. Maybe it’s true that there aren’t enough heroes trying to save the world. But there sure as hell aren’t enough sidekicks trying to help them. And there especially aren’t enough talented, competent, awesome sidekicks.
If you’re reading this post, and it resonates with you… Especially if you’re someone who has felt unappreciated and alienated for being different… I have something to tell you. You count. You. Fucking. Count. You’re needed, even if the heroes don’t realize it yet.”

The NYPD work stoppage – “the protesting police have decided to make arrests “only when they have to.” (Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously, take 10 or 15 seconds).”

jekyll-hyde-phoneLooks like trolls were a problem for the first telephone networks as well.

Speaking of – The hiss on your phone line is artificial. It’s inserted there by the phone for your benefit

Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars’ injuries: A professional weighs in. “Kevin has moved from ‘defending his house’ into sheer malice, in my opinion.”

The Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank – the one thing I wanted for xmas… ;)

Finnish Heavy Metal for kids in cute Dino costumes. Why the hell didn’t I think of this??

If Economists Wrote Christmas Cards. It’s perfect. /tear

The Oatmeal’s report on riding in the Google Self-Driving Car. I’m still holding out hope that they’ll have a highway-capable one available for the average consumer before I have to replace my current car.

The Toxoplasma of Rage. “From the human point of view, jihad and the War on Terror are opposing forces. From the memetic point of view, they’re as complementary as caterpillars and butterflies. Instead of judging, we just note that somehow we accidentally created a replicator, and replicators are going to replicate until something makes them stop.”

Disney Princesses sorted into Hogwarts houses. I think Lilo and Jasmine should be switched, but aside from that – rock on.

When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go? “Oxidizing 10 kilos of human fat requires inhaling 29 kilos of oxygen to produce 28 kilos of carbon dioxide and 11 kilos of water.”

 

Jan 302015
 

1996 retro hugoJust a reminder to anyone who’s into the Hugos – there’s only two days left to get your membership if you want to nominate 2014 works. And even if you just want to vote on the finalists and/or attend the con, rates go up after Jan 31. So now’s a good time to buy.

For those unfamiliar – the only requirement for voting & nominating for the Hugo Awards is participating in the convention. Everyone’s encouraged to go, but if all you want to do is nominate and vote, you can do that for significantly cheaper (Supporting Membership of $40). I would recommend going to the con for the full experience, it’s a lot of fun, but even if you just go for the Supporting Membership you get to be a part of SF history, which is awesome. Plus you usually get free e-copies of all the nominated works (but not always. I’m hoping that last year was an aberration).

Link here!