Tag Archives: on popular media/culture

Firefly Asian Dream Cast

"For a universe that's supposed to be half Chinese, Firefly sure doesn't have any Asians."

Part of xkcd comic http://xkcd.com/561/. CC-BY-NC.

I love Firefly.

It’s is a brilliant show, and one of the parts I love most is worldbuilding that mixes the U.S. and China as the dominant cultures in a far-flung space-faring future.  The characters are all fluent in Chinese, wear Chinese-inspired clothing, eat with chopsticks, and wear white to funerals.

Therefore, the fact that the show has no Asian actors in leading roles is a very troubling and uncomfortable thing.  It’s hard enough for Asian actors to succeed in Hollywood; it’s even more depressing when a work of media steals the shiny bits of our culture and then gives no opportunities to Asian-American actors.

“Maybe there weren’t any Asian actors up to the job,” people say, every time this comes up.

Bullshit, says I.

Don’t get me wrong — I adore Firefly’s cast.  But . . . just for fun, behold my Asian Dream Cast!  The rules were as follows:

  1. The actors had to be of East Asian descent and work in the U.S.,
  2. The actors had to be actively doing television (as opposed to purely film actors),
  3. As much as possible (just for my sake), I wanted actors I was familiar with,
  4. To avoid driving myself crazy, I did this as if we were casting in 2014, rather than trying to figure out how old people were ten years ago.  Scanning the list, it looks like most of these actors could have played the same roles I’ve cast them in in 2002 anyway, and the ones who couldn’t would have been easy to cast with actors currently ten years older than the role (as noted below, River would have been far easier to cast older, and I had a list as long as my arm of possibilities for Kaylee).

I imposed rules #1 and #2 because I wanted to prove that it is just not true that there isn’t a fantastic slate of talented East Asian-descent actors doing American television.  #3 was just because it’s more fun for me if I’m familiar with the actors I’m talking about!  (#3 was the most limiting.  I’m famous among my friends for not having seen enough movies and never knowing who any of the actors are.)

Now, drum roll, please . . .

Firefly East Asian Dream Cast

(cut because of lots of video embeds)

Continue reading

A Call to Stop Politicizing People’s Existence

There’s been this thing happening online the past few days.

First, Alex Dally MacFarlane wrote a column for Tor exhorting SFF authors to stop thinking of binary gender as the default.

Then this happened.

There’s been a lot of chatter all over the Internets since, of course.  Too much for me to address, even if I wanted to engage with it all.  But there’s one thing I do want to speak up about: I’m downright sick of people labeling the inclusion of PoC, women, genderqueer, or other QUILTBAG people as a political agenda.  As leftist.  As “liberal.”

People with non-binary genders aren’t an agenda. They exist. They’re reality. Same with people of nonwhite races and non-Western ethnicities and queer orientations. I don’t consider my existence to be part of some “liberal agenda”—in fact, my personal political ideology might be considered quite conservative in many respects, but my existence is neither conservative nor liberal.  And neither is anyone else’s.

(Goddammit, now I’m tempted to write some excessively message-heavy CONSERVATIVE science fiction in which all the characters are gun nut libertarians but also just happen to be non-binary gendered or PoC or women or queer, because, dammit, we exist.)

Like MacFarlane, I want an end to defaults. I want to read fiction where diversity is just part of the landscape, where there doesn’t have to be a “story reason,” where people just are different races/gender identities/orientations because people in the real world just are. We don’t have “plot reasons” in our lives that make us nonwhite or QUILTBAG or whatever—why is it somehow a “liberal agenda” if we argue that this reality should be reflected in fiction?

I don’t see why advocating a lack of default is so controversial.  After all, fiction doesn’t even come close to reflecting reality—come talk to me about “political agendas” when half of SFF main characters are women and we regularly get 60-percent-Asian casts in humanity-to-the-stars space operas.  Come talk to me when I see as many gay people in media as I interact with in daily life.

And yeah, I think it would be great if science fiction worldbuilding didn’t automatically assume two genders, if authors made the decision to invent binary-gender worlds rather than defaulting to them.  If authors regularly considered making characters genderqueer for no reason at all even if they ultimately decided against it, in the same way they might consider what hair color to choose.

SFF has always identified itself as a genre where anything is possible.  Yet as a genre, we so often automatically fall into assuming narrow representations of humanity before we even begin writing.  I would like to see SFF be a proper superset: to encompass all of humanity, and go beyond.

But first, for the love of God, can we stop calling the existence of actual, real-life people a political agenda?

It’s Okay, He Wasn’t a Main Character. (Or White.)

So I watched the pilot episode of Killer Women, and I’ll probably start watching the show.  (This doesn’t say much, as I have a very low bar for cop and lawyer shows, but yeah, it’s a fun show so far.)

Buuuuuut there’s one thing about the pilot that really annoyed me . . .

(spoilers follow)

Tricia Helfer, aka Molly Parker (whom I’ll hereafter refer to as Six) is talking to her DEA love interest and trying to convince him to go into Mexico after a mother and child who were kidnapped by a drug cartel.  DEA love interest at first says no, then, after Six’s intense, er, persuasion, he says okay, but it’ll just be the two of them, and he’ll only use one of his Mexican contacts.  “We’ll probably die,” he warns her as he walks off.

(We know already that they’re not gonna die.  Right?  Right.)

So they infiltrate Mexico along with DEA LI’s one Mexican contact, who gets them in.  Naturally, there’s a shootout as they try to get the mother and little girl out.

Naturally, LI’s Mexican contact gets shot and killed in the shootout and our two main characters get away.

(And by the way, both our main characters are attractive and white.  Just to add to the picturesque contrast here.)

Six and her LI get out of Mexico with the female plot devices kidnap victims and have heroically saved the day.  In the final scene, they’re all smiling and relieved and all is wonderful because the daring and break-the-rules Texas Ranger Six has brazenly rescued her plot devices and she and the LI have emerged unscathed as heroes.  There’s a palpable sense of relief and heroism and all-American patriotism and the good guys winning the day.

Nothing is ever said of the poor Mexican dude whose bullet-riddled body was left in the drug cartel’s compound.

Which.  Okay.  Seriously?

They got LI’s contact killed—they got someone killed—and the narrative’s going to play that as an Awesomesauce Win, no second thoughts, not even a drunken toast in his name in the bar afterwards?  Unless the writers are trying to frame their MCs as having some level of sociopathy or dissociation from other people’s deaths, there’s something seriously wrong with that in a narrative.  If you want your heroes to be, y’know, heroic, playing off the death of someone who helps them as unimportant, as something that does not impinge an unsullied victory, is a rather poor writing decision.

The Reason Escapist Time Travel Doesn’t Star Women Is That We Haven’t Written It Yet

In Anna Smith’s recent article for The Guardian, she asks, “Why Can’t Women Time Travel?” and points out the paucity of female protagonists in time travel capers.  From Back to the Future to The Time Traveler’s Wife, the time travel sub-genre of science fiction has been one trail-blazed mainly by men.

Charlie Stross then wrote a response, the thesis of which is that because of the privilege necessary to be a “time tourist,” the time travel sub-genre is inherently sexist:

The time travel story is a tale of tourism in the classical sense: an activity of the privileged, making spectacle of the past (and, occasionally, the Wellsian future). And women make poor time travelers because in the foreign countries of the past they lack the agency conferred by privilege.

(bold in the original)

Stross’s piece goes on to make the following points:

  1. People seek out “time tourism” media for escapism, and women make poor protagonists for these tales because there would be too much sexism in the past for them (and therefore the reader who is identifying with them) to have a good time;
  2. When one writes a time travel book (or film), one MUST address the sexism in past times, which necessarily makes for “grim reading” if one insists on having a female protagonist;
  3. A male time traveler can happily explore all of time as an epic adventure, whereas a female time traveler is doomed unless she’s packing futuristic weaponry (or is somehow otherwise conferred extra power).  And that destroys the reader’s ability to relate to her.

I wholeheartedly reject every one of these notions.

For the record, I think Stross was trying to make a very good point about our romanticization of the past and the privilege inherent in it.  His piece isn’t meant to be sexist—it’s meant to critique the sexism he sees in a particular genre.  My understanding of what he wrote is that he believes that the strictures of the “time tourism” sub-genre mean it must be led by men, and that the entire existence of the sub-genre is a problematic thing.

As someone who rather adores “time tourism” stories, as he calls them, and would like to see more women star in them, I quite disagree.

Sure, I certainly see Stross’s point that romanticization of the past is in inherent in escapist time travel.  And I would be willing to entertain the consideration that this is both endemic and problematic to the sub-genre—is escapist entertainment a social ill when it puts a shiny veneer across humanity’s history?  Personally, I would argue that it is no more inherently problematic than being entertained by the violence in a cheesy action movie—in both cases, a broader social consciousness of the differences with the real world is important, but I would not condemn such entertainment as (necessarily) socially irresponsible.  I do, however, acknowledge that these questions make for interesting academic discussion.

But if we accept the possible entertainment value of historical romanticization, it makes utterly no sense to me why this means the genre must be sexist!  That would be like saying cheesy action movies are violence for entertainment and therefore must have poor female representation—the existence of violence in action films is an entirely separate criticism from the propensity of the genre to have male leads, and should not be conflated in criticism.  After all, there are plenty of women who enjoy escapist action, and plenty of people of all genders who will pay good money to see cheesy action movies starring women bustin’ things up.  The answer to the male domination among action heroes is to make more buddy action comedies starring women, not to condemn the entire genre as a sexist lost cause.

Similarly, the criticism that “time tourism” presents a romanticized notion of history may be a valid one, but in no way means that the protagonists must all be men.  And I very much dislike the argument, because it dismisses the idea that women can perfectly well star in escapist time travel, just as women can perfectly well star in terrible action flicks.  In fact, just as feminism will make a great stride when women are allowed to be any type of character, I think sexism will take a great hit when women are allowed to be leads in any genre, no matter how cheesy, terribly-written, or historically inaccurate.

And it’s not hard to do this.  To further the comparison, I would say the larger-than-life qualities of action films makes it easier to make the leads any gender, and similarly, I think the very romanticization Stross objects to would allow time travel stories to be happily gender-equal.  The stumbling block isn’t that the sub-genre has condemned itself to sexism: it’s instead the same pervasive institutional sexism that defaults all our SFF protagonists toward the male end of the spectrum, and it has a very easy solution, namely, we need to write more female leads into escapist time travel stories.

And there’s no reason in the world why we can’t.  Consider the following:

Continue reading

Visibility Matters: Why POC In Books Must Be *Described* As POC

There’s this thing some people say when folks complain about a lack of diversity in literature—they claim that if characters are not described, then any racism is in the mind of the reader.  That we shouldn’t complain, because it’s our own fault if we imagine the characters as white.

People have thrown this argument out during pretty much every sufficiently long discussion of race in fiction that I’ve had, from when I criticized the lack of diversity in Redshirts or The Dresden Files to when I’ve spoken about it more generally.  It’s almost a sure bet.  In fact, someone brought it up on Twitter today in one of the discussions sparked by the excellent #DiversityInSFF hashtag.

Whenever people use this argument, they treat it as clever, a slick turnaround—”it’s not the author who’s racist, it’s YOU!  You’re the one who’s imagining everyone as white!”  And I want to put my head through a wall, because there is so much wrong with this argument I can’t even.

First of all, let’s talk about why diversity in media is important.  Part of it is so that people, particularly young children, can see characters who look like them in heroic roles—but even supposing children in marginalized demographics haven’t been inculcated enough into the cult of our dominant media to imagine undescribed characters as looking like them (and I dare you to tell me it’s their fault if they don’t; I dare you), that is not the only reason for including POC in literature.

Media is important.  Books are important.  What we read, imagine, absorb—this is culture in its most potent form, and it affects us.  It shapes our perceptions, it pushes at our worldviews.  Can anyone honestly tell me the written word has no power?

When you put something out into the world, when you write a book and you offer it for people to read, you are impacting the culture.

If your book erases the existence of POC in favor of a white land of white heroes, what impact are you having?

If instead your book omits description and the vast majority of your audience defaults to imagining your characters as white anyway—which they will—the difference is academic.  The images in your readers’ minds are the same as if you specified your characters’ monochrome paleness.  Your impact on culture is the same.  And make no mistake, it is an impact.  White characters (or undescribed characters who default to white) are a choice, just as POC characters are a choice, and you are pushing the culture in one particular direction, just as a more colorful cast would push it in another.

But you know what?  There’s another very good reason the “it’s the reader’s fault!” argument is just ridiculously silly, and that’s that it DOESN’T WORK.

You know how I know?  I tried it. I thought, yeah, that argument is bunk, but there might be something to a tweaked version of it—that it might be be a Good Thing if I challenged my own default perceptions, if I made an additional conscious effort to imagine sparsely-described characters with more melanin in their skin, even in books that didn’t take place in strongly minority environments.[1]

And what happened?  I got smacked in the face for it, every single time.  Because somewhere along the way, two chapters or twenty chapters or whatever later, the author would make a reference to the character’s milky skin, to paleness, to a reaction to the appearance of a darker-skinned character . . . and it was so totally clear that this character was meant to be white all along.  That I had been meant to imagine the character as white.  That the author had assumed I had been doing so.[2]

The cognitive dissonance started ruining the reading experience.  Books forced me to white as the default perception.  And they’re doing it to everyone who isn’t trying such an experiment as well, even when we don’t realize it consciously, because any deviation from this happy equilibrium of white-as-the-default is so inevitably punished by the narratives when one so much as pokes one’s nose outside it.

I still try quite hard to imagine more characters of color where I can, because I’m stubborn, and I think it’s valuable for me to do it.  The result of this is that I’ve found myself more and more drawn to authors of color and books with minority milieux,[3] because then I can happily imagine every undescribed character as a POC and not be knocked down a few chapters later by the author’s assumption that I didn’t.

  1. When reading books with a dominant culture that’s nonwhite, this works out just fine, but that’s not what I’m addressing here.
  2. The most hilariously extreme example of this—though with sex rather than race—was when I was reading War of the Worlds, and, perhaps overly influenced by Warehouse 13, decided to imagine the first-person narrator as a woman.  I knew that wasn’t going to be what was intended, but I thought I’d see if I could read the text that way.  I remained undeterred when she spoke of her wife (and hey, Warehouse 13’s female H.G. Wells is bisexual anyway, so it fit!), or of men’s clothing, but was only a few chapters in when the narrator referred to himself as a man.  Shot down.  Now, before anyone jumps up and says, of course you can’t do that with H.G. Wells as he’s ancient!, the vast majority of the books I tried this experiment with were much more modern.  This was just the funniest example.
  3. Which I try to read more and more of anyway.

“I’m a Doctor, not a Mrs!” — genderbent McCoy

Why is it that I can watch TV in the twenty-first century and still see female PhDs and medical doctors not addressed as “Dr?”

My friend used to make fun of me while we watched The West Wing, because every time the other characters addressed Abbey as “Mrs. Bartlet,” I would mutter, “Doctor.”  (To be fair, they did address this later—it turned out the campaign had decided to call her “Mrs.” for “likeability” reasons.[1]  But that was two seasons in, and gosh it pissed me right off, especially considering that even internally they all still called her “Mrs.”  Can I just say how happy I am that the news media always introduces Joe Biden and his wife as “Vice President and Doctor Biden?”)

But now I’m watching The Newsroom, which, awesome show, but dammit if Sorkin isn’t doing it again.  They constantly repeat on the show that Olivia Munn’s character has two PhDs—and yet she’s still somehow always “Miss Sabbith.”  WHAT.

(mild Newsroom spoilers below)

In fact, to add injury to insult, when her boss is tearing into her after she made a bad mistake, he calls her “girl”—to which she retorts, quite rightly, “Don’t call me girl, sir!”  Well, he keeps doing it until the end of the episode (I think it’s supposed to be funny), at which time he lets her out of the doghouse with the peace offering of calling her “Miss Sabbith” instead.

EXCUSE ME, IT’S DOCTOR SABBITH.

But it’s not just Aaron Sorkin (although Lord help me, and I do think The Newsroom is brilliant, but I’m starting to see patterns in how he writes his female characters . . . well, all his characters, but particularly the female ones).  It’s other shows as well.  For instance, The Big Bang Theory sends the main characters to a conference, and all of them have their names on name placards.  The male PhDs all have “Dr.” in front of their names . . . but neither of the women do.  Now, we find out later that one of them hadn’t received her PhD quite yet at this point, but we also find out at the same time that the other one had.  So WTF, Big Bang Theory?  If the writers just weren’t sure which of the women had graduated yet, why did they have to put “Dr.” on anyone’s nameplate?

Hey, here’s another one.  I’m not a regular follower of NCIS, but I seem to recall Abby Sciuto also has a PhD.  And yet whenever she’s referenced by title, it’s “Ms. Sciuto” . . . unlike (male) Dr. Mallard.

To be sure, most shows don’t do this.  Can you imagine Dr. Brennan, Dr. Hunt, Dr. Cuddy, Dr. Crusher, or Dr. Fraiser being addressed by anything other than their rightful professional titles?  Not a chance, right?  But then why are there shows where this happens?  What does it say that I was ecstatic to see that Dr. Blake on Eureka was never deprived her title, given that (white, male, non-PhD) Carter was the clear lead?[2]  And why am I able to name four modern shows off the top of my head in which this has actively bothered me?

  1. Because of course people prefer a woman to be defined by her relationship to her husband rather than by her own accomplishments, am I right?
  2. Eureka was wonderful for not depriving its female characters of their doctorates, no matter how young and adorable they were.

Links and Such Like

Freedom of Information, Intellectual Property, and Such Like

What It’s Like to Get a National Security Letter, from one of the only people in the country able to talk about it: “Again, they advised me to not even ask my board whether or not I can do this. So this is, in some sense, really putting myself at risk personally. Here I am, trying to make a decision as to whether or not we should sue the United States government over a secret demand for information, on my own.”

Buffy vs. Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate: It’s fair use.  Everyone agrees it’s fair use.  Lionsgate even agreed it was fair use . . . initially.  But they’ve still managed to make this remix artist’s life an exhausting mash of court cases.  This is a very good example of how broken copyright law is in the United States.

Science, Math, and Such Like

Why the Internet should STOP saying dolphins rape each other.  It’s scientifically incorrect and trivializes rape.  Excellent read.

Crazy Living Rock.  Go home, Evolution, you’re drunk.

The caterpillar with a stack of heads.  Seriously, Evolution, go home.  And don’t drive.

A scientific paper published as a 38-stanza poem.

What happens when the media and blogosphere start picking up an academic article. Fascinating.

The math on whether Superman could punch someone into space.

And Superman’s ability to inflict people with prosopagnosia.  Since I’m faceblind myself, I got a kick out of this.

A Category 5 Kaiju would only need to eat 18 humans per day.  The math on Kaiju biology!

More math on Pacific Rim: How can they helicopter-lift the GIANT ROBOTS?  I love math on popular media!

A researcher tastes one-billion-year-old water.  For science.

The fallacious ways people weigh medical risk.

HPV rates have dropped by more than half thanks to the vaccine.  FUCK YEAH SCIENCE.

Writing, Blogging, and Such Like

The stats on how much of an article people are likely to read online.  I am totally guilty of most of this, except for the inverse relationship between reading and sharing—generally the articles I share are the ones I was interested enough in to read all the way through!

Why typing two spaces after a period is WRONG.  (Unfortunately, I cannot break myself of the habit, though Twitter is having a good go at it.)

Don’t tell the audience what you’re about to tell them.  Just tell them.

 Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, and Such Like

A tumblr of medieval European art showing that POC, y’know, existed there.  So quit it with the “historical accuracy!” argument.

Fat Nutritionist on beauty as a mask.  Fascinating, thought-provoking, wonderful read.

Real Women Have Carbon-Based Molecules.  Strikes back at the idea that “real women” need to look any particular way.

The Bad Touch.  About the Kickstarter thing.

A 17-year-old girl started a feminist society at school.  What happened next will make you sick.  These girls are high schoolers.

Twitter Trolls Turn Anime Convention Into “Paranoid Nightmare.”  My god . . . the hashtag “#gropecrew” . . . TRIGGER WARNINGS LOTS AND LOTS OF TRIGGER WARNINGS.

Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son.

 I Have Met George Zimmerman.  One of the many, many moving responses to the Zimmerman verdict.

Game On Ladies: A man discovers what female gamers face when he plays as his wife’s character.

Thoughts on the Movie “The Heat”

What you should know about me first: Action comedies rock my socks.  As long as there’s just enough plot to hang the banter and gunfights on, I am there with my popcorn.

And The Heat?  The Heat delivered like no other action comedy has in years.  Rock.  On.

Of course, I also dug it because it’s a buddy cop comedy starring two women.  How often does that happen?  It’s so rare I can’t think of another one ever, yet I can think of plenty starring two dudes.  So, was this movie Oscar material?  No, but it wasn’t trying to be.  Was it a solid addition to the action comedy genre?  Hell yeah!  And I think it’s great that women can be the madcap, wild, brawn-before-brain action stars too—just like I want to see Asian men headline dumb romantic comedies.

More thoughts (some spoilers):

Continue reading

Final Thoughts on the SFWA Thing, and Additional Linkspam

Final Thoughts on the SFWA Thing, in the Form of Other People’s Thoughts

For those who are getting news through my blog, Scalzi apologized in his position as president and editor Jean Rabe resigned.  That’s the latest official news I know of.  While talking about official news, however, I would like to note that SFWA does have an official statement on sexual harassment that was in effect when this article was published.

Jim Hines has a great list of links for those interested, but I shall make particular note of:

Ann Aguirre’s for how much sexism and misogyny are not dead (horrifying);

Mary Robinette Kowal’s for a heartbreaking perspective from someone to whom SFWA means a great deal;

Foz Meadows’ for a breakdown of why the column is so problematic (warning for language);

Laura Resnick, Mike Resnick’s daughter, doesn’t respond to the issue in particular but talks about sexism in SFF;

and Radish Reviews, the wonderful purveyor of the original scans, has a great roundup / summation, including links to the sexist reaction of a former SFWA president and a critique of Scalzi’s apology in the first comment.

Personally, I’m still waiting and seeing.  I want to see what SFWA does to come back from this going forward.

Writing/Publishing/Intellectual Property

Mark Twain’s hilarious, devastating critique of castigation of James Fenimore Cooper’s “Deerslayer.”  Oh, how I hated “Deerslayer;” I love that Twain agrees! Quote: “Now I feel sure, deep down in my heart, that Cooper wrote about the poorest English that exists in our language, and that the English of ‘Deerslayer’ is the very worst that even Cooper ever wrote.”  And people say negative reviews shouldn’t be written with entertainment in mind!

Trademarks.  Fascinating article on what they’re meant to do and how they work, legally.

Tor.com on their experience going DRM-free.  “As it is, we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year.”  What!  Shocking! </sarcasm>

Tobias Buckell on why 90 percent of the “knowledge” and advice about self-publishing is crap (with graphs!).

Gender/Race/QUILTBAG

We Have Always Fought: Kameron Hurley brilliantly challenges the long-held ideas about women throughout history.  This is the post that has inspired women all over the net to pop up calling themselves “llamas.”  Highly, highly recommended.

Liz Bourke, one of my favorite people on the entire Internet, wrote a follow-up to an article I had previously linked to (Sophia McDougall’s The Rape of James Bond) that I somehow missed.  She goes into even more depth about the statistics regarding male rape and the strange double standard in fiction that the rape of women is “necessary because REALISM” and the rape of men is . . . nonexistent.  (She has numbers.  Lots and lots of numbers.)

The Hawkeye Initiative succeeds in real life!  A touching story of challenging sexism in the workplace through humor.

Television Writing Staffs Are Still Overwhelmingly White and Male, Surprise!

Hollywood is remaking The Crow, and they want to cast a white guy.  Fucking Hollywood.

What Kind of Asian Are You?  *snerk*  Hilarious video.

The iNotRacist App!  Best.  Satire.  Ever.  (video)

For more satire: Sexual Abuse in the White Community

It’s Time to Retire “Boob Plate” Armor.  Because It Would Kill You.  (Tor.com)

Strong is the New Skinny.  Great article about pushing for healthier aesthetic expectations for women.

Wikipedia’s sexist categorization.

People are racist about a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple.  Every time I decide to have faith in humanity . . .

A former Navy Seal came out as transgender.

Kelly Sue DeConnick on the crap she goes through as a female comics writer.  More of the same, folks.  More of the same.  Still worth a read.

Nerdy/Scientific/Environmental/Etc.

We don’t have a twin primes proof yet, but there’s a new proof that infinitely many pairs of primes come within 70,000,000 numbers of each other.  That’s AWESOME.  Seriously.  We’ve hit finiteness!  And apparently since the publication of the proof a couple months ago, the bound has been reduced to 5 million.  Closer and closer!

If you heard about the poachers who stole 10 percent of an entire tortoise species, here’s a sobering follow-up.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!  Scientifically Accurate Ninja Turtles (video) and Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man (video)NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!

Stunning graphical representation of why sharks should be more afraid of you than you are of them.

I feel like reading about obscure neurological conditions like this one should not be so fascinating.

Video of someone solving three Rubik’s cubes in six minutes . . . while juggling them.

And a few more links on Star Trek: Into Darkness, because I can:

Some hilarity from io9 that pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie.

All the plotholes and questions the movie failed to address.  Spoiler: There are a lot.

Could Benedict Cumberbatch really crush a skull with his bare hands?

The first Star Trek conventions were female-dominated.  I’m just going to leave this here.

Arrow: Your Failure At Elementary School Science Makes Me Want to Cry

Oh, Arrow.  You’re a superhero story with great action scenes; you had such a low bar for me to like you.  And yet.

I stopped watching Arrow (aka the Privileged White Dude Is Always Right show) once I kicked the typhus—the race!fail and gender!fail were too much—but I’m sick again this week (this time with a bad cold, not typhus, though I feel I already paid my illness dues for the year so NOT FAIR), and I poked my head back into Arrow.  I . . . don’t know why I did this.

(rant below contains a minor spoiler for dialogue from Arrow)

Continue reading