Happy New Year, everybody! I’ve got some great news upcoming Dresden Codak in the next couple weeks, but for now I’d like to announce a new official side gig: The Silmarillion Project. I’m essentially illustrating every chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, but also developing a comprehensive world and design that nobody else has yet to attempt. Not only am I looking to create an aesthetic unique from the Peter Jackson films (which are great, but far too ubiquitous), but I’m also trying to draw attention to the potential for racial and gender diversity in a genre that’s too often dominated by “more white dudes.” For more details on the project, check out the Q&A.
It’s something I unofficially started about a year ago, but public interest in the whole thing kind of spurred me on to continue it and really put something fun together. As it’s something I’m just doing when I have a free hour here and there, this won’t interfere with Dresden Codak updates. In fact I’m looking to double the amount of Dresden Codak updates this year, as I don’t have a massive Kickstarter to manage anymore!
2014 is the Year of Codak, we’re gonna make it happen. Stay tuned.
A *primer* on the last few issues of McNinja
Bigger time chart here. All new adventure starts Monday!
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Doctors HATE HIM!
Get the Heartland virus from this one weird tick.
Last year, virologists traced the mysterious illness of two Missouri farmers to a virus never seen before. Now, scientists have found the so-called Heartland virus in ticks. The discovery means the U.S. has another tick-borne illness on its hands — and "another reason to avoid getting bit."
Yes. Yes, yes yes yes-yesyes. Yes.
Every now and then in life you find yourself in a situation where you have to pause for a second and ask yourself: what unlikely sequence of events has led me to this point? I had one of those moments a few weeks ago, when I found myself standing in front of a television film crew, 300 feet above the city of Dubai, harnessed to the sloping roof of a giant indoor ski slope, wearing a parka in 110 degree heat.
I was there for the very first shot of a television series I’ve been working on, quietly, behind the scenes, for two years now. It’s been killing me not being able to post anything about it here or on Twitter, but as of this morning, the cat is finally out of the bag. Just a few minutes ago at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS announced a new six-part series that will air in the fall of 2014: How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson.
The show builds on many of themes in the innovation history trilogy of The Ghost Map, The Invention Of Air, and Where Good Ideas Come From, but is based on new material with a completely different structure. Each hour-long episode takes one facet of modern life that we mostly take for granted -- artificial cold, clean drinking water, the lenses in your spectacles -- and tells the 500-year story of how that innovation came into being: the hobbyists and amateurs and entrepreneurs and collaborative networks that collectively made the modern world possible. It’s also the story of the unintended consequences of these inventions: air conditioning and refrigeration didn’t just make it possible to build ski slopes in the desert; they also triggered arguably the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species -- to cities like Dubai or Phoenix that would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable.
We’re trying to weave together many historical strands in the series, but at the same time make it more dynamic and visually arresting (and funny.) There will be no historical re-enactments, no solemn voiceovers with archival photographs, no talking head interviews with historians. We’ve got some amazing visual FX (somewhat inspired by the animated video we did for Good Ideas), and we’ll have sequences all around the world in visually stunning locations. I’m the host and storyteller and tour guide; I’ll be the one descending into the sewers or staring through the telescope at the top of Mauna Kea. Or looking totally ridiculous dressed up as a 19th-century gentleman in a carriage in Savannah.
We have put together an amazing team for the series. The UK studio Nutopia (responsible for hit shows like America: The Story Of Us) is producing, led by the brilliant Jane Root, former controller of BBC2 and president of Discovery Networks. Jane’s brought in a team of other award-winning producers and directors to create the episodes. The series itself is being funded by both PBS/CPB, and the BBC, and will be distributed worldwide by BBC International. I’m co-authoring the episodes, and I’ll be writing a book to accompany the series for my longtime publisher Riverhead.
I’ll have much more information about airtimes around the world next year as we get closer to the finish line. In the meantime, I’ll be tweeting updates from the shoots at @stevenbjohnson and @howwegottonow. Stay tuned -- I think this is going to be a lot of fun...
Spider Solitaire, 100060/100
Let’s go to a hundred point scale.
60 of the points are determined by the games frame rate. One point per frame.
40 points are determined by the hours it’ll take to beat the game, one point per hour.
Replace watching tv with stressing out, then drinking and watching Giant Bomb
NEWWW DRESDEN CODAK!!!!!!
Liwdel Ewfort and wise investment!
This “Discover Hip Hop” infomercial is the best thing the Black Eyed Peas have ever done. And I can only find it on some weird video site in Portugal, so… hopefully this embed works, I guess.
Otherwise, it’s here: http://videos.sapo.pt/aA82B7KoDNZAizkgw7Ov
1) Awesome. "Did you see the guys who cosplayed as the carpet?!! That's ridiculous!"
2) Detestable. "They're issuing a C&D for that? Ridiculous."
There's widespread consensus that the best cosplayers at this year's Dragoncon were the people who dressed up in bodysuits patterned after the notoriously bizarre institutional carpet at the Atlanta Marriott hotel, one of the event's venues. But when one of the cosplayers offered to supply carpet-camo to other attendees, Couristan Inc (the company that designed the carpet) sent them a legal threat.
Of all the things to get a Cease and Desist over, of ALL the replicas I've made over the years, I've received one from Couristan Inc., designers if the Marriott Marquis Atlanta hotel carpet. Spoonflower has pulled the design, as is their right, so sorry everyone who wanted some fabric of their own!
The absurdity is palpable.
Favorite new term: "Trolleyology"
Is it ever morally acceptable to kill one person to save many? Most people agree that in some extreme circumstances this, though psychologically difficult, can be the right action to take. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, Nigel Warburton interviews David Edmonds (co-creator of the Philosophy Bites podcast) about the life and death thought experiments known as Trolley Problems. David Edmonds book about Trolley Problems Would You Kill the Fat Man? will be published in Autumn 2013 by Princeton University Press.
Physical insecurity via psychiatric insecurity
image by lk
image by lk
WHY DOES NO ONE TALK ABOUT THE QUETZALCOATLUS?!
I MEAN, JESUS F. CHRIST.
PTERODACTYLS AIN’T SHIT NEXT TO THESE MOTHER FUCKERS. QUETZALCOATLUS FUCKING ATE BABY DINOSAURS FOR BRUNCH.
JUST IMAGINE SOMETHING AS TALL AS A MOTHER FUCKING GIRAFFE
SOARING THROUGH THE SKIES AT 80 MILES PER HOUR, AND THEN SWOOPING DOWN AND FUCKING EATING YOUR FACE OFF.
The prisoner's dilemma tournament is over. There were a total of 21 entries. The winner is Margaret Sy, with a total of 39 points. 2nd and 3rd place go to rpglover64 and THE BLACK KNIGHT, with scores of 38 and 36 points respectively. There were some fairly intricate strategies in the tournament, but all three of these top scorers submitted programs that completely ignored the source code of the other player and acted randomly, with the winner having a bias towards defecting.
I represented each submission with a single letter while running the tournament. Here is a directory of the entries, along with their scores: (some people gave me a term to refer to the player by, while others gave me a term to refer to the program. I went with whatever they gave me, and if they gave me both, I put the player first and then the program)
A: rpglover64 (38)
B: Watson Ladd (27)
c: THE BLACK KNIGHT (36)
D: skepsci (24)
E: Devin Bayer (30)
F: Billy, Mimic-- (27)
G: itaibn (34)
H: CooperateBot (24)
I: Sean Nolan (28)
J: oaz (26)
K: selbram (34)
L: Alexei (25)
M: LEmma (25)
N: BloodyShrimp (34)
O: caa (32)
P: nshepperd (25)
Q: Margaret Sy (39)
R: So8res, NateBot (33)
S: Quinn (33)
T: HonoreDB (23)
U: SlappedTogetherAtTheLastMinuteBot (20)
When I was working in San Fransisco, my office was actually right across the street from the CNET building. This was before Giantbomb.com.
It wasn’t until the site was well established that I was introduced to the personalities of Whiskey Media by a co-worker. Since then, I’ve pretty much have had their videos and podcasts running on a side monitor at all hours while I work. I like having that noise as it reminded me of my times growing up and playing video games with my friends late into the night; Something adulthood hasn’t had nearly enough supply of in comparison.
That’s why I feel like I’ve lost a friend with Ryan Davis’s passing even though we’ve never so much as exchanged a word. I’ve always wanted to get together a quick sketch or a fan art for those guys as a thank you. After all, I love getting fan art myself. I had fun making the above one, it’s just a shame it took loss to get me to take the time to do it.
You’re already missed, Ryan. I hope where ever you are, it’s TUUUUUUUESDAY.
There is one curious bit though:
Pervitin remained easy to obtain even after the war, on the black market or as a prescription drug from pharmacies. Doctors didn’t hesitate to prescribe it to patients as an appetite suppressant or to improve the mood of those struggling with depression. Students, especially medical students, turned to the stimulant to help them cram through the night and finish their studies faster.
Numerous athletes found Pervitin decreased their sensitivity to pain, while simultaneously increasing performance and endurance. In 1968, boxer Joseph “Jupp” Elze, 28, failed to wake again after a knockout in the ring following some 150 blows to the head. Without methamphetamine, he would have collapsed much sooner and might not have died. Elze became Germany’s first known victim of doping. Yet the drug remained on the market.
This was probably not mainly due to increased pain tolerance. In fact, studies on the pain-killing effects of amphetamine show quite modest effects on reducing discomfort.
Being knocked out is basically where the brain has sustained so much damage that it cannot maintain sufficient arousal to support consciousness.
Amphetamine artificially increases arousal, so you’re likely able to sustain much more brain damage before passing out.
Or to put it another way, after dropping speed, the point at which you sustain enough brain damage to pass out becomes much closer to the point at which you’re likely to die.
There is also a chronic effect of amphetamine raising blood pressure, which increases the chance of stroke, so getting repeatedly punched in the head while on speed is probably not a good idea. I suspect this was the more likely route to the death of boxer Joseph “Jupp” Elze.
If you want a background on the science and history of stimulants, I never miss the opportunity to recommend the brilliant book Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines.
However, if you want a quick primer (no, not that sort) the Spiegel article is a great place to start.
Link to Spiegel article ‘The German Granddaddy of Crystal Meth’.
Artist Jeremy Mayer (previously) just completed this beautiful set of swallows using assembled typewriter parts. The pieces required Mayer to find multiple sets of identical parts adding a significant amount of time to sourcing materials, but as a happy accident the artist also discovered his design allowed for the wings to partially retract. If you’re unfamiliar with Mayer’s work it might surprise you to know that he doesn’t use solder or glue (or even objects that haven’t originated from a typewriter), but instead assembles everything using only native parts. You can follow his progress for this and other projects over on Tumblr.
Happy reading folks, but stay safe out there.
Ok, it's no NFL bad lip reading but this fake commentary by a British broadcaster of a baseball game is still pretty hilarious.
Tags: baseball sports video
He runs in to bowl...Mork and Mindy, that's going for six! No! Caught by the chap in the pajamas with the glove that makes everything easier. And they all scuttle off for a nap.
I guess I was safe because I had already spent every last dime on ST:CCG and wouldn't finish Dune for several years.