Shared posts

14 Apr 21:41

poorlydrawnhorses: (based off this post) Each mentioned death...


Sarah! More people obsessed with this!


(based off this post)

Each mentioned death in the Gentleman Bastards books marked with a post it

I counted..

20 deaths in The Lies of Locke Lamora

28 deaths in Red Seas Under Red Skies

5 deaths in The Republic of Thieves

I guess by the third book, he’d probably run out of people to kill

Edit: I missed a couple of deaths in The Rpublic of theives, so a shoutout to the orphans hung at the very beginning of the book.

Also bibliothekara also did a tally of deaths with a slightly different approach! *High fives for having a Gentleman Bastards obsession and too much free time*

16 Apr 14:08

superwholockedginger: americaninthedeerstalker: probablyfiction...





The doctor explains how the tardis is bigger on this inside (x)

Help. This actually makes sense.

Indeed, one of the most fascinating moments in Classic Who!

Time And Relative Dimensions In Space

16 Apr 04:56

merylstreeeps: Happy 55th Birthday, Emma Thompson! b. 15th...


How the hell is she 55? She is amazing!


Happy 55th Birthday, Emma Thompson!

b. 15th April 1959

"I’m not fiddling about with myself. We’re in this awful youth-driven thing now where everybody needs to look 30 at 60. The trick is to age honestly and make it look great so that everyone looks forward to it."
14 Apr 05:16

jodimeadows: Todd and Hiro heart you. #ferretsofinstagram...


Todd and Hiro heart you. #ferretsofinstagram #ferrets

31 Mar 13:13





31 Mar 18:19

Why Space?


Know what? I'd still go!

Why Space?

28 Mar 20:00

Who Are We To Argue With Chemists Advocating Meat Marinated In Beer?

by Mary Beth Quirk

Listen, when science tells you to do something, I’m not going to argue. And so if chemists says marinating meat in beer before you cook it to help kill potentially scary carcinogens, well, we’re listening. Because let’s face it, there’s a high possibility that you’ll have beer hanging around that summer barbecue (if summer ever shows its sunny face, sigh).

A team of European scientists wrote in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry that beer marinades provide a great way to cut down on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, as the science folk call’em), reports

That’s the stuff that forms on meat when it’s cooked over open flames, “mainly, by contact of dripping fat with hot embers.” Because that substance can be carcinogenic, some health experts recommend limiting exposure to PAHs.

It sounds like researchers had a somewhat tasty time with this experiment, using pork loin steaks from a grocery store and marinating some in beer baths of varying types and others without anything as a control group.

According the findings, black beer did the best out of the three, reducing net weight of total PAHs by 53%. Next in line were non-alcoholic pilsners at 25% reduction and regular pilsner at 13%.

We’re sure you’ve stopped reading at this point because “grilled meat” and “beer,” but hey, at least now you have a scientific excuse for dousing that steak in a fine brew.

Chemists Endorse Marinating Meat With Beer []

28 Mar 19:18

Teen Way Smarter Than Us: Silly Government, Just Change Your Typeface And Save $400M

by Mary Beth Quirk

Teen says Garamond could save money over Times New Roman.

Teen says Garamond could save money over Times New Roman (Enokson).

For my sixth-grade science fair project, I played Hootie and the Blowfish for some bean plants and displayed a half-hearted cardboard poster with the inconclusive results. In comparison, a now 14-year-old figured out how to save governments, including the federal one, a whole lot of money on ink, to the tune of $400 million.

When the boy was in middle school, he realized he was getting a whole lot of handouts, more than he was used to in elementary school, reports CNN. That launched him on an ink-saving mission to figure out how to save money and conserve resources, all by experimenting with different typefaces.

After charting commonly used characters used in school handouts, he printed them in four different fonts: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software, he was able to measure how much ink was used for each letter.

He then analyzed all his work and found that Garamond, with its thinner strokes, could save his school district up to $21,000 per year.

From there he was on to bigger and better things, encouraged by his teacher, and got in touch with the Journal for Emerging Investigators (JEI), a publication founded specifically for the work of middle school and high school students. Of the 200 submissions to publish work since 2011, his stood out.

“We were so impressed. We really could really see the real-world application in [his] paper,” one of the founders said of his work.

JEI’s peer reviewers prompted him to tackle the question of how the federal government could possibly save cash, just like his school district, on its $1.8 billion per year printing expenses.

Using the same methods he employed on the earlier project, he got similar results: Subsituting Garamond for Times New Roman would save $136 million per year on government documents, with an additional $234 million in savings if state governments followed suit, he concluded.

So will it be making the change? The media and public relations manager at the Government Printing Office called his work “remarkable,” but didn’t commit to a typeface switch, as the government is focused on helping the environment by moving more toward the Web.

“In 1994, we were producing 20,000 copies a day of both the Federal Register and Congressional Record. Twenty years later, we produce roughly 2,500 print copies a day,” he said.

The teen still thinks his ideas could make a big difference.

“They can’t convert everything to a digital format; not everyone is able to access information online. Some things still have to be printed,” he points out, adding, “I definitely would love to see some actual changes and I’d be happy to go as far as possible to make that change possible.”

Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions [CNN]

20 Mar 16:05



Okay, this is how I want to get to work from now on.

19 Mar 18:00

How Mapmaker’s Anti-Piracy Methods Turned An Imaginary Town Into A Real Place

by Mary Beth Quirk

I am fascinated by stories about maps!

( via NPR)

( via NPR)

When was the last time you wondered if a map’s information had been lifted from another source? Probably never, because a map is a map is a map, right? You can’t really steal information about the physical world because it’s there for the taking. But it turns out there is such a thing as piracy in mapmaking, and one company’s attempt to keep copiers away brought an imaginary town into the real world.

On Krulwich Wonders, an NPR blog from Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich, there’s the story of Algoe, N.Y., a town that never existed except in the minds of mapmakers, until one day, it did.

See, back in days of yore when companies were turning out paper maps, they’d go to all the trouble of hiring a draftsman to make the thing, check all the spellings, design it with the right colors and whatnot, and make it your own.

To keep another company, say a tourism company that might want to peddle maps to customers, from snagging your hard work and claiming it as its own, companies need to have a way to prove in court that piracy has taken place.

So mapmakers at General Drafting Co. used a little trick back in the 1930s to make sure a map of New York State would remain in the rightful hands, by including a fictitious town called “Agloe” in the middle of nowhere. The name is made up of the initials of the director and his assistant, Otto G. Lindberg an Ernest Alpers.

Fast forward a few years when a little company you may have heard of, Rand McNally, put out its own New York state map. Bet you can guess what was hanging out upstate — yup, the town that wasn’t, Agloe.

At first Lindberg and General Drafting Co. thought they had an ironclad case all tied up against Rand McNally. But then Rand’s lawyers defended Agloe by saying that designers looked up the coordinates for Agloe and found a building on that spot called the Agloe General Store.

That means Agloe had to be real, Rand McNally said, because of course, the owners named the store after something. If Agloe didn’t exist, where did the name come from?

Well, it came from a map — the store’s owners spotted Agloe on a map distributed by Esso, which had licensed it from General Drafting Co. They figured that if there’s a town called that, might as well name the store in the area after it. And that was enough to get Rand McNally off the hook, it seems.

The store eventually closed, and the building itself is gone as well. But Krulwich notes that while working on the story, a Google search of its Maps used to bring up a result for Agloe — however, it’s been pulled since the article was published.

An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not. True Story [Krulwich Wonders]

19 Mar 18:05

Neil deGrasse Tyson identifies the greatest physicist of all time—in slow motion

by whyevolutionistrue

Neil deGrasse Tyson, sounding totally stoned - I can't stop laughing!

I don’t know why I—or reader Gregory, who sent the link to me—find this video so funny, but I suspect it’s because it makes Tyson sound like he’s been smoking wacky tobacky.  What the astonomer says is right on (he’s describing his hero Newton), but the slowing down—2/3 speed, I think—makes one think that as soon as the video is over, Tyson’s going for the chocolate-chip cookies.

In fact, I find this video quite mesmerizing.

And I’m wondering which other scientists would sound this humorous in slow motion.

19 Mar 13:46

Science at Bedtime

by Chad Orzel


“Daddy? How do you make water?”

“You mean, what is it made of?”

“Yeah, what’s water made of?”

“Hydrogen and oxygen.”

“Oh. And what’s hydrogen and oxygen?”

“They’re chemical elements.”

“So, when we drink water, we’re drinking chemicals?”

“Well, yeah. In a sense, everything is chemicals. Water’s a chemical, air is made of chemicals. ”

“What about, like, wood?”


“What?!?! Is everything chemicals?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“What about lights?”

“Light isn’t a chemical, but the things that make light are made out of chemicals.”

“Yeah, like, the Sun is fire, and it makes light, but is the light fire? No, it’s not.”

“Right. Well, the Sun isn’t really fire. Actually, it’s mostly hydrogen. There’s so much of it, and it’s squeezed down tight by gravity, so it starts to stick together and make helium. When it does, it gets really hot, and makes light.”

“So, like, what made, like… space, and… everything?”

“You mean, where did it come from?”

“Yeah, where did space come from?”

“Well, scientists know that a long time ago, a little less than fourteen billion years ago, the entire universe was just a tiny, tiny little point. And then… poof it blew up, and started expanding. It’s called the Big Bang.”

“What?!?!? The Big Bang?”

“Yep. Before that, there wasn’t any space, and there wasn’t any time. Space and time started then, really, really small, and it was really hot.”

“So, like, everything was all white and light and stuff?”

“In a manner of speaking. It was super hot, though, way hotter than the inside of the Sun. It’s been cooling off and spreading out ever since.”

“Is that why there’s no air in space?”


“Yeah because everything spread out, so there’s no air in space. Except there’s air on Earth, but Earth is in space, and there’s no air in space, so why is there air on Earth?”

“Well, the Earth is really big, right? So it has a lot of gravity. And just like gravity holds you down to the ground, gravity holds the air down to the Earth. If Earth were a smaller planet, like Mercury, or the Moon, it wouldn’t be able to hold onto the air. Which is why there’s no air on the Moon.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“You know, you remember that space show we watched?”


“There was another one of those, that we have on the tv, and it’s all about how animals evolved and that sort of thing. And there will be more, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be one all about the Big Bang, and where everything came from.”


“Really. And when there is, we can watch it, and you can learn more about it. Would you like that?”


“Okay, then. Until then, though, do you think you can go to sleep?”

“I guess so.”

“Good. Do that. Sleep well, I love you.”

“I love you, too, Daddy.”


(The “featured image” up top is from Monday night after SteelyKid’s taekwondo class. They had a belt test last week (she’ll most likely be moving up to yellow), and it seems they spend the next class after a belt test doing board-breaking as a reward. The board in question is half-inch pine, a little thinner than the ones we use for the board-breaking lab in intro mechanics, so I know it’s not all that difficult to break, but she was so fired up about breaking it with a punch, it was ridiculously cute…)

17 Mar 18:15

When Does An Animal Become Extinct?

When Does An Animal Become Extinct?

14 Mar 03:23

More Fleeting Less Flagellating



no one gets out of coffee alive.

Let’s visit with Torpor one last time this week.

28 Feb 17:20



14 Feb 14:30

Autism, Representation, Success – Ada Hoffmann

by Jim C. Hines

THIS. I may read this to my son tonight. He's having such a rough time.

I don’t remember when I started following Ada Hoffman’s blog. I know it was after my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I believe I had come across some of her reviews of books & stories with autistic characters. Through Ada’s blog, I found a number of other autistic bloggers, and I’ve come away with a great deal to think about. My thanks to her for taking the time to write this guest post.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the week with a post from Katie about gender in genre.

I get a lot of praise, from certain corners, for being a “successful” autistic person. It’s weird for me. I don’t think of myself as an overachiever – frankly, most days I look at myself and only see the things I haven’t done yet. But it is increasingly clear that overachieving is what I do.

I’m only recently starting to unpack how this relates to the way I read and write autism.

There is a curious duality to the way we think of autism and success. It’s always one extreme or the other. “Cure” stories, which show up all over speculative fiction, typify this in the worst way. Here’s a line from a fictional doctor in Nancy Fulda’s awful short story “Movement”:

Without treatment, some children like Hannah develop into extraordinary individuals. They become famous, change the world, learn to integrate their abilities into the structures of society. But only a very few are that lucky. The others never learn to make friends, hold a job, or live outside of institutions.

Be amazing, say the doctors. If you’re not amazing all the time, if you slip up and let yourself look or act disabled, if you have a problem that inconveniences other people in any way – you’ll be one of them. The people with no future. The people who are only ever a burden to others.

This is ableist talk, of course. Horrifically so. “Low-functioning” autistic people get the ableism thrown directly at them, like there’s no possibility they could ever be anything else. “High-functioning” autistic people get it brandished at us from a distance. It’s the stick that’s used to drive us forward. Stop moving, and this is what we will think of you; this is what we will say about you; this is what you will be.

And “forward”, of course, means whatever the doctors want it to mean. It has a lot more to do with pretending to be NT [neurotypical] than it does with real achievement.

This is why I sometimes respond well to stories that don’t show autistic people at our best.

Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”, for instance, is a horrible character. He is one absurd stereotype piled on another. From an “objective” standpoint – from the standpoint of NTs evaluating the show in terms of things they can understand, like stereotypes and “depth”, and “realism”, and whether or not the characters are “sympathetic” – there is nothing good to say about him.

But Sheldon doesn’t have to pretend to be NT.

Sheldon is totally unapologetic about who he is. He follows his routines, pursues his own interests, and gives no fucks at all about whether his friends are annoyed. He behaves like this constantly. And the world doesn’t end. No matter how outrageous Sheldon is or how much his friends profess to hate him, at the end of the day, he’s still a part of the group. He has friends. He has a job doing something he loves and is good at. He has money. He has, in later seasons, an autistic girlfriend. He is utterly unsympathetic to the NT characters. Yet he has all the things that doctors tell us we will never have, unless we work constantly, and without fail, at being sympathetic.

To a certain kind of autistic viewer, this is powerful.

Of course, as authors, we can and should do better than Sheldon. We can create much more nuanced portrayals. We can do much more with intersectionality and with the diversity that exists within autism. We can do much more to show that there are midpoints on the spectrum of sucess: that there are, for example, autistic people who do ordinary jobs instead of being a famous physicist, or who rely on support people to a degree while retaining their autonomy, or who live on disability cheques because the job market hates them, but find fulfillment in other activities. That all of this is okay, too. That our worth as humans is not dependent on anyone’s definition of success.

We also need to remember that people who are labeled “high-functioning”, and who have this neurotic relationship with our own success, are not the only autistic people whose feelings matter. That the other end of the spectrum matters too, and that there is not really much of a divide between us at all, except in the way we are treated.

My instinct is an author is to show people like me being happy, and good, and successful – and never too weird, because that would be a stereotype, and never too unsympathetic. And, let’s be fair. I like it when I see autistic people portrayed this way. It makes me feel happy and confident. It’s a valuable thing, and I want to see more of it.

But if this kind of portrayal is where we stop, we are doing ourselves an incredible disservice.

Maybe we, as autistic people, need to be shown warts and all sometimes. Maybe what we need most desperately to see is that we can be visibly disabled, and unsuccessful, and fail to meet NT expectations in all kinds of ways, and be treated with all sorts of horrible ableism, and still be human. And still be lovable and worth something, even if no one else sees it.

I’m not sure I entirely know how to do this. Meda Kahn does it very powerfully with a non-speaking protagonist in her story “Difference of Opinion”. I’m not sure if anyone else has ever done it quite that way. I act like some sort of big autism expert online, and that’s such a lie. There is a ton of this I still haven’t figured out, and I’m still looking and learning, like anyone.

Ada Hoffmann is a Canadian author with Asperger syndrome who blogs about autism in speculative fiction.

13 Feb 22:49

A snapshot of institutional lack of diversity in life sciences, by way of a promotional email

by Xeni Jardin
An anonymous Boing Boing reader says, "Here's an email that academic publishing company Elsevier is sending around to advertise to scientists. Notice anything about the pictures of scientists they chose?"

Also spotted at @hormiga's Twitter, with context:

@hormiga @TomReller Here's the actual email for context.

— Brian O'Meara (@omearabrian) February 13, 2014

And a response from Elsevier, which does not help.

The thinking was promoting our nobel winners, which is quite common. Too bad they all happen to be men. Hope that changes.

— Tom Reller, Elsevier (@TomReller) February 13, 2014

@hormiga You want me to apologize for the fact that more women don't win nobel prizes? And how exactly should I fix that today?

— Tom Reller, Elsevier (@TomReller) February 13, 2014


12 Feb 14:00

At Least She's Strong-Willed

At Least She's Strong-Willed

Submitted by: Unknown

13 Jan 20:16

Cat confession contest

by whyevolutionistrue

I want to remind readers of the Cat Confession Contest, which is easy and fun to enter. One winner will receive an autographed copy of WEIT, emblazoned with a drawing of their own personal cat, as well as the chance to have their cat’s picture appear on this website for the delectation of thousands (I’ll post several runners-up, too).

To remind you what to do, here are three examples that I haven’t shown before (not from our readers):




(Now that’s a funny-looking cat!)

Go here to see other examples of cat confessions, and send yours to me via email (easily obtained by Googling; if you don’t know it, ask in the comments readers will answer). All you must do is take a picture of your moggie along with a written “confession” of something bad it has done. Note: the “bad thing” must be true!

Remember, cats are not repentant, so the confession should not express contrition. On the contrary: cats are proud of their misdeeds.

Deadline: two weeks—Jan. 26 by 5 p.m. Chicago time. For the contest to be valid, there must be at least ten entries. I have only three.

20 Dec 08:00

strip for December / 20 / 2013 - You know what goes great with coffee??


mmmm.... coffee and sleeping....

18 Dec 08:00

strip for December / 18 / 2013 - Prayer for a new space race

27 Dec 14:00

This Cat Climber Definitely Deserves a 1up

This Cat Climber Definitely Deserves a 1up

Submitted by: Unknown

13 Nov 08:00

strip for November / 13 / 2013 - Greeting Cards for the Internet Age



23 Oct 07:00

strip for October / 23 / 2013 - Finding Coffee's Golden Path


Coffee loves me!!

11 Oct 07:00

strip for October / 11 / 2013 - The Ritual

09 Nov 17:55

torbooks: Adorable.

by kllk070911



18 Nov 12:15

Cuddling Up For A Nap With Your Cat


You know, though, once you're asleep, does it really matter?

Cuddling Up For A Nap With Your Cat

15 Nov 22:00

Catzilla is on the Prowl

10 Nov 20:00

What a Purrfect way to Start Your Morning


Andy has experienced this.

What a Purrfect way to Start Your Morning

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: Cats , bed , surprise , morning , wife
19 Nov 00:34

Trigger the cat when asked to do mental math.


I don't do math in public!

Trigger the cat when asked to do mental math.