Dragonslorefury posted this wonderful D10 RPG-player's engagement ring to DeviantArt, along with these notes:
My Engagement Ring (via Geekologie)
My engagement ring, designed by myself and a reality thanks to my amazing jeweller father. Yes that is a D10 (10 sided dice for those not used to the lingo XP), me and my partner are quite frequent roleplayers and I'm a huuuge geek and odd-ball. I wanted my ring to be one-of-a-kind and personal to me any my amazing finace so I eventually came up with this idea. If I want the dice can also be removed and replaced with a stone of my choice ^_^ Happy to be engaged to my amazing partner and to have my awesome engagement ring. <3
My co-hosts are Adrian Tomine, author of New York Stories, and Joshua Glenn, co-author of Unbored.
Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.
My co-hosts for this episode:
Joshua Glenn, a Boston-based writer, publisher, and semiotician. He is co-author of Significant Objects, published by Fantagraphics, and Unbored, the kids’ field guide to serious fun coming from Bloomsbury this fall. He edits the website HiLobrow, which as HiLoBooks is now publishing classics -- by Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others -- from what he calls science fiction’s Radium Age.
Adrian Tomine, a cartoonist and illustrator best known for his long running comic book series Optic Nerve and his stunning New Yorker covers. This month, publisher Drawn & Quarterly is releasing New York Drawings, a decade of covers, comics, illustrations, and sketches from the pages of New Yorker and beyond.
In this episode, we talked about:
New York Drawings, by Adrian Tomine. This beautiful coffee table book published by Drawn & Quarterly includes every illustration Adrian has done for The New Yorker.
Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Joshua Glenn. I wrote the introduction to Unbored, and it is the coolest kids' activity book I've ever seen. It's packed with how-to projects, activities, games, and other instructions for leading a varied and fulfilling life.
Building Stories, by Chris Ware. Adrian: "This is the project Chris Ware has been working on for 10 years… it's a giant box, almost like a board game. You open it up and there's a big stack of booklets and books of different sizes… it's just an amazing package altogether."
The Hive, by Charles Burns. Adrian: "It's the second part of a series of his Tintin-influenced graphic novels and it's very much Charles Burns. It's quite a departure from his previous book, Black Hole. It's just gorgeous work as always and it's in color, too."
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy. Glenn: "A very cartoony science-fiction themed movie starring Jane Fonda, directed by Roger Vadim that was based on a French comic book. It's about a woman exploring her sexual power in a metaphorical way, having experiences as she goes around the galaxy."
And much more!
Read the rest
Australian PM Julia Gillard rose in Parliament to address a motion from the leader of the opposition Tony Abbott to dismiss the Speaker of the House for sending sexist text messages. She proceeded to unload on the smarmy shitheel opposite her for fifteen solid minutes, setting out his record of awful, misogynist garbage. As The Mary Sue's Rebecca Pahle says:
Gillard didn’t take too kindly to the hypocrisy of Abbott jumping on someone else’s sexism for his own political gain, and boy did she let him know it, calling him on his own attitude toward abortion, women in government, and more for a good quarter-hour while he sat frozen in the crosshairs.
It’s a thing of beauty. Can we get her to come and talk to some of our politicians in the U.S., please?
For the second time in 2012, a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has connected with the International Space Station. ISS expedition 33 crew members Akihiko Hoshide and Sunita Williams grappled Dragon and attached it to the station, completing a critical stage of the SpaceX CRS-1 cargo resupply mission.
Richard Bartholomew maintains a thoughtful, well-informed British site about religion and religious extremists, as well as hate groups. His site was taken down last night, apparently in response to a US DMCA copyright complaint from Charlie Flowers, who had allegedly posted remarks about a debate between the English Defence League (a UK rightwing extremist group) and the Muslim Debate Initiative, and concluded them with "a legal notice forbidding anyone from 'reproducing' what he had written." According to Bartholomew, Flowers used this as the basis for a DMCA complain to Bartholomew's ISP, objecting to a 16-word quotation." Bartholomew writes,
If we take seriously Flowers' claim that no-one should be allowed to quote (or even to report indirectly) what he has written, then there isn't much hope for the future of any kind of discussion or reportage on the internet. Apparently, the only course of action that my webhost will accept is a "counter notice” from me, which has to contain my address and which will then be passed on to Flowers. If Flowers does not respond to that within two weeks, then the disputed content can be restored. My host is interested only in "liability”, not in the merits or otherwise of the complaint. Further, the DMCA process is concerned only with establishing ownership; it does not appear to take account of fair usage or the public interest.
Of course, if Flowers really thought he had a case, he'd be suing me personally for copyright infringement in the UK – where we both live – rather than misusing an American law to go after my webhost. It's a typically desperate and unprincipled act by a thug, and it makes a mockery of his free speech pose in relation to the EDL/MDI debate. Al Andalusi ought to be embarrassed by him.
The latest episode of PBS Digital Studios’ weekly Web series Idea Channel suggests that table top fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons, despite their repeated skewering throughout pop culture, can actually help make a person more confident and successful. Dungeons & Dragons players often have to endure a certain amount of stereotyping and even some mockery at the hands of non-players. However, despite the derisions of dismissive outsiders, these games offer players a chance to learn problem solving, visualization, interaction, organization, people management -- all skills attributed to larger-world success. Host Mike Rugnetta, an admitted player himself, explores how D&D and related games help people learn methods for collaboration that easily translate to other aspects of daily life.
Chris Schmidt, a senior producer with the PBS program NOVA scienceNOW, responds to the GOP talking-point that the public broadcasting system should no longer receive federal funds. The network currently receives about 17% of its funding from the government.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney even name-checked Big Bird during a presidential debate, and proposed that the lovable yellow fellow be sacked.
Writes Schmidt, "Considering that only about $1.35 per year of our tax dollars goes to fund PBS which allows PBS to avoid pandering to commercial interests -- against the $40, $80 or $120 dollars per month that most cable subscribers pay in order to be allowed to watch commercials -- I'd say us taxpayers are getting a hell of a bargain."
David Siegel, the billionaire CEO of the highly profitable Florida-based Westgate Resorts timeshare company, has sent a letter to all his employees implying that they'll all get fired if Obama is elected. Concerning Mr Siegel, ThinkProgress notes "Siegel earned national notoriety this year for his quest to build the biggest house in America, 'a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles.'"
As most of you know our company, Westgate Resorts, has continued to succeed in spite of a very dismal economy. There is no question that the economy has changed for the worse and we have not seen any improvement over the past four years. In spite of all of the challenges we have faced, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration. Of course, as your employer, I can’t tell you whom to vote for, and I certainly wouldn’t interfere with your right to vote for whomever you choose. In fact, I encourage you to vote for whomever you think will serve your interests the best.
However, let me share a few facts that might help you decide what is in your best interest.
So where am I going with all this? It’s quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.
Last night, my nine-year-old daughter Jane and I watched an episode of our favorite cartoon together: Gravity Falls. (See Jane's interview with the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch, here.)
In the episode, the kids break into a derelict 7-Eleven style convenience store and find out that it's haunted. Inside the store, 12-year-old Mabel discovers a cache of powdered sugar candy called Smile Dip, which has strong psychedelic qualities. While she is drooling and glassy eyed, she goes on an incredible inner journey, as evidenced in the video snippet above.
At the end of the episode, some random-looking text appears on the screen for a second or so: RQZDUGV DRVKLPD! I paused the video and snapped a photo:
Jane reminded me that the beginning of every episode has a weird cartoony occult image that flashes on the screen for a fraction of the second. This image, also, contains random-looking text: VWDQ LV QRW ZKDW KH VHHPV
It's text written in a substitution cipher. Jane and I had cracked that cryptogram a couple of months ago. It says, STAN IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS (Stan is Dipper and Mabel's great uncle, proprietor of the Mystery Shack occult curio store located in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.)
Jane and I used the same substitution cipher to attempt to decode the text from the episode we saw last night. We came up with: ONWARDS AOSHIMA!
"That doesn't seem right," I told Jane. But Jane said, "No! That's what Mabel says when she's riding the dolphin." She was right!
What does "Onwards Aoshima" mean? Google revealed that a lot of people have already cracked the cryptogram, and that every episode of Gravity Falls has a cryptogram at the end of it. but I haven't come across any explanation of what the term means. Aoshima is an island in Japan, but what does that have to do with Gravity Falls? The mystery deepens!
Gravity Falls is a thoroughly enjoyable cartoon. These little puzzles that are sprinkled throughout each episode take it to another level. I love this show.
Illustration from a peer-reviewed research paper provides poignant commentary on the futility of life
I'm not sure even Chris Ware could have done it any better.
In context, this illustration comes from a recently published paleobiology paper examining a cache of animal bones and pottery found in a sinkhole near China's Jiangdong Mountain.
One of the key things the researchers are taking away from this site: The range of the Giant Panda must have once been a lot larger than it is today.
Here's a link to the paper (which is behind a pay wall)
Via Ed Yong
Chef Mom's mozzarella ghost and olive spider Hallowe'en pizza literally made my mouth flood with saliva. Spooky, spooky drool.
Slice the fresh mozzarella. Using a ghost cookie cutter cut out some ghost shapes. Place the ghosts on top of the pizza sauce. Using the finely chopped olives, place eyes on the head of the ghosts. Bake the pizza for about 5 - 6 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.
Once the pizza is baked, make spiders by sticking the rosemary leaves into the green olives. Place the spiders next to the ghosts and serve.
October 8-12 are Cephalopod Awareness Days. I was just made aware of that fact. Yeah, awareness!
Today, specifically, is Squid/Cuttlefish Day, dedicated to honoring the tentacled members of the cephalopod family.
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, here is a video about cuttlefish and their amazing color-changing skills. Other members of the cephalopod family can also change color, but cuttlefish are famous for their ability to produce moving patterns on their own skin.
Please, no jokes about "the cuttle bone". It's too obvious.
Hey guys! Check out this great JPEG I found last month. The caption was created by physics blogger Matthew Francis, and I've really been looking forward to sharing it with you!
In totally unrelated news, I just read a story by Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience.com, all about evolutionary psychologists' ongoing attempts to determine whether human females prefer our men hairy or smooth and, if so, why. Pappas' story covers a recent study that tried (and failed) to support one hypothesis: Women like hairless guys because we somehow know that hairy chests could be havens for parasites. A Sean Connery-like thatch is just one more place for lice to hang out.
Studying the preferences of women in two different cultures — Turkey and Slovakia — the researchers expected to find that Turkish women were more likely to choose hairless men because that country has long had higher rates of parasite-transmitted disease. Instead, they found that women in both countries overwhelmingly preferred their gentlemen in a less-wooly state.
The headline on the LiveScience article: "Why Women Don't Fall for Hairy Guys Remains A Scientific Mystery".
Thanks to Joanne Manaster for the inspiration!
Here is Heritage Auctions' description for the Gibeon Mask -- "an incomparable iron meteorite"
Closing out the Gibeon section is arguably the most aesthetic iron meteorite known to exist. In 1992, indigenous tribesmen in Namibia's Kalahari recovered this matchless specimen with the aid of a metal detector. It is extremely rare for meteorites to have naturally formed holes, and rarer still when the holes are positioned in the matrix in such a way as to yield a magnificent aesthetic specimen-let alone the highly zoomorphic example seen here. Defined by the two adjacent hollows that perforate its mass and separated by perfectly sculpted ridges, there is an exquisite asymmetric balance between this meteorite's two sides: the outward flanging of one side is offset by the larger hollow and more prominent opposing crest.
In addition to the mechanisms involved in the shaping of aesthetic iron meteorites described in the previous lot, there is one other critical detail that was of particular significance to the current example: the moment of extraction from beneath the Earth's surface. If removed several hundred years earlier, this specimen would not have been the perfectly singular zoomorphic evocation before us. If removed several hundred years later, the holes would be far too large and outsized. Adorned with a sumptuous natural patina from its stay in the Kalahari and accompanied by a custom armature and Lucite dome, this is an incomparable meteorite from the finest collection of aesthetic iron meteorites in the world. 195 x 212 x 177mm (7.66 x 8.33 x 7 inches) and 9.37 kilograms (20.66 pounds)
Provenance: The Macovich Collection, New York City. Estimate: $140,000 - $160,000.
OK, I know that I promised to never post anything ever again about a certain hypothetical disaster that rhymes with Schmapocalypse MiffyMelve, but hear me out. This really isn't about that. Instead, I want to highlight an excellent profile of a scientist whose work and interactions with the public have been affected by that unnamed bit of urban mythology.
David Morrison is a 72-year-old senior scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center. He runs NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" column, and considers it his way of following in the footsteps of Carl Sagan. In this story, written by Dan Duray at The Awl, we learn about Morrison's deep commitment to communicating science to the public ... a commitment that has led him to spend the last eight years answering a increasingly heavy flood of letters about the end of the world. It's an interesting look at the effects pop culture has on real people.
The questions that Dr. Morrison receives circle around a surprisingly cohesive set of theories, each grounded in some kind of real science that then veers off in a wild direction ... It's possible that many of the people who write to Dr. Morrison are trolls, or have Kindle books to sell, or want to garner enough YouTube views to merit an ad before their videos (some of the "Nibiru exposed" videos now feature a pre-roll for the conspiracy movie Branded). But his younger questioners certainly aren't faking it. He read me some of the more serious emails over the phone:
"I know that everyone has been asking you the same question but how do I know the world is not going to end by a planet or a flood or something? I'm scared because I'm in 10th grade and I have a full life ahead of me so PLEASE I WOULD REALLY LIKE AN ANSWER TO MY QUESTION."
"I am really scared about the end of the world on 21 December. I'm headed into 7th grade and I am very scared. I hear you work for the government and I don't know what to do. Can someone help me? I can't sleep, I am crying every day, I can't eat, I stay in my room, I go to a councilor, it helps, but not with this problem. Can someone help me?"
It's not all serious business, though. In one of the funnier moments, a 72-year-old man tries to figure out how to deal with YouTube commenters accusing him of being a secret Lizard Person.
Image: Apocalypse, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from torek's photostream
Luc Latulippe of Drawn! says: "I don’t understand what’s going on here because I’m old and crotchety, but I suspect it’s the future and it’s leaving me further behind than I already thought I was."
Live2D, developed by Cybernoids, is the world’s first drawing technology to enable 3D rendering of 2D images. This technology supports a variety of portable consoles and smartphones, and Live2D is already being utilized for games that take advantage of the unique characteristics of hand drawn artwork.