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Archive for December, 2008

Look At This…

I’m a big fan of optical illusions, and I just found a whole bunch of them, including some I hadn’t seen before (and I’ve seen a lot). They’ve come from the blog Look At This… (which I also just found), which seems to be somewhat similar to the HRSFANS blog, in that it links to random stuff on the Internet. Personally, I find it pretty overwhelming, but someone with more patience than I have might find some more nifty stuff there.

(via Ben Goldacre)

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Music for the Independent Mind

Emerson College in Boston runs a great radio station, WERS, which you can listen to online (as well as via honest-to-goodness old-fashioned radio, if you’re in the Boston area). Their programming includes a wide range of genres, but my personal favorites are the weekend programs: Standing Room Only (Saturdays 10am to 2pm and Sundays noon to 2pm) plays a great selection of Broadway music, including lots of recent or lesser-known shows, as well as the classics. All A Capella (Saturdays and Sundays 2pm to 5pm) plays exactly what the name suggests, mostly from college a capella groups. The shows will also keep you up to date on musicals and a capella concerts in the Boston area.

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Carrotmob

Carrotmob is exactly the sort of thing I think the flash mob community should grow into.  It creates a strange scene, but does so in a way that directs resources for positive change.  In this case, getting a flash mob of people to show up and buy something from the store committing the most money to becoming greener.  I really like the idea of harnessing consumer power (via organized collective action) to encourage companies to do things we want them to do, and I like the company (Virgance; obsf: yes, it’s named after the word Lucas coined in The Phantom Menace) which has since been set up to create more carrotmobs or similar activities.  I am really excited to see where this goes.

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Catan on a massive scale

Apparently the freshmen of Caltech’s Blacker Hovse have constructed a 1500 sq. feet Catan board, upon which they played a truly epic game during finals. The pictures are pretty impressive.

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A Princess of Mars

I just re-read all eleven books of  Edgar Rice BurroughsMars series. I saved the first (and best) for last: A Princess of Mars. I have no idea how many times I have read these books, since I first came across them in my early teens.

If you have read it, you know that this is some of the best pulp adventure fiction ever written. If you haven’t read it, go get it — the Amazon link above is to the Dover paperback, a good deal at four and a half bucks.

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Diablo 3

Fans of computer RPGs may be aware that Diablo 3 is currently in the works. Diablofans.com is a great fansite for following the little dribbles of news with which Blizzard routinely torments its fans.

If you are interested in contributing ideas for item affixes, there is an official forum thread soliticing suggestions. Or just get a job at Blizzard, and build the thing yourself.

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Improv Everywhere

Or “Who needs pants, anyway?”

I’m sort of torn between posting things that I love and have known about for a long time, and things that are new and topical.  Improv Everywhere is both.  They’re an amazing…”experience generation collective” is the best phrase I can come up with.  They create strange occurrences in the middle of everyday normal life–you may have heard about how they planted 16 agents in a mall food court and performed a Food Court Musical.  Or how they got a crowd of people to all dress in blue polo shirts and khaki pants and quietly infiltrate a Best Buy.  Or went all out to surprise a little league game with the Best Game Ever, including raving fans, a jumbotron, and the honest-to-god Goodyear blimp.  They’re pretty amazing.

This January, they are performing one of their largest missions–The No Pants! Subway Ride–and are extending it to have events not only in New York City, but in cities around the country and around the world.  If you’re interested in participating (in this or future missions), drop them a line or find your local group.  Even if going publicly pantsless is not your thing, check out Improv Everywhere–it’s bizarreness on a grand scale, and truly amazing.

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Dolphin Olympics 2

So I’ve been instructed to post here with random cool things I’ve found on the Internets.

Random cool thing from the Internets:

http://www.rawkins.com/games/do2/

It’s a very, very simple browser game.  Also very, very pretty, and very, very addictive.  I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who feels like he isn’t wasting enough time.  Also anyone who likes dolphins.

Gameplay hint (that it took me far too long to figure out): You can chain jumps together.  So long as you get a “Nice Entry” (and you get out of the water again in a reasonable amount of time), your next jump counts as part of your last jump, and you retain all the speed you’ve gathered.  Do this a few times and you can jump *high*.

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“By The Sword”

I’m not generally inclined to encourage people to buy stuff, but since By The Sword is having a holiday sale this week, I thought this might be an appropriate moment to mention that it’s a really fun site for those of us whose aesthetics are grounded in another century. It mostly sells anachronistic clothes and weapons, but it’s got lots of other interesting stuff too: goblets, jewelry, artwork, miniatures, musical instruments, “home decorations”, etc. It also sells collectable merchandise in various fantastical settings (e.g. LotR, Pirates of the Caribbean), and equipment for LARPs. Essentially, it’s a little bit like shopping at a ren faire online.

Anyway, if you like that sort of thing, it’s a neat place either to shop or (more usually for me) to browse.

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Shadowrun meets…Opera?

I heard about this just last night: Reapo! The Genetic Opera. Amidst a 2067 epidemic of organ failure,  the MegaCorp GeneCo can sell you replacement organs…but if you don’t keep up on your payments, Repo Man will be dispatched to “repossess” them. Meanwhile, the show features Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, and no fewer than 61 musical numbers.

According to the wikipedia article, it’s been getting good reviews and has been able to expand its limited tour in the theaters due to higher-than-expected turnout.  But ultimately I’m not arguing that this show is good. I’m merely predicting that a certain subset of HRSFANS may find it irresistable. Apparently there’s a sound-track out already, and the DVD comes out in late January. If you see it, please report back!

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