misce stultitiam consiliis brevem

Calvin and Hobbes

I feel like I shouldn’t need to preface this, because everyone should know Calvin and Hobbes already. But for those who don’t, it’s one of the best comic strips of all time, drawn by Bill Watterson from 1985 to 1995 (and rerunning on the web at If you’ve somehow never seen it before, you’re missing out. I don’t really have words for how much I love Calvin and Hobbes.

Anyway, I was recently debating with a friend how Calvin and Hobbes ended, and came across this interesting collection of post-series takes on Calvin and Hobbes. The last one is the fake Calvin and Hobbes ending that broke my friend’s heart (and temporarily mine, before I came home to confirm that it was false). If you need a boost after seeing it, you can find the real final strip here.

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People of Color in SF

A friend of mine pointed out that the 12th Annual People of Color in SF Carnival is seeking submissions now–they’re looking for weblinks, blog entries, and the like. They’ll then weave them together to give a sense of what the present conversation is when thinking about race in SF/F. You can check out the call here or see an example here. It seems pretty cool, and it’s already pointed me to a new webcomic (Magellan, for those who are interested in superheroes). So if you know of any links related to the theme (or wanted to write one for, send them to mvelazqu AT umd DOT edu by 2/27/09.


This month’s theme focuses on the role PoC characters have in the products of our fandom — as accessories, as absences, and as convenient plot devices. This issue of absence is particularly important — what does it do to fic to have the “real” experiences of PoC constantly referred to but never there? What does it mean that series like Xmen or [Harry Potter] draw on specific histories of race and violence, but do this without themselves referring to racism or anti-Semitism in text? Here, we’re focusing will be on science-fiction and fantasy, speculative fiction, and other types of mediated imagery, including webcomics and movies.

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Sixth Senses

I love our posthuman future. I want a heads-up display that tells me what I’m looking at, a radar sense of objects around me, and an internet hookup in my brain. In the meantime, I’m interested in smaller mechanical ways to give additional senses.

The classic example of this, for me, is a magnet in your finger which gives you a sense of metal and electricity. I don’t remember hearing anything about it in the years since the WIRED article, though, and the most recent information I could find was in BMEZine about how they needed better sheaths for the magnets before it would really be safe. Does anyone else know how our posthuman future is progressing?

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Fun with road signs

This takes five seconds to read and will make you laugh, unless you work for the highway patrol.

(via Ben Goldacre)


Drinkin’ Settlers of Catan on QuestionableContent

Jeph Jaques has hit upon the only HRSFAn drinking game that I know of.

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HRSFANS Board Appointment

Congratulations to John Abbe ’88 on his appointment to the HRSFANS board!

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Escher in LEGO!

Ascending and Descending

Ascending and Descending

I am so excited about this: Andrew Lipson and Daniel Shiu are reproducing M.C. Escher drawings in LEGO! Escher is one of my favorite artists because of the fantastic ways in which he plays with tilings and with perspective. Lipson and Shiu have taken on the seemingly impossible task of reproducing these, using a combination of sophisticated LEGO construction technique and clever photography manipulation. Of the five they’ve done so far, my favorites are Relativity and Ascending and Descending. In addition to providing comparisons of the LEGO photos with the original Escher drawings, they explain various technical details of the models’ construction. I never realized how much advanced technique could be involved in playing with LEGOs! In fact, Lipson has constructed all sorts of crazy LEGO sculptures, including an impressive collection of mathematical constructions (such as mobius strips, knots, a klein bottle, and some others that I had never heard of).

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Neil Gaiman wins Newberry Medal

…for The Graveyard Book. The Washington Post has more details.

It’s always nice to see excellent genre authors gain acclaim in the mainstream literary world.

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Applied Philosophy

Neil Sinhababu from Donkeylicious explains how modal realism allows us to be in love with someone in another universe. He even discusses how you can make sure they’re in love with you too, and why it’s not cruel for you to break up with them to start a relationship with someone in this world. Basically, it’s Parallel Universe Dating for Dummies, as published in a respectable philosophy journal. It’s pretty short and very fun to read, so go check it out!

(Neil in fact keeps two blogs: Donkeylicious is a political blog, while The Ethical Werewolf is a philsophy blog. Somewhat counterintuitively, I’m linking to a philosophy paper discussed on his political blog. Also, Neil is a member of HRSFANS, which gives him extra cool points.)

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Generally we try to write some about why a post is interesting, but this one speaks for itself.  It looks like you could even use a regression to attach an inverse-exponential equation to it, or something.

I would like to say that that moment in Star Trek 2, when Kirk screams “KHAN!” and then “the camera backs out” to include the entire moon, and he screams “KHAN!” again, is one of the more fun moments in SF cinema to thnk about.

Also R.I.P. Ricardo, we’ll miss you.


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