Some Stuff That’s Nifty 8/11/13

Finished the first week of school, and we’re off to a good start to the year!  Here’s what I’ve seen happening this week:

Fiction

Schrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger’s Cat (Photo credit: jieq)

1. From 300 Stories, a super short piece that toys with quantum superposition.  If you understand the thought experiment Schrodinger’s Cat, then you’ll enjoy the joke.

2. A cinematic short about a girl who controls everything and her boyfriend, whom she makes come rescue her.  I don’t quite get the point of it, but the filming is beautiful.

3. I’ve been really short on time this week (that’s probably going to be normal for the time being), so I have not read this story yet and can’t speak to its quality, but it’s advertised as an unusual superhero story.  Once I get a free half hour, I’m going to look at it.

4. I’ve forgotten about this in the past, but once a month i09 features a short story from the latest issue of Lightspeed magazine for free.  This month’s entry is “The Knight of Chains, The Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee.

Religion

1. At Experimental Theology, Richard Beck links to the commencement speech given by George Saunders at Syracuse University this year.  If you haven’t read it yet, then be prepared.  It will make your eyes sweat.

2. From Slacktivist a link round-up that had so many good articles I wasted an entire evening going through them.  I couldn’t pick just one to pass on, so just go there and click on pretty much anything in the list; you’ll come across something cool.

3. From Theoblogy Tony Jones talks about why it’s important to encourage children to ask hard questions when we educate them about faith.

4. ForgedImagination writes at Defeating the Dragons about her experience with absurd fundamentalist rules growing up, and how it was the motivation behind the rules that was the truly damaging part of the culture.

5. Morgan Guyton’s finished up his series on 5 verses God’s tattooed on his heart.  I thought the last one was outstanding, but the entire series is good, and you should give it a read.

Gaming

1. Ash (Not from Pallet Town) at i09‘s Observation Deck came across a demo reel for a pitch that the same studio who made the animated TMNT movie made for a Legend of Zelda film.  It looks very pretty, so give it a watch.

2. The Artificial Selection Project has started up a conversation about Anita Sarkeesian’s recent videos on Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.  Unlike a lot of conversations I’ve seen (I’m looking at you, Kotaku comment section!), this one’s trying to take a look at the issues Sarkeesian’s raising without dismissing her out of hand.  Also, as someone pointed out in the comments there, remember that a trope is not the same thing as a cliche; tropes can be good, but cliches are always bad.

3. This game’s not done yet, but it looks really good.  The Novelist is about a ghost who’s trying to help a writer balance his work and his family.  The underlying idea is that it’s not possible to finish the game and have the writer succeeding with his work, his wife, and his son, so the player has to make value judgments on what they think is most important.

Science

1. The Atlantic published an interview with psychiatrist Christine Montross this week, that has some very interesting insights into the world of intensive therapy.  Some of her stories remind me of situations I’ve encountered at my job working with children who suffer from psychological illnesses.  It’s a good read.

2. Another piece from The Atlantic, this one about the struggles that people on the autism spectrum have with pursuing romantic relationships.  It raises a good point that in doing behavioral therapy with people on the spectrum who want to better fit in socially, romantic interactions are usually overlooked.

3. It’s probably not actually possible to see impossible colors (otherwise they wouldn’t be impossible), but it’s a fun thought.  Also, definitely play around with the blue and yellow squares embedded in the article; when I crossed my eyes and stared in between them, I saw this weird effect where the illusion square shifted from blue to yellow and back again as my cones got fatigued (or something; I’m not really sure what the actual explanation would be).

4. So there’s quantum mechanics and there’s relativity in physics, and we haven’t figured out yet how to harmonize the two theoretical frameworks.  This is a pretty good primer on why we might be interested in doing that in the first place.

5. Unfortunately, I’m back at work so I can’t stay up all night to watch meteor showers.  However, if you can, here’s some info on how to get the best view of the Perseids, which are supposed to be peaking from early Monday through Tuesday this coming week (8/12-8/13).  Meteor showers are amazing, and I would go do some stargazing if I didn’t have to be at work.  Go see it if you can!

6. I love dystopias.  They’re so much fun for exploring how we can make our world suck more.  I also found this list of seven technologies that will probably never be implemented the way they are in their respective stories to be fun.  Enjoy.

7. Not all grapes are spherical.

8. A polar bear wandered over 200 miles out of its normal territory looking for food because the ice flows it relied on to catch seals were not there this year.  It starved to death.

Comics

1. From i09‘s Observation Deck, MyDearPeaBody delivers an excellent rant against male comic book writers who recently made comments to the effect that comics are not for girls–especially not superhero comics.

Movies

1. Real-world Wall-E robot.

TV

1. Rachael and I are really looking forward to Breaking Bad starting back up.  It’s such good television.  If you’re all caught up, then feel free to check out this summary of the first four and a half seasons in middle school musical form (it’s even kid friendly!).

To Do With Friends

1. Dr. Frood shared a fun game to play with your friends when you’re hanging out but have run out of things to say.  I would probably ban cars with their standard mufflers removed so that they sound louder, and I would require everyone to spend fifteen minutes reading something every day (internet videos do not count).

2. This is kind of a lopsided water balloon fight.  I’d want to be on the winning side.

Cool Pictures

1. Photographer Fong Qi Wei has put together a series of photos that show the passage of time in a very unique way.  It’s hard to describe in words, so just follow the link to see what I’m talking about.

2. Children wearing watermelons.

3. Researchers caught a shark that was promptly eaten by another shark.

And that’s it from my little corner of the internet!

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