Some Stuff That’s Nifty (5/4/14)

I nearly had to climb in a dumpster this past week to save a football.  Fortunately, it didn’t come to that.  Still, I’m ready to declare DumpsterGate 2014 the best work-related story of the year.

Faith

The Pope's Audience Hall Looks Like A Final Fantasy Boss Fight

La Resurrezione by Pericle Fazzini. The sculpture stands behind the chair of the Pope in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican. (Image credit: Kotaku)

1. Richard Beck commemorates Yom HaShoah this week with a post from 2008 about a visit he made to the Buchenwald labor camp.

2. Also from Richard Beck: “This is why, in my estimation, many progressive Christians, despite their focus on social justice, still struggle with being kind, gentle, forgiving and loving human beings. If you aren’t attending to the affections in your pursuit of social justice you’re prone to becoming harsh, angry and judgmental. Or just burnt out. Joy rather than righteous indignation has to be what carries you forward.”

3. Matthew Vines is getting a lot of press lately since he published his new book God and the Gay Christian.  I’ve not read it, but from what I hear, it’s a good book for people who still feel the tension between holding a high view of Scripture (that you just can’t ignore when the Bible condemns something) and being gay affirming.  Vines identifies as a traditional evangelical, and he argues his case from that position.  His original lecture, which I watched a few years ago, was very helpful for me to begin exploring my own thoughts on gay people and the Church.  I’m very hopeful that his book gets traction in the evangelical community and it does some good there.

4. Candida Moss offers a brief review of a new book on the history of the tradition of Peter being the first Pope of the Catholic Church.  Early Church history is not something that I study extensively, but glimpses like this one always seem to pique my interest.

5. Zach Hoag on some pitfalls that come with the American, post-evangelical appeal to grace.  Hoag makes a good point about being wary of grace leaving us in a position to enable others to continue doing harmful things.  It’s a difficult line to walk.

6. At Theoblogy, a guest post from Rabbi Joseph Edelheit condemning a recent video that was produced by Jews for Jesus that depicts Jesus as a victim of the Holocaust.  Edelheit’s writing is pretty raw, and some of the comments criticize his harshness, but in this case I think it’s important to remember that this is a case of a Christian group co-opting the Holocaust for the sake of prosletyzing to Jews.  That’s bad evangelism.

7. This critique of the attitude behind the recent movie God’s Not Dead gets at something I’ve been saying for a while, although it’s done in a way that’s much more snappy and readable.  God, by definition, is a supernatural being, and experiences of him in the physical world are unprovable.  It’s vacuous to argue for or against his existence, even though so many things in popular culture seem bound on that exact course.

8. Al Mohler’s also been getting some attention for writing an op-ed where he argues that supporting the death penalty is a morally justifiable position for a Christian to take.  Here are Zack Hunt and Jason Micheli explaining why that’s absurd.

9. For blog host Patheos’s fifth anniversary, they’ve asked their various bloggers to compile lists of their top five posts.  Fred Clark just published his collection yesterday, and he links to some really good stuff.  Better yet, he asks for feedback from his commenters, who form a very lively community, and they have tons of recommendations as well.  I’ve been a fan of Fred’s for a little over a year now, I think, and this is a great collection of his work.

Feminism

1. Bill O’Reilly’s not clueless.  I think he is a total cad though.  Here’s his latest bit of dog whistling to get his audience all frothed up over a celebrity they probably don’t really care about because she happens to perform songs that contain positive messages about sex.  Take note of how, in O’Reilly’s estimation, this is a problem that uniquely affects the Black community, regardless of what statistics about teen pregnancy say.

2. A follow up from Slate about the story from last week regarding the kidnapped girls in Niger.  This article gives a pretty good overview of what the terrorist group who kidnapped the girls, Boko Haram, wants to do, and why we should care about this stuff.  Also, as a side note, remember that some of the girls escaped from their captors.  None have been rescued.

3. I want to be a traitor to the mens.  Thanks Scalzi!

Fiction

1. So Disney owns Star Wars now.  They will be releasing new Star Wars movies in the near future.  I feel positively disposed towards this fact, because I know that Disney is in the business of making money and producing entertainment that has broad demographic appeal.  Whatever Episode VII ends up being, I doubt it will match the craptitude(tm) of the Prequel Trilogy.  Of course, this also means that the Expanded Universe post-Return of the Jedi is getting pretty much completely annulled.  I actually read a lot of books in the EU when I was a kid, and I enjoyed them.  All the stuff that Phil Owen discusses in this article more or less went over my head at the time (and I didn’t stick around long enough to read any of the books that take place more than ten years after the Battle of Endor).  I suppose for more dedicated fans of the EU it’s a bittersweet thing to see it decanonized for the forthcoming movies, but I prefer to think of it as simply an alternate continuity.  The new Star Wars movies will probably be original stories, but I’m guessing there’s going to be a generous share of adaptations from all that source material.

2. In a similar vein, here’s the announced cast list for Episode VII.  And here’s a series of articles dealing with the fallout that comes from having only one new female character in a franchise that has no reason to be bound by contemporary gender politics (see that article about what the Expanded Universe did to see what I’m talking about).  Maybe I should rethink my placid confidence that the new Stars Wars movies will be okay.

3. Bob Hoskins passed away this week.  To commemorate his talent as an actor, here’s a video of raw footage from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? showing Hoskins acting against blue screen running parallel to the finished scene.

Fun

1. I’m a fan of Parks and Recreation.  It’s like a much happier version of The Office, but without all the jerks.  Folks who follow the show probably know that season 6 ended with a three year time skip into the future.  That’s always a risky thing for a show that’s been so grounded in current pop culture to do.  On the other hand, we’re seeing Parks and Recreation move into a speculative mode where the show will be doing a little bit of very immediate futurism.  Since the show’s already comfortable with suspending reality for the sake of comedy, I think this will work out fine.

2. Forced perspective chalk drawings are always fun.  So is the classic time wasting game Snake (I know I spent my share of Algebra classes playing snake on my calculator instead of paying attention).  Here’s something that combines the two, although the comments on this article indicate that this is an old thing from the internet.  Well, it’s the first time I’ve seen it, and it might be for you too, so enjoy it!

3. Maybe I’m just desensitized to hyperbole on the internet, but Buzzfeed style headlines have never really bothered me much.  However, if they bother you then there’s a plugin to help with that.  Of course, fogeys like myself prefer to just add snark the old-fashioned way–with our minds.

4. Have some very well done Batman cosplay.

5. Conservation of ninjutsu indeed.

6. Okay, so maybe the problem with Star Wars movies being so male-centric has to do with the fact that they’re all actually bees.

Gaming

1. I don’t play dating sims, but I thought this was a very thoughtful article about how a genre that’s so mechanically different from the types of games that are popular among Western audiences could offer some new insights into how to advance the medium beyond experiences that focus on competition and violence.

2. Also, here’s an article about why The Wolf Among Us, the episodic adventure game from TellTale Games that’s based on Bill Willingham’s Fables comic series, is basically a stealth dating sim.

Science

1. The universe is a big place.  Enjoy some pictures of it.

2. I want to live in an algae tent someday.

Superheroes

1. A visual history of Spider-Man’s costumes over the decades.  There’s been a surprising amount of variation (especially in recent years) for a character who’s look is pretty iconic.

Miscellaneous

1. Here’s an essay from 2010 discussing the ideological make up of the Tea Party movement.  It’s an interesting analysis that I think does a pretty good job of pinpointing the weird mishmash of conservative and libertarian values that inform the movement’s members.  Also, the importance of karma as an ideal to aspire towards strikes me as pretty insightful.  It’d be nice if folks considered that karma’s also not a terribly Christian ideal (I’m pretty confident it’s a universal value among Christians that people should always get better than what they deserve; we call that grace).

2. I’ve been getting inundated with banner ads for the past few weeks advertising John Oliver’s new comedy news show, Last Week Tonight, that premiered on HBO last Sunday.  HBO, in their infinite magnanimity, put the first episode on Youtube for free.  I enjoyed it.  I’m not going to buy an HBO subscription to watch it regularly, but where it’s freely available, I’ll tune in.  The segment on the national election in India was very informative, and the bit about ridiculous food advertising was quite good too.  Also, Oliver’s response to the Pop Tarts commercial was excellent and spot on.  Eating sugary foods for breakfast doesn’t help my students rise and shine; it just encourages them to punch each other relentlessly before 8:30 in the morning.

Some Stuff That’s Nifty (4/20/14)

It’s Easter and National Stoner’s Day (as my students so love to remind me).  Make of that conflation what you will.

Faith

1. Fred Clark writes about why he still claims the evangelical identity.  I admire his resolve, but for myself there’s too much of the identity wrapped up in a particular political stance.

2. Richard Beck: “There is the simple intellectual recognition that faith is provisional, and then there is the cognitive and emotional obsession over that fact. There is a doubt that doesn’t bring about negative mood, and then there is the ruminative doubt that creates or exacerbates depression and anxiety.”

Feminism

1. John Scalzi is a very intelligent writer, and I very much enjoy following his blog.  This recent post about the background bigotry that we’re all guilty of and how it turns into overt bigotry is really good, and I recommend you read it.  Yes, you.

2. As a white, fairly middle class person, I have somewhat varied tastes in food.  My coworkers complained very vocally last year when I said we were going to eat sushi for my birthday.  I told them to deal with it, because when we eat out, it’s usually at places with very limited options and lots of really greasy food, and I wanted to eat what I like for my birthday.  That’s all fair and in good fun, because I get along with my coworkers and we’re all adults who accept that we have different tastes in food.  Also, we’re empowered to eat what we like because we’re, y’know, grown-ups.  This article highlights an issue with how extracurriculars tend to be run at schools nowadays.  I remember pretty clearly from my days in marching band that it was the parents who could afford to donate their free time instead of working extra shifts to pay their families’ bills who did all the volunteer work for us.  They were a great group who went the extra mile to make sure marching band was fun for us students.  They also understood something that I think the parents highlighted in that article fail to remember: there can be huge economic diversity in an extracurricular, and it’s never a good idea to try to impose your own tastes on the realities that the students have to deal with.  If you can afford to help them, that’s fantastic; they are grateful.  Just don’t alienate them with sushi and spring rolls when it’s your job to feed them something simple and nourishing.  Leave that to messing with your coworkers.

3. I didn’t do policy debate when I was in college, but the debate society that I participated in did put an emphasis on a specific kind of oratory.  I find this article fascinating because it highlights a tension between the traditional values of order and decorum that my debate society prized in public speaking and a more recent trend towards highly theatrical oratory that’s not typically “white.”

Fun

Surly Link Is A Terrific Video Game Figure

Surly Link is Best Link. (Image credit: Kotaku)

1. Edgar Allan Poe is getting a statue in Boston.  The model features Poe doing a badass walk while a heart and a bunch of papers spill out of his suitcase behind him.  If anyone ever makes a scale model that could sit comfortably on a desk, I’d seriously consider buying it.

2. It’s not that I really like Frozen or anything.  It’s just that this video makes the same joke about super powers that I did in my post about that movie, and it tickles me.  Also, I feel like Wolverine singing Broadway is on the verge of becoming a major internet meme.

3. Bob Ross was a phenomenon before my time.  I mean, I get the schtick: the white man afro, the soothing voice, the happy little trees.  I can see how that could be pretty cool.  This remix video of Ross is really cool.

4. Myers-Briggs personality types mapped to Disney characters.  It’s fun, if completely unscientific (and there is absolutely no reason to read into the fact that my personality type matches up with Elsa from Frozen).

5. What happens when Bill Shatner travels back in time to kill Bill Shakespeare (in LEGO)?  Action Bill.

6. I enjoy the Harry Potter series, but I’m not a gigantic fan like a lot of people.  Nonetheless, I am very impressed with the polish on this fan project: Hogwarts is Here.  It’s a website where you can sign up to take free classes as a Hogwarts student and do actual homework for actual grades.

7. Screen caps from a 1974 book that explained to children how to do magic.  Not having lived through the ’70s myself, all I can conclude from artifacts like this are that it was a weird decade.

Gaming

1. The culture surrounding Islam is an interesting and often alien one to Western audiences.  This essay highlights some concepts in the aesthetic of Islamic artwork that could make for some really nifty innovations in game design.

2. For your weekly Minecraft here’s some 3D printed models of a guy’s Minecraft creations.  Yes, you can now have 3D printed models made of stuff you build in Minecraft.

Science

1. I posted this bit of news on Facebook when I first saw it, but I’m adding it in here as well just because I think this is too cool.  I try to donate blood as often as I can (and if you’re eligible you should do the same), and advances like this are a really big deal.  Yes, it may mean that someday I don’t get to go have free cookies every couple months in exchange for a bodily fluid that I’m constantly producing anyway (although realistically I think that’s doubtful; donated blood is almost certainly always cheaper to obtain than blood that must be bought), but I think that’s a small price to pay for better medical technology.

2. Scientists have discovered a bug in South America whose females have a never before seen sexual organ that they’ve termed a gynosome.  That’s cool.  What’s not cool is describing the discovery as “females with penises!”  The only similarity between the two organs is that they’re inserted into the mate.  There’s a good rant over at io9 to go along with that point.

Some Stuff That’s Nifty (4/6/14)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so forgive me if I’m rusty.

What Would The Muppets Look Like As Humans?

If the Muppets were human. By Nick Hoffman (Image credit: http://mr-book-faced.deviantart.com/art/The-Muppets-443630982)

Blogs

1. My friend James maintains his own blog which he updates infrequently.  The reason he updates infrequently is because he tends to write posts that exceed two thousand words and require a good bit of research.  This does not mean that he is not worth reading.  He frequently makes jokes about the absurdity of white middle class American culture while explaining complicated issues related to education and the economy, and those jokes alone make him worth your time.  I always enjoy reading his stuff, anyway.  This week he posted this wonderful explanation of why all millennials are pretty much screwed in regard to their retirement prospects.  It vacillates between funny and depressing, but I think the takeaway (that Social Security is not a broken system and should not be treated like one if we hope to keep it intact into the future) is worth considering.

2. John Scalzi posted a twitter conversation he had this week discussing how people own up to their own bigoted (racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc.) actions.  He used an example of his own sexist actions, which struck me as a fair assessment of problems he sees in his own behavior that need to be addressed and corrected where possible.  It’s also pretty self deprecating to own up to the fact that you more easily remember people you find attractive.  It’s worth a quick perusal if you’re interested in this topic.

3. Samantha Field wrote a two part post this week about why purity culture doesn’t seem to have any real conception of sexual consent.  It’s a good post, and I think it’s useful for elucidating why folks in the evangelical community may have difficulty in addressing problems of sexual assault and rape.

Fun

1. There’s a new X-Men movie coming out this summer.  I am mildly excited about it.  This excitement has virtually nothing to do with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but I do get tickled at the disparity between Jackman’s work as an angry killer mutant with an unbreakable skeleton, and his career as a stage actor who does musicals (I’m not knocking musical theater; I’m rather fond of it).  So, y’know, video of him singing a parody of a song from Les Miserables that talks about what it’s like being Wolverine is all kinds of fun.  Not quite as good as Wolverine–The Musical!, but at least this time it’s really Hugh Jackman singing.

2. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV these days, but when I do, I like to watch stuff that’s good.  Enter this set of charts that plot general audience opinion about individual episodes of multiple sci-fi series.  These are great!  They can help you gauge when a series went downhill and whether it’s worth sticking it out (also, where a series got way better and it’s worth jumping onboard).

3. Recently I’ve been digging back into Minecraft a little bit, which has been great fun because I’m doing that most dangerous of Minecraft activities: playing on a publicly accessible server.  Of course, I’ve not built anything this impressive, but that’s okay.  I can see stuff like a giant steampunk turtle and think to myself, “I could build that someday.”

4. I don’t know why I even care about this, because it’s a movie that’s produced by Michael Bay, which means it will be unquestionably awful.  But here, because the internet loves to complain about things that we all expect to hate anyway, here’s some screenshots of the turtles in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  The official screenshots are the ones where they have lips.  Yes, lips.

5. It is a complete and total myth that people only use 10% of our brainpower.  That’s bad science, and it should be taken out and shot as an excuse for sci-fi stuff to happen in stories.  There is absolutely no reason to use something so broadly understood to have no basis in reality.  On the other hand, this trailer for Lucy looks like a lot of fun (directed by Luc Besson, who made The Fifth Element).

Maybe I’ll go back to doing the link round ups regularly, maybe not.  For now, enjoy these things.  They are nifty.  Some of them might even be, objectively, the best things.

Some Stuff That’s Nifty 8/4/13

Well, I’m back to work now, so we’ll see how I manage keeping up with my steady stream of content.  In the meantime, while we all twiddle our thumbs worriedly, enjoy some links.

Comics

1. Over at Me: A Wannabe-Superhero, Elizabeth Sharrod posts some thoughts on why she enjoys wearing shades.  They provide a level of protection out in public that I know I don’t get to participate in because I always have to wear my glasses (can you imagine how much it would suck for Cyclops if he needed corrective lenses?  That would be one nerve-wracking visit to the optometrist.

2. If you’re interested in comics, but you don’t know where you might start to read some of the better classic stories, here’s a good thread on i09 where readers suggest their favorite crossovers.  Anything you see that involves the X-Men, I’ve read, and generally I agree about their quality.

Fiction

1. 300 Stories has another flash fiction piece that tickled me this week.  Since I started following there’s been something new every day, so check it out if you enjoy quick bursts of story to spur you on.

2. This is not fiction per se, but it is some handy advice on making a setting from scratch.

3. If you like fiction, and you like it free, then hurry up and go download Tor’s collection of five years’ worth of short stories.

Religion

1. John Scalzi is a fiction writer, but this week he posted a meditation on Matthew 6 that captures a little bit of the motivation that I think most Christians strive for when they serve others.  I can’t say that I always succeed in acting selflessly, but it’s a good reminder.

2. From Defeating the Dragons, a post discussing the difficulties of separating the acts of reading and interpreting the Bible.  We all bring our own interpretations to what we read, and the Bible is no different in that respect.  I think conversations between parts of the Church would probably go much more smoothly if we could all remember how difficult it is to set aside our biases when reading the Bible.

3. Morgan Guyton at Mercy Not Sacrifice gives us the first in a series he’s doing on verses that have profoundly affected him.  The first is a meditation on 1 Corinthians 1:28: “God chose the base things, the despised ones and those who are not, to reduce to nothing things that are.”  The fact that God chooses the despised ones is reason enough for me to choose them too.

4. From Rachel Held Evans this week, an interview with Nicole Baker Fulgham, a Christian activist for improved public education.  Fulgham’s agenda does not deal with homeschooling or creationism, only with trying to address real deficits in the public school environment through faith-based outreach.  I’d love to hear more from her.

5. In the wake of Rachel Held Evans’s CNN article last week about Millenials, everyone and their clone has put forward an opinion about the issue.  Here’s Richard Beck’s take, which is remarkably generous and, I think, astute.

Movies

1. I know The Wolverine is out and doing about as well as I expected it would, but I’m much more looking forward to this version directed by Woody Allen.

2. I’m sure everyone knows this, but The Simpsons do a lot of movie parodies.  For anyone who might want a chronological catalog of all of them for the first ten seasons, here’s a couple of videos.

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...

I reiterate: the next Superman movie will be based on this. Cover art by Frank Miller. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. The more I hear that Man of Steel 2 is going to be based on The Dark Knight Returns, the less hope I have that it’ll be a good follow-up.  I don’t want an old Batman versus a young Superman, I just want Batman and Superman being awesome together as the perfect complementarian couple (he’s justice and he’s mercy!).  Aside from that, it strikes me as a huge mistake to base a Superman film on a Batman story.  Actually, just give me 90 minutes of Superman and Batman doing this.  Thanks, DC.

4. James Cameron, what are you thinking?  Really, what more plot could you possibly have to fit into three more movies in the Avatar franchise?

5. The most fun part of this discussion thread on i09 is that I scrolled down through it, and realized that thanks to this summer, I’ve now seen a lot of the movies that people mentioned.  Also, if you’re looking for sci-fi and fantasy movie recs, these threads pop up pretty regularly over at i09, and they’ve not disappointed me yet.

TV

1. Rachael and I just finished marathoning Season 5 of Breaking Bad this weekend.  It was wonderful.  Here’s an alternate universe take on the series’s premise wherein Mr. Black quits his job as a meth cook when he finds out he has cancer and dedicates his life to teaching.

Gaming

1. Because extra violence is always the way to update a classic game, check out this rendering of Super Mario Bros. Level 1-2 with added blood, bombs, and a dragon.  Seriously though, I don’t see how the extra violence really improves this.  It’s a beautiful render otherwise.

2. I was originally just going to link to this funny short about Atlas and P-Body from Portal 2, but I followed a link rabbit trail and ended up coming across a bunch of other videos made by Zachariah Scott.  The one about Chell is quite poignant, and the series on turret mishaps is quite precious.  Check them all out when you have some time.

3. Hi, my name’s Jason… and I’ve used walkthroughs.  They’re kind of an integral part of gamer life, even if no one wants to admit it.  So I’m happy that someone did.  Also, back in their heyday before wikis became the de facto source of game tips, strategy guides were a great source of high quality game art.

4. This is a strange one, and I’m really not sure how I feel about it myself.  So, this guy at a conference gave a talk on gaming as a religion.  I think he was trying to draw a comparison between the sacred space that a lot of folks enter when they go to worship and the gamer trance.  I’m not buying that though, because generally after I finish a gaming session, if it’s gone on for too long, then I feel drained and listless.  After a worship service, I generally don’t feel drained and listless (unless the pastor went way over time and there’s a line for the bathroom, then I’d really like to feel a little more drained and listless).  Saying that gaming is a religion is, I think, taking the idea of subculture too far.  I love playing video games, and I love the possibility of religion intersecting with my preferred subcultures, but I never mistake my gaming hobby for my Christian faith.  Also, jeans tucked into galoshes?

Feminism

1. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Anita Sarkeesian’s video series Tropes vs. Women in Games.  She just posted her third installment this week, so I thought I’d pass it along.

Current Events

1. I’m very poor.  Does that make me contrarian?

Science

1. Unfortunately, instantaneous teleportation does not seem to be a feasible technology to pursue at this time.  Unless, y’know, we just want to use up a much ambient energy in the universe as possible and accelerate the heat death by a few billion years.

2. I’m always skeptical of any headline that goes “[Blank phenomenon happens] says science.”  Science is not some monolithic czar passing down judgments about the nature of physical reality; it’s just the collected knowledge that’s been sifted out through countless hours of research and study by people for centuries.  So yes, this article’s headline is “Money turns People Into Jerks, Says Science,” but don’t think of it as science making the claim.  Think of it as the proposal of the researchers at UC Berkeley based on their own observations.  It probably needs to be corroborated by other researchers, but it’s still a fascinating look at how advantage inclines us toward selfishness.

3. I love stories like this.

4. To add to everyone’s weight neurosis: the universe is expanding, and that might mean we’re all getting bigger and don’t even realize it.

5. Apparently Pinocchio got it all wrong.

Miscellaneous Nerdiness

1. I teach English, so I have a little internal chalkboard that screeches whenever someone makes a linguistic error.  Fortunately for me, I don’t let this on most of the time, although now that I’ve written this on my blog everyone will silently judge me for silently judging them.  Otherwise, here’s a fun video about a bunch of words that people commonly mispronounce.

2. Every teacher has fantasies of pranking their students in ridiculous and humorous ways–especially if it involves taking away their cell phones.  I’m kind of appalled that a teacher actually did this to his student, but I think the internet is a better place for it.

Links that Turn You into a Gibbering Idiot

1. I bet insanity inducing blueberry pie is the best insanity inducing pie.

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

Some Stuff That’s Nifty 7/21/13

In my regular link roundups, I usually pull from things that I’ve saved in my newsfeed.  This works alright, except that it doesn’t catch stuff that other people share on Facebook or what I spot through my WordPress reader.  So, here’s an extra edition of Some Stuff That’s Nifty to help rectify that!

Feminism

1. Excellent thoughts from Defeating the Dragons about the problem that the “playing hard to get” narrative creates for everyone.

2. Relating to the court decision in Iowa that I wrote about in the last SSTN, here’s the take on the whole situation from Bodycrimes.

Books

1. Via John Scalzi, who I mentioned in a SSTN a couple weeks ago for establishing his anti-harrassment convention attendance policy, here’s a post by Chris Kluwe talking about his new book.  I’ve seen Kluwe’s name before wandering around the internet, but I’ve never read his work before; I just knew that he was a writer and a professional football player.  I’m impressed by his writing here, and I like the ideas he’s getting at.  Also, his book has a photo of him riding on a carousel horse on the cover.

Gaming

1. I got reblogged over at MMA, Wrestling, Comic and Gaming News!  Go check it out for some other nifty stories about nerd-related topics.

Religion

1. Morgan Guyton at Mercy Not Sacrifice posted a great meditation on how the disciples in the early Church came to the realization that being a Christian didn’t require adherence to Jewish law.  It’s a good read, and has some very encouraging implications for issues that we’re dealing with in the Church today.

Comics

1. From my friend Becky, via Facebook, this video.  It celebrates the release of The Wolverine with a musical history of the character.  They really did their research, which makes me all kinds of happy.

 

Some Stuff That’s Nifty 7/6/13

Here we go!

1. Leading off, we have a very thoughtful article by Fred Clark over at Slacktivist regarding the problem with debating theological points based on proof-texting.  It’s framed within the context of the debate over gay marriage, but as Fred points out, it’s more productive to speak to principles that appear throughout scripture instead of homing in on a handful of verses to make a point.  In the course of his discussion, Fred also links to an excellent article by Letha Dawson Scanzoni that explains how she adheres to a set of broad Christian principles (which are founded on Biblical commands) in justifying her support for same-sex marriage (full disclosure: I support same-sex marriage).  Check it out.

2. At Experimental Theology, Richard Beck discusses an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 by Troy Martin which suggests that women’s hair is analogous to a man’s testicles.  There’s more to it than that, and it has to do with ancient Greek medical concepts, but it’s a really interesting read.

3. Now we have proof-positive that Darth Vader is an unqualified badass.

4. And while we’re on the subject of Star Wars, I want this.

The flip-flop sandal, worn both by men and women

The flip-flop sandal, worn both by men and women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. A rant against people who wear flip-flops.  I’m kind of partial to wearing flip-flops in summer, so I don’t entirely agree.  Maybe the aversion has something to do with region, since down here in Georgia I see people going in flip-flops all the time.  Heck, if there weren’t litter all over the place, I’d be more inclined to go barefoot when it’s so hot outside.

6. A video explanation of the uncanny valley and potentially why we find certain things creepy.

7. Random: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

8. You don’t have to tell me all the ways that superheroes fail to follow the laws of physics.  But if you’re a science teacher and you want to use superheroes to teach about physics, then these videos are really fun.

9. If you are like me and you love zombies, then you have probably heard of The Walking Dead.  If you’re also a gamer, then you may have also heard of the adventure game that TellTale Studioes released last year to great critical acclaim.  This week, they just released DLC for that game that sets up plotlines for the game’s next season.  I’ve played the original game, and seen video of the new episode 400 Days, and it is fantastic.  Check it out.

10. Because sharks are a threat, no matter where you are.

11. I’ve seen most of the movies on this list.  They are indeed fantastic and worth your time.  If you don’t watch anything else, watch The Iron Giant.  It is, objectively, the best thing.

12. Because little girls deserve to be given the superhero treatment.  And some of the designs are quite good, actually.

13. Thinking about the future is incredibly fun.  Thinking about how it’s going to be better than now is way more fun that that.  What do you guys think of these projected technological advances that we’ll see in twenty years?

14. What was the origin of the zombie concept?  Arsenic, apparently.

15. I really enjoy Game of Thrones.  I also think that Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” is stupid catchy.  So naturally, I think this parody of all the deaths in Game of Thrones Season 1 is pretty awesome.  If you haven’t seen Season 1 and you intend to, then skip this video for now.

16. And finally, writer John Scalzi announced that he would no longer appear at conventions that fail to have and enforce an anti-harassment policy.  As of today (7/6/13) over 600 other people have signed on to his policy.  I’ll be honest, I’ve not heard of John Scalzi before this, but he’s published multiple fiction and non-fiction books over the course of his career.  Anyone who takes convention harassment seriously like he is is totally cool and worth checking out.

And that’s all the fun stuff from my little corner of the internet!