Still Life With Nerd

I wish Reed would stop being so addicted to Civilization: Beyond Earth so we can finally watch this week’s Agents of SHIELD tonight. I’m about to plug into an audio book about a hypothetical Dracula still hanging out in modern day Turkey and play original Zelda on mute until he’s done making disastrous peace treaties with miasma-spewing aliens or whatever.

I wish I’d had time to pick up my pull list from Austin Books; I can’t wait to read Bitch Planet. I have time to complain about all of this because I skipped out on my RPG group thanks to a bit of an anxiety attack earlier this evening, which led to a long phone call to plan Christmas with my mom. It’s a miracle that I’m not baking cookies right now.

Seriously though, dying to find out what happens to Mack. I’ve been dodging SHIELD spoilers and coworkers desperate to talk about it all day. I hope my little theory is right. I will be upset if they just kill him. Please be an Inhuman, Mack, and live!

Oh, and when I was trying to leave work today, I got caught in a conversion with a coworker who needed to share his frustrations with Doctor Who; he knows I sympathize with the Moffat-is-a-lazy-writer camp. I got to rant a bit myself, and he was appropriately horrified by my conviction that Santa Claus will bring Danny back like Jesus did Lazarus, or else he’ll magic Clara up a morally acceptable Christmas miracle baby to father the father of her great grandson who looked just like Danny. I am so done with that show.

I’m going to go drink tea out of my favorite mug now. Goodnight.

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What I read on Wednesday

I didn’t have time to publish this yesterday. Read most of this stuff during my lunch break. Lots of variation in this sampling, no wonder my brain was mush when I got home from work last night.

Creepy fish with lots of teeth and glowing blue stripe

Search Engine Land: Logged Out: Yahoo To Stop Allowing Facebook & Google Sign-Ins

I think this will prove to be a smart move.

Huffington Post: Long-Term Drought Doomed Indus Valley Civilization, Researchers Say
I’ve had a mild obsession with the Indus Valley civilization ever since I took an archaeology course on it in college. This headline is a bit ridiculous, of course. What researchers say is that they’ve found evidence of a 200 year long drought that happened about 4,000 years ago. While it is very likely that this data is correct, they still need some more corroboration to say for certain that an ancient climatic event ‘doomed’ the Harappans.

Laughing Squid: California Man With 18 Cats Remodels His Home Into An Amazing Feline Playground Paradise

National Geographic: Pictures: Photographer Who Shot Bristol Bay Celebrates Halt of Pebble Mine
I was in Alaska, on the Kenai Peninsula, a few years ago when the campaign to stop the Pebble Mine went into full swing.

LiveScience: Video, Photos Give First Look at Rare Deep Sea Life

LiveScience: Red-Seeing Fish, Blue-Seeing Fish: Deep-Sea Vision Evolves
The deep sea is not the sort of environment that would appear to encourage rapid evolution. “It doesn’t change. It is always dark,” said study researcher Christopher Kenaley, a comparative biologist at Harvard University. “There is something else down there that is driving the evolution of the visual system.”

University of Louisville: UofL Engineers Construct 3D Heart Model
This is actually a video.  I came across a very poorly written article on the subject, and went looking for real information on the subject. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Digiday: Why Apple chose Tumblr for its social media debut
Not a very good article. Apple didn’t actually comment on why they got a Tumblr for their low end iPhone. Speculation goes as far as ‘because it’s where the youths are!’

Forbes: 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You
There are some genuinely good tips in this article for making the most of your LinkedIn profile.

The Independent (UK): PC World Google gaffe: This is what happened when you searched for the ‘computer superstore’ online
Oh Google info graph, you have such a sense of humor.

Skift.com: The 11 Tourism Boards That Use Twitter Like a Real-Time Concierge

Slideshare.net: Why Our Content Sucks and How to Fix it
There’s some good advice here from REI’s marketing people.  Very long slideshare, over a hundred slides.

Daily Dot: If you stopped watching ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ you’re missing out
We may have to pick Agents of SHIELD up again.  It wasn’t so much that we stopped watching it on purpose as that it slipped down the list of priority shows we’ve been working through as time allows.  We’re currently racing through Clone Wars to be ready for the release of Season 6 on Netflix in a few weeks, and we aren’t watching anything else until that’s done.
The big picture here (aside from Marvel’s ongoing quest to obliterate all other summer blockbuster movies) is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has changed. A lot. You don’t even have to have seen a single episode to work this out.

At the beginning of the series, the reactions from fans on social media were lacklustre to say the least, and interest from geek culture critics was quickly waning. Four months on, the latest episode is inspiring the kind of wailing and gnashing of teeth that’s usually reserved for Comic Con teaser trailers.

Scientific American: Famous Fossil Bed in China Yields Feathered and Bucktoothed Dinos, Gliding Mammals and a Pterosaur
“The researchers have catalogued and described the older fossils in unprecedented detail, naming them the Daohugou Biota after a village in Inner Mongolia near one of the six main fossil sites examined. Like the Jehol fossils, the Daohugou fossils have remarkably intact skeletons, often still containing soft tissues and even feathers.”

RH Reality Check: Alabama House Passes Extreme ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban, Three Other Anti-Choice Bills
The heartbeat bill’s sponsor, Mary McClurkin (R-Indian Springs), came under heavy fire from her Black colleagues after she compared her bill to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that ended legal racial segregation in the United States. The point of McClurkin’s remarks appeared to be that abortion constitutes “discrimination” against a fetus, and that bills like hers could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as Brown overturned Plessy v. Ferguson.

Mother Jones: Here Are 5 Infuriating Examples of Facts Making People Dumber
Together, all of these studies support the theory of “motivated reasoning”: The idea that our prior beliefs, commitments, and emotions drive our responses to new information, such that when we are faced with facts that deeply challenge these commitments, we fight back against them to defend our identities. So next time you feel the urge to argue back against some idiot on the Internet…pause, take a deep breath, and realize not only that arguing might not do any good, but that in fact, it might very well backfire.

Open Culture: Lewis Carroll’s 8 Still-Relevant Rules For Letter-Writing
Don’t fill more than a page and a half with apologies for not having written sooner!