Aug. 13th, 2009

tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
When I left work yesterday, the Internet seemed rather calm. I was away for a few hours because [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and I went to hear Mozart at the Hollywood Bowl using my firm's box seats. And when I came back, there was crazy.

A whole bunch of racefail from various SF fandom cons popped up, as linkishly summarized by [personal profile] coffeeandink. I haven't even had a chance to look at the WriterCon issues, because I've been reconstruct my blown mind after the mindblowingly idiotic statements made by [livejournal.com profile] arhyalon. I expect that [community profile] linkspam will be kicking into gear over it too.

Penny Arcade also took a dive into the "seduction community." Tycho offers some choice quotes like:
I'm fairly certain the purpose of this course is to make you a better predator of women. Check out their offers of "in-field training," as though you were going to hunt antelopes from a jeep in the Goddamned Savannah.
Gabe, on the other hand, apparently "decided to play devil's advocate" without doing a whole lot of research intot he topic, which was a bad idea. He finishes up saying
I'm a little worried that guys reading the site might take our discussion here as some sort of endorsement and I want to make sure that isn't the case. While some of their advice is probably fine I think the majority of it is really sleazy. Again, I can't blame guys for seeking out help. All joking aside though, I just want to make it clear that I don't think the seduction community is the place to go.
Emphasis mine, because although Tycho doesn't mention what started him down the rabbit hole, it may have been the recent massacre by George Sodini a deeply misogynistic man who regularly participated in "pick-up artist" seminars before taking two guns to a gym and then opening fire, killing three women and injuring nine before using the last bullet for himself.

Alas, a Blog has a collection of responses from "men's-rights activists, anti-feminists and other misogynists." (The original post includes a trigger warning for the quotes, and they are not for the faint of heart.) And these apologies for Soldini represent an extreme of Gabe's empathy. It's part of the reason, I try to divorce considering "intent" when it comes to things like this, because a person can ascribe a good intention or a seemingly reasonable justification to even the most heinous acts.

It's got me thinking about the nature of what "intention" is at all. Last year, [livejournal.com profile] adamcadre wrote about a psychological study investigating how we determine waht is intentional. I wrote a comment thinking about how intention intersects interactive fiction. In response, Adam wrote The Nemean Lion (Z-machine file, requires an IF interpreter to play), and I've been thinking about the last scene in this respect.



Meanwhile, there's also conflict in the world of logic-puzzles, where puzzle plagiarism has reared its ugly head, with Conceptis Puzzles, purveyor of soulless, computer-generated, mass-produced logic puzzles, appropriated the concept and presentation of Strimko for their "new" feature Chain Sudoku. [livejournal.com profile] motris and [livejournal.com profile] onigame (constructors of the eagerly anticipated and soon-to-be-released Mutant Sudoku, a book of hand-crafted, soulful logic puzzles) have weighed in.

Yes, even Sudokuland is full of the fail. I'm going to bed.
tablesaw: Weremerican! (Weremerican)
I was originally going to do this as part of the Pilot inventory, but they didn't play the credits in the pilot, so I decided to keep them separate. There was enough to say in that post anyway.
I'm going to go into a bit more detail about the appropriation and misrepresentation of culture and history by looking at the artifacts mentioned in episodes of Warehouse 13. For a brief overview of what I'm talking about in this series, read "An Extraordinary Rendition of History; Items in Warehouse 13 that Don't Belong in "America's Attic". I won't be going into too great detail of reasearch; if I prove something horribly inaccurate, I do so using only minimal Googling. Corrections and clarifications are thus welcome.
Since these items are in the credits sequence at the beginning of each show, I'm going to assume that they aren't spoilers. But on the other hand, because it's just the credits sequence, things are short and kind of sketchy. We only get a few seconds to look at the artifact, along with some associated images. The credits also feature the Tesla gun and the Pharnsworth from the Pilot.

ETA: An embedded video of the credits, from Hulu. (U.S. viewers only; how appropriate!)



Artifact: Egyptian Scarab Carving
What does it do? IT'S ALIVE! We don't see it doing anything else.
Is it in any way accurate? It looks accurate enough to me entirely untrained eye.
Does it belong in America's Attic? Egypt's been demanding the Rosetta Stone and other Egyptian antiquities for quite some time. I imagine they'd also want to take a look at the living stone that's flying out of their past.



Artifact: East-Asian Sword (probably Japanese)
What does it do? No idea. All we see is a photograph that appears to me to be Japan, then there's a sword, being swordy.
Is it in any way accurate? I couldn't begin to tell.
Does it belong in America's Attic? The image seems to situate it in a non-U.S. culture and history, so no.
Update: This sword appears to be the Honjo Masamune featured in "Implosion." You can find a lot more information about it in that entry.



Artifact: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Pen
What does it do? I don't know, but I think it's covered in blood.
Is it in any way accurate? To the best of my knowledge, the Brothers Grimm did in fact use pens.
Does it belong in America's Attic? While "Grimm's Fairy Tales" forms a bedrock for much fantasy and children's literature in American, the Grimm brothers were German, as were the various storytellers who lent them their words. Another no.



Artifact: Camera with Native Americans Trapped Inside that Possibly Makes Them Disappear (see update below)
What does—wait, what did you say? Look, I don't know any more than you do, and I've been studying those three seconds of the credits for a while now. There's a camera, like it's from the nineteenth century. In the lens, you can see a photograph reflected. That photograph appears in the next frame, where you can see four Native Americans.
But what does that—what? I'm just telling you what I saw. There's a artifact camera that appears in another episode, but I have no idea if the two are supposed to be related or not.
Is it in any way accurate? If I had some sort of standard to judge accuracy, I might be able to tell you, but this thing is just a mess.
Does it belong in America's Attic? I have no idea, but you know what, I'm going to go with no just to be safe.
Update: [livejournal.com profile] portnoyslp points out that one of the Native Americans in the picture is disappearing. Well, that's much better.



Artifact: Moon Rock
What does it do? Levitates, at least.
Is it in any way accurate? It certainly looks moony.
Does it belong in America's Attic? Either the moon rock has powers related to an American astronauts who collected it, or the moon just generally has weird powers like that. But since the moon is (to our knowledge) empty, I think it can probably stay.



Artifact: Mirror Ball
What does it do? Gets the party started! I guess.
Is it in any way accurate? Unless mirror balls were somehow different a few decades ago, I'd say it's accurate. The images seem to be evoking a - vibe.
Does it belong in America's Attic? There's definitely an issue of appropriation of disco into the White mainstream America, but without more knowledge about where this disco ball came from, I'm going to lean on it being a part of American history and culture.



There you have it; America == moon rocks and disco balls.
tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Default)
The Capitol Records building is flying its flag at half mast in memory of Les Paul.

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tablesaw: A tablesaw in action. The blade disappears when it comes in contact with a hot dog. (Default)
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