November 18th, 2007
Not a deadly sin.
A BBC World Service radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys will be available to listen to online for seven days, i.e. until next Saturday.
Anansi, the traditional West African spider god, is a storyteller and a joker. What if Anansi were alive today? And what if he were your father â€“ the most embarrassing father a boy could possibly have? Fat Charlieâ€™s about to find out, when heâ€™s dragged into the world of myth, magic and stories.
[Via Neil Gaiman]
This collection of 1960s and 70s Syd Mead concept art contains some pretty eye-catching material. Among other concepts, he came up with what appears to be an early take on the Segway concept, which he christened the Unipod Gyroscopically Balanced Personal Vehicle.
A carapace with with a pair of mercury gyros on the back that would serve as a personal mobility device in future megastructure environments and multi-level commercial areas.
I've got to say that the "Unipod Gyroscopically Balanced Personal Vehicle" looks even goofier than the real-life Segway Personal Transporter does, but the rest of Mead's work here looks pretty cool.
Jessie hitchhiked down from space
I told her, "Thanks for all the fish"
Hannah cosplayed Princess Bride
All I could say was, "As you wish"
Cheryl donned a schoolgirl skirt
And begged me for my tentacle
Kim was like Excalibur
Forever swinging, never dull
An interview with one of my favourite supporting actors, Bob Balaban:
[You've…] directed a number of films, a few of which are built around the theme of cannibalism.
That's true. I directed My Boyfriend's Back, in which a teenage boy becomes a zombie and eats some of his classmates, and Parents, in which Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt cannibalize people for meat. I don't know as I'd really call it a theme, though.
Balaban's diary of his time working on Close Encounters of the Third Kind is worth a look, if you see a copy.
The Times they aren't a changing has a simple mission statement:
It is the conceit of newspapers that each morning there are new stories to tell. Using the New York Times's own archives, unchangingtimes.com sets out to prove that everything news is old.
The approach is straightforward enough: take a story from the current edition of the paper, then find a story on the same topic from the archives to provide some perspective on current events.
I'd love to see someone try this approach with the archives of the Guardian. Sadly, the paper's freely available online archive only goes back to 1999, so there wouldn't be much of a contrast to be had between then and now.
[Via Making Light]
Last night's Newsnight story on the flimsy physical security used to prevent unauthorised firings of Britain's nuclear weapons quoted a gem of a comment from a senior Royal Navy source:
[In response to the suggestion that it might be wise to add more secure activation systems that would prevent a single officer from launching a Polaris missile without the requisite proper authorisation codes.]
"It would be invidious to suggest… that Senior Service officers may, in difficult circumstances, act in defiance of their clear orders".
Because clearly it was far more important to reassure our naval officers that we trusted them than it was to ensure that a lone maniac couldn't incinerate a few thousand Russians and usher in the Third World War.
I'm not discouraged; at worst it sounds like an ambitious failure. I think the man who brought us Donnie Darko has stacked up enough credit to be given the benefit of the doubt next time out.