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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Behold! The 2014 Hugo Award Nominees!

Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Gravity, Frozen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Saga, and more high-quality SF/F than you can shake a stick at. That certainly covers a whole bunch of our post tags.

The Hugo Awards honor both pros and fans alike, and as usual, the 2014 nominees provide a superb checklist of things to read, watch, and enjoy. The winners will be announced on Sunday, August 17 at Loncon 3 (aka the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention).

The full list of nominees is available below. And should you need to gush about your favorites, mention absent works you feel are deserving (*cough* Janelle Monae’s The Electric Lady for Best Related Work *cough*), or…ah…have a measured discussion about nominees you may object to, the comments are here for your disposal.


Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: A Dragon Egg Cake Fit For A Khaleesi

What happens if you leave it in the oven too long? (via Cake Wrecks)


Power Grid

40 Webcomics You Need to Read

Comics are wonderful, visual ways of getting a story across, and it goes without saying that we at The Mary Sue love them. But as wonderful as they are, grabbing issue after issue can add up. And yet the desire for more comics persists. Luckily there are plenty of creative, engaging, funny, complex—and free!—stories and gag strips out there for those of us who need our dose of sequential art. You just have to know where to look. Enter the Internet.


she blinded me with science

Female Scientists Describe Their Jobs Using Only the 10,000 Most Common English Words

A little while ago there was an XKCD picture that explained the Up-Goer Five, “the only flying space car that’s taken anyone to another world,” using only the ten hundred most used words in the very large group of words that I’m using right now. The Up-Goer Five is not easy to explain, so this was pretty funny, but also pretty interesting. Now on Tumblr, Theo Sanderson, Anne Jefferson, and Chris Rowan have a world wide computer place where men and women like the men and women who made the Up-Goer Five can explain how their jobs work, using only those same ten hundred words. They even made a world wide computer place that shows you what words to pick!

We think women who do things like making Up-Goer Fives are very cool, so we want to show you some of the things they do here on our world wide computer place! There are lots more at Sanderson, Jefferson, and Rowan’s world wide computer place. And in case you haven’t guessed already, these words were also written using their word-picking computer place.


Questions! Questions That Need Answering

So What Would Happen If Everyone on Earth Jumped At the Same Time?

It’s a question that’s been asked many times before: What would happen if everyone in the world (and we mean everyone) got together in one tightly-packed–and presumably pretty sweaty–place and, all at once, everyone jumped up and landed at the exact same time. What would happen to the Earth? You know, aside from the incredible inconveniences of getting everyone home. Michael Stevens of Vsauce has thought a lot about this, and presents his findings in this really informative, fun video.

(via Laughing Squid)

Rights of Passage

Which Sites Are Going Black to Protest SOPA/PIPA?

If you found yourself wondering what the name of the second general of the Dutch Revolution was, or if that was even real, and you ventured on over to Wikipedia to look it up, you probably noticed that the site looked different today. Different, as in blacked out. And then you may or may not have panicked, because now how would you satisfy you thirst for random trivia that is probably somewhere else on the internet, but your go-to site has shut itself down, and now your brain must find something else to do for the next — hey, someone mentioned you on Twitter. You should check that out.

Anyway, you most likely heard about this earlier in the week, when the site’s administrators announced that in protest of the highly controversial internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA, they would “censor” their own site for 24 hours. But Wikipedia is not the only site protesting today. After the jump, find out who else has shut themselves down, and see what the internet will look like should these bills become law.


Sock It To 'Em Ada

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Today, October 7th, marks the 2011 date of Ada Lovelace Day, an occasion of celebrating women role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; named after a lady known as the Right Honourable the Countess of Lovelace to the 19th century British peerage, but the Enchantress of Numbers to Charles Babbage, the man who invented the concept of a programmable computer. In a nutshell, Ada Lovelace was the daughter of estranged parents, estranged because her father was notable unstable poet and madman Lord Byron, and in an effort to keep her from ever developing her father’s literary-infused madness, her mother made sure Ada had the kind of tutors who have their own Wikipedia pages, reasoning that she’d math the poetry out of the girl.

And it worked: by the time of her death at thirty-six, Ada had become one of the only people to actually understand what Charles Babbage was getting at with his theoretical computers, to the point where she had actually written an algorithm for the putative analytical engine that would compute Bernoulli numbers.


Educated Guess

Technology Gives Everyone a Magic Schoolbus

Man, modernization of research techniques (and, I suppose, a commentary on the accessibility, readability, and perverse entertainment value of Wikipedia ) notwithstanding, that is one boss lady we really need an homage to in our logos.

I know, I know! I can tell you with certainty that when it comes to it we will be adding S – WAIT. Wait, that is TOTALLY Tintin’s moon rocket in the bottom of the third panel.

(via and by XKCD.)

Sock It To 'Em Ada

Female Scientists and Mathematicians: You Are Not Alone

From xkcd, supplemental materials behind the jump.



The Downside of Internet Anonymity For Women

The Internet is a fascinating place primarily because of its commitment to anonymity. We simply wouldn’t have the web without it. Trolls, spam, scams, controversial Wikipedia edits, WikiLeaks, basic user safety, all are dependent on having a hidden identity. User anonymity is fundamental and inseparable.

But ever since the great RealID debacle of 2010, I’ve been thinking about how this same anonymity is a contributing factor to why women and racial/cultural minorities struggle to find acceptance in open anonymous communities like forums, social news communities, and especially online gaming, and whether it’s possible to do anything about that.

What are the disadvantages of staying anonymous? Well, it starts with the simple assumptions we make about those around us, and in particular what we assume about the concept “human being” when we have no other input.