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.
Do you enjoy the irreverent and thought provoking XKCD web comic, but wish you didn't have to get on a big scary computer to get more content from creator Randall Munroe? Well you're in luck, luddites! Also, we appreciate you getting over your technophobia to read these words. It must be so hard for you.
If you ever wanted to watch an incredibly cute, glowing stick figure run around and talk baby-talk, this is the video for you. Seriously, we could watch it all day. As a bonus, it really reminds us of the stick figures from the webcomic XKCD.
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.
Webcomics typically adhere to the classic newspaper funny pages formats of a either a single frame, or a few panels laid out in sequence, but they don't have to. Online comics can have a limitless number of panels, or just be comprised of one big "Infinite Canvas." xkcd creator Randall Munroe finished a single massive story of the strip comprised of 3,099 panels, and Geekwagon put it all together in an easy to view slideshow/animation that's worth checking out.
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.
The other day, web comic genius Randall Munroe of xkcd unleashed a comic that was a different sort of amazing from his usual dose of amazing. Called "Click and Drag," the comic was able to be explored manually using the titular action of clicking and dragging, and hid many jokes, fun references, and emotional moments. The Internet quickly took to the comic, creating various maps and methods of interaction, so users could more freely explore and see everything Munroe shoved into the enormous, sliding panel. Now, with the help of GitHub user n01se, "Click and Drag" has been turned into an MMO.
If you're a regular reader of the brilliant xkcd, then you probably got lost in today's comic, "Click and Drag." It features three short panels sitting above a seemingly larger, finite panel. However, when you perform the comic's titular action, click and drag, the larger, bottom panels seems to sprawl on forever in various directions, revealing amusing quips, sad stories, and what is essentially an entire world. There are many impressive facets about "Click and Drag," such as the panel measuring in at 1.3 terapixels, as well as small community of coders creating applets to help readers better navigate the behemoth. Head on past the break for some stellar info, and maybe set aside some time later today to explore the enormous comic.
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)
One of the best things the comic strip xkcd does is present the mind-bogglingly large in a beautiful, elegant way. This time, the webcomic's artist turned his eye to exoplanets, presenting all the other worlds we've yet discovered in one image, to scale. There sure are an awful lot of them.
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.
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.
Another day, another xkcd graph that requires an understanding of mathematics or a FAQ to comprehend. At least that's what it feels like to me, but when you get past that outer shell, the inside is always moist and chocolaty. This particular Randall Munroe feature is a polar graph that shows which days the internet likes to do specific things. That is to say, it shows the relative popularity of phrases like "[day of the week] is the big day," based on quantity of Google hits.
So, if you're like me and polar coordinates helped push you to abandon computer science in favor of an English degree (or you just have a short attention span), here's how you read this graph. The rings represent the phrases being searched, are color-coded for your convenience and are made of text of the actual phrase. Where they cross over the big, grey beam that has the day of the week on it is where the info is the important part. If the ring crosses a beam near the center, that particular phrase-day pairing is uncommon. If the ring crosses the beam at the periphery, or off-screen, that phrase-day pairing is the cat's pajamas. It's all explained on the graph, of course, so if my explain didn't work for you, maybe the man himself did it better.
Bigger image after the jump.
Spoiler: Wednesday is ladies' night.
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.)
The webcomic XKCD dropped another Internet truism when it proclaimed in the alt-text of its latest comic:
Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at "Philosophy"
Someone took it as a challenge, and put together a "useful" little tool that will show you, with links, exactly how many clicks it takes to get from the subject of your choice to the Wikipedia article on philosophy. It certainly is eye-opening, and is certain to keep folks entertained for quite some time.
The real question is if anyone has yet proved XKCD wrong. 20 steps was my longest chain, who can beat it?
Update: Geekosystem reader Andrew has found one that breaks the chain: "numerary" first links to "supernumerary," which first links to "numerary" ... and so on.
(XKCD Wikipedia Steps to Philosophy)
xkcd gets its share of backlash from within the geek community for its occasional nerd-pandering ('hey, you like math and video games? me too!'), but it's stuff like this and the radiation chart that proves that xkcd cartoonist Randall Munroe is still the best in the business. Anyone can profess to enjoy Star Wars and Portal, but laborious, useful data-crunching is the mark of true geekery.
Here, Munroe combines first-page Google search results for a number of queries about the future to paint a picture of the coming century. Oh, and when the nerd-pandering punchline finally arrives, it is just delicious.
Full comic after the jump.