Book of the Month: Baby Owner’s Manual
I know I wasn’t gonna post all about babby stuff on this website, but this one is really, really cool. It’s a geek dad’s guide to taking care of a baby, full of technical diagrams and ways to “troubleshoot” your small, new acquisition. It’s informative, but it is also a lot of fun to read.
Tweeter of the Month: @RealCarrotFacts
Carrot Fact’s “facts” are often about as factual as the “facts” cited by climate change deniers. Nonetheless they’re incredibly funny, and the charmingly clumsy grammar mistakes only add to the appeal. There is also an interesting meta-story going on, with hints about a failed relationship with a woman named Megan and some other vaguely unhappy things woven throughout the posts. Here are some of my personal favorites:
if you plug headphones into a carrot you don't hear music but at least you are doing something
Hey, y’know that video game BioShock? And BioShock 2? Yeah? Well, they’re pretty well-known. I must confess I haven’t played any of the BioShock series on account of I don’t game on the PC, and I only have ever had Nintendo console systems.
Anyhoo, BioShock is one of the most acclaimed video game series of the past 10 years. It has a rich backstory, but only a backstory that has been hinted about in the games and never actually seen.
And so a couple of young guys got together and decided to make a slice-of-life short film that takes place before the events of the series. That film was called The Brothers Rapture. It’s a deceptively simple, tragic little story of brotherhood, art, power, and creative limits.
It was directed by Shaun Rykiss and produced by Trevor Lareau. I’ve known Trevor since he was, what, four years old? Carrie & I used to babysit him.
It quickly gained much attention from geek-and-gamer-oriented websites like this Kotaku article, and it has garnered over 160,000 views since it was released back in May.
Most of you who read this website are probably fans of the webcomic XKCD by Randall Munroe. If you aren’t… well, you really should be. It’s an über-smart, geeky, and at times remarkably profound comic whose simplistic art style belies its depth.
Anyhoo, a fascinating and somewhat-secret thing happened at XKCD over the past few months. Back sometime in the Spring, a comic called “Time” was posted. It was pretty innocuous; just a drawing of two people sitting on the ground. Like this:
And if you (like me) simply looked at it and moved on, you would have (like me) missed something pretty fascinating. You see, without telling anyone, Munroe set that page of XKCD to update with a new drawing at least once every hour. For months.
It ended up telling, one picture at a time, a complete and fascinating story about naiveté, discovery, science, and courage. It lasted more than 3,000 drawings, finally ending only a couple of weeks ago.
Thankfully for those of us who were blissfully unaware of what was going on, many enterprising and clever people did catch on. They made forums to discuss what was slowly unfolding. And thankfully, they archived it. Over at Geekwagon it was archived in such a way that you can watch it frame-by-frame and it’ll automatically pause on frames that have been deemed important by the community.
Another person edited it all together and put it up on YouTube for you to watch. It’s over 40 minutes long (though sometimes you’ll have to manually pause on dialogue frames in order to read them).
That’s right. It’s an XKCD MOVIE.
I’ve used this word before, but here it is again: it’s fascinating. There are many unfolding clues as it goes on as to the kind of world in which this story takes place. I first heard about this project from Phil Plait (over at Bad Astronomy), who actually helped a little bit with the science of the story. Watch it first before you read that article, though (spoiler alert).
I’m super happy that I learned about this movie. I love stuff like this. You should, too.