The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Line Up for the TIFF 2014 Vanguard Program

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Here are the films playing the Vanguard program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Spring; Luna; Hyena; Goodnight, Mommy / Ich Seh, Ich Seh; Alleluia; The Duke Of Burgundy; Over Your Dead Body; Shrew’s Nest; They Have Escaped; Waste Land; The World of Kanako; and The Voices. (Trailers added as they become available).

The Geologic History of Westeros and Essos

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Learn all about the geology of Game Of Thrones at Generation Anthrophocene.

“Googling Nazca”

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A gallery of images of the Nazca Lines taken via Google Maps. (via @mattstaggs)

“Momentum: Large Format Photos of Chalkboards from Quantum Mechanics Institutions”

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Behold the glory of this gallery of Alejandro Guijarro’s  large format photographs of chalkboards from quantum mechanics institutions. Science!

“10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel is NOT One)”

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“If the RZA didn’t exist, then we would have had to invent him.” Charles Webb shares his list of “10 Modern Heroes of Black Nerddom (and Urkel is NOT One)” at Topless Robot.

Nettrice Gaskins Explores AfroFuturism In Virtual Worlds

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At IAfroFuturism, Ytasha interviews Nettrice Gaskins about AfroFuturism, art, math, science and virtual worlds. “I had to figure out how to immerse those who weren’t familiar with Afrofuturism using the virtual space. I wanted the avatars in the space to have an experience. I put up a gallery that allowed you to manipulate objects. I […]

“The Topography of Tears”

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Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of Rose-Lynn Fisher’s photographs of human tears at the microscopic level: ‘“It’s amazing to me how the patterns of nature seem so similar, regardless of scale,” she says. “You can look at patterns of erosion that are etched into earth over thousands of years, and somehow they look very similar […]

Mad Science Throwdown: Princess Bubblegum vs Frankenstein

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“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator and […]

Glowing Fish Bones

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A gallery of radiographs of fish from the Smithsonian’s Collection. It’s part of a traveling exhibition and there is also a book from Chronicle Books.

Prosthetic Instruments

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Dancers create music with prosthetic instruments.

Photographs of a Sunken Egyptian City

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Explore the mysteries of the lost Egyptian city of Thonis (aka, Heracleion)! (via @TrashFilmGuru)

“The Science of Black Nerds”

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Blerdology’s Kat and Amanda talk to Vibe about “The Science of Black Nerds.” “African Americans present a unique set of perspectives and problems that the larger tech world could never completely and accurately tackle without us. Now, we hack to ask how can we get more African Americans to realize the power and influence they […]

Valentina Tereshkova, The First Woman In Space

“Tereshkova was celebrated in songs and her face was put on postage stamps. Soon after her flight, she was married off to a fellow cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolayev. Khrushchev gave the bride away at a wedding filled with the Soviet equivalent of Hello magazine photographers. When the couple eventually split, their divorce needed the personal approval […]

Alice Kober and Deciphering Linear B

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A profile of Alice Kober  and her groundbreaking work deciphering Linear B. “It was she who was working hundreds of hours with a slide rule sitting at her dining table… a cigarette burning at her elbow, poring over the few published inscriptions, looking and looking for patterns.”

Chromatophores + “Insane In The Membrane”

Scientists hooked a squid up to an iPod. This is what happened.

Jane Austen, Master Game Theorist

Jane Austen responds to Michael Chwe naming her a master of Game Theory.

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

Acid Burn, Angelina Jolie and Ada Lovelace

Garann writes a tribute to Hackers‘ Acid Burn for Ada Lovelace Day: “There are real women who did hard, under-appreciated work who instilled in me a belief that computer science was noble and beautiful and that I could be a part of it. They came later, though. I found them only because of an absurd […]

Decay: The Large Hadron Collider’s Zombie Attack!

Scientists make a feature film about radiation zombies and film it at CERN. It’s educational and you can watch it here.

RIP, Nefertiti the Spider

Nefertiti the astronaut spider has died. She had lived aboard the International Space Station for three months. PBS has an obituary.  (Thanks, Andrew!)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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