RT @scalzi: Today’s phrase of the day is “Cis-Trans Test.” It means something specific in biology and I’m also using it to see just how imprecise Dear Leader’s latest attempt to give shitty bigots a tool to boot people they don’t like from this service actually is

RT @scalzi: Today’s phrase of the day is “Cis-Trans Test.” It means something specific in biology, and I’m also using it to see just how imprecise Dear Leader’s latest attempt to give shitty bigots a tool to boot people they don’t like from this service actually is


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Boosting brion@mastodon.technology: Found them! Five photos, taken in fading dusk light after panickingly searching for my camera …

Found them! Five photos, taken in fading dusk light after panickingly searching for my camera during what I sincerely hoped was a _test_ missile. 😉


This was the October 3, 1999 antiballistic missile system test described here http://articles.latimes.com/1999/oct/03/news/mn-18259

Files scanned October 14, 1999, and sat around for aaaaages. 🙂

vintagerpg:Serious nerd history lesson incoming.The first Dungeons & Dragons videogame came out in …


Serious nerd history lesson incoming.

The first Dungeons & Dragons videogame came out in 1982
for the Intellivision, but the burgeoning industry was already under the tabletop
game’s influence. By 1980, two games represented a kind of fork in the
philosophical road for computerized RPGs. Rogue focused on the dangers of
dungeon crawling and complex rule sets that verged on the mystical – it was
essentially a simulation of D&D mechanics where stories emerged from the
action without narrative guidance. Down the other path lay Zork.

Zork was developed by students at MIT from 1977 to 1979. It was
inspired by Will Crowther’s 1975 mainframe game Colossal Cave Adventure that,
though it lacked monsters, was directly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons
sessions (which included Zork writer and Infocom founder Dave Lebling). Zork
was definitely fantasy, though, with a vast underground empire to explore,
treasures to find and monsters to fight (or be eaten by, if we’re talking about
the darkness dwelling Grue).

Zork is an interactive fiction, that is, everything is
presented as text. You direct your actions by typing them into the command line
and a bit of code known as a text parser acts as a kind of dungeon master (Zork
III’s subtitle actually is Dungeon Master, come to think of it), interpreting
your commands and telling you their consequences. If the Dave Arneson school of
D&D thought sought to have players inhabit the fantasy stories he read and
loved, then Zork is perhaps the closest we’ve come to that Platonic ideal.

I love Zork. It is as old as I am, has no flashy graphics,
and yet remains my favorite videogame of all time. It stoked my imagination as
no other videogame has, but in ways similar to D&D. As a kid, peering at
the green monochrome screen, trying (and mostly failing) to work out the devious
puzzles. I didn’t make much of a distinction between Zork and Dungeons &
Dragons. Even though they didn’t share a brand name, I knew they were both
facets of a larger world.

Interactive fiction mostly died out in the late 80s, leaving
the mechanical influence of D&D to dominate videogames until recent years,
when technology has allowed complex narrative to remarry rules systems in
something that approximates the experience of telling a story with friends
around the gaming table. Sort of. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

So let’s bury this bullshit about how women didn’t grow up on Star Wars.



This is my friend TJ, wearing a costume she made for Halloween, 1977.  She was 16 at the time.

Now, keep in mind: there was no internet to search for images.  She could not have rented and paused the movie, because it wasn’t released on video until 1982.  No, TJ just went to the movie a bunch of times, took notes with a flashlight, drew a bunch of sketches, and put this together.

In 19-fucking-77.  So let’s bury this bullshit about how women didn’t grow up on Star Wars.

Some dude tried to explain why TLJ is an insult to real fans and since I liked it I wasn’t a real fan and SON, I GOT A DOT MATRIX PRINT OUT OF Star Wars: New Hope, The Journal of the Whills, Part 1 IN A DRAWER SOMEWHERE, COME AT ME.

My mother is 74 years old and knows what a Corellian blood stripe is. The ladies have been here the whole time.

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Return of the Supervillain Self-Help Expert



You’ve probably seen this panel of the Rainbow Raider triumphantly shouting, “I believe in me!” (especially if you follow Lia’a Rogues blog). It’s from Brave and the Bold #194 by Mike Barr and Carmine Infantino. As a motivational therapist, Professor Andrea Wye approaches Bivolo and D-list Batman villain Dr. Double-X about their failures as super-villains, and convinces them to “Trade heroes and win.”

So Rainbow Raider goes after Batman, and Dr. Double-X goes after the Flash. The heroes aren’t used to fighting each other’s villains, and actually get captured. Of course they turn the tables before she’s able to learn what she wants from them, and overpower the villains before going after the mastermind. She escapes, but Flash figures she’ll return sooner or later. As far as I knew, she disappeared at that point.

I recently discovered that she does return, after all, in the opening two-parter of the 1985 Outsiders series — no surprise, also written by Barr. This was when the team had just split off from Batman, causing a title change, and moved from Gotham to Los Angeles.

In “Nuclear Fear,” Prof. Wye stages a fake terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant near Los Angeles to observe how the city reacts. It’s research material for her next book on the psychology of fear. (Ethics, schmethics, right?)

The Outsiders stop her team before it can make a scene, but the scientist she contacted to help plan the raid wants to go further. He wants to actually blow up Los Angeles in order to make people understand the horrors of nuclear war, and he sends a group of robots modeled after his dead family to do it. Naturally they’re called The Nuclear Family, and they’re this weird idealized 1950s family — except for the fact that they want to kill everyone. (Strange that nuclear war and twisted nostalgia for the 1950s are suddenly topical again.)

Once Wye learns about her ally’s plan, she hightails it out of town. Meanwhile the Outsiders are in a race to find the robots before they detonate themselves. In the end, the only thing they can do is destroy the robots in a normal explosion before they go critical and take out the city. The Nuclear Family is never seen again, as far as I know…and neither is Professor Wye.

I wonder if she ever finished her book?


The post Return of the Supervillain Self-Help Expert appeared first on Speed Force.

Heh, great post!  I read the Nuclear Family story a while back solely because Wye was in it; she’s kind of a fun satire of the skeevy snake-oil psychologists who were proliferating in the late 70s and early 80s.  It’s interesting how she doesn’t quite commit crimes herself, but manipulates villains into doing her bidding for her own ends.

The Nuclear Family actually appeared recently in the Justice League Action animated series, probably because they’re topical again as you say. (It’s a Firestorm episode, which IMO are some of the best in the series.)  The DC Wiki tells me they also appeared in the Battle for Bludhaven series, but I’ve not read that myself.

Battle for Bludhaven? Wow. I don’t remember hearing much about that one. I didn’t read it myself, but I don’t remember it even rating the kind of reaction that Amazons Attack got. Anyone here read it? Is it any good?

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Four successful Republican scams that have changed American politics in the last 40 years:



1. That income tax cuts are good for poor, working and middle class people. (Compared to property tax and sales tax cuts, income tax cuts affect poor, working and middle class very little.)

2. That “they” – racial and ethnic minorities – benefit from social programs like welfare, housing subsidies, public transportation, and higher education, but “we” – white people – don’t. (Since there are LOTS more white people in America, even now, than “not white” people, simple math suggests most beneficiaries of social programs are white. And they are.)

3. That the “free market” can lead to the least expensive, highest quality solution to social and political problems. (Many social and political problems, after all, involve situations where no one has any money, so the “free market” has no reason to touch them.)

4. That the “free market” means that government must not intervene in the market, and must allow whatever the market determines to actually take place.(The “free market” requires government to pass laws, create courts, and run a stable banking system to make the market work smoothly.)

These four ideas have convinced millions of Americans to smile and wave as rich people rob them blind.


This photograph of children looking at their smartphones by Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’…


year this photograph of children looking at their smartphones by Rembrandt’s ‘The
Night Watch’ in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
[went viral.] It was often accompanied by outraged, dispirited comments such as
“a perfect metaphor for our age,” “the end of civilization” or “a sad picture of
our society”.

It turns out that the
Rijksmuseum has an app that, among other
things, contains guided tours and further information about the works on display.
As part of their visit to the museum, the children, who minutes earlier had admired
the art and listened attentively to explanations by expert adults, had been instructed
to complete an assignment by their school teachers, using, among other things, the
museum’s excellent smartphone app….

The tragic thing is that this — the truth — will
never go viral. So, I wonder, what is more likely to bring about the death of civilization,
children using smartphones to learn about art or the willful ignorance of adults
who are too quick to make assumptions?” José PicardoMedium

Read more

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