I don’t know if he’s known world-wide, but the Bill Nye The Science Guy was an inordinately popular kids’ science show in North America when I was still in public school.
User NyeTunes on youtube has uploaded a large number of music videos from the show, so if you’re not as amused by rocks as I am, go find the one you like best and let us know in the comments!
This is an open thread, so nothing is off-topic here as long as you stay within our comment guidelines. We have these open threads so that you can comment on older posts, get in touch with us to ask questions or suggest links, etc. Feel free to reminisce about great educational TV!
A few Penny Arcade fans with little grasp of basic human decency and even less grasp of basic grammar and spelling have really been making for an unpleasant week. The last linkspam has related links if you’re curious. It’s not pretty.
BUT… I actually have tickets for PAX East. I decided to go long before this whole debacle because I’ve enjoyed PAX prime in the past, and a friend of mine has had an incredibly rough year so a bunch of us planned the trip partially as a present to her. She’s much more important to me than a bunch of jerks are, so backing out is not an option for me.
Rather than let the actions of a few people ruin something I enjoy, I’m going to step away from that part of things and talk about why I’m still excited about the trip.
Jane McGonigal is a keynote speaker! She’s done some amazing work on gaming and how it can be used to make more real-world impact, and when I was still teaching game design, I’d often talk about her work with my students. She’s an awesome female game designer and an inspiring speaker. I’ve watched her TED talk, and I’m totally stoked about seeing her keynote.
Angry Birds! My friend and I have been crocheting angry birds and greedy pigs from the game Angry Birds to use for playing line games with strangers. We’ll set up some structures with the pigs and offer up birds to knock them over. Or maybe we’ll just make angry bird noises and toss them into crowd to see what happens (we’re hoping to have a bunch to give away!) Line games are a real feature at PAX, since you do spend a lot of time waiting in line, and in previous years my group has had a ball meeting strangers next to us in line and playing DS games or just chatting. Honestly, I’m not usually a fan of waiting, but it makes a break from the noisier show floor and a great excuse to meet people who are at least interested in the same panel.
Okay, I’m not done with the Angry Birds thing yet. Check out this partially finished amigurumi cutie I made while hashing out a pattern for smaller birds!
Awesome friends! I’ve got a nicely-sized gang of friends going, so if I’m feeling shy I don’t have to talk to anyone I don’t know. I’m particularly looking forwards to vacationing with this year’s party, and I expect those of us travelling together will have a total blast in transit too.
Concerts! With geeky music! I love live music, but often shows are marred by drunken morons. However, on top of not allowing booth babes, PAX also has all-ages evening shows all ages so there’s no booze. Yeay for feeling safer and not having to deal with drunks who bash into me! Plus thanks to the popularity of music games, you can’t beat a gamer crowd for ability to clap in time and sing in tune. (It totally freaked me out the first time I heard everyone *actually* clapping in unison.) And I’m still amused by the Nintendo DSes being used in place of lighters/cell phones:
New games! I love getting to try new demos and poke around games I maybe wouldn’t have tried except that there happened to be a controller free. I often wind up with some beta keys to share, too, so I can do things like check out the big lego massively multiplayer game in my own time and even with friends. And it’s not just computer and console games: I love walking into the board game rooms and immediately having someone flag us down to try something out. “You’ve got to try this game! It’s called ‘We didn’t playtest this at all!’” (turns out it’s a fun, quick, if exceptionally silly card game!)
Swag! I got a dozen T-shirts at PAX prime in 2010, and some of them even fit me beautifully! Other favourites include posters, fun buttons, cute plushies and even an amazing artbook from the Guild Wars 2 team. Last time I brought back a paper zombie cone (from Plants Vs Zombies) to give to a young girl who I know loved the game. safety cones plus zombie safety cones by Solarbird.
Costumes and gamer geek wear! We probably aren’t going to have any big costumes ourselves this year, but it’s a great excuse to wear goofy hats, and I love seeing what other people have done. Check out the koopa backpack I made for last time:
It’s neat to see people showing the world what games they enjoy.
So there’s a few reasons and I’m feeling better already. Anyone got any upcoming events you’re excited about? Anyone planning to go to the first GirlGeekCon in the fall which promises to be a potential alternative for women who (understandably) might prefer to give PAX a miss? Anyone been making neat amigurumi or other geeky toys and want to share? Let me know.
NOTE: I’m really serious about wanting this post to be about fun stuff: a unicorn chaser to this week for me. So please, you want to be negative, try another post. The latest linkspam may be an appropriate place for such things. They will not be published on this post.
Metaneira is a 30 year old female currently in school for a masterâ€™s in public administration focusing on the non-profit sector. Meta has been gaming since she could hold a joystick, and has been blogging in one form or another since 1999. She currently co-hosts a site about mages and feminist issues in World of Warcraft at www.empoweredfire.com.
By now you may have seen the video â€œG33k & G4M3R Girls,â€ a parody of Katy Perryâ€™s â€œCalifornia Girlsâ€ written by a few women involved with geek culture. (If you havenâ€™t, you can see it here: while safe for work, the video features women very scantily clad and has an aggressively cloying auto-tuned soundtrack. Watch at your own risk.) The four women â€” Milynn Sarley, Clare Grant, Rileah Vanderbilt, and Michele Boyd â€” form â€œTeam Unicornâ€ and were interviewed by the Official Star Wars Blog about the video. The author of the article says the ladies answer as one unit â€œcause thatâ€™s how they roll.â€ Fine: â€œTeam Unicornâ€ it is. Team Unicorn: youâ€™re doing it wrong.
Now, let me get a few things straight: Iâ€™m a geek. Iâ€™m a gamer. And Iâ€™m a woman. But none of those things are me: they are just parts of the whole. Having my entire personality boiled down to a list of nerdy references I get or things I enjoy doing is kind of absurd, but this is what the video promotes. From the very start, Seth Green asks, â€œHello friendsâ€¦ donâ€™t you want to meet a nice girl?â€ The video is not aimed at the women it is purporting to celebrate: it is straight-up pandering to the largely sexist, male-centric geek subculture. It is geek women served up for the male gaze on a shiny latex platter. This is not empowering.
In the futuristic city of Metropolis, Cindi Mayweather, a.k.a. Android # 57821, falls in love with a human named Anthony Greendown. As a result, the Star Commission schedules for her immediate disassembly. Cindi Mayweather hides in the Neon Valley Street District, while card-carrying android bounty hunters are urged to capture her for a reward. The Droid Control Marshalls forbid the bounty hunters from using phasers that day; they can only use chainsaws and electro-daggers.
Cindi Mayweather is actually the alter-ego of Janelle MonÃ¡e, an underrated, multi-talented American recording artist, and apparent science fiction geek. Jason Heller of sci-fl/fantasy site Torwrites of MonÃ¡e:
MonÃ¡e herself has said how indebted to the SF canon she is: In interviews sheâ€™s gushed about Philip K. Dick, The Matrix, Metropolis (a film she pays visual tribute to on the cover of The ArchAndroid), and most often Octavia E. Butler, a visionary writer whose ethnocentric SF clearly marks her as MonÃ¡eâ€™s aesthetic godmother. [...] MonÃ¡e isnâ€™t dabbling in SF. She takes the stuff passionately and seriously.
From her first album, Metropolis, the music video for “Many Moons” is about an Annual Android Auction featuring a performance by Cindi Mayweather, in which MonÃ¡e dances erratically and does the moonwalk:
If you liked that video and want more highly-polished videos by MonÃ¡e, check out “Tightrope”, which is not sci-fi-themed but has fantasy elements and gender-liberating dancing, as well as the trailer for The ArchAndroid, in which the camera pans around a futuristic city-scape that turns out to be MonÃ¡e’s hat.
If you’re wondering what the soundtrack is, it is a free download released by The Crystalline Effect to honor Ada Lovelace for this year’s Ada Lovelace Day. I discovered it this week when searching for a track to compliment the competition montage, and have fallen somewhat in love with it.