Link Roundup

Doing a small link roundup. Been focused on trying to find a way to make a living by working at home. Starting to get a handle on it, but for now, enjoy these links.

– Cliff Pervocracy talks about how to have sex on purpose. Very funny, very insightful stuff, and I love that they are really trying to combat the mistaken idea that sex is something that is spontaneous and perfect, or there’s something wrong with you. Sex, like most worthwhile activities, requires and benefits from planning, discussion, and interactivity outside of just having sex. A pull quote:

If I’m going to do one thing in this part, I’m going to completely tear to pieces the idea that sex is only passionate or romantic or whatever if it’s completely spontaneous. That great lovers just fall into bed together and know what to do. And that if you’re not a great lover, you’re still supposed to fake the “just knowing”. So maybe you read sex books or Cosmo sex tips or whatever—do read Cosmo sex tips, by the way, they’re fucking hilarious, but for God’s sakes don’t actually do that stuff until you’ve checked if your partner likes shoelaces tied around their balls—but in “everything has to seem spontaneous” world you’re not supposed to let your lover know you’re reading up. (Hell, a lot of those sex books are actually titled “don’t let him or her see this,” because shoelaces on your balls is only really pleasurable if it’s a complete surprise. Obviously.) You’re supposed to come to bed completely like “Oh, a female body? I know how to work these!” and then either all your moves are perfect or you’re bad at sex, sucks to be you.

– Jerry Coyne drops some history on us about Pangur, one of the earliest recorded cats named in history. Listen to the song at the end, which does a great job of making the piano sound like a cat is occasionally walking on it, like they do.

– Another from Jerry Coyne that I’ve been waiting for an excuse to share and am just going to. This is about the project by Kelly Houle to fully illuminate On the Origin of Species. There are some pictures of the work she’s done so far and I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful projects I have ever seen. I hope that prints will be available when it’s done.

I mean, just look at her rendition of the tree of life, then go to the link to see an explanation of the visual elements she used and why she used them, as well as a more detailed pic and a few others of her work.

Kelly Houle's illuminated tree of life

What incredible work, and don’t forget to go read about the art theory she put into the specific visual elements.

– Finally, the newest edition of Overbytes has the Game Overthinker (this is not the show with the plot, this is a shorter, just commentary show) discussing the announcement of the PS4, or more to the point, the lack of announcement. I think the point he makes about backwards compatibility being the best bulwark against simply losing games and having large chunks of game history disappear the way that others mediums have allowed are right on point. He, being a film scholar primarily, talks about how we have lost so much film, so many things that could be important that are simply gone because we’re careless and didn’t think that one day we may want any number of different pictures that were instead left to disintegrate or disappear.

As a SCAdian, I see this in the twofold way that part of what we do is attempt to maintain our history that would otherwise be lost, but also I see the result of centuries of neglect for preservation that have left us with, for example, no existent copies of ancient Greek music, though we have a number of commentaries on it. I don’t want to see that happen to games, where years from now we have photocopies of reviews of, for example, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, that talk about its fantastic soundtrack (still one of my favorites) and how it showed that the SCUMM system was more than a one-game trick pony, building part of a bridge that would lead us to Sam and Max and The Secret of Monkey Island.

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