John Lewis Is A Comics Superhero, Prepare For Ludicrous Speed, And Earth 2.0: Your Saturday Nerd-Out
Happy Saturday, and welcome to your moment of Nerding: Just a few stories that we thought were pretty cool because they appeal to the geek in us.
Real Life Superhero Cosplays As Himself
For starters, how about congressman John Lewis of Georgia, attending his second Comic-Con last Saturday and getting into the whole cosplay scene, dressing as a character from March: Book 2, the comics memoir that he co-wrote with former campaign aide Andrew Aydin, with art by Nate Powell. To be specific, Lewis decided to dress up as the "John Lewis in 1965" character from the book. The Washington Post had a lovely story this week about how it all happened:
“We went looking for the [type of] trench coat I wore 50 years ago,” Rep. Lewis tells me over the weekend. They found, too, an accurate backpack.
“In his backpack were two books, an apple, a toothbrush and toothpaste,” Aydin tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “He carried that in Selma 50 years ago in case he got arrested.”
Also in John Lewis’s backpack on that day in Selma was an orange. “We tried but couldn’t find an orange,” Rep. Lewis tells me of completing his new weekend costume. “In Southern California, of all places."
And there, as the three “March” collaborators arrived at their Saturday panel, was not just a large, eager audience, but a grouping of schoolchildren down in front ... Now, sitting here, were young fans of “March” — including about two-dozen bright-eyed third-graders from nearby Oak Park Elementary, a Title I school. Their teacher, Mick Rabin, had shown the wisdom to bring them to meet history in the flesh. [...]
And then, after the talk, Lewis needed to get back to the booth of his publisher, Top Shelf Productions, to sign books. Yet how to handle having so many young fans in tow?
The only true answer, of course, was to march.
Rabin says he proposed that his students walk with their living hero. “So we marched through the Convention Center to the showroom floor and the Top Shelf booth,” Aydin recounts. And as they did, the procession swelled, as some attendees joined in the parade of purpose.
It's a gorgeous story; go read the whole thing. Political wonkery meets comics nerddom, plus a passionate elementary-school teacher and a passel of kids -- and not a single Alabama State Trooper in sight. We reviewed the first book of March when it came out a couple years back, and the second volume is just as good. You should read them both, yes you should.
Evangelicals Do Climate Change -- Really!
Media Matters found a nice surprise: The Christian Broadcasting Network ran a 700 Club news segment Thursday about Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech who's also an evangelical Christian, and is working to convince her fellow evangelicals that climate change is really here, and that God wants people to take better care of the planet -- however it got here (creationism doesn't really come up in the piece, and frankly, that's OK with us for a change. They can keep believing the Earth is 6000 years old as long as they're willing to take action to ensure it remains livable for humans). It's all rather astonishing that this aired on the same program as Pat Robertson's hokum:
Not surprisingly, the segment caused a ruckus; CBN's news page and Facebook page were hit with a veritable flood of angry comments wondering why the network had sold out to the devil and his pointy-headed scientists, followed by a counter-surge of others saying that, well, yes, Christians need to be good stewards of the Earth. Kind of hopeful, that.
Time To Build The B Ark
Kaili brought our attention to some happy news from the world of astronomy: There might be an Earth 2.0 out there so we can either finish trashing this one, or at the very least send away all the telephone sanitizers and Republican primary contenders on a "voyage of discovery":
Jupiter has a doppelgänger, and it could help us find a planet identical to Earth.
A Brazilian-led team of scientists, researching sun-like stars in an attempt to find planetary systems similar to our own solar system, have discovered a planet with a very similar mass to Jupiter. What’s more, it orbits a star that looks like our sun, has the same mass, and is even the same age. […]
The discovery of “Jupiter 2.0″ opens up the possibility that planets very similar to Earth could also exist elsewhere in our galaxy, researchers say.
But Can It Make The Kessel Run In Less Than Twelve Parsecs?
The good folks at Sploid found an infographic designed to settle any number of nerd arguments: A comparison of the various top speeds of fictional spaceships from science fiction TV shows, movies, and video games; a few real-world space vehicles are in there as well. Sorry, literate people, no mention of ships from written science fiction, so if you want to figure out where the General Systems Vehicles from Iain Banks's "Culture" novels fit on the chart, you'll need to look 'em up and add 'em yourself. There's simply no question that Banks's ships have the best names, though -- science fiction needs more ships with names like "So Much For Subtlety" or "Sense Amid Madness, Wit Amidst Folly." We also appreciate that the chart specifies the fictional drive systems. And what is the fastest fictional ship in the Universe? Spoiler warning: it's a pretty improbable choice.
Pffft. I see they included the Pillar of Autumn from Halo, but completely ignored the Truth and Reconciliation. Speciesists.
Back to the Dandelion Patch
We're probably the last blog on the interwebs to mention it, but hey, Bloom County is back! Berkeley Breathed brought Opus the Penguin out of a 25-year-old nap so he could find out what the future's like, and be rid of all the cultural detritus of the '80s:
Opus also got himself a Twitter account, but he's still getting the hang of the new technology:
We'll be back next Saturday with more geek stuff, assuming that there is anything nerdy in the news between now and then.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.