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If it's weekend, it's time for nerding, so let's get caught up on our geekery. Or at least partly caught up. There is always more nerdy stuff out there!

Of Arachnid Bondage

[contextly_sidebar id="vK6FUYEiXD3NdwImyGxZ7yin8gi0wj3t"]A few weeks back, we brought you the thrilling story of a prehistoric spider peen, doing whatever a spider-peen does. More arachnid coitus this week, as the New York Times brings us this fascinating story about an adaptive behavior among nursery web spiders, who have figured out how to keep from being devoured by their lady pals, a serious problem on the chitinous dating scene. unlike other spiders who surreptitiously copulate while the lady spider is eating (sometimes bringing her a gift to munch on while he does his business), your male nursery web spider is more into tying up the female and then doing the deed. Spiders are not big on safe words is what we're getting at.

Researchers had assumed the spider rope play was a survival strategy, "given the generally high level of danger in spider mating." On the other hand, they didn't know for sure whether female nursery web spiders were sexual cannibals or simply liked a bit of erotic power exchange (Despite the best efforts at microphotography, they couldn't see any female spiders wearing leather collars, for instance). If the leg-tying is a survival behavior, it's a really successful one: according to Alissa G. Anderson and Eileen A. Hebets, biology grad students at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, nobody's observed cannibalism among the species in the wild.

So to find out if lady nursery web spiders are cannibals, the two intrepid researchers blocked male spiders' spinnerets with dental silicone to see how they fared with lady spiders, an experimental design we're certain occasioned all sorts of revenge fantasies about visits to dive bars. Compared to males left unaltered, the defenseless males got eated. A whole lot:

For the males with blocked spinnerets, mating was usually terminal. Really terminal. The females don’t leave leftovers. “You may see a leg or two fall off,” as the females are eating, Ms. Anderson said, “but they usually eat the whole thing.”

Anderson and Hebets also considered the possibility that the binding behavior is beneficial for both males and females: Boy spiders live to spin another day, and as it happens, it works out well for the making of more little spiders:

The males who are able to wrap the females’ legs have more successful copulations, as measured by the number of insertions of the pedipalp, which delivers sperm to the female. And if the result is that the females who have been wrapped have more eggs, that could mean that both sexes benefit and the behavior is, at least in evolutionary terms, mutually beneficial.

There's undoubtedly a joke to be made about pickup artists, roofies, and rope, but it's a nice day and we don't want to go grimdark here. So instead, here is some music to mate spiders by:

Here's Robert Crumb Making Fun Of Donald Trump In 1989

Thanks to Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith for calling attention to this timely trip down memory lane: A 1989 take on Donald Trump, when he was every bit as loveable as he is today, by comics legend Robert Crumb. Go looka the whole thing!

Dr Suess Books Now Available In Yiddish, What's Not To Like?

Over at BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow lets us know that several Dr Seuss books have been translated into Yiddish by Sholem Berger and published by, logically enough, Yiddish House. Doctorow is a big fan of Eyn Fish Tsvey Fish Royter Fish Bloyer Fish:

Dr Seuss works improbably well in Yiddish. Yiddish's strength is its onomatopoeic expressiveness; and it contains a lot of Germanic words that are cognates for their English equivalents (such as "bloyer," which means "blue;" and "fish," which means "fish!"), but they're pitch-bent enough to make them sound a little off-kilter, which makes them perfect for a Seussian rhyme.

Berger's translation is funny and tight, his rhymes are as sweet as Seuss's originals. The text is written in both Hebrew script and Latin-alphabet transliterations (which is good, since I read Hebrew at the rate of about three words per hour).

Bonus points to anyone who sends a copy to Scott Walker for Hanukkah, with a card wishing him "Molotov!"

God Help Us Another Indiana Jones Movie Why, God Why?

We loved the first Indiana Jones movie and put up with the second two, and then the series should have flown off into the sunset, but nooooooo, they had to make Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and we were all sad. At least the thing was so bad that the franchise finally had to end, we thought, but no, Stephen Spielberg and Harrison For are up for yet another Bataan death march through recycled tropes from old serials, and we will be forced to see it, probably, because that it how the world works for nerds. It's our lot in life. We're made to suffer. And who knows, maybe it won't be a joyless slog through ideas and characters that were once a lot of fun but became routine? Who are we kidding, it will be a joyless slog, unless JJ Abrams takes over and remakes the first movie, only a little different.

Just end this foolishness now, Spielberg, you have enough money. No, we don't want an E.T. sequel either. Or Oskar Schindler's Rescue Babies. Stop it.

On The Other Hand, A Stop-Motion Biography Of Michael Jackson's Chimp Sounds Arty

Not everything has to be a sequel or part of a franchise. For instance how about Dan Harmon (you know him as the creator of Community and co-creator of Rick and Morty, but to me he'll always be the co-writer of Scud: The Disposable Assassin), who has signed on to produce Bubbles, a stop-motion animated film about Michael Jackson, as told from the perspective of his pet chimp. The script won a "Black List" prize for unproduced screenplays last year, and the whole thing sounds like a hoot. Or a pant-hoot:

Bubbles tells the story of Michael Jackson’s life and history from the perspective of the pet Chimp which got a close-up view after being adopted by Jackson from an Austin, Texas research facility and took up residence at the Neverland Ranch in 1983. He became Jackson’s constant companion until he became overaggressive and was moved to a monkey sanctuary in Florida. The script has been considered a very inventive way to tell an unauthorized story of Jackson without needing permission.

Ahem. Primate or ape, please. Chimps are not monkeys.

2084: We Have Always Been At War With Donuts

Here is a fun little trifle that puts the "Oh well" in Orwell: Taz Goldstein’s 2084, in which we learn that dystopian brainwashing can be defeated by sheer dimwittedness. It's Idiocracy defeating GlaDOS, maybe. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a donut being stuffed into a human face -- forever.

Boy Bands Fight Zombies. Sure, Why Not?

From the people who brought us Sharknado! comes this trailer for Dead7, which promises to be deliciously horrible, or at least funny-awful enough to keep on your Tivo box for three weeks before you need room for the new season (or second half of the first season) of Fear The Walking Dead. Just look at this cast of people we never knew when they were in boy bands, now playing zombie-fighting cowboys in a SyFy original movie:

Dead7 stars: Nick Carter, A. J. McLean, and Howie Dorough from the Backstreet Boys; Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees; Joey Fatone and Chris Kirpatrick from *NSync; and Jacob Underwood, Trevor Penick, Dan Miller, and Erik-Michael Estrasa from O-Town, which I’ve never heard of before but assume is an authentic ‘90s boy band and not made up. Fascinatingly, the script for Dead7 was written by Nick Carter himself.

Sadly, no Hanson brothers, so they will not be mmmm-bopping any Zombie Heads. This will probably be more fun than a new creaky Indiana Jones story, which might actually benefit from a tornado full of sharks.

Doktor Zoom

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.

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Well, goddamn it, a wonderful person we'd never heard of until last night is dead. Lyra McKee was 29, an investigative journalist who specialized in looking at the legacy of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. She was murdered by someone shooting at police during rioting in Derry, or perhaps Londonderry, depending on who you want to piss off by using either name for the city. The rioting broke out after police "started carrying out searches in the area because of concerns that militant republicans were storing firearms and explosives" in advance of attacks planned to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Police are blaming the violence and McKee's death on the "New Irish Republican Army," a radical republican group formed a few years ago from several smaller groups. Despite the name, the group has no ties to the old Provisional Irish Republican Army, which renounced violence and disarmed in 2005 following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which was supposed to have brought peace to Northern Ireland, and kind of did, at least much of the time.

McKee is being remembered by colleagues and readers as a promising journalist who was expected to go far. A year ago, McKee signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber; the first of the books, The Lost Boys, an investigation of eight young men who disappeared in Belfast during the Troubles in the '60s and '70s, will be published next year. A 2016 Forbes profile said "McKee's passion is to dig into topics that others don't care about." For instance, CNN reports, McKee spent five years investigating a story about the only rape crisis center in Northern Ireland and its long struggle to regain funding after the government eliminated it.

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