Why Do You Weep? Blingee Lives! Your Saturday Nerdout
All Hail the Risen Blingee
Hey, remember how a week or so back we were all bummed because one of the most useful dumb wonderful things on the Internet, Blingee, was going away forever? Turns out that the public reaction was so anguished, so over the top, so filled with unicorns puking sad glitter, that the site's owners decided against going gentle into that good Error 404 Page Not Found after all:
We have heard you loud and clear. This community is your home, and Blingee is a unique and irreplaceable creative outlet that must be saved. We are happy to announce that Blingee.com is here to stay [...]
Thanks to your help, we have been able to secure the resources necessary to keep Blingee thriving for years to come.
So dry your freakily-animated tears and toss far too many dancing kittens onto a photo of Donald Trump, and celebrate.
Wonder Woman 'Too Violent' For School? Probably Not.
We wasted several minutes being annoyed at the sort of zero-tolerance bureaucratic thinking that resulted in a little girl's parents being sent a warning that her Wonder Woman lunchbox was banned by her school's policy against violent images. Supposedly, the girl's parents received this note regarding the lunch box:
And who knows, maybe it's real, because schools really can be notoriously anal about dumb policies banning "weapons" and the like.
BUT! The good folks at Snopes are skeptical, noting that the story surfaced on Reddit, from someone who deleted their account, and claimed to be a friend of the parents. No school named, not even a city? How old is the child, and why is she going to school with a "lunchbox" marketed as a novelty "retro-cool" collector's item? And what school sends a letter to parents with their first names in the salutation? And then there's this minor WTF: "All the images appeared to have been photographed by the original poster, who did not explain how they came to be in possession of both the letter and a friend’s child’s beloved Wonder Woman lunch box."
Status: Undetermined! Dumb if real. But also, regardless of actual truth value, conclusive proof that schools are full of PC liberals who are ruining America and childhood itself.
Superheroes? We Got Yer Superheroes!
width="700" height="524" class="size-full wp-image-593462" />
width="700" height="524" class="size-full wp-image-593462" />Is the girl on the right more taken by Supergirl or the puppy? Both of them, Katie!
This one is real, for sure. You may recall that back in March, Barack Obama was bowled over by some smart-cookie Girl Scouts from Oklahoma who built a page-turning machine out of Lego blocks for the White House Science Fair:
They explained that the device didn't yet have variable speed controls, since it's "only a prototype," and then they asked the President if he ever had brainstorming sessions to come up with good ideas. Clearly, these kids were destined for greatness, which would explain how the six-year-olds wangled an invite to the set of CBS's Supergirl series and a photo op with star Melissa Benoist. So if they meet the President and Supergirl when they're six, that pretty much guarantees these girls are on course for a career of world domination, right? Yr Wonkette, for one, welcomes our adorable sciencey overlords.
Comics nerds will also want to read the comments -- yes, we are recommending that you do read the comments for a change -- on io9's post:
In the Zach Snyder produced version, Supergirl learns the dog has bone cancer and puts it down by snapping its neck. Then she flies off, crying, accidentally knocking a building onto the troop of children.
It makes $700 million globally.
Nerd Parents of the Year, Baking Division
So maybe you don't have the patience, budget, or shop space to build a Speeder Bike Rocking Horse for your Nerdling. How about you make like Russell Munro (residence: the internet), who co-created an actual Transforming (or at least standy-uppy) Optimus Prime cake for his kiddo's sixth birthday party?
Looks like Munro used a 3-D printer to fabricate at least part of the cake platform; he says his wife did the actual baking (but would it be too much to give her name, Russell, so's she can get proper Nerd Mom credit?). As a bonus, the transformation is far more convincing than some of the crappy, slapdash digital effects in the last actual Transformers movie.
Oh, Yeah, That New Star Wars Teaser
This happened for 15 seconds on Thursday:
Please obsess in the comments (which we don't allow) over who's cutting paychecks for all those Stormtroopers in the post-Palpatine era. Also, did we say Star Wars?
Mark Hamill Said A Thing About Guns. Wingnuts Hate Him Now.
Actor Mark Hamill called for tighter restrictions on guns (hell, some restrictions would be a start), following the shootings in Virginia last week, and was treated to the full might of the Internet Rage Brigade, several of whom pointed out the obvious logic that without unrestricted private ownership of blasters, the Rebel Alliance never could have triumphed over the Galactic Empire. How do you like them food capsules, Mr. Jedi Smart Guy?
Important nerd point of order, must credit Kid Zoom: Given that the Rebel Alliance was already an outlaw entity, all of their arms were illegal from the get-go. Also, basing political positions on your favorite movie memories just might make for bad policy, although it never stopped Ronald Reagan.
Where Do You Get These Wonderful Toys?
If you happen to be insanely rich and have always wanted to own one of Leonard Nimoy's uniforms or the California license plate from the Mustang in Bullitt, you might want to get in on the hot auction action by The Prop Store, set for September 23. Roughly a million bucks' worth of genuine movie-n-TV-used props for sale. If you really love Yr Wonkette, we'd let you get us this Ambassador-class starship miniature (the Enterprise-C!), which is expected to go for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K.
Or you could just throw money directly at us, and we could save up.
The Left Hand Of Dorkness
NPR ran a pretty nifty interview with Ursula K LeGuin on Weekend Edition Saturday. You should listen to it!
Among other things, LeGuin gripes about all the movies and books that get away with calling themselves "science fiction" while leaving out any hint of the "science" part whatsoever, and has this lovely observation on the perspectives of aging:
It is a little bit like being high up on a mountain, and looking back. And oh, look at the view, gee. I never saw all that together before, you know? I mean, there are cool aspects to being very old, but they're not the ones that show up in the posters.
We loves us some Ursula LeGuin around here, as you may already know. Just this short interview makes us want to get off the internet and read. But first, one more Nerdthing:
Study Reveals Studies Are Crap
Perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement, but this is a nice reminder to never read too much into a single study, especially in the social sciences:
A team of 270 scientists tried reproducing 100 psychology and social science studies that had been published in three top peer-reviewed U.S. journals in 2008.
Just 39 percent came out with same results as the initial reports, said the findings in the journal Science.
And why is that? Let's throw some more NPR at you, since their social-science guy, Shankar Vedantam, had a pretty good overview of the study:
Good news! It doesn't mean that science is bunk! What it really means is that research design is everything, according to University of Virginia psychology prof Brian Nosek:
Our best methodologies to try to figure out truth mostly reveal to us that figuring out truth is really hard. And we're going to get contradictions. One year, we're going to learn that coffee is good for us. The next year, we're going to learn that it's bad for us. The next year, we're going to learn we don't know.
But failure to reproduce a result doesn't always mean the original study was wrong, Vedantam explains:
It could be the second study was wrong. It could be that they're both wrong. Nosek said it's also possible that both studies are actually right. To use his example, maybe coffee has effects only under certain conditions. When you meet those conditions, you see an effect. When you don't meet those conditions, you don't see an effect. So Nosek says when we can't reproduce a study, it's a sign of uncertainty, not a sign of untrustworthiness. It's a signal there's something going on that we don't understand.
And no, House Science Committee, that does not mean that Global Warming is a hoax. Knock that off, or we'll send those Oklahoma Girl Scouts after you.
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.