Thursday, May 20, 2010


There are lots of things that are stupid about being human, but one thing that's great is what happens when our big ol' brains and our big ol' hearts are simultaneously thrilled. When I saw this breakthrough discovery about how matter beat out antimatter right after the Big Bang, I got that warm fuzzy feeling both in my brain and in my gut. For the former, let's reflect once more on how fucking cool it is that we've even devised a way to test this. There are people in the world that 1) observed that matter and antimatter particles always destroy each on contact, 2) wondered how matter has managed to be prevalent if that's the case, 3) figured out that they needed a particle accelerator to test this, and 4) built a particle accelerator. Seriously fellow humans: when we're good, we're great.

That's on the brain level. On the gut level, there are so many narratives that reflect this dynamic, in which the solid, honest and brave characters win out over the evil, deceptive and (at heart at least) cowardly characters, even if it's just at the same 1% rate that matter survives clashes with antimatter. That 1% made our entire universe, guys, and that 1% also made Luke Skywalker.

In fact, is it fair to say that the human race's central narrative is good wins over evil, even if it's only by a margin of 1%? I mean, minus Ragnarok, obviously.

We're kind of suspended between robot and animal, with an advanced mechanical intelligence in the first instance and a deeply instinctual emotional core in the second (and don't you even start with me about whether or not animals are emotional, you species-ist jerkface). When there's say, a giant oil spill, it sucks, because you can feel our failure intellectually and emotionally. But when we make a discovery about how our universe was conceived, and that discovery weirdly echoes the mythologies we already surround ourselves with, I mean...well done, humanity! Sometimes, the stories that we tell are beautiful and poignant in exactly the same way as the stories telling us.

PS. If you think that sentiment is corny, you have no place reading this blog. Get OUT!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


These theropods all have jazz hands.

Seriously, giant lizards. Out of character.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm Having a...

Today, my Wikipedia noodlings led me to a thing called an "anomalous magnetic dipole moment." It's something about Feynman diagrams and loops and a g-factor. But given that it ends with "moment," this just makes me think of people saying "I'm having a senior moment" or "I'm having a diva moment" or whatever.

I really want to be in a situation where I can say, "Jeez guys, I'm so sorry, I'm really having an anomalous magnetic dipole moment."

Let's make it happen, world.

A Story Begun. A Story Completed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chanson of A Bitch - Mostly Galle and Gainsbourg

Hey pals! I have a new tumblr with an extremely simple but important goal: to provide a few French songs (chansons) a week. If you are looking for a raison d'être or a cause célèbre or just some of that plain ol' je-ne-sais-quoi, don't commit a faux pas by ignoring ma petit cherie:

Oh la la!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bradbury Locks it Down

There's an aggressively inscrutable scene in Donnie Darko where Drew Barrymore's character recounts this idea that "cellar door" is the most phonoaesthetically pleasing phrase in the English language. You can almost hear Richard Kelly jerking off behind the camera, whispering "What're they gonna think of this new allusion?"

Anyway, it's a weird old idea, and I never understood it, not only because I don't think "cellar door" is a particularly attractive pair of words but because I think it's weird to declare two words winners of anything. The English language is not a beauty contest. There is no Miss Latin-Derived Noun or Miss Etymology-Unknown Verb (though if there was, the latter, as a linguistic orphan, would obviously win. Big inner beauty points for that one are assured, compared to words with detailed pedigrees).

I thought this until I discovered the actual most phonoaesthetically pleasing phrase in the English language, courtesy of Ray Bradbury (and co-opted as a band name thereafter).

Rocket Summer.

Yeah, I get that part of the "cellar door" appeal was that it was supposed to be beautiful even when isolated from its semantic meaning. There's no question that "rocket summer" is enhanced by its meaning; they're two fantastic nouns apart and they're the hottest couple you've ever seen when they're together. They're Brangelina if Brangelina was fun and quirky (by the way, how do you conjugate verbs with these celebrity portmanteaus - is it as if they are a couple or one entity? Us Weekly writers would know...).

But who cares about the details, you linguist purists? Just say "rocket summer" aloud. Do you have tingly little sparkles in your mouth after? I do.

.....or does that mean I'm having a stroke?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lil Blackbook

A neat interview for Blackbook Mag here. Thanks, Ortved!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cutest Thing Ever!

I want to be a baby bonobo!!!