Pressing Our Luck

If I’ve done this right, when I say that I’ve switched us over to WordPress here at the doomlab, you’ll be scratching your head and saying: “Really? It looks just the same.”


Then again, maybe you tried to check the blog during its brief downtime this morning. If that’s the case, please expect a visit from our specialized memory-erasing team sometime in the near future.

Crap, now that I’ve told you that I’ll have to send them again.

Anyway, if you run into any problems with the site, let me know (you can probably figure out my email if you don’t know it already). All of the posts and comments from the Blogger site should have transferred though. You shouldn’t need to make an account to comment now either (hurrah).

The only difference might be if you had subscribed to our RSS feed through blogger. You can find the new RSS feed here.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled doombot, already in progress.

This Is Actually a Post About Design

I’m sure this is a really interesting article about how Japanese researchers have discovered that human menstrual blood carries stem cells that are potentially very useful for treating damaged hearts. I haven’t read the article, though. I’m too distracted by the unfortunate, random woman who had no idea what kind of articles she’d end up in when she signed on to be a model for stock photography.

Happily Ever After

A survey published for World Book Day indicates that British folks prefer novels with happy endings. I was particularly interested to read which books with unhappy endings people would have liked to have ended more happily, and I think Dan will especially like the last line of the article.

Personally, I think I mostly prefer books with good endings. I hear Neal Stephenson’s gotten better with his last few books, but I was not in a good mood after finishing a few of his books that ended (more or less) “happily.” I think 1984 is probably the best unhappy ending in modern literature, and A Clockwork Orange (the original version that didn’t make it to the movie) is probably the worst happy ending in modern literature. I’m having a hard time coming up with a happy ending I did like, though, probably because I’m a way bigger sourpuss than your average British person.

Yet Another Touchy Issue

The New York Times reports that several colleges are opening up minority scholarships to white kids, fearing litigation accusing them of discrimination. As with my last post, I’m posting this because I want to know how you folk think about this issue.

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A Little Political Controversy For You

An interesting article at Slate asks: “can technology break the abortion stalemate?” In short, it describes some looming threats to Roe v. Wade, and suggests that pro-choicers may have more luck in the coming struggles if they abandon Roe for some new precedent informed by all our new “technology”—that is, better and more widely-used birth control, earlier methods for identifying problematic pregnancies, and more advanced surgical techniques for fetuses.

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Costume Designers Are Artists Too

When I think about visual communication and art, I tend to think about things like camera angle, color choice, layout, and editing speed. Sometimes, if I am being particularly nerdy, I’ll be really attentive to the less appreciated visual elements of a work, like when filmmakers go out of their way to make the subtitles in a movie fit the action on-screen (like in Night Watch, the Russian fantasy flick some of us caught this past weekend, which had vampiric whispers dissolve into smoke, half-heard echoing voices flickering and moving, and quickly-spoken quips slide offscreen with camera movements—a series of efforts which ranged from interesting and appropriate to distracting and frustratingly illegible).

I’ve never designed costumes before, though, so I’ve never really given much attention to costume design as a visual element. I mean, sure, if you’re making a movie or a graphic novel or something, you want to make sure that everyone’s dressed appropriately for the period. But it never occurred to me that costume design might also involve removing the padding from suits to give a “sacklike appearance”, for example.

Now that I know about this, I think it’s ingenious, and I’m suddenly irritated that this kind of costuming doesn’t get recognized at the Academy Awards. Not like they’d need to offer more awards to distinguish between period costume and really clever contemporary costume design, but am I the only one who would be really fascinated to learn about the minutia of design choices like the one mentioned above? On the one hand, I’d say “no” because that’s the stuff all that ever-in-demand DVD bonus footage is made of; on the other hand, I’d say “yes, I am the only one,” because my previous sentence contained the word “minutia.” Oh well.

Brownian Motion

Dan Brown and I have a lot in common. The Da Vinci Code author and I share a first name, obviously, and we both have five letter last names containing ‘o’, ‘r’, and ‘n’. We’re both writers. Dan Brown has a hojillion dollars. I wish I had a hojillion dollars.

You might think, given all our similarities, that I’m a big Dan Brown fan. I tell you now that nothing could be further from the truth. Dan Brown resides at the opposite end of the spectrum from Steve Jobs as far as I’m concerned. The man is tarnishing our good name with dreck like The Da Vinci Code. To illustrate, let me share with you, if I may, my absolute favorite sentence from the book.

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