Month: April 2016

Patti Smith & PBS

This new post from PBS’ “Blank on Blank” came out today:

And it reminded me to post about how fantastic Patti Smith last book M Train was!

A Quick Revisit to Horror Themes

As JBot has proven in his Horror Film Series that he posted last October, he is the horror movie expert in this house. Personally, I absolutely love watching movies with JBot but am… well… an easy target for jump scares. And I am a proud feminist. And I am absolutely terrified of clowns and possessed dolls.

So, when JBot wants to watch The Conjuring I quickly find something else to do.

Far, far away.

I’ve paid my dues in the early years of our relationship, JBot caught me up on many classic 80’s slasher movies and foreign cult classics. However, if the kids are asleep and we feel like watching a flick, I will happily watch a horror movie if it is funny — TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL!! CABIN IN THE WOODS!! or its representation of women is somewhere in the twenty-first century. Hush was a sweet scary movie to watch. I’m not sure if it fits the trope of The Final Girl but it was definitely suspenseful and intelligent.

If It Were My Home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in another country?  Well, wonder no more!  A website titled If It Were My Home attempts to compare your country with another in a wide variety of data points.   For example, here’s a small number of comparisons between Canada and Costa Rica:

If It Were My Home (Canada vs Costa Rica)

Of course, the comparisons can be a bit sketchy since we’re not only talking about averages within an entire country but also comparing statistics that are collected differently in different parts of the world (e.g., unemployment isn’t counted the same way everywhere).  Nonetheless, the site is an interesting look at the grass on the other side.

Germs & Genes

I’ve just finished a course on the History of Science and wanted to share some neat resources:

Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death is a fascinating read about the spread of the bubonic plague throughout medieval Europe. Thoroughly gross (pus, pus, and more pus) and decidedly depressing (“Let’s blame the plague on the Jews, round them up and slaughter them!”), it is also useful for increasing the amount of trivia you have at the ready to gross out your friends and family. For example, to prevent contracting the plague just hang out around latrines and breathe in the fumes, it worked (not really) for the Europeans!


Continue this theme with a rousing game of Pandemic and feel completely paranoid and compelled to wash your hands repeatedly.

I was also fascinated by this great video by CGP Grey on the importance of the environment on the spread of disease:

I also wrote a paper on the controversy surrounding Watson & Crick’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the structure of DNA. Check out Watson’s “memoir” The Double Helix.  It is a quick and entertaining read, albeit rife with sexism. Sexism you say? Hoho! If Watson isn’t busy playing tennis or going to cocktail parties, he is criticizing Rosalind Franklin’s looks and dismissing her brilliance. Franklin was one of the many scientists that Watson & Crick took advantage of in their personal race for Nobel glories. Check out Brenda Maddox’s book on Franklin to learn more.

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