Science Gone Wrong

xkcd this week tells a remarkable tale of science gone horribly wrong.

forks_and_spoons.png

The only thing that could make this tale more horrifying is… you guessed it! Poetry from The Digital Cuttlefish.

Genetically, of course, a spork
Is half a spoon, and half a fork
A laboratory in New York
Created them, then popped the cork.

Please, gentle reader, do not swoon,
But there was also, once, a foon
(That’s half a fork, and half a spoon)
Created, sadly, all too soon.

In cutlery, one tempts the Fates
When artificially, one mates
Utensils from across the plates
Regardless of recessive traits.

A careless thought: “let’s cross F-1
Again with forks, and have some fun.”
The simple plan was soon begun,
Then all too soon: “What have we done?”

With thirst for blood and killing drives
Such meddling ends in loss of lives
I only hope someone survives
To tell—the sporks have found the knives!

Comments? Send a tweet to @ironwolf or use the response form.
I can’t respond to everything, but I do read everything!

Don’t Fuck With Free Speech

Oh fuck. Let’s just get this out of the way. You’ll find no f-word, f*ck, f–k, @$!%, or other sanitized version used here. This is quite a change from Professor Allen Walker Read’s 1934 scholarly treatment of the word, An Obscenity Symbol—fifteen pages and eighty-two footnotes penned without once printing the word fuck anywhere in the article. I won’t even cleanse my title as Dr. Leo Stone did with his landmark piece, On the Principle Obscene Word of the English Language. And why should I? This isn’t the first time you’ve seen the word and, if you keep reading, it certainly won’t be the last.

So begins Professor Christopher M. Fairman’s authoritative yet readable and entertaining treatise on the legal implications of the word… wait for it… fuck. Fuck is probably the most important single word in the English language— it is one of the most recognized the world over, and it is certainly one of the most flexible. “Fuck persists because it is taboo, not in spite of it,” says Fairman.

The problem is that since fuck retains its taboo status, it is used as a leverage point by those who would chip away at many civil liberties starting with, but far from limited to, freedom of speech. I believe that a major role of art is and has always been to challenge our society’s taboos, helping us to discard those that no longer serve any useful purpose.

Last year I saw The Aristocrats, a wonderful documentary that defends free speech. (Trailer) The power of the titular joke is that it strives to be as outrageously offensive as possible. The joke provides a structure in which both the teller and the listener are given space to confront what offends us and why, and even to laugh at it. In this process we become less afraid of words and ideas, and thus having absolved ourselves of thoughtcrime, we become freer.

The Aristocrats even has the honor of making Wikipedia’s list of films ordered by uses of the word fuck.

So, as a strong advocate of free speech and free thought, this year I’m looking forward to seeing what looks like a great new documentary entitled… wait for it…

Steve Anderson, the filmmaker, has this to say about Freedom of Speech:

I think Freedom of Speech is often taken for granted. When incidents happen that seem to infringe upon it, however, you realize that it’s literally this living thing that you have to continue to fight for. There are some who want less Freedom of Speech. They want to impose more rules and restrictions. Freedom of Speech means exactly that: Freedom… of… Speech. I use the F-word to examine that issue. I’m not the most political person in the world. I vote. I pay attention to politics. Lenny Bruce is quoted in the film: “If you can’t say ‘Fuck’, you can’t say, ‘Fuck the Government.’” That idea makes sense to me. Not that I want to fuck the government, mind you, the government seems to work. But if our rights start to be infringed, then the government controls can start to take over. I think many of us are afraid that our freedoms might be eroded and pretty soon we’ll look around and find ourselves in not such a great country. And we want to keep this country great. The very fact I can make a film like this makes this country great.

So view the trailer here, and keep doing your part to defend free speech in our great nation!

Comments? Send a tweet to @ironwolf or use the response form.
I can’t respond to everything, but I do read everything!

Personal Pangram

“Robert McNally’s jokish God quiz vexes pewful.” (38 letters)

Pangrams are cool— why not try creating your own “personal pangram?” Include your name, and say something about yourself in as few letters as possible, and using every letter of the alphabet at least once.

Comments? Send a tweet to @ironwolf or use the response form.
I can’t respond to everything, but I do read everything!

Anagrams of The Dreamers Guild

The video game company I helped to found around 1990 was called The Dreamers Guild, a name my brother Michael and I came up with. The time I was there (1990–1995) was an amazing experience; the environment was fun and challenging, and the quality of the people who worked there was usually first-rate.

The other day I was discussing anagrams with a colleague, and remembered that for a time we had set scrabble tiles out in the office with the letters “THE DREAMERS GUILD” on them, and enjoyed watching people come up with anagrams, which we recorded on a handy pad of paper. Michael even used them in a wonderful animated credits box of the Mac version of an adventure game we did, Inherit the Earth. As the credits rolled over a spinning globe, the anagram letters would shatter apart and bounce energetically around the window, slowly find their way into one of the anagrams, and then shatter again to reform as the company name. It was mesmerizing.

Joe Pearce, one of my partners at The Dreamers Guild, is now keeper of Inherit the Earth (available for Mac, Windows, and Linux,) and I recently asked him for the list of anagrams from the old Mac version source code. For your amusement, and the enlightenment of generations to come, we now present them here:

  • THE DREAMERS GUILD
  • THE GAMERS DID RULE
  • LURID THREE D GAMES
  • HER STALE DRIED GUM
  • DISREGARD THE MULE
  • RUDE HERMITS GLADE
  • MELTED RADISH URGE
  • DEER RIGHTS MAULED
  • GRIME RULED THE ADS
  • THIS MULE DEGRADER
  • DIG ETHEREAL DRUMS
  • THIS REGARDED MULE
  • MET HIS DRUG DEALER
  • ED GETS LURID HAREM
  • GREED HAS LURED TIM
  • TRADERS DELUGE HIM
  • I DREAD LUTHERS GEM
  • THE DRUG DREAMS LIE
  • DIG HERE MAD RESULT
  • AS TIGER HURDLED ME
  • DRUG DEAL EH MISTER
  • ETHEREAL MUD GRIDS
  • GRIM DEATH RULES ED
  • HER MUDDLE IS GREAT
  • RULE DREAMED SIGHT
  • TIME HER DRUG DEALS
  • HEIL MURDERED STAG
  • THIS RED EAGLE DRUM
  • MERREL HAD GUEST ID
  • GIRD ME THUS LEADER
  • ELMER DID HATE RUGS
  • I DREAM THE RED SLUG
  • LURID HAREM GETS ED
  • SAD TIGER HURLED ME
  • SHRUG A MIDDLE TREE
  • THE DREAM DRUGS LIE
  • THIS RUDE GM LEADER
  • SURGE AT HER MIDDLE
  • MUSE A RED RED LIGHT
  • SHE LURED DIRT MAGE

Comments? Send a tweet to @ironwolf or use the response form.
I can’t respond to everything, but I do read everything!