It’s Not a Pejorative

Recently my brother Art confessed to being a dinosaur because he dislikes web video snippets which would work much better as an article (I share the  same feeling).

But that got me to thinking: why is being a dinosaur a bad thing?

Sure, they’re extinct. But:

  • They ruled the Earth for hundreds of millions of years.
  • They supplanted early mammals, or at least mammal-like creatures, and kept them suppressed for eons.
  • It took a giant 10 kilometer diameter asteroid or comet impacting the Earth to knock them out.

There’s nothing shameful about being a dinosaur. Except for the being extinct part. And, hey, everything dies eventually :).

Cruising at 5 Miles per Second

This past Sunday morning I got up a little before 6 AM to see the International Space Station cruise over San Carlos. It was one of the better displays, going from the western horizon to the eastern horizon, and passing very close to straight overhead. So it was visible for almost 10 minutes, outshining everything in the pre-dawn sky.

I waved at them, too. But I doubt they noticed me :).

It being Sunday I then went back to bed, waking up for good around 8:30 AM.

By which point the ISS was just about completing it’s second lap around the Earth since I’d watched them pass out of view.

Now that’s fast!

Partial Solar Eclipse: May 20, 2012

Check out the posting on my Council blog at http://council.olbert.com/2012/05/21/on_public_comment/.

Now This Is Way Cool!

I’m sure many others have already had this experience, but it’s a new one for me. WiFi and internet access while cruising over Northern California at 34,000 feet doing 500+ knots!

Sure, the connection gets a little slow at times. But the amazing thing about the singing horse isn’t how poorly he sings, but rather that he sings at all :).

The Bechdel Test

What is the Bechdel test? Well, it’s a way of evaluating the roles that women play in movies, theater, etc. A piece of entertainment passes the Bechdel test when it:

  1. Has two women in it who
  2. Talk to each other
  3. About something other than a man

This sounds like an easy to pass test…but it’s not. And it highlights some subtle (or not so subtle) gender roles, as portrayed by the entertainment industry.

The test’s origin traces back to a comic strip I’d never heard of, Dykes to Watch Out For. The test is named for one of the characters.

So where did I come across this interesting piece of trivia? Why, on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, which is well worth perusing. In addition to being a (fine) science fiction and fantasy writer, Scalzi writes a weekly column about movies. This week’s installment featured (you guessed it) the Bechdel test.