Quick item! Wrote something about DINOSAURS (well, I didn’t write the book, but I did do an interview and it’s all over at):
on the Curiouser and Curiouser column. Wahoo, go read it and then get the book for a young person:
Kylie: I noticed (and it’s fantastic timing with your book coming out!) some press on “9-Year-Old Girl Gets Dinosaur Named After Her, Makes All Other Children/Adults Jealous,” and yet I also noticed some criticism about the media labeling of Pterosaurs as dinosaurs. Is misidentification that much of an issue?
Daniel: That’s a lovely story, and I was delighted to learn of it. You’re right, though: many sources misidentified the creature young Daisy Morris discovered as a “dinosaur,” which it was not. Even outlets like Popular Science identified her discovery as “a small species of pterosaur, a flying dinosaur.” In reality, pterosaurs were reptiles of another branch altogether—calling them “dinosaurs” is like calling you a marsupial. As Written in Stoneauthor Brian Switek put it for Smithsonian Magazine, “A pterosaur is no more a dinosaur than a goldfish is a shark.”
A lot of people seem to regard that distinction as “paleo-pedantry.” That reaction sort of baffles me. Why call anything what it is? Why make any factual distinctions? If we’re going to talk about stuff, teach, popularize, we might as well value accuracy.
[Okay – THIS is the dumb, pointless online stuff from here on in – because just to be very, very obvious… no one should ever confuse brilliant dinosaur books for dumb, pointless or mere stuff.
Just making it clear. Pterosaurs = cool. My grumbling about being oversensitive and snappish? = thankfully I don’t have time to blog much these days.]
In other news? Well, I’m kind of depressed. Perhaps it’s a seasonal-birthday-soon-thing. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think that I’m seriously getting closer to the edge of complete and utter burnout and will just turn this blog into an Introduction To… what?
Knitting? The foibles of my cats? Old Doctor Who episodes and what I recall from a guide to the early years of the show that practically fell to pieces after reading it cover to cover over two decades ago?
At this rate, considering that the content in this blog since the move to Patheos has been primarily YouTube videos and apologies for writing so little… maybe I should just politely request a title change to “Atheist Knitting 101!” and see if a dozen curious folk from the non-atheist side of Patheos will poke their noses in and ask how my Pagan Symbol scarf is getting along.
Oh, someone else has thought of that already. Never mind.
Today, for example, I found myself getting rather pointlessly annoyed with a admittedly trivial matter regarding “giving correct feedback” – and then recalling well after the raising of the issue, how previous feedback of a similar sort ended up not-so-well either. Completely unwitting off-the-cuff stuff that bothered more than it should have. Not that I think I dealt with it in a stellar fashion at all (if you’re pointing out to someone that there’s evidence that their facts aren’t straight via going through old records for fifteen minutes? It’s a good indicator that if it’s that much of a bother, it probably shouldn’t be that much of a bother), but hopefully everyone can move on from this…
…with my never saying anything ever to help anyone ever, ever, ever again. At least, not until I’ve eaten the rest of the Easter chocolate. And yelled at myself in the mirror for being such an oversensitive git. Hmph.
Going anywhere near Twitter or Facebook (apart from the Hoyts_Mouse account) certainly isn’t a good indicator of the overall health of atheist – skeptic circles anyway and will not add to your general well-being and should instead come with some kind of Surgeon Generalissimo warning.
So, I went to the cinema instead, to stop myself from being such a downer about online interactions and to get some perspective on how little things shouldn’t have me feeling bad. Good friends, great breakfast, early presents and plans for my upcoming birthday: all ingredients for a wonderful time.
Look, I love Invasion of the Body Snatchers kinds of films (not as much as I love zombie movies), and anything from They Live! to the Stepford Capybaras and so on…
[The Host is not actually about invading body-snatcher monkeys and their Host capybaras, by the way.]
[However, sometimes I feel like I am merely a capybara beset by pesky monkeys, so I also printed this out to cheer me up in the office. Highly recommended.]
Despite the director being Andrew “GATTACA” Niccol, I found myself starting to snooze around the middle of the movie and then distracted myself from snoring via admiring the panoramic helicopter shots and bright buildings (which will be later revealed via a brisk online search to be some chemical factory or post-modern architectural marvel involving lots of aluminium, glass and newly-assembled Ikea furnishings).
All whisked very, very clean in order to emphasise the non-human possession of planet Earth. I kept thinking of the vacuumed-up eye-lash in GATTACA, for example. Or the upper-class districts in In Time or the main city in The Truman Show. Everything immaculate.
What could I tell you about the plot? The male romantic leads are completely unremarkable. Saoirse Ronan was okay, I guess… I remembered her from Atonement and it was a little jarring to recall how young she was just a short time ago (at least, it seems Atonement was only made yesterday). She acted well as a character that had two distinct minds warring within her, but I wasn’t convinced by the villainy of the Seeker played by Diane Kruger.
Maybe it was the pristine scenery, distracting from her acting. Or maybe one too many sweeping panoramics led me to miss vital plot elements. By the end, I really just didn’t care and was trying to find the Hoyts Mouse.
Zombie movie? Right – there’s two trailers I’ve seen, which screened just before The Host, and this is the one that now has me thinking it’d be worth seeing:
Here’s me holding out for World War Z, and this now seems like a better bet for cinematic zombie-fest enjoyment: Warm Bodies. I’d read most of the book while doing the desultory several-hour wait in an airport terminal about a year ago, and I recall hearing that the movie was supposed to be worth the ticket price… I mean, Malkovich. Anything with Malkovich. Even if it’s weird.
Other recommendation: Cloud Atlas, mostly because it fired up the synapses even after a 13 hour day and a brisk rain shower as I was trying to find parking in peak-hour Northbridge with the previews already started and frantic texts to a friend that I was on my way to meet them in the foyer. Worth it.
I hope you’re cheered up a little after seeing that preview.
I’ll be still busy with a lot of work for the foreseeable future, but the 365 Days of Philosophy site will still be chugging along, and I do have podcast episodes pending.
Huge thanks to my listeners who have been immensely patient and hopefully post-birthday I’ll be a little more active with the content, rather than just thinking that retiring with a knit-purl-two is the best option here on in.