Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Triquetra
The best revenge is massive success. -Frank Sinatra

This Week on the Web brings you your usual Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle roundups, a head-to-toe look at Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume, everything we think we know about physics possibly being proven wrong, a hungry turtle, the GOP asking the Federal Reserve to keep unemployment high, and more!

Vampire Diaries Roundup

My recap – Follow @thomascgalvin on Twitter

Price Peterson’s recap – Follow @pricepeterson on Twitter

Vampire-Diaries.net’s recap – Follow @tvdnews on Twitter

Carina Adly MacKenzie’s recap – Follow @cadlymack on Twitter

Cindy McLennan’s recap – Follow @CindyMcLennan on Twitter

Off Color TV’s recap – Follow @offcolortv on Twitter

Entertainment OCD’s recap for The Voice of TV – Follow @entertainocd and @thevoiceoftv on Twitter

The Televixen’s recap – Follow @thetelevixen on Twitter

Heroine TV’s recap – Follow @heroine_tv on Twitter

The Salvatore Boarding House’s recap – Follow @theSBH on Twitter

First Novel’s Club recap – Follow @frankiediane on Twitter

Dianne Sylvan’s recap – Follow @DSylvan on Twitter

Only My Story’s recap – Follow @onlymystory on Twitter <- I love that she used the Buffy font for her screencap.

Price Peterson interviews Nina Dobrev: Torrid love affair, etc etc.

Secret Circle Roundup

My recap – Follow @thomascgalvin on Twitter

Price Peterson’s recap – Follow @pricepeterson on Twitter

Secret Circle Coven’s recap – Follow @TSC_Coven on Twitter

It’s Lexi’s recap – Follow @itsslexi on Twitter

Are there more Secret Circle recaps I should be linking to? If so, leave a comment down below.

Pop Culture

Head-to-toe look at the Catwoman costume in Dark Knight Rises: I assume all of the fanboys with STFU now.

Teen Wolf season two extended to twenty-four episodes: Oh god fucking damn it. (via Alicia)

First official Dark Shadows picture makes Johnny Depp look less weird: But anyone that saw him would still say “hey, check out that very obvious vampire over there.”

A Dad Photoshopped Ewoks Into His Family Pictures to Convince His Kids Ewoks Were Real: So, in practice this is no different from telling your kid Santa is real or Jesus loves them, but… this is just kind of creepy, isn’t it?

Computers, Science, & Technology

Google+ now open to everybody, no invitation needed: And you may as well go ahead and add me to your circles.

What the fuck did Facebook do this time? A color-coded guide to the new “features.” Honestly, I only go to Facebook to check my notifications. And since half the time Facebook doesn’t bother to notify me when someone is trying to talk to me… G+ FTW.

Facebook unveils Timeline: This is completely different from the changes they just made, and honestly? I kind of dig the (new) new look.

Wired spends several thousand words talking about the (new) new Facebook: This is a pretty extensive look at the new apps.

Amazon offering Kindle e-Books through libraries: You still need to supply your own Kindle, though.

CERN scientists think they’ve observed something moving faster than light: If you know anything about physics, this is a huge deal. But here’s what really cool: the CERN people didn’t just run out into the streets shouting this, they waited three years to achieve what they call a “statistical level of confidence.” And they’re not claiming a discovery: they’re putting this out there so other scientists can prove them wrong. This is how knowledge advances, folks.

This badass virus kills cancer: And it’s benign to humans. Just think: in twenty or thirty short years, we’ll all be able to hear about how wonderful this is for people who can afford health care!

Squee

Hungry turtle is hungry: Your weekly dose of squee.

Animals talking in all caps: The reason the internet was created.

Politics & Religion

GOP Leaders write a letter to the Fed asking them not to fix the economy: No, this isn’t an Onion piece, but it’s still a fucking comedy. These assholes voted for a tax cut for the rich and support a tax increase on the middle class, and now they’re saying that nothing should be done about the 9% (or 15%, depending on how you count) unemployment rate. The fact that anyone votes for these shitclowns is amazing, but the fact that millions of people are in favor of policies that hurt them, personally, is absolutely astounding.

Santorum demands Google to unremember “frothy mix result,” Google tells him to get bent: The whole Santorum thing is one of the greatest trolls ever, and this asshat deserves it.

The New York Times talks to Richard Dawkins: This guy is one of my heroes.

Intuition makes you more likely to believe in god: Conversely, the more reflective you are, the less likely you are to be religious.

0 Responses to “This Week on the Web – 28 September 2011”

  1. Dayna Barter says:

    Aw, the widdle baby turtle!! *dies of cuteness*

    Yeah, the Ewoks thing is kinda creepy. Cute, but creepy. Still, better Ewoks than photoshopping Jesus, I guess…

  2. That cancer-killing virus looks very much like a light at the end of a long tunnel. Even if it’s years away from being viable… and who knows, by then the US might have a free healthcare system!

    So is it fair to say that most atheists are ‘reflective’ thinkers, then? It’s an interesting comparison.

    Also, I have to admit I’m quite excited about the CERN discovery. Even if it screws up the status quo, it means we have more information to explore… exciting. x)

    – Ellie.

  3. Elina says:

    That turtle is SO CUTE! :D Can`t wait for Dark Knight, I love probably all Nolan movies! And as it goes for FB…I have very active virtual social life there so no matter how much it annoys me sometimes I know I will be comming back… :D And I still don`t have new look :(

  4. Thomas says:

    Hi Dayna :-)

    There are few things in this world more adorable than baby animal tongues. I squee every time TinyCat yawns.

  5. Thomas says:

    Hi Ellie :-)

    Yeah, the cancer virus has the potential to fundamentally change the world. It’ll be available in Europe before the US gets it… but I do still kind of hope that we might adopt a sensible health care system in the next decade or so. I just wish out liberal wing wasn’t so spineless.

    The CREN discovery, if it is replicated, will change damn near everything about physics. At least, the underpinnings of physics. Relativity is very robust – our GPSes wouldn’t work without it, for instance – but it it’s not an absolute… who knows where that will lead us?

  6. Thomas says:

    Hi Elina :-)

    Yeah, FB keeps dragging me back, too. Most of my social stuff happens here or on Twitter, but there are enough people I talk to on FB that I can’t really get away from it.

    And none of us have the new look yet. It’s only available to developers right now. We’ll probably get it in a couple of months, after they work out a few bugs.

  7. Thomas says:

    Ellie, I forgot to add:

    At the risk of declaring a stereotype, I would say that yes, atheists tend to be more reflective. Religious answers often “feel right”, and play to the basic, primitive ways our brains work. Hyperactive agency detection, for example. It’s unlikely that a person would become an atheist unless they were the type to stop and actually examine their own thought processes and assumptions.

  8. Anita says:

    I wish I had the time to read everyone’s recaps. TVD enthusiasts rule.

  9. Neil says:

    I kind of feel obliged with the CERN story to add the caveat in any comment I make that it’s likely a technical glitch somewhere. That out of the way I did find it interesting that the energies used in the CERN experiment were around 500 times greater than you’d get in a supernova, which are the main source of “naturally” occurring neutrinos. What would be the more interesting cause if true – either they are flat out going faster than light or skipping through an extra dimension? As they have a non-zero mass I don’t see how they could be moving faster than a photon unless high energy neutrinos acquire some weird property. Feels like an episode of Star Trek – tachyons even got a mention in one report I read.

    Viruses have so much potential – both as cancer vaccines and as medical nano-tech for delivering drugs to the targeted cancer & modifying DNA. Potentially some irony in that the bane of our existence (viruses not cancer) may end up being what gives us our next big step – although vaccines have been around for ages some of what’s gradually edging towards actual use will make a huge difference. The problem you have is that in the West our testing procedure for new drugs is so long winded it’ll be forever before any of this sees the light of day. I’m still waiting for stem cell treatments to begin meeting expectations in humans rather than mice. At the moment we’re well on our way to producing cancer immune, immortal, glow-in-the-dark super mice but frustratingly little of it has been applied to humans (and I so want to glow in the dark).

    Dawkins can be a bit of dick and I sometimes get annoyed with his agression; the defining characteristic of my aetheism (when I can be bothered to think about it) is my near total disinterest regards other people’s religious beliefs. That said I can get where he’s coming from – in UK we’ve actually seen a back door resurgence in faith thanks to Tony Blair – not so much back door as school gate as religion has got in the business of running state funded schools in quite a big way. That does actually really piss me off as I’m currently in the process of filling in school applications for my 3 year old daughter and half the local schools are run by one variation of the god-squad or other. It wouldn’t bother me, but the vast majority of these schools funding is from the state (90%+) yet for their tiny amount of funding they get to insert admissions requirements based on, for instancem how often you go to church (which has to be signed off by the that place of worship). Complete joke as most people with 3 year old suddenly become very devout for a year or so to meet the requirement.

  10. Thomas says:

    Hey Neil :-)

    CERN themselves say that it’s probably (for some value of probably) an error somewhere. They’re being very cautious with the grandiose claims, as they should be.

    This is far enough into the deep waters of physics that I’m not going to be able to make anything resembling a knowledgeable guess as to what’s causing this, if it’s real. I could toss out terms like C decay and extra dimensions, or suggest that maybe the very high energies are replicating some of the conditions of the Big Bang, but yeah, that’s all Star Trek technobabble.

    Designer viruses are really a brilliant strategy. Viruses have been developing for millions/billions of years, and they’re damn good at what they do. Piggybacking on all of that performance tuning just makes sense, now that we have the technology to muddle around in their guts.

    I agree, though, that it’s frustrating to watch all of these developments and know that we’re not going to benefit from a lot of them.

    Dawkins is very confident and vocal, but I’d say that he’s probably the most civil of the New Atheist group. But maybe that’s just because my American brain is wired to find British accents charming.

    His aggressiveness is largely due to the kinds of things you’re writing about, too. He considers that child abuse, and I kind of agree with him. You shouldn’t have a god shoved down your throat just to have the chance to make it to university.

  11. Neil says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Yes, posted my comment about Dawkins then almost immedaitely felt I’d been too harsh. I actually agree with him about this kind of creeping back door religiosity, and then even had my own mini-rant on the topic – so much for my apathy. What I probably mean is that I rarely go looking for a fight. Perhaps the difference for me is that over here Dawkins is very much (almost exclusively) the public face of the New Aetheists – and no, I don’t find British accents charming :-).

    I’m just an interested layperson on stuff like CERN, though I like to think I’m able to get my head round the basics enough to follow the story. I just find cutting edge science fascinating and there’s so much of it around at the moment. You’d think listening to some that progress had slowed but to me it’s just we’ve gone to scales that aren’t immediately accessible to many peoples imaginations – it’s either the incredibly small or the huge. It still amazes me that we’re detecting actual planets orbiting other stars light years away or that we’ve mapped the entire human genome and that’s just two that are a few years in the past already. It’s just a shame to me that the people who work in these fields don’t get more recognition.

  12. Thomas says:

    Dawkins is certainly the guy with the most press. Hitchens and Harris are mildly popular, and I don’t think anyone really knows who Dennet is.

    I guess I’ve got a soft spot for Dawkins because he’s at least partially responsible for my own coming out. It was important for me to read about a guy saying “no, religion is not compatible with science, and if you believe it is you’re fooling yourself.”

    I also love PZ Myers, though. Like my Twitter says now, I root for the bad guy.

    The fact that we have technology sensitive enough to have margins of error on the line of billionths of a second astounds me. People doing this kind of work are playing a different game, and it is fun to read and talk about, but my own knowledge is so limited that it almost seems like speculation is pointless. Like, there’s so much I don’t know my guesses wouldn’t even be wrong, they’d be answering a different question. Poorly.

  13. Zoe says:

    I don’t get why Johnny Depp weirds himself up so much in roles that don’t require it, and even distract from it. *sigh*

    Hungry turtle is my new hero. Go for it, dude.

    That intuition/God piece made sense to me at first – as I am pretty introverted and don’t subscribe to any organised religion. However, I was dubious about them using math logic to decide if someone is introverted or not, and then inferring there’s a causal link between the test results, personality, and belief in God. I would need to see a lot more experiments, using better measures of introversion, before I would draw any conclusions.

    Dawkins often rubs me up the wrong way, and the people who post to his website seem even more arrogant and smug to a point that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    However, The Greatest Show On Earth did have a very useful chapter on the concept of scientific evidence that I plan to reference the next time someone religious has a go at science being inaccurate and always changing its mind. And i love his videos where he reads out the hatemail he gets.

    In conclusion, hungry turtle rules.

  14. Thomas says:

    Johnny Depp is weird… I don’t think he has to do a whole lot to add to it. I think he just kind of shows up, and somehow white makeup appears on his face.

    You always have to be careful when you’re taling about correlation and causation, but I am reasonably sure that the facilities that lead to introversion would at least be found in most atheists.

    Dawkin’s website is kind of a train wreck. Even he isn’t fond of it. And yes, his hate mail videos are goddamn amazing.

    Hungry turtles FTW.

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