Westeros has geography problems. The size, armies & populations of the seven kingdoms make no sense - a great demonstration of how numbers in books are written in the magnitude of plot not reason.
If you like clothes, Tumblr has something for you. Historical costume, vintage fashion, awesome cosplay, and sheer costume-related nerdery abound. [more inside]
Having previously written an article titled "Don't Dress as Slave Leia" and then, a rather more nuanced rehash in which he explored why telling people not to dress as Slave Leia is not itself free from problems, Ryan (of Mad Art Lab) has decided that, actually, he's going to dress as Slave Leia this con season; or, rather, Slave Leo.
With the recent release of the new instalment of first-person shooter goliath Call of Duty, Activision is poised to make another cool gazillion dollars or so. In fact, the game is popular with many gamers except for one significant group -- the professional ones: "The new games can bring all kinds of changes. Guns fire differently. The physics of the world have been tweaked. This makes it challenging and fun for casual players, but it’s a nightmare scenario for pros. The most important thing for professionals is to be able to practice and play the same game, with the same rules, for years and years to hone their skills. (Imagine if they completely changed the rules of Major League Baseball every year, using different balls, spacing the bases further apart, adding a fourth outfielder.)"
Nerdy Day Trips aims to bring you the best in disused power stations, abandoned nuclear bunkers, lighthouse museums and solar observatories from around the world.
As Khoi Vinh describes them, "Dan Hipp’s extraordinarily lively illustrations are borne of some mash-up universe in which comics, sci-fi and action-adventure fiction have both been flipped over on their backs, only to reveal their shockingly adorable undersides." via Subtraction [more inside]
Why did William James Sidis - the reclusive boy genius fluent in Latin at 2, accepted to MIT at 8, conceptual physicist at 11 - spend so much time thinking about public transit transfers? [more inside]
Snowdecahedron. When life hands you a blizzard, make a Platonic solid. "Temporary public art" from Dan Sternof Beyer.
Wins-above-replacement, or WAR, is a Sabermetric term of art for baseball player comparison. Fangraphs, one of the go-to sites for baseball nerdlingers, now offers a way to make WAR grids, an amazingly easily comprehended visual display comparing players based on WAR, sortable by team, position and season, with a default topline of player age. [more inside]
Slate says putting more than one space between sentences is "totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong." Microsoft's Bill Hall agrees. LaTex does not. The American Psychological Association used to agree but has changed its mind. The exhaustive Wikipedia article on sentence spacing has a predictably prickly discussion page.
Mental Floss has some good stuff, but I really like their quizzes. Especially the "Who Am I" series. Novels. Poets. Actors. Sports. Wonders of the World. [more inside]
"Only if the opposing team can prove that the material world of our perceptions is real, and not a hallucination, do they earn the right to have their arguments considered on their merits." High school debate used to be the province of fast talkers with notecards full of facts and figures -- until literary theory got into the act. Kritik, a family of tactics derived from au courant Continental thinkers like Foucault, Zizek, Spivak (and old favorites like Nietzsche and Heidegger) aims not merely to counter the opposing team's arguments but to expose them as manifestations of implicit oppressive paradigms. Kritik was pioneered in the early 1990s by Ft. Hays State University debate coach Bill Shanahan (who later experimented with another novel tactic by mooning a rival debate coach in a college meet.) [more inside]
In an age where baseball heroes are reviled as frauds, one player's reputation remains secure. His won-loss record and career ERA set standards that will never be matched; the same is true for the character he displayed on and off the mound. But, unbelievable as it may seem, no one has ever set down the exhaustive account of this lion of the diamond. Until now. Charlie Brown's career statistics, 1951-1960. Charlie Brown's career statistics, 1961-1970. Previously on MetaFilter: action-packed four-panel drawings of some of Charlie's greatest games, with material from his personal life as well.
The Carol Syndrome "Carol's perception that she scares men away is not a delusion after all. … It is not a matter of bad luck but a collateral effect of interactive rationality. A paradoxical consequence is that Carol's attractiveness acts as a repellent." Game theory (mis?)applied to dating. [more inside]
I will always have been back. The precise nature of time travel in the Terminator universe has been the subject of griping from philosophy-trained bloggers and whole anthologies by academic philosophers. Despite valiant attempts, including this thorough assessment from M. Joseph Young's exhaustive Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies , there has never been a truly satisfying unraveling of the twisted Terminator continuity. The knot has now been cut.
A group of middle-school-aged self-proclaimed nerds from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, who won the New York City FIRST Lego League Robotics Championship with their motorized robot called Thingamajig are embarking on a trip to the Robotics World Festival in Atlanta. After a lack of funds nearly scuttled their journey, they've been bailed out by British vacuum cleaner exec James Dyson, and have been given the kind of sendoff most young nerds can only dream of: an all-school nerd-cheering pep rally.
The sestina is an old poetic form invented by the troubadors; each of the thirty-nine lines ends with one of only six words, which gives the sestina a haunting, constricted feel. You might have read modern examples by Bishop or Auden, or the even more modern "WTF Sestina" by Meghann Marco. But you have probably never read a sestina which explains how to construct a sestina in the language of finite group theory. (.pdf link) Via excellent mathblog God Plays Dice.
How could you make the TARDIS even cooler? First, strip away the whole "bigger on the inside than the out" part, and second, get rid of the ability to travel in space & time. Finally, add the ability to play every arcade videogame ever invented.