My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Universal fat jokes, Doctor Who will be everywhere, and apparently the Internet is no longer for porn

I’m comfortably ensconced (this is the correct word) in the well-worn couch in my grandparents’ basement. In a few hours I’ll be on an Air Canada flight to Thunder Bay, where I shall while away my summer in whatever manner pleases me (think coconut milkshakes, ninja dance parties, and suffocating under a massive pile of library books). Until then, though, things happen on the Internet.

  • We should be getting a Doctor Who 50th anniversary special trailer any time soon, because they screened it at Comic-Con. But apparently, according to the comments section, that isn’t going to happen. However, I am somewhat assuaged because the special will be simulcast around the world, which means I don’t have to worry about spoiling it for my dad (or Twitter spoiling it for anyone else).
  • Watch this “in memoriam” video for the myriad characters who have died during the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. Spoilers, obviously.
  • In an interesting spot of science news, evolution might be more predictable than we thought. It’s hard to get testable hypotheses out of macro-evolutionary theory, thanks to the time scales involved, but scientists are always finding ways around that.
  • Also, on the cosmological side of evolution, it’s possible that what we have taken for expansion of the universe is actually just mass gain. I love new theories of cosmology!
  • We’ve also discovered that some of the heavier elements in the universe are not so much the product of supernovae as they are neutron stars colliding. How awesome is that?
  • I’m not a big fan of Fact or Faked, but I recognize what it’s trying to do. I’m intrigued by a new show coming to SyFy, Joe Rogan Questions Everything, which promises to be more critical about conspiracy theories.
  • We might be six degrees away from Kevin Bacon but only three degrees away from a terrorist.
  • The UK government has approved self-driving cars for road tests. This is very exciting. I can’t wait to let a computer do my driving for me; it will be much better at it than I am.
  • Unfortunately, the government also wants to block online pornography by default. This is being done in the name of “protecting the children”, which always sounds good in a sound bite—except that the same blocking tools will also block other content (including “web forums”, oooh, so scary), in a censorship move strangely reminiscent of China. I thought we were supposed to condemn other countries’ disrespect of free speech, not emulate them? And even if you can stomach the moral issues around such censorship (not to mention the absurdly hypocritical nature of the basic proposal itself), there are so many practical problems with this idea.
  • And finally, if you read nothing else, you should check out Jon Negroni’s syncretic theory of Pixar, in which he attempts to place all of Pixar’s movies into a single, coherent universe. The scary thing is: it works.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I must finish re-packing the explosion that is my suitcase and marshal some arguments for a future blog post about how awesome Continuum has become, with probable counterpoint from my less-impressed dad.