Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Primeval, Harry Potter, sweat-shop spiders and an electric unicycle

+ ITV has announced that "Primeval" will be back for two new seasons...mere months after announcing it was canceled. That's fine though -- at least there'll be more dinosaurs on TV!

+ The new Harry Potter theme park scheduled to open next year looks even cooler than I imagined! Check out these renderings of "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction, being built right now in Orlando, Florida. Below is an image of Hogwarts. Now if they can just make it so I can play Quidditch, I'll be happy as can be. Thanks to Park Bench reader Anne for the link!

+ Have you seen this gorgeous rug woven from spider silk? It took four years and more than 1 million spiders and probably a lot of spider wranglers to create it. Check it out below:

+ If you want some fun lunchtime entertainment, read these submissions to Topless Robot's "Most Shameful Nerd Argument" contest. Trust me, whatever shameful nerd thing you've ever done, reading these will immediately make you feel better about yourself. My personal favorite is the story about the guys who spent four months debating which D12 die was better to use in their D&D game -- the one with the rhombus faces or the pentagon faces -- right down to figuring out the mathematical equations for questions of friction and surface use. I love it.

+ And finally, have you ever wanted to ride a unicycle but couldn't be bothered to pedal? Ok, just me then? Well, check out the enicycle which is like a cross between a Segway and a unicycle, as Park Bench reader Daven described it. The awesome new gadget won the gold medal at the 36th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. I want one!


Adam said...

Ok, so the D12 dice argument is pretty much the nerdiest thing I've ever heard. I've never been much of a D&Der, but I did get in an argument once about a D20 was the best way to count down life in Magic:The Gathering. (I used a card with a little wheel in it).

Oh, and then there was that one time I argued for over an hour about whether the Enterprise D would beat an Imperial Class Star Destroyer. We even found the schematics I had in an old "Incredible Cross Sections" Book. Those were the days.

Correct answer, BTW, is the Enterprise because it has actual shields and not just armor plating and deflectors. Also, the Star Destroyer fires "lasers" which are harmless to Enterprise shielding according to certain episodes (I think it comes up in "The Outrageous Okona"(2x04) but I'm not sure)


agent57 said...

Enicycle, what? But those (very few) times I tried riding a unicycle, the hardest part was just leaning forward without falling over! I think that pedaling would probably make it much easier to maintain balance. (Theoretically. I never really got the pedaling part down, either.)

That spider rug is awesome and creepy. I wonder if it's really stretchy?

Kelley B said...

Any idea if the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will serve butter beer?

Anonymous said...

My fellow HP nerds have been planning a trip to the new theme park since the day it was announced. We better be allowed to wear the Hogwarts uniform in the park or I will be one angry Ravenclaw!

Ahhhahahaha! In Summation: I made my wife cry because I think Batman could beat Gandalf. I cannot count the times my friend & I got into "discussions" over Spider-Man vs. Gandalf. I still say Gandalf > Spider-Man no matter where the fight takes place.

agent57 said...

Doesn't the winning argument, Superman/Batman, have canon precedents? The Dark Knight Returns springs to mind. (Though I guess getting Ollie involved kind of skewed the fight, and then it was interrupted before a true victor emerged?) In fact, doesn't Supes trust Batz to be the only one who can take him down if he ever goes overboard? (With a little Kryptonite help, of course.)

I admit I'm playing favorites here. Superman is cool and all, but I always liked Batman more.

Tracy said...

Didn't you just know that the winner would involve D&D? I am just surprised that there wasn't a single winner whose story involved both D&D and nuclear weapons.

As an engineer myself, I really didn't need to read the second paragraph (of the D&D winner's story) to know that someone would soon toss in friction calculations. I completely recognize that need to quantify the world.

I once got into a discussion at a dog show ( ... I compete with my Dachshunds in conformation, obedience, tracking, etc. ) with a vendor who claimed to have made "major improvements" on a standard crate design. I drew him a diagram and wrote out the various equations to illustrate that he had actually weakened the structural integrity of the original design.

He blustered and did everything but pat me on the head and tell me not to worry my pretty little female brain. I was right, though, his new crates were crap. People were soon returning them left and right.

mara said...

I am beyond excited for the HP theme park. It is literally a dream come true - I read the books at a very young age, and honestly believed Hogwarts was real. And then I turned 11...

And the Primeval news has had me squee-ing all day. xD

JusticeRobin said...

A few buddies and I recently took up D&D (in our late 20s, I know that puts us substantially behind the curve, but we can't figure out why you'd play without beer...), and as DM I felt it was my duty to forward both the D12 story and the 50-forum-page thread on whether the Dragonborn females would have breasts. I informed my all-male-but-me group that as Dragonborn are REPTILES, they do not need mammary glands. Seems obvious to me!

Minerva said...

Kelley B: Yes, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will serve butterbeer. And pumpkin juice.

I will be another fan embarrassing her husband by arriving in my robe. Now I just need to find a decent hat.

Kelley B said...

Minerva: Fabulous :)

Liz said...

Okay, if there's butter beer, I'm definitely going. (I actually just typed butter bear by accident. If there is a bear made of butter there, I will also go.)