Good Tuesday to you! Ready for Part Two? Here we go!
(ICYMI- Part One)
First up, “The first 4.000,000 digits of Pi, visualized in a single image” from io9. io9 does a great job explaining what this project is about, and why it’s so cool. Click through to the interactive applet from TWO-N to see the full, amazing image. This thing is gorgeous. I would not at all mind having this print hanging on my wall.
Never one to shy away from the controversial topics, Amanda Palmer posted a link to this brilliant article from The Vagenda titled “Hair! (Not the Musical)“. In it, the author explores the choices girls are given in regards to body hair, and attacks the social norms by not shaving for over a year. As in legs, pits, and bits, allowed to revert to their natural state of hairiness.
Please please please don’t say ‘ew’ before you actually read the article. The author makes the point that as women, we aren’t given a choice when it comes to this “cultivation”. We are forced – because of social and gender bias – to shave, whether we want to or not.
This is a well-written article, and I think it’s an important one. I think we need to constantly question what society considers normal, what it says about us and how it impacts us on a world-wide scale.
Some gigantic news came down the book publishing pipeline this week when Tom Doherty Associates announced that their entire line of e-books will be DRM-free by July of this year. This is important news. Why? Because Tom Doherty Associates is an imprint of Macmillan, one of the “Big Six” publishers. Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen are imprints of Tom Doherty Associates. So, the biggest publisher of sci-fi and fantasy has decided that Digital Rights Management is a bigger headache than it’s worth and doesn’t actually do what it was designed to do (stop piracy).
Maybe this is the first big step to eliminating DRM. Other publishers (like my beloved Blasted Heath) have taken the step already. Maybe this will be the push the other Big Six publishers need.
If you don’t know the name Loni Peristere, you probably don’t spend too much time in the Whedonverse. Loni is the co-founder of Zoic Studios and was the visual effect supervisor for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, and Serenity. He wrote a beautiful essay titled “Mutant Enemy U” for the anthology Serenity Found, and Smart Pop Books has been kind enough to post it in full on their website.
If you love Firefly and Serenity as much as I do, or you’re interested in the experience of doing visual effects for a major motion picture, or you just appreciate reading a good essay from someone who is passionate about his work, you need to read “Mutant Enemy U“.
You know Jackie Collins? As in that Jackie Collins? She’s decided to self-publish a book. Here’s why.
I’m not what you would call a Jackie Collins fan. I don’t read her books simply because they’re not my thing. But, I respect that this woman knows what she’s talking about when it comes to publishing. She has sold over 400 MILLION copies and has TWENTY-SEVEN New York Times bestsellers.
So when she says something like: “But I also know that to stay successful, you’ve always got to be thinking two steps ahead of the game.” you can bet I’m not the only one paying attention. Good on you, Ms. Collins.
The best thing that can come from this is people stop thinking of self-published books as lesser than their traditionally published cousins. Just because an author took it upon herself to put the book in the marketplace doesn’t mean it’s of lesser quality. There are some really terrific self-pub books (anything by Chuck Wendig) and some really terrible trad-pub books (everything Twilight). Don’t judge a book by its publisher.
Some interesting news from my home state: Amazon will start charging sales tax to Texas customers on July 1st. (Thanks to my friend Joe for the link!)
I can see two perspectives of this issue – one as a consumer and one as a Texas resident.
As a consumer, I don’t like it anytime I have to spend more money for the same product. The price on the tag (or page, in this instance) is the price I want to pay. And while we don’t have the steepest sales tax in the country, 6.25% is nothing to sneeze at. Also, we have this ridiculous system of local taxes that gets tacked on to the state rate, so the sales tax rate in Dallas is different from the rate in Odessa.
As a resident, and a grown-up, I understand the need to generate taxes. Highways need to be maintained, schools need books, jails need to keep criminals locked up. This new cash flow can go far to improve a broad range of things, and maybe help get this state back on track to being great again.
My pick for short story of the week is Ed Kurtz’s “Third Wheel“, over on BEAT to a PULP. This is longer than what I normal pick, but it’s worth it. The characterization is great, and the twists and turns will take you completely by surprise.
Have you seen the Valve Employee Manual yet? Valve, that most brilliant of video game companies, producers of such awesomeness as Portal, Half-Life, and Counter-Strike, sounds like the best, hardest, and most fulfilling place to work in the universe. I want to work there so bad, yet am so intimidated by the level of awesome that I would be too scared to apply.
(That link leads you to the article on Boing Boing because I heart Cory Doctorow.)
I leave you with a beautiful poster for one of my favorite movies, Howl’s Moving Castle, created by Sloane Leong.
Click the picture to see more of her work on her tumblr.