danconnolly.co.uk

Arcimboldosaurus

June 16, 2017

I absolutely adore this:

This second set is the real Arcimboldo stuff:

https://twitter.com/chrisrodley/status/875552196120662017

I want actual books of this. If someone tells me where to throw my money to make this happen I will throw my money there.

Gilead

April 30, 2017

Like the Kingdom of God, the Republic of Gilead is both now and not yet. Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale conjures a theocratic dystopia—a version of the United States taken over by fundamentalist Christians after a terrorist attack on Washington. Women are now divided into rigid classes determined by an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible. Atwood’s protagonist, Offred, is a Handmaid—a fallen woman who is forced to bear children for righteous couples—and the book follows her sufferings under the Gilead regime.

I’m about halfway through The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s very good, and as this article notes it feels very current. I don’t watch a lot of TV these days but it seems that TV scheduling still has significant influence on my reading habits, not that I’ll be watching the Hulu adaptation any time soon.

The linked article is also a good read: women in positions of power exerting incredible influence in order to reduce the influence of power of women is such a contradiction, and yet like so much in modern politics the contradictions matter not to those that support such figures. I don’t know how you persuade someone to give up a fervent belief, religious or political.

I recently found out that some friends of mine are flat-Earthers. I tend to avoid Facebook, now that I’m greeted by ‘Proof the Earth is flat,’ ‘Overthrow the conspiracy of the globists,’ and, ’10 truths that disprove the prehistory of dinosaurs,’ I’m even less inclined to log on. I’m aware I can mute people and channels but there’s part of me that can’t help but try to explain how things work. On the bright side I’m getting good at explaining in simple terms why the sky is blue, how one can tell the earth is round, or how it’s possible to see the sun from so far away. On the downside I’m not yet ready to just leave them be and unfortunately and ‘Yeah, that confused me at school, it all just sounds too complicated, I’m just going to believe this’ infuriates the hell out of me.

As a chaser let’s have a look at our lovely Earth.

Zhenyuanlong

July 23, 2015

zhenyuanlong

Look at those feathers!

this specimen provides the first evidence of well-developed pennaceous feathers in a large, non-flying dromaeosaur, raising the question of what function such wings would serve.

Planet Hulk

April 3, 2015

Easily the part of Marvel’s upcoming Secret Wars I’m most looking forward to:

Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) and Devil Dinosaur (a super-strong, sentient, red T-Rex) as gladiators taking on all-comers in Greenland, so-called for its inhabitants (you won’t like them when they’re angry).

Need further convincing? Try this take on Cap for size:

steverogers

For more sneak-peeks check out Marc Laming on Twitter.

Dinotopia

March 8, 2015

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dino2

I loved these books as a kid, I could just stare at James Gurney’s art for hours.

Cetecean Needed

January 29, 2015

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London’s Natural History Museum is re-modelling its entrance, moving out the dinosaur and moving in a blue whale.

My initial reaction to this wasn’t great. Seeing Dippy for the first time had such a profound effect on me as a child. It genuinely blew me away, and every time I go back it brings back the same feelings of wonder and awe.

But, I also thought it was a real skeleton. It wasn’t until years later I found out it was a plaster cast (in fact it wasn’t until years later I realised how few real dinosaur bones I had actually seen). The Blue Whale on the other hand is complete. 100% complete. And as the article says, a great story to represent the work the NHM does:

The museum has chosen the whale to lead what it calls its “three great narratives”.

These cover the origins and evolution of life, the diversity of life on Earth today, and the long-term sustainability of humans’ custodianship of the planet.

The cetacean has something to say on all them, particularly the last. Blue whales were hunted to the brink of extinction before a ban on their exploitation was put in place in the 1960s.

Indeed, it was NHM scientists who were instrumental in gathering the data in the earlier decades of the 20th Century that showed commercial practices were driving the animal to oblivion.

“And going forward we want to tell more of these stories about the societally relevant research that we do,” explained Sir Michael.

“So, for example, today our teams help the police with the forensic examination of crime scenes; we do projects that potentially could help feed nine billion people in 2050; and we also look at whether it’s possible to eradicate certain parasitic diseases in Africa.”

The Hall will definitely be a more fitting home for such a majestic specimen. In the hall of mammals you got to see just how truly huge Blue Whales are in comparison to everything else but equally there’s a lot in that space and it’s often crowded. As the first thing you see when you walk in I think would blow both 8-year-old me and 31-year-old me away.