Crocheted Tom Baker

Crocheted Doctor Who Dolls are the Best Thing Ever. *Ever*.

Ever.

Have I said that?

(via Topless Robot) Over at CraftyisCool fibre artist Alison Hoffman has just finished a collection of crocheted Doctor Who dolls. The collection includes all eleven doctors AND a Tardis that they can fit inside.

crochet Doctor Who

Eeeee!!! There aren’t enough exclamation points for me to say how amazing this is, so three will have to do. But you get the point. This is the finest workmanship: each yarny little guy manages to capture the essence of its namesake Doctor. I’m not sure how you get that much facial expression from yarn.

Just look at Four:

Crocheted Tom Baker

Just look at him.

And here’s Nine:

Crochet Doctor Who

Totally badass, right?

Here’s Ten, just for good measure:

Doctor Who Crochet Doll

They are all this good.

Gander the entire collection here. Gander it! I command you!

And then you can go to Ms. Hoffman’s Etsy shop or her Ravelry shop and buy the frikken’ patterns to make these. They are a very reasonable $6USD each. Also available: a pattern to make Bob Frikken Ross! And Pee Wee Herman! How cool is that? Pretty darn cool. And, it gets better – her website includes a free pattern to make a Harry Potter style Sorting Hat.

I want these sooo hard. Only I can’t crochet. Like, at all. But at least the resulting “Nailed it” post ought to earn me a butt-ton of karma on Reddit. :/

So go browse the awesomeness, buy some patterns, and  let me know if you make any of these…

…they are the best thing ever (have I mentioned that?).

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Scientists Testing Out Star Trek Style Tractor Beam

From the “Make it So” Department of “I Watched too Much Star Trek as a Child and Only Went into Science Because of it” University, comes news that scientists at the University of Saint Andrews are testing a Star Trek style tractor beam.

make-it-so

The technique uses light beams to attract matter, in a way that is pretty counter intuitive. Both articles below describe how photons push a comet’s tail away from the sun, but the research team, led by Dr. Tomas Cizmar, found a way to use this same force to attract particles. The actual article (which I am probably too dumb to understand anyhoo) is hidden behind a paywall. So if anyone can explain this process to me like I was five, please feel free to do so.

Before you get too excited though, the process produces massive amounts of heat, so cannot be used on larger objects. For now, it is limited for use on microscopic objects. One of the commentors over at the National Post suggested we use it to deal with our huge cloud of satellite-threatening space waste. The lead researcher of the project suggests a more modest use: separating white blood cells from blood. So, still a long way to go before we can pull planet-threatening asteroids off course or any other cool Star Trek-y things.

But it’s a start right?

Darn right.

BBC news reports it here.

Canada’s National Post has a go.

Paywall-y article here.

Sci-Fi Lego Round-up is the Best Thing Ever

Nothing is quite so agonizing to step on as Lego, amirite? It’s like they’ve been lovingly engineered for maximum foot pain. But apparently you can do things with Lego, other than giving yourself plantars fasciitis, that is.

A few days ago I came upon this:

Minimalist Lego cartoon characters. Are these not awesome? Indeed they are. You can see the rest of them here.

I know, I know they aren’t Sci-fi related at all. But they got me thinking about Lego. And then I came stumbled on this:

I love Futurama, but who has this kind of time? Stunning.

That lead me to Buzzfeed, where they have this:

Doctor Who

Lego TARDIS! And Ghostbusters:

Ghostbusters

All of this lead me off to the Lego Cuusoo site. Which is something like a cross between Kickstarter and Reddit. Lego (what do you call Lego Fanbois?) makers (?) propose and design new Lego sets. Then you vote on the ones you like. Each quarter, actual Lego designers review any project that gets ten thousand views, and one of those projects gets made into an actual Lego set. Aaaaand, the designer gets a 1% cut of the net. Pretty sweet huh? Here’s some of the projects on the go:

Curiosity Rover:

Idea Image

Marty and the Doc and DeLorean:

If this doesn’t make Lego the coolest company that ever existed, I don’t know what does. Go check out Lego Cuusoo, look at the projects and cast some votes for science fiction themed Lego, because it is the Best Thing Ever.

 

Surrogates Needed to Carry Cloned Neanderthals

In his novel Frameshift, Robert J. Sawyer tells the story of a couple tricked into carrying a neanderthal child by a somewhat overly enthusiastic geneticist colleague. I loved this book when I read it, and never really thought about that particular issue again.

Until today.

Over at The Mary Sue they link to an interview in Der Spiegel with geneticist George Church, about the possibility of cloning Neanderthals. Church thinks that cloning Neanderthals will soon be possible and all we’ll need are some brave women to carry the little clones to term. No trickery necessary!

Awwww…cuuute.

The majority of the comments at The Mary Sue are negative. And yes, the ethics of something like this are pretty dicey. What does it say about me that my first thought was, “I’m in!” (although it was followed closely by the realisation that I’m waaaay too old for that sort of thing, and also in the wrong country)?

The Speigel article does make it sound all kind of evil-geniusy, and I get that. But Germany and eugenics have a history, so they get a bit funny about that sort of thing. In any case, there’s also an article in Business Week that takes a lighter approach and makes the whole scenario sound like the latest designer dog craze. Once one couple has a Neanderthal baby, everyone will want one! 

You know you want one.

They do have a point that once something is possible, we humans often do it just because it *is* possible, consequences be damned. So, little Neanderthals will be running around your neighbourhood. Sooner than you think.

I find myself saying this more often lately, but it bears repeating:

 

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Would *You* Read it? Story Skeletons Thanks to Jim Butcher.

Apparently 2013 is the year of the Great Dental Meltdown. All my teeth have decided to fall apart NOW. My grandfather had dentures from a very young age, and always seemed very pleased with them. He’d spit them in and out and make clackety sounds with them. Fun! Well, now I understand why he liked them so much: I am ready to get a chisel and a hammer and just smash all my teeth out. 0.o

So my month hasn’t been as productive as I’d hoped.

The story so far: I’d just gotten back from my public library and I was pretty disappointed by the writing how-tos on offer. I just needed a bit of structure to plunk my ideas into. So I checked out Jim Butcher’s Livejournal, recommended by Michael R. Johnson, and the advice was amazing – simple and concrete.

A sad aside: I was all, “Who the heck is Jim Butcher?” But then I got there and was all, “Ooooooh…Jim Butcher.”

One of the things Butcher recommends is to distill your story down into two sentences, which Butcher calls a Story Skeleton. It looks like this:

*WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS*, *YOUR PROTAGONIST* *PURSUES A GOAL*. But will he succeed when *ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION*?

This is the most awesome thing ever. It makes you want to hit yourself in the forehead with the heel of your hand, non? Because once you say it, it seems so obvious.

So I worked out Story Skeletons for the two most likely candidates of mine to ever be novelised:

1. When her almost-boyfriend is captured by Fairy Queen Lynn Ash*, T.F. Pigeon (waitress and minor water deity) sets off to Undermount to rescue him. But will she succeed when Queen Ash, assorted denizens of Undermount, and the Hamilton Street Railway get in her way?

For reference, pieces of this story are here, here and here. I changed the POV character, but I don’t know if that will stick.

2. When the mysterious Machine that supplies water to New Piller breaks down, Mesedsure must journey to the underground city of Foramen to find someone who can fix it. But will Mesedsure succeed when dangerous Outliers, hostile Foramenians, and Re himself gets in the way?

The one little piece of this that exists is here.

So, what do you think? Any preferences? I’m a little worried about the first choice, since I haven’t written much Urban Fantasy, though I’ve read some. :/ But I really have a pretty good idea where this story needs to go, and plotting will be more a matter of sitting down with a big piece of paper and some sticky notes. The second choice seem more up my alley but isn’t as fully realised as the first one. I’m not certain I want to have a deity (Re) as a character in the second one, unless he turns out to be an alien or whatever…

So…yeah. That’s the state of my mangled-y brain poo. Lemme know what you think.

*Everybody in choice number 1 needs a new name. I gave them all placeholder names and never bothered to change them…

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Space Janitors is the Best Thing Ever

I came across this just in time for the first season to wrap up. Good. I hate waiting to see what happens. 😉

Brought to you by the Geek and Sundry team, who also brought you The Guild, Space Janitors follows the lives of a set of nobodies in a Death Star-esque space station. I’m kind of a sucker for stories about misfits and nobodies, and science fiction especially tends to be populated with grand, over-the-top personalities – Captain Kirks and Zapp Brannigans.

All Darby Richards wants is to be someone that somebody wants to shoot at. Enjoy!

Watch Darby pretend to become a Squall Trooper:

Go give Space Janitors some eyeballs. It’s the best thing ever!

 

 

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Public Shaming, Productivity and the Importance of Having a Plan

It’s January and I’m flailing. Having decided to write that novel, I moved straight from my “I am the arrow that springs from the bow,” phase right on into, “oh my God I don’t know how to do this I’m such a failure,” with no intermediate stages. Awesome.

Oh God! I fail at that too? *sob*

Writing, however, is a very private thing. Without a proper plan, one could procrastinate for years at it without anyone really knowing. You know, any hypothetical person. Cough, cough.

But in the last year of blogging I’ve learned something about myself and my motivations. Am I a self-motivated person? Why yes, I am. Thank you for asking. Every day my Self motivates me to lay in bed, watch internet porn and eat bags of cheese shreds. I’ve learned that I need an extrinsic motivation for doing things (thanks public school! You and your little happy elf stamps!). And I’ve found that there is no better motivation than public shame.

The very act of announcing, in public, that I am going to do a thing, is enough to trigger off a shame spiral strong enough to make me actually do the thing I said I was going to do. Sweet! But first I need a proper plan. I know I can’t ‘pants’ my way out of this one. It’ll all end in twenty thousand words worth of bitter fail-tears.

So Audience (Litience? Readience?), I’m asking a favour. Wait! It’s easy. It doesn’t involve your ass, or getting off of it. Just this: Many of you are writers, so what plan do/did you use when finally sitting down to write that novel?  And of course, keep theoretically existing out there, somewhere, to shame me into working.

And for now, I’m off to the Library to see what books can tell me about starting that novel.

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Doctor Who/Edward Gorey Mashup is the Best Thing Ever

If you have read any of this blog, you’ll know I looove Doctor Who (though 11 not so much). But when you mash it up with Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies you get instant win! Check out the Gallifreycrumb Tinies by DeviantART user EatToast:

via The Mary Sue

My personal favourite is Harriet (yes we know who you are). EatToast also has a Doctor Who Themed Webcomic Doctor Kawaii that is worth your time, and wicked cool Doctor Who Toys that she hand made. Check out these Cyberponies:

That is some crazy talent right there. I sooo wish I had thought of this. Head over to DeviantART and have a gander at her Doctor Whooo series. If you nose around, you’ll see a Bane pony and a Link pony as well. Squee! You will love it. I order you! Doctor Who + Edward Gorey = Best Thing Ever.