Comic-Con is in full bloom, packed with gaming news, movie trailers and not a few amazing web series. A lot of people I’ve been talking to this week feel like SDCC is becoming less of a comic convention and more of a pop culture convention.
They’re probably right, though I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
What I read that I liked
I’m a sucker for book lists, and while this one over at io9 isn’t the best, it is neat to see some of the sci-fi books professors are using to teach with.
Rosalind Wiseman has a fantastic piece over on Time about the inherent misperceptions some people have of boys and video games. “Kids are fed up with Kate Upton. When the ads for Game of War started showing up on my students’ phones last year—they haven’t stopped—many were annoyed. They hated that it was impossible to close the ad, forcing them instead to watch the video until the end. But what really irritated them was Ms. Upton, in a full-cleavage-baring white flowing dress.”
Rachel Nuwar discusses new research on the decline in bumblebees and how it’s linked to climate change over on Smithsonian.Com. “To probe the mystery, scientists from Canada, Europe and the U.S. turned to bumblebee observation records collected across Europe and North America, dating back 110 years and encompassing 67 species.”
Colin Cambell has a great, deep read on the reinvention of Lara Croft over on Polygon. “Camilla Luddington is frowning seven different ways. She’s an experienced actor, so each frown carries its own nuance and meaning: defiance, confusion, vulnerability, fear.”
Rukmini Callimachi led a team of reporters at the New York Times to pull together a fascinating look at ISIS and how it recruits young americans. I missed it last week, if you did too, you should absolutely take the time to read it this weekend. “Alex, a 23-year-old Sunday school teacher and babysitter, was trembling with excitement the day she told her Twitter followers that she had converted to Islam.”
Josh Dzieza’s profile of website The Awl seems to be the most talked about story in my circles, and for good reason. It’s a deftly written, nuanced description of not the website, but the people who drive it. That I know quite a lot of them might make it feel more engrossing to me, but anyone who starts reading this story will find it hard to stop. “As more content is published directly onto Facebook, users will gradually lose a sense of who’s producing what. The most consequential journalism becomes just another unit of content in a single stream of music videos, movie trailers, updates from friends and relatives, advertisements, and viral tidbits from sites adept at gaming fast-changing algorithms and behaviors. Readerships that seem large now will turn out to be as ephemeral as Snapchats.”
A moment of self-aggrandizing introspection
I stumbled across a police blotter entry about a man dying of a heart attack one night in the middle of a swamp. After a month or so of reporting on and off, I ended up writing this story about snail hunting in the moonlit waters of Florida.
This week has been completely absorbed by meetings and helping out the away team covering San Diego Comic-Con. I put my longer stories on hold to spend time popping out a dozen or so dailies a day from the show and help where I can in terms of editing and asset wrangling.
I also put my reading on hold to try and zip through Eric Cline’s soon-to-be-released Armada. It just arrived, so I haven’t gotten very far. Speaking of Armada, when I was looking for it on Amazon, the shopping website let me know that people that purchased the book about video games and aliens also tended to purchase Harper Lee’s new book. (You can read the first chapter of that right here.) I suspect that may not be the case.
My left arm has been feeling tingly and numb for a few days now. I’m fairly certain it isn’t heart related, but it has reminded me to schedule my check in. I’ve gained a disgusting amount of weight, a first for me. And it’s had all kinds of weird implications. Like the other day, watching Clue while lying on the floor and feeling the weight of my body pressing my into the thick carpet, it was weird. I probably should do something about that.
We somehow managed not to see Jurassic World yet, but I have high hopes for this weekend.
On Sunday, Trish’s parents arrive from Australia for their summer stay. At some point we’re all going to Montreal and I will be eating obscene amounts of fancy gravy-soaked french fries.