Harry Potter and the Consequences of Overthinking Children’s Literature

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve spent much more time lately thinking about Harry Potter than is typically considered healthy for a grown man. Over the past few months, I’ve rewatched the movies, played the Lego games, read most of the books, listened to podcasts, and spent a …


In Defence of Fanfiction – A Convert’s Tale

Fanfiction has a pretty bad reputation. Part of it is earned, but a lot of it is just because it sits pretty far down the list on Maslow’s hierarchy of nerds. Nerds have a pervasive inferiority complex so we spend a lot of time distinguishing ourselves from our perceived lessers …

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Life in a Gas Cloud – a short story

I had the delight of being on a panel about the possibilities of megafauna in space, at Dragon Con this year alongside  Dr. Pamela Gay and our own Emily. With a little help from the audience we speculated on the extremes that physics and biology could allow. I took a …


Becoming a Hufflepuff or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Badger

I was born a Ravenclaw, or so I told myself. When Harry Potter came out, I was neck deep in academia, and had groomed myself to be there since before high school. When everyone started sorting themselves into houses, I naturally fell into the house of Ravenclaw, the house of …


Book Review: Dandelion Seeds

One of our Mad Art Lab alumni, Steve DeGroof, recently wrote a book basically by accident.  It was mentioned in the Quickies a couple weeks ago, and I finally overcame my slow reading speed of late to finish it.  My first pass impression (which is also a recommendation of “you’ll probably …

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Art of the Gaps 2: Extraterrestrial Life?

Happy New Year! Part of being human is having the drive to question the mysteries of the world around us. That questioning has led us to many answers over the millenia. Some of the biggest gaps in human knowledge have been answered by arbitrary communal consensus. These diverse myths and …


Labor pains–Piper Harron’s mathematics thesis

I’ve recommended a lot of books to people over the years for their various merits. I’m recommending that everyone read Piper Harron’s PhD thesis for many of the same reasons. This piece is a primal scream of human struggle and is recognizable to anyone whose ambitions have ever been cut …


Desert Bus vs. NaNoWriMo – Real Talk Edition

Earlier today Ryan wrote about what it’s like to lose a friend to the throes of Desert Bus for Hope and NaNoWriMo simultaneously. Let me tell you, the struggle between the desire to create and the desire to watch the stream is real. I managed to get a few writing sprints in early …