Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day!

I’m the kind of geek you can (within reason) egg on to doing something by saying most people don’t act in a particular way or do whatever it is you’re describing.

Case in point: our high school math teacher told us that most people won’t ever learn the approximation for pi further than 2 or 4 decimals places. So, I had to go and memorise it to 8 decimal places. I can still remember it: 3.14159265.

Dinner3 Dessert

Don’t ask me why it was so important to me—I can’t remember anymore. I am, however, surprised that I can still produce it without any hesitation whatsoever even though I haven’t used it in decades. (It only works in Finnish, though; clearly there’s some connection with the rhythm and sounds that made it easy for me to memorize.) I wish I was as speedy with my U.S. social security number, for instance. 🙂

P.S. For a full appreciation of my dorkiness, look at the tags for this post. :p

Messing with numbers is messy.

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Quotes: Willful and Obstinate Little Country

After the Finnish centennial in 2017, I’ve been reading outside my usual periods of Finnish history a little, including on the Finnish Winter War (1939-1940, for 105 days against the USSR).

In November 1939, just before hostilities broke out, a Finnish delegation met with the Soviets in Moscow to discuss land transfers and other concessions Russians demanded from Finland. The following tidbit is reportedly from the delegation’s last meeting with Stalin and Molotov.

“But after an hour of futile discussion it was obvious to everyone that the whole business had come to a dead end. Each side bade farewell to the other. Since the Finnish delegates were clearly just as upset by this outcome as the Russians, the final meeting ended with remarkably little display of animosity by anyone. The actual parting, in fact, was almost jovial. Molotov waived and said, ‘Au revoir!’ and Stalin shook hands all around and wished the Finns ‘all the best’. Then he went off to confer with his generals about how best to subdue this willful and obstinate little country.”

– William Trotter, A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940

It’s not clear whether “willful and obstinate little country” is Stalin’s phrasing or Trotter’s. I like it nevertheless—it tells you a very important thing of the Finnish character: as we say, a strong will takes you through a grey stone. 🙂 Or, in this case, it slows down a massive army significantly enough to retain the country’s independence, which none of the other small Baltic states were able to do.

Trotter, William R. A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1991, p. 18.

Serving exactly what it sounds like, the Quotes feature excerpts other people’s thoughts.

A New Doctor with New Best Friends

The new Doctor Who season started this past weekend, on Sunday October 07, 2018. The big thing, of course, is that Jodie Whittaker makes her doctorial debut in season 11! I have some thoughts on it. But first, the official trailers:

Doctor Who: Series 11 Trailer by Doctor Who on YouTube

Doctor Who: Series 11 Trailer #2 by Doctor Who on YouTube

I get chills from both! 😀 Although the music choices for trailer 2 seem a little odd—I suspect I might be missing some cultural references here.

I haven’t seen the first episode yet, so I only have previously shared glimpses, various reports, and other people’s reactions to go by. Reading to the rescue, then! Below are quotes from some of the most interesting writeups I found.

Spoiler warning is in effect! (Also, because some quotes are quite long, I’ll pop the rest behind a cut.)

Read the whole post.

Doctor Who Fan Video: Series 11 Opening Scene Concept

Excitement over the thirteenth Doctor is ramping up! Here’s a short fan video of how she should begin her tenure:

Doctor Who Series 11 – Episode 1 Opening Scene – The Girl Who Fell From The Stars! by Vlogzy

Maker Vlogzy explains:

“There are many great stories, but none as great as this. This is the story of the girl who fell from the stars. And this is how it begins…

“Without the Tardis and without hope, the Doctor is sent plummeting towards the planet below. The Doctor must come to terms with her new body quickly and escape her incoming demise.

“Here is a concept scene I’ve created for the upcoming debut episode for the Thirteenth Doctor! Just a bit of fun really but actually turned relatively believable. I have this theory in my mind that the Tardis would materialise underneath the Doctor as she’s falling and catches her. I’ve tried to imagine this as best as possible in this video!

“What do you think will happen in episode 1? How will the Doctor get out of this one? Would love to hear your thoughts/theories below!”

Really great job! The sequence could almost be copypasted into canon as-is.

I confess I haven’t even watched all of Capaldi’s Who because the stories couldn’t keep my interest after the eighth season. I hope Jodie Whittaker is given outstanding material to show her acting chops with.

I do have one quibble about the metadata for this video, though: calling adult women girls is infantilizing. We’re grown-ass women; ergo, call us women.

Found via File 770.

In Making Stuff occasional feature, we share fun arts and crafts done by us and our fellow geeks and nerds.

 

A Miss Fisher Movie on Kickstarter

Every Cloud Productions has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears onto the big screen worldwide.

Kickstarter Miss Fisher Crypt of Tears Pledge Now

The project overview states:

“Every Cloud Productions is proposing to produce a feature film building on the successful Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries television series, and is undertaking this Kickstarter campaign to raise a portion of the production budget for the film.

“Set in the late 1920’s, Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears honors the heightened exoticisms of the murder mystery genre as the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, lady detective, escapes the small screen and takes off on a global adventure – via romantic wayside stops in the Far East, glamorous sojourns in the mansions of London, and a battle to survive the rolling sands of the Arabian Desert long enough to find the missing treasure, solve numerous murders and break all aviation records as she wings her way home again!”

The stand-alone script is currently being finalized, with the same team who created the series set to work on the film. Production is preliminarily planned to start in mid-2018. The feature would be set for release in Australia in mid-2019, with other countries to follow as soon as possible.

And the campaign is going splendidly! Fans were so eager to see Phryne and Jack in the theaters that it reached its first goal in one day.

Kickstarter Miss Fisher Crypt of Tears Day 1

At this writing, two three stretch goals and more rewards have been added. It looks like the project will reach the latest stretch goal within days, too.

The tv series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is based on the novels of Australian author Kerry Greenwood. The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher solves crimes with assistance from Detective Inspector Jack Robinson of Melbourne police. Every Cloud Productions is an independent, Australian production company producing distinctive, high-quality television drama for domestic and international markets.

The project will be running on Kickstarter until Saturday, October 14, 2017 (8:39 p.m. EST).

Images via Miss Fisher the Movie Kickstarter campaign

Rogue One Trailer

The first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out!

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Official Teaser Trailer by Star Wars

I’m delighted to see Felicity Jones cast as a protagonist. I enjoyed her performances as The Unicorn in Doctor Who (season 4, episode 7, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”) and as Catherine Morland in the 2007 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. According to IMDB, also Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, and Mads Mikkelsen are among the cast. Mikkelsen seems to have been busy with genre roles lately – first Doctor Strange and now Rogue One.

Rogue One is the first in a series of spinoffs outside the episodic Star Wars core collectively known as the Star Wars Anthology Series. If this trailer is anything to go by, the series should be a lot of fun.

At this writing, the release date is set to December 16, 2016. Can’t wait!

Hey, look! We found a thing on the internet! We thought it was cool, and wanted to share it with you.

Top Five Co-Geeking Posts for 2015

Our first half-year of blogging exclusively on our geeky interests is done. We’ve even geeked over our blog stats already. 🙂 The five posts to get most eyeballs are as follows:

  1. Hugo Voting, “Good” Stories, and Politics Erik’s thoughts on the volatile Hugo Awards discussion and voting
  2. 2016 Tolkien calendar Illustrated by Tove Jansson Eppu relays news that the late Tove Jansson’s Tolkien illustrations will be published in the Official Tolkien Calendar for 2016
  3. Sean Bean on the LotR Joke in The Martian Eppu shares a short transcript from an interview with Sean Bean by Yle, the Finnish national broadcast company
  4. Two Finnish Authors on the A.V. Club’s Best of 2015 Eppu shares yet another Finland-related piece of news: Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen and Leena Krohn made it onto a U.S. Best of fiction list
  5. a tie with two of Erik’s History for Writers posts: Recommended Reading: Herodotus, “The Tale of the Clever Thief” and 35 Isn’t Old and Everyone’s a Royal

It was nice to note that the top posts were divided up evenly between me and Erik, and that they were posts where we used our expertise. As if we had, like, a plan or something. 😉

Messing with numbers is messy.

Our Star Wars Rewatch Project: Introduction

To prepare for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, we’re Doing a Project. We’ll see all six Star Wars movies in order, roughly one a week, and for each movie, we’ll give our opinion on the following:

  1. Best fight
  2. Best line
  3. Best minor character
  4. Best reveal
  5. Best save
  6. Best visual

For extra fun, Erik decided to make a dessert to go with each movie. We’ll share photos of those, too. Follow the posts with the SW rewatch tag.

And please join us – leave a link for your own posts, or comment with your own Best list!

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

Rothfuss Scores a Multi-Platform Deal for Kingkiller Chronicle

Author Patrick Rothfuss is known for the charity Worldbuilders and his Kingkiller Chronicle – a trilogy of The Name of the Wind (published 2007), The Wise Man’s Fear (2011), and a thus far unnamed, unpublished final installment.

Rothfuss Book Covers Fall 2015
Patrick Rothfuss / DAW.

Rothfuss just shared some great news: The Chronicle was signed by Lionsgate for a “big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal” (in Rothfuss’s words). The plan is to produce a tv-series with a connecting movie and a video game – how awesome is that?

But it doesn’t end there. Says Rothfuss:

“You see, I never expected a studio would treat me like a human being. But through this whole process, Lionsgate has treated me with amazing respect. I’ve made what to me seem like reasonable requests, and they responded to them… reasonably. And I’m not just talking about pretty words here, they’re making contractual agreements granting me control of things. They haven’t just been reasonable, they’ve been kind, and understanding. […]

“Lionsgate is making its own press release today and there will be stories in all manner of Hollywood news outlets pretty soon. It’s not a coincidence that my blog is launching up on the very same day as their big announcement. In the same hour, even. Lionsgate coordinated with me so I could share this news on my blog at the same time they’re launching their story.

“This was important to me because if you read my blog or follow me on social media… well… you’re a part of the reason my books are a big deal. A lot of you have been a part of my team for years, and I wanted the chance to tell you about this piece of news myself rather than have you hear it on the street.

The fact that Lionsgate was willing to go to some lengths to let me launch this blog simultaneously with their press release is another good sign, in my opinion. It shows they respect me, and it shows they respect you guys, too.”

Sounds good to me! Scratch that – it sounds great. Empathy and respect make valuable capital for businesses, too. I’ll surely be keeping an eye on this project. And the best of luck to Rothfuss in the development process!

How Easy It Is to Be Wrong about Early History on the Internet

Or: Some History behind Ostrich Riding, Part 1 of 7

Background: I ran into two historical images from California with ostriches used as transportation. That got me wondering about the history of ostrich riding. And that lead me down quite a rabbit hole.

I’ve divided my findings into separate posts (find them with the ostrich riding tag). Warning: serious early history and language nerdery ahead in Serious Academic Voice.

TL;DR – Tracing ostrich riding to a 3rd century BCE tomb find from Egypt is rubbish, but the concept is, indeed, ancient.

Below is the long story.

Continue reading