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Realm of Fear (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 2) When transporters reveal Barclay’s muppet-mouthed eels, that’s a-facepalm

Rewatching ST:TNG When the Enterprise-D locates the missing science vessel Yosemite, twitchy Lt. Barclay makes a technobabble suggestion that’s so good, LaForge adds him to the away team. But when it comes time to beam over, Mr. Smarty yeets himself to the counselor’s office instead. We learn that Barclay is afraid of the transporter, but Troi assures him that transporter accidents are rare and encourages him to join the landing…

The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years

In cultures around the world, myths about “seven sisters” describe a cluster of stars, but today the naked eye can only discern six stars. What’s up with that? Cultures around the world call the Pleiades constellation ‘seven sisters’, even though we can only see six stars today. But things looked quite different 100,000 years ago. […] How come the Australian Aboriginal stories are so similar to the Greek ones? Anthropologists…

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Time’s Arrow, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 1) Data (fate preordained) scrums with skeptical Twain, that’s a-Part-2

Rewatching ST:TNG Some time has passed since Part 1, as Picard and the away team members, passing themselves off as a theatre troupe, are behind in their rent at a boarding house in 19thC San Francisco. (We already know [s5e16 “Ethics“] that LaFoge’s visor lets him see through at least some playing cards, and Troi’s access to emotions and sometimes specific thoughts would presumably help her tell when players are…

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Time’s Arrow, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 26) Data’s head in a mine meets Mark Twain back in time, that’s a-cliffhang.

Rewatching ST:TNG An archaeologist who’s not very good at prioritizing natters on to Picard about finding some old glasses, a revolver, and a pocket watch in an old mine. When Picard asks why the Enterprise-D was recalled to Earth to investigate, only then does the archeologist say oh yeah, here in this old mine that’s been sealed under San Francisco for 500 years we also found the severed head of…

Mask-wearing cuts Covid incidence by 53%, says global study

Globally, Covid cases exceeded 250 million this month. The virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, with thousands dying each day. Now a systematic review and meta analysis of non-pharmaceutical interventions has found for the first time that mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing are all effective measures at curbing cases – with mask wearing the most effective.  —Guardian

The battle against airborne COVID has shifted. Why your mask is the last layer of defence

There has been a paradigm shift in the thinking behind mask use, to the current emphasis on protecting oneself as opposed to the initial consideration of keeping others safe from what we might be exhaling, said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “The game has changed,” he said. “We’re not masking to protect others from our own droplets now, we’re masking to protect ourselves from…

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The Inner Light (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 25) When a probe-zapped Picard lives lives snuffed by a star, that’s a-plot twist

Rewatching ST:TNG When a space probe zaps Picard unconscious, he wakes up in a civilian house, where a woman calls him “Kamin,” and says he has been feverish for days.  Out exploring, Picard happens upon a tree planting ceremony. The leader is Kamin’s friend Batai, who answers Picard’s questions with concern. When Picard returns to the house, a relieved Eline feeds him and listens, baffled, to his questions. As far…

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Simulations are powerful tools for understanding our world. Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death explores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. It also tells the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance the male-dominated field of police investigation and to establish herself as one of its leading voices. Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) crafted her extraordinary “Nutshell…

I Was Taught From a Young Age to Protect My Dynastic Wealth

One of the heirs to the Disney fortune explains (and critiques) the mindset of the super-rich. If your comfort requires that society be structured so that a decent percentage of your fellow citizens live in a constant state of terror about whether they’ll get health care in an emergency, or whether they can keep a roof over their family’s heads, or whether they will simply have enough to eat, perhaps…

Loki’s Loop Escape Room

Great  concept for a virtual escape room devoted to debunking fake information online. For years a supplement called “Euphorigen” has been used by the very wealthy to boost brain activity and productivity. Now the Government wants to make the benefits of Euphorigen available to everyone by introducing it into the public water supply. The company that makes Euphorigen claims to have completed successful trials, and an announcement of the deal…

Lies about history in Texas can be traced to the Lone Star State’s own Big Lie: The Alamo

Yet many Texans feel they need the Alamo story. As one of the authors of Forget the Alamo stated, the myth speaks to what many Texans desperately want to believe about their state: that it arose from heroic circumstances, and that there’s a reason Texas is special. This includes the current crop of Republican Texas legislators. Instead of allowing critical thinking and a serious examination of the historical record, Abbott and his allies decided to…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In October 2001, I was blogging about nothing, apostrophes, the anthrax scare, and Boilerplate

In October 2001, I was blogging about Nothing Matters. (A teaching metaphor that had a big impact on my pedagogy… I’m glad I had the occasion to revisit it. Even when I blogged it 20 years ago there were a lot of broken links on the site, but the main idea is still completely valid) The Apostrophe Protection Society Job Hunting Tips (satire from The Onion) Walking Sports Database Scorns…

Thornton Wilder’s Optimistic Catastrophe: “The Skin of Our Teeth”

From a review of a 2017 production in Brooklyn. “The Skin of Our Teeth” first opened in New Haven, at the Shubert Theatre, in 1942. It was directed by Elia Kazan, and starred Tallulah Bankhead, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, and a very young Montgomery Clift; Variety wrote that the play “bewilders, bemuses, and befuddles, as it amuses.” When it moved to Broadway, to the Plymouth Theatre, it was met with…

I’m really enjoying seeing how my students are responding to Hamlet.

As part of a class assignment, one student took some friends to see the Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Park all-female production of Hamlet. One of her friends is from Vietnam, and my student was very proud that she could answer his questions about what was going on. Many students, even the English majors, confess that in high school they never tried to read Shakespeare’s language, but instead depended totally on…

What do you think… is it safe to throw out this to-do list from 1989?

As an undergrad, every morning before I headed out for the day, I would print my schedule (on a clackety dot-matrix printer that took fan-fold paper). At this point I don’t think I was using any fancy software, just keeping a list in a text editor. I had 9 credits of internships as an undergrad, and don’t remember what the noon interview was. It looks like I must have scheduled…