Geek Girl: The Apocalypse Is A Marketing Tactic! The Earth Has A Twin!
Find out where you can get ‘Hunger Games’ recipes, Christmas tree ornaments for your fave science geek and more.
-Lucia Peters and PJ Gach
There’s been a birthday that we missed, holiday presents to buy and astronomers are having a good ole time discovering lots of things. Read on for our weekly roundup of things science, horror and science-fiction related and basically just cool news.
Heroes of Science Christmas Tree ornaments
Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to pull out tangled lights, see what ornaments survived last year’s rushed packing and can you remember where you put the tinsel? If you want to spruce up your tree (oh so bad pun, but I had to!) check out the Heroes of Science laser cut wood ornaments designed by EAVESMADE. The Brooklyn duo’s first foray was featured in last year’s BoingBoing holiday roundup. Each ornament is only $9 in their Etsy store. There are 28 different scientists to pick from. Dangle Nikola Tesla from your tree. Take home Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes, she was the first African American woman Ph.D in mathematics, or go classic with Albert Einstein or Galileo Galelei.
2012 Is Not the End of the World
We’re all familiar with the belief that the Mayan calendar predicts the arrival of the apocalypse in 2012, yes? Well, relax: That’s not actually the case.
It’s true that the Mayan calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year-old cycle sometime around December 12, 2012; it’s also true that the end of this cycle is supposed to bring about the return of Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god of war and creation. However, what’s not true is that it’s the end of the world. According to a bunch of Mayan experts, it simply marks the end of one period of creation and the beginning of another.
Jose Argulles is the man that we have to thank for the erroneous belief that the apocalypse is on its way; he referred to December 12, 2012 as “the ending of time as we know it” in a book he wrote in 1987. But Erik Velasquez, an etching specialist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said, “We have to be clear about this. There is no prophecy for 2012. It’s a marketing fallacy.” Of course! The apocalypse is a marketing tactic! Why didn’t I think of that?
Furthermore, Bolon Yokte’s arrival doesn’t mean he’s about to destroy everything. The whole thing is a new beginning, remember. In the words of Sven Gronemeyer, a researcher of Mayan codes from La Trobe University in Australia, “Because Bolon Yokte was already present at the day of creation…it just seemed natural for the Mayan that Bolon Yokte will again be present.”
So don’t worry everyone. The world is safe.
A Novel (Really!) Way to Eat
First we had The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, now according to the Wall Street Journal, The Unoffical Hunger Games Cookbook will be hitting the stores shortly followed by a cookbook based on George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series as well as cookbooks based on The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia. Lest you think these books are just, ahem, fantasies, the recipes do work.
And if these cookbooks aren’t satistying your urge for a meal straight out of a book, check out the blog Fictional Food. There you’ll find hundreds of recipes. Wondering how the meals will taste in real, read the comments!
Happy Birthday, Text Messaging!
You guys! We missed a birthday last Saturday! A very, very important birthday! On December 3rd, 1992, the very first text message ever was sent. According to Mental Floss, the text was received by a Vodafone engineer. It read, “Merry Christmas.” Awwww. Just think of everything enabled by the advent of text messaging: American Idol voting, voice-free communication for phone phobes, Twitter, sexting, Damn You Auto Correct!, competitive speed-texting… What a glorious, glorious invention. Let us all join together to wish text messaging a very happy 19th birthday. Happy birthday, text messaging!
Earth Meet Your Long-Lost Twin!
As wacky as this sounds, it appears that Earth may have a brother or is it a sister? The planet with the uber boring name of Kepler-22b is 600 light years away from us, so we don’t have to worry about any uninvited relatives dropping in for a visit. It is also bigger, about twice the size of our planet and scientists surmise that it’s 72 degrees there.
The planet was discovered in what scientists are calling the “Goldilocks Zone,” an area of space that’s “not too hot, not too cold, but just right” for finding earth-like planets.
Kepler-22b has been nicknamed the Christmas Planet. Why? It took the Kepler telescope three shots to prove the planet was really there. Photos had to occur within 292 days, the length of its orbit. Can you imagine the nail-biting? The last photo, the one that proved its existence was right before te telescope suffered a massive glitch during the holiday season last year! It went down!
William Borucki, one of the principal investigators gave the planet its rather timely nickname. He said, “It’s a great gift…We were very fortunate to find it.”
Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods: A Brief Discussion
Can we talk about the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods for a minute? Awesome. Thanks. Because here it is:
For those of you who haven’t heard, Joss Whedon of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse made a horror movie. Specifically, he made a horror movie with Drew Goddard, who wrote for both Buffy and Angel before heading over to Alias and Lost. As both a horror fan and a Joss fan, I am incredibly excited about this; however, I am also incredibly confused by whatever it is that I just watched. Not that that’s a bad thing, per se, but, well… Let’s talk.
What we seem to have here is a pretty classic horror movie trope: A bunch of pretty young people pile in a vehicle and head off to have a “vacation,” which actually means that they’re going to have a gigantic drunken orgy.
And then a bird that flies into some kind of electronic grid and suddenly all bets are off. They’re referred to by a Texas Chain Saw Massacre-style hillbilly as “lambs,” and they’re heading to the “killing floor,” it looks like someone is manipulating their environment, they think they’re being punished, and what the heck is going on here? This ain’t your grandma’s horror movie. Nor, for that matter, does it look like anything else we’ve seen up ‘til this point. The tag line for the film is “You think you know the story,” and the trailer asks us to “think again,” so I think we can assume that we’re going to see a twist on the trope that’s brand-spankin’-new—which, by the way, is a rarity in the horror world.
The thing that I find the most fascinating, though, is the fact that the cast list includes a merman, Nosferatu, a zombie, and something referred to only as “The Clown.” Putting that together with the guy in the control room flicking all the switches and I wonder if we’re heading towards something even more meta than Scream: A story about a bunch of characters who will have to contend with the real-life counterparts to every well-known horror movie trope in existence. Iiiinteresting, no?
The Cabin in the Woods is set for release on April 13, 2012; and yes, that’s a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth you spotted there.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.
PJ Gach is Senior Editor: Style + Beauty at BettyConfidential.