More on snake handling and religious liberty in the wake of Pastor Coots’s death by snakebite. Snake handling (in the religious sense) is usually banned where it’s practised: is that ban an unconstitutional restriction on religious freedom? Should people be able to put themselves at risk for reasons of faith? Peter Lawler, writing at First Things, and Michael Sean Winters, writing for the National Catholic Reporter, explore whether freedom of religion encompasses snake handling. Via Andrew Sullivan.
This issue is out about a month earlier than originally planned; between us, we’re producing enough material that it looks like we’ll be putting this thing out on a bimonthly rather than quarterly schedule.
This issue has two main themes: classic science fiction and dinosaurs.
For the former, Tamara has a long essay discussing The Science Fiction Hall of Fame 50 years after its first publication, and how well the stories contained therein hold up today. I also have an editorial that discusses why it can be a problem when people insist that certain classics be read.
For the latter, I look at two sf/fantasy novels set during the Bone Wars and the phenomenon that is dinosaur erotica; Tamara has two dinosaur poems that are pastiches of some well-known classics.
I also have a short, funny story in which a serpent god is summoned in place of a toilet snake. Plus letters of comment responding to the contents of our first issue. All ably illustrated by Jennifer; the dinosaur bits also get decorated by early paleontological illustrations that have since lapsed into the public domain.
Issue three should be out in late April. It will be a special issue, focusing on sf/fantasy awards. The plan is to (1) discuss awards’ sometimes-problematic nature, (2) review this year’s Nebula nominees, and (3) write about this year’s Grand Master, Samuel R. Delany. It’s going to be a big issue, and I’m looking for additional people who would be willing to contribute. Let me know if you’re interested.
Previously: Introducing Ecdysis.
Another high-profile snake handling preacher has died from snakebite. But this time there’s a twist: he had a reality show. Kentucky pastor Jamie Coots was one of the co-stars of Snake Salvation, a series on the National Geographic Channel. He was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake last Saturday, and died after refusing medical treatment, as one does when one is a member of a snake-handling church. News coverage: AP, BBC News, CNN, WBIR TV.
Previously: “Praise the Lord and Pass the Rattlesnakes.”
The USGS has published a geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest moon in the Solar System, based on imagery from the Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Galileo probes. Via Centauri Dreams, Sky and Telescope.
Meanwhile, Sky and Telescope has produced a Mercury globe based on MESSENGER imagery. They already produce both visual and topographic globes of the Moon and Mars, as well as a globe of Venus coloured for elevation. (I’m crossing my fingers for globes of the outer moons, myself.)
I mentioned this earlier this month on Twitter, and should mention it here for completeness: the five-billion-dollar, 2,500-acre Pontiac Technology Centre and Resort development project that I said we should be skeptical about two years ago has, unsurprisingly, failed to come to pass. In hindsight, that anyone wasted their time considering this scheme in the first place is the only real surprise.
This map from the American Intercity Bus Riders Association (PDF) attempts to map every intercity bus and train route in the United States — i.e., everywhere you can go without a car. It’s a huge, high-resolution, detailed map, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed some. Via Grist and GIS Lounge.
Sylvia Sumira’s forthcoming book on globes — titled Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation and Power in its U.S. edition and The Art and History of Globes in its British edition — is a history of globemaking during its peak: “Showcasing the impressive collection of globes held by the British Library, Sumira traces the inception and progression of globes during the period in which they were most widely used — from the late fifteenth century to the late nineteenth century — shedding light on their purpose, function, influence, and manufacture, as well as the cartographers, printers, and instrument makers who created them.” Out next month from University of Chicago Press (for North America) and in April from the British Library (Commonwealth markets). Amazon (UK). Via Boing Boing.
Reddit user atrubetskoy has produced a map of the U.S. showing how much snow it takes to cancel school. It’s an approximation, to be sure. But it’s not a map of winter wussiness: areas that rarely get a lot of snow don’t tend to have the infrastructure to deal with it. Via io9.
Some excitement earlier this week: a delivery truck hit our power line late Wednesday morning. I didn’t see it happen, but it made a hell of a noise; I thought the roof was collapsing. When I went outside to look the line was hanging dangerously low — low enough that even a pickup truck with a lift kit could probably hit it.
Several of us, it turns out, phoned it in to Hydro-Québec. They had a crew out within the hour.
Hydro crew on the scene. pic.twitter.com/2uh0wDS79G— Jonathan Crowe (@mcwetboy) January 29, 2014
It took them about an hour to do the repairs. (Better photos here and here.) Most of the work seems to have been done at the building end of the cable, not the utility pole end — in fact, the worker was drilling away just to the right of one of our bedroom windows. I didn’t poke my head out to see, because that might not have been strictly safe (and even if safe, I would have been in the way), and cracking the window open would have probably resulted in something like this:
ME: Salut! C’est quoi que tu fais?
HYDRO WORKER: (startled) AIIIE! Câlice tabarnaaaaaaa … (thud)
So I left them alone and fiddled on my iPhone while the power was out. Better for everyone that way, really.
Two more map books, this time of an academic bent:
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 by Robert K. Batchelor (University of Chicago Press, 1/14). Batchelor uses the information on the Selden Map to demonstrate how the city of London “flourished because of its many encounters, engagements, and exchanges with East Asian trading cities.” (Amazon)
- Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography by Will C. van den Hoonaard (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 8/13). “[A] journey of discovery through the world of women map-makers from the golden age of cartography in the sixteenth-century Low Countries to tactile maps in contemporary Brazil.” (Amazon)
Previously: More Map Books.
- Fire and Ice
- The New Yorker on Maps and Literature
- Ceres and a Supernova
- Food and the Big Picture
- Three Times Is Enemy Action
- More Map Books
- Books Read in 2013
- Review: A History of the World in Twelve Maps
- Bali Guard Killed by Python
- Earth Wind Map
- The Journal of Unlikely Cartography
- Unfathomable City
- Introducing Ecdysis
- Literary SF Gets Noticed
- Review: Barrington Atlas iPad App
- How to Make a Fantasy Map
- Doctor Who, Biopics and Emotional Freight
- Horse of a Different Color
- Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
- Earth from Space