Sunday Roundup

The first in a series of varying regularity, wherein I point at things I’ve read on the internet. Some sci, some fi, some fantasy, some very random.

First up, the wonderfully titled ‘Middle-earth Cage Match: Bill the Pony vs. Shadowfax‘ over at The author has really put some work in to first articulate what in the heck the difference between a horse and a pony really is, anyway, and then who would win in a cross-discipline matchup between sturdy Bill and coiffed glamour boy Shadowfax.

Pound for pound, too, a pony can be stronger than a horse. Shetlands can carry a grown man with ease, though his feet may drag on the ground. Horses will lose weight-bearing capability as they get larger; a very large horse is challenged enough to carry his own weight around without also carrying a heavy rider. A really big horse is not what you want to carry your very heavy rider, especially if he’s in armor. You want a cob, a stocky, sturdily built animal in the mid rage between pony and horse—14.2 to 15.2 hands. The Welsh Cob is a great example, as is the Lipizzaner. Forlong the Fat, in my head, is riding a largeish Welsh Cob, and the Cob is rocking it.

Great stuff.

Also at Tor, a lovely retrospective on Gattaca, and why it ranks high in the sci-fi movie pantheon Worth a rewatch–it’s not on Netflix, unfortunately, but you can rent it HD from Amazon Video for a few dollars.

At io9, Tom Hiddlestone is surprised Loki hasn’t been offed yet. I’m not, given he’s the best character in the MCU in my humble opinion. As the author points out:

He manages to bring a dashing chaos to Loki, like James Bond doing a Joker impression.

(Time to dust off those Hiddlestone-replaces-Craig-as-Bond rumors, too.)

Oh my word. Adam at The Wertzone appears to have written at least a hundred thousands words ‘summarizing’ the history of Middle-earth in ten parts so far. Impressive, albeit intimidating. Warm up, stretch and hydrate before attempting.

Back in the MCU (kind of – MTU?), the trailer for the upcoming Punisher Netflix show dropped. And Frank… well, Frank is angry.

I’m very excited to see this, as John Bernthal is fantastic and his Frank Castle was the best part of a… let’s say uneven season two of Daredevil. I’ve a little catching up to do first though, as I’ve yet to finish Luke Cage (excellent), Iron Fist (slog) or even start The Defenders. Of the latter, I’ve heard good things, but apparently people aren’t watching it–perhaps more viewers than just me are struggling to keep up with all the other good TV on. (We’ve only just started Stranger Things and season two starts next month!)

Apparently there’s a TV adaption of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series in the works. The writers have decent resumes:

Writers David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman will be transforming the novels for the small screen. Goyer’s credits include Ghost Rider and Blade, while Friedman’s projects include the War of the worlds remake and Terminator: the Sarah Connor chronicles.

I’ve read all of the Foundation novels, and as well as being wonderful science fiction novels they’re all to an extent treatises on philosophy, psychology, sociology and politics. Whether that depth can be adequately transferred to a TV version is debatable–but I’m sure plenty of A Song of Ice and Fire fans were convinced that was unadaptable too.

Finally, in natural science news, ‘Sexual rivals can influence the size of a duck’s penis‘:

As study author Patricia Brennan, a visiting lecturer of biological sciences at the institution, told National Geographic earlier this week, she didn’t even realize until near the end of her graduate school work that birds could even have penises. In fact, 97% of them do not, she explained.

Male ducks are one of the exceptions, and unlike most species, they grow a new one each year. Most of the time, they are hidden, but you can convince a duck into showing you his by turning him over onto his back and applying pressure to his belly, Brennan noted. “If you know exactly where to press, you can pop the penis out. They’re quite cooperative.”

‘They grow a new one each year.’

Have a good week, folks.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Roundup

  1. andrewdward

    Hi Dan,

    Hope you’re doing well – I had some random thoughts… 1. You like New Girl? (Love that show. Primarily the bromance between Nick and Schmidt, which leads to some touching moments about once a season. Also the “depression era garbage man” line.) 2. Did you lose your job? I doubt it, but otherwise I don’t see how you really going to manage to post every day (or multiple times/day) after a run of (ahem) not posting in forever. Oh yeah, and write a novel. 3. Random thought, but seeing as you like writing, would you have any interest (and a lack of conflict of interest?) in ghost writing (maybe?) some stuff for my blog about, you know, telecoms-y stuff. I’d like to be able to write an outline and then for it to magically turn into a beautifully written article. I know this is nowhere near as interesting as writing SciFi, but probably more profitable…

    More generally – how’s life? Are you a strategic CSE these days? How’s the climate at Metaswitch?


    On Sun, Sep 24, 2017 at 12:10 PM, wrote:

    > Dan Harris posted: “The first in a series of varying regularity, wherein I > point at things I’ve read on the internet. Some sci, some fi, some fantasy, > some very random. First up, the wonderfully titled ‘Middle-earth Cage > Match: Bill the Pony vs. Shadowfax’ over at ” >

    1. Ahoy hoy! I am well, thank you. How are you? I’ve been enjoying your own bits and bobs I’ve seen on LinkedIn, good stuff.

      1. Yes! I would like a dog who’s exactly like Nick. That would be perfect.
      2. Nope! Still fully employed. You shouldn’t expect a post every day, as the blog’s a distant third priority behind the aforementioned full time job and finishing the third book. It’s just been the weekend, so the blog posteths doth flow.
      3. Nope again, sorry. See priority list in 2. 🙂

      In general, life is grand! We just moved to Boston for Amisha to start a PhD, which seems to involve reading basically all of the books. Work wise we have a US L3 team now, which I’m managing – fun! The climate is sunny, scattered clouds, low seventies with a nice breeze. Except in Edinburgh where it’s always drizzling. Obviously.


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