Happy New Year, folks! As a fake mailman wandering post-apocalyptic America, I love the holidays, mainly because of the few things I actually remember about the U.S. Postal Service, I remember Federal holidays. So far, I've managed to convince a few folk that they involved federally mandated backrubs and foot massages for yours truly. As always, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and now, on with your letters!
I love io9, there's strictly no other place like it and I visit everyday, a few times a day. However, I just can't understand why your staff write about Dr. Who so much, so often. Like any other show, movie or story franchise, I can understand little spike in activity in particular series from time to time but you guys have this uber-persistent hard-on for writing about Dr. Who. I never really got into the show, so I'm not your target audience but it's besides me how you think to write about Dr. Who three to five times a day. It's like Apple and the tech blogs, what gives?
I won't deny there's a lot of love for Doctor Who around these parts — personally, I enjoy it, although I don't feel the need to own it or anything — but I know io9 does try to keep its coverage of pretty much everything balanced, whether it be Who, Wars, Trek, or whatever. I believe what you're referring to are the days around Christmas, when 1) there was not a lot of news happening and 2) almost all of it was Who-related, mostly because of or inspired by the Doctor Who Christmas special.
I won't pretend to speak for io9 — that's Annalee and Charlie Jane's job — but having run a news website myself, I know it's an awkward position to be in. Do you not cover the news, because it's all Doctor Who, or do you still cover it because it's news? There's no right answer, really. But rest assured the abundance of Who-ness around the holidays was noted by us, drove us crazy too, and was certainly not our preference.
What are you most and least looking forward to in 2013?
Well, the easy answer is Iron Man 3. I mean, an Iron Man movie written and directed by Shane Black of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang fame, the movie that relaunched Robert Downey Jr.'s career? Yes, please. I mean, watch that movie and you'll see exactly why Marvel originally decided to cast RDJ as Tony Stark. I'm also weirdly excited for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, despite the first one being pretty mediocre and the sequel getting delayed to inject more Channing Tatum into it. It genuinely looks like a live-action G.I. Joe movie to me — guns, vehicles, ninjas, no ridiculous accelerator suits, and a Cobra Commander who's actually recognizable as Cobra Commander.
As for Least… well, although I'm more apprehensive about Man of Steel than most people — I really think DC, WB, Chris Nolan and Zack Snyder are trying to make Chris Nolan's Superman, and I don't think Nolan's approach will work for the character - I can't say I'm dreading it. What I am dreading is King of the Nerds, TBS' reality show/contest with the Revenge of the Nerds guys. I assume it will set my people back several decades.
Weighty Affairs, Part IV:
The Effervescent One:
Dearest Mr. Postman,
In response to the age-old question, "How much is in a shit-ton", I had asked an Engineer (with a capital "E") of the Computers persuasion. He pondered, he contemplated the tip of his nose, his eyes glazed over after a while.. but eventually that "EUREKA!" spark flashed over his head and he announced thusly: "A fucking-lot!".
So, as the Answer to the Ultimate Question is "42", the Answer to the measurement of A Shit-Ton is "A Fucking-Lot".
I thought a fucking-lot was a lot where people fucked.
The Drinking Dead
Can zombies get drunk? And if you're drunk and they eat your flesh and brains, could they get drunk off you?
Well, while the popular opinion seems to be that zombies don't have working circulatory systems, which would be necessary to get booze to the zombie's brain and thus make it "drunk," there's actually decent evidence that it does have one. After all, the zombie's nervous system still works in a rudimentary way. Moreover, as the Zombie Research Society points out, if zombie blood actually acted like a dead person's blood, it would inevitably pool at the zombies feet until they exploded, and the zombie would be left to shuffle on skinless, muscle-less feet. Since zombies are all too ambulatory, I think it's safe to assume there's some sort of blood flow happening there.
So if zombies have a partially working brain and circulatory system, I don't see any reason why, if you dumped a bottle of vodka down a zombie's throat, it wouldn't get drunk. What that would mean, though, I'm not sure. Zombies stagger around already, so it seems likely they'd very quickly fall down. I imagine they'd forget their hunger for brains and/or human flesh for the time being. If they got too drunk, I'd think they'd just sort of lock up, like a computer trying to process bad information.
But could a zombie get drunk off a person? The human body only processes about half an ounce of pure alcohol per hour, i.e. one beer or a glass of wine, or about 2/3rds of a standard mixed drink like a rum and coke (things like martinis are usually more, obviously). But the first question is how many ounces of alcohol can a person get into their body for a zombie to ingest?
Very generally each drink raises your blood-alcohol content 0.025%. When you have a BAC of 0.2-0.3%, you're likely black-out drunk; when it's 0.3-0.4%, you're likely piss-your-own-pants drunk; and above 0.4% you're pretty much unconscious. But say you're fed up with the zombie apocalypse, and want to go out in a blaze of drunken glory, and manage to drink enough that your blood-alcohol level is a terrifying 0.5% when the zombies get you.
Technically, as shit-faced as you are, you're still only a lightly brandy-soaked ladyfinger to a zombie. Even if zombie managed to drunk all your alcohol-sodden blood in the process of eating your flesh and brains, that's still only a drink with a proof of 1%. But surely some post-apocalyptic despot could get, say 50 people shit-faced drunk, put their unconscious bodies in a room with a peckish zombie, and see what happened.
What's the nerdiest food to make?
Huh. Well, there's a lot of nerdy foods (more beverages) but the two nerdiest foods I can think of are Soylent Green and lembas bread from Lord of the Rings. I'm going to assume the best here and say that making Soylent Green isn't an option for you, so here's a recipe for lembas bread, courtesy of The Geeky Chef:
1 c. honey
3 fruits of the Mallorn tree (kumquats)
2 tsp. orange blossom or rose water (optional)
3 oz. chopped almonds or macadamia nuts
¼ c. melted butter
2 ¼ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
Put the eggs, honey, kumquats, rose or orange flower water, and nuts in a food processor or blender. Blend on high for 2-4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the flour. Blend for a minute or two. Put mixture into a bowl and add the remaining flour and the salt. Whisk or stir until well blended. Bake lembas on a pizzelle or iron about 15 seconds each or until lightly brown. Cut into desired sized pieces. Wrap in a leaf and tie with a string!
The site has many more recipes if you're not in the mood for kumquat bread.
A New Hope
This has been on my mind since the Disney-Star Wars merger of 2012.
Who, how and what would have made the Star Wars prequels good?
I have literally lain awake some nights, unable to sleep because I was so consumed with the idea of how I could make the prequels better. I won't go into my entire diatribe, but here's a few ways I'd at least have started the saga:
• Anakin is a teen Luke's age, not a young kid.
• Anakin is the prequel's equivalent of Han Solo - fun, dashing, adventurous, whose cockiness and volatile emotions help lead him to the dark side.
• Anakin blames the Jedi for refusing to free the slaves in general and his mother in particular, meaning he blames them for his mother's needless death.
• The Jedi are losing their sense of the Force because they've become too regimented and cut off from society and others, exemplified in their "no love" rule. Yoda realizes this, but far too late.
• Only one primary villain in the trilogy, preferably Count Dooku (because Christopher Lee is the best, although his character can be named something other than Dooku).
A good prequel trilogy is of such importance to me that I've actually sat down and written some plot summaries — which means yes, I have effectively written Star Wars fan fic (non-erotic, mind you) — which are much too long and embarrassing to print here. So sorry.
Do you have a letter for or to the Postman? Questions about nerd culture? Theories you want to share? Advice you need? Email email@example.com!