Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Link List: Robotic Dragons, a New Book by Robin McKinley, Dissilience and More!

1) First: This is a gorgeous picture of a white whale. Second: who is Migaloo? Third: There is such a thing as a " White Whale Research Centre"? I'm just going to savor that for a while.

2) Someone has built walking, fire-breathing, dragon robot. Let me repeat: This is a robot dragon. It breathes fire. Also, it acts in German plays. What more do you want from a robot?

3) One of the many, many things I subscribe to is dictionary.com's word of the day. Saturday's word was dissilient "bursting apart; bursting open." Isn't that a wonderful word? It sounds like a word meaning "bursting apart" should sound, and it's unique, specific, and just plain lovely.

Just think how much less frustrating all those groceries tumbling out onto the floor will be when you can complain about the dissilient bag.

And, as a bonus, it comes as a noun, too! You may talk about disilience, or disiliency, should you wish (and you know you do).

This means you may discus the disilience of the dandelions out front, or the disiliency of soda cans left too long in the freezer, or any number of things, and have them turn strange and wonderful by virtue of this singular word.

Go on, give it a try!

3) There is an insect, a planthopper, that has gears in its legs. It's had them for a very long time, but we only just got around to noticing them and find them quite extraordinary.

The Issus coleoptratus, meanwhile, hops on its way without making comment.

If, like me, you tend to ignore or photograph the dissilient population of bugs in your garden rather than reaching for the insecticide (organic or not), you can now point out the intriguing qualities of the critters to any critics. They'll either be converted or confused (or maybe bemused) and will leave you alone to enjoy your greenery, both leaved and legged, in peace. Or you could just hug the knowledge to yourself in secret happiness. There's something to be said for both approaches

There are tons of articles out about the geared insect. I think every single bug-person I follow on Twitter was gleefully swapping them through these last few days.

That's @Myrmecos, @bug_girl, @TheBugChicks, @JosephTLapp aka SpiderJo, who may not have shared this particular bit, but is a bug guy, all the same, @Insect_News, and @derekhennen, in case you were wondering. I think that's the lot, anyway.

5) Robin Mckinley's newest book, Shadows is just around the corner--September 26!

From the publisher's description:
Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.

Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.

In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.
You can pre-order now, of course, or if you have access to an awesome library system like mine, you can put it on hold (I almost invariably love McKinley, but these days, I seldom by a book I don't already know I'll read more than twice. Shadows will probably be such a book, but it's a matter of principle. I'm sure you understand))--and if they don't have it on order, you can ask them to order it. They don't always order requests, but they often do, and even if they don't, they tend to be really awesome people to talk about books with and might suggest a title or two to help tide you over while you wait.

Anyway, it sounds great,and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Also, if you blog, Tweet, or Facebook about it before September 25, you might win a copy,, and winning things is good. I just found that out while writing the entry, as I was searching Mckinley's blog for other tidbits and admiring her footnotes.

Though, you know, if you enter the contest I've got more competition, so maybe I shouldn't tell you about it until afterward. What do you think?

6)Also new, and already out (September 3), is Moonday a forty page picture book by the incomparable Adam Rex. From the publisher's description:
What do you do when the moon lowers itself into your backyard?
When mornings are replaced by perpetual night,
and people sigh-sleep in their eyes.
What do you do when the tide comes in,
and all the neighborhood dogs won't stop howling?

You take the moon for a ride.

Yes, I want to read it!

Trailers and such
1) Behold! Les Misérables With LIGHTSABERS!

Courtesy of scifiriot and found thanks to The Mary Sue.

2)The probability of my including a SHIELD teaser in these lists is pretty high--by this point I'm haunting Marvel's YouTube channel for the show (I do hope I enjoy the show, but I'm getting a lot of entertainment value out of the anticipation itself)--so it shouldn't surprise you to find this clip, wherein Agent Coulson discusses Agent Ward's file:

And I think that's all for this week! Did I miss anything awesome? If so, contact me or let me know in the comments.


  1. I was so blown away by the gear-legged insect and the fire-breathing robot that I almost missed the new release by McKinley! One of my favorite authors too, but like you I nowadays usually wait for a book to be available at the library and read before I decide to buy. I haven't quite loved all of McKinley's books, myself.

    1. It was a good week, web-wise!

      Those gears are awesome. Now I want to know how many of the planthoppers have them. It's also quite fun to find out something so new & amazing about a bug that is *not* a new discovery.

  2. Absolutely cannot wait for Shadows! Robin McKinley is very very hit or miss with me, but the hits are some of my favorite books and most frequent rereads.

    1. Which are your favorites?

      Beauty is forever on my comfort book shelf. Chalice just got reread. Many others are up there! But, no, I don't love all of them equally.