Bathophobia (UPDATED)


An abnormal and persistent fear of depths. Sufferers from bathophobia experience anxiety even though they realize they are safe from falling into or being consumed by depths. The feared object may be a long, dark hallway, a well or a deep pool or lake.

(Via Imgur / Reddit)

See also: Continue reading


Banish Them to the Hellscape from Whence They Came

The Teletubbies have always been creepy, bordering on terrifying. It turns out their vibrant colors, which I always thought were doing their best to chip away at my sanity, were actually sparing us from even further horror:

Via RadioNOW 100.9 / Facebook

Via RadioNOW 100.9 / Facebook

(h/t Christie)

After someone observed that they look like they’re in a Joy Division video in this picture, someone else went and actually made a Joy Division video (h/t Sallie): Continue reading


The Charleston Conspiracy (Theory)

At the South Carolina National Security Action Summit, an attendee apparently stated that the Obama administration recently tried to detonate a nuclear weapon in Charleston, South Carolina (h/t Jason). The attempted nuking of Charleston is a delusional fantasy, but it’s terrifying to me that the public statement made by this person is something that actually happened.

By Khanrak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The woman included this in a question to Rick Santorum, who didn’t do much of anything to correct her on the issue*. It turns out that the Charleston thing has been making the round long enough to have its own Snopes page, which declares it to be false. Dave Weigel also wrote about what happened (h/t Steve Benen): Continue reading


Winged Devourers

I think I have finally figured out why flying foxes, the large bats with adorable faces, freak me out so much.

When they wrap their wings up like this…

Via Facebook / Frans de Waal - Public Page

Via Facebook / Frans de Waal – Public Page

…they remind me of the “winged devourers” from the 1982 classic The Beastmaster: Continue reading


What I’m Reading, February 18, 2015

Conservatives Smear Slain ISIS Hostage Kayla Mueller Because She Cared About Palestinians Too, Zaid Jilani, AlterNet, February 11, 2015

26 year-old Kayla Mueller accomplished much before her death while in ISIS custody. She traveled the world, working for various international nonprofits. By all accounts, she was a big-hearted humanitarian and represented the best of America’s values abroad.

But all of that is unimportant to a group of Islamophobic conservatives who took issue with Mueller’s advocacy for the Palestinian cause – which included joining protests against the Israeli occupation.

SF/F Saturday: The Years of Rice and Salt, Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism, November 15, 2014 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, February 17, 2015

New Study on Gender and Hot Sauce Has Exceptional Conclusion, Maggie Lange, New York Magazine, February 3, 2015

Just as you hoped, a new study from Penn State researchers titled “Gender differences in the influence of personality traits on spicy food liking and intake” has important information about the ways in which men and women are entirely different sorts of creatures, and how one group might be genuinely badass taste adventurers and one group might not be.

In the study, the researchers conclude that women are more likely to seek sensation from spicy food, while men are more likely to see other extrinsic rewards like praise and admiration.

To put it another way, no one eats Guatemalan insanity peppers because they taste good.


Stop what you’re doing, and GO READ THE BUZZFEED EXPOSE OF A VOICE FOR MEN’S PAUL ELAM. (SPOILER: He’s even worse than you think), David Futrelle, We Hunted the Manmoth, February 6, 2015 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, February 3, 2015

“I am No Man” Doesn’t Cut It: The Story of Eowyn, Mariah Huehner, The Mary Sue, January 27, 2015

It says something to me that a WWI vet from a devout Catholic background wrote about a warrior woman in a book published in 1954 that was more feminist than her modern interpretation ended up being.

I know what you’re thinking. “But Eowyn kicked ass! She swung a sword and she fought the Lord of the Nazgûl! She said “I am no man!”

Yeah, I know. And look, I’d really like to tell you that that’s enough for me. But it isn’t.


I guess what bugs me most is that they took a legitimately “strong” female character, and by that I mean a complex, flawed, brave, and ultimately a triumphant warrior woman who has her own major arc…and reduced her down to something less than that. To me, strength in a character is about more than their ability to hit or kill things, and while Eowyn’s big moment is certainly defeating The Lord of the Nazgûl, it’s her defiance in the face of insurmountable odds that truly makes her “strong”. I wish the film version had honored that more.

Because that would have been honoring the proto-feminist character Tolkien created.

10 reasons Christian heaven would actually be hell, Valerie Tarico, Salon, February 1, 2015 Continue reading


The Truth About the Sarlacc

This BuzzFeed listicle on movie monsters that look like sex organs is a bit too obvious for my taste (Of course the creature from Alien looks like a penis! That was the point!!!), it gets points for identifying the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi as a “spiny desert anus.”

George Lucas may have spruced up the Giant Pit of Carkoon sequence in the re-releases, but the sarlacc will always be a spiny desert anus in the hearts of old-school fans.

Bravo, I say.



Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about the Valyrian language in Game of Thrones (via Wikipedia):

To create the Dothraki and Valyrian languages to be spoken in Game of Thrones, HBO selected the linguist David J. Peterson through a competition among conlangers. The producers gave Peterson a largely free hand in developing the languages, as, according to Peterson, George R. R. Martin himself was not very interested in the linguistic aspect of his works. The already published novels include only a few words of High Valyrian, including valar morghulis (“all men must die”), valar dohaeris (“all men must serve”) and dracarys (“dragonfire”). For the forthcoming novel The Winds of Winter, Peterson has supplied Martin with additional Valyrian translations.

Peterson commented that he considered unfortunate Martin’s choice of dracarys because of its (presumably intended) similarity to the Latin word for dragon, draco. Because the Latin language does not exist in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Peterson chose to treat the similarity as coincidental and made dracarys an independent lexeme; his High Valyrian term for dragon is zaldrīzes. The phrases valar morghulis and valar dohaeris, on the other hand, became the basis of the language’s conjugation system

I’m intrigued by the discussion of the word dracarys and its relation to the English word “dragon,” or the Latin word draco. I’d like to posit an alternate theory, just for the heck of it. Continue reading