Filament Friday 06/20/2014

Space X is launching a rocket this evening, you can watch it right here, or use this direct link. Meanwhile, as I keep saying, NASA’s demise is greatly exaggerated and they will be launching the first test flight of the Orion later this year.

  • Not sure if it’s as big of a story as it was made out to be, but there must be some significance in the U.S. Patent Office cancelling the trademark on the Washington Redskins. I think the most significant part is the reason (rightly) given – that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” I don’t think this is going to change anything overnight, but it’s another brick crumbling from the wall.
  • I find the arguments against changing that name to be dubious, at best. Some people say, “It’s just a team name, stop making a big deal about it.” Well, if it’s not a big deal, then just change the name. Other people say, “Well, some Native Americans say they don’t find it offensive.” That’s like listening to an N.W.A. album and deciding there’s nothing wrong with the n-word. Then there are people who say, “it’s not meant to be offensive, it’s actually a term of respect.” To those people, I say, “You are wrong.” I think part of the problem is that most don’t actually know what “redskin” means. If you think about it, Native American’s aren’t red – if anything a little tan (as much as you can even say there’s one color for all Native Americans). So, where did the term come from? It’s more horrifying than you probably realize.
  • I wanted to make a joke about just changing the logo to a redskin potato, but it turns out that would put me in some pretty suspect company.
  • The Saints just finished their minicamp and OTA’s and, for what it’s worth, some young players appeared to take a step forward.
  • I’m really excited about the Saints rookies, especially the ones drafted in the first two rounds this year. While the second of those, cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste is getting pumped up for training camp, the first, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, is just trying to catch up.
  • The Cubs got a lot of people excited with some minor league promotions, especially Kris Bryant going to AAA Iowa. In past stops he’s had bad first games, but in this one? Not so much.
  • For a full rundown of moves go here, here and here. Actually, that’s just the promotions – to make room for those guys a few others got sent down.
  • And more minor leaguers are on the way, as the team announced a handful of newly signed draft picks (finger’s still crossed that Dylan Cease signs).
  • The trade rumors have been heating up all around baseball and, especially, the Cubs. But, one guy they apparently won’t move is Luis Valbuena.
  • Peter Gammons says some very nice things about Travis Wood while reminding us that pitchers are, indeed, baseball players.
  • This article is…a lot of words…but, very interesting if you’re a hardcore baseball fan. It’s about something called Effective Velocity and how one man wants to use it to change how pitchers pitch. I like the nuggets in there about Trevor Bauer, one of, if not the, first MLB pitchers to use the EV theory and how it led to the previously reported clashes he had with Arizona management and teammates.
  • Or you could just do whatever the heck it is that Clayton Kershaw does.
  • This isn’t for everyone, but holy moly, somebody made a programming language based on Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners.

    So wrong, on at least two levels.

    So wrong, on at least two levels.

  • Agnes Quill is a neat web comic, with each story written by creator Dave Roman, but illustrated by a different artist.
  • If you’ve ever read into the history of fairy tales you know the originals stories can be pretty cruel and twisted. In that vein comes Rejected Princesses, where artist Jason Porath does a series of Disney-styled princesses that you’ll (probably) never see on the big screen.
  • Did you know they’re allowing GIF’s on Twitter now? NASA celebrates in the most awesome way possible.


  • When I was a young comic book collector I always loved reading the fan letters. In fact, I usually dive into the letters section of any magazine I’m reading – you can learn a lot about how seriously a publication takes itself in how they respond to dissent, if they allow it at all. Anyway, this is why I’m so entertained by this letter by 15-year-old George R. R. Martin with some rather effusive praise for the Fantastic Four.
  • A little bit meatier is this letter from famed psychologist Carl Jung to James Joyce about his novel Ulysses, which is described as a “nearly unavoidable 20th century masterwork”. I have, of course, managed to avoid it for 40 years now.
  • Being a Louisiana native, I usually roll my eyes at “Things you didn’t know…” list articles about the state, but I actually learned a few things in this one.

    Not, however, about the state's crippling insecurity. I already knew about that.

    Not, however, about the state’s crippling insecurity. I already knew about that.

  • The NBA draft is a week away, but with the Wizards out of the first round I haven’t really been paying attention. Here’s a round-up of links I’m going to use to catch up.
  • In a former career, I sold a lot of guitars, especially Paul Reed Smith’s. This was partially because I was in Annapolis, MD, just across the Bay Bridge from the PRS factory, and the store I worked at specialized in high-end and custom instruments. So, through this, I had the chance to work with the head luthier of the PRS Private Stock department, Joe Knaggs, who is as nice a guy as you will ever meet. Well, Joe is building his own guitars now and they are, predictably, incredible.
  • For those who don’t live around here, Annapolis is filled with some incredibly creative, passionate and dedicated artists, of all types. Now some of those people have started a new magazine, Annapolis Underground, where you can learn more about the folks that make and inhabit the creative scene in Maryland’s capital.
  • The featured band in the debut issue of Annapolis Underground is Swampcandy, led by a friend and former co-worker, Ruben Dobbs. Ruben and Swampcandy are truly unique, taking old folk and blues styles and somehow making them sound fresh. I used to listen to Ruben give guitar lessons to kids and I can tell you that his knowledge of music and sense of rhythm is second to none. If you like this Song of the Week I’d highly encourage you to listen to more and support them.
Dylan Steele

About Dylan Steele

A Louisiana native, Dylan Steele now lives in Halethorpe, Maryland. A web developer by day, he is also an occasional musician, frequent dog walker and sometimes hoopster. And now he blogs, too.
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