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Cool research: lead in your dandruff, dino-chicken mutants, reverse corporate espionage, and more June 7, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Lead came from his glassware, his tap water, the paint on the laboratory walls, the desks, the dust in the air, his skin, his clothes, his hair, even motes of wayward dandruff. If Patterson wanted to get accurate results, he had little choice but to become the world’s most obsessive neat freak.” The lifelong research that helped us get the Clean Air Act.

“García-Trabanino started a fellowship at the Rosales hospital as a young doctor in 1998, and what he encountered resembled a scene from a battlefield. He had expected to be treating heart disease, neurological patients, eye problems—the full gamut of medical conditions. Instead all he encountered were men dying—sometimes slowly, but usually quickly—from kidney failure.” Global warming has invented a new form of kidney disease.

“We didn’t set out trying to prove anything, but rather compile real data. We framed it as a census rather than a study. So we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

“After noticing that a client was treating him like crap while his email signature was accidentally set to my name, we came up with an experiment. We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t.”

“For now Bhullar has no plans, or ethical approval, to hatch the snouted chickens. But he believes they would have been able to survive ‘just fine’.” We made dino-mutant embryos!

“We hear a lot about the spy-movie kind of corporate espionage. I’d love to read a study of reverse corporate espionage, where companies forget their own secrets and employees have to unofficially get them back. I’m convinced it happens more than you’d think.” Within a few decades, this petrochemical company lost the knowledge of how one of their plants worked. Whoops?

Erin Watches: Home, Season 2, the thrilling conclusion March 3, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Wow, the back half of this season is loaded with gender stuff.

So many references to specific Boov characters being not-male-or-female! Sharzod being a boyboygirl keeps getting referenced. A giant greenish-teal Boov we’ve seen a couple times, Traffic Cone Larry, is identified as a boyboyboyboy. Krunkle’s gender still isn’t specified, but when they reappear in 10B, Tip congratulates them with “You go, girl!” — and then remembers, and self-corrects: “Or whatever gender you are.”

Episode 9A is Sharzod-centric. Pronouns (in Boov-to-English translation) confirmed as “himhimher.” (When the writers remember, at least. In 10A, Kyle use both “heheshe” and “she” two minutes apart.)

…btw, Larry thinks Tip’s pronouns are “it.” Although that was a Boov-only conversation, meaning he could’ve been using a Boov pronoun for Things Without Genders. I bet there are a lot of traditional Boov who think only magnificent genders “count.”

The Seven Magnificent Boov Genders appear to be a septinary system, so I dither about how to frame all this in human terms. Trans readers, what would you go with? All these are technically canon nonbinary characters, but not necessarily trans characters, because it’s easy for Boov to be nonbinary-cis.

Still! Just going by what’s confirmed so far, it’s cool.

And Krunkle’s ambiguity leaves the door open for them to be non-septinary trans, which, uh, might be my new headcanon. (Oh did say Krunkle’s gender is “the rarest”….)

Sidebar: Sharzod has been gendering Tip as a boy (did we know this already?), not like an insult or anything, but like a sincere belief. The joke plays as Wacky Misunderstanding via Clashing Cultural Gender Norms…until Sharzod makes a statue of Tip (for important plot reasons) and the statue is not “Tip’s normal appearance, which Sharzod perceives as male.” It’s “Rule 63 Tip.” It was sculpted with masculine-by-human-standards features that the actual Tip does not have.

The Doylist explanation is that the writers were poking fun at Tip not performing her gender to Earth-US-human standards, and didn’t consider that this makes no sense coming from a septinary-gendered alien. I…may have to write a fixit for that.

And finally: episode 8A opens with a game, where Oh is playing a human woman (we know “human” because of the balloons stuffed in his dress) and Tip is playing as a Boov gender (“I bet you say that to all the boyboygirls”).

It’s not something the show is likely to go anywhere with, but I could get kinda attached to a nonbinary!Tip headcanon. I’ve talked before about wanting fic that explores how the human trans community interacts with the seven magnificent Boov genders…wasn’t thinking of Tip specifically coming to identify with one of them, but now? Bring on the boyboygirl!Tip.

In non-gender observations….

There’s a “we bought a pet without reading the fine print, and it turned into Little Shop of Horrors” storyline in 8B. It’s executed really well for something so tropey…but one of the tropes it invokes is a Mysterious Old Blind Chinese Salesman stereotype. No, show! Bad! They’re aliens, you don’t have to racialize them at all, and you definitely don’t have to do it for things like this.

Two separate incidents of humans crashing their cars, nearly injuring Boov, because they were watching cat videos on their phones. Is that a thing now?

Along with the episodes that focus on Sharzod and Krunkle, there’s a Kyle-centric film-noir parody, and a Smek-centric quest for friendship in which he gets a whole song. Solid material for fans of everyone in the beta cast.

Episode 13A reveals that the Boov have invented hammerspace. Tip runs around stuffing random things into Oh’s “cloud storage,” starting with the junk in her room and escalating all the way to a shuttered building.

It’s all very Homura. (Until she breaks hammmerspace, anyway.) Who wants to write me that crossover?

Disappointed in 13B. The theme is one we’ve seen before — Oh going through some alien life change (meeting “the one”, getting the flu, etc) that threatens to displace his friendship with Tip — so obviously at the end of the episode it turns out nothing changed. Not that you can’t repeat themes, and a fresh twist on this one would’ve been a worthy season finale…but instead Oh is going through “booverty,” and they blow the whole thing on icky puberty jokes.

Overall: happy with season 2! Would mostly rewatch. Especially the one with DieAnne.