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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Southern Grotesque and Twisted Physics

Lisa's recent posts about Flannery O'Connor have renewed my interest. I think I'll add an O'Connor biography to my growing biography list. Here is another O'Connor quote I've had tucked away:

"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them."
Pure Flannery!

Maggie's comment on the last post about O'Relatives was funny...until I started thinking about what some of my McRelatives might think of me!

I'm still reading the last of the nonfiction from January and enjoying both books.

Jennifer Oullette's The Physics of the Buffyverse is as much fun as I had hoped, and I'm about half way through. While physics has never been my strong point (that is an understatement of epic proportions), Oullette's combination of everyday language and Whedonist connections makes me pay more attention. She covers interesting aspects of science and the Buffyverse

Some of the topics she discusses include:

porphyria - symptoms of the inherited disease include sensitivity to light and "reddish" mouths. Severe cases may involve disfigurement and "the teeth and gums may become so taut the teeth protrude like fangs." I've read about this before, but interestingly, the show intended Vampirism to be a progressive disease.

invisibility gun - while this idea may not be feasible, Oullette relates "cloaking' schemes" that "rely on the camouflage principle" are an accomplished fact. Susumu Tachi, a real scientist, invented an "invisibility cloak" using computer generated images, and at the University of Pennsylvania, "researchers figured out how to use plasmon coatings as a cloaking device to render solid objects invisible--or nearly so--to an observer.''

centrifugal force - "in reality such a force doesn't exist," explains Oullette, but centripetal force is certainly useful.

Using episodes from Buffy and Angel, The Physics of the Buffyverse puts real science in an interesting format.

BTW - Cocktail Party Physics is the name of her blog.


  1. Jennifer Oullette's book sounds really interesting from the way you describe it, Laura. I may have to look into that one. :-)

  2. I'm certainly not a physics buff, but I am a fan of Joss Whedon's series. Oullette will never make Einstein's theories clear for me, but she has certainly found a great way to create interest!

  3. True. If Biology and Physics books in school related to shows that kids watch, I think they'd be much more interested in the subjects. I just remember how much I hated biology. Ick.

  4. Jenclair, any idea which bio of Flannery is the best? Now you have me wanting to do just the same thing...

  5. angela - I agree wholeheartedly. It always helps to have a special interest in a subject. That is why I loved Angel, I never knew what literary allusion might be used!

    Lisa - I put this on my WishList at Amazon the other day; I'm going to see if the library has a biography, but I love letters!

  6. I feel obligated to mention that I just finished Wise Blood recently. Genius.

  7. Jordan - It is certainly unique! Don't you wonder what all went on in O'Connor's mind when she was writing it?