Webcomic Extravaganza: Order of the Stick

It wasn't until after I started this series that I realized these first two I've already talked about. XKCD is a really well-known webcomic by geeks and non-geeks alike. Order of the Stick follows on the same string of having a simplistic art style but is more story-telling than the episodic XKCD.
To date this strip has 695 pages out already (as of December 17). Yes, instead of a single line of 3 to 4 blocks like XKCD, you get a whole page every update. Unfortunately this translates to less regular updates. The artist, Rich Burlew, was pretty good about updating multiple times a week for awhile there. Then some books of previous strips started getting published, he started a second strip that I'll highlight later, and he does go to conventions on occasion. This all leads to little hiccups in the regular updating schedule now and again.
Recently he's been back to normal, but he makes no promises about when he'll update again.
Since my last update the characters have changed quite a bit. They've all gotten new skills, new outfits, the art's improved a little more, and they're in a whole new environment. This is one of the comics that, when I read the most recent one, makes me want to go back and re-read
the previous 694 of them. They're very interesting, and follow the story of a band of 6 adventurers (and a raven) as they try to thwart the evil plans of an undead mage named Xykon who seems to be out to conquer the world or destroy it if he can't conquer.
And my favorite character in the whole lot is Belkar. He's a halfling ranger with a few points in Barbarian and a couple other points in the Chef (Gourmet) skill. It doesn't get into the story too often, but it's the little things that I find interesting. According to some folks I've talked to, it can be enlightening or disturbing to find out who someone's favorite character is. Belkar's one of the disturbing choices. Even though he's currently partied with the good guys, you get the feeling he could swing the other way if a deal he thought was personally awesome came around. Let me know who your favorite character is, if you actually take my recommendation and start reading this gem of the web.

Webcomic Extravaganza: XKCD

I figured an easy feature to do would be to provide links and short descriptions about the webcomics I'm currently following. First of all, let me state that you have NO IDEA how many webcomics there are out there. Sure, you might have a good guess. Then you remember that there are artists in Japan and Korea and probably some in Europe that are drawing up a storm and throwing it on the web too. I've seen one of the Korean sites where a bunch of artists have series in progress. WOW.
That's a lot of comic distraction provided for free on the web.
So let's start with one I've covered before, XKCD.
http://xkcd.com/
One of my previous mentionings was here, http://dumbtechgeek.blogspot.com/2009/05/xkcd-on-serentiy.html , when the artist included Serenity characters in a series. And yes, I just noticed in the link that I initially had a typo in the title. No clue if it's still there.
This one's still a fun one after years of reading. It releases new one every Monday/Wednesday/Friday. It's currently on its 676th comic (that's as of December 17). The one downer about this series is I don't want to include a lot of pictures. Not just because it means more work for me going and finding good ones to copy, but also because some of these artists get sensitive when their stuff is copied without permission, even if it was someone hyping what they're doing and gets them a couple
more fans.
Anyway, XKCD is almost cooler because its LACK of effort. It deals strictly in stick figure comics, and usually has computer science topics. Sometimes there's romance jokes or science terms, but even if you don't get the jokes (which I don't on occasion) they're still humorous.
And you can never forget the mouseOver text on these things. You'll have to read fast on some of them, but the artist always includes an extra little punch-line in the text that appears when you hover your mouse over the comic strip.

California child custody case sets legal precedent

A seven-year old boy found himself at the center of a Alameda County
courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who
should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge
initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with California child
custody laws and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained
to the highest degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he revealed that his aunt beat him more
than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the
judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried
and said that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning
that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the
judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who
should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child
welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Oakland
Raiders, whom the boy firmly believes are incapable of beating anyone.

The Internet Is...

I Feel It Needed To Be Said

In response to an article posted here, I made a long-winded comment. I'm
sure it'll cause some stir, but I think each point needed to be said.
Feel free to read the article here before addressing my comment:
http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2009/12/07/do-women-have-an-equal-chance-in-
science/



My comment:

Just 15 women in the history of the Nobel prize, and this year adds 3
more? Either this was a very good year for women in science, or the
Nobel committee is making politically correct decisions on top of
awarding good science. I don't know myself because I don't pay attention
to these awards ceremonies and the people that were in consideration that lost to these ladies.
I will say giving an award to a President before he's actually done
anything speaks toward the possibility of a PC direction on the committee's part.

As for the point of the article, I'm sure the job market could be more
flexible with women who have had kids or are pregnant. But like all
things funded, results are required by deadlines. Having people working
part-time means you would wait up to twice as long for the results,
which might not be what the people paying for the project want to do.
I'm not saying the results wouldn't be equal or better than someone who
worked on it full-time, just that the results would obviously take longer to reach.

From the last paragraph it sounds like Alfred Nobel hosed the
foundations with the requirement to put all the money is safe
securities. There was nothing safe about any securities in the past
couple years, and they could've weathered the storm better if they had
managed their money differently.