Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rocket Scientists Say We'll Never Reach the Stars

Wired reports a depressing article, Rocket Scientists Say We'll Never Reach the Stars. The line that got me was "The calculations show that, even using the most theoretical of technologies, reaching the nearest star in a human lifetime is nearly impossible." It is very depressing to realize that after 50 years of space travel, even nearby stars aren't in our purview. Still, the last line brings hope.

As for interstellar travel, even the realists are far from giving up. All it takes is one breakthrough to make the calculations work, Frisbee said.

"It's always science fiction until someone goes out and does it," he said.

Bigfoot BS

Information Week has an article, but please don't click on it. Bigfoot Hoax Called A 'Scheme To Defraud'. Of course it's a scheme to defraud! Bigfoot is NOT real. Either they are liars or they are idiots. The men who were contacting media outlets about the scam said they bought it from some men. Then they are the idiots and the sellers were frauds! There is NO SUCH THING AS BIGFOOT! Why is the media reporting this? I realize the hypocrisy of blogging about something I say the media shouldn't mention, but if everyone attacks the media every time they report this stuff, they will eventually stop. That, and by not reading there articles when the headlines are this insipid.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Real Politics

In politics today, I am often astonished by the inanity of questions asked by political reporters, both in interviews and in debates. Here is an excellent story about what Rick Warren could have asked Barack Obama and John McCain. I don't care who answers the questions better, I want them to be nuanced, difficult, and sophisticated.

What Rick Warren could have asked

Monday, August 4, 2008

Phil Plait, the new James Randi

Phil Plait is taking over as President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, or JREF. Let me start by saying that James "The Amazing" Randi is awesome. He is actually the subject of an Isaac Asimov Black Widower's story, known as "The Amazing Larri". The JREF is everything I stand for, better science and critical thinking education. Still, he is getting on in years, and this will allow him to finish working on a couple of books, as well as probably performing more magic, and possibly relaxing (though knowing him, that may not happen). Phil Plait is the Bad Astronomer. Now, you'd think James Randi could find a good astronomer to take over, but you have to take what you can get. Anyway, Phil Plait could be my long lost twin, we are so much alike in many ways, the major difference being that he is a big Doctor Who fan. This is exciting for science and skepticism. Hopefully this will mark the advent of a new age in reason.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Deep Geeking

A cool new website Deep Geeking has grown out of the cool old (internet years) Babylon Podcast. I've submitted my first deep geek, and it's very deep. It's about the new X-Files movies, titled I Don't Want to Believe, I want the Truth. Please leave any comments about the post on the Deep Geeking forum.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a musical supervillian epic created by Joss Whedon, and starring Neil Patrick-Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. It is available for free until midnight on Sunday July 20, and for purchase after that. Having just viewed it for free, I have to say it would be worth purchasing. Joss is attempting to change how movies and shows are distributed, and this is an admirable attempt. I will purchase the DVD for the extras.

The show is a pretty standard plot for supervillian shows, the main supervillain (Harris) has a blog, where he talks about his villainy. There is lots of singing, helping the homeless, laundry, and other insanity. Of course, I predicted the ending about 27 seconds into the third chapter, but then by the end I'd forgotten about it! I laughed out loud quite a few times, and some of the lines are instant classics. "The Hammer is my ...", for one. The ending is classic Joss, building up to it and then stripping everything away for a quite ending. If you enjoyed "Once More With Feeling", then this may just make your year.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I just watched the new Indiana Jones movie, and I have to say, going in I was pretty excited. I recently rewatched Last Crusade, which is not just my favorite Indiana Jones movie, it is one of my favorite movies. Like Star Trek VI, it transcended the level of the other films and was a classic. Alas, Crystal Skull was not such. The whole thing with the groundhogs (?) immediately through me off. Sure, Indiana Jones survived some crazy scrapes, but this one took it too far. Shia TheBeef is a pretty good actor, but you could tell he was constrained by the stereotype he had to play. Denholm Elliot passed away, and Sean Connery declined to participate, so neither Marcus Brody nor Dr. Henry Jones Sr. were in the movie, though there was a brief but touching tribute to them. A particularly poetic line was "You reach a point where life stops giving and starts taking away". Still, most of the dialogue was inane and formulaic, as was most of the film. It felt more like National Treasure than Indiana Jones. Cate Blanchett was much stiffer and one-dimensional than the fabulous and beautiful Alison Doody, who wove a complex and alluring portrait of a scientist who happened to be a Nazi. Finally, the ending was completely insane, crazy magic powers are not what I expect from Indiana Jones. Still, it was an enjoyable two hours.