Oct 042015

Quick review: a damn fine flick. Sticks remarkably close to the book; the changes aren’t the usual sort of dreck that changes the meaning of the story, or adds needless characters, or any of that. The visual effects are largely flawless (though the gravity centrifuge was apparently static, unlike the USS Discovery’s centrifuge, with the result that in some scenes it’s pretty obvious that actors are walking “down” the floor). The science is pretty good, the acting is good, the dialog works. There are no villains; the drama comes from the situation, not mustache-twirling badguys or steaming morons.


“The Martian”

 Posted by at 8:48 pm
Oct 032015

Tonight I caught the premiere episode of a new TV series, “Adam Ruins Everything” on the Tru TV network. It is similar in concept to Penn & Tellers “BS!” in that the host (one Adam Conover, who clearly spends way too much time on his hair) takes some popular but flawed belief and tears it apart entertainingly. The first episode dealt with “giving:” how diamonds are a waste of money as a gift, how canned food drives are a waste of food, how shoes ruin Africa (something like that, anyway). It’s also funny as hell.

A few videos are available on YouTube. It seems the TV series is an outgrowth of some YouTubery.

A couple friends agreed that Adam is like me, but with a budget.

I approve of shows like this. While I doubt they have much real impact – how many True Believers in alien abductions or gun control or newage did BS! turn around? – it’s always important to counter the factually flawed. It’ll also be interesting to see the ideological ratio… some ideas tackled will undoubtedly be favored more by one side of the political spectrum than the other.

 Posted by at 10:32 pm
Oct 012015

So yet another nutburger goes and shoots up a joint. Any rational person would say This Is A Bad Thing. But for some people, This Is An Awesome Thing. It took approximately two seconds for *some* people to determine that todays mass shooting in Oregon is a fantastic opportunity to try pushing for their civilian disarmament programs. Yet again.

And elsewhere the mad scramble to find *anything* about the shooter that can be used to push a chosen political agenda. So far I’ve heard (note: any or all of these could be dead wrong):

  1. He was a conservative Republican
  2. He specifically targeted Christians
  3. He was “mixed race,” half white, half black. So… he was white, unlike Obama, who is half black and half white, thus black. Or something.
  4. He used a pistol, which means we need more controls on assault rifles
  5. He was a fan of the Nazis
  6. He was a fan of the IRA
  7. He was a Muslim convert
  8. He was a quiet loner
  9. He was born in England. Not sure how that’s relevant. Probably a sign that the Crown is finally starting it’s big move to recapture the Colonies.

Somebody wake me up when there’s an incident of a crazy person going buggo and politicians *don’t* promptly jump on it to push whatever their agenda is.

At least it should knock Clochmed out of the headlines.

 Posted by at 11:28 pm
Sep 302015

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s

Some studies have shown that if similar people today and in the mid 1980s ate the same and exercised the same, the people from today would still be fatter than their predecessors. Theorized explanations include the changes in artificial sweeteners and other dietary chemicals, the increased use of antidepressants and the like, a higher percentage of meat in the diet, changes in gut biota.

Translation: I dunno.

 Posted by at 8:23 pm
Sep 302015

Another heavily illustrated “2001” book is due out in November:

The 2001 File: Harry Lange  and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film

Another book that *looks* promising ( I haven’t seen it myself), ut here’s the description:

The Holy Grail
Harry Lange’s complete unseen archive

This stunning tome is a previously unseen look behind-the-scenes at the making of this most legendary of science fiction classics. It is an in-depth examination of the complete, largely unpublished archive of art director Harry Lange’s designs, concepts, roughs and photographs.

Lange’s strikingly realistic designs created an extraordinary vision of the future. By releasing this unpublished archive and explaining its significance, the book takes the reader/viewer on a journey deep into the visual thinking behind 2001, for the first time ever – visual thought that might actually work.

The book is about the process, as well as the finished product. It examines how Harry Lange’s experience with NASA fed into the innovations of the film. It includes rejected designs, concepts and roughs, as well as the finished works. It reveals how the design team was obsessed with things that actually might work. The book illustrates several innovations that were science fiction in the 1960s but have since become science fact, including a ‘newspad’ designed by IBM, which bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s iPad. The remarkable designs for 2001 created a credible vision of the future.

ISBN: 978-0-9572610-2-0
336pp; Hardback; 600+ illustrations
290 x 245mm / 11.4 x 10 in.

According to Amazon, it’s due out in mid November… just in time for you to buy a few dozen copies for your friends for Saturnalia or Christmas or whatever. If’n you don’t see the standard Amazon ad link below, you should be able to get there through THIS TEXT LINK

The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film

 Posted by at 6:36 am
Sep 292015

Some months back someone had a contractors model of the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System up on ebay. These photos might be handy if you have or are working on another Phalanx model, as one does.

2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 3 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 10 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 1  2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 11 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 7 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 8 2015-07-03 phalanx ebay 9

 Posted by at 10:06 pm