Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zarmina Vogt thinks she's better than us.

I'm misunderstood.

Good news everybody! Scienceticians have discovered a potentially habitable planet. It's called Gliese 581g and is located in what astrophysicists call 'The Goldilocks Zone.' This means the planet has narrowly avoided being eaten by space bears. Space bears, of course, are just a metaphor for real-life factors like cosmic radiation, super-novae and Galactus, Devourer of Worlds.

Gliese 581g has a rich buttery mantle
and a molten cheesy core.

Excited yet? Don't be. This is science, so let's walk it back a bit. By 'potentially habitable' and 'Earth-like' they mean that the temperature won't immediately annihilate whatever chump sets foot on its surface as long as they stick to something called 'the terminator.' How comforting. You see the planet is tidally-locked meaning that one side always faces the sun and the other constantly faces the cold infinity of space. So like a Hot Pocket three times the mass of Earth, Gliese 581g is partially scorched and partially frozen.

I know what your thinking: "Earth-like? Hardly!" But there is precedent for life developing along a narrow corridor of inhabitability. Behold this map of Canadian population density:
See? Science! Much in the same way that Canadian civilization is clustered between two extremes (abject boredom in the frozen north and getting mugged/murdered in the more exciting south), life could have evolved on Gliese 581g in the band between light and dark. Or, to put it in simpler Texas school board terms: Noah's Space Ark could have landed in the 'Promised Zone' and off-loaded all the mythical creatures and that's what happened to all the unicorns.

In Texas, this is science.
(This is the first and best image to come up when you Google 'unicorns')
So there it is. A whole new planet with the potential for life. Someday our children or our children's children might explore it first hand. Ok, so more likely it'll be our children's children's children's multi-trillion dollar robotic probe, but still. Perhaps someday in the distant future our descendants might even call it home. Of course they'll have to change the name. 

No, they're beautiful.
I mean, who needs
a planet...?

Right now it's called Gliese 581g, which is by far the worst name for a planet ever. And yes, I'm including Uranus. You see, it's named after Wilhelm Gliese, so you pronounce it like 'Lisa' but with a german accent. Would you want to be from planet Gleezuh? No, didn't think so. According to the article, one of the scientists who discovered it has unofficially named it after his wife Zarmina. Kudos to her for being born with a name that totally sounds like an alien planet. I'm pretty sure the Starship Enterprise ran into Zarminans at least once (ok, no it didn't). But still, I think we can do better. We don't want Zarmina walking around thinking she's better than us just because she's got a planet.

I say we start a massive letter writing campaign right now to rename it something awesome. Here are some suggestions that are way better than Gliese 581g and slightly better than Planet Zarmina:
1. Gliese Prime (anything sounds cool with 'Prime' on the end of it)
2. Tralfamadore
3. Hotpocketron 7
almost anything...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Welcome to Earf!*

Well, it's about frelling time. Say hello to:
Earth Ambassador
Mazlan Othman.
So first the United Nations announced that they'd appointed an ambassador to aliens, and then they quickly turned around and said: uh, no we didn't. What's with that?

Let's hope it's not followed
by a punch to the thorax.
I myself am inclined to believe that this is absolutely part of Mazlan Othman's job description, no matter how vehemently the U.N. denies it. And it's not just because I'm a nerd. Well, ok, that's a big part of it, but still it seems to me that tacking 'Alien Ambassador' on to this woman's job description is a great idea. Why would we not pick someone in advance? The Galaxy is pretty old and pretty big, there is at least a decent chance that Mazlan or someone very much like her is going to one day get to utter the phrase: "Welcome to Earth."

Say hola to:
Ambassador Kamarog
Out of 6 and a half billion people, it only makes sense to give someone the conch shell, so why is the U.N. being so squirrely about this? Are they afraid that having an Ambassador to Space would undermine their credibility? Really? The U.N.? If anything, the U.N. should be encouraging us to believe in aliens. Look, when the aliens land (and they will), they're not going to give a shit about who's a Canadian and who's a Kenyan. There will be no Klingon Ambassador to Spain.

They're aliens, and when they see that we're a planet full of psychotic apes bent on killing each other over who has the most shinies, it's all over. Gort is going to burn us down faster than you can say Klattu Barada Nikto. We're going to have to pretend to be one big happy family if we want the aliens to take us seriously. And that's where you come in, United Nations. After sixty five years of virtual impotence, you'll finally be taken seriously. Congratulations!

The Right Honorable Gordon Shumway:
Melmacian Ambassador to Earth 

p.s. Holy crap, you can actually order the Federation Flag. Remember: Federation Day is Oct. 11, just 12 more shopping days!

*Yes, I know Will Smith never actually said this, I just like the sound of it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Magneto was right*

Phew, that was close, we almost
struck a blow for equality there.

This past week John McCain and Senate Republicans (and 2 Democrats, deep shame on them) delivered a punch in the face to gays serving openly in the military. Now they did this because, uh...well I don't know, because they're jerks. Yes, he's a war hero, and I respect that, but he's also a jerk.

This comes just a month after same-sex marriage in California was put on hold (after prop 8 was overturned) in order to give homophobes more time to come up with more of their bullshit about how 9/11 was God's punishment for gays and how same sex marriage will lead to hot man-horse action. Like for real. There isn't a single argument against gay marriage that isn't based on fear, ignorance or an interpretation of the Bible (usually all three: I call it biblical fignorance). I'm not saying that people aren't entitled to their opinions, I'm just asking that we stop pretending that being against equality is a valid position.

Not it isn't. It's apt. Apt!

I, par example, don't like Grey's Anatomy. It's just not for me. I don't think that this opinion makes me morally superior to Grey's Anatomy fans. And I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean I should lead a crusade to get their marriages annulled, or take their children away. Now, I know what your thinking: "Say, that's a false analogy!" But think about this: There are just as many legitimate studies showing that gay marriages hurt society as there are studies indicating that Grey's Anatomy fans should be sterilized. Fact.

The worst part is, I don't think most people in office really care about who's serving openly in what or who's marrying whom. They care about yacthing and stock portfolios. But since only 2% of the population gives a crap about these things they need to fill out their ranks of supporters by pretending to be against civil rights and evolution.

We believe in repealing the estate tax, smaller government and that
climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the gays and Nancy Pelosi.  

Looks like someone's wearing
 a watch. Bad move McCain!

*also, he's gay (at least in the movies) and could totally kick John McCain's ass, and probably should. I'd pay a lot to see that.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dibs on Enqueasen.

Did you know that George Lucas owns the word 'Droid'? Motorola pays him royalties for the phone. He's like that company that's supposed to get a check anytime someone sings Happy Birthday in public. He created Star Wars, has millions of dollars and he owns an awesome word for robots. I love, hate, and envy this man all at the same time. I lohanvy him.

This was uncalled for...
completely uncalled for.
I love and then hate him because he created and then ruined Star Wars (and to a lesser extent, Indiana Jones). And envy because he was in a position to ruin Star Wars in the first place (also, I envy the fabulous wealth). I am not alone in my conflicted feelings towards the man. If you know a nerd, go ask them right now what they think of George Lucas. They will tell you how much they hate him, and then they'll go on to tell you how much they love his original work, and then they'll tell you how they would have done the prequel movies differently.

Ok, maybe one: I wouldn't have
called this guy Annie.

Since the internet is 83% Star Wars opinions, I'll spare you my laundry list of what's wrong with Episode I. I will however suggest that maybe there's something wrong with the world when someone can be allowed to screw up original Star Wars, prequel Star Wars, Indiana Jones and still gets to own a word. Not to mention the fact that as of 2010 Willow is still unsequeled. What's up with that George?

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce that I have invented a word of my own:
Enqueasen: v. to make queasy. Indiana Jones 4 was so bad, it enqueasened me.

Giant ants? A-Bomb proof refrigerator?
Indy having only one illegitimate child?
Poppycock I say. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Respect for the Aged Day!

Thanks Wikipedia, for clueing me in to awesome Japanese Holidays. Today is Respect for the Aged Day, so if you see an old person, don't punch them in the face.

He chose poorly. And we respect that.

                "He chose...poorly." -Grail Knight

Look as good, we will not.

"There is another Skywalker..." 


"Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so that it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use." -Homer Simpson

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(sigh) Sega Kids...

Research is for libruls!
A while back I needed help with Mass Effect. It's a video game. If you followed the news a couple years ago you might remember the amazing non-contraversy Fox News tried to make out of the graphic sexual content that didn't actually exist in the game. Observe this video clip. It's hilarious and full of crap they just made up. Also, I'd like to dole out some achievement points for whomever came up with the phrase 'full digital nudity and sex.'

Little help?

Any who, between scenes of digital nudity, alien sex, and murder simulation, I got lost. I don't know, I must have zoned out during an important in-game conversation and didn't know what to do or where to go next. The game sort of drops your spaceship in the middle of the Galaxy and says: now, go do some stuff and then save the Universe-in whatever order you feel like. I appreciate non-linear gameplay, but sometimes a big arrow with 'go here, do this' written above it is nice.

Schmenyway, thanks to a quick search on the intertubes for a walkthrough (or walkthru as lazy jerks spell it, seriously, it's like three more letters) I managed to get back on track. But at what cost? Isn't a walkthrough kind of a cheat? We don't even think about it anymore: Stuck? Go online. Problem solved. It wasn't always this easy.
Me, age 10 after running
out of continues .

Back in my day, if you got stuck in a game, you were screwed. There was no internet, no easy answers. You had no choice but to turn off the NES and go outside and play with a hoop and stick.

Shinobi: Ninja Gaiden
for losers.
Go on, step on his head.
He's practically
begging for it.

Your best bet would be to ask around at school, surely one of your friends had beaten the game. And God help you if you were a Sega kid. "Alex Kidd in a what now? No, I don't know what that is. Get away from me." Video games taught us many things: hand/eye coordination, bad posture, turtle-abuse, but most of all they taught self-reliance...and that plastic controllers weren't indestructible.  

Back then it was just you, your wits and Brandon from down the street against the sadistic douche bags at Capcom and Konami (Ultra Games? Yeah, I'm on to you). There was no IGN or Google search, just last month's Gamepro. So I'll tell you what I tell myself: Don't get too down on yourself. You've earned the occasional walkthrough (unless you're under age 25, in which case: play through Mega Man 2, then come talk to me).
Holy shit Konami, for real?
above: What happens when you put
a thousand monkeys at
a thousand CAD stations.
Fun Fact: Did you know that designers of the Sega Master System put the 'pause' button on the console? So to pause you had to (whilst in the middle of a game mind you) get up and walk across the room and press the button. Why did they do this you might ask? Because they were idiots. If I wanted exercise I'd be kneeling on the floor and pounding the buttons on a Powerpad with my fists, thank you very much. To learn more about the Sega Master System, visit your local library...just kidding. Here's the Wikipedia Link.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Today in 'Haw-haw':

Check this out. If you don't feel like it, here's the gist: Pastor Terry Jones's (non-Monty Python Terry Jones) church is getting billed $180,000 for all the extra security measures the City of Gainesville had to take because he sucks.
The Rev. Terry Jones answers reporters' questions at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.
I was just trying to incite violence,
I don't know what everyone's problem is.
Here's some stupid that dribbled out from under his handlebar (lifted from the CNN article):

     Jones said Friday that the church was "not aware that we would be billed for security."
     "If we had known this in advance, then we would have refused to have security," he said.

So yeah, this is probably not a major setback for these people. I'm sure Jones or someone like him will make a tearful plea on TV and raise the money, but it's nice to see that sometimes people who deserve it get boned. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Powerglove: It's so bad. (in 1989 this meant good, but it really wasn't)

The technology of four years ago:

So the thing on the left is the Playstation Move. It's a motion controller for the PS3, so in that way it's a total rip off on the Wii Remote. On the other hand, there's a big light-up ball on the end of it, so it's you know, different. What I want to know is why is a big light-up ball an improvement?

Playstation Move Prototype #3

Someone at Sony clearly made the conscious decision to design a motion controller that doubles as a sex toy you can find in the dark. They apparently felt that we don't look lame enough waving a wiimote (and lamer still saying wiimote) at the screen.

And why are we waving anything at all? No amount of plastic guitars and balance boards are going to change the fact that video game playing is a sedentary endeavor. Remember the good old days when our living rooms weren't full gimmicky controllers designed to fool us into thinking gaming could be the road to something other than fatassery and acne? No? Me neither...
Never worked.

Pounding it with your hands was easier.

Powerglove or get laid someday:
the choice is yours.
(also, never worked)
Not to get all 'crotchety old man' on you here, but I think there was a quiet dignity to the classic hand-held controller. It was an honest interface. One that said to the world: "don't walk in front of the god damned screen, I'm trying to play a game." If we wanted exercise, we turned off the NES and went outside. Granted, this didn't happen often, but still.

an elegant weapon,
for a more civilized age.

p.s. Not only does the Move look lame in reality, the advertisers actually felt the need to up the ante:

not pictured: self-respect

If the future of gaming looks like this tool, then count me out. Who is this guy? What is he supposed to be doing? Does the Playstation Move really surround you with an impenetrable virgin field? Who thought this was a good idea? And how fired are they?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finally, a reason to live.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin is being made into a TV series. I love this book series, and so do you. So like go read it, I'll wait...done? Great, as you are certainly now aware, the book is a gritty soap opera set in a ren-faire fantasy world of palace intrigue, murder, revenge, murder and intriguingly murderous revenge. It's sort of like the War of the Roses with ice zombies.

This War of the Roses...
...not this one.
I say this is potentially good news because in the weird alchemy of geekdom, the transition from one medium to another can be a shaky prospect. Par example:

This excellent comic book became-
-the death of joy.
 Of course, sometimes they surprise us and make good use of or even surpass the source material:

This plodding piece of self-indulgent pop spirituality
was  salvaged by...

...the addition of Dame Judi Dench and
and a murderous army
of Necromongers.

Find a comfy chair.

Anyway, here's hoping. Oh, and a warning about the Martin's book series. A Game of Thrones and its (so far) three sequels are long. I mean, way long.

yup, any minute now...

Also, don't expect book 5 anytime soon, it's going to be a bit of a wait. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I respect G. R. R. Martin and I understand that the book will be out when it's ready, but I am starting to understand how these guys feel:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How low is the bar?

I'm glad to hear that Gainesville Pastor and non-Monty Python member Terry Jones has announced that his congregation will not be holding a Burn a Quran Day.
Above: this Terry Jones is scientifically a better person than-

-this one. It's true.

C. Monster:
"Why people not get along?"

That's great, really it is. In fact, let's get this man a cookie. Why does this mustachioed crackpot deserve a warm tasty sugar biscuit? He doesn't, I'm being sarcastic. He deserves a punch in the handlebar. A cookie worthy man would never have come up with such a douchey plan in the first place. A cookie worthy man brings people together. 

Is this how low the bar has been set? Can anyone play? Here, watch this: I'm going to drown a basket full of kittens...wait for it...Ok, now I'd like to take this opportunity to announce that I will not be drowning a basket of kittens. 

above: 5 kittens that will not be drowned by me.
My phone should ring any second now...any second...Hmm. Hello? Today Show? Didn't you hear? I'm not drowning kittens! Give me a forum for my crazy ideas!

worked on this guy...

Does anyone else feel like we all played right into this guy's leathery mitts? People like him feed on media exposure. If we just ignored him, he would have gone away. 

Anyway, I think we should start taking suggestions as to what awesome dead person we should get back if we trade in Pastor Jones. 

Here's my vote:


p.s. Sorry, this post really isn't that nerdy.

p.p.s. Update: Check this out. Yup, there is a warm spot in Gre'thor for (non-Monty Python) Terry Jones. Do you suppose he woke up one morning, took a swig from a jug marked 'xxx' and said to himself: 'There's not enough violence and suffering in the world, I think I'll incite some.'