Archive for the Science Category

Printable Electronics! Woot!

Posted in Science, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by urbannight

printed%20electronics_sI’ve been complaining about the cost of electronics for a while.  I keep waiting for electronics to go down in price but, thanks to Apple, we now have a culture in which a new and expensive upgrade comes out at about the same time when something should be coming down in price.  There is no gap in between anymore.  Support for older devices is vanishing earlier and software developers are abandoning users of older items faster than ever.

 

This is why I decided to skip the entire smart phone phenomenon and have a no-nonsense mp3 player.  I refuse to be an iSheep and I’m not playing the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ game.

 

The issue is silicon and copper based parts which are expensive and require special equipment to produce and install.  There are organic and plastic variations that are less expensive, but also less effective.  At least until now.

 

These new, printable, polymers can be “brushed over a surface to create a thin-layer of film capable of carrying an uninterrupted charge.”

 

WOOT!

 

They are looking to use these in LED displays or in the coating for solar cells.  Hopefully, this will start to make some electronics more affordable. 

 

I keep hoping for the days when tech is so available and affordable that people can easily afford high tech equipment even as they live in hole in the wall dives and the ease of affordability makes the tech not worth stealing.  I read too much cyberpunk as a developing child.

The Strange World of Garlic Usage

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, History, Life, Science, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by urbannight

Once upon a time, when I was feeling poorly, a friend told me to rub garlic on the bottoms of my feet. My big question was how this was supposed to help my cold. It made no sense. Since then, I’ve looks up uses for garlic. There are some really strange ones out there.

To start with, garlic seems to have some antibiotic properties. This means it can kill some bacteria and fungus. It is supposedly good against viruses but I’m not sure about that. Viruses usually just need to run their course. It may help prevent mold. Throughout history, it has been used for many medical purposes so I would have to guess some of them were helpful enough for people to keep using it.

Garlic is supposed to help reduce acne. But that is strange to me. Acne is not a bacterial issue. It a build up of oil, dirt, dead skin flakes, lotions, and make-up. It’s a build-up of anything that can block the pores. It’s been proven that eating chips and pizza will not cause acne. It is partly a skin care issue and partly an issue of some people being more prone to it than others. Some health conditions may make it worse. But I always thought that was because the condition was influencing the health of the skin by causing some kind of imbalance. Your skin is actually an organ. So I would think running garlic over the skin would just add garlic oil to the mix of stuff clogging up the pores.

While we are on skin, a cut garlic rubbed into cold sores is supposed to help them heal faster. Now this makes a little more sense than using it to treat acne. The antibiotic nature of the garlic has something other that dirt and oil to kill and lead to healing.

Another skin condition it is supposed to help is Athlete’s foot. Garlic is an antifungal. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. You crush or smash some garlic and put it in a footbath of warm water. That gets the oils out of the garlic and spreads the oils over the feet as you soak in hot water. This sounds logical, more logical than running garlic over your feet for a cough.

Making a paste of minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser, and sugar, massage into the skin, and rinse, is supposed to tighten and exfoliate the skin while drying out acne. I suppose it might dry and tighten depending on the facial cleanser being used. The paste with sugar as a defoliant probably does work.

It’s supposed to help clear up psoriasis. Now they have identified an acid contained in garlic that is working on a certain omega fatty acid in the skin so this may have some truth to it.

This is a strange one, as putting garlic oil on a mole, several times a day, and coving with a bandage, is supposed to remove a mole. Sounds like duct tape, which has some chemical or compound in the adhesive that is supposed to do the same thing.

Now for some non-skin related uses.

It supposedly can be minced and put in mineral oil for a full day, and then the infused oil is mixed with a bit of liquid soap and some water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on plants as a natural pesticide. Liquid soap isn’t natural. Can it still be called a natural pesticide? I guess bugs don’t like garlic. This reminds me that they used to say eating a lot of garlic would keep mosquitoes away. That has been disproven. Some say infusing it in the mineral oil and then mixing that with water and lemon juice and using it as a spray on may work. Much like the homemade pesticide.

You are supposed to be able to mend hairline cracks in glass by putting crushed garlic over it to fill the crack. Not sure that I would want to do that. Wouldn’t you still see a line? Even more so than the hairline crack?

Apparently fish like garlic. Some fishermen swear by it to bait their hooks.

It may work as a road de-icer. As the story goes, a spice maker had a batch of bad garlic salt and donated it to a town to put on the roads on winter. I’m not sure the garlic had as much to do with it as the salt.

Massaging the scalp with garlic or garlic oil is supposed to stimulate hair growth.

Here is one of the stranger ones again, cut a sliver of garlic and tie a string around it and put it in your ear to combat an ear infection. Not something I would want to do. The other version of this is to crush some garlic, place it in hot olive oil for 5 minutes. Then you strain and cool the oil. Use it as ear drops. You may be able to find ear drops made of garlic oil in home natural heath food store or someplace like Whole Foods.

Similarly, it can be peeled but not cut, put into a strip of cheesecloth, and inserted using a tampon applicator in order to treat a yeast infection. Like athletes foot, it is a fungal infection. Only in this case, it is caused by the body’s natural bacteria getting out of balance allowing for the growth of this. The ‘good’ bacteria normally eats this naturally occurring ‘fungus’. When something kills the good bacteria then you produce too much of this and get an infection.

One item I found on one site was using thin slices of garlic over a splinter and the splinter will work itself out. I’m not sure how that is supposed to happen. Is garlic a wood magnet?

Internally, some people find regular consumption of garlic eases gas. For other people it causes gas. Make minced garlic into a tea for sore throats and as a cough syrup. It is supposed to reduce the duration of a cold as well and regular consumption of it is supposed to help prevent colds. Researches believe that it is a component called allicin that does this.

Compounds in garlic are supposed to send signals to the brain that you are full. So a dish with a lot of garlic in it may make you feel fuller faster. Thus you eat less of it. And it is supposed to rev up the metabolism so you burn more calories. So it may have minor weight loss properties.

Speaking of ‘wood’, it’s been used as an aphrodisiac for just about forever. It is suspected that it is because garlic aids in blood circulation, so blood is pumped to the extremities more efficiently. So it ‘may’ increase a man’s endurance.

Using it with some a rather strange list of food ingredients may clear out intestinal parasites. Icky.

Zombie Worms

Posted in Education, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by urbannight

Reading an article on a whale skeleton found in Antarctica, it mentioned ‘zombie worms’. The name is great but how does a worm without a mouth eat? I had to look it up.

Its actual name is Osedax and they seem to be a bright pink with feathery feels all around them, kind of like millipede legs.

Now to the question of the feeding, the drill into the bones. But they don’t have any drilling organs. They excrete acid. How is a good question since they appear not to have organs for that either.

Apparently, those feelers are the ‘drills’ that penetrate the bone and those feeler create and excrete an enzyme that dissolves the bone. The worms have some kind of bacteria that then absorbs the fats and other materials in the bones.

This is a very female dominated creature. Only adult females are found on the rare occasions that they find whale bones. The males don’t leave the larval stage and live inside a ‘gelatinous tube covering part of the female’. The only purpose for the male is to fertilize the eggs the female lays. It is interesting that the male actually can fertilize anything since they never make it to the adult stage. The female can house hundreds of these males.

Apparently, once a worm settles into a bone she starts producing eggs continually. (They eat, they reproduce, why am I suddenly thinking about Tribbles) The article that is supposed to explain how they reproduce doesn’t actually say anything else. Since the males live on the female, are the eggs fertilized as they are excreted or the males leave the female to go to the egg deposits and then return. Is it another enzyme excretion?

The worm can swim up to 10 days to find a source of bones to feed on. Found on whale bones, experiments have discovered that the worms will also feed on cow bones and other animals. So they are not as picky as pandas.

This article also shows worms that look very different from the feeding article. There are 5 known varieties so maybe they look a lot different from one another. Anoter article states they are very diverse.

Most of the articles I can find are just direct reprints of the two articles I’ve used here. Google it and you will find the same. I don’t have my books on correct notation forms with me.

Obsession

Posted in Apartments, Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, Hobby, Life, Movies and Theatre, Photography, Science, Tea, Technology, Television, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2013 by urbannight

I signed up for a Pinterest page.  I now understand how people say it can get obsessive and one can get lost in it.  Hopefully I will emerge from it soon. 

Things I’ve found on it:

Books, Movies, Food, Art, Decor, Homes, Style, Space, Science Fiction, Star Wars, Comics, Daleks, Tardis, Doctor Who, Nature, Scenery, and pretty much everything under the sun.

 

Kristy’s View of Religion and Spirituality Simplified

Posted in Education, History, Life, Religion, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by urbannight

In response to a friend who was getting hit for saying she was an Atheist, I replied and ended up going farther than just the first paragraph.  Then I decided I might as well go all the way.  Or at least as far as I could on that particular platform.  This is what I ended up with.  The simplified version of how I look at religion with a little more on how Atheism in particular fits in.

You have as much right to be an atheist as anyone else has to their religion. Just as I believe in a sense of spirituality that all religions are attempting to express but that religions themselves are products of the cultures in which they were developed. Geneticists have also discovered that people with the deepest religious and spiritual connections have a gene that a lot of other people don’t have. I suspect I don’t and maybe you don’t. It makes it harder for those of use without it to get the point of it all. People with it are able to reach certain states that have been called ‘religious ecstasy” during times of prayer and worship and meditation that, to them, proves that their chosen path is true and therefore must be correct and right and the only way.

religious_discriminationSince my belief is that all paths are attempting to point to the same spiritual blanket over the world, there is no wrong path. Even Atheism is correct. But I believe, because religions are expressions created by man, that there can be flaws in all religions. One has to learn to separate the culture from the spiritual within any holy work. For example, many of the middle eastern attitudes towards women were not expressions of Islamic spirituality but expressions incorporated into Islam from the Bedouin tribes as they became Islamic. Just as many attitudes towards women in the early christian church were not part of the teachings of Jesus but incorporated from the cultures that influenced the development of the early church.

My approach to religions and spirituality does mean that one must read and watch more books, articles, and programs on history, culture, sociology, anthropology and sometimes archeology, and most definitely comparative religions.

Ultimately,true Atheism is the most challenging of all paths because a true Atheist must find their moral compass by trying to find the most basic truths of human interconnection untouched by religious guidance. I call it true Atheism because it is NOT a path of selfishness and self-centeredness as some try to say. Satanism, not the people who thing that is going off and sacrificing small animals and doing bad things, but the people who actually belong to the Church of Satan (or whatever the accurate name is) are following a path that is teaching the ideals of selfishness, the self comes first, do what feels good to you and who cares about the rest. Many people who belong do so because of a backlash against Christianity. But some do because they want a religion that gives them permission to be totally selfish and to make themselves more important and of more worth than the people around them. (Okay, I’ve probably over-simplified it, I admit). Ayn Rand’s philosophy is basically a secular version of this. And it is really something different from Atheism, despite what some Christians chose to say about Atheism.

Atheism strips religion away from morality to bring us Ethics and the need to find the core ethics we need to work and function as an interconnected society. Well, now you have Kristy’s views of Religion and Spirituality in a nutshell. I didn’t mean to write this much but it just all came out.

Strange Dreams

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Science, Technology, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by urbannight

Lebbeus Woods ship for Aliens 3

(Apologies, I will have to tidy this entry up a bit latter.  But I burnt lunch twice while doing this and I don’t really want to waste anymore food.)

I had a dream about a planet ship built on earth. There was NOTHING really new in this dream.  But that is  usually how the subconscious works.  It pulls from a variety of sources.  Usually from things watched, read, or thought about recently.  Since I’ve been watching comedies and Korean horror, reading fantasy and children’s fantasy, and working on non-fiction and some fantasy, this extremely Sci-Fi focused dream has to have been inspired by the only source of Science Fiction I’ve had the past month.  Thanks StoriesbyWillaims, Sci-fi is invading my sleep.  Also credited are Star Wars the Old Republic and Alpha Centauri.

It was partly built with technology from ‘somewhere else’.  The dream didn’t specify.  Perhaps another planet, fleeing the ravengers came across earth and a joint project enabled the two to build something beyond what their individual technologies would allow.  The technology and programing itself was highly adaptable so that it would update itself.  It was intuitive so that it could see connections between two lines of study and research and be able see where the results could be connected to create new things.  But it stopped just short of being self-determination and self-awareness.  People were loaded onto this craft and sent out into space.

People need purpose so we set up city like communities.  People had homes, jobs, and mostly replicated the normal lives they left behind.  I am myself in this dream and I have no idea what my job was exactly.

We encountered others who needed to be saved and were able to save portions of populations.  The ship ended up in districts where certain, more compatible races, lived.  Shortly after this ship takes off from earth, robotic and medical joint research enables the ship to see a way to create cybernetic bodies and download personalities into them with some reproductive capabilities.  People still desired children. It would massively extend life spans, slow down childbirth rates, control population growth without legislating it, and even enable people to cross over to a different species.

I took advantage of this tech as did many people.  Some people did not.  It was too strange, to scary, or denied God too much.  But most of the overly religious never got onto the ship to start with.

But for some people, the reproductive functions didn’t.  Some people greatly pitied those who realized they would never be able to reproduce.  Some of them fell into a deep despondency.  Other didn’t care.  It created an almost eternal life span for the people to went into it early on. This was soon seen as a flaw and some limitations on life spans were incorporated into the design.  With a long time to live, some who realized they wouldn’t be able procreate took the view that it was simple a matter of time before the weird glitch would be found and corrected.

This saw an upswing in people from less human-like looking races towards more human like races.  Or adapting  the particular physical attributes the races prized most to a more human-like base structure.  Not out of any idea that ‘human’ were better but because, off of the native planets and on a ship, even a planet sized one, it simply had better functionality.

I was in one of the early batches with nearly unlimited life span and ended up in some sort of military capacity.  At a shop one day I ran into the first person I had known in childhood who also made it onto this ship.  Eric Hansen.

Eventually, the districts came to represent different political ideals and world views.  And the natural progression was, of course, war.  It was bad enough having to deal with war between our various ideals but there was also the ravengers to deal with.  As the scientists and the labs were busily churning out research to find a way to deal with them, the ship puts two and two together and creates a new drive and shooting use far away and beyond anyplace we could identify.  And a new internal transport vehicle is produced based on the Kia model my roommate recently bought.

Custom Kia Soul (in my dream, it could fly)

The thing is, during this ‘jump’ the ship pretty much put every one to sleep.  But there were some damages when coming out the other side.  Various areas were woken up at different rates.  Some of the districts took advantage of it to advance their war efforts.

We were fighting off a unit with newly adapted, close quarters weaponry.  Cutting weapons for up close, personal, fighting.  I grabbed two pieces from a downed enemy and was trying to figure out how to use them when a new surge was pushed forward, largely civilian cannon fodder.  I was told to fall back and give them to someone else when I finally got the hang of it.  These were ugly, brutal weapons causing pain and suffering rather than a quick death.  Once I figured them out, it was basically a bloodbath.

Only I don’t like slasher films so my brain, which dreams in vivid, color, movie-like patterns kindly avoided letting me actually see some of that stuff.

Anyway, it was a very detailed, elaborate, drawn out dream with lots of elements from many sci-fi movies, books, and t.v. shows.  Opps, and games.

Epidermal Suffocation

Posted in Entertainment, Health, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by urbannight

A lot of people seem to be looking up information on this idea. I’m seeing it pop up repeatedly on my search terms because I wrote a paragraph or two about James Bond and Bond movies. Most people know about this concept from the Bond movie, “Goldfinger”.

It is something the Medical World believed was possible at the time the movie was filmed. They thought that it was possible to suffocate if your skin was entirely covered with a substance air could not permeate.

The actress was wearing a small amount of clothing and the gold was put over that rather than the skin.  They also left a 6 inch patch of open skin on her belly.

The truth is that as long as you can breathe through your mouth and/or nose, using your lungs, you will not suffocate if your entire body is painted gold or covered in liquid latex. So long as nasal passages and mouth is left clear. If you block those, it doesn’t matter the condition of the skin, a person will suffocate.

The skin IS an organ. But it is not a third lung. It is a sensory organ, more like the eyes and nose and tongue and ears. There are some Eastern practices and holistic practices that do treat the skin like a third lung and it does ‘breathe’ to a limited extent, but is not the type of breathing that the actual lungs perform.

Constant covering of the skin in substances will block pores. The constant cleaning will be drying for the skin. For good skin health, doing this all the time might not be a good idea. But it won’t kill you.

The funny thing is that there is a beauty aide site out there that says using multiple products at the same time puts you at risk of epidermal suffocation. The site says this is because your body can’t absorb that many things at one time.

This is blatantly untrue. What will happen is that you may trigger a bad case of dermatitis. This is a red, bumpy rash that itches like crazy. It is an inflammation of the skin.

I triggered this one winter when I put all my lotions and oils out on a small table next to my tub/shower unit. I have terrible dry skin in the winter. It doesn’t matter how much water I drink. (Drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your skin.) So I thought I would use these every time I showered. And I would randomly grab one or another when I started to get dry patches. The result was various products have reactions together that irritated my skin.

Since then, I can use any lotion during the summer months, but when the cold winter air hits, anything bothers my skin. The only thing that works is a bit of olive oil or baby oil in the bath when I take one and petroleum jelly on dry patches when I go to bed at night. The doctor told me the number one product for the skin is petroleum jelly.

Inspiring Blog Award

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, History, Hobby, Life, Movies and Theatre, Photography, Science, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by urbannight

Wonder

Hey, I got nominated this!  WOW.  I never thought of myself as inspiring.  The thanks for this nomination go to storiesbywilliams who has an amazing wealth of knowledge about science and science fiction that just puts me in awe.  The amount of research it must take, with the amount of writing and blogging he does, I don’t know how he finds the time to do things like work, eat, sleep, and generally live.  He always reminds me of things I’ve forgotten and challenges me with things I didn’t know.

Now is the part where I talk about myself.  Ouch.

1. Canon.  To the annoyance of some of my friends, I sometimes get a little too caught  up in the idea of ‘canon’ and get annoyed an non-cannon stuff in films based on books, comics, or older films.  I’m not good at pretending it is an alternate universe. I have no problem with suspension of disbelief until the universe contradicts itself.  Then it all comes crashing down on me.

2. Tea.  I drink a lot of it.  I am, at this moment, sipping on Pumpkin Spice Warm up the Day Tea from The Republic of Tea.

3. Cosplay.  My unit at work wanted to go a group costume idea for the Halloween contest.  But I didn’t care for the idea.  It wasn’t elaborate enough.  Over the past years, I’ve set an expectation of fairly elaborate costumes.  The Fairy Goth Mother, A Kabuki Ghost, Marie Laveau – Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.  I didn’t want to go dressed up as a computer, a headset, a mouse, a new loss form.  So I am doing my own thing.  Either a representation of The Raven or a Death Maiden.

4. Cooking.  I love to cook.  Lately, I haven’t been doing too much of it.  The budget has been tight, so elaborate dishes have gone by the way side for a while.  I really want to post some more cooking blogs, but I’m just not here with it right now.  Maybe after I meet a few other goals I’ll get back into it properly.

5. Temper.  I have one.  It doesn’t come out to play much.  But one morning, a person I actually value ticked me the hell off and I sorta unleashed.  He didn’t like it and deleted and blocked me on Facebook.  I’m a little sad but I admitted I over reacted.  I could admit that but he is the one who decided to take his ball home and not play with me anymore, to use a childhood metaphor.  It will probably take another 10 years to reconnect again.

6. Cats. I have two.  They are almost as anti-social as I am.  But the one likes to lay across my boobs when I’m working on the computer.  This requires me to use both arms to hold him so I can’t get anything done.  He had gotten me killed many times in online games.  Maybe I ought not to have named him Puck?

7. Tarot Cards.  I have a Tarot Card addition.  I love to accumulate them.  There are so many lovely sets out there.  So I stay away from places that sell them when I have no money.  I think I have about 8 sets right  now.  I just love seeing all the different interpretations of the cards that people draw.

Here is the part where I nominate a bunch of other people who inspire me.

1. Fogs’ Movie Reviews. This reviewer is one of my favorite all time movie reviewers.  We have a blend of similar and dissimilar tastes in films.  He reaffirms some of my thoughts on movies while also, occasionally, getting me to give something a try that I had planned on skipping.  Even when we disagree on a film, I can appreciate where he is coming from on his assessment of it.  My movie reviews are nowhere near as detailed and in-depth as his and me makes me realize how I could do so much better an makes me want to improve my style of reviewing.

2. Gin & Lemonade. This lady writes some of my favorite posts about everyday life.  She reminds me that nothing is to big or to small.  It all deserved to be valued and appreciated.  But perhaps the small things need it most of all.  Because the big things are all made of small things and we tend to ignore or brush aside the small things most often.

3. Kloipy Speaks.  This gentleman fluctuates between movies and life, much like I do.  His focus is a bit narrower and he comes across titles that I haven’t seen and really should.  Although I think our taste in horror is a little more divergent than, say my taste in movies when compared to Fogs.

4.  Madame Guillotine‘s amazing quality of research reminded me how much I used to like researching things.  (right after college, I continued to research stuff just for the fun of it.)  The really weird thing is that I want to write fiction and I keep getting really great ideas for non-fiction projects anymore.  She also posts about things she buys or her husband has given her that I drool over; weird and wonderful gothy sorts of things that the average person just doesn’t get or understand.

5. Meanwhile, back at the farm. . . .  This blogger is probably on with whom I have the least in common.  Her photography is wonderful.  Her blogs remind me of home despite the fact she is from the Dakota plains and I am from the mountains of North Idaho.  Her blogs often make me think of my father, who grew up on a farm in South Dakota.  She makes me miss my old camera that broke when it got caught in a door and hate my new camera which was the closest in comparison to my old one but simply fails at taking as good of shots at that one did.  Still, thanks to her, I’ve started carrying it with me at all times, like I used to do.

6. Rantings of an Amateur Chef is my favorite food blogger.  Not only does he post the most amazing things, his food has even gotten me to try food items I normally hate.  Oddly enough, I still hate them, but I keep on trying them.  He is better than a lot of the cooking shows out there.  I’ll take his blog, any day, over the food network.  Well, over anything except Without Reservation.  But that isn’t a cooking show so much and an interesting food and travel program.

7. Sweet Mother has to be the funniest blogger I’ve come across.  She cracks me up.  I appreciate this a lot because I just do not think I can do funny.  And we all really need a good laugh at least once a day.  More is preferable.  And she is guaranteed to produce at least one good laugh, if not more, out of nearly every posting she does.

 

Total Recall Remade

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Movies and Theatre, Science, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2012 by urbannight

I saw this movie the Saturday after opening night. And yes, it took me this long to get around to reviewing it.  It was early in the morning to catch the cheapest showing.  I wasn’t going to pay full price for it.

I do have a few good things to say about the movie.  It looks very good.  It has a feature that I think is quintessential to cyberpunk in my mind.  It is the strange blend of poverty and high-tech.  A blue color worker living in a loft or larger studio apartment, they look like they are not all that well off but the refrigerator is very high-tech.

Of course, I didn’t think the original story was supposed to be cyberpunk.  On the other hand, it is argued that Dick’s writing anticipated a great many of the concepts that became central to the cyberpunk genre and people argue both sides of the argument as to whether he should be counted as a cyberpunk author or not.

To use and argument from one of my history professors, when I tried to argue that England possessed most of the forms of feudalism prior to William the Bastard seizing control of England by conquest.  They were not completely developed, but England was perhaps a few decades away from outright feudalism already.  So is it really fair to say that William brought Feudalism with him?  Her argument is that nascent forms of feudalism didn’t count.  That until all the elements existed, fully developed, then feudalism didn’t exist.  It could be said that Dick’s laid the groundwork that other authors completed and turned into Cyberpunk.

So maybe making this like far more cyberpunkish than the original is a viable vision for the story.  I just don’t remember the original having that feel to it.

I also loved the mag-rail roads to improve traffic capacity by layering upwards and the ability to travel on the topside and bottom sides of roads.  Much better than the flying cars of Fifth Element.

I was surprised by how well Jessica Biel was in this film.  I was a bit leery about the casting, but they all pulled it off and did a good job.

I also like the fact that the fake wife assigned to keep an eye on him had a greater roll in this film.  In the first film, there were two characters chasing after Quaid in most of the film.  They were combined into the one roll and I think it worked really well.

One you get past that, you start into the area of problems…….

The show takes place on Earth after some major event makes most of the planet uninhabitable.  But don’t blink, if you do, you will miss it.  Only one or two sentences on the screen and it is very poorly explained.

The blue-collar workers and lower socio-economic strata of society lives on what is left of Australia, now called The Colony.  Normally, if a disaster occurs, and few people survive, only in two parts of the world, those populations should resemble the population at the time of the disaster.  Yet Australia has become a very Asian society, with junks navigation former streets in some area.  It looks a bit like the heavy Asian influence that tends to dominate cyberpunk.

White Collar workers, the wealthy, and politicians live in Great Britain.  Some key factories are in Great Britain.  Like the factory making the automated police force.  But they are running out of space to put people.

The workers for the above mentioned factory travel via a high-speed elevator that travels THROUGH the earth and reached Great Britain in 15 minutes.  If it was really going that fast, they would have more than just the change in up/down orientation half way through.  They would have to be experiencing some g forces that was not depicted in the film.

Not to mention the fact that, while the film indicates they are not going through the center of the Earth, they would have been going through magma.  I didn’t see any indication that they had come up with materials to make a permanent shaft for the elevator in those conditions.

Several attempts to pay homage to the original were included, such as a woman going through the checkpoint that looked remarkably like the ‘woman’ from the first film.  That was kinda cute.  Because hush of anticipation came over the theater and the expected outcome did not happen.

The other item was the three breasted hooker.  That one was awkward and didn’t make sense.  Part of her function in the first movie is an example of the genetic mutations caused by lax radiation shielding in the poor zones.  This was not a feature written into the remake.  So there really wasn’t purpose or relevance to it and the result was that it felt out-of-place.

There were several other minor things wrong with it and I can’t talk about some of the items near the end of the film without giving spoilers.

Leave it to say, a lot of the character development was terribly weak because they decided to give the time over to action scenes instead.  I love a good action film and can enjoy one with a weak story.  (Battleship ship for example) But I know this story can be much stronger so it was a bit of a let down.  A visually appealing but weak remake is really not much of a movie.

The original is a story of power and control.  He who controls the air control the planet.  This is not the plot of the remake and the plot, which I can’t explain without spoilers, comes across as pathetic in comparison.

On the whole, watching it for a giggle to compare to the original is fun.  But don’t pay full price.

The Dream of Warp Drive and Interstellar Travel

Posted in Movies and Theatre, Science, Technology, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by urbannight

Warp Drive is a thing we thought was fantastical, a science fiction contrivance beyond the realm of possibility.  How would one even begin to warp space-time anyway?  Setting aside the ‘time’ aspect of it, would it be possible to warp space?  To warp sometime means it has to be physical and space is a whole lot of empty with bits of matter floating about it in. 

Turns out, back in 1994, a physicist by the name of Miguel Alcubierre actually came up with calculations that would do just that.  The problem was that it the required energy use to make it happens was so huge as to make it essentially impossible on the grounds that we couldn’t create the power to do it.

Not impossible.  Just improbable.   That alone should blow your mind.  That in 1994 the math alone showed it could be possible.  Wow.

18 years later and more advances in science and scientific thought bring us to a new place and people are taking a look at this again.  Because tweaking this idea is making it more possible. 

Originally, the ship would be shaped like a football with a large ring around it.  This ring would warp space-time around the ship while leaving the ship itself inside a bubble of non-warped space-time. 

The article doesn’t say, but because this is a ‘ring’ around the ship, I imaging it will be spinning and turning in some fashion to create this phenomenon. 

To reduce the energy usage, they altered the ring shape from a flat ring to a round donut.  I’m guessing that simply means the mathematical formula would not account for a round ring rather than a flat ring, as there is no actually item yet to be altered.

Alcubierre’s formula would require energy that was equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.  The new formula could now be powered by a mass comparable in size to the Voyager 1 probe.  If the intensity of the space warps could be ‘oscillated over time’ it would further reduce the energy requirements. 

To get the idea of what oscillation might look like, find that 1940’s video of the Tacoma Bridge coming down.  I hope that is the right one.  It’s a video I’ve not seen for 6 or 7 years. 

I find the fact that they used Voyager 1 as a comparison to illustrate this very fitting.  I’m sure I am not the only one. 

((So V’Ger was actually 6 instead of 1, but the concept creates a feeling of ideas coming full circle.  Not related to anything in the article that I’m paraphrasing, back in the early 1990’s and pre-blogging days, I wrote an essay on the connections between V’Ger, the mechanical race, V’Ger’s Ilia-avatar (Ilia was a ‘Deltan’), and the Borg.   I should rewrite that.  The original article is probably where ever old computer discs went to die.))

To think that something that was so prohibitive that is was impractical to the point of impossibility has become possible and worth doing more studies on to see if it might actually work. 

The only flaw in the plan now is that the ring would likely have to be made out of ‘exotic’ matter.  Exotic matter tends to be hypothetical.  It is either known matter that is somehow altered to have properties that it didn’t have before or matter not of this planet and not identified as of yet.  It could also be known matter that is in a different state than we know about at this time but is within the realm of possibility using current physics or it could be matter that is known but so poorly understood that it might was well be from another planet.

Thrusting the entire concept right back into the realm of science fiction rather than science fact. It’s worth keeping half an eye on it, in case it pops into the realm of possibility again.  Maybe the next alteration could come in less than the 18 years it took for the last one.  But I’m not going to hold my breath.

 

Most of this was taken from this article.