Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Talented Fans of Doctor Who, Part 3

Another one of the creative endeavors mentioned in the Doctor Who special about their world tour to celebrate Peter Capaldi's premier as the Doctor is The Doctor Who Fan Orchestra. A collaboration via the internet of fans from many countries, it is a joy to watch as well as listen to. Here is their 50th Anniversary suite. Cross posted at The Moderate Voice

The Talented Fans of Doctor Who, Part 2

Another amazing piece of work done by a fan went viral and was so good that the producers of Doctor Who actually decided to use it for the titles of the show. This article on The AV Club goes into detail concerning how Billy Hanshaw created it and how it became the actual title sequence for the show. Cross posted at The Moderate Voice

The Talented Fans of Doctor Who, Part 1

The new Doctor has arrived with much fanfare, including several specials to accompany his arrival. One of the subjects discussed, though not the main thrust of the special, is the creativeness of some of the dedicated fans of the show. This trailer for the Peter Capaldi Doctor created by a fan was one of the examples and it's an amazing piece of work. Cross posted at The Moderate Voice

Friday, August 22, 2014

This is Not the Jobs Program You Are Looking For

Or at least it isn't the one you should be looking for if you want something with waste approaching a rationally low level of waste. After all, no project undertaken by humans will be perfect. But using massive "defense" projects as job projects is more wasteful than usual. But there's wasteful and then there's two of the most disgraceful excuses for defense programs in existence that have, so far as I can tell, continue to exist and grow solely because of jobs. First up, that favorite that has received tons of bad press, the F-35. It has been featured on 60 Minutes in a relative puff piece, slammed as not really being stealthy in The Daily Beast, had its multiple software glitches pointed out in the IEEE Spectrum (The newsletter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.), and most directly for what I'm pointing out in this post, the Washington post has a column pointing out that the entire problem riddled program shows the complete hypocrisy of anyone who claims to be worried about the deficit even as they push for this program to continue. As pointed out in the Plum Line column:
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to extend American air superiority deep into the 21st century. The F-35 was designed to evade not just enemy fighters, but political accountability as well. Its subcontracts were spread out over 1,300 separate companies in 45 states, ensuring that members of Congress from throughout the land have an interest in keeping the project going. It’s an incredibly poor way to create jobs (depending on how you count, a single job supported by the F-35 costs the taxpayer as much as $8 million). We’ll spend around $400 billion to build the planes — nearly twice what the program was supposed to cost when it began. When this happens, nobody gets punished or held “accountable.” We just keep shoveling taxpayer money into the Lockheed coffers. And that doesn’t count the cost of repairing and maintaining the planes, which could push the cost past $1 trillion over time.
Then comes this gem courtesy of iO9. Something about the idea of spending billions to roll out a missile defense system whose functionality is still highly questionable is a pretty big waste of money as well. Even an L.A. Times article pointing out the success of a test in June included this confidence building section.
Sunday's test carried high stakes for the system, called GMD, which was declared operational a decade ago and has so far cost about $40 billion. A failure could have sharpened skepticism among members of Congress about the missile shield's reliability and cost. Before Sunday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency had conducted 16 tests of the system's ability to intercept and destroy a target. Eight had ended in failure. Sunday's outcome may ease doubts but is unlikely to dispel them entirely. The test, like all previous ones, was carefully staged: Specialists operating the system knew the target's precise dimensions, expected trajectory, speed and time of launch — information they would not have in combat conditions.
Now, as a science fiction fan, techie and all around lover of cool technological toys I have nothing against amazing defense technology. When it works and when it can actually be deployed at a cost somewhere in the same solar system as the original estimate. But when utter garbage like these projects and the many others that have been foisted off onto the American public over the last few decades in the name not only of defending the country but in the name of jobs that have carefully been distributed to key congressional districts then I don't like them even a little bit. I cannot help but wonder how many bridges, roads, sewer systems, water systems and other vital parts of our national infrastructure could be repaired with that wasted money. There are a lot of things that need to be done in this country and programs that produce far too few jobs for far too much money hurt us, they don't help us. Cross posted at The Moderate Voice

Friday, June 6, 2014

Proof is Always Good to Find

For years I've read how the best explanation of the origin of the Earth/Moon system is that early in the Earth's existence it was struck by another planet and the Moon was formed from part of the Earth and the other planet, which was named Theia. Now further analysis of rocks from the Moon provide proof of that theory. The people who originally developed the models of that idea of the origins of the Moon have got to be happy about this discovery. No matter how good the models explain something I would imagine the discovery of physical proof to back them up is very satisfying.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Escher Girls Asks Us to Think About the Art

Escher Girls describes itself thusly:

This is a blog to archive and showcase the prevalence of certain ways women are depicted in illustrated pop media, specifically how women are posed, drawn, distorted and/or sexualized out of context, often in ridiculous, impossible or disturbing ways that sacrifice storytelling.

Definitely worth checking out and thinking about.

Obsidian Wings: When Tigers step on tigers

Clueless is as clueless does. I do believe it is utter cluelessness. I sincerely doubt that either Cruz, Lee or the majority of their staffs have any clue as to any environmental issue beyond the "fact" that environmental regulation is a bad thing that cripples the economy.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A New Supernova That Doesn't Fit Is Seen

The latest supernova to be observed with modern instruments doesn't quite fit with earlier theories. But that makes it like the last supernova astronomers were able to observe. While the differences these two supernovae seem to have from earlier observations and theories might cause astrophysicists to come up with new ideas on the processes taking place so far it doesn't seem that they will cause any changes in the usefulness of Type 1A supernovae in determining large distances in our observations of the universe.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reboot Land

Seeing this article on the return of Heroes as the mini-series Heroes Reborn with its mention of other shows the writer would like to see given the same treatment reminded me of wondering if The Time Tunnel could be remade as something enjoyable. I loved that show as a kid. Really can't watch it now.