29 August 2008

NatGeo talks Plastics

National Geographic has a Green Guide, perfect for good eco-loving living.

It featured a Q&A about Plastics which was quite useful.

I always did wonder about storing bottled water in fridge. Turns out #1 might be a better choice than #3 but it is prone to bacterial contamination. The word diarrhea came up once or twice.

And even I was curious about nuking vegetables in plastic bags in the microwave. Apparently, fast as a road runner but not so good for health.

Read all about it here

Diablo 3: Sing for me, Barbie

Little bit of Diablo 3 news.

had a brief chat with lead designer Jay Wilson at the Leipzig Games Convention. And there was a teeny tiny revelation - only good old Barbarian will be showing his brute mug shot in the third installment. No Necro or any of the other classes.

I wonder if they will introduce something completely new OR just doll up some of the existing ones. Patience!

Check out their site for the pics by the way. I think WitchDoc looks awesome, in a Rafiki gone crazy sort of way.

Kotaku via bit-tech

Watch Legend of Neil

I gotta admit I love Watch the Guild; count me in, I am a fan. And now, I've come across another web-series through the same site.

It's called Legend of Neil and it's hilarious.

Those of you who love games and just can't gt enough of singing "Link, he come to town" in a Deckard Cainish voice, will love the references to the legendary game.

Must admit I loved WTG more than this, but that was also because there are certain bits of gross humor that brings out the wimp in me i.e. throwing up bit kind of unhinged me (that's just me, am sure others will be less wussy). Rolling down the cliff and spurting blood was kinda fun though.

Nonetheless, I have watched all episodes of Legend of Neil and am eagerly awaiting the big boss ep on Sept. 4th.

28 August 2008

More downloads of Stargate Atlantis?

I'm not sure how important this bit of news is ... in the greator scheme of things, how it will affect the show, etc. etc.

SyFy Portal notes that since the announcement of the untimely death of the Stargate Atlantis series, Bit Torrent downloads for the show have seen a significant increase.

One the one hand, that is quite sad because the best way to support the show is to buy the original dvds. However, I wonder if this could be beneficial to the show; could an increased interest help bring back the show?

We all have our moments of wishful thinking.

Lost Season 5 Spoiler: All about Anna

Entertainment Weekly has a sneak peek into the upcoming Lost season. Just a tad though.

According to EW, gun-toting Ana Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) will be back ... for one episode.

Maybe it was not for a longer period and she might not be a major part of the plot, it is interesting to find out her contribution to the plot.

As it is, I think Micheal is not really dead; that angry interview by Harold Perrineau just might have been a ploy to stop us from guessing the story.

27 August 2008

Toilet Flushing Myths

Whilst reading about the Mythbusters and their latest debunking activities, I came across Bad Astronomy by Dr Phil Plait, a website dedicated to clearing up common misconceptions about science.

What I like about site: It is not at all sensationalist; written in an academic writing style; the topics covered in his site makes you think and before you know it, you end up researching a little bit more on your own.

For instance, read the section on Bad Coriolis. Albeit he links to another site but he did bring up the topic as a commonly misunderstood notion.

What is it about? Well, apparently, even though the Earth's rotation does influence the movement of large bodies of water and (dollops of air?), it has minimal influence on smaller bodies of water. Read the site for full explanation.

Eh? Means that the Earth doesn't really have that big a pull on water you flush down potty - i.e toilet flushing clockwise and counterclockwise in different hemispheres is a bit of a fairy tale.

I feel so cheated; my geography teacher told me this as well! Right now, there are 20 odd survivors from my Geo class who are spreading the bad word. At least you hope they are talking about something useful and not doing crack in an alleyway.

Mythbusters tackle moon landing hoax

Tis a pity that we in Netherlands only get older seasons of Mythbusters. I am not a huge fan of the show but I would be curious to watch the upcoming episode about the Moon Landing.

Turns out, the good folk have been studying the more prevalent theories about the moon landing being a hoax and they are going to test them out.

Like I said, I am curious.

On a related topic, Dr Phil Plait, who also runs the website Bad Astronomy, is collaborating with them on this venture. More about his website on this other blog post.

Well, check out the Moon Landing episode today (Aug 27) on Discovery Channel 9.00 pm ET/PT.

26 August 2008

Asus has scented laptops

Asus is working on scented laptops ... I am not sure if this is a practical joke. Like those terrible scratch and sniff nonsense.

According the official Asus press release there will be a new brand of Asus laptops, going where no laptop has gone before - up the nose!

Apparently the four scents available are Floral Blossom, Musky Black, Morning Dew and Aqua Ocean.

You gotta love the way the computer industry appeals to gender roles - guess who the freakishly pink Floral Blossom is targeted at?

I must admit, I like the motifs for Aqua Ocean and Morning Dew.

Link via Tech-Ex

Campaigners spend lunch break on wikipages?

Why are people so snobby about Wikipedia when some of them take pains to edit its contents? I am not saying that the same folk who edit the Wiki pages are the ones looking down on the pages. But I would love to see where the two circles merge.

Story goes - Staffs for US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama caught making questionable edits to Wikipedia

Other than stating outright that some people must have pretty empty lives to put up petty comments, I must add that it is quite interesting to see authority figures trying hard to embrace new media ... and failing quite horribly.

Hooray for WikiScanner.

25 August 2008

Network boss talks down to fans

This has happened one too many times. Farscape, Firefly, Invasion (dammit, I liked it), Stargate SG-1 ... sigh, the list goes on. The latest death on telly is Stargate Atlantis. It will be mourned for a long long time.

What annoyed me to spaghetti heavens was this pompous interview by the network president called Dave Howe.

Check out his comments.
“It's kind of hard to cancel one, but it's good news to announce a new one,” (Is he assuming everything with the same name is the same quality? This seems to be the thinking behind every remake Hollywood regurgitates.)

But people need to mourn for a while and come to terms with it. I don't anticipate that that will subside quickly. But once Universe is on air and they have kind of their next fix of the Stargate franchise, I think hopefully people will realize that it's in safe hands at Sci Fi, that we really value this franchise and it's in our interest and the fans' interest to let us continue the story and figure out how to retell it for a new audience every few years.

There is so much wrong with that remark ... grr!

First, is 'come to terms' a backhanded way of saying 'Fellow fans who send me mail, who cares what you think, just deal with it'?? I mean seriously!

'Next fix of Stargate Franchise' ... it is quite insulting to fans to blatantly assume that anything with the same name will be watched mindlessly like the terribly mind-numbing dribble that is reality telly. Loyal fans will scrutnize it, judge it, tear ir to pieces. They will analyze the characters, the dialogue, see if personalities have depth, the science jargon actually makes sense ... sigh. The SGA audience is an intelligent, thinking crowd. Don't insult them by candidly stating that they are zombies who have nothing better to do than watch telly.

Sadly, this is the last nail in the coffin, that part of my brain that watchs telly watching for scifi stuff is gonna be buried and gone; someone will sing a song from highlander just for this occasion.

No more subscribing through cable for SciFi channel. To be fair, we just moved to a new country and have just been waiting to include Scifi channel in our list. Well, so much for that.

I'll buy the dvd sets, the made for dvd movies. And of course, save up for special editions of each season.

But if I am going to pay for all that, all done up with special features and interviews and sans the crappy ads, why should I pay for Scfi channel or other such cable tv? Could save up the bucks on that; after all, all my favroite shows have been cancelled and if somethign good comes along, it probably will continue to be.

Ye, you know where I am headed. Count me out, I am not oggling at Stargate Universe. Find your new audience you can retell or dumb down a story for.

If you will excuse me, I will go look for a few bucks to watch Dr Horrible online. *pfft* A.k.a. quality without the spam.

22 August 2008

Stargate Atlantis has been cancelled

How is this for terrible terrible news? According to PinkRayGun, Stargate Atlantis has been canceled! This despite the fact that the show was going strong, had a fantastic fan following ... all the hopes of everyone on the show, let alone the fans ...

I hope this is not an attempt by the network to 'reap' in more money using the 'straight to DVD' model. It is not fair for all the people involved in the show to have to go through that.

Oh and for those of you who would like to hear about it from the source, read the Gateworld statement here which includes quotes from producers.

Atlantis need to go the Dr Horrible route. Or find a way to cut the middleman out.

Perfectly good shows have to wow the networks and keep convincing them not to cancel.

I can see why Joss Whedon decided to be a pioneer and become the main controlling factor for his creative material (Dr Horrible).

21 August 2008

Lost Season 5 - New Cast

I came across a Lost Spoiler for Season 4. Don't know if it's the real deal but seems valid enough.

In other Lost news, The Ausiello Files have a little bit of info on new cast members for the upcoming season.

There is speculation that it might be Dr Marvin Candle's wife. There is also an interesting revelation about this real name (probably refering back to Comic Con 2008).

19 August 2008

Watch the Guild, watch it now

I came across this absolutely fantastic webseries through PinkRayGun (another fabulous site). It's called Watch the Guild. It's creative, it's funny, it's edgy ... I can't say enough about it.

I am going buy their dvd, as soon as I get paid. Woohoo!

18 August 2008

David Nykl has a blog?!!

Okay I can spend the whole day reading this blog - David Nykl's blog. Nice!

Gateworld had an interview with Nykl, the man who plays Zelenka, one of the scientific genius in Pegasus galaxy and of course, a balancing force for the quirky McKay ego. I also feed bad joking about McKay; he's one of my favorites but I recently found that some folk don't really understand his character.

Dude, it's the science and humane element that makes Stargate Atlantis stand out. A military cover-up can only be cute for so long (*sniff* I'm still a die-hard Hammond fan though).

Anyway, that site led me to his blog which was many happy hours reading and reading ... *adds blog to feeds*

15 August 2008

Video kills the radio star and all good things must come to an end

Oh dear. This is one of those moments when you know a cult classic is going to die an indignified death.

* On a side note, I thoroughly support the vigorous protests by Rocky Horror creator, O'Brien. At least you are not a sell-out, mate.

MTV wants to make a remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show
! I don't even know where to begin ranting about this awful development.

Why must you take something sacred and ruin it?

MTV and Rocky Horror are located on opposite ends of the social spectrum ... MTV is the mass manufactured, conformist drone type rubbish that only the easily distracted and thoroughly confused will support. Rocky Horror Picture Show is the rebellious, gritty show that broke all norms and questions all social trends. Tim Curry in fish-net stockings and Meatloaf killed by a cleaver.

First the death of Star Wars and now this ... tis not our world anymore.

Partial eclipse of the popularly known moon

I completely forgot about the solar eclipse a few days (weeks?) back so am hoping to keep track of this one.

There will be a partial lunar eclipse on Saturday (16/8) so don't stay in all night watching Lost or playing D&D.

Well it starts at 1823 GMT. Read the full article for all the lunar details.

14 August 2008

Interview with Jewel Staite

Another interview with an Atlantis cast member! This time it is with the new doc in town, Jewel Staite.

In a fun little chat with NZ Herald she talks a little bit about upcoming spoilers for Season 5 of Atlantis and her character, Dr Kelly.

Well, I don't know if it counts as a spoiler though; by now we all know that there is a love triangle of sorts between Dr Kelly, Ronon and McKay. What would be funny is a two-parter duel between Ronon and Mckay; phase one involves fighting with sticks and spears and phase two is a race against time to dismantle an explosive.

Extract from interview:
"Actually, the first time I was on Stargate: Atlantis was not as Dr Keller," says Staite, 26. Hidden under extensive prosthetic makeup in the season two episode Instinct, she played a Wraith child called Ellia "a Wraith with a heart of gold! She was raised by humans and all she wanted was to be loved and accepted."

Diablo 3 art director quits

What's going on with Diablo 3?

First, there is a great uproar about the so-called colorful graphics by some disgruntled, angry fans out there (seriously, folks! Diablo 2 was quite sunny and happy clappy).

Then there was the petition of doom and gloom, basically stating that fans who pay the game are better judges of the intricacies involved in game development. Yeaaaaaa, right! Don't use the flipping filter on Photoshop, make your own little game and show 'em how it is done. I know it is a bit harsh, but think of it this way; whilst I may not personally agree with the content of certain stories or artwork, I will respect it as the creative vision of the geniuses behind the work. Their masterpiece, their creative license, their say.

Coming back to our story of the day, it seems that Brian Morrisroe, who is the art diretor for Diablo 3, has quit!

Sigh! It would be quite upsetting if he did leave due to that unfortunate and misguided petition. On a side note: majority rule is not might, as can be seen from the infamous Mirror cover - 60,000 people made a questionable decision and it don't make it right.

Diablo 3 has become of those weird ironies. Thousands hate it because they conceive the artwork to be similar to WOW which they deem a mass appealish, mass manufactured graphic work. And yet, their idea of 'fixing it' it to use their might in numbers to influence the art direction to something that is deemed 'more accurate'.

Seriously, shouldn't art be left to the artists behind the work? Let it stop there and no further!

13 August 2008

Does Nando's know?

I may not be the world's biggest chilli fan but I do love scientific information about food. And so, this interesting titbit about chilli and how these little guys get their groove was quite an eyeopener. *sigh* Okay you can stop the yammering, I admit that was a really cheesy beginning.

Anyway, National Geographic has an article about the secret to a hot chilli - fungus!
Chilis high in chemicals called capsaicinoids occur most in areas where the fungus can enter the peppers through holes bored by insects, and these chilies are hotter, said study author Joshua Tewksbury, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Makes sense, doesn't it? It also explains the old wives tales (in this case maybe not) about chilli clearing up your tummy.

Interview with Robert Picardo

I came across this awesome interview of Robert Picardo; good times as Stargate Atlantis Commander.

It's not so much a spoiler as insight into his thoughts as the new commander, comparisons between Stargate and Star Trek and of course, rapport between him and other cast members.

And... his uniform is snazzy! “It’s kind of like a jogging suit. I do feel like I should break out into a run down the hallway, but I do like it. And it also has some slight leisure suit tendencies, too. I feel a little bit like an escapee from a late Seventies, early Eighties movie,” Picardo said. “But I look okay in it. I’m...it’s very good to have a trim butt in science fiction. I’ll leave it at that.”

AcedMag via Link

12 August 2008

Lost season 5: Possible spoilers?

My google alert dropped this interesting bit of info into my mailbox. Apparently ABC has released promo pics of cast members and this has spurred a new wave of guessing games.

As a matter of fact, Remote Access sort of ponders whether Micheal (Harrold Perrineau) really died. Sure, there was the blast and he had that angry interview about race and staying power on the show ... but what if that was part of the plot? In the greater scheme of all things Lost, what if this was a ploy to deceive us?

Where all the pictures are concerned, I find it interesting that, despite looking all city slickerish and clean, the background is simply a depiction of an ocean horizon.

And why is Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) looking sad? He finally got Penny so he must be the most jovial of them all. What are we missing?

Correct me if I am wrong, but haven't we seen these characters in these outfits before on Season 4, possibly in the flash forwards? I have this nagging suspicion that we have. For instance, isn't that what Kate wore to the trial? And wasn't Hurley wearing the outfit when driving the car like crazy?

11 August 2008

Which mummy was Tut's Mommy?

This is exciting.

Egypt is to carry out DNA tests on the mummified remains of two foetuses found in the tomb of Tutankhamun to determine if they were the children of the boy king, antiquities authorities said on Thursday.

Apparently the experts are also trying to find out who Tutankhamun's parents were; I guess everyone, at least in the archeology field, wants to finally finally find out if the boy-king's mom was none other than Nefertiti.

On that note, the article does state that experts have this high hope of pinpointing the mummy of queen Nefertiti using these results.

Tutankhamun must be one of the most famous pharoahs of Egypt. Much as I would like to say it was because he was a boy-king and was the last pharoah, it was possibly due to the infamous controversy about the curse.

Remember the tomb being opened, people falling sick and only one surviving and something along those line? The stuff that cheesy movies are made of. So many movies and books revolve around this tale that it is safe to assume it has followed the route of distorted phone lines(?). You know what I mean; people embellish and age old story until the squirrel in the story is now described as a fire breathing dragon?

Or call it the Pocohantas syndrome.

Before I finish, I want to provide the link for the 2005 reconstruction of King Tut's face. This in itself was embroiled in controversy, given the age old misbelief that someone of darker skin could not possibly *sarcasm* done anything groundbreaking in world history.

07 August 2008

Google releases Google Insights

Recon Thr is here again. The more I use the term, the worse it sounds.

Anyway, I came across Google Insights, the new Google featured aimed at advertisers.

Funnily enough, I wonder if this tool has the potential to be a new keyword search tool?

I've been playing around with it and so far, it seems quite informative as a keyword helper.

The features include time frame for a search; refining it regionally and keywords used to search the topic. By the way, do note that I set the filter to 'All Categories' for all my searches.
My Searches
Czechs love Gate Travel

I figured I would search for one of my favorite series, Stargate Atlantis; how many searches for this series in the past 30 days?

This was fun. Is it me, or are there a lot of die-hard Atlantis fans in the Czech Republic? And Canada is fourth on the list! No surprise there, but since there is a strong connection between Canada and SG series, I would have expected it to be first on the list.

Damn! If you change the time frame to 2004 - present, you still get Czech Republic as the one on the top of the list. Well, way to go guys. It's a fans all over the world who keep a series afloat.

USA is not on the top of either of the lists! Strange ... does that mean, SG franchise is not as popular there?
Americans love the evil Dr Horrible

Alright. So what if I searched for Dr Horrible? This is a bone of contention since it is apparently only viewable by US residents ( throw fans out of the loop, will you, evil laugh). And this after I wrote this flattering account of how it was nice of them to leave it open for all. Sigh.

Well, from 2004 - present, it seems people based in US, Canada, Australia and UK seem to dominate the search for a young man's adventure into the world of evil. (What? Only 14 for Netherlands!!). Ditto if I changed the filter, restricting it to the last 30 days.

On a related topic, if you look at the keywords, apparently a lot of folk out there were looking for Dr Horrible on Youtube. Maybe these were the people outside the regionally defined Dr horrible streaming video? Or just folks who didn't know you could still watch it on hulu?

Jericho's biggest fans
Holy moly! When I look for search results for Jericho for the last 30 days, I get an interesting report. Guess who was top of the list? Phillipines!! Followed by Netherlands!

Okay I am going to make lee way for the fact that a lot of the countries are finally getting to watch the show (and others) on cable. Also the fact that some of the keywords reveal the searches refer to inquiries about WWE guys.

Now, if I changed term to be "
jericho 2" it looks like only people in US have been crazy about nuke drama. However, if the time filter was 2004 - present, it seems like Norwegians are really into season 2 of Jericho right now. South Africa is 5th on the list! I attribute this to cable.

Interplanertary Explorations

Guess what pops up when you look for "mars water". Well apparently NZ is top of the list, US is fourth with South Africa just below them. Interesting.

How about "Nasa shuttle"? US tops the list with NZ right behind them. Aussies come next.

By the way, in case someone was going pipe up, both searches were set for 2004 - present time frame.

"Microsoft" - India, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago and Sri Lanka.

- India, Cuba, Russian Federation and Bangladesh.

"Firefox 3" - Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Russian Federation.

I'm going to continue to play around with this, see what I find. I understand that my preliminary searches, just randomly typing in keywords does not utilise the tool to its maximum potential. But once I get the hang of this and find out more, I will post more updates. For now, it was definitely fun app to play around with and use in everyday queries.

06 August 2008

Science: slowly becoming a lost cause

I finally got around to reading "Dumbing Down of Science" by Karen Heller. I recommend this article to all those who lament the current social apathy towards science, maths and learning in general.

Her point is that an institute like the Franklin has transformed from an educational outlet to a movie-style bonanza.


Frequently, the Franklin seems as scared of learning as it does of science. Lopping off the "Institute" is an indication. What I watched was kids dashing madly, going from one pit stop to the other, without absorbing much. There was so much insistent fun (!) and no, this-isn't-really-science stuff that the place is transformed into just another consumer palace.
I agree with the writer and I think the glamorization of science, in most undesirable tones, is also evident from numerous science shows on the telly.

Have you noticed how a traditionally academic science show now looks like the next box-office thriller? Every time you introduce an additional helper, the camera will resort to the Matrix style dizzing spiral around the character, before zooming in for a close up? How nature programs are all about mating rituals or gory killings? A highly ranked science show is now all about explosions and blowing up everything you can get your hands on?

Whatever happened to the monotonous narration by a somber looking presenter as we sat down in front of the telly, simply because we were sincerely curious about photosynthesis or as to why the earth has two moons?

It's all about ratings and mass appeal now.

05 August 2008

Brian May finishes thesis

I absolutely had to mention this, being a huge Queen fan myself.

Queen's awesome guitarist, Brian May "
has completed his doctoral thesis in astrophysics".


Brian May's thesis examines the mysterious phenomenon known as Zodiacal light, a misty diffuse cone of light that appears in the western sky after sunset and in the eastern sky before sunrise.

I wonder why people are surprised; I sincerely believe a lot of old school rockers were smarter than the modern musicians. After all, their songs had substance as well as containing some fabulous guitar solos.


Live Science

Ayn Rand will turn livid at this take

Interesting bit of linguistic news ... A NYTimes take on why people capialize the 'I' pronoun.

Well, worth the read, folks.

Extract from article:

So what effect has capitalizing “I” but not “you” — or any other pronoun — had on English speakers? It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot.

01 August 2008

Irish wonders; prehistoric land?

This was utterly fascinating.

Off the northern coast of cosy Ireland, researchers have found a prehistoric bit of land - lakes, seas and cliffs and all.

Apparently, some of the geographical terrain is so well defined that researchers are now wondering why erosion has done any of the typical abrasion disfiguring moves.

Here's what grabbed my eye:

Could it mean that some cataclysmic event took place that allowed the sea to overwhelm the land before erosion could begin?

Hear that Jakers? Something interesting to ponder.

If you would like to read a little bit more about the research, check out this link. In an article featured in the Belfast Telegraph, a few more details about underwater expeditions and scientific explorations are mentioned. Some of them are not related to the scan in question but quite interesting to the curious mind, nonetheless.

Extract about prehistoric land:

The scan has revealed one sandbank which hadn't been known before, as well as a major discovery in Rathlin where the huge sheer cliffs plummet to around 200 metres below sea level.

Joss Whedon interview; Dr Horrible can be lovable new idea

I found a Joss Whedon interview on THR; a little insight into making of Dr Horrible (why he made it the way he did), upcoming Dollhouse and of course, Buffy comics.

About online streaming as a new business model:

None of us is going to become a billionaire from doing this but yes, I think it's very tricky and most people will tell you it can't be done. I was prepared to lose every cent that I put into this. I did this because, well, I got to make a musical first and foremost, but because we do need new business models for the creative community as residuals are going to become a thing of the past. "Dr. Horrible" should turn a profit and just enough to continue at that level.

I'm glad he is introducing the idea. I don't think enough people (producers, bigwigs with money, guy who fixes the power cables and some of your own family members) understand the power of new media and how it is changing the way we do things. You can work online for a boss who is in another country; newspapers are a bit old school since all news can be accessed online; who cares about cable tv since I would rather watch the boxset I bought from amazon anyway ... and so on and so forth.

I've been telling quite a few people about using 'new media' as a way of promoting their band or artwork or even writing. But everyone is skeptical despite the very real possibility of success. Sadly, they would rather send a print portfolio or CD to a disgruntled secretary in some office than create an online portfolio and perhaps create a new wave in DeviantArt.

So be it then. Kudos to Joss Whedon for contributing to the trend. I am definitely buying that DVD.

On a sidenote, when people talk about audiences in new media, do note that they refer to people all over world and not just the ones with internet access on US shores. Yes, the 'Third World' has net access and they know how to use it. Ask the IT company who they outsource their work to. Told you.