Bad Universe Episode 2 Review

October 7, 2010

This is my first review of the science show Bad Universe. I missed the pilot, so I am reviewing episode 2. That is too bad because the first episode was about asteroid impact, which I think is cooler and has a much better ground in reality than tonight’s episode: Alien Attack. Here is a teaser, which the host of the show himself, which the badastronomer Phil Plait was generous to post on his own blog:

So, the first thing I want to comment on is the host Phil Plait. And just as I expected, he was awesome. The explanations were simple, as expected, but the delivery of them is really good, with neat graphics and visuals backing them up. Also, he injects a nice amount of humor. I thought the random cutout to the steak scene was quiet funny while explaining that most living things on Earth uses sunpower. Mostly, though, I think it is his personality and enthusiasm which makes the show enjoyable to watch.

Today’s episode was kind of cheesy, especially the initial invasion scene. That’s okay, though. The theme of the episode was alien attacks. I really liked the flying saucers lasers destroying things scene, which were very reminsicent of Independence Day. The robot, though, was very lame, with its very crummy design. By the way, since this is my first time watching the show, I would like to compliment the comic book style presentation. It is very unique, and I especially love it when they cartoonize the various people Phil Plait is meeting with. Also, the comic book style presentation was really effective when it came to presenting the infectious bacteria from outer space. A live action shot would have probably shown some boring blur of bodies covered with sheets, or other sorts of boring stock footages that these kind of shows like to bring up. And while some of the annoying repetition, like the freaking alien footages, was here in this show, I think that the show’s presentational style kind of balanced it.

As an example of the comic book style presentation, look at the intro of the latter half of this clip:

The science itself was mostly good. The show was mostly devoted to answering the probability that alien life could come on our planet. So naturally, the first thing that was presented was the Drake equation, which estimates the probability intelligent life might exist in the galaxy. I thought it had a really neat presentation. It was basically a walkthrough of each variable along with the snazzy graphic showing the letters in a floating 3d look. At the end, he explained that it was all a guess, which I am glad he did. Although I don’t think he should have stuck with 20. Maybe he should have mentioned a range because what the viewers could take from that is that the number is a fact.

Afterwards, Phil showed what it would take for aliens to travel the vast interstellar distances. Basically, one would have to accelerate so much for so long that one would probably throw up one’s stomach out after the first few days in the trip, as Phil’s nauseated look showed after having endured over 4g’s of force in the jet plane. Although this brings up a question. Can’t they just accelerate in spurt? Since space is pure vacumn, there is no air friction that slows it down. So according to Newton’s first law, once you speed up, you just keep going and going. Of course, then the spacecraft would have to slow down, and as you see, the whole enterprise sounds like a mess. Unfortunately, the show didn’t mention the ultimate obstacle of space faring aliens: the speed of light, the speed at which no matter shall travel. At a certain point, no matter how much energy you dump into the ship, it would only get closer to the speed of light, never get there. But then, it is a 45 minute show, and there is only so many things you can put in there, so all is forgiven. 🙂

My two favorite segments came afterwards. The first one was an experiment trying to show whether e. colis could survive an impact if they came riding on an asteroid into Earth. They did it by putting a solution of bacterias inside a metal ball and shooting it in a long air gun towards a pile of sand. The poor blobs didn’t make it, unfortunately. So, the ruling of alien bacterias arriving on Earth is almost nil. While a lot of bacteria can survive space and radiation, whether they can survive being sent into space after an impact in another planet, and then surviving the crash on Earth is a whole another story. The other cool part was the cave exploration. They were making the point that life doesn’t have to be like the way we know it, so an extreme planet could support life. They made their point by citing extremophiles, which are bacterias that survive extreme conditions. In the cave, there were no sunlight, yet bacterias thrived by metabolizing minerals on rocks. They managed to scrape some and show them under a microscope. Very cool.

As for the martian rock thing, it was kind of meh. While I agree that the chance of Mars having had life back in the really old days (as in billions of years ago), I don’t think the patterns on the rock is it. Granted, I was impressed with the patterns on the rock, since I didn’t know how weird rocks were microscopically. But it reminds me too much of the previous life on martian meteorite hype in the 90’s. Well, I think it was a hype. If anyone out there is an astronomer, what do you think? As he says in the end, we need more serious study on this subject.

Finally, there was the replicating robot kills everything scenario at the end. While the scenario is science fiction, I have got to admit, it is quiet compelling and really cool. It is my favorite scenario, and no, I am not sadistic (c’mon, they are replicating robots!). He placed this as one of the more probable one because these are machines, and they can endure the coldness and harshness of space, and grab resources to make more of themselves. In the end, he summarizes the whole thing this way:

“We just don’t know.”

And in the end, that is the best answer there is, and the best way to end the program.

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Shut it Down: 00:00:03 … 00:00:02 … 00:00:01 … 00:00:00

May 25, 2010

Man, my favorite show 24 is over. I feel sad now, especially since the ending was sad too. 😦

I am bittersweet on my feelings over the show ending. On one hand, I love the show, one of the most entertaining one I have ever watched. On the other hand, considering this season’s earlier weak storytelling, it seems like it is ready to jump the shark. After all, how many terrorist plot can the writers manage to come up with until the whole thing becomes tiring? Honestly, considering the real time aspect and the difficulty in writing this show, I am surprised that the show lasted this long, and I am glad it did.

Anyways, I really liked the finale episode. It is quiet reminiscent of season 4 finale. While there were very few action scenes, there were many tense scenes and mements which stood out. Firstly, Gregory Itzin as Charles Logan was awesome. I think he earned his place as 24’s best villain. The actor’s performance of his cowardiance, ambition, megalomania, and manipulative personality was outstanding. Everytime Logan opened his mouth to president Taylor, it felt like the devil was channeling him. I say that he must get an Emmy for this role.

Other great moments include Chloe’s confrontation with Jack and the way she had to decide whether to shoot him or not. That was the best moment in the whole episode, and even though I knew Jack wouldn’t die, it was incredibly tense, each one shouting at each other, Jack yelling that there was no other way while Chloe expressing that she couldn’t do it. Meanwhile, time was running out as CTU came to crack down on Jack. Other standout moments include Jack biting off Pillar’s ears, president Taylor’s conflict with herself and Dalia Hassan and her eventual redemption, Charles Logan’s suicide when he learned there was no escape, Jack’s last stand when he was about to get killed, and finally, the bittersweet goodbye between Jack and Chloe. Chloe finally gets her thanks for helping him throughout all those years, and then that is it. Jack Bauer is on the run, and they have to disconnect.

After Chloe’s and 24’s last words: “Shut it down”, there is a cool countdown (which I did in this post’s title) which seals the finality of it all. Overall, while Jack survives, there is an air of sadness and emptiness, since Jack can’t ever go back to America, Taylor has to face the consequences of her action, Chloe, most probably, won’t be able to see one of her best friend ever again, and finally, I won’t be able to catch another new episode of 24 ever again.


Two Links of Interests

December 8, 2009

Firstly, I found a blog in which a guy draws fictional characters in the Simpson style. And he imitates the art style very accurately! Here is Link from Legend of Zelda:

The other interesting thing I found is a guy refuting the people who claim the moon landing was false via physics:

And I got to tell you, seeing things like feathers fall exactly the same as a, say a bowling ball, is kind of bizarre, but true. Plus, there is a really cool pendulum in moon demonstration. So check it out!


Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Conspiracy

November 10, 2009

The latest from Jon Stewart is one of the funniest. In one of his episode, he decided to play the Glenn Beck character. And the sketch was absolutely brilliant. Not only does he imitate Beck’s personal loony style ver well, he exposes everything that is wrong with all of his arguments, including appeals to emotion, slippery slope implication, the vague paranoid connections, and he pretty much doesn’t have any evidence for what he talks about. Which is why the fact that millions of people watch him and take him seriously makes me dispair. Seriously, this guy needs some meds.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Glenn Beck and the Paranoid Conspiracy“, posted with vodpod

 


Triple Review Fest

August 11, 2009

I thought I would give out my thought on the book “Death from the Skies,” the movie “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” and the first season of “Full Metal Alchemist, series 2.”

Firstly, Death from the Skies:

death

(oops, should have focused more on the right, oh well)

Death from the Skies, I can say, is one of the really good science popularizing book out there. It is written by an author you may already know, a really popular blogger Phil Plait. The book is basically about a variety of phenomena in nature that could end life as we know it. But in my mind, that is only a trampolin to jump from towards broader topics of astronomy. Yeah, he talks about all the way to die (black hole is not a nice way to die), and in the end, we are all doomed (end of universe, proton decay), but he also talks about the processes that drive those phenomena, what makes them tick. In the end, you get to understand that those processes explain so much of what goes on in the universe. Read the rest of this entry »


Trailer for Eureka 7 Movie!

March 27, 2009

Yay! It is finally here. ^_^ A few months ago, I watched all 50 episodes in three days, and I liked it a lot. My favorite thing about it was the smooth and detailed animation. They didn’t use the generic striped line backgrounds. Nor did they use the exaggerated facial expression characteristic of anime, and the ones they used are rare. You can see why I am glad they are making a movie. Whether it is going to be good, well, I don’t know, but I did feel kind of nervous about it. So, here is the trailer:

hat tip: anime life

If curious about what the show is about, watch a few episodes:


Anime Written by Someone on Crack: Serial Experiments Lain

February 11, 2009

…or some sort of psychogenic drug, for I don’t know how anyone could have written something like that. Anyways, I have recently watched all of the episodes, and I thought it was really good. By the way, this is kind of like a review, so if you don’t want spoilers, you should stay away, and get to watch all of the episodes first.

I have recently wanted to look for an anime to watch, since I haven’t watched one for a long time, and I needed some fixing. Then, I remembered hearing about it on TV a long time ago, so I randomly decided to watch it. The intro of it is really nice, it has a good music to it, and it fits to the atmosphere of the show.

Read the rest of this entry »