Connections @BBC #physics #science #engineering #history #tv

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Look at me. Ending my streak of posts after an entire year, and the very next day posting every day for a week. Will it last? (No.)

I recently rediscovered the BBC show, Connections, hosted by James Burke. I used to watch this with my dad when I was a kid. This is a show about the marvels of science and engineering throughout history and, more to the point, their connections to one another. That is, a technology over here gets merged with a technology over there, and voila! A new invention. 

It’s enough to drive you mad.

I apparently remember it extremely well, because I find myself saying the host’s lines before he says them. Nevertheless, I’m relearning a lot of material. I recently learned about, and wrote a post on, the Cistercian numerals. To my recollection, I never heard of the Cistercian monks before learning about their numbers, yet they were mentioned in the one of the first few episodes, so my memory is exceptional, but not perfect. (My short term memory is failing, which is very unsettling.)

Another thing threw me off a bit. In the first episode – which is a bit scary, by the way – the host describes the New York City blackout of 1977, which left several planes circling overhead with nowhere to land. The flight he expressly mentioned was flight 911. A spooky an odd . . . connection.

Whether your academic or professional background is in science (like me) or history, this is still a fascinating and relevant show.

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Muppet Star Trek @brucemccorkinda @hafuboti #muppets #StarTrek #StarTrekSunday

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, in the final stages of the death of my year-long streak of daily posts, I return to Star Trek. (Star Trek Sunday? Is that a thing?)

Not everything seen as certain death is necessarily the end. There’s often a way out.

Okay, I admit this turns out to be a bad example for inspiring hope in the face of likely death. Plus, perhaps the wrong [guy] died.

Remember, no one’s really dying. It’s just the end of a streak.

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“What’s Old Is New” Watch: Strange New Worlds Series Premiere! @ansonmount @StarTrek @paramountplus @StarTrekOnPPlus #StarTrek #StrangeNewWorlds #Picard #Borg #GoodWatch

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I got up at 5:30 am this morning to see the second season finale of Picard and the series premiere of Strange New Worlds. As to the latter, I haven’t been this excited for a Star Trek series since Next Generation was announced. First, it’s purported to be a return to the episodic format that I prefer (though I hear there will be an larger, overlayed story, which is fine). Second — I never thought I’d say this — Anson Mount’s Captain Pike has overtaken William Shatner’s Captain Kirk as my favorite Captain.

No cheese zone.

This still looks like a large, ensemble cast, so it won’t likely take over as my favorite series, but you never know. It certainly started off great. TOS is back, but without all the cheesy, 60s-era TV technology that the young-uns can’t seem to get past. Also, season2 of Picard ended today, and I was pretty happy with that as well. Here’s a spoiler for the last episode.

Called it!

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Mythic Watch: Moon Knight @moonknight @MarvelStudios #MoonKnight #MCU #GoodWatch

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So, Moon Knight. Today’s the season finale.

As always, I got up early to watch it.

This isn’t a traditional review that implicitly claims that a show is good or bad based on some make-believe objective standard. I hate that pretentious nonsense. Whether or not you like a movie, song, TV show, or food is purely subjective. Instead, my approach to reviews is to explain why I like what I like and hate what I hate. If what makes me like/hate it applies to you, then maybe you’ll like/hate it too. I say, “maybe,” because there are other factors beyond what I can possibly express, but at least you have a better chance of predicting your reaction.

So, here is the context to understand the place from which my feelings arise:

  1. I grew up reading about dinosaurs and mythology, so anything involving either one of them has an advantage in gaining me as an audience, but are still not all winners.
  2. I’m not a fan of the comic book genre. However, when I was in elementary school, I’d sometimes hang out with my cousin. When it was too hot or cold to play outside, we’d read his comics. I remember them oddly well, but there were very few that grabbed me.
  3. I’m an apologist for comic book movies.

So, what do I think of Moon Knight? I love it. Considering the context given above, I don’t think I need to say much beyond that, as the explanation has already been given. However, I don’t want any of you asking for your money back, so here’s a little more. As with Shang-Chi before it, Moon Knight is opening the door to folklore, legends, and myths of a culture rarely addressed in western media. I’m sure most (non-bot) readers of this blog get that, but for our society as a whole, these other cultures are untapped resources. Disney is just scratching the surface with Egyptian and Chinese cultures. Give me Quetzalcoatl! Give me Shango! Give me Raijin! But please keep Chris Hemsworth as Thor. 😊

I suspect the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is going to have me lose my shit for the same reason.

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Happy Birthday, Giancarlo Esposito! @quiethandfilms #movie #cinema #tv

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Today is Giancarlo Esposito’s birthday. Actually, it’s a lot of people’s birthdays, but I’m choosing the one with the most nerd cred.

Besides, he’s a model father . . . at least by my definition.

Here are the other celebrities with birthdays today. Mine is coming up in May.

Hint, hint.

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Waldorf and Statler #muppets

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, keeping with my acting/theater/movie run of posts over the past couple of days, it’s a montage of Warldorf and Statler insults.

Oh, I almost forgot…

Happy Easter!

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An Unpopular Opinion? #Seinfeld

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I’ve spent a lot of time sitting at my computer working on 1st Edition AD&D stuff, and when I do so, I stream Hulu (or whatever) in the background. Lately, I’ve seen a bunch of Seinfeld episodes. When it was originally airing, I loved it just as much as anyone, but you know what? Seinfeld doesn’t hold up at all. The show isn’t really about nothing; it’s about whining like a baby. Both the main characters and the secondary ones are constantly complaining about things that aren’t that big a deal. I was always aware of this weakness of the writing, but the comedy drowned out those issues. However, 24 years later, the annoying parts drown out the comedy.

I think the explanation is that I’ve already heard all the jokes and can anticipate them, so their impact is diminished. However, some of the jokes themselves even fail. I don’t think you can say that it’s a function of my loss of a sense of humor. There are plenty of comedies that I still love to this day, and I’ve sometimes ranted here as to how comedy is dying because it’s catering to a younger crowd that fears the good stuff. The comedies that I still like probably have some jokes that no longer work on me, but it’s their lack of a foundation of annoying characters that keep those comedies relevant.

Well, this is awkward.

By the way, while I was searching for an image to attach to this post, I read that Estelle Harris had just died. I feel bad because she was one of the annoying ones.

I’m getting old, but for once, that’s not the cause.

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Tuvix: A Visual Guide @StarTrek @paramountplus @StarTrekOnPPlus #StarTrek #Tuvix #Voyager #TrolleyCar

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I’ve been focusing on gaming lately, with many more gaming posts queued up. Let’s take a short break. Some time ago, I wrote about Tuvix in Star Trek Voyager. That may have been a bit heavy. Here’s a visual representation of that episode.

As I said, it’s not an easy decision, but . . . .

… pull the damn lever.

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Malpractice Watch: Boston Legal @WilliamShatner @itsJulieBowen @monicapotter @lakebell @ConstanceZimmer @MerEaton @SaffronBurrows_ #GoodWatch #BostonLegal #TV #media #movie #law #science

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Over a week ago — I’m waaaaay ahead of schedule on writing my posts — I finished a massive and tedious binging of Boston Legal. I had never seen the show before, but considering my love of so many of those actors, and the occasional scene hitting my social media streams, that’s surprising, but I’ve remedied it.

To start, I’ll say that I’m most certainly not one of those people that complains how badly movies and TV shows get things wrong. I have a physics degree. I’ve worked in software engineering for almost a decade. I have a law degree, and have worked as an attorney for more than twice that time. Some of you have medical degrees. Many of us have practical, professional experience that makes us experts in our respective fields. Every single expertise seems downright ridiculed by entertainment media, and sometimes experts get uptight about that. I don’t. I get it. Most people are not experts in any given area, so most people don’t notice the ridiculousness in any given show. That means that, even if what’s presented is utterly ridiculous, most viewers won’t know or won’t care. Moreover, experts in one area will be annoyed by only those shows getting their expertise wrong, meaning that they’ll usually wind up in the category of not knowing or caring. It’s about playing the odds, and the odds are stacked in favor of drama over reality. That makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with it.

But c’mon! Sneaking firearms into court and firing them off, and not getting disbarred and thrown in jail!? Are non-attorneys not annoyed by that?! Really?! There were just so many insane things that happened that would land these “lawyers” in jail long before the state bars could disbar them, though that would happen eventually.

But okay, okay! It’s fine. It was a fun show. The political pontificating was annoying at times, but it helped me relive the emotion of those days which are over a decade behind us. It genuinely triggered my nostalgia. Having my favorite actor, William Shatner, as one of the main characters certainly helped.

William Shatner!

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Once More for Those in the Back . . . . @delverpg @InsideTheMagic #MCU #copyright

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Blog posts cannot substitute for legal advice. If the topics discussed in this post are relevant to a real case you have, please consult an attorney.

Note: This post was written almost two weeks ago, but last Thursday night, this topic came up again with my friend, Stephen Radney-MacFarland. It’s an issue that just won’t die, especially in the gaming industry because of WotC’s ridiculous OGL claims.

I read two online posts in as many days making a persistent claim that continues to astound and annoy me. One article here.

Let me make this clear once again: You can’t copyright a single word.

Yeah, that even includes supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The music can be copyrighted, and the lyrics as a whole can be copyrighted, but not that one word. You may trademark a single word, but the protection for trademarks is different. There’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to using a word that’s trademarked.

I completely understand that you don’t understand copyright law. That’s no crime; it’s complicated. However, if you don’t, you should be asking questions, not making authoritative statements on the issue. I don’t know the first thing about performing brain surgery. I’m not ashamed of that, nor should I be, but the day I give advice on how to perform it, please call me out for those ignorant ramblings.

If you’re making an argument relying on the copyrightability of a single word, name, or title, your argument is legally and logically invalid. If your conclusion is correct anyway, it’s mere coincidence.

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