September 08, 2018

Battening Down

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September 05, 2018

Stein's Gate

Stein's Gate is a series from 2011 that was popular and fairly well regarded. I'd missed it at the time, but as the one reported beacon of goodness in the vast wasteland that is this season is a sequel to that show, I decided to check it out before starting  Sten's Gate Zero.

This turned out to be a sound decision, not only because Stein's Gate Zero makes exactly zero sense without the prequel, but because Stein's Gate is a very neat show.

The story begins with Rintaro Okabe and Itaru Hashida two nerdy male college students and Mayuri Shiina, a moe-blob cosplayer. They run a small applied sciences lab in an apartment rented over a used electronics store. Their current project involves a highly modified food service microwave oven which has been modified to operate via cell phone and internet connection. As the dumpster derived device had no working magnetron, they're also working on a magnetron analog of their own design which is performing...rather erratically. 

When two of them decide to go to a physics lecture being given by a controversial scientist, they bump into Kurisu Makise, a neuroscience graduate student on summer break from her studies in the U.S.  

And then things get weird.

This is an odd show with all sorts of overused cliche's, gratuitous fanboy references and adult onset Chuunibyou.

It also manages to be absolutely riveting. 

In the course of 24 episodes our band of 3 nerdy tinkerers and their otaku shield bearers find themselves involved with a whole slew of science weirdness, international conspiracies, the Akihabara chamber of commerce, the Large Hadron Collider and...traps.    

Be advised that the superficial wackieness serves as comic relief and a tension breaker. This is dark science fantasy. The story is absolutely gut wrenching at times, almost to the point of sadism in some scenes. However, the characters are endearing and there is a most definite thread of hope that runs through the whole show.

All the characters tend to have surprising (often hidden) depths. My only complaint is that Kurisu Makise, the awesome female lead is somewhat underutilized, at least at first. 

All in all, I quite enjoyed Stein's Gate. It's smart, enjoyable and full of surprises.

 Aside from the caveat that you go in understanding that it is occasionally quite  brutal, I highly recommend this series. 

It's just really well done. 

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September 03, 2018

Oddly Enough, I have Mixed Emotions About This Headline

Orion Space Battleships Could Still be Built in a Nuclear Space Race

An Orion Spaceship, albeit not a battleship drawn by Adrian Mann

Next Big Future gives a concise overview of the Orion Project, though aside from the headline no explanation for why the political hurdles to nuclear pulsed propulsion might be overcome.  

Note that as I type this, the post over there seems to stop in mid-sentence while discussing Casaba Howitzers.


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September 01, 2018

Speculative Technology in Sci-Fi

Sometimes it doesn't age well..

I've started watching Stein's Gate a well regarded series from 2011 that I'd never gotten around to. There's a short bit in the first episode where we learn that one of the future technologies our scientist protagonists are working on is household appliances that can be remotely operated by cellphone. 

Alas. No one went back in time and warned them about the internet of things.

That aside, I must say that, one episode in, this show has me quite effectively hooked.

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Panopticon Peculiarities

Two weeks ago I noted that I'd been logged into You-Tube automatically and found in the course of some browsing, a number of surprisingly risque MMD videos. I'd half-joked that teh Googleplex was thus made aware of my  observation of certain MMD channels of debatable societal merit.

Last night I got an alert that some site I was unfamiliar with had published another video. I initially ignored it as a phishing scheme, but later looked up the site name through You tube search and discovered that it was one  of the aforementioned sites.

Now I double checked and I'm subscribed to two channels...both of them safe for work.

So I'm getting alerts for these male gaze oriented channels, which would not be an issue if not for the fact that this means I'm on Google's perv list.

I really can never get married now.

One odd bit. The Channel in question, seems to have had several updates since my initial visit, though this was the first new content alert I'd gotten from it.

The channel is here if you are interested in doing scholarly research of this troubling privacy issue...or perhaps low gravity fluid dynamics. It is likely to be of dubious utility for researching anatomy since I don't think boobs work that way. 


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