Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Who'd Have Guessed the Atomic Bomb?

AMC, HBO Netflix and Amazon get most of the press for hot series. But I just saw an episode - a very good episode - of a new series on WGN America. The series is called Manhattan, and it's set at the Manhattan Project.

In this episode I didn't see anything that was flabbergastingly new, but the characters and their motivations were well-done, the period look was convincing, and I was hooked within the first couple of scenes. The actors were all pros, and the physical casting was good...they all looked like they belonged in the '40s, like they'd stepped out of an Eisenstadt photo.

Fingers crossed, this might be a happy surprise - vicious defense-nerd politics during WWII.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Life in Space!

And not some lame "astronauts live in space" cop-out.
It seems that there's actual sea plankton on the outside of the International Space Station!
How did it get there? How does it survive?
No answers yet.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Did You Like "Pinky and the Brain"?

Then you might...or might not...want to see this video, done with Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, where the Brain finally snaps.

Narf. Poit.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

What's As Nerdy As Climate Change?

The Governor
Nothing. Especially climate change in Florida, whose governor, Rick Scott, has publicly tried to disclaim any knowledge of climate science - and therefore any responsibility for climate-change policy.

I'd like to point to the suicidal recklessness here. The two BIGGEST, MOST IMMEDIATE, MOST LIKELY effects of global warming are increased storm activity and sea level rise resulting in coastal flooding. Most of Florida is nothing BUT coast, and if a hurricane lands anywhere in the US, it hits Florida first. A governor from Utah might shine on questions of climate policy - but for a Florida governor to do so reflects a level of meat-headed thinking that's exceptional.

What his state will look like
So a trio of Florida climatologists offered to sit down with Governor Doofus - sorry, Governor Scott, slip of the key there - and explain the science, why it leads where it leads, and just how strong the evidence is.

Scott gave them 30 minutes.
They took it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mind the Adjectives

Every now and then you read a "think piece" that goes right down the rabbit hole. I ran across this op-ed on Politico, saying that Mitt Romney might still have a presidential shot in 2016. The guy who wrote it was a Romney staffer, so my quest for context could have ended right there. But no, I had to read it. It started off by comparing Romney to Richard Nixon...and that's when things got really crazy.

You see, I thought Emil Henry had written the piece because he was a Romney loyalist. Turns out that what he is, is a Nixon loyalist. If you want a real index of just how far the GOP has wandered, how deep the Mad Cow Disease has eaten into the party's brain, this is it. Nixon isn't a vicious ratfucker who clawed his way to power and almost destroyed this nation's core institutions; he is a "mighty warrior" who is "tenacious" and "warm, charming...even gentle."

Now let me be perfectly clear...Nixon had some impressive achievements (ending Vietnam, establishing the EPA, rapprochement with China), but he was also, most importantly, an amoral criminal. A traitor, too: In 1968, while a private citizen, he tried to persuade the South Vietnamese government to abandon President Lyndon Johnson's ceasefire negotiations with the North in order to boost his own chances as a presidential candidate.

If GOP loyalists actually believe Nixon was a good president, there's nothing left to discuss.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Coffee Update #1

So, about a month ago I bought myself an old-timey, Mad Men-esque coffee percolator to see if it really was superior to Mr. Coffee and his brown, bitter brethren.

THE OFFICIAL VERDICT...is still out. Sorry.

There's definitely a little more body to the coffee, a little more of the aromatics, especially if you let the coffee brew in the percolator for a few minutes, instead of pouring it out as soon as the indicator tells you. But it isn't the coffee-nova-taste-explosion I was retro-anticipating from my religious experience at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen).

The percolator is also definitely a more complex beast than Mr. Coffee. You have to watch the grind more carefully (it's a coarse grind, like a French Press); you have to deconstruct and reconstruct the percolator assembly inside the machine for each batch; and you have to be sure the water's cold before you pour it in, and the tap water in my apartment is tepid at best. All of this becomes almost automatic over time, but it's a definite thing. And of course, cleanup is more complicated, too. On the plus side again, you can let the coffee set in the percolator for longer than it would in the drip machine without it becoming undrinkable.

It's been a worthwhile experiment so far.
We shall see...


This pretty much says it all.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

You Can Make a Joke About Anything

I've said this for a long, long time, but since I went to a notoriously "That's Not Funny!" campus of the PC variety, many of my former classmates disagree with me.

Well, here's the proof that I'm right, and they're wrong...says the Jew.

ETA: Sorry - It looks like the eedjits at EPIX ended the clip right before Patton gets to his point of exactly why the Germans are so completely humorless...which is, of course, the point of this blog post.

I'm not going to reveal it. Try and catch the routine on Comedy Central. It's at the very end of Oswalt's Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time standup...as all edgy material generally is.