Tagged: nerds

In Other Science-y News:  We’re getting even closer to a universal translator!

I’ve been following this stuff and it is getting cooler and cooler.   Watch this video: 

http://www.9news.com.au/technology/2016/05/16/15/28/us-company-creates-in-ear-language-translator

Luke Cage Review: There’s Something Powerful About Seeing a Black Man That’s Bulletproof and Unafraid.

LUKE

If you’re reading this blog, you have been waiting for Luke Cage to be released with baited breath.  I’ve been checking my Netflix repeatedly to see if it would be released a little early.  How greedy am I?

In all seriousness, we need to give Netflix kudos for making a show that was so black. Black with a capital B!  The director, the female lead, Pop’s barbershop, Biggie with the crown, the soundtrack, Heather B., Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Wu Tang, and the gatdamn Delfonics.  So indulgently black and so needed right now.

*Spoilers abound*

Harlem is in the midst of gentrification and a Councilwoman named Mariah is doing her best to make sure the city remains black and brown.  It sounds admirable, but we quickly learn that it is tainted by ambition and drug/gang politics.  Her cousin, Cottonmouth, is the local kingpin who is under increasing pressure to defend and expand his territory.  Luke Cage ends up in the middle of this when Pop’s Barbershop is attacked and Pop is killed.  Pop was the closest thing that Luke had to a father and brought the ruckus to bring down Cottonmouth and Mariah’s criminal enterprise.  There is a huge shift in the story about halfway through that allows us much more insight into Luke’s backstory.  I won’t ruin it for you.

The series did so many things right:  the setting, the pacing, the soundtrack, the sarcasm, and the reverence for the comics were like a slow burn.  I think the standout feature is the acting.  Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Alfre Woodard, Mahershala Ali, Erik Harvey, and all The Wire actors who turned up put in tour de force performances.  All the actors seemed to revel in the opportunity to flesh out their roles.  Something about it feels different.  I’m not sure we’ve seen black characters like this before.  Even Turk wasn’t a caricature.  You won’t forget any of these characters.  Honorable mention to Misty Knight’s naturally bountiful bosom and Luke’s hoodie, which deserve their own conversations.

And, shout out to Night Nurse!  Can we get her her own show?  Every time I see her character, the more I like her.  Rosario Dawson did that!  #nightnursesolit needs to start trending now!

I will acknowledge that there were weaknesses.  Shades.  When he first took his shades off the first time, I thought we were about to give way to the supernatural in the show.  Does looking someone in the eye give him the ability to know whether someone is telling the truth?   Why does he wear them all the time, even at night?  The seeming answer was such a letdown.  No, he just likes wearing shades.  The uneven treatment of his role was awkward and frustrating.  He’s intended to be a ‘chaotic neutral’, but instead he’s just chaotic. I don’t know if it was tha the acting was wooden or that the writers didn’t know what to do with his character, but it just didn’t work.  Make a decision!  And, we’re not even going to discuss that kiss.  I screamed out loud a little. 

Diamondback was confusing as well.  Erik LaRay Harvey did a great job with the material he was given.  My complaint was about the material he was given.  Diamondback is a lunatic hellbent on destroying Luke Cage, but he’s also a criminal mastermind. What comes across is a petulant man child with daddy issues and misplaced aggression.  Is that really a villain worthy of Luke Cage?  I don’t think so.  It was kinda corny. Here’s hoping that this season was just an introduction and they have much grander plans for Diamondback.  

There were a few MCU continuity issues that I noticed.  Alfre Woodard already played a different character in Iron Man 3.  A reference was made to President Obama when he is not the president in the Marvel universe.  I’m sure there were a few others that I missed.

The story is also a bit detached from the rest of the MCU.  Not sure if I should consider that a plus or minus.  There is mention of The Incident, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Justin Hammer, and Jessica Jones, but seemingly less so than other shows.  We’ll see how this continues to unfold in Season 2.

All in all, a great show that is soul satisfying.  Thank you to everyone involved for giving it to us.

 

P.S.  If you’re like me and have a whole lot of questions about a certain character, click here.  Great writeup by Zakiya Jamal.

Were Suicide Squad and X-Men: Apocalypse the same damn movie?

I think so.  You know from my previous review that I thought Suicide Squad was ridiculous, but I haven’t really written about X-Men:  Apocalypse.  I was disappointed with both and I’ve been searching myself to figure out why.  I finally figured it out:  they are the same damn movie.  Hear me out:

In both movies, there is an ancient, body-jumping consciousness that has overwhelming, magical powers that had been locked up by the normal humans.  Some overly curious scientist/investigator let them loose and they decided to wreck havoc on civilization.  They each assemble their respective teams and go to war with each other.  The war is messy; bombs are launched, people die, and there’s travel by helicopter.  Inexplicably, both Big Bads plan to build some sort of destructive machine/monument to assume total control of the world, but we never quite find out how they will work.  But, in the end, everything just falls flat.

Not the sort of thing that inspires movie ticket sales, eh?

Magneto and Mystic are the bad guys with questionable allegiances on the X-men team and Storm, Psylocke, and Angel are on En Sabah Nur’s team.  But, they are all just kinda bad and most for understandable reasons of survival.  You know that they are going to turn on their leader in favor of saving humanity.  Amanda Waller assembles a team of rogues, called the Suicide Squad, that are chosen for their ruthlessness ad willingness to be and do evil things to combat evil.  But, they never really seem that bad.  Enchantress, the Big Bad in Suicide Squad, calls up her brother as her main henchman.  She also turns men into faceless goons who have caviar for heads by kissing them.

SS’s Deadshot and X-men’s Quicksilver both get their time-slowing save the day moments.  More helicopters and explosions.  There are a few minutes of backstory to make the audience feel some emotion for them.  Joker and Wolverine are shoehorned in for fan service, can’t have movies without them.  And, both movies came to the same unsatisfying conclusion that left the viewer wonder what was the point of all this meshsugaas.

Thankfully, nobody dances like Enchantress.

Thinking about that made me lose my train of thought, so I’ll stop here.  But, seriously, did anyone else notice this?

Rise In Power, Captain K’Vagh (RIP, James Avery)

Boy, the hits just keep coming, don’t they?  We’ve lots a lot of good ones over the last year, but this loss feels more personal.  I haven’t posted in a while, but this passing deserved a post.  James Avery was one of the GOATs in the acting game, of all races.  Most of us knew and loved him as Uncle Phil on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but us Trekkies knew he was also Captain K’Vagh on Star Trek Enterprise.  Even fewer people know that he auditioned against Michael Dorn for the role of Worf in TNG (Stop for a sec: Can you imagine?)

Captain K'Vagh

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures via Memory Alpha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve lost one of the greats, everyone.  Nearly everyone’s favorite TV dad and an actor that gave 100% to every role he took.    He passed on today after suffering complications from heart surgery earlier this month; he was 68.

Beware, a Klingon Warrior is about to arrive!

Photo credit:  Paramount Pictures via Memory Alpha

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures via Memory Alpha

Star Trek and Wu Tang…and Drake

Truth, y’all are going to have to follow me on this one.  Star Trek and Wu Tang go back like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  I would bet you $20 that any black trekkie you meet is also a Wu Tang fan.  And, if you asked them to explain why, they couldn’t.  Why?  Because Wu Tang is for the children (RIP ODB)!  There’s an other-ness, slightly esoteric, to enjoying both and, as such, you earn a certain geek cred when you bring them up.  Truth, I’ve been waiting to find the guy who likes both on his own and, when I do, we’ll probably hit Vegas.  I hear they do Klingon weddings at a little chapel out there.

Anyways, this brings me to Drake.  It started with Macklemore mentioning Wu in a song, all good, white boy can rap.  But, then, Drake comes out with “Wu Tang Forever” and my brow instantly furrowed.  I like Drake, but he’s not exactly known for spitting hot fire, right?  Exactly.  It’s a song out of my nightmares.  How did he even get the “It’s Yours” sample cleared?  Rza, WTF???  The song is about creeping with a girl who already has a man and Drake is SINGING!  Don’t use the Wu to prove you’re cool.  I fully expect there will be some Star Trek name drops soon enough.

I guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?  Am I wrong?

The Biggest Deal Nobody’s Talking About

Aye maaaan!

Hold up, so Voyager 1 has left the damn solar system and it’s not on the front page anywhere?  Y’all do realize what an achievement this is, right?  Voyager has now traveled farther than any man-made object to date.

Just so we are clear, this is a photo of Earth from Voyager 1 in 1990.  See that little blue dot in the brown band?  Yep, that’s us and everyone who has ever lived on Earth.  It’s been 23 years since that was taken.

Photo credit: NASA via Wikipedia.

There’s been controversy about whether Voyager 1 actually left for a year or so now, but it appears researchers are certain that Voyager 1 is now traipsing through the Milky Way.  It has actually gone where no man has gone before!

Remember V’ger, anyone else a little nervous?  Could you imagine Voyager 1 being intercepted and upfitted by a race of aliens and returning to us?  I’ll be long dead by the time that happens, but it is kinda cool to consider.  On the other end of the spectrum, a probe entering a black hole and becoming self-aware was a very similar story to the movie Event Horizon– the scariest movie ever made.  Let’s hope that sh*t doesn’t happen.

The V’ger entity and resultant merger with Ilia and Lt. Decker is supposed to be the beginning of the Borg, so, yeah, let’s hope all of that doesn’t happen.  In fact, let’s hope that the galaxy is filled with gentle, kind My Little Ponies or something.

In fact, maybe there is good reason for this not to be front page news after all…

Happy Friday everyone!

In other Science-y News: The Sun’s Magnetic Field Is About to Flip

No, the sun is not about to go DMX on you and lose its mind (up in here, up in here).  However, the sun’s magnetic field is about to flip, likely in the next few months.  The polarity flip takes place about ever 11 years, so, don’t worry, we aren’t going to die a fiery death.  There may be some more sunspot activity and potentially some telecommunications disruptions due to increased solar storms.  But, have no doubt, this is a big deal that will affect our entire solar system!

Check out more about the flip here

And, while we’re at it, here’s the clearest picture of a sunspot ever taken.  Pretty nifty, huh:

Credit: Big Bear Solar Laboratory/New Jersey Institute of Technology