Posts from 20th September 2005

Sep 05

the value of the perfect simile

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 374 views

On a documentary about space travel on the Discovery channel today: “The concept of a warp drive is like a moving walkway in the airport – you compress space-time in front of you, and expand it behind you.”

Yes, exactly like a moving walkway. Now I get it.


Blog 7Post a comment • 265 views

ok i am PSYCHED yet SPOOKED!!

i. afflicted as i still am by CüRSE of CRåZYFRøG ear, i hunted round various “health” shops this mornin for an EAR CANDLE, but to no avail
ii. then i wz havin lunch w.sistrah becky and quizzed her abt ear candles
iii. she wz not sure she had heard of them, and said “is it like a birthday candle you put in yr ear and light? you’d have thought that would ADD to the wax not diminish it”
iv. then talk moved onto other things and i wz telling an important story and she wz gazin listlessly out the window over my shoulder
v. when her EYES went WIDE and she said “oh my god!! look over there – ” at a small chinese medicine shop across the road ” – can you seewhat i see? or is it a trick off the light off that picture?”
vi. it was NOT the light it was THIS ADVERT

vii. so now i know what i will be doing this EVENING!!
viii. and i will blog the lightly charred results on PROVEN BY SCIENCE very soon

Turing (not) Shroud-ed in Mystery

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 245 views

Another rub pun, and another link to a BBC News story, as, Frobjous Day, the brits prove themselves best at pretending to be human in the annual Loebner Prize.

Unfortunately, the Jabberwacky site is a little over-subscribed at the mo, so i don’t know why it wants to know if i’m an actor yet.

PCGM WATCH: Anti-Welsh Probe Cost £3,800

Do You SeePost a comment • 384 views

It turns up at the end of the article, but the delayed reaction makes it all the more pleasing. Hooray for the Freedom Of Information Act!

Anti-Welsh Probe Cost £3,800

The Frog Effect

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 264 views

It is like The Butterfly Effect, but the use of frogs in pregnancy tests has now spread a fungal disease which is wiping out amphibians. Hooray for old wives tales!

The wholesale importation of one species to another continent alarmingly has this kind of effect more often than we think. Rabbits in Australia, frogs in Australia, pretty much any animal in Australia. This is a bad omen for us colonizing the galaxy and one which very few sci-fi authors every really deal with (environmental suits are so not sexy). But if we can’t even shift African frogs to the States, what chance to we have of being galactic conquerors.

Dumbest Comic Plot Ever #145106656756762

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 212 views

One of the persistent awkward issues for writers of superhero comics is getting their top villains out of jail and back into the storylines. Many treat it as if there is no problem, and the villains have just escaped and that’s all there is to it, all right? “Released on a technicality” is another dodge – I can’t ever recall anyone defining what the technicality is. Others have them out on parole – in actual story time, this means that trying to devour New York City to gain enough power to rule the world gets a sentence that comes up for parole in about two weeks, which is surprisingly lenient. Especially when the last 45237450754 times this villain was released, they instantly attempted to consume New York City again.

In Daredevil #63, new boy Roy Thomas tried to come up with something better – being the obsessive fanboy he was, he’s undoubtedly noticed the lameness of the above conventional devices, and thought he could improve on them. Sadly, he was deeply wrong.

The Gladiator was one of the few half-decent DD villains, a stand-out in a dismally weak crop. He was a big bruiser in armour, with spinning disc-blades at the wrists (this may sound a pretty dull villain, but in the company of the imaginative desert of a rogues’ gallery that was Leap Frog, Frog-Man, Cat-Man, Bird-Man, the Owl, Ape-Man and so on, he looks great). He’d never seemed much of a criminal genius, but he has a brilliant plan to get out of jail here: “I’m not the Gladiator. I was framed!” He’d been defeated fighting Iron Man in the costume, and was positively identified by witnesses for earlier similar rampages (and no one says this, but you’d think he’d have been fingerprinted on at least one of the previous occasions), but still, who knows? Why would he be lying? He must have lost his memory, obviously! We must transfer him to a lower-security prison, since he seems to be insane. But how can we bring his memory back? Obviously, by dressing him up in his armour! When even that doesn’t work – and I should point out that Matt Murdock, DD’s secret identity, is standing there when they are doing this, and can only whisper an “I don’t like any of this” to his legal partner – they fit those blades, his deadly attack weapons, back to the costume. To be fair, they aren’t naive about this – “Don’t try any funny business,” they tell him.

I don’t imagine I need to explain the rest, do I? It turns out, to everyone’s surprise, that he was faking because he knew they would try this approach. How he knew such a ludicrous thing is not explained. For the record, the escape is foiled by Daredevil.

Charlie And The Chomp Factory

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 502 views

A Chomp was a cheap chocolate flavoured chew. Defined as such as it had barely sniffed a cocoa bean in its life, and rather was a collection of chemicals wrapped on a wham bar which simulated chocolate. It was about 8p, and since you could buy a proper chocolate bar for 20p, it was only for those kids on a copper controlled diet.

Tim Burton’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is the Chomp version of the tale. Not because it is cheap, or a pale imitation. It is (except for one point) a very faithful adaptation indeed. Faithful to the word, if not the spirit. Whilst Burton’s film looks, and sounds like Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, it never really understands the story. Perhaps Dahl’s story is about family (it isn’t really), but not Burton’s idea of family – where overbearing, beastly parents are only that way because they are trying to protect us. The Bucket family is poor, that is their problem, but very supportive. I don’t think Dahl would have approved of Willie Wonka’s dentist father who Wonka needs to reconcile with before he can allow Charlie’s family into the factory. This is an all new Burton fixation, and an unwelcome one. That said the idea of Christopher Lee as a dentist has introduced an new edge to my dentophobia.

So in comes visual trickery, songs which are barely intelligible (bring back the musical) and all the flaws of transporting a kids book into a film. Like Cinderella, C&TCF thrives on repetition and delayed climaxes (Charlie has three goes at getting the ticket). This is great for reading out loud, great when a slow reader, rubbish in a film. Both screen versions take too long to get to the factory, at least the Gene Wilder one has a couple of songs in the way. Depp is game, but obviously too young to play the part (the flashback scenes where he is Charlie’s Grandpa’s boss are most bizarre). The film generates no excitement of its own, which may well be a good thing. Dahl’s book remains the version kids will remember, and all Burton’s restrained imaginings will do is highlight how imagination sometimes gives you the best visuals.