Category: Science

1

The Bad Physics of Ad Astra

a review of Ad Astra MULTIPLE SPOILERS AHEAD, IF YOU CARE TO SEE A TRUE STINKER When Brad Pitt’s newest sci-fi flick was forthcoming, it looked chock full of promise: an intriguing plot, Tommy Lee Jones as the long lost father, beautiful photography and special effects, and the trailers didn’t give away too much of the story, just enough to keep it interesting. In it’s attempt to be a legacy film, Ad Astra takes/steals/borrows straight plot points and even imitates shots from legendary entries in the sci-fi cinema corpus, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, Gravity and others.  That’s not...

0

Humboldt at 250

Recently I have been re-reading one of the first true old-school scientists I read in my youth.  The writings of Alexander von Humboldt were pointed out to me during my first year of HS, as the then-topical scientist Carl Sagan had released his book Cosmos and the PBS 13-part documentary series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”. Luckily, the librarian engaged me about my interests, and with science and the writings of Carl Sagan being top on my mind, she pointed me to a dusty book also called Kosmos, but written with even more depth than Sagan’s accessible prose, though extreme in detail. ...

0

China Takes to the Skies

a review of The Wandering Earth NO SPOILERS AHEAD Recently, Netflix released the Chinese blockbuster sci-fi epic The Wandering Earth (May 6, ’19). Having made over $700 million worldwide, the film made good bank on what has been called “China’s first full-scale interstellar spectacular”.1 As you would expect, it is a mixed bag, with moderate highs and usually unintentional lows. Science-wise the file is problematic, but epic in scale, heroic in scope. One of the main problems is when the Earth — which is Wandering (duh) — is approaching Jupiter.  There is a sudden, unexpected burst of gravity from Jupiter, called...

2

Pop Population

Of the Census years I have been alive, America’s population has certainly grown, but it has also shifted.  In 1970 there were 6 American cities with a population of more than 1 million.  They include the typical big 3 we would always think of: NYC, Chicago and LA, in that order.  At that time the list also included Philadelphia, my birth town of Detroit, and Houston, which had just hit the million-resident mark with that Census. In 1980 that number stayed the same with NYC, Chicago and Philadelphia losing a combined 1,445,504 residents.  The listing places for the 4 top cities...

“Is It Farther Than The Stars?”

Puffs of Smoke “Why do they hate her?” Coda   {n.b.: This post is in limbo/suspension until a certain matter can be worked out. Until then, just go elsewhere.} note: this essay, in a slightly different form, appeared in one of my published works, this time in a collection of essays by a regional Atheism group who shall here remain nameless, as I otherwise love and respect them and their Director. However, my essay, and only my essay, was changed, chopped up, and indescribably mangled. I sent the editor, and copied to the Director, my concerns as to why I was...