Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Gravity is garnering a lot of kudos as the most realistic space movie made to date, though the script still has our heroic pair violating several fundamental laws of physics to make the plot work. As real astronaut graciously concedes,

The inaccuracies were done to help advance the plot or to add drama to the film which is exactly the artistic license we should be willing to grant the filmmakers. This is entertainment, not a documentary.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

So what do you call someone from Jupiter?

Everyone knows that Martians come from Mars. That's straightforward enough. Beyond that, things get fiddly. Just what do you call someone from Jupiter, Venus or Pluto? What of the asteroid belt? Even in professional astronomy circles, people argue over the correct use of demonyms and adjectives for astronomical bodies. Much of the terminology used today originates from alchemical, astrological and classical works, and the growth of science fiction has only made it more confused. Of course, nowadays we know the likelihood of finding little green men on Mars or Mercury is slim to none, but the use of adjectival forms is necessary to describe features on the planets or their satellites. Plus, there's still fiction - everyone loves a good, old-fashioned Martian invasion.

Firstly, we need to look at where the names of the planets come from. The eight major planets, barring the Earth, take their names from Roman gods, with which they were identified by early astronomers. The Roman gods are mostly equivalent to the Greek pantheon, the Romans being dab hands at assimilating the traditions of other cultures, so each planet has an equivalent Greek name, which, unsurprisingly, is how they are known in Greece. In classical astronomy, the sun and moon were considered to be planets, since the exact definition of a planet was a long way off (and still hasn't really been settled on). The Romans knew of five actual planets beyond the Earth: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, all of which are, under the right conditions, visible to the naked eye. Uranus was identified as a planet in 1781 by astronomer Sir William Herschel, having previously been misidentified as a star. Neptune was discovered in 1846 byUrbain le Verrier, although it may have been discovered independently by John Couch Adams three years earlier (in fact, Galileo had first seen the planet over two hundred years earlier, but again, had misidentified it as a star). Pluto, which is, of course, no longer considered a planet, wasn't discovered until 1930, by Clyde Tombaugh. Rather wonderfully, a portion of his ashes are currently en route to Pluto on the New Horizons spacecraft.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beginning Java Programming Help

Hello, All. I'm a beginner with Java writing and would greatly appreciate a hand with the problem below:

A student has decided to fly his remote controlled airplane. The airplane has about 12 minutes of flight without any extra weight. For every 1/2 of a pound added, the lifetime of the airplane is reduced by one minute. Additionally, the following moves drain the battery life accordingly:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vinland Saga, Vol. 1


At last, after years of fans begging for a license, we have one of the most anticipated titles of the year. Makoto Yukimura was released over here previously with his sci-fi garbage scow series Planetes, but that was another "critically acclaimed poor seller" that fans love and publishers hate. Nevertheless, the author's skill is demonstrable in that series, and his art and storytelling have only improved since then. This tale of Thorfinn, a reluctant Viking warrior/prisoner-of-war and his tragic backstory is absolutely riveting, and makes you yearn for the next book in the series to come out so you can read on. Honestly, if it weren't already in an omnibus (a handsome, hardcover one, by the way, looking very nice), I'd feel even more impatient.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Comics] Vinland Saga Out In English This Week

Yeah this is a gaming blog and all but I like to take time to bring attention to things I think are under the radar, on occasion they may be things not actually related to gaming. I don't think I've ever devoted any post here to comics, much less manga. I'm not a huge manga reader by any measure -- I only read a handful, and one of them is Vinland Saga, which just hit shelves in North America with the official English version this week.

The first thing that caught me about this series is that it's about Vikings -- a historical setting that's surprisingly under-utilized in non-fantasy storytelling. The second thing was a shot from the very first chapter depicting a bunch of dudes carrying a longboat across land in order to access a river to flank their enemy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Top 50 Anime

Well it's been nearly two years since I last updated my Top 50 Anime list - a ridiculous amount of time to leave it untouched really.I decided to completely redo the list, it is remarkable how you can completely change your mind about a show after a while - some shows went up in my estimation, some went down and I had two years worth of new shows to cram in somewhere too!But I did it and now

But I didn't want to lose some of the entries so here's what's out and what's in.