Sunday, July 30, 2017

Quantum Atomic Space Blonde

"Nice phone camera"

Funny. The story's better than the picture. That weird windmill up there is at the car wash place, and it was a blur, whirring around like a mother. So, my spidey senses told me—this might be a good action shot, especially on my crappy iPhone camera. So, I whipped it out and took the picture. Wha?!? The phone camera had enough guts and sunlight to stop that windmill dead in it's tracks. Pretty impressive.

Quantum Space

Book: Quantum Space by Douglas Phillips
Review: 3 bill-stars (out of 5)... good

Science! The thing that stands out in this book is its focus on real science. Quantum Space puts the science in science fiction. (marketing, ha!)

A lot of Quantum Space is pretty typical for a sci-fi book. It's characters are pretty flat. Human interaction, meh. That isn't the emphasis here. The plot and the writing are okay. The plot is interesting, but I kept waiting for the suspense and action to slip into a higher gear, and it never really happens.

Author Douglas Phillips is definitely a nerd. For real. Much of the book takes place at Fermi Lab right here in Illinois. (woot!) The writing is a little weak in spots, but the science and the tech is strong. His description of quantum mechanics, the standard model, and how the book uses it for space travel and communication is really interesting. I learned! (gasp) He deftly describes why we haven't heard from ET yet. Sorry, Carl Sagan. Read this nerdy quote and weep.

Which brings me to the main premise of the book. The chance that humans are ever going to communicate with alien civilizations using radio communication is slim, maybe none. Sorry, SETI, but you're not likely to hear anything—ever. 
Nobody is broadcasting because at interstellar distances, radio is far too slow, and more importantly—they've found some other way.
- Douglas Phillips, comments in his Afterward, Quantum Space

I love a simple, homemade website. The author's is a good example: He has posted additional images related to the book in his gallery there. It's a nice supplement, especially when reading the Kindle, which doesn't handle images very well.

I'll wrap with a couple cool science things from the book. The directions in the 4th dimension are called ana and kata. (wild) Phillips points to Wikipedia for a nice intro to the Standard Model: Fermi lab has a nice history page: Btw, what is up with that Fermi Lab crest?!? Not the simple main logo, but the round, complicated crest. It's so bad/weird, it's cool. I need to do more googling to get an explanation. Fermi Lab is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year: So, yes, sadly... I am older than Fermi Lab. (dop)

Phillips says this is the first book in a series. We'll see. A good read.

Atomic Blonde

Movie: Atomic Blonde
Review: 2 bill-stars (out of 5)... nope

Now, that's a great movie title: Atomic Blonde. And Charlize Theron... she's a rare commodity. She's an attractive and popular movie star (Mad Max Fury Road) who is also a very talented dramatic actress (Monster). The trailer for Atomic Blonde was great, action-filled. Everything seemed in place for a fun 3-star action movie. And yet, the movie stinks.

Why? Well, they make the classic mistake in Atomic Blonde. The movie takes itself too seriously. Can you believe that? I saw the movie, and I still can't believe it. (he he) Char Theron is unlikeable as the title character. She smokes; she glowers and mumbles; she gets beat up for about 2 hours. That's it. I saw Kingsman on the teevee the other day. Now, that's a funny, fast, engaging action movie. Atomic Blonde takes a different approach... um, unfunny, slow and detached?

It seems every character in Atomic Blonde suffers alongside Charlize in trying desperately to be cool and serious. The movie is nearly humor-free. In long stretches, it's pretty boring. There are some cool action scenes but nothing of note. Pardon my sexism, but they tacked toward realism in some of the fight scenes, and it's pretty uncomfortable to see a girl get punched in the face and thrown around like a rag doll over and over again by some huge, muscly Russian brutes.

I'll go 2 bill-stars. Avoid. Not a good movie.

Owning Obamacare

Obamacare survived this week on a deciding vote by repub senator John McCain. This stuff is why Trump was elected. McCain seems about as out of touch as a pol can be. The guy just ran, in 2016, specifically pledging to "Stop Obamacare".

John McCain is leading the fight to stop Obamacare.
- 2016 McCain campaign ad,

So, Obamacare. Here's a very simple, nauseating stat that sums it up pretty well.

In the last couple weeks, lefties have eked out two victories: Obamacare's survival and Illinois' dem budget passed with a HUGE tax hike and other malfeasance in there. That means there's more pain on the way: Obamacare markets dying and premiums skyrocketing; and Illinois is raising taxes without making a dent in our fiscal problems (aka public employee pensions).

Well then, who owns Obamacare now? And who owns the decline of the state of Illinois? Rightie pols or leftie pols? Trump emphatically says/tweets: Not me! (ha) I assume Rauner would say likewise.

I don't know, but I think Trump and Rauner may be right. Shit. Imagine if Hillary and some other leftie nabob were in charge? At least Trump and Rauner provide some level of resistance and blowback to the leftie nonsense/mayhem.

We'll see very soon, in 2018. Rauner is up for re-election as governor. And, of course, the 2018 Congressional elections will, largely, be a referendum on Trump. You know what this means: Trump tweets, FAKE NEWS, bogus polls, leftie vitriol/violence, and more!
Hmm. I like our chances.
thanks... yow, bill

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