Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Close up of the plastic flag

A closeup of the Plastic American flag by Amy Orr. Here you can really see the credit cards that make up the central plastic part of the design.

American Flag in plastic

An American Flag in plastic from the Amy Orr Plastic Culture exhibit at the DCCA. This piece is made of credit cards and flags. She carefully shows that the flags were made in China.

Obama: Hope in Plastic

Obama: Hope in Plastic 2009 by Amy Orr at the Plastic Culture exhibit at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art. I hope that you can see that this copy of Shepard Fairey's copy of an AP photo is made of variously colored credit cards.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ghostbusters with equipment at Philcon

These Ghostbusters at Philcon had really good costumes. These crappy treo pix don't do justice to the flashing lights, switches and the detail of these costumes.

They were trading costuming and repurposing electronic toys hints with the Pennsylvania Jedi Society. I asked to take a picture since they had put the Ghostbusters theme into my head.

Ghostbusters Truck at Philcon

Saw this Ghostbusters decked out truck at Philcon in Cherry Hill New Jersey today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Compact Car Only or unless you can't read

These spaces in north Wilmington are notoriously small, so they are correctly labelled "Compact Car Only". I can only conclude that adult illiteracy is still a big problem as the driver of this black pickup truck has failed to follow these instructions. The act is made more agregious by the fact that his tailget has one of those extensions on it, filled with sod, that only makes the truck even longer and more inappropriate for the space. If a car had parked on the other side, though I am not sure how they could, no one could have entered or exited the parking lot.

The alternative to them being illiterate is that they are a jerk. What do you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Creepy eyeball left over Halloween candy

Still encountering leftover Haloween candy like this creepy eyeball. It's creepy but I ate it anyway, because it was chocolate.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fledging sparrows at the end of summer

Towards the end of summer we noticed that some birds had built a nest in the large flower pots that we have on our front porch, but never really saw any birds in it. In early September at the end of summer, all of the sudden the House Sparrows that had hatched were ready to fledge. I captured what appeared to be two babies and two parents during the first flight event. Ah, the wonders of nature.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Trouble with "V"

We watched the highly-anticipated "V" this past week. I must not willingly suspend my disbelief any more or have lost my senswunda because I couldn't watch the pilot episode (or most TV for that matter) without picking holes in the plot and science. I understand that science must be stretched to accommodate an ostensible science fictional show, but stretch it too far, or perhaps the character's in the show response to it and I think you start to lose your audience. My comments below contain spoilers from the pilot episode so be sure to watch it before you continue reading.

When the aliens show up in their own spaceship in orbit round your planet, you have already lost the battle. They have the high ground and they can just drop rocks on you until you submit. And that's just using the laws of physics as we know them. Interplanetary travel is hard enough, interstellar is practically impossible (takes a lot of energy) given our current understanding of physics. (Charles Stross has recently done a rift on this.) These aliens would need antigravity or something like it, which they apparently do have. I suppose the the V must get to Earth or there is no story.

Why doesn't anybody but the one newscaster comment on how much the V look like humans? He asks why they are all so attractive, I would ask why they look anything like us at all. Convergent evolution? Long lost brothers from a prehistoric human space empire? All of these explanations have important consequences, especially for the plot. If they are humans from another place why would Earth authorities ever let them set foot on the planet in these days of H1N1 swine flu, SARS, AIDS and weaponized anthrax, without wearing spacesuits to prevent them contaminating us with diseases we have never encountered before. I think history tells us what happens when two previously isolated human populations encounter each other for the first time.

Perhaps they are not human and are just wearing disguises so that we feel more comfortable around them. That opens up the question of how they developed the disguises and how long have they really been on Earth, how did they learn all of our languages, etc. When the secret V resistance meets and then gets wiped out by V infiltrators, it is not a surprise at how well they fit in give their looks. It is a surprise that anyone needs to be convinced that there are V among us. When the human survivors leave they should have taken some V bodies with them to expose the conspiracy. That would have been more important than their lives.

Perhaps the disguises are due to a really good knowledge of human physiology. Just how did they figure out how to cure human diseases anyway? That sounds like they would have had to do some experimentation to get it right. And thus we are right back to some obvious clues that the V have been on Earth long before they announced themselves and those alien abduction stories might be true.

I suppose because the show is a political allegory of the Obama administration (really) and not science fiction, that I shouldn't be surprised that none of the characters embedded in the story ask any of these important questions. At least they mentioned Independence Day when the ships show up. If aliens ever do show up in spaceships around Earth, they will have to deal with all of preconceptions formed from movie after movie exploring such a scenario. However, the current state of humanity is that it appears that we are alone in the universe, Enrico Fermi himself asked where is everybody. It is hard to explain why there appears to be only one place in the universe where intelligent life exists, even harder to explain why there would be only two. Stephen Baxter has written three novels and countless short stories just explaining away.

In spite of the implausibilities I will continue watching V to see if it improves, and because I seem to get as much fun out of picking apart television series as just watching them these days.