There’s an old saying…

They fucking renewed Alex Kurtzman’s contract?!?

There’s an old saying that I think is apropos here: “Never Attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”

I suppose technically I had jumped the gun on trek: I saw the malice and interpreted and called it out as such. But I suppose, technically speaking, until today, you could have made the claim that it was just stupidity, and that CBS had accidentally hired Alex Kurtzman as a TV showrunner rather than as filler for a septic tank system.

But today proves that it wasn’t stupidity at all, it was definitely malice. CBS’s goal is to kill off Star Trek.

But there’s still one part of it that I still don’t understand: Why renew Kurtzman’s contract? He’s already killed it off pretty effectively already – does he really need another 5 years?

I suppose it has been around for a long time and it’s got a habit of being revived and renewed. So if you hate Star Trek and you want to kill it off and make damn sure it stays dead, you might extend Kurtzman’s contract. That would make sense I guess.

While I’m here, I should post the poster that I made a while ago for RedLetterMedia’s excellent 5-hour series of reviews of picard:

Buying “For All Mankind”

I’ve been watching this show called For All Mankind. It’s glorious. One day there will almost certainly be a blog post here gushing about it. It has the potential to be my favourite TV show ever. I’ve told pretty much everyone I know about it.

But it’s an Apple TV show, so I can’t ethically recommend any legitimate means of watching it.

Today, I decided to do a thing that I do every now and then: make a good-faith effort to find a way to reward creators of content like this in an ethical way.

In other words, I want to buy For All Mankind on DVD or bluray.

So I decided to hit up apple for a chat to ask them when it’s coming out in a format where it can actually be purchased (as opposed to rented, which is what you get when you “buy” it from Apple TV), and unencumbered by DRM.

That went about as well as you’d expect.

The TL;DR version is that Apple won’t even discuss the possibility of you buying one of their shows on DVD without you providing your personal information. Much less actually release a show on a medium where you can actually buy it. Not only that, but they insist on using misleading terms like “buy”, and “purchase the content legitimately” even when called out on it. I guess they do deserve some minimal number of points for consistency.

So, if you want to watch For All Mankind, the most ethical way I can recommend to watch it is by using The Pirate Bay. You get very high-quality web-download rips there regularly every week.

And I really do recommend watching it. It’s great.

Dear Ronald D Moore: Your show is really great. I’d love to give you and your production company some money to support it’s ongoing creation, but Apple refused to help me with that. If you want to reach out to me and let me know how I can do that, Please do. I’d happily pay premium prices for a box set, I’ll be all like “shut up and take my money”. Thanks.

Here’s the chat log in full:

(well, almost full. This is the last screengrab I took. It was very close to the end of the chat. After this it was pretty much just “well, thanks for nothing I guess? Bye.”)

image of a long, text-based chat with apple tech support. Sorry, vision-impaired people!

My thoughts on the Star Trek: Lower Decks Trailer

So the trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks is finally here. I thought I’d share my thoughts on it:

Why would I bother watching this trailer? It’s got “Star Trek” in the title, and it’s being made by CBS in 2020. That’s all I need to know. All I would achieve by watching it is angering myself and wasting 90 seconds (or however long it is, I haven’t even looked) of my life.

Plus, they haven’t bothered getting back to me with billing information after I contacted them when they announced Strange New Worlds:
I Contacted them a few months ago. They never replied

So I’m just going to assume that they don’t want me to watch it, anyway. They clearly didn’t want me to watch Discovery or Picard.

I’m not even going to bother talking about why I’m not going to watch the trailer for Strange New Worlds when that comes out. If the trailer and the show comes out and I haven’t mentioned it at all, you can just assume CBS never got back to me with that billing information.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

RIP Star Trek
1966 – 2005


Aaw, damn, not Grant Imahara. It was way too early for him to go.

I choose to believe that his robots finally got him and that they just made it look like a brain aneurysm.

Or perhaps he uploaded himself into one of them.

An Ode To The Orville

I fucking love The Orville.

If you haven’t seen it, here be spoilers. You should prpbably just go watch it if you haven’t. But, on the other hand, this is a fairly episodic show. It’s not serialised like so many things are these days. So while there will be spoilers, I think it’s probably not such a huge deal for a show like this. Still, you have been warned.

I think perhaps my favourite moment in the entire show (so far) is in Season 2′s “All the World is a Birthday Cake”, when the captain says “attention everybody, prepare to initiate… First Contact”.

And all of the crew cheers.

It’s fucking glorious.

Oh, optimistic sci-fi, I’ve missed you! It’s been so long! It’s so rare these days that I really can’t even remember the last time I saw any. I suppose there are a few movies that might count: Arrival, Interstellar, The Martian. Perhaps. But they’re all movies rather than TV series. Perhaps Stargate, but it’s now been over a decade since that ended. What I’m really talking about is obviously Trek.

I don’t want to talk about the current dumpster fires with Trek stickers slapped onto the side of them as they gang-rape Roddenberry’s corpse. I’m not here for that. I’d rather not think about them. I think the best thing is if I just stick my fingers in my ears and pretend they don’t exist. As far as I’m concerned, they’re absolutely definitely non-canon. but I kind of have to talk about them at least in passing. The comparison is inevitable, because the Orville is more Trek than any of that trash will ever be. And there’s one simple reason:

This is a show written by somebody who actually likes Science Fiction.

And I mean REAL Science Fiction, not braindead action crap set in space. Not heroic stories about wizards with laser swords. Not another frankenstein “oooh scence bad!” story, or other hamfisted moralising (cough).

Now, real sci-fi doesn’t have to be optimistic. There’s lots and lots of great sci-fi that isn’t. Lexx is one of my favourite shows ever, and it oozes cynicism from every pore. Babylon 5 might be hoepful overall but it gets into some pretty dark territory, and I fucking adore it. But I think that probably the very best of it tends to be optimistic. Much of Asimov’s work (particularly the foundation and robot stories) springs immediately to mind. The Oddysey series. The Galactic Milieu series. All of these are favourites of mine. But the point isn’t that you can’t make good sci-fi that isn’t optimistic. The point is that there’s basically no optimistic sci-fi these days. Certainly not on TV or movie screens. It’s all gritty, edgy stuff where people are cunts. And that’s a huge shame, because it’s the very core of the greatest sci-fi TV/Movie franchise ever. And I’ve missed it. So when the Orville’s crew cheers at First Contact, with comments from the crew like “This is why we’re out here!”, it just about brings tears of joy to my eyes. And I’d like to think that maybe Roddenberry’s corpse is at least taking some comfort, while being gang-raped, in the fact that some people paid attention, even if those people have seemingly been banned from working on anything with a Trek license because the people in charge of trek obviously hate Trek.

I’m starting to think, and this is a big statement, that The Orville might have the potential to be better than Trek. All of it, not just the current dumpster fires.

Wait, don’t close the tab, hear me out.

Firstly, I’m not saying that it IS better. It’s got some pretty huge boots to fill if it wants to take the crown. That’s 50 years of some of the best TV sci-fi ever that you’re going up against. A little 2-or-3-season run isn’t going to allow you to come close. We won’t be able to really consider whether it IS better until it’s at season 10, or movie 5, or something like that. Seth MacFarlane is going to have to keep it up to the same (of higher) levels of great for a LONG time to truly compete with the king.

But I can see that it might have potential.

Firstly, the comedic aspect. The Orville doesn’t have to always take itself so seriously. They’ve leaned hard into the drama and sci-fi side, and I think that’s for the best (it’s one of the things I love about season 2, the comedy has been dialled back and it’s gone 95% sci-fi), but they could do a very comedy-heavy episode and the audience wouldn’t bat an eye if it was done well. Trek really struggled to do that kind of thing. Yes, there is the odd outlier like The Trouble With Tribbles, but even with episodes like those, Trek can’t really be self-referential or examine itself. It has to take it’s premise seriously. But the Orville doesn’t have that limitation. And that means that it has the potential to do something that we really don’t see enough of: The Orville is perfectly positioned to start examining sci-fi tropes. Oh how I’d love to see an episode that deals with the fact that sci-fi writers have no sense of scale. The comedic side of the show gives it the ability to do stuff like that, and I’d LOVE to see it. Deconstruct those tropes. Reconstruct them. Play them for laughs. Make the sci-fi fans chuckle. Reference classic stories and point out how absurd they are. Have somebody mention that we’re entering an asteroid belt, and have somebody say “all hands brace for impact!“, and somebody else say “What are you talking about? The average distance between asteroids is like a hundred thousand kilometers. The chance of hitting one is in the billions to one. We’ll be lucky if we come within visual range of anything larger than a grain of sand”.

Secondly, and this is going to be a bit contentious: Canon. Trek has 50 years of history sitting behind it, and there was no concept of “canon” when it started, it was just a sci-fi show. The idea of canon developed gradually over years. There’s really no canon to speak of in TOS: things tend to mostly be self-consistent, but the idea of canon didn’t really come about until TNG. So there are a bunch of things that are inconsistent, particularly in TOS. Hell, in the second (or first, depending on how you count) episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, at the very start of the episode, they talk about how they’re at the edge of the galaxy. According to later (and more consistent and realistic) canon, that’s a multi-decade journey. Similarly in Star Trek V they go into the galactic core, a similar distance. Another that springs to mind is that I recall a mention of travel at warp 13, but another episode establishes that warp 10 would be “infinite speed” and is basically impossible (if you travelled at infinite speed you would be at every point in the universe simultaneously). These are just two inconsistencies of many. Most of the time, they’re not a big deal, and we kind of just go with the one that makes the most sense and keeps things as internally consistent as possible.

But more than inconsistencies, this canon serves as a huge pile of restrictions for writers. If you want a trek story to feature regular travel to and from another galaxy, you’re probably going to have to explain that there’s been a huge leap forward in propulsion technology allowing travel literally millions of times faster than what we’ve previously seen. And it’s going to have huge implications for all future stories set in that universe, e.g the delta quadrant is now suddenly a day or two away rather than 70 years. It’s not impossible, but not exactly simple either. So, let’s come up with a totally ridiculous example: Say that I was a trek writer and I wanted to include some kind of, I don’t know, let’s say it’s a “spore drive” that allows instantaneous travel to pretty much anywhere in the galaxy via the power of magic mushrooms, or something. That would have all kinds of huge implications on the canon of the rest of the series. And if I was to put something stupid like that in, say, a prequel series set before other pre-existing shows, it’s going to be pretty unavoidable that I’m going to break canon pretty majorly, or I’m going to have to come up with some very contrived reason why the voyager crew doesn’t have knowledge of or access to any information about this ridiculous technology that could get them home in 15 minutes. And anyway, that’s a particularly absurd example because it doesn’t “feel” right for trek – it feels like magic, and trek has always been grounded in science. It would be similar to introducing magical powers into trek. Like, say, I don’t know, let’s go with the ability to telepathically communicate over interstellar distances. Something dumb like that would be very out of character for a trek show and only somebody with no understanding of and/or contempt for trek would contemplate adding something like that to the canon.

I’m not saying that canon is bad, or that there are no more interesting Trek stories to be written (I have like 5 different ideas). What I’m saying is that writing in the Trek universe is by definition fairly restrictive. You can’t, for example, suddenly declare that the Federation has become evil and… I don’t know, let’s go with something off-the-wall and totally absurd and say that they decide not to help an enemy when they’re in need due to some catastrophe, using it as an opportunity to start talking and potentially ushering in a new era of peace, like they did in Star Trek VI, because such an idea would be totally ridiculous and go against everything that Trek is about and destroy the very core of the concept.

Instead what I’m saying is that the canon is restrictive, and that it’s difficult to keep consistent with it. It makes the writer’s job harder. There’s a huge body of stuff that you need to know, and even somebody with the most encyclopaedic knowledge of Trek can make a mistake.

But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to just not try, or that it’s time for a reboot, or anything like that – if you want to set your story in the Trek universe, you’re taking on the responsibility to live by that canon. If you don’t like it, set your story in a separate canon and don’t slap a Trek label on it.

But The Orville doesn’t have that issue. They can make up their canon as they go. And because they have the benefit of Trek’s hindsight, they can stop and think about what they say before they say it, with an eye to future continuity. They can avoid doing things like saying “we’re at the edge of the galaxy” in an early episode. They can build a new canon, one which might be a bit more consistent.

I’ve heard that there are rumours that CBS has been thinking about selling it’s dumpster fire to Universal, and that they want to put Seth MacFarlane in charge. I don’t think they’re true. But even if they were, I say “why would he want that? He’s more free where he is, and he’s doing fucking brilliantly, thank you very much, and his property hasn’t been perhaps-irrevocably tarnished by people who hate science fiction”

To reiterate: All of this is speculative, and The Orville has got a LONG way to go before it can even reach for the crown. But I think I can see a potential there. There’s certainly a potential for a few classes of stories that Trek couldn’t do.

And we’ve already seen some of the best allegorical sci-fi in a long time come from The Orville: The arc about Bortis’ child is a very interesting meditation on some current trans and gender issues. Bortis’ porn addiction episode is a great bit of science fiction, and something that Trek would probably struggle to cover due to being so family-friendly (but that might also be a product of the times, There are some oblique references to various types of holosuite programs you can get from Quark in DS9, so perhaps a modern trek could do a story like that, it’s just a pity they’re not making any trek any more). Bortis seems to get a lot of the interesting stories. His race is almost purpose-built for a lot of great allegory about some pretty current stuff. But there are others. I really really loved “Majority Rule”, which discusses social media and mob mentality, and “All The World is a Birthday Cake” which is an hour-long indictment of astrology, and “Mad Idolatry” where time passes quickly on the planet and Kelly is their god (which reminds me a lot of a really great Voyager episode, “Blink of an Eye”). And the final two episodes of season two (“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” and “The Road Not Taken”) are a great time-travel story. And these are just the “real” sci-fi episodes which spring to mind. I also really liked the Kaylon arc in season 2, even though it was fairly standard stuff I thought it was well-executed. I think just about every single episode has been enjoyable, I certainly can’t think of one that sucked.

I was particularly struck by the first few episodes of season 2. I didn’t get around to watching season 2 until recently. I had just watched the first episode of a certain brand new dumpster fire that shits all over the core concepts of a certain 50-year old franchise, and needed to wash the taste of disgust out of my mouth, so season 2 of The Orville was particularly refreshing. I loved that the first episode was just a quiet little character study/drama thing. No explosions. No roundhouse kicks. Just a trip to Bortis’s homeworld so he can take a piss, and a couple of other little character things.

Nobody even fires a gun until episode 3. Though to be fair there is one isolated and ritualistic stabbing in episode 2.

It’s fucking glorious.

And then there are the references. And the guest cast. And the people behind the scenes. Brannon Braga, Jonathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill. Robert Picardo. Marina Sirtis. Charlize Theron. Liam Neeson. Ted Danson.

It’s fucking glorious.

And then there’s the episodic nature of it. It’s not heavily serialised. If you miss an episode, it’s not the end of the world. If you just want to watch one episode in isolation, you can do that. You can jump in and watch a season 2 episode without having seen ten hours of backstory to understand what’s going on. Not that serialised stories are bad – I might have to write another ode one of these days for The Expanse. But there are definite advantages to smaller, self-contained, episodic stories.

Can I think of flaws? Sure, I guess, nothing’s perfect, but I don’t know that “flaws” is the right word, I think “finding its footing” might be more appropriate. It can be a bit derivative. Some of the episodes have strong flavours of certain episodes from other franchises. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll be hard-pressed if you want to write completely original sci-fi, or any kind story for that matter. And the show’s premise IS pretty derivative, that’s what it is intended to be: it’s not trying to be something totally new and unlike anything you’ve seen before. In fact it’s specifically NOT going for that. It’s trying to be like something great that you haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years, while also having its own feel. And I think it does a really great job at that. I think that the early episodes were a bit comedy-heavy and some of it didn’t really land for me. I’m glad that they seem to have shed that and gone for a mostly-serious tone with the odd joke thrown in. But on the other hand, Isaac cutting off Gordon’s leg was gold. I wouldn’t mind seeing perhaps the odd comedy episode.

“Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.”
Isaac Asimov

As far as I’m concerned, season 2 cements The Orville in the pantheon of most worthy science fiction shows. I bought both seasons on DVD when I was mid way through season 2, I figured I should put my money where my mouth is. And I’ve got them sitting on the same shelf as my Trek box sets, where they belong. It was a nice feeling, I hadn’t added to that shelf in over a decade and didn’t think I’d be adding to it any time soon.

The Orville is fucking glorious. Go buy it. Let’s see if we can make it a big deal. Let’s see if we can get it to season 10.

Generic Action/Sci-fi show #48911

Well, it’s finally here. I’ve been waiting for over a decade.

And I’m still waiting.

This is not Star Trek.

I tried to give it a good chance. I saw the “Klingons” in the trailer. I figured they were some new alien race. Then I heard that they were Klingons, and I worried.

But I didn’t worry too much – they’ve changed the look of the Klingons before. Of course that change has now been explained in canon, and changing them in a show set 10 years before Kirk is problematic, but I suppose if you’ve got clever writers you can explain it.

Plus, the label on it says “Star Trek Discovery”. Discovery! it doesn’t get more trek than discovery! That’s what it’s all about!

So I watched the 2 hour JJ Abrams TrekWars (TM) movie that was the pilot. But it was clearly just a prelude movie. The actual pilot will come with episode 3. So I kept watching.

I saw a million issues. Violating the prime directive (which is now called “general order 1″ for some reason) in the first 5 minutes wasn’t a strong start. The “Klingons” who speak Klingon like someone who doesn’t speak Klingon reading Klingon off a page while wearing half a ton of latex which stops them from speaking properly wasn’t a good sign either. The idiot main character who does every. single. thing. wrong isn’t winning me over. Everything looking wrong wasn’t a good sign either. But I tried to be impartial and fair.

Episode 3 was… meh. Episode 4, very meh. But it wasn’t un-fixable. Maybe they were just trolling me, daring me to stop watching before they do something amazing to fix all this brokenness. Maybe this is the rogue starfleet ship where the captain is a cunt and has recruited a band of cunts to assist him in his mission of being the biggest cunt of the 23rd century, and soon we’ll see an actual starfleet ship come along and bring this renegade to justice. By the end of episode 4, this seemed unlikely, but I was willing to give it a chance.

And then you had to go and say fuck.

I was already completely disgusted by the time you said fuck, that was just the final nail in the coffin. Let’s go through some of the issues I had before you got to the “oooh, let’s be edgy by saying fuck!” moment:

  1. Starfleet has zero concern over using creatures for it’s new propulsion system – their only concern is where to get more creatures. That is not Starfleet.
  2. A Captain telling an admiral “my ship, my way”. Lol. Not even Kirk would be so ballsy. If Kirk had tried that at the height of his career (and let’s be clear: he’s the most decorated officer in starfleet history, having saved the planet many times) the admiral would have blinked, removed him from command, and had him institutionalised because he’s clearly lost his mind.
  3. Crewmember: “I think we’re hurting this creature when we do this thing”
    (acting) Starfleet captain: “Shut the fuck up!”
    Note: Saru – the least cunty person on the ship – says this. This is just how starfleet is now – everyone is a cunt, principles don’t exist. So we go from an immature but well-intentioned humanity in Enterprise, to 90 years later and everybody is a cunt, to 10 years after that and it’s utopia. Riiiiiiiight.
  4. What the fuck is Harry Mudd doing on a klingon ship? Why is it Harry Mudd? There is absolutely no reason for him to be there. Apart from “fanservice”, I mean.
  5. Speaking of fanservice, why bother with fanservice when it’s very very abundantly clear that you hate your core audience? Here’s a tip: Star Trek fans want Star Trek, not “Generic Action/Sci-Fi/Drama #48911″. So when you remove everything that makes it Star Trek, it’s not going to go well. Adding a bunch of little fanservice references (almost all of which either break canon or severely bend it) is not helping, the problem is at the core of what this awful, awful shit is. When I see these little fanservice references I think of Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson inserting their fanfic characters into the main Dune universe to try to legitimise themselves.
  6. I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure there were no female Klingon captains at this time. The Duras sisters are unusual in TNG/DS9 canon. I seem to recall an episode of Deep Space Nine where Quark enters into a sham marriage because Klingon women can’t lead their house. The Klingons are obviously not as progressive as the humans are in this universe. It really seems like you are going for SJW-trek. Which is a pity, because Star Trek doesn’t need that! It was already diverse! The original series didn’t have to bother with the whole “look at how diverse we are!” thing, it just was diverse. That wasn’t worthy of comment in-universe, because it was unremarkable to have a russian or a black woman on the bridge. You’re actually taking a step backwards by screaming at the top of your lungs about how progressive you are. If you want to see a great way to deal with gender politics and to be progressive, go look at Quark’s mother’s arc in Deep Space Nine. Real Trek has already dealt with all this stuff, and done it in a much less hamfisted way.

…And then came the straw that broke the camel’s back: Starfleet officers say fuck now? The phrase “fucking cool” is about the least Star Trek thing a person can possibly say. Yes, there have been precedents, like the ill-advised time Data said “oh shit” in one of the movies. But that was a horrible moment we’d all prefer to forget. You’re not being edgy by saying it, you’re just making it even less Trek than it already was.

And just in case my bile hadn’t already risen:

  1. The captain leaves Harry Mudd as a prisoner on a Klingon ship! Have I mentioned that this is not Star Trek?
  2. OMG you have gay characters! The cunty doctor and the cunty scientist are a couple! A gay couple! An INTERRACIAL GAY couple! How amazingly progressive of you! It’s a pity you seem to think that gay men don’t hug or show real affection beyond ruffling each others hair while talking about how they were worried because the other was in danger. And with the huge budget you have, couldn’t you have found a couple of actors who have some chemistry together?

There are probably other things, but I’d have to watch this godawful dreck again to list all the issues. And there’s no way I’m doing that to myself.

In conclusion, fuck you. This is not Star Trek.

Maybe, if the Internet is swept with comments like “OMG these guys are geniuses! This IS Star Trek!” in 10 weeks, then maybe I’ll think about watching the rest of them. But we all know that’s not going to happen, because you don’t give a shit. You wanted to make Generic Action/Sci-Fi show #48911, not Star Trek.

The funniest thing about this is that if you had given this show any other name, I’d be all over it. I love me some dark sci-fi. I’d love to see an adult sci-fi show with tons of drama and heaps of conflict between cunty characters. But not in a Star Trek Show. You would literally have been better off calling it “Generic Action Sci-Fi show #48911″. I’d watch that, and I’d probably enjoy it. But because you’ve slapped a Star Trek label on it, I spend the whole time just thinking about how apparently everyone in Starfleet was a cunt 10 years before Kirk came along, and how every single thing is broken, and how Gene Roddenberry is turning over in his grave.

Dear Jason Isaacs: You dared me to not watch it? Challenge accepted!

There is a positive here: Next time I watch Enterprise, I’m gonna be all like “OMG this is amazing! They put in so much effort!”. In a strange way, by not giving me a new Star Trek series, they’ve given me a new Star Trek series – I’ll have to go and re-watch Enterprise, because it’s gonna seem awesome compared to this.

And there’s another positive: William Shatner is no longer the cuntiest Trek person! Say hello to your new cunty overlord – Jason Isaacs!

And there’s yet another positive: maybe after this horror show is over, Star Trek will finally be dead. With a little bit of luck this will manage to de-value the entire franchise, and it’ll go to its grave for another 20 years or so. And in that time, since the franchise won’t be worth anything, maybe we’ll get some good, real Star Trek in the form of the fan films you’ve done your best to ban.

I think I’ll go watch some real Star Trek to wash this taste out of my mouth.

Moby Dick-Head, King of the Hipster Douchebags

On last week’s episode of King Of The Nerds (S03E04), one of the judges for annual “Nerd Song” competition is Moby.

Moby takes issue with some of the lyrical content of one of the songs, saying:
“I took issue with ‘Like newton’s laws of motion we don’t hypothesize’, because I feel like in a quantum world, most of newtonian physics has sort of been cast aside.


Moby, you’re such a dick!

Now, I’m no string theorist – I don’t even know one of Newton’s equations from memory, but even I can tell you quite definitively that newtonian physics has not been “cast aside”.

OK, sure, so Quantum Mechanics does have some bearing on Newton’s work, but Newton’s laws are still valid in the vast majority of everyday circumstances. If you were to say that Newtonian physics has been refined, then you’d be spot on – Relativity and Quantum mechanics have both refined newtonian physics immensely, but that doesn’t mean that newtonian physics have been “cast aside” – not by a long shot – Newton’s equations are still very valid if you want a simple-to-calculate, approximate solution to many, many, many problems – they only become inadequate in certain circumstances, such as calculating the precession of Mercury’s perihelion, working with subatomic particles, or dealing with relativistic speeds and/or very curved regions of spacetime (big gravity wells).

The Apollo Missions, for example, didn’t need to use relativistic or quantum equations. If they had, the moon landings never would have happened – an astronaut can plug the numbers into newton’s equations and work them out with a slide-rule or maybe even in his head. If he had to do quantum mechanics or relativistic equations to figure out a descent or rendezevous burn, it would never have happened before the microprocessor was invented – we just didn’t have the computing power back in 1969. Missing the CSM by a couple of hundred metres on the way back up or slamming into the lunar surface because you’re busy trying to do quantum mechanics but struggle with the math would probably not be considered a particularly successful mission. The Saturn V rocket is the ultimate embodiment (so far) of Newton’s Third law of motion, and it sure seemed to work. I’d also note that 1969 was a good 40-or-so years after the establishment and general acceptance of Quantum Mechanics – it’s not like they didn’t know all about quantum theory and got lucky – they knew all about it, and they knew they could ignore it.

So, Moby, to summarize: I don’t think “Quantum Theory” means what you think it means.

Moby then goes on to criticise one of them for claiming in the song that he read Hamlet in the Original Klingon, asking “did you really read Hamlet in Klingon?”.

Now, In Moby’s Song Run On, he states:

Michael spoke and he sound so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of angels’ feet
He put one hand upon my head
Great God Almighty let me tell you what he said

Saying quite specifically that the Archangel Michael has personally spoken to (and physically touched) him. I kinda doubt this, what with the whole “fictional character” bit. But I suppose Moby might not actually be lying – he could simply be delusional. Incidentally, the same song also implies that he’s met jeebus, something I’m also doubtful of.

Setting aside how incredibly petty it is to criticise someone because what they say in a song isn’t literal truth (it’s called “metaphor”, “simile”, or “A direct reference to Star Trek VI”, look it up), I think that this is a somewhat hypocritical stance for Moby to take given the lyrics to just this one song (Note: this was the first moby song I thought of and looked up the lyrics for, I’m sure his whole body of work is rife with this kind of stuff, as is the work of just about every songwriter ever – I don’t think that Bonnie Tyler literally falls apart every now and then – that would be a strange medical condition, and I don’t actually want to hunt and torture stupid people, because I’m not actually a psychopath)

One of the members of the other team didn’t think so though – she thought it was cool to see moby dissing the other team for no real reason, and chimed in with something to the effect of “Um, I don’t even think Hamlet has been translated to Klingon – there’s not enough vocabulary for it!”

This immediately caught my attention, since being a Star Trek fan I know how mental some of us get, so my immediate reaction to that was “Yeah, I wouldn’t be so sure about that”, with visions of committees of nerds arguing over usenet as to what was an appropriate klingon word to use for “cutlass” (in fact, that’s probably an easy one which didn’t cause much debate – it’s a weapon, so there was probably already a Klingon word for it)…

…So, tonight, I do a search, and Lo and behold!

I was talking to a friend about this, and he put it elegantly:
“You’re suprised by Moby being a pretentious hipster douchebag? Didn’t you know that Moby invented ‘hipster douchebag’?”

Well, yeah, I did. But at least I thought he’d bother to be correct. Apparently not.

(BTW: I’m actually rooting for the other team which Moby didn’t criticise as much – specifically for Kaitlin, because she’s awesome, and I think that in the end Moby and the other judges did make the correct decision – the other song was better. But I do take issue with moby being such a dick, and I think that his criticisms were totally unfair)

As Usual, TISM turn out to be prophets – De Rigeurmortis – Track 10:


Dear Moby,
Having read you liner notes, I now violently oppose pain, death, famine, disease, slaughter, war, youth suicide, pollution, hitting your finger with the hammer, parking in disabled car parks, the industrial military complex, the death of innocent third world people, especially the children, by the way, I’d like to thank Mohammed and the Dalai Lama, safari suits and stating the fucking obvious.

You’re hurting my brain


Top Gear was accused of faking a scene in which riverbank diners have their meal interrupted by a deluge of water from a passing hovervan, which the three presenters had built to show what can be done to help flood prone areas. The accusations were started after Michael Bott said on his blog that he’d been hired by Top Gear to pose as one of the diners.

Just so we’re clear: The people complaining about this are complaining that it’s disingenuous for Top Gear to stage things like this.

So, what they’re saying is that Clarkson, Hammond, and May should have actually really driven the hovervan past a real riverside restaurant where real, unsususpecting members of the public were dining in peace, and sprayed them all with water.

I’m sure nobody would have complained about that.



Top Gear is not a serious programme, it’s a comedy programme. It’s not real.

When Jeremy Clarkson says “literally” on Top Gear, he doesn’t literally mean “literally”, he means “figuratively”. This is what’s known as a comedic device – those who are in on the joke of Top Gear realise that he knows that when he says “literally” he means “figuratively”, and that he knows that they know. It’s part of the joke.

Asking Jeremy Clarkson “is it real?” is more disingenuous than him responding that it is, in fact, literally 100% real.

Oh, yeah, and the preceding blog post may have contained spoilers, so spoiler alert.

The Walt, The

Dear Walter White,

You are such a fucking cunt. I hate you and I want you dead.


I require two things from the end of Breaking Bad:

  • Walter needs to die. If I got my way this would be slow and painful.
  • Jessie needs to be rich, free, and happy.

I also have preferences – things which I’d like to see but don’t require:

  • Saul should live and get away, because Saul is awesome.
  • I don’t much care about other characters – that bitch Skylar and her annoying family can live or die, meh.


  1. Hank is going to really start putting things together (2nd cell, fugue state, moving out, carwash, etc), and he’ll talk to Skylar now that he knows who heisenberg is, but Skylar is going to be too scared/indecisive/fucking retarded to talk to him. She might let “Vamonous” slip, intentionally or otherwise.
  2. Walt will kill Saul, or at least get him killed through idiocy. I say this based on nothing other than the fact that Walt is a complete cunt and that this development would be shocking to the audience, and a complete cunt-act.

In case it’s not really obvious, I’ve been re-watching season 5 of Breaking Bad today. IMHO this is one of the best shows ever made… but that’s a separate post, or a 100,000 word essay.