Monthly Archives: June 2014

Random Thought Generator Episode 8, Firefly



In which, we discuss everyone’s favorite space western show, canceled too early by Fox–Firefly!  Just in time for the Hampton Roads Can’t Stop the Serenity event this Saturday, we compare favorite characters, plot lines, brilliant moments, Joss Whedon’s writing, Dollhouse, Nathan Fillion’s ass, and anything else that we liked about the show.

PS If you are in the Hampton Roads area this coming weekend, come out to the Naro Expanded Cinema this Saturday, June 28 from noon to 4:00 pm and hang out with us and some of our friends to watch a great movie for a great cause!

Show Notes:



Can’t Stop the Serenity

The Big Damn Shindig

Mikey Mason

It Might Be a Good Thing Firefly Was Limited

She Don’t Like Firefly

Equality Now

Astonishing X-Men

Mouse Guard


American Gods

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Filed under Geek Life, Podcast

Winning Science June 19, 2014

Traffic is something that city dweller have accepted as a way of life. However, it seems that no matter how many new roads the Department of Motor Vehicles seems to build, it never does anything to help traffic.  As it turns out there is a one to one relationship between an increase in traffic and an increase in roads. As the number of roads increase, the more people feel they have the ability to travel and so they do, thus increasing traffic. It’s what economics professors call induced demand. To some extent, removing roads can actually help, as was done in Paris and Seoul, but there are obvious limitations to such a plan of action.


Despite my choosing to live fairly close to work, it still takes twenty five minutes for me to go only six miles.

It has been three years since the accident at Fukushima and still no one has a clear picture of what the area surrounding the reactor looks like. There is too much radiation to send in people, sending in cameras would risk further contamination leaks, and x-rays would be useless to penetrate the steel and concrete buildings.  However, an effort involving Los Alamos and Toshiba, a “new” form of detector will be utilized with relies on muons. Two billboard sized detectors will be placed on opposites sides and will measure muon strikes and use that to determine the arrangement and composition of materials between the detectors. Although it will take weeks to months to complete, this new mapping technology will provide an accurate picture of what’s going on in the damaged reactors.

One of Fukushima's three damaged reactors.

One of Fukushima’s three damaged reactors.

I say “new” because an early version of this technology was used in the 1960s to map the interior of the Great Pyramids.  Of course, this is a much more advanced version.

In recent years, most people have come to accept that space and time are actually one and the same–commonly referred to as spacetime. But what is spacetime? Well, researchers in Italy and Germany have been wondering the same thing. They’re proposing a fairly radical idea that perhaps it is a superfluid, which is a fluid with an extremely low viscosity. The whole idea of treating spacetime as a fluid came from an attempt to answer the problems between general relativity and quantum theory. Each is very good at accurately describing separate phenomena, but when you try to apply them together, they don’t seem to work. Treating spacetime like a fluid seemed to be a theory with promise, but in order to properly account from some behaviors, it was determined that it would need to be termed a superfluid.

Image from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image from the Hubble Space Telescope.

While it is unlikely that the theory of spacetime as a superfluid answers all questions about the phenomenon, scientist point out that it is definitely within the realm of possibility, since no other proposed theory answers all questions either.

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Filed under Weekly, Winning Science

A Few Thoughts on Fan Outrage

I freely admit that bitching fanboy is a happy fanboy. In fact that is the first thing I ever said on this blog. I personally practice this on a regular basis, hence my reputation for a sunny disposition. There is, however, a limit to how much fans should become “outraged.” At what point do fans stop being the acceptable bitching fanboy and start to be something far more obnoxious and quite honestly detrimental to geeks as a whole?

To be clear, I’m not talking about the people who complain when a change is made to their favorite comic book. At ECCC, when asked what the public response was to bringing back Peter Parker, long-time Marvel writer Peter David said, “When Doc Ock took over, there were a ton of fan complaints. Now that Doc Ock is leaving, there are a ton of fan complaints.” In general, people don’t like change, and geeks are no exception. Eventually, the uproar over Spider-Man, just like with any other event, will die down and 99% of fans will either forget that the whole thing happened, or just not care. Of course there will be the diehards that won’t let it go, but the only reason the rest of us will remember them at all is by watching all the truly embarrassing YouTube videos they’ve put up. In years to come we can all sit back and laugh at their predictions of the death of the comic industry, all while we read a comic book.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Books, Gaming, Geek Life, Movies

Editorial | Game of Thrones S4E10, Finale Reaction **SPOILERS**

***** SPOILER ALERT *****

This review will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.

Typically in my editorials, I try to write about geeky things from an academic perspective.  Today I say, “Forget all that!”  I just want to talk about the AMAZING Game of Thrones finale from last night.  I know that emotions were at peak level before the show and that many areas of the internet are suffering from a meltdown after, so this is a great time to discuss the show and what I liked and disliked.  Feel free to join the conversation in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter.  (I know that not everyone has gotten to see the show yet, so I’m gonna just drop a page break in here to keep anyone from accidentally being spoiled.)


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Filed under Editorial, Tracy Gronewold