Toy Tuesday: Yo! It’s The Best ‘G.I. Joe’ ToysScarlett’s Strike Force Cancelled: Now What? If you’re not reading IDW’s excellent licensed comics, you’re missing out. They’ve managed to take a bunch of toys and cartoons from our childhoods and weave them together into what can only be called the Hasbro Non-Cinematic Universe. Their Transformers book has low-key been one of the best reads on the stands for years, and now with friend of Geek Aubrey Sitterson signed on to write the main G.I. Joe comic and a massive crossover in Revolution, it’s the perfect time to hop on board.That said, we don’t expect every single Joe from the toy line’s history to make an appearance. Hasbro had to knock out a disturbing number of figures every year to keep the money flowing, and once you get away from the iconic guy’s things get a little weedy.In this list, we’ll spotlight eleven Joes that should probably sit this next fight out. Knowing Aubrey, though, it’s more than likely you’ll see a few of them just to spite us.Captain Grid IronTo truly discuss the weirdness of Captain Grid Iron, we need to talk about another Joe: William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the first-round draft pick who rode to fame with the Bears and the Eagles before becoming one of the few people with Joes modeled and named after them. So the team already had a football player, right? Why, four years later, would they add another one? Captain Grid Iron was the QB of his squad at West Point but never played in the NFL, instead opting to join the infantry. He was a “hand to hand combat specialist,” which was a little odd because he carried an enormous shotgun and a bunch of football-sized grenades, which one thinks would slow a soldier down.AltitudeOne of the biggest issues with G.I. Joe is that eventually they just ran out of ways to differentiate the characters from each other. Altitude (real name thankfully not Al Titude) is a perfect example. The dude’s ostensibly a paratrooper, but pretty much every warm body in the Joe force knows how to jump out of a plane because they explode all the time. So they had to give John Jones, the aerial recon scout codenamed Altitude, a little something different. The geniuses at Hasbro decided on “he’s good at drawing” – apparently when he’s floating up there Altitude whips out a pen and pencil and uses his photographic memory to make sketches of enemy encampments. Dude, even the cheapest cell phone has a camera in it now. You can relax.BullhornYou know what totally works well in dealing with international terrorists named after snakes? Negotiation. Psyche, we’re just kidding, those guys never give up or make deals. That’s why Bullhorn is such an inexplicable addition to the Joe roster. His file card says that he’s the type of guy to “negotiate with wackos and fanatics who have an axe to grind with society.” Presumably, he uses the giant novelty voice changer he got a Party City to talk in a robot alien voice because of hostage takers like that.MuskratGetting a code name from a wild animal is classic military stuff, but what happens when all of the good ones are taken? Then you get Muskrat, the Joe from down in the bayou with a heart of gold and the hat of a hobo. We’ll give him this: if you spend a lot of time in the swamp, you get very familiar with snakes. After joining the Army Rangers, the Joe squad was the next step. We have plenty of questions about Muskrat’s whole deal (and what he smells like, besides “bad”), but the top one is the accessory that comes with the figure: a “Swamp Skimmer,” which is basically a boogie board. Do people really boogie board in the Everglades and if so what is wrong with them?Sci-FiThe general concept behind Sci-Fi isn’t so crazy: he’s a “laser trooper,” armed with a high-tech futuristic rifle that shoots beams of energy instead of bullets. Hey, wait a minute – don’t all G.I. Joe weapons shoot beams of energy instead of bullets? Yes, they do, and herein lies the tragedy. The one thing that was supposed to be Sci-Fi’s niche in the Joe squad was taken away from him unceremoniously. He went from “Sci-Fi” to “Just Some Guy” in the blink of an eye, and the only thing he had left was his oddly Power Rangers-esque outfit.MaceThe thing with G.I. Joes is that they were victim to the constantly-escalating arms race of 80s toys. Each year’s models had to be more intense and extreme than the ones before, which is how by the time the 1993 Battle Corps line was released we wound up with a soldier billed as an “undercover operative” who wears a bright yellow helmet with a freaking missile launcher bolted onto the side of it. Where exactly Mace is going undercover in this insane outfit is anybody’s guess. Maybe Burning Man? He was in the second to last grouping of figures to be released before Hasbro shut the line down in 1994.Dee JayPeople come to the elite fighting force that is G.I. Joe from many different branches of the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. But a few are enlisted from civilian life for their special talents. Like Dee Jay – he’s in the group because he can wrestle sick beats from his radio. The “Comm-Tech Trooper” carries a communications device, that (and this is straight from the back of his toy card) he can “make it work, fix it and coax strange sounds out of it with an infectious beat.” Yes, I’m sure that when you’re trying to stop a bunch of goofy snake men, identical twins, dudes with metal faces and assorted creeps and cretins from conquering the world you really want to take a second to bust a move or two.Ice Cream SoldierIf you’re a wrestling fan, you might be familiar with Pennsylvania-based indie promotion Chikara. That company has a pair of masked luchadors named El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr that work a frozen dessert gimmick. So one would think that the G.I. Joe codenamed “Ice Cream Soldier” might be similar? Wrongo, buddy. In fact, he’s a heavily-armored dude who carries a flamethrower around, because everybody loves the flaming ice cream you get at strip mall Japanese restaurants. Unfortunately, you can’t show charred corpses on afternoon cartoons, so Ice never got to do his job.ChucklesWhen kids are playing with G.I. Joes, there’s always a battle between who gets the flashier figures like Snake Eyes and Duke and who has to settle for the dregs. In the entire history of pretend wars held in backyards and bedrooms all across America, we can confidently say that nobody has ever called dibs on Chuckles. The team’s undercover intelligence officer is just some jamoke in a cheap Hawaiian shirt who used to be an insurance investigator. Apparently, he’s really good at blending in with Cobra dudes, which is a little shocking because they all wear full face masks. How hard can that be?HardballGoddammit, another sports guy? Hardball epitomizes the real tragedy of G.I. Joe: no uniform dress code means they could wear whatever idiotic outfit they wanted into battle. For dudes like Quick Kick, that meant going barefoot and shirtless. For Hardball, that means wearing his minor league baseball uniform into combat like a damn lunatic. Dude, we get it: you left your angels in the outfield and are taking out your roid-fueled frustrations on Cobra. But we can’t all be Kenny Powers. It’s time to let your dreams die and move on with your life.Colonel CourageThere are a lot of moving parts in keeping a fighting force active, but let’s be real here: kids don’t want to fantasize about being mess cooks, drill sergeants or desk jockeys. Colonel Courage (real name Cliff V. Mewett) was the latter, a designated “Administrative Strategist” who for some reason came armed with more guns than he could carry. Do you think they gave him that bad-ass code name as a sort of passive-aggressive jab on his duties? “Thanks so much for signing and filing my equipment requisition forms, Colonel Courage.” It’s like Office Space, but instead of a stapler, it’s a live grenade. Stay on target
First it was Sony’s troubles with PSN, now Microsoft has its own issues to worry about. The company today issued a service alert warning for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 players to be on the lookout for phishing attempts against them while playing the game. Microsoft warned that the attempts could come via “title-specific messaging,” which is remarkably vague, but clearly the issue was significant enough for a public warning.The service alert tells users a phishing attempt may appear via messaging in the game. Microsoft claims they’re looking into the issue more closely and hope to resolve it. At the same time however, the only reasonable language this translates into is that Modern Warfare 2 players should be cautious and wary of any messages they receive while playing the game, especially if the messages they receive ask them to divulge any information about their Xbox Live account.It’s worth pointing out that while Modern Warfare 2 has been out since late 2009, the game is still one of the most popular games on Xbox Live. Even among players who own the sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Modern Warfare 2 is still a hot commodity, and the second most-often played Xbox Live title. There are still plenty of players out there who happily play Modern Warfare 2, and they’re apparently an attractive target for people looking to swipe personal information.Admittedly, the issue pales in comparison to Sony’s massive breach of security on PSN, but it’s still a serious issue. Considering game-hungry PlayStation owners may be firing their Xbox 360s up to play a little Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, it’s a good time to remember not to divulge personal information like your Xbox Live account information to anyone who asks for it, especially online.Read more at Xbox Support
Listen bub, this month marks the forty-third anniversary of Wolverine’s introduction to comics in Hulk #181. Created by Len Wein, John Romita Sr., and the late Herb Trimpe, Wolverine went from Hulk antagonist to being one of the most prominent and celebrated characters across all media. It’s for that reason that we should take the time to reflect on this beloved Mutant. One thing that’s always worth noting regarding Wolverine is that he’s gone by more names than almost anyone else ever, fictional or not, that I can think of. From Logan, to James Howlett, to Patch, to Weapon X, even Death; Wolverine has gone by them all!Like many Millennials, my first memorable encounter with Wolverine was with the 90’s X-Men animated series voiced by actual Canadian Cathal J. Dodd. While much of the cartoon still holds up pretty well, I still jokingly use the line, “No! I’m covered with scorpions! Get them off me!” to this day.The second glimpse I got of Wolverine was on a VHS copy of the failed X-Men animated series pilot from the 80’s, “Pryde of the X-Men.” In that version, Wolverine was voiced by American voice actor Patrick Pinney. Patrick also provided the voice of Wolverine in his appearance in Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Curiously, Patrick Pinney gave Wolverine an Australian accent despite the fact that Wolverine is Canadian. Whereas a previous version of Wolverine gave us an Australian accent, when he’s not even Australian. The hands down the most famous actor to play Wolverine is Australian and didn’t give an Aussie accent. That actor of course is Hugh Jackman. Jackman appeared as Wolverine in nine X movies between 2000 and 2017, including the widely critically acclaimed film Logan released earlier this year. He defined the role so thoroughly that it may be quite some time before anyone else tackles the character in a live action movie.So go pop in an X-Men movie, go back and read some Wolverine comics, or go on YouTube and watch Wolverine scream about scorpions for ten minutes straight. There’s no wrong way to show your Canadian Mutant pride!View as: One Page Slides1. Richard Cox2. Amelia Vidal3. Artist Abe4. Alessandra Canzanella5. Ramon Perez6. Max Kiselyov7. Naked Maza Faker8. Andrew Tarusov9. Omtay10. Logan Niblock11. Erika Wagner12. Matt Agoulet13. Jake Kazakos14. Tomato Style15. Justin Peterson16. Armink S.17. Chris Visions18. Renata Castellani19. Brian LevelColors by K Michael Russell20. Ko_Dinae21. Jesse BrayIf dig Jesse’s Logan piece please donate in his name to Code.Org and help support future Geeks.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Enter BBC’s ‘Doctor Who’ Fan Art CompetitionMCU News: Phase 4 Poster, Spider-Man Theories & More
Amazon has already greenlit a third season of its alternative history, science fiction drama The Man in the High Castle after what it’s calling a successful premiere weekend for the second season.Also, the company is making some changes behind the scenes in preparation for the upcoming season. Eric Overmyer, who already developed the show Bosch for Amazon, has been brought on to be the showrunner and executive producer for the new season.“Eric and his team are doing an incredible job crafting stories about the inner lives of those who struggle to do good in a world that is not,” Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama at Amazon Studios, said in a press release.The show was due for a new showrunner since Frank Spotnitz left the show in the middle of season two’s production. Other producers picked up responsibilities in the meantime, so a permanent showrunner was never hired.While original reports said Spotnitz left the show over geographical disputes (he lives and works in Paris while the show was filmed in Vancouver), he confirmed later that it was due to creative differences. The distance was still an issue for other executives since Spotnitz was often not on set, but it was his decision to exit.“I had a very different idea about where I wanted the show to go, and what I wanted the stories to be. So, we just sort of agreed to part ways, and I would say it was pretty friendly; in fact, it was one of the most cordial disagreements you could imagine,” Spotnitz said.Despite this drama, The Man in the High Castle‘s second season premiered on Dec. 16 and raked in the viewers. According to Amazon, the show has the most viewers over its debut weekend of all Amazon original series. While reviews have been mixed (Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff called it the worst TV show of 2016), it still managed to present an alternate reality that was, unfortunately, appropriate when it came to this year.“As timely as ever, the exploration of characters at a dark point for humanity has provided incredible stories for two seasons,” Lewis said.According to the statement, the third season will premiere sometime in 2017. In the meantime, viewers can catch up on the first two seasons over at Amazon Prime and catch up on some teases that the studio has been putting out on social media, like the one below.
11 Forgotten Vertigo Comics That Would Make Awesome TV ShowsThe Greatest Romances in Comic Book History If there’s one thing I can say about Preacher it’s that it knows how to deliver its big moments. It’s getting to those big moments that it has trouble with. The second season concluded last night with an extended hour-and-15-minute episode. The extra length worked in its favor. It needed the extra time to finish all the storytelling the rest of this season forgot to include. The good news is there was absolutely nothing predictable. This show is best when it reminds us just how crazy it’s willing to be. When it’s able to keep surprising us with the places it’s willing to go. Last night’s finale certainly delivered that. As a matter of fact, the entire season did it much more consistently than the first. The other areas are where it dropped the ball.As finales go, this was about as strong as we could expect, given the episodes leading up to it. As we expected, the show was saving the biggest developments for this final episode. Thankfully, those developments played out in a way we didn’t see coming at all. Jesse’s story remains the strongest of the three, though only because that’s what the show spent the most time on. The finale opened with an extended flashback that served to set up the cliffhanger at the end as well as the story for next season. As a teenager, after being locked in an airtight container and held underwater, Jesse worked as a parking attendant for his grandmother, Marie L’Angelle. When two guys in a pickup truck come to collect the money, they nearly break Jesse’s arm. (Those two are T.C. and Jody, by the way. They’re going to be important next season.) Jesse gets so mad he kills a chicken, but feels bad about it. He takes the chicken to his grandmother, who… apparently can resurrect the dead in this version? Ok, sure.Jesse’s modern day arc was a lot of fun. In an update to the comic, Starr is trying to get Jesse to go viral so people might start worshiping him. He has Jesse speak to a Catholic school class that’s interrupted by vague Armenian terrorists. He tries to use The Word, but it isn’t working at all anymore. This all leads to a fun, stylish fight scene that reminds us why we keep watching this show. It may bungle its story sometimes, but the directors sure know how to shoot an action scene. Of course, it was all a set up by Starr, who just happened to capture the whole thing on his product placement smartphone. Jesse’s initially angry about that, but Starr gives him a reasonable explanation. Despite the horrific inbreeding, the Christ Child has name recognition. If Jesse’s going to compete for the title of Messiah, he needs to get famous fast. To that end, they have an appearance on Kimmel to get to. The show goes out of its way to name-drop Kimmel a few times, and yes, it’s funny every time.Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Pip Torrens as Herr Starr (Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)The show does some good character work with Jesse in this episode. He was never all that comfortable with the idea of becoming the messiah, and you can see him grow even less comfortable as the episode goes on. Especially when he sees a baggage handler at the airport spontaneously start bowing down to him. You also have to love how clearly terrible Starr is. First, he makes Jesse read a speech about murder, rape, and incest to a bunch of grade school kids, which he’s clearly not happy about. Then, he includes “lesbianism” in that list of crimes. Starr never fails to be the absolute worst human on this show. It makes for a great villain, and he’s going to be around for a while. When Jesse hears Tulip’s been shot and leaves, Starr reveals he has part of Jesse’s soul. Could that be why The Word isn’t working anymore?Cassidy’s story also had a great ending, but the way it was handled in previous episodes lessened its impact a bit. For the last few episodes, Denis has been a vaguely menacing figure in the background. We knew he was up to something, but the show barely even hinted at what. Like it had more important things to focus on. Now, we find out that he’s going to blood play parties and killing people. He makes it harder for Cassidy to resist his vampiric urges, giving Cassidy nightmares about killing Tulip. In the end, Cassidy decides he has to destroy the monster he created. He shoves his son out the window in full daylight, and we see Denis burn to death. It was a shocking, gruesome end to the arc, but more build-up would have made it more effective. The finale had to do so much work to catch up to this point; it felt like it had to cram most of a full story arc into a single episode. By this point we should have been scared of Denis, or at least worried about the effect he had on Cassidy. Instead, we got one scene establishing that he’s bad and bad for Cassidy, then he dies.More build-up would have also made the fight between Jesse and Cassidy a bigger deal. When Tulip goes to say goodbye to her friend next door, she finally figures out that Featherstone and Hoover have been spying on them. Before she can do anything about it though, Featherstone shoots her. Jesse and Cassidy try to save her, but they don’t have any glue to close the wound, nor can Jesse use The Word to command her to breathe. Cassidy tries to turn her into a vampire to save her and Jesse kicks him off. The fight that follows feels like its there because it had to be. The show hasn’t done the necessary work of bringing the tension between these two characters to a breaking point. It’s a quick, in the moment fight that isn’t even all that fun to watch. Afterwards, Cassidy tells Jesse he hates him. That sure would mean more if the show spent any time getting him there.Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy (Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Tulip got the worst of it this season, and that continued all the way to the end. Remember all the great fight scenes she used to have? Where she would murder a dude with whatever object was lying around? Where was that Tulip all season? She spent most of her scenes staring into space or being the damsel in distress. It sucks to see the show do that to such a cool character and I really hope they got it out of their system for next season. She’s dead now, which is how the show is getting Jesse to go back to Angelville. He’s going to ask his grandmother to resurrect her. Because again, I guess that’s something she can do on this show. It works. It’s a little contrived, but it gets him there. Hopefully Zombie Tulip remembers how capable she used to be.Preacher’s second season started out incredibly strong. It was fast, funny, bloody, scary and truly messed up. It was everything you wanted from Preacher. Then, they got rid of the Saint of Killers and everything ground to a halt. There were individual episodes that rose above the rest. Starr’s intro was great, as was the gleefully blasphemous Humperdoo episode. For the most part, it felt like Preacher had no idea where it wanted to go or which story it wanted to tell. It did pull things out in the end, because that’s what it’s good at. Even Eugene’s meandering season-long Hell escape arc had a fantastic conclusion. Casual Charon was hilarious, almost as funny as “chill” Jesus. Hell feeling like it can do whatever it wants in God’s absence is interesting enough that I’d like to see more of the idea in season three. And of course, after going all the way in giving Hitler a happy Hollywood redemption arc, he turns out to be just as big an asshole as you’d assume. He abandons Eugene the first chance he gets. Never. Trust. Hitler. Next season, he’ll be running (well, limping, he did get hit by a car) around the modern world. Though, reading Twitter the last couple days, would anyone even be able to tell?Will Kindrachuk as Young Jesse (Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)Preacher always pulls off its big moments well. It’s the small threads that connect those big moments that it has trouble with. I’m not worried about the show pulling off anything it set up in the finale. Next season’s premiere will have almost certainly have Marie L’Angelle, T.C. and Jody, and Herr Starr holding Jesse’s soul hostage. It’ll be exciting, funny, disgusting, everything we want out of Preacher. It’s how long they can keep that going after next year’s premiere I’m not as sure about.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
Stay on target ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Teases Troubled Patrick StewartHow Designers Achieved the Sci-Fi Sound Magic of ‘The Orville’ If you needed concrete proof that Michael Burnham and Spock were raised by the same people, look no further. Just as Spock will do one day when he’s a much older Vulcan, Burnham just about killed herself to save the galaxy. The whole family really has a flair for the dramatic. The only difference is we didn’t have to wait two years and a whole movie to see her come back. The end of this episode had a very different, surprising, and exhausting twist in mind.This episode packed a ton of answers into its runtime. Some of them to questions I was sure we wouldn’t get to until the end of the season. Considering this episode was basically one big info-dump after another, I’m glad we got that much. This episode takes its entire runtime to get anywhere near where it’s going, and just barely makes it before the end credits. This was an episode about preparing to do a thing, and then doing it in the last few minutes. We don’t get to see the effects of doing the thing until next week. Yeah, this wasn’t one of my favorites.Anson Mount as Captain Pike; Jayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell; Ethan Peck as Spock (Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/CBS)It started out well enough. The opening of the episode is still coasting on the good will of last week’s focus on Airiam. The funeral scene that starts the episode its its most emotionally powerful moment. They did such a good job of fleshing out Airiam’s character last week, that these stories of her resonate. Even still, I wish we knew her half as well as her crewmates did. She sounds like an awesome character, it’s a shame we never got to see any of these moments happen. Stamets’ story of her talking about how much her husband meant to her is especially heartbreaking, seeing how it affects both him and Culber.But after a gorgeous image of Airiam’s body being launched into space, it’s time to get back to business. What is that Project Daedalus thing Airiam mentioned before her death? Who is the Red angel? Well, we get an answer to that right away. It turns out Project Daedalus was a hidden file recovered from Airiam’s memory bank, purportedly revealing the identity of the Red Angel: It’s Michael Burnham. That certainly explains why it’s been leading the Discovery to places where lives need to be saved. It also raises the question of whether or not future-Burnham has a motivation other than helping people. Often, the Discovery has come away from these encounters better for having interfered. They now have Jet Reno on board. Saru is no longer ruled by his fear. I’m going to bet those elements will be very important when it comes to saving existence from the malevolent A.I. out to destroy it.Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou; Sonequa Martin-Green (Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/CBS)The episode also spends a bit of time clarifying just what the Discovery was up against last week. It was an A.I. from the future that has a habit of hitching a ride with the Red Angel whenever she appears. They rid the present of it temporarily when they shut down Control last week, but Starfleet is still vulnerable. Section 31 is here too, and they want to know what got into their system and how to stop it. Also, Spock, Burnham and the crew of the Discovery have been exonerated. So that’s nice. For now, Section 31 and the Discovery are all working together. I guess we’re looking past that whole scrambling Spock’s brain thing.It becomes clear to everyone that the only way forward is to capture the Angel and ask her some questions. That’s going to take some doing. Severing her anchor back to the future and closing the wormhole before the A.I. can come through will require a lot of energy. More than the Discovery can provide. With Philippa Georgiou’s help, they remember a planet containing deposits of an element that will provide all the energy they need.Shazad Latif as Tyler; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham Shazad (Photo Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS)Meanwhile, Section 31’s presence aboard the ship means Burnham gets some long-awaited answers about her past. Her parents didn’t just happen to be in the wrong place during a Klingon attack. They were scientists tasked by Section 31 to research time travel. They developed the suit the Red Angel wears and found the time crystal that powers it. They died when the Klingons attacked and tried to steal it. That definitely makes things interesting. Though the Angel might be from the future, the technology for time travel exists in secret right now. Spock finally decides Burnham’s had enough of his sniping at her every moment. He finds her processing all that information, and the two make up. For what it’s worth to her, he forgives Burnham for hurting him as a child. It’s a sweet moment that makes me feel good about all his snide comments towards her. Logical being or not, he’s still a younger brother. He teases her every chance he gets. This is honestly the first time I really believe their relationship. I want more moments like that in the future.Spock also reveals that he’s figured out a pattern for the angel’s appearances. The Angel appears when Burnham is in danger. If the Angel really is Burnham, she wants to avoid a grandfather paradox. She has to save her past self from death so she can exist in the future. They don’t have to follow the signals and hope the Angel appears. They can just nearly kill Burnham, and have her future self run to the rescue. The show ignores a giant hole in the plan. If Burnham is privy to the plan, her future self would be too. She might then avoid coming back, knowing the Discovery crew will revive her if things go wrong. It turns out not to matter, but it is weird that no one ever brings that up for the entire episode.Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Wilson Cruz as Culber (Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/CBS)Things finally get exciting in the episode’s final 10 minutes. They strap Burnham to a chair on the planet with an unbreathable atmosphere. As she starts to suffocate, Georgiou wants to pull her out. Pike even orders her to, but they can’t. Spock holds them at phaser point until the job is done. It’s a welcome bit of excitement in an episode that didn’t have much. As Burnham is close to death, the Red Angel shows up and saves her. The ship is able to trap the Red Angel, but has trouble closing the wormhole. They succeed, but possibly not before the A.I. gets through too. As Leland tries to figure out what’s taking so long, a needle emerges from his viewfinder, piercing him through the eye. That’s all we get of that, though.The episode ends with the reveal that the Red Angel isn’t actually Burnham, it’s her mother. The twist twisted back on itself, you see. You know, I consider myself a staunch defender of this show. I can justify pretty much everything it’s done so far. That gets really hard when a single episode goes this deep up it’s own ass. Either Burnham or her long lost mother being the Red Angel would have been interesting enough on their own. In trying to do both, the show got too clever for it’s own good here. It’s hard to care about anything when this much story turns around on itself so much that it forgets to go anywhere.It wasn’t entirely without good moments. The Culber-Stamets relationship is starting to show some real promise. It’s dealing with his trauma in an honest way, recognizing that if he can love Paul again, it’s going to take time and work. It’s a touching sidestory that barely gets any attention with all the info-dumping going on. Same with Georgiou talking about their pansexual mirror universe counterparts just to mess with them. As always, Michelle Yeoh is the best thing about this show. In any case, with the mystery of the Red Angel exhaustively explained, I really hope we can move on from here to more interesting dilemmas. That this episode got all the catch-up out of the way and we can get on with the real story.Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS All Access.Previously on Star Trek: Discovery:Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 9 RecapStar Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 8 RecapStar Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 7 Recap
Developer Cardboard Utopia has just started a new Kickstarter campaign for a game called Children of Zordiarcs. The game is billed as a “tactical JRPG” and is certainly inspired by classic games in that genre. There’s just one little issue here… the developers are based in Canada, not Japan.Let’s break this down. JRPG stands for Japanese Role Playing Game; a role playing game that is developed by a Japanese studio. This distinction came about to differentiate Western RPGs from Japanese RPGs, which are stylistically different from one another. This is the bit that is causing all the confusion.Some would argue that a game can be a JRPG even if it isn’t developed in Japan. There are certain tropes and mechanics that JRPGs have which make them distinctly JRPGs. If a game, regardless of region, has these same tropes and mechanics then it can be called a JRPG.Then there’s the opposing side, which I’m part of. While this may be blurry to some, I see it as a purely black and white situation. If an RPG is developed in Japan then it is a JRPG. If it isn’t developed in Japan, then it’s not a JRPG. The “J” is there for a specific reason. It isn’t to denote the style of the game, it is to let people know where it comes from. If your RPG isn’t from Japan, it isn’t a JRPG. It’s as simple as that.Our very own Matthew Humphries debated with the developers on Twitter about this (along with a few others as well).erm, they can’t call Children of Zodiarcs a “Tactial JRPG”. Tactical RPG? that’s fine, but it’s not a JRPG as it’s not made in Japan.— Matthew Humphries (@mthwgeek) January 21, 2016 @CardboardUtopia yes completely understand that, but Kickstarter titles claims just a Tactical JRPG, which I think is misleading.— Matthew Humphries (@mthwgeek) January 21, 2016This argument is reminiscent of the one had about what makes something an anime. In Japan, anime is any form or animation regardless of where it originates. Outside of Japan, anime is generally considered animation produced in Japan. However, there are some who would call a show like Avatar: The Last Airbender an anime because it is heavily influenced by Japanese animation. However, since that show is produced by an American studio, it isn’t an anime.The developers of the game aren’t trying to intentionally mislead anyone. They simply fall into the camp that believes JRPGs do not have to be of Japanese origin to be JRPGs. However, they should recognize that there are many who will find this label misleading and flat out incorrect. At the end of the day it’s their product, but I would suggest they instead say that this game is inspired by JRPGs in order to clear this all up. @mthwgeek we are going for the JRPG style/genre — Cardboard Utopia (@CardboardUtopia) January 21, 2016
(PhysOrg.com) — Entropy can decrease, according to a new proposal – but the process would destroy any evidence of its existence, and erase any memory an observer might have of it. It sounds like the plot to a weird sci-fi movie, but the idea has recently been suggested by theoretical physicist Lorenzo Maccone, currently a visiting scientist at MIT, in an attempt to solve a longstanding paradox in physics. Citation: Physicist Proposes Solution to Arrow-of-Time Paradox (2009, August 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-08-physicist-solution-arrow-of-time-paradox.html Explore further A new theory suggests that we don’t observe phenomena where entropy decreases because all evidence from these processes is erased when correlations are removed from the system. Image credit: cguu.com. The laws of physics, which describe everything from electricity to moving objects to energy conservation, are time-invariant. That is, the laws still hold if time is reversed. However, this time reversal symmetry is in direct contrast with everyday phenomena, where it’s obvious that time moves forward and not backward. For example, when milk is spilt, it can’t flow back up into the glass, and when pots are broken, their pieces can’t shatter back together. This irreversibility is formalized through the second law of thermodynamics, which says that entropy always increases or stays the same, but never decreases.This contrast has created a reversibility paradox, also called Loschmidt’s paradox, which scientists have been trying to understand since Johann Loschmidt began considering the problem in 1876. Scientists have proposed many solutions to the conundrum, from trying to embed irreversibility in physical laws to postulating low-entropy initial states.Maccone’s idea, published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, is a completely new approach to the paradox, based on the assumption that quantum mechanics is valid at all scales. He theoretically shows that entropy can both increase and decrease, but that it must always increase for phenomena that leave a trail of information behind. Entropy can decrease for certain phenomena (when correlated with an observer), but these phenomena won’t leave any information of their having happened. For these situations, it’s like the phenomena never happened at all, since they leave no evidence. As Maccone explains, the second law of thermodynamics is then reduced to a mere tautology: physics cannot study processes where entropy has decreased, due to a complete absence of information. The solution allows for time-reversible phenomena to exist (in agreement with the laws of physics), but not be observable (in agreement with the second law of thermodynamics).In his study, Maccone presents two thought experiments to illustrate this idea, followed by an analytical derivation. He describes two situations where entropy decreases and all records of it are permanently erased. In both scenarios, the entropy in the systems first increases and then decreases, but the decrease is accompanied by an erasure of any memory of its occurrence. The key to entropy decrease in the first place is a correlation between the observer and the phenomenon in question. As Maccone explains, when an interaction occurs between an observer and an observed phenomenon that decreases the entropy of the correlated observer-observed system, the interaction must also reduce their quantum mutual information. When this information is destroyed, the observer’s memory is destroyed along with it. Could Maxwell’s Demon Exist in Nanoscale Systems? In the first situation where entropy decreases, Maccone describes a situation where Bob sends Alice some energy in the form of light, initially in a zero-entropy state. Using detectors, Alice receives the light and observes her detectors warming up, revealing that heat has been lost and entropy is increasing in her isolated lab. However, Bob can theoretically manipulate the situation by withdrawing the energy he has sent Alice, and then erasing all evidence of the energy’s existence – including erasing her memory and the notepads where she wrote the detectors’ temperatures. First, to recover the energy, Bob must return the energy to a zero-entropy state. He does this by erasing all correlations between the energy and Alice, and any other macroscopic systems in the lab. By erasing all initial correlations, Bob can enable the system to lose entropy. Although the act of decorrelating requires energy, Maccone explains that it doesn’t necessarily cause entropy to increase.“Any physical transformation requires energy (no energy implies no time evolution, i.e. a static system),” he told PhysOrg.com. “This, however, doesn’t automatically imply that entropy is increased. Entropy increases when (part of) the energy employed becomes unusable as waste heat.“Some energy is employed in the decorrelation transformation. Not only is such energy still available afterwards, but the decorrelation might also decrease the entropy in two systems, and that can ‘free’ some more energy that was previously unavailable (as it was locked up as heat).”The second situation where entropy decreases involves a quantum measurement instead of a classical one. Here, Bob sends Alice a particle in a specific spin state. Alice performs a quantum measurement that consists of coupling the particle with a macroscopic reservoir, which increases the entropy of the system. But once again, Bob can theoretically manipulate the situation, this time by inverting the transformation of Alice’s measurement. This action decorrelates all records of Alice’s measurement results from the spin state. Although Alice remembers performing the experiment, she has no memory or evidence of what the measurement result was, and the spin is back to its initial zero-entropy state. Although theoretically possible, these situations in which entropy decreases would be very difficult to demonstrate experimentally, due to the difficulty in manipulating macroscopic correlations. That is why, for all practical purposes, these phenomena are unobservable by physics. Still, as Maccone explains, the theory is a straightforward application of quantum mechanics when applied to macroscopic systems, and could potentially be verified. “I think that if quantum coherence can be indubitably proven on a macroscopic observer (not necessarily a human being), then my approach would be verified,” he said. “An experiment of the sort of the second thought experiment, for example. The state of the art of experiments is quite far from anything of that sort. The biggest system where quantum coherence has been experimentally shown is, I think, some biological molecule composed of a few hundred atoms by A. Zeilinger’s group in Vienna.”The explanation may also provide insight into understanding entropy in the universe. The approach supports the idea that the universe may be in a state of zero entropy, even though it appears to us observers to have higher entropy. As Maccone explains, the universe is in a zero-entropy pure state because it cannot be entangled with any other system.“My theory requires that the global state of the observer plus the environment be in a quantum pure state,” he said. “This means that it works only if we consider a sufficiently large system that it cannot be correlated with any other system. However, correlations (entanglement, in quantum systems) are very sticky; namely, systems get correlated very quickly also if they are very weakly interacting. This is why, when one considers macroscopic systems, the only safe choice is to consider the whole universe, which cannot be correlated with any other system, since, by definition, it comprises all physical systems.”More information: Lorenzo Maccone. “Quantum Solution to the Arrow-of-Time Dilemma.” Physical Review Letters 103, 080401 (2009).Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
(PhysOrg.com) — America’s first commercial “TV White Spaces Network” was launched this week in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina. Wilmington, as the first U.S. city to shift from analog to digital TV, was chosen as the present-day site of the first commercial network since the city had early access to white spaces in that TV changeover, and was used as the test bed for the new technology. The city has been testing white space applications since 2010. The network that went live makes use of technology that includes a Spectrum Bridge database along with 1.5-pound white space radios from KTS Wireless and cameras from other vendors. Florida-based Spectrum Bridge describes itself as a company with a software platform that manages available bandwidth in real-time for licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Devices check the Spectrum Bridge database to prevent interference with local TV signals. Its platform was sanctioned by the FCC as the first TV White Spaces database. Florida-based KTS Wireless says it is a leader in data radio development used in the white space industry.The KTS device is a small transmitter. According to details in DailyWireless, the white space device operates on all TV channels (174-216 MHz and 470-698 MHz) and in the unlicensed 900 MHz frequencies at data rates from 1.5 to 3.1 MBps.White spaces, sometimes used in the context of “Super Wi-Fi,” is being re-tagged by some as “SuperWhiteFi” to more closely describe the unused spectrum between TV stations that resulted from the 2008 transition from analog to digital transmission of TV broadcast. The TV frequencies are lower, enabling signals to travel further, and penetrate foliage and walls better. The tradeoff to achieving more range is less speed. Nonetheless, city officials presiding over the Madison rollout see better range as an important plus for delivering services.Cameras and wireless Internet access were installed at Wilmington’s city parks, where the white space spectrum could allow wireless service to go through trees and thick foliage. According to a press release, the network applications are designed to provide access for local functions such as video-security surveillance and transmitting data about water quality.Observers say the Wilmington rollout is indicative of what is to come, in a transformation of cities to “smart cities” where the low-frequency spectrum enables broader access for delivering public services, and for monitoring. The vision is that cities will be connected through integrated wireless networking technology to manage congestion, maximize energy efficiency, enhance public safety and provide key services.Beyond deployment in cities, proponents hope white-space technologies will be deployed in rural areas and other places which standard wireless signals might not access. While this week’s white-space news focused on Wilmington, reports are likely to grow about further developments in standards-based products and services for broadband capabilities via TV band spectrum. One sign is the appearance of an industry group called the WhiteSpace Alliance, which was formed in December to work on standards for white spaces. The Whitespace Alliance backs the new IEEE 802.22 standard. Citation: North Carolina becomes home of White Spaces network (2012, January 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-north-carolina-home-white-spaces.html New Wi-Fi Technology Using White Spaces This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further More information: www.whitespacealliance.org/ © 2011 PhysOrg.com
Oerlikon Solar works to pull down PV costs in 2014 PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Citation: Cost-cutting drives solar cell process at Twin Creeks (2012, March 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-cost-cutting-solar-cell-twin-creeks.html © 2011 PhysOrg.com Play In the bigger picture, the company’s vision is to make a real difference in the costs of generating solar power. Silicon, notes Twin Creeks, is still the most expensive component of a finished solar module and the single highest expense when it comes to generating solar power. The startup’s goal is, according to the company’s website, “to disruptively reduce the cost of solar energy to achieve grid parity.” The company says its Hyperion system can produce ultra-thin wafers less than one-tenth the thickness of conventional silicon solar wafers. “Hyperion can fundamentally change the cost structure of many other industries that rely on high-cost, single-crystal wafers for their devices.”To prove its points, the company has demonstrated the technology at a 25-megawatt-per-year solar-cell factory that it built in Senatobia, Mississippi. The solar factory was built through loans from the state of Mississippi, venture capital, and other sources. The plant is being used as a site where Twin Creeks and its customers can fine-tune processes for generating ultra-thin solar modules and wafers with Hyperion. The plant, though currently capable of producing 25 megawatts of solar cells a year, will be expanded to a capability of 100 megawatts, according to plans. (PhysOrg.com) — A San Jose, California, startup company, Twin Creeks Technologies, says it has figured out a way to substantially cut the cost of making silicon solar cells. The company’s technology reduces both the amount of silicon needed and the cost of the manufacturing equipment. The company can produce solar cells for about 40 cents per watt, half the present-day price of the cheapest cells at 80 cents. Explore further More information: www.twincreekstechnologies.com The Twin Creeks approach differs in a process that reduces the use of wire saws and related equipment as well as makes thinner wafers. Its production system for making the ultra-thin wafers is called “Hyperion.” The technology is described at Twin Creeks as “Proton Induced Exfoliation” (PIE). Crystalline silicon wafers, accounting for the bulk of solar cells, conventionally are made in a process of cutting blocks or cylinders of silicon into 200-micrometer-thick wafers. According to the company, the key to Hyperion is “thinness.” The Twin Creeks business plan is to sell the manufacturing equipment, rather than produce solar cells itself. The selling point is that, with thin wafers, manufacturers can profitably produce solar cells and other devices below today’s best-in-class cost structure, according to the company. Twin Creeks estimates that Hyperion will permit manufacturers to produce solar cells for under 40 cents a watt in commercial-scale volume production facilities, with prices going down over time. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.