Robin Bland

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About Robin Bland

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    Dominion Attack Ship
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    New York
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  • Favorite Trek Movie
    The Undiscovered Country
  • Favorite Trek Captain
    Jean-Luc Picard
  • Favorite Trek Series
    The Original Series

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  1. I think I'm going to check it out. It doesn't look groundbreaking exactly, but it might be a taut space thriller with a sense of nightmarish mystery. I guess we could hope for that for ALIEN: Covenant too, which I expect to be extremely slick, just like Prometheus. But Prometheus was largely surface gloss and little substance. My bet is that LIfe will be simple and punchy, but have a sense of greater scope in the way that the original ALIEN did.
  2. I'm looking forward to LIFE:
  3. Your wife is a wise woman. I suppose, as someone who has a deep and abiding interest in science, but who works in the arts and communication, I'm eager to see bridges built between popular science and media and education. Art facilitates that, good communications facilitate that. If we're gong to try and reclassify anything, perhaps it's the divides between all those disciplines, in a way your wife suggests. (I knew I liked her. And hey, she married you, so clearly she has taste.) Imagining an alien mindset and perceptions, let alone a culture from which such difference springs... now that is real gift and perhaps why we cherish the stories we tell about such imagined worlds so much.
  4. I'm also a science geek, but I'm a cultural geek too. Probably a geek for a lot of other things, I'm sure. Scientists, love them though I do, tend to see things in binary terms - this/that, on/off, yes/no, zero/one, baby/bathwater. In that sense, they're a lot like politicians or religious leaders. Left/right, faith/atheism and so on. Uh-uh. You have to see with better eyes than that. As your example above does. Reminded me of that mind-blowing sequence in The Galaxy Being, the first episode of the (original, B&W) Outer Limits, when the radio station dude establishes contact with the alien scientist - and they just talk. They compare notes. They find gaps and common ground. Two (binary! Ha!) points of view, but there's an overlap there where something simultaneously larger and more beautiful begins to come into focus. Perhaps that's the imagination of the viewer, the observer, beginning to fill in blanks with their own leaps of insight. There has also to be room for symbolism, for artistry and sensory and imaginative perception. None of those things are separate from science. That's what I don't want gone in any pursuits of new systems of classification.
  5. Facts don't matter any more. Everything's a hoax!
  6. Look... Science. Mythology. What was that I was saying upthread? Two different things! Culturally related, especially in our minds!
  7. Pretty sure Mondas exploded in 1987, but that was the Whoniverse! Maybe there's one out there in the Kuiper belt - you know, motoring around, causing all manner of gravity wakes (etc).
  8. Like I say, I have no problem with Pluto being a dwarf planet. The discovery - confirmation? - of that big new planet beyond Neptune's orbit is tremendously exciting.
  9. London

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Robin Bland

      Robin Bland

      You can take the boy out of London, but you can't take London out of the boy.

    3. Sehlat Vie

      Sehlat Vie

      Nor should anyone dare try...

    4. Sim


      Yeah, kudos to the Londoners!

      My impression of my environment after the attacks in Berlin last December was similar... people elsewhere seemed to be much more concerned than those who were closest. It seems that people used to multiculturalism are not easily swayed by all too easy reactions and populist proposals.

  10. Actually, you've both sort of missed my point, but I wrote the opening statement when tired, so it wasn't very clear, sorry. Should know better. I'm not saying you shouldn't change from an older system of classification to a newer, more logical one (Imperial to metric, sorta) and I'm not really bothered by Pluto's reclassification. What annoys me in the article above is the implicit elitism of the suggested overhaul which seeks to abandon the language and symbols of historical astronomy to promote a system "that focuses more on concepts and less on memorizing arbitrary celestial objects." While I concur that Earth clearly isn't the center of the universe, you can't just dismiss a cultural idea that has been in use since humans figured out the world was round (Shaquil O'Neill and his pals aside). The nine (or eight plus five dwarf) planets aren't arbitrary. They're cultural markers, buoys in the expansion of humankind's knowledge of the Solar System and its (and our) place in the universe. So, physics and new planetary definitions aside, all those names and celestial shapes have enormous symbolic significance. Astronomers don't own planets or even the terms employed by language to describe them. So Runyon can seek to reclassify them all he wants, but don't then complain about confusing the general public when you tell them that the Moon (hi, Luna) isn't a "moon" anymore but Earth's co-planet. The idea - not the physics or semantics - of families of planets and moons within the Solar System itself, is powerful. It allows an entry point to all those stellar concepts, and the imaginative interest that will bring about future generations of astronomers and cosmological scientists. Missing that very vital aspect of planets as cultural touchstones strikes me as out-of-touch. It even, dare I say, smacks of a vanity project. PS Sehlat Vie, i also like the term 'planetoid' - bit more elegant than 'dwarf planet' ... By all means reclassify, but please take enormous care not to confuse. Which, perhaps is a roundabout argument for better scientific education everywhere.
  11. I think this is more about language than it is about astronomy, but anyway... There's a good historical reason for nine planets. (Yes, I said nine. Including Pluto. I'm old fashioned.) But I'm not sure there's a good reason for confusing the definition of big spheres in the solar system by reclassifying all the moons too. If it's over a certain mass, it's spherical and orbits a star, then it's a planet. If it orbits a smaller body around a star, then it's a moon. What's wrong with that? Don't get clever with any comments about Sedna, Ceres or comets and asteroids. Ceres got reclassified as a dwarf planet too, IIRC (Vie will correct me if I'm wrong on that). This does mean we might (eventually) have more than eight or nine planets, of course. But again, if any newly discovered objects were spherical and satisfied certain physical properties, what's wrong with that? (Even if their orbits are irregular?)
  12. Eh. Good taste, m'friend!
  13. ...I really didn't want to spoil it for you, so I'm glad you've seen it, now! I've literally kept schtumm for months! Yeah, Pete, after all he's been through - that was pretty devastating. Karen Voss has gone nuts - is it AI grief, or something more/worse? Phenomenal acting. I wondered if Hester wouldn't also take one of the leads down - it was gripping, fraught stuff. So many questions, but it was also a very satisfying dramatic journey and wrap-up. Where will they go from here? One thing is for sure, HUMANS doesn't shy away from showing all this stuff, from investigating all the dramatic outcomes, so yeah, it's going to be bananas all right! Apparently it's one of (UK) Channel 4's biggest shows - dunno whether that's true for AMC here, but I'm hoping like hell it does get that third season. It really, really deserves to. It is absolutely one of the best TV shows around.
  14. I love those Brit anthology flicks... I also loved Creepshow, stuff like that, that made a virtue of their shamelessly lurid pulp origins. And Horror spiced with comedy and social commentary is definitely a special skill. But I've never seen Tales from the Hood, so that has to go on the "Sehlat Vie Recommends" list - yes, there really is on in this household!
  15. It's not far off! And - Ha! It's true - given the human propensity for loving artifacts, the shell of a thing, we're more likely to lovingly polish them than break them. The holodeck idea is a good one - As VR tech improves, it will likely provide a lot of what WW proposes (if people want that. I don't). I think WW is a good show, there's more good than bad, and it's certainly worthy of the time it takes to watch it and to discuss it. The "investigation of story" and memory as consciousness is really interesting, but the show is also rolling around in the mud of its own pretentious set-up just a little too much. Whereas HUMANS' writers seem far more inquisitive in terms of exploring all manner of dramatic possibilities and curiosities - they're really asking a lot more questions and enjoying extrapolating all kinds of crazy possibilities from them. It just seems a lot more creative, less staid. And staged. And surely, the whole idea of creating AI in the first place, is that it's a creative enterprise, that it's potentially beautiful, that it'll enrich us, even help solve some of our existential problems... I hope it won't have to exist in the vacuum of a park whose sole purpose is so that super-rich immoral a$$holes can get their psychotic jollies.