George Lucas: he knows the stuff
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- March 8, 2013 - 1:00 PM
All you need to know about the creative brilliance of George Lucas can be summed up in this excerpt from Bloomberg’s story on the Disney-Star Wars merger:
. . .he’s attended story meetings for the new film, adjudicating the physical laws and attributes of the Star Wars universe. “I mostly say, ‘You can’t do this. You can do that,’ ” Lucas says. “You know, ‘The cars don’t have wheels. They fly with antigravity.’ There’s a million little pieces. Or I can say, ‘He doesn’t have the power to do that, or he has to do this.’ I know all that stuff.”
The cars don’t have wheels.The level of technological development is uniform throughout the galaxy. A backwater planet where cars are common? Nah.
In related news, Carrie Fisher has signed up, so the old gang is back for the sequels. Expect Yoda to show up in transparent sparkly form, because, you know, the Force
TV Today’s piece of pointless “Mad Men” hype examples the tagline on the short promo that had absolutely no action whatsoever:
A Mad Men season 6 promo was released. The promo comes with the tagline, “You’re invited to the affair of the year.” Affair? Does this mean Don Draper is back to his cheating ways?
Probably. Not exactly a surprise if it happens, is it? Anyway, the reason for this is a "leaked" photo of Harry Crane, showing you that the crisp skinny-tie / men-with-hats vibe of the show is gone for good.
Full-on shagadelic this season.
SCIENCE! Speaking of planets that do not have cars because he knows all that stuff: The Bad Astronomy blog notes that there might be lots of Earth-like planets. Lots. Enough to fill up a couple Federations, at least.
Looking at thousands of red dwarf stars in the Kepler field, the lead investigator (Courtney Dressing from the Center for Astrophysics) found several dozen stars with candidate planets (probable companions that have not yet been confirmed). Out of those, she found three that were about the size of Earth, as well as being in their stars’ habitable zones, the right distance from their stars to have liquid water. Accounting for planets with orbits that don’t let them transit from our view, what she found is that 6 percent of red dwarf stars have Earth-sized planets at the right distance from the star to be potentially habitable.
That’s 1 out of 16. Out of 75 billion stars. That’s a lot of Earths. In fact, using that number and applying some statistics, Dressing and her team calculate that on average, in this part of the galaxy, Earth-like planets are only 13 light-years apart. That’s a long way to walk, but in galactic terms, that’s incredibly close. Only about three dozen stars are known that are within 13 light-years of Earth. Could one of them bear a planet like home?
Let’s hope so. Even if there’s no intelligent life, it would be good to have a back-up. Send a bunch of self-replicating robots to set up factories to build what we’ll need to colonize the joint, wait for the signal that it’s inhabitable and doesn’t have mammoth carnivorous airborne jellyfish - that would scotch the deal for most people - then head over and start Earth v.2.
Although some people would probably want to hunt the jellyfish. A combination big-game / whaling expedition. Harpoon bazookas. Then we realize they’re not only sentient but vastly intelligent, and we have to leave the planet in shame before they use their telepathic brains to wreak vengeance.
I’m not quoting any particular sci-fi story, just a generic sci-fi plot. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
TECH Backlash against SimCity’s DRM escalated rather quickly. Says TechCrunch:
EA’s anticipated SimCity launch has officially become a cavalcade of fail. Amazon is temporarily suspending sales of digital copies of the game in the face of massive negative buyer feedback, with the electronic title managing to accrue an overall rating of one star on the retailer’s site. This comes after EA disabled certain features to try to ease launch woes, and after it delayed the European launch by 24 hours to do the same.
By all accounts, the game itself is great. The problem is that EA decided to make sure that everyone, regardless of whether they wanted to play with others or by their lonesome selves, be connected to the Internet and EA’s SimCity servers in order to have access to the game. It’s the most insidious kind of DRM, in that it punishes legitimate players almost as much as it punishes pirates.
Yes. Almost? More so. Legitmate players paid for it.
URBAN AFFAIRS Or lack thereof, I guess. Stumbled across a slideshow of the top 9 recession-stricken developments. Rio Vista was #9.
Once envisioned as an 855-home suburb with families populating the grid of freshly paved streets and sidewalks, now the only life you’ll see in this desert development are cows and eucalyptus shrubs. Thirteen abandoned model homes lie clustered in the center of the development, and streets like “Serenity Drive” stretch on past empty dirt lots into the barren distance. Construction was halted in November 2008 when developer Shea Homes abandoned the project.
You can imagine an endless vista of empty lots, right? It looks huge and forlorn:
Well, here’s the Google Street View:
This site says Rio Vista ”is perhaps the most visually impressive example of the American dream gone wrong.” Really. Well, back out of that picture and you'll see it's a small part of a reasonably filled-in city. Another example is California City, California, laid out in 1958, which the article makes it sound was never occupied in the first place. Not so. Granted, it’s not exactly bustling:
But there are people living there. Again, back out and take the aerial view: it is rather spooky. All those streets. Nothing. The developer thought the town would rival LA in size, forgetting perhaps that LA had A) a substantial pre-installed user base, as they say, and B) Water.
Off to write more things; have a grand day.
© 2014 Star Tribune