Highlights from 2013 – 2nd Quarter

Some of the popular questions (as suggested though meta):

Averroes asks How did the Death Star manage the debris after exploding a planet?

DavRob60 wonders what creative liberties are being taken with the Ender’s Game movie asking Did Mazer Rackham have a tattooed face in Ender’s Game book?

Sachin Shekhar wonders Who became Emperor of the Galactic Empire after death of Emperor Palpatine? DVK had the best answer.

Some of the popular answers:

Does the death penalty exist in comics? answered by Jeff

Has there ever been a Dalek civil war? answered by alexwlchan

Why was Mace Windu Surprised when Jango Fett was Decapitated? answered by DVK

Interesting Stats:

The most controversial question was Did the Borg follow a Borgesian philosophy?

The most voted question (and second most voted answer) came from What is the origin of the “Riker Chair Maneuver”? asked by Beofett

The most viewed question (asked by Logan) by nearly double the runner up was Who is torturing Theon Greyjoy and why? Sidenote, this question, for all its views, only has 2 votes (at the time of this article).

The highest voted answer (from Jeff) was Does the death penalty exist in comics? In third place was Was Picard speaking French and being translated the entire time?

 

 

Review – Man Of Steel

Although I went into the film with a few spoilers (having listened to a movie review podcast and seeing a few questions on SciFi.StackExchange) I was surprised by the amount of information I didn’t already know.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel gets arrested after numerous FAA violations.

 

Man of Steel presents a more science fiction origin to Superman than we have previously seen in films. In the comics and cartoons we know that Krypton was technologically advanced and Superman reaps some of the benefits of that, but in the movies the Kryptonian technology seems to be based primarily on crystals and their ability to make houses. In Superman Returns Lex Luthor captures some crystal growing technology and attempts to create a new continent. When asked how he is going to defend it he says he’ll use the advanced technology. Considering it is just him and his idiot henchmen, I have no confidence in his ability to do this. I have great confidence in Zod, because with Man of Steel the technological superiority of the Kryptonians is obvious. Also, they are all supermen.

Superman’s powers are giving a slight polish to the established canon.  Having evolved from a significantly harsher planet, Kryptonians on a whole are highly adaptable. Martha Kent describes the baby Clark Kent as wheezing and coughing through the night as his lungs tried to process Earth air. He gains super strength and speed from the Earth’s young sun. His additional abilities of x-ray vision, heat vision, and telescopic vision are a result of the Earth’s atmosphere. Superman now loses some powers when he is removed from that environment (somewhat… inconsistently). Hopefully the great Superman powers race won’t begin where in every new movie he needs more and more ridiculous abilities (I’m looking at you, Superman IV).

For the first time on film we see the super speed and destructive strength of a super charged Kryptonian at work. The almost teleporting nature of the attacks is what I imagine The Flash would look like.  Speaking of other characters, there are at least two Easter eggs in the film. One referring to Lex Luthor and another referring to Wayne Enterprises. With the exception of the Easter egg billboard in I Am Legend I am not aware of any cross references between any DC heroes before in the films. Everyone knows that DC and WB would love to see the same kind of money from a Justice League movie as Marvel did with The Avengers. Green Lantern didn’t do well, but maybe if Man of Steel does extremely well JL will still happen. If DC wants to do an origin story for every member of the Justice League they still need to do 5 (Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and presumably Batman).

What did I think of it? I felt the movie was fairly slow throughout the middle. The intense action scenes at the start and end seemed to compound the feeling on nothing happening in-between. I find myself frustrated by the mentality of Hollywood that every super hero must reveal their identity on screen (or at all). Batman has told so many people that he is Bruce Wayne he has probably just started printing it in on this business cards.

Secret Identity Card
Secret Identity Card

Sadly the same may be true for poor onscreen Superman.  The action of the film was both amazing and horrifying. This isn’t the same kind of Superman we saw in the 70s and 80s. I walked out thinking the movie was okay.

 

Highlights from 2013 – 1st Quarter

Some of the popular questions (as suggested through meta):

Major Stackings asks How do the wand makers get the cores into the wands? One comment suggests that secret is in using molten wood.

sarge_smith noticed that troopers go in, but nobody comes out in his question: Where’d those guys on the Millenium Falcon go?

CL4PTR4P asked Why is Janeway an Admiral and not Picard?

 

Some of the popular answers:

How many crewmen/women die in the original series of Star Trek? answered by Thaddeus

Why did Boromir take so long to reach Rivendell? answered by Daniel Roseman

Lost Star Wars fan-made video answered by Solemnity

 

Just some interesting stats:

The most controversial question (asked by Sachin Shekhar) was: How big is the Matrix?

The most viewed question (asked by Matrim Cauthon) by a significant margin was: A Memory of Light Question on the Epilogue

The question which got the highest score (asked by KennyPeanuts) was: Why was Scrooge chosen for redemption?

The question which got the highest voted answer (asked by Kevin Howell) was: What are Gandalf’s powers?

Space Saga – Chapter 1: The accident

Chapter 1: The accident

Cara Miller stared out of her lifepod window into the vastness of space. For all she knew, she was the sole survivor of the ill-fated Astral Light, a rescue ship that ultimately would need its own rescue. It was all supposed to be routine. The Astral Light had been called out to assist a mining freighter which had suffered a major collision with a dislodged piece of asteroid. Systems were failing and the freighter sent out a general distress beacon.

When the freighter came into sight, Cara could hardly believe anyone was still alive. The ship was a mangled mess, with pieces of the hull splayed out in all directions. Clouds of gas, probably oxygen and fuel, were billowing out of the ship. It would be a miracle if anyone had survived. Still, they had to make sure, so the Astral Light glided up alongside and attempted to hook to the docking port.

Sometimes bad luck is all a question of timing, she thought. The first boarding crew had barely crossed the docking arm when a stray asteroid fragment crashed into the beleagured ship. This evidently was the final nail in the coffin. What little air remained in the ship was enough for a massive explosion. Tethered, the Astral Light took heavy damages. The evacuation siren went off and Cara raced to an escape pod. The last thing she remembered after diving into a pod was a violent explosion. She awoke some time later, drifting in space.

The lifepod had preprogrammed behavior depending on the circumstance. If near a planet it would attempt a landing, if in deep space it would power down nonessential systems, minimize life support, and wait for a pickup. The standard lifepod was designed to support life for up to one week. Cara peered at the controls, a small battery of indicator lights and the thruster controls. The pod was in pickup mode. So no one was near.  Originally the lifepods contained enough sensors, advanced communications, and propulsion to make them into their own little spacecraft.

However, people had a tendency to panic after a catastrophic event. They tended to make irrational decisions, and would constantly be turning on the sensors to see if anyone was coming, draining power from the life support system. They would broadcast message after message, pleading to be rescued, only to use up their oxygen faster. And sometimes they would point their lifepod in a direction they believed to be home and shoot off to some unknown place, making them very hard to find. Eventually the people in charge of such things decided it was better to give them virtually no options– a couple of maneuvering thrusts to keep them from crashing into something and an indicator if a ship responded to the distress beacon. This dramatically increased recovery rates of lifepods and their passengers, but for some made the experience more stressful.

There were lots of stories floating around about people’s experiences in lifepods. People told them like ghost stories. Being trapped for days in the tight space meant the likelihood of cabin fever or a nervous breakdown was high. To combat this some crewmen would stash a little nap sack in a lifepod, usually the one closest to their station or to their bunk. They’d toss in a few odds and ends, books, tablets, games, whatever they thought would help them get through a bad situation.

Cara had never bothered to do this, but as she looked around the pod she noticed someone else had. She reached down and pulled up an old cloth sack and pulled out the contents. A very old tablet computer, a few protein bars, and a yo-yo. Cara examined the tablet. Not surprisingly the battery was dead, no charge cable, and even if it was there, it wouldn’t be wise to use the lifepod’s power anyways. Next she examined the protein bars, the date on them was several years old. I guess this little sack has been here for awhile, she thought. Longer than she had served on the Astral Light. And finally, the yo-yo. Cara stared at the yo-yo. The lifepod was little more than a reclined chair in a cylinder, there was essentially no open space. She couldn’t even see her feet without a great amount of effort. She wondered at the rational of a crewmate who would place a completely useless toy in a cramped lifepod. Stupid yo-yo.

Frustrated, Cara powered up the thruster. She wouldn’t use too much power, just enough to turn the ship so that she could see the wreckage from the explosion. But no matter how the pod turned, all she saw was empty of space set to a background of stars. Strange. She wouldn’t have expected the lifepod to take her very far, but she saw neither the debris from the ruined ships nor the asteroid belt. Where am I?

 

 

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