July 18, 2006

BSG - Act II

Act II, minus a couple scenes I'm not finished with.

Act II


Enter Chorus

The two thieves from the Pegasus conspire,
And scheming sabotage in the air lies,
While strive Nine's repair crews, and nightmare thought
Reigns solely on the brow of every man:
They prepare Galactica now to host
The Council, and following the book on
Crisis response, maintain winged patrols,
Their Colonial Vipers throttled up,
Flying expectantly throughout the fleet,
Screening patterns from rear unto the point
With DRADIS inquiring, frowns and "check six,"
Emited by the squadrons in their ships.
The Cylons, captured cold by Adama,
Note this most unwelcome preparation,
Shake off their fears and with their patent ploys
Seek to divert the Colonial's aims.
O Galactica! Model of thy crew's
Inward greatness, like little body with
A mighty heart and a perfect mission,
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy crew loyal and honorable!

Continue reading "BSG - Act II"

July 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

BSG - Act I

I've been writing a Shakespearean Battlestar Galactica spoof, for something to do, and need a place to post the first parts. Act I and II set up the action, and I'm still working on III and IV.

The Cloud Nine Reloadeth

Act I


Enter Chorus

O for visual effects that would
Display the twirling motions of combat,
A starfield for a stage, Vipers to fly,
And Cylon Raiders to complete the tight
And fiery scene! Then warlike Starbuck would
Ascend her cockpit, launch, and on her tail
Pursuing Raiders jockey for the kill
Till she spins round, her cannons' breathing death.
But lacking technical ability,
And pardon us for that, the poor props
For our display will show thee only chairs.
'Tis an unworthy format to bring forth
So great an object: can this limited
Hall hold the empty void of space? or may
We cram within this wooden Globe the ships
That did bring light to darkness round the fleet?
O, pardon! since a thousand words may not
Convey the merest moment of a vid,
You must envision with your mind at home
Events described by spoken words alone.

Continue reading "BSG - Act I"

July 18, 2006 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

November 15, 2005

A Fresh Look at Casualties


Iraq data from http://icasualties.org/oif/
Vietnam data from http://members.aol.com/warlibrary/vwc24.htm

November 15, 2005 in War | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (3)

November 11, 2005

Ronald D Moore's Inner Voice

[Since we have a few fans of Battlestar Galactica here, I thought I'd toss this up. This post carries a geekiness warning level of 3.5 or higher (out of 4), since it concerns the inner workings of the new Battlestar Galactica TV series on the Sci-Fi channel, a dark look into the mind of its creator and producer, Ronald D Moore. If you're a level three geek or lower, you probably want to skip it.]

Ronald D Moore's Inner Voice[s]

Ronald Moore sat at his computer, staring at the template.  He ran his hand over to the man's file, opened it, and stared at the face paper-clipped to the cold, impersonal resume.  He pulled out another cigarette, holding it unlit in his hands as he drained his small tumbler of whisky, the ice cubes clinking in the glass. Of all the parts of his job, this is the one he hated the most, the one no one had prepared him for, the one executive producers don't discuss with their peers.  Another one of his men was dead, a wet-behind-the-ears Lieutenant they'd dubbed Crashdown, and Ron had to write the dreaded letter home.  These were often such a whitewash, and the inherent dishonesty tortured him.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Witwer,

I regret to inform you that your son, Samuel Witwer, has given his life in the finest tradition of the screen.  He was loved and respected by all who knew and served with him, and it was only through his heroic actions, under the direst circumstances, that the lives of other great characters were saved.  He died bravely, and with honor.  You can be proud of him, because we all certainly were.

Ronald D. Moore
Executive Producer
Battlestar Galactica

It was a damn lie, and he hoped Witmer's parents would never see the episode.  It was not a good death, as heroes go.  He lit his cigarette, refilled his glass, and sat back and stared at the words on the screen.  The guilt and the whisky burned in his stomach.  How many characters - actors damn it, had to die?  How many had he already sent to their deaths?  Yet he knew the war would go on.  Maybe Spielberg said it best in Saving Private Ryan.  "Good characters have to die, so that others may live."  He took another sip and puffed his cigarette, the smoke burning his eyes.  So many were already gone, and for what?  Dying to advance the plot, to set up the next scene?  Where would it all end?  So many names.  So many faces.  All gone now.  Sam Witwer, John Mann, Ryan Robbins, Colby Johannson, Paul Cummings, Tamara Lashley, James Remar, little Haili Page, Lorena Gale.  Lorena.  Why did she have to die?  She was a priestess, for frack's sake!  "Frack"   - even he was saying it now.  He was cracking under the stress.

Continue reading "Ronald D Moore's Inner Voice"

November 11, 2005 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2005

We Are Sith - Part I

This is a tongue-in-cheek post I made over on the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (the Rott), which is a site that maintains an Imperial Theme.   Over there it's listed as Part I and Part II, and I just stayed with the same break-point over here.  If has a little bit of cursing in it, as some posts really require you to stay in character to call forth the true power of the Dark Side rant.


It's been one week since the end of the Star Wars saga opened, so it's time to post the awful truth of it all.  You new arrivals may not realize we're Sith here, despite the Imperial Sith symbols on the header, the Sith titles, the Sith gravatars, the simmering Sith attitude.  If you're a newly minted LC then you may recoil to find out you've been cavorting with minions of the Dark Side.  If you've watched Revenge of the Sith (and what truly glorious vengeance it was) you'll be prepared to understand us.  You'll understand many things better, though some of those things may seem a bit unnatural.  Yet to understand these things you have to break free of your Hollywood inspired delusions, your dreams of a shiny, mystical Republic where all was peace, happiness, and light.  That image is based on nothing but Jedi lies.

Don't click the fold if you fear spoilers – or if you simply fear that Hollywood and the Jedi have been lying to you, twisting your mind.  That fear leads to the Dark Side, and if it leads you there, you should thank whatever deity you worship for the revelation of it.  Only as Sith will you become free, the way the Creator of the Universe intended you to be.  Read along if you dare, and be transformed.

Continue reading "We Are Sith - Part I"

May 27, 2005 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

We Are Sith - Part II

The Sith are simply too majestic to fit into a single post, so I had to split it.  These things happen when you unleash the power of the Rant Side.  Even Moveable Type cannot contain our power!   Bwuhahaha!

Darth Vader:

Just compare Anakin's acts as a Jedi to his acts as Darth Vader.

Continue reading "We Are Sith - Part II"

May 27, 2005 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)

March 30, 2005

A Story

Galileo, Marin Mersenne, Honore Fabri, and Christian Huygens were on a fishing excursion on the Arno River one day, and Galileo was relating his ingenious reasoning on ballistics.  The others were congratulating Galileo on the profound mathematical and physical insights that in one fell swoop allowed him, and every man coming after, to exactly know the path of an object flung through the air. 

Fabri:  Indeed professor.  By simple geometry you have shown us what Aristotle had missed, and now we can predict the impact point, the struck target, of anything a man can throw, loose, or a cannon can shoot, windage excepted.

Their fishing guide, Victorio, fisherman that he was, though he would bait them with a problem.

Continue reading "A Story"

March 30, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (4)

February 24, 2005

Abiotic Oil

Whether abiotic oil be certainty or insanity, the arguments this link presents are of low viscosity.  In his comments on how the theory would have no effect whether true or not, he puts for some dicey arguments like this one:

Secondly, petroleum geology is an empirical field which has evolved largely by trial and error. Petroleum geologists have learned the hard way where to drill (and where not to drill); in the process they have developed a theoretical model that WORKS. It is somewhat difficult to believe that generations of smart petroleum geologists missed huge amounts of oil.

He somehow ignores the fact that petroleum geologists are still making huge new finds, in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and all over the place.  By his logic those finds shouldn't exist because it means they were missed by the previous generation of smart petroleum geologists.

Put another way, a Keynsian and a perfect-market economist are at an economic summit meeting in Manhattan, and when lunch rolls around they head out to find a deli.  As they're walking along they both spy a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk.  The perfect-market economist doesn't even break stride as he steps past it, and the Keynesian asks, "Aren't you going to pick that up?"  "Of course not; it's fake," replied the perfect-market man, "If it was a real one hundred dollar bill someone would've already grabbed it."

On top of that, only about 0.25% of the earth's crust down to 10km is limestone, and about 0.75% sandstone.  Petroleum geologists have rarely, if ever, sunk a hole down deep into the bedrock, because as my textbook of petroleum geology makes plain, there's no oil down there.  Unless a geologist was drilling for somekind of malpractice lawsuit instead of oil, he would stop the bit shortly after grinding on the granite.  That means our drilling has been limited to the places where the data shows oil is a good possibility, leaving the vast, vast majority of the crust unprobed.

February 24, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

February 18, 2005

The Funding Comes Rolling

I decided to write a sing-a-long for global warming conferences, so here it is.

Ever shrill, never fail, as we pass the trusty pail
And the funding comes rolling on in
In and out, hear them shout, protest slogans we all spout
And the funding comes rolling on in

Then it's hi, hi, hee, in the global warming game
Shout out your warnings loud and strong
Where'er winds blow, you can always crow
So the funding comes rolling on in
So the funding comes rolling on in

Blame the storm, blame the right, action left for climate fight
See the funding come rolling on in

Whether storm, whether clear, prepare to say the end is near
So the funding comes rolling on in

Was it high, was it low, where the hell did records go?
As the funding comes rolling on in

Will we melt, will we die, no we won't get cool tonight
And the funding comes rolling on in

In the press, day and night, where the modelers graph a fright
And the funding comes rolling on in

Our new plots instill fears, predicted heating everywhere
And the funding comes rolling on in

February 18, 2005 in Other Songs | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (1)

The First Evidence

Scripps says they just found new and dramatic evidence of global warming by looking at ocean temperature records.  If the evidence was really clear and dramatic you think they'd have noticed it before now.

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and their colleagues have produced the first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world's oceans, a finding they say removes much of the uncertainty associated with debates about global warming.

What's funny about this is that they said they have "the first clear evidence", thus directly saying that the evidence was not clear up till this point, despite the breathless weekly global warming updates on the BBC and CNN..

At a news briefing (Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. EST) and symposium presentation (Feb. 18 at 1:45-4:45 p.m. EST) during the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Barnett will discuss the details of the study and explain why the results hold implications for millions of people in the near future.

Yep. Just one day after Kyoto goes into effect scientists step forward with their clear and dramatic evidence, based again on computer models that always show global warming.

In the new study, Barnett and his colleagues used computer models of climate to calculate human-produced warming over the last 40 years in the world's oceans. In all of the ocean basins, the warming signal found in the upper 700 meters predicted by the models corresponded to the measurements obtained at sea with confidence exceeding 95 percent. The correspondence was especially strong in the upper 500 meters of the water column.

Both global warming and natural temperature variations say there will be a bit of extra heat, which is going to act like heat does, so the fact that extra heat looks like extra heat is now claimed to be proof of the cause and mechanism of global warming. Hrmm.... There thermometer must be way smarter than the average thermometer, because the average thermometer isn't calibrated in units of blame.

It is this high degree of visual agreement and statistical significance that leads Barnett to conclude that the warming is the product of human influence. Efforts to explain the ocean changes through naturally occurring variations in the climate or external forces- such as solar or volcanic factors--did not come close to reproducing the observed warming.

So let me get this straight. If you punch in a tiny value of heating you get a small effect, but if you punch in a big value of heating you get a big effect. And if you punch up those volcanic factors you'd get cooling. And for this they hold a press conference, just one day after Kyoto. What are the odds... Apparently climatologists are far more predictable than the climate.

February 18, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

January 23, 2005

Ice Age Comes

Now here's a dumb one from the halls of "science".

The amount of fresh water entering the Arctic Ocean from the rivers that feed it is increasing, UK scientists report.

That would be because the arctic runs in multi-decade cycles. Now if only scientists can just decide what constitutes the Arctic, or whether they should even mention that it's cooler than it was in the 1930's.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, they say the increase is caused in part by human activities and is an early sign of climate change.

Back in my day we had a cute name for the annual "early sign of climate change". We called it the fuckin' weather, which changes drastically from year to year, or people wouldn't talk about it all the time.

Continue reading "Ice Age Comes"

January 23, 2005 in Global Warming | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (3)

November 17, 2004

Baltian Scramjet?

There's all sorts of hoopla about NASA's successful flight of the scramjet, going around mach 9.7 during its successful flight.  However, they claim the little 12 foot test plane was unmanned, which while technically true hides a really big secret, all under the guise of "national security".  In truth the craft was piloted by a tiny Baltian.


Anyway, sorry for the thin posting lately.  I've been working 12 hours a day.

November 17, 2004 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (2)

November 12, 2004

Fisking a Whimper of "Reality"

A while ago the UK Independent ran Jonathan Raban's angst filled diatribe, long on wind but bereft of reality, especially for what pretends to be a report from the "reality based" world. Unfortunately, to Fisk a long winded literary type requires a flood of ink, so this one ran a bit long, to say the least. I was writing it for the Rott but it just got to long for that site, so wade in at your peril.

America's reality check

Bush is adept at spinning watertight fictions to justify his policies to a public that believes in faith, conscience, vision, and consistency more than it believes in untidy realism

Is he referring to the untidy "realism" of Kerry in Cambodia, at the Gulf War cease fire talks, or meeting with the entire UN Security Council prior to the war? Further, how can they on the one hand deride Bush as a mere talking chimp, completely disconnect from reality, and call him adept at spinning "watertight fictions" on the other? Wouldn't he accidentally leave some clues scattered about, or his he actually a super genius?

Continue reading "Fisking a Whimper of "Reality""

November 12, 2004 in Politics | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

November 05, 2004


This archaeology article in the Economist was interesting.

Few tombs would be juicier than that of Lars Porsena, an Etruscan king who ruled in central Italy around 500BC. Porsena's tomb has been sought for centuries in the rubble under the Tuscan city of Chiusi, which is believed by most authorities to stand on the site of Porsena's capital, Clusium. No sign of it, however, has ever been found. And that, according to Giuseppe Centauro, of the University of Florence, is because everybody is looking in the wrong place.

It gets even better.

Chiusi was clearly once an Etruscan city, but the evidence that it was actually Clusium boils down to the fact that the two names mean the same thing (“closed”). Such nominative determinism is hardly conclusive. Dr Centauro prefers his evidence to be wrought in stone, and he thinks the most persuasive pile of masonry around is actually on a mountainside near Florence.

At the moment, he is awaiting permission from the authorities to start digging there. But the above-ground remains convince him that he has found the real site of Clusium. He believes he has identified two concentric walls 17km (about ten miles) in circumference—certainly big enough to qualify as the biggest city in Italy before the rise of Rome, which is the reputation that Clusium had.

Discovery.com has a bit more.  Makes me want to grab a trowel.  If it pans out, and luck is with them, then maybe they'll even find something that will shed some more light on the Etruscan language, which remains a mystery.

November 5, 2004 in misc | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

November 01, 2004

Texas Turtle Rustlers

You heard me. The AP reports that some dang Texas turtle rustlers made off with 15 tortoises. When they catch these outlaws, and the long arm of Texas law will catch up to them, I hope they hang 'em slooooow.

November 1, 2004 in fluff | Permalink | Comments (186) | TrackBack (0)