Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just a Misunderstanding...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Land of the Lost -- Far Out!

So 30+ years ago, I used to watch Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings. I remember it from then as just a show with kids, dinosaurs, and some other things. On a whim, I got the complete first season on DVD from the library the other day... It is FAR OUT.

Now the acting and effects were silly, but the ideas were really interesting, considering the time and target audience. Some of the same folks who worked on Star Trek (such as David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Walter Koenig) wrote and edited LOTL scripts.

If you need a refresher, a scientist/explorer/archaeologist/whatever (intellectual outdoorsy type) and his teenage son and 10-12-yr-old daughter were on an inflatable raft with minimal supplies when suddenly an earthquake propelled them into an alternate dimension with dinosaurs; at least two semi-intelligent races (one moderately benign, and one that wants to sacrifice them to their deity); mysterious, powerful crystals and Stonehengy pyramids; an ancient abandoned city; and English-language graffiti warning them to "Beware the Sleestaks."

It incorporated elements of Swiss Family Robinson, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Lost World, The Prisoner, and other stuff that I will think of later. Rather than being entirely self-contained, most episodes unfolded and referred back to things learned in previous episodes.

People may not realize that among the Sleestak extras... Future Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer.

Among the ideas explored:
  • If you are somewhere where time is fluid and unstable anyway (i.e., you meet a guy from the Confederate Army who thinks the Civil War is still going on*) and you are a child whose mother died when you were little, and you miss your mother very much, why is it unreasonable to want to have her time travel from when she was healthy to come be with you now?
  • If time is fluid and unstable, why wouldn't the adult version of you visit you as a child? Would you-child listen to you-adult?
  • If you are in a pocket universe and you want to go somewhere else by making a raft and floating down the river, you will eventually come back to where you started. Also, if you stand on a high enough mountain and look off into the distance with binoculars, you will see the back of yourself standing on that same mountain.
  • (SPOILER): OK, so try this out (kind of Möbius strippy) -- You learn from an alien ally that in order for the three of you to leave, you must be replaced by three others at exactly the same time, otherwise the imbalance that brought you here in the first place will nver be resolved. So, why not bring in the past versions of the three of you from immediately prior to your falling through the hole in the earth that took you to the waterfall. Therefore, you save your past selves (and thus your current selves) from falling to their deaths, and you get to go back to Earth. However, you sentence your past selves to having to come to the Lost dimension in the first place.

Also -- Sleestak photoshopping.

*Actually, I know some people from the South who think this same thing in 2007 (they also think that Lincoln was a Sleestak) but you know what I mean.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Non Google Search Options

Non-Google search options:

If I could Frankenstein together the ultimate search engine, it would have the classy interface of, the slang capabilities of YubNub, the page-preview functions of iRazoo, ChaCha's "video wall," and a Digg-like promote/demote feature. (It would also find me a cure for myopia, an affordable health-care plan, and a date for Friday night.) I could do without ChaCha's "live guides," but I plan to recommend the service to my grandmother.

Of course, most people would trade all these features for one simple, reliable, do-everything search box. That's why none of these sites is likely to conquer Google anytime soon. (It's also why people are so excited about nascent "natural language" search technology, which lets you ask questions in plain English.) But as we become more adept at navigating the Web, more people are going to want more control over their search settings.

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Scorsese Muppets

Sunday, August 19, 2007


From around the Web:

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Haven't Fallen Off Face of Blogosphere

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Blogosphere -- Just mega-busy at work and trying to get in a couple of home projects as well.


  • Yahoo! beats Google -- Who woulda thought it? Excerpt: Yahoo is emerging as the leading portal, fighting Google and losing for the search business, while Google is the leader in search, fighting Yahoo and losing dominance as a portal, Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, which sponsors the ACSI report, said in a statement.
  • A guy named Virgil Griffith has developed a program that tracks what domain names have made "anonymous" Wikipedia edits.
  • Due to ridiculously tragic music-clearance process, much of the great rock music that was originally part of WKRP has been surgically removed.
  • India, 60 years after independence.
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    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Analysis of Redshirt Phenomenon

    Via Fark: Analytics According to Captain Kirk. This is a statistical representation of the Redshirt Phenomenon (click above to enlarge) which has to do with the death rate of crimson-clad, anonymous Enterprise crewmen. Excerpt:

    Q: What factors could increase/decrease the survival rate of red-shirted crewmen? Besides not getting involved in fights, which usually proved fatal, the crewmen could avoid beaming down to the planet's surface, which is inherent to their end. However, that could result in a court-martial for failure to obey orders. Besides not beaming down, another factor that showed to increase the survival rate of the red-shirts was the nature of the relationship between the alien life and captain Kirk. When Captain Kirk meets an alien woman and "makes contact" the survival rate of the red-shirted crewmen increases by 84%. In fact, out of Captain Kirks' 24 "relationships" there were only three instances of red-shirt vaporization. The caveat to this is when Captain Kirk not only meets the local alien women, but also starts a fight among alien locals. The combination of these events has led to the elimination of 4 crewmembers (3 red-shirts).

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    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    John Adams / Thomas Jefferson Correspondence

    So funny I almost bust a gut laughing... literally!

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