About Christopher Peterson

http://www.chrispeterson.info

Geek, dad, maker of things on the internet

Posts by Christopher Peterson:

Black Mirror Season 5: dishwashers, sex stuff, and brain image reconstruction

Striking Vipers

Human sexuality

The bright and exciting future of who does what with whom and how. Polar bears. How we might have handles this VR technology as teenagers.

Colbert is the bear

Gaming

Nostalgia for days-long gaming binges with Doritos and Easy Cheese. Ubiquitous full-spectrum VR experience. Neural mapping. Popular physics plugins , game engines, and the possibility that McCallister and Striking Vipers etc run on the same software.

Bodily bacteria

Dirt subscription boxes. Maintaining your skin microbiome. Showring? Soap vs detergent. Probiotic yogurt: “one for me, one for the undercarriage.”

Dishwashers

Knife-down safety is actually important(!). Dish detergents and plate dirtiness. Clever dirtiness-measurement technologies.

Smithereens

Driver Rating

“2 stars, car was clean”

Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too

Virtual performance

Virtualizing irl performers. Pepper’s Ghost. Lifelike real-time rendering technology. Real-time raytracing. Motion capture cost and complexity drops.

Brains etc

Machine learning vocal production. FMRI vs EEG vs whatever awesome thing they have in Black Mirror. Deep image reconstruction from human brain activity.

Links

Black Mirror Season 5:
Head Like a Hole by Devo: YouTube
Human brain mapping and brain decoding by Jack Gallant: YouTube
Deep image reconstruction from human brain activity: PLOS

300: professional soldiers, the Spartan Mirage, and expert poking w/ Josh Effengee

Featuring guest co-host
Josh from LSG Media headshotJosh from LSG Media

This film

Zach Snyder’s strengths in creating comic book panels on film. Slo-mo blood spatter. Abs and glistening man-meat.

Western civilization

Ancient Greece and “western civilization.” The birth of “democracy” in nearby Athens. Juxtaposing your historical culture with the “other.” Like George Washington crossing the Delaware but with way less man-meat. And 100% less codpieces.

Sparta

The dawn on the Spartan state. The nature of the Helot slave class. “Land-bonded” slavery vs chattel. Ancient Greek and Spartan combat methods. Heavy infantry. Training by doing crunches all.day.long. Ancient combat analogues with early UFC.

The Persian Invasions

Greece as a poor backwater on the edge of the Persian Empire. The Ionian Revolt, The Battle of Marathon, The Battle of Thermopylae, Battle of Plataea.

Professional soldiering

The incredible change that was the development of the professional standing army. Modern soldiers and modern combat compared and contrasted with ancient. Dying gloriously. Army sizes at Thermopylae as recorded closer to the time vs modern estimates.

Modern understanding of Sparta

Ancient sources and the lack of writing from the actual place and time. “The Spartan Mirage,” and the crafting of the Spartan image. Any training as a unit is better than none.

Phalanx

The universality of shield walls and spear hedges, aka the “spiky steamroller.” Strategically busting out in individual slow motion. Spear-length evolution. Learning whether “dragoons” are at all related to dragons.

Links:

Josh’s shows on LSG Media: The X-Files Podcast (always) | Science Fiction Film Podcast (sometimes)
300: iTunes | Amazon
Hardcore History – King of Kings, by Dan Carlin: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield: iTunes | Amazon

Automata: desertification, solar storms, and messing with Asimov

Robot laws

Asimov’s laws as a storytelling device and what you get when you alter the formula. “Humans are the true robots.”

Automata

The difference between “automata” and “robots.” Ancient Greek, Arab, and medieval church automata. Automata and robots making humans realize we need to explain what makes us special. Realizing that, on the whole, we probably aren’t really. Cartesian dualism as a stop-gap measure. Moral progress. Appreciating that we stopped seeing other animals as automatons and vivisecting them.

Modern automata

NASA getting into the automata game for difficult environments. The Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments. Mixing electronic and (mostly) mechanical components for robustness against horrible, deadly, no good, very bad atmospheres. Sending data back home from limited electronic or even completely mechanical systems.

Solar storms

Various phenomena caused by disturbances in the sun. The Carrington Event. Imagining the losses in the trillions from a Carrington-strength event in the modern day. Civilizational collapse with worldwide disturbance/destruction of telecommunications infrastructure.

World population

Realizing that several billion humans on Earth is actually like a real real lot of people. Very many. So many that even a 97% reduction leaves millions. Oy.

Desertification

Defining deserts by rainfall. Defining desertification by a land’s inability to hold water.

Links:

Automata by In Our Time: BBC
Ghost in the Machine by Radio Lab: WNYC

Star Trek IV – The Journey Home: whale margarine, transparent aluminum, and time travel

Star Trek

Best Star Trek movies. Liking things because they are familiar. The odd-even Star Trek movie rule. Mathematical proofs. Dismissing the reboots.

Cosmic horror

Giant cylinders and plumbuses. Finding out you are as an ant in the universe. Spreading across space and building giant robot suits to fight the larger incomprehensible creatures.

Time travel

Using time travel to solve problems despite the consequences. Time travel anachronism stories. Bad time-travel sales pitches. The Mooreeffoc Effect. Would you go to the future? Only going forward because medicine in the past is always so bad. Time travel vaccinations.

Whales

The possibility of cetacean “language.” “Save the whales” in the 80s. Whale oil being supplanted by kerosene as industrial fuel. Stinky whale candles. The Napoleonic origins of margarine and the economics of fuel and margarine. Industrialized whaling. “Factory ships.” Realizing we are running out of whales. Continued industrial whaling, namely by Japan and some of the Nordic countries.

Links

A bunch of Wikipedia articles: Whaling | Whale Oil | Margarine
Moby Dick by Herman Melville: iTunes | Amazon

Apocalyptomovie backdrop mayan man in front of stepped pyramid

Apocalypto: sacrificial practices, temples, and Mayan writing and math

Criticisms and controversy

So yeah, Mel Gibson is bad. But then the movies are… really good? Trying to get past his framing. The tug of war between historical accuracy and entertainment. Anthropological criticism.

Deciphering history

The problem with burning nearly the entire written history of a people. Deciphering scant ancient texts. The remaining resources: art, stelae. Mayan hieroglyphic writing.

Periods

The Maya pre-classic, classic, and post-cassic periods. The scale of the height of Mayan civilization. The abruptness of its fall. The period in which the film takes place and the ways in which it is not actually entirely apparent. Classic-period pyramids in the post-classic era.

Science and math

The mixing of astronomy and astrology in the Mayan tracking of the heavenly bodies for religious purposes. The Mayan written mathematical system. “Inventing” zero. Extensive calendaring and that whole 2012 kerfuffle.

Civilizational decline

The factors that may have contributed to the Mayan collapse. Plaster and mortar production. Deforestation for fuel.

Aztec/Maya

The possibility for cultural confusion in the film. Aztec and Maya sacrificial practices.

Links

The Case Study of Apocalypto by Richard D Hansen: ResearchGate
Apocalypto by History Buffs: YouTube

Game of Thrones backdrop - Ned Stark on the iron throne, leaning on a sword

Game of Thrones: medieval weaponry, variable winters, and final-season anxiety

The books

Appreciating GRRM. And appreciating him double and triple as the show goes on.

The setting

The middle ages. The “dark ages” and how much is that a misnomer? Magic and dragons stagnating technological progress. Volcanoes beat dragons in rock-paper-scissors. Air force exclusivity. Ancient artillery. Ballistae and Scorpions and the peak of human weaponry until the weaponization of gunpowder.

Winter is coming

Figuring out ways to make the seasons less predictable. Unsatisfying suggestions in axial precession and funny orbits. The possibility of the interplay of biology with climatological processes.

Disappointment and Predictons

Trying to understand, as we reach the conclusion, why the show feels so unsatisfying now. Why every turn of events feels so unearned. Predicting who will get the throne as of “The Last of the Starks.”

Links

Game of Fuckin’ Thrones by Anamanaguchi: YouTube
Nightflyers (SciFi!) & Other Stories by GRRM: iTunes | Amazon

q&a #5 word cloud backdrop

Questions & Addenda #5: fermenting your pee, cute aggression, and centricities

We got so much feedback over time from supporter Jeremy that we’re dedicating a whole Questions & Addenda episode to covering them. Just like that one time.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [episode page]

Guerilla space warfare. The Star Wars Geneva Convention. Chinese gun powder weaponization. Resources and impoetus in the development of killing technologies.

Ready Player One [episode page]

Speed-of-light internet latency. EVE online strategies for fun and profit. “Sharding” as first-named in Ultima as a technical and storytelling solution.

Wall-E [episode page]

Wasting potable water. Saltwater pipe corrosion. Graywater toilets. Fermenting your pee and eating rotten shark that smells like pee.

Upgrade [episode page]

Automation in combat. “Cute aggression.” The “call of the void,” and the fear of the call of the void.

Doom [episode page]

Could you really spoil Doom, though? Navigating by the ecliptic in space. Playing Descent.

The Predator [episode page]

Savantism before the invention and eventual ubiquity of writing.

2036 Origin Unknown [episode page]

The wonder of centricities and the Greek pantheon. Using the wrong words for things. ASCII vs Unicode.

Links

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz: Amazon

Media sources

(CC-BY) Heavy Metal Riff by tgfcoder: FreeSound
(CC-BY) Retro Robot Thinking Sound by orginaljun: FreeSound

Avengers Endgame character collage backdrop

Avengers Endgame: Appreciating the enormity of the MCU

A review

Spoiler alert: we liked this movie

Phase 1

Appreciating the establishment of the characters of Iron Man and Captain America. That grenade scene. Joss Whedon writing and directing teams of characters learning to work together. Realizing the first movie in the MCU came out in 2008. Realizing just how long ago 2008 was.

Phase 2

James Gunn appreciation (ps Super was really really good!). Guardians introducing a new level of comedy into the MCU.

Phase 3

Guardians dad feels. Our favorite MCU movies. Appreciating Spiderverse even though it doesn’t count.

Money and The Mouse

The huge money-making power of this franchise. A review of budgets and revenue in the MCU. Feeling conflicted about enjoying these otherwise-impossible projects while Disney slowly buys up the entirety of western media.

Time travel quantum gobbledlygook

Time travel. Single-timeline time travel vs branching-timelines. The classic scientific “Loki-Hypercube paradox.” Timeline diagram for Avengers: Endgame. Avoiding the Novikov self-consistency principle for paradox avoidance. The “Deutsch proposition.” Robbing Peter in one timeline to pay Paul in another. Playing the time travel genie to wish for more wishes.

Characters

Character growth. Going over Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, etc. Observing how these characters have grown over time.

Links

MCU on Decipher SciFi: Guardians 1 | Guardians 2 | Avengers Infinity War
Avengers: Endgame timeline diagram: imgur
Marvel movie budgets and box office revenue: Reddit
“The Limitations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” by Patrick Willems: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

After Earth Will Smith Jaden Smith backdrop image

After Earth: pheromones, murder-birds, and language evolution

This movie

Not well reviewed. Will Smith’s “painful failure.” The real twist is the lack of explanation for things. Jaden Smith wisdom.

Accent and language

The future “language” in the film. The difference between accent and dialect. how languages change over time, by example. Trying to understand original spoken Shakespeare and generally succeeding. Trying to understand original spoken Beowulf and completely failing. The mutual intelligibility of Old Norse and Old English.

Creatures

Surprise! There are aliens and they want to kill us. Engineered animal-weapons (the “Ursa”). Improving the Ursa design: giving guns to blind animals for fun and profit. Komodo dragon-mode leeches. Evolving from parasite to hunter. The combat techniques of butt-spiking murderbirds (shrikes).

Phereomones

“Smelly handshakes.” Mammary pheromone response in human infants. Getting used to stinky things. Tales of accidental moth pheromone pranks.

Quarantine earth

Surprising evolutionary directions in the absence of humanity. Even a thousand years later, baboons still don’t appreciate getting hit with rocks.

Atmosphere

The dangers of low atmospheric oxygen. Using the top of Everest as marker for O2 danger. Climbing Everest in shorts.

Links

In Our Time – Pheromones: BBC
“Butchering Bird” (the shrike): YouTube
Eddie Izzard “Babies on spikes” bit without any context: YouTube
Lion scent-marking with non-scientific audio: YouTube

Back to the Future Part II movie backdrop

Back to the Future Part II: time travel options, retro futurism, and hip thrust combat w/ Daniel Barker

Likenesses

The legal precedent set by Crispin Glover’s lawsuit against the production; folks are more careful these days as a result. “Grandma Tarkin.”

"Grandma Tarkin" Star Wars satire speech-to-text meme

Rick & Morty

Rick & Morty’s original short lampooning Doc & Marty.

The future

The fun, friendly future where the alleyways are safer than the streets. Worrying about your future children and feeling disgusted by your teenage self. Pelvic thrusting fight technique.

Daniel James Barker with embarrassing scene kid hair

DJB back in the embarrassing teenage days

Time travel technique

Buying The almanac. Varieties of time travel: mutable, immutable, and branching. The way BTTF mixes these options at its leisure. The butterfly effect. Coping with the scale of possibilities. Strategic infanticide and Godwin’s Law.

Spacetime travel

Taking into account frames of reference. Appearing suddenly in near-vacuum if you don’t properly calibrate your time machine to also account for space travel. The importance of accurate time measurement e.g. Doctor Who The Movie. Destroying “the universe” but only the local area as causality here could not affect far away galaxies due to expansion. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Rational Optimism

Dan’s message welcoming Marty McFly to the future. Recognizing the overarching improvements in the wellbeing of humanity in the face of the negative newscycle.

Future things!

Bricking your self-lacing shoes. Keeping your shoes from joining a botnet. Self-smoking shirts. The periodic nature of futurism where “the future” always looks basically like now but with neato accessories. Hoverboard hoaxes and disappointments.

Links

Uncertainty Principle the Podcast: Soundcloud | The “Marty” Episode
VFXcool: Back to the Future Trilogy by Captain Disillusion: Part 1 | Part 2