Guest Co-Host

Terminator Genisys movie backdrop

Terminator Genisys: surprise anthologies & time travel spaghetti w/ Joe Ruppel

The curse of the Terminator

Why do all these production companies go under after making these always-profitable Terminator movies?

VFX

Twelve months to make a fake Arnold.

Time travel

Time travel but, like, way more confusing. And possibly nonsensical. Five movie in and we FINALLY we see a time machine. Operation Cronos. Trying to count timelines and getting very confused because they broke everything.

Skynet

Skynet in the government shadows vs Silicon Valley public launch. UbiquityOS. Engineering to let the AI our of the box. The dawn of “apps” and how it was important. “”Genisys does what Nintendon’t.” Skynet takeoff scenario, altered yet again.

Terminators

A review of the T-3000 and T-5000. Doctor Who. Bio-nanite replacement. Ship of Biorobo Theseus: is the T-3000 still the same person as it was?

Kyle Reese

Old Nikes! Scrappy Kyle vs jacked Kyle. David vs Goliath.

Who wants to go do my mom

– John Connor

Arnold

build_time_machine.bat . Time traveling at 1x speed. Various messy strategies for re-encasing your robot arm in flesh.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack – Official Terminator T-800 Gameplay Trailer: YouTube
Scientist Man Explains Terminator: Genisys by Red Letter Media: Youtube

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Terminator Salvation: body donation, realistic time travel, and the legal shmegal defense w/ Joe Ruppel

Is this a sequel? A prequel? Our progress in covering the entire Terminator series. The possibility of the future war trilogy, dashed.

Body donation

Donating your body to science. Body donation vs organ donation. Size and BMI standards. Medical education via cadaver. “Body brokers.” Why do blast testing on bodies? Are we learning to cure “acute dynamitism?”

Lethal injection

How to make a body unsuitable for whole-body donation. Donating to Terminator-science. Executions as disincentive. The role of the medieval executioner. How the guillotine was an early example of the robots taking our jerbs. Execution showmanship. The Ultimate Warrior was nuts.

Time travel

The only sorta realistic time travel in the whole Terminator series: pausing your exiistence and turning back on in the future! The nature of self, and the “legal schmegal” defense.

Terminators

The most human Terminator yet? Robocop vs Wolverine? Head transplant or body transplant? Terminator production volume and just-in-time delivery.  The first T800. A T600 review. Austrian bodybuilders always make good Terminators.

Skynet

Technological anxieties over time through the Terminator series…. but not really in this one? Or are just jumping straight through to concern with AI takeoff? The Skynet-iest movie in the Terminator series, so far. Personifying Skynet. Explaining the human prisoner project with the design of the T800.

Madness

Amazing alternate endings that Chris is sad didn’t happen! Skinning John Connor, for fun and profit.

Links

Terminator Salvation: iTunes | Amazon
Terminator Salvation the Machinima Series: YouTube
Decipher Media’s re-jiggered Pateon: Patreon

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Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines: hacking cars and supercomputing Skynet FLOPS w/ Joe Ruppel

Meta

James Cameron blank checks and record-breaking budgets and payouts.

Arnold

Getting re-jacked to your original shape at 56 years old. Screening your movie at Saddam’s palace.

Terminators

The broadness of the term “nanotechnology.” Upgrading your liquid-metal nanotechss32 robots.

Data Collection

Placing this movie in the data collection timeline: after the dawn of big data digital government spying, but before smartphones when we willingly began to give up all the data. But there’s a Terminator movie for that too!

Hacking cars

Direct linkages in car systems. Driving by-wire. Hacking automobile computer systems. Wired hacking and modern wireless car hacks.

Technology progression

Finally, a Terminator in the age of the ubiquitous cell phone! Still not smartphones yet, but it’s a start! Hydrogen fuel cell failure modes and the danger of tiny hydrogen bombs. MRI dangers.

Skynet

AI escape scenarios. Supercomputing at “60 teraFLOPS” and wth is a “teraFLOPS” anyway? Computing power  measurement and FLOP precisions. Recognizing the actual utility of supercomputers only becoms apparent with very paralellizable tasks.

Links

Decipher SciFi: Decipher Media
Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on a Highway by WIRED: YouTube

Colossus the Forbin Project movie backdrop

Roundtable: Colossus The Forbin Project w/ Chris Noessel, Damien Williams, and Jonathon Korman

At the table:

Jonathan Korman: Twitter
Chris Noessel: Twitter | Sci-fi Interfaces
Damien Williams: Twitter | A Future Worth Thinking About

Weirdly prescient and quietly influential

AI portrayal in film. Recognizing 2001: A Space Odyssey. Command and control. Unintended consequences. Personal movie connections and impact decades before Bostrom’s Superintelligence. Game of Thrones??? 70s scifi cynicism.

Benevolent AI dictator

The Cold War and looming climate catastrophe. What are Colossus’ goals? What goals does it think it has?

AI Portrayal

Period conceptions of computing as centralized and institutional. Computing in the era of the first moon landing. The “big board.” Computer scientists a la Mad Men. Colossus as a Golem story. How to take over the world with no subterfuge or tact. Gendering AI.

Realism

Portrayal of telecommunications literally before the invention of networking. Packet switching was first implemented after the novel was written and only just before the film! Computer communication syntax. Computing language. Computer interfaces and code checking.

Getting weird

The books get weird. And weirder! How sometimes books are accidentally way better than their author is capable of.

Paperclip maximization

Colossus as utilitarian “peace maximizer.” Showing the monkeys the gun to get your point across.

Links

Works by Madeline Ashby: Amazon
Person of Interest: Amazon | iTunes | Netflix

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Terminator 2: advanced puppetry, Skynet, and liquid nitrogen handling w/ Joe Ruppel

People

Love and appreciation for the humans involved. James Cameron is amazing. Arnold, always our favorite. Linda Hamilton playing one of the most iconic characters in film. Robert Patrick doing the robot. James Cameron doing everything himself.

VFX

VFX and CG and the high shot counts for the time. The expense of CG and the appropriate use thereof. Budgets. Incredible animatronix! The value of high-quality practical FX from the 90s and how they hold up.

Ict hot stuntaz

Motorcycle jumping. Harley’s Fat Boy. Jumping into helicopters.

Technology

The Terminator series as a window into our concerns over technology in different decades. Computing miniaturization. Quantum stuff. Read-only Terminator modes, IRQ switching, and ro cassettes.

Terminators

Terminator models and designs. Possible Billy Idol T-1000, or Kyle Reese-bots. T-1000 shiny grey goo nanite flow robot.

Liquid Nitrogen

Pork chop sandwiches! Inert gas asphyxiation. Steam barriers, sugar work, and dipping your hand into hot lead.

Links:

T2 Stunt Trailer by Peter Kent: YouTube
The Forgotten Art of Blockbuster Cinema by Mike Hill: YouTube

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: particle colliders, art, and magnetic monopolies w/ Adrian Falcone

Featuring guest co-host
Adrian Falcone
Adrian Falcone (@AdrianBFalcone), internet nerd

Colliders

Particle collider scales. Increasing energies. Finding the Higgs Boson. Different ways of smashing things. Straight colliders, ring colliders, and rings so large they kinda seem straight at a certain scale. Adrian’s new area of expertise. “Natural experiments” in particle physics. Imagining future colliders and subsequent discoveries. Confirmation of supersymmetry. Probing the edges of the standard model.

Collider danger

Stragelets and black holes and other things that won’t happen. Anatoli Burgorski taking a load in the eye. Magnetic monopoles and winning “Magnetic Monopoly.”

Magnetic monpoles

Art!

OMG the art. Chromatic aberration. Offset printing errors. Smearing vs motion blur. Animating on “twos” or “threes” and the use of fluidity as a storytelling tool.

Spider-ones

Favorite Spiderman movie?

Links:

Exhalation by Ted Chiang: iTunes | Amazon

 

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

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

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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

Them! 1954 movie backdrop

Them!: nuclear optimism, amateur myrmecology, and Wilhelm-screaming w/ Joe Ruppel

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel Photo
Joe Ruppel, history nerd

Rise of the nuclear monsters

The era of nuclear nervousness and the nuclear monsters in cinema. “Take an object, and biggify it.” Nuclear power in the 1950s. The possibility of “unmetered” energy. White Sands, gypsum, and the Trinity test.

Nuclear optimism

The nuclear success hit list and the optimism of the early 50s. Recognizing downsides. Converting hydrogen into helium, but like really violently. Eclipses, occlusion, and we didn’t realize it at the time but Joe was right to use “occultation.” Las Vegas atomic bomb parties.

Nuclear fallout

The fallout from southern Nevada testing traveling directly as far as northeast Utah. The bitter, metallic taste of nuclear fallout. When Kodak accidentally discovered a-bomb testing.

A sense of scale

The scale of nuclear weapons since the first atom bombs. Considering the time when “duck and cover” made sense. Using NUKEMAP for a sense of scale.

Ants

Issues with upscaling. Myrmecology. Antennae and wayfinding. Evolutoniary history and their waspy ancestors. Ants as superorganism. Formic acid attack spray.

Links:

Them!: iTunes | Amazon Prime Video | YouTube
NUKEMAP: NuclearSecrecy.com
Decipher SciFi nuclear hot takes: WarGames | Superman IV