Podcast

Highlander 2 movie backdrop

Highlander 2: time travel, aliens, and complete and utter nonsense w/ Joe Ruppel

Mythology

Taking a simple mysterious mythology and explaining it for fun and profit*.

Meta

The original Highlander’s original, surprising success story. Deciding to make a sequel. Budgets and revenues and how did we get here, really?

Versions

Aliens vs time travel. The clincher: neither actually makes any more sense than the other.

People

Not only Connnor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, but ALSO his best friend who totally just died in the last movie. but hey, lol jk it’s a kind of magic. Ol’ Ironsides hamming it up and honestly stealing the show. Recasting Highlander 2 with characters from The Room. The 80s/90s: when bad guys were really bad guys and just didn’t need a reason.

The ozone layer

The actual environmental problem that the world actually got together amd potentially resolved! Fixing the ozone layer. The “shield” in the film and blocking all of the visible light in addition to the UV.

Scenes

Some scenes from this film were truly mind-boggling and/or amazing and it’s hard to tell which were which. Ironsides ham. The car scene, OR sacrificing Yoshi to make the jump. Sean Connery being rogueish/trash on a plane. Scottish fan-death. Offscreen sword-switching antics.

Highlander 2 Fairytale Ending: YouTube Highlander 2 BTS Interviews: YouTube Sean Connery The Musical by legolambs: YouTube

* not really very much profit tbh

Decipher SciFi decadal review

Decade in Review: privacy, computing everything, and torture toilets

No spoilers this week! Just looking at all the scientific discoveries of the past decade and how that has or hasn’t played into the scifi we’ve covered.

1. Privacy & Cyberpunk

… and the illusion thereof. Snowden and the shattering of the illusion of privacy in the digital age. The world becoming the less awesome-looking irl version of cyberpunk. Workers as a resources. Torture toilets.

2. Machine learning

The biggest huge development in the pats decade which underlies every other things. Wowzers. Realizing the importance of the data going in, so you don’t get racist policing or image recognition. The availability of open tools, compute time, and learning resources.

3. Genetic editing

CRISPR! What will eventually result from this one?

4. Space

Water on Mars! So much more water than we thought. Greater accuracy in portrayals of space settlement. Increasing private industry in space.

5. Physics

Hey, an update on Einstein: still correct! Also… Gravity waves! Higgs-Boson! Imaging a black hole. The contributions of computing and storage technologies.

39. Human history

Confirmation of Sapiens and Neanderthal interbreeding in remaining modern humans. Discovering more extinct human varieties.

53. Technology

What happened to AR glasses!? The state of wearables. Recognizing that there are senses to augment other than our visual system.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker movie backdrop

The Rise of Skywalker: the force, fan service, and blade-based wayfinding

Whoops, a movie review

So the movie didn’t put in any cool science things and the only thing left to do is review it and talk about… feelings? Different viewing experiences between opening night and subsequent viewings.

Franchises

Fan service. Coherent extended story arcs. Reconsidering the prequel triloges in light of the new one. Indie IP ownership with one person in charge vs Disney. Realizing what a truly satisfying job disney did with Marvel. What made Star Wars different?

Oy vey

Bending over backwards to justify fantasy events, and how movies can deserve this treatment. Bringing in The Emperor at the end. Bringing back Leia with scraps of cut scenes and lots of over-the-shoulder conversation shots.

Exagol

How to hide a planet. How to hide a planet engaging in major empire-level engineering and construction projects. Hiding your Sith shipyard.

Tech

Technological stagnation. Miniaturization. Bad ways to encode spatial information. Knife-based wayfinding.

People

C3PO software limitations and an argument in favor of Free Software. Probably maybe lobotomizing your long-time companion without deliveration. The sith ecclesiastical cult language. Pointless characters. The writer explains how Rose got mostly cut from the film.

The Force

Force diads. Beavis and Butthead candy sale force-healing math. Adam Driver doing all the acting.

The Saga – Star Wars with Tommy Wiseau – The full story: YouTube

Ad Astra movie backdrop

Ad Astra: nuclear spaceships, the edge of the solar system, and space monkeys

Science…?!

Some things are more art than science sometimes.

Structures anchored to geostationary orbit

“Space antennas” but what kind of signal would benefit from this design? X-Rays? Why would this not be better off in orbit? The structure sure looks a lot like a space elevator. Space elevators and geostationary orbital masses.

Falling from space

It’s hard to steer without sufficient atmospheric density. Felix Baumgartner’s jump “from space.”

High energy blasting

Antimatter nonsense. Our increasing fragility in the face of an unlucky coronal mass ejection. Protecting infrastructure both inside and increasingly outside our atmosphere.

Moon settlement

Moon surface settlements vs moon gateways vs embarking to The Moon from low Earth orbit. Awesome moon buggy chases. Pirates!

Mars settlement

Communicating with and from Mars. Interplanetary distance and comms speed. Building settlements within Martian or Lunar lava tubes.

The heliopause

Finding the “edge” of our star system. Difference in concentration of high energy particles.

SETI

Looking for signs of life around other stars. Taking pictures of black holes. Planet-sized telescopes. The absurd distances from Earth to other stars. Vegemite in Australia. Absent of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Nuclear spaceships

Project Orion. Blowing up your spaceship because it doesn’t have a nuclear bomb-ready push plate.

Ad Astra: iTunes | Amazon

Spider-Man Far From Home movie backdrop

Spider-Man Far From Home: Venice, burying forests, and microphone proliferation

VPNs

MJ’s VPN advice. VPN advertising on YouTube.

Venice

How to build a whole city on mud. Transplanting alder forests from on some ground to under some other ground. Hard clay is worse than bedrock. Measuring a sinking city’s rate of subsidence with space-based radar and GPS. Climate change sure isn’t helping any. What value should we place on artifacts of human civilization? Losing UNESCO world heritage sites. The MOSE project. Climate change and rising sea levels. What will the world do?

VFX

Advanced holography with drones! Photoreal real-time rendering. LED walls. Projection mapping. Lasers in your eyes.

Smart glasses

Inward and outward-facing smart glass technologies. Wearable ubiquity. Evolution of “smart glasses” from Google Glass to Echo Frames. Magic Leap? Bone conduction and having discrete interactions with your personal assistant.

Spider-Man Far From Home: iTunes | Amazon
This Video Is Sponsored By ███ VPN by Tom Scott: YouTube
Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: particle colliders, art, and magnetic monopolies w/ Adrian Falcone: Decipher SciFi

The Mandalorian tv movie backdrop

The Mandalorian: modern mythology, space toilets, and hairy rhinos

Western

The best genre of Star Wars media? Brandishing yourself. Old west forced sack removal.

“Real filmmaking”

Werner Herzog’s surprising(?) praise. “Real filmmaking” in the wake of the prequel trilogies. Wooden green-screen acting vs sweet puppets and actual human beings. Unreal Engine LED walls and volumetric projection and camera tracking.

Our new mythology

Star Wars as our new shared cultural mythology the world over. Concern about disney’s stewardship and the private ownership of our cultural heritage. Streamboat Willie entering The Commons.

Mandalorians

Some past famous Mandalorians, this particular Mandalorian, and martial prowess. Mandalorian history and why the Mandalorians are the only ones who figured out how to fight the space wizards for some reason?

Poop!

Pooping space. Weightless waste elimination can be tricky. Floating turds.

Freezing in carbonite

Cryostasis. Cryopreservation. Avoiding ice crystals. Replacing blood with “antifreeze”

Robo slavery

Taking the most depressing angle on droid consciousness and freedom (or lack thereof). And then to make it worse: DRM!

Baby Yoda

Extra-long postnatal development. Big brains and incomplete gestation. Cuteness. Animatronics.

Hairy rhinos!

Elasmotherium. Whooly rhinos. Hiary…. eggs? Historical rhinos. Rhino evolution. Balut.

The Mandalorian: Disney+
Star Wars Meta: How to Star Wars, machete order, and the best Star Wars fan edit: Decipher SciFi
Star Wars: the death star, planet science, and appreciating the original Star Wars trilogy: Decipher SciFi
The Last Jedi: FTL ramming, salt geology, and real green milk: Decipher SciFi

Venom illustrated face movie backdrop

Venom: comets, Von Neumann goo, and the alien brown note

Decontamination protocols

NASA’s irl de-contamination measures. Private space industry without apparent government oversight.

Comets

Some of the oldest things in our solar system and maybe the oldest things that we can reach. Leftovers from early solar system formation. The possibility of finding the precursors of life. Delineating between comets and asteroids. Fuzzy definitions. “Extinct” comets. Scales & tails.

Von Neumann Goo

Sending out of infected ice-balls and hoping someone notices. Like a tree! Just send your reproductive material everywhere and who cares who it lands on or gives allergies to.

Evil Jeff Bezos

Thinly-written villains. Narcissism. Poorly designed humans and “saving” humanity.

Sound

And magnets! The frequencies in which MRI machines are loudest, and the way that doesn’t line up with Venom’s sonic sensitivities. Resonance frequencies and alien “brown notes.”

Symbiosis

Christopher’s surprise learning the distinction between the category of biological interactions that is symbiosis and its subcategories.

  • parasitism
  • commensalism
  • mutualism (Venom, but perhaps not his compatriots)

Venom: iTunes | Amazon
Bronson: iTunes | Amazon
Locke: iTunes | Amazon
Peaky Blinders: iTunes | Amazon | Netflix
Warrior: iTunes | Amazon
The Dark Knight Rises: iTunes | Amazon

Terminator Dark Fate movie backdrop

Terminator Dark Fate: surprises, developing humanity, and CORAL puns w/ Joe Ruppel

Hey so we covered the entirety of the Terminator series in the past few months and it was really fun!

Meta

Hooray! Another legit good Terminator sequel! Nutso revenue requirements. Linda Hamilton and Arnold physique maintenance. Arnold appreciation as always.

Opener

No spoilers but wow what a way to begin. CG face replacements. Terminator battle plans. More alternate timelines.

Human upgrades

Grace. Imposing! “Design” considerations. Relying on human tissues. Comparing and contrasting with the Terminator Salvation’s Sam Worthingtonbot. Bio-aumentation. More than muscle! Nervous system response shortcuts.

Robots taking our jobs

Robot literally taking the guy’s job this time. Learning to work with the robots. Extended robot anxieties throughout the history of the Terminator franchise. Robots surveilling and monitoring our jobs and making it easy for Terminators to find us.

Terminators, revisited

New Terminator! The Rev-9 taking the best bits of previous no-longer-canon sequels. Infiltrating and cracking wise.

Legion

Synet rebranded. AI built on human data and maybe no matter which platform becomes sentient it will come to similar conclusions and methods. Cyberwarfare platforms.

Humanity

Becoming human. Understanding humanity. What happens to a Terminator after their mission is complete? Post-mission Terminators getting creative.

Men in Black international movie backdrop

Men in Black International: Eiffel, backfilling memory, space hacking

Eiffel

LPT: you can get pommes frites in Europe. Could Eiffel have been an agent? The history of the Eiffel tower. The Eiffel Tower’s science history. Cosmic rays. Wireless telepraphy (radio). Outliving its intended lifespan.

Aliens

Which government agency should you be applying to in order to research alien stuff? Remembering the MiB is an NGO.

Space tracking

Increasing ability to track nearby space objects. Tracking objects in our solar system’s plane. The difficulty of tracking interstellar objects. Being a good space neighbor. Confirmed tracked interstellar objects. Failing to pronounce “ʻOumuamua.”

justin: dude
Danzig lives next door to me in l.a.
down the street
and he is the worst neighbor ever

justin: so he has this huge pile of bricks in his front yard
and the house looks like an evil pixar house
so anyway, his neighbor was like, “dude, danzig your bringing property values down with these bricks in your yard.”
and danzig was pissed
so anyway, back and forth with his neighbor and danzig
and finally one day
i see danzig outside
in his front yard
and he’s hurling bricks into this drumpster and he’s screaming, “HERE I AM MOTHERFUCKER, JUST CLEANING UP MY FUCKING BRICKS BITCH!”
Just super loud
to no one in particular
for two hours
it was amazing
like, i couldn’t even think about other things
because it was so amazing

me: oh my god
this is amazing

justin: dude
it blew my mind
because it was danzig as just a really poor homeowner

Space security

Hacking satellites! Actually totally possible and has happened. Air Force satellites at DEFCON. DDoS in space. The possibilities for catastrophy in hacking things in space. The many ways an attacker could damage or destroy our space telescopes.

Stars!

Blue giants! They’re rather large, and luminous. And hot. Capturing star energy. Kardashev scales.

Memory

The tendency of our minds to backfill missing information. Using neuralizers without providing a cover story is probably actually good enough, really.

Links

Men in Black: human gestation, stimulants, and Earth as backwater w/ Liam ginty: Decipher SciFi
Isaac Arthur: YouTube