Einstein’s special theory of relativity in ten hundred words

Friday, 20 November, 2015

It’s the problems of faster than light travel that I’m grappling with at present, in regards to a science-fiction project of mine, but that’s the great thing about sci-fi, those sorts of troubles are easily taken care of, thanks to the conveniently timed advent of some futuristic technology, or advances in the understanding of the laws of physics, between now and a certain future time.

The downside there of course is that people may take exception to such ideas, because they’re not scientific. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I reach it, because, by thinking fourth-dimensionally, by the time I arrive at the location where the bridge should be, it should have been built, and I can coast safely across the ravine.

Whether the laws of physics are sufficiently malleable to the point they may one day be manipulated so as to allow faster than light travel, remains to be seen. In the meantime, an understanding of Albert Einstein’s special, and general, theories of relatively, might help, and here they are, set out in relatively simple terms.

The first idea is called the special idea, because it covers only a few special parts of space and time. The other one – the big idea – covers all the stuff that is left out by the special idea. The big idea is a lot harder to understand than the special one. People who are good at numbers can use the special idea to answer questions pretty easily, but you have to know a lot about numbers to do anything with the big idea. To understand the big idea – the hard one – it helps to understand the special idea first.

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Wuher: A Star Wars Story, and other films you may not live to see

Thursday, 19 November, 2015

If a single movie, Rogue One, a Star Wars “spin off” story, slated for release in late 2016, can be spawned by way of a few words taken from the opening crawl of A New Hope, then imagine what else seen in the six films released to date, has the potential to inspire? A point that’s not lost on current series producers, the Walt Disney Company:

And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise.

I think Wuher, the gruff bartender in the canteen at Mos Eisley, is worthy of a film. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the significance of his role in the saga has been greatly understated so far. Read his profile. I think you’ll agree there’s far more to him than meets the eye.

And on that note… four weeks to go until you know what.

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R2-D2, loyal astromech droid, or a lying pile of scrap metal?

Wednesday, 11 November, 2015

I hope not to be featuring too many Star Wars theories, I expect you’ll run into no shortage of them elsewhere in the coming weeks anyway, but have you given any serious thought to the motives and integrity of R2-D2, everyone’s favourite astromech droid? Whatever way you look at it, he appears to have kept a great deal of information to himself:

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke leaves the Battle of Hoth to go to Dagobah and seek Jedi Master Yoda to complete his training. R2-D2 knows who Yoda is, especially as a astromech droid who served the Jedi in the Clone Wars. Yet, when Luke shows up at Dagobah, R2-D2 trolls Yoda and Luke by fighting with the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy over some junk in Luke’s camp. That’s like you meeting Ghandi and throwing sand in his face.

It seems not a single character in the saga is really beyond scrutiny. Look closely enough at anyone, and there’ll be some reason to question who they are, or what they really stand for.

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There’s a lot of crazy Star Wars theories… and here’s another one

Monday, 9 November, 2015

Luke Skywalker, Sith Lord, and because I think too much has been written about the soon to be released J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars film already, I’ll try to keep this brief.

Rob Conery posits that Luke Skywalker actually turned to the dark side of the Force during his climatic light sabre duel with Darth Vader, in The Return of the Jedi, and the story goes that he did so to protect Leia and his other friends. If he did, why didn’t we see the evil yellow glow in his eyes, that the Sith are possessed of? Sorry though, I digress.

Much of this thinking has come about on account of Luke’s absence from the most recent trailer for the film, and also the poster. Some suggest he is the Dark Jedi (a sort of naughty, rather than evil type, of Jedi) armed with the red crossguard light sabre in the trailers, who goes by the name Kylo Ren. Ok, there’s something in that, Jedi going from good to bad tend to take new names.

Personally, having spent much time mediating, Jedi style, on the question, I conclude that Kylo Ren is a random Darth Vadar fan boy, who has ideas well above his station. He wouldn’t be alone either. The galaxy would have decended into chaos following the death of the Emperor, as the rebels had no plans, or clue, for asserting any sort of order, once they toppled his regime.

Further, Luke struck me as being too genuinely happy after the Empire’s defeat, to be a freshly turned Sith. Do Siths even smile, except possibly through gritted teeth? That doesn’t mean he was content though. And why might he? Having witnessed the turmoil that Force-sensitives had unleashed upon the galaxy, he may have come to think all were better off without the Jedi, et al.

It’s true that Gary Kurtz, producer of episodes four and five, envisaged a more open ending to six, but was overruled by George Lucas, who wanted something happier, and more conclusive. That seems reasonable to me, because it was Lucas’ gig after all. Kurtz’s ending might have been better from a storytelling perspective, but not in the context of the greater saga.

Abrams may be taking a cue from Kurtz though. It’s possible that Luke went into self-imposed exile soon after the events of episode six. He hoped, in vain it seems, that the Force would be forgotten. Han Solo’s words, during the most recent trailer, “It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real,” seems to reaffirm that. Talk of the Force had become taboo, off limits.

For a time anyway, and not that it appears to helped much either. But then there might not be an episode seven, and a new story to tell, otherwise. Just my take anyway. I may be wrong. Luke Skywalker may be the new Darth Vader after all. Time will tell. Five a bit weeks to go. Whatever happens though, I hope it’s good. Please, don’t pull another Phantom Menace on us.

Update: and for added Star Wars hype, check out this latest of latest trailer for episode seven.

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No wonder the Empire was defeated, they used TIE fighters

Thursday, 22 October, 2015

And with just eight weeks, exactly, until the new Star Wars movie opens in Australia…

TIE fighters are the go-to single seat fighter craft of choice for Imperial/First Order/general bad guys forces, through much of the Star Wars saga. Despite their apparent effectiveness and formidability though, they really aren’t all that great a spacecraft, writes Jason Torchinsky.

Even if we assume that the TIE fighter is short-range, relies on a pilot’s spacesuit for life support, and has minimal equipment inside, the little ball that makes up the TIE fighter’s body is way, way too small to be anything other than a short-use travel pod thing, handy for scooting around between Star Destroyers so Storm Troopers in committed relationships can meet for dinner even if they’re stationed on different ships. That’s about all they’re good for.

The thing is though, they must be doing something right, as they’ve been in service for well over thirty years. Maybe there’s another aspect to them, concealed in some hidden space-time dimension. This science fiction, so anything’s possible.

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A new trailer for “The Martian”

Friday, 28 August, 2015

The latest trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi adventure feature, The Martian, that is due for release in Australia at the end of September. I have to say, this looks promising.

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Alderaan shot first, and other changes to the “Star Wars” films

Thursday, 6 August, 2015

Much has been said about the changes George Lucas has made to the original trilogy “Star Wars” films since they were first released, and here Marcelo Zuniga presents scenes from these films, and compares them with those that were altered later on. While one or two of the changes are for the better, I think many are unnecessary.

Changes to what is now “A New Hope” can be seen here, and here, while the alterations to “Return of the Jedi” are here.

At least I know now why Han Solo refers to Jubba the Hutt as a wonderful human being, rather than a wonderful Hutt…

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“Back to the Future”, the comic book anthology series

Thursday, 16 July, 2015

While there are unlikely to be any further installments to the Back to the Future films, and, thankfully, no remakes for the time being either, a comic series however, based on the iconic time travel trilogy, is in the pipe line.

To be co-written by Bob Gale, producer and screenwriter of the three films, the comic stories will explore aspects of the film series that weren’t covered on screen, such as how Marty and Doc Brown became friends.

The comic won’t try to directly follow up the movie trilogy, but instead embed itself into the ongoing events of the films, filling in gaps from the different time periods Doc and Marty visit and offering explanations for some of the movies’ different elements.

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Han Solo’s written a lot of special screenplays about himself

Wednesday, 15 July, 2015

Clearly there’s going to be far more than just three “Star Wars” sequel films, the first of which, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, is released on 18 December.

We already know that a stand alone film, Rogue One, that tells the story of the rebel group that went about stealing the plans to the Death Star, that the Empire’s agents were desperately trying to recover in A New Hope, is in the works, and that Darth Vader is said to be making an appearance.

Then last week it was announced that Han Solo will be the subject of another stand alone, or anthology series film, that is due for release in May 2018. I could easily see a number of features about Solo though, he’d be someone with a few stories to tell after all.

Chewbacca, Solo’s companion, is also worthy of a film or two if you ask me, especially if there’s any substance to this theory.

On the topic of “The Force Awakens” though, does anyone happen to know how minutes there are between now and 18 December?

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“The Force Awakens”, to be the third highest grossing film of all time?

Monday, 6 July, 2015

We’re still the best part of six months ahead of the – highly anticipated – release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and already it is being estimated its take at the box office will see the title become the third highest grossing film of all time, behind Avatar, and Titanic.

The new report, from Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne and released to industry website Deadline, suggests that the new Star Wars movie will take in $US1.95 billion ($2.52 billion) worldwide. That total, which is based on expectations of higher international box office returns than for the previous three Star Wars films, would make The Force Awakens the third highest-grossing film of all time.

I hope it lives up to the hype. I hope it lives up to the hype. I hope it lives up to the hype.

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