Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Things that bothered me about Jurassic World 2 [Spoilers]

[Spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!]

I recently saw Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom. While it wasn't a bad thing, I got annoyed when I realized that the trailer covered only the events of the first 20 minutes. Unfortunately, that put me in the bad frame of mind and all sorts of things started bothering me about the movie. Below are some of them.


Claire and Owen

  • Why wait so long to approach Claire? They could have gotten so many more species off the island if Claire gave them access to the tracking system. They could have left dealing with Owen/Blue until later on and still had it go according to plan but with more dinos in cages. 
  • Why was Claire lobbying a senator literally seconds before a verdict was brought down not to save the dinosaurs? Either the one she was lobbying to was not involved in the decision or had already voted. 
  • Why did they try to kill them on the island? Attempting to kill Owen and the vet I could understand (though again if the military leader could keep it holstered...) but locking in the tech and Claire seemed intentional but there was no benefit to killing them.
  • Owen has a lot of combat training for an animal behaviorist. Maybe he had special training for Jurassic World, but imagine replacing Chris Pratt with Jackson Galaxy of My Cat from Hell.

The Indo-Raptor

  • It's presumably a hybrid of Blue the raptor, which had two legs and two arms, and the Indomonous, which also had two legs and two arms, but somehow the Indo has four legs. Maybe there's something else in the mix. 
  • The Indomoninus had heat vision, but the Indo, which was specifically built for combat, doesn't for some reason? The Indo-Raptor seems to lack the other abilities like camouflage. You could justify it not knowing how to use it, but heat vision would be passive and sensory so it's practically impossible for it to not know it had it. 
  • Why did they only have a single sample of the Indomonous? Can't they just go get another one? The skeleton was fairly deep in the water so it's probably still there. 

General plot

  • Like all Jurassic Park movies, greedy people ruin it for everyone. The main antagonist to be sure, but if the military leader could have kept his gun holstered until they got Blue, then they would have gotten away with it scott free since they wouldn't have had to tranquilize Owen.
  • It's funny how they managed to find a working gyrosphere. Even weirder that Owen could keep pace with it. 
  • I'm getting really sick of the Dino Ex Machina. The T-Rex naturally is the worst offender for this, but Blue has done it a couple times. 
  • Did they take breeding pairs off the island? For the fake plan they told Claire, they would have but if they're just selling them for seed capital to other companies then they probably wouldn't have. If that's the case, then dinosaurs are probably going extinct again in the near future. Raptors certainly are given that Blue was the only one taken off the island. 
  • We're at the end of Jurassic World 2 and essentially back to where we were at the end of Jurassic Park 3. 
I am hoping they continue the series as the next movie should end up breaking new ground for the franchise; co-existence of humans and dinosaurs, genetic technology becoming widespread and the ethics of human cloning. 

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Stargate Atlantis Theory: Ferrel Mylan is a Fabrication

In the episode Poisoning the Well, Col. Sheppard's team discover a society who are attempting to create a drug that can prevent the wraith from feeding, based on a protein isolated by a famous scientist called Ferrel Mylan, whose journal had been preserved since the previous culling. His work was so important to them that it's considered central to Hoffan culture with the last entry in his journal being memorized by all Hoffans. After rewatching the episode recently, I'm not sure that Ferrel, or at least the public perception of Ferrel, ever existed.



It was well established that the Hoffan's maintain archives of knowledge. The achievements of each generation are stored so that when the Wraith destroy their society they can build back up quickly. Ferrel's research was supposedly stored within these archives but this doesn't make sense. One of the researcher's Perna, quotes Ferrel's Last Entry to Beckett as evidence of their dedication to this work.

The battle rages at the very threshold of our laboratory now. Those of us working to the last know that these few final hours have been dearly purchased, yet our concentration has not waned. We cannot hope to save ourselves but we can hope that one last insight, one last revelation before we take our dying breaths, may prevent this terrible day from happening again. 

This results in some inconsistencies.

  1. If the Wraith are "at the very threshold of our laboratory", then they most definitely did not have time for the journal to be copied into the dozen archives. 
  2. Given that it was the Modis Operandi of the Wraith to destroy technology, it's highly likely that the laboratory was completely destroyed and all those working there were culled.As such, it seems highly improbable that the journal escaped. 
  3. If this was the last entry in Ferrel's journal, then nothing else came after and he wasted his last few minutes of life on recording something for posterity rather than something potentially helpful.
I have thought of some rationalizations that could counter these thoughts, but they themselves have counters. 
  1. It could be that (1) is an exaggeration and Ferrel was taken after their research was stored.
    While possible, the "dying breaths" part implies that they weren't expecting to get out of the lab alive.
  2. They might have just been lucky and stored the journals in a hidden wall or floor safe that the wraith somehow managed to miss.
    This only works if someone who knew the location of the safe survived the culling and could tell others. The fact that only a few people were aware of the existence of the archives would imply that they had fallout shelters for high ranking officials so this isn't unrealistic. 
  3. It could be that Ferrel's journal isn't the same journal where they kept the scientific information. If Ferrel wrote it while waiting for a test to finish or something similar then it's still okay.
    Again, this is possible but the way that Beckett goes over the journal then asks if the test results could be fake implies that he saw test results in the journal.
If there weren't multiple journals, then the most likely explanation for these inconsistencies is that Ferrel was a myth. 

My theory is that the government had the data stored in the archive from the culling as they said but Ferrel himself is false. Feeling that it was unlikely for the results themselves to galvanize their populace into making the sacrifices they deemed necessary. For that, they needed a figurehead and as such, the document known a Ferrel's Journal was fabricated. 



It very well might be that Ferrel was a researcher that worked on the Wraith inoculation, in fact his existence is likely as it would cement the legitimacy of the journal, but I believe that the journal was created after Ferrel's death. It provided a human element to the research; a rallying cry for the Hoffan people to end the Wraith's domination over the galaxy once and for all. 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Campaign idea: The Power of Positive Zombies

I don't have much experience playing D&D and the like but I enjoy reading the manuals and thinking through cool ideas. One I want to try is the Positive-Energy Charged Creature

An undead with fast healing 5 and a 5 feet aura that heals living creatures and damages undead for 1d6 per turn. In addition, not only do all its negative energy damaging powers become positive energy (sadly though energy drain does flip to positive, it doesn't give temp levels), but its natural attacks become positive energy too so you get healed by getting hit. There's also overhealing, so all the excess energy gets converted into an equal amount of temp health.

It gets better, an undead killed by a positive energy undead gets transformed into a positive energy undead with full hitpoints, though it is staggered for up to 4 rounds and not under the control of its maker.

This seems like the perfect undead killing machine doesn't it? Except for one thing, Overcharge. If you get more temp health than your maximum HP, you explode in a burst of positive energy. There's no save involved, the body just automatically disintegrates and sends out a burst dealing 1d6+1d6*(temp health at time of death/10). The burst is positive energy so you can actually trigger a cascade effect and wipe out a whole slew of creatures in a single turn.

They still have a weakness to positive energy and acquired an immunity to negative energy as part of the process so they aren't really good in groups but you could still have a lot of fun with these especially if the players fail the check and don't recognize the danger. Maybe NPC's have been using them in an infirmary and don't realize the danger because only the injured pass by and they never get enough temp health to explode.

I'd like to see them incorporated into a castle. Place them in cages in 10 ft intervals. You could either use it offensively, buffing your assaulting units as they disembark from a fortification, or defensively; any unit with hit points less than the number of zombies gets vaporized before it can reach the end of the corridor.


Thursday, 10 May 2018

Interesting Animes

Below will hopefully be a list of good, bad and interesting anime that I've stumbled across. Same rule as Netflix for interesting, 'Bad'/average and 'Interesting' will be put in the 'Interesting' category while 'Good' and 'Interesting' will just be marked Good.

Good

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? - Dude that became a zombie and then a magical girl. 

Shokugeki no Soma (aka Food Wars) - Iron Chef as an Anime. The foodgasms get a bit much early on, but they tone it down as it goes on.

Yakitate!! Japan - Similar to Food Wars, but focused on baking. It ends abruptly in a way that suggests it suddenly lost funding and a lot of the puns are specific to Japanese but still good. 

Ace Attorney - Based on the Ace Attorney games. If you enjoyed the games, or ever wanted to play them it's worth looking into. 

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - Groundhog day with loop after loop. 

.Hack//Sign - The original 'guy stuck in a video game' anime. The games that follow on and the anime that you get with them is interesting. 

Overlord - A guy who got stuck in a virtual reality game. Nothing unusual except he's an undead mage with a huge dungeon/castle. 

Log Horizon - Another 'stuck in a game' anime. Focuses a little more on logistics and survival than most. 


Bad

Yugioh Arc V - Like I said in my Netflix entry, pendulum is bullshit and the main characters deck is extremely convenient.

Interesting

Tatakau Shisho The Book of Bantorra - "In a world where dead people are turned into books..." If that doesn't meet the definition of interesting almost nothing will. 

Monday, 30 April 2018

Netflix: The good, bad and interesting

There have been a few times when I've been asked to recommend titles for friends on Netflix. Despite letting you mark things as recommended or not recommended, there doesn't seem to be a way of passing that information on to others. Therefore, for my own future reference and friends, I'm keeping a list of Netflix shows that are good, bad and interesting.

Regarding the 'interesting' category, if it's good and interesting, it'll be marked 'good'. If it was bad (or average) but interesting, it'll be 'interesting'.

The Good

  • Black Lightning
  • 3% - Bad English dubbing, but great story
  • Lucifer
  • Limitless - There's a movie by the same name that comes before the show (and isn't on Netflix) but it's only tangentially related so you don't need to watch it first. 
  • Firefly - No longer on Netflix
  • Killjoys
  • Travellers - I particularly enjoy how each iteration of Traveller remembers a different future. 
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Ascension - Feels a bit like Fallout to me, but in a good way.
  • Sense8 - Really slow at times, but when they do the scenes when they're all sharing it is amazing.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K - Imagine Daria as an anime then give her absurdly overpowered telekinetic powers. Very entertaining.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender
  • Power Rangers RPM - My favourite iteration of power rangers that makes fun of itself and has almost no filler. 
  •  Designated Survivor - also known as 'why I don't want to be a politician'.
  • Train to Busan - There were rumors about turning this into a Hollywood movie. Watch it before they ruin it. 
  • Odd Thomas
  • The Good Place
  • Continuum - The final season is largely pointless, but the rest is good and the ending is well done. 
  • Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman: Office worker in Tokyo strives to be the best in his company so that he can slack off and eat sweets while on the job. Covers desert places in the Tokyo area and has a very anime feel to it. 
  • Paradox - Some well built time travel. Can't really say more without spoilers. 
  • Transformers Prime - The girl pisses me off, but it's still a great version of Transformers
  • Frequency - A time travel story where no people actually travel through time. Just an exchange of information.
  • Justice League Dark

The Bad

  • Yugioh Arc V - The story telling in this is horrendous. They don't bother to explain anything and there's lots of plot conveniences (like the main characters deck being full of effect monsters for a technique he couldn't use). Also Pendulum is bullshit. 
  • ID-0: I have no idea where this one was supposed to be going. It doesn't feel like they achieved anything. 
  • He Never Died: This was so freaking boring. 

The Interesting

  • Equilibrium - How are going to explain all of the crazy gun combat and how the protagonist never gets hit? Statistics. An answer that is sensible, but at the same time completely absurd.
  • Synchronicity - The time travel is fairly well done, but it goes off the rails right at the end even though there was an avenue that would have tied it all up neatly. 
  • Horns - The plot is kind of average but the horns themselves make it interesting. 
  • Kakegurui - A card game anime, but based around gambling instead of Yugioh. 
  • Erased - Guy with groundhog day powers gets sent back to stop a child kidnapper. They tend to ignore the time powers for more mundane stuff but it still works. 
  • 2057: The World in 50 Years - A few short stories intermixed with physicists talking about potential future technology.
  • Forensic Files - A real crime show that covers forensic techniques. 
  • ARQ - A gritty groundhog day style movie. 
  • The Toys That Made Us - Histories of famous toys. It was interesting hearing how She-Ra apparently ruined He-Man
  • Rotten
  • Castlevania - It's a shame that it's so short. I was keen to see more.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Frangipani Infused Vodka: Experiment 1 (Success)

I've had a dehydrator for a while now and have been dehydrating frangipani flowers. We have a couple trees in the backyard and there are quite a few trees in my neighborhood. There are always enough flowers on the ground that I can just pick them up without having to take any off the actual trees.

The dried flowers can be used for potpourri and the dehydration process makes the house smell nice, but the volume of flowers I can produce greatly outweighs the amount I'd use for scent. Today I crushed some of the dried flowers and left it to stand in some vodka. After a few hours, the vodka had taken on a distinctly yellow hue, very similar to whiskey, and had a clear smell of frangipani.

I had a taste and it was almost entirely the original vodka taste. I placed about a shots worth in a small glass and topped it up with water. The result still tasted like watered down vodka, but it freed up the frangipani smell. Now, when taking a sip the smell spreads throughout my mouth.

Frangipani vodka is not a flavoring agent like midori, it's a perfume. While the taste of alcohol is pure alcohol when undiluted, its blooming smell once diluted makes it perfect for cocktails; it allows for modification of their smell without compromising their taste.

The next test I need to do is check if the smell will be retained when in the presence of stronger tastes and smells like pineapple, mint, or orange juice.


Sunday, 8 April 2018

Banana Mousse: Experiment 1 (Failure)

I had a bunch of bananas in the fridge that were black and a recipe for banana/rum mousse. After skimming it and dismissing it (I don't like double boilers), I wondered if I could make something similar with instant pudding mix.

I like the concept of instant pudding, but I wish that it had better nutritional value. I was curious to see if I could use banana smoothie in place of the milk to make a healthier smoothie. Unfortunately, it didn't work. It tasted nice, but it didn't whip up properly. My current theory is that the banana made the mixture too dense and the air bubbles that should have formed in the mousse kept collapsing under the weight.

Fortunately, I was able to add a small amount of the mixture to milk and restore it to a smoothie (with the butterscotch flavor from the mousse which was nice). I also put some of the mixture in the freezer and left it overnight. It still crystallized, but it formed significantly smaller crystals that I was able to dig through with a spoon straight from the freezer with no defrosting required.

When I go for my second attempt, I plan on making the mousse first then folding in the pureed banana. It'll still be heavy, but I'm hoping that if the mousse has already set and firmed up in the fridge then when I fold it through it will retain at least some of the air pockets.