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31 January 2008

Some Recommendations

While visiting I was visiting my friends in Kansas City recently, they were good enough to make a few recommendations on entertainment for me. I have sampled them all; allow me to review in descending order of my own preference:

The Bard's Tale:
I found a copy of the PS2 version at an Amazon.com subsidiary. This game was fantastic! Easily the most enjoyable console game I've ever played. Carey Ellwes voicing the Bard sold me on it (I like The Princess Bride; bite me), and I'm glad it did! Even the musical numbers (which I thought sounded like a terrible idea) are magnificent.

The Kingdom:
I'm probably the last person on Earth to have watched this movie (I still haven't seen Pearl Harbor, Saving Private Ryan, or Titanic). I figured it was just going to be another Hollywood America-bash-fest. It turned out to be very well done... except the last two minutes. I'm sorry, but one cannot draw moral equivalence between terrorists and the people who work to stop them, even if they do get emotionally involved in a particular case.

Talladega Nights:
I was going to skip this one entirely--I am NOT a Will Ferrel fan. It was moderately amusing (the "French" guy was abominable); at least no one pointed their fingers and flew away as in Blades of Glory.

This one I had also intended to skip, and should have. Don't get me wrong; the special effects are fantastic. However, the story itself makes no sense at all.
-By our best available estimates, our sun has about five billion years of life left. By these estimates, the chances of the sun dying in the next fifty million years is statistically insignificant; therefore, having it burn out within fifty years breaks suspension of disbelief and requires an explanation.
-A star is not a ball of "fire" as would occur by oxygenation here on Earth. It is a mass of hydrogen undergoing nuclear fusion. When a star dies, it is because it no longer has enough hydrogen mass to sustain fusion reactions in great enough quantity. A nuclear fission device, no matter how large or powerful, cannot re-ignite a nuclear fusion process.
-If the fate of humankind depended on the mission, why only send one ship at a time? Why wait seven years to send a second (again by itself)?
-The sun is not a black hole. It does not create a gravity well so steep that our grasp of physical process breaks down, and computation cannot be performed. And if it did, how were they able to compute the proper mass for their payload in the first place?

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