review/

I think I’ll occasionally take up rating movies and shows that I come across which I find to be interesting enough to rate. Some titles I may consider from recent samplings include Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, Vexille, Gurren Lagann, and perhaps Appleseed Ex Machina.

Hereuntoforthward, I shall rate stuff on a scale from 0 to 7, like I do in my personal records. You probably won’t see a lot of things below 5, since I generally don’t get worked up about mediocre stuff and lame stuff enough to really rate it or even finish watching it.

Now, I don’t necessarily want to be bound to using numbers and such, condemning subjective material to one fixed value forever. I often change ratings I’ve made in the past to reflect… whatever reason it is I’m changing it, I don’t know. Just keep in mind, these are indications of how well it struck me personally, not a rigorously computed sum graven in stone.

And before we delve into numbers, why zero to seven? Isn’t that just downright weird? Well, no. Professional reviewers use 1-4 with half-stars; halves never made much sense to me. 1-5 without halves isn’t quite enough levels, and 10 is honestly too many to make a decision easily, plus it’s a strange number. So, I found that from 0 to 7 it’s quite easy to pick out a number without too much unnecessary deliberation of whether you should choose seven or seven and a half… or even eight? Maybe six and a half? Anyway.

Here’s a general rundown of overall scoring: 4 is mediocre—nothing really special—and I wouldn’t particularly care whether you watched it or not, but it wasn’t really a total waste of time. 5 is decent, worth watching and probably a recommendation to most people. 6 means good stuff, which I enjoyed indeed, and almost certainly a recommendation. The great 7 is reserved for those things which truly belong on my favorites list; if brought up or reminded of in a conversation with me, you could easily find yourself confronted with a long string of praises and somewhat fevered insistence that you go off immediately to watch said movie or show.

If given a 3, it’s definitely listing into the deep and ugly bay of ‘you really shouldn’t waste your time.’ A 2 indicates it was pretty definitely missing some very important features such as entertainment and redeeming qualities; once we get to 1 it barely qualifies as the type of media it is purported to be. 0 is actually reserved for things that don’t even attempt to be, and really weren’t intended to be, anything like you would watch or enjoy normally. Maybe like a video that tells you how to operate a vacuum cleaner; you get the picture.

For individual categories, it goes:

7 is awesome, almost flawless;
6 is solidly well done;
5 is just fine for pretty much everything;
4 is here and there;
3 is not really featured much or poorly done;
2 is unimportant or terribly done;
1 is almost irrelevant or abominable;
and 0 means intentionally not a part of anything you see here.

I’ve experimented a bit with the various categories of rating that I use and have generally settled on humor, awesomeness, drama, story, and then the overall score (which is not an average). Stuff that makes you smile or laugh often is humorous, and something that is just depressing and leaves you feeling empty is not. Giant robots fighting with exploding drills is very awesome; sword fights are usually quite awesome, and slice-of-life is rarely awesome. (Think what makes you say ‘hey, cool…’ or just ‘awesome.’) Something that pulls you to the edge of your seat and pulls you into the characters’ situations and emotional state is dramatic; something that is just casual entertainment. (Think the stuff that has really good romance or does a good job of pulling you in emotionally.) Something that has a really well written storyline and keeps things moving without frequent fillers and plot holes has great story; something more like Azumanga Daioh, Excel Saga or even Robot Chicken have little to no story and are in fact largely completely random.

Something that does an exceptionally good job on any one of these things can conceivably get away with a good rating without much attention to the other elements (with the possible exception of drama, classically depending on story to make it relevant).

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gauss chariot

I think it would be fun to make a map in Hammer (the Source engine map editing kit) where the people who work on it just add a few things per day, slowly expanding the contents of the map until there is a gigantic building filling up the entire 0.5×0.5×0.25 mile space. Then we could go around trying to finish it off and compile it (haha, it would probably take about a week to compile on a regular machine). I figure we could just rule out moving parts and map triggers, since stuff like that would just overwhelm the engine, plus they’re one of the hardest things to do when you’re mapping. I think getting the cubemaps right would be overwhelming enough, if it’s even possible.

Either way, I think I’d be willing to work on something like that.

Important things I left out of the last post:

Someone actually developed a volumetric 3d display that displays dots on thin air. I must be frank, I totally did not see this coming. It can display about a hundred dots per second so far, and can actually display two to three meters away from the projector. That’s right. Just the projector, and empty air.

You might laugh when you hear how they do it though. It’s kind of like a humorous mockery of Ye Olde Starre Warse holograms, because it actually superheats tiny pockets of air with a focused infrared laser, creating a flash of light and a small plasma explosion. (Here’s an article about it, and the official press release translated into english). So it totally works and everything, but it’s really loud.

Something that will delight fans of technology and newer user interfaces: Johnny Lee has done a number of really neat projects which save hundreds and hundreds of dollars off of expensive equipment by merely using a wii-mote to do the same thing. (Specifically: using the wiimote for 3d head tracking, multipoint interface with your fingertips in the air rather like Minority Report, a digital white-board you can put pretty much anywhere…) It’s extremely impressive, and you need to check it out.

Among all the weird things that happen to city wildlife, I think this particular link in the food chain ranks rather high up on the scale of the weird and unexpected. I mean, pelicans eat FISH, not… certainly not that.

My room mate signed me up for a 440 gloss page magazine called Bridal Guide… I got in my mailbox and had no idea what to think. Then he put up bald-faced lies about it for almost a day before casually bringing up that it was totally his fault and on purpose. I encourage you to do this as well, it’s a great prank; you can get free magazine subscriptions right here, with no commitment. Seriously, it does work. Just… well, this is better for doing in dorms where you’re not going to be living there the next ten or twenty years; if you’re too concerned about causing them bulk mail problems, you could always just double check to make sure that they don’t distribute the addresses to anyone.

One of the more silly brainchildren of the half of my brain devoted entirely to ludicrous engineering (the part that will forever be deeply enamored with the Space Fountain) is the house heated by bulk mail. The idea is, get yourself signed up for as many cupon newspapers, thick magazines, and free, worthless publications as you can, then stockpile them and use them to heat your house via a clean paper-burning stove, which should also include a catalytic converter in the chimney stack to cut down on any nasty chemical emissions due to weird inks or plastics that get burned along with it. (Mind you, I’m not really overly concerned about emissions in general, but seriously, it’s coming out right over your house.) If it worked, you’d basically be heating your house to free, with fuel being delivered to you sporadically by the national mail service.

That shit would be so cache.

incoming

Danger! New intelligence indicate angry anti-establishment ranting off the starboard bow!

entertainment count

I recently added up all the views that Dan Green has racked up for Yu-Gi-Oh, just on the site, and multiplied by the length of each episode. The resulting number was over 89 years. That’s JUST plays from the site; people could easily see them somewhere else, or download them and watch them, or watch them with multiple people. Seeing as he’s less than 40, probably less than 30 even, economically he’s a serial murderer for all the productivity that’s been wasted on his work. But really, is that true? Nowadays, entertainment CAN count as productivity. Plus, would they have done anything productive anyway? Or would they have gone off and entertained themselves some other way?

I suppose that a good number of those years can be counted as lost productivity, since his work is so hilarious that you just have to watch it all. But, that’s not a bad thing.

DJ AnounymOS’s new host is here, and all his music is available to download at high speed from there. If you like rave and techno music, check it out. If not, at least get and listen to Adagio for Cowbells.

An old flixxy video I never linked to… this nutball works entirely too hard. I mean, he’s cutting tiny dust particles into quarters and carving them into detailed shapes. What the heck. Pretty cool though.

More old news… the Chinese pulled off some stunning bait-and-switch magical maneuvers in San Francisco during the Olympic Torch relay. If Prometheus had been this good, he probably could have gotten away with the fire theft.

A newer edition of nuclear reactors is coming into the mainstream – the pebble bed reactor – which is markedly more efficient than traditional water models. In the development of this mechanism, an interesting phenomenon now called the Wigner effect was discovered wherein graphite is rendered super-flammable after extended exposure to radiation while under about 250 degrees Celsius. Atoms get displaced from their proper positions in the graphite, and when it’s not hot enough for them to get shaken back into position, these defects build up to alarming levels of potential energy.

Velociraptors.info is a funny site, intended for humor and based off of xkcd. Worth a look.

This blade-off test video is pretty interesting; I particularly love the noise it makes at about 1:55. And while you’re looking at videos of jet engines exploding, you should watch this. The engine was a great success, the stand not so much.

If you’re interested in giant prehistoric killing machines (and who isn’t?)… you’ll be sad to see what became of their kin.

There’s a lot of stuff that you can do with a program in only 4KB of code and data; there are DirectX library references and everything, but when you think about it, it’s still pretty neat when someone comes up with an almost insignificantly tiny program that looks and sounds this cool.

In a somewhat similar style to that, a Japanese artist made these really neat videos of how I’d like to think cities will be constructed hundreds of years from now. Of course, it’s not really going to be like that, but it’s cool to watch anyway.

If you’re into getting expelled from school, you could put on a turban, open up this countdown timer full-screen, and yell “ALALALALALALA”… of course, you’d be a terrible person, but it’s something to think about. Maybe.

Schlieren photography is a very interesting technique that uses optics to show pressure waves and differences in the density of air or other fluids; I came across a well-made presentation of some of the neat stuff you can do with it, and thought I’d share it here.

Closer to regular photography is pictures taken with scanning-CCD digital cameras, with giant sensors that actually move behind the lens to get as detailed an image as possible. The BetterLight site describes their capabilities (up to and over 400 megapixels, taking pictures almost 750MB in size), and they also have a gallery of images that you can zoom into the details of. Look at the money one, it’s pretty amazing.

Do you still have a tape deck somewhere? Maybe you could consider this awesome mp3-to-cassette converter, available at ThinkGeek. It’s a wonderful device; it really appeals to my sense of retro. I mean, I’m the one with a 5.25″ floppy drive in my high-end gaming computer, so of course I’d like that sort of thing.

Moot from 4chan, Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, and Randall Munroe who is xkcd had a panel together at the recent ROFLcon internet craziness convention on the east coast. A brief summary is available on the site, and it really makes for some interesting reading.

Hey, wow, check it out! RFID post-it-notes that automatically get filed in your computer to search and find actual objects just by labeling them. How cool is that. Looks like MIT did it again, but they probably won’t be out for a while yet. And then the’ll probably cost like a buck each. Oh dear.

If anyone has a nuclear steam-powered emu they don’t need anymore, I’ll gladly take it off your hands. I need something awesome enough to pull my gauss chariot.

~~~

I’ve got a few more cool things, but I should save them because they’re really cool and you definitely need to make sure you see those, not just lose them in the piles of stuff I pile out here.

In case you were wondering, my criteria for putting links up on this site is, if it’s something that’s cool that I’ll want to be able to find again and link to someone in the future, I post it. Otherwise, it doesn’t go up.

The only reason I’m making this post and the ones after it is because I suddenly got 11 views in one day after two weeks with less than ten hits the entire time. And someone was nice enough to leave a comment. So I was just reminded.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is both extremely charming and super-epic, and the recent animated movie Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is a must-see.

Oh my heavens, I think I’m the first person on the googlable internet to ever use the phrase “gauss chariot”. I must be a hero. While I’m at it, I’ll also be the first to popularize the term “gatling alien,” because as everyone knows, gatling alien is real, and you can play it if you have enough upgrade points.