Archive for October, 2010

On Authority in Films and TV

Posted in Personal with tags , , on October 29, 2010 by davidnm2009

(This is a cross-post from my personal journal.)

Okay, I’m writing this pretty much exactly as I’ve thought of it, but here’s something that just hit me.

I’ve started watching a TV show called ‘the Event’, that’s currently running on Channel 4. It’s an American import – very slick, a lot of special-effects and full of action. It’s very entertaining and I’m really getting into it. (I’m watching it via the online catch-up service, as I’m an episode behind.) Only, while I was doing so, I was abruptly slapped in the middle of the face by an unexpected idea.

Here goes … let’s see if I can put this across in any kind of coherent form.

Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of surprisingly-good television. Lost and the new Battlestar Galactica, for instance, were both interesting as well as entertaining. (At least, they were, until they both went off the rails – but that’s a separate rant.) I suppose that’s the silver lining to the duff decade that the ’00s were – there’s nothing like bad times to force people to think and to question things.

But it gets me to wondering about whether or not these sorts of things tell us something about our culture. (And when I say ‘our culture’, I loosely mean the Western world, rather than any particular bit of it.) Continue reading

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Thinking Visually

Posted in Art, Astronomy with tags , on October 25, 2010 by davidnm2009

As I’ve said before, one of the great things about astronomy is that you can see stuff.

Aside from the sometimes-raised suggestion that Jupiter could be considered a brown dwarf, I don’t expect to ever actually ‘see’ one of these objects. And it does make you wonder what they would actually look like.

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Generic Marine Is Generic

Posted in Art with tags on October 17, 2010 by davidnm2009

I haven’t really done much painting recently, so here’s a treat for you all:

A higher-res (and more of a description) are available here, as always.

Being Positive

Posted in Personal on October 10, 2010 by davidnm2009

Okay, the way I talk, you could get the impression that I think this country is a creaking mess that’s about to fall over. (Actually, now I say that…)

But as well as all the rubbish, there are some things to like about Britain too. I thought I’d list a few of them. These aren’t the only things, I should add, just some.

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Icons

Posted in Art with tags on October 7, 2010 by davidnm2009

I thought I’d make a few of my user icons available. They’re croppings from several of my paintings.

These are intended for LiveJournal/Dreamwidth (hence the file sizes/resolutions). If anyone would like them, please feel free to help yourselves!

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Reality Is Always Stranger Than Fiction

Posted in Astronomy, Space, Speculation with tags , , on October 5, 2010 by davidnm2009

I’ve talked before about the perils of common sense. This is especially true in astronomy. This is being highlighted by the ongoing discoveries in exoplanets. You see, in years past, people assumed other solar systems must be like ours. Terrestrial planets close in, gas giants further out, and if you were looking for ‘inhabitable’ planets, then red dwarfs were absolutely out. Only it’s emerging that this nice and tidy, familiar picture has the common sense problem – put simply, it’s just wrong.

This has big implications for scientists and fiction writers alike. If you’re considering using an M dwarf as a setting, for instance, then it’s worth having a think about which bits of our ‘common sense’ might be horrifically misleading there. And this is all quite topical at the moment.

Continue reading