A post-apocalyptic beginning

I just came up with what I think is a good first line for a book and a not quite so good second line:

"Our parents used to ask each other if they remember where they were when a man first walked on the moon or when the Berlin Wall fell; we used to ask each other where we were when the World Trade Center fell; now, if we can find anyone to ask, we ask where we were when the world ended."

"I remember where I was when the world ended; I was in a McDonald's, and I didn't even like McDonald's."

Griffon Sketch

A sketch of a griffin standing in watch over a savanna

A sketch of a griffin standing in watch over a savanna

This is further art sketched on my N810 while idle in life. I've always found griffins (which I apparently can't always spell correctly) to be fantastically cool mythical beasts, right up there with hydras, I'd say. This image is of a griffin up on high observing its savanna hunting grounds. I kind of feel like griffins, were they to exist, would have been native to Africa; you could say that my landscape in this image has African savanna influences (ish).

SkyzCastle Sketch

Sketch of a mountain top castle under siege from flying machines

Sketch of a mountain top castle under siege from flying machines

First off, I have to admit that I don't know why I decided to give this file a filename of "SkyzCastle" except that it must have seemed appropriate at the time that I made it. I'm about a month behind on posting images so I really can't say what my motivations were at the time. This sketch is, I would say, ok at best, but I am trying to adopt a policy of posting my art here. In case it isn't clear, this is a castle on a mountain top that is under siege/assault from balloons and ornithopters.

Lighthouse Sketch

Sketch of a landscape with lighthouse made on my N810

Sketch of a landscape with lighthouse made on my N810

N810| Another image from the department of sketches that I've made on my N810 while passing time *cough*in meetings*cough*. This, as should likely be obvious, is a sketch of a lighthouse on a cliff above some rocky waters near some relatively peaceful ocean waters. Enjoy.

Snark Sharking

How much snark should a snark shark snark if a snark shark can snark snark?

A snark shark should snark as much snark as a snark shark can snark, if a snark shark can snark snark.

Further spyjinks

I am not currently at liberty to discuss where I have been or what I have been doing, which is not meant to imply or suggest that where I have been or what I have been doing is of sufficient importance or noteworthiness as to warrant or justify its serving as the topic for a discussion were I to be at liberty to discuss such matters, which I am not.

Boat Sketch

Sketch of a small sailboat made on my N810

Sketch of a small sailboat made on my N810

This is a small sketch of a person sailing a small boat that I made on my N810's touchscreen while passing some time recently. I'm rather pleased by this little sketch so I thought that I'd toss it up here.

On airplane bandwidth and latency

Having recently used Virgin America to transport myself across the country, I was very pleased to have Internet access while I was in the air. This, however, is not the sort of airplane bandwidth and latency that I am going to talk about. Instead, I would like to discuss a comparison between the bandwidth and latency of typical Internet connections with those associated with taking a hard drive on an airplane.

Let's say we compare a high speed (\(15\mathrm{Mbit}\)) DSL connection to taking a moderately large hard drive (\(500\mathrm{GB}\)) on a plane for data rates between San Francisco and Boston (\(\approx 7\mathrm{hr}\)):

Bandwidth: DSL: \(15\frac{\mathrm{Mbit}}{\mathrm{s}}\) Airplane: \(\frac{500\mathrm{GB}}{7\mathrm{hr}} \times \frac{1\mathrm{hr}}{60\mathrm{min}} \times \frac{1\mathrm{min}}{60\mathrm{s}} \times \frac{8000\mathrm{Mbit}}{1\mathrm{GB}} \approx 150\frac{\mathrm{Mbit}}{\mathrm{s}}\)

Latency: DSL: \(\approx 100\mathrm{ms}\) Airplane: \(>7\mathrm{hr}\)

For fun, let's try something a little bigger on both sides: OC-768 vs Boeing 747-400F plane filled with \(2\mathrm{TB}\) hard drives.

Bandwidth: OC-768: \(38\frac{\mathrm{Gbit}}{\mathrm{s}}\) 747-400F: \(\frac{250000\mathrm{lb}}{7\mathrm{hr}} \times \frac{2\mathrm{TB}}{1.7\mathrm{lb}} \times \frac{1\mathrm{hr}}{60\mathrm{min}} \times \frac{1\mathrm{min}}{60\mathrm{s}} \times \frac{8\mathrm{Tbit}}{1\mathrm{TB}} \approx 93\frac{\mathrm{Tbit}}{\mathrm{s}}\)

Latency: OC-768: \(<100\mathrm{ms}\) 747-400F: \(>7\mathrm{hr}\)

Clearly, hard drives on an airplane will win in a purely bandwidth driven application but airplanes suffer from incredibly high latency. You will have to decide which is best choice based on your particular use scenario.

Transformers 2: not good but awesomest

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Transformers 2) is not what one would refer to as a good movie in the sense that Forrest Gump or Seven Samurai might be considered good. Transformers 2 is, however, an awesome movie in the sense that summer blockbusters are designed to be awesome. It's pretty typical to see a movie that's got crazy effects and action but with a story/plot that mostly exists to give pause and glue to hold things together, which is somewhat farcical, in my opinion.

The logical conclusion to the trend of summer blockbusters is that story/plot isn't actually that important and, if done wrong, can really drag a movie down. So, what happens if you reach that logical conclusion and make a movie that is an open acknowledgment of the frivolity of plot in summer blockbusters? You end up with something that is a gorgeous, shiny, moving piece of art, that pleases your senses but not your intellectualism; you end up with something that every traditional movie-watcher will think is terrible as they hunt for plot and a, so to speak, good movie.

This is the case for Transformers 2. Critics, in looking for plot and traditional quality, have failed to see the gorgeous, shiny, sense-satiating, monster of an experience that Transformers 2 is. The critics made a similar experience with Speed Racer, which was not very compelling but nonetheless excessively beautiful.

In addition to the amazing experience that Transformers 2 is, its quality has also inspired, what is probably the finest review of anything, ever. io9 puts it quite well in their review, Michael Bay Finally Made An Art Movie, which I completely agree with. Excerpt below:

Transformers: ROTF has mostly gotten pretty hideous reviews, but that's because people don't understand that this isn't a movie, in the conventional sense. It's an assault on the senses, a barrage of crazy imagery. Imagine that you went back in time to the late 1960s and found Terry Gilliam, fresh from doing his weird low-fi collage/animations for Monty Python. You proceeded to inject Gilliam with so many steroids his penis shrank to the size of a hair follicle, and you smushed a dozen tabs of LSD under his tongue. And then you gave him the GDP of a few sub-Saharan countries. Gilliam might have made a movie not unlike this one.

In short, read this review; ignore the other reviews; go see Transformers 2; get overstimulated; and enjoy the culmination of all that is the summer blockbuster.

[PROTOTYPE]

At the suggestion of my good friend Rodin, I grabbed a copy of the game [PROTOTYPE] (which I am going to refer to as "Prototype" because the brackets and capitalization are annoying to type) for my Xbox 360. Rodin's suggestion was a very good one and so I am passing it on to all of you; Prototype is awesome, you should go get a copy and start playing it.

Discussing the story behind Prototype won't really give you a sense of why you should be playing it so, instead, let me start off by saying that it's a game where you can jump kick helicopters. Let me say that again, you can jump kick helicopters; this includes apaches, and you can destroy them by so doing. Other things you can do include consuming people for their knowledge and powers, shooting spikes through the ground to destroy entire city blocks, or throwing tanks at mutated monsters. All of this massive destruction and awesomeness takes place within the context of being able to run up the sides of buildings so as to jump and glide from one to the next. Your character is truly superhuman in a ridiculous and completely amoral manner; you will consume civilians just to restore a little bit of health.

The controls are tight, if a little complex, the camera is ok, and the gameplay is as cathartic as video games get. I've sunk, and enjoyed, enough hours of Prototype to say that it's worth the $60 that I paid for it. It doesn't matter what you're playing these days, you should put it down and go get a copy of Prototype; unless you're boring, you'll thank yourself for doing so.