Angry Robot

NASA Launches David Bowie Concept Mission | The Onion

via What a day that was

How Lost Might End

Between seasons two and three there was an ARG called The Lost Experience. ARGs tend to be produced by outside teams, but this had a couple show writers and featured a great deal of input from the show runners (Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, aka Darlton). Key parts of the Lost Experience are considered canon by Darlton.

One of those key parts is something called The Valenzetti Equation. Let me quote the Lostpedia:

Its creation was the result of efforts made following the Cuban Missile Crisis by the United States and the Soviet Union to find a solution to the hostility and danger of imminent global disaster created by the Cold War. The equation was secretly commissioned through the UN Security Council and is used to predict the time of human extinction.

…The Valenzetti Equation “predicts the exact number of years and months until humanity extinguishes itself.” … The numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, are … the numerical values to the core environmental and human factors of the Valenzetti Equation.

These are of course the famous Lost numbers, the ones that Hurley won the lottery with, that are inscribed on the hatch, that appear in pretty much every license plate, etc. etc. If you’ve been watching the sixth season, you’ll know that the numbers have reappeared on the show in a big way. The numbers correspond to the main protagonists including Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, etc. They are potential “candidates”, and magical island steward Jacob has been subtly manipulating them in order to get them to show up on the island.

In the scenes we’ve seen of this (mostly in the season five finale), we see Jacob visiting our heroes at different times in their lives, including when they are children. Jacob, like Richard Alpert, appears to be ageless, and able to travel off-island with relative ease. While his appearances don’t necessarily mean he can time travel, he has to be able to see the future at the very least. As the show has already established that time travel is one of the magic powers enabled by the island’s “unique properties”, we could presume that Jacob, the head honcho of the island, can McFly around at will.

Take that far enough, and Jacob would be able to travel forward in time to see when the world ends.

One of the big themes of the show is that of free will vs. predestination. It is a duality, of course, that intersects nicely with issues surrounding time travel. If Jacob knows that the world will end at a set time and believes in free will, he will attempt to change events. Clearly he is doing so by manipulating these key players.

In opposition to Free Will Jacob, we have Mr. Predestination, the Man in Black aka the Smoke Monster aka Fake Locke. He was revealed in the finale of season five, when he and Jacob have the following conversation:

MIB: Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you.
Jacob: You are wrong.
MIB: Am I? They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.
Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.

It’s what you might call cryptic, but it certainly implies that there is an ending, a bad ending, that both of these men are aware of. The Man in Black is resigned to this bad ending and its correlative judgment of mankind as inherently negative, whereas Jacob is hopeful, committed to a good solution.

In brief, then: the world is going to end, and Jacob and his rival know how and when. Jacob is devoted to changing this course of events by bringing people to the island and guiding them, and the Man in Black is opposed to this.

Possible, no?

Ghostdini Album Cover

Pretty much the greatest album cover ever. I’m gonna have to buy this thing eventually.

Ten rules for writing fiction

lists of tips from different writers.

A Whole Lotta Nothing: Logorama

“Nominated for an Oscar this year in the animated short category, Logorama is a 15 minute film that’s a cross between Pulp Fiction and 2012, with lots of violence and NSFW dialogue, and exists in a world made of nothing but well-known corporate logos.”

The Coming Conservative Health Care Freakout

“the mustache-twirling bonhomie has started to give way to the realization that the legislative door to health care reform is wide open, and Democrats simply need to walk through it.”

PixelJunk Monsters

PixelJunk Monsters kills it. I bought it on the PS3 a few months ago and while I loved the first few levels, there’s a steep cliff where the difficulty curve should be, and I failed to climb it. For some reason during a hard month I revisited this game and I fucking LOVE it. It got me through some tough times. You have to embrace the cold hard truth that you will be playing the same levels over and over, you have to LOVE this. This is something old school, it is out of place with the low amounts of challenge we face in modern, casual-friendly games. However, the environment of the game is so pleasant:


You are moving back and forth, dancing, collecting gold and gems, building a system, and the replaying of levels is what is required to make the system PERFECT. Incidentally, this is surely by design; the game requires you to unlock harder areas by collecting rainbows, which you only get with a perfect score on a level, aka you didn’t let one monster through (you have 20 in your village, each monster you let through kills one, and normally you can win with only one villager remaining, BUT AT WHAT COST I ASK YOU? Save them all).

The environment is pleasant, the gameplay is well calibrated, with a few elements that perfectly compliment each other, and the levels and tower progression give you a great variety of play and strategy.

Incidentally, I balked for a while at buying the PSP version, which costs $20 compared to the $10 of the PS3 original. It is absolutely worth the money, however. The PSP version includes two add-on islands which represent a great deal of play time. The game is well-suited to the portable device and that’s where I’ve played the most of it.

Just assuming I won’t get around to writing up PixelJunk Shooter, the most recent release in the series, let me just add that it is awesome as well.

Panelfly | Revolutionizing Mobile Comics

comics on the iPhone; looks slick. Not available in Canada right now.

Trade School: Education Through Barter

“Secure a spot in a Trade School class by meeting one of the teacher’s barter needs.”

A Funkaoshi Production :: TaskPaper for the iPhone

TP for Mac is really nice, but the lack of sync with iPhone and PC made it useless for me. Looks like it may be worth a shot again

Please Stay

It must be tough with all these strangers in your house. Bad things happen; you say the children are at risk. Of course you would fight to defend them. You fought for me.

I know the Judge is out to get you, and you worry.

Don’t worry, your keys are here too.

We rebuilt the house exactly as it was. (You’re right, that would be amazing.) This is your house, don’t worry – you thought it was gone when you were in that other place. The one you kept on trying to leave. This is it, not an exact replica.

Are you going out? If you go I’ll go with you. This is your coat, you may want it. It’s getting cold.

That’s your wife. Yes, the second one. She looks out for you – please don’t yell at her. Don’t fight. There is nothing to fight. Don’t worry. You were always a gentle man, a calm one. Please don’t change now.

You are playing roles. You are starring in movies. The trucks are lined up outside. You’re to play the role of a much older man. One whose hands shake, who shuffles, who gets confused.

No, I don’t have a brother. Seriously.

The words slip. They shuffle like a deck of cards. I understand you but I don’t. Sometimes you give up, and who can blame you. I would too.

I wish I could see what you see, the show playing out in the fireplace, the dropped jewels on the floor, the people who wait silently in the living room. I wish I could get inside, see the film you’re in, star in it with you.

Don’t worry. Please don’t worry.

You say you are radiantly sorry. It’s just that if you keep fighting, they won’t let you stay here.

We all play roles. Then when the role is done we move on, wait in the green room, talk about how great it was. They clean up the hall, the lights go out, we move on. Think of all the roles you’ve played. For me, you’ve played many. Like the teacher who taught me everything I fucking know.

Please stay.

If you want to go out I will go with you, but take your coat, it’s cold. I can help. I am a trained ninja, and I will help you keep the demons away.

But consider that we don’t have to do anything. We can stay in tonight. If you need help, just tell me. You taught me how to piss, I owe you one.

You don’t have to say anything. The words can fall on the floor like dropped cards. I can make you laugh without them, you can do the same.

Just don’t move on just yet. I’m here with you. Please stay.

Synecdoche, New York – The New Cult Canon

I think I may have left it off the list of my favourite films from the 00s but I shouldn’t have.

Corporate Media Hype Tea Partiers Way beyond their Actual Significance

they are half as significant as socialists

The Life and Times of Dungeons & Dragons

Nerd history 101

About Air Video

iPhone video streaming from your Mac/PC. Will see if this works.

HotDocs Doc Library

the doc fest has opened up the catalogue, including some great docs and recordings of all their industry sessions

Awesome LOST Posters

We’re the Stupid Ones: Facebook, Google, and Our Failure as Developers

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man

you should read this.

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop on Vimeo

Memory Colors

on preserving the colour of certain things while colour correcting

Meat stylus for the iPhone

This could be big in Canada.

Rockstar previews L.A. Noire:  exploring the hellish depths of post-war Los Angeles with Ken Cosgrove

a little James Ellroy action for the gamers

Nashville Or Bust

Nathan Rabin’s “year-long journey into country music”; I can already hear my ears opening.

Ephemera: The Mac tool for Instapaper & ebook reader enthusiasts

very nice instapaper sync for ebook readers