Category Archives: Life

LPoW

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By Chris Perron.

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Chief O’Brien at work

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Original title: Chief O’Brien at work.

Title of this edition: Chief O’Brien at work.

Author: Jon Adams.

Gender: Fantasy, Sci-fi.

Saga: Star-Trek.

Editorial: City Cyclops.

Edition year: 1, 2015.

Prizes: —

Synopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: Chief O’Brien is a character of the TV series Star Trek the next generation, he is in charge of transporter, however, through the series it becomes clear that he is completely irrelevant as crew members can order directly to the Enterprise’s  computer to be transported from anywhere in the spaceship to anywhere in the planet or nearby spaceships. The only times he appears in the show are when “something horrible happens to Chief O’Brien”, the rest of the time, he is waiting in the transporter room for someone to be transported (and that is a huge amount of time waiting if you think about it).

Personal Review: This book started as a web comic (we spoke about it back in 2014 TNG: Chief O’Brien). Then it turned into a Kickstarter project (we proposed it as project of the week back in 2015 and pay for a copy). Now it is 2016 and the book is now real.

I have to say that this book is for Star Trek fans and to nobody else, and even between Star Trek fans, you have to have watched the Next Generation, other way the jokes will be completely nonsense to you. For instance, if you haven’t watched the Next Generation, you will not know who Riker is, and what is funny about him (he is like the official Casanova of the Star Trek).

Something I really like is when it breaks the 4th wall and demonstrates how it was broken in the TV series. “Chief O’Brien, transport me back to the ship from the planet” “planet? what planet? Do you people realise that I work in a room without any windows and nobody ever tells me where we are?”. It is great, because in the TV series it doesn’t seem to be an odd request… but only because the viewer knows everything, that’s why when crew members request transportation, it is natural to us to assume that everybody shares the same amount of information that we have. Brilliant.

On the other side, something I don’t like about the book is that the format limits the jokes. Sometimes repeating the same frame over and over makes a joke, but if you do it all the time, then it is there only to fill space (and you have to do it in order to fill the space in the selected format of the book).

Just to finish with something good, be aware that the book has hidden messages, can you find all of them? [Spoiler to one of the messages]: Put the book under sunlight and then in complete dark.

epow (Experiment project of the Week)

To be honest, I’m a little bit sceptic about this one, but if it happens to be the way… will you miss the opportunity to fund the search of the theory of everything? For those not related with science, in physics there is two big theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, one for the very small things and the other for the really big or really fast things. The reason why there is two is because when we try to mix them they don’t like each other and there is no way to agree in the predictions. The theory of everything is the name given to the theory that will explain both theories and make them compatible, it will be a single theory for everything, from too small to very big things. For years physicists have been looking for this theory, and they come up with string theory. However, there is many ways to create a string theory, and all of them are mathematically consistent, the problem is that only one describes our universe (that is called the M-theory, the one that unifies all string theories into only one that describes our universe).  For many years we though string theory was the candidate to become the theory of everything, but we progress slower and slower and it seems that it is still very far away to find the correct string theory.

What these two researchers propose here is an alternative to the theory of everything not based on string theory. The details are not clear to me, but if research in string theory seems to be slow and there is a chance of finding a different solution, then why not? And they only ask for money to cover the salary of one of them! For those of you thinking that there is more immediate problems, think that the web born at CERN while people where building particle accelerators to discover new particles and test physics.

theory

1984

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Original title: 1984.

Title of this edition: 1984.

Author: George Orwell.

Gender: Sci-fi.

Saga: …

Editorial: Salvat Editores.

Edition year: 1, 1970.

Prizes: …

Synopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: This book focuses in the later days of Winston Smith, a member of the party which own thoughts makes him to reconsider the world that has been put in front of his eyes. In a future where the World is divided into three massive countries, each of them has established a totalitarian control of the population to ensure that the status quo remains the same. Winston’s country, Oceania is ruled by the big brother who watches everyone and controls their lives and though.

The strategy followed by the big brother to prevent any revolution from happening is based in changing the past, stopping science, keep a war always going on, constant surveillance, and fear. The main idea is that any of the 3 countries can win the final war, hence there is no point in winning the war, however, war makes industry useful, because only by destroying the production of the industry it can keeps working. The point about controlling though, historical data, and fear, is that nobody will trust anybody else and also they will not trust themselves, because… how many times history was changed?

Living in this world, Winston starts to hate the big brother because he has become aware that everything is a lie to prevent a revolution. Free from the control of the big brother, Winston starts to think and wander around the city. That’s how he meet Julia and fells in love with her. As lovers, Winston and Julia start to unfollow the rules and soon they are caught by the party.

Captured they are tortured to the point where they hate themselves, they hate the big brother, and also they betray each other. After that moment they are re-educated again and let free, because now they love the big brother again and they will come back to ask for execution as punishment, because now they hate everything that is against the party and the big brother.

Personal Review: Nineteen eighty four  represents a pivotal point in science fiction because it shows us what can happen if we transfer too much power to the government. Ironically, it was written after the WWII, in 1949. Orwell, who was British was fearing that British democracy could not survive a world where people will fear the A-bomb and where the influence of the government made WWII happen. I said ironically, because Orwell was inspired by WWII, but what happened in the soviet union was pretty much what Orwell depicted in his novel… and it started before his novel was published, and last for another 40 years at least.

Despite I knew the plot of this book and I watched the movie, it is the first time I read it. I have to say that the movie is a very good adaptation (but as a movie is a bad movie). The best part for me was when Winston reads Goldstein’s book and learns what his world is about. The second best part is the torture, and it is good because it really made me pass through an internal reflection. The point where Winston is scared about the rats eating her face is… how can I explain it, because of that experience, he betrayed Julia, he asked them to put Julia there instead of him just to escape from the rats. I have though a lot about that scene and I can only come to the conclusion that it is the ultimate torture, because they took from him the only thing that he cared for, his love for Julia, moreover, they took from him the only thing he though cannot be touched by them.

By the way, this book makes me think of Fahrenheit 451 , the novel by Ray Bradbury.The sense that both novels aim to control population toughs by controlling their access to culture. Both authors feared a similar future, and they made it realistic enough to actually think that one day it can happen. It is interesting now, with many years from the novels, to think that we are on the other side, everyone has several copies of a book, there is media in millions of serves, computers, hard drives… and so on and so on. So it is very difficult to alter something that actually happen. However, there is a tendency to store media in a single master file and instead of each one owning a copy, stream the data from one master copy to all the users. That can be the beginning of something like what these books propose. But I’m not that pessimist, I think that culture will never again be controlled at that level and in the future we will see an even bigger diffusion of media, culture, and ideas.