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aqueerkettleofish: mermaidelephant: math-is-magic: aqueerkettleofish: ravenclaw-burning: aqueer...

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As a side note… I am really annoyed by one thing about Star Trek.

“Replicated food is not as good as real food.”

That’s ridiculous.  In Star Trek, replicator technology is part of the same tech tree as transporters.  Replicated food would be identical to the food it was based on, down to the subatomic level. 

Proposal for a Watsonian explanation:

In a blind taste test, nobody, but nobody, can tell the actual difference between replicated food and “real” food. (Think back to our youth and the New Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests, only worse.) BUT, humans being What We Are, the human Starfleet members insist that “real” food is better than replicated food for reasons including, but certainly not limited to:

1. Hipsters have survived even into the 24th century. “No, you just can’t make good curry from a replicator! You gotta toast the spices yourself right before you cook it or it’s not the same, maaaaaan”

2. All military and para-military members everywhere always grouse and bitch about the food and sigh over What We Get Back Home. It could literally be the same replicator recipe you use at home when someone has to work late or just doesn’t feel like making the effort to cook, but people are people everywhere so they’re going to complain about it.

3. Humans tend to think we’re smarter than we actually are and we can totally tell when something is going on; as a result, human crew members insist they can “taste the difference” because their minds are making shit up, as our brains do.

4. One could presume that, generally speaking, a replicator recipe programmed into a starship or base replicator database would come out the same every time. This is perhaps the 24th century equivalent of mass catering. (I won’t try to account for the nuances of replicator tech that might allow for variances, and leave aside for the moment the fact that some people probably tinker with the standard “recipes” to suit their own taste.) The single thing that would be different in this case about “real” food is the variation, since of course the “real” dish will have slight variances every time due to the whims of the cook, the oven temperature fluctuation, freshness of ingredients, etc.. And since we are an easily bored species who really, really hates boredom, I bet people would jump all over that to lament the lack of “real” food when they’re out exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations and whatnot. (This is the only reason I can think of that might hold up to scrutiny.)

The Vulcans in Starfleet (and Data), of course, remain baffled by this human insistence that “replicator food isn’t as good as ‘real’ food”, as it defies all known forms of logic.

Hmm.  This is a fair point.  It occurs to me that I once met a Texan who commented that the chili in a restaurant I worked at was not as good as what they made in Texas, and when I pointed out that the cook was a Texan and the chili was his personal recipe, for which he had won awards in Texas, just said “Doesn’t matter.  Wasn’t made in Texas.”

I gotta be honest, Replicator technology is one of the things I am SUPREMELY jealous of, and I’m… okay, I’m not a great cook, but I can cook and there are several dishes I do very well.  I think if I had access to the technology I would cook a lot less, though, and I would for sure use replicated ingredients. 

1. It is not just hipsters that act like this about food. All the grandmothers I know feel this way too, and I don’t see that ever changing.

The missing ingredient is love, obviously. You can’t get that from a replicator.

Right, for that you need the holodeck.

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5 days ago
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Clear and Obvious: A recap of Mighty Ducks so that Payson can understand Mighty Ducks 2

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Mighty Ducks GM Ferreira Wears Mickey Mouse Ears Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

quack, Quack, QUACK

Hi - this contains spoilers and will potentially ruin childhood memories.

Hi again, we were going to watch MD2 as a big, happy DSS family, but we can’t now because the NHL season got cancelled and it’s not on Netflix anymore. So put this in your back pocket for when someone hasn’t seen MD1 but wants to understand what’s going on in MD2.

Payson has never seen Mighty Ducks. I assume it is because he was doing things that would be useful for when he wanted to apply to Harvard like learning enigmatical words or volunteering or not failing Algebra while the rest of us were doing less important things like renting Mighty Ducks at Blockbuster every weekend and watching it 11 times before returning it.

So he needs to get caught up. This is exactly what happened in Mighty Ducks and is 100% accurate.

The Mighty Ducks is a story about a lawyer, Gordon Bombay, who does something slightly terrible, (you know, other than becoming a lawyer - ZING) that’s very stupid and dangerous - drunk driving... and somehow the punishment he gets is that he has to coach a youth hockey team with players from a deteriorating rustbelt hellhole - Minneapolis. Clearly, the judge decided that poverty is a bigger moral transgression than drunk driving, so these kids got saddled with enduring an entitled man-child as their coach as punishment.

Bombay had been a child hockey... talent... I guess. His main achievement as a hockey player was missing a shot in a shootout after his dad died in his prepubescent years and then having his coach, Jack Riley, say something mean to him, like “THAT’S WHY YOUR DAD DIED, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A FAILURE AND NEVER COACH A TEAM THAT BEATS MINE IN HOCKEY EVER.” It’s unclear if and how much hockey Bombay played after this, but it was enough to be able to coach a pee-wee hockey team after getting a DUI.

A key point to the film is that you have to suspend disbelief in the idea that Emilio Estevez is a good athlete. Is this possible?

On the set of The Outsiders Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Estevez is 5’ 5’ - let’s say he weights 135 lbs. Only 26 NHL players are 5’ 9” or under, so this might rule him out already. Also consider that 3/4 of the NHL is comprised of guys named Axl who skate badly, have no stick skills but don’t mind getting CTE if they don’t have to work in the Alberta oil sands fields for a few years, if he could play in the NHL might be the wrong question to ask - would Emilio Estevez die if he tried to play in the NHL might be better. So, Payson, you will really, really have to suspend your disbelief for the opening scenes of MD2.


It goes bad for a while - Bombay is a jerk to the kids who he thinks he’s better than and they lose a lot - including to the Hawks coached by coach Jack by a score of 222-0. Jack rubs in that there’s a kid, Adam Banks, who is the player that Bombay would have been if his dad didn’t die. Then he realizes that the nerdy kid, Charlie, who doesn’t play that well’s mom, who is raising the kid on her own, is single. Something deep inside him realizes that he and Charlie are the same person since he was also raised by a single mom and his Oedipal complex kicks in and he decides that he can probably raise himself and date his own mom at the same time. The judge might have told Gordon to get some therapy too.

So he starts to warm up to the kids on the team and they’re less of an embarrassment because some 5’ 5” guy who was good at hockey when he was 11 taught them to be a team and out run a couple of grounders. We also learn about the kids - there’s the overweight goalkeeper who farts a lot, a football player who plays hockey better than he footballs (and he’s super good at football), a girl (I think - or is that Little Giants? - these aren’t the same movie, I swear), maybe one of the kids from Sandlot who calls people he doesn’t like CAKE EATER, a player that skates fast and shoots a lot but doesn’t score much but is still a top five winger in the league going back to 2015... anyway - they’re plucky and happy go lucky from the city - they have what it takes, they just need someone to show them the way and buy them fancy hockey gear.

Coach Bombay continues to force the kids on the team to live his own un-lived life when the main conflict of the film emerges. Somehow, it occurs to someone to look at a map of the “districts” the teams draw players from... because someone thought to district pee-wee hockey players... and it turns out that Adam Banks should be on the team with the poors even though he’s actually rich. Banks fills the crucial role of metaphor for early 90s post-white flight suburban angst as the urban team is literally coming into the suburbs and stealing a child as a plot point and he spurs the conflict of adult man-child vs himself vs other adult man-child.

Coach Riley is pretty not happy about this and Adam Banks doesn’t like that he can’t play hockey with the other kids from Cobb County anymore. Gordon Bombay doesn’t care, he’s a lawyer and it’s technically right that Banks should be on his team - which is the exact kind of moral justification that children playing a game should be forced to adhere to. Since Charlie is terrible at hockey, coach Bombay gets to realize his true dream of coaching himself against his evil former coach.

Now you’re asking yourself - is there a montage?

Yep. At some point Coach Bombay decides that the kids should have good gear for playing hockey even if they’re poor. So he tells his boss, Mr. Ducksworth, esq, that he should sponsor the team and he’ll name them after him. Thus - the Might Ducks were born and this montage happened.

It’s great - good job Gordon’s boss!

Now the team is good at hockey and they win a bunch and Adam Banks does something to prove he’s not a cake eater so everybody is happy. Coach Riley goes and tell’s Gordon’s boss about how he’s messing with a child’s life and Bombay equates making a kid not play hockey with his friends to getting a DUI and is fired - he might think it’s for taking a moral stance, but he’s also taking it to an extreme and making a pretty big false equivalency and I have a hard time blaming his boss. In order to really have a finale though, the Mighty Ducks play the Hawks in the championship game. Sadly, Riley had his team maim Banks so Bombay is forced to let Charlie play. Charlie gets fouled and is given a penalty - Bombay tells him to do a triple deke (where you shuffle the puck three times) and then shoot. Charlie does this and they win.

The movie ends with the Ducks learning that if a rich guy decides to like you, anything is possible. Gordon ends up getting a tryout with a minor league hockey team and the kids tell him that they believe in him - knowing full well that he’ll be killed due to his short stature and the fact that he hasn’t played hockey since elementary school.


Next, we’ll dive deeper into the Estevez/Sheen/Lane Smith cannon and talk about the documentary Red Dawn.

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9 days ago
Not having soccer to write about, the folks at DSS do a bang-up job of giving The Mighty Ducks a proper review.
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Good night, Spitzer Space Telescope

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Yesterday, after 6002 days since launch, NASA engineers switched off the Spitzer Space Telescope.

I knew this day was coming. I mean, of course it was: Everything is finite, and spacecraft doubly so. They have moving parts, or limited fuel, or, in this case, budgetary constraints to their operation. They may operate for years, or decades, but the day will come.

Launched in 2003, Spitzer was designed to look at the Universe in the infrared, where things look mighty different than with our eyes. Cold dust that is dark, even opaque, in visible light glows eerily and ethereally in the infrared. Brown dwarfs, objects more massive than planets but less so than stars, give off their peak glow there, making them easy pickings for Spitzer. Distant galaxies, so far away that the Universe has aged billions of years since their light left them, and the cosmic expansion has stretched their light out into longer wavelengths, reveal their secrets in the infrared. Exoplanets light years from Earth, warmed by their host stars, stand out to Spitzer like a lit match in a dark room.

It used liquid helium to cool its detectors, because the telescope itself glows in the infrared — its own warmth betraying its ability to see clearly. But in 2009 that helium ran out, limiting what Spitzer could do. Despite that, engineers kept it running, because some of its capabilities were still strong enough to carry on.

And so it did, until January 30, 2020. A review in 2016 called for it to be turned off in 2018, but delays in the James Webb Space Telescope stayed their hand; they kept Spitzer going to try to avoid a gap in NASA's space-based infrared astronomy. Delays in JWST, however, made this an ever-more difficult task.

So, yesterday, the command was given, and the amazing and wonderful observatory was decommissioned.

I've been following Spitzer since before it launched. Although I never used it myself for research, writing about its results have been a joy. Which brings me to a dilemma.

As I thought over what I would say on this day, my first instinct was to honor the observatory by creating a gallery of my favorite Spitzer images, explaining their science. But then I went to the public Spitzer image gallery at Caltech, and was quickly dissuaded of this idea. Faced with dozens and dozens (and dozens and dozens) of images, I got vapor lock. How could I pick my top (say) ten?

So I got an idea: Pick my favorite one. Just one. That's it.

And suddenly the decision was easy. And it's not a galaxy, or some sprawling star factory. Please allow me to show you… a star. Specifically, the star Zeta Ophiuchi.

The massive star Zeta Ophiuchi plows through space, ramming a huge sheet of dust into an arc shape as its wind pushes against it. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

I don't think I have to defend my choice very rigorously. It's gorgeous beyond gorgeous.

Zeta Ophiuchi is one of the brightest stars in the constellation Ophiuchus, easily seen by naked eye for someone with normal vision when the constellation is high in the northern hemisphere sprint and summer months. It's not terribly bright star by eye, just one of many in that area, but that visual mundanity belies its true nature: It's a monster.

It's what we call an O-type star, one of the most massive stars the Universe is capable of making today. It has something like 20 times the mass of the Sun, is nearly 10 times the diameter, and blasts out light at a fierce 90,000 times the Sun's luminosity. Replace our Sun with it, and life on Earth would last maybe an hour. Thankfully, it's 560 light years away!

But there's more. Zeta Oph is a runaway star, meaning it's plowing through space at high speed, faster than most other stars around it. It may have once had a binary companion, another star in mutual orbit. That star exploded, and the suddenly lowering of mass flung Zeta Oph into the galaxy like a rock from a trebuchet.

Besides its luminosity, in visible light there's not much to make it distinguishable from any other star. But to Spitzer's eye, looking in the infrared, a secret is revealed. It's moving through a region of the Milky Way littered with dust, grains of rock and carbonaceous material strewn between the stars. Zeta Oph, powerhouse that it is, radiates away a powerful wind of subatomic particles, like the solar wind but far more intense. That, coupled with its motion, creates a huge shock wave in the dust it's moving through. A lovely and gossamer-looking sheet of dust is pushed into an arc by this pressure, half a light year ahead of the star itself, like a piece of hot metal worked by a blacksmith.

Every time I see this image I sigh lovingly. It's just so beautiful; the shape, the feathering, the colors created by converting different wavelengths of infrared light into visible so we can appreciate them. And beneath that, powering the beauty, is the scientific knowledge, the understanding of why this is, brought to us by Spitzer Space Telescope.

Artwork of Spitzer Space Telescope against a background of the sky seen in infrared. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

And, of course, the many men and women who worked on it. Science is not done in a vacuum — well, literally, in this case it is, but metaphorically science is done by humans. People. Teams of scientists, engineers, civil servants, contractors, lab techs, machinists, all dedicated to creating a machine of uncompromising precision and sight… and that doesn't even include the people who worked on the Delta II rocket that lofted it into deep space.

Nature created the immense and distant objects we see, but it was people who gave us the ability to appreciate them.

So good night, Spitzer. And my sincere, deepest thanks to everyone involved on the mission. 16 years is a very, very good run. You did good.

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57 days ago
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runcibility: callmebliss: ohjoyspacecowboy: Can you imagine...

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Can you imagine being fuckin being lost in the desert for a couple days and out of nowhere hearing Africa by Toto?? I would lose my fuckin shit that would be the moment id be like damn im actually losing it and gonna die out here, what a banger tho.

it is solar powered
does that mean it stops when it rains

I guess

Me, dying in the desert, as the clouds cut off the sunlight and the mp3 player stops: Oh, bless the rains here in Africa.
The wild dogs: *cry out in the night*

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96 days ago
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ekjohnston: kyraneko: kittyknowsthings: wodneswynn: recklessravager: esser-z: sainatsukino: lin...

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Legolas pretty quickly gets in the habit of venting about his travelling companions in Elvish, so long as Gandalf & Aragorn aren’t in earshot they’ll never know right?

Then about a week into their journey like

Legolas: *in Elvish, for approximately the 20th time* ugh fucking hobbits, so annoying

Frodo: *also in Elvish, deadpan* yeah we’re the worst



Legolas: ugh fucking hobbits

Merry: Frodo what’d he say

Frodo: I’m not sure he speaks a weird dialect but I think he’s insulting us. I should tell him I can understand Elvish

Merry: I mean you could do that but consider

Merry: you can only tell him ONCE

Frodo: Merry. You’re absolutely right. I’ll wait.

#legolas’ hick accent vs #frodo’s ‘i learned it out of a book’ accent #FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

Legolas: umm well your accent is horrible


Frodo: :)

Frodo: Hello. My name is Frodo. I am a Hobbit. How are you?

Legolas: y’alld’ve’ff’ve

Frodo, crying: please I can’t understand what you’r saying

Ok, but Frodo didn’t just learn out of a book. He learned like… Chaucerian Elvish. So actually:

Frodo: Good morrow to thee, frend. I hope we twain shalle bee moste excellente companions.

Legolas: Wots that mate? ‘Ere, you avin’ a giggle? Fookin’ ‘obbits, I sware.

Aragorn: *laughing too hard to walk*



i mean, honestly it’s amazing the Elves had as many languages and dialects as they did, considering Galadriel (for example) is over seven thousand years old.

english would probably have changed less since Chaucer’s time, if a lot of our cultural leaders from the thirteenth century were still alive and running things.

they’ve had like. seven generations since the sun happened, max. frodo’s books are old to him, but outside any very old poetry copied down exactly, the dialect represented in them isn’t likely to be older than the Second Age, wherein Aragorn’s foster-father Elrond started out as a very young adult and grew into himself, and Legolas’ father was born.

so like, three to six thousand years old, maybe, which is probably a drop in the bucket of Elvish history judging by all the ethnic differentiation that had time to develop before Ungoliant came along, even if we can’t really tell because there weren’t years to count, before the Trees were destroyed.

plus a lot of Bilbo’s materials were probably directly from Elrond, whose library dates largely from the Third Age, probably, because he didn’t establish Imladris until after the Last Alliance. and Elrond isn’t the type to intentionally help Bilbo learn the wrong dialect and sound sillier than can be helped, even if everyone was humoring him more than a little.

so Frodo might sound hilariously formal for conversational use (though considering how most Elves use Westron he’s probably safe there) and kind of old-fashioned, but he’s not in any danger of being incomprehensible, because elves live on such a ridiculous timescale.

to over-analyse this awesome and hilarious post even more, legolas’ grandfather was from linguistically stubborn Doriath and their family is actually from a somewhat different, higher-status ethnic background than their subjects.

so depending on how much of a role Thranduil took in his upbringing (and Oropher in his), Legolas may have some weird stilted old-fashioned speaking tics in his Sindarin that reflect a more purely Doriathrin dialect rather than the Doriathrin-influenced Western Sindarin that became the most widely spoken Sindarin long before he was born, or he might have a School Voice from having been taught how to Speak Proper and then lapse into really obscure colloquial Avari dialect when he’s being casual. or both!

considering legolas’ moderately complicated political position, i expect he can code-switch.

…it’s also fairly likely considering the linguistic politics involved that Legolas is reasonably articulate in Sindarin, though with some level of accent, but knows approximately zero Quenya outside of loanwords into Sindarin, and even those he mostly didn’t learn as a kid.

which would be extra hilarious when he and gimli fetch up in Valinor in his little homemade skiff, if the first elves he meets have never been to Middle Earth and they’re just standing there on the beach reduced to miming about what is the short beard person, and who are you, and why.

this is elvish dialects and tolkien, okay. there’s a lot of canon material! he actually initially developed the history of middle-earth specifically to ground the linguistic development of the various Elvish languages!

Legolas: Alas, verily would I have dispatched thine enemy posthaste, but y’all’d’ve pitched a feckin’ fit.

Aragorn: *eyelid twitching*

Frodo: *frantically scribbling* Hang on which language are you even speaking right now

Pippin, confused: Is he not speaking Elvish?

Frodo, sarcastically: I dunno, are you speaking Hobbit?

Boromir, who has been lowkey pissed-off at the Hobbits’ weird dialect this whole time: That’s what it sounds like to me.

Merry, who actually knows some shit about Hobbit background: We are actually speaking multiple variants of the Shire dialect of Westron, you ignorant fuck.

Sam, a mere working-class country boy: Honestly y'all could be talkin Dwarvish half the time for all I know.

Pippin, entering Gondor and speaking to the castle steward: hey yo my man

Boromir, from beyond the grave: j e s u s

Tolkien would be SO PROUD of this post


If I remember correctly, in the “tree of tongues” material from The Lost Road, Tolkien goes into some detail about how the reason elves have so many dialects is that elves view language as a form of collaborative art, which they delight in, so a newly-coined word or grammatical construct gets spread around just like a new song would.

Elves may be immortal, but they’re also immortal nerd OCs and we must never forget this

Thank you for this addition which is both lovely and educational

So what you’re saying is, they’re us. They’re the internet. Sending “yeet” and “smol” and “I lik the bred” all over creation until two elves who’ve never met in their lives and be like “beans, amirite?” and “yeah I love kitter feets too.”


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96 days ago
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noknightinarmor: goys2men: awhiffofcavendish: biggest-gaudiest...

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Costume. Chitons.

Marjorie & C. H. B.Quennell, Everyday Things in Archaic Greece (London: B. T. Batsford, 1931).

Wait, wait…. Is that seriously it? How their clothes go?

that genuinely is it

yeah hey whats up bout to put some fucking giant sheets on my body

lets bring back sheetwares

also chlamys:

and exomis:

trust the ancients to make a fashion statement out of straight cloth and nothing but pins

Wrap Yourself In Blankets, Call It a Day

Wear blanket. Conquer world.

That last one looks dope

the chlamys is more of a dick-almost-out look

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106 days ago
So like the columns and architectural orders, there is Dorian and Ionian. Is there a Corinthian chitin as well?
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