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The Likely Health Checklist for Going to Mars

Argentina set up a “colony” on Antarctica a couple of decades ago in order to solidify their claim to the entire continent and any wealth found there. Antarctica is worse than a cold place – it is isolated by severe weather and some of the harshest seas in the world. If you go there, they expect you to stay there for months if not a full year. Going there can be seen as a trial run for a trip to Mars. We can use Argentina’s colony as a lesson for any Mars mission, as well.

Books You Didn’t Realize Represented the Sapir-Whorf Theory

The Sapir-Whorf theory says that language does not just influence how we think but has an incredible degree of influence. “Native Tongue” and “Babel-17” typically top this list. For example, in “Babel-17” learning a new language makes you smarter but makes you loyal to an enemy faction, as well. In the book “Native Tongue”, a new language is crafted to change minds about the current social system and, more pragmatically, communicate without others knowing what you’re saying. “The Languages of Pao” demonstrates how separate languages keep people apart, each in their linguistic ghetto until a small group crafts a common language. There are other works, though, that represent Sapir-Whorf theory that don’t make the list.

Where Are the Child Vampires?

Barring the “Twilight” movies and “Interview with a Vampire”, there are almost no child vampires in popular books and movies. I’m talking about living children turned into undead vampires, not babies born to a new vampire race that will grow up like the pure-blood vampires in “Blade”. It turns out that there are several logical reasons for them to be rare to non-existent.

Story Wars: Canadians and the Star Trek vs. Star Wars Battle

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 26: The Trouble of “Story”

Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. Population: 1,917, as per the latest Canadian census (2016). Home to the Tourism and Trek Station and the annual “Vul-Con” Convention.

No, the town was not named after Spock’s home planet, but Vulcan is a pretty clear indicator of Canada’s Trek obsession. The debate may rage elsewhere, but in Canada there is a definite consensus (as there is with so many things): Trek leaves Wars in the space dust.

The Ethical Transhumanism of Star Trek

In a universe where cybernetics, genetic engineering, alien tech and thousands of worlds exist, why are the humans of the Federation so human? Let’s take a look at the limited, ethical transhumanism of “Star Trek”.

A Look at Predestination in Science Fiction

A cursory analysis of predestination versus free will in science fiction finds that most of the plotlines exploring this depend on time travel. For example, Doctor Who struggles to change timelines and often cannot beyond a bare minimum. The movie “12 Monkeys” is a classic case of someone trying to change history guaranteeing it will happen, as are the books “Consider Her Ways” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife”.

The movie “Predestination” and short story “All You Zombies” on which it is based shows that certain things are predestined no matter what, condemning even a time travelling agent to their foretold fates. Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” novels allow for time travel, but you can’t change the timeline. So, too, does “Harry Potter” until you get the abominable “The Cursed Child”. However, J. K. Rowling had already abandoned canon by that point, so what is a total retcon at this point?

The Bizarre Journey of the Mansion Which Inspired the Opening of The Big Sleep

Raymond Chandler’s debut masterpiece drew on his knowledge of Southern California

One of the opening revelations in the new annotated version of The Big Sleep is a head-twister.

Gene Roddenberry’s Failed Post-Apocalyptic Series

If you say “Gene Roddenberry”, the vast majority will immediately think “Star Trek”. A smaller fraction will remember “Andromeda”, not quite a failure given that it lasted several seasons though it failed to have a lasting cultural legacy. Yet both of these projects continue a number of trends seen in Gene Roddenberry’s repeated, failed post-apocalyptic series. Yes, there is more than one.

“The Tripods” TV Show versus All of the “War of the Worlds” Movies

We’ve had at least two “War of the Worlds” movies, the 1953 version and 2005 version with Tom Cruz. For the sake of argument, I’m going to mention the “War of the Worlds 2” movie but not address it here, since it is a sequel to a direct to VHS/DVD movie that had to loudly pronounce its relation to H.G. Wells’ work to get attention. The more important sequel in my mind is “The Tripods” TV show, because it takes the same premise and shows what happens if we lose the “War of the Worlds”.

“Tron” Versus “Pixels” – a War of the Video Game Movies

“Tron” and its “Tron: Legacy” along with “Pixels” count as video game movies. They both take it one step further than movies like “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” by bringing the video game to the real world instead of dropping the theoretically real life characters in the video game. Yet they are nearly exact opposites in their approach of merging the war in the virtual world with the real world.

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