Burger bots…will their be riots and nuts and bolts in the streets?

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Good article at the Singularity Hub it’s obvious to me that the hamburger flippers’ days are numbered, so how will society adjust? Luddism only goes so far, the general populace will see the bitching, moaning and breaking things as what it is, the last gasps of the un imaginative and paleoProgressives unable to see it ain’t 1959 any longer.

Track Points lower price point Precision Guided Firearms

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So again ars Technica has a great article on Track Points latest products, $10,000 AR15 class weapons with their tracking/guidance package.

This is a remarkable technology and if I wanted to hunt it’s one I’d consider since you’re much more likely to get a clean kill.

These weapon’s make almost anyone a one shot one kill marksman, eroding a little the ‘advantage’ of a professional and increasing my concerns regarding their use in politically motivated murder.

The use of the weapon wit a remote sight also increases my concern in this area though the existing versions are heavy very expensive and near useless at short range.

However those disadvantages will rapidly dwindle, the technology is not that complex and I can see many bells and whistles I would work in over time.

In the not to distant future advanced combat forces will be using this and derived technology on all of their firearms, the battlefield will become deadlier and counter measures, operational, tactical and technical will be deployed.

Some in the political arena will want this tech banned, they may succeed in the short run. Some may demand it become mandatory, with the development of a human target recognition element and over ride…an expansion of the smart gun push.

But for now, it’s a cool use of technology by some pretty savvy guys and it’ll be fascinating to see where it goes.
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Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

teenage_mutant_ninja_turtles_ver14_xxlg-720x1013OK so Rotten Tomatoes gives it a grilling but its a fun movie and pretty well done.  I’d be lying if I say its worth full price or 3D, but cor a matinee, which is all I and my son go to, its…well…fun.    It gets the tone right, neither too campy or too serious and the characters are, uh, well what can you say about a near seven foot, bipedal rat and turtles? The characters have to have lay it on thick personalities that was the way they always have been.  The TNMT’s are fun loving reasonably serious young guys.  The bad guys are villains with goons what can you add?  Megan Fox’s character is central, and she held the movie together.   Her O’Neal is not a shrinking violet, victim or Mz KickAss, for the plot she had to be a bit pig headed and very naive, but she was well cast and played it well.

We’d certainly go and see a sequel if it’s done as well and doesn’t have much competition.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy, go and see it!

hr_Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_film posterSo Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun movie.  If you want a fun afternoon or night out, go a see it, you’ll laugh and be amazed.  I love Groot and Rocket Raccoon the two CGI characters shown  in their own movie poster below.

There are many who are over the top about this movie, I think because it could have been awful and isn’t.  There is something about the movie that makes me hold back from saying Fantastic, but it is very, very good. There may be other things playing in, but  the pace was too frenetic the cutting too staccato for me to fully enjoy.   Also a lot of characters seemed to intimate some link to a deeper story that we didn’t get to see. An introductory movie set in a deep universe like Marvel’s may be prone to this and my ‘author’s bump’ maybe too sensitive to these things but these ‘issues’ kept me from getting as deeply engrossed as I did in Edge of Tomorrow and some of the other Marvel films.

But its a fun movie, go and root for Groot, Rocket and their pets.

 

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Lucy the Movie

Lucy_(2014_film)_posterLucy is a disappointing movie. That is not to say it is awful, but I could not argue with someone who said that it was awful.  For me the movie started out very well and was watchable throughout but it left me feeling like I had seen a Hollywood Horror, not the child of the Luc Besson, director of the movie The Fifth Element.   The movie feels like it was cut short.  Started out on a path like, if a bit less out there than, TFE but then got chopped short.  It as if the script was written around a very tight plot but instead of spending time fleshing out the story and the characters it was decided to just get something out the door as cheaply and quickly as possible.  I suppose that Johansson or others were not available for the time Besson needed to do a TFE like work.   Whatever it was this is a very disappointing movie, mainly because it had great potential.

The details:  the violence is what some called ‘over the top’ but unfortunately it’s what I call pseudo realistic; Lucy starts out as a believable type…and ends equally believable but without an audience leading transition ; while the Lucy UberHuman [LUH]is believable I think a more relate-able version was possible ; the LUH’s abilities are fantastical, over the top, a creepier, more understated version was  possible ; the plot is ultra simple and while the plot holes are there they don’t derail the movie ; [SPOILER ALERT] the bad guys are workmanlike if a bit too Bond-Goon-Squadish, but I really really wanted to evil surgeon from the early scenes to get terminated with prejudice ; the end is utterly anticlimactic the ‘happy’ ending wasn’t cheery and had no punch, the LUH metastasizes to another plane leaving behind the USB key fob to the universe, the confused boy toy police guy gets a text message from the beyond and the world goes on…meh.

Details of the details:

LUH’s creation: The crap about the utilization of the human brain was good as a way of thinking about human capacity but its scientific bunk, which spoiled the movie a bit for me.  The drug was TFE Beeson over the top (as was its introduction) but its derivation and supposed affect were not very convincing.  I’d have bought a material that increases intelligence by accelerating and reorganizing the brain, but requires constant new fill-ups or the user becomes a vegetable, it’s the first of a new family of bio-nanotech human enhancement drugs the Chinese mob has stolen, one vial of the stuff could infect hundreds or thousands, who would all become vegetables if they cannot get the fix… a trope matrix that could have been much more scary.

Violence:  I think that LUH had to use violence she had no time to explain.  The emotionless LUH had no compunction about using it which was funny the first time but troubling with no context.  Also the violence was too risk free, humans react to violence, modern training makes us hesitate but there are many among us who would react almost instinctively.  LUH did to some extent explain herself to the surgeon but the hole here was their reaction to her and the lack of a police response in the time it took to take out the bag etc…A couple of soliloquies or appologetic explanations to victims (even dead ones) would have helped and could even have been funny….

Emotionless: Emotions are chemical and triggered by autonomous systems, LUH could suppress them…believable.  But I lost any real human interest in the whole story when I knew she was essentially a machine with a hard stop use by date.  The appearance of the hurting, frightened, grieving old Lucy would not have been hard or out of place, her goodbye to her mother was only part of what should have been a thread through to the end.

LUH powers: Telekinesis, really? Mental control of electronics plays into my idea for LUH abilities but its just magical crap with the trope used.  With ability to control her physiology, and ultra fast processing she could have senses and reactions and strength way beyond the norm, and would have needed to eat like a horse (that was consistent in a way) she might be able to exude skin oils or pheromones with powerful effects, could heal herself fast, maybe even read minds if in contact with the target, etc, etc.  These effects and her having to think her way out of dead ends would have supported the simple story line.  The magical powers she exhibited should have been part of a movie with more complexity / depth in other areas, where those powers play are a way to keep the story moving fast….here they just truncated this already too simple movie.

Bad Guys: OK pretty good in a Bond Villain Goon Squad sort of way but still.  And what about the evil surgeon? he really needed his own poetic if gory end.

The ending:  A more effective ending would have been failure…the bad guys kill her, the bad guy’s die, maybe science guy and boy toy survive to grieve Lucy’s death.  Then maybe a hint that she did not fail but that she had made sure that the bad guys got sucked in and destroyed while the drug or whatever that created LUH will be treated like a mixture of nuclear weapon and Ebola.

 

Go and See Edge of Tomorrow, it Rocks!

The hero and her sidekick Tom Cruise

The hero and her sidekick Tom Cruise

Edge of Tomorrow is a kick ass science fiction action flick.  GO AND SEE IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!!!!!

It is action packed, actually makes sense (in science fiction terms,)has a quirky dark military sense of humor and an odd quirky dark romantic subtext (to me who loves warrior women [and my wife].)

OK Groundhog Day and that episode of Stargate did the reliving the 24hours bit before but not with the firepower (literally) of this movie.

I love the fighting machine, its direct line descent from what we are seeing in progress today and it certainly give the heroes a rational ability to carry REALLY BIG GUNS!

Emily Blunt is the hero here though the action revolves around the time looping Tom Cruise character.  Right now I think she’s better than Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from Aliens because she is not so much reacting heroically to the demands of the moment as displaying long-term self-control and holding onto hope long after knowing the chances of survival are in the hands of pure chance.

SPOILER ALERT:    DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND HAVE ANY INTEREST IN GOING.

The aliens have invaded, 4 years ago, worse, they’re winning.

Tom Cruise’s character, a slimy salesman in uniform, pisses off the Allied high commander and gets assigned to the invasion force getting ready to push the aliens back from the beaches of Normandy (D-Day with choppers.)  It all goes terribly wrong and TomC gets killed in the first few minutes, along with pretty much everyone else.  But he’s not the utter waste of humanity you first thought.  In a final act of bloody-mindedness he takes an alien commander with him, setting off a time loop around his last 24 hours (which the aliens had set up so they got the advantage of do overs.)

Rita (Emily Blunt’s character) was killed early on during an earlier great battle in similar circumstances. In a series of many hundreds of do overs she finally has enough of an effect to win the battle though she cannot in the end get to the alien’s core (the Omega) and destroy them.   It is never stated in so many words but it is obvious that she learns from, and works with another soldier in this repetitive nightmare, falling in love with him but never able to save him.  At some point after the battle, probably trying to find a final solution, she is wounded in combat and given a transfusion, which destroys the looping.

By that time she is the new Sampson, Hercules, Sergeant York, Audey Murphy…but damned now to live and die just once she has to try to find a way to counteract the aliens’ undetectable, undefeated advantage.  Her friends dead or discredited she has to grit her teeth and allow herself to be used to recruit cannon fodder, in the hopes that somehow, she can help stave off defeat and find a key to victory.

My read of Rita is that she is very near the breaking point by the time the too cute TomC character pops into her life.  Not given the advantage of looping with her guide, each time she has to accept, come up to speed and move out with him each and every time, and it looks hard for her.

The TomC character Major Cage, starts out as a near total waste of oxygen, but his act of rage that sets up the loop is an act of redemption. And somehow, with backsliding, he keeps the redemption train moving.  When Rita first meets him I’m fairly sure she’d really like to pull his head off to see what goo is inside.  But as time progresses he earns her trust (remember this is over a period of less than 24 hours for her) and finally a little bit more.

It’s fairly obvious that Cage falls for Rita, physically at first (Blunt is Valkyrie hot) and then in a far deeper way (after the first several hundred deaths or so) and is also convinced that she (and her mad scientist friend) is the key to not having to die for good eventually.

At the end of the movie they die…after their first (and only) kiss, but the loop acts one last time to toss Cage back to an even earlier beginning, the beginning of a new age as the aliens have been destroyed though nobody has any idea what happened.

Last Scene, Cage in his noncombat officer finest faces the still burnt out and very dangerous Rita but now he is a seasoned warrior under the glow.  He has seen her die many hundreds of time, almost every time knowing that her death was the death of any hope except for his death and a do over.  She is seeing him for the first time, again.

I’ve spent hours thinking about the pick up line after the fade out.  One does not know what will happen, “Hi Rita you don’t remember me but we blew up the alien Omega together.  Just dropped by to thank you for saving humanity with my help,  I wanted you to know that seeing you die several hundred times was a real bitch and dying that last time, I was glad I wasn’t going to survive without you.   Could I take you out for a cold beer and pizza later?”

OK so that’s corny but I bet there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others wondering the same thing.