atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4412: I predict that it won't be any good, because Hollywood.

In this article about a possible Uncle Buck TV series, it's mentioned that there's going to be a TV series based on Real Genius.

Okay, I'll try watching it--assuming that I notice when it starts (or started) but I honestly don't expect it to be any good.

The original movie was so-so; the best thing about it was the unusually good technical direction--the people making the movie hired laser physicists to help them get the science right and they listened. Otherwise it's a typical Hollywood movie about smart kids doing something that requires real brains to accomplish but Big Bad Government Tricks Them Into Building A Weapon. (This was made in the Reagan years, so yeah. Notice that movies where Big Bad Government is the antagonist have kind of disappeared since Clinton?)

I was thinking about Real Genius the other day and realized that this was another one of those stories where the end wasn't really a triumph for the good guys. Like Avatar, where after the movie ended the humans probably just nuked the Na'vi and took the unobtainium, in Real Genius even the destruction of the laser was not really enough to keep it out of the hands of the CIA.

Having invented the thing, Mitch and Chris (the latter played by Val Kilmer) think that by ruining it during a government test, they've taken it out of the hands of the bad guys and all is well. But the government still has the laser, and other scientists can reverse-engineer it--and furthermore the technicians who installed the laser in the B-1 bomber and prepped it for the test will be smart enough to remember that the thing uses a cryogenic fuel slug ("excited boron in an argon matrix") and-and-and.

In short, they didn't really lose. Oh, they haven't got a laser which is 100% ready for service, but when you're testing an experimental weapon system you know that your prototype is going to break sooner or later, and since William Atherton's character knows the science he can tell the government everything they need to know about the laser anyway. Give them a few weeks to build a new laser and it's off to the races; the hardest part of making the thing work was Chris Knight's inspiration to use the cryogenic fuel slug, and that's done already. The rest is just engineering.

Okay, so the guys get revenge on their erstwhile mentor by reprogramming the laser targeting system, so that it ends up popping about a truckload of popcon in the bad guy's house (which he hates). Evil mentor's house is a wreck, but the government still has the laser, and--yeah, if weaponization of science is your bugaboo, you fail.

I don't expect the TV series to be any good.

...but sometimes I get a surprise. About ten years ago there was a TV series called Do Over, which was a regressive time-travel story, and I thought it would blow, but it turned out to be good. Of course, it was canceled after about half a season.

* * *

Borepatch got into a bike accident on his much-anticipated trip to Florida. Broke five ribs and a collarbone. *sigh*

On the plus side, he's alive, he's going to mend, and he'll have an awesome story to tell.

* * *

Steven has mixed feelings about US Patient Zero and I have to admit I agree with him.

It's Fungus policy not to exult in anyone's death, nor to say, "Oh, he deserved it". I don't hate the guy (as Steven says he does) but I am not happy about his complete lack of concern for the people around him. As Steven says, risking the lives of others to increase your own chances of survival, without their knowledge or consent, is evil.

So we learn things about the case, such as the fact that one of the ER nurses said, "He said he was from Liberia, not Africa!" That's an epic fail, but it also tells me that the guy didn't bother to tell anyone, "Hey, I was in a hot zone a few days ago and I have had close contact with someone who had ebola." That says to me that the guy didn't give honest answers to the ER staff when they began working up a history.

Okay, we've all been to the doctor. We all know that the nurses and the doctor all ask questions: where does it hurt? When did this start? What other symptoms do you have? And we all know that the more information about your problem that you give to the doctor, the better he can diagnose your problem.

That you were exposed to ebola three days before you departed for the US is a fact the doctor really needs to know if you want to live. And I don't care how uneducated you are--if you know you've been around sick people, you should be smart enough to tell the people trying to help you, "Hey, I've been around sick people!"

When he went to that ER in Dallas, the first thing he said to the triage nurse should have been, "I am from Liberia, and I have been exposed to ebola." He might still be alive today if he had--or might not, considering that the disease has something like a 50% fatality rate--but it's really hard for me to fault the ER staff for not being mind readers.

Meanwhile, the other day someone flew into O'Hare and presented with the right symptoms, and the local government was very quick to say, "Oh, it's not ebola!" Sure, guys. Suuure.

After all, the last thing that the Democrats--the party that benefits most from vote fraud and unlimited immigration--is a precedent for closing the borders. Why, if those hicks out in the hinterland realize that unrestricted immigration can expose them to fatal diseases, they might not vote the right way in November!

But this shit is bad enough that they may not have a choice. A Dallas county sheriff's deputy has "ebola-like symptoms" after having been in the apartment of the now-dead man's family. (Do you suppose he is going to the ER and not telling the staff, "Hey, I was exposed to this shit!" Somehow I doubt it.)

He may not have ebola--since the initial symptoms for nearly all viral infections are largely the same he could just have the flu--but the fact of his exposure to a contaminated environment is a significant fact in his recent medical history, and failing to report that to someone trying to treat him would be the kind of omission only a woefully stupid person would make.

* * *

Today is a lovely autumn day. Because I was up until almost 6 AM watching the eclipse, though, I slept through most of it.

The nice thing about this one was that it was in the western sky, which meant I could stand on the front porch and watch it. My neighbor to the south has a large security light in his back yard (think "streetlight" and you wouldn't be far off) that makes my back yard a poor place for stargazing. This light was installed after the previous occupant of the house got burglarized in the early 1980s. (Even better, one of the burglars was a kid I'd been friends with in fourth grade. *sigh*) They'd broken in through the back, which was unlit, so his response--yeah. And that house sits higher than the bunker, both in site elevation and stories, so my back yard is also well-lit.

But on the front porch, that light is blocked, so I was able to see the eclipse very nicely. It helped that last night we had excellent seeing, too--no clouds, low humidity, crisp autumn air--so good in fact that I could clearly see the Pleades and the Orion nebula for once. In fact, I could even see that nebula that's over Orion's head, the one I can never remember the name of.

But the days of being able to see the Milky Way from my front yard are probably over (thanks, urban sprawl!). *sigh*
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