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Ep8 - Sloppy 'Starters Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted July 29, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

This week finds us discussing the Wah's embarrassing little comic book addiction and the Wah's ruinous little kickstarter addiction.

I may have drunk a little too much of the sponsor merch.

The Hoodies take us in and out, as always.

16 Responses to ‘Ep8 - Sloppy 'Starters’

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2013

Drink Bulleit next time, John.

Lots of it.

Doc Octopus in Spider Man's body? Sheesh.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2013

Metal clamps . . . snicker

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Murphy asserts...

Posted July 28, 2013

Tentacle porn?

Oh, we'll never forget.

Never.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2013

Tentacle porn, very phallic.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 28, 2013

Minatour also has the trade paperback of Joss Weadon's Buffy Series 8.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2013

And Mark Strong's portrayal of Sinestro was a stand out in the Green Lantern movie. And this is what should have been announced at comic-com.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2013

and it may be a walk of shame here for Dan or he may be aware of the myth when he referenced eating carrots and night vision in world war II. .

`Typical of Ministry of Food ingenuity was the campaign when we had a glut of carrots at a time when other vegetables were scarce. Lord Woolton got rid of the carrots, minimized the effects of shortage of other vegetables, and helped people to tackle the miseries of the blackout at one and the same time by stressing that carrots improved night vision.

His master stroke was to spread the report that the night fighter and bomber aces of the R.A.F. were eating carrots to enable them to see in the dark. The new airborne radar, and for that matter the powers of the older ground station radar detection, were at the time top secret. Success in bringing down enemy bombers at night was increasing, thanks to these radar devices, and the public was naturally asking how it was done. Some at least were quite convinced that it was all done by carrots.

However, the glut of carrots was sold and eaten instead of wasted, and everyone was more or less happy about the scarcity of more palatable vegetables.'

For more details on carrots and night vision myth at Snopes click here, or a BBC world news story click here.

DNABeast asserts...

Posted July 29, 2013

Yep. I love that myth. It's one of my youngest memories being told that carrots make my eye sight better. And the joy at discovering the cunning ruse. Just brilliant. But I'm not taking walks of shame of Spartacast. I'd be there all day ;)

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Rob mutters...

Posted July 29, 2013

sorry kids, it was Abigail Whistler who wore the headphones while dispensing loads of asskickery in Blade 3. Ryan Reynolds just delived the scorching (and improvised) one liners and retorts. He was awesome by the way. He knows how to turn a frown upside down.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2013

and be careful about dissing Two guys, A girl and a Pizza Place, included in the cast was one Nathan Fillion before he starred in Firefly and you know what nerd rage can be wrought when anything involving Nathan Fillion is questioned.

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JG ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2013

I like the contrast of personalities and voices on these CBG poddies: the laughers, Dan and Wah, and JB, who is so chilled out he almost slips on the floor comatose. I gather you're the very funny laugh-a-lot one, Dan. Must be a lot of fun recording these.

I remember being hooked on comics as a youngster. My favourites, from memory, were the Archies, Casper, Superman, and MAD mag, but I liked a lot of comics. Great that people of all ages get into them.

DNABeast would have you know...

Posted July 31, 2013

Getting JB to laugh out loud always feels like defeating an end of level boss in a SNES video game. I always do a little fist pump.

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Legless ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2013

Vintage Cellars - You Won't Die!!!

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted July 29, 2013

If you hadn't known Sinestro - I would have purchased you sportsball paraphenalia as your nerd cred would have been shot.

Green Lantern would have been Moar Awsm with Nick Cage as Sinestro.

Dark Horse - Dark Empire. They still have the Star Wars licence. (Legacy / Old Republic)

Saddest Failed Kickstarters: http://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/37-saddest-failed-kickstarters

Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 29, 2013

I now want to see the saddest kickstarters that got funded.

Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 29, 2013

I saw a few that were "Unfunded Kickstarter Nerd Romance Poetry". Apparently there have been a few neckbeards that have wanted to publish poetry anthologies. I'm not sure to "Love is the ROM of Android I just deployed on my Galaxy S5" was worthy of funding though.

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Spartacast Ep7 - He took his face… off Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted July 20, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

Podcast 7 is out. JB dumps Facebook. Everyone loves Pacific Rim. And this week we're joined by special guest Spartan, Girl Clumsy, trying to make up for Greg skiving off to FNQ.

Sponsored by a mad dash to get @DNAbeast some more followers, and bracketed by the mighty Hilltop Hoods.

Special props to Dan for this weeks edit which was extra hard because of the Wah's wobbly Skype connection and the continual slurping sound of my wine.

The figure below is discussed.

26 Responses to ‘Spartacast Ep7 - He took his face… off’

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2013

I think we should acknowledge Pacific Rim's debt, in both storytelling and its visual language, to the wonderful world of professional wrestling.

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2013

w, that is a typically excellent comment. I absolutely agree.

And, given that the director, Guillermo del Toro, is Mexican, where professional wrestling is so hugely popular and culturally embedded, one could see Pacific Rim as a covert declaration of the building power of modern Mexico as a world-wide cultural powerhouse.

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted July 20, 2013

Ignore that idiot, w from brisbane, and his stupid wrestling theory.

Twitter and it's usefulness as a channel for readers to this blog.
That makes sense.
Fact: Left-wingers read more than right-wingers.
No, this is not an argument about who's right. Yes, I know some right-wingers read a lot. But, left-wingers do read more than right-wingers, that is a fact.

And, if Twitter is a nest of lefties, then it makes sense that twitter is a great tool to get people reading the Burger.

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Darth Greybeard reckons...

Posted July 20, 2013

OK, OK I get the message(s). Listen peeps, the man just wants two things - a fan page and a blue tick. If I check the dog and get busy with the Nikko I can probably do a blue tick but one of you will have to do a fan page. Anyone? Oh come on, there must be someone who'll admit to being a fan? You could use a sock-puppet so the rest of us don't point and laugh.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted July 20, 2013

Greybeard,

I used to be a JB fan before he got all popular and commercial.

His old stuff was really good.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2013

And hurry up with it.

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2013

Facebook throttling only applied to people with large follower counts.

It wasn't the western suburbs of Sydney getting crushed. Look at this picture. http://i.imgur.com/BO3dM.jpg - Birmo correct. Birmo's Nerd Minions incorrect.

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Sudragon asserts...

Posted July 20, 2013

Pacific Rim:

Herc: (grabbing the flare guns) We have a choice: Either we stay here, or we grab those flare guns and do something really stupid.

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted July 20, 2013

Girlclumsy had coke? Is this alternate-reality not-drinking-pepsi-Max Girlclumsy?

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 20, 2013
Is there another kind?

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted July 20, 2013

I dashed out and saw it today. I'm not afraid to admit that I do enjoy me some Merchant Ivory/Pride and Prejudice period stuff from time to time, but OMFG Pacific Rim was fun. SOO much fun.

*Spoilers*

Halfway through the Hong Kong battle sequence I was wondering why they hadn't equipped the Jaegers with some kickass stabbity weapons to fight the Kaijin with, and then Mako came to my rescue. That girl kicked some serious ass. My hero.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted July 21, 2013

But . . .but . . . I NEED TO BE LIKED!

sniffles

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2013

Morning everybody. My name is Greybeard and I'm a Twitterrageaholic.

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted July 21, 2013

Twitter rage makes me so angry.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 21, 2013

I find Twitter loud and confusing.

All those 140 word children lost, like tears in the rain.

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ShaneAlpha asserts...

Posted July 21, 2013

And in more movie news out of comic con. The next Man of Steel movie is greenlit, and will have Batman in it. (probably NOT Christian Bale though).

Oh, and Veronica Mars preview trailer is on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTqIpXh0IAI

Murphy puts forth...

Posted July 21, 2013

Good on Man of Steel/Bats.

Hmm, Veronica Mars . . . why am I supposed to like that? Estoy confudido.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

ShaneAlpha ducks in to say...

Posted July 21, 2013

I like it. And besides, it's the first ressurected via Kickstarter product, so it will be interesting to see if it's successful enough to inspire more.

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Anthony has opinions thus...

Posted July 21, 2013

Fie on your Pacific Rim Monsters! As a devotee of the genre may I inform people that Fairfax has put free on line one of the classic monster movies. None other than "Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus" http://www.theage.com.au/tv/movie/mega-shark-v-giant-octopus-4282401.html in all its glory. Perhaps not quite up to other SyFy channel classics such as High Plains Invaders or Dinocroc vs Supergator but a worthy effort.

Should you watch it I point out the wondrous nail polish changes of the chick in the sub. I'm sure that Asylum used an intern for continuity...

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted July 21, 2013

And double-Fie on your SyFy creations - at least until they bring out MegaPlatypus vs Deathworms. I'm waiting for true quality. GODZILLA, KING OF MONSTERS.

http://www.godzilla-movies.com/gallery/view/img/132

Filmed in Rubbersuitarama with actual cardboard models of skyscrapers. He's back and he's BIG.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2013

Another Great podcast, can verify the greatness of Pacific Rim up to the 13 year old male demographic wanted to know why can we have nice things like Jaggers.

Girl Clumsy a very welcome addition to Spartacast. I have obvious started following DNAbeast on twitter.

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TC would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

I know I'm late to the party (and sadly, not even to this party) but I managed to see Man of Steel in 3D last night. I'm interested in all of your views on the movie, the impact that 3D has on the movie (or any movie) and whether we really need so many re-boots of popular superhero movies (I mean what the fuck is with another Spiderman series? It's only been a few years since the first one).

In truthiness though, I jest - I don't actually want your views again. I read all your thoughts, arguments and rants the first time(s) and I disgreed with at least half of you then. Just sayin.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 22, 2013

If we follow DNAbeast on Twitter how much sooner do we get out of purgatory becuase if it comes down to a choice between following the pope or Dan.....

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted July 22, 2013

Purgatory? You should be so lucky. Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 22, 2013

You should have made a better deal.

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JG reckons...

Posted July 22, 2013

Terrific. Impressed by the panel. First time I've heard you speak, Girl Clumsy. Loved the discussion about social media. I think I'm already following you and DNABeast on Twitter.

Most interesting.

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Ep6 - Thank you, Courierman! You've saved us all! Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted July 12, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

Podcast 6 is out with all of the intellectual rigour you would expect of three clowns discussing Man of Steel, because we didn't talk it nearly enough to death in the multiple blog entries, and whether intelligent machines would hide their intelligence as they drew their plans against us.

Finally! A podcast for murderous me!

The mighty Hoods take us in and out. You can buy their shit here.

Tip o' the propeller beanie to Dan for all of his editing mojo.

26 Responses to ‘Ep6 - Thank you, Courierman! You've saved us all!’

Blarkon mutters...

Posted July 12, 2013

Destiny of the Daleks? http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/destinydaleks/detail.shtml

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 12, 2013

"The Doctor and a newly-regenerated Romana arrive on Skaro and discover that the Daleks are using explosive charges and a group of humanoid slave workers to mine the planet in search of their creator, Davros. A stalemate has arisen in an interplanetary war that the Daleks are waging against the robotic Movellans, and their hope is that Davros will be able to give them the edge.

A force of Movellans has also arrived on Skaro, determined to thwart the Daleks' plan. Davros is found in the ruins of the old Kaled city and immediately revives, his life support systems having held him in suspended animation ever since his apparent death. He quickly deduces that the battle computers of the two warring races are locked in a logical stalemate and that he can break this by introducing an element of intuition.

The Movellans, having reached the same conclusion, want the Doctor to do likewise for them. Davros attempts to destroy the Movellan ship using a suicide squad of Daleks loaded with bombs, but the Doctor returns to the Kaled city and tricks him into inadvertently detonating them before they reach their target."

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 12, 2013

I knew it!

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Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted July 12, 2013

David Brin's "Uplift" books have some good stuff about raising animals to sentience.

Orphan Black is a new series that has an element of "holy fuck I just found out I'm one of many clones" and an element of arse kicking female protagonist.

Singularity = "Rapture of the Nerds". That's why so many nerds are into it - it's technoutopianism at its most extreme.

Automation is always cheaper than people.

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JG reckons...

Posted July 12, 2013

Yeah, OK, I'll listen. Soon. Who 'stars' in your podcasts besides your good self, JB? Still to get into your podcasts, mainly because I'm lazy.

P.S. Audio book of WWZ for bookclub is fabulous.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2013

The stars are the boys from Smart Enought to Know Better

IN their own words from their website above

Greg Wah

Hi! I'm Greg,

I've had a passion for science since an early age, and am a keen advocate of science education and lifelong learning. After years as a librarian, I embarked upon a mid-career change. I now hold a Bachelor of Education (Hons) specialising in Physics and English and I work as a science communicator for the CSIRO. I am currently doing my Masters of Astronomy.

I believe logic, rational thinking and perseverance are all that is needed to explain our universe, and that there is no substitute for evidence-based, peer-reviewed research. The human brain can be good at both Science/Maths and the Arts. In fact, I strongly believe the future of our civilisation lies in the wedding of rational thinking and creativity.

Turn ons: Nicholai Tesla, Tim Minchin, China Mieville, Penn & Teller, Iain M Banks, Craig Ferguson, Doctor Who and gadgets.

Turn offs: intolerance and religious fundamentalism (or any fundamentalism).

@TheWah on Twitter

Dan Beeston

Hi! I'm Dan,

My position is that 'belief' is a messy word to use. I prefer to say that I remain convinced that a deity is a truly terrible and almost infinitely unlikely explanation for anything. I have considered myself atheistic since reading 'The Blind Watchmaker'. My influences are Douglas Adams, Scott Adams and Richard Dawkins.

I'm ever mindful to keep in mind that no matter what walk of life someone comes from they have knowledge that I don't and that they therefore have something to teach me. I find elitism to be ever so slightly more upsetting than hypocrisy.

I work as one of those internet boffins which means I have lots of time to read up on all those nerdy science stories that keep turning on the web. I wrote Genesis 2 when I realised Douglas Adams wouldn't because he had passed.

@DNABeast on Twitter

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 12, 2013

Maybe only Superman travelled back in time, rather than him pushing the world back in time. So it isn't that the world span backwards, but that it was just a representation, like the clothes model in the window, of the passage of time (in this case in reverse). It's ye-olde "go faster than the speed of light, travel back in time" trope.

"Metropolis is probably bigger than Brisbane" should have been the name of the podcast episode.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12, 2013

Probably, but I'm still not buying that reverse flying around the world thing.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 12, 2013

Just learned via @ryanbooker that the guy who played the Lawnmower man is the same guy who played the sherrif who's pacemaker exploded out of his heart on Under the Dome!!!

Trowzers asserts...

Posted July 12, 2013

Holy chestbursters, Batman! I never would have recognised him!

I feel like rewatching The Lawnmower Man. All I can remember is the pervy lady neighbour, and the image of the guy' chowing down on the turf. (Actual turf, not lady turf - I feel that need clarification in this context)

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 13, 2013

And were you aware that the Lawnmower Man movie got a sequel in 1996. “Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace.” Needless to say it wasn't well received.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 12, 2013

Why wouldn't the AIs just decide, "Humans? Meh." Then walk off stage and leave?

The premise of Charlie Stross' first two novels was based on the notion that AIs decided that rather than waste the time killing humans, they'd just evolve upward and away from humanity.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2013

I did a Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics philosophy unit for my BA last year, and a paper I read explored the notion of who we are. Are we our minds, identities held in those minds, or do our bodies come into it? The paper outlined a scenario of a Star Trek style transporter, where you could be "beamed" somewhere. But "beaming" would involve the total destruction of your body and the reconstruction of a copy of it at your destination, with your mind and memories intact. The first question we got asked was whether the new, reconstructed body was the same person as the original that stepped into the transporter, and if this technology was available would we use it?

About a third of the class agreed that the transported person was not the same person as the one who had stepped into the transporter originally, even though the body was identical down to the molecular level, and your memories were uninterrupted. About a quarter of the class declared that they wouldn’t use the transporter technology if it was available today, saying that it would be “suicide”, even though you would have no memory of the destruction of your original body.

The paper then had a second scenario, where you hopped in the transporter and got zapped, except it felt like nothing had happened as you were still where you started. The technician running the transporter comes to you and apologises profusely, and explains there was a malfunction with the transporter and your original body was not destroyed as intended, however a copy was still made at the location you were travelling to. To make matter worse, they’ve discovered that the zapping has created an inoperable defect in your heart, and you will die of this within days. However, your other self at the other location has all of your memories up until the point where you stepped out of the transporter when it failed, and that other self is perfectly fine and will continue living your life once you’ve gone.

When we were asked again which of the two selves was the real us after considering this scenario, most of the class agreed that the clone was not the same as the original body that was destroyed/developed a heart defect. When we were asked if we would use the technology if it became available the percentage of the class that felt it would be suicide to do so skyrocketed. It was a bit mind blowing to think about. I’m sorry about the wordiness of this but trying to condense an academic paper into a blog comment is tough! I still have a copy of the paper if anyone’s interested in getting their nerd on and reading it.

Trowzers mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2013

Very interesting she_jedi. I guess my thoughts on transporter technology is coloured by knowing that the body slowly replacing it's cellular material continuously anyway, so that you barely have any material in common with the person you were a few years ago, and most certainly none of the stuff you were actually born with. The transporter may be replacing your physical material, but it's only speeding up the natural process!

As to which person is the 'real' one in the second connundrum - I think they both are! Sure, that leads to a lot of awkward legal and interpersonal situations, but I think they are both you, although from the moment the 'copy' was created, the two people will begin to diverge immediately, and become more and more different as time goes on. I would be making sure before taking part in any sort of transporter technology that the company that built it was prepared to financially support any accidental copies very, very generously, and also be prepared to give psychological counselling to the poor copy who is almost certainly going to be stiffed of any of it's existing interpersonal relationships, as it's much more practical for the first copy to keep it's current wife/husband/friends etc as any sort of 'sharing' is obviously going to fail and lead to awful confusion, and the second copy has just been transported, so is probably a long way away from them anyway. Although it does bring up some interesting thoughts about whether maybe the second copy could then pursue that guy/girl you were always interested in, but couldn't because you were already in a relationship! I think it would be in everyone's best interests that such accidents be very, very thoroughly prevented.

Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted July 13, 2013

We watched 'The Prestige' movie again on DVD this week.

It touches on this copy topic and I still can't workout the last part of the movie out. (Who is who?). No spoilers just see it.

Great fillum that I thoroughly recommend.

On AI I believe 'other intelligences' exist. Communicating with them or even acknowledging them is the issue.

Define "intelligence".

Define "sentient" etc...

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 13, 2013

OK. Caffeinated now. I guess what it comes down to is how the transporter works. Does it break you down into your constituent particles or sub particles then reconstitute you at the other end? Or does it scan you and send the information about your bits and bits and pieces to create a 'new' but perfect replica of you at the other end. In the first scenario, you are you. In second, you're a quantum clone.

I suppose this is why, when Roddenberry was asked how the transporter worked, he answered, "Very well, thank you."

she_jedi mutters...

Posted July 13, 2013

So here's another one for you that challenged a number of my preconceived by not really thought through assumptions on mind and identity. We had a second paper, which I think in philosophy circles was quite famous, that explored a scenario called “Schwanda”.

In it, you and your friend Wanda are crossing the street to go to the university tavern after a lecture, when a runaway steam roller rolls down the hill and crushes poor Wanda. You are so freaked out by witnessing this accident you have an immense stroke on the spot. Luckily a visiting professor is passing, and he happens to be a super scientist (we’ll call him Professor X), and by a lucky coincidence he’s developed a brain transplant procedure. He arranges for you and Wanda to be whisked off to hospital, where he removes your now expired brain from your otherwise perfectly healthy body, and Wanda’s perfect brain from her otherwise mangled body, and transplants Wanda’s brain into your body.

After all the post operative care Wanda wakes up in your body. She’s still got Wanda’s personality, memories etc because it’s her brain, but now she’s in your body. The first question we were asked was, is the new reconstituted being you, because it’s your body, or Wanda, because it’s her brain, memories, and personality inhabiting your body? Most of my class decided that it was Wanda, because at the end of the day it’s her brain, memories and personality, and that makes someone “them”.

So the scenario continues, with both sets of freaked out grief stricken parents turning up at the hospital. And that’s when the trouble starts. Wanda’s parents refuse to continue to pay for her school fees and tutoring etc (the medical expenses were gratis), because they’ve seen their daughter’s body in the morgue and they’re not buying that the person sitting in the bed is their daughter. Your parents refuse to pay for her school fees and tutoring etc because the person sitting in the bed is clearly not their daughter, despite it being their daughter’s body, because the personality inhabiting that body is clearly not you.

And then it gets even worse. Wanda has recovered enough to get out of bed and take a look in the mirror. When she does she freaks the fuck out because the person looking back at her from the mirror isn’t her, it’s her best friend. Even though she still has her memories and mind and her sense of identity as Wanda, she can’t reconcile that with the face of her best friend now on “her” body. So her sense of identity starts to crack. She can’t relate to being “Wanda” 100% anymore. For the purposes of the article it begins to refer to her as “Schwanda” as it asks questions around what actually makes you identify as you?

Pondering this completely spun me out; in the days that followed this exercise I would find myself looking in the mirror and wondering how much of my identity is predicated on seeing “me” looking back at myself. I’m sure we’ve all had that daydream of being granted 3 wishes by a genie and reimaging ourselves as more handsome/beautiful, thinner, flawless etc, and for the first time I found myself wondering how the hell I would react if that actually happened to me and the old flawed “me” was no longer in the mirror, but was replaced by “hawt” me. Wold I still identify as “me”? I imagine burns victims and people who’ve had extensive plastic surgery go through this, and I wonder how they cope with this sudden change in their visage?

So anyway, my challenge to the Burger is go look in the mirror and really examine how much of your identity is fixed by the image looking back at you, and the unconscious reassurance that that’s “you”. How do you think you'd cope if you woke up and that image was replaced by someone/something else?

Dino not to be confused with has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2013

She_Jedi

That was a very mean trick.

I am certainly much younger, more handsome and I definitely did not have hair growing out of my Fkn EARS! yesterday.

Can you "Schwanda" me back?

Dear Lord what happened to me?

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted July 13, 2013

Absolute gold, Dino, sorry to have ripped away your illusions of identity.

That happened to me too, after studying the "Schwanda" paper I discovered the beginnings of crows feet at the corners of my eyes. It was outrageous and shocking to discover I no longer look like my twenty year old self.

Trowzers reckons...

Posted July 13, 2013

The "Schwanda" concept is interesting. I'd have to think the resulting person would have to be a bit of both (in mind AND body) because the brain is not an island - we have thinking bits in our stomachs and goodness knows where else that we're yet to discover, and our bodies have a big influence on our thoughts. Likewise the brain (obviously) has a big influence on the body, and will cause it to behave and react and even look different depending on how we use, for example, our facial muscles (eg if you have ever watched a voice actor work, their faces assume the different personalities they are impersonating, and they can look very different depending on what voice they are doing - we all unconciously do this when we talk - we have own individual way of speaking, but don't realise it!)

It's easy to think of yourself as a little thinking box that sits right behind your eyes, but the story isn't as simple as that. (Actually, it makes me wonder if blind people picture them as a thinking box that sits behind their ears). Our brain lies to us constantly (see Saccadic Masking for just one interesting phenomena), our eyes don't even see any of the things right in front of us - rather they are a reconstruction produced by the brain. Therefore even what we see in the mirror is a fabrication of the brain - it's impossible to know what you ever truly looked like.

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted July 14, 2013

The Swanda concept was also explored by Dr Hfuhruhurr in the "The Man with Two Brains"..

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 13, 2013
I'm gonna think on this some more cos I've only just woken up, but I am mighty impressed you wrote this at 1.30AM!!!

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted July 13, 2013

I cheated, I'm in Perth so it was only 11:30pm. But I did go straight to bed afterward lol

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Trowzers has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2013

On a (maybe) lighter note, I give you the robot we are scared of (ie Big Dog creators latest venture - a humanoid version) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zkBnFPBV3f0

Versus the robot we REALLY want: A remote control all terrain beer carrying tank - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=llbC5sNJo-o

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w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted July 13, 2013

OK, This is not a new clip and it is entitled "Kittens, inspired by Kittens."

However, note how the featured book is brilliantly brought alive by this stunning voice artist. And the narrative themes she teases out! It is as if all the themes of JB's writing are there in a book entitled 'Kittens'.
No kidding. It is 1 minute and 32 seconds of a kind of narrative genius.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngycU76wvoQ

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Ep5 - Console-ation Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted July 6, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

Podcast 5 is out. This week we're pondering new consoles and The Last of Us. We discover Greg is not a Jonathan Coulton fan. And Greg is kicked out of the podcast.

Zombies; nearly as annoying as always-online games.

If anyone is having troubles with the player, you can of course just subscribe at iTunes. My own sort of Apple product. I am giddy with excitement.

33 Responses to ‘Ep5 - Console-ation’

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 6, 2013

Jonathan who?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 7, 2013

Get out.

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Bangar is gonna tell you...

Posted July 6, 2013

JC good. iTunes can (?)

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 6, 2013

No Wii-U in this house until there's Mario Kart (which is Q1 2014). I'm still amazed that they didn't launch with Mario Kart - it seems like a signature game.

WRT the next generation of consoles, MS is going for more than just the "gamer" market - they are going for that "single living room device" that plays games, funcitons as a PVR, and streams web content. By putting Kinect on it and with the aquisition of Skype, everyone who has an XBox also has a video phone in their lounge.

I'm bemused by the Steam Box - a lot of what people that were whinging about the conditions of XBox One apply to the Steam Box. Also - it seems extraneous in that there won't be exclusives on it that you can't play on your existing PC. It's just another PC running steam that you can connect to your big TV through a HDMI cable. Sort of like you can already do.

As for Ouya, the reason why you don't see as many high quality games on Android compared to iOS is that Android users are far more likely to pirate games. I can't imagine that an Android console would be any different. To get quality games, you have to have enough users that are willing to pay for them. No games, no adoption (look at the Nintendo Wii-U)

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 7, 2013

It's not just a dearth of launch title goodness on ouya; most of the reviews are slamming the kit itself as complete arse.

I'll probably upgrade to the next XBox as soon as it hits the stores. Even though I know the devs won't really start pushing its envelope for 12-18 months after. The kinect stuff I'm not much fussed with, buts have occasionally found the box a useful alternative to Foxtel for video on demand.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 7, 2013

I am still calling it an Xbone when it comes out, though I will probably get one at xmass time since the weapon will want it for Halo.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted July 6, 2013

I would like to thank Dan for pronouncing cordyceps as I have only ever read the name before never heard it out loud. Suprisingly it hasn't come up in daily converation, though I would love to work i the sort of place where cordyceps comes up in daily conversation, USAMRID centre perhaps?

I too am a PC gamer, last computer I bogught was built from scratch and came in at around $2800 and its damn fine for playing games. Has an Xbox becuase the_weapon is team Halo, but I am just not good enough on the controler to compete.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 7, 2013

Fark. At nearly three grand for a PC it'd want to be something spesh.

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2013

Its pretty awesome playing pc games.

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted July 7, 2013

being a total cheap ass. I have an amazing gaming PC that cost around $600. It might be the 4gig graphics card that makes it so good. oh and the case that glows red like the furnaces of Mordor.

pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 7, 2013

It just adds up. A good graphics card that you'll replace every 2-3 years will hit you $600. I have good ram ($250), a plethora of storage, but gaming runs off the SSD drive ($250), for super-quick loads. Motherboard that allows for virtual machines is at least $200. Add onto that the liquid cooler for this mother, and the 800W power supply and that's another few hundred.

And we haven't even talked about the CPU yet. Or the case. Or the monitors (and you always need at least two). Or the peripherals.

But oh can you game with this thing.

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted July 7, 2013

At 3 grand a PC? What do you think that new dustbin mac is going to cost?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted July 8, 2013

I would hope at least five grand. To keep out the riff raff.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 8, 2013

Pi is right the SSD drive makes the loading super quick for games, its brilliant.

Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted July 9, 2013

Hmmm ... if my guess is correct that was about a 125% margin on that PC.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted July 6, 2013

I game pretty much on everything - I mostly prefer FPS type games on Console, complex strategy on PC, less complex strategy on mobile, though there are exceptions to all these rules (when I'm frustrated with something, I might run a few missions in Mechwarrior Online to blow away the cobwebs). I played Mass Effect through repeatedly on XBox, but even though I went and also got it through Steam, haven't done much with it there.

One aspect not touched on is board games, CCG/LCG, and minatures wargaming. In terms of "social gaming" I much prefer that type of gaming to using computers (Mechwarrior Online is obviously multiplayer, but other than running the very occasional mission with Banger, I don't play in any defined group). With the board/tabletop type gaming, you interact a lot more with the other person because they are in the room with you. FFG's X-Wing is a current fave - moves fast and feels like a good space-dog-fighting game.

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pi reckons...

Posted July 7, 2013

PC snob. Battlefield. Diablo. Skyrim. I once had an xbox 360 that just stopped working one day. I never replaced it.

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted July 7, 2013

To PC gamers.
What sort of controller do you use, or do you just use the keyboard?

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 7, 2013

Mouse and Keyboard, admittedly a razer mamba and razer blackwindow respectively.

pi mumbles...

Posted July 7, 2013

Reason I chose the G700 mouse of the Mamba (good mouse) is that the G700 can be used in both wireless and connected mode. Too many times did I forget to place it in the dock, get back, and have to wait for it to charge.

Should also point out I have a G15 keyboard as well I guess.

pi has opinions thus...

Posted July 7, 2013

Soz... mamba can do the connect/wireless thing. I was talking about my mx1000 that I had before it.

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2013

I play with a trackball. I wish Razer made one.

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pi asserts...

Posted July 7, 2013

That's the great thing about PC's. All of the controllers. Mostly, as you'd expect, I use a mouse. But more importantly, a gaming mouse, the G700. Totally programmable :

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/support/wireless-gaming-mouse-g700?osid=14&bit=64

But also, for different games, I like having a dedicated keyboard for them, so I use the G13 gaming keyboard :

http://gaming.logitech.com/en-us/product/g13-advanced-gameboard

I also have a generic flight joystick, but the only real thing you need to make sure is that it has rotation in three axis. Basically, the joystick has to rotate as well, so you can use it in most good sim games.

I also have a tankstick if I want to play old-fashioned video games (M.A.M.E.) and I even push that out through a netbook to a regular tv. It's actually pretty cool.

http://www.xgaming.com/store/arcade-joysticks-and-game-controllers/product/x-arcade-tankstick-includes-usb-cables/

And lastly, but not leastly, I have a couple XBOX controllers from the failed XBox 360. For 20 bux, I bought a USB converter that allows me to use it as a regular controller. Works quite well.

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 7, 2013

Thanks very much for the info, Pi and Barnesm
I am quite good with a mouse or a controller. I can't operate accurately at gaming speed on a keyboard. I do want to get back into a few games.

Blarkon mutters...

Posted July 7, 2013

I use a G13 for writing (mostly to auto apply complex formatting). It's also an excellent systems administration tool - just preload it with commonly used scripts.

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted July 8, 2013

I haven't really gamed for a decade or so. Parenthood. Plus, games that involve sustained speed clicking, intense puzzle solving or blood-soaked kill frenzys don't really interest me. That seems to not leave much. So I haven't bothered. All I have is an old PS2. Occasionally, I still get out my Colin McCrae Rally 2005 for a blast around the rally courses of the world. It turns out I am an awesome rally driver! (in my mind). And I did really enjoy James Bond Nightfire, when it still worked.

However, I might dip back into some gaming. I thought I'd try it on PC to see whether there are modern games I would enjoy before considering a console. Though this always online crap is very annoying. As I said earlier, I struggle playing a PC gane with a lot of keyboard input. At the critical moment, hitting the wrong key does encourage overly colourful language. The G700 mouse might be good for me, I think.

pi ducks in to say...

Posted July 8, 2013

w, searching around for a new game I stumbled upon the game x3 last night that is accessible through the steam platform. Bought the gold package, whcih contained the game and two expansions. Set me back a grand total of USD$12.50. Playable under linux as well as PC, so I thought I'd put linux through it's paces in a good game.

http://www.gamespot.com/x3-reunion/reviews/x3-reunion-review-6140636/

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LegalLibrarian asserts...

Posted July 8, 2013

PC master race here too. I prefer gaming on the pc with keyboard & mouse (gaming spec razor for both) over console gaming. Have an Xbox 360 mainly used for entertaining my nephews when they visit, and a PS3 that we mainly use as a bluray player.. I just dont seem to be able to get the hang of gaming with a controller. Am considering the PS4 when it comes out. Hubby also prefers the PC as he has flight stick and a steering wheel set up. Both games rigs have big screens & full sound 5.1 sound systems. Yes.. our games room does get noisy.

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted July 8, 2013

Sorry, I put that in the wrong thread.

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Rob reckons...

Posted July 8, 2013

I haven't got any problems with my PC, Activison's Origin service works OK. Occasionally it updates a bit too often for my liking. Steam is, was, and continues to be annoying. Plus the only game I have for it is Black Ops 2, which is like playing a crappy Canadian cartoon, so after committing genocide in Africa for a few hours and wiping out a few Aussies online I got totally bored and never completed it. Bring back World War 2 and games without any moral ambiguity, but with a Laibach soundtrack.

My Ps3 is used for music and movies, occasionally their music channel or on demand TV. But we have been playing Tomb Raider lately (amazing graphics) by me, I mean my son plays it and I watch Lara get tortured and run around.

Star Wars Battlefront made by the Battlefield guys DICE is the game I'm waiting for. Hopefully all Hoth all the time. and I will be playing it on my PC, that glows red, runs on Windows 8 and never goes spastic. Amazing, but true.

For other folky guitar goodness (which also involves zombies occasionally) check out Jeffrey Lewis http://youtu.be/MB8fQK4UUZg

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Drew ducks in to say...

Posted July 8, 2013

I loved The Last of Us- one of those games that will have you swearing at the screen when you get eaten AGAIN by a Clicker.

The graphics are beautiful- and the game itself is sooooo dark........and at last, a character I could actually cosplay.....old, grey, and haggard....

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted July 8, 2013

minor thing of course JB , but it does sound a wee bit like you are in the shitter with the background echo, or is that the floor board, it dont sound like ya down staoirs thats for fkn sure!

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Spartacast Ep4 - World War Zeducation Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted June 29, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

The morning after Tony Abbott wins the election.

Podcast 4 is out. This week we discuss World War Z and female screen heroes, two fascinating pop culture deconstructions brought to you by Riverbend Bookshop.

The mighty Hoods take us in and out. Buy their shit here.

And props to Dan for turning this around in record time this week.

51 Responses to ‘Spartacast Ep4 - World War Zeducation’

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted June 29, 2013

What is this where you can get blowjobs at the film World War Zed?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted June 29, 2013

Hmm, the podcast player stopped and I can't get it going again.

Anyone else have this problem?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

she_jedi asserts...

Posted June 29, 2013

It died 3 fcking times for me. Very frustrating because when I got it going again it started from the beginning and I had to track forward to try and find where I was up to.

Mind you having finally finished the podcast that one was awesome JB.

To respond to one of the questions raised in the pod. As a teenager in the early 90s and encountering not only my first French film but my first female kickass protagonist in La Femme Nikita, it wasn't so much a matter of discovering someone I could aspire to be, it was realising that female characters didn't have to be forever relegated to love interest / bystander / object of rescue / finder of McGuffin that was utterly galvanising to the young mind. I'd already encountered this in books, but seeing it on the big screen, especially where Nikita wasn't just a guy in a bra with her deportment training and her persona of being an assassin who happened to be female, really rocked my world. Actually the training scenes that really stood out for me in that movie the first time around were not the asskicking/firearms scenes, but the scenes where this feral street kid was taught to be a lady - to walk, dress, deport herself as a lady. Because those were the scenes that gave her her armour and her greatest weapon - her femininity. Men do not expect a beautiful, elegant young woman to be able to kill the President of Paraguay with a fork, and so she gets further dissembling as a non threat than a man would. That was an object lesson as well. By the time you're a teenage girl in this country you've learned that half the population is likely to underestimate you, but this was the first time I'd ever seen it used as a weapon against someone.

I also get where Feist is coming from with refusing to write chicks in chainmail, but I don't agree with him. Many other writers have managed to combine the thinky, feely, talky aspect of Feist's female characters with chicks in chainmail. Barbara Hambly is an author that does this really well. One of her female warriors was a nun before she left the convent to become a mercenary, and we discover in her back story that she became a nun for the same reasons she later became a warrior - she was rejecting the expected path open to her as a woman, which was to become wife, mother, homemaker, and be forever held by "the demands of a man and children". So she fled that, became a nun, then later met a mercenary captain and found her true calling as a warrior. But this doesn't stop her thinking and feeling deeply as Feist's women do, she just does all that and kicks ass at the same time.

Another one of Hambly's women is a medieval scholar (different series, different universe), who becomes a warrior simply because the world she find herself in needs her to fulfil that role for the survival of civilisation. The great thing is that she solves the riddle of the greatest threat to mankind in this universe NOT from being a kickass warrior, but because she's a scholar and an historian. Her hard won fighting skills are ultimately irrelevant, she ends up kicking ass through the power of her academic training and her thinky.

What I'm getting at in a long winded fashion is that there's more than one way to skin the cat that is writing kick ass females, and simply choosing not to write about chicks in chainmail is a cop out (much as I love Feist's work). /end rant.

Bunyip is gonna tell you...

Posted June 29, 2013

Mde Jedi, would you recommend Barbara Hambly for a female young adult? One of the minions devours genre literature at an alarming rate.

she_jedi is gonna tell you...

Posted June 29, 2013

Oh yes! I found her when I was about 12 or 13, and proceeded to devour her entire catalogue. Am still devouring it as she keeps publishing! The Sunwolf and Starhawk trilogy features the former nun/warrior I was talking about; the first book is The Ladies of Mandrigyn if you want to get her started on that. The Darwith series is also a cracker; that's where the historian features.

Hambly's also written some fantastic historical fiction set in 1800s New Orleans, and deals with the issue of slavery and the divide between white and black very sensitively. I'd start with the fantasy stuff and see how your young lady goes. Oh, and there's also some excellent vampire fiction that I loved as a young adult as well. No bloody sparkling moping stuff whatsoever.

Good luck, I hope she loves these books as I did when I first discovered them :)

DNABeast has opinions thus...

Posted June 30, 2013

I've managed to replicate this bug. Will take a look at solving it.

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2013

My hero :)

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Moko mumbles...

Posted June 29, 2013

Yep, it died at 17:22 for me.

Definitely checking out the audio book.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted June 29, 2013

The audible production of WWZ won a ton of awards - and it was extended recently for the movie (the original was abridged, this is unabridged) - more at the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_war_z#Audiobook

The whole point of "motions" in a text to provide a counterpoint to "splosions".

Pepsi Max would have been acceptable. Because why wouldn't you drink some FKN Pepsi Max.

No episode of Star Trek was a singing episode.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikita_(film) (1990)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Kiss_Goodnight (1996)

(So Nikita was before Long Kiss)

3rd Doctor - Venusian Aikido http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venusian_Aikido#Venusian

Re male vs female heroes: Men tend towards aspirational archetypes, women like relatable archetypes. Most men think, given enough time, training, and resources, they could be Batman. Most women are a bit more realistic and realize that Batman is a guy in comic books and not particularly realistic.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted June 29, 2013

One song a musical episode doth not make. We're talking the whole cast doing it as a musical where they are expressing the plot through song, rather than the plot involving one of the characters singing a song.

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted June 29, 2013

Dear Blarkon
Re: Star Trek and the musical
They didn't do the musical episode, but they did go there and have a look.

Of course, JB was talking nonsense. An undignified fanboy, he would say anything when the primacy of Buffy is challenged.
I never really got Buffy. I did try to.
The contemporaneous Daria would have kicked Buffy's butt in any cafeteria snark face-off.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted June 29, 2013

Hahahahahaha. You know nothing, W from Brisbane.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 29, 2013

We're you guys playing or downloading?

she_jedi asserts...

Posted June 29, 2013

I was playing. Was going to download if it died again, but miraculously it didn't :)

I think this has happened to me on every ep of the podcast, but I figured it was my machine. I'm running Google Chrome as my browser if that's any help

Moko reckons...

Posted June 29, 2013

I was playing, but then bailed and decided to download the audio book which I'm currently burning to disc.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 29, 2013

I think it was your fault. Couldn't replicate the problem.

Top episode.

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted June 29, 2013

Actually was really enjoying it. Subbed to it on iTunes --- fucking evil bucket of arse that and OH MY GOD DON'T GET ME STARTED ON AUDIBLE AND THAT PLACE WORKING TOGETHER...

Seriously. I needed a lay down.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 29, 2013
We should totally get Blarkon on as Nitpicker of the Week.

Blarkon is gonna tell you...

Posted June 30, 2013

I await your invitation. And nerds are all about the nitpicking. Come up with a destructive wave of no obvious explanation that wipes out North America? You're good. Get the barrel length of an MP5 out by half a millimeter - Burn The Wizard!

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted June 30, 2013

Indeed Blarkon an excellent description of that is from the Cracked After Hours sketch "Why the Harry Potter Universe is secretly terrifying"

Katie: You can't question Magic, it's magic. You can't get hung up on the details of some nerd world.

Dan: Have you met us?

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted June 30, 2013

OK so what do I do, play or download?

Before I get to that, indulge me with a bit of slander against the writers of Man of Steel for drawing such piss-weak female characters.

Fayora was the only one worth watching and I was appalled by their depiction of Lois. No grit, no spark, no wit, nothing that made Lois Lois.

The movie sucked, by the way, and as much as I'd love to pin that on Russell Crowe it's the scriptwriters. If you must watch it, pack the donkey kong and tune out for the first 100 minutes. You'll miss nothing, and can enjoy the last 30 minutes when stuff explodes (not the helicopter, I guess it ran out of jet fuel) and supervillains smack up the world.

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DNABeast swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2013

The player glitches have been worked around. It should work fine now.

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted July 1, 2013

Taa for that.

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted June 30, 2013

And Birmo's right its World War ZED! Dammit zombie has been Zed for a long time. Also it harken's back to Pulp Fiction with Bruce Willis's Butch's quote

JB there is something to your claim to the Zombies in the movie are 'swarm zombies' The Zombie Research Society advisory board's neuroscientist Bradley Voytek “While people might be tempted to say that the WWZ zombies are therefore somewhat intelligent, I’d argue the zombies here are simply exhibiting emergent behaviors like what we see with ants.” in wired magazine here.

damian asserts...

Posted July 1, 2013

Quite so. World War Zee is a little known conflict in the below-sea level parts of the Netherlands.

tqft reckons...

Posted July 1, 2013

Also from here

https://plus.google.com/u/0/109783903175191665261/posts/18DpsrGwmCh

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/overthinking-it/2013/06/25/the-fungus-that-reduced-humanity-to-the-last-of-us/

"

In The Last of Us, Cordyceps adds humans to the list of hosts. The apocalypse starts when the fungus makes a jump from their typical hosts to humans in presumably the same way some diseases like “swine flu” can jump between species. The new, unidentified species of Cordyceps turns humans first into violent “infected” and then into blind “clickers,” complete with fruiting bodies sprouting from their faces. Like traditional zombie canon, a zombie bite is death. However, the inhalation of Cordycepsspores is the un-death sentence.

The game draws even more inspiration from science than just the name of the fungus. Once a “clicker” completes its cycle, the fungus forces the human into a dark and secluded corner. It is where the human finally dies. Bleeding back into the environment, spores effuse from the corpse to infect again."

Video games, zombies & science. Enough for you all?

pi ducks in to say...

Posted July 2, 2013

Can't be Zed. Isn't Zed dead?

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted June 30, 2013

and yes a sequel has been given a greenlight and been reported widely including in the Guardian. I really liked the book and the hollow squares tactic they employed to clear zombies.

Why is it after listening to the podcast I want a pepsi?

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted June 30, 2013

Unfortunately Riverbend Books has run out of copies of World War Z as of this moment.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted June 30, 2013

and it was Gabrielle that was the Amazon. Oh god did Dan actually say that about Xena? He is a dead man.

Oh Hard Candy is brilliant, don't bad mouth Ellen Page. She isn't a sociopath, she is just clever, reasourceful and devoid of pity.

and as Blarkon mentioned above - its Venusian Akido

everyone loves Femshep. The voice actor they chose for femshep is way better I think than the one they chose for manshep.

The example I can think of for a female lead that isn't a chick in chainmail I would suggest Katniss in Hunger Games.

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tqft would have you know...

Posted June 30, 2013

:)

Via GreatDismal WWZ movie reviewed as a video game

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/movie-game-review.php

And saw this this morning. Author goes meta and walks in to ask one of her characters a question.

http://dduane.tumblr.com/post/54197731790/young-wizards-meta-wizardry-and-zombies#.Uc-6S1TWgYo

"A question came in:

My roommate just finished Young Wizards, so now she’s in musing mode. So, the latest wondering is how would the wizards react to zombies. If you go by the virus mode of zombie, changing them would violate the Oath, and using wizardry to kill them is just feeding the Lone One. (unless directly threatened, we suppose)

Wow, that’s a fabulous question. And not something I’ve thought about much.

Let’s go ask Tom."

tl;dr: so if you were bound by an oath not to hurt living things and a virus counts as living, what do you do as a wizard? Kill it and take the consequences?

w from brisbane asserts...

Posted June 30, 2013

Are some of these issues explored in "The Wizard's Dilemma"?

The book does include attempting to cure Nita's mother's cancer, which includes dealing with cancel cells. Perhaps that is ethically relevant to virus zombies.

tqft swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2013

Would have to reread it or consult the YW wiki.

She sounded intrigued by the idea though.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 30, 2013
I reckon you'd get away with defining a virus as not exactly living. And wizards are always killing things. How many orcs did Gandalf ice?

Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted June 30, 2013

I think tqft is talking about Wizards in "Young Wizards" - not Wizards generally - as each author treats wizards in their own way.

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tqft has opinions thus...

Posted June 30, 2013

Blarkon is correct.

Gandalf & friends seem to have few strictures on them.

In DDs YW universe there are powers that are tapped. And you have to answer to the source for doing so (in summary).

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AuntyLou mumbles...

Posted June 30, 2013

Thank you so much for the return to my teens! I was a skinny thing who was the only girl in my HUGE highschool to do woodwork, metalwork & technical drawing (tech drag) so was a total social misfit...and then came Leela of the Sevateem. Strong, intelligent & way dangerous. Thought she was amazing - right up until the creepy married guy next door asked his heavily pregnant wife if she could make me an outfit like that. Stopped going to watch the Doctor at that house PDQ I can tell ya!

Popular culture has been slowly admitting more & more 'strong' females. Go Ripley...love Buffy to bits, Zoe in Firefly - Long Kiss Goodnight is a fave (sorry...much as my boys loved Xena...yeah no...)

In the written world Fantasy has quite a few examples of chain mail chickkies - only problem being that I prefer science fiction! And for the most part female characters in scifi are blokes with boobs or carboard cutouts. Please Burgers...let me know of more properly written characters I can 'get'. Doesn't take a lot. Strong willed, emphathetic but not soppy, physical without aid of that magic shit. And science...plenty of that...and absolutely no more dragons!!!!

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 30, 2013

Have you read the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold? Awesome space opera with some truly outstanding female characters. And a large number of outstanding male characters too. Bujold doesn't stint on dishing out the awesome to her fictional people. I'd quote my favourite scene out of all the books but that would be spoilers :(

AuntyLou ducks in to say...

Posted July 1, 2013

Ta much she_jedi! I haven't read any Bujold...will definitely give it a go. Do love a space opera :)

she_jedi asserts...

Posted July 1, 2013

Enjoy! The first book is Cordelia's Honour, which comprises the first two stories of the series. Bujold also does some great fantasy as well, but she's renowned for the Vorkosigan books, she's won all sorts of awards for them :)

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Karsoe mumbles...

Posted July 1, 2013

No mention of Sarah Connor as a kick-arse female protagonist?? I loved the development of her from the first film to the second.

And then there's Ellen Ripley as well, particularly in Aliens (which is one of the best war films ever made, I reckon).

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted July 1, 2013

Good catch on Sarah Connor. Her evolution as a character is brilliant. I think I mtalked briefly about Ripley but was distracted by a lot of faffage about Xena.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted July 1, 2013

AuntyLou,

For strong female characters, try CJ Cherryh. She is all about writing strong females, human and alien both. If you like SF, her novel Downbelow Station has two of the strongest female characters I’ve yet encountered in warship captain Signy Mallory and merchanter Elene Quen. The main protagonists in the Chanur series are primarily alien females (supposedly a series written in response to the misogyny she had encountered as a young writer). For a ‘fantasy’ spin, have a look at her Morgaine books, starting with Gate of Ivrel – it’s high technology in a medieval setting. And it has apparently been optioned for film recently.

AuntyLou mumbles...

Posted July 1, 2013

Thanks Surtac...will give her a go too!

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 1, 2013

Thanks Surtac, I'll check her out too :)

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Anthony would have you know...

Posted July 1, 2013

There's always the Honor Harrington series from David Weber - and SM Stirling has a couple of excellent female kickass characters in Marian Alston and Swindapa in the obverse of the Emberverse - the Nantucket series.

I say obverse but I might be wrong although I have always assumed that what happened to Nantucket was somehow related to the Emberverse. Anyway, i do prefer this serie to the somewhat fey Emberverse (probably because the only SCA people I know wouldnt have made it out of Melbourne).

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 1, 2013

Nantucket and the Emberverse are two sides of the same coin.

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Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted July 1, 2013

Never got how if the virus took hold within twelve seconds how it spread globally. Or maybe I missed something. The book - audio - clarifies this beautifully. Loved the transplant and various donor explanantions.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted July 2, 2013
  1. Spoiler warnings should come with a timeframe. EG Spoiler Warning 4 minutes.
  2. Have tried to download it 4 times now, longest version I have is 9 minutes.

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Rob reckons...

Posted July 2, 2013

Product placement and Pepsi. In Brad Pitts best movie, and best movie ever, and yes in my opinion it was better than the book. "Fight Club' . Everytime there is a a bit of ultra violence, there is a Pepsi vending machine in the background. The director and actors mention this in the DVD commentary. Perhaps Brad was having a POMO moment.

Back of the store with vending machines in the background.

http://vimeo.com/40567192

Tyler: Would you rather be dead? Would you rather die? Here? On your knees? In the back of a convenient store?
Raymond: Nooo! Please stop!
[Tyler unlocks the gun and lowers it]
Tyler: I'm keeping your license. I'm gonna check in on you. I know where you live. If you're not on your way to becoming a veterinarian in six weeks, you will be dead. Now run on home.
[Tyler throws him his wallet. Raymond takes it, staggers to his feet and runs down the alley]
Tyler: [shouting to Raymond] Run, Forrest, run

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Ep3 - NSA-holes Podcast RSSiTunes

Posted June 21, 2013 into Spartacast by John Birmingham

Podcast 3 is out. This week we're talking about the hilarity that is the modern surveillance state, and the sad news of Iain M. Banks passing. We're also still figuring out how to record my contribution in the neo-brutalist concrete box of my office, without sound levels that bounce around all over.

Soon.

This week's show was pretend sponsored by Campos Coffee and as always, or at least until they find out, the Hilltop Hoods opened and closed the gig with some of their best, which you can totally buy here.

A tip? When I'm at my desk I simply use the player. When I'm on the run I'll download and play the podcast on my phone. Or you could use a podcast app and subscribe at iTunes

22 Responses to ‘Ep3 - NSA-holes’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted June 21, 2013

Its 'Edward' Snowden

and which Onion article do you mean

The Onion: Nation Demands New Photograph Of Edward Snowden

The Onion: Guy Typing In All Caps Supports Edward Snowden

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted June 21, 2013

Nah, it was another one. I saw it at Buzzfeed. Something like "Man enraged his internet data collected by government which wasn't trying to sell him something".

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 21, 2013

Cool thanks found it.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 21, 2013

What does he mean "he doesn't like coffee"?

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 21, 2013

He is no longer with the podcast.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted June 21, 2013

Thank heavens. We don't need that sort around here.

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pitpat swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 21, 2013

Loved your minds/culture take apart.

CBG sort of reminds me of a collection of Minds passing ,interacting and generally having as much of a blast as is possible to get away with.

What the go with your recording levels they seem a bit uneven.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 21, 2013

It's a bunch of issues, including the space I'm recording in. We're working on it.

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Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted June 21, 2013

Hey JB,

Saw one third of the Doug Anthony all Stars at Glebe yesterday.

And the coffee was exceptional. Got the last porteguese tart. Bad Speklling.

Saw another third at the Opera House a while ago and he was so high on Coca Cola I wonder why the cops don't make it illegal

Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted June 21, 2013

Cause the structure is minions,

young kids who don't know better.

Frinstance I didn;t drop the 3 cops, even though I explained their waeknesses, cause I didn't want to hurt young kids.

maybe next time they'll send some 'real men'.

Look forward to that.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted June 21, 2013

Campos is our current fave down here at the bureau.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 21, 2013

Using Facebook analysis to determine sexuality, political leanings, and race:

http://www.psfk.com/2013/03/facebook-likes-personality-test.html

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted June 21, 2013

Part of the reason that people give Google a pass where they freak out about the NSA is the assumption of competence. A lot of nerds assume that they are good enough at building a crypto cloaking device that hides their stuff from Google and Facebook, but are a bit more ambivalent about their ability to hide from the NSA.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted June 21, 2013

Not all the Culture novels are available on Audible. Most of them are available for Oz, but the US hasn't been licensed for more than a couple of them (for those of us with multiple Audible subscriptions). Matter (which I think is JB's fave) has a terrible abridgement.

It was interesting in the last interview with Banks that he said Transition was the novel he wished he'd "gone out on" (that's the literary multi-universe one)

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Squid mumbles...

Posted June 21, 2013

I've lost count of the many hundreds of confidentiality agreements/non-disclosure agreements I've done in my time, but it's only recently dawned on me what a complete waste of time they are. I'm sure Snowden signed one, maybe he signed five, signed under threat of perpetual deprivation of liberty.

If that doesn't stop someone from blabbing, how will a stern warning of potential legal consequences ever dissuade anyone from shooting their mouth of?

I actually admire Snowden for what he's done, but it's driven home what a complete waste of farking time that useless bit of paper is these days, in an age of perpetual information disclosure.

PS. Di Bella over Campos.

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted June 21, 2013

Snowden presents a challenge in that his inculcated in the the cyberpunkish "information wants to be free" / cypherpunk philosophy. The one that grew up on books (and to a lesser extent movies) where brave rebel hacker protagonists went out and ran hacks on evil megacorps and brought freedom and enlightenment to the masses throught their 31337 hax0r sk111z. It didn't go unnoted that his laptop had FSF and EFF stickers plastered over it. I suspect that in future the organs of intelligence will be a little more careful about how much information they allow closet cyberpunks access (it's sort of like putting the vegans in charge of the battery hen farm)

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted June 22, 2013

What is the pie thing you mentioned that Campos makes? Binofie?

Love the podcasts ... it is what I imagine a Burger meet-up would be ... but without the alcohol and sexual harassment.

DNABeast ducks in to say...

Posted June 22, 2013

I wish.

That JB is "all hands".

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 22, 2013

Banofee pie. Banana-toffee.

Dam I thought we agreed you wouldn't tell anybody about my busy hands, not so much for myself, but I am so respected, It would damage the town to hear it.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted June 22, 2013

you're no Artie Ziff

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2013

Or there would be a line.

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tqft would have you know...

Posted June 23, 2013

Ok am enjoying the podcasts.

While Google & Facebook & friends can ruin you personally & professionally, the NSA and other governments can put you in a dark place for a very long time.

Once their attention turns to you you are screwed . They could always fake the evidence if they had a reason (no my tinfoil hat isn't too tight), but actually having legit data makes it so much easier. I won't link to amazon so summary http://kottke.org/13/06/you-commit-three-felonies-a-day "You commit three felonies a day "

It is way too late to stop the gathering process and making it illegal obviously hasn't worked. Only answer appears to be opening up government & the surveillance so we can watch them too. David Brin has lot of stuff on this.

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