Expectation levels for The Force Awakens are reaching critical mass

This past week we’ve seen some brick-shitting new stuff in the way of trailers and fresh looks at The Force Awakens.

After the official final trailer dropped here in the US, a slightly different version dropped overseas (which is usually the case) and offered folks even more new footage.

Now a new 30 second TV spot has dropped and we’ve got even more nerdgasm-ing to do.

I have to say I’m supremely impressed that Disney has managed to create so many trailers and peaks and the movie without giving very much away (seemingly).

All I know is that we’re in the home stretch now, and they keep giving us new bits. It’s getting harder and harder to keep waiting. Expectation levels are basically going through the roof at this point.

Watch the new TV spot, and the Japanese trailer below.

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COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey

I forgot to post about this earlier today, but in case you forgot the new COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered tonight. The Carl Sagan original from the decades ago is reborn with Neil DeGrasse Tyson as the host. It just ended here in Texas, and it was absolutely fan-freaking-tastic. If you follow me on Twitter you probably noticed me tweeting a lot during the show. If you missed the first episode tonight on FOX, it will re-air tomorrow night on the National Geographic channel.

I cannot express to you how important it is for people to watch. Get your kids interested in science. Get them involved in science.

The LEGO Movie is AMAZING [A+]

the-lego-movie-poster-full-photoThe wife and I had date night last night. It was comprised of a nice dinner at a favorite sushi joint of ours, then on to the 7:30 showing of The LEGO Movie. Probably not your typical date night – but it was for us! Thankfully my wife has always supported my LEGO habit, and also loves it too. She was almost as excited for the movie to come out as I was. Almost. I was assuming the theater would be packed with families and children but was pleasantly surprised when we walked in and the majority of the seats were empty. Hopefully this wasn’t indicative of how the movie is doing in the rest of the theaters across the country. It was one of the larger screen theaters so I’d say it was about half full by the time the movie started. There was a small kid, probably five or so who had obviously seen the movie earlier in the day already because he knew most of the words to the songs and even some of the punchlines – but he was so happy and excited and into the movie it just added to the experience.

Suffice to say the movie’s story isn’t brand new – loser dude finds out he is special and can change the fate of the world. It doesn’t hold to story back, however. Instead The LEGO Movie takes the cliche and runs wild – with hilarious results. For the kids, the movie does a great job of showing the positives and negatives of working as a team but also being true to yourself and recognizing you are special in your own way. For the adults accompanying their LEGO crazed kids to the film, you’ll be quite entertained as well. It panders to the kids just enough to make it a kids movie but has tons of little quips and moments over the kid’s heads for the adults.

Unikitty_filmstill1The movie is phenomenal. Smiles and laughs the whole way through – in hysterics a few times. Hands down the best thing about The LEGO Movie is the universe it takes place in – a land made of LEGO bricks. It opens doors for so many ideas for both story, and comedy. Thankfully the movie had just the right amount of “we’re LEGO and these are our limitations – look, it’s funny!” kind of humor. The animators made it seem like the land of LEGO was as natural as can be. And in that vein I must commend the absolutely mind boggling attention to detail throughout the movie. From watching the individual LEGO bricks and pieces being manipulated to be built with or to act as flowing water it all seemed as perfect as a Pixar movie, but with that extra bit of hilarity because it’s actually LEGO pieces being made to look like ocean spray, instead of just computerized ocean spray.

One bit that cracked me up was watching our main character, Emmet, come to work at his construction site where the blueprints for building were actually the LEGO instruction booklets that come in the box of LEGO models you buy! The fun comes fast, and the jokes sometimes come even faster. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for your favorite sets, and minifigs because chances are they make an appearance. I think UniKitty might be our favorite – the scene where she goes into Mr. Business’ board room meeting was just perfect. Though Will Arnett’s Batman was spot on comedy.

I’ll admit I haven’t done any homework to see how the movie was made, but the computer imagery is not overwhelming, and a good chunk of the film looks like stop-motion filmography, which just adds all the more nostalgic love to it (even if it’s all CGI). Either way, the movie is beautiful to behold.

If you haven’t already, look up the voice cast on IMDB. The movie was chock full of famous folks, and even some really excellent cameos that came straight out of left field adding to the list of surprises.

And there are a lot of surprises. And an ending you won’t see coming!

I give The LEGO Movie an A+, and not just because I’m a doofy LEGO lover, but because as a movie it’s just really, really great.

Don’t miss it.
lego movie characters

 

Oh Hai. Earth spews forth another new island!

Just last week I was writing about the volcanic island Surtsey off the coast of Iceland celebrating its 50th birthday. It’s not often people get to witness the creation of an entirely new landmass. But, Mother Earth is at it again! No rest for the weary I guess. This time on the complete opposite side of the planet, near Japan.
Say hi to the new island of Niijima. It’s still pretty small – roughly 650 feet across, but scientists can’t say right at this point how much larger it will get. The island busted through the surface of the Pacific Ocean earlier today (Thursday) near another small uninhabited island in the Nishino-shima area in the Japanese archipelago. (see map)
Similar eruptions have occurred in the area before in Japanese waters, but the tiny islands have mostly been eroded by rough Pacific waters. The same may happen to this new island – it’s just too early to say yet. For now though, let’s just revel in the awesomeness that is volcanos. SCIENCE!

Some badass video footage of the eruption can be found in a release from Japanese news FNN News.com. Watch it!! Who cares if you can’t understand it – unless you’re Japanese. The footage is awesome.

Images & info courtesy of Wired.com / Globalnews.ca / ibtimes.com / Japanese Coast Guard / AP

Happy 50th Birthday, Surtsey! You cheeky island, you!

On November 14, 1963, a new island was born.
Off the coast of Iceland, one of the most geologically active spots on the planet, a volcanic island grew from the ocean floor some 420 feet down, breaking the surface on 11/14/63 in a fantastically awesome and powerful eruption. They named the island Surtsey. Eruptions continued until well into 1967, leaving a brand new island roughly 1 mile in diameter. The island has since been eroded by wind and water, but is still quite sizable.

The island forms when the magma from the volcano cools as it hits the ocean water.
It’s not often people get to witness a new island. If you think about it most people just accept the world as it is – because from our perspective it’s always been that way. Since the separation of Pangaea, and the advent of exploration, our maps have basically remained unchanged. Mostly that’s a result of plate tectonics being an incredible slow process. Did you know the Atlantic Ocean is actually getting bigger by a few centimeters a year? The Mid-Altantic Ridge is a divergent fault boundary – it also passes right through Iceland which is why Iceland has the distinct honor of being the only country on the planet that is actually growing in physical landmass. Pretty badass, right?

Surtsey is home to an abundant amount of plants and animals (mostly birds). Further info can be found here.

This isn’t anything new though – Hawaii was formed this way. In fact within the next 10,000 years Hawaii will have a new island in its chain. Hawaii is moving along on its tectonic plate over a hotspot – a fixed column of magma from the Earth’s mantle through the crust to the surface. Each island in the Hawaiian chain was built the same way Surtsey was but as the tectonic plates continued to move the island was cut off. So another one was built up from the magma in the hotspot. And so on. That’s why the island chain looks like it does. See below:

So what can we take from this? The Earth is ever changing beneath your feet. Geology, plate tectonics, and volcanoes are awesome.

Happy Birthday Surtsey!

Info taken from UNESCO & Wikipedia

What Saturn Sees

In case you’ve been living on Mars, in a cave, with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears (like Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil), you’ve probably seen the following photo – or one very similar. It’s Saturn, from the dark side looking back towards the sun and inner solar system. NASA has released a series of photos taken from the Cassini probe, which is currently giving Saturn a thorough going over.The colors are a bit muted in the photo, as it was altered to be more easily viewable on the internet. The actual photo is 5MB, and 9000×35000 pixels – which is about 100 times larger than my blog space. To view the pic in all it’s gorgeousness go HERE.

But what’s even more astounding is all the little extra things in this photo. Not only does the Sun help to backlight Saturn’s brilliant system of rings, but being in the shadow also allowed Cassini to see a number of Saturn’s satellites, and even a sneak peak at ourselves and our closest neighbors.
Again, it’s hard to make out in a tiny picture, so click the above picture and you’ll be able to see it more clearly.

Wave to yourself. That picture was taken from roughly 900 million miles away. 900 million.

And here is one showing a handful of Saturn’s moons (Saturn has the most moons of any planet in the solar system).

The beauty of our solar system is astounding.

Remember though, space is infinite, and Earth is a tiny spec. Need a little more perspective? Ok. Here are a few more close up photos from Cassini of Earth from Saturn.

This one is a close-up of the section containing Earth from the above photos.

Yup. That’s you.

And just for fun, here is a picture of the Earth and our Moon taken from the Messenger spacecraft which is currently orbiting and studying Mercury. It looks like we’re shining like a star but it’s just the reflection of the sunlight. This was taken from about 60 million miles away, looking from near the center of the solar system outward.

All images courtesy of NASA/JPL