I've been slacking in my blogging duties, and in an effort to jumpstart things, I've decided do some reactions to various news tidbits related to my various interests.
Science Watch: Tabletop Fusion?
It turns out that there's an (as yet unsubstatiated case) for tabletop fusion. In an article found in www.sciencenews.org it's related that a technique "that some scientists claim generates thermonuclear fusion in a benchtop apparatus works even without its controversial neutron trigger" and this means a powerful and potentially cheap source of energy. Why cheap? The procedure argues that "nuclear-fusion reactions can occur in a vat of chilled solvent agitated by ultrasound."
That's right. All those old black and white films with bubbling liquids may have been right! They were the power source of those mad scientists!
However, because the researchers "used neutron pulses to trigger the process", other researchers have been highly suspicious of the results.
I don't know what that meant, but I believe it's because neutron pulses may have interfered with the results, or have not been adequately accounted for in interpreting the results of the experiment. The article lost me at this point so...
Comics Watch: Who Is Terra?
One of the most shocking betrayals in any comic book series occurred in the Teen Titans storyline titled "The Judas Contract". It had actually been set up earlier when a teenaged criminal supposedly being forced / held hostage by... bad guys... and eventually joined the Titans. She played her role well, and was criticized by comics readers as being a rip-off of Kitty Pryde from the X-men (especially since the New Teen Titans were seen as capitalizing somehow on the X-men's popularity). Then she betrayed them all after gaining their trust and love and learning most of their secrets.
And then the bombshell - she wasn't some poor brainwashed teenager who'd fallen under the influence of Deathstroke. Even before she'd met Deathstroke, she'd already been the vicious, deceptive, and vindictive girl that we saw... and that ultimately was her downfall.
It shocked me because the Titans had become the equivalent of a super-powered soap opera / action adventure story, where the lives of the characters mattered to me. It also intrigued me because of the way that the story had been put together, where hints of her dark side had already been made... if only we, as readers, hadn't been lulled into complacency by the "everything always ends happily" trope for superhero comics, we'd probably have guessed the sad truth long before it was revealed.
I wasn't alone in being fooled. In an interview, George Perez, the artist and co-plotter of the New Teen Titans at the time, said
People did not know where it was going. Not even the diehard Titans fans who I see at conventions, who have magazines about the Titans that I read. All of them speculated that Terra was going to reform at the last minute and turn on the Terminator. Of course we had that in there, too, but for a totally different reason. The cover was created specifically to let you wonder which side she was going to take, not realizing that she was going against both.
Ah Tara, you were my introduction to a part of the world that shouldn't be bad or evil... but is anyway.
Idol Watch: Out of Touch
It's fascinating to watch the try-outs of American Idol primarily to see how out of touch some people are with reality. Perhaps some have been misled by so-called friends, some have been crippled by nerves, and some are just there to appear on TV... but most would surely realize that they're nowhere near the caliber of performer that they need to be!
The reactions that some have when rejected are astounding: prideful anger, outraged denial, and personal attacks against the judges. At least some have the grace and focus to accept the criticisms and decide to either improve themselves, or dedicate their lives to another endeavor.