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Watched "The Black Hole" (1979) last night. This is a weird mish-mash of tone.

"Star Wars was a big hit! We need a big, fun, space opera hit of our own!"

"I know, let's mash up our success with '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' with 'Faust' and use astrophysical black holes as a metaphor for death, despair, and possibly being dragged down to Hell itself. THE KIDS WILL LOVE IT!"

"Needs fun Disney sidekick companions..."


"Roddy McDowell! Slim Pickens! Ernest Borgnine!"

VCS musing 

File-level granularity is not always correct behavior for version control of general data.

Not all data that should be versioned is best represented by sequential records ("lines"). Some is better as graphs or objects with nodes, links, and possibly attributes. Attributes can be maps or lists.

Interestingly, directory structures are graphlike. VCS handles those already, though not the same as node versioning. There is a failure of self-similarity / scale invariance, I think?


I am really glad when people add alt text to images on Mastodon.

My internet is so damn slow, that images never really load (i turn them off anyway), but at least I can get a sense of what it is from the text ^____^.

“I am supposed to be finishing my assignment but instead i organised my bookshelf by colour because of my adhd and executive dysfunction”

sad, weasely excuses, makes you sound like you are sick

“i am posessed by a powerul creative force of nature, and all are powerless to shape its path: the best you may hope for is to get out of its way”

epic, ownership of actions, maybe you’re a vengeful deity?

Why is it SO HARD to just watch a tutorial on Git LFS right now. Let alone actually try to follow it..?

How bad can it be?

This is ADD, isn't it?

🤦 😖

1979 was a big year for . Not only "Alien", but also on my watch list:

"The Black Hole"
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture"
"The Shape of Things to Come" (haven't seen this one!).

And even James Bond went to space with "Moonraker"

BTW... Wikipedia has very nice lists of SF movies, which I've been using as a guide, especially for getting the dates right:

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Of course, BG was really derivative of "Star Wars", but it was also a lot of fun.

I was also young enough to appreciate "The Cat from Outer Space" (1978), which I saw in the theater at the time. It's in my Netflix DVD queue now. Maybe I can tell you what I think of it, when I get it. 😅

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That's probably enough gushing about "Alien", for my watch...

What's next? I skipped over "Battlestar Galactica" (1978). That was really a made-for-TV pilot, although there apparently was a theatrical release. But the main reason is that I don't have a copy to watch, or I would.

I was hugely into at the time, though that casino arc seriously freaked me out at the time. I was kind of sensitive to certain body horror issues.


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Alien, of course, was also extremely influential in shaping the art design of many later movies. It's just become part of the underpinnings of the genre, almost everything has either inherited that style or intentionally pushed against it -- it's impossible to ignore it.

It did for film art design a lot of what Heinlein did for the tone of SF literature: gave it an embodied, situated, "lived in", colloquial voice. Which made it feel enormously more realistic.

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... and then of course, there's the characterization. These are REALLY well-developed characters for what is ostensibly a "monster movie".

When stuff happens to these people, you really care, because you feel like you know them. They spent about 45 minutes introducing them all, and giving you insight into their personalities.

That's an important writing lesson, right there!
One of the same reasons "Dark Star" was so compelling, despite the flimsy budget.

And "Alien" had that, with a budget!

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...and that, of course, is ignoring the issue of what possible BULK MINERAL PRODUCT could be worth interstellar transport. I really find that hard to believe.

But I can suspend my disbelief.

And the life aboard ship, the lived-in feel of the sets, the HUGE sets -- it's all just precious!

The alien and even more, the alien technology and spaceship was also brilliant.

And it was my first introduction to the art of H.R. Giger. Also work by: Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, Moebius, Dan OBannon.

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"Alien" remains one of my favorite films, mostly because of the atmosphere of the working freighter, "Nostromo".

I can nitpick the premise. The FTL+hypersleep thing is never explained. Towing doesn't really work with spaceships (it'd more likely be "pushing"), and in any case, I can't anyone doing anything as wasteful as TOWING a "refinery processing 20 million tons of ore" across interstellar distances. It'd make a lot more sense to refine it on site, and carry the refined product. ...

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This was the first time my daughter had seen any of "Close Encounters" (she came in in the middle, but TBH, the beginning's a little slow) -- and when the mothership showed up, she immediately thought of callbacks:

"Urusei Yatsura" (pilot episode, and many repeats) (Manga: 1978, Anime: 1981 -- it was fresh then)

"Independence Day" (1992)
"Muppets from Space" (1999)
"Monsters vs Aliens" (2009) (also riffs on the contact music routine)

And, well, many others!

That image is ICONIC.

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As an astronomer with a genuine interest in astrobiology, I've always been a little annoyed by "ufology", because, IMHO, it's 100% bunk.

So, I've kind of given short-shrift to "Close Encounters" for most of my life, even though it is a very powerful movie.

And as far as I know, there is no real reason aliens COULD NOT visit us. I just don't think there's any evidence they have -- and "Fermi Paradox" arguments aside, I'm not that surprised, even if I posit that alien civilizations exist.

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More :

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). This is probably the film that really "made" Steven Spielberg? About the possibility of genuine alien contact. The imagery of this film was HUGELY influential -- even if you haven't seen it, you've probably seen the echos.

"Alien" (1979): You know the drill -- "In space, no one can hear you scream", etc. This is one of my all-time favorite films, although to be honest, I really loved the 1st 45 minutes most.

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So, really, started in 1977 w/ Star Wars. Hollywood producers decided to get on the SF bandwagon, and a lot of new were greenlit and given good budgets. A few made it to the screen by 1979, and then we're off... I have a huge collection from the 80s...

Rush: Moving Pictures

I'm a huge Rush fan. This isn't the first album of theirs that I picked up (Hold Your Fire was the first) but the absolute power of this band was manifest in this album. Every song is a hit and it's one of their most iconic albums ever. It's also a pivotal album. Most folks have a "before Moving Pictures / after Moving Pictures" dichotomy of which era of Rush they like. Signals was the follow-up album and leaned heavily into the synths.

Every album is great (Yes, even Caress of Steel).

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Whoops, one more of the I forgot to mention today:

"Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (1973).

Which I had never seen before. In fact, I wasn't a huge fan of the series, and had only watched the first one, until I bought a DVD boxed set of the series recently.

I had watched the 1st four movies in the last few months, but I hadn't got to this one until today. It was a fitting end to the series, perhaps evading the "predestined" doom (but it's uncertain).

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