Jun. 20th, 2012

So, a week(ish?) ago, I happened to get into a fan discussion about Reborn!/KHR on Plurk. Now, all I know about the series is from friends, but it's about Tsuna, an unlikely Japanese schoolboy discovering he was the heir to a Mafia family and that it started as a gag comedy manga but the author eventually decided to try to plot something. One of the points of Tsuna's characterization was that he was a good kid who was determined to not compromise that even if he was the head of a Mafia family.

So my Plurk friend was ranting about how fans of the series were all 'Mafia = serious business' and therefore that the logical thing would be for the series to crush Tsuna's innocence until he had to act all ruthless and how a Mafia boss should act, rather than have the plot be about Tsuna's conflict between duty and idealism* and let that take it where it may.

I commented this is a lot like how some Avatar fans reacted to the end of Season 3 of Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Spoilers here! )

And I'm still going! )

* I mean, this isn't an uncommon theme, especially in shounen anime/manga. The protagonist is an idealist. Usually he has an ally or rival that is a pragmatist. When he confronts the antagonists, he has to choose if he wants to compromise his ideals for a better shot at winning, or try to stick to his guns and win.

May. 24th, 2012

My Inner Skeptic LOVES Orbital Mechanics

I'm discovering that hard SF where you're bouncing around the solar system means my Inner Skeptic actually pays attention to people other than me and my writing.

Probably because I've spent most of my adult life following NASA missions. Maybe because I read Heinlein in high school, and Heinlein learned orbital mechanics for his solar-system SF. There might be Martians and Venusians and a spin-locked Mercury*, but by golly, things moved like they should.

But when you're gallivanting around the Solar System you have to remember that things are all moving at different rates.

Nerdity Ahoy! I'll be good and not do the math here, though. )

I feel really weird that things like this bug me enough to make petty ranty journal posts about it. Also, yes, I have calculated things like 'what's a good timescale for going from X to Y assuming no magic physics that let me ignore that if we accelerate too hard, we kill the passengers'.

* This is a SFnal dating technique: look at what things we thought we knew at the time but turned out wrong. So Mercury's rotation makes me go 'wait, what', but a quick check to the publication date makes me go with it.

Sep. 24th, 2010


A break from blogging about anime, since currently I'm less than an hour from a practice talk and there's really nothing I can do, since the simulation I was running last night didn't finish in time to get the last two graphs in*.

In my rush to procrastinate, I browsed the 'Ask an Astronomer' questions and aside from the normal 'I saw weird stuff -- what was it?' and 'I can disprove relativity!', we got a question from a layperson asking the scientific opinion about the purpose of the universe. Which isn't unusual -- when people start thinking about the big picture, they start asking questions that verge more on the philosophical than the scientific. And, it's not a screed decrying us for not believing in Jesus Christ or something (we do get these).

I'm not claiming the question, since I don't know how to handle this as Rebecca the Astronomer, only Rebecca the Person. )

Aug. 24th, 2010

Freedom of speech, mine and thine

A redux to the deviantArt issue I mentioned previously. (Here go read -- I'll wait.)

Basically, the nutshell is that devArt's Hate Speech policy doesn't cover saying you are a homophobe, because it doesn't directly attack GLBT people. The mod that emailed me back after I sent my protest was very 'we support all speech, even odious speech'. Which did ping my freedom of speech sensor, so I'm going to talk about this.

And I'll be long... )