It’s the end of the world!!!… Supposedly…

So today is the day, guys! Supposedly, the secret tenth planet of the solar system, Nibiru, is completing one of its 65 million year orbit and is going to kill us all! How exciting. I know all those theories about the end of the worlds are complete bunk but I find them fascinating. I always wondered what goes through the mind of the people that come up with them. I am sure that a number of them are nothing more than con artists that see an opportunity for a quick buck, but there has to be a number of those wackos that believe what they are blathering on about.

Personally, my favorite end of the world fad was the Y2K bug. Everyone was so scared that every computer in the world was going to exploded or something because programmers were lazy and made most date calculation based on a two digit integer with an implied 19 in front of it and that date would roll over to the year 1900 or 19100. Those were simpler times, back when I believed that floppy drive was an essential part of any computer.

Then second best has to be when they started the LHC and people were scared that it might create a black hole and destroy the earth. I was at a Summer camp and we had this plan for an end-of-the-world pizza party with some of the counselors but then we forgot. That was disappointing, though seeing the reaction of some the other students when we explained what could have happened was entertaining enough.

Looking at Wikipedia’s list of predicted end of the world, it seems that the upcoming ones are a bunch of theological related stuff, which is far less exciting than secret planets and polarity shifts based apocalypse. It doesn’t list the Apophis asteroid, so I guess that it was written of the books for good. Oh well…

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In other news, I did run the Omaha Half marathon last Sunday and it was a blast! Unlike last year, we did not start late because of a shooting, which is always nice, and it was a bit cooler as well. I had a goal this year to do the race in less than three hours and I made it! 2 hours, 59 minutes and 25 seconds! (the website list us at just over 3 hours for some reason). Barely under three hours but that’s good enough for me. This year’s medal was extra bling, with a cool gold finish to it, and it is slightly bigger than last year’s!

Last year I finished in 3 hours and 24 minutes, which means that this year i was 13% faster than last year! That is a nice improvement, though I doubt that I can replicate that next year. I am sure that I can improve my time if I continue to train, but won’t be as drastic as this year. Maybe I’ll run the marathon next year… or the one in Hawaii… That would be cool, Hawaii is great place for a Christmas vacation.

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So you are about to run a half-marathon this weekend…

So, you are like me and your family is filled with runners. Your father runs marathons, your mother runs marathons and your sister runs marathons. Lots of pressure to get you into the family business and running a marathon is not something you can learn to do overnight.

Now, I am not stupid and I have been training for this for the past six months and this is not some panic blog post about how I have been slacking off, as the title might suggest. I have been averaging 10 to 12 miles of walking and running around the neighborhood every weekend, and went through a pair of shoes. I feel ready!

To round off my training, I decided to sign up for a 10k called The corporate cup. It’s a charity event run by the American Lung association, and it happened right next to where I work. I made the mistake of not looking at either at the map of the run or at the elevation map. In my mind, the landscape looked pretty flat. Big mistake…

Turns out the UNO neighborhood is way hillier than by my neighborhood is. I was not prepared for some of those hills, but the good news was that somehow, despite walking most of mile 3 and 4, I managed to finish the race in one hour and twenty four minutes, which is the same time it took me to do my first 10K on flat land… Yay! that pretty cool! I should try to get a good timed run on flat land, could probably go bellow 1:20!

For me, the most satisfying part of running, other than collecting cool medals to hang in my office cubicle as bragging rights, is the very obvious way you progress. Your first run will leave more tired than you thought was possible and you will discover muscles that you did not existed, but the more you run, the less frequent you feel that way. After my first half marathon last year, I felt the same way that I felt after my first 10K. Now, I can run a 10K and not feel sore the next day, that is extremely satisfying. It’s what “no Pain No Gain” is all about.

Anyways, if you are going to be running next Sunday during the Omaha Marathon, I guess I’ll see you there!

My perspective on the Star Trek reboots after watching the original series…

In a quest to become a bigger nerd than I already am, I recently started watching all of Star Trek. I have finished the original series and half way through the lesser known animated series, and while watching an episode where there is a giant clone of Spock, a brain wave hit me. I finally understand what people where complaining about when the reboot movie came out.

Like many people that lived in the mainstream, the Star Trek reboot movie was the first Star Trek thing that I had seen and I really liked it. The music was great, the visuals were impressive (though, in hindsight, I feel that camera shakes and lens flair have seen become a bit overused), all the classic characters that I heard of were present and a spaceship called the Enterprise. This was more than enough to satisfy my uninitiated mind.

The sequel of reboot, “Into Darkness”, was more divisive, but I did not why at the time. The plot made some sense, all the characters were still there, Klingons made an appearance, special effects where still top notch. In some ways it was not as good as the first of the reboot film series, *cough* Carol Marcus *cough*. The dark and gritty approach did not match the optimistic and generally colorful aesthetics of the classic show. I did not mind the use of Khan as the main antagonist, but more on that later.

Star Trek Beyond was probably the best of the three movie of the so called Kelvin timeline. It ditched the dark and gritty stuff, went for an original story line and features a cameo by everyone’s favorite billionaire: Jeff Bezos.

However, now that I have seen more Star Trek than most people, I have a better perspective how the new movies compare to the established Star Trek canon. It is apparent that they made an effort in trying to make sure that the main cast is similar to the one of the show: Sulu is an amateur fencer, Bones complains a lot, Kirk is sarcastic and nonchalant in his approach to diplomacy. There are several scenes in the movies that are clearly directly inspired from the show. For example, the scene where a young Spock is being bullied to show emotion by other young Vulcans is straight of an episode of the animated series. In Beyond, Bones mention a giant green hand in space, which is actually the plot of “who mourns for Adonis”, an episode where the crew meets the Greek God Apollo. The distress signal coming from a planet surrounded by a strange anomaly is another trope that recurred several times in the show as well.

At the same time, however, they deviate in noticeable ways: Chekov does not make jokes about how everything was invented in Russia, Spock is far more emotional and does not say the word “fascinating” enough, and one of the main secondary character of the original series, Nurse Chapel, is nowhere to be seen. Also Spock and Uhura don’t have a romantic relationship in the show, but Nurse Chapel and Spock are implied to have feelings for each other.

I think the most glaring thing about Into Darkness that clashes with the classic Star Trek is the amount of arguing between the main Characters. In the original series, the main cast never have big disagreements. The only occasions were the crew argue with one another, they are either under the influence of something or someone is not who they say they are. The scene where Scotty resigns is not something that would fit within the canon of the original show. Uhura having relationship issues in the middle of a covert mission also feels out of place.

The dark, gritty and pessimistic tones of the movie is also in stark contrast with the optimistic tones of the original show. As dark as some of the episodes of the show got, like “The doomsday machine” or “Balance of Terror”, Things never got as bad as a giant ship crash in San Francisco bad.

That being said, I think that making a “true” Star Trek film based on the original series is going to be hard, manly because in order to be financially viable, you need to sell to the lowest common denominator. Action scenes and stuff blowing up is much easier to sell than a brainy sci-fi movie. I would love a Star Trek movie which deals with a tricky ethical dilemma and submarine style space battle (because that how it would realistically work!), but because Hollywood only understand money amounts greater than $250,000,000 in profits and perpetual hatred for fan made movie, I doubt we will see that movie any time soon.