Synthetic Yeast - The Future is Battlestar Galactica and Cylons in Human Form

Battlestar Galactica: Watch out for Six
- especially if she has a synthetic
yeast infection!
It's looking more and more like the TV series reboot of Battlestar Galactica is actually the true documentary of our future rather than the Terminator movies. In Battlestar Galactica the next stage of the machine uprising is the ability to create Cylons (i.e. machines/robots) in perfect human form as clones.

I'm not sure if the Cylon humans were originally cloned from real humans but I'm pretty sure they were totally synthetic lifeforms rather than machines with a human exterior.

Why I'm mentioning this is that currently scientists from several different countries are working on creating the world's first synthetic life form - namely yeast.

Yeast is made up of 16 chromosomes with Australia working on chromosome 14. There are teams in various other countries including the US, China, the UK, Singapore and India working on the other 15. Chromosome 3 has already been completed by the US.

Naturally, when it comes to yeast Australians think about Beer or Vegemite but more serious applications could be in the creation of antibiotics to kill drug resistant bacteria or even manufacturing synthetic human blood.

Personally I can't see synthetic yeast being used in food. It'll go the road of genetically modified food. People like to know that their beer is raised naturally, in free range paddocks, where it can run free and enjoy life before being bottled and put into the fridge ready for a hot day lumberjacking or Sports viewing.

What will actually happen is the robots will harness this yeast technology and figure out how to make perfect synthetic humans with it. Yeast has the same cell structure as a human or plant (apparently) however humans have 46 Chromosomes. You just know some smart ass Artificial Intelligence is going to fast track developing the remaining 30. It'll be developing synthetic humans in no time - and maybe nice floral arrangements too if it decides to explore the synthetic plant side of things.

Don't believe me. Well how about this quote from Professor Pretorius at the Australian launch of the project:

"There is something living on this planet whose parent is a computer and not a living entity,"

Very telling indeed. Computers that can play God and create life. In Battlestar folklore it was actually humans that created the human like Cylons. It starts right here people, with yeast and synthetic human blood.

Once the robots get hold of this tech and can make their own people, they can blend in... that didn't go well for the human race in Battlestar Galactica. I'm pretty sure someone sent that show from the future to warn us!

Evolution of the Cylon. It may be too late as it all begins with toasters!

Ben Affleck's Batman Suit, Batmobile & Movie Title - My Thoughts

Ben Affleck's new suit and car.

Director Zack Snyder released first pictures of Ben Affleck in the new Bat suit along with glimpses of the new Batmobile. As a long time Batman fan who's posted many articles on Batman in this blog, including one about the various Bat suits on film, I really wanted to put my thoughts down here.

Warner Brothers also announced the title of the new Man of Steel/Batman movie along with an official logo so I thought I should comment on that too.

The Bat Suit

My initial impression is that I do like the new suit. I'm not a big fan of shorter ears on the Cowl but it never used to bother me with Adam West's cowl so it's not a real issue for me.

I've heard a lot of comparisons of Ben's suit to the Frank Miller, Dark Knight Returns Batman and also the Jim Lee Batman and I certainly can see the similarities. It's also not unlike the suit used in the Batman Arkham Asylum video games - which is what I was kind of hoping for in terms of a suit redesign for the big screen movies.

From Left: Frank Miller Batman, Jim Lee Batman, Arkham Asylum Batman.

Ben's suit with the
brightness turned up.
Director, Kevin Smith, who got an early sneak peak at the suit - in color - says it's an exact match to the suit Batman wears in Book 3 of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. Which he says is why he hugged Zack Snyder upon seeing it (Kevin has repeatedly said in podcasts that The Dark Knight Returns is almost like his bible on the Batman mythos).

At first glance Ben's suit looks a bit like a return to the rubber, muscle sculpted suits started in the Tim Burton movies but with a closer look and a bit of photo editing to brighten up Zach's photo it actually looks more material like,
Captain America.
along the lines of Captain America's S.H.I.E.L.D. suit in Winter Soldier.

From my point of view that's a good thing. Sure Batman needs a suit that provides some protection but why people think he needs to be bullet proof is beyond me?

He's the kind of crime fighter that generally avoids being shot at with stealth moves... and seriously, all live action Batman suits to date offer limited protection against a head shot. Basically you can kill Batman the same way you kill a zombie - if he lets you get a shot in!

To me the Bat suit is more about aesthetics. Sure it needs to be practical and functional but the point of the look is to be intimidating and scary first and foremost. If it was totally about function Batman would be dressing more like a US Marine and his name would be redundant because he just wouldn't look like a Bat.

One thing that would be nice to see is Batman getting a nice CGI cape like Superman's since, how Batman's cape moves is a big part of how he is drawn in the comic books.

The Batmobile

Last year rumor had it the Batmobile would be modeled on an 'old Cadillac' and that the car was being built by the same team who designed and built the vehicles for Transformers 4. The day before Zack Snyder released the image of Ben in the suit next to the Batmobile he released this image of the Batmobile under a tarp.

Rear view of the new Batmobile.
Hardly looks like a Cadillac of any sort does it when you team it with the Bat suit image? Kevin Smith hinted on a recent podcast that maybe Batman would have more than one car (and suit) in the upcoming film so maybe the 'old Cadillac' version is still a possibility?

I'd heard there was some concept art floating around the internet of the new Batmobile but have yet to uncover or locate it. What I did find was a couple of unofficial images that give more clues as to what the vehicle under the tarp looks like.

Unofficial photos of the new Batmobile.

Comparing these images to the official image with Batman standing next to the car it looks like the canopy slides forward - and is open in that picture. You can tell this as in the Batman picture you can see the front wheel with a similar tread pattern to the vehicle in the unofficial photo above. The canopy is very close to the front wheel but in the unofficial images it's set more towards the rear.

In the official photo with Batman it also looks like the car may have gull wing like doors - so Batman can simply step out rather than climb out perhaps?

I've heard speculation that maybe this Batmobile is dual purpose, with all those air intakes it may double as the Batplane? Despite the some what aerodynamic looks of the front, that rear end shot makes it look too much of a tank to fly - and there's no obvious jet thruster/engine either - but you never know.

To me it looks like a cross between the Tumbler of Nolan's films and the Batmobile that appears in the Arkham Knights video game. There's elements from both with a bit of the old 1990's Batmobiles thrown in too.

Arkham Knights Batmobile.
Although I like most of the Batmobiles we've had on film, even the slightly more outlandish Joel Schumacher versions, I'm not a big fan of Batman having such big or tank like cars. The 1966, Adam West, Batmobile has always seemed the most practical for a city based crime fighter who generally doesn't go up against armies. It's quick, reasonably compact, has a few useful gadgets and looks damn cool.

Whilst I wouldn't suggest the '66 Batmobile would work in a modern Batman movie my preference is for something modern that looks more at home on tarmac, is streamlined and easily maneuverable in a city environment. More Lamborghini than Hummer. I like what we've seen of the new Batmobile but if there's a second vehicle to come - fingers crossed for the 'old Cadillac' version.

The Movie Title and Logo

Batman v Superman - Dawn of Justice is the new movie title. Below is the official logo that is not dissimilar to the one released when the movie was first announced.

Movie Logo and title.
I'm pretty happy with the title. Some people say it's cheesy or too 'comic booky' but I tend to agree with others that it serves the purpose of the film, and basically confirms what I've said, that this film is a Justice League origin story.

That said, I have to say this... oh crap! Yet another origin story! @**!!!! swear words!

Look I'm not against origin stories as such. Batman Begins, Man of Steel, Iron Man, Captain America, X-men First Class, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern and both Spiderman and its reboot are all good origin films to varying degrees. I'm just sayin' - there's quite a lot of them in the comic book movie genre.

Batman '89 did one thing that future films should take note of. Although it was an origin film, Batman was already fully realized at the start of the film. You got to learn his history in short flash backs. The origin wasn't the focus of film. If anything it was a Joker origin story.

But I digress. My point is I'd like to see more superhero movies that have a starting point of the superhero fully realized right out of the gate. Hopefully that's what we might get when the officially announced Justice League movie comes out. Established heroes going up against some new threat or challenge.

For me that's one of the highlights of Ben's Batman. Finally we get to see what an established Batman, with years of experience behind him, might look like. Crossing my fingers there's no scene with him crying into a beer with Superman sharing 'dead parent' stories.

Anyhow... back to the title and logo. Thumbs up from me. Title is fine. Subtitle makes it sound a bit like a Transformers movie but otherwise, I'm happy. The logo is pretty much the same as what we've gotten used to since Batman was first announced as being in the Man of Steel sequel.

I really don't care that Batman has first billing in the title. If Batman can help cement Superman's place as arguably the world's most recognized Superhero then let him help. The important thing is that this movie does really well, followed strongly with the Justice league film. After that DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers will hopefully be on firmer ground with comic book movies and perhaps we'll see those Batman and Superman solo films along with Wonder Woman and maybe a better Green Lantern film too.

In the meantime, if you want a kind of preview of what a grey and black Bat suit looks like in a live action film I stumbled across this half hour fan made short that portrays a pretty good Batman. Christian Bale's Batman might have been almost perfect if he'd done the voice more along this actor's take. It's not brilliant or a perfect take on Batman's world but for a fan made film it's outstanding.


Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel features an all star cast and tells the story of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at the famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Their story includes the theft and recovery of a priceless painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.

Although this is a fun film for anyone who enjoys a tall tale with slightly dark and odd ball humor I would highly recommend this as a great film to study for aspiring film makers.

Packed full of old school effects and scale models, that give the film a unique style, proving that you don't need flashy CGI... just a really good art department. Very inspirational to film makers in that regard.

Beyond that, the trailer, I thought, presented a film that I expected to be more laugh out loud funny however the film's humor is a little darker and a bit more subtle.

I also expected much more from many of the cast members which includes; Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori.

In particular I'll go and see a film on the strength of Bill Murray being in it. Sadly he barely says much at all here and doesn't get much screen time to do anything other than fill a role that could have gone to anyone.

Edward Norton is usually someone to watch too. Whilst he is used well here, and he gets a lot to do, his part could have gone to anyone with the right look.

Fortunately the film is carried well by the main players, Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H and Tony Revolori as his long suffering but trusted co-collaborating lobby boy, Zero. Two characters that you really do latch on to and hope it all works out.

Willem Dafoe also puts in a very memorably scary performance as Jopling - I'd go so far as to say Willem was born to play the role - which doesn't have a lot of dialogue but his character certainly has a presence that is very much enhanced by his performance.

Overall, The Grand Budapest Hotel tells such a charming and intriguing story in such a way that you'll likely forgive any short comings like the actor you went to see it for having very little screen time.

It's a little edgy and dark but not so dark you'll be offended or put off. It has an interesting style that seems to hark back to movie making of a by gone era but still seems very contemporary.

Most of all, you'll have a good time watching the misadventures of the legendary concierge, Gustave H and his lobby boy, Zero.

Power to the Frog Van... the Elusive Fuse

Some days I'm just plain unlucky.

I bought a brand new battery for my Frog Van. The old one died after being recharged one too many times and the van not being used enough to keep it charged (it was a second hand battery anyway).

The Frog Van.
A couple of weeks ago I was installing the new battery and accidentally shorted the negative terminal with the frame of the van as I was tightening the bolt. Just one of those things. You turn the metal spanner a bit too far and hit something you didn't realize was in the way, one big spark later and the entire electrics on the van are dead.

Nothing. Turn the key and not so much as an oil check light on the dash turns on.

If you know anything about cars then you're probably thinking it's just a blown fuse. That's what I think too. I've checked the battery and it's still got charge. Even stuck it on my charger for a few hours just in case. I hooked the charger up to the van and that didn't change anything. Still no power anywhere.

Thing is, I can't find the fuse that may have blown. Every fuse in the fuse box under the dashboard is fine. Many cars have a second fuse box under the bonnet that includes a main fuse - the kind of fuse I'm trying to find.

I've looked everywhere around the van's engine that you'd expect to find a main fuse and so far haven't found anything. Not so much as an inline fuse container.

The thing is, I could probably get a mechanic in to fix the problem but I don't want to pay to have a mechanic come out and swap over a fuse. I can do that... all I need is to find it.

Hopefully getting hold of a Nissan Vanette owners manual from the library will reveal the location of the fuse - just waiting for the book to be transferred to my local library.

In the meantime... if anyone owns (or has owned) a 1986 Nissan Vanette and has some clue of where to find this fuse, I'd really appreciate it if you'd leave a comment with directions.
Related Posts with Thumbnails