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Lexomatic

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  1. For the moon (0:16), it resembles Mimas, the "Death Star" moon of Saturn -- I'm guessing that's a recent bombardment crater (by somebody's superweapon) with four concentric walls of ejecta. FWIW, the first caption line 演習1日目 reads "exercise first day" -- I thought it might be the name of the body. Yamato 2199 et seq. has put some effort into its astronomical realism -- at 1:57, on Day 7, they seem to be conducting exercises around a pulsar. Also, I don't care for the animation of the space fighters: IMHO, it's too Macross-y for this milieu. (My benchmark in this respect are the Starfuries from Babylon 5.) The Cosmo Pythons (that's the new-model Earth fighter, according to Yamato superfan site OurStarblazers.com) ignite engines and are instantly at full speed (0:45), rather than accelerating; they've got RCS thrusters but aren't consistently showing "thrust/counterthrust" (0:50), and make aerodynamic-style moves without thrusters (0:52, 1:06) such as scissoring/swooping (1:04). I do like that the console displays at 0:39 are more concise than in Macross.
  2. The awkward helmet-plus-cuirass (with four Technic pin connections, two lateral and two downward) was introduced for divers in the "Atlantis" theme in 2011, and I agree this is an improvement for Space contexts: it's akin to the two-stud trans-clear neck-bracket used in "Chima" to affix wings to the Eagle-tribe figs. Hasbro's KRE-O had something similar (neck-bracket with four studs) for the Transformers minifigs, several years ago. They're both more versatile than the MMU-style backpack-with-handgrips from CS in the late 1980s. I don't care for the medium-azure color, though; I'd prefer a neutral white or light-bley. For the windscreens, the trans-light-blue hue isn't very exciting. Set 60349 is clearly inspired by the NASA "Lunar Gateway" station and corresponding Orion spacecraft, whose service module has four solar panels in a cruciform arrangement. Hmm. We've had plenty of STS, but have any of the recent City spaceport sets inspired by the misbegotten SLS launcher? I try to avoid thinking about its particular configuration and distinctive features. On the station, the far-left end is the 4x4 curved-corner plate introduced for the Super Mario sets. The EVA'ing astronaut is wielding a power drill, which is funny considering the "oops, there's a hole in this newly-launched Roscosmos module of the ISS, so let's blame a U.S. astronaut" scandal over the past year. A power driver would be a more likely tool, but that element is found in a bagged tool-cluster, and who needs a 4-way lug wrench on a space station?
  3. I've recently started working through the SpeakerPodCast's back catalog during my thrice-weekly walking-trail exercise. Always fascinating, but to supply context and improve comprehensibility, might I suggest: At the start of each episode, state the date you're recording it. The publication date is metadata, but I don't necessarily look at the metadata if I'm letting my iPhone iterate through my podcast queue. Also at the start: what's the current state of emergency in Tokyo, and how has that impacted moving out-and-about? When name-dropping, help those of us who aren't so plugged-in to the industry and physical layout of Japan: People: "So-and-so, director of Series-PQR and Series-STU" Musicians: They tend to have weird names that a listener might not recognize when spoken. "Who's Main? Oh, May'n, the vocalist for Sheryl Nome. I thought it was pronounced May-uhn." Projects: "Title-XYZ, a TV series from 2007" Locations: "Held at Site-JKL, a small event venue in the basement of a department store in Gotanda ward, Tokyo" Each episode has an agenda but the actual direction of the conversation is seat-of-the-pants, so please keep in mind, "if we allude to XYZ, how much context (who/what/when/where/why) do listeners need, to understand why XYZ is significant?" If you realize during editing that clarification is needed, insert an explanation: "In this next section we talk about the production team for ABC: person 1, person 2, and person 3, whom we've met at several publicity events over the past five years, so they're willing to share extra details with us."
  4. Haven't fully screened 3.0+1.0 on Prime Video yet, but I've skimmed it. (I've been screening the Rebuild movies with my parents for lack of another audience with whom to share the cinematic experience, and 2.5 hours is potentially a slog for them. If you think you're confused, try explaining Hideaki ANNO's obscurantism to a couple of senior citizens whose main exposure to anime is Studio Ghibli films.) Initial thoughts:
  5. IMHO, the story (*) of Evangelion is first and foremost about character growth (i.e., transcending the "hedgehog's dilemma") so the civil and mecha engineering isn't the point, but I agree that the magnitude in the Rebuild movies strained credulity. My partial-head canon is that: Some of the NERV mega-installations were repurposed Progenitor facilities (to give a name to the aliens who seeded Earth with the so-called White and Black Moons). Post-N3I and post-SEELE, Gendo and Fuyutski used Progenitor automated manufactories that had been included in the seed packages, whose instructions were part of the so-called Apocrypha to the Dead Sea Scrolls. WILLE didn't build the AAA Wunder, but they did refit it. (Originally I speculated that it was a leftover Progenitor ship -- as in Nadia -- but the final movie gives a different *spoiler* origin.) They tapped a whole lot of international NERV materiel that Gendo wasn't using. (*) The story is about character growth, but the money is in the character goods: muscular mecha and cute protagonists.
  6. Re: the sequence in which humanity learns about the Protoculture Epoch: some is revealed in the episodes, but are additional (and less cinematic) details provided by the setting materials? Are we told of a NUNS Ministry of Xenoarchaeology on Earth that coordinates research reports from the emigrant fleets? Which works with diplomats to gain access to Protoculture ruins in sovereign (Zolans, Windermereans, etc.) and emigrant fleet quasi-sovereign planetary claims? (As a premise, this bears similarities to elements of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but with a much larger cast of players. Yeah, that's probably the domain of doujinshi or at best cast audio dramas, rather than official animations. Romance between middle-aged bureaucrats in rival ministries -- who are not threatened with daily violent death -- fighting great battles over funding priorities -- and singing karaoke!) In DYRL, it's "yay, we defeated Boddole Zer! But the galaxy has a thousand other fleets just as dangerous." In Macross 7, Exedol almost goes catatonic when he infers the Protodeviln have broken loose -- but there's no indication he had proactively warned humanity that "we might encounter this threat." Later, the fleet discovers the Protoculture infodump-installation. In Frontier, we learn there are "research" fleets -- presumably their remits would be astronomy, superdimension pathfinding, exobiology, xenoarchaeology and "this seems to be a regular Zentraedi patrol route." In Delta, the galaxy-telepathic network hijacked by the Windermere-Epsilon cabal has been interpreted by fans to be a last-ditch effort by a Protoculture remnant, but we don't get dates.
  7. I'll add a recommendation for Cyberverse (available on Hasbro's YouTube channel). The three seasons differ in tone, and it's not perfect, but it conveys enthusiasm that we haven't seen since Robots in Disguise (2015) -- certainly not in the Machinima trilogy or War for Cybertron. You'll have to accept that some of the characters look like G1, but their personalities have been modified -- sometimes for the better (belying his name, "Grim"lock is basically jovial-Aquaman from Batman: The Brave and Bold). There are no human characters, even during the season set on Earth (which is a plus for some viewers), but there's also a dearth of human crowds where they should exist (which has long been a problem in CG-animated TV -- if TMNT (2012) is set in NYC's Chinatown, why is it always deserted?). The third season feels truncated and has gaps in its plot arc, but the back half has some fun standalones.
  8. It's certainly convenient (for tech-head viewers) that the parallel lineages have non-conflicting and similar model numbers. I wonder how Earth and allied emigrant nations coordinate that? Do potential derivatives proactively get assigned numbers, or does Earth wait for each ally to register its intentions? The TV shows focus on only a couple of prominent, wealthy fleets, but there are oodles of emigrant planets and fleets ("Frontier" is #55) -- is a proliferation possible, with VF-25 through VF-45? FWIW, a subordinate numbering system like VF-24.1 through VF-24.21 would address that possibility; conversely, if Kawamori et al. wanted to confuse us, they could give each ally its own sequence, as with the Mitsubishi F-2 (for Japan) being a derivative of the General Dynamics F-16 (for the U.S.). Earth: We've adopted our Fifth Gen mainline fighter, and we're calling it the VF-24. Here are the redacted plans, folks. Emigrant fleet 1: We can do something interesting with this. Earth: First off the block! Yours shall be the VF-25. Emigrant fleet 3: Our engineers are chomping at the bit. They've proposed all sorts of fascinatingly unethical mods. Earth: And yours shall be the VF-27. --Wait, what?
  9. Re: the alleged utility of a transforming space battleship, I will quote Ryoko from the first Tenchi Muyo OAV: "that may all be true, but I'm not convinced." You get the same results ("point the spinal-mount weapon thattaway") by putting the engine exhausts on gimbals or having higher-thrust verniers, without wasting mass on transformation actuators. You might want to reorient the 20% of the ship's mass which is the gun instead of the 100% of the whole ship, but given how movement works in microgravity (i.e., when your feet aren't anchored to a much larger body) that's nigh-unavoidable. "Fighter-like maneuverability" you're not going to get without mass-reduction magic (as in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda) and why would you even need such a capability in a battleship? We haven't seen cap ship-on-cap ship dogfights ... well, except for the Macross Elysion high-speed water-skating in the vidclip above, and I refuse to believe that was actually a movement scenario programmed or endorsed by the shipbuilder. IMHO, this is irreducibly a "rule of cool"/"franchise's trademark style" thing, like Space Battleship Yamato using Pacific War tactics in space, or combining robots, or almost everything in Star Wars.
  10. IIRC, Anno is on record that he used Christian and Kabbalistic imagery and terminology because "rule of cool" -- since neither tradition was widespread in Japan (c.1995) they lent the show an air of exoticism. Which I agree would be classified as "mood" (aesthetics) but not "tone" (theme). (Evangelion is hardly alone among anime in "let's use Christian-style terminology, hierarchy, costumes and architecture, but with zero connection to Christian doctrine.") Anybody who is familiar with those concepts -- i.e., the unplanned-for Western audience -- is then predisposed to look for connections and subtext that simply don't exist. Certain explanations provided by the characters (Keel, Fuyutski, Ritsuko) can easily be dismissed as speculation, and therefore subject to revision in later chapters of the saga. If SEELE does know what's going on, that implies the alien progenitors included a manual with one or both of the "moons," and it was intended for the eventual genetic product, and could therefore be translated by them -- but the fact that only one group has got a hold of it (instead of the manual literally growing on trees where anyone can get a copy) implies a flaw in the progenitors' plan. (Which is kinda interesting itself; see also the Alien prequels.) It's easier to classify all this as "word of god" from Anno. "Congratulations on being a sentient species spawned by Panspermia Project, Seed #743. The ephemeris indicates 12.72 galactic rotations have occurred since seeding of your planet; for further information, tune to macronic bands 43908 through 43956. At this juncture, please select from the following teleological destinies for your civilization ...". Dramatically, there's a problem with "the characters are desperately confused until a late-series infodump of the setting materials" (as opposed to "they figure things out by their own efforts") but that's a recurring trope in anime. For that matter, it's how murder-mysteries are usually structured.
  11. And that's the distillation of all these point-by-point critiques, isn't it? Does ST:DSC entice you to spend your limited entertainment hours on it, or do you pick an alternative? For any show, each viewer will look for a different combination of ingredients ... Coherent plot, engaging mystery, quotable lines, individual performances, character interaction, fight choreography, space battles, mecha design, vistas, SF/F ideas and worldbuilding, commentary on current social issues or the human condition, whether it fits with/extends the larger fictional milieu, music ... and DSC doesn't excel at any of these. It has isolated moments, but it's mostly a slog. If you watched the whole thing in real time there was the hope that maybe the disparate pieces would eventually converge in a satisfying way ; but if you're on the fence, you can rely on reviews that no, they don't. A corporate owner relies on "fannish loyalty" regardless of quality, but a responsible entertainment-consumer will recognize commitment bias and sunk-cost fallacy, and jump ship.
  12. I haven't bought any of the WFC figures, but I like the color blocking on Seeker Sandstorm, he's a reasonable scale for my collection, and video reviews (for example, PrimeVsPrime) show good articulation, an interesting transformation, and an acceptable degree of vehicle-mode undercarriage kibble. I suppose I'll have to investigate one of the mail-order options? Which I haven't bothered with, before now; my one third-party fig I bought at TFCon Toronto, and the chronically terrible selection at my local Target (and before that, at TRU) has destroyed any holistic sense of the breadth of each annual line. If I opted to use a panel-lining pen to further improve Sandstorm's deco, how well does the ink stand up to handling, I wonder? Given that transforming figures entail more fiddling than a Gunpla. I notice that a double-hinge-with-cover-panel limb-collapsing technique is used on both the arms and legs. That's probably easiest to mold and assemble, but a telescoping joint would be more intuitive and faster to actuate (one movement instead of four).
  13. This might have been addressed in an episode of the "Ready Room " after-show -- haven't watched it myself, but I'm told there's some useful insight into the worldbuilding intentions -- but here's how I posit it could work: It's a two-step process. At your origin, the passenger is wearing a pair of teleport-modules, A and B. Module A sends B *out* to the destination. Module B, hovering in mid-air, beams the passenger and A *in*, then re-adheres to the passenger's lapel. All of this happens too quickly (ka-foomp!) for the separate steps to be visible. Regardless, a "personal transporter" requires techniques other than those of the 24cen, which involve scanners and pattern-buffers which are all much larger than the cargo. Hmm. Maybe the instrumentality is larger, but it's hidden away, TARDIS-style. Apart from Discovery's exasperating turbolift-cavern, the Tikhov-M seed-vault ship also had an impossibly large interior, so maybe that's meant to be an enabling technology of 28cen-or-later, and the show simply neglected to tell us. ("Our 23cen refugees are practically neanderthals, but we can only allocate five minutes to learning about 32cen tech, so do it all on the bridge with their omnibadges and p-matter consoles.")
  14. DSC has so many problems that it's no longer worth our time to discuss them individually (*). Instead they can be grouped by type, and then arranged in a hierarchy: which questionable decisions represent a maker-audience difference in dramatic priority and style, and which are incompetent in any show? Which of them leave a show that's still salvageable? At the show's start, fan discontent focused on visual continuity (Klingons, starship shape) and milieu continuity (what's this war we've never heard about?). Then the problems were Burnham as Mary Sue, and competently structuring a season-long arc. It's now inescapable that the writing is incompetent at an even smaller scale, with things like "the adversary's death is an afterthought" and "what's the hullaballoo about the Sphere Data?" We can't attribute the incompetence to any single staffer, though; given the number of writers and producers, "too many cooks spoil the soup" is a definite possibility. Did the scripts get edited (badly) by producers? Were the individual writers told, "concentrate on your ep, and we'll script-edit so they fit together"? (*) The entire mess would probably make a good-sized thesis -- business decisions, picking the production team and whether they have the right amount of experience, writing, the dynamics of audience discussion.
  15. The problem with "Su'kal the marooned Kelpien psychically caused the Burn" are twofold, IMHO: Dilithium has never been attested to have psychic properties. Lack of thematic consequentiality. Trek invents new technobabble and new properties thereof all the time, but "dilithium can mutate Kelpiens into sympathetic resonance" had no groundwork this season -- not "Discovery's 32cen refit includes novel uses of dilithium" or "Book's nature-empathic powers are amplified by dilithium" or "Saru reads about Kelpien cultural development in the past 900 years." (It's almost Macross fold quartz and biological fold waves -- if Su'kal had triggered the Burn while singing rather than terrified, I'd have to call foul.) The Burn isn't an attack, environmental terrorism, scientific hubris, industrial overdevelopment, or a cosmic natural disaster that spacegoing civilizations have to deal with every few millennia (a "great filter"). The only possible connection is to Saru, as in "oops, I'm embarrassed on behalf of my species' accidental culpability" -- and Saru's not even the show's main character. (There's general agreement that "main character" is a bad fit for Trek, but if you're gonna do it, do it right.) Now, the idea that "exploding dilithium can cause a subspace shockwave" has precedent -- viz., Star Trek 6, the Klingon moon Praxis, and the wave that hit Excelsior. (Disclaimer: Due to the holiday, I've thus far only skimmed the episode and reviews thereof.)
  16. I'm not sure it's "plagiarized" -- Kirsten Beyer was executive story editor for season 2, and is a co-producer on season 3, so she may've freely tossed the idea into the pot in the writers room. Evidently the show wants us to believe one exists, since it's got a Twitter account. Warning: feed includes behind-the-scenes video of Grudge the Cat mugging for the camera. (Whatever "co-producer" may entail in responsibility and authority -- there are 20 listed executive, co-executive, supervising, consulting, co-, and no-bloody-A-B-C-or-D producers -- see the official PGA credit guidelines for long-form TV. Huh, "consulting producer" isn't a PGA title. At least during the Berman era, you could trace bad decisions to one guy.) Earlier this season, when we learned The Burn was due to exploding dilithium, at least one poster on TrekMovie.com speculated the idea had been borrowed from the TOS novel The Last Roundup (Christie Golden, 2002), to wit, the antagonists-du-jour had widely distributed a viral nanoprobe as a plot to inactivate dilithium and corner the market (see also: the James Bond movie Goldfinger), but didn't realize it would instead fracture lower-grade crystals, hence warp core breaches. That's still as-maybe, since we now know there was a center to The Burn, but we don't know what's hidden within the Verubin Nebula, apart from the Kelpien science vessel Khi'eth and a dilithium nursery.
  17. Splitting the wings into three splayed segments is something that was done with Thundercracker in the IDW comics for a while, during a period when the designs were tweaked to be more Bayformer-ish. Ooh. The Chengdu J-20 "Mighty Dragon" is a sweet-looking (*) fifth-gen fighter (now that I look), and this toy has one sweet transformation -- very little jet-mode undercarriage kibble, nor robot-mode back- and leg-kibble. Nice color blocking (three shades of grey vs. -- pale blue? mauve?), and the rib-like shapes around the thorax/canopy add some angular contrast to the stealth-curves. Stealthy zig-zags that break up what would otherwise be large blank areas. Head isn't excessively blocked by the shoulder pads. Engine nozzles end up on the calves rather than the feet (personally, this always bothers me -- squashing two very different mechanisms into one spot). I don't see anything that looks like a third-of-jet-on-one-swingarm transformational technique. One of the reviewers is pleased about the die-cast fraction, and indeed it's visible in the calves and feet. The package photos reveal that it comes with a stand for jet mode, but there's no indication how to support the robot. There's a sniper rifle-ish hand weapon, but I can't tell if it stows in the jet or display stand. I think I see a couple of spots where a faction insignia (courtesy of Toyhax) could sensibly go in dual-mode or robot-mode-only. (*) Not the same thing as "effective in any of its intended roles." (Do we have a thread for transforming toys that are neither Macross, Transformer, nor unlicensed Transformer character? For example, there's the whole since-2017 "52TOYS - Beast Box" line of mostly-dinosaurs that fold into cubes.)
  18. "Are home theater and a cinema interchangeable?" depends very much on personal taste, and it's a "why not both?" situation where the choice is repeated. There are evidently a lot of people who prefer going to a cinema for at least some of their movie experiences, for technical or emotional reasons -- anything from "no arrangement of subwoofers is compatible with my living room" to "I want to get out of the house." (Personally, I enjoy the experience of a "going out for" a movie -- stages of anticipation, the camaraderie of other moviegoers; and to replicate the technical quality at home would be fiscally illogical, given that I spend only ~$200 per year, as a solo viewer. The equation is tilted differently for consumers who can't tolerate other moviegoers, face family-scale expenditures, or have small bladders.) The question is: will the choice continue to exist? Will cinemas survive as individual businesses and as a sector? -- they're in mothballs now, but are there any parts of the supply chain that will die permanently because they require a critical mass? Studios will continue to produce movies. Modern digital projectors are (probably?) easier to maintain than film projectors. Popcorn and powered recliners are no danger. Expertise is widely distributed. Even if there are bankruptcies in the exhibitor chains now, if market demand revives, there will be investors interested in recapitalizing them (in the current global low-interest-rate environment, there's a whole lot of money looking for returns -- and that's likely to be true for at least several years).
  19. Apart from Basara's suboptimal childhood (what little we know of it), maybe child psychologists don't exist, period? Given the whole cultural bottleneck of "one million human survivors of the Rain of Death, most of them on off-planet installations," I'd expect that many specialist jobs haven't been reinvented, especially if they rely on skills learned by an unbroken chain of apprenticeship rather than from books. (In that vein, I'm still wondering how Alto Saotome's lineage of kabuki performers was lucky enough to survive, or enough of an Arab-ethnic population to establish a place like Al Shahal in Delta.) The non-diegetic explanation is that (a) anime rarely does psychological subtlety and (b) Japan has lousy child mental health services (citation), so the writers might not even think in that direction.
  20. The difference being that LEGO elements have an intrinsic value, even if there's a crash in appreciated-inflated prices for sets. For the foreseeable future (*) there will always be somebody who'll want to use those bricks, even if they're dumped en-masse into a brick pit for kids, rather than scrupulously parted-out on BrickLink. But printed pasteboard cards don't have a secondary purpose other than making flippety-flippety noises in bicycle spokes. (*) Until/unless some kind of high-res tactile-VR supplants the entire market sector of plastic building toys.
  21. Re: that unauthorized 5800-piece Macross-like set -- interesting hybrid of the TV and DYRL stylings. It's got the general shape of the TV version, with aircraft carriers; but has the grey color, leg-greebling, and six-nozzle engine arrays of the movie; plus extra red stripes, minus the nose-prongs. AliExpress co-sells include a chibi version of the Macross in Attacker mode, the Yamato and Andromeda from Space Battleship Yamato, the boxy Mark 2 and pointy Mark 7 Vipers from Battlestar Galactica (2004), and the EAS Agamemnon from Babylon 5, and another one.
  22. LWB was a head-scratcher when TLG announced it in August -- how is the intent distinct from IDEAS? -- but "official platform for collaborative fanfic / potential monetary reward" covers it nicely. Collaboration is a big thread in AFOLdom -- apart from standards that permit ad hoc town, train and moonbase layouts, in the LUGNET era there was a slew of space themes defined by color scheme (Neo Classic Space, 3vil, Jade Empire, etc.) and the MOCs often came with backstories -- but it's novel that TLG has officially recognized/endorsed/harnessed the impulse, as opposed to tolerating it. I get the impression that Bionicle, as LEGO's second theme-with-story (not the first -- that would be Fabuland -- just the first in the internet era) inspired a lot of non-plastic fan-art. Press release at lego.com (Aug 20) Explanation at The Brick Blogger (Aug 24) Press release on Brickset (Aug 24) GoldenNinja3000 explains, on Brickset (Aug 27) With IDEAS, TLG may have noticed the prevalence of (a) clusters of single-set proposals that comprise a theme, and (b) numerous independent submissions on a topic. They might hope that the enthusiasm expressed in (b) can be bundled together. To borrow a term from publishing, there's gotta be a sizeable team reviewing the "slush pile." So far, LWB is less entertaining than IDEAS -- an abstract, barely-fleshed idea doesn't grab you like a picture of a MOC. A MOC you can instantly decide "I'd buy that" or identify specific aspects to comment/criticize -- but a world-proposal demands a lot more thought. Finding a world to which you can contribute requires effort; creating a contribution (text, illustration, MOC) is serious effort.
  23. If "LEGO IDEAS" (f.k.a. Cuusoo) is about single sets proposed by individual fans, then "LEGO World Builder powered by Tongal" (LWB) is about themes proposed by a leader which then accrete content from an ad hoc community. More generally, stories -- the worlds might be tapped for video content, not for toys. Unlike IDEAS, you can propose extensions of existing TLG-owned themes. It's not clear if TLG has lost confidence in its own ability to generate themes, wants a new form of market research, or is merely using this to drive engagement (TLG has done a whole lot of "throw stuff at the wall" experimentation over the past five years, I'm saying). Or maybe it's more subtle: encourage young builders to feel ownership of original ideas, i.e., "have we done imagination a disservice by providing so many official stories?" (From AFOL events, I know there's a segment of the market who need social-approval to "color outside the lines.") The "elements" of a story are characters, society, history, places, storylines, transport, items, and resources. Thumbnails for each element-file are exposed, but to open files, login is required; and it's a separate account -- unlike IDEAS, LWB doesn't federate your lego.com credentials. There's a TOS but no FAQ, so a lot of entries seem to violate the "must be 18" and "don't infringe on IP" rules. As with IDEAS, nobody seems to be moderating submissions for the latter. There's a "help wanted" set of filters (rather like open-source site ... um, whasisname ... it was a big deal 20 years ago, pre-GitHub), but none for "most collaborators" or "has been populated with content." To date, most of the discussion comments are "your world is neat / please vote for mine." There are some neat worlds: ReMyth -- Legendary fauna have returned and are remixing. It's by illustrator Mike Rayhawk, creator of the BrikWars/QuikWars tabletop rulesets and concept artist for LEGO Universe. The barrier to creating a world is low, so inevitably there's a lot of dreck -- much of it obviously written by people who don't meet the 18-year minimum stipulated by the TOS. If you view them as "premise for a motion comic or funny video," a larger fraction become palatable. LEGO Banana World -- "Our world is filled with banana people. The building [sic] are shaped like peeled bananas and the world itself is a giant banana." That one has a summary image and "about" passage but no elements. Purim is the Jewish Halloween (it involves masks and costumes, I gather?) is prima facie a poor fit for TLG, but it originated in one of the platform's "story prompts" -- "families watch a LEGO Holiday special" will elicit some that are religious in nature. (This project has a generic and ill-fitting "T-rex roaring at minifig" summary image -- I've seen it on a bunch of worlds, so it must be a default you can choose. Also, the architect went overboard with the tags: "dystopian, time travel, superhero.") There's a whole slew of "holiday X with Goopy Ghost" worlds (e.g., Goopy Ghost St. Patrick's Day), but created by the IP holder, author (not illustrator) Terry Verduin a.k.a. V.R. Duin. Please return Bionicle to it [sic] former glory isn't even a project, just a cri de coeur. Some worlds clearly violate TOS section III re: IP infringement. KonaSuba -- which is a recent RPG-styled isekai light novel/TV anime/movie, I gather? (The psychology of such things seems to be "fans are fickle / young enthusiasts want their latest shiny in LEGO form.")
  24. Episode 3.2 "Far from Home": We see what happened to Discovery (TL;DR, they emerged a year after Burnham). We still haven't gotten a full run-down of the future's circumstances, but more importantly we get (a) an ensemble-style story, and (b) Saru being adamant about Starfleet principles. Unfortunately the director is again Olatunde Osunsanmi with his fondness for shakycam. Also, the script makes the common mistake of assuming the ship is the only resource the characters have: no mention of auxiliary craft (not even "they were all lost in the battle against CONTROL"); "internal communications are down" but they don't fall back on handheld communicators. The bridge crew are addressed by name and get lines. Linus the Saurian speaks for the first time. We have extended interactions between Stamets and Culber, Stamets and Reno, Saru and Tilly, and Saru and Georgiou. Oh, and Dr. Pollard's first name is Tracy (per the end-credits). The thug-courier Zareh uses the term "V'Draysh," as established in Short Treks; it seems to be an insulting term for the former Federation (I had theorized that it might apply to a fragment of the UFP -- successor states to the Star League, for BattleTech fans among you). We see a future repair-kit in use, with the term "programmable matter." A critical communications "transtator" is disabled and they need "rubindium" to repair it -- terms dating back to TOS. Zareh comments that "the Burn was the best thing that happened to me" which can be interpreted either as (a) he thrives in the lawless environment or (b) he's old enough to have lived through it, a century ago -- which is biologically more interesting. Upon arrival, Discovery has 88 crew, including injured. They quickly establish that this planet isn't Terralysium, but when Saru and Tilly meet the locals, they learn it's never received a proper name -- so it's not Hima from last week. (Still played by Iceland, though.) There appears to be a giant hole in its side, it's surrounded by rocks, and more rocks are hovering above the surface, like Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains -- and it's a while before anybody (namely, Tilly) comments on them. Discovery is able to plow through the rocks (let's just assume efficacious structural integrity fields), then crash (with some cushioning by shields and graviton beams) on an ice field (well, at least its flattish shape makes it a better candidate than some ships). The ice is "parasitic" (wouldn't be the strangest lifeform Trek has encountered). Re: Burnham's freak-out over the demise of the Federation: The point is, she's not thinking straight; she's not only lost Vulcan control, but also Vulcan logic, i.e., first establish your premises before drawing conclusions. She hadn't even established that she was in the same part of the galaxy as "her" 23cen UFP. That's either a scriptwriting flaw (sometimes writers show poor theory of mind: what they know isn't what the characters know) or an intentional shortcut.
  25. Episode 3.1 focuses on Burnham, and she's too emotionally drained (*) to ask the right questions about the new era in which she's arrived (**). In episode 3.2 (tonight) it appears the Discovery and the rest of the cast will arrive -- much later, because handwave-wormhole-dynamics -- and maybe then we'll get necessary milieu details to judge the quality of the worldbuilding (use of smart matter, alternative-drive ships, hybrid people with genetic or cyber super-powers, how many post-Federation fragments there are, etc.). One promising point is this: Burnham's no longer set up to be the cause of galactic events. Instead, she's going to make the best of the place she's arrived -- as a "true believer" she will try to improve the world, so she may remain central to the show, but that's the role of any TV show's idealistic main character. It might still be a "as outsiders, this crew is uniquely positioned to make a difference" situation -- is that a variant of the "white savior" trope? (*) A lot of fan complaints about her shock at the Book's news the Federation has fallen (***), which is an objectively reasonable event after 900 years. But (a) her first priority was that life of any kind survived, (b) it's reasonable if she never really thought about the UFP's long-term prospects, (c) her UFP is only a century old and hasn't faced the many existential threats of the TOS and TNG eras which we know are lurking, (d) she's completely forgotten any emotional training she learned on Vulcan. Actually, I'd've been happier if her emotion had tilted to the "drained and numb" end ("What? Gone? But... Oh. 900 years. That's not surprising. I guess?") rather than histrionic. More Arthur Dent after Earth is demolished by Vogons ("start with something smaller ... there will never again be a McDonald's hamburger"). (**) Despite the fact she and Book -- however reticent he may be -- spent hours trudging across the moors of space-Iceland. I swear, sometimes TV writers forget what "compressed time" is. (***) Her first assumption is they're talking about the same Federation, which from her POV isn't necessarily true -- in 900 years it may have fallen, revived, and been conquered several times. It's our assumption, because we're privy to far-future characters like the USS Relativity and Time Agent Daniels.
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