Archive for September, 2010

New feature: An edifying roundtable on the possibilities of life on Gliese 581g

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Are you, like the rest of the world, wondering what life forms exist on the new wonder planet that everyone’s talking about, Gliese 581g?


Then check out our edifying roundtable. And prepare yourself for an education on aliens. And space fetuses.

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Roundtable: Which alien lifeforms inhabit Gliese 581g?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Aliens are real, and they’re close.

The evidence is clear. Just last week, the UN (kinda sorta) appointed Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman as its official alien ambassador. Then, several members of the US Air Force claimed that UFOs have been spying on our nukes for over half a century.

Finally, on Wednesday, scientists announced the discovery of a planet in the Gliese (GLEE-Zuh) solar system that, according to at least one of the scientists on the project, has a 100 percent chance of life. The planet’s name? Gliese 581g. And it’s a close 21 light years away.

So, yes, obviously aliens exist, and they’re living on GLEE-Zuh. But what kind of life? What do these aliens look like? Which sci-fi alien calls GLEE-Zuh home?

To discuss the possibilities, we have assembled a small roundtable of completely unqualified fools, who also happen to write for Handshake. Enjoy, and leave your comments below.

Doxtad: Handshake editor-in-chief

Ask any real telescope peeper and she’ll tell you, “Gliese 581g is a beautiful planet, full of pristine sandy beaches and gorgeous sunny weather.” That’s a fact. Now some armchair Newtons might say, “Given Gliese 581g’s proximity to its star and the age of its solar system, the planet is very likely tidally locked.” Tidally locked objects, like our moon, have one side that’s always facing the sun. The day side burns at incredible temperatures; the rocks melt, the oceans boil, while the the dark side turns into a barren frozen wasteland.

And this is true of Gliese 581g. Luckily, when Gliese 581g finally stopped rotating it was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon on the day side and a nice, breezy Saturday evening on the night side. And that’s how it stayed. Sound familiar?

Let’s call Gliese 581g what it really is: Ursa Minor Beta, home of Megadodo publications, publisher of the great Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is good news and bad news. Good news: We finally have a place to launch a formal complaint about our poor planet’s review in the Guide. Bad news: Once our astronauts travel the 21 light years it takes to get there, the A-holes who run the company will probably make them wait in the lobby the entire time.

Don’t panic. I’m still willing to go. I’ve already packed my towel.

Andrew Z. Williams: Handshake contributor

Gliese 581g is the home of the so-called “Space Fetus” from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mean, that giant fetus has gotta live somewhere, right? He needs somewhere to have a little downtime, just hang out and watch Felicity on DVD, you know?

Also, the conditions on Gliese 581g seem perfect; half of the planet is in permanent darkness, facing away from Gliese; this is great for fetuses, since they need the darkness of the womb (you want this space fetus to be born nice and healthy, and grow up into a tall, strapping space man, don’t you?). Plus, once he makes it out of his planet-sized womb, he’ll have the daylight side of the planet to lie around on, learn to crawl, potty train, etc. Trust me, when this giant space baby starts potty training, we don’t want him orbiting Earth.

Tiago Moura, Handshake web project manager

This is a poorly CGIed rendition of a bioraptor as depicted in the movie Pitch Black
I don’t know, sounds a bit Pitch Black-ish to me. The tidal lock lends itself to the procreation of light-phobic bioraptors, which would burrow underground on the far side of the planet, multiply like crazy, and eventually come out on the light side during a full solar eclipse.

If we plan on visiting the planet at any point, we’d better bring a Samus bounty hunter-type Light Suit and a whole lot of phazon packs to blast through the countless bioraptors that will inevitably try to tear us to shreds. Either that or bring a Furion, but I hear they’re unreliable.

Kevin Morris, Handshake web editor

As far as I’m concerned there are only two choices: the blob, or Superman. Why the blob? Gravity, baby. All that extra mass means that Gliese 581g’s gravity is like, way more than planet earth’s. Which means you aren’t going to have any alien giraffes, or Yao Mings.

Instead, you’ll have organisms close to ground, or maybe even stuck, blob-like to the ground. Blob-like. Therefore, the blob. This massive blow-your-mind logical acrobatics brings us to the following conclusion: the blob lives with all its evil gross brothers and sisters on Gliese 581g. And since The Blob pretty much was the first scary move I ever watched, and it stole much of my entire fifth year on this planet due to the horror it wrought on my innocent mind, I already hate this stupid fucking planet.

Second — and these are definitely not mutually exclusive — there is a good chance Gliese 581g is actually Krypton, Superman’s home planet. In the same way that the planet’s extra gravity would create blobbish blob creatures, it would also create creatures with god-like physical strength.


Take Superman’s fabled strength and ability to leap over a tall building in a single bound.

According to Kakalios, this can be explained by understanding the gravity on Krypton, Superman’s home planet.

“Just as our muscles and skeleton are adapted to earth’s gravity … Superman’s body must be adapted to the much larger gravity of Krypton to be able to leap tall buildings,” says Kakalios, during a phone interview from Minneapolis. (via UWO)

Now I hate this planet even more. Superman is the worst super hero ever. Who cares about some guy in a blue suit who can do anything he wants? And how exciting can a comic be when the biggest bad guy is a freakin green crystal?

My advice to NASA: find a batch of green crystals, attach them to like 300 nuclear warheads, and launch them towards this new planet. Then, in a few thousand years the blob and Superman and all their terrible ilk will be destroyed in a greenish mushroom cloud.


Do you completely agree with us? No? Weigh-in below and let us know what space creatures you think inhabit our new livable neighbor.

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Futurama’s time travel, deconstructed

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

From Robert Chambers/Kurt Vonnegut-like suicide booths to Robot Arms Apartments (lifted from the prophetic second part of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl), Futurama has embedded allusions to speculative fiction all over its world.

The show absorbs a lot of great sci-fi lore and spits out excellent, silly and original science fiction of its own.

Now that the sixth season of Futurama is almost half-way over (Yay, 100 episodes! — as Hermes Conrad said “That’s almost 10 a year!”), it’s time to celebrate with a little time-travel fun. In episode seven of this season Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth get trapped in a time machine that can only go forward in time.

Here’s a break-down of all the sci-fi references in their travels:

  • 10,000: Post-apocalyptic, post-Planet of the Apes wasteland
  • 105105: Third ice age people shoot laser guns while riding walruses. The snow people with laser guns are possibly taken from Phillip K. Dick’s Clans of the Alphane Moon mixed in with their own inside joke about Extreme Walrus Juice (Ride the Walrus!)
  • In the year 252525: Reference to the futuristic song “In the year 2525…” by prog rock duo Zager & Evans, which this song directly parodies.
  • 351120: This Waterworld-type setting contains giant shrimp bears a striking resemblance to the sea monster in Godzilla vs The Sea Monster.
  • 5,000,000: They reverse the Time Machine dynamics of the smart Morlock society living underground and the less intelligent Eloi society living above ground (H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, of course), calling the devolved underground dwellers the “Dumblocks” instead.
  • 10,000,000: In this Terminator future the robots are taking over the world (again).

I gotta hand it to the show, though. With the ability to time travel, it would be so easy to do a clip show, and thanks to the writers’ better nature, they’re heading into the second half of Futurama’s sixth season without any such pitfalls that have come to plague The Simpsons.

Stay tuned for the episode Holiday Val-U-Pak, where Al Gore’s head hosts a seasonal version of an Athology of Interest-type 3-story episode (minus the What If Machine).

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Richard Belzer belts out his inner vampire

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Continuing on the music theme, Law and Order: SVU‘s Richard Belzer has put out a music video called “The Vampire Song.”

Some people are confused about this video. Why would Richard Belzer put out a weird, campy, seemingly completely out-of-character video about Vampires?

Well, to clarify, here is a short FAQ I put together on the video:

What’s the song about?

Why did he put it out?
To sing about vampires, stupid.

Hope that helps.

(“Richard Belzer Has Made a Music Video About Vampires,” Vulture)

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Fallon & Timberlake Rap Medley

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I knew Justin Timberlake was funny. But now it’s clear that Jimmy Fallon is musically talented. And the two combined are just flawless in this clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Reddit user BrndyAlxnder put together this list of the songs, for anyone interested:

  • Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s delight
  • Run DMC – Peter Piper
  • Beastie Boys – Paul Revere
  • A Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour
  • Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance
  • Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg – Nuthin’ But A G Thang
  • Tupac Shakur – California love
  • The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy
  • The Roots – The seed 2.0
  • Eminem – The real Slim Shady
  • Missy Elliot – Work it
  • Soulja Boy – Crank dat
  • T.I. Feat. Rihanna – live your life
  • Kanye West – Goldigger
  • Jay-z Feat. Alicia Keys – Empire state of mind
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US government to drop drug-filled mice on Guam. WARNING: Don’t eat drug-filled mice

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Brown tree snakes invaded Guam shortly after World War II. The snakes had a particular taste for small tropical birds, and promptly began eating up all the island’s avian residents.

To show how much it appreciates the brown tree snake’s efforts, the US government recently dropped thousands of drug-laden dead mice on the island. The hope is that the greedy evil tree snakes will chow down on the carcassy goodness and then drop dead. Yay snake apocalypse!

From National Geographic

In the U.S. government-funded project, tablets of concentrated acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, are placed in dead thumb-size mice, which are then used as bait for brown tree snakes.

Only about 80 milligrams of acetaminophen—equal to a child’s dose of Tylenol—are needed to kill an adult brown tree snake. Once ingested via a dead mouse, it typically takes about 60 hours for the drug to kill a snake.

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Is this new trailer enough to convince you to see Skyline on November 12?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Other sites are drooling their geekdom all over the floor after watching this video. But, I don’t know. This looks like the dirty love-child of some kind of disgusting menage-a-trois between Cloverfield, Independence Day, and Halo 2.

And I’m afraid it looks like the awesomeness of Halo 2 is going to be completely overwhelmed by the shiteness of the other two. So the answer for me is — no sorry, I shall avoid this potential shitfest.

But at least (thank the lord!) I’ve watched the trailer now two or three times, and Will Smith is nowhere to be found.

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Great Cthulhu to drive many worshippers insane at CthlhuCon 2010

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Do not Fuck with Cthulhu!If any of you Cthulu enthusiasts out there want to get together with other Lovecraft lovers, CthulhuCon is the place to do it. The good people at io9 have alerted us that Portland will be the site for this year’s H. P. Lovecraf Film Festival and CthulhuCon on Oct. 1-3.

But if you plan on going, you need to make a will -2 check [2] first. Lose enough sanity, and you can go.

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Laser Boobs Are Go!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Um . . . wasn’t that, uh . . . wait, what?  The above clip seems to indicate that the “Ancient Dogoon Girls” are back, and there will be:

  • Drama…in 3D!!!!!!!
  • Japanese girls in muscle suits and clam shell bras!
  • Terribly unrealistic explosions, inside of people’s houses!
  • Electric asses!
  • Old men dressed as Smurfs, or babies, or something!
  • Snarling animal men!
  • Lots of cleavage and boobtacular outfits, complete with that “ba-BOOOWM” sound featured in every ’80s high school movie ever!
  • And most importantly…LASER BOOBS (“Lazer” is also an acceptable spelling)!

Ok but seriously folks, just what the hell is going on here?

Apparently (thanks, Wikipedia!), this is the trailer for Ancient Dogoon Girl Squad 5, an action/comedy show about a recluse who “finds a strange breastplate buried in the woods. When he places his palm on the breast plate, its design gets burned into his palm while the action awakens a girl named Dogu-chan, a hyperactive yōkai hunter.” (a yōkai, btw, is a trouble-making supernatural power that, like, messes with your shit).  

Then, Dogu-chan and the reclusive dude become friends, and stuff.  

You can look forward to their hilarious hijinks in episodes with titles like “Big Breasts,” “Rude Odor,” “Crab Laser,” and “Meat-Eating Sisters.”

The series premieres October 6th, so, um, set your DV-Rs! (?!)

I have to go lie down.

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Behind the scenes of HBO’s A Game of Thrones

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

How the hell did I miss this?

HBO released a behind the scenes featurette for it’s upcoming Game of Thrones series on September 10, including interviews with the cast and the big man himself — George R.R. Martin.

For any GRRM fans out there who didn’t see the video, here it is again. And if you already saw it, watch it again god damn it.

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