Star Wars, JJ-verse edition

I guess Spielberg is out.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. Cue the half-finished gas-giant-based super weapon with an orbiting planet full of cute aliens, a huge space battle and a climactic light saber battle where Rey defeats Kylo WHO IS HER BROTHER OMFG and then Kylo embraces the light and throws Snoke down a well.

Then again, JJ is coming in late so hopefully the script will have been fixed by the story group and not be as vulnerable to JJ’s flights of fancy, or lens flares.

If it sucks, we can always say it was an alternate universe and go back to Extended Universe for our head canon.

Pizza and Pie: Chicago vs. New York (vs. Chicago)

When people ask what’s “better” – New York pizza or Chicago Deep Dish, it is important to clarify whether they really mean Deep Dish, or whether they actually mean stuffed pizza (or pizza pie, as I call it).

Before anyone can begin to compare deep dish to NY style, they need to understand what deep dish actually is. Deep dish, as represented by Uno’s, Gino’s East, and (the best) Lou Malnati’s, is thick flaky crust, sliced mozzarella cheese, toppings, crushed tomato sauce. Pizza Pie, however, fails the definition of being pizza because it is actually thin crust, shredded mozzarella cheese and toppings, a second thin crust, and then sauce. This is why it is more of a pie or a casserole than a pizza, at places like Giordano’s or Connie’s.

With these clarifications in place, we can evaluate the differences between true deep dish and NY style. The infographic below is courtesy of Lou Malnati’s and is a fair comparison. As you can see, NY style is thin crust, sauce, cheese, toppings.

When I make pizza at home, I do it in an iron skillet, but I actually make a Pequod’s inspired pizza, which is a kind of hybrid: thick crust, sauce, toppings, sliced cheese. this is because I lack the skill to make the true crushed tomato sauce necessary to protect the cheese, and I like the carmelized crust effect from layering mozz over the edges on contact with the pan. Here’s the last one I made:

hybrid deep dish - Aziz P style
hybrid deep dish – Aziz P style

And now, the actual infographic. Are you not entertained?

Infographic-Chicago-vs-New-York-Pizza

Related: RealDeepDish.com’s exegesis of the styles of Chicago pizza.

Star Trek: Discovery – first trailer

Here’s our first look –

OK, I understand the idea behind the visual redesign. It’s 2017, not 1967. And the showrunners opted for Prime universe rather than Kelvin to preserve creative independence from whatever the movie franchise is doing. They do, however, want to appeal to the audience that the new movies in the Kelvinverse have recruited. Therefore: lens flares and Apple Stores.

Klingonbar640

But really, hairless Klingons? With a H.R. Geiger armor aesthetic?

It’s not like we haven’t seen the 60’s aesthetic embraced by modern television. Deep Space Nine went there and did it brilliantly – they arguably made the TOS USS Enterprise look even more gorgeous than any of her successors, and they didn’t change anything about her at all – just lighting and texture. Enterprise itself managed to authentically portray a pre-Kirk technology chic that had a more industrial feel, which was utterly believable as the ancestor to the softened look of the Kirk era. I do not accept that the Kelvinization of the Prime timeline was necessary to modernize the production. After all, the aesthetic of The Expanse and Dark Matter is thoroughly modern but doesn’t have the same Kelvin fascination with chrome and glass. Not that I want any Trek to go the grunge-fi look, but I do at least want Trek to honor it’s own identity. This feels like a rejection – purely a Han shot first decision.

Unless directly contradicted on screen, I think that my own headcanon about First Contact creating Enterprise can be amended here to argue that Discovery is in a Beta timeline. The Prime timeline was TOS/TNH/VOY/DS9, but the events of First Contact created the Beta timeline, and the Kelvinverse is an alternate reality branching from the Beta timeline.

Some may dismiss all this timeline canon angst as pointless, but since time travel and timelines are literally a backbone plot of the Star Trek universe, this is a legitimate area of fan analysis.

Related – great discussion threads at /r/DaystromInstitute that disagree with my headcanon First Contact created the alternate (Beta) timeline and a discussion of whether Enterprise is in Prime or not.

the hype about Hyperloop

Elon Musk comes to town
Elon Musk comes to town

This article makes an important point about the Hyperloop:

America has the means to reduce traffic and connect people to where they want to go in less time — but solving these problems entails politically difficult choices to shift travel away from cars and highways. Any high-tech solution that promises a shortcut around these thorny problems is probably too good to be true.

I can’t help but see an echo of the wishful thinking surrounding the EMDrive in the Hyperloop marketing campaign. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

Here’s the original white paper PDF from Elon Musk, and here’s a rather detailed critique by mathematician and transit analyst Alon Levy. Anyone who takes Hyperloop seriously should read both.

2017 Hugo discussion

hugo_sm

Mark has his thoughts on the 2017 Hugo nominees up – and as usual, they are detailed 🙂

My own much briefer take: the Rabids are not very relevant. Ms. Marvel being nominated again is more important than ever given the nonsense going on – about diversity in comics, and using comics for political messaging, Ms. Marvel is basically the rebuttal and antidote.

I enjoyed The Obelisk Gate, and haven’t read Three Body Problem yet so can’t speak to Death’s End. Since I am going crazy over the Expanse (both in TV format as well as devouring the novels), I am excited to see it in the new Best Series category. And Rogue One just wins for me for the Vader sequence alone.