Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mind Palaces 2: I memorized 151 pokémons!

Hey there! I finally finished learning all 151 pokémons by heart, using my Mind Palace technique! I finished on a bus trip, and it required me to double the size of my palace, so overall it was a good mental excercise. Now I can say each pokemon's number, or tell you which pokémon a number is (which I will add to my long list of useless skills that I always brag about).
Now, I'd like to ask my readers to suggest me some other fun thing to memorize, so that I can make my Mind Palace grow. Or, if you want to ask me something about mind palaces, because you're having trouble or something, do it!
So please, tell me some fun things to memorize... so far I've thought of the Periodic Table of Elements, some mythologycal pantheon, or even more digits of Pi (of which I know 70).
Don't ask me to learn the next 100 pokemons, that would not be fun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Black Mirror: A Series, or a set of Short Movies?

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna write about a british tv show which I love: Black Mirror.
Black Mirror is a 6-episodes long series, in which each episode is autoconclusive, and can be watched isolated from the rest without affecting your experience. You could watch the last episode first and the first one last, and it wouldn't change anything, because each episode is like a short movie. There is no important connection between episodes, except that all of them treat the subject of technology, and fall into the cathegory of science fiction.

The first episode is about the kidnapping of a princess, which then has a weird perverted twist, thanks to the magic of memes and youtube. if you only watched the first 10 minutes, you may think it's a comedy, but then as the climax comes closer you see how dramatic everything can be, no matter how fun it sounds at first glance.

The second one is the one I liked the most, about a world in which the only available job is riding an excercise bike to generate electricity, they get credits instead of money, and everyone has a little avatar through which they live (and to whom they buy items with the credits) instead of going outside. The main character is a guy who wants to make a difference, but the system won't let him.

In the third one, we see a man struggling to save his marriage, in a world in which everyone can reproduce each memory YouTube-style via chips on their ears.

the 4th one is about a woman who, after her husband dies, uses an app which takes all info from all his social networks and uses it to construct a virtual persona, which will help her through the mourning process... but then the difference between virtual and real gets a little shady

The 5th one starts with a girl who has no memories, in a post apocalyptic world where everyone turned into zombies after seeing a weird  signal, which is now in all screens, and made them all become mindless people who only film things instead of doing them. As the plot goes forward, there is a crazy twist that you won't see coming.

The last one follows a political candidate who is really peculiar: he's an animated bear with a foul mouth!! (yeah, not as good as the one before, but anyway)

The author said it was called Black Mirror as a reference to the black, reflecting screens of monitors, cellphones and the like, since all this show is about "how our current techno-dependent world can go to hell in 10 minutes time".
So, I really think you should give it a chance. At least, watch a couple episodes, since it won't take you very long. If you do watch it, please leave a comment with your opinion, I'd really appreciate it!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In the Name of The King (2007) or The Worst Movie Ever

Hey there and welcome to my blog! today I'm going to talk about a movie I saw which was terribly bad: In The Name of the King, by Uwe Boll.
If you grew up in the last decade, and you liked RPG games, you probably played (or at least heard about) Dungeon Siege. The guy who did this movie, and based it on the game, probably didn't.
The first 10-15 minutes are a more or less accurate representation of the beginnings of the game, up to the part where the Bridge of Stonebrigde breaks. That's about all I can say on the bright side.

Now to the Dark Side: we start off with a main character with no name, addressed as "farmer" whose son with whom we still haven't bonded much because he'd had no screen time is killed by a cheap copy of Orcs, in a less than emotive scene, as his wife is taken captive.
He then runs through the forest after blaming the king with a wanna-be-epic speech on the rights of serfs with his two friends whose personalities are not explored in the whole movie up to the very end.
Some stuff goes down, dryads appear and go, and we also see the king's Mage is looking for Farmer for some misterious reason, as we discover in a non surprising twist that the king's spoiled, bad tempered nephew is part of a conspirancy with the bad guy who controls the orcs, to overthrow the King.
As a war between orcs and king-serving men breaks, we discover that Farmer always was the son of the King, and that he was living in the farms all this time because the mage thought it would be safer.
The Nephew thinks he killed the king and so he tells everyone he's finally won, and starts to give ANOTHER speech on how he's now going to be a tyrant king, until he's stopped by Farmer, who reveals himself as heir. You can almost hear the villain cursing "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids".

At last, the king's magus loses an epic fight against the evil wizard, in which they both telekinetically control 5 swords each as they discuss politics (they should've been playing chess at the same time to add some style, but I didn't write this)... and then when Farmer (who's not a farmer anymore) appears, he decides to fight him... sword on sword, with no magic!
He's about to lose when he remembers he can cast spells (or maybe he just drank a mana potion) and telekinetically smashes the crap out of Farmer against the ceiling... and then gets distracted, stops the spell, and is backstabbed by Farmer's wife, as she cries "I AM A MOTHER!" because feminism.

The End.

After watching this movie, if using such word is not an insult to the cinema industry as a whole, I googled it, and found out it cost about 50 million dollars than it gained, and won many "worst movie", "worst actor" and similar prizes.

As a Dungeon Siege player, I found it both horrificly bad... and stupidly hilarious --And then I found out there's a second one, with time travels on the plot. 
I'm totally watching it next, just to complain a little more.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zurker - A Different Social Network

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna talk a bout a social network which I got into last year, when it still was on its beta testing phase: Zurker.

Zurker is a social network site which tries to be different from the others. It claims to be the "democratic social network", run by the people and for the people, and so it allows for many interesting features, like voting which updates you want to have and which ones you don't, or suggesting changes for the design or interface of the site.

Besides letting you vote, it even has a constitution-drafting body which is right now discussing some basic principles and rules for the whole site, in which all users may agree (and which can of course be ammended in the future if enough people were in disagreement with a fragment).

Also, after you register, you're allowed to invest some small money to buy vShares for the site, each one of which is worth a millionth of the site. It sounds like little, until you realize facebook is worth 200,000 million dollars, so only one share of this size equals $200k on facebook. I'm not saying zurker is going to replace facebook, I'm just saying it's worth the effort of spending one dollar.

On the con side, Zurker is still a starting network (it ended its beta phase this last week) so it doesn't have a large community yet, which would anyway allow you to be a pioneer if you invite more users; Another thing I think the site should start changing is its "cult-like" attitude, in which most zurker posts are zurker-related.
Still, I think it's a really good idea, and the more things they add to the site the more I like it, even if it's kind of deserted so far.

So, try the network out and see for yourself whether you like it or not... Have a nice Zurk!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Valyrian Steel and Nanotubes: A Song of Old and New

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Lately I've been reading a lot on nanotechnology, because I joined a state-sponsored contest in which I'll have to write about that subject. One thing led to another, and I ended up reading about Damascus Steel (wikipedia works in misterious ways), an old kind of steel made in India and Southeast Asia, which was said to be able to cut through any other steel as if it were butter, and has ripples through it which form crazy patterns. Any resemblance between it and Valyrian Steel is probably no coincidence, though it has not been stated that this is what G. R. R. Martin based it on.

The method for making Damascus Steel hasn't been rediscovered yet, though many people claim to have found it, but the thing that struck me is that some analysis on the nanoscale revealed Carbon nanotubes in it.

Carbon nanotubes are cilinders formed with hexagonal patterns (much like the ones in a beehive) made of carbon atoms, resembling a "net",  which can be a hundred million times longer than they're wide. they have applications in nanotechnology, architecture, and material designing. Among many properties, they are Light, Strong, Hard (please don't make a "Tht's what she said" joke out of this), heat conductive, and electrically-semi-conductive.
They can be used to make Waterproof fabrics (even clothes that clean themselves!), concrete that is more resistance to cracks because it's more ellastic, and they're theorized to be able to be used for synthetic muscles!
So simple, and yet so powerful...

So, a material made around 200 b.C., naturally formed things that we learnt to do about 10 years ago when the nano-revolution came. (if I say "nano" again, you have the legal right to punch me in the face).

As I said, Damascus Steel resembles valyrian Steel in that both of them have crazy patterns, and are said to cut through anything ("drop a hair on the edge and it'll be cut in half" and all that). I haven't heard of anyone trying to slay an Other with it yet, but my guess is it would probably work.

Here are a couple pictures:
Crazy, huh?

Anyway, that's all for today... I hope you've learnt something from this post, like "reality can beat fiction" or something.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Magic: The Gathering - combos that you MUST have seen

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm going to post about MTG (again), this time to talk about a special (and pretty interesting) subject: combos!
For those who don't play MTG, a combo is a "combination" of cards which act really well together.
On this post, I'm going to show you a few example, but I want YOU my readers to post your favourite combos in the comments, from where I'll add them.

This is a really nice combo if you get to play it, but the mana cost is so bad I wouldn't use it. A man can dream, though

A personal favourite since I usually play Vampires. Add a blade of Bloodchief to spice it up and you're done.

Two Illusion "lords" and no downsides? What could possibly go wrong?!
Infinite lifegain and lifeloss until you drain the last point of your oponent... of course you're still subject to problems like removal and counters, to name a few, but infinite combos are always alluring.

Well, that's enough about me. Tell me about YOUR favourite combos in the comments! Post the cardnames, and I'll add them as a players suggestion! 

User Suggestions:
Mill a whole deck in two moves, by Thepeopleseason

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Download I Kill Giants for free

Hey there and welcome to my blog! I've already talked about this amazingly drawn comic --Now you can download it for free from this same site!
I've uploaded it, so here are the links:

volume 1

volume 2

volume 3

volume 4

volume 5

volume 6

volume 7

You're Welcome!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Alice in Wonderland: Czech-slovakian version

Hey there and welcome to my blog. To those who follow me, you'll be happy to know I've already memorized 110 pokémon using my Mind Palace.
 Today I'm going to show you something crazy I've just watched: A stop-motion version of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"... filmed in 1988 in Czechoslovakia! If you can, please take the time to watch it, because after you've got accostumed to the almost mute scenes and the creepy voices and dolls, it's a really good, watch-worthy film! if anything, at least enjoy the nicely made, creepy-eyed dolls!

The director, Jan Svankmajer, is known for his surreal movies, and I'm totally going to check what other things he's worked on later, but right now I'm going to insist on you watching this movie.

Tell me what you think of it in the coments! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why "HunterxHunter: Phantom Rouge" Sucked

Hey there and welcome to my blog! As a good hunterxHunter fan who read all the manga and watched the whole series (the first one only, mind you) I was really excited when I heard a HxH movie was coming out. I got a little less excited when I heard Togashi didn't play a major role in doing or writing it... and really pissed when I saw it.

But let's not start with the wrong foot: the movie has a couple upsides...

  • The first scene, showing Killua's past, and his conversation with Illumi
  • The flashbacks showing Kurapica's youth, and how he left the Kuruta tribe, which was massacred shortly after for their eyes, by the Genei Ryodan (or phantom troupe or whatever you english-speaking people call it) 
  • ...fight scenes? meh, not even that good compared with the anime or manga ones... they lacked some of the essence. But let's go through that later...

Now, about the many things I didn't like... here are a few:
  • Back to the fight scenes: do you remember how in Kurapica vs Ubogin, we thought Ubogin could win, up to the moment we knew Kurapica could use "in"? or when Killua fought a chimaera ant and developed his Kanmuru, out of pure necessity? those were the kind of interesting twists and abilities we (or at the very least I) liked to see. not just "HURR DURR I PUNCH YOU YOU PUNCH ME". If I wanted that, I'd just watch Bleach or something.
  • Incoherences, lots of them: We won't talk about time; for the sake of defending the movie, we'll just accept that it happens in some magical timeline between two no-time-between moments. Now, taking that out of the table... did the scriptwriters at least read how nen worked?
    "oh, your "en" can't hurt me!!" of course, En doesn't hurt, it's just used for perception.
    "I'm gonna use "ren" in my arms!!" nope, you use gyo for that, ren is for the whole body unless you learnt "ryu", but that means you jumped through time like 50 manga episodes.
  • Psychological backgrounds, something that I really liked about the anime and manga... what the hell happened to them? The whole killua conflict is resolved out of nowhere? not to mention many of the related dialogues were just copied and pasted from the manga/tv show? and Omokage, the main antagonist... why is he "evil"? when  asked he just says "I dont have to explain it to you" and then they pull out some random "I killed my sister" card out of nowhere, and we get a little flashback. Because really, you started using your sister as a guinea pig and ACCIDENTALLY pulled her eyeballs out, and then BECAME AN EVIL SERIAL EYE STEALER BECAUSE OF IT?!
  • and speaking of Omokage... how did that guy even get into the Phantom Troupe? "guise, I can copy people but they're weak unless I pull their eyes out". Yeah, no, thanks, we got Kurotopi. At least she's not just crazy with no reason and won't use her sister (and probably anybody else) as a guinea pig.

When this guy is saner than you, you're probably not sane at all.

So yeah, don't watch this movie unless you REALLY think you must do it for the fandom... and even so, you'll regret it. Watch it ironically or something.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hotel by Boichi

Hey everyone and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna talk about a really good manga (japanese comic book / graphic novel), which I think is the perfect choice if you're already into manga but not sure on what to read --and you don't wanna read one of those mainstream, boring shonen out there, but some mature, original story.
Hotel is a oneshot manga, so it doesn't take much time to read it. It's divided into 5 stories, the first 3 of which are really good, and the other two just some short fillers.

The first story, after which the whole book is named (Hotel) is the futuristic tale of an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) left by humans as they abandoned planet earth, which had become uninhabitable. Its purpose is to look after DNA samples of each species, like a sci-fi-Noah's Arc. It goes on for 27 million years, and shows how its "mind" evolves as it updates itself in a way which may remind some readers of "The final Question" by Isaac Asimov.

The second story, "Present" is about a woman who wakes up after being in a comma for years, and how her family deals with it --by making her son pretend to be his father, so that she doesn't know how hard it's been for everyone. It's really emotive, and charged with drama.

The third and, in my opinion, best story, is called "I Did It For The Tuna". It starts with a boy eating sushi, and wondering why his father won't have a bite, and why he cries. It's later revealed that the tuna the boy was eating was the last of his species, in the whole earth. Throughout the story, the main character, now an adult, tries to find tuna (or make it, in a frankeinstein-like way) by all possible means, leading to the discovery of alien life, the stop of some terrorist threat, and the cure for global warming.

The other two are too short and bad to deserve any mention at all rather than this one. Don't even read them.

So, I'd really recommend this manga if you're looking for some indie stuff. Just read the first three episodes.
If you do, tell me how it went in the comments below! Hope you enjoy them... just in case you have a hard time finding it, it's been uploaded here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How To Move One Eyebrow

Hey there and welcome to my blog! Today I'm gonna post another tutorial, since I see most people liked the last one on mind palaces. This one, though, is about a way simpler trick: moving an eyebrow.
I know you want it...

Many people may think that, since some guys can do it from birth, moving eyebrows separately is an innate skill, embedded in genes which imply millions of years of evolution... but they're wrong! Moving your eyebrows is just about practice --I couldn't do it at first, but now I can move both separately, and I even use them to talk in binary with friends (it's fun, try it).

Things you're gonna need:
  • A mirror to see your pretty face
  • Two eyebrows, preferably yours
  • Time --a LOT of time
How to do it:
  1.  Look at yourself on the mirror. Move both eyebrows up at the same time. You should have no trouble doing this. To do it, you use a muscle in the middle of your eyebrows, which wrinkles your forehead. 
  2. That was just a test. Now put your hand over one eyebrow so as to hold it, and try to lift both of them again, as you hold one down with your hand, firmly so that it can't move.
  3. You should now "artificially" be moving one of your eyebrows alone.
  4. Do this MANY MANY MANY (I can't emphathize how many) times, over and over, in front of a mirror, until you start to feel a muscle just above the eyebrow you're moving. It should be farther from the middle of your forehead than your eyebrow is.

  5. I made it on paint, am I not a great painter? each oval is a muscle's approximate place

  6. Once you feel tired in that zone of your face, you've finally found the muscle. Start tensing it.
  7. First it will only get tired and hurt, but if you excersice it enough (yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but it works like that) it will eventually be strong enough to create movement.
  8. Keep practising and you'll eventually move all your eyebrow with that muscle.
  9. Do the same with your other eyebrow.
And that's how you do it! I can assure you 100% that I learned this way, though the tutorial I used was a little less detailed... I hope you'll excuse the badly drawn picture, and you'll make your effort to be one of the many people in my future Army of One-Eyebrow-Movers... TOGETHER WE WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!

Sorry, I got carried away again... Bye, and good luck with this! if you want me to write a tutorial for any silly skill, just ask me! I can whistle with my hands, move my scalp, play the kazoo, and many many other useless funny things!
P.S.: bear in mind learning this skill takes about a month or two of hard practice, and will at first cause you small pains in your eyebrows, a place you've probably never felt any kind of pain before.

As an extra, here's a comicpage written and drawn by my friend Nikko, from Argentina too, which I translated to english...