July 23rd, 2007

hoard potato, tv, movies

Deathly Hallows!!

I tore through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend -- no, I didn't do a straight-through shot, since I started it around 23:00 or so. I read a dozen chapters, crashed for a few hours, then got up early to dive right in again.

You know how, sometimes, a bad final installment can ruin a terrific series, ragging the rest of the saga down so that you can't even remember the parts you liked without a sour taste in your mouth?

Deathly Hallows does the reverse. It wraps the whole thing into one unified, coherent whole that actually does rate the much-abused term "epic", and manages to redeem the weaker volumes of the Potter saga in the process.

As an aside, I confess that having it come out so soon after the movie version of Order of the Phoenix might help in that redemption. The fifth movie is an improvement on the fifth book, in no small part because the writer, the director, and most the actor conveyed a Harry whose moodiness seemed far more due to Post-Traumatic Stress than Emo Teenage Wangst.

Sometimes, I think that Daniel Radcliffe understands Harry better than Rowling does.

Back to Book 7, though. I just can't help sharing some of my favorite lines... but I'll be good, and put them behind a cut tag.

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weird science, Eye: RCA Magic Eye, tech

Mad Science of the Week: THE TORNADO MASTER!

Tornado Master!

Ontario Louis Michard proposes using the waste heat from a conventional power plant to create a tamed tornado, and generating far more power using turbines that tap into the vortex's energy.

On the longer term, he proposes setting up vortex engines in the warm seas around the equator, providing not only a ready-made, inexhaustable source of heat to sustain the vortices, but also taking the waste heat building up from greenhouse impacts and channeling it into the upper atmosphere to cool off the whole damned planet.

I remember that Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth used a very similar process to both generate energy and vent massive amounts of heat to terraform Venus in The Space Merchants and The Merchant's War.

This is so utterly over the top, and fraught with so many delightfully cinematic ways to go horribly, horribly wrong, and yet it's packed full of SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK goodness.

But, seriously, atomic-powered tormandos? Calling Doctor Neil "Storm" Cloud!