All good Jedi know that the best way to survive a snow storm is in the snugly belly of your nearest Tauntaun. Just cut open with your handy dandy light saber, a single horizontal slice across the midsection will do, push squirming intestines aside, and crawl right in. Warm as it is comfortable, the intestines mold to your body like a memory foam mattress. But how long could you survive in a Tauntaun?
Realistically, the sub-zero environment of Hoth is no place to be, Tauntaun or not. And it's important to remember that Luke Skywalker didn't need to survive in his Tauntaun over night, he simply needed a warm place to be until Han had time to build a proper shelter. So, the better question might be, how long did Han have to build a snow shelter until Luke was in serious trouble.
In a normal environment, a carcass gets cold in 8 to 36 hours losing an average rate of 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. However, the ice world of Hoth is not an average environment. The Star Wars database lists that Hoth reaches nightly temperatures of -60 F. In a frigid, sub-zero environment, body heat can be lost almost 32 times faster. This means a Tauntaun's body heat could drop almost 51.2 F every hour. Considering that Han Solo's Tauntaun died of severe hypothermia even before it was cut open with Luke's light saber, one could assume it's core body temperature was already well below normal. The problem for Luke is if the Tauntaun's body temperature reaches freezing point those once toasty guts, blood, and assorted alien goo, will in fact become a frozen coffin. If the Tauntaun died of cardiac arrest due to hypothermia with an average body temperature of 75 F (23 C), and if Tauntaun blood freezes at 28.4 F (-2 C), then Han has roughly 56 minutes to set up a shelter before Luke once again is in danger of losing his life in the barren wasteland of Hoth.
Try a Tauntaun yourself, it's Tontons of Fun
Don't believe in the effectiveness of Tauntaun wilderness survival. Find out for your yourself. ThinkGeek offers a Tauntaun sleeping bag, featuring simulated Tauntaun fur and plush light saber zipper pull.
I will not hold Twilight against anyone, no matter how terrible and full of insipidness it may be. We all have our sweet teeth for the mundane, and if I'm allowed to drool over a thousand vapid (but beautiful) actresses in sci-fi flicks, I will not deny Team Edward to anyone. I have no problem with mediocre prose (as you can see, I'm full of it), no problem with bad acting, no problem with poorly sketched characters and half wit motivations. I don't even have a problem with Robert Pattinson's constipated facial expressions (someone needs to explain to Pattinson that teen angst has nothing to do with bowel movements).
The one thing I do have a problem with is the glitter! Why in the world would vampires sparkle? By making vampires that glitter in the sunlight, Stephenie Meyer unwittingly unraveled the very heart of being a vampire.
Problem with Twilight's Vampire Mythos
Vampires were not always loveable, huggable twinkling heartthrobs. To understand what's wrong with Twilight's sparkling teenpires, you have to understand the legend behind vampire mythology. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, for instance, vampirism is a thinly veiled metaphor for venereal disease, in Twilight it's an even less veiled metaphor for being a teenager. Stoker's message is if you're partying all night, bad things will happen—namely blood sucking and gonorrhea. Twilight's message is that being a monster is awkward and vampires get sparkly zits.
The reasons vampires come out at night is because it's scary. Just a scary camp fire tale. The night is scarey, super strong dudes creeping around at night with fangs are even scarier. That's not to say a vampire in the day light is better, it's actually much worse because there's nothing to stop him. That's 24 hours of feeding. Stephenie Meyer's vampires though are only stopped through social embarrassment. Part of being a monster is being socially unacceptable, so being looked down upon socially is hardly a deterrent for being a monster. That's like saying a werewolf won't attack because of a bad hair day. If I am a Twilight vampire, I go on a sparkling rampage. Sparkling would not deter my blood lust. I'm going to eat humans like they're Twinkies, and I would have no problem being the world's fattest vampire. I have no qualms about glowing in front of people or my food thinking I'm ugly. In fact, most hamburgers have very few nice things to say about me.
Twilight takes away the terror of vampires and replaces it with minor anxiety. She's created a world where vampires are all but unkillable by human standards. No stakes, no garlic, no sunlight. Her vampires must be ripped apart by something as strong or stronger. Where are the limitations? What's to stop them? Oh, yes, endless love. Meyer's vampires can love. Of course, their love is roughly the same as domestic violence, “I only suck you, because I love you.” Loving a human for vampire is probably like loving your cat. 3.2% of the world are actual vegetable eating vegetarians, if those numbers are the same for vampiric vegetarians then 96.8% have no problem starting the day with a nice hearty slab of human.
How Long Would it Take Twilight's Vampires to Destroy the World?
Let's say a vampire needs to feed once a day, then a healthy vampire family of seven with no restraints could devour the planet in about 2.6 million years. Not too much to worry about, but the Cullens could go through a small town like Forks, WA (population 3120) in a little over a year. And yes, they're only eating pets, but doesn't someone notice that thousands of poodles are missing?
If possibly loosing your virginity to Fred Savage is a factor in being a geek girl we love, I would be remissed not to include Danica McKellar on the list. Like Kevin Arnold, we all feel in love with Danica the first time we saw her in go-go boots.
But besides being Winnie Cooper, Danica is a geek's geek. She's like 5 Wolf Gnards and half a Stephen Hawking rolled up into one... with boobs. A real hardcore nerd, and that's hard to come by in today's Hollywood (there's a pun in there somewhere). How nerdy is she? Well, she majored in mathematics at UCLA and co-authored a scientific paper with Professor Lincoln Chayes and Brandy Winn, which resulted in the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem. How many other former child stars have a theorem named after them? And the Emmanuel Lewis Inverse Height/Skin Tone Axiom doesn't count.
In honesty, Danica McKellar doesn't quite do it for me as much as the Winnie Cooper of my youth. But for a math geek, there's none hotter. She even has two books, Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math, basically they're text books for cute girls. Yes, you can be attractive and do your homework, a message that needed to be reiterated. And Danica has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6. That's how many degrees a person separates Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős from Foot Loose star Kevin Bacon. The only actor with an Erdős–Bacon number just as low? You guessed it, my favorite, Natalie Portman!
I've been known to be perhaps a tad over critical of Masi Oka. But the only reason is because he's one of the few Asians in popular culture right now. Every generation, we get one Asian—just one—and for the moment he's it. Unfortunately, that means that all Asians are judged by Masi Oka's actions. The problem is Masi is in a very strange zone. His popularity is an off shoot of his cuteness, but his cuteness is based on dopiness and emasculation. Which reflects poorly on Asians everywhere. Here's the thing though, all popularity, be it movie box office or music or high school, is based on the principle of girls wanting to grind up on it. This is what Freud might call The Phallic Stage or what Digital Underground might call the Humpty Hump. The very foundation of what is attractive is built upon unicorns and Care Bears.
Vanity Fair explains his cuteness as:
One theory, which has been proposed by a lot of Japanese artists and academics, is that, after the humiliation and emasculation of Japan in the postwar years, Japan developed this quasi-queer position of ‘little brother’ or ‘little boy.’
Which is close, but it's missing out on the mass produced industrial side of Asia. The plush toy is perhaps a closer analogy than little boy, but both are fitting. However, that is not to say the stuffed toy is not without it's appeal. The unicorn can be sexy?
Let's look at the three highest grossing movies of all time: Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean. It just means that girls want to have sex with Leonardo DiCaprio, Viggo Mortensen, and Johnny Depp. But there's more to it. Let's say for the sake of argument, that Frodo drove girls to Lord of the Rings, and I think it can be established that no girl wants to have carnal knowledge of Frodo (Sam... that goes without question, but live human females I'm not so sure about). But they do want to HUG Frodo, and a hug is a grind. If we rewind our sexual development back to the beginning what we find are Teddy Bears and stuffed animals. Cozy, snugly, innocent, just good, clean grinding fun. These top grossing movies, offer not just sex appeal, but two types of grind.
The Orlando Bloom Paradox
Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean both featured Orlando Bloom... coincidence? Or is this Unicorn Sexy in action? Orlando Bloom is the equivalent of a stuffed animal that you can have sex with. For all us meek and adorable, we know the worse thing to be is cute because somewhere along the line the teddy bear loses its luster. But Unicorn Sexy is the principle that there is a level beyond, and cute in fact folds on itself to become sexy. Sexy become cute, cute becomes androgynous, which becomes homely, then cute again and back to sexy. Understand?
Or to put it otherwise, Viggo Mortensen becomes Frodo who becomes David Bowie who becomes Orlando Bloom. In theory, at least. Skinny Leonardo DiCaprio was the sexy unicorn behind Titanic (two grinds in one), and Masi Oka could be the sexy unicorn of Heroes. This is where we hear the collective... say what!? But it's true. Yes, it brings us back to Hiro and the emasculated Asian. Because is he truly emasculated or just a glam rocker waiting to happen? The reason NBC puts Masi down is only because they're afraid he'll loose his plush-appeal. Executives know he's popular because young girls want to buy stuff Masis (or is the plural form of Masi still Masi?), and they're afraid by giving him a meatier less racist role, he'll lose that fan base. But what they aren't allowing for is the natural progression of gyration.
In case you missed it, Hiro was awesome this week on Heroes. Definitely some positive points on the old Hiro Meter.
I thought this was going to be another Hiroless episode, and he wasn't in it much, but what he was in, was great. Also, it makes me think, I do hope Masi Oka gets paid the same way whether he's in the episode 30 minutes or 30 seconds. And not only was Hiro acceptable, but the episode marks the Return of Suresh. Shows can have multiple ethnicities on a single episode, you don't have to space them out over the season.
Hiro... +2 for the saving Mohinder, and getting that much closer to getting his kiss on.
I don't remember who first made this observation, it was probably Nietzsche or Noam Chomsky, but it holds true either way, “Bruce Willis is the Best.” Not that he's the best human being or the best actor, but that he continually plays the best and he plays the best well (the best at the being best?). Again, this does not mean that Bruce Willis always plays the best of men, it's just that they are the best at what they do, and what they do is mostly blowing things up.
Whatever your specialty is, your goal in life should be to be the Bruce Willis of your field. And this is more than just being the best at what you do, but should the government need assistance they would call you to put together a crack team. For instance, if there was a pop culture disaster, I would want Billy Bob Thornton to say, “We need Wolf Gnards.” Then I would drill a hole in the pop culture and drop in useless charts and graphs until it implodes on its own self importance.
Examples of Bruce Willis Besttitude
Hudson Hawk – World's Best Thief
Last Man Standing – Best Gangster Gunslinger in Town
The Fifth Element – World's Best Intergalactic Military Specialist/Taxi Driver
The Jackal – World's Best Assassin
Armageddon – World's Best Offshore Oil Driller
The Sixth Sense – Best Child Psychologist in Philadelphia
Bandits – Best Bank Robber
Planet Terror – Leader of Best Special Forces Unit in Iraq
Not Stated as the Best, But still Pretty Damn Good
Die Hard – A Damn Fine Cop
The Last Boyscout – Ex-Secret Service Agent (Once Saved the President) Turned Down and Out Detective, and Possibly the Best Boyscout.
Striking Distance – Best Boat Cop
Twelve Monkeys – Best Time Travel subject
The Whole Nine Yards – Best Hitman
Unbreakable – Best at not Breaking
Ocean's Twelve – Himself, ie World's Best Actor
Sin City – Most Honest Detective in Basin City
As well as being the best, Willis has also specialized in being several high ranking military officials.
By tabulating all of Bruce Willis's films, we find that he plays the world's greatest something, the leading expert in whatever, or random high ranking army dude 34 times, that means he's the best roughly 63% of the time.
Hudson Hawk is probably the greatest entryway into the Bruce Willis psyche. Remember that he wrote and directed that cinematic masterpiece. It's pure Bruce Willis, or better yet a window of how he sees himself. It's like if Tim Burton looks in the mirror and sees Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis looks and sees Hudson Hawk: the World's Greatest Cat Burglar who's as clever as Leonardo da Vinci and with enough sex appeal to make a Nun moan.
What's interesting is that while, Willis is clearly the best most of time. He's almost a despicable character almost as much as a completely average Joe. But this could just be the movies, Bruce Willis with a gun is far more interesting than Bruce Willis the Used Car Salesmen.
But here's a suggestion for Hollywood, Bruce Willis and Jeff Goldblum in a buddy picture called Best & Brightest. Take it, free of charge.