Battlestar Galactica is back with Season 4

I didn’t realize that Battlestar Galactica Season 4 technically started with the Razor double episode. I guess they needed to satisfy starving BSG fans because we’d have to wait until April this year for the rest of the season to pick up. I debated between waiting until season 4 was done, then watching season 1-4 back to back or just watch the new ones as they come out. I discussed this dilemma with my wife, and she suggested I just watch them as they come out, then I could do both. That sounded like a good plan, because I found I don’t have the willpower to wait. I’ve watched the first 2 episodes (following Razor), and I’m hooked once again. At the end of season 3 I was pretty sure who the last Cylon model was, but now anyone seems to be fair game. Many fans have whined about BSG ending with season 4, but I don’t agree with them. I’d rather have 4 good solid seasons than have it dragged out like Stargate SG-1. Check out Sci Fi Channel’s BSG page for more info, or the video page to watch the last 2 full episodes at Sci Fi Rewind. Actually, they have the last 3 episodes of season 3 as well. For Razor, you’ll have to catch it on TV, find recording, or check out the unrated extended dvd.

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Flash Forward Thursdays on ABCFlash Forward Thursdays on ABC

Flash Forward

Flash Forward

When I first heard of Flash Forward, I was intrigued. Time travel stories always have piqued my interest. This new show isn’t a typical time travel story. One day all of humanity is knocked unconscious, and most of them see what appear to be hallucinations (2:17 minutes worth) of the future. The rest of this pilot episode is the main characters picking up the pieces from the fallout of this event. Can you imagine the scale of destruction if that would really happen? Interestingly enough, by the end of the day everyone is home and contemplating what their visions actually mean. I would think they’d be busy cleaning stuff up for weeks after all of the crashes and looting that took place. I’m not sure if it was poor scripting or what, but quite a few times I felt like I was being spoon-fed information and “insights” as the actors tried to piece things together.

For example, some of the visions were disturbing. They didn’t like what they saw and were afraid the vision of the future would come true. The flipside of this is also touched on, but what about those that had no vision?  Also, how will seeing the future affect the future? It is apparent that some will fight FOR the future, while others will fight AGAINST it. Who will win? Can both sides succeed?  I am waiting to see how the writers can add a unique twist of their own.

Anyway, give it a try and judge for yourself.

Flash Forward – No More Good Days – Full Episode

Can a computer beat the best Jeopardy players?Can a computer beat the best Jeopardy players?

Tonight with my wife, I watched an interesting episode of Nova titled “The World’s Smartest Machine.” Romantic, right? You can tell we are a couple of geeks at heart. Being a huge fan of Asimov and his robot creations, I am continually amazed at the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence. As a kid I was playing chess as early as the 3rd grade. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty good chess player. When I heard about a computer that supposedly could beat a world champion chess player, I was intrigued. Garry Kasparov battled IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer in 1996 and won, however he eventually lost a rematch in 1997. Well, IBM is back at it, this time taking on Jeopardy. Nova takes us behind the scenes with the developers of “Watson,” the next step in AI. I was disappointed when the episode ended and it didn’t say who won. I didn’t realize until logging on PBS.org that the contest actually was taking place while I was watching Nova (on my media center PC). After some frantic Google searches, I eventually came across a Twitter feed with a link to a Youtube posting of the episode. This was not quite 2 hours after the episode aired! Isn’t technology great? I expect the Youtube post to be served a DMCA take down, so watch it soon if you plan on it. In addition to the episode at the end of this post, I’ve embedded the Nova preview and an humorous parody of the challenges Watson overcame during his development. I suggest watching the Nova episode first. If you are at all interested in AI, you must check these out!

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

Jeopardy Robot Watson’s Untold Game Show History (VIDEO)

Jeopardy Feb. 14 2011 – Human vs Machine IBM Challenge Day 1 Part 1/2

Jeopardy Feb. 14 2011 – Human vs Machine IBM Challenge Day 1 Part 2/2

There are two more nights to the match, airing Tuesday February 15th, and Wednesday the 16th. Be sure to check them out, along with some live blogging on PBS.org. I find myself rooting for Watson, not because I want to see humans defeated, but because I want to see humans capable of making something smart enough to do it. Who do you think will win? Who do you want to win?

Mazes and Monsters is a far-out gameMazes and Monsters is a far-out game

Book Cover

A couple days ago I was able to visit with some friends I haven’t seen in a few years. After one of them cracked open a bottle of wine, we eventually ended up talking about gaming. One thing led to another and one of my friends asked, “Have any of you heard of Mazes and Monsters?” In mere moments we were watching one of the most horrible acting performances I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure if I should be shocked or amazed. In retrospect, the alcohol definitely enhanced the experience. We ended up adding our own commentary, MST3K style. About half way through I regretted that we didn’t start recording our comments to dub in later on. My friend actually had the recording equipment to do it too.

The movie starts out with a scene with a bunch of police cars and fire trucks responding to a missing persons report. A university student got lost in some caverns in a game of Mazes and Monsters that got out of hand. I was battling with trying to figure out if this was supposed to be some type of spoof or just an anti Dungeons and Dragons flick. After watching it all, despite how close it comes to seeming like parody, I think they were actually serious. In the midst of all the no-name actors this guy by the name of Tom Hanks shows up in one of his first roles. I’m sure if you ask him about it today, he’ll try to deny any involvement with this feature.

I’m pretty sure that anyone that has played classic DnD would be amused by this movie. Just watch it with a few friends over a few drinks, and I am sure everyone will have a blast. Here is a clip, it doesn’t contain any real spoilers.