For me, space exploration has always symbolized science. I haven’t always managed to keep up with its latest developments, but the idea of going to space and exploring the mysteries of the universe there definitely has a great appeal. It’s almost mystical.
Instead of exploring the vastness of space, I’ve been browsing the offerings of Netflix. From there, I spotted When we left Earth, a documentary series produced by Discovery channel. It goes through the history of NASA’s space program, from the Mercury project to the International Space Station. Unfortunately it does not offer too much information about the Russian efforts. Most people might not know, for example, that Russians had their own space shuttle but they never launched a manned space flight using it. During my visit to Peenemünde, it became pretty clear that the German scientists had a strong impact on both of the space programs, but this is not really covered by the documentary.
Year 2013 had its fair share of so called AAA blockbusters, from BioShock Infinite to The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V. While those games have spectacular qualities to them, these big budget titles often fail to touch the player or make the mistake of feeling bloated just for the sake of going big. Luckily, there has been a counter-balancing trend in the recent years, brought to us by the indie games. They usually manage to be more focused and personal. Last year, one of these games was Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which I had the pleasure of playing during the Christmas break.
I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t dreamed of being an astronaut at least at some point of my life. I might be a little bit more realistic right now, but given the chance to go to space, I would still definitely go for it. Even after seeing Gravity.
After the disappointment that was Elysium, I started looking for a new movie feel anxious about. It took me some time to find Gravity by Afonso Cuaron. The first trailers I saw seemed to be a little bit too much about action, but otherwise I was optimistic. It of course helped that I enjoyed Children of Men immensely. And then there was going to be George Clooney.
The main character of Gravity is mission specialist Ryan Stone, portrayed by Sandra Bullock. She’s working on installing some new hardware on to the Hubble telescope, but basically every possible kind of shit hits the fan, and she has to fight for her survival along with her astronaut buddies.
I’m sometimes asked what it actually is that I study or do at work. Usually I just mention fusion and plasma physics, but I do not know if those say anything to most people. However, I think it would be good to try to explain it at least here on the blog. I will not go into all of the details, but I will try to explain the basic concepts required for understanding what fusion is, what is plasma physics, how they are related to each other, and why they are important for the future of mankind. Very profound, yes!
If there was a vote for the most popular or least hated person in Finland, the winner could easily be Teemu Selänne. He’s a guy that seems incapable of doing things wrong. Well, if you believe Sel8nne, a documentary film concentrating on Teemu’s life, he might just be that.
The documentary basically goes through Teemu’s career from juniors to recent years. In this sense, it does not hold any surprises for a sports fan, even though it’s nice to have a recap before Teemu finally retires after this season – and I do believe he will really do it this time. And his story is pretty great, especially the comeback after the lockout and finally winning Stanley Cup.
Over the years, the TV series X-files has been broadcasted many times on television here in Finland. Like with several other shows, it’s easy to catch an episode here and there without building a cohesive overall picture of the show. Still, considering my fondness of all things sci-fi and alien, I’ve always felt like I should take the time and watch the whole series from beginning to end, and that is just what I’ve done, thanks to (the American) Netflix.
It was a massive undertaking. Nine seasons with about 20 episodes each, totaling at around 200, 43 minutes a shot. That’s a huge amount of time. I have to admit that I did not concentrate purely on watching the show but I was often doing something else at the same time, depending on the episode of course.
Anyways, I thought I’d offers some thoughts about the series. I will not be describing every single detail or doing a deep analysis of all the plot elements. Instead, I will be discussing just some of the things that stick with me through the series.
Some time ago, I think it was in December, the lovely people of Pelaaja magazine asked their writers if they would like to write short blog posts about personal choices for the best games of the year. They’ve been publishing those texts on Pelaajalehti.com recently. Today was my turn, and you can read it over there, in Finnish naturally, but anyone should be able to understand at least the names of the games.
As for the choices, it is of course difficult to try to lift some games higher than others. Often many games have many great qualites but ultimately they are so different, that comparing them seems a little bit stupid. Also, I naturally haven’t played all the games that have been published. Having said this, you should understand that the list or the order of these games is not absolute. These are just five games I wanted to highlight because I feel like they were somehow special and meant something.
When compiling the list, I had some difficulties picking out five really good games. There were good games like BioShock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V that failed to feel personal in any sense. Luckily I bought some titles off the Steam sale and played them during Christmas break. From that batch, Brothers and Papers, Please made my list, but I’ve yet to play Gone Home or The Swapper and also just tried some Kerbal Space Program, so the ultimate list could be a little bit different. Hopefully I will write at least something about these games later on.