In which I need to be clear

Fuck, and I cannot express this any more sincerely, Cuphead.

I’m just kind of screwing around with my various video game systems while I’m waiting out the Elden Ring series, and after five years of sitting on the fence about it I finally downloaded Cuphead.

Two reasons for the delay: one, the game’s visual aesthetic borrows extensively from 1930’s era Fleischer cartoons, with all the racist history that that era and that style of animation brings with it. And if I’m being 100% honest I feel kind of dirty about it. I dropped $20 on the game; I may make an equal or larger charitable donation somewhere appropriate and see if that eases my conscience at all. (To be clear, I haven’t noted anything directly problematic with the game itself, and you should read the articles I linked to, both of which make a nicely nuanced case about the game, but … it’s squicky. That’s a scientific term.)

Also, not for nothin’, it’s hard as hell, and that’s coming from me, a certified Fromsoft Guy. Worse, it’s hard as hell with short chapters, so there’s tons of swearing and immediately jumping back in going on, all the while insisting that I’m going to quit after this fucking stage kills me one more time. I mean, you win a stage in like a minute and a half if you’re playing well, probably faster once I get better at it. But I’m not going to get better at it if I end up throwing the Series X out a window, now, am I?

(Subject for a later post: I hate the Xbox Series X’s UI, a whole fucking lot.)

I devoured John Scalzi’s new novel, The Kaiju Preservation Society, over the last couple of days, and it was exactly what I wanted from it. Kaiju might be the John Scalziest book that John Scalzi could possibly write, and given his description of how the book happened (he spent 2020 beating his head around a novel that was decidedly out of his comfort zone and ended up bailing on it, and then this novel jumped into his head more or less in its final form and he wrote it in barely two months) it’s not hard to see how it ended up that way. Now, I love Scalzi’s style– my writing at its very best approaches Scalzi’s command of his tone, and I think I’m flattering myself by saying that, to be clear, but this is someone I look up to– but it’s turned up to 12 here, to the point where he almost feels like he’s parodying himself a little bit. Like, not every single conversation needs to be quippy. Sometimes people can just talk. If you’re not already a fan this isn’t going to be the book that convinces you (I’ll hand you Redshirts for that) and if you’re a fan you’re going to enjoy it. The rest of y’all? Smart, sarcastic, accessible science fiction and giant monsters. The word Kaiju is right there in the title; you know what you’re going to get. Go grab it up.


18lp8jstacc0xjpgThe new hotness for the boy lately has been Teen Titans Go!, which works for me because as it turns out I enjoy the program quite a lot.  It’s of that genre of cartoon where at the end of every episode the slate is wiped clean for the next episode, so literally anything can happen and the next episode they just pick up and move on.

To wit: there is an episode where one character blows up the moon.  And they do not all immediately die.  In fact, the blowing up of the moon is more or less passed over a few minutes later once the “YOU BLEW UP THE MOON?!?” moment is over.

“Would that really kill us all?” my wife muses.  “The moon’s awfully far away.”

“I think it would,” I say.  And then I start trying to figure out exactly how bad that might be.

Feel free to correct my math or my thinking if I’ve made a mistake.  HOWEVER:

  • The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is approximately 385,000 kilometers.
  • Assuming that the moon, once blown up, exploded evenly in all directions, by the time the debris field reached the earth it would form a sphere.  That sphere would have a surface area of 1.86 x 1012 square kilometers– or 1,860,000,000,000 square kilometers if you don’t like scientific notation.
  • This is a slight oversimplification, but we shall assume that the Earth presents as a flat disc for this scenario.  The Earth’s diameter is roughly 13,000 kilometers, so the disc has an area of 133,000,000 square kilometers.  That represents .00715054% of the total surface area of the sphere that the moon has exploded into.
  • The mass of the moon is 80,994,200,000,000,000,000 tons.  Or so.
  • Excel tells me that that means that the Earth would be hit by (calculating .00715054% of 80,994,200,000,000,000,000) approximately 5,791,523,012,258,060 tons of broken moon.
  • I don’t even know how to say that number.

Most of those numbers came from Google one way or another and were copy-pasted into Excel or figured out with online calculators.  The mass of the moon, in particular, seems to have a fairly wide range of accepted values.  I can imagine a universe where I ended up off by a factor of ten somewhere but something tells me it doesn’t make a difference.  

I’m still trying to figure out if anyone has estimated the mass of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, or if I have an easy way to kludge that (I actually can think of one way) but I suspect the following is true:


The generally accepted diameter of the Chicxulub asteroid is six miles.  This means that, assuming a perfect sphere (which isn’t true, I know), it was composed of 113.1 cubic miles of (assuming, assuming, assuming) iron.  That’s 16,648,088,371,200 cubic feet of iron.

A cubic foot of iron weighs 491.09 pounds.

Multiplying, we get an asteroid that weighs 8,175,709,718,212,610 pounds.  Divide that by 2000, and we get an estimate of 4,087,854,859,106 tons for the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The amount of moon hitting Earth would be 141,676% of that amount.

So yeah.  We’re fucked.

Creepy Children’s Programming Review: Peg + Cat

Blog-Qustodio-PBS-KidsSo there’s a new hotness in town, as there tends to be, and the flavor of the current month is PBS Kids’ Peg + Cat.  Make sure you’re saying it right; that’s “Peg plus Cat,” not “Peg and Cat,” and it’s certainly not “Peg vs. Cat,” which is what I can’t stop myself from calling it because I’m an idiot.  Although if each episode ended in some sort of deathmatch between Peg and Cat (his name is actually Cat) that would be really cool and maybe they ought to think about doing that.

In some ways, I really like Peg + Cat, and I wish that the show’s shortcomings didn’t kill it so thoroughly for me.  Most kids’ shows are either about nothing in particular or they are about reading.  Peg + Cat is literally the only show that I can think of that is explicitly about math, and I think that’s a good thing.  You can see from the image there that all the animation is set against a graph-paper background, and you might notice that clouds are rendered as infinity signs.  The really cool bit is the calculus and algebra equations that are written into the background.  They’re never commented on, but they’re always there and I think they’re cool.  Also, smart female main character, and Cat’s personality and voice acting is entertaining.  All of these are positives.

Here is the problem, and I will freely admit that this is as much a problem with my parenting as it is with the show: my kid tends to watch multiple episodes of shit in a row, right?  So repetitiveness can kill a show really quickly for me, and of everything that he’s watched, with the possible exception of Color Crew, Peg + Cat is easily the most intensely repetitive show he’s ever liked.  The following things happen in every episode, and keep in mind there are two episodes per show:

  • Peg encounters a minor problem.  She declares, Super Why style, that they have a biiiiig problem!
  • Cat solves this minor problem immediately.  Like, this immediately:  PEG:  I’ve lost my shoe!  This is a biiiiig problem!  CAT:  Your shoe’s right there!  I’m not exaggerating.  Solved immediately.
  • Peg sings the “Problem Solved” song.  Here it is:

  • Peg and Cat encounter a second, larger problem, which Peg also declares to be a biig problem. 
  • Peg encounters difficulties solving the problem and has a moment where she is “totally freaking out!” which Cat fixes by wordlessly offering to punch her face.  Peg, oddly, always misinterprets Cat’s desire to punch her by suggesting that he has told her to count backwards from five to calm down.  This is clearly not what Cat just did.  Cat wanted to punch her.
  • Peg calms down, and Peg and Cat eventually solve the problem.  Peg sings the goddamn Problem Solved song again, except this time with an extra line where they state that everything is awesome.  Episode ends.

This has destroyed my mind, folks; that’s four biiig problems and four problem solveds per show, and I cannot tolerate that much.  The trouble is that literally everything else about the show, I like.  I like the math, I like the other songs that show up in the show (Peg plays the ukulele, and most shows involve at least one other song someplace.)  I like the fact that the show occasionally brings in science and history; Beethoven is a recurring character, and Cleopatra has shown up at least once.  Peg herself entertains me.  I like the intro theme, and the fact that they’ll mix up the song and the animation for it rather than it being exactly the same every episode.  I like the math integration.  There’s a lot of good stuff about this show.

Just don’t try to marathon it.  Because it will kill you.