I invited my brother to join me and some friends for the preview screening of Sunshine, which happens to be taking place on his birthday. He declined the invitation, and this was his reason why:
Gah, this one, I’ve heard about it…
Sol’s power output is roughly equivalent to 100 billion thermonuclear warheads detonating every second (or 10 trillion nuclear warheads of the type dropped on Hiroshima). Asking me to suspend my disbelief that anything we could possibly send would make any iota of difference is impossible.
Besides, as Sol starts to die, it’s not going to get colder, it’s going to get hotter, and bigger… a LOT hotter and bigger… ending up as a red giant. Imagine a grain of sand (representing Sol as it is now) ballooning up into something the size of a beach ball. Sol’s outer corona will extend even past Terra (but won’t quite make it to Mars), however this outer layer is so tenuous that Terra will continue to orbit Sol’s core for several thousand years, slowly losing momentum due to friction with the corona, and getting hotter and hotter until all but the most heaviest elements have boiled away leaving behind the iron core. Terra’s iron core will continue to spiral in towards Sol’s core, encountering thicker and hotter layers of the corona is it falls, until finally in just a few more thousand years the iron core itself boils away, and that’s the end of our planet.
The red giant phase won’t last long though, not long enough to get life going on any of Jupiter’s now-temperate moons anyway… violent stellar winds powered by x-rays and UV light will blow from Sol’s core, eventually dispersing the corona into interstellar space to form a planetary nebula, leaving behind a Terra-sized (but much denser and heavier) white dwarf with light so feeble it wouldn’t even support life on Mercury, if Mercury hadn’t first been vaporised by the red giant phase…
Of course, that’s a few billion years in the future… closer to our own timeframe, Terra’s interior will cool to the point that convection stops about 800 million years from now, its magnetic field will all but disappear, exposing our atmosphere to the stellar wind, and just another few hundred million years after that Terra will have virtually no atmosphere or water (this is what happened to Mars 2 billion years ago, being smaller its interior cooled more quickly). It’s an interesting coincidence that advanced life has appeared here within that narrow window of opportunity between snowball Earth and desert Earth…
For some reason I am reminded of this scene from Annie Hall:
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As I have been saying for months now, Matt Damon is simply too old to play “the young Kirk” in the new Star Trek movie. He is, in fact, older now than William Shatner was when the series began. Thankfully, Damon has now finally put that rumour to rest.
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Bill Maher talks to Entertainment Weekly about that documentary on religion he recently shot with Borat director Larry Charles:
What about the documentary about religion you’ve shot with Larry Charles? People are already talking about it.
It’s funny that everybody wants to know about this and there isn’t even a movie made yet. [Larry's] cutting it right now. The 10-minute reel that we showed at Cannes caused such a stir there, [the movie] immediately sold to 20 different countries. And Lionsgate bought it just on the strength of [the reel]. And I must say, we came back from [shooting it on] the road, and it was a long, grueling trip for me. I’m not used to going overseas, and getting up at the crack of dawn to do a movie , but it was worth it. Although when I got back to America in February, to go back to my day job, I kind of forgot about it. And we shot hundreds and hundreds of hours. I didn’t know what the heck to expect when, finally around May, Larry showed me this 10-minute reel. But it was hysterical.
How many countries did you visit?
It seems like we went everywhere there was religion: Jerusalem, Vatican City, Salt Lake City. We went everyplace from the Vatican to a truck-stop church in a trailer in South Carolina. We really covered the gamut.
Because Larry Charles filmed it, I picture you playing Borat — only you’re not playing anyone at all.
Yeah. I mean, it’s hard not to, I know. But no, I was just my congenial, charming self. [Laughs]
Are people going to be offended?
I certainly hope so.
Variety also spoke to Maher last week — and Charles too — on the occasion of Lionsgate’s purchase of the distribution rights:
Even though religion is the flashpoint for wars, terrorism and much global tension, Charles said he and Maher were determined to find a way to make the subject funny. They filmed in Israel and other Middle East hot spots in shoots that made the guerilla-style production of “Borat” seem like a cakewalk.
“Being in a place like Israel, you can feel how violence exists just under the surface of mundane life,” Charles told Daily Variety. “The trick here is, the darker and more serious the subject, the more absurd and funny it is when you push and the humor reveals itself.”
Maher said: “Comedically, the topic of religion is hitting the side of a barn; it’s literally hard to miss. This movie will make you laugh so hard you’ll pray for it to stop.”
Karina Longworth at SpoutBlog has some interesting comments on Knocked Up and the alleged lack of realism therein:
Stepping away from Denby and Emdashes for a moment, this brings us back to the elephant that’s always in the room when talking Knocked Up: the idea that Katherine Heigl’s character is poorly written, because someone like that would never get involved with someone like the character played by Seth Rogen. I know it’s a stretch to ask anyone whose natural analysis of character stops at “Pretty” or “Fat” to think this way, but do you think it’s maybe possible that the Katherine Heigl character was written that way for a reason? Is it so hard to imagine that a woman whose chief asset is her body, whose greatest aspiration is to follow in the footsteps of Giuliana DePandi (no offense to Giuliani), who is clearly lonely as hell (her only friend is apparently her shrewish older sister, who’s clearly occupied with her own pre-midlife crisis) would be lacking in self-confidence and self-worth, and for all of the reasons above, would be attracted to the unconditional love that a baby would represent?
It’s like there some kind of post-feminist block that won’t allow some female critics/viewers to admit that some real-world women are less than total braniacs, and/or that *most* women make decisions from time to time that don’t make total sense, and/or that in real life, attractive-but-dim women often date down the social ladder, picking men who they feel they can control without worrying that they’ll get dumped. At least Seth Rogen’s character showed promising glimpses, signs that he was capable of being genuinely caring, witty and kind. This puts him miles ahead of the average 23-year-old boy.
More interesting thoughts on the film at the link above.