Since we first discovered that the pinpricks of light in the night sky were in fact, other stars, humankind has been gripped by the desire to travel to those stars and see for ourselves what they are like. The discovery of the first exo-planets only heightened this need, and as we found more and more earth-like rocks orbiting numerous stars in our local region alone, it soon became imperative that we voyage to those stars, to see if humanity could finally leave earth’s cradle and remove the possibility of extinction from our equation. The biggest hurdle were the laws of physics – nothing could travel faster than light, and even at the speed of light, journeys of forty years, in some cases even longer, would be virtually unsustainable, save for multi-generational crews and long spells in cryogenic sleep.

So the aim of many scientists was to somehow defy, or redevelop our understanding of physics and the laws of the universe that forbade faster-than-light travel. Science fiction had presented fanciful ideas of warp space, subspace, hyperspace and all kinds of means of ‘cheating’, but the reality of these methods, once examined with any critical detail, suggested the energy requirements were going to be beyond us for a very long time – perhaps forever. Either a new source of power was needed – or the laws of the universe would have to be broken.

It was in the early 22nd century when Luca Martinez, an experimental physicist living in Idaho, USA, made his unexpected breakthrough. The idea had been to generate energy through atomic friction, and to that end, he had been making hydrogen atoms resonate with one another. The introduction of dense matter (degenerate matter, in very small quantities, intended to match the density of a neutron star) led to a highly controlled resonation that for a very brief period, moved the atoms from one area of the carbon tube to the other in less time than was possible under the speed of light.

Such was Martinez’ excitement that he dropped his coffee over his lap and had to put up with the suggestion from his colleagues that he had actually wet himself. Decades later, he would laugh about it – at the time, he was said to actually be quite angry. Nevertheless, the development would lead to further study, and refinement, and this led to the production of the first small-scale probes, to test if the Res-Drive (or R-Drive if you’re lazy) was actually viable. The probes were sent under highly controlled conditions from the earth to the Moon, then from the earth to Mars, and from Mars to Jupiter, to see if they were exceeding the speed of light without being subject to relativity. When the results confirmed that the light barrier had been broken, champagne corks were popped and raucous celebrations held. We had done it – but one final test remains. Human pilots will soon take to the first ships fitted with the R-Drive to see if it is safe for people.’

Roxanne closed the textbook and ran a hand through her strawberry blonde hair. It felt unnaturally short, but having it cut had been a requirement of the West Alliance Space Agency. ‘We don’t want any entanglements, literally or otherwise’, the committee had said.

It felt like a lifetime ago that she’d been chosen for this. Somehow, she’d beaten hundreds of other candidates to be the first human to go faster than light. The prospect made her dizzy with excitement and sick with fear, all at once.

There was no turning back now though. In the crisp orange jumpsuit (that was turn covering the thinner body-monitoring grey jumpsuit), Roxanne was suited up and sitting in front of the controls that would, at her command, launch her at unprecedented speeds toward Mars. A short hop was all that was needed today.

One of the engineers who’d help build the Magellan had explained to her about the power source and the technical details of the R-Drive, but she’d barely listened. She wasn’t a physicist – chemistry and biology were her fields – so talk of quarks and Fermi principles had been lost on her. All she’d wanted to know – and had been assured of several times – was that the drive itself was perfectly stable and the power source perfectly safe. Nothing about that aspect of the mission could go wrong.

T-minus five minutes. Final systems check.” Came a male voice over the comm link that Roxanne recognised as Director Campbell. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that he was taking a personal interest in this. “Fuel line?”

“Check.” She replied.

“Life support?”

“Check.” The oxygen filter was keeping her breathing. Air circulated around the cabin in a never-ending loop, filtered repeatedly by the sophisticated equipment. A backup generator would kick it if the primary failed, and her engineers had scoffed at her request for a helmet with an independent oxygen supply, but said helmet sat behind her in the small space available in the cabin. Roxanne wasn’t minded to take any chances.

“Sublight engines?”

“Check.” Roxanne tapped a couple of buttons on the grid in front of her. The ion propulsion drive was all set to give her a decent kick away from earth once the clock stopped ticking.

“Sublight navigational controls?”


“R-Drive navigational controls?”

“Check.” In theory, Roxanne could override the controls and set a new destination, but she didn’t dare. Everything had been pre-programmed and that was fine with her.

“FTL comm system?”

“Check.” Roxanne would have to trigger the beacon to confirm the success of the mission – and it was a convenient test of the R-Drive’s long-range communication principle.

“We look good down here in Control. Four minutes and counting.”

“Roger that.” Roxanne gulped. The butterflies in her stomach had morphed into mini dragons that were belching flame. “Deep breaths girl, deep breaths…” She recalled her Yoga and her training, though more and more she wished the mission was over already.

The Yoga was kicking in. She could feel the edginess in her subside. A gentle hum of instruments distracted her from what was about to happen, and the march of time was briefly forgotten.

“This is Control, hey Rox, just wanted to wish you luck.” Roxanne smiled. Her jovial boyfriend lifted her spirits.

“Thanks Fred. Don’t forget to have dinner ready.” She chuckled.

“Oh, well, I was thinking we should go out for dinner when you get back. Celebrate the mission, our engagement…”

Roxanne had to check her comm link. “En… engagement?!”

“Yeah, oh crap, I meant to do the other bit first – you know, ask you and everything…”

“Oh God… the answer is yes, a million times yes!” In the midst of the impending mission, a different kind of excitement overtook Roxanne. “Yes!”

“So as if you didn’t already have a reason to come back, that’s another one.” She could hear the smile in his voice – and it wouldn’t at all surprise her if Director Campbell was pissed at the sudden interruption to his orderly proceedings.

“One minute. Disengage the umbilicals.” Came the deliberately stern voice of the Director. Roxanne complied, and Magellan floated freely in space, no longer berthed to the station where she had been constructed. The craft’s independent systems kicked in.

Autopilot took the ship slowly away from earth, at a relatively sedate 2 km/s. As the R-Drive fired up, the ship seemed to hum with power. This is really happening…

“From everyone down here, good luck. We’ll see you on the other side.” The Director’s voice was softer.”

“Roger that Control, here we go…”

The Magellan seemed to oscillate for several seconds, and then vanished.

As the clock ticks and we get closer to the launch of Breath of the Wild, I’ve been replaying A Link to the Past. The other day I recounted my favourite bosses from the Zelda series as a whole – this time, it’s all about my favourite Zelda game, and the dungeons.

There are thirteen dungeons in A Link to the Past, and they are all pretty unique. Some can be tackled in any order you choose – others can’t be faced until you complete a specific dungeon, but they are all quite good fun. Some though, are more fun than others.

In no particular order, my personal faves:

Hyrule Castle Tower

The second time you come to this tower it’s for the same reason as the first – you’re racing to rescue Princess Zelda. This is a very directed dungeon – you have to follow the path laid out for you – but there’s a certain thrill in having finally acquired the Master Sword and breaking Agahnim’s spell that previously blocked you. Here you will face enemies that are unique to this tower – ball and chain guards, and a unique variation on the blue knights, can be found here and only here.

Racing up the tower, you get a sense of urgency. When you finally reach Agahnim it’s too late – he’s zapped Zelda to the Dark World, but you can still fight him, and this feels like a major milestone in the game – you’ve faced off against this big boss, the architect of the misfortunes gripping Hyrule, and there’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with beating him.

Skull Woods

What makes this dungeon (that hides crystal no.3 from you) so interesting is the switching from underground labyrinth to the murky forest above. To solve this mystery, particular if you haven’t faced it before, involves finding several entrances to the dungeon itself, which are scattered around the forest. Once you’ve mastered it, this is actually a very easy level, as you can bypass several areas completely if you want. Still, it has to get a mention for the imaginative use of multiple ways in and out.

The final boss here is actually, in my opinion, one of the hardest in the game (or it can be if you’re not prepared). A giant moth flaps around in a room surrounded by spikes, and to make it worse, the moth shoots giant rings of death at you. Getting worse from there, the floor actually moves, and some of the spikes will move as well, in all directions. You therefore have to keep moving, and hope that you kill the boss quickly.

Gargyole’s Domain

Crystal number four awaits in the catacombs that hide underneath the ruined village in the Dark World. Another good dungeon, it starts out with a series of linked chambers which are huge, and then narrows down to a more confined, almost claustrophobic series of rooms that go deeper underground. Interestingly, the mechanism here is that you are led to a young woman, who is a prisoner, who wants to be taken outside – only she won’t go outside, but instead, you have to take her to a specific room. The kicker is that if you haven’t blown a hole in the ceiling of this room earlier, you’ll have to go back into the bowels of the dungeon and do that before facing the boss. Speaking of which…

Blind is a good boss, that gets pretty chaotic. After a short while, two disembodied heads are twirling around the room, spitting fireballs at you, whilst Blind herself – complete with a new head that’s doing Exorcism-style twists – is shooting lasers at you. This was definitely one of the more dramatic boss fights I had when I first played the game.

Palace of Darkness

This feels like the biggest dungeon in the game, even though I’m pretty sure it isn’t. The very first crystal awaits you here, in your first test of the Dark World. It’s quite easy to tie yourself in knots, re-visiting various rooms and trying to set certain switches in the right way to let you progress. After a few run-throughs, this isn’t an issue for me anymore, but I can remember this being a tricky dungeon to navigate the first time around.

The boss is one of the toughest, perhaps the toughest in the game. You face off against what looks like a giant scorpion, with an armoured face. You can either use bombs or the newly-acquired hammer to break the armour, but this thing doesn’t stay still and spits fireballs at you, that divide into more fireballs. Oh yeah, and its tail will lash out at you too.

Turtle Rock

This is where you will find the final crystal, thus rescuing Princess Zelda. I can vividly remember this dungeon being enormously frustrating when I was younger (to the point where I got quite angry at one particular section that involved lighting torches to open a door), but nowadays it’s pretty straightforward, and the dungeon itself features mechanics not found elsewhere – such as the transport tubes that send you all over the place.

This dungeon (like all of them to a certain extent) requires memorising certain routes, but this involves working around moving platforms, and it’s easy to fall off, so tread carefully!

The final boss here is the monstrous tri-headed turtle Trinexx, and if you haven’t grabbed the ice rod you’re not going to beat this guy. This is quite an enjoyable fight, but not all that difficult, despite Trinexx’ appearance.

Ganon’s Tower

This is a huge level. It is a multi-floored dungeon that is not completely linear, giving you a few choices in how you handle the lower levels. On my last play-through I grabbed some keys from here and didn’t use them, moving on to the upper levels and using them later.

Here you get four boss fights for the price of one, fighting all the bosses that guarded the pendants, and squaring off against Agahnim for the final time. The dungeon gets increasingly challenging as you move up it, fighting various enemies and overcoming various traps as you go.

It’s good fun to face old bosses again. It gives you the impression that this is it. The final showdown is coming, and this is for the fate of the world.

So, there you have my personal favourite choices for the best dungeons in A Link to the Past. Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear from you!

Back to The Legend of Zelda

It feels like we’ve been waiting for this film for a long time. The first trailer for Sing dropped late in 2015, and yet here in the UK, only saw release in early 2017. It’s quite unusual for such a long wait with a family film like this, but nonetheless, Sing is finally here – and it’s pretty good.

The setting is a city populated by various animals, and one of them, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) runs a theatre which is going through hard times. To address he organises a singing competition, there’s an error on the flyers regarding prize money, and each contestant has a few issues of their own to work out. Cue chaos.

One thing that surprised me are the strong singing voices of several members of the cast. Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon both have excellent voices, and so does Seth MacFarlane. Tori Kelly was rejected by American Idol, yet her own voice here is very powerful, and she is, in my humble view, the strongest singer in the film.

Overall, without giving too much away, this film has a strong feel-good factor. The message for kids is to follow your dreams, and to not give up, and that’s a good message. There are some lovely touches and the animation is very slick. 8/10.

A rather strange, complicated and intriguing tale this, but one I’m not sure I’m going to watch again. Arrival is a first contact tale, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, and it offers up an interesting new look at the nature of time.

Adams is Louise Banks, an expert in languages, and she is called in to try and help first contact with aliens when twelve ships land at various locations around the earth. Adams is by far and away the star of the show, with the other characters feeling quite incidental, and the story revolves around the strange language (and mode of thinking) of the aliens, that triggers new thought processes in Banks, in turn letting her understand the aliens and to predict things, as in one sense she’s already lived them.

The result is a film that does have a measure of poignancy, but I dare say the jumping about around time is quite confusing, and makes the film feel a little disjointed. There’s certainly a lot of interest here – in how an alien species might not think in a way we are remotely familiar with, and how strange life might be to us from that perspective. Adams is a powerful performer and this is very much clear from this movie. However, I can’t say I’d go out of my way to watch the film again. It’s not bad, but a little too jumbled for me. 7/10

Recently I posted an excerpt from a conversation on Big Footy about so-called Flat Earth Theory. Up next is the continuation of that discussion, and my take on the wider implications that it represents.

Following on from the original post, which I then shared on Big Footy, I became embroiled in debate with two of the theory’s biggest supporters in the thread, Cannot and Darthbards. Let’s take a look at what they said – for reference, posts by myself are in blue, posts by Cannot are in green, and posts from Darthbards are in pink.

After I shared my article with the board, I received the following reply from Darthbards:

Looks to me like it’s the same people who troll and bash religious people over here to me. If people want to believe a different theory to you,just let them.

And how does any alternate theory effect science. People can study more than one theory at a time until we actually find the one that’s correct.

It looks to me that some are just over sensitive to their theories being questioned while thinking it’s perfectly fine to bash others before they can supply their own facts. Shouldn’t you be busy putting together the pieces to the Big Bang theories. Sounds like your the one being destructive to science wasting your time commenting on things you dont have any interest in.

And your why is the reason being being hidden question has been answered. The answer was no idea. If you don’t like that answer,to bad. Your theories have plenty of unanswered questions also.

Go start a big ball thread if you love it so much. The PE people have answered all the questions asked to the best of their ability. If you choose to not believe,good for you,and I support that. We’re all free to make our own choices in what to believe and what not to.

So what are you trying to do now? Gather up an internet gang to come over here and try and force people to believe what you think everyone should believe? Yep that should work lol.
Or is your little gang hidden behind their little computer screens just going to offer that fearful retort of abuse. You think the FE people havnt heard that before.

If your so confident with your big ball what would you care what someone else thinks?

The chief problem with Darthbards and his arguments will become clear as this post wears on. It can be summed up as automatically assuming a theory to be false if it is not 100% perfect. He will go on to criticise the Big Bang Theory, will make remarks about us only being aware of 4% of the particles that make up the universe (both Red Herring arguments as well), and will also put together a number of Strawman fallacies.

There’s more to this than ‘believing another theory’. This is about undermining scientific endeavour with vague pseudo-science like FE theory. It is a dead-end of a theory, rooted in religious beliefs rather than science, yet it is being insidiously injected as a scientific idea (much like creationism). It’s then presented as an alternative to conventional science, attacking existing theories on the basis that theory A can’t explain everything. Of course, FE explains far less, but that gets overlooked.

Your string of subtle Ad Hominens not withstanding, I invite you to address the actual content of what I wrote, instead of trying to evade it.

Well don’t bother yourself with it then, and pull your finger out and find this dark matter and big bang and leave others to believe whatever the heck they want to.

And where’s this big gang your posting to,I want to tell those bozos to get their noses out of other people’s business and journeys through life as well.

Emphasis mine. Bards got hung up on the idea that I had somehow issued a call to arms – check out my original post and see for yourself if this is remotely true.

You missed the part where I mentioned that pseudo-scientific nonsense like FE is harmful to genuine science. Perhaps you should heed your own advice and not refer to the scientific method as ‘religious’.

And you obviously missed the part I said it doesn’t effect scientific studies in other areas whatsoever. Your just wasting your time sticking your nose in other people’s business.

And so what I think science is a religion,I never said I don’t like religions. Having beliefs and faith in things is great. Don’t tell me your getting your knickers in a knot over a simple word?
The more I see and hear science getting all antsy with the church and bible the more I just think it’s an alternate religion,a different type of religion. It’s just a word,meaning faith, belief,pursuit followed with great devotion. Sounds like a nice word to me.

And this big gang you showed us the post you were sending to, sure are taking their time.

And this vague allusion thing you’ve said in the next post,if you want to think that,good for you. No skin of my nose.
Like I said,I think the chances the earth is round is 30%. My ego couldn’t care less if I’m 70% out. In fact I’d be happy if I am and we finally get some understanding of what’s going on.
4% knowledge of the particles in our universe,I’m not making any wild predictions based on that or this Swiss cheese big bang theory.

The ongoing issue here is Bards’ use of the Alternative Syllogism fallacy (not to mention Red Herrings). The Alternative Syllogism fallacy is where two ideas – A and B – are presented, and if A is not perfect, B wins. It doesn’t matter if theory B is not perfect, in the mind of the person presenting the argument, any blip, error or lack of data on the part of theory A means it gets thrown out in favour of B.

At this point, I replied to each paragraph, I won’t list the argument like that here, as it would mean a lot of repetition.

You completely failed to understand the point. Pseudo-science, of any nature, is harmful to science regardless of the field of study. It encourages a line of reasoning (or anti-reasoning) that if left unchecked, will lead to other pseudo-scientific rubbish getting into the system. This has widespread ramifications for us all, which makes it my business, so I will stick my nose in and if you don’t like it? It’s no skin off my back.

It matters because conflating faith-driven ideas with scientific study is misleading. It’s how the religious right gets ideas like creationism into school science books, despite it having no business being there.

What are you on about? I posted on my site yes – never said anything about anyone else getting involved. If people want to respond to it, they can, if they don’t, so be it.

Yet you can’t present any reasonable alternative ideas that aren’t couched in unscientific notions. You can’t even present a reason for a vast global conspiracy to hide FE from us. It’s therefore a vague allusion. You might have more credibility if you admitted that.

Your totally missing the point,there’s a science board here,go there or stick to your blog. I don’t see how this theory effects science at all. People choose science,people choose this theory. People are free to choose whatever they wish,what business of yours is it. If you think science is so under threat,strive harder and stop calling other people’s interests ‘rubbish’. Or enter parliament and try and have some law passed so your theories are all we must obey.

And I see you took a pot shot at the other religions as soon as you got the chance. Again,prove God doesn’t exist. Not religious personally,probably 50/50,higher than round ball theory though. Who are you to tell other parents what they would like their children to believe or learn in school.Seems like there’s plenty of religious people out there,so why not teach it. At my kids school it’s actually optional so stop complaining about it. If you don’t want your children believing in God, just tell them that. Our children will progress in their journey through life and then make their own call.

How about you worry about yourself,your blog,and stop preaching to me. I’m only explaining FE theory,couldn’t give two hoots whether someone believes or not,why would I,it’s their choice.

30% chance round for me,pretty generous considering everything we don’t know about the universe.

And next time you want to stick something I say on your little blog,how about you have the common courtesy of seeking my permission. I would have said yes anyway most likely.

You’ve made your point here,you don’t like FE theory. I’ve already said your within your rights, so why do you keep commenting about some make believe danger like our flat universe is going to end?

You should go get some Kinesiology or something and relax a bit. :thumbsu:

At this point, I was also having a conversation with Cannot. This is a reply of mine to him when I pressed him to explain why a conspiracy would exist to hide the true nature of the earth from everyone.

You have completely failed to answer the important part of the question. In fact, you have evaded it.

To maintain a global conspiracy involving several space agencies, hundreds of airline companies, communications companies, shipping firms and multiple governments for several years without anyone noticing ‘the truth’ would be an enormously expensive and time-consuming exercise. I have yet to see one satisfactorily explanation for why it would be necessary to conceal a flat earth from the public, especially through such elaborate means. I may not be able to work out why such a conspiracy would exist, but from your non-answer to my comment, it’s clear you cannot do so either.

what a load of pig whallop – i have not evaded the question what so ever, i have made it clear to you

just cause you dont know why TPTB would lie to you on a issue, doesnt mean that there is no lie; it merely means you dont know cause you are probable a pleb. any other conclusions you are worth not much

the Manhattan project along with numerous other historical events prove secrets can be keep relatively easily. you merely departmentalize the information and keep the bigger secrets to the top – the nature of ‘secret soceities’ and various elites groupins that have held power over humanity is to keep the top information in the top ranks as opposed to mouthing off to every rank and file member. this is why i laugh when you run on the mill freemasons just say we play poker and do some charity work

its quite funny you are saying said elite powers would have money problems trying to have such a scheme going. these folks wouldnt be concerned with dollars and cents too much. Almost as funny as saying it would be too… “time consuming”. i dun think there is a rush

to summarize what you consider a “satisfactorily explanation” is laughable and doesnt carry much. ive offered my own version earlier in the discussion but it has some religious overtones and the uber atheists might start crying, again

no doubt if you look into FE theory there will be some explanations

You missed the part where I mentioned that pseudo-scientific nonsense like FE is harmful to genuine science. Perhaps you should heed your own advice and not refer to the scientific method as ‘religious’.


how , is it ‘harmful’ to ‘real’ science?

you’d think in ’17 there would be suffice proof of the super fast, multi direction moving globe earth that FE could be easily debunked and yet nope, the fe is apparently one of the fastest growing movements

I don’t even know what the point was that picture, but Cannot (who has since been suspended from Big Footy for rule violations) did not appear to be interested in fact-driven discussion.
This is where things get a bit complicated, and for the sake of expediency, I would recommend viewing the thread directly. Darthbards and Cannot began chatting, and their chat included repeating Ad Hominen and Strawman arguments:
Careful now,he’s sent a call out to his computer army,linking this very sight and naming those he wants placed under attack for daring to think differently from himself.
Rambling on about throwing balls in the air to prove Gravity while dismissing the experiments already carried out with zero understanding of Universal Acceleration or the possibility of a repulsion force from nearby parallel universe.
Shows how much of the thread he’s actually read before declaring war and attempting to send the fear of God into his blogites by suggesting they are now in the gravest of danger because people are daring to think differently to them.
Well darth_timon has adopted those policies that he has more right to tell a persons child what they should believe,ahead of the very parents who gave birth to,and raising those children.
Funny thing is,I missed the part where they proved God doesn’t exist before their attacks on this bloke,and their ruling that all must cease their own individual journeys through life.
I also never remember religion being mentioned in this thread until the anti brigade recently decided to branch out in telling us what we can or can’t do and believe.

And this computer army from the land of blog sure are taking their time on arriving to where they have been linked to.

Of course, if you are reading this or following the thread on Big Footy, you’ll see that Bards is raising arguments against points I didn’t raise, which is the perfect representation of a Strawman.
With the next post of mine, it is once again a reply broken up into chunks, so apologies if it is hard to follow.
When stuff like flat earth theory is paraded around as a valid alternative to something that is based on literally hundreds of years of study, it serves to undermine genuine attempts to understand the world around us. Resources that are better used elsewhere are being wasted on dealing with this sort of insidious idea, that would fill minds with pseudo-scientific rubbish if left unchecked. Your angry rhetoric notwithstanding, I have every right to discuss this here, in this thread, and I have every right to call flat earth theory rubbish. It’s not an ‘interest’ – it’s a symptom of a dumbing down of society. It’s no different to creationism – it’s faux science, that is trying to masquerade as the real thing, why should that be allowed into science lessons?
Strawman fallacy (you’re attacking an argument I didn’t make). I didn’t attack religion – I criticised the injection of religious ideas into science lessons. If you have faith in God, more power to you – if you don’t, again, more power to you – but you’re using a religious mentality and trying to pass it off as science, which is blatantly wrong, and then saying I’m attacking religion? That’s just dishonest of you.
I can say whatever I want in this thread. The discussion is about FE theory, which is what I am discussing. It clearly matters enough for you to keep defending it.
You base this 30% chance on what? A rejection of hundreds of years of observation in favour of…. ?
Here’s the thing. I don’t require your permission. You made public posts on a public forum. I can repost this entire conversation on my site, on other forums, on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter – anywhere I want. Given that you have failed to extend much courtesy to me (by creating strawmen distortions of my position, an act of clear dishonesty), what makes you feel I should extend any to you?

I find it amusing that you feel the need to refer to posting about this on my site as a rallying cry. I don’t recall issuing a call to arms in my post, but I am interested in preserving these discussions for posterity. I have to wonder – why are you so threatened by this that you have to imply a meaning that isn’t there, then attack that? You are far too fond of Strawmen.

Another Strawman. You grossly exaggerate and distort my position. Fe theory relies on non-scientific means, yet its supporters also try to pass it off as a scientific theory. It’s clearly not a scientific theory, so attempts to inject it into the science curriculum are symptomatic of a growing anti-science mindset. Quite how this will affect our progress and our understanding of the universe we don’t yet know.
At this point, I’m going to fast-forward to the challenge I issued to Darthbards.
Darth Timon vs Darth Bards Round 1

Ok Bards, since you are seemingly avoiding my posts (or some of them anyway), I’ve decided to throw the first punch anyway. A series of challenges for you to answer about FE theory.

1. What Replaces Gravity?

Assuming you are not trolling (which is a distinct possibility given your posts, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt), what is the force that keeps us grounded to the earth’s surface, if we go with your idea that gravity isn’t real? Related to this, what powers the sun if there is in fact no gravity crushing the mass and generating nuclear forces in the core?

2. Mechanisms

What is the underlying mechanism behind the force that keeps us grounded?

What is the mechanism behind the tides?

3. Lack of Evidence

How is it possible that a giant ice wall has never been reported by any one of the millions of people who would be required to be ‘in’ on this conspiracy? How is it that there has never been a single photograph of this?

So there you have it. If this becomes a proper debate, I’ll post it here.

Over on Big Footy, I am following and participating in a thread that highlights the extent to which people are prepared to believe wild conspiracy theories. Namely that the world is flat. This would be amusing if it were not a tragic indictment of how damaging pseudo-science is.

The thread is indicative of the same problem that motivates anti-vaxxers – people will believe stuff that sounds vaguely scientific, but will ignore stuff that actually is scientific, because it’s hard. Let’s take a more detailed look at the flat-earth nonsense, and let’s consider a force called gravity.

Gravity is the theory that objects exert a pull on each other. Over time, two rocks in space will be attracted to one another, and will collide. This new object has more mass, and therefore its pull grows stronger. The object grows, gains more mass, its gravitational pull gets stronger, and so on. Gravity works to continue to squeeze the object until it becomes spherical in shape. Through this process, stars and planets form (in fact, gravity is crucial to the formation of stars, as it compresses mass at the star’s centre to the point where fusion begins).

Gravity underpins the orbits of planets around stars and moons around planets. Without it, we would fly off the earth and the stars and planets would come apart.

This is a theory, detractors say, it is not a fact. It is a theory that can be tested – throw a ball into the air, and it comes back down to the ground. The best explanation for this? Gravity.

Lets take this to the extreme. There is evidence for the existence of black holes, including supermassive ones, including one at the heart of the Milky Way. Black holes are the end result of the relationship between mass, density and gravity. They are gravity gone wild. Our best explanations for their formation are due to gravity crushing matter to a single point, where nothing can escape its grip, even light itself.

Without gravity, how do planets form? How are stars powered?

Reasons for Denial

Why would it be necessary to conceal a flat earth from the public? To what end would such a conspiracy exist? I have read of the idea that a giant ice wall exists at the edges of the world, guarded by NASA (right, because NASA is a military organisation, oh wait…). I have read of plane pilots swearing to secrecy. I have read of many ways and means of hiding the ‘truth’ from the public. I have not read of a single explanation as to why. These undertakings would be monstrously expensive, and they would be on-going expenses, and all for what? There isn’t a satisfactory explanation for why this conspiracy exists.

The bottom line here? People speak of not accepting what the ‘establishment’ tells us, but sometimes the most straightforward answer is the correct one. Conspiracies for the sake of conspiracies are utter nonsense, and this is what the Flat Earth Theory is.

Religious Mentality

One of the great ironies of this thread is that the scientific method has come under attack as a ‘religious’ approach. Take for example this post by ‘darthbards’:

I think what we are dealing with here is pure ignorance and the round ball brigade unable to accept they’ve been barking up the wrong tree with this round nonsense.
They seem to have no understanding whatsoever regarding FE theory despite having it explained to them numerous times,often even repeating questions already answered.
Falling over the edge,lol,it’s near impossible,using their terrible human sight as proof,ignoring the lack of human perception. Some even explaining general relativity which has nothing to do with FE theory,while having no grasp of special relativity at all. I very much doubt they have ever studied FE theory themselves, and as we all know,it isn’t taught in school,so they need to do their own research. I very much doubt they have,or taken it beyond their own biased opinions. We have even had an alleged ‘teacher’ admit he forces his own views on our poor children, even admitting he tells them other extremely popular views like religion are myths,again forcing personal views on others. No wonder so many have such a closed mind and viewpoint. What a disgrace.

We are yet to be provided with any proof of gravity,big bangs,dark matter or dark energy. We are yet to see any unedited pictures of this fantastic round wonderment,yet have seen numerous edited versions.

Instead of complaining so much about what isn’t all the time,some need to hit the books,learn more beyond what we think we know. It might be scary that we have no idea what’s going on,but it sure beats the anger that develops through ignorance and brainwashing.

We live in an extremely corrupt world,we need to be careful what we are told to believe. Still not sure what theory is 100% correct,but I’d bet my bottom dollar it sure to hell isnt a big ball spinning round and round,hurtling through space.

Classic ‘let’s attack science’ mentality. Much of science is theory, but it’s theory that fits the facts, based on our observations and experiments. Gravity is the best explanation for the formation of stars and planets. It’s the best explanation for black holes. We have observed moons orbiting other planets and have been doing so for hundreds of years.

Gravity is critical to the formation of stars (as mentioned earlier) and it helps to drive processes that create the elements that make up, among other things, the building blocks of life. We know through spectral analysis what the composition of stars is, and we can infer from this the process that forms the elements within them. The gravity/density/pressure process is the best one we have for explaining supernovae and the spreading of advanced elements across the galaxy.

Religion under Attack?

Another user, ‘BrewSmackerVeiny’, made reference to posts buried within the nearly 90 pages of conversation as to why flat earth conspiracies exist – to deny the existence of God and to create an immoral society. Please note, I am not saying BSV supports this argument:

It’s been covered multiple times earlier in the thread, I realize it’s a long thread with a lot of long videos so It’s not unreasonable to not have found the answer on an older page, I’ll try and summarise what I have gleaned –
The general consensus for the reason would seem to be in order to make it appear as if there is no god, and by extension, no greater purpose for life, thus making people more interested in ‘living for the now'(An ideal consumer), and having no ‘post life consequences’ for actions they may consider otherwise immoral. If the Earth was flat and existed the way the FE theory claims then it would be abundantly clear that it had to have been created, thus people would be more inclined to seek out divine answers and higher meaning, and less inclined to focus on materialism and less willing to act immorally.
There may have been other reasons posited but this seems to be the main one.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. Historically people who challenged established religious doctrine have come under fire. Galileo is but one example of the clash between religion and science, and so the arguments being made by darthbards and another user (who goes by the name ‘cannot’) are merely updated, pseudo-scientific versions of old arguments aimed at weakening science. ‘Think for yourself and don’t be brainwashed’ is their cry – yet their theories and pseudo-science can’t survive any meaningful scrutiny.

They are guilty of the Alternative Syllogism Fallacy – Theory A or Theory B – if not A, then B must win by default. It hardly matters to them if B is actually worse for explaining facts than A – if A is not perfect, we are, for some inexplicable reason, to proceed with B.

This sort of attitude is ultimately harmful to scientific progress. It is the sort of mentality that gives rise to anti-vaxxers and young earth creationists. It’s bad for our understanding of the world around us, and should always be opposed.

Back to What I Think

After several years, the powers that be at IMDb have finally decided to call time on their message boards. In this meerkat’s view, this is long overdue. These forums have long been a hotbed of racist, bigoted, misogynistic posts, and meaningful discussion has been a hopeless dream. I will admit to a certain sense of dismay – buried within all the crap there have been a few nuggets of gold, and some conversations worth having – whether to challenge the ignorant or simply to find kindred spirits.

Still, it is hardly a bad thing that the forums are soon going to go.

With less than a month till I get my paws on the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild (many thanks to my mum for helping to make this happen!), it is fair to say I am excited. This is the end of a journey that Nintendo set me on a few years ago, when the first tantalising details of Breath of the Wild first surfaced. Originally I had it in my head that I’d be playing the new Zelda game on the Wii U – but the Switch (formerly the NX) has superceded the Wii U for me. That said, the Nintendo fanboy in me is happy Breath of the Wild will be on both systems – the Switch’s grand bow will also be the Wii U’s swansong, and what an epic one it will be.

In anticipation of the new console and the game, and taking inspiration from this post here, I am taking a look at my favourite bosses from the Zelda games, and in time, I’ll be looking at my favourite Nintendo experiences with other games too. For now though, on to my most enjoyable boss fights! There’s no particular order here, in case you were wondering.

Whilst he’s not necessarily an enjoyable fight in every sense, he makes the list because of the utter satisfaction that comes with kicking his smug arrogant ass. You fight him several times during the course of the game, but when you finally put him down at the end, it feels enormously rewarding.

This battle is a riot. Giant spinning blades, a hulking great mechanical monstrosity and massive swords. Just plain good fun!

Blind is a great boss and she gets tougher the weaker she gets. It’s a case of moving quickly to avoid the increasing number of fireballs coming at you, and perhaps using items carefully to get in close and deliver damage.

Vaati’s final form is another fun boss, and the first of several final bosses in this list. Once you figure it out, he’s quite easy, but it’s always fun to take care of the final boss.

Phantom Ganon clues you in to the nature of the very final battle, but more importantly this fight keeps you on your toes and keeps you moving. Timing and judgement are crucial here.

The final fight between you and Ganon in The Wind Waker is a good old fashioned sword fight. What’s not to like?

After what feels like a long journey, to finally confront Ganon in A Link to the Past feels amazing. The thrill of defeating him for the first time is one I haven’t forgotten and whilst he isn’t the toughest boss, he provides a decent challenge.

Ganon’s final form from The Ocarina of Time is a brute who looks more intimidating than he actually is, but he marks the final part of an epic adventure and whilst not from my favourite Zelda game, it’s still a terrific feeling to complete it.