Tag: Westeros

Special LIVE BTW: Sunday, 6 PM Eastern – Cosmoquest.org Hangout-a-Thon

hangoutathon

CosmoQuest is an organization that over the last few years has created a great community dedicated to “citizen science.” It is a virtual research facility where anyone can join in and perform activities that will help true scientific programs. One of these programs (which I understand enough to speak about) is their Moon Mappers program:

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) has taken millions of photos of the moon. These photos have craters… LOTS of craters. It takes a lot of scientific manpower and software… um… computing power… to map those craters. What does this mean? Scientists have spend a LOT of time studying photos instead of analyzing the data those photos provide us. So, CosmoQuest has a program where YOU can go in and map those craters.

That’s only one example of “citizen science” that CosmoQuest organizes and/or promotes.

But now, CosmoQuest is dealing with governmental funding cuts to science education and research. But they’re not going to sulk about it. They’re going to do something about it. This weekend CosmoQuest is holding a “Hangout-a-Thon” to raise money. And since I love these people, and they do great work, we’re going to help.

On Sunday, June 16th, spend a little bit of Father’s Day hanging out with Beyond The Wall. It will be a short video live show, from 6:15 to 7 pm Eastern time, and we will be joined by Dr. Pamela Gay and Dr. Nicole Gugliucci to talk about “Weather in Westeros!”

For background on the Hangout-a-thon, go here.

If you are interested in science in any way, check out the entire schedule of the Hangout-a-thon here.

Here is the google plus event page for the event.

We will post the URL for the video info here and on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, as soon as I have it. Please come watch. And seriously, I’ve never asked you for money. So if you have liked the Beyond the Wall for the last 3 seasons, please consider donating to CosmoQuest through the link below.

Here’s the description from the Cosmoquest website:

Help us save science education from sequestration!

On March 22, 2013 we found out that many NASA EPO programs will be suspended as a direct result of US budgetary sequestration. The full ramifications are still being learned, but we are proactively working to raise money to make sure that CosmoQuest can continue to support its staff and its programs. As we are able, we will also use any monies we raise to contract amazing people whose jobs are negatively impacted by budgetary cuts.

 

Your donation will support science education
that produces science!

 

Feature – The Eye of Newb – GoT: Season 2 Episode 6

Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.

The Eye of Newb: Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 2 Episode 6: \\The Old Gods and The New\\
By: Matt Lynch

“I told you to never trust a Greyjoy!” – Catelyn Stark

Well, Good People, The Newb is hangin’ on by the thread of his Jaqen H’ghar on this one. I had to psyche myself up to watch the this episode. No lie. Mayhap I’ve spent too much time reading about actual cruelty in different times and places, aided only by the magic of antisocial mindsets and chemistry. Perchance my brain is dog-tired and I can’t invest the necessary cerebral space to track the twists and turns. Or it may just be that the introduction of actual magic has jaded me against a series that is predicated on a world of pure fantasy. Contrariwise, it might just have something to do with the fact that the writers, in their infinite duncery, insist on letting Joffrey breathe. In the end, I am forced to utter, with deep conviction, mind you, and swaddled in the dulcet tones of my best Karl Pilkington… “Dunno.” It is, as they say, what it is. So here your Faithful Newb sits, hoping the land of Westeros and its inhabitants will wow me tonight and return me to last season’s awe and wonder.

For the time being, however, settle in and off we go…

Part the first, wherein a crow flies south, and the Ego King sacks his old homestead.

  • When I think of Theon, I swear the first words that leap to mind are “preening” followed by “idiot”. I can’t help it. I’ve tried everything.
  • Threaten the poor crippled boy, Theon. Y’know, the one whom you used to treat like your very own brother.
  • Hey wait… “steaming sack of sh*t” has a ring to it. I think that might be more apt than “preening idiot.”
  • Good Lord, no one will do what Theon commands the first time he commands it. Even the Maester. Can’t SSoS Greyjoy take a hint.
  • Nice try, Osha. Even if Nymphadora Tonks makes for a strange kitchen wench-turned killer.
  • Oh, no. The SSoS is now going to kill Rodrick, but not before he gets a good gobber in.
  • What’s with Johnny Scarface the Henchman here, ensuring the Ser Rodrick will part with his dome? That’s the worst form of enabling. Encourage an incompetent bag of excrement to rash acts against brave and noble men.
  • The enduring lesson of this season is that despite honor, glory in battle and the respect of your bannermen, it will always suck to be a Stark.
  • Oof. That decapitation was gruesomely satisfying on multiple levels. First, there’s the perfect sound effects. Second, blood spatter is nearly always inherently good. Third, and best of all, Good ‘Ole Iron Island SSoS can’t even cut a man’s head off without at least two practice hacks. Wuss.

Part the second, wherein we venture into the Great White North (eh?) and Snow-Tep once again shows his lack of mental agility and killer instinct.

  • Half Hand lets loose his inner cynic for a bit. This old dude is seriously jaded, and he wants Jon to join him in the abyss. Snow-Tep could use a tad more hard-heartedness.

Part the third, wherein Tywin reveals one reason for Rob Starks” battlefield success, and Arya (methinks) gets ‘fingered’.

  • Damn. Surrounded and confounded by dolts is our poor Tywin. Sending the battle plans to the enemy ain’t exactly a winning recipe. No wonder he’s so pissy all the time.
  • Oh, crap. Littlefinger’s here, and he knows what Arya looks like. The tension-o-meter ramps up a bit.
  • Arya is doing her best to both listen and hide, and the game of cat and mouse is riveting.
  • Baelish is once again his very best slippery bastard. He’d play all ends of a circle against the middle if it turned him a profit or secured him more power.
  • Uh-oh. Arya’s made. This little visit will come back to haunt her.

Part the fourth, wherein yet another make character meets a confounding redhead, and I begin to grudgingly like Snow-Tep, despite his squeamish and fundamental stupidity.

  • The MIB are sneaking up on some Inuits, and then all Hell breaks loose for five minutes. Yes! Battle!
  • Well, that was short-lived. This season is so heavy on the jaw-jaw. Couldn’t we, pray, have one good slobberknocker? Sigh.
  • Oh for the love of all that’s holy… ANOTHER redhead?! Does George R. R. Martin have a thing for the ginger temptresses or what? (Editor’s Note: You must remember that Ros is a creation of the show… maybe Benioff and Weiss have it for redheads too.)
  • Poor Jon is so befuddled by this turn of events, you can practically see the twin brain cells behind that caveman crown gasping for oxygen as they struggle to form the word “girl.”
  • Half-Hand doesn’t seem to care much about gender distinctions.
  • Egrid? Mysterious and dangerous that name, like a Norwegian stewardess. (Editor’s Note: Ygritte… but still a good stewardess, um… flight attendant name.)
  • Hundreds and thousands of Free Folk lie beyond the pass? Hmmm… and the Black has roughly four. I don’t think that math works in the favor of the MIB. The upside? Snow could be dead soon. The downside? Fewer eye-popping glacial expanses. (Editor’s Note: You must remember the GoT numerology system, Matt. 40,000 Dothraki = 30 on horseback. Four MIB might be able to turn back hundreds of thousands, right?)
  • Jon can’t bring himself to kill a woman. I’ll give him that. What is this strange sentiment creeping up my spine? I’m starting to actually admire this dimwit? This feels all wierd and wrong somehow. I know that Patman will take delight in it, and yet the glee of my nemesis can’t stop the sensation of growing respect for one Bubba Snow-Tep.
  • Yep, and the confounding redhead is off like a rabbit. Saw that coming.
  • And now you’re lost, Snow. Dumbass.

Part the fifth, wherein a princess sets sail, and the Hound saves a poor lost waif.

  • Does the chanting priest in the segue remind anyone else of Otho from Beetlejuice?
  • Jeebus Christmas, Cersei. No wonder your son is obsessed with dealing in pain. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
  • Valiant effort, my sweet, sad Sansa, but trying to convince a sociopath like Joffrey that emotions are a normal part of life is akin to preaching truth to a flying buttress.
  • T’would appear that Joffrey is unpopular in regions apart from my couch. Like his whole city.
  • Kill them all? Really, Joff? At least the Hound shows a lick of sense.
  • Bye, Otho.
  • I’ve got a better idea, o random guardsman… don’t protect the king. Think of all the suffering you’ll prevent.
  • Oh, crap, again. Sansa’s been herded away from the main group down a dark alley by what to my eyes appear to be peasant rapists. Not Sansa. I may just give up if greater indignity and pain is heaped on that poor girl.
  • Joffrey, don’t tell the Imp what he can and can’t do. He’ll bitch-slap you either way.
  • Oh, no… I literally can’t watch Sansa get hurt any more… thank you, Sandor.

Part the sixth, wherein Dany gets impatient and Baron Harkonnen goes all ‘never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.’

  • I tire of this whole story arc. I mean it. It takes willpower to watch the happenings in Q’arth. The only thing it has going for it is the dragons. Dragons = fire and death. Fire and death = a lot less jaw-jaw. A lot less jaw-jaw = just what this season needs. Well, that and more Tyrion, Brienne and Jaqen.
  • Yes, yes, Daenerys, you’re being put upon again. Do what you do. Get pouty. Blech.
  • Get that man an antigravity suit. Stat.
  • Blah, blah, blah… Something happen soon. Please? Anything? Anything at all?
  • Gawd Ahmighty, if I wanted this much pointed banter I’d watch Masterpiece Theater’s production of Wuthering Heights. The Newb is getting all twitchy and is fighting the urge to break things. Things of value. Gaaaahhhh… make it stop.

Part the seventh, wherein, mercifully, there’s no more Q’arth, and Arya pulls her second marker.

  • Arya, Tywin’s so onto your little peasant act.
  • I do like the “loyalty killed my father” line. Nicely played.
  • This truly is an interesting and redeeming story arc for the night and the series. Tywin’s children (well, grandchild, really) kills Ned Stark and then Tywin unwittingly turns to Ned’s daughter as a sort of private consul. Beautiful twist. Plus, there’s Jaqen here.
  • Whoops. Arya stole herself a message, and it’s about what the Lannisters plan to do to her brother.
  • Oh, crap the third. The wide-eyed waif is caught red-handed. I know what that means… a second name is about to be given to a certain man.
  • Yes! The old fall through the door with a poison dart in the neck routine. Sweet.

Part the eighth, wherein Robb falls further in love, and the realities of arranged marriages rear their ugly heads.

  • Oh, Rob’s feeling all courtship-y, and just then Mom shows up. Dangit.
  • Oh, goody. SSoS’s dirty deeds have come to light. This will seriously piss Rob off, and hopefully end with Theon’s overlarge head screwed securely to a spike. A Newb can dream, right?

Part the ninth, wherein Bubba Snow-Tep spoons with a devious ginger cave girl, and is sorely tempted for his choice.

  • Oh, this Egrid is dangerous and strangely arousing in a noble savage sort of way.

Part the tenth, wherein Rob Stark gets mightily peeved, and promises death for the SSoS.

  • Oh, thank god. SSoS’s days are officially numbered.

Part the eleventh, wherein it feels as if the scenes are getting extremely choppy and quick, and Oshadora Tonks goes half-frontal.

  • Oh, SSoS, your other brain will be your undoing. Somehow fitting, that.

Part the twelfth, wherein Sansa comes to terms with her status courtesy of Shae, and the scenes get even choppier and shorter.

Part the thirteenth, wherein womanly wiles and a quarter-wit “hard man” save two small boys and a giant.

  • Aha! Oshadora’s plan has come to fruition, as she slips naked from the horror that must be SSoS’s bedchamber.
  • Snore on, Theon. Snore on.
  • Oh, you silly Iron Islander. When a wilding girl offers herself to you as a gift, just know that it will end with your throat slit. You’re an idiot, just like your leader. But at least you won’t pollute the gene pool anymore.

Part the ultimate, wherein we venture back to the doldrums of Q’arth and some lizards get lifted.

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….snrk.! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. So painfully tired of Dany in Exile.
  • What ho? That’s a lot of dead guys. I’m up. I’m up!
  • Dead Dothraki? Now that’s an accomplishment.
  • The dragons are gone, apparently in the wicker backpack of a strange hooded figure. Finally, some drama in Q’arth.

Okay, The Newb ends tonight’s fare extremely conflicted. I’m beginning to like the zombified troglodyte of the North, one Mr. Jon Snow. And sweet Dany is beginning to utterly bore me. Her dragons, on the other hand, show promise. Joffrey’s still breathing, shows no sign of stopping any time soon, and this angers me. There wasn’t nearly enough Imp or Jaqen, but what there was of them was priceless, as always. My viewership hangs in the balance, HBO, if you’re listening (as if). I expect more Imply mischief, less Q’arth, and much more war-war than jaw-jaw before this season comes to a close, dammit!

Until next week, Friends, I remain your Faithful Newb.

HBO Game of Thrones Viewer’s Guide

HBO has opened up a great interactive Viewer’s Guide for their new series “Game of Thrones.”

For those that have not read the books, it will be a great tool to learn what House each character belongs to, where the heck you are in Westeros, and why does that guy have a squid on his armor (not, literally… just a representation. Come on people.)?

Family trees, an interactive map, some history, and very well put together — go take a look.