Episode 60 – Curiosities


Another special episode from Los Angeles — Kris and Mikey take a left turn from E3 and visit Jet Propulsion Laboratories and our host and friend Bobak Ferdowsi!

On the menu:

– Space
– Star Trek
– 2001 vs. 2010
– Mission to Mars (the movie, not the mission)
– Space

Thanks to JPL and Bobak for the amazing tour! Many childhood dreams came true on this day.

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18 Responses to Episode 60 – Curiosities

  1. Kyle_Douglas says:

    Sounds like good times had by all!
    I like how you believed that knocking on the car's structure and honking the horn would somehow prove it wasn't another bit of Mikey's audio shenanigans, especially considering how we heard a full scale fabricated car adventure less than 10 episodes ago :p

    Nerd Correction: Return of the Jedi came out in '83, not '84.
    Nerd Rant: When talking about bad Star Trek episodes Ferdowsi's go-to example is the Q Civil War? Now I'm not sayin' that's a great episode, but it probably wouldn't even be in my Bottom 100 (it's hilarious that a series can even have a Bottom 100 with over 500 episodes to spare).
    But then he said Year of Hell was great, so he's forgiven. One of Voyager's few high points.

    Star Trek Reboot 3: The Tribble with Retkhans.

    It was mentioned early on in the episode the possibility of putting the photos from the tour directly in the podcast post… but then a question of whether that was kosher. Looks like it turns out it wasn't.
    But there's nothing stopping me from re-linking photos from Mikey's Twitter!
    I've provided some story context as a bonus.
    Better days for NASA substitutes Kris and Mikey.
    Mikey receives the call that the Moon is going to crash into the Earth.
    Mikey delivers the dire news to the world along with plans for "Operation Majora" to stop it.
    Kris and Mikey present the Curiosity-A, designed to play the Song of Time directly on the moon.
    The realization that maybe NASA should have made a plan instead of people at E3.
    The moon grazes the Earth causing an apocalypse. Mikey opens a "Catch-a-Rover" stand to get by.

  2. Qmzn says:

    From a shameless monument to hype of uninspired, rehashed content, to a center for intelligent human advancement. Nice move. With stories of ground control and space ships that know which way to go, you've really made the grade. Can we trade summer vacations? Does sitting around getting marginally better at Street Fighter appeal to you at all? Yeah, I didn't think so.

    Regarding sudden liquid evacuation shortly before the JPL visit, it's possible you might have been drinking Gamergulp Purge, a "premier E-sports holistic intestinal cleanser". Similar can, but with a different slogan, "Lease The Beast, Rent To PWN".

    In closing, remember, stay off Europa, use the other planets together in peace. Thanks, Mgmt.

  3. @toddef says:

    Awesome episode guys. I'm all aboard the "let's talk about Star Trek episodes with Bobak". Kris, Mikey, and Bobak "see it with you".

    A boy can dream.

    Great week of podcasts.

  4. Speaking of infinite hard torpedoes…
    For me, the worst episode of TNG was The Outcast, aka the gay rights episode. They had the best of intentions, and in some respects it was bold to go there in 1992 (lol see what I did there?), but they just contradicted themselves and screwed the pooch at literally every conceivable turn.

    First of all, I get that the point of it was to turn it around and ask, "how would you feel if you were the oppressed one?" but they made the gay aliens the villains in their gay rights episode. That's what they did.

    Second, it's presented as an atrocity that Soren will have her appetites reprogrammed. And that's fine as far as it goes – I think that, here and now in the modern world, the idea of re-education and of "curing" homosexuality makes our collective skin crawl. It's creepy and orwellian — except that there are two other TNG episodes in the fifth season alone where non-consensual mind-altering is legitimately presented as the humane solution (Conundrum, where the xenophobe aliens want to blow up the enterprise unless they all forget), or as a really fascinating and meaningful gift (The Inner Light – Picard's 20-minute flute-life). You can't have it both ways, Star Trek. It's wrong or it isn't. If Soren really is happier once s/he's "fixed," then by your own logic that's the better outcome, no matter how horrible it seems to the folks at home

    Finally, all of this just serves to break immersion regarding Star Trek's kind of bizarre notions of human nature. So in the utopic future of the Federation, the human appetites for wealth, status, and power have been overcome, because overcoming our base animal appetites is what we're all about in the 24th century. But the human sexual appetite is just indulged all over the place (particular by Riker and his sexy beard)… because that particular base animal appetite is for indulging, not overcoming. Because of reasons.

    • Kyle_Douglas says:

      Ooo, set phasers to nerd-debate.

      I'm sure the Vulcans would agree with your last point, since they're definitely all about overcoming all emotions/appetites. The Federation as a whole however is more focused on self-improvement. Wealth and the acquisition of possessions were made largely defunct by replicators (the Ferengi on Deep Space Nine are a foil to this by still being obsessed by wealth and deliberately structuring their society around the acquisition of an object that cannot be replicated). Status is definitely still a thing in Federation society represented clearly by rank structure. Having the goal of becoming Chief Engineer or Captain of a starship and working towards that is definitely portrayed as a positive thing. And, as you said, consensual sexual interactions are also portrayed in a positive manner… provided they're not interfering with other aspects of life.

      Your second point seems to have the same problem of narrow perspective. All "appetites" shouldn't be lumped together as negative things in the same way that different types of mental manipulation shouldn't be placed under one black and white "You can't have it both ways, Star Trek. It's wrong or it isn't." Conundrum has a super evil mass brainwashing to make others into living weapons. The Outcast has a less evil but still repulsive targeted brainwashing to "normalize" people. You're right that The Inner Light can be viewed in a darker manner than it was portrayed and generally accepted as being, but a desperation measure by a society to try to preserve their knowledge that doesn't actually override the memories and personality of its target is still very distinct from the other two situations.

      All that being said, your first point that The Outcast is a lousy episode is extremely valid and I agree with it, that one would definitely be on my Bottom 100 list I mentioned above :p

  5. Giggleloop says:

    Great episode, boys. No jokes or silliness from me – it was a blast to hear you guys have an adventure & hang out with Bobak, nerding out about Star Trek & space. A fitting end to an exciting week. :)

  6. frostyplum says:

    Add another experience to my bucket list. Can normal people visit JPL? Or do I need my own handsome brown engineer friend to get in?

    My space wanderlust kicked into serious gear for this podcast. Combine that with Mikey's pics – I was JOKING when I tweeted about Bobak holding the camera, jeez – and, yeah. At the risk of sounding frightfully snarkless, this was so freakin' cool.

  7. sheanam says:

    Space and kvetching lovingly about science fiction, my two favorite things! Definitely makes me want to hear more of this sort of thing in future.

    • MikeyNeumann says:

      One of the really amazing experiments with this trip to LA, was a dual-microphone portable recorder I picked up. That's why we were able to record all of those segments on the streets and the floor of E3. It keeps the set up time at about a minute, and the recording quality and ability to duck out INSANELY loud background audio was exceptional.

      It allows us to do "on the street" style segments and capture these moments that Kris always seem to find ourselves in but we don't have two laptops and our recording mics with us. I think it's going to dramatically increase the quality of the "special" episodes of the podcast where we can capture moments we wouldn't otherwise be able to.

  8. megan_made_this says:

    As a child, the biggest consolation I found in living in rural Alabama was the Marshall Space Flight center. This entire episode was a true delight.

    But my big humor takeaway for the ep: Kris Straub – Swarthy Enough to Unnerve, But Not Put Off™

  9. Giggleloop says:

    Hopefully you guys don’t take the light amount of comments to mean that we didn’t appreciate all the excellent E3 exclusos! Chainsawsuit will be my ONLY source for video game news from now on!

    (Consequently, I won’t know much about any video games unless they’re made by Gearbox – but you know what, I’m okay with that.)

  10. I can't believe you guys forgot about the best, most scientifically accurate Mars movie of all time: 1997's "RocketMan," which gave us this cinematic gem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbAF1EExpek

  11. AGuyWhoIsHereNow says:

    I know this is late, BUT read The Martian from Andy Weir, it's amazing, and it's going to be a movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. If they do it right, it might just be the first good Mars movie.

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