Good movie


I watched a DVD last night called Passengers. Very good! I nearly wrote “excellent” – not quite, but close.

It’s a good idea, a spaceship far in the future on a 120 year trip to a planet in another galaxy that is Earth-like and has been partly colonised. They call it Homestead II. The spaceship is carrying 5000 settlers and 50-odd crew in sleep pods. They’re meant to be automatically woken by the ship’s computers when they near the new planet.

But the spaceship encounters an asteroid swarm and one or more rocks get through the shield and punch through the ship, damaging the computers. As a result, one of the sleepers is woken. He gets up (recovering amazingly quickly, like in five minutes – oh yeaaah?).  The trouble is, it’s 90 years too soon, 90 years until it reaches the destination. And he’s the only one, alone on this giant ship.

He sticks it out for a year, but nearly goes crazy with loneliness and the idea that he’ll die alone, and he falls in love with one of the sleepers, a woman named Aurora. Funny, you can see clearly through the plastic pods, even though I assume they’re frozen.

Anyway, he figures out a way to wake her, and for a year or so they take the time to fall in love. But eventually she finds out he woke her early (cleverly done) and that they’ll die of old age before reaching the destination. She gets a little bit angry! A little bit? She is furious.

I won’t give the rest away, but the thing about this movie is the computer graphics. Amazing! I was really impressed. They’ve even got the science fairly right. And there’s a swimming pool on the “ship” (of course). The sequence when the artificial gravity fails and the effect on the pool is fantastic. Computer graphics are now so realistic!

In short, highly recommended. I reckon I may even watch this a second time after a decent interval, and I rarely want to watch a movie twice. My copy is a standard def DVD but it’s available as a Blu-Ray and it would be even better. The space-ship shots are spectacular.



I’ve thought a lot about this idea of travel to other stars and I reckon we are “imprisoned” by the laws of physics. Unless there’s some breakthrough such as using worm-holes, I don’t believe we’ll ever be able to travel to another planet around another star.

There’s a serious proposal in the USA to design a 100 year voyage to a likely star. But …

  • Unless hibernation can be perfected, and I mean perfected, the crew would die of old age before reaching the destination.
  • They would have to reproduce in space on the voyage, with all the risks, both medical and social, that entails.
  • They would have to pass on the goals and enthusiasm for the mission to these children, along with all the technical and engineering knowledge. That’s not a simple task.
  • No mechanical or electronic parts will last 100 years without failures. It’s beyond our capacity to design and build stuff that would last forever without breaking down.
  • Advances in science are happening faster and faster. Imagine being on that space ship, 40 or 50 years out, no possibility of stopping and reversing, and getting a message that took 20 years to reach you, “Um, sorry to tell you, guys and gals, but due to advances we’ve made, there will be a welcoming committee on Planet X to greet you. We’ve found a way to reduce the travel time taken to a few weeks, so we hope you enjoyed your 100 year holiday, but we don’t really need you now.”

No, I think this kind of travel is at least 50 years in the future, if not more.


I bought a Sandisk SD card reader a couple of years ago, at a cost of about $35. The thing is, it’s a UHS-II card reader. These cards have a few extra contacts and are Ultra High Speed for use in 4K video recording, which I do.

But last year it broke, refusing to take the card, just letting it flop loosely in the slot. I tried what I could, but as it’s totally sealed, welded/glued plastic, I couldn’t open it up.

Last week I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose, it’s busted anyway, so I took to it with sharp knife and pliers. Bingo, I got it open without too much damage. Now I could see the bare SD card holder but I couldn’t see a problem. I was fiddling around and suddenly something fell out. It was a micro-SD card! A 1GB micro-SD, some spare card that would have been in an adapter which I’d inserted to check what was on it, and it must have somehow fallen out of the adapter and into the bottom of the SD card holder.

Now the normally sized SD cards slot in properly and it works again. It pays to try.  I’ll glue it back together now.

By the way, I bought that adapter on-line at $35, but when I tried to buy a replacement at Leederville Camera House, their price was $90. I said no thanks. When I got home, I rechecked the on-line price, still the same, so I emailed the link to Camera House and complained. They replied and said they could reduce their price to $67. Gee thanks. It pays to shop around.

The same thing happened last year. I bought a Sandisk 64GB micro-SD card along with something else. When I got home, I realised I’d been charged around $225! I checked on-line and I could have got it for as low as $55.

Luckily I hadn’t opened the packaging so I took it back and got them to reverse the transaction. Because I was leaving for Bali and needed it, I bought the same card over the counter at the airport duty free shop for $90. Beware the rip-offs.


I found a web site that, by analysing your answers to a series of 20 questions, estimates your mental age –  I tried it and it says I’m 29!

I think a series of tries would be required, assuming the questions are different each time? I’ll try it again soon.

PS: I tried it again. The questions are the same every time! I varied one answer and it told me I’m 31. No confidence. Ignore it unless you need an ego-stroke.

And how about this? It’s an age calculator, from your photo.


I like that one!  How Old do I Look?   You need photos of yourself in jpg form.


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