Given the events of the last day, I have little taste to write and talk about WoW at the moment. While video games are a fun distraction, sometimes I think that there needs to be a little less escape into the hyperreal of our simulated environs and more focus on the desert of the real itself. WoW isn't The Matrix, but I've been wondering lately if it's getting too close for comfort. With us being on the verge of complete environmental simulated encapsulation through either consumer-friendly VR glasses or full-room projections, the day will come where we're able to transport ourselves directly into our characters. I don't know if philosophically that level of escapism is advisiable.
So in today's Queue, let's cover some other subjects I can talk about. We'll hit up some WoW, too.
Okay, opera then: What's your favorite opera? Do you sing, & if so, what voice part? Do you have a favorite role or character?
It's a bit cliche, but my favorite opera is a toss up between Mozart's Magic Flute (Queen of the Night's aria in particular -- listen at 6:40 for some amazingness) and Puccini's Turandot, which is the one that's on stage now at my other gig with the Minnesota Opera. Turandot is about this cold-as-ice princess who refuses to wed because of past injustices done to her family. Problem is, her father can't die unless she marries, and she's such a jerk that she won't let him die -- he's lived for 10,000 years and wants to, but she says no. So along comes this guy who falls in love with her and answers her three riddles, which is this stupid test she has suitors take before they can wed her. If they fail, they die (of course). Anyways, this guy answers the riddles ... and then things happen. It's a great story -- check out the video I linked in the header for Nessun dorma, one of the most well known opera aria's out there, which shows up in the third act of Turandot.
A close runner up in my list of favorite operas is Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor which has the famous Mad Scene in it. Watch the Met version over here, and then watch this clip from The Fifth Element. Here's another version where the soprano Evgenia Laguna performs it alongside The Fifth Element (note that she's mic'd for the recording or the particular performance venue, no opera singers use mics).
See? You already knew about opera and didn't even know it.
As for singing, I don't -- but my wife does. She recently won an audition with the US Army Band out in DC, and if she gets it, well... life will be extra awesome. Fingers crossed!
what Linux or alternate operating system do you like using?
In a strict server environment I go with a bare minimum Debian and build things up as I need. I'm a big fan of compiling the LAMP stack myself, and rarely rely on binary packages. In my development virtualized server I run Ubuntu, which lets me have a little less control (but still lets me complete 99% of what I need to do).
I have a special place in my heart for Slackware, FreeBSD, and Gentoo; but I don't have the time to dedicate to running those the way I'd want, so I'm stuck wtih Ubuntu for myself. Back in the 90s I used a ton of Red Hat, and if I were in charge of a enterprise system I'd likely go with them -- but that's not something I have to worry about.
Chaoticwhizz also asked:
where in our Solar System would you want the next robotic explorer to go?
Europa, hands down. This place is just cool as hell -- literally. The surface is tons of super thick ice that has its own geography, and then underneath it is (likely) liquid oceans. If microbial life is going to exist someplace else in the solar system, it's going to be there. Unfortunately it might be as long as 2030 until we get there; and even then it wouldn't be drilling into the ice. I really wish these "space agencies" would kick it into gear a bit ... I want my aliens!
Could Earth support a Saturn-esque ring around it in addition to our moon? If so, what would it look like from Earth's surface?
So this is a really interesting question. First some history: it's entirely possible that Earth did have a ring a very long time ago. Rings around a planet are not anything special, they're just pieces of rock and ice that get caught in the planet's gravitation pull. Pretty boring really (well, not really -- but it's not like a Halo-ish ring or anything like that). There's some theories out there (and forgive me for not being up on the latest, if I'm missing any) that say that the impact which started to kill off the dinosaurs likely kicked up enough dirt to make a ring around the Earth for a bit.
Now you want to know the real messed up part?
We made a ring around the planet in the 1960s.
Yes, you're reading that right. We, humans, made an artificial ring. The US Military sent 480M small copper antennas up into orbit that spread out and created a ring around the planet, it was called Project West Ford. Radio operators were able to bounce signals off of them. And of course many of them are still up in space circling our planet as space junk.
So back to your question -- could the Earth support a Saturn-esque ring? Probably not. A few reasons. First, the crazy amount of ice and rock that would need to get put into orbit to form a ring like Saturn's would likely mean something really really bad happened to the Earth. Think Melancholia bad. Second, the ring itself would cast a gigantic shadow onto the planet -- that would likely alter the climate in such a way that we wouldn't be able to appreciate it for very long. Oops. And finally, there's that whole bit about tidal forces acting on our planet and causing a lot of issues. The moon exerts its own gravity on our planet, just like we exert gravity on it -- that pushing and pulling of the Moon on our planet is the tidal force, and causes ... wait for it ... the tides! (Okay, so this is a really simple explanation, so no one go nuts on me, k?). A gigantic ring around the planet would exert a similar force, and that might make things equally bad for mother Earth.
I'll put it this way, I wouldn't want to be around for such a ring. Even if it'd look cool (and I think it'd likely appear as a curved band across the sky, depending on where you were).
WoW Insider/Blizzard/MMO-C/Wowhead are Alliance/Horde bias.
I said we'd talk about WoW, and we are here. Let me get this out there:
Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!