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A* Episode 18 
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
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Discussion thread for episode 18, which is starting today.


Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:23 pm
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Added 2 new A* pages:
Here we are starting episode 18! The downloadable .pdf version of episode 17 is now available on the episodes & e-books page; you can get it for however much you want, so yes that can be $0.01 if you want to do that. I've also updated the SUPER EXPRESS PACK available on that page; it will always (or for the forseeable future, anyway) contain all completed episodes in a single downloadable file for $20, even though it's increasing in page count with every newly completed episode.

Boy wrapping up episodes is tricky now! Phew. Well here are some working shots of today's page #2; I tried that nasty masking fluid stuff again. I guess it worked out all right, although it did pull up a bit of paper.

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Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:56 am
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Do you know what's interesting? Hats. Hats. Hats, hats, hats, and more hats. It's so rare you see a good hat these days, much less a coordinated outfit to go with it! So research is required. Into hats.


Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:09 am
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"Bowties are cool..."
- Doctor Who

Kozo - "That woman... is evil..."
John Chriton - "..Its the hat."
- Farscape


Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:21 pm
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You know, I wrote a blog article in the past month or so about how drawing this sort of silhouette invert shadow thingy way was difficult, and now I can definitely say yes, yes it is. Like, the pencils are way more detailed and went pretty quickly

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but when it comes to inking it you have to make all these tricky decisions about what to show and what to hide, and how to control--not to mention render dramatically--all the forms with just large blocks of black or white. And all that detail gets covered up and boiled down to what looks like a really simple drawing. Shuh! Kept me up way past my bed-time, it did.


Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:41 am
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UNCLE SAM SAYS
ONLY YOU
CAN DEFEND THE WORLD
FROM SPACE DEBRIS!

At any rate, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA") is reportedly reaching out to amateur astronomers to help them track the ever-multiplying swarms of dangerous space debris in Earth orbit. This "crowd-sourcing" government project goes by the name "SpaceView."

DARPA was founded in 1958, in their words, "to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space." Although back then it was "ARPA," without the "D" for "Defense." It got the "D" in 1972, lost it in '93, and got it back in '96. Sheesh.

~~~~~~

Some earlier stages in the doing of today's page:

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Gotta stop overthinkin' the inkin', gar. Although the actual page version kinda reminds me of a photo of Veronica Lake that I saw earlier today.

Also gotta stop accidentally hitting the switch on my surge protector that instantly turns my computer and everything off. :P


Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:24 am
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How about some nice recent-ish Cassini photos of Saturn and its moons?

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image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)

^ Saturn and three of its moons are pictured in this photo from last December. Enceladus (313 mi / 504 km diameter) is the one on the left, below the rings, Tethys (660 mi / 1,062 km diameter) is on the right, and tiny Pandora (50 mi / 81 km diameter) is...well, can you spot Pandora? It's just a little tiny speck right above the rings on the far left.

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image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)

^ That's Saturn's third-largest moon, Dione (698 mi / 1123 km across), seen in front of the planet's largest Moon, the yellow cloud-shrouded Titan (3200 mi / 5150 km across).

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image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)

^ This photo from June has Enceladus again! Maybe they like getting that one in photos because it's all icy and bright and shiny.

There's a similar photo of Saturn and its moon Mimas from about a week and a half ago over here.

~~~~~~~~~

NASA's Hubble and Spitzer telescopes just zeroed in on what the galaxy-hunting project CLASH ("Cluster Lensing And Supernova Survey with Hubble") thinks is the most distant, and thus the earliest, galaxy yet seen: the extremely faint reddish blob known as MACS0647-JD is postulated to be a galaxy seen just 420 million years after the Big Bang, its light having traveled 13.3 billion years to reach us. What's particularly remarkable about the galaxy--not that much else can really be told about it, given that this is at the very extreme edge of our detection abilities--is its size: just 600 light years across! Theory says that a typical galaxy of that age should be 2000 light years across; for comparison, our Milky Way galaxy, thought to be a fairly typical modern galaxy, is 150,000 light years across, and we have orbiting dwarf galaxies that are themselves over 10 times as large as MACS0647-JD. One theory is that the old, tiny galaxy represents a "building block" that would go on to form much larger galaxies through galactic collisions and mergers.

~~~~~~~~

The ESO announced the discovery of a free-floating planet about 100 light years from Earth. Object "CFBDSIR2149" (oy!) is estimated to be about 4-7 times the mass of Jupiter, with "an effective temperature" of about 430 degrees C; it would also be relatively young: a mere 50 to 120 million years old. Those numbers derive from more definite measurements taken of a cluster of stars, the "AB Doradus Moving Group," with which the planet appears to be moving through the galaxy, and with which it probably shares its origin.

Free-floating planets have been spotted--or, rather, suggested--since the 1990s, when telescopic capabilities were refined sufficiently to start picking out their tell-tale signs in the flickers and wobbles of neighboring stars. CFBDSIR2149 is the closest yet, though, and also the easiest to examine directly, since it isn't too close to a bright star. While CFBDSIR2149 may fall into that fuzzy "brown dwarf" classification area between planets and stars--ie, objects that aren't *quite* massive enough to ignite into stars--it's getting clearer and clearer that our galaxy must be filled with many such free-floating bodies; the article cites one estimate that there are twice as many free-floating planet-things in our galaxy as there are visible stars.

~~~~~~~~~

Today's page was originally a light brighter:

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But after uploading it and looking at it there for a while I finally realized it didn't have the shadowy dramatic impact I'd meant it to have. So I cracked open another ink bottle. :)


Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:05 am
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The upside-down barrel configuration of the Major's little pistol there came from an interesting revolver I happened across when double-checking that revolvers would still have a place in this some-time-in-the-future world: the Mateba Model 6 Unica, aka the Mateba Autorevolver. Its barrel is positioned at the bottom of the cylinder, which means that the recoil is closer to the center of the gun, rather than jerking it so much upward:

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image by LoCo CNC (source)

The Mateba even uses that central recoil to cock the gun for the next shot: the whole upper carriage of the revolver slides back a half-inch from the force of the shot, which rotates the cylinder and activates the cocking mechanism for the next shot. Here's a video of the Mateba in action.

So I thought that would make the pistol in today's page a little different looking than the average snub-nose some current Earthly private dick might have in their desk drawer. And it's even practical! The Major's pistol probably wouldn't be semi-automatic, though, since all those moving parts would sort of defeat the purpose of having a self-defense gun be a revolver, which is that it's just about the most reliable firing mechanism possible, and won't let you down when you need it. Or so I gather! I don't actually know that much about guns.

~~~~~~~~

I did that thing again where I don't use enough ink at first:

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Sheesh :P


Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:20 am
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Got more technically involved in this page than per my usual--rulers and grids and backwards lettering and gosh. Here it is at the pencil stage:

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and just after having put down the ink guide lines and erased the pencils:

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Notice I'd started the tricky lettering bit on the right side and screwed up a few things with the inverted overlap of the figure--I'd have to go in and correct those later with white ink.

~~~~~~~

Say this week has Turkey Day in the States which is a big holiday but I will be working right on through and posting A* pages on my usual schedule, woo.


Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:07 am
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How very... noir! :)

Love the revolver, by the way... very cool!


Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:15 am
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