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Tycho Haggman, coureur-des-bois

Celebrating the French-Canadian portion of his heritage,
Tycho proudly sports the joli chapeau of a voyageur

Census update! The fleet has one more passenger as of today, born at 03:53 on the morning of the 22nd (Australian Eastern Standard Time) and weighing in at a healthy 3.574 kilograms. While the colonial navy may not have another fighter in this quiet little package his contemplative nature and inquisitive eyes make us think that our robot oppressors may fear him even more when he comes of age.

Then again, he could start screaming a lot in the next few days.

Tycho weighs in

Tycho weighs in for his first fight
(against the cold, harsh truths of modern life, that is)

Atomique’s contractions started in the early hours of Saturday, the 21st of June 2008. Around 21:00 we arrived via transport shuttle at the hospital ship Brisbane Mater. Now, let this tale go no further without mention of Atomique’s herculean effort on the day. While labour officially started at 20:30 on the 21st she’d been feeling contractions since before dawn. At 03:30 on the 22nd of June the order came from the midwife to “give ‘er” (okay, that may not exactly have been her words – call it poetic license); after only 23 minutes of fierce effort Tycho was born. The hospital staff (and all onlooking relatives) were enthralled with Atomique’s pushing prowess: average time to delivery from giving the order to push is 90 minutes.

The happy family

The happy (and mightily tired) family

What’s in a Name: The Etymology of a Future Hero

Tycho (pron: tie-ko) is a Danish/Swedish name – Tycho Haggman’s great-grandfather Eric Häggman was a Swedish immigrant in Canada (long before the nuclear fallout from the religous wars of the late 2080s drifted north across the border). In the nordic countries the name is pronouced tee-ko but in astronomical circles, where one usually hears the name outside Scandinavia, it’s been anglicised to tie-ko. There is a Tycho Crater on Mars and on the Moon, both named after 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the alien monolith appears in Tycho Crater, where it is discovered after excavation around the Tycho Magnetic Anomaly.

Atomique is very keen on being able to point up into the night sky and tell the lad there’s a thing up there what he’s named after.

Tycho Crater (View in Google Moon)

No, he is not named after Tycho from Penny Arcade. I have an extensive network of informants who pass on the good bits from Penny Arcade to me, and that’s all I know of it. Hey, informants! Make with the passing!

The name Roland is from both my side of the family and his mother’s. Atomique’s great-great-great-uncle Roland was a water diviner (for the record, water divining is nothing more than reading the topology of the land and has nothing to do with supernatural ability; see episode one of The Root of All Evil). I have a great-uncle Roland who, as far as I know, boasted no magical abilities. This is on the French side of my family, though, so sonny boy can pronounce it with a bit of panache if he so desires.

Roland Deschain – The Gunslinger

Also, it’s pretty effin’ awesome to have a son with the same name as The Gunslinger.

Last but not least, Haggman (or Häggman, pronounced Heggman in Swedish). This is a name shrouded in mystery, changed by Eric before his escape from Europe. Perhaps some further digging into the fleet’s archives will yield more results, but for now I’ll leave this as a cliffhanger for next season.

Booking Information & Private Viewings

Please contact your local propaganda officer to arrange a meeting with Tycho. There may be delays due to the popularity of this product.


David Baker, a protein scientist at the University of Washington, has designed a game that will actually help scientists solve three-dimensional protein puzzles. Foldit is like a way more interactive version of SETI – you’re not just using your computer to solve scientific problems, you’re providing the input that computers can’t manage (with their cold unfeeling logical processes, they’re unable to work out things our mushy organic brains can tackle all-too easily (one of the reasons we keep winning our wars against them)).

Oh, yes, let me repeat: it’s also a game. Cool.

Read the article over at Technology Review and the Foldit homepage for more info.

Some tunes to get you in the mood for gaming for science…

London Elektricity – The Strangest Secret in the World | download

Aphex Twin – Heliosphan | download

(I’m not entirely sure what Aphex Twin is doing here – his ambient works just feel like the soundtrack to lab science to me. Lots of heavily serious dudes in white coats playing with the building blocks of matter in super-clean, super-white workspaces.

Hm… That’s how I imagine Ikea’s headquarters looks too.  I really need to work on my stereotyping.)

The new Futurama movie is stupendous. It’s sublimely surreal at times (in fact, a good chunk of the first half is chock full of gags that would leave Salvador Dali in a tidy little puddle of his own joy), outright hillarious at others and full of those witty little throwaway gags that are only onscreen for a moment, but make you feel all warm and smugly superior to the non-intelligentsia.

I found this to be much better than the first Futurama film, which seemed to be trying too hard to make jokes about itself. This film was more what I prefer to see in Futurama – clever uses of science and sci-fi in the way that other shows use pop culture references for humorous effect. I was particularly chuffed by the Saint Asimov’s Day march. Plus, there’s more Futurama math!

I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling anything. Suffice to say, Viper Pilot recommends this as supplemental viewing for all promising cadets who are serious about piloting one of the fleet’s sexy new birds. This is Groening & Co. back at their finest form, and it should not be missed.

The Trailer
(kind of – you never quite know just how official is ‘official’ on YouTube)

Just because my own creative output has slowed to a crawl, it doesn’t mean I can’t dig up other gems to share.

In this instance, someone’s gone to a great deal of effort to mash up sound and video from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland to create an eerily Bjork-esque work of art.

Viper Pilot Audio

Looking for music by Viper Pilot? This blog is the current home of Viper Pilot's Munition Works, where he stores all of his mashes and mixes.

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