Brewster Rockit has a pretty good success rate in translating geeky stuff into mainstream humor.
It's an interesting niche, an approach not to be confused with that of strips like xkcd, SMBC or Penny Arcade, which produce geek humor for use within the geek community, on a level that would go over the heads of most people.
And it's also not to be confused with mainstream strips making fun of geeky things without understanding them. This is not "jokes based on what people who aren't into sci-fi think people who are into sci-fi are into."
It reminds me of "Quark," the TV series starring Richard Benjamin as the captain of an interstellar garbage truck, a TV series so short-lived (nine episodes) and long ago (1977) that it's kind of pointless for me to even use it as a reference.
(The weird thing about Quark was that it appears, in retrospect, to have been used as a cribsheet by the creators of "The New Adventures of Star Trek" or whateverthehell it was called, except instead of hiring the Barnstable twins -- whom I'd guess were probably available -- to play the two Betty clones, they had a hot android babe and instead of a plant-man named Ficus, they had an android computer guy. But I digress.)
Today's episode falls into that crack between silly and insightful, in that, while the image of math-and-science types is of humorless trogolodytes, it's pretty clear to anyone who pays attention that working on space stuff is, in fact, way cool and that, if there seems to be a long delay between Booyah! moments, it simply makes those moments more fun.
For instance, the landing of the Mars Hummer. They not only didn't attempt to hide the little boy excitement of that all-or-nothing moment, but they played it up and made the whole thing fun, with late-night watch parties at science museums around the country.
Now, the latest thing is Space Hedgehogs, which don't blow up but are pretty damn cool. These are basketball-sized balls covered with retractable spines.
Also, they won't work well on small bodies, like the Martian moon Phobos or an asteroid, where the gravity is so slight that they wouldn't get traction.
So instead, you pack your sensors into these balls, dump a half dozen or so of them onto your target, and then use the retractable spines to send them bouncing and bounding around wherever you want them to go, kind of like that scary bubble thing in the Prisoner.
The efficiency and effectiveness of these motions, directed and executed by engineers on Earth, will be tracked by giving them letter-designations such as H-O-R-S and E.
I made that last part up.
I also have a proposal to solve the space-trash issue by engineering them so that, when each hedgehog's mission is complete, the controlling engineer would bounce that sucker high up off the surface and blow it to smithereens.
Though, if we were to solve the space-trash issue, that would cancel the mission of the United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol cruisers.
And speaking of ridiculous fantasy:
Okay, this isn't a cartoon, and it isn't interactive, either, despite the label. But it did make me laugh.
And it's a reminder that the emerging argument of "They're not trying to be dishonest. They truly don't get it." applies not only to those working class stiffs who hew wood and carry water for the Grand Plutocrats, but also to the GP's themselves.
Granted, the article that accompanies this graphic is clear that it is about tax increases for those in the roughly $250,000 to $450,000 income range who thought the GOP had saved them from Obama's cunning plan.
And it did appear in the Wall Street Journal, which you shouldn't leave around where the help will see it.
But I know what it's like to be a single parent trying to get by on $260,000. In fact, it took me about a dozen years. The woman in the graphic is going to have to accomplish it in one, poor thing!
When Tom Brokaw opined on "Meet the Press" a few weeks ago that, really, $250,000 a year is what a couple with kids needs to get by, he wasn't being dishonest. He is quite sincerely blind to How the Other Half Lives.
And this whole idea of "paycheck sticker shock" comes out of the same elistist indifference to reality.
As a single guy with no kids, the difference in my weekly pay would be about ten bucks, if I had a straight job.
As a freelancer, I'll take a bigger hit, because I pay my entire FICA load myself. And, okay, I'd rather not pay more, but I understand the situation, it doesn't "shock" me, and I'm not asking for a pity-party.
Though I would be pleased to swap taxes with anybody in that graphic, if we could swap incomes as well.
Meanwhile, go cry on somebody else's shoulder.
And here's something free (I like free):
DailyInk is offering free access to their site for a week. I promise you, it's worth at least nothing. And, if you like it and decide to subscribe, you'll only have to pay for a year what my fair (freelancer's) share of FICA is going to cost me for less than a week.
Such a deal!