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Eobard Thawne- Friend and Foe

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When it was first announced that a live-action series based on the flash was in the works I was sceptical to say the least, we’re talking one of about my favourite DC characters here and I don’t mean Barry Allen although he is my favourite variant of The Flash. I’m talking about Eobard Thawne, also known as The Reverse Flash, Barry Allen’s greatest nemesis, a time traveller from about a hundred or so years in the future.

Before I go into details on why I think this portrayal of Thawne is outstanding, I feel a bit of back-story is needed:

The role in the series is primarily taken up by Tom Cavanagh who puts up a truly brilliant performance. Twice in the series he is portrayed by Matt Letscher in one episode providing a bit of back-story to how Thawne became trapped in the 21st century, after travelling back in time to murder Barry while he was still a child to prevent the flash from ever existing, and then again for a second or two in the season finale.

The reason for having two actors portray one role is because Tom Cavanagh’s character was initially Dr Harrison Wells, A brilliant scientist and visionary.

Matt Letscher portrays Thawne in his original appearance, however, due to his powers being drained from travelling back in time Thawne becomes stranded in the 21st century so he concocts a plan

After stalking him for some time, Thawne murdered Dr Wells and stole his appearance and identity in order to construct a particle accelerator that the Original Dr Wells only completed in 2020.

Realising that he needs The Flash in order to return to his timeline Thawne, disguised as Wells, creates the particle accelerator in late 2013, and sabotages it to cause an accident that would create the flash, Thawne also takes to a wheelchair claiming the accident made him a paraplegic, but it turns out the chair had a battery underneath that was charging Thawne’s powers, making him faster than The Flash.

After the accident Barry Allen is struck by a bolt of lightning and is left comatose for 9 months, the hospital can do nothing for him so Thawne approaches Barry’s guardian Joe West, claiming that only he has the equipment to save Barry’s life.

After Barry Recovers from his coma and realizes the lightning strike gave him the ability to move at super speed, Thawne begins training him and working with him to capture other meta-humans created by the particle accelerator accident.

I should mention that there are spoilers for the season finale from here on.

What the series did differently to the comics is establish a strong relationship between Barry and Thawne; Barry looked up to Thawne and admired him, seeing him as a mentor and friend, and despite his hatred of the flash.

Thawne admits that he is extremely proud of Barry, and even goes as far as to say it was an honour to work alongside him after Barry discovers that Dr Wells was the man that murdered his mother the entire time.

When a series establishes a relationship between hero and villain like that, it either goes really well or really badly for the series, this time, the result was almost perfect, in the season finale one scene in particular truly hits home, after Barry states that he wants to kill him Thawne responds by saying:

“I know that rage. I used to feel that rage every time I looked upon you, and now somehow I know what Joe, and Henry feel when they look on you with pride, with love” another point that hurts Barry immensely. While it’s true Wells might have been tormenting Barry, I believe he meant it, as in a previous episode in a flashback, Thawne states to a comatose Barry that he doesn’t hate him as he is now.

In the finale Wells offers Barry a chance to go back and save his mother, opening a wormhole that would allow Thawne to return to his time. All seems to go well but as Barry is about to save his mother his double from Thawn’s timeline signals that he must not interfere, which is actually a bit of a subtle reference to the Flashpoint event in the comics. After a touching moment with his dying mother, Barry returns to prevent Thawne from returning home.

After a fight where Thawne gains the upper hand and claims that after he kills Barry he will kill all his friends and family, a certain character who I’ve neglected to mention, Eddie Thawne, Eobard’s ancestor shoots himself in the chest, erasing Eobard from history. As he fades into nothing Eobard adds one final insult to Barry “I’ve controlled your life for so long Barry, how will you get along without me?” And on that final note, ceases to exist.

All in all they have done an outstanding job establishing a heavy history between The Flash and his worst enemy.

Not many adaptations do that as well, most of the time the formula is basic and the connection is weak, but here they spent the whole season building up this conflict, as Barry begins to suspect that Wells is the Reverse Flash it torments him initially outright refusing to believe that Wells, his idol and mentor is the one who murdered his mother and framed his father for it, and they way they did it, I cannot physically praise it enough.

This is exactly what I wanted to see, even though I didn’t know it until after the season ended, but I truly hope he somehow returns in the next season.

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Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Geek Culture

The trailer for Gladiator II looks great, but is any of it true? What Did The Experts Say?

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The trailer for Gladiator II by Ridley Scott is now out, and it looks like it will be the best movie ever. If you liked the first movie, you’ll probably love the new one, which has a lot of big names in it and shows epic duels, scary Colosseum battles, and hints of political intrigue. But, as with all Hollywood historical epics, you might wonder how much of what is shown is based on real events and how much is just made up for fun.

When we had questions, we asked the Bad Ancient team what they thought about the fun, the fantasy, and the facts.

What’s the movie about?
The new Gladiator movie picks up 25 years after the first one. Paul Mescal plays Lucius Verus II, the boy from the original story and Lucilla’s son. The trailer starts with him talking about the deadly duel between Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and Maximus Decimus Meridius, a gladiator and fallen general.

It looks like Lucius is living in exile in Numidia, which is in northwest Africa. A few years after this incident, the Roman army captures him and forces him to compete as a gladiator. Lucius wants to overthrow the Roman government and end all forms of slavery, of course.

Later, Lucius fights the made-up General Marcus Acacius (Pedro Pascal), who also seems to have doubts about the Roman Empire’s needless killing. In the trailer, we learn more about characters like Macrinus (Denzel Washington), a power broker who likes gladiators, and Geta and Caracalla, two brother emperors who look cruel and spoiled and are played by Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger, respectively.

There are hints of exciting scenes in the trailer, like a gladiator riding a rhino and a fake naval battle in a flooded Colosseum with boats and sharks that eat people. There are also hints of politics and mystery.

A lot of it. It’s fun, but is it really true?

First, what did you think of the trailer?
Dr. Jo Ball (JB), an archaeologist who studies Roman war and conflict: I was really looking forward to seeing the trailer for the new Gladiator II movie, and it did not let me down. It looked like it would be a great visual feast, with hopefully some good history thrown in. I’m especially interested in seeing how Pedro Pascal’s character, Marcus Acacius, fits into the story. From the trailer, he seems to be coming to protest the endless conquests of Rome and the lives it took, and he seems to be getting in trouble for his views. I think this could be an interesting way to connect this to the main gladiator theme.

 

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Alex Sills (AS), a graduate student at the University of Leicester: The sheer spectacle of it looks like it will be even better than the first movie. I can’t wait to see what 24 years of CGI progress can do for a Roman arena. Also, I’m interested to see how the movie handles the fact that the Republic hasn’t been brought back. Maximus gave up his life for that reason in the first movie. Will Lucius finish the job? We know that emperors ruled for hundreds of years, so it’s not likely. However, it will be interesting to see if the political aspect is kept up or dropped in favor of a story about revenge between two people.

This is Dr. Owen Rees (OR), founder and chief editor of Bad Ancient: I love the first Gladiator movie so much that my first thought was, “Why?!?” Why is there a second part? But when I saw the cityscape of Rome on the screen, that reaction went away, and I became interested in what I was seeing. The glory of Rome, the desire for a quiet life away from the center of power, and the idea of “the Republic” are all themes that were introduced in the first movie. I can’t wait to see how they connect these to the second one.

Did anything stand out right away as being right or wrong or not making sense?
JB: Paul Mescal’s Lucius seems to have become a gladiator after being captured during a violent conquest of Numidia in northwest Africa. However, this area had been a part of the Roman world for hundreds of years by the time the movie takes place, and it’s hard to imagine scenes like the ones in the trailer happening during the time of the movie’s setting, when Severus reorganized the region’s government.

Some parts of the dress don’t seem right, like the wristbands that everyone with a sword seems to have to wear! The accents are an interesting mix, but I actually quite like this, as it is a useful reminder that the “Romans” were not a homogenous population but came from an empire that stretched from Britain across Europe, the Near East, and northern Africa—why people would be expected to have the same accents is beyond me (and even if they did, a modern American accent is no less accurate a representation than a classic British one!).

AS: No one is without a top! They didn’t wear anything to protect their torsos because that would have been too easy of a fight. Also, Pedro and Paul should have shields with them, since that’s what gladiators did instead of chest armor. It’s cool that the shield could be used offensively, almost like a second weapon. Having both arms in the fight makes it more interesting. Of course, movie stars shouldn’t have to wear helmets that cover their faces, but these guys should be able to show a lot of chest. I’m sure a lot of people in the theater would also not mind…

Is there something wrong with how the two emperors are portrayed?
Basically, Caracalla and Geta are portrayed in a rather odd way. They seem to fit the stereotypes of Nero and Caligula more than they do the real Severans. Also, they stand out because they are so pale. Both brothers were born in Syria and Libya.

In Roman times, there were a lot of people of color. It’s not fair to make emperors with darker skin look lighter. I’m happy to see Denzel Washington in the cast, though, because his character sounds really interesting.

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OR: They look like a cliché of many “bad emperors” rolled into one. It’s interesting that they chose to cast actors who are so pale these days. But we’ll see how their characters are developed when the movie comes out. You can’t judge it based on a few seconds in an ad!

When it was full of water, did the Colosseum ever host battles on the water?
JB: Yes, naumachiae were popular and spectacular shows put on to entertain the people of Rome on special occasions. They were very expensive and hard to set up. Early Roman emperors put on Naumachiae, but until Nero’s time, they didn’t happen in amphitheaters. Instead, they happened on lakes or in specially built basins. The Colosseum was a special place for naumachiae, and one was even held at its opening in 80 AD, during the reign of Titus the Great. But we don’t know how they filled the arena with water for the battle; it was probably done to the lowest level possible so the ships could float!

But Paul Mescal’s character wouldn’t have fought in Naumachiae. The Romans didn’t use trained (read: expensive) gladiators. Instead, they used prisoners of war and criminals who had been sentenced to death. This suggests that very few, if any, were expected to survive. It’s also important to note that the naumachia of Claudius on the Fucine Lake was the only time that people were heard saying, “We who are about to die salute you.” The gladiators didn’t need to say this.

What if gladiators had fought rhinos or sharks instead?
JB: Roman audiences liked new things in their beast shows, and there weren’t many animals that they wouldn’t put in the arena. In fact, it was a big business to get animals for these kinds of shows, and the more exotic the animals, the better. The animals didn’t even have to be very dangerous; as long as they were different, they were included. Giraffes were shown with “classic” wild animals like lions and bears.

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: Gladiators always fought other gladiators. On the other hand, there were people in the arena who fought animals or hunted them. These people were called devas and bestiarii.

Rhinos were shown off in Rome—that much we know. I think Pompey Magnus was the first person to bring one in. One was brought in so that the emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix in the first movie) could kill it himself in the Colosseum. He did this by shooting it with arrows from a platform, so he was never in any danger.

When it comes to sharks, we’re getting into fantasy land. The Romans got very good at catching and moving all kinds of wild animals, especially from Africa. But they couldn’t catch sharks, bring them to Rome, or put them somewhere safe before the Games. But if they had been able to, they would have thought it would have been awesome, so maybe this is dead guys’ movie wish fulfillment.

OR: There were animals in the arena, but the gladiators who fought were not the same ones. We use the word “gladiator” to describe too few of the people the Romans had in the arena.

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Geek Culture

In the TV show Fallout, would the “rule of thumb” really work?

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Walton Goggins’ character, who plays someone in the first episode of the new TV series Fallout on Amazon, mentions a “rule of thumb” when it comes to nuclear explosions.

According to the character known as “The Ghoul,” he learned in military school that if you raise your thumb and extend your arm toward the blast, you can tell if you are going to live or die. According to the rule, some Americans will be safe from the radioactive fallout if the mushroom cloud is smaller than their thumb. If the mushroom cloud is bigger than their thumb, they won’t be as lucky.

Many other survivors will probably ask you why you’re giving a mushroom cloud the big thumbs up. Is it worth it?

The idea has been looked into a bit thanks to the Fallout video game series, which caught the attention of physicists in their first year at the University of Leicester. They had heard a false rumor that the show’s mascot, Vault Boy, was giving a happy thumbs up to show support for the thumb rule. They wanted to find out if the rule was true.

The team looked at smaller blasts that would fit with the setting of the show and chose a 15-kiloton blast, which is the same size as the blast that happened when the US dropped “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. The first thing the team did was figure out how far away you would have to be from the mushroom cloud for your thumb to cover the blast. They came up with a number that was about 12.6 kilometers (7.8 miles).

“Assuming the detonation occurred on the ground, the radius for avoiding all burns is 4.67 km [2.9 miles] away from the blast center, and the radius for radiation sickness symptoms is 1.56 km [0.97 miles],” the team said in their paper. “This would mean that you would be safe from the initial blast effects of radiation and burns.”

Even though you just saw a nuclear explosion nearby, that doesn’t mean you are safe. And that’s before you worry about nuclear winter. The radiation coming at you from the wind should be your main concern.

“Assuming an average wind speed of 24 km/h, the fallout would reach you within approximately half an hour if you were to be standing directly upwind.”

Getting caught in this wind will give you enough rads to make you sick. One more rule, though: run like hell. This might help you lower your dose.

“This investigation showed that if a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb was to detonate and your thumb extended at an arm’s length just covered the blast, you could survive most negative radiation effects by running laterally in the direction of the wind for a minimum of 1.65 km [1 mile] in half an hour, given that you are standing directly upwind from the blast,” the team said.

But this only works for a blast much smaller than the weapons the world has now. And even for smaller blasts, the rule probably won’t help because of the radiation that is released into the air and the fact that the wind can change quickly. Ruth McBurney, who is the executive director of the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors in Frankfort, Kentucky, told Inverse that “shelter is the best thing to do if you think you might be in a place where fallout might be present or coming.”

More plans call for temporarily taking refuge in whatever is available, and then moving to better nearby shelters about 30 minutes after the blast. There are, of course, official rules about what to do during a blast. In short, you should stay inside and away from windows, wash your hands, and wait for more instructions. Please don’t condition your hair while you’re doing that.

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Gaming

Sony is reportedly engaged in discussions to form a partnership for a potential bid on Paramount

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There hasn’t been much buzz lately about any new acquisitions in the world of video game intellectual property. According to a recent report, Sony is currently engaged in discussions with a well-funded partner to potentially acquire the renowned film studio Paramount, along with all the exciting possibilities that come with such a merger.

As reported in the New York Times (thanks, ResetEra), Sony Picture Entertainment is reportedly in discussions with Apollo Global Management, an investment firm, as per two sources familiar with the matter. In the past, Apollo had made an offer to acquire Paramount for a minimum of $26 billion, but their bid was ultimately turned down.

The terms of the joint bid are currently under discussion, and there is a chance that the two parties may decide against making a formal offer. Unnamed sources have revealed that Paramount is currently in exclusive discussions with Skydance, preventing any official offer from being made at this time. Investor opposition to the recent deal that Skydance brought seems to have been significant.

The potential impact of such an acquisition is immense. First and foremost, it would introduce adaptations of Sonic and Halo into the expanding media empire of the PlayStation platform holder. Following the announcement, Paramount’s stock experienced a significant 11% surge in after-hours trading.

What are your thoughts on the news? Is there a possibility of Sony acquiring Paramount? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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