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Review: The Dish 162

On July 19, 1969 much of the world -- at least those regions with television -- watched hypnotized as U.S. astronauts stepped onto the moon, the culmination of a project many believe to have been science's greatest feat up to that moment. The Dish, directed by Rob Sitch, tells about an aspect of that adventure that almost nobody in the U.S. was even aware of. This terrific, powerful, and funny movie is the largely true story of a handful of geeks and their adventures manning a giant satellite dish in a tiny Australian town in the middle of a remote sheep farm so the world could see Armstrong's foot hit the ground. SPOILAGE WARNING: Plot is discussed, not ending. (Read more).

For months, NASA officials had planned to beam video from Apollo 11 as it rounded the earth's Southern hemisphere. But on the eve of the moonwalk, NASA scientists realized that the Australian dish was the only one on this planet capable of broadcasting the live images of the first steps on the moon. If there were a screw-up, the whole world would -- or wouldn't -- see it. Australian pride would get an enormous black eye.

Kevin Harrington plays the grim, efficient and seemingly humorless NASA engineer sent over as liason between Houston and Australia. His vigilance and second-guessing ruffle the fierce pride of the Aussies, including Cliff (Sam Neill), the gentle, quirky scientist who runs the satellite station. Along with the rest of Australia -- particularly the tiny town of Parkes -- he sees this involvement in the moon landing as a historic justification for science in general, and Australian science in particular.

Resentment at the powerful Americans jousts with a touching desire to be part of something big, and to perform creditably. There's also a great sense of wonder -- easy to forget in the midst of the computer revolution -- about the moon expedition and its meaning to a transfixed world. Every scientist wanted a piece of it.

Although the movie is about a scientific achievement, it is a very funny, human story, skillfully capturing the humor, informality and individuality for which Australians are famous. The nerds at the Australian station tolerate and support one another, as well as the moon landing.

Dish , a much-touted movie at the Sundance Film Festival, is in a lot of ways a romantic comedy. Although there's a geek-goes-after-the-girl subplot, its real love story is between this small cadre of strange scientists and science itself. Thrust suddenly into history, they're desperate not to screw things up, which they very nearly do.

One of the techs forgets to fuel a back-up generator, and during a brief power failure, the dish station loses all its computer data. They can't locate the signal from Apollo 11. The crew decide to hide this potential disaster from NASA. Fearful of getting shut out of the project, they sit up all night re-configuring calculations and re-booting as the NASA bureaucrat covers for them -- at which point this really becomes a team effort. He gets their pride and sense of excitement; they get his.

In a smaller way, there's as much heat on the satellite station as there is on Mission Control in Houston. At least, one of movie's many strengths is that it makes you feel that way. The U.S. Ambassador is hovering anxiously nearby, as is the Australian Prime Minister (who learned of the whole project a few days before the launch in a phone call from President Nixon), the town's proud and ambitious mayor, and much of the country.

Few Hollywood studios would make a movie as small in scale. There are no stars, besides Neill, no special effects, bloodshed, faux drama, just an affectionate portrayal of a few decent people caught up in history and trying to live up to that responsibility. Mostly, it's an ode to the people who care passionately about science, and will do almost anything to advance it.

It's typical of U.S.-centric approaches to history that few of us watching her had any consciousness of the fact that those black and white pictures -- footage that's been reproduced all over the planet for years -- were made possible by the ingenuity, determination and tech skills of a handful of Australian nerds.

It's typical too, that The Dish the highest grossing Australian film in the history of Australian cinema -- is struggling to get wide distribution in American movie theaters. Probably it's too warm, funny and smart. Catch it if you can: The movie deserves support, and you'll enjoy seeing it.

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Review: The Dish

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    "true story" assumes you aren't a member of the Flat Earth Society, and believe the moon landing was filmed in Utah. ^_^
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Panel is good, also loved The Late Show!!! Funky Squad that they did also was not to bad, but must have been only one of few things they *working dog productions* touched that did not turn to gold.

    Alas the Castle bombed out in America when it was released (which was sad, as it was a very, very good film, and very quirky).. I feel The Dish is more a main stream film *esp over seas such as America*.

    With all the good Aussie movies getting released over the recent years we as Australians must start going to them (alas some Australians, let alone Americans wont go to a film because it is made in Australia).

    Films I have Aussie films I have enjoyed, that I believed flopped at the movies include (flopped in Australia)

    1) Doing time for Patsy Cline - a must see, believe it got some good reviews. Its about a country boy singer trying to make it to the big time in America, only to find a girl gets in his path and her boyfriend..

    2) Boys - a very voilent film with showing little violence.*okay one scene but half way in the movie*.

    3)Muggers - a funny BLACK comedy about two poor med students stealing body parts. It had very bad reviews, but had to be one of the best movies I have seen in some time.

    The list can go on and on, alas the good movies are not always successful yet some trash becomes successful.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, then there'd be no real "harm" if everyone could always post at +5, right? The point of moderation is supposed to be some way of managing the n/s ratio. I find the posts of people with the bonus who use it all the time tend to be of lower quality than those who were actually modded up to 2. Modding a natural 2 post down to 1 because it isn't particularly interesting/insightful/funny isn't down-modding, its right-modding.
  • All because the US forced us to kill the Avro Arrow project...the US doesn't like it when their allies make a better jet than they do! To think, a MACH 2 fighter with an operational ceiling of 50,000 feet, in 1957. It must have freaked the US. And it used all off-the-shelf tech. In a test flight, the prototype reach Mach 1.98 *CLIMBING*, and with less powerful engines. It's no wonder that NASA was able to put a man on the moon with a whole lot of Canadian Know-How.

  • Off the shelf in terms that the parts were all standard, they didn't design special screws to hold things in, they used standard screws...and so on.Helped reduce the cost of things. The fly-by-wire was almost 30 years ahead of it's time! Amazing!

  • I agree, the complex is impressive, but winter 2000 when I was there (read: july 2000 :-) the restaurant had a sign saying that it was closed forever and the museum didn't have any information really related to this complex.

    I happened to visit the Parks radio telescope sometime around November 1999 if I remember correctly. The visitors centre was pretty pathetic: it looked like it hadn't changed since the 60's or 70's. But my dad tells me they've just recently put up a brand new visitors centre. They're bound to get alot more interest now because of the movie and I wonder if that influenced the need for a new centre. I'll have to check it out again some time.

    They probably still don't give rides on the dish like in the movie though... :(

  • Like your post that I'm responding to; there's no reason that needs to start at 2.

    It seems to me that there is also no harm in it starting at 2. Your gripe is silly.

  • Wow!
    Are WB total morons?
    They hammered at my browser like they were a fucking porn site!
    Do NOT, EVER, resize my window, throw endless flash in my face, and expect me to take you seriously!
    I'm on cable.. and it was STILL too busy! Whatabout if I was on a 14.4?
    Geez! And I REALLY want to see this film!
    Great way to drive people off!
    I'm SURE no australians were involved with the design of that crappy site!

  • Amen from the highest fucking rooftops.
  • I dunno, Katz. There seemed to be a few faux dramatic moments. I'm not a rocket scientist, so maybe I'm just missing something, but I can't believe they stayed up all night chalking up a board and stroking a slide rule and no one realized until the last moment that they could just point the dish at the moon to be in the general vicinity of picking up the apollo 11 again. Shouldn't someone have just said, "hey let's point it at the moon when it rises" early on?
  • It's playing at the Embarcadero Center right now.
  • But why would anyone want to make a film about Melbourne?

  • He directed The Castle too. He also directed most of his TV stuff, Frontline, A River Somewhere, The Late Show etc. If you spell his name right you can look him up on the IMDB [imdb.com]

  • Champagne comedy that...

  • Cease and decist all Paul Hogan exports or face the consequences. You have been warned.
    Well, it seems that America doesn't like him, Australia doesn't like him very much (he reminds us just how dorky Australia was back in the 1970's), there's only one thing to do . . .

    Send him to Britain to join Clive James and Rolf Harris. Better still, we'll have Clive James back if they'll take Hoges off our hands . . .

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • Yeah, we're pretty good at that. We did the same with Fosters beer. *Nobody* here drinks that shit.
  • Ahhh a typical Americans point of view. We are the center of the world. If something is said it should be about us. Every mention of the Moon landing should be primarily about us with little mentions of how other the countries "contribution was necessary".

    The movie is made in Australia by Australians about Australians (and knowing Americans fantastic indepth knowledge of other cultures, for Australians and the rest of the world). Funnily enough a review of the movie is about Australia's contribution. Go figure.
  • It's as if "Gone With the Wind" had been called, umm, "A Plantation."
    I agree, it should have been called "Romance in Cotton".

  • He wasn't complaining about the whole review. He was complaining about this paragraph:

    It's typical of U.S.-centric approaches to history that few of us watching her had any consciousness of the fact that those black and white pictures -- footage that's been reproduced all over the planet for years -- were made possible by the ingenuity, determination and tech skills of a handful of Australian nerds.

    Make more sense?
  • I haven't seen any previews or anything....are they even publicizing this one?

    -Julius X
  • Cease and decist all Paul Hogan exports or face the consequences. You have been warned.

    I'm actually rather impressed with that. We should congratulate the blokes Down Under for ingeniously getting him the hell out of their country and the hell into ours.

  • When Armstrong stepped onto the moon, it was July 20th in the U.S., but further East (much of Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand) it was July 21st.
  • In Australia it was the 19th GMT +10 for USW
  • Get Konqueror [konqueror.org] It rocks!
  • Alright, lets get this out in the open. Everyone now really knows that the moon landings were faked and the secret cabal is doing as much damage control it can to get things back on the "right" track. This latest attempt at "historical correction" only proves that conspiracy theorists are right by the establishment's blatent attempts of pretending to not want the film "generally released" even though it's a financial success.

    The grudging refusal will finally give way to wide spread release, then huge financial success, best film and acting Oscars, etc. and people will point to the initial reluctance of "Hollywood" as proof that the Cabal wasn't involved with the film because if they were then this would have, from the start, been promoted with billion dollar advertising, etc. Therfore the general conclusion will be that this film must be a true historical record (and hence we went to the moon) when in fact (from its initial outset) events regarding this film's "release" prove otherwise.

    Further, it has been widely reported that single frames within the film have been substituted with pictures of bags of butter dripping popcorn (note the sexual overtones here) which cause large numbers of the audience to go out (during the film's showing) and "relieve" themselves by buying the same from the candy bar. During these times, the convoluted and contradictory elements of the film do not get noticed (and henced discussed) and instead everyone thinks the film is wonderful. In fact, Theater owner's and manager's world over are reaping the benefit of showing the film (by extended popcorn sales) and will promote the film even more. Unfortunately, the ushers, who may see the film over and over will finally catch on and will have to be killed (the latter being done by the ***HUGE*** excess popcorn profits reaped)

    What sneaky bastards these master rulers truely are!!!

  • Actually the entire Arrow design team generated over 20,000 patents and a huge amount of the plane was very much ***NOT*** off the shelf being the very first "fly-by-wire" jet in the world.

    Most of the core engineers on the Arrow itself were hired as "a working group" because they were the only ones in the world with "fly-by-wire" design experience and were exclusively responsible for designing the Moon Lander portion of the Apollo program for that very reason! But please recognise that this team, while largely Canadian, also included some of the very best engineers from the UK, France and the USA. I had the pleasure of working for one UK member 20 years ago (his wife didn't want of move to the USA) and he was just brilliant -- but you couldn't get him to talk about the Arrow without his eyes watering over.

    Further, part of the Arrow program included developing the Iroquois jet engines -- at the time the most powerful in the world. This happened because Roll Royce, the original contractors, gave up because the design requirements were said to be "impossible" to meet. BTW -- the Iroquois engines were designed by the head of the Avro Arrow engine "Integration and Test" team in only 18 months. Dessault Aerospace offered to buy a minimum of 200 engines from Avro for their Mirage Jet Fighter Program (who were also screwed by Rolls Royce's failings) at a profit that would have exceeded the entire development costs of both the Arrow and Iroquois engines -- but the government refused and ordered everything destoyed. The number of engines actually bought would likely have been three or four times that number and would have place Avro in the same world as Rolls Royce and Pratt and Witney WRT jet engines. Incidently, the core Iroquois development team (after the cancellation) went to France to "develop" the exact same engines for another plane called the Concord!!

    Finally, many members of the Avro team stayed and worked for Avro's "Special Products And Research" group. This group finally split off when Avro went under and became known as Spar Aerospace, which before it was bought out, developed the Space Shuttle's Space Robotic Manipulator System (SRMS) more quantly known as the Canadarm. It's next generation product is now heading for ISS Alpha.

    Lots to be proud of, too bad most of us Canadian's just don't get it.

    Hope this helps
  • Countries are created not just out of there location, but attitudes, education, culture, etc.

    This can manifest itself in simple terms like music, art or even aircraft design.
  • Perth is hardly a town it's the captial city of Western Australia! A smallish city but a capital none the less.
  • I liked this movie because I was a high school exchange student in this tiny little town, way back in the late 1980s. It was genuine and warmm and so is the movie. One problem is that I had heard many conflicting approximations of the "Story" while living there. I was very excited to hear about a movie version, so that I might actually know what happened. After seeing the movie opening at Toronto last summer, I'm not sure that I understand I really know what went on either!
  • by andrewb ( 23571 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @04:49PM (#274074) Homepage
    I've seen the Dish, and it's indeed an excellent movie. Most of it is true, although the signal was never actually lost.

    There is a whole heap of information about Parkes and the Apollo 11 broadcast at this CSIRO site [csiro.au], including lots of interesting technical info that didn't make it into the film, including original audio from the NET 2 comms loop.


  • Err, do you read the same Jon Katz as I do? I think this is almost his first article that has ever even mentioned the existance of other countries! Sure, he often mentions how bad things are in America, but rarely does he point to how things are done better elsewhere.

    I'm surprised to see Katz mention a non-US movie at all.

  • Seems interesting, does anyone know where this is playing?
  • Being Australian there is alot of culture-centric jokes and puns, which I think might be lost while travelling to the USA.

    What like:
    "That's not a knife, this is a knife"
    I haven't seen this movie, but, I would like to take this oppertunity to say your continued efforts to level out the Paul Hogan deficit will not be met with kindness in this part of the world. This makes the Chinese Spy Plane fiasco pale in comparison.

    Cease and decist all Paul Hogan exports or face the consequences. You have been warned.
  • See the "The Castle" by the same group that made "The Dish" has the same sense of self-deprecating Australian humour that makes "The Dish" so enjoyable. Many Australian's feel "The Castle" was in many ways the better film as it dealt with some cultural issues many Australian's don't have the guts to deal with.

    Shameless Australian plug!!
  • Let me just say, as an Australian... I'm sorry, dear god I'm sorry. We don't like him any more than you do :>
  • Just to point out that the Parkes facility [csiro.au] is not a satellite tracking station. It is an observatory for radio astronomy, and is still the largest in the southern hemisphere.

    It is also still used by NASA for receiving data from deep space missions such as Galileo.
  • How could he have gotten this wrong. This guy is an idiot.

    It's like getting the JFK assasination date wrong, isn't it? Or VE-Day or VJ-Day?

  • Wish I could watch The Panel but I'll be too busy fishing at Bonnie Doon!!

    Ahhhh, the serenity.

  • But, you can get a decent latte out of Melbourne, try the automatic cafe or just about anyplace around Nicholson St.
  • Yeah, the meatloaf bit, in the Au version it's "rissoles"

    The scene where the mum is cooking up one of her feasts.
  • I had the chance to play with a telecine player when I was in tech school. This was a circa 1975 device and I'm sure they had them in the late sixties as well. It looked a hell of a lot like a VTR but it didn't accept video tape. The top cover opened so that it could be threaded with 35mm film just like a projector. It's output was baseband NTSC video and mono audio.

    That's right. You put film in this thing and then you could watch it on an NTSC monitor....or hook it up into a broadcast distribution panel. Flashing 24 fps video into a 30 fps video camera wouldn't work very well anyway. The framerate doesn't match and there is no frame sync. The output of the camera would have these horrid bars running through it. The telecine's video sync was locked to the framerate of the film passing through it. It also used a special shutter on the internal optical pickup that show alternating film frames to it 3 times then 2 times. This caused the video to have some repeating frames that masked the 24/30 fps difference.
  • yes, the oh-so-evil "typically us-centric" view, katz.

    let us all remember the aussies, who made the true contribution to the us space program.

    of course, let's forget about the american nasa scientists who worked for at least a decade just at trying to get to the moon, and the teams of american astronauts who trained and trained for eva's, docking, just the rigor of flying the ship. and let's forget the american people, who financed the effort, and the american president, kennedy, who gave overwhelming support to the space program.

    because of course, they all came from america, and because of that fact, they must all be evil. worship the little guy, down with big business. god damn capitalists.

    sometimes, jon, i wish you would've been born in the ussr or china. there, at least, you would be happy at the lack of government breaches of civil rights... oh wait.

    (note: i have nothing against australians and feel that their contribution was necessary. however, to just bash america in general for forgetting what was, in reality, a rather small and behind-the-scenes action, is nonsense.)

  • by Phrogz ( 43803 ) <!@phrogz.net> on Sunday April 22, 2001 @07:39AM (#274087) Homepage
    Here's a link to the official movie website [warnerbros.com]. (Not posting as anonymous because I am a karma whore. :)
  • The U.S. Amabassador is hovering
    That should be Ambassamador , thank you very much.

  • by glitch! ( 57276 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @08:59AM (#274089)
    It really _is_ live, but seems delayed because of the time dilation caused by the constant accelleration due to gravity. It's just an expected side effect of relativity. Nothing to get excited about :-)
  • Did you notice the dubbing?

    Instead of "a mini" when telling the boys about the funny accident he towed, Mr. Kerrigan says "a yugo".

    Instead of loving the smell of "2-stroke" he loves the smell of "diesel" up at Bonnie Doon.

    Any others? I bought the US DVD but still want the Australian version. I hate dubbed anything (although the version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon showing on United Airlines was done remarkably well)
  • The thing is, Australian humor has a strong element of satire. Americans usually just don't get it because Amerian humor is not so strongly satirical and self-deprecating. "Crocodile Dundee" is an example of this - plenty of action, plenty of slapstick.
    Hollywood produces film that appeals to the lowest common denominator, the slack-jawed yokel in 'bama who needs a minute or so to get the joke. (This is also why each 30 minute Star Trek episode contains around 12 minutes worth of plot, and why Shatner's atrocious overacting was so successful!)
    By and large, (and with notable exceptions like "Babe", Australian film isn't aimed at morons. It's made with a global view, but we don't always get it right. Again, with the exception of some directors who instruct Australians in their creations to speak American, thereby dropping pants and bending over for Hollywood. (again, "Babe".)
  • Not subtitled, dubbed with an American voice. Renamed "The Road Warrior".
  • Somebody probably already posted this, but the moon landing was the 20th. Get your facts together, Katz.
  • Then that's even worse, isn't it? Katz said 19 July 1969.
  • Wasn't it July 20 [nasa.gov]?

    I remember this date because it's my father's B-day.
  • Here in Australia "Crouching Tiger" got similar treatment. Only 2 cinemas in Perth (capital of Western Australia) were showing it to start with. These two places usually show alternative style movies (Run Lola Run, etc.).

    Then two days after the Golden Globe awards, every cinema complex in town was screening it. I don't think they were waiting for the award night.

    They didn't screen the movie because it involved subtitles / was in a foreign language.

    It's amazing how many people forget the proverb they learnt in primary school: Don't judge a book by it's cover.
  • I believe the Australian Goverment has apologized for Paul Hogan on several occasions. I would like to take this oppurtunity to express my deepest sorrow at what happened, but I'm not going to say "Sorry".
  • I have seen The Dish and I must say I really did enjoy it. Being Australian there is alot of culture-centric jokes and puns, which I think might be lost while travelling to the USA.

    This is written and produced by the same people that did The Castle, another hirlarious Australian comedy. If you did enjoy The Dish, then you will most likely enjoy this, and vice versa.

    Still like Jon Katz said there is a cool sub-plot and you shouldn't be warned off if your not Australian.

    Also if you live or go to Australia, watch The Panel. It's the same people again, and its a really enjoyable show.

  • My whole family loved "The Dish" to the point my kids incessantly pester me to buy the video almost a year after we saw the movie. Its not "Apollo 13", but then again its a comedy. Its not meant to be a serious treatment.

    Sitch and his team have been big in Australian comedy for years producing some bitterly funny satire such as D-Generation, Frontline (their best I think), "The Castle" and their live show "The Panel". "The Dish" is in the same mold. It is an attempt to bring these events into down into a human perspective event if they distort them. It is funny, though I don't know how American audiences will take it. The movie was very big here even without much publicity, just like their previous movie "The Castle".

    I personally liked it because it showed the scientists in a very relaxed way. It wasn't dewy eyed about "science" it was a more human view. It reminded me of some of the stories I had heard previously of Parkes and of Honeysuckle Creek but really as I said you shouldn't treat its depiction of events too seriously.

  • From the FAQ [slashdot.org]:
    Whenever I use my +1 Bonus, I get moderated down and lose Karma!

    As a good poster, you earned a bonus: you are allowed to speak slightly "louder" then other people. In most cases, this is because you've earned it. But with that right comes a responsibility - you have to justify that bonus score. The louder you speak, the more likely you are to be moderated down, unless you're sufficiently interesting to prompt the moderators to let you keep your bonus score. This is how the system is designed to work: you can't just rack up big karma scores, and then post nonsense.

    Answered by: CmdrTaco
    Last Modified: 6/12/00

  • I'd rather take some potshots at some sheeple instead. Sheeple don't value their own rights, so why should I value theirs?
  • And not only !!!
    I was in Sydney when the movie came in cinemas around.
    Really amazing, and if it's not enough, you'll also have the opportunity to see a "granny" (well, not then) PDP-8 !!!
  • Umm, why do you think we are trying to export him. We don't want him here either and if we can ship him off to the US all the better.

    "I'll take the red pill, no, blue. AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH........"
  • Hate to tell you this, but the beer that gets exported is not the same as the beer here. Fer instance, VB overseas is actually Crown Larger. We just get the crap stuff for all the footy fans..... :(

    "I'll take the red pill, no, blue. AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH........"
  • I was in Sydney at the time of the premiere of the new Paul Hogan movie, and let me tell you, there was more negative reaction in the press than positive (a la "is this the best portrayal that the world is ever going to get of us?")

    From what I can tell the averaze Ozzie isn't too happy about that loopy crocodile hunter fellow either.
  • The Radio-telescope north of Parkes was the only dish large enough to receive the VIDEO from the lander. Most of the comms went through Tidbinbilla (spelling?) etc, but the video had to go through Parkes, because the signal was too weak for video from the other dishes.

    You can say anything you want, but I went to the radio-telescope in Parkes in 1996 (4 years before the movie). You can't beat first-hand experience.
  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @12:43PM (#274107)
    The telecine no doubt performed a 3:2 pulldown [puffindesigns.com].
  • I visited Parkes two years ago. The Dish is f*cking humungous and used to be the biggest steerable radio telescope in the world. Not that it matters in the context of a movie, but in the A11 days Parkes was really only backup for Tidbinbilla, near Canberra. Parkes was designed for listening to deep space, not relaying TV signals. As B747SP says the Parkes dish really does show a wide variety of colours depending on the time of day.
  • In Australia or the US?
  • Kevin Harrington plays Mitch, one of the Australians -- the "humorless" NASA engineer is played by Patrick Warburton (better known as David Puddy on "Seinfeld" and, soon, as The Tick in the live-action TV show of The Tick).

    Two people could not look more different... Kevin Harrington is short and pudgy, Patrick Warburton is tall and barrel-chested.
  • i think Katz meant to say that The Dish is the highest-grossing *independent* australian film.

    i saw the film with my american fiancee - she loved it (as did i). it's the sort of quirky, fun movie that Hollywood would never make precisely because it has no stars or obvious tag line but which is (for those reasons) well worth seeing. as everyone else says, go rent "The Castle" by the same team - i've watched it with aussies, brits (both northerners & southerner), americans, south africans & kiwis and they all see something of themselves in it. it's a cultural thing...

    to correct something someone posted above, our Prime Minister isn't actually short - he's around 6 foot tall, from memory. the media just portrays him thus to belittle him.

    and one other thing off-topic: anyone else read "the blue nowhere" by jeffery deaver? were you as disappointed as i about his lack of grasp of technology?

  • I heard they the move "The madness of King George III" (i may have got the number wrong) when released for the US, because lots of americans would have wondered why there wernt two previous movies.
  • Exactly. And the way I see this post demonstrates ari_j's point:


    Re:Date of moon landing (Score:1)
    by ari_j on 02:04 AM April 23rd, 2001 EAS (#31 [slashdot.org])
    (User #90255 Info [slashdot.org])

    In Australia or the US?


    If you are in the USA, compare the time shown above to the time Slash is showing you. Yes, you are a long way behind the world ;-)

  • Don't forget he's Doctor Rob Sitch MD - didn't know they give those to "uni dropout" types.
  • where's the movie set? Check your shoelaces, I think you took that spade to the head pretty hard.
  • Doh! Good point!
  • or is that Cham_pagne_ Comedy ;-) Like a tiger...
  • Wasnt it July 20th 1969 and not the 19th?
  • It's typical too, that The Dish the highest grossing Australian film in the history of Australian cinema -- is struggling to get wide distribution in American movie theaters.

    What about the astronomical numbers that "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" is bound to pull in.
    It'll probably triple the GNP "Down Undah" :)
  • > > "by making their product vastly superior to the competition"
    > Logic time: If it were vastly superior to the competition, why is there still competition?

    I thought we kept whining that M$ was a monopoly? Can't have it both ways. :-)

  • >That and it has been done before, just not as big. Skylab, Salut, and Mir. ISS...been there done that.

    With that reasoning, you could state that Apollo has been done before, just not as big. Columbus, Stevenson, Wright Brothers, Gagarin, Armstrong...been there done that.

    Every "great feat" is a step beyond what came before. And ISS is the step beyond everything we've done before.

  • > Good God, man, what would be a great feat since then?? It's still the greatest single engineering achievement in history,

    The International Space Station.

    Over a dozen years in the planning, nine years under construction in orbit, sixteen countries participating, fourty-eight rocket launches, scores of space walks, six robot arms and thousands of times more computational power than Apollo. Plus at the end of it all, you get a working space station with six laboratories that will be in use for decades.

    The only problem with the space station is that it lack the theatrical "ta-da" moment that Apollo had when Neil stepped foot on the surface.

  • Yeah, the antics of 4 ex-comics becomming everything they used to mock and then whinging about not being able to get a decent latte out of Melbourne is just so hilarious.

  • Perhaps they're using moderation as a form of satire ...
  • I'm guessing it was due to weight limitations -- especially considering the size of tape machines back then.
  • It's nice tosee that the little guys who make everything in this world happen,get some recognition. Street sweepers of the geek world UNITE!

  • Before he became an internationally-renowned director, Rob Sitch (a humble Melbourne uni dropout) spent some time trying to break into the world of professional stuntmen.

    Because probably no one outside Australia would have even heard of The Late Show, help me test our server capacity by checking out the following;

    ShitScared#1.mpg [qld.cc]

    ShitScared#2.mpg [qld.cc]

    ShitScared#3.mpg [qld.cc]

    ShitScared#4.mpg [qld.cc]

  • Wooo's a icckle idiot, den?

    Yaaaay! Mees an ickle idiot, putting targets inna filenames, yesss!

    Pardon me while I go beat myself to death with a rubber hose.
  • Ahem. That's 'dropout' in the sense of "Would have become a doctor if he hadn't've started mixing with all those fringe theatre beatniks and ABC longhairs".
    I just think it's great that half of our ol' pals, Grahame and The Colonel are on the front page of Slashdot :)
  • Turn away now if you don't want to know.

    The pictures you saw where a carefully constructed backup of "Astronauts" bouncing around on elasic bands in Nevada. The Australians fucked it up and the real pictures were lost forever.

    Of course not having seen the film it probably has a better ending than "The pictures were broadcast, science was advanced and all lived happily ever after" but it does make you wonder what.

  • >When I moderate, I look for comments with a score a two and moderate them down when appropriate

    What an incredibly futile waste of moderation points. I look for 0-point AC posts that contain actual useful content and mod them up so that _someone_ will ever see them. If I have any points left, I will look for overrated +5/4 posts that need to come down...


  • Only reason I knew about this one was from a theatre poster on the wall outside when I went to see 'spy kids' with my son. Looked interesting*.

    But no, no ads on TV, no trailers in the theatre. Had to go looking online to find out anything about this.

    (*the poster is a silouette (sp?) of the dish surrounded by a flock of sheep. I have no idea why this caught my interest, initially. Must have a thing for wool, I guess)


  • by simonwagstaff ( 173538 ) on Sunday April 22, 2001 @07:43AM (#274143) Homepage
    This is a cool review to see on slashdot! I'm not a huge fan of the Hollywood fare that Katz somtimes does his damnedest to find a "geek" element ... and I'm even less of a fan of the geek-finding effort itself;)

    If there are going to be movie reviews (adn TV shows? huh? Well I guess the same applies to them ... ) here every week, they should be about movies like this -- quirky, less well-known, worthy, decent.

    This is one I'd like to see based on this review, and I'd never heardd of it (well, I had heard the *title* but that doesn't mean much to me!).

    Thanks Jon, now please find some more like it. I don't want to hear about how "Friends" is secretly about channeled Geek Aggression, or how Columbine influences "Malcolm in the Middle" or how great "Saving Private Ryan" is. (OK, ok, so you liked SPR. Great. So everyone fawns over that asanine Tom Hanks. Fine, but leave me out of it.)

    A happy rant (this week) from someone sick of WWII movies and banal mainstream flicks being touted as particularly Geek-a-zoid. Not everyone who reads slashdot is a Geek-Jock who has to fit *everything* in the world into a few pre-approved, community-tested memes and attitudes. There are cool technical-themed movies to talk about which few people have heard of, as this review is proof -- so talk about those :)

    gruntled for the moment,


  • Good God, man, what would be a great feat since then?? It's still the greatest single engineering achievement in history, yes, even over the Pyramids and the Great Wall.

    Some may argue that the Pyramids or Great Wall is greater, but I think what makes it the greatest is the organizational complexity, not the technology. It is by far the biggest project ever undertaken by mankind, and they did it successfully. The Pyramids didn't take nearly as many people as many think, and the Great Wall was a very decentralized project that was completed over multiple eras (not that each era's building wasn't impressive!).


  • late last week, and I watched in on Saturday, and again on Sunday, and I'm gonna go home and watch it again tonite. It's a great movie.

    I suspect a lot of the jokes might be somewhat lost on non-Australians, but there's still a LOT in there for everyone. The American national anthem is my personal favourite.

    They keep doing really nice shots of the dish from the ground and the air. Beautiful colours, and a really nice setting.

    Parkes is around 3-4 hours from where I am (Sydney, Australia). I've never seen the dish first hand, but after seeing the movie, I'm keen to go see the dish now. I might go take a look-see at our other radio telescope (the Australia Telescope) too now. That one is a doozy!

    URL for the Parkes Observatory is at http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/ [csiro.au], and the Australia Telescope Compact Array http://www.narrabri.atnf.csiro.au/ [csiro.au] (This one is an array of five small dishes that move along a 3Km long rail track).

    One good thing about being so far from anywhere is that conditions are great for observatories down here!

  • NASA was prepared for a loss of signal. Check out this backup plan [flybyfoy.com] from the point of view of one of the technicians that staged it.
  • I agree that something that has been modded up to 2 is usually better than something that only got to 2 through the bonus. The problem is that there are a lot of people who can post at +2 and it doesn't cost anything to do it so they usually do. Very few moderators bother to mod a "natural" 2 post down unless it's a troll or flamebait. Since most 2 posts are noise and there aren't enough mod points to mod all the noise down why waste what points you do have?
  • Except the amatures have been able to hit the reflector they left up there. A good telescope and a good laser can spot it. Nothing natural in nature reflects light like a well built corner reflector. Info on measuring the round trip time of a laser pulse to the reflector and back can be found here;

    http://www.laurin.com/Content/Feb98/techMoon.htm l

  • Uh, that's not how the date line works. Australia is usually a day ahead of the US.
    From http://www.nasm.edu/apollo/AS11/a11facts.htm [nasm.edu]:

    Landed on Moon: July 20, 1969 20:17:40 UT (4:17:40 p.m. EDT)
    First step: 02:56:15 UT July 21, 1969 (10:56:15 p.m. EDT July 20, 1969)

    That means it was July 21, 1969 in Australia when man first set foot on the moon. So that date is off by two days.

  • 50 Bucks =) .. Damn that was a fine show =) ..
  • ...for still pictures, many of which were taken with 2 1/4 inch format film cameras. But in 1969 videotape required both a huge machine and huge amounts of tape, for which there was no room on the mission. In fact, it was still pretty standard at that time for TV series to be distributed on 35mm photographic film, to be projected into a video camera for broadcast. The equipment was smaller and cheaper; the only perceived disadvantage was that you had to develop the film, and it was one-use. Needless to say, there was no room for a 35mm film movie camera on the lander either.
  • maybe you shouldn't abuse the bonus.

    It's my bonus and I'll do with it whatever I damn well please. I don't play the game of posting under another account to "preserve my precious karma." FYI the system doesn't care if your karma is 43 or 50. There is plenty of room before the bonus is really in jeopardy, unless you really are a dedicated troll.

    I don't really take it personally when I get modded down, but it does annoy me when it's obviously due to ignorance on the part of the moderator. Really, that's worse than being modded down for disagreement IMO. Learn how the system works before sticking your fingers in its moving parts. Your fingers will thank you.

  • Hey, I've got the karma...

    "The 1995 launch of Microsoft's revolutionary new product"

    Yeah, instead of having to buy Windows 4.0 and MS-DOS 7.0 in two different packages, you could buy it all in one box!

    "product's stability, appearance and intuitive interface"

    Actually, when we all jumped ship, we discovered that it was about as stable as 3.11 was. And the interface wasn't all that intuitive when the whole world was used to 3.x.

    "Then, as in the early 80s, when Microsoft were instrumental in the first truly personal computerThen, as in the early 80s, when Microsoft were instrumental in the first truly personal computer"

    How could they be responsible for the same thing twice, unless one (or both?) of them didn't really happen? "For the first time, the elderly, the young, and the technically illiterate were empowered to use computers"

    No, they're still all on hold with Microsoft tech support.

    "Although computers still betrayed some of their arcane origins of a time when computing was the real of those with genius IQs and degrees in mathematics",/I>

    I first started tinkering with the BASIC package of my ADAM when I was 5. In the early 90's, I figured out how to get onto the local BBS scene with my 286/12, 2400 modem, and Telemate. I'm no genius, and neither were all the flamers and l33t hax0rs that also frequented the boards. It was an awful lot like /., actually, without the pretty HTML.

    "This was achieved by always providing what the market needed"

    I think you mean "convincing the market that they needed it." How much did they spend on advertising and playing that Rolling Stones song over and over? They should have let the lyrics keep going... "You make a grown man cry..."

    "The Microsoft formula was to pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap"

    I prefer the name "slash and burn" myself...

    "Microsoft's success came through out-maneuvering the competition."

    I think you meant to say "hype and intimidation."

    "Revolutionary was the approach that said that a spreadsheet, which at one would have cost over a thousand dollars, could be sold for a fraction of the price",

    Besides the fact that no version of Windows has ever come with a spreadsheet app, Microsoft Excel for Windows (1988, "Windows" being "Windows 2.0") cost around $200 or so.

    The only reason Excel's price has come down from that is because, when all is said and done, 90% of it is still the same old code they've had since the 80's. It'd be down further if they didn't put in all those damned easer eggs and talking paperclips.

    "This approach drove the computing revolution of the 80s" If it were released in 1995...

    "and the net revolution of the 90s"

    95 has no intrinsic web hosting capabilities. NT still relied to heavily on NetBEUI to make it all that good of a hosting platform. It wasn't until Windows 2000 that Microsoft actually released an OS that spoke TCP/IP as a first language.

    I'd say Al Gore did more to help the internet than Bill Gates.

    "Microsoft's aggressive approach made computing far more affordable"

    Even if you don't take into the account the price of the OS itself and the glorified bug-fixes they sell for $80, just about every major computer and buisiness magazine in publication agrees that the cost of ownership of a Windows PC is simply too high for a business.

    "Microsoft's approach of providing the product the market wanted "

    You're still confusing it with "convincing the market that it's what they wanted." Nobody wants built-in obsalescence.

    "empowering thousands of small businesses,"

    ... by forcing them to bend over and pay $1000s in software and client liscences for products with 1000s of known bugs?

    "often without the funds to employ dedicated IT admin staff"

    If you don't need a dedicated IT staff, then why is the job market for MCSEs so good?

    "to manage their own computer networks and to sell themselves on the web,"

    As I said in an earlier post, the box might as well say right on the front "MCSE Not Included." The average small business without a dedicated IT department will not be able to utilize NT or 2000 in that way out of the box because the average small business owner has a business to run, which leaves them no time to spend a month reading texts and documentation.

    If it were so easy, Microsoft wouldn't be telling you that it takes at least 7 months to get your MCSE cert.

    "Similarly, Microsoft's masterful integration of the internet within Windows means that for most people the internet MEANS Internet Explorer."

    Sites like this one [98lite.net] put the lie to Microsoft's "integrated" claim.

    On the other hand, instead of integrating core internet technologies like TCP/IP in their products, NT came with products like "NetBIOS over IP" and WINS, products that can only be described as shoddy work-arounds for NT's native NetBIOS networking structure. This instead of a genuine OS patch to get NT to speak TCP/IP natively.

    Microsoft is at least three steps behind when it comes to the internet.

    "by making their product vastly superior to the competition"

    Logic time: If it were vastly superior to the competition, why is there still competition?

    "the consumer sees that he is benefiting and is happy to acquiesce"

    No, the consumer only sees the way that what was once done with blazing speed on a 90 MHz Pentium now all but requires gigahertz speed and gigahertz pricing. Why do you think hardware sales (and, subsequently, Windows ME sales as well) are in such a slump?

    "but for the companies, small and large, who were able to compete thanks to the low barrier to entry erected by Microsoft."

    Oh? By all accounts, XP won't run any MP3 software except that written by Microsoft. That sounds like a very high barrier to entry to me.

    "described as an end to frustration for the millions of computer users"

    By your own arguments, Windows 95 was that supposed end. Why should we believe that XP will be more of a solution than 95?

    Requiring a Pentium II processor to run your OS is more indicative of a problem than a solution.

    "discover the highly logical (but also deeply complicated) way that computing systems such as Windows"

    I've spent the past few weeks studying to be an MCSE (I figure it'd provide income while I pursue a college degreen in physics). The more I read, the more it becomes patently appearant that what you call "logical" is more than 50% work-arounds of their old code. They insist on piling more on top of their old code instead of sitting down and actually writing something new (which, to my knowledge, Microsoft has never done). The books (published by Microsoft, mind you) spend more time telling you the ways that you CAN'T do something than the ways you can.

    "Millions of dollars of research, of observation"

    If you need to spend millions of dollars to learn about your customer base, how in-touch with them could you possibly be?

    "a product where computing is a natural experience rather than a painful one, with effortless remote maintenance and inter-computer interaction. "

    Again, I thought you said that's what 95 was.

    "At the same time that Microsoft is on the brink of launching of a product that makes them feel 'super super excited'"

    If I were going to launch something I expected would make me billions (if not trillions) of dollars, I'd be "super super excited," too.

    "the competition is still hopeless"

    Then why is it still around? Better yet, why is it gaining market share?

    "Particularly for Linux, the outlook looks bleak"

    In order to make that statement true, you need to replace the word 'Linux' with the phrase 'Windows 2000'

    "No longer buffeted by the heady currents of the internet goldrush"

    Didn't you just say that Microsoft was responsible for that gold rush? If so, then wouldn't the current economy be the fault of Microsoft as well? Can we really trust them, then?

    "Linux-based companies - which have never made any appreciable amount of money "

    IBM what?

    "they are also recognizing that companies required by their underlying philosophy to give their product away, do not have significant revenue opportunities. "

    Then in what way is the price-slashing you espoused earlier better?

    "relies on ideas stolen directly from Windows. "

    1.) Windows was stolen from Apple and Xerox
    2.) I've yet to see anything in KDE or Gnome that were anything but an improvement on what Windows offered. Really. Name one thing about the Windows interface that is better than either of those two.

    "and enormous goodwill to shoddy workmanship and incomplete and buggy software (the likes of which would not be tolerated from commercial software)"

    If it really weren't tolerated, then Microsoft wouldn't have gotten away with releasing Windows 98 (Windows 4.1) or Windows ME (Windows 4.9)after releasing Windows 95 (Windows 4.0). Each with a premium price.

    "The in-fighting and lack of commercial rigor of the Unix and open source world has left a system of wild inconsistencies and rough edges, "

    ... which makes the way Windows 2000 is steadily losing market share to them all the more damning...

    "For everyone else, Linux remains something that is frustrating to use, with its bewildering array of arcane concepts (file permissions,

    Linux's short list of file permissions (user, group, everyone each can have read/write/execute permissions) pales in comparison with the monolithic list of NT/2000 file permissions (many of which seemingly overlap).

    "symbolic links"

    And what would you call a Windows 95 shortcut? Oh, and speaking of which, a "new" feater of Windows 2000 is the ability to mount a hard drive partition to a folder...

    "compilers to install software"

    Haven't touched a compiler since that C course 5 years ago.

    (something users used to InstallShield would find troubling))"

    I find InstallShield more difficult to use and comprehend than RedHat's Packagme Manager.

    If all of these concepts were so bad, why is Windows trying so hard to include them? And if they really are bad, what does this say about Windows' efforts to include them?

    "The almost total lack of co-operation between projects means that there is no consistent graphical configuration tool to match Windows' Control Panel. "

    If you want something that puts Control Panel to shame, look at Mandrake 8.0.

    "The ultimate cause of it in many cases is probably human nature, as there is no doubt that we are programmed to be resentful of success and to be envious of those who succeed -"

    Then we should be hating IBM, not Microsoft. Of the two, IBM has more money (and is therefore more "successful.")

    "That these feelings should be directed at a company largely responsible for the massively improved levels of prosperity brought by bringing computing to the masses"

    Again, we should also be hating IBM for their open-architecture PC.

    "since as humans are essentially selfish beings, personal reassurance is a far more important emotion than altruism."

    Then we should be far more concerned about the interests of Microsoft and it's One True Leader than the Linux collective. How can we counteract any selfishness on the part of Bill Gates? Claiming that Bill Gates is altruistic and may be the only non-selfish person out there sounds a little too close to Nazi propoganda for comfort.

    ", resentful in part that computing should become accessible to the uninitiated,"

    No, I'm resentful of the time I worked in Dell tech support, and all the times I had to tell an angry customer that there was nothing I could do for them, because the problem was a "feature" of Windows. I'm resentful of the fact that networking with Windows 2000 has such a high barrier to entry due to its price and liscencing racket. I'm resentful that the latest and greatest operating systems from Microsoft shuts down my dial-up networking connection for no appearant reason. I'm resentful of the fact that, as a Windows user, I cannot choose to not use IE. I'm resentful of the fact that I need a minimum of 100 MB of hard drive space to install a Microsoft product that's marginally equivalent to WordPerfect 5.1. I'm resentful of the fact that Microsoft would knowingly ship a product with 65,000 known bugs, and then try to push for these products to be used in mission-critical environments. I'm resentful of the fact that Microsoft is single-handedly responsible for the anti-virus software market, with the way they leave security holes through their "functionality" that no well-informed person would accept. I'm resentful of the way that Microsoft works hard to make sure that there are as few "well-informed" people as possible. I'm resentful of the fact that my parents had to pay for and learn a new operating system when they paid for a new computer. I'm resentful of the way I have to tell my parents that their new $2000 machine has bugs like the aforementioned dial-up problems, and that the only explaination I can offer them is "It's Windows." I'm resentful of the fact that a Pentium 233 MMX with 96 MB of RAM boots Windows 98 faster than a Pentium 4 1.3 GHz with 256 MB of RAM boots Windows ME (even with the fast boot option configured in the BIOS). And, last but not least, I resent any company that works planned obsolescence into their product, and then has the balls to say to a court of law that it's "innovation."

    OK, I now return you to your regularly scheduled flame war.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson