Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chilly Halloween Doesn't Affect Turnout

While it's still possible that we'll see another ghost or goblin before the night is over, this year's tally of 18 kids is looking fairly safe right now. I'm amazed at the consistency of late:

2009 = 19
2008 = 19
2007 = 18
2006 = 12 (a statistically-significant poor turnout at about 66% what we've had since)

No idea if it's the same kids every year - hey, they're in costume! - but it's funny how we've had 4 consecutive years of almost identical numbers.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How Do You Like Those Odds?

Probability fans will no doubt have had a field day with this story about an Israeli lottery that drew the same 6 numbers as had come up 3 weeks earlier! Investigators claim there was no rigging of the results, which of course wouldn't be required for this to happen; it's just really, really unlikely!

Of course, if there were shenanigans involved, it's not like those who waste their money on lotteries don't sort of have it coming to them anyway.

And Now, A Public Service Announcement

Why, hello there! If you're like me, you've chafed under the necessity of pressing the Guide button twice on your remote in order to get the TV Listings screen up on your SARA (Scientific Atlanta Resident App) guide ever since Rogers introduced their ridiculous application-launch screen all those months ago. No one does fuzzy white text on a black background quite like Rogers, and they proved it once again with this "innovation" when they jammed it down our throats way back when. Ever since, I've trained myself to press Guide twice whenever I want to survey what's on TV or set a recording, thereby shortening my natural lifespan through the use of unnecessary keystrokes.

However, there is relief from this nagging irritation! McChicken, during his Movie Night visit last night, schooled me on the remedy, and I'm here to do the same for you! If you go into the Rogers screen that launches on the initial Guide press, arrow down until you find the "Self Service" option - conveniently not visible unless you scroll to it! - then you can select it, select "Change GUIDE Order" and change the Guide button's function back to what it used to be (by picking "TV Listings first"). It's just that easy! Unfortunately, after you make that change, a 2nd Guide press will still take you to the stupid Rogers screen; however, if you use Exit to leave the Listings screen, you won't even encounter that slight annoyance.

Yes, you're welcome!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Footloose And Fancy Free, That's Me

Vicki's on the train to Toronto to visit Tammy for the weekend, leaving me to my own devices for the next 48 hours or so. How much trouble could I possibly get into in such a short stretch of time, I wonder?

Tonight a couple of friends, including McChicken, are coming over for a special Halloween-themed Movie Night. I don't yet know what we'll be watching, but I suspect it'll be scary.

Tomorrow morning Boneman is kindly dropping by to change the bandage on my back before I entertain a potential new tutoring student and her parent(s). I'll be assessing this Grade 9 to see how I can best help her prepare for her first high school Math course, scheduled to begin in February.

I have no idea what I'll do to pass the afternoon, although video games may be part of that equation.

Tomorrow night is World Series Game 3, which will probably provide some good distraction for me for awhile.

Sunday morning has no plans associated with it yet. By then I'll be eagerly awaiting Vicki's return, I'm sure, which is scheduled to come about during the afternoon. And then we'll be handing out candy rewards to our dozen-or-so trick-or-treaters by sundown.

That's my weekend, at a glance. Unless more interesting stuff happens, which is always a possibility. If you're similarly at loose ends, give me a shout... unless I don't like you, in which case never mind!

Hitler Finds Out No Quickscoping Allowed in Black Ops

I guess it's no big surprise that a world class douche like Adolf Hitler would be a fan of quickscoping (the art of zooming in with a sniper rifle for less than a second before firing). Check out his reaction to finding out that Call of Duty: Black Ops (out in just 11 days now!!) won't support it.

[And for another treat, you might want to watch this Inception trailer made using Halo: Reach characters and sets!]

Speaking of CoD:BO, I was disappointed to learn this week that the PS/3 version won't allow online coop play through the campaign. XBox Live users will get that appealing feature, but not those of us running the game on the PlayStation Network. That sucks!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today's Homework Assignment: The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome

I'll going to come right out and admit it: I love when I learn some new, completely-useless bit of trivia.

In this particular case, it was a reference to the "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome", which I just had to find out more about. Cue the Internet, and I quickly had my answer: he was the older brother to Richie Cunningham on Happy Days who headed upstairs at the end of one season and then was never heard of again!

That's so awesome! I think the same thing happened to my "girlfriend in the States" when I was a teenager...

Proof Of Time Travel?

I love this meme making the rounds: that a 1928 Charlie Chaplin video shows a person on a cell phone! Doc Jensen covers it here, and the YouTube video awaits you below.

My Latest Gift To The Wound Fetishists

You know who you are...

This is what the location of this year's boil looks like now, following yesterday's surgery (and that's a blurry quarter, aka 25-cent-coin, beside it for scale). Yes, it's sore, but nothing like it was when it was infected back in the summer. With the cyst cut out, I'm hoping that means there's no chance of it ever returning. And that just leaves all of the other spots on my back upon which a new one could develop.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Call This A Pitchers' Duel?!

The marquee matchup to start the 2010 World Series - Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers (8-0 in postseason play over his career) versus two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum of the Giants - has turned out to be nothing of the sort. Lee was chased in the 5th inning after he'd given up 6 earned runs, and Lincecum looked merely mortal for most of his time on the mound, including early on when he blew a chance to make an out when he caught a Texas base-runner in what should have been an easy rundown. Right now, in the 7th, the Giants are up 8-4 (thanks to a monster, 6-run 5th inning) and both starters are out of the game.

Final score: 11-7 Giants. More like a slugfest than a battle of premiere pitching staffs.

Didn't See That One Coming: The Dark Knight Rises

We now know the title of the third Christopher Nolan Bat-flick: The Dark Knight Rises. That's not one I would've put any money on, simply because it doesn't follow any predictable pattern from the first two. In fact, it would've made a more logical name for the second one, following Batman Begins. In other words: name for the hero + verb. But The Dark Knight stopped that train, leading me to expect something like The Caped Crusader or Batman Triumphant for the final part of the trilogy.

Oh well, based on Nolan's track record so far: it'll be great, no matter what the title is.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Are The San Francisco Giants Like The Philadelphia Flyers?

It occurred to me today that the Giants, who will shortly attempt to win their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco in the 1950s, have something in common with the NHL's Flyers of 2010: both teams are playing for the championship after making the postseason on the final day of the regular season!

In the Flyers' case, they won a last-second shootout last April (against my hapless Rangers), catapulting them into the first of four rounds of playoffs before finally falling to the Black Hawks. For the Giants, they needed a win against Western Division rivals San Diego Padres in their 162nd game to avoid facing a tie-breaker scenario in order to make the postseason.

Put another way: fans of both teams went into the close of the season facing the very real possibility that each franchise might miss the playoffs entirely this year, only to both avoid disaster and eventually vie for the ultimate prize. Talk about a dramatic turnaround!

Back To Back Surgery

Tomorrow morning I head into the hospital for a 7:45 surgery on my latest boil, as promised back in July when I had it drained (and then spent the next five or six weeks recovering). This is supposed to be less traumatic, thanks to the fact that the area is not currently infected... but I'll believe that when I don't experience searing pain during the surgery, as I did both of the other times.

And if this is the last blog entry ever posted here, then you can draw your own conclusions as to the success of tomorrow's scalpel work...

New Spin On Some Great Old Characters

Vicki and I watched the first installment of Sherlock last night, entitled "A Study in Pink". This is a recent British miniseries (three 90-minute episodes, apparently) from Steven Moffat, one of the masterminds behind the current incarnation of Doctor Who.

I was dubious going in, as I wasn't convinced that anyone could transport Holmes and Watson to the 21st century without losing what made them so special in their gaslight-and-buggy setting. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong! It was entertaining from start to finish, and managed to be both original and faithful to the source material. I kept thinking, "If Arthur Conan Doyle were creating them today, this is probably how he would have envisioned Holmes and Watson!" Its modern setting and sensibilities almost certainly make it more accessible, as I'm sure there are people out there who wouldn't watch stories set in the 19th century just on principle. The remaining two episodes should air on PBS over the next couple of Sundays.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Placebo: The Great Cure-All?!

I've been reading quite a few Science books and websites recently, and they often describe the double-blind testing method within which two groups of patients will be observed: one taking a new, potentially-effective drug, and the other taking a 'placebo', essentially a non-medicinal do-nothing pill. In each case, neither group knows whether it's getting the real thing or the placebo (nor do those administering the drugs, if it's truly a double-blind test), and therefore the differing results - if any! - can be measured objectively.

As I came across the umpteenth instance of this sort of thing, I thought of the perfect Onion article:

Placebo: The Great Cure-All!

In a shocking turn of events this week, scientists have discovered that the material contained within placebo pills is actually a miracle drug! Long used in testing new pharmaceutical offerings, the placebo was always assumed to be ineffective and therefore the perfect contrast when looking for positive effects from a new medication. However, that belief was stood on its head this week when careful analysis of the supposedly-benign substance revealed that it has beneficial properties for nearly every affliction known to man! "It's unbelievable," stated Dr Stephen Colbert, lead scientist at Prescott Pharmaceutical. "For years we've thought placebos were worthless, and here the whole time we've had a wonder drug right under our very noses!" Dr Colbert went on to speculate about just how many failed drug trials of the past several decades were incorrectly slandered when they produced no better results than the now-highly-touted placebo treatment. "The mind boggles," Dr Colbert concluded.

Is Science Sexist?

Here's an interesting take on how the long-established "scientific method" may, in fact, be biased toward the way in which male brains work, at the expense of excluding the greatest strengths of female brains in the process. The blog post is written by Alexandra Jellicoe, a self-described "globetrotting scientist", and my attention was drawn to it via one of my Twitter followees.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nice To See Some Rangers Team Doing Well!

It's too bad that it's the team from Texas instead of the one in Manhattan, but congratulations nevertheless to Nolan Ryan's Rangers for making it to their first ever World Series this year. They had to beat the most storied franchise in baseball to do it, and that's a nice way to make the big time.

Tomorrow - or possibly Sunday - we find out whether they'll be playing the Giants or the Phillies. Vicki thinks it'll be the former. Me? I'm done predicting!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Could I Ace My S.A.T.s?

I happen to be working with a student right now who's prepping to take his S.A.T.s (which I think once stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test) in order to gain acceptance to an American university. I've obviously heard of these before now, and Vicki would've written them back when she was in high school (in Michigan), but they're mostly a new concept to me. What I especially wasn't expecting was just how easy most of the Math questions seem to be!

Now, I'm doing "S.A.T. prep", via an online site, so who knows if the questions my student and I have been using are truly representative or not... but they're advertised as such. Because they're used for university and college admission, I had always figured they'd be somewhat similar to the Descartes or Gauss Math contests that I've seen in the past from University of Waterloo, for example. Those suckers are hard! And the theory behind them seems to be that anyone short of a genius will find them intimidating, and therefore you'll have a wide range of results across which to evaluate the candidates.

What I see in these S.A.T. questions, on the other hand, are rudimentary challenges like converting fractions between improper and mixed form, solving trivial algebraic equations and understanding how things like exponents and averages work. So far I haven't run into a question that took me more than about 30 seconds to figure out how I would solve it. Maybe the test itself is so time-constrained that I wouldn't really be able to get a perfect result, but short of that: it's not challenging at all.

One particular shortcoming of the test, in my opinion (again, basing it on these prep questions which may not be appropriate), is the large number of missed opportunities among the multiple choice answers. In other words, I see my student start to go down an obvious wrong path in solving a question, and yet the result he comes up with is not among the 5 choices he's presented with! I learned all about that particular trick while taking Physics at Waterloo, and since then I've always assumed that any reputable institution using multiple choice answers would employ it. Without it, exam-writers often realize their mistake simply because their answer doesn't show up among A, B, C, D or E. Naturally, you'd rather test their ability to either do it right the first time or recognize the wrongness of their result. Weird to not see that employed here.

Texas Vs San Francisco In The World Series? Really?!

OK, so maybe it's a bit premature still to be assuming it'll be the Giants vs the Rangers for the 2010 Major League Baseball championship, but things are definitely leaning that way at the moment. SF has a 3-1 stranglehold on their best-of-7 National League Championship Series against the Phillies and can advance to the World Series with a home win tonight, while the surprising team from Texas is up 3-2 on "the stinking Yankees" (as Boneman calls them), with both remaining games in that series (if two are necessary) set for Arlington over the weekend.

Prior to this postseason, Texas had never even won a playoff series. The Giants, along the same lines, are still awaiting their first championship banner after relocating from New York more than 50 years ago. In other words, these are not perennial favourites by any stretch. The two teams they may end up knocking out, on the other hand, are: New York won it all last year, and Philadelphia took home the trophy in 2008! So it would be quite the shocker if those two end up coming so close, and yet so far...

Oh, and I can't believe I've gone this far into the current ALCS matchup without mentioning that it's the "New York/Rangers" series... Well, it is!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Quick Halo: Reach Update

I hadn't played much Halo: Reach after the first few days of owning it as it really didn't grab me, but recently I've given it another try. I'm finding that it has a good variety of gameplay even just within the single player campaign (which is all I've tried in it so far), including some outer space battles the likes of which I don't recall from any previous Halo offering.

But nothing else quite compares with my favourite thing to do in a Halo game, which is to discover just how far I can take a Warthog (the game's main Jeep-like vehicle). Yesterday, while Vicki looked on, I maneuvered the turret-mounted buggie around some concrete blockades in order to get it up a set of stairs on the outside of a refinery building. From there, I could drive it along various catwalks, allowing my AI buddy to use the turret's rockets to quickly and effectively clear out all enemies that awaited us. Eventually I had to drive over the edge of an elevated platform in order to access a lower level, and from there I headed - Warthog and all - down through a hole in the floor into yet another area, also infested with bad guys. I remembered playing this portion of the game earlier with McChicken in Coop mode, but hadn't at that time tried to bring our ride with us. I can now attest to just how much easier the whole "clearing out" part is when you have infinite ammo on a rear-mounted rocket launcher to use for that purpose! Huzzah!

With less than 3 weeks left until Call of Duty: Black Ops takes over all of our lives, now seemed like a good time to get back into Halo: Reach. We'll see if it continues to hold my interest for the next little while.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nothing To See Here

I've been under the weather for the past couple days, and hence blogging even less than normal. Get over it. Hopefully I will...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Few Brief Thoughts On The Baseball Playoffs

Despite not blogging much about them until now, I've been raptly following this year's MLB postseason. Through the magic of PVR, I've managed to see nearly every inning of each game so far. The Division Series were pretty hit-and-miss, as the Yankees and Phillies didn't seem to have much trouble sweeping away the Twins and Reds, respectively. The other two matchups were more even, and the Tampa Bay/Texas series had the freaky highlight of seeing every game won by the road team! First time in playoff history that's happened, I believe.

Now that the League Championship Series are underway, the quality's been a bit better. Last night the Yankees overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat the Rangers 6-5, and then looked like they might repeat that feat in Game 2 this afternoon... but no, Texas "held on" for a 7-2 victory to even the best-of-7 ALCS at 1-1. Tonight's Phi/SF Game 1 was fabulous, with the Giants finally getting to Roy Halladay and scratching out a 4-3 win. I can't see any World Series matchup (of the 4 possible ones) that wouldn't interest me, so this bodes well for the remaining October baseball games.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Official Resistance Timeline

I've never seen the complete Resistance timeline laid out like this before, but it's pretty darn sweet! As alternate histories go, this one's a keeper.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

I loved this series of Twitter updates posted by Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo:

"Green Party FLA-GOV candidate Rich WhitNEY upset his name 2appear on vote machines as 'Rich Whitey' in black n'borhoods

my bad, "rich whitey" is running in Illinois not Florida

as our @erickleefeld just noted in the TPM internal chat, in a sense, Rich Whitey is running everywhere"

Calling All Star Wars Fans

I know there are some die-hard Star Wars fanatics among my readership, as there probably are among just about any cross-section of 30- to 50-somethings these days. While I'm not as into Lucas' double-trilogy as some of my peers, I still enjoyed them enough to engage in multiple viewings of each and every episode over the years. I also got a big kick, several years ago, out of seeing one of the inspirations for Episode IV: A New Hope: the Akira Kurasawa film from 1958 entitled Hidden Fortress. Anyone at all familiar with Star Wars should immediately see parallels between the two movies, in terms of overall storyline, film-making style and even some of the characters.

So why am I bringing this bit of trivia up now? Well, with the arrival of Netflix into Canada, many of us have signed up for the service in order to stream movies and TV shows on our PS/3, iPad, Mac or whatever. As luck would have it, Hidden Fortress is one of several Kurasawa classics currently available on Netflix. Therefore, I can't see any reason why a Star Wars fan wouldn't want to set aside a few hours to watch - at no additional cost or inconvenience - one of the primary sources for that pop culture phenomenon. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who Says Paul Krugman Has No Sense Of Humour?

(Steve Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, does, apparently.)

But when I read a headline like Special Bulletin: Fractions Have Denominators, then I really think there's no room for debate on the matter of Prof Krugman's funny bone!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reality... What A Concept

Topics have a way of converging upon me sometimes. As a trivial example, three recent books I've been reading (The Plot Against America, Unscientific America and Einstein: His Life and Universe) which are not only unrelated to each other but also come to us from three different literary genres (Fiction, Non-fiction and Biographies) nevertheless managed to crossover with each other in terms of characters (Einstein and Charles Lindbergh show up in two of the three but not the same two!) and themes (how difficult it is for laypeople to understand Science, and the plight of the Jewish people). That sort of thing often leads me to imagine that everything's interconnected and life is simply a journey toward finding all of the key connections. Which is probably silly. But maybe not.

The difference between reality and what we project it as is another concept that's cropped up in several places for me over the past few weeks. Following our viewing of 28 Up on the weekend, Vicki, Julie and I (and possibly Tammy, though she might have gone to bed by then) talked about what sort of effect being profiled on a documentary series would have on its subjects. For example, would they become better at manufacturing the storyline for themselves each time director/interviewer Michael Apted returned to film the latest chapter (at seven year intervals)?

I mean, that whole act of constructing "personae" for ourselves is something we all do, every day, to some degree. We often work hard to reinforce self-images that we've become fond of or reliant upon, such as "the funny co-worker", "the problem-solver" or "the long-suffering housewife." But imagine if periodic slices of your life were being captured on film and made available for all the world to see. Wouldn't the incentive to "control the message" be even stronger then? Obviously a documentary film-maker recognizes that danger and prepares for it, but in this case the subjects are necessarily afforded the opportunity, over and over again, to hone their image-making craft with each successive attempt... with lots of time - seven years! - between each attempt in order to reflect and apply what they learned last time.

Watching a Colbert Report from a week or two ago, Vicki and I heard Aaron Sorkin (screenwriter of The Social Network) talking about why he doesn't have much love for Facebook and other similar platforms (including the one you're reading this on): it's all about presenting yourself in a way that you can control and manipulate at your leisure. As he put it, the personae found in those places often resemble the actual people behind them in the same way that Reality TV resembles reality. Which is to say: not necessarily much at all.

I certainly try to be honest on this blog, but there's no denying that I carefully control what sort of updates I provide and often strive to avoid making myself look bad. I suppose that's all well and good as long as the audience recognizes that, but is this sort of thing becoming the new reality now? I hope not, as we're all obviously much more complex and flawed individuals than anything that most of us would ever choose to reveal whenever we're dictating the message rather than revealing ourselves through our actions. It's definitely given me great food for thought.

(The title of this blog post, by the way, is taken from Robin Williams' 1979 comedy album of the same name.)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Books I'm Currently Reading (October 2010 Edition)

I actually just finished a couple of books:

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth - The story on how I ended up reading this is nearly as complicated as the book's premise. Our friend Julie was over several weeks ago, admiring Vicki's wall of books in our living room, and randomly picked up The Plot Against America to talk about its cover design. As she skimmed the back of it, she became intrigued by what she saw. She asked Vicki about it only for us to discover that my usually-careful wife had put this one away without actually reading it! So Julie took it home, burned through it in several days, and implored me to give it a go so that she'd have someone to talk to about it. Anyway, author Roth tells an alternate history tale based on the notion of Charles Lindbergh running for president of the U.S. in 1940, winning against FDR, and keeping his country out of World War II. It's a terrific idea for a story, and portions of The Plot Against America are quite wonderfully written. Unfortunately, the ending is uncharacteristically weak, which left a sour taste in my mouth. But overall, it was a very entertaining read.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson - Weighing in at 550 pages, this is a heavy read in more ways than one! I discovered, while reading it, just how little I actually knew about Albert Einstein. Having just finished it, though, I now almost feel as if I met the man! (A rather unlikely possibility since he died 8 years before I was born!) It's a well-balanced blend of Einstein the Man and Einstein the Genius, making for a complete view of one of the greatest icons of the 20th century. I definitely loved this book!

I'm also currently working on:

Unscientific America by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshembaum - If you want to really depress yourself about the current level of scientific literacy within the borders of the U.S., this is the book for you. Mooney and Kirshenbaum cover off the events that led to the dismantling and denigrating of Science that took place under Reagan, Bush and Bush. Whether it's in the service of religious conservatism or corporate malfeasance, the authors highlight the many ways in which Republican politicians have taken advantage of the average layperson's ignorance when it comes to Science. It's a dry read so far, but well worth my time.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov - I've wanted to re-read the Foundation series for awhile now, just to refresh my memory on what the macroeconomic themes of it are. I have to admit that the writing style is much too simplistic for my current tastes, but I'm still interested to see what Asimov came up with to support his "future history" approach to economics. I'm only about 20 pages in thus far.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Doc's Magical Year

We don't yet know the end of the story for Roy "Doc" Halladay's 2010 Major League Baseball adventure, but it's already been simply amazing, to put it mildly. He threw a perfect game (27 batters up, 27 batters retired) back in the Spring, won 21 games for the Phillies over the course of his first season with them, and last night appeared in his first ever postseason game... and promptly no-hit the Cincinnati Reds!

It was only the 2nd time in MLB playoff history that someone had recorded a no-hitter (Don Larsen did it, in perfect game form, back in 1956). In other words, Doc is having a season for the ages, and it's still early in the National League Division Series right now! Who knows what the rest of October may bring... and it couldn't all happen to a nicer guy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Death To Co-Features!

I haven't liked the idea of "co-features" (aka back-up features) ever since DC Comics announced them as a rationalization for raising their comics' prices from $2.99 to $3.99 a year or two ago. Basically, for the addition of $1 per issue, I was getting 8 "extra" pages of story and art about a character or characters I didn't care about. Almost without exception, the co-features (e.g. The Avenger in Doc Savage) that I've paid for have been crappy. Some were so bad that I took to skimming, rather than reading them.

Fortunately, today news comes that DC is bringing their co-feature experiment to an end late this year. I would've bet money that the extra pages would go away without the price returning to $3.99 (that approach has been used before), but DC has taken the high road and declared that those $3.99 titles will resume their $2.99 price point. Definitely a good decision!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Solid Mixture Of Yay And Meh

News broke overnight that Zack Snyder has been named as the director of the next Superman film. I can't say as that choice is a popular one with me, considering that Snyder didn't quite find the right note for the Watchmen flick in 2009. What bothered me most about that film was the way in which Snyder didn't seem to "get" some of the finer details of Moore and Gibbons' masterpiece, despite deciding to slavishly recreate most of its story. In other words, I don't think Snyder's necessarily all that brilliant an artist in his own right.

Chris Nolan, on the other hand, is. With him producing and contributing to the screenplay of Superman VI (definitely not the actual title!), there's reason for hope. Considering how amazing Nolan's two Batman installments have been to date, his is exactly the touch that I'd want to see on Kal-El's adventures. So it should be interesting to see which influence wins out. And just the confirmation that this franchise is actually moving forward again, after the disastrous and embarrassing Superman Returns, is good news to me.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

12 Documentaries That Changed The World

Tammy directed me to this Entertainment Weekly link highlighting a dozen landmark documentaries. # 12 is Up, and they couldn't start their list with a better choice. All of them are worth your consideration, though.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Oh, And Happy 4th Anniversary To This Blog!

That's right, it was 4 long years (and over 2900 posts) ago that Kimota94's Place kicked off its long and still-continuing run of meandering commentary. I'm sure, had you asked me back on October 1, 2006, just how long I expected to stick with it, I would have answered with something less than 4 years. And yet here we are. Go figure. Over that stretch, I've seen a lot of blogs start up, burn brightly for a short while, and then fizzle out. So far I've avoided that fate, unless I'm in the fizzle stage now and just don't realize it!

So raise a toast to this blog, if you're so inclined!

Our Shrinking Universe

An Earth-like planet has been found just 20 light years away! In what will likely prove to be just the first of many such discoveries, we've been shown that life is hardly likely to be limited to our little blue marble. Very exciting news, indeed!

[Oh, and thanks to Vicki for bringing this story to my attention!]

Caving To Pressure Or Doing The Right Thing?

Electronic Arts has been in the news a lot lately because of their impending Medal of Honor release. Why so much interest in a video game, you ask? Well, once it broke that the Taliban would be one of the playable groups in the game, there was - understandably, I think - quite a reaction to that revelation. I personally found it a bit troubling that the game developers had made that decision, as it just seemed a little disrespectful toward the current reality facing the American military (a group which forms the basis for the game). Many felt the same way; others thought it was perfectly acceptable.

Well, today word came that EA is removing the Taliban from the game. If you follow the link, you'll see that it's more of a cosmetic change than anything dramatic, as the group simply won't be referred to as "the Taliban". Still, I think that's probably a reasonable compromise.