May 03, 2004

This is not news.

Ten Point Five Five Five
May 03, 2004

If you want to see some a crappy movie with outstanding special effects, set your TiVo for NBC at 9:02p.m. tommorow. Then you can catch 10.5, a movie about California falling into the ocean. No, I'm not kidding, somebody actually bought that line of tripe.

But do not, under any circumstances, watch it live. The camera operators are drunk and the director wouldn't know subtlety if it, err, politely coughed in front of him. (Somehow, "subtlety" doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would bite someone in the bum...) What skill the actors have is squandered in pursuit of cheap schmaltz. It would have to stretch itself to reach merely "trite and formulaic".

But hey, for great special effects... and a fast forward button!... we can forgive much, right? Scientific accuracy, any sense of drama, the ability to look someone in the face without immediately Zooming In (somehow, the camera work by the director makes Zooming In seem like an entire Genre worth Capitalizing), all washed away in a panache of computer and model effects. And some of the bad actors will most likely end up dead!... though not nearly enough of them.

Be sure to miss this tommorow unless you have the appropriate Technological Aids to watch this exercise in converting ignorance and idiocy into cash safely.

And don't miss this review on the IMDB.

I particularly enjoyed the preview of and look forward to the full version of the special effects shot they previewed for tommorow's conclusion where someone takes the fault line drawn by the concept artist far too literally, and actually have water pouring into California precisely along the faultline which has magically dropped below sea level, instead of the entire coast sliding into the ocean. It really is the perfect summation of modern society; millions upon millions upon millions of man hours spent engineering outstanding computer technology and all that special effects technology, only to have some muttonhead with an IQ firmly in the "embarrassing" category turn the whole edifice to the cause of stupidity. Mothers don't let your sons (and daughters) grow up to be engineers; it's damned depressing if you think about what your mighty works are turned to by the PHB's in charge too much.

Mozilla Development
Apr 30, 2004

I may not technically have "a job", but if you saw me at home, you'd never realize I wasn't just working from home. I've been working with some former co-workers on a project that will hopefully become my next job.

For this project I've been developing in Mozilla. No, not "developing web applications", doing development in XUL, XBL, RDF, and a lot of other fun Mozilla-specific technologies.

Read the rest (908 words)

Bush & the Press
Apr 25, 2004

The Instapundit (left leaning readers need not leave; you may actually like the ending of this post) has an interesting story about President Bush's feelings on the press, referencing this essay; basically it boils down to this exchange with a reporter:

a reporter says to the president: is it really true you don't read us, don't even watch the news? Bush confirms it.
And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that.

Disclosure: Yes, I'm fairly "anti-press" at this point. But this is as scary as it is good. As flawed as the press is, what other mechanism does the President have for communicating with us? If Bush turns his back on the press corps, what will he replace it with?

I think there are potential answers to that. I think could become a more useful site for actual communication, instead of the equivalent of "press release" communication. (If you kiss off the press, do a complete job of it and kiss off the inhuman paradigms the press has forced on you, or you're just wasting your time; not playing their game is the entire point, and changing venue without changing tactics means you didn't really change the venue in this case.) There are other alternatives as well. I would not mind a government news show, as long as it was clear who was producing it and it did nothing in the law to exalt itself over citizen efforts. (Let the Administration put everything in the best light it can, we've got thousands of journalists ready to counter-balance. As long as the core stories are true, it will still provide valuable insight into how the Administration is thinking. In that sense, more propoganda would almost be more revealing.)

But if this is solely a signal of disconnection from the press, with no serious replacement mechanism for communication, then this is bad news. While I've preferred Bush to the alternatives to date, I have been concerned by his administration's tendency to treat the Presidency like a Kingship. (I do not look kindly on Congress' complicity in passing things like the Patriot act to remove judicial oversight either.) If this is the beginning of a complete disconnect, the opportunity to cut yet one more binding loose, then I'm going to have to seriously re-think that position. As our employee, the President has a duty to keep us informed of his actions, to the extent his oath to protect the country allows. If the press is not the most efficient method of doing so, so be it. But there must be some method, or as far as I'm concerned, you're fired for unforgivable dereliction of duty, and I'll hold my nose a little tighter and vote Kerry.

Apr 22, 2004

Following up on this dangerousmeta! post, I looked up what "Haemochromatosis" was, and among other interesting details was this:

About 500ml of blood is removed (a procedure called "venesection") initially once a week to reduce iron levels by stimulating the body to make more red blood cells (which contain iron). Depending on the amount of iron in the body, the initial treatment may take one or two years. Once the excess iron has been removed, venesections are done about four times a year to prevent iron building up.

In other words, it is one of those rare medical conditions where our best treatment is bleeding. Interesting.

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