Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Immorality of Power

Jonah Lehrer has an interesting post up about how having (or even just remembering having) power over others make people far less empathetic than normal.

The conclusion is not surprising, but is well put:

Of course, we live in an age when our most powerful people - they tend to also have lots of money - are also the most isolated. They live in gated communities with private drivers. They eat at different restaurants and stay at different resorts. They wear different clothes and skip the security lines at airports, before sitting at the front of the plane. We shouldn't be surprised that they're also assholes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The Spouse and I saw Avatar yesterday. We enjoyed it. It's spectacular (in the sense of being a spectacle). Pity about the script, though.

ETA: The Spouse and I both think that the movie would have been much more interesting if Sigourney Weaver had played Colonel Quaritch.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Fox is developing a US version of Torchwood.

Favorite quote from the story:

A more straight-faced spin-off of "Doctor Who," "Torchwood" is about a covert group that investigates and fights alien activity.

("straight-faced"? Have they watched this show?)

(Thanks to Wilmar for the heads-up.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

SF Reading Protocols

Jo Walton explains how reading SF takes different kinds of reading skills from other genres.

(Via BoingBoing.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Attention Grumpy Old People

(And I count myself as one....)

Complaining about the Youth Of Today is far from new:

An Assyrian clay tablet dating to around 2800 B.C. bears the inscription: “Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”

(Via Making Light.)

Up! In the Air! It's a's a Plane! No, it's a Double Movie Review

So The Spouse and I finally watched Up last week, and then saw Up in the Air (in an actual theater) over the weekend.

Up, while technically brilliant and often gorgeous to look at, is one of the bleakest movies we've ever seen. The first 10 minutes of the movie are fascinating to watch, but veer into serious tear-jerk territory fairly quickly. The rest is just bleak and weird, with a few minutes of heartwarming content at the end. The dogs are cute, though.

Up in the Air is also bleak -- but it's supposed to be. It's a very sardonic, and an actual adult comedy (R-rated, even), and has some real bite. It also has George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick (who is (a) young and (b) very good). It may not make cinematic history, but it's a solid couple of hours of film, and I strongly wish there were more movies like it.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Decade

Good riddance to the Aughties, the 200X's, the Big Zero, or whatever else we want to call the last decade.