Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Miami Herald: NASA issues alert on falling satellite debris

If a 100 pound chunk of space junk smashes into your house at a few hundred miles per hour, do you get to sue NASA? Is there any liability involved for falling space debris? More importantly, if O.J. is playing golf and a piece of satellite interferes with the flight of his ball, thus interrupting his never-ending quest to find his ex-wife's real killer, does he get a free drop?

Monday, January 28, 2002

America's Chaotic Road to War (

This is a beginning of a fascinating series detailing the events of September 11th from the government's point of view; what Bush was doing, what Cheney was doing, etc. The decisions that were made, the selflessness, the nervousness, the resolve.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Brawl breaks out at Lewis-Tyson news conference

Mike Tyson is not a boxer. He's a thug. He's one of those guys that fiendish villains hire to take care of the hero. He's Odd Job without the charisma. He's Jaws without the sensitivity.

What a contrast to Muhammad Ali, who was socially conscious and as eloquent with his words as with his fists.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

'Indiana Jones 4' finally a go

This is great, but Harrison is, what, sixty? One hopes for his sake that the story will involve passing the Indiana torch to someone else. The news that Kate Capshaw will be in the movie might be a hint; she was the love interest in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom', and perhaps her character will show up with a surprise in the form of Indy's son.

It would be funny, though, if Ben Affleck came along to pick up where Harrison left off, considering that Ben has already taken over the Jack Ryan role from Ford in 'Sum of all Fears'.

Friday, January 18, 2002

'X-Files' coming to an end

Thank God. I stopped watching The X-Files regularly a couple of years ago, when it was clear that not even the writers knew what the hell was going on. The creator, Chris Carter, promises that all the loose ends will be tied up by the series finale, which is extremely unlikely, since there is another movie planned. This was a show where its mythology collapsed under the weight of its own needless complexity. Buffy, on the other hand, is still managed very well, generally focusing on one 'big bad' per season, while carrying themes over from season to season. The X-Files introduced so many 'big bads' that they began to contradict each other, and no amount of bullshit plotting could make it work.

So, thanks, Mr. Carter, for giving us five entertaining seasons and then four intermittently entertaining seasons.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Credit rates too high: McCallum

This gets filed under the heading: No shit.

This is my favorite part of the story, the corporate criminals' excuse:

"Both banks and stores say they charge high rates to cover the risk of delinquent payments, losses and fraud as well as administrative costs."

Yeah, right. Most of these cards have a yearly fee that's supposed to pay the admin costs. And what risk? If you miss a payment on a credit card, they're up your ass faster than Customs. Miss two payments, and you might as well declare bankruptcy, because your credit rating is pooched anyway. Now I wonder what would cause the average consumer to miss a payment...

I wonder...

I wonder...

Could it be...?

High interest rates?

Tuesday, January 15, 2002 : CIA Believes Bin Laden Escaped

I can't see this as a big surprise. Remember, you've got half the world more than willing to hide this guy under the bed while America comes a-knockin'. I suspect it will be damn near impossible to find him unless he gets betrayed by a country looking to get paid.

What gives us all pause is what he will do once he's got his terrorist network back up to full speed. How long will it be before the next attack? How many more will die? And will Bush's inability to capture the Most Wanted Man on the planet come to haunt him in the next election?

Friday, January 11, 2002

And the 'Survivor' is...

Well, the most boring of the three Survivor shows is finally over, and the guy with the least amount of personality won. Yay. It is my fervent hope that the producers cast a better bunch of people next time around, because this show needs compelling personalities to keep the audience interested. The contestants this time around were so anxious not to make waves and lay low that the show lacked energy and spirit. But with the news that for Survivor 4, the producers are forcing the contestants to live off the land by not providing them with rice and water, I look to February 28th (the premiere date) with some optimism.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

NBC Moves Away From Family Fare (

The mistake the networks always make is to purposefully target specific demographics when trying to create/choose new shows. Start with a great premise and good writers first, then find the acting talent, then find a strong director. The demographics will come to you. Was The West Wing created with a demographic in mind? How about The Sopranos? Law and Order? Maybe I'm being naive here, but I believe quality does eventually attract audiences. Look how long Seinfeld took to build a following. Or The X-Files.

Monday, January 07, 2002

BBC News | SCI/TECH | Space rock hurtles past Earth

Quote: "Dr Benny Peiser of Liverpool John Moores University, UK, told BBC News Online: 'The fact that this object was discovered less than a month ago leads to the question of if we would have had enough time to do anything about it had it been on a collision course with us. Of course the answer is no; there is nothing we could have done about it.'"

You would think that with the box-office success of 'Deep Impact' and 'Armageddon', there would be a bigger push for some kind of planetary protection system. At least get some kind of decent program together that gives us some sort of early detection. A month won't cut it. If we had a year, that probably wouldn't be enough time.

Friday, January 04, 2002

Corona's Test Pattern - Scoops & News

Quote: " It appears that the behemoth rental chain that fought the DVD age is now fighting widescreen DVDs. Blockbuster is attempting to use its considerable influence on DVD producers to release more full-frame or dual sided, widescreen and full-frame discs, rather than stock their shelves with the widescreen versions that are presently available. Their reasoning is that a large number of their customers prefer the full-frame aspect ratio over the widescreen aspect ratio. With its large purchasing power and considerable home-video market share, any move by Blockbuster that artificially inflates the appearance of interest in full-frame DVDs could curtail the present resurgence of the widescreen format. "

Leave it to Blockbuster, the only video rental chain who has admitted to editing the content of some films in the name of consumer happiness, to fuck up the widescreen campaign. People, the widescreen format is the best way to see a film. Why? Because you're seeing the film as it was presented in the theaters. You're seeing the entire film as the director intended you to see it. The full-frame format, or pan-and-scan, cuts off the sides to fit the television ratio, and so as a viewer, you're losing 20-40% of the original screen size. Why would you want that? Sure, the widescreen format 'looks' smaller, but that's because the ratio is different. Most people have at least a 25" television, which is plenty big enough to see a widescreen movie without squinting.

So I hope Blockbuster gets the stink-eye from DVD producers on this one.