Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘James Cameron

Wednesday!

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* It isn’t the law that is struggling to catch up to drone technology; it’s us. Like it or not, the NextGen computerized autonomous national airspace is coming. It’s not a joke, and it’s not science fiction. Coming to terms with that is important. Disbelief won’t help at this point. The coming shift in our national airspace will push our boundaries. We’ll be able to mount legal challenges against particularly egregious uses of the technology — it’s unlikely that the sheriff of Montgomery County, Texas, will get much mileage out of his wet dream of a remote-controlled aircraft armed with tear gas and rubber bullets — but we won’t be able to imagine every permutation this technology will take. This is going to be some Minority Report–level shit.

* James Cameron: Avatar was always imagined as a six-picture hexalogy. Stick around for a fun Doctor Who spoiler/rumor if that’s your thing.

* Rethinking depression in teenage girls: “Depression? Really? How About Anger and Powerlessness?”

* No! No! I won’t believe it! Military expert says there’s no way Batman’s TDKR ‘Bat’ could fly.

* Battle Royale is an obvious can’t-miss hit for a post-Hunger-Games, post-Walking-Dead TV landscape. Just about the only way it could miss is if network executives changed it so the kids weren’t killing each other, just beating each other up…

* And you can take it to the bank: Human immortality could be possible by 2045, say Russian scientists. Guaranteed!

Not a Bad List

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The 2012 list of inductees to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame has been announced:

  • Joe Haldeman
  • James Tiptree, Jr.
  • James Cameron
  • Virgil Finlay

Written by gerrycanavan

May 1, 2012 at 12:07 am

‘Fantasy and Ideology in Avatar’

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…in Psychic Swamp. (Thanks, Melody!)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Saturday Night Links

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* Breaking: Right-wing Supreme Court Justices don’t take their jobs seriously. Supreme Court May Be Most Conservative in Modern History. Antonin Scalia, semi-retired crank.

* Jonathan Cohn, Scott Lemieux, and Richard Hansen and ponder the legitimacy of a Supreme Court that has actually gone the full monty and overturned the ACA.

* Of course they say the same thing about us. Judge Strikes Down Key Parts Of Walker’s Anti-Public Employee Union Law.

* Don’t check the date, just believe it: Google Maps QuestView for the NES.

* This collection of more-accurate Dr. Seuss titles is one of my favorite things on the entire Internet.

* James Cameron teases the Avatar sequels.

“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”

The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.

* The New York Times has some fun with towards a quantum theory of Mitt Romney.

* 21st Century as Intergenerational War. More here and here.

* Why are colleges acting as volunteer loan collection agents for the banks?

In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.

* The lottery lie: The educational “bonus” appears to be nonexistent. Miller and Pierce (1997) studied the short- and long-term effect of education lotteries. They found that lottery states did indeed increase per-capita spending on education during the lottery’s early years. However, after some time these states actually decreased their overall spending on education. In contrast, states without lotteries increased education spending over time. In fact, nonlottery states spend, on average, 10 percent more of their budgets on education than lottery states (Gearey 1997).

* The education reform lie: it’s impossible to talk about primary and secondary education in America in any meaningful way if you won’t allow yourself to discuss class.

* Hunger Games commentary watch: Understanding Katniss.

If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the eduction of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn’t even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Yours sincerely, Kurt Vonnegut.

* Too Smart to Fail: Notes on an Age of Folly.

But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can’t self-correct, that can’t address its obvious problems, that can’t pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that—for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twitterati—we can’t wake up from.

* Slate continues to pioneer bold new horizons in fantasy capitalism.

* 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide. No one could have predicted the widespread implementation of insecticides would kill so many insects!

The government has put the chances of a magnitude 7.3 quake centered in the north of Tokyo Bay at 70 percent over the next three decades, and has estimated there would be about 11,000 casualties and 850,000 buildings destroyed.

* Cancer research: it’s worse than you think.

* “Military surplus a bonanza for law enforcement.”

* Orwell and March Madness.

* And Canada will stop issuing pennies. Honestly, they’re decades ahead of us. Could be centuries.

Wednesday Night Links

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* The local alt-weekly asked me to write a short piece about Facebook as part of their cover story on social media and The Social Network. Here’s what I came up with.

* Science fiction comes alive: we’re discovering tidal-locked Earthlike planets with thin habitable bands and an approximately 100% chance for life and building artificial wombs.

* The headline reads, “Swanky new Vegas hotel’s ‘death ray’ proves inconvenient for some guests.” Case’s fancy Frank Gehry building has a similar heat-ray side effect, with bonus surprise avalanches throughout Cleveland’s miserable ten-month winter.

* We must desecrate Muslim graves, or the terrorists will win.

* A judge has decriminalized prostitution in Ontario on the grounds that existing anti-prostitution laws hurt women. This is a big step forward, if at the same time something like the lesser of two evils. Legalization by itself is not a panacea.

* Rumors of Wes Anderson’s next. I’m not happy about this:

But The Playlist talked to sources and heard that Anderson is seeking to cast a boy and girl, each 12, for the lead roles. That leads to supposition that Anderson might be moving forward in a mode inspired by Fantastic Mr. Fox, which would be not such a bad thing at all. Younger characters, a more youthful tone and/or family-oriented story?

* It is really hard to win the Mega Millions lottery. So hard that it can be difficult to comprehend what long odds confront its players.

Why not try for free on this Mega Millions lottery simulator? You’ll be able to try the same numbers over and over, simulating playing twice a week for a year or 10. You’ll never win. Via Cynical-C.

* John McCain, climate conspiracy theorist.

In 2007, McCain said of global warming: “Unequivocally I believe that it’s real.” He also accurately predicted that global warming means “much more violent weather patterns that are going to — and then of course that increases the disasters that befall countries like Bangladesh.” Sadly, now that Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have faced catastrophic floods of an unprecedented scale during the hottest year ever recorded, McCain is a global warming skeptic. The Straight Talk Express has derailed into the Tea Party abyss.

* James O’Keefe, huge dirtbag. More here.

* James Cameron vs. the tar sands.

* And these hot new doctoral rankings have been scientifically engineered to make everyone feel as bad as possible. Enjoy!

Links for Very Early This Wednesday

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* It’s an essential, if underappreciated component of our daily lives, and a key link in the global food chain. And it’s running out. Peak Phosphorous.

* Texas school set to begin work on $60 million stadium. Note: we’re talking about a Texas high school.

* I can’t believe Larry David’s agreed to do another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’m officially shocked. How will they ever top the Seinfeld reunion?

* Avatar 2 will have a water park theme.

* The secret origins of Dune.

* Among the many little gems in this rise and fall of fantasy television infographic is the fact that Superman has been on television nearly continuously since the medium began.

* Obama has once again supposedly learned his lesson about the GOP: President Obama thinks Republicans will engage in a full battle over his Supreme Court nominee regardless of the person’s ideological leanings, and in some ways “that realization is liberating for the president” to choose whomever he pleases, an administration official told TPMDC. We’ll see.

* And Arizona is now, officially, a dystopian hellscape. Your papers, please…

Proliferation and the Digital

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James Cameron produced over 100 versions of Avatar to fit every possible screen and projection configuration imaginable.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 26, 2010 at 9:41 am