The Superhero America, with its Systemic and Infrastructural Problems, Deserves

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Vlad Savov has an interesting essay at The Verge in which he laments that popular superheroes as they are written are rarely called upon to use their extraordinary powers to do more than fight, as opposed to tackling some of the bigger, more systemic problems faced by societies and civilization. He writes, for example: Superman’s reduction to a punching machine — particularly prominent in his movie outings — is … less excusable than Batman’s since the Man of Steel actually has superhuman powers. … [Read more...]

Patrick Stewart and the Shame of Bullying

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I was rather moved when I saw this tweet yesterday. When I was a child at times I was a bully - and I'm ashamed. http://t.co/67ag01Mghb #NoBystanders #StopBullying— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) November 19, 2014It’s already heartening to me to see celebrities that I highly respect stand up for a cause that feels so personal to me, to see smart and powerful people acknowledge that the torment that so many kids endure at the hands of their peers is genuinely damaging, and a crisis wor … [Read more...]

Kermit the Frog Performs Twitter’s Strategy Statement

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Twitter released its strategy statement to investors on November 12, 2014, to (at best) mixed reception. Here, Kermit the Frog performs the statement, word-for-word.See also Kermit performing Mitt Romney's explanation about releasing his tax returns from 2012. … [Read more...]

Reunion at the Nexus: A (Smartphone) Love Story

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It was both a rebound relationship, and a practical one. Cynical? No, but not heartfelt. I had abandoned my beloved iPhone back in 2013 in order to remove myself from my cellular carrier, and the only economically feasible alternative that the new carrier offered was the Nexus 5. Black, matte, fast, solid. It wasn’t love, but it would do.I couldn’t commit, though. I was distracted, I thought too much about the other phones I might have had. The camera was poor. I couldn’t get used to the widt … [Read more...]

HTC One M8: Fast to be Dropped, Slow to Respond

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In the midst of my enthusiasm/disorder of gadgeteering on the cheap, I managed to have possession for a couple weeks of an HTC One M8, the phone that upon its release was more or less universally hailed for its build quality and performance.Guess what. I didn’t really like it. And I really, really thought I would.I assumed it’d be a good phone for me because of the rave reviews, of course, but also because it was the Android device that seemed to have been designed with the same degree of … [Read more...]

Mars One: Interplanetary Travel on Underpants Gnome Principles

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There are two new fascinating articles about the Mars One mission, in which a small number of people train for ten years to be sent on a one-way trip to Mars to begin the long process of colonization. Run by a private non-profit corporation, it plans to contract all of its technical needs from private industry (such as Lockheed Martin and SpaceX), and comb through its flood of applicants who want to be the first human beings to set foot on another planet and never come home. And I tell you, … [Read more...]

The Martians’ Singularity: Thoughts on “The War of the Worlds”

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I’ve just read H.G. Wells’ original The War of the Worlds, and it was nothing like I expected. I have a completely unfounded prejudice about some of this classic sci-fi literature, wherein I presume it to be either vapid pulp or unnecessarily stuffy. (Frankenstein suffered a bit from the latter, I thought. Come on, Victor, get yourself together.) But just as I was delighted by my first reading of Jekyll and Hyde, I found War of the Worlds to be incredibly rich, suspenseful, and insi … [Read more...]

Performing Artists, Kill Your Guilty Conscience

My amazing and talented wife Jessica recently did some voice work to help another actress prepare for a film, for which she was paid. She was told today, however, that the film project had been canceled. This, of course, happens sometimes, and it’s not has though Jess was going to be in the thing, so no harm, no foul for her.But then she admitted to me that she felt a twinge of guilt for accepting payment for her work now that the film won’t actually go into production. When she said this to … [Read more...]

Amazon Puts the Eye of Sauron in Your House

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Amazon just announced a weird cylindrical thing called Echo that you talk to in your house. Here's their awkward ad.Here are some of my knee-jerk responses to this.On the device:In the short term, it looks ridiculous. A big fat cylinder that resembles an air purifier or an ashtray that does what your smartphone already does, which is always with you. The very fact that you use your smartphone to set it up and tinker with it spells out how redundant this seems. Yes, there are kids … [Read more...]

Last-Minute Cure for Election Day Ignorance from Google

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If you're like most Americans, you have no idea what it is your about to be asked to vote for on Election Day. (Actually, if you're like most Americans, you won't be voting at all.) You probably know who you're voting for in races for governor, Congress, and maybe for mayor. But then there's all those city council seats and sheriffs and treasurers and ballot initiatives. How do they work? You probably got a sample ballot in the mail, but come on, you don't read it.Well, it's Google to the … [Read more...]


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