A live toad every morning

Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Mummy

The new Mummy movie seems in every way a terrible mistake, but surely its primary flaw is that it's misunderstanding utterly what the franchise is.  The franchise is not ancient Egyptians, or sorcerers, or magic, it's (the title is a clue) mummies - wrapped in tape, shambling, and, for Universal, with one arm restrained in front of them by a loose tape, so:

so they had to do their horrors one-handed, a grave, one would have thought, handicap. But that's the image; and you should always follow the visual, not the star - a point you'd think they'd have learned after Stallone's Judge Dredd took off the iconic helmet to show his face and bombed utterly.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Conversation post

An article on the Conversation about juries and social media. 
In determining the best way of dealing with the vexing issues relating to social media and juries, our team canvassed the options that have been available to courts in dealing with traditional media’s impact on juries. ....
First of all, let’s assume two things: one, social media cannot be silenced and, two, juries will continue to be used in criminal trials in Australia. These are most certainly issues worthy of further investigation in relation to this topic, however our research took a pragmatic approach to current trends by focusing on immediate and short-term strategies in dealing with current juries.
Given this framework, we need to acknowledge that there are inherent limitations to traditional approaches of managing the balance of publicity and fair trial – namely the capacity for courts to issue suppression (non-publication or “gag”) orders, or by the threat of sub judice contempt charges against those who publish material which may impact on a fair trial.
The most “doable” option lies in dealing with jurors once in the court system - a type of reverse engineering of the problem - so that jurors know exactly what they can and cannot do with social media. Traditional approaches to dealing with media impact on juries have included judicial directions, changing the venue of the trial, judge-only trials, delaying the start of the trial, sequestering the jury, and recently and controversially, polling jurors, as used in the high profile manslaughter case of Jayant Patel in Brisbane earlier this year. 

This does assume, of course, that the "Only take into account what you hear in court" rule for juries is in fact right, in the sense of contributing more to justice than the reverse. I'm not convinced that this has been proven.
If if ever was true, furthermore, it may not be true now. In an era where the average citizen demands to be able to check on anything on their tablet instantly, I'm not sure that it's a reasonable - or achievable - request to give up this godlike power for the period of a trial.
And as google is more and more baked into the brains of newer generations this gets harder and harder every year.
You might, as a possible alternative, ask jurors to share with the court the sites they had accessed, enabling each side's lawyers to introduce rebuttal evidence if necessary.
We should be hesitant to insist on imposing the social institutions of the 1400s in the modern era. At the very least, someone should be required to make the argument.

I always think that the author should respond to comments on a Convo post, but they seldom do. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kim Jong Unexceptional

When Kim Jong Un came to the throne we all made fun of his hairstyle, but more and more he seems to be pretty much in the hipstream.  On the train or in the street more and more buzzcut back and sides and one or another form of souffle top.  Was he an actual style guide - people looking at him and thinking "Hey, I could look really cool in that" - or is it just that all parties concerned are dead leaves floating on the zeitgeist?  Answering that question would require more work than I - fuck it, let's google "KJI haircut".

Well, no real data, other than the the peak fuss about the KJI look was back in 2014 when there was a fake news story about all Korean men being required to use it/eschew it. The question remains moot.

I really don't blog terribly often these days, do I?  Perhaps I ought to move to tweeting.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Clean Earthquake

Watched a bit of San Andreas last night, earthquake movie with the Rock, musing about how unspeakably vile the applauded morality was. The Rock has a wife and a daughter.  He flies into an earthquake with a helicopter, falling buildings all around, hundreds of thousands crushed, rescues his wife and nobody else, crashes helicopter. Steals car, drives off with wife and nobody else at a time when millions are trying to flee city. Finds plane, flies it in to earthquake, crashes it, that's one plane that's not going to join any evacuation.  Takes boat, rides tsunami into city to find and save daughter and, to be sure, her boyfriend. High-fives all round, all is well, the dead millions are npcs, survivor's guilt doesn't get a look in.
To conceal slightly the vicious disregard of the interests of everybody who isn't family the disaster has two modes - one populated, one not.  There are times when you see the streets full of people running, and at those times the family is running too; then the buildings fall, the tsunami hits, and everybody disappears, even as bodies, so there's nobody there to reproach the Rock for letting them die.  It's a sign, I suppose, that Americans won't blame Trump for nepotism; that's the ethos that their entertainment praises as the highest value in life.

Blogger Devin Faraci gets it right -
It is possible that San Andreas is the most morally despicable blockbuster ever made. It is a sickening paean to selfishness, a movie that lionizes a public servant rescue worker who abandons his job in the middle of the greatest natural disaster in the history of America to steal a rescue helicopter to save only his wife and daughter, leaving thousands to die and suffer in his wake. It is, frankly, sickening.

Very few of the other (generally critical) reviews touch on this, though.

Monday, February 20, 2017

With my knapsack on my back

Another argument with the health promotion mob; The Conversation, http://theconversation.cmail20.com/t/r-l-ykkufuk-wujjdkdo-b/
An article titled

New study shows more time walking means less time in hospital
The inactive people (taking 4,500 steps per day) averaged 0.97 days of hospital care per year. The more active people (taking 8,800 steps per day) needed only 0.68 days of care per year. 

So to save half a day, 12 hours (assuming that the graph is 24-hour days; if it's working days, of course, 4; could I ask for clarification?) in hospital each year one should walk an extra 244 hours over the year.  If you like walking, that's fine; if you don't, it doesn't really sound the best possible tradeoff. I appreciate that it's supposed to be a proxy for other things, but I'd like to see the correlations. 40 minutes a day, after all, is in one perspective "not much"; on the other, it's one-twenty-fifth of your waking life, or something like three years over a lifetime, not something to be quite so casual about. 

And another request for clarification. The article says that 
The inactive people (taking 4,500 steps per day) averaged 0.97 days of hospital care per year. 
The popups on the actual graph seems to say that people on 4,000 scored 1.18 and people on 5,000 scored 1.08. 

I am actually surprised that the people on 1,000 are as healthy as they are; they're having a quarter of the exercise as the over-80s, which hardly gets them from the couch to the toilet, and there's still no spike. 

Monday, January 23, 2017


I remember once complaining to Barry Jones about one government acronym that sounded counterproductive.  He said "Yes, that's why we never gave an Institute of Technology to Swan Hill.

And, just as a topper, when I told that anecdote to a friend she said "Yes, well - my father was the chairman of the Swan Hill Irrigation Trust."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Age Bin with God's Curses

Ari Morris feels that we should pay more attention to the Bible’s allocation of Israel to the Jews.  If that’s what we’re doing, we’ll have to put in a bit more effort; the actual words used in that volume are " the land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” - about half of Egypt, all of Jordan, and most of Syria and Iraq. Like some Victorian land speculators, Jehovah was rather prone to selling land he didn’t have legal title to, and we shouldn’t regard his allocations as binding. 

Blog Archive

Search This Blog


Follow by Email

There was an error in this gadget

Total Pageviews