Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Capsule Rave: GO SEE CORALINE!

Especially if you can see it in 3D. Literally awesome. Such a fabulous piece of movie-making, I hardly thought about the art and craft of it until after it was over, which is going some for an old CG hack like me. Without any Carrie-esque "gotcha" moments, it still scared the crap out of me, deep down where I live. But that wasn't the takeaway message of the movie either.

Just please, go see it.

(And I cannot believe they did it in stop-motion! OMG!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You Go, Bro!

From PZ Myers' excellent Pharyngula. Along with the snail porn and snarks about whingdang fool creationists, this piece on the fate of universities is well worth reading.

His point: Legislatures love to cut university funding, because nothing obviously bad happens immediately. So clearly that was wasteful spending. And next year...look, we did it again, and nothing bad happened! ("Bad" meaning "embarrassing scandal that cost me my legislative seat".)

Yes, Dr. Myers is employed by a university. So am I. This does not make our advocacy invalid, though the careful reader is right to be skeptical. Read the logic. Do the math. You'll find he's right: If we don't turn around the practice of bleeding our great universities white, our trajectory toward Third World status will only accelerate. (We're currently ranked 15th in the U.N. Human Development Index. In 1985 we were #2. Any bets on the 2009 and 2010 rankings?)

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're Not Nearly Mad Enough

Read this Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi on the meltdown, and see if your rage doesn't move you to action. I'm going to see if Tammy Baldwin has read it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cross-Post: Book Reviewlet

See my books-read blog (which I'm really, seriously going to start posting to now!) for an item on Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody.

Fridge Magnet Wisdom at Our House

Inpirational messages:

Some things are superfluous, after all:

The kids admit finally admit that there are advantages to grammar-obsessed parents:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jon Stewart Takes On U.S. "Journalism"

Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, has a good piece on the abject failure of the major media to investigate the crap-sandwich of lies we've been fed for the past decade on a variety of subjects (e.g. the run-up to the Iraq War, the "Masters of the World" drunk-driving our financial system into collapse). Repeatedly, they merely parroted what the powerful told them, or at best included quotes from the powerful on the "other side" of whatever issue was at hand. If a Wall Street mogul was (surprise!) bullish on his company, then you might sprinkle in a quote from a competitor for "balance" -- heaven forfend you actually do some digging to see if he's lying!

The launchpad for his critique is Jon Stewart's on-air excoriation of CNBC's "Mad Money" Jim Cramer, who repeatedly provided an on-air platform for Wall Street moguls to lie barefacedly, without ever investigating their claims.
STEWART:   But what is the responsibility of the people who cover Wall Street?  . . . . I'm under the assumption, and maybe this is purely ridiculous, but I'm under the assumption that you don't just take their word at face value.  That you actually then go around and try to figure it out (applause).
Eons ago, in the classrooms of the Indiana University School of Journalism, they actually taught us this stuff. Not so much about makeup, or how to preserve "access" to the powerful. But they taught us that a news article should contain quotes and facts, and the two should be clearly distinguished: Quotes were what they told you, and facts were what you found out.

It's not as easy as excerpting a press release, and it's certainly more expensive. But it lets you shave/put on makeup and meet the eyes of the person in the mirror.