Thursday, October 18, 2007

But What if He's Right?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the News Again...

I'll post about this every time a new story comes out. Once again, some scientists are suggesting that there is significant evidence of life on Mars - primitive, microbial life, but life none-the-less. Settling this question once and for all should be one of the first and foremost scientific pursuits of our times. If there is life on Mars, a serious blow will be struck to the psuedo-sciences of creationism and intelligent design.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NYC to Pay for Grades

Apparently, in an effort to improve their standing in the "No Child Left Behind" system of education, New York City is going to pay students for regular attendance and good grades and test scores. This is a seriously bad idea. It will completely institutionalize cheating, grade inflation and any variety of other unsavory behaviors in schools amongst both students and educators. Surely there is a better way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

They Keep Going and Going and Going

I was looking back at some old posts that I had done, and I came across a post I made in September of 2005. It was about the Mars rovers - the little robots that NASA landed on Mars in January of 2004. The thing is, when I re-read that post I realized that I hadn't heard anything about the rovers in quite some time, and I wondered if they had finally died. The rovers were designed to fulfill 90 day missions on Mars. By the time I made my post in 9/05, they had lasted for more 500 days - extraordinary. So I figured, here it is, June of 2007, surely they must have finally been done in by the harsh conditions on Mars. I did a quick google search and found NASA's rover home page and was astonished and delighted to discover that, in fact, the little rovers are still going strong and making remarkable discoveries.

Go Spirit and Opportunity - keep on chugging!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Math Never had this Effect on Me

O.K. I don't know what is going on, but I've been administering final exams this week, and I've noticed in 2 classes, boys quite blatently groping themselves while taking their final. In one class in particular, a young man kept rubbing himself and it was clear from the sizable bulge in his pants that he was hard as a rock (an apparently quite well endowed too)!

I love math, but taking a math test never had that effect on me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

OK - I'll Stop Bitching

FINALLY! A decent movie. I'm not saying it was brilliant, award winning cinema, but it was coherent and entertaining for close to 2 hours, and really, that's all I'm asking for. It probably isn't all that good, but after a string of terrible movies, I REALLY enjoyed this one. Which one? The Shooter with Mark Wahlberg. Tight plot, decent acting, good action. A little violent, but not over the top. Like I said, at this point, I'll take it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What's Up With the Movies?

In the past 10 weeks or so, I've gone to see 6 movies and each and every one of them was awful. What the hell is going on? We're talking different genres, different styles, academy award nominees, etc. and with out exception every single one of the last 6 movies I've seen has been terrible. So here goes, the last 6 films I've seen:

Babel - O.K. this was the least awful of the lot, but also one of the most painful. This attempt to be an international "Crash" just doesn't hold together. The stories never really mesh (particularly the tale of the young, deaf Japanese girl. It is so incidental to the rest of the movie that it doesn't really feel connected at all). But the real problem with this movie is that it just relentlessly beats the viewer up. As we were leaving the theater, my friend Chris turned to me and asked, "why does that movie hate me?" That is really what it feels like.

23 - Oh the trailers really made this one look good didn't they? This was going to be a taught, suspenseful psychological thriller - right? It turns out to be 2 movies poorly woven into 1. See Jim Carey gets this book called 23, so half the movie is a film noir version of the book about a man who gets involved with this woman who is obsessed with the number 23. Jim Carey plays the heavily tattooed main character of this book. The other half of the movie is Jim Carey geting obsessed with the number 23. "Oh look," he says, "the numbers in my birthday add up to 23." "Oh look," he observes, "The numbers in my license plate add up to 23." Boring. Boring, boring, boring. The supidest moment in the film is when Jim Carey is talking to a priest or something (I can't even remember - the film was so boring) and the priest ominously says 2 divided by 3... .666 the number of the devil. WRONG! 2 divided by 3 is .66666666.... repeating infinitely. If you want a reasonable estimate of the number out to 3 decimal places, you need to round off, and of course you get .667. This movie just plain sucked.

Zodiac - What potential - right? This is the story of the Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco and northern California in the 60's and early 70's. A fascinating tale of a serial killer who was never caught. Well this dog of a movie is a 2 hour and 40 minute (it feels like 40 hours and 2 minutes) snooze fest focusing in the obsession of a political cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle or Observer or Examiner or what ever over the Zodiac case. It's based on the cartoonist's book about the case, and it is so unbelievably dull. How could you take such an interesting topic and so completely wreck it? I don't know.

300 - Perhaps the greatest military tale of all time. 300 Spartan soldiers confront the army of the Persian Empire - 250,000 men strong. And the Spartans hold off the Persian army at a narrow mountain pass for 3 days. 300 men vs. 250,000! This ought to be an awesome film, right? Well visually is IS stunning. Done using revolutionary real action/animation technique, the film is visually amazing. But the story (particularly the narration) is turned into an ultra right-wing propaganda tale glorifying war. It really feels like a Republican campaign pitch for sending more troops to Iraq and going to war with Iran. The message is so heavy handed that it takes away from what could be a really good movie. Oh, and the acting is absolutely terrible. The main character playing King of Spartans - Leonidas must be Scottish, because repeatedly during the movie he slips into a Scottish accent and it is really distracting.

Premonition - What a great premise! For some reason (it's a movie, the reason doesn't need to be explained) a woman starts living her days out of order, and at some point during this mixed up interval of time, her husband is killed in a car accident. The first hour or so of this movie is actually very good, as we watch the woman (Sandra Bullock) in a rather (understandably) terrified and bewildered state figure out what is going on, and try to piece together the circumstances surrounding her husband's death. But the writers can't sustain the story or the premise and the entire movie unravels in the second hour. The ending is not satisfactory and there are too many holes, inconsistencies and unanswered questions to be forgiven.

The Last Mimsy - Another movie with tremendous potential, that goes no where. Worse than going no where, much of the movie feels like a spacey, drug induced hallucinatory trip. I'm sure the writers thought they were being cute and whimsical, but instead, most of the movie makes no sense and the film just becomes a frustrating bore. Once again, the acting is terrible and the ending is completely implausible. Yeah, I'm sure FBI agents, after witnessing the opening of a space-time wormhole are just going to apologize to the people they were interrogating, let them go free and just walk away. WhatEver!

I just want to see a decent movie! I'm not asking for a soul wrenching, belief altering, life changing experience; I just want to be entertained. I'm beginning to be concerned that Hollywood will never again make a good film. Has anyone out there seen a good movie lately? Let me know!

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