28 Feb

Absolutely No Machete Juggling – The Star Wars Saga: Suggested Viewing Order

Now I’d like to modify this into what I’ve named Machete Order on the off chance that this catches on because I’m a vain asshole.

Next time you want to in­tro­duce someone to Star Wars for the first time, watch the films with them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI

Notice some­thing? Yeah, Episode I is gone.

via Absolutely No Machete Juggling – The Star Wars Saga: Suggested Viewing Order. Really enjoying this idea, going to try it out I think this weekend, as I’m due for a Star Wars marathon. The arguments in favor are really strong, both in terms of the order and in throwing out *shudder* The Phantom Menace.

02 Jan

kickingbear – Learn to X

Jalkut wrote this piece, Learn to Code. Read it, it’s well worth your time. Simmons linked to Jalkut’s piece adding this, “I’m reminded of Matt Mullenweg saying ‘Scripting is the new literacy.’ Matt’s right.”

I appreciate where they’re coming from. I can, from a certain perspective, agree with the argument. But, let’s not kid ourselves, literacy is the new literacy. The ability to read, comprehend, digest and come to rational conclusions — that’s what we need more of. We don’t, as a society, need more people who have the mechanical knowledge to turn RSS feeds into Twitter spam. We don’t need anything more posted to Facebook, we don’t need anything we photograph to appear on Instagram and Flickr. If “scripting” is the new literacy then we’ve failed. We’ve become Mario drowning on a Water Level.

Scripting isn’t the new literacy, it’s the new tinkering with the engine, the new re-wiring the house. The new DIY for the digital age. These sorts of skills are incredibly valuable, but they’re not now, and certainly won’t be in the future, anything close to being an art form that stirs our souls.

That’s what literature does — it communicates to humans by leveraging our understanding of words and our grasp of narrative. And, sometimes, it mixes them all up but we still get value from it. That’s not how writing code works. Writing code is a craft, we build upon the capabilities of the compiler, the libraries and the hardware. We don’t have the freedom to innovate, as an author would, unless we control the whole stack. And we don’t. We swim upon a shallow surface, we perform what amounts to an act of synchronized swimming. At times it’s beautiful, but we’re in a pool, and we can’t control how wide or deep it is.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably too late. I’ll say to you — don’t Learn To Code, just Learn. Whatever it is you’re good at, whatever it is that calls to you — do that. And do it again and again and again and again.

Learn to X.

via kickingbear – Learn to X. I really enjoy that line “Learn to X”. There’s a problem among programmers it’s the classic when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail. Programming/Coding is our hammer, perhaps a really advanced hammer but still just a hammer. I’m not going to predict that programming will never be a part of a basic grade school education, I will however be shocked if it ever occurs. There is a reason the tagline for this site isn’t something like “learning to be a better programmer ever day”, programming is a career choice but not the only thing I want to be skilled at.

31 Aug

NYTimes.com – Lucasfilm Confirms Change to Blu-ray Release of ‘Return of the Jedi’

So it goes for the latest editions of the six “Star Wars” live-action features that are being prepared for a Blu-ray home video release on Sept. 16. Previously, it was reported that the version of “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace” included in this release would replace the puppet version of the Yoda character with a computer-generated creation. Then on Tuesday, an online report by Devin Faraci suggested a revelation almost as troubling as the news that Luke and Leia had been brother and sister all along: in a climactic scene from “Return of the Jedi,” when Darth Vader hurls the evil Emperor to his demise on the Death Star, he would now shout “No!” (In all previous versions of “Jedi,” Vader has committed this crucial deed in silence.)

On Wednesday, a press representative for Lucasfilm confirmed that this change will be included in the Blu-ray release, writing in an e-mail: “Yes — Darth says NO.”

via NYTimes.com – Lucasfilm Confirms Change to Blu-ray Release of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Lucas have you not done enough already?

06 Mar

Seth’s Blog – The limits of evidence-based marketing

Of course, evidence isn’t the only marketing tactic that is effective. In fact, it’s often not the best tactic. What would change his mind, what would change the mind of many people resistant to evidence is a series of eager testimonials from other tribe members who have changed their minds. When people who are respected in a social or professional circle clearly and loudly proclaim that they’ve changed their minds, a ripple effect starts. First, peer pressure tries to repress these flip-flopping outliers. But if they persist in their new mindset, over time others may come along. Soon, the majority flips. It’s not easy or fast, but it happens.

That’s why it’s hard to find people who believe the earth is flat. That’s why political parties change their stripes now and then. It wasn’t that the majority reviewed the facts and made a shift. It’s because people they respected sold them on a new faith, a new opinion.

via Seth’s Blog – The limits of evidence-based marketing. I know this to be true, that evidence doesn’t tend to change people’s opinion on a subject, but darn it, evidence really should change people’s understanding of a subject.

23 Feb

rstevens’ Joe Biden Fan Club Tree House of Furor – Star Wars didn’t change my life

Star Wars didn’t change my life by making me want to be a hero, a scoundrel or a freedom fighter. Star Wars changed my life by making me feel as badly for broken machines and robots who just want to do their job as I do for animals or people.

Jawa pride.

via rstevens’ Joe Biden Fan Club Tree House of Furor – Star Wars didn’t change my life. Jawa pride indeed folks.

20 Feb

Al Jazeera English – North Korea’s cinema of dreams

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s love of film is well-documented, but few outsiders know that he is revered as a genius of cinema by his own people.

Now, this groundbreaking film opens a window inside the world’s most secretive country and an elite academy, where young actors are hand-picked to serve a massive propaganda machine.

Filmmakers Lynn Lee and James Leong spent more than two years on this project, becoming the first foreigners to film inside Pyongyang’s University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts.

via Al Jazeera English – North Korea’s cinema of dreams. This was an incredibly interesting 25 minutes.

06 Dec

TIME – Modern-Marriage Report: Not as Necessary Yet Still Desired

In fact, statistically speaking, a young man of William’s age — if not his royal English heritage — might be just as likely not to get married, yet. In 1960, the year before Princess Diana, William’s mother, was born, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are. Eight times as many children are born out of wedlock. Back then, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married; in 2008 just 26% were. And college graduates are now far more likely to marry (64%) than those with no higher education (48%).

When an institution so central to human experience suddenly changes shape in the space of a generation or two, it’s worth trying to figure out why. This fall the Pew Research Center, in association with TIME, conducted a nationwide poll exploring the contours of modern marriage and the new American family, posing questions about what people want and expect out of marriage and family life, why they enter into committed relationships and what they gain from them. What we found is that marriage, whatever its social, spiritual or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be. Neither men nor women need to be married to have sex or companionship or professional success or respect or even children — yet marriage remains revered and desired.

via TIME – Modern-Marriage Report: Not as Necessary Yet Still Desired. There is all kinds of crazy awesome statistics in here. For instance, 41% of children in 2008 were born to unwed mothers. The gap between the wealth and non-wealthy is more evidence to growing divide between the haves and have-nots.

21 Oct

Seth’s Blog – Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]

Let’s assert for the moment that you get paid to create, manipulate or spread ideas. That you don’t get paid to lift bricks or hammer steel. If you’re in the idea business, what’s going to improve your career, get you a better job, more respect or a happier day? Forgive me for suggesting (to those not curious enough to read this blog and others) that it might be reading blogs, books or even watching TED talks.

As for the deliberately uninformed, we can ignore them or we can reach out to them and hopefully start a pattern of people thinking for themselves…

via Seth’s Blog – Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]. That’s part of my reasoning behind this whole site, people thinking for themselves.

25 Apr

Riders on the Storm – NYTimes.com

But the core finding is that most Internet users do not stay within their communities. Most people spend a lot of time on a few giant sites with politically integrated audiences, like Yahoo News.

via Riders on the Storm – NYTimes.com. Interesting one study finds that the idea of people avoiding web sites that differ from their own point of view isn’t so true. However this is hard to rationalize with my thoughts of most people that I know. It’s far more likely the ideologues only visit a few sites and most everyone else floats from site to site as the study suggests.

02 Mar

ChatRoulette, from my perspective – apophenia

I realize that many parents think that they’re doing good by their kids when they choose to limit their exposure to the randomness of the world, but it just makes me deeply deeply sad. And so I simultaneously am amused by ChatRoulette and depressed because I realize that so many folks would prefer to keep themselves and their teens/college-aged-kids sheltered rather than giving them a way of thinking about systems like this and teaching them to walk away when things get weird. And this deserves a Le Sigh Royale.

via apophenia » Blog Archive » ChatRoulette, from my perspective. I love reading danah boyd’s thoughts for gems like this, and I throughly enjoy the idea of bringing the weird back into the internet.