July 31, 2010

Let Me In; John Ajvide Lindqvist

We saw the film when it came through maybe a year or so ago (?) and I then recommended it to a co-worker. He almost immediately went out and purchased the book and recommended that to me. Both are strong works in their own way and, though abbreviated, the movie stayed very true to the book. The American version is rewriting many major aspects of the story.

Continue reading "Let Me In; John Ajvide Lindqvist"
posted by sstrader at 2:49 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

July 26, 2010

Wikileaks and The War Logs

[ updated the next day ]

Interesting events triggered by Wikileaks release of the US military logs of the war in Afghanistan:

  • Wikileaks' Afghanistan War Log vs. the Pentagon Papers from The Washington Post - I had hoped for insight but this "comparison" was a waste of bits. His points: (1) TPPs revealed that Johnson was planning to expand the war as he publicly stated the opposite, whereas Obama has made no such contradiction. The similarities are in kind, not specificity. The government in both instances was hiding/distorting facts that would weaken public support of a war. (2) TPPs questioned the government's credibility but TWLs does not... except where it does with civilian casualty numbers. The casualty discrepancy is dismissed as simply already well known, and therefore not relevant. This is, obviously, absurd. Common knowledge is useless until proof exists.
  • The War Logs entry at Wikipedia - Very active. One anonymous user keeps attempting to delete the link to Wikileaks based on national security. This reminds me of the attempt to delete an NSFW photoshop of Emma Watson from the internet. That campaign was as successful as the one against Wikileaks will be.
  • Comment from Reddit thread by Harry_Searward - Pointing out that everyone went apeshit about soldiers' safety when the Abu Ghraib pics were released. He concludes, sadly, that This will very soon be all about leaking, and whistleblowers, and danger to our troops ... What it won't be about is the actual substance of those reports.
  • A tweet from Mark Pesce - Wikileaks should be invisible. Stuff should just appear. No one should have any idea where it comes from.
  • New media WikiLeaks uses traditional media for its 'Afghan War Diary' from Marketplace - Limited release gets people to pay attention. Julian Assange says he's found only one carrot that gets journalists to dig through his piles of raw material: "You can have it first. ... When you release something to the world its scarcity goes from zero to infinity. There is not a good incentive for journalists to invest in pulling the material apart and writing up and placing it in context.
  • Not the Pentagon Papers from Slate - Asks the same question as the WaPo writer and with equally inept conclusions. The big spin is going to be again that The War Logs revealed (1) no government lies and (2) no revelations. Even with only a small fraction of the 90+k documents examined, these "conclusions" are simply wrong.
  • WikiLeaks and the War from The New Yorker - Points out what I and others have been: the depth and range of failures exposed by TWLs (some would call them "revelations"...) brings into question the reality of the government's confidence in the war. What does it mean to tell the truth about a war? Is it a lie, technically speaking, for the Administration to say that it has faith in Hamid Karzai's government and regards him as a legitimate leader--or is it just absurd?
posted by sstrader at 9:40 PM in Internet | tagged wikileaks | permalink | comments (0)

July 20, 2010

Recent restaurants

Visited several restaurants of note for the first time over the past couple of months:

  • WaterHaven a few months ago - Wanted to go ever since this changed from The Globe. The space is very nice and the menu was promising, but the food ended up a little bland. Need to give them another try.
  • Publik Draft House - Quick visit and we shared a tin of the best fries ever.
  • Bistro Niko in Buckhead the night before Lisa ran the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th. The entire experience was 5/5. Great food, great waiter, and great people-watching (although that may have been just because of the holiday weekend). Nice French bistro feel. Lisa wants to go back to sit on the patio and eat mussels and pommes frites.
  • Piola - Delicious pizza in a funky/casual space. This could be a regular haunt for us.
posted by sstrader at 7:31 AM in Where was I? | tagged jogging, restaurant | permalink | comments (0)

July 12, 2010

Barefoot!

On Saturday, I Marta-ed and walked to City Sports in Atlantic Station to purchase a pair of Vibram Bikila shoes:

vibram.city-sports

A year or so ago I'd read about the research done on running barefoot compared to using running shoes. Running shoes promote a gait that strikes with the heels and, though cushioned, transmits the force up to the knees. Running barefoot, or with minimal protection, your gait changes to land on the front of the foot, and the energy from impact is absorbed within the metatarsal bones. Since the introduction of running shoes in the 70s, the ratio of injuries has increase even though the shoes are intended to mitigate the chances.

I restarted jogging a couple of years ago after taking a break because of my herniated disc and foot drop. I've slowed down recently but plan on ramping back up with these neat new foot gloves. I wore them all of Saturday and, beyond the odd looks (especially from the club kids riding Marta on Saturday night), they were very comfortable. Good protection from rocks and such too.

As with the iPhone vs. no-iPhone question, I have entered another binary debate that's being played out in the market: minimal sole shoes vs. rocker bottom shoes. To be fair, I don't think anyone's suggesting that you run with those rocker shoes, but they do seem to fit into the principle of shoe-as-impact-protection.

[ updated 30 Jun 2012 ]

Found my Crescent City Classic number from a few months prior:

crescent-city-classic.9316

posted by sstrader at 12:37 PM in Culture & Society | tagged jogging, new orleans | permalink | comments (2)

July 8, 2010

Out of touch and (surprisingly) bitter

I knew that Stephen Fry was a techie and while spelunking around I found what I thought would be his review of the iPad. He's passionate about tech but sensible, and those are good qualities for a New Gadget Review. Unfortunately what I got was a rant painting all Apple criticism as extremism while demurring that his intention is not to paint all Apple criticism as extremism. Very I'd-like-the-jury-to-disregard-that-last-statement type of meanderings. I hadn't expected that from him, but a co-worker pointed out that I probably just hadn't been paying attention very well.

What struck me as most irritating, however, was the opening of his last paragraph:

I don't know about you, but my eyes are already trained only to read the top half of a web page these days. Rather as a Victorian would not look below the waist, I do not let my eyes have even a second's contact with the revolting Have Your Say or Comments section of a BBC site, a YouTube page or any blog or tech forum. The lower half of web pages is very like the lower half of the body -- full of all kinds of noxious evil smelling poison.

Ragging on the cesspool that is YouTube comments is a cottage industry for the discerning internet satirist (YT comments are a clear argument against the potential synergy promised by Web 2.0), so I'm with him on that. But with so many other sites, the first point of valuable contact is the discussions that emerge from the primary content. At Slashdot, "TFA" has long been the non-pejorative moniker when referencing the article people are discussing. This came from he fact that people would often skip the article for the more juicy comments contained. Invariably, someone who hadn't actually read the article would make a baseless argument, and subsequently be told to RTFA. Here, comments and community discussion has become more valuable than the object of discussion. This is Stephen Fry's revolting content?

fry.no-comment.no-irony

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since it seems to be common knowledge to all except me that Fry is a bit of a fogey. But shutting down comments on a blog feels inexplicably corporate and ... old. And with comment voting the recently trend (certainly it's something that I have been working on) thanks to Reddit and Digg, such a choice of static web site over dynamic is simply backwards-thinking.

posted by sstrader at 9:18 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink | comments (0)

July 6, 2010

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Some random surfing prompted me to read about the acclaimed 1997 post-rock album F-sharp A-sharp Infinity from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The pressing and inserts (taken from Wikipedia) look fanciful:

Continue reading "Godspeed You! Black Emperor"
posted by sstrader at 7:21 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

July 5, 2010

Crater Face

Beautiful animated story by Skyler Page:

posted by sstrader at 2:32 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

July 2, 2010

Gone with the Pope

70s brilliance via SlashFilm, here's a restored flick called Gone with the Pope. Make sense of it how you will:

posted by sstrader at 7:46 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)