Don’t worry, this won’t be as dramatic a change as last time. The design will still be the same, except I’m building it on another template framework, and I’m separating the reviews from the full articles. I write reviews far more often than I write articles, and they were crowding out the stuff I actually spend time and brainpower on.
Well, my work here is done. I’ve read and reviewed every single #1 issue in DC’s New 52 relaunch. It took me a lot longer than I anticipated, and it was much more difficult than I thought it would be, but here we are.
When DC announced that they were effectively “rebooting” their entire comics lineup, I admit I was a little disappointed. I finally started getting familiar with the DC universe’s considerable backstory, and now they were going to toss much of it away? Argh.
But I can see why they do it, and if they can do it well, I’m more than happy to play along. Having a major jumping-on point can be quite useful to a lot of people, especially me.
Anyway, I decided to check out every single new Issue #1 that DC is publishing – all 52 of them – and offer my thoughts on each one. Many of these characters are unfamiliar to me, or they’ve changed, or whatever. But some I’m very familiar with (hello, Batman) and I could be pretty irritated if they change too much. Let’s take a look.
I’m sure this one won’t be controversial at all.
We’re reading The Last Day of a Condemned Man, by Victor Hugo, for my monthly book club. It’s the journal of a man in 1820s France who has been sentenced to execution. Needless to say, we will be talking at great length about capital punishment at our next book club meeting, because this book is very much against it. I suggested that everyone in the club write down what their current opinions on capital punishment are, to see if/how they change after reading the book. I’ll probably be the only one to actually do that.
I know this is a rather volatile topic, so only read on if you’re open to considering opinions that may be different from your own. And that’s really all this is – opinion – and I’ll try to avoid using any biased information. As always, if you disagree, please let me know – nicely.
I was up in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Minnesota’s Iron Range last weekend, on a yearly camping trip with several friends: Ty, Garret, Kevin, Maggie, Val, Dan, and and Dan’s almost-one-year-old daughter Sammy. Kev and Mags noticed the local newspaper at a gas station, and had to buy one when they saw the front page. Above stories about and a mountain bike festival and an especially friendly grouse, the main headline was about the annual Woodtick Race, which has been going for 32 years as a fundraiser for the local fire department.
Well, we had to go.
Minnesota is currently debating how to redraw our state district borders, as we do every 10 years, with new census data to guide us. Creating fair, impartial boundaries seems impossible, because it’s always tempting for the party in power to gerrymander everything to give themselves more power. I’ve long been critical of the shape of our 6th district, home of state shame Michele Bachmann. It conveniently bends around liberally-leaning downtown areas and grabs many of the richer, fiscally-conservative parts of the state and merges them with rural, socially-conservative parts of the state.
But how the hell do you draw fair, unbiased district boundaries? On the one hand, people don’t want their communities split down the middle. On the other, it’s really easy to lump certain communities together to create districts that are easy for one party or the other to control.
Here’s one way that’s pretty interesting: math.
While I’m on hiatus from WoW, I thought I’d try Champions Online. It seemed like it could be cool. I’ve been on a big comic book kick lately (I’ve been reading Hellboy, Irredeemable, Flash, Scalped, and other great books) and the thought of creating my own superhero and engaging in superheroics sounded fun. And best of all, it’s free…sorta.
At first, I felt like creating a big dumb oaf good for smashing things, like The Hulk or The Tick. I gradually worked my way through the extremely elaborate character creator (man I wish WoW had more character options) and came up with this dude, whom I named “Adam Smasher”. Puns are an important part of superheroics.
If you’re anything like me, you’re racked with anxiety, fear, frustration and rage over the state of modern US politics. News story after soul-crushing news story, I feel like I’m being mentally beaten with hammers, and I want to just shut it all out and pretend that everything is ok. I used to look down on the people who were oblivious to the goings-on of the world; now I envy them.
We seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle between a party of high-order incompetents (the Democrats) and a party of angry, hateful zealots (the Republicans). Both are only interested in power. Both are firmly entrenched. Both are crooked to the bone. Neither represents what America needs or even wants.
I ask myself, how can we fix our political system? I come up with some answers I think are pretty good: term limits; public funding of elections; more oversight and transparency. Simple solutions like these could go a long way toward fixing what’s wrong with America. There’s just one problem: none of it will ever happen. Not in any meaningful way.
Usually when someone is arguing that psychics aren’t real, they talk about cold reading, self-delusion, and the willingness to believe. In other words, they explain how a psychic is doing what they’re doing.
I’m going to try a different take. I’m going to try to show that what psychics claim to be doing is impossible, by using evolution as our guide.
I’ve been itching to try Star Trek Online for a while now. When it was still in development, I tried to get into the beta, but had no luck. Then I tried to find a demo or trial to play, but at first they didn’t offer one. And that’s a big mistake that most other online games make; if I can’t try a game, I’m not going to buy it. I’m not going to spend my money on a game I’ve never played, unless it comes from Blizzard.
Fortunately, there’s now a demo for STO, so I eagerly loaded it up (through Steam) and tried it out.
I just imported some of my blog posts from my old blog, “Bevans Rants”. It was mostly just a bunch of opinions I thought were clever at the time, graphic design projects I thought were good at the time, and observations I thought were insightful at the time. In other words, not much different from Dubiosity.
If you haven’t heard already, there’s currently a volcano acting up in Iceland. It’s called Eyafallajökull, which is almost entirely unpronounceable by American tongues.
Apparently, (according to that unending font of human knowledge, Wikipedia) Eyafallajökull has erupted 3 times in all of recorded history. And each time, its eruption has been a mere precursor to the eruption of another nearby volcano, the much more active Katla. Eyafallajökull has already caused a lot of disruption, especially in European air travel, and I can just imagine what kind of chaos Katla might cause.
Eyafallajökull has also provided us with an incredible show over the past few days. It’s not just ash and lava, as if that weren’t cool enough already. As you can see at the link below, it’s also causing an incredible lightning display. This is the raw power of nature, on display for all to see.
These images come from another site, which is currently down due to excess traffic. I don’t know if the person who runs this site is associated with the other site, or if they just took the images and reposted them. Once I find out for sure, I’ll update this link accordingly.
For a few years now, 3D has been making a slow comeback. In the past, it’s been little more than a gimmick, and was hindered by issues such as poor image quality and clunky glasses for the audience to wear. But with Avatar, 3D proved itself to Hollywood as a great way to make money. But has 3D finally moved into the mainstream, or is it still too soon?
I’m not going to apologize for all the time that passes between posts anymore. I write when I have the time, when I have something to write about, and when I feel like writing. Just subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t have to keep coming back. I do have plans for making this blog a little more active, but it’s a still too early to say when that’ll happen.
Have you heard about this movie called Avatar? Have you? Really? It’s a science fiction thing with blue people and…oh, you have heard of it. What a surprise.
I’d like to give a quick mini-review of the movie, and then talk about something that’s perhaps much more interesting: the 3D tech behind the movie, and where that’s going.
UPDATE (Mar. 3, 2010): If anyone’s still hanging on the edge of their seat for this one, it’s been more or less resolved. I told the person who was threatening me that I wasn’t going to back down, and they’ve so far left me alone. That was back in November, of course. They had no legal standing on this.
UPDATE (Nov. 16 2009): Currently, the caller from this interview is threatening me with legal action. I’ve modified the post with a few more “seems to be”s to cover my ass. I think I’m fully within my rights to say what I’ve said here, but since I was called by the caller’s lawyer, I’m not taking any chances.
I just got done listening to a recent segment on NPR’s Science Friday (hosted by Ira Flatow) where they discussed the anti-vaccination movement, and even after 20 minutes, I’m still quivering with rage and frustration.