Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Stuff I learned the hard way
1. Know how to fly your spaceship and have a plan for emergencies.
2. When you crash land on an unknown world, do not immediately go outside without protective gear.
3. Keep a low profile. Try to avoid smashing through walls or blocks of ice and uttering unearthly howls.
4. If possible, try to restart your ship before going on a rampage.
5. When attacking your prey, resist the urge to flail your tentacles randomly. While tentacle-waving is fun and good exercise, it leaves you vulnerable to sudden flamethrower attack.
6. Although everyone enjoys admiring destruction they've caused, it's best to destroy any evidence that you were ever there before moving on.
7. Don't assimilate intelligent life unless it's in a large group. Remember, the smaller the group, the more likely you are to be found.
8. If you're hiding in a small group of intelligent creatures, and one or more of them see you or your offspring, move on. They're not going to forget about you, even if you wait a couple of hours.
Follow these 8 rules, and you'll be on your way to galactic conquest in no time.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Faith-healing is bad on many levels. Not only is it a waste of money but it often ends up killing
people who might have lived if they had gone to hospital instead of a church. Fortunately, faith-healing is a fringe movement and that mitigates the harm it causes.
There is another set of false beliefs that is far more destructive and widespread. I call it Faith-based Economics.
Like faith-healers, the followers of Faith-based Economics don't care about evidence or results and don't take kindly to criticism of their beliefs. They just know that the minimum wage helps the poor, that the govt can stimulate the economy, and that the rich should be taxed more. What facts support these conclusions?
I'm sure there others annoyed by the stubborn ignorance of these people, so I've put together a few stumper questions for them. Enjoy:
1) If the minimum wage is good, why not make it $100/hr?
2) Is there any evidence beside the CBO report (which is based on a mathematical model, not data) that the stimulus worked?
3) If WW2 ended the Great Depression, why did the economy only begin to recover after the war when govt spending was cut?
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Here, dear readers, is a sample of the most egregious plot holes in the latest Transformers movie:
1) Why didn't Megatron immediately go to the moon in the first movie to gather the Decepticon reinforcements? Did he get amnesia when he crash landed on Earth?
2) How is it possible the Autobots didn't know Sentinel Prime was on the moon? In the first movie, they made a big deal about having to hide Megatron under the Hoover dam to diguise his homing signal.
3) Optimus uses the Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel, but Jazz stays dead? Christ, Jazz never gets a break. Optimus is a military genius but he can't be bothered to spend a couple of seconds to revive one of his warriors when faced by an opponent with a larger army?
4) The Transformers have technology which is advanced enough to teleport an entire planet across lightyears of space, but they can't fix it?
5) Sam gets stuck with a wristwatch which directly transmits what he sees and hears to the Decepticons, but someone manages to sneak into Chicago undetected and repeatedly elude them?
6) This isn't a plot hole, but it merits comment. At one point, Sam gets latched onto a Decepticon with the grappling hook thing and gets flung around like a yoyo for 5 minutes. How the hell did his arm not get ripped off? Or at the very least severely dislocated?
Some more general plot holes in the saga:
1) Transformers are very resilient. However heavily damaged they are, there's also always some magic device lying around capable of reviving them. The Autobots must know this, so why didn't they tell the humans in the first movie to melt the Decepticons down in a steel mill à la Terminator? Pay attention Bay, this is the sort of thing smarter directors think about.
2) Why was the Cube just flying around in space? How could such an essential piece of technology be lost so carelessly? I realize the story needs a reason for them to come to Earth, but c'mon.
3) Why do they need to fix Cybertron? They seemed to do OK on Earth. Would you rebuild a destroyed home if you could easily move into an empty one across the street? How is it possible they were stupid enough to wreck their planet so badly?
Here's how I think it should have unfolded:
1) Decepticons conquer Cybertron; Autobots flee to Earth to hide.
2) Decepticons pursue and adopt disguises. This sets up a kind of suspense as both sides have to try to remain inconspicuous as they hunt/flee from each other.
3) After a skirmish exposes them, the Autobots make an alliance with the humans to defeat them.
4) Good guys win, bad guys lose, and there's still room for a sequel. The trilogy should have climaxed with the Autobots returning to Cybertron and defeating the Decepticons once and for all.
The mistake in these movies is an over-emphasis on the human characters. Newsflash Bay, I went to Transformers to see goddamn Transformers! You need human characters, sure, but they're not the focus of the story.
I liked the first movie despite its flaws, but it's a shame to see the same mistakes repeated and magnified in the other two movies.