Print Story When you walk through the valley
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 06:29:22 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Watching: "10,000 BC". Reading: "Digital Photography Masterclass". iPad. Links.


What I'm Watching
Saw 10,000BC on DVD as my dumb-bell movie. Roland Emmerich movie, following the white-saviour plot currently popular in Avatar. Reasonably entertaining, though the dialogue is staggeringly stilted. Not sure why in 10,000 BC everyone had to say "it is" rather than "it's". Are they supposed to be speaking a primitive English from before contractions had been invented?

I think in terms of movie plausibility there's a kind of Unlikely Valley. If a movie is generally plausible, you obviously don't find it implausible. But if a film is completely implausible, it also doesn't feel objectionable, because you're not expecting it to be accurate. It's only films in the Unlikely Valley, where they try to be realistic but fail, that give you a problem suspending your disbelief.

10,000 BC is well outside the Unlikely Valley.

What I'm Reading
Grabbed Digital Photography Masterclass by Tom Ang from the library Not sure it's quite a masterclass, but not for total beginners: he expects you to know the basics about exposures and apertures and so on. (Was quite surprised to find some people only slightly younger than me not knowing what a camera aperture was).

Seems like a pretty good book. Full of helpful advice, both on a practical and an aesthetic level. It's full of glossy pictures, but they're not there to just look impressive on a coffee table, there are lots of layouts showing how various changes affect a scene, and step-by-step guides to image manipulation.

I found the structure a little awkward for me. There's not much long continuous text, rarely more than a few paragraphs, and there are lots of sidebars and digressions. Lots of people find that PowerPoint style much easier though.

Well worth a look through.

iPad
So, opinions seem mixed as you'd expect.

There seems to be a degree of agreement though, that the iPad doesn't fill any existing niche (smartphone, e-book reader, netbook, laptop, desktop) better than its current occupant.

So to the pessimists that makes it a failure. But the optimists think that it's going to create a brand new niche.

I don't think I'd have much use for it myself. I can see there might be groups that find it handy: students, people who can't type (we often forget about how many of them there are). I know that I tend to think of "portable" as "something I can stick in a pocket", whereas to a lot of people it means "something I can fit in my car".

So, I'm undecided, but leaning negative. Tabloids look cool, but they've been pushed pretty hard before without getting anywhere.

Web
Socioeconomics Tesco bans pajamas as daywear. We're all conservatives now. The Americanization of Mental Illness. Common misconceptions of sociology. Life as a social worker. China devaluation won't help West. Zero-rupee note fights corruption. Don't write off Japan. Happiness research suggests obesity worse than widowhood. So if you're fat because of your wife's great cooking, the rational course is to murder her?

Random. Unhappy hipsters. Weight Loss Cutlery. Simon Swears. Passive-agressive wifi names.

Politics. US. Dear Conservative Movement: Stop Ruining My Life. Fat Activists unhappy with Whole Foods low-BMI employee bonus.

Video. Future dating.

Science. Human brain encodes spatial information in the form of of a hexagonal grid. Garry Kasparov article on chess, computers and humanity.

Pics. Money origami.

< Work anxiety | I AM THE SMARTEST MAN ALIVE! >
When you walk through the valley | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
the white-saviour plot currently popular by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 08:57:54 AM EST
That plot's been popular for years. "Lawrence of Arabia" being one example.

The only people who know about 'aperture' are the ones who've used SLR's. I know people much older than I who've never known about it. Or about shutter speed or ISO numbers.



Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Bought book,wonder why people dont buy Amazon only by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 09:36:57 AM EST
I checked the book in a price compirison website. As almost always Amazon was the cheapest, 11.99.

Then I went down the road to my local WH Smith and they happen, surprisingly, to be carrying the book, the price was "reduced" from 19.99 to 17.99 (or thereabouts).

No wonder WH Smith and other brick and mortar retailers are feeling the squeeze, I can't believe that the marginal convenience of picking a book right now costs £6.00.

Strangely enough the book costs around 12.00 in WH Smith's website ...

When I buy books from Amazon . . . by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:32:23 PM EST
. . . they tend to come from bricks and mortar stores that are Amazon affiliates and usually undercut Amazon's price. Usually the cost at the affiliates + shipping are less expensive than Amazon + free shipping.

But I don't buy many best sellers. My two most recent purchases where Alan Rosen's Kant's Political Philosophy and Procus' On the Existence of Evils.


Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
iPad by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:10:02 AM EST
It's not really that new, is it? There have been plenty of tablet PCs released.

I think the major failing is the screen, any prolonged reading needs the sort of screen e-readers have. This + what the iPad does would be a winner.

--------
It's political correctness gone mad!

I know it's a joke, but... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:45:03 AM EST
For a lot of people, cooking at home (and being good at it) is the road to weight loss not weight gain due to home cooking being generally much healthier than prepackaged or restaurant meals.

Also, when comparing fat and happiness, I think they may be running into the whole "correlation and causation" thing.  A valid alternate hypothesis is that people overeat when they get depressed.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Correlation and causation by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 02:35:50 PM EST
It does say: "These findings control for obvious influences upon happiness such as age and income, and also attempt to control for reverse causality - the possibility that people eat because they are unhappy. "

Of course, they may have messed up the statistics.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Not only that, but consider the question as stated by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:23:37 PM EST
``So if you're fat because of your wife's great cooking, the rational course is to murder her?''

Presumably one might first try not being such a pig and eating so much of your wife's great cooking.

Unless, of course, one accepts the premise that murder is eminently more rational that adopting a measure of self control.


Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Contractions by Herring (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:56:50 PM EST
I don't know if it means anything, but your observation is that historical fiction has few apostrophes. I have observed that science fiction has many apostrophes. I'm not sure what this means though.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

ipad by garlic (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 05:28:46 PM EST
it may not be a better ebook reader or better netbook, but combining the two is the most interesting aspect I think. One of the big problems I have with ereaders is their single purpose.


That is a fun rant by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 06:13:21 PM EST
If the choice is between listening to the wisdom of Kirk Cameron and singing Jars of Clay songs and pledging our virginity versus going to college, reading Kant and fornicating? I can tell you, categorically, we’ll be going at it like heathens and Democrats.

Heh.


Kindness is an act of rebellion.
WIPO: good, could be better, possibly illegal by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:58:49 PM EST
A person with a chronic condition which causes obesity might have a good case on the grounds that the practice is discriminatory unless Whole Foods can show a strong correlation between where employees fall on the BMI charts and job performance.

Body fat percentage would also make a better foundation. I'm not one of those folks that think BMI is straight from the pit of hell. I think BMI is useful as a general metric with regards to the average person. But I'm not certain that it is such a great metric that I would base a health bonus on it if I what I wanted was a standard by which to measure the general health (with regards to obesity) in my employees.

Aside from people outside the norm (athletes, the very tall, the very short) for whom BMI is problematic, there are quite a few couch potatoes that have normal BMI that would fall into the class of `overweight' if you measured their body fat.


Kindness is an act of rebellion.
On the Whole Foods link by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 07:10:09 PM EST
I finally got around to visiting it, and then visiting the link that the link linked to.

`Bonus' is a bit misleading. The perk tied to BMI is an employee discount on Whole Foods merchandise. The better the BMI, the better the discount. I don't know that I'd consider that a bonus.

But a comment of the link that the link led to pointed out what is probably the driving motivation. If more employees have `good' BMI measurements, the employee work force in general will appeal healthier to shoppers whether or not they are. It's an incentive to look healthy, not an incentive to be healthy.


Kindness is an act of rebellion.
When you walk through the valley | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)