Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Airport Security Man Is Wrong

Not the most shocking of headlines but this article shows why giving the sort of person who wants to be a security guard too much power can be a bad thing.

Via Making Light.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The News Is Wrong

Crunks 2009: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections has many eyebrow raising entries and at least one pixellated penis to boot.

My favourite might well be:

Daily Mirror (U.K.):

ON 17 July 2008 in our front page article “Ron the Lash” we falsely reported that whilst recovering from an operation to his ankle Cristiano Ronaldo had “gone on a bender” at a Hollywood nightclub where he splashed out pounds 10,000 on champagne and vodka and threw his crutches to the ground and tried to dance on his uninjured foot. We now accept that Cristiano did not “go on a bender”, did not drink any alcohol that evening, did not spend pounds 10,000 on alcohol, nor throw his crutches to the floor or try to dance.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Nominative Determinism Near Miss

According to this article, the head of sales at American Airlines is Chuck Imhof. Surely he should be head of security.

More on Nominative Determinism.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Banks Are Wrong

According to Barclays boss Bob Diamond, if we tax the bankers they may very well piss off elsewhere (quite where, seeing as bankers aren't that welcome anyplace else, isn't hinted at, maybe they'll all go and stay at Phil Collins' place in Switzerland).

So, we either claw back some of the money we threw at the banks to keep the economy afloat or we lose a bunch (wunch?) of craven, venal incompetents. Smells like victory to me!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

John Adams Is Wrong

So, I finally go around to watching the acclaimed HBO mini-series John Adams (also Recount and Generation Kill, that's some strange distorted look at the USA right there) and it turns out it's all lies.
But the handling of the renewed Adams-Jefferson correspondence, the defining act of both men’s retirement and probably the greatest epistolary exchange in American history, is far worse. Here is what the series shows: Abigail Adams dies in 1818; John’s old friend Benjamin Rush urges that he write to Jefferson about his loss, hoping the two elder statesmen can provide each other with comfort in their final years; Adams does so; Jefferson’s first reply is dated to 1819; the correspondence flowers, friendship is renewed. This sequence is wholly invented, and simply appalling. Rush was indeed instrumental in renewing contact between Adams and Jefferson, but he was definitely not available to counsel Adams after Abigail’s death in 1818: Rush himself had died five years earlier. Rush had, in reality, worked carefully to bring the two former presidents back into harmony, but his efforts had culminated in 1812 – it was then that the Adams-Jefferson correspondence actually resumed, and Abigail herself was personally involved in the exchange for its first six years.


And, again, hmmmmm.

Fairly recently, while visiting England, I caught a program called "The Long Walk to Finchley", sort of Thatcher - The Early Years, which was all manners of wrong from the ground up given that the remit was, seemingly, to make That Woman sympathetic (and have Ted Heath lusting after her). Highlighting the many ways in which TV drama looking back only 50 years can fudge things (and outright fabricate others) in the name of the story.

But we should know this, part of Doctor Who's remit has always been to tell "historical" stories, but no right thinking person would believe that these were a true history. Kids, I think, intuitively grasp this. Adults, it seems, are fooled by it having HBO on the front and the date popping on screen every so often. Just as wikipedia is OK so long as it is only the starting point of your research, TV Dramas can give you the broad strokes of a man's life. Necessarily drama reduces people to certain aspects of their character and only a limted number of viewpoints. Citizen Kane shows how people change when viewed through the lens of other people and Welles himself has been many things to many biographers.

Going back to John Adams, there were many points where it was obvious some sort of ellision was taking place -- the wordier the conversation, I'd guess, the more likely it was an exchange of letters. There was also the oddness of the Adams' front porch abutting a road that only ever seemed filled historically important traffic. You can come up for dramatic reasons why that might be (good or not).

That said, I do feel a little more knowledgable about the American Revolution now, but I will still base my actual knowledge on something more concrete than a TV show. Specifically, my three playthroughs of Day of the Tentacle and endless games of various iterations of Colonization.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I've Missed So Much

When I get more in to the rhythm of my new set-up and posting from home a little more often then, hopefully, I'll be able to bring you fresh, hot links but as it is some of the following might be a little stale (if you read the same blogs I do):

Now Still Playing...

Actually, I've finished my first playthrough on Dragon Age: Origins. I thoroughly enjoyed and I'm going to work my way through the Origon stories one-by-one some time soon (and maybe write a more fleshed out review) if I don't get too distracted by something new and shiny (Call of Duty Classic looks interesting as does Assassin's Creed II).