Make that movie a little better… imagine everyone is dead

Monday, 24 November, 2014

The revelation, usually late in a movie or TV show, that a certain key character had in fact been dead for sometime, can add some intrigue to the story. Alternatively, the concept could be applied to less than scintillating productions, on the off chance they make proceedings a little more interesting…

Where did the Everyone’s Already Dead theory get its start? Perhaps we can blame it on a generation of kids who grew up reading “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” the short story by Ambrose Bierce, or seeing that French short-film adaptation that aired in the U.S. as an episode of The Twilight Zone. Or maybe we all still remember the gotcha! endings of Newhart, Roseanne, Jacob’s Ladder, and St. Elsewhere – so we’re always on the lookout for dream reveals, smash cuts to death beds, and/or magic snow globes.

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Reports of the death of private investigators are greatly exaggerated

Monday, 24 November, 2014

The private investigator, another victim of digitisation, social media, and search engines? Maybe.

But then whose going to sit in a car waiting maybe six hours for the object of an investigation to maybe walk out the door of some building, when the need does arise? We, the digital generation, who wait no more than five seconds, for anyone or anything?

For a while now, such characters, if not totally extinct, have been on a steady life-support drip of nostalgia. In an age when GPS tracking, oversharing and 8 Signs Your Man Is Cheating listicles make their services unnecessary, the old-school gumshoe feels as irrelevant as Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple felt a generation before. All P.I. stories are now period pieces.

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Steep, rugged, canyons… the grooves of a vinyl record that is

Friday, 21 November, 2014

Record player stylus, vinyl record

In the olden days people used to listen to music by way of circular vinyl discs, that were usually black in colour, on a device called a record player. You could not, by the way, carry this sort of music player about in your pocket.

This ultra close up photo of a record player’s stylus plowing its way through the grooves of a record disc is fascinating, what an amazing technology…

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Photos from the surface of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet

Friday, 21 November, 2014

Landing a probe, or a craft with a human crew, on another planet or moon, is hard enough, so imagine the know-how required to set down on a comet. Still, that’s what the European Space Agency succeeded in doing last week, when its Rosetta mission landed a probe on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Needless to say, the photos collected by the probes concerned, during the approach to the comet, and then the landing, are spectacular. To say the least.

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Has a book, or a number of books, ever changed your mind?

Friday, 21 November, 2014

I can’t say I can think of a book that changed my mind, or the way I thought, some movies for sure, but then it’s possible they were based on a book. Obviously though certain books have had an impact on some people, and a dozen academics speak about the titles that brought about changes in their perspectives:

Reading The Second Shift (1989), by Arlie Russell Hochschild, was a revelation. When I graduated from college, I had refined the tools of academic success, but I didn’t know where to aim them. It wasn’t until I read The Second Shift that I understood what nonfiction could do: reveal ourselves to ourselves, without pity or condescension, and with great stores of empathy. I do what I do today – write about the triumphs and struggles of everyday people, of how we pinch and squeeze and fit ourselves into the boxes created by broad social and economic trends – because of that book’s example.

These are the thoughts of Allison Pugh an associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. I agree that non-fiction can force us to confront ourselves, but I also think that fiction can be as equally persuasive.

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Do you really want to live on Mars? Then read this first…

Friday, 21 November, 2014

If you’re a regular visitor here, then the Mars One project will require no introduction. In short, the idea is to send people to Mars, on a way ticket, to establish a human colony there.

Make no mistake, living on, or more to the point, under Mars, as conditions on the surface are far from hospitable, won’t be easy though. In fact anyone considering signing up ought to have a read of this blunt assessment of the prospect

“They’re going to be living like moles,” Willson says. “I don’t think that the people who volunteered really appreciate that they’re going to spend the rest of their lives living in a submarine.” The first colonists would likely spend most of their time repairing the equipment that is keeping them alive. “Replacing parts and replacing a toothbrush, having toilet paper – there are some things that modern society expects and does and there would be significant degrading of your lifestyle on Mars,” says Willson.

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Presenting the work of John Bisbee, nail sculptor

Thursday, 20 November, 2014

Nail sculpture by John Bisbee

John Bisbee isn’t a builder, yet he still works with nails… he is a nail sculptor.

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Introverts, the life of the party, no really

Thursday, 20 November, 2014

Introverts are not hermits, or snobs.

Their minds however are churning out thoughts and ideas at an alarming rate sometimes, distractions that can make focusing on a room full of people rather difficult. But not all the time. I’m not sure though that I’d kill to have a great time at a party however

Sorry I murdered everyone at your party, but as an introvert, I prefer one-on-one interactions to group gatherings.

This, you realise, is humour of course.

Some famous introverts include Albert Einstein, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, and all of your friends are dead.

We should also add Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Warren Buffett, Nicole Kidman, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, to that list.

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You can huff, you can puff, but you won’t blow down the pillow fort

Thursday, 20 November, 2014

There are pillow forts, and there are pillow forts. When it comes to building the best such structures, you couldn’t go wrong by consulting an architect

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Misconceptions so common you could fill a chart with them

Thursday, 20 November, 2014

Goldfish have three second memory spans.
Albert Einstein failed mathematics.
Bulls hate red.
Waking a sleep-walker is dangerous.
Chewing gum takes seven years to digest if swallowed.

True or false?

False.

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