Is technology killing movies?

If it were up to me, every movie would be set in an era without mobile phones and Google, every movie would put the hero in a situation where he could not call in an air strike via his BlackBerry but would actually have to slit the terrorists' throats and strangle their frothing dogs with his bare hands.

Sydney Morning Herald

I think this fellow makes a good point. The practical aspects of life are so much more straight forward for people these days, and that doesn't make for good stories. Or perhaps it just makes for very different stories we haven't worked out how to tell yet.

Ngapartji Ngapartji

We saw Ngapartji Ngapartji last night. It was a beautiful story that took me a bit by surprise. The actors were conscious of the problem with a bunch of black guys coming and putting on a play for a bunch of rich white guys. It wasn't a white play done by black people. Although perhaps it isn't my place to decide that. Either way it was brilliant.

Optiplex GX620

My new computer came today. It is well sweet. 3GB RAM and 160GB SATA disk. DVD burner. And only $320. A nice surprise was that it's a dual-core Pentium. I had expected that I'd have to scrape by on a single core. I now just have to think of something neat to do with all those cores. Perhaps I'll get one to do nothing but calculate prime numbers while merrily playing some high-intensity (but high FPS) Tetris on the other.

I Am Legend

It started out really well. Everything about it was quality. There were lots of interesting scenes. Will Smith was great. The dog was great. The visuals were great. The empty New York city was very cool.

Then it went down hill. The vampire zombies were cheap and corny. Dodgy CGI and lame head-stretching CGI screams. It's like all the CGI horror movie modellers have read the same B-Grade Horror Movie CGI Techniques for Dummies book.

After that I felt like it totally lost it. The last half was hopeless. It didn't make much sense. The dialogue deteriorated. The main character became way less good and interesting. As with most Hollywood movies they seem to invest a lot of effort building characters and plot, just to fritter all the hard work away at the end with some traditional anti-climactic ending.

I think it's reaffirmed my belief that there isn't enough time in one film to do good action and good character development (unless you're very good or make a long film). I think when Hollywood makes action films it tries to compromise by sticking in character development as well. The outcome is mostly a wash out.

Birth and Mortality

The PSID is poised to become the only data ever collected on life course and multigenerational health in a long-term panel representative of the full U.S. population.

I'm reading about a number of long-term panel studies at the moment. The longest of them is the Panel Study of Income Dynamics in the US. It started in 1968 and has been running ever since. So it's pretty long.

There's a bit of excitement surrounding the PSID at the moment because some of the people who were born into the study are starting to die. So all these researchers are jumping up and down with glee because they've capture the whole life-cycle. I mostly love their use of the term "poised" to describe the imminent death of some of their longest participants.

PSID records deaths (over 4,000 since 1968) for all panel members

Over 4000! Hurrah.

RAMSI

I want to make it clear, we will be in for the long haul when it comes to RAMSI. The ordinary people in the Solomon Islands want Australia there. They appreciate the help and they’ll be there irrespective of who is in power in that country.

John Howard in response to requests from the Solomon Island prime minister to withdraw Australian troops