Thursday, July 29, 2010
Toy Story, especially this new one, is a big metaphor about the Judeo-Christian's relationship with God.
The antagonist of this film, a big purple stuffed bear, repeatedly asserts that toys are just junk waiting to be thrown out. In the climactic scene, he betrays our heroes, asking, "where is your precious owner now?" and sending them hurtling towards fiery destruction (which is resolved with a Deus ex Machina that is actually a machine from the sky.) His back story is that his owner abandoned him, just as the characters from the Toy Story franchise have now been abandoned by Andy.
The story seems to be telling us that when bad things happen to good people, those people sometimes lose faith and become nihilists. The bear doesn't believe in that intangible, nonscientific quality that humans have in real life just as toys are imbued with in the world of Toy Story. The "I am what is" of the Old Testament is the same thing that allows Woody to flop around like that or the Potato Heads' disparate parts to move around autonomously.
This quality could also be called God, the only idea of God we can have and depend on to not, as it were, go away to college. Thus the bear's belief that "toys are junk" leads to his imprisonment of and attempts to doom our heroes to death by furnace-- imagery that isn't necessarily meant to reflect the Holocaust, but definitely evokes human atrocity in a way that is probably scarier for adults who know history than it would be even for kids who don't.
And it's fucking "Toy Story!"
Joseph Goebbels via Teddy Ruxpin.
*I want to add a disclaimer here, that this post isn't a joke, nor is it meant to be one of those "unnamed narrator and Tyler Durden are Calvin and Hobbes" memes, but anyone who's seen WALL-E should get why that's not really necessary...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, says Paul the Octopus, the sea creature that correctly predicted the outcome of World Cup games, is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world.
He claims that the octopus is a symbol of decadence and decay among "his enemies".
Paul, who lives at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, in Germany, won the hearts of the Spanish by predicting their World Cup victory.
He became an international star after predicting the outcome of all seven German World Cup matches accurately.
However, the Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading "western propaganda and superstition." Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.
"Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
By Andrew Hough
National power grids could overheat and air travel severely disrupted while electronic items, navigation devices and major satellites could stop working after the Sun reaches its maximum power in a few years.
Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes “from a deep slumber” sometime around 2013, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
In a new warning, Nasa said the super storm would hit like “a bolt of lightning” and could cause catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.
Scientists believe it could damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs.
Due to humans’ heavy reliance on electronic devices, which are sensitive to magnetic energy, the storm could leave a multi-billion pound damage bill and “potentially devastating” problems for governments.
“We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” Dr Richard Fisher, the director of Nasa's Heliophysics division, said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
“It will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic. It will cause major problems for the world.
“Large areas will be without electricity power and to repair that damage will be hard as that takes time.”
Dr Fisher added: “Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the earth that is rapid and like a lightning bolt. That is the solar affect.”
A “space weather” conference in Washington DC last week, attended by Nasa scientists, policy-makers, researchers and government officials, was told of similar warnings.
While scientists have previously told of the dangers of the storm, Dr Fisher’s comments are the most comprehensive warnings from Nasa to date.
Dr Fisher, 69, said the storm, which will cause the Sun to reach temperatures of more than 10,000 F (5500C), occurred only a few times over a person’s life.
Every 22 years the Sun’s magnetic energy cycle peaks while the number of sun spots – or flares – hits a maximum level every 11 years.
Dr Fisher, a Nasa scientist for 20 years, said these two events would combine in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation.
He said large swathes of the world could face being without power for several months, although he admitted that was unlikely.
A more likely scenario was that large areas, including northern Europe and Britain which have “fragile” power grids, would be without power and access to electronic devices for hours, possibly even days.
He said preparations were similar to those in a hurricane season, where authorities knew a problem was imminent but did not know how serious it would be.
“I think the issue is now that modern society is so dependant on electronics, mobile phones and satellites, much more so than the last time this occurred,” he said.
“There is a severe economic impact from this. We take it very seriously. The economic impact could be like a large, major hurricane or storm.”
The National Academy of Sciences warned two years ago that power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications could “all be knocked out by intense solar activity”.
It warned a powerful solar storm could cause “twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina”. That storm devastated New Orleans in 2005 and left an estimated damage bill of more than $125bn (£85bn).
Dr Fisher said precautions could be taken including creating back up systems for hospitals and power grids and allow development on satellite “safe modes”.
“If you know that a hazard is coming … and you have time enough to prepare and take precautions, then you can avoid trouble,” he added.
His division, a department of the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa headquarters in Washington DC, which investigates the Sun’s influence on the earth, uses dozens of satellites to study the threat.
The government has said it was aware of the threat and “contingency plans were in place” to cope with the fall out from such a storm.
These included allowing for certain transformers at the edge of the National Grid to be temporarily switched off and to improve voltage levels throughout the network.
The National Risk Register, established in 2008 to identify different dangers to Britain, also has “comprehensive” plans on how to handle a complete outage of electricity supplies.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
So this guy has a PhD., and uses it in exactly the way that he always thought he would, except the twist is his job also involves writing articles about, paradoxically, how no one should get a post-graduate degree. I've seen a lot of these armchair sociologists out there making roughly the same point lately, and I'm inclined to agree with some of their points-- that college is too expensive, that sometimes the wrong people get farther than they deserve for the wrong reasons, that it's pretty useless in finding a job. Farbeit from me to defend the institution. This article, however, unintentionally sheds light on some of the fallacies of the anti-academic argument that's so popular in academia nowadays.
1. The hysterical tone of the article, which goes from the "I'm your friend here, I'm just trying to help you out, those other guys, they're not your friends" approach ("It was a message many prospective graduate students were not getting from their professors, who were generally too eager to clone themselves") to flat-out insulting and manipulating the emotions of an audience he must know all too well ("No one is impressed by their knowledge of Jane Austen,") to the effect of glorifying himself and his peers to a hyperbolic degree: "They seem to think becoming a humanities professor is a reliable prospect — a more responsible and secure choice than, say, attempting to make it as a freelance writer, or an actor, or a professional athlete..." Obviously this kind of sensationalism could only come out of a desire for cash, not to be the reader's cool fucking professor friend.
2. The obvious holes in his logic-- "Even if the long-awaited wave of retirements finally arrives..." it's called the unceasing march of time, dog. Some professors are gonna retire in the future.
So maybe it was irrelevant for me to post all this about some article I found from last year, but my point is, don't let this kind of shit get you down.