Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I - Wiki, whaty, hoochie?

Wikipedia: No longer the Wild West?

OK, so Wikipedia, the anyone, anywhere encyclopedia is adding a layer of oversight to (some) postings. Why does this make any kind of news? Anyone who has given it even a minute of thought knows that the ability of virtually anyone with an anonymous e-mail to change entries makes the site weaker, not stronger. This whole idea is long past due and shouldn't raise any eyebrows.

What does raise my eyebrows is the attempt to draw any sort of parallel between Wikipedia and YouTube. That's definitely a logical disconnect. The only things that make the two cases even remotely similar is that they are both on the web, and they both allow users to post content. It somehow seems to have escaped the attention of the writer that one purports to disseminate knowledge and facts while the other purports to show, well, videos. And a fine job of showing videos it does too! But really, who's using YouTube to determine what that rash on their leg is? Or where their elected officials stand on something? Or even assumes that anything they see on YouTube is remotely accurate?

Given all of this it is ludicrous to try to draw any comparisons between the two and how they moderate what is posted. The Wikimedia Foundation is doing what is necessary to help preserve the concept of Wikipedia. It's not about censorship, it's about the purpose of the site. When I look something up on Wikipedia it's nice to know that there is at least one small layer of accountability in place.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

W - Star Trek - The Future Begins

I saw the new Star Trek movie with my son the week it came out. Incidentally it seems to have no real subtitle, it is just “Star Trek”. That presents some difficulties in identification, so I’ll just append the tagline onto the title of this post and call it good. I haven’t reviewed the movie before this because I’m still not sure what I want to say about it. Overall it was a fun movie that I enjoyed a lot, especially the way it seemed to develop the backstory of the original characters. Unfortunately it also had some significant issues with the personalities of the players, which are sort of glossed over by the movie’s time-travel/parallel universe gimmick. And that is the fundamental problem with this movie - it isn’t really about the characters of the original strip - it is a completely different set of characters with the same names. So, while I enjoyed the action and would rate the movie as a “B” just on its own merits, I think I’ll give it a “C” for failing to actually fit into the niche in the Star Trek chronology it is purported to fill.

Worth seeing, but not so much if you are an original series geek (not that I am or anything...)

Check it out on

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

R - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Sherman Alexie
Art by Ellen Forney

I just finished reading this - it was lying around at my mother’s house and she said it was pretty good. The book is classified as “juvenile fiction”, but I, at least, found it pretty good reading even for a middle-aged guy. It is the fictional and humorous diary of Junior Spirit, who is growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation. After an incident at the start of his freshman year which begins with him discovering that his geometry book is the same one that his mother had used in school and ends with his teacher, with a newly broken nose, recommending that he leave the reservation school and go to Reardon High School (a distinctly *not* Indian school) Junior finds himself as the only Indian in school except for the mascot. Things do not go smoothly for him that first year, but he persists through personal struggles, tribal hostility and family tragedies to emerge at the end somewhat wiser and with a renewed hope.

It’s a fun book, but you really can’t read it without thinking about the challenges faced by many of the Indian kids who are stuck in sub-standard school on reservations where the only future they see is to become a drunk like all the rest of their family. One of the more profound statements in the book is this:
Reservations were meant to be prisons, you know? Indians were supposed to move onto reservations and die. We were supposed to disappear.
But somehow or another, Indians have forgotten that reservations were meant to be death camps.

Check it out. It sure beats re-reading “War and Peace”.

Find it on

Monday, August 3, 2009

L - Where Passengers Come From

Evidently, if you run short on passengers you just head over to the assembly area and build a few more.