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Everything posted by David

  1. 24 (2001)

    While I am enjoying the current season, there are some plausibility issues that can't be ignored. What I can ignore are the plot holes: for example, the guys in the detention center say "5 visitors" [ie, weapons] and are then later discovered to be innocently reading from a webpage. Yet the terrorists to whom they had no connection actually did have 5 nukes and CTU continues to treat the dodgy intelligence as factual even after the guys in the detention center were shown innocent. ... I can ignore all that. I'll raise an eyebrow if Jack crosses town in 5 minutes but will continue watching as happily as before. What you cannot change is human nature. After Morris had his shoulder drilled by terrorists, Chloe was indignantly asking him to stop feeling sorry for himself and get back to work. After a nuclear bomb has gone off it's like business-as-usual a few episodes later. And the acting has bothered me in some points. (This is the same reason I am bothered by Lost - the characters don't ask questions when they should, and generally do not behave as you'd expect. I can live with [some] bad plot points but not bad scripting/acting). 24 continues to remain in my top 3 shows. The above issues are only occasional.
  2. 24 (2001)

    The season's getting a bit silly. The script, acting and plot all have their bad/cheesy moments, although I continue to enjoy the show as a casual viewer. 24 has never held much stock in plausibility, but I was particularly bothered by Chloe urging Morris back to work so soon after his shoulder had been drilled by a terrorist. Every season of 24 is generally a new scenario, with a range of new characters, and some superficial links to previous seasons. This time, however, season 6 is an exact follow-on from 5. The Bauer Company and the Government's plan to detonate sentox nerve gas overseas (to make it look like terrorists possessed WMD's as a pretense for war) occurred in season 5; they killed Palmer because he 'found out', and the fifth season was a string of cover-ups. For season 6, I was hoping we'd either be back to Jack saving the world from terrorists targeting America, or even a military prison break-out based in China. However, what we've now learned is that those behind season 5 were found out and blackmailed into releasing the nukes - effectively making this season yet another cover-up of the sentox nerve gas plan. To the writers' credit, there have been some nice slower-paced episodes this season that aren't rushed, and deal with ideological issues. But putting those episodes in the hours that directly follow a nuclear detonation make the issues seem trivial. I'm still a big fan of the show, but disappointed in some parts. Nearly halfway into this season, what are your thoughts?
  3. Arrested Development (2003)

    Ooh! This is one of my favourite comedy shows! The humour requires you to pay close attention, and there's many jokes that you might not notice until your second or third viewing. Highly recommended!
  4. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

    I never saw the trailer, and didn't even know who was in it until I saw the movie. I bought my ticket based on a friend's recommendation. It was basically a giant cliche (dysfunctional family goes on road trip where they bond and learn life lessons). I was waiting for the "winning isn't everything" speech but it never came. We got "you do what you love" (to quote the son, Dwayne), which I think might be the [semblance of a] worthwhile spirit Stephen mention. The ending definitely made me laugh most of all. Abigail Breslin is a fantastic child actress. Her cute innocence was no small contribution in keeping this movie together. However, I can see how one might view the film as cliched, contrived or unoriginal. Personally, I enjoyed it. 8.
  5. This has only just come out in Australia, so I may be a month or two late on this one. Little Miss Sunshine left me with a huge grin on my face.
  6. The Prestige (2006)

    This is my favourite movie of the year. Absolutely excellent in scripting and acting. I saw nothing mystical or anti-life about it at all. Thematically it dealt with the difference in the two magicians' motivations. Borden was cunning and self-motivated, and enjoyed engineering new tricks. Angier was a second-hander who thrived on the audience's reaction and admiration. It's no Fountainhead (nor, indeed, quite as good as Batman Begins), but I put it on a lower tier of excellence. I hope those planning to see this did not change their minds based on previous reviews here; I do not regret spending money to see this film twice. My view may be strongly biased by my extreme admiration of Christian Bale, from both Batman Begins and Equilibrium (two of my favourite movies).
  7. Prison Break (2005)

    *Eat, eat.* Yes, I was wrong. The twists have once again taken me by surprise.
  8. Tracinski on the coming election

    As a TIA daily subscriber, I've been following Tracinski's analysis and agree with his conclusions. Has Peikoff clarified his point yet, or responded to the controversy? The quicker he clarifies, the better.
  9. Peikoff on the coming election

    Hooray! Prodos is posting on the forum! For what it's worth, the best case against Christianity (fully implemented) is to observe the results of history; what happens when it gains political power. Usually, it's people who exploit it, twist it to their advantage (Tetzel's sale of indulgences being one of history's more memorable examples); but it's the inherent fact that it rests on faith that makes it a potential problem. I attended a Catholic high school, met some great (and other not-so-great) people, with fantastic senses of life and appreciation of achievement. So I don't deny that your average 'religionist' can be as enthusiastic about life as you or me. But inherent in that enthusiasm is a commitment to reality, to achieving life, and so forth. Faith, however, requires one to accept a statement in the absence of evidence, that is, in opposition to reality. So the mixture is an uneasy one. Your summary was excellent: "I find Leonard Peikoff's characterization of politicians and public servants to be false! Wrong! They do not match reality." I don't think Peikoff has correctly assessed the level of threat from religion. But its potential for evil is there. Oh, and you're right when you say that Christianity doesn't advocate violence. What it advocates is pacifism - love your enemy - and that's just as bad, because it enables violence. It discourages judgement too. And oozes egalitarianism. I could go on. Here's a question for the forum at large: My observation has been that Peikoff always argues against religion first and foremost. His speech on America vs Americans is one of several examples. Andrew Bernstein, however, in his Villainy article (which, by the way, I have nothing but endless praise for) suggests that religion is 'less' an evil than socialism due to its egoistic 'components'. To Peikoff, religion > socialism, in terms of evil. To Bernstein, socialism > religion. I should add that I'm aware how much of a gross oversimplification this is of both men's arguments. But that's the essence of it. Is there a contradiction here?
  10. 24 (2001)

    Trailer for next season: http://www.24trailer.com/ Looks good! Ignore the "sacrifice yourself" mumbo-jumbo, Bauer's coming from hell so (1) whatever he's supposed to do isn't sacrifice, and (2) he'll be bringing down bad guys in no time. Also, MEGA SPOILER, the trailer reveals who the next president will be. A great choice, considering my enduring attachment to David Palmer, someone I'll never forgive the writers for killing off.
  11. Heroes (2006)

    I've admired Nathan Petrelli in the same way I admired David Palmer in 24 (strong sense of leadership grounded in rationality), but I was a little disappointed to learn he was married before he slept with Niki. Maybe his wife is a Lillian Rearden. Hiro is great, for reasons previously mentioned. And I liked Mohinder before he became the 'skeptic' of the show. It's bugging me that, even after being threatened in the first episode, and hearing that guy inside his house, he no longer wishes to pursue his father's work. His plotline was one of the most interesting a few episodes back.
  12. Prison Break (2005)

    I'm pretty sure Mahone is going about his job as an FBI agent, investigating the break-out of prisoners. At no point have I been given the impression that he knew about the conspiracy. But when he does, it will be interesting to know where he stands. The fact that he shot Tweener would confirm in the viewer's mind that he is evil, and certainly not concerned about breaking the law (or, more importantly, breaching morality). I was hoping that the governor would be the one to uncover the conspiracy. His unbending faith in the justice system did not mean he couldn't have been swayed. But the writers killed him off most disappointingly.
  13. Heroes (2006)

    Well I'm still not sure they'll "band together" as such. That seems a little predictable, doesn't it? I think they'll encounter each other, certainly (they already have), but each being individuals with their own traits, I'd find it more interesting if they each worked to overcome their personal struggles. Not to say they should avoid one another; but "band together" makes me think of Power Rangers (even if that is not the sense of the phrase you implied). Time will tell
  14. Heroes (2006)

    'The guy' from the future was Hiro; it hasn't been stated explicitly in this thread, just in case it was missed. Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious. Any plot involving time travel will have paradoxes, so it may become complicated in that sense. Considering Mr Glasses (I should really learn the characters' names) and his accomplice haven't been fully explored, bringing in a character from the future might be a little early. But until we hear what Samuai-Hiro has to say, I'll reserve judgement on that. At least all of the heroes' quests are now related (in one way or another), bringing some unity to it all.
  15. Prison Break (2005)

    I was similarly addicted to season 1, with the exception of the rap music which was sadly prominent in the first few episodes. (Fortunately, the "blacks vs whites" theme was removed from the foreground when more interesting plots replaced it as the season went on). My expectations were low for season 2. The reason for this is that the show's premise really seemed to be a "one season" concept. The show was to originally consist of 13 episodes until it was extended. However, with the introduction of FBI agent Mahone, who has come to be a sinister complement to Schofield, every episode has kept me suspensefully entertained. Although the long-range direction of the plot is still not apparent to me, I'm a lot more confident that the show's writers can 'keep it afloat'. There is the government conspiracy to unravel, after all - a fact I neglected to consider when dismissing the potential for season 2. One complaint: T-bag's character is vulgar. They've made a point of highlighting his vices in the last few episodes, it's time they do something with it, instead of stringing it along. A few episodes back he had 'leverage' (when he ate the map), but once they found the money, I did not understand why they continued to grant him any respect. That, I believe, was the proper time to do away with his character.
  16. Heroes (2006)

    I must confess the idea wasn't mine, but as I said, I think it to be the case. The next episode can't come fast enough
  17. Heroes (2006)

    I too, love this show. The first episode had some nuggets in the script. (All the episdodes so far do, but I particularly enjoyed the pilot). I don't think it's 'malevolent universe' being put forth. When someone says 'malevolent universe', I think of the movie Saw (in which the anti-hero serial murderer always wins). The characters are predominantly good, and those with imperfections attempt to better themselves. (Peter, for example, wanted to "stop living for others" in pursuing his potential. By the way, I think his power is to adopt the powers of those around him - which is why he could only fly in his brother's presence). Looking forward to the coming weeks, the damn episodes always end with cliffhangers. The last one had me scratching my head. Was Claire in an autopsy?
  18. Induction

    Betsy's post was very thought-provoking and enlightening. Thank you.
  19. My band's CD is now available

    With these kinds of lyrics, in particular those of Another Disaster which seemingly embraces a malevolent universe, I am put off on principle to begin with. Musically I am impressed and, as Stephen said, it's professionally done. To draw an analogy to the Fountainhead, one might say that Francon's work is 'professional', however this does not guarantee it aesthetic value. It may just be an arbitrary preference on my part, but a female voice does not 'work' in the context of a rock song; the typically deeper and stronger voice of a male gives the heavy rock piece a thematic unity that I can't sense here. Strip away the vocals and I think your music has some exciting, raw energy (especially on Ghost of You and Watch the Cradle Fall). I loved Walk the World in Chains. Much less goth
  20. Equilibrium (2002)

    I'm surprised there are no comments on this. This movie has some great moments, and for a (relatively) low budget film manages some terrific visuals. Thematically, it's man vs state. More specifically, the State has decreed that all citizens inject with "Prozium" every day, a drug that suppresses the highs and lows of human emotion. And while it mistakenly implies 'emotions' to be the source of man's rights (and not reason, the only faculty capable of conceptualising "rights" in the first place) it manages to get across an individualistic message. The villains express collectivist sentiments: Father: Prozium. The great nepenthe. Opiate of our masses. Glue of our great society. Salve and salvation, it has delivered us from pathos, from sorrow, the deepest chasms of melancholy and hate. With it, we anesthetize grief, annihilate jealousy, obliterate rage. Those sister impulses towards joy, love, and elation are anesthetized in stride, we accept as fair sacrifice. For we embrace Prozium in its unifying fullness and all that it has done to make us great. His justification lies in the collective; prozium's "unifying" effect. DuPont: It's not the message that is important but our obedience to it. Kantian sense of duty, regardless of values. Father: At the cost of the dizzying highs of human emotion, we have suppressed its abysmal lows. And you, as a society, have embraced this cure. Prozium. Now we are at peace with ourselves and human kind is one. War is gone. Hate, a memory. We are our own conscience now, and it is this conscience that guides us to rate EC-10, for emotional content, all those things that might tempt us to feel, again, and destroy them. Librians, you have won. Against all odds, and your own natures: You have survived. 1) Demonstrates how the simultaneous undercutting of thought and preaching of 'collective conciousness' (and therefore, consience) leads to a tyrannical monopoly on values. 2) Malevolent premise of man's inherently evil natures undercuts the common man's moral certainty. Unfortunately, the heroes lack a solid philosophical base other than their 'feelings', which (in this particular case) leads them to the right conclusion (as the government is overthrown), but taken literally could be self-destructive. (Ironically, this is the villains' reason for administering prozium in the first place - to prevent war and violence). Most importantly, their actions demonstrate an implicit anti-collectivist philosophy. No need for a "Galt's speech", but a line or two would have been nice. Great production(!), benevolent sense of life, some flawed premises. Highly recommended.
  21. A lot of people I've talked to have expressed this view. For me, I went and saw the movie with some friends who, that night, I had just caught up with. We had a couple of drinks together, went to the movie, and had a few good laughs. So, in that context, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, the visuals (and how they scenes were constructed) provided a lot of humour. Large rolling objects seemed to be recurring imagery The effeminate way in which Depp runs is also amusing. The three-way battle proved hilarious. However, as Stephen said, the plot and characterization suffered. "Dead Man's Chest" is to Pirates 1 as "Matrix Reloaded" is to the first (more action, less plot; [not to be mistaken with endorsement for The Matrix's Kant-esque philosophies]).
  22. In Australia, Angus & Robertson book stores have a "Top 100" novels selected by their 'experts', ranging from Harry Potter to - you guessed it - Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
  23. One Red Paperclip: "My name is Kyle MacDonald and I traded one red paperclip for a house. I started with one red paperclip on July 12 2005 and 14 trades later, on July 12, 2006 I will trade with the Town of Kipling Saskatchewan for a house located at 503 Main Street. Feel free to give me a shout - all my contact info is here. Click on pictures below to read about each trade." I'm sure many trades were for the novelty of being involved, but this man set his goal and achieved it - I think that's both uplifting and funny.
  24. A Question About Infinite Decimals

    I know the question has been adequately answered, but I find this derivation gives some further insight: Let x=9.99999... So 10x=99.99999... (In both cases, the decimals continue infinitely). 10x-x=99.99999...-9.99999... So 9x=90 (as the decimal components cancel, leaving us with 99-9=90) Or x=10 This reasoning can be applied to any repeated decimal sequence: x=0.252525... 100x=25.252525... 100x-x=25.252525...-0.252525 (the decimal components will cancel) 99x=25 x=25/99 For x=1/7, the decimal sequence is "142857" repeated, so it would be necessary to subtract x from 1000000x in order to cancel the decimal components. This reasoning circumvents the nature of limits and simply takes the infinite repetition as a given. However it is interesting nonetheless from a mathematical standpoint.