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Comment Unions are a mixed bag (Score 1, Informative) 147

A long time ago, I worked in a retail store. WE had some version of the AFL-CIO representing usin our $2.15/hour jobs. I would see the union manager come around in his $1000 suits (a lot at the time). He didn't actually seem to be doing good for the employees, but it looked like he sure was doing good for himself.

It didn't take long before I was required to join. I called up my boss and refused to join the union. He made me the department maanger instead.

I can't say I ever missed having that union.

Comment Re:Start with Microsoft Windows 10 Telemetry . . . (Score 2) 62

It would not be treason unless the information revealed was defense secrets of the country. Not what web sites people are looking at. And even then, it would probably be espionage rather than treason unless we happened to be at war with China at the time.

It is not inconceivable that Microsoft could be providing information to China on the behavior of US consumers, without breaking any US law.

Comment I bought them (Score 1) 229

I bought some of the problem glasses on Amazon. They were very dense gas welding goggles, where what was actually needed would have been a plate from an arc welding mask. Arc welding has a much greatter ultraviolet component. At the time I purchsed them, months before the eclipse, they appeared to be the best things available, and I wanted to stay away from the plastic film glasses if possible. I spent about $150 for three.

Only a day or two before I left on a trip that was to lead to viewing the eclipse in Prairie City, Oregon. Amazon wrote me, asking me not to use the glasses, refunding my purchase, and stating that it would not be necessary to send them back. They are still OK as gas welding glasses, I suspect.

We ended up using the film glasses, and various observing devices with filters or projectors. I made a really nifty solar projector out of a telescope I got from a flea market, which the crowd appreciated. It's a lot easier to see the sunspots when the sun is projected a foot wide.

I viewed the total eclipse using unfiltered Orion 70x15 binoculars on a pantograph mount. I saw everything. The planet mercury, solar prominences, etc. I definitely recommend binoculars.

Comment Re:Missing some things (Score 1) 197

George Lucas did repeatedly fail in gauging how much stuff he had to put in for little kids, and just how badly it would offend older viewers. Lots of people would have preferred that the Death Star destroy the ewoks. I don't personally know any kids from back then who were interested in ewoks or wanted to view the ewok Christmas special. Not even little kids liked Jar Jar, and Jar Jar toys left on restaurant and store shelves were a pretty big embarrassment for Lucasfilm. In the end the franchise still made tons of money, so these were viewed as survivable mistakes.

Comment Re:Missing some things (Score 1) 197

There certainly is lots of lazy script writing and film design, where inconsistencies are introduced and continuity botched. You can afford to have more pride than that if you have a bigger budget.

If I go to a movie like Gravity and notice an incorrect technical detail, my main thought is not to be offended, but to gently smile in the realization that the movie wasn't made for folks like me, and go on with the story.

Comment Re:Missing some things (Score 1) 197

They aren't making the film for you. 99% of the people who viewed Gravity would not have been able to see orbits as wrong immediately while viewing the movie, and would not have felt any dissonance in the mix of vehicles.

It was always difficult to explain to technical people how the main priority was telling a story and that accuracy was nice, but not really necessary.

I don't actually like watching movies much, and watch almost no television. It was my perception that a lot of people involved in making television did not watch much (maybe just because they were busy, or maybe they were too smart for most television) but film people were sometimes big consumers of film. I am basically a peaceful soul and don't handle the violence well.

I have a few high and low moments in films. The Oliver Stone Apollo 11 was a travesty, because it was about a historical event but the portrayal of Grumman's role (they made the LEM) was a nasty fiction. I met Gene Kranz once and when I brought it up, he immediately labeled it "bullshit."

I don't believe anyone has ever matched the realism of the carousel in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I've never heard of anyone else attempting to construct such a thing.

Comment Re:Missing some things (Score 2) 197

I've seen authors get plenty of stuff wrong because they "don't care" and clearly feel it's not important. Great way of telling the reader you don't respect their time and breaking suspension of disbelief.

I think you are underestimating the complication of telling a compelling story while supporting a high level of anatomical realism on what is still an anthropomorphic humanized character. You can enter the Uncanny Valley. Making an anatomically accurate yet anthropomorphic ant was very likely to be making a creepy or repulsive character the audience would not be able to muster any sympathy for. In a situation like that, it's better to abandon realism, and that is what the well-trained animators chose to do.

People consistently underestimate the complexity of telling a story well in the visual idiom.

Comment Re:Missing some things (Score 2) 197

Cutting out the fluff shows why people criticize the creators of products they pay for:

People gave me a hard time because...we just did not care.

Still don't care! Nyaah, nyaah! Want to get a refund? I won't give you one! Don't like it? Listen to my loud raspberry!

More seriously, just in case this is the problem, it is a fact that there are a lot of films about people on the autism spectrum, but few films for them.

Comment Missing some things (Score 4, Interesting) 197

Science fiction stories, if they're good, sacrifice versimilitude for the sake of being understandable by the audience. Blade Runner had the option of using something like these science fiction tropes: the "Dick Tracy" wrist radio, portrayed in the police comic since 1952, or the Star Trek communicator, used in 1965. But instead they might have chosen to portray a community in which down-trodden people would still be limited to pay phones, or it simply wasn't important to the story and would have been a distraction from the main story thread.

People gave me a hard time because Pixar's A Bugs Life (on which I am credited) had the wrong number of legs on the impossible talking anthropomorphic ants and Antz had the right number of legs on its impossible talking anthromorphic ants. But it wasn't important to telling the story, and we just did not care.

The LA portrayed was vastly different from what viewers knew at the time, in that video wall mega-advertising was everywhere. Although this is taken for granted today, it was a stunning departure from the reality of the day when the film was produced.

Also, the weather of LA was overturned. In the movie it always rains in California.

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