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Sci-Fi

Journal Journal: Finally caught Blade 3


Don't like spoilers? GO AWAY

Blade 3 is the slow kid next door. It's mildy entertaining, tries hard but is too stupid to really like. And, like that mildy amusing kid, after seeing it, you won't be disappointed if you never see it again.

The problem with this movie isn't the action, which is entertaining while it lasts and decently paced throughout the film. It's the dumbass script that requires Blade to get captured and Whistler killed in the easiest way ever (how did these guys survive so long?), before giving him the most useless bunch of sidekicks I have ever seen.

There's the nearly-get-killed, listen to music, master of the bow, Some Chick. This badass takes on 4 vampire guys in her setting-the-scene introduction (which abruptly cuts in without explanation, disturbing the flow of the film), letting them get close enough to almost kill her a few times so she can show off her mediocre fighting skills. She seems to rely on ridiculous gimmicks like wrist blades and "hot as the sun" UV lasers to give her a chance. You don't doubt for a second that she will survive, especially when you count the bad guys and the good guys and realise they suspiciously pair up rather well (bad chick v good chick, dumb wrestler v wisecracking guy, Blade v Dracula)

Then there's Chandler Bing with muscles, Funny Guy. His constant wisecracks are bloody awful, with the audience I was sitting with laughing as much as Blade did (though I was laughing in his torture scene Ha Ha. Die, Chandler Bing-wanabee). Much to my disgust, Funny Guy didn't die, though God knows he deserved to. His Kung Fu was far from unstoppable, though he managed to outwit implausibly three dogs and a wrestler. After nearly getting killed by a weedy ill-looking ex-girlfriend skagbitch, he gets saved at the end by the magical plot fairy.

The rest of the team were even more woeful. If you're a kick ass vampire killer you don't want on your team

A blind girl

A kid

A fat sweating computer nerd with a fetish for weaponry (like the whole film really)

A basketball loving security expert who doesn't watch surveillance cameras
They all deserved to die. Sadly one survived.

OK, the weaponry fetish bits were weird as fuck. Chandler Bing shouts things like "This oiled up baby can hurl 10,000 rounds per minute through your typical vampire punks...blahblahblah..leather...blahblahblah...turns me on...explosives." whilst clicking things and stroking his weapon. It was weapono-porn, and it was seen before in Blade 2. I got the impression that these damn things had cost so much as props to make that the whole film crew wanted to make love to them liberally.

The hand to hand fighting was OK, but suffered from the "Hollywood Hit", where two fighters do a sort of Pat-a-cake of grunting karate chops, obviously not connecting, but even if they did obviously not about to do any damage. Daredevil was the pits for this. Just watch the scene in the playpark again. Woeful. Wesley did OK, but Some Girl was terrible. Also Chandler Bing got beat up for about 12 hours, then felt fine 10 minutes later.

Finally, the product placement was nausea inducing. This time, iPod was the culprit. For no reason at all, just as a plotless advertisement in a film I'd already fucking paid for Funny Guy decides to mention (in a low, intense voice) "Some Girl...she always listens to music when going out on a kill...(mentions something about building a playlist (no shit...he really mentioned a fucking playlist))" Cut to scene of Some Girl easily selecting songs thanks to Apple Computers TM revolutionary WheelTM technology on a very obvious white iPod. The only other obvious product placement was Nokia phone (just as gratuitous, but at least it didn't get its own pointless plotline.) Anyway, none of this made any fucking sense at all. Like you would go hunting something dangerous with music headphones on, cutting down one of your senses that could help you survive. Why not get drunk instead. Or fight vampires whilst watching a crystal clear SonyTM screen playing your favourite DVD on a portable player? That would make just as much sense ie. none.

Maybe instead Apple could have bought a full five seconds of film, and just had in big letters halfway through "BUY AN IPOD, OK? KTHNX" So blatant it wasn't funny, like the Guiness advert in Minority report. Disgusting. I hate product placement. No more Hollywood for me for a while.

And the end made no sense whatsoever. It's like the Director suddenly thought...right guys we need to wrap it up...hmmmm...killer virus. All vampires dead. But somehow Blade's still errr..fighting people. Not sure who he's meant to be fighting.

Anyway, ill formed rant over, though I could go on at length about the fact none of the characters cared when they were shot at, you never really felt any major character was in the slightest danger of dying, and they totally missed opportunities to actually make Blade more interesting, such as exploring what would happen if he ever did fully win his battles (get a job?), what he would do if he was the only vampire left (kill himself?). Count Dracula says at the end Blade's hybrid strain will mean the race of vampires never dies out, even if he kills him, but noone seems to care that Blades offspring will create a new resistant form of vampires just as bloodthirsty (one would assume).

Blade 4 will be even worse.

User Journal

Journal Journal: iTunes now reported to European Commission 1

I see on the BBC that the Office of Fair Trading has now reported Apple to the European Commission. If you missed the story, it's based around the fact that Apple charges Britons 20% more for the same songs than it charges French or German consumers, in obvious breach of the European Unions laws on free trade across EU borders. It is analogous to Apple charging different states in the US different prices which, if it were to occur, would provoke uproar.

Apple also prevents fed up British customers from simply downloading the same songs from France or Germany, by only allowing registration to these European services by residential addresses in the respective countries, and payment to be made only through local online payment agencies.

Britain has had across the board higher costs on items from cars to clothes for several decades now, coining the phrase "rip off Britain". Apple and its apologists say the pricing decision is based on competition in each country, which is a somewhat strange argument to use for online music providers. I mean, how is a customer in the UK going to have different online music choices than a customer in Germany?

When the last Rip Off Britain furore erupted over Rover cars (where the Rovers were more expensive for Britons than Germans, despite the plant which made the cars being in Britain), the manufacturers blamed local tax laws, duty, anyone they could rather than their own greed. Apple cannot use this argument: they aren't even shipping a physical product. But they try a similar argument, explaining costs of distribution rights are different in each European country. I have yet to see any evidence that Britain has higher music rights costs than France or Germany.

Despite what their apologists say, the decision by Apple to participate in the rip off of British Consumers should be condemned. I hope the European Commission will force Apple to equalise pricing in all its European stores unless it has a very good reason not to do so, and to compensate its British customers.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Longest Haiku EVAR



squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled squirreled
140 letters.
Science

Journal Journal: Monkeys with Typewriters

As a molecular biologist, I know a bit about molecular biology. Sadly. Because when I read articles like this one "Human Gene Count Slashed" I spontaneously vomit my lunch all over my keyboard.

The first wave of nausea came upon reading the story summary, a brief paragraph showing the contributor has no idea at all about the topic he purports to summarise. I'd love to believe this was a clever troll, but a brief glance over of jd's posting history suggests against this. Firstly jd shows he hasn't really read the articles he's linking to, by confusing genome, the entire set of genes within an organism, with genes, the individual open reading frames which are transcribed into RNA and then translated into protein machinery.

Jd, in his newfound bilogical wisdom, then tells us what a huge effect this will have on "genetic engineers" by making up some nonsense about how protein:protein interactions MUST then be more complex, as there are fewer genes. Well, on the balance of it, no. What jd is missing is the simple fact that a single gene may have a number of different proteins arising from it. There is a system know as splicing, where different parts of a gene, called introns, are assembled into slightly different proteins. Thus a single gene may give us many different proteins with vastly different functions, depending on the intron "cassettes" they contain. The overall number of genes doesn't matter one jot.

Then, for no reason, jd decides to throw in a reference to something else vaguely biological. Get this!: There is no mention, in a story on the revised estimate of the number of genes in the human genome, of two cases where genetic therapy to cure cystic fibrosis or SCID has inadvertantly interfered with the regulation of an oncogene, thereby causing cancer! What were those journalists thinking? Don't they realise they should cover every half baked tangential sideplot so jd can attempt to link it badly with his chosen subject?? Jd seems to believe the well understood mechanism of genetic therapy causing cancer has something to do with the protein:protein interactions that he was expounding his wisdom on in the previous paragraph. I can only hope he further enlightens the body Science with his other insights.

Finally, nearly finished beating up on him enough, he gives us the memorable throwaway line "The new estimates, therefore, are more than just idle curiosity but have the potential for impacting how the science is approached." Yes indeed jd. This morning, when I was PCRing a short stretch of the src gene for eventual cloning, I thought there were far more genes. Now this bombshell has landed, nothing will ever be the same again. Will my PCR still work? Yes. Will I have to approach my work differently? No. Was that last sentence just anally derived waffle? *grunt* *splash*

And don't even get me started on the +5 insightful posts below....
Bug

Journal Journal: Noticed this in Virtual Reality Cyrano's Journal 2

An ecode tag in a blockquote in the latest journal in your list seems to result in a strange bugs when you look at the posters comments on their ~Username page. It seems to be due to the short preview that is available of the first line of a journal entry, since somebody was careless in not closing an opened blockquote/ecode in the preview, as the closing clause is not present in the preview, the quote being too long to fit. That should just about do it. Let's test it.

Update: WOO, this is fun. Let's try bold and italics too.

Update 2: Alas! bold and Italics are ignored in ecode. I should have known that. I'll switch them around a bit.

Click me to see.

If you're wondering what the fuck this is all about, its only visible in "light" mode accessed via your preferences. Hope this helps etc. etc.

Worms

Journal Journal: Another brush with the Nazpple Mods 3

After posting this, a mild criticism of yet another superfluous Apple fluff article, I was understandably, modded down. Thanks heavens for the mod system. But then, I was surprised to see I was also strangely modded down on 4 seperate posts in my recent history within the same 2 minute period. Strange coincidence, no?

I am seriously considering registering the nick Apple Legal Team, to issue C&D and takedown notices on any poster mildly critical of any aspect of Apple Inc. I don't really have the time or inclination to expend the effort, but I'm slowly building up a sort of motivation momentum.

Anyway, back to the article. It could have been worse - it could have been the most appalling article in apple.slashdot.org history, the "MUCH ANTICIPATED HUNGARIAN MAC OS-X TRANSLATION FINALLY RELEASED". 60 comments total. 1 "+5, FUNNAY" comment. Let's see if this recent one will beat the 60 post barrier. My money's on the Hungarians.
The Matrix

Journal Journal: The List

(being the journal entry as to where I keep track of why the hell I friended or foed people because I can never remember)

Friended:

CyranoVR for fencing info, possibly having a large nose, offending Technolust (with wife) and *NEW! rubbing his nose in it too; OnLawn for having entertaining bunfights with Tom Hudson; Tom Hudson for having entertaining bunfights with OnLawn; Adzoox for an interesting journal entry; bfg9000 for his tireless efforts in educating Mac bigots about the Watson scandal; List of FAILURES and The_mad_poster for being foul mouthed, amusing ranters; pudge, to keep an eye on him; raunch for getting it; SaintStephen for some post I vaguely remember about a hacker chick named Raven; scottking for telling someone to dress as batman to fight crime in the ghetto; snjoseph for a calm political journal; talks to birds for his Groklaw attitudes and interesting journal; TheIndividual for his actions and words; Trolling4Dollars for being interesting; MondoMor for making me laugh at this and Alternate Interior, koh, Lars T., Llywelyn, MBCook, Schezar,and syrinx just for the hell of it.

Foed:

AFairlyNormalPerson, ak hepcat, AuMatar, borgboy, Carnildo, dknj, Gilesx, nightweaver, Raynach, SpaceLifeForm, strictnein, TJ Phazerhacki, verita, and xYoni69x for being appalling Slashbots, or posting overlord!!!, profit!!!, clippy!!!, SOVIET RUSSIA!!! or other shiteating cliches; h4rmony, mrpuffypants, and musingmelpomene for having appalling nicks and Nanogator for being in my fucking face too much one day and not being funny.

Will be updated as and when necessary. kthnx.
~SO
Announcements

Journal Journal: The Biologist's Bible


In the beginning was the word
And the word was Copy
And the word swam the oceans of the early world
And the word was flashed into life by electrons
or the word fell to earth on a comet
or we know not how, but it came

But the word was real, and the word created order where there was none
It created order, until all the oceans of the world swam with copies of Copy
Copy was fragile; it was created and broken, reformed and dissipated
Yet within this glittering simplicity was Noise
Noise born out of chaos
The chaos that is encoded into this universe
Invisible, yet discernable
In its ripples on our senses

Noise rose in Copy
Copy differed from Copy
Some Copy became stabler
Some Copy became cannabilistic
Some Copy became communal, protected within itself
Some Copy gathered help from the sea around it

And so noise created wars
Wars fought in our primaeval oceans
Wars fought unendlessly, without quarter
Wars fought mercilessly, with increasing sophistication
Mercilessly, because Copy was chemical
A chance arrangement, fallen together
Over time undreamt of by transitory man

And Copy grew stronger
And Copy grew more manipulative
And Copy grew a hard shell to contain it,
Systems to tend to it, and
Machinery to maintain it, and
Protein to coddle it
Copy became a factory
That created not only Copy, but Copy's helpers

And Copy burned through the oceans of the world
And Copy became DNA
Perhaps it had been RNA
Perhaps it had been something else
There was nothing to notice
Because there was no life
Not even Copy could be called life
It was atoms; atoms with unusual properties
but atoms nonetheless

A level of energy
That grew and became us
That grew from a shell
Threw out fins and gills,
legs and wings.
Found light, and used it
Lost light, and adapted
Smelt prey on the wind
Touched its young
Recombined and remastered, seeking sophistication
and adaptability

Ever racing, it continues
It will survive us
It will be thrown into space and find new worlds
It will survive for now
It just exists
And its characteristics come from its innate nature
And it is indifferent to us
User Journal

Journal Journal: Of Noises 1

The sound of an aroused woman masturbating is EXACTLY the same as a man eating a chewy mint with his mouth open. Hope this helps, etc. etc.
Science

Journal Journal: Hamburger, Science of Constructing

Another exciting journal entry product from SO industries. Standard Disclaimer: All or some of the following advice may be unutterable bullshit.

How to make a nice hamburger can be deduced from looking at what is not a nice hamburger, namely a McDonalds hamburger.

Firstly, the bread should be fresh. Toasting is generally a mistake, as it detracts from the flavour of the bread. Make sure the bun is as fresh as possible. Don't buy them prepackaged (even if they're in some kind of metal foil), actually visit a baker fairly early on and ensure you aren't buying yesterdays batch. Your burger will be better because of it. (As an offtopic bit of trivia, "fresh" fish straight off fishing vessels is generally 3 days old, that being the time they are out to sea. add to that the 3 days it takes to digest a meal of "fresh" fish, and you arrive at nearly a week, which just goes to show - even fresh food really isn't that fresh).

Buy some decent mince. Try lean steak mince, because it has the right amount of fat to hold the burger together and give it flavour, without making everything too greasy, or soaking into your bun. The thing about a hamburger is it demands a medium quality meat, or there isn't enough fat.

Put the meat, a couple slices of bread and an egg yolk together and blend the mixture until it is smoother, but still quite rough. You can add a finely chopped bit of onion, but too much and the burger'll fall apart. Stick in some Italian seasoning too, you won't taste it but you can pretend you can if you like.

Grab a handful of the mixed mixture and form a burger shape. You won't be able to do it properly, you'll end with a sort of round hump. Try to at least make it even depth, for cooking, and remember how big your bun will be. Add 20% size to account for shrinkage in cooking.

Don't try for the thin fast food style burger. McDonalds burgers are thin because 1) the meat is bad quality, so they have to overcook it as well as adding artificial flavouring to make sure you can't taste the original meat and 2) they want to cook it quickly. So learn from then. Barbeques are the way to go here: you really want the outside to be burnt and flavoursome, while the inside is rather less cooked, so you can appreciate the flavour of the meat. Grilling is second best- no flames to give you those supertasting charred bits. Frying is OK, because its good for flavour, but holds in the fat, which is an annoyance when you come to construct the bun itself (soaks into the bread, drips out when you eat).

Get decent lettuce. Iceberg is generally tasteless, but the better varieties are sweet. Again, cut it up on the day. Limp is no good. Slice up the tomatoes thinly, so there isn't too much extra juice. Leave then on a paper towel for a bit if you're paranoid.

Don't butter the bun - it's pointless. Make sure the lettuce is cut finely, or the strips will fall out when you bite. Your jawprint has poor cutting edges at 2 o'clock and 11 o'clock (assuming 12 is the front of your mouth), so make your initial bites small to avoid lettuce escape and savour the texture taste better. true connoiseurs will take a small mouthful, chomp it a bit, swill it around their mouth, then spit it in a bucket. Or is that wine, I can't honestly recall.

Lay the lettuce latticewise, add the slices of tomatoes on top, then the sizzling burger, straight from the hob. If you're still reading at this point, I question your sanity. Go read a book, or write some epic poetry. Add some or all of toppings tomato sauce, mild mustard, gherkins, mayonaisse is a mistake directly onto the burger - butter the bun with it, horseradish is surprisingly good. I'm ambivalent on the cheese question. Too strong a chedder and you lose the flavour of the rest. This is an ideal time to stick on some of that peculiar cheese you bought in the supermarket because it had red flecks in it. Also, a grated mozzerella/ chedder combo is good, since mozzerella melts spectacularly well. Put it on the burger under the grill while it is nearly finished cooking.

And that's just about everything I can think of. Thank god this will go down on my permanent record, hopefully scholars of the future will find it useful. Note to scholars of the future: "McDonalds" was a briefly popular lardasses contemptaurant, which disappeared in 2010 under the weight of a class action suit.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Rejected article on cloning

I wrote "The BBC reports on Genetic Savings and Clone, a US company that has recently produced two proof-of-concept clones of a Bengal cat named Tahini. The clones are considerably more visually similar to their original 'twin' than previous efforts due to a new technology called Chromatin Transfer, which not only transfers the genetic material, but also the levels of gene expression, to create the cloned animal. Although this application of the technology seems harmless, should cloning be used this way, for the amusement of the rich? This article, and other reports, gloss over the more unpleasant aspects. For instance, how many failed embryos were created, how many unhealthy kittens were born to donor mothers before these two kittens were produced, and are the kittens themselves condemned to a shorter lifespan, with degenerative diseases in later life? Is this animal cruelty?"

I reckon there was probably too much editorialising. Second sentence could've been done better, but I ran out of time. Ho hum. Pretty interesting story though, I reckon there could have been a nice discussion started.
The Media

Journal Journal: Why Is There So Much Profanity In Pornography Films?


I've been meaning to write down my thoughts in my Journal for some time, to give you all the benefit of them, and after watching a film I rented last night, I couldn't hold myself back. It seems to be a common occurrence in society today, that increasingly foul language is used as a matter of course. It is most obvious in that cultural homogeniser par excellánce Television. I perceive it as an indicator of the low quality of a program, especially in comical programs. Whereas before, in the golden age of comedy in the 1950s, whole shows could pass by with nothing more profane than a "darn" or a "lawks", it seems that modern programs, such as those promoting alternative lifestyles such as the execrable Will and Grace or the increasingly brainless Frasier (which thankfully is ending), are filled to the brim with dirty language that shocks me to the centre of my being.

This dirty talk encroached little on my world, because of course I could simply change channel or switch off the Television Set. But I see now what a fool I've been. By ignoring the profanity and letting it thrive, it has spread its disgusting cancer even into the world of celebration of the female form.

When I rented "Weapons of Ass Destruction" last night, and carried it home safely in its brown plain paper bag, I had no idea of the anguish in store for me. No sooner had I put it in, but the first actress let loose such a volley of filth out of her mouth that I had never heard before, nor ever want to again, unless it is in the privacy of my bedchamber with my good ladywife. I covered my ears with my hands instinctively, which was extremely unpleasant and unsanitary. I continued to watch the video and counted 34(!) "F" words, and 6 "S" words. Of course I demanded a refund when I returned the cassette, and it was then I realised how far society had lurched down the path to hell while I was 'asleep at the switch'. The video shop owner thought I was joking!

I write this journal entry in the hope that other people will join me on this crusade against filth in our society. When even arthouse cinema is full of it, there is something badly rotten at the centre. It puts me in mind of a line in Yeats' "The Second Coming" 'things fall apart - the centre does not hold. Profanity is like a scotch egg - truly disgusting, and must be stamped upon.

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