Zathura: A Space Adventure

[Amazon Link] [4.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

A rare midweek movie at the Salad Household; also a rare PG-rated movie, which we saw without even the excuse of kids. But it's quite good. The filmmakers did a fine job picking the small cast, did an awesome job on special effects, and got a script that was appropriately funny and scary. There are cool spaceships and vile monsters, two squabbling brothers, a hilariously bored sister, and a brave wise-cracking astronaut. It's a big win.

If you saw Jumanji, based on a book by the same author that this movie's based on, you can probably guess the shocking surprise twist at the end ahead of time. But that's OK, pretend you're a 12-year-old instead; you'll never see it coming.

Watched some extras on the DVD and was delighted to see Ralphie; he's made it big in Hollywood, and did not shoot his eye out after all.


Last Modified 2012-10-24 4:15 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2006-04-06

  • The House passed HR 513, the anti-free speech regulation of so-called 527 groups yesterday. The Club For Growth is all over the issue. My CongressCritter, Jeb Bradley, voted for this. Right now, my feeling is that this is an unforgivable offense.

  • The John Stark Review quotes:
    … after four years of failure... by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities …
    And asks: who said it? You could ask the Google, or just hit the link above. Hint: they're Democrats!

  • Prof Althouse has a response to an anti-blog article by Matt Welch. As usual, she submits a well-expressed insight:
    People blog for lots of different reasons, and blogging is still burgeoning and developing. Don't cave into nostalgia for a Golden Age, especially one that got its golden glow from the horror that was 9/11. Things were bound to change and shake around, and some bloggers that you liked then may put you off now. But there are always a million new bloggers, and blogging is a beautifully fruitful format. The great power of blogging is the way it releases the creativity of the individual mind. That sense of not being able to predict your own opinions and observations -- that feeling of writing to discover your own ideas and interests -- is the great intrinsic value of blogging. There will always be millions of individuals blogging for the sheer joy of self-expression. Find them.

Dr. Doom Strikes Back!

… or at least his minions do. See the interesting article at Inside Higher Ed about the Eric Pianka/Forrest Mims controversy. Mims has claimed that Pianka "enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola" in a speech to the Texas Academy of Science last month. The IHE article begins:

Environmental scientists haven't been the top targets of intelligent design advocates, who have generally focused on attacking evolutionary biologists. But an outspoken environmental scientist at the University of Texas at Austin — whose research focuses on the damage modern society inflicts on the Earth — has found his work suddenly under scrutiny from unexpected sources.

The article goes on to link Mims to the Evil Forces of Intelligent Design. And it quotes numerous people to the effect that Mims has "severely distorted" Pianka's views; that Pianka "intended no such thing". Pianka himself refused comment.

It's somewhat smelly that the major effort here seems to be the trashing of Pianka's critics, and a lot of words expended on what Pianka didn't mean. OK, what did he say? Mims asserts that someone attempting to videotape Pianka's speech was prevented from doing so. Quotes from the other attendees are a mixed bag. For example:

"We would like to state … that many of Dr. Pianka's statements have been severely misconstrued and sensationalized," David S. Marsh, president of the academy, said in the release. "The purpose of his presentation was to dramatize the precarious plight of the human population. He did nothing more than apply commonly accepted principles of animal population dynamics to humans; an application not unique to this presentation and one that can be surmised by any student of ecology."

So Professor Pianka was simply bemoaning the "precarious plight" of humanity? Hey, nothing wrong with that! But contrast:

John Hanson, a biology instructor at Texas Tech University who attended the speech, said that at no point was Pianka literally arguing that "humans are bad and we need to go away." "Rather, he was talking about human impacts on the environment," said Hanson. "From a nonanthropomorphic point of view, it probably would be best for the planet with less humans."

No precarious plight seen there. It's all about what's "best for the planet". And Dr. Doom Pianka wasn't literally advocating mass human extinction. Really. It's just that the planet would be better off afterwards.

It all sounds much like the blind men expounding on the nature of the elephant. Except everyone's yelling at the one guy who's got hold of the trunk.


Last Modified 2012-10-24 4:14 AM EDT