It’s dangerous to go alone

January 16, 2001

In Norse legend, Ragnarok, the final battle which will destroy the world, takes place after three years of harsh winter. The Frost Giants come and destroy the warriors who have gathered in Valhalla, throw down the gates of Asgard, and kill the Gods, the Gods’ friends, Odin’s pet ravens, and so forth.

So: Bad winter. Giants defeat Vikings. Giants go on to fight Ravens in final conflict. This bodes of forewarning. #

A recent update at the Marathon Story Page links to an article about combat exoskeleton research being done by the U.S. Department of Defense. To my surprise, the researchers are allowing experimental results to reshape their expectations. Visors, for instance, sound like a perfect place for informational displays and such, but it turns out the disadvantages outweigh the neato technological aspects.

And yet, the national missile defense plan still clings to life. #

Elsewhere, a review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon goes so far as to compare the martial arts style shown with those more common in Hong Kong movies: “The wu dang style… is more flowing and mystical, liberating the fighter through a philosophy of detachment that exempts him or her from the gravitational pull of the world.” It’s amazing how easy it is to believe it when it’s happening, too.

But all is not well in the cinema. In fact, according to an article pointed out by NUBlog, movies as we know them are doomed. The culprit? Digital “film”, which allows theater owners to show movies that have been transmitted to it electronically. How long before they start showing non-movie entertainment as well? Wrestling pay-per-view on the big screen? Interactive talk shows? Endlessly re-edited Adam Sandler films that can be steadily polished while in theaters to improve audience reaction?

This freedom, the author argues, will turn movies into television, leaving the cinema as an art form forever a thing of the 20th century. It’s a frighteningly plausible scenario, even if the author occasionally gets a little highfalutin for my taste.

(Ironic aside: Uncertain of the spelling of “highfalutin”, I went and looked it up in my handy Oxford Desk Dictionary. Yee-hah!) #

But speaking of big changes in the media that no one asked for, Doc Searls points to this humorous take on the AOL/Time Warner merger. Well, “humorous” is perhaps not the best word for it. It’s kind of like making fun of the rogue samurai right after they sack your village. “Well, they may have gotten the Emperor’s permission to burn our village and take our possessions, but did you see their leader’s hair?” #

Study questions: How will the increasing concentration of corporate power affect your life? What other colorful expressions might the Oxford dictionary contain? Can scientific holiday pageants help us live together in peace? Did you leave the lights on? #