Having gone off from traditional newspapers and TV reports more and more in the last few years, I’m now getting almost all of my news from RSS feeds (what is RSS?), anything from private blogs such as mine, to larger science blogs, news outlets and organisations such as NASA, and – let’s face it – a bunch of other stuff just for fun. I decided to make this post to go through all English language feeds I follow. Count all these feeds as recommended. In no specific order.
- xkcd: One of the best web series out there, with good nerd and science humour.
- Morito Ergo Sum: A promising, up and coming doom metal band.
- Richard Wiseman: A British psychologist, with lots of great visual illusions (like the one to the right), puzzles and interesting thoughts.
- SMBC Comics: Funny, skeptical comics from the SMBC team, which I’ve linked to several times in the past.
- To Posterity – and Beyond!: The blog of Cori Samuels, an audio book recorder I totally fell in love with after hearing her LibriVox rendition of William Morris’ ”The Wood Beyond the World” (which I reviewed here). Her blog is extremely slow on updates, but still of interest.
- TorrentFreak: The best news source I’ve found concerning internet piracy and filesharing. Although extremely subjective (pro-piracy), they report a great deal on the recent news concerning police busts, laws, new technology, interviews and studies.
- Wuffmorgenthaler: Another web series, of much lower quality than SMBC and xkcd, but still fun sometimes.
- Dinosaur Comics: Yet another web series, much wordier than the other, but (most of the time) a lot of fun. Plus, it has dinosaurs.
- Just Bento: Cool pictures of and recipes for Japanese box lunches (like the one to the right).
- The Big Picture: With the tagline ”News stories in photographs”, this is a news source which sort of focuses on the tragic events (such as the Japanese nuclear incident last March), and has a lot of excellent, provocative pictures to go along with them.
- WebUrbanist: Cool architecture. Sort of.
- Anton Nordenfur: My own blog. Just to see if the RSS feed is working properly.
- Ars Technica: The latest news in computer technology – computers, operative systems, smart phones, smart TV, tablets, et cetera.
- Astro-photo.nl: The astronomy blog of André van der Hoeven, the dude who took the Moon picture that I wrote about yesterday. Lots of cool space photos.
- Brainstorm Headquarters: The blog of Fredrik Bränström, rarely updated but excellent when it is.
- Discover Blogs: This feed includes multiple blogs under Discover Magazine, including the awesome Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy. A great way to keep up with science news from many different fields, some interesting and some less interesting.
- Explore. Dream. Discover. (and bring a parrot): The rarely updated blog of the fantastic Kaylee, a skeptic parrot owner. Sometimes in Swedish, sometimes in English.
- Hacking Chinese: A blog by Olle Linge on learning Chinese, which I’ve referenced a couple of times before.
- LROC News: News released from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, which produced the Apollo 11 photo I wrote about a couple days ago.
- NASA Breaking News: Constant updates about the work of the American Air and Space Administration.
- Neurologica: The blog of Dr. Steven Novella, probably most famous as the host of the podcast The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, which I follow avidly since a year past or so. A practicing neuroscientist giving a ”daily fix of neuroscience, skepticism, and critical thinking”.
- Olle Linge: The personal blog of Olle Linge behind Hacking Chinese. Sometimes in Swedish, sometimes in English.
- Science-Based Medicine: A blog on scientific medicine, combating nonscientific medicine, basically. With editors and contributors like Steve Novella (who also runs Neurologica), Mark Krislip, David Gorsky and others.
- Skepchick: The skeptic women organisation Skepchick’s blog, with multiple contributors headed by Rebecca Watson (also of the Skeptic’s Guide, by the way).
- Universe Today: The best outlet for astronomy news, which is also the reason I’ve referenced them several times in the past. Headed by Fraser Cain of the podcast Astronomy Cast.
- VODO: VODO is a great source for films and TV series released online under a Creative Commons license. The feed gives a constant update on new projects.
- Pioneer One: The source for news about the VODO TV series Pioneer One.
- Quantum Diaries: News updates on particle physics and quantum theory.
- Astroblog: Astronomy news from Australian Ian Musgrave.
- Tom’s Astronomy Blog: Astronomy news from… well, Tom.
- Astronomy Blog: Another astronomy blog, this time British – okay, I consume a lot of astronomy news, so sue me. Following many different sources make evaluating and making sure not to miss anything much easier.
- Quantum blog: The personal blog of Jev Kuznetsov, a physicist and Matlab programmer.
- China Space News: News on the Chinese space programme, which is sadly rarely reported on on other astronomy news sources such as Universe Today, in spite of it being one of the most interesting programmes out there, definitely competing with NASA and the ESA.
- Reuters’ Top News: A good feed for staying up to date with the most important headlines out there. I also have a separate feed for Reuters’ science news, but couldn’t find a link.
I also follow a bunch of Swedish language blogs, mostly on Swedish politics. Yay.
Tom Cruise is one of the few super-famous actors who I believe actually deserve their popularity, who actually are good on stage. He and Johnny Depp are the two I can mention right up front that I feel this way about. The problem with him is how he almost only acts action films, and action is probably my least favorite genre in film. So I really love his performance in 2003’s drama-action-history film The Last Samurai.In The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise is Captain Nathan Algren, a war hero tormented of the memories of the Indian wars in which he acted, and the many innocent he has slayed. As the emperor of Japan wants to civilize his country, extincting the few samurai led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), Algren is hired to lead the country’s new troups, basically farmers who hasn’t seen a gun before. After a failed battle in which the entire Japanese army is killed, Algren is captured by Katsumoto. After living with the samurai for a while, he realises that they aren’t the enemy, they are the ones trying to capture the natural beauty of Japan and keep it. Slowly, we are to realise that the emperor isn’t a ”bad guy”, but more of a weak puppet led by assistants and war generals, while the emperor himself is unsure whether to keep or destroy the samurai. Throughout the film, Katsumoto several times says that if the emperor wants him dead, he has but to ask, and he will gladly take his life. The emperor never replies.The Last Samurai is one of my absolute favorite films, a great epic story that has everything: great actors, one of the best music scores ever in film history (by Hans Zimmer), love, death, cool weapons (okay, I admit it, I love Japanese weapons, samurai and ninjas), and a grande ending fight ending with the scene when Captain Alger meets the emperor, and gives him Katsumoto’s katana, and the ending quotes always makes me thrill of epic:”Tell me how he died.””I’ll tell you how he lived.”I never have Swedish subtitles on while watching an English film, but I couldn’t avoid seeing the Swedish title ”Den Siste Samurajen” (”The Last Samurai” in singular) on the cover. What the…? Translators should try getting their facts straight. Director Edward Zwick has himself said that the title refers to the last samurai troop, and NOT Captain Nathan Algren. Get your facts straight.Again: A great film, recommended to everyone. A great epic, with perfect balance of drama, history and action.
”One gunshot is heard across the world”
Babel (2006) is one of those films I’ve seen a lot of advertising (posters etcetera) for yet knew nothing about. I was going to rent a film with my girlfriend, and finding nothing interesting we simply picked up ”Babel” – it is after all a well-criticized film so it can’t be all bad, can it?
The story of the film handles the events of an American couple on vacation in Morrocco, as a gunshot hits the wife (Susan, played by Cate Blanchett) in her neck. We follow the next five days of panic, as her husband (Richard, played by Brad Pitt) tries to save her life in a small village of the Morroccan desert. There are four main families we follow, in four different parts of the world; the couples Mexican maid Amelia and their two children whom she takes care of during their vacation; the two Morroccan boys who accidentally fires at Susan (”the American tourist”) while practicing shooting in the desert; and Chieko (played by Rinko Kikuchi), a deaf Japanese girl in troubles of fitting in and desperately finding a boyfriend in a world where she can’t understand anyone’s words.The film was really interesting and thrilling through almost the entire film, except some parts that felt like nothing but pathetic fillouts. One of the most interesting parts of watching it was trying to find out how the four families were connected, and it wasn’t until the end that Chieko’s life connected to the rest through her father, a Japanese hunter. The most interesting part was clearly Chieko’s to me, as I easily could understand her; being deaf is much worse in every way than merely not knowing the language; you have no possibility to learn it, and you obviously can’t except everyone to learn sign language.Before watching the film, I had never heard of anyone on the cast except Brad Pitt (playing Richard), a way overrated actor who did a very good job in the 1995 film Se7en, but since hasn’t done anything diversing him from 99 percent of the actors of our world. With this in mind, I can easily say that Babel is one of Brad Pitt’s best performances. I also loved the performance of Rinko Kikuchi (playing Chieko), but after checking her previous roles out I can in sadness say that Babel is an exception.One of the things I’ve heard of the film on forehand was the ”amazing” music, that actually – I’m sorry – sucked. Where did all the great, original film music go? Films used to be filled with great music! Just look at the 20th century up to 1980 or so. There are only a few good film composers left (who on the other hand are really great), for example Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri.I would call Babel a really overrated film, not deserving much of its positive critisism, but it’s still a nice film and I just couldn’t turn it off in the middle, simply because the ending was so unpredictable.
Today, Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish released their third single from their Dark Passion Play album, ”Bye Bye Beautiful” (preceded by ”Eva” in May 2007 and ”Amaranth” in August). This is clearly the best single of the album, and one of the best songs, together with for example ”The Poet and the Pendulum”, ”Sahara” and ”7 Days to the Wolves”.
The standard version of the singel features this tracklisting:
- Bye Bye Beautiful
- The Poet And The Pendulum (demo version)
- Bye Bye Beautiful (DJ Orkidea remix)
Except ”Bye Bye Beautiful”, this features ”Escapist”, a bonus track for Dark Passion Play’s Japanese version, as well as two unreleased versions of two songs; a remix of ”Bye Bye Beautiful” and a demo version of ”The Poet and the Pendulum” where Marco Hietala performs all the vocals, with changed lyrics at some points. Frankly, DJ Orkidea’s remix sucks big time. But also, I’ve never really liked techno music. The demo version is ofcourse a demo version, and ofcourse it’s silly to believe Marco can sing the parts of a boy soprano. White Lands of Sympathica, which is a sad part, really makes me laugh on the demo version. I like the lyrics in ”The Pacific” part of TPTP though, that got banned from being published. 🙂
I’ve got over the fact that the first copy of this report was destroyed (see the last post) by now… This is a shortening, not the entire message.
I woke up at 5.00 am and realised I was sharing both a sofa and one quilt with Eavie, with her taking up circa 85 % of the space we had. I am to nice to wake someone up, so I didn’t wake her up to hell here to move, but just slept sitting for the rest of the night.
On the afternoon Alice and Jessie returned to the GurktrÃ¤ff and we played Super Smash Bros. Melee the entire day.
Later we went to Linkoping City and I bought some new black nailpolish.
Tim, I and Linnea got home at 7.30 pm, Linnea will stay here till saturday.
The films I ordered is here by now! It’s two bunches of Halloween special horror movies, the anime Berserk volume one and last but not least Lost: Complete Second Season.