Tag Archives | Science Fiction

Show Me a Sign

The following two Agents of SHIELD openers – one from last season and one from tonight – seem, at a superficial level, tonally very different. But upon reflection, despite the frenetic explodiness of the first clip and the cheery calmness of the second, they really are doing very similar things: showing us a slice of the daily life of one of our agents, set to disarmingly eccentric pop music, followed by a twist that reveals the opposite organisational logo from the one we expected to see.

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Life in a Northern Town

On September 8-10 I was in Manchester for a MANCEPT Workshop on the current state of libertarian political philosophy. Organiser Andreas Wolkenstein put an interesting group together; one of the participants was left-libertarian Billy Christmas, who will also be on the Molinari Society’s panel on privilege in December.

My own MANCEPT talk was essentially an historical introduction to left-libertarianism; I’ve posted the abstract previously, and I now post my powerpoint presentation as well.

In honour of Manchester’s industrial heritage (and also because it was cheap), I stayed at a former warehouse converted into a hotel. (It’s industrial! It’s radical!) I also enjoyed dining on the Curry Mile, a section of Middle Eastern and South Asian restaurants; Mughli was especially good.

William Morris woodcut

Touristic informations – Mancunian edition:

To catch a bus, it is not sufficient to stand by the correct bus stop with an expression of expectation. The bus will whiz right by you. You need to flag it down like a taxi.

Also the price for the same ride will be different every day.

In London, vendors are familiar with American credit cards; but they’re a puzzle for vendors in Manchester. They look for the chip instead of the strip.

The Lebanese version of baklava has halvah in it.

After the conference I squeezed in a couple of days in London: caught a beer at the Harp with Sam Bowman and Ben Southwood; visited the William Morris Museum; visited the graves of Herbert Spencer and Douglas Adams at Highgate Cemetery; walked around on Hampstead Heath; and visited Forbidden Planet and the National Gallery.

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The New Rankin-Bass Hobbit DVD Is a Fraud

Famously, when the DVD version of the 1977 Rankin-Bass Hobbit was released, the soundtrack was missing lots of sound effects that had been included in both the original broadcast version and the VHS release. You can probably still find a correct version (with video from the DVD and audio from the VHS) downloadable online under the title “Hi-Fi Hobbit.” The sounds make a surprisingly large amount of difference to the ambience of the film; it’s especially noticeable in the Erebor flashback.

When a “remastered deluxe” edition of the DVD was announced this year, I naturally assumed that the soundtrack screw-up that fans have been complaining about for years would be fixed. I mean, isn’t that what “remastered deluxe edition” suggests?

Guess what? Not so much. The new edition has not restored the missing sounds. Remastering, my ass. They’ve just given us the same old crappy screwed-up soundtrack as on the previous DVD release. Just with uglier cover art.

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