Orwell’s dead. Get over it.

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1984It’s gotten to be a bad joke, recently re-highlighted by the “discovery” that some of the new Samsung Smart TVs have cameras and microphones that could detect the goings-on in front of them (to allow better control of the TV): When people saw the “terms and conditions” warning that any criminal or terrorist-related visuals or words picked up by the TV could potentially be forwarded to the authorities, the web-verse immediately invoked George Orwell, and decried that “1984 was here.”

And as it happened, the spirit of George Orwell reared up out of his grave and said: “Oh, shut up and let me get some sleep already!” Continue reading

Will Doctor Who get serious?

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Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi, the new Doctor of Doctor Who

The new season of Doctor Who has given us the conclusion to a unique type of cliffhanger that only this show can provide: Who will be the new Doctor when he comes out of the other side of regeneration?

The Doctor has changed actors over a dozen times now, over the course of the TV series and one movie… a unique invention by the producers to replace the original Doctor, William Hartnell, when he was became too ill to continue the role.  With each change of actors has come a change of the character’s mannerisms as well, with the new actor bringing some of his own quirks to the role.  So, since 1965, we have been treated to thirteen men who have all been very different—and yet were always the same character.

And now it’s happened again, with Peter Capaldi taking over the role most recently vacated by Matt Smith.  As well, Smith’s manic, over-confident and endearingly bumbling man-child of a Doctor will be changed to suit Capaldi’s take on the role.  So what does that mean for the show… and for us? Continue reading

PRISM and public overreaction

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NSA sealThe news of the past week has been filled with the revelation by an ex-CIA employee of the project called PRISM, in which the government has unfettered access to Americans’ phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, etc, in order to catch threats to national security.

As I suggested in a previous post, Americans have short memories.  Even this close to the Boston Marathon bombing, after which we were treated to the sight of the Tsarnevs killed or captured by police and federal authorities, to the standing ovations of Boston citizens… those same citizens now cry “Big Brother!” and cite privacy issues in our government’s monitoring our communications. Continue reading