bad timing

Dec. 8th, 2008 11:00 pm
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BCI announces a new TV channel catering to Eastern Europeans in Dublin just as 1/3 of the largest Eastern European group are planning on going home.

(I may be bending the facts a little here, since it's not obvious which parts of Eastern Europe the TV channel is catering to.)
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TWICE tonight... well, the first one was a misread scrolling ticker on Sky News at the gym, wherein I briefly wondered why they were reporting on Nelson Mandela's GOTH birthday, which of course was in fact a report on his 90TH birthday. But the second, well, that was a typo - the Belfast Telegraph's "most read stories" page suggested that the shooting in Kentucky involved an argument over "googles". Which, if it made it into the RSS feed, possibly explains why it's in the top 10 most-read articles (it turns out that the argument was over goggles.)
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First I saw Halifax (at least, I think it was Halifax) doing a spoof of the Crimson Permanent gag (the building that turns into a sailing ship), and tonight in the gym I saw Studio B's 2006? track, I see girls (not entirely safe for work, due to, uh, running women and gratuituous camera angles...)
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Apparently there's been a bunch of suicides in Bridgend, Wales. It's hard to tell if it's abnormal without studying statistics on the subject, but the current google results tell me 17 suicides "since the start of last year" (let's pick an arbitrary starting point to compress our data, right?) There seems to be some debate over whether the 17 suicides are actually linked, or whether it's just the media playing join-the-dots on a scatter plot, but tonight's Faux News (actually Sky, but not materially different in attitude or typical content) seemed to be running a loop about how The Intarwebs are to blame, specifically that there are sites telling people how to commit suicide.

Because let's face it, today's youth are so feckless that if you don't tell them how to off themselves, they'll just get distracted and go play football instead.

Now, if these are copycat suicides (as is being suggested by some), how is it that nobody's talking about the blanket TV coverage? While I was doing my 25 minutes on the stairmaster tonight, FauxSky News ran a video clip of a guy showing you how to make a noose at least 4 times, all the while (as best I could tell with no sound) running various voiceovers from "concerned people" about the effect such videos would have on "the youth".

This is the sort of thing that reminds me, in case I've forgotten, why it is I don't watch Sky News any more.
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Qatar to review Al Jazeera after complaints from Washington - maybe if enough people from, oh, Riyadh or Bagdhad or Tehran complain about Fox coverage we can get that Murdoch tosspot off the air.
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Continuity announcer on E4: "There's a double dose of highly infections Sex And The City coming up next."

"24" redux

Dec. 17th, 2003 11:47 pm
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Ok, so the cliffhanger wasn't the one I thought it was. In fact, I think it's more of an attempt to graft a similar ending to the first season onto the second, and do so poorly, rather than a cliffhanger.

One more point of observation about the world depicted in 24 is that the CTU IT department is probably not a good place to work in, ever.
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I've got two episodes left to watch in Season 2 of this rather good show. The following occurred to me along the way:
  • they were way too slow to lock onto the idea of cellphone tracking in the first season
  • Jack should have named his daughter Trouble, to avoid future surprises
  • Fully expecting Trouble to phone Tony at CTU at some point and have Tony say, "Look, Trouble, would you ever just FUCK OFF and stop calling us?"
  • They didn't expect to get a second season. Or, they didn't put as much effort into the second season script. The twists in the second season are a lot less smooth than the first, and Trouble's side story is just distraction instead of being an integral part of the plot like it was in season one.
  • After they'd accidentally overtortured Jack in season 2, all I could think of was, "huh, he knows the drill here. he was in Flatliners".
  • Reminding me that Jack's powers of regeneration put Wolverine to shame.
  • Season 2, as mentioned, with the looser plot has to make WAY more use of "guy turns up just in time", "guy stays alive just barely long enough", etc. in order to resolve plot difficulties
  • In general, I don't really notice the Real Time nature of the show, since I guess I'm used to the stock Hollywood "car leaves scene"-"car arrives 300 miles away in next shot" and also since they tend to cut away from the boring location-change action.
I'm told season 2 ends with a huge cliffhanger; with two episodes left I can pretty much figure out what it is. Rather a shame, since they left the end of season 1 complete, and cliffhanging an end-of-season show like this seems incongrouous - there's supposed to be a 1-year gap between season 1 and season 2, but if you cliffhang at the end of season 2, does season 3 roll straight into the next 24-hour period?
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Well, this is all you need to know about the programme.

The last thing they showed was the animated glyphs from The Matrix. The voiceover said something along the lines of, "you're watching computers exchanging images on the Internet. And it's happening right now." Then the credits rolled.

Personally, I'd rather not be the guy listed as "Computer Technical Consultant".


Dec. 8th, 2003 10:22 pm
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Primetime, an Irish current affairs progamme, is currently broadcasting a much-advertised investigation into child pornography on the Internet in Ireland. I was reasonably hopeful that it might have some depth to it, but alas. Filenames were taken as representative of content, a completely inconclusive interview at microphone-point of some guy was shown, ominous music played almost constantly throughout, Undernet was portrayed as a den of paedophiles supported by the various ISPs and what not who provide Undernet services, and ISPs were held up as feckless profiteers with no concern for the data on their wires. On the last issue, the programme noted that some of the "paedophiles" they uncovered were using regular dialup lines, yet it apparently didn't occur to them that the ISP argument would equally apply to the providers of the phonelines. Almost all the people interviewed were of the opinion - most, apparently on either hearsay or personal supposition - that child pornography was rampant in Ireland; only one dissenting view was presented. The people who might actually have hard evidence, such as the police, declined to comment on any of the questions issued by the programme.

I'm not for one moment suggesting there isn't a problem. But really. This hasn't advanced anything except hysterical paranoia that anyone who uses the 'net is trafficking in child pornography, that they're supported in their activities by ISPs, and that the police are doing nothing to stop it.
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Roundtable discussion on TV featuring a member of the DUP (militant unionists; the proponents of that old slogan, "Ulster Says No") and Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin (staunch republican, but drifting towards moderation).

The DUP guy goes off on a big speech about how they're not going to deal with Sinn Féin on account of Sinn Féin not being a democratic party - ties to the IRA and all that. The DUP's leader has, in fact, said that if his party members talk to Sinn Féin they'll be kicked out of the party.

Gerry Adams, on hearing this, perks up and says, "you're talking to us now".

DUP guy shuts up and hasn't said a word since.


Oct. 29th, 2003 10:00 am
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Fascinating documentary on RTÉ last night about the IRA, specfically about their bombing campaigns, the mechanics behind them, etc. An actual honest-to-goodness documentary, strangely enough, as opposed to some fly-on-the-wall crap or "reality" TV. Several interesting points made:
  1. While the IRA never intentionally used suicide bombers from their own ranks, they did at one point "volunteer" a few people for suicide attacks on border posts by tying them into the driver's seat of a van loaded with explosives;
  2. During the 80s, they managed to simultaneously get support from both the US and one of the US's greatest enemies at the time, Libya;
  3. The Docklands bomb of 1996 was built in Northern Ireland and driven right into the middle of London's Docklands, which is a pretty audacious way to go about such a spectacular display of force;
  4. By the time of the Docklands bomb, which was the "mainstream" IRA's biggest event, the IRA had a well-established system of warnings to the police designed to minimise civilian casualties while maximising damage; inept use of this system by the so-called Real IRA was a major contributor to the high body count in the Omagh bombing;
  5. The Docklands bombing pretty much led to the Good Friday Agreement despite stock political rhetoric about not giving in to terrorists because the powerful financial interests threatened by such an attack leaned heavily on the British government, suggesting that if their security in London could not be guaranteed they would likely move their business elsewhere.
The documentary featured ex- and possibly current IRA members, including those with bomb-making expertise, security forces, library footage from various events, and reconstructions of some of the major bombings.
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exit Hooperman stage left


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