Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forMarch, 2010 | back to home

21 March 2010
Filed under:Arts Reviews at9:41 pm

Finally as a late birthday present went to see Avatar with my other 1/2 – the first chance I had to see a movie with her in at least 4 years. I was not surprised or disappointed at the wooden acting in Avatar having read the reviews but I hadn’t realised that battle sequences would be quite as dominant a part of the film as they were – not really a very peace and love-y experience. And I thought from the reviews I would have a chance to see an alternative world beautifully realised but I found (perhaps again unsurprisingly) that the ‘alternative’ was only lightly alien-ized with faux horses, rhinoceroses and dragons rather than anything dramatically different.

It was my first experience of the ‘new’ 3D and while I wanted to like it I concur with Mark Kermode – when it was noticeable it was annoying, it seemed to encourage the director to play to it with lots of things exploding into my face and once I stopped noticing it I am convinced I had the same sense of depth as I would have had had I watched the film in 2D. The human brain does a lot of filling in by itself – that’s why it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a film on one’s iPod Touch.

Lastly, all the exploding gave my wife (who is more sensitive to noise and sitting in a chair for 2 3/4 hours) a splitting headache and thanks to living in one of the world’s most expensive cities the whole experience set us back in the neighbourhood of £50/$75 each. Next time I will just go to the opera…

19 March 2010

Realtime UK train timetables have been around for a while but I have long wished the same were available for buses. Turns out that it has been for a while – Traveline NextBuses either gives you the next scheduled time or the next estimated time of arrival for buses near you across much of the UK. Excellent!

15 March 2010

This article, “What is the Good of the ‘Examined Life’? Some Thoughts on the Apology and Liberal Education” is to my mind the essence of an academic article. It’s thought-provoking, on an important subject (perhaps, the author argues, the most important – the need for each of us not just to live ethically but to reflect on what it means to live ethically), it’s written clearly and concisely and it’s open access so anyone can read it. I wish there were some way to make it a required reading for what I teach…

Thanks to the ever excellent Book Forum blog for bringing it to my attention.

7 March 2010

I thought I would check out the top 100 most popular free audiobooks downloaded via Books Should Be Free and alongside the Swiss Family Robinson and other likely suspects I noted this:


Filed under:Humour & Entertainment at10:45 am

beowulf book cover

I wonder how many extra copies of Beowulf this ludicrous book cover sold?