Tag Archives: Wired

Genre and Medium and the “Popcorn Movie” and Age of Ultron

So, back when Avengers: Age of Ultron first came out, I read the following review on Wired:

I felt that I wanted to see the movie more than once to really know what I thought of it. Because of the Geek Baby, that second viewing only happened recently. I’ve been mulling over the movie, with posts like this one and like this one.

To sum up reviews of the movie, I think that it was alright but nowhere near as good as the first Avengers. It’s not doing something new and different like the first one did (bringing together how many individual movie franchises), it’s not as excellent a dark trilogy sequel as some of the classics (Empire Strikes Back), and it has Too Much Going On And Being Set Up syndrome (but not as badly as, say, Amazing Spider-Man 2). Do these statements seem fair?

I talked about the first couple of things in my prior posts, so let me just say something here about Too Much Going On And Being Set Up. Some of the most hotly debated scenes from the movie – Thor’s vision quest, the Banner/Natasha “monster” discussion – had extended, deleted scenes. That was really interesting to find on the disc. These scenes that the fans saw as particularly troubling were ones that, apparently, Joss Whedon had trouble with too.

Was it because he was trying to succumb to the all-powerful Marvel plan? Yeah, maybe some. But the two versions of scenes like this show me that Joss did his best to work them into the movie in its final form. Successfully? Eh. Clearly debatable. But the theatrical versions were the ones that he meant for us to see… the scenes of lesser evil?

However, my main purpose here is the review from Wired. It says it was picked up from another site, so it was opinionated enough for syndication. It got me fired up before, but rather than a point-by-point rebuttal or some other Nerd Rage, I want to just address the main point of the article.

Continue reading

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On Hugos, Puppies, and Remember that blog post I wrote…

If asked, I’ll tend to answer that one of the more important things to me is the idea of science fiction, fantasy, and the related speculative fictions being taken seriously. I think I expressed that best so far in my Realistic vs. Romantic Literature post.

I bring this up because one of the things that I feel like ought to matter for these sorts of literature to be taken seriously would be for their awards, at least, to be solid. For at least the fandom, the people who do care and who do take it seriously, to keep it together.

Which is why I have been so disappointed in the controversy over the Hugo awards. Because I want to see the Hugos taken seriously. Because I often turn to the Hugos to figure out what I should read – and I imagine others do as well. I’ve even thought of recommending the Hugo award winners as a complete set that should be held at the library. I want this to be a list of titles that matter.

For a full rundown on the controversy, I would recommend this Wired article. I read that, and it was pretty darn good. Covered a lot of the history of it, a number of good interviews on both sides. However, one of the saddest things to me was the extent to which even Wired was down on Science Fiction. Calling it a “maligned literary sub-genre” and talking about how the mainstream media barely touched it. Well, I’ll let you read it.

Wired Quote 1 part 1 Wired Quote 1 part 2

To even talk about it that way, for it to be the representation of the genre… sigh.

Meanwhile, Puppygate (ugh, can we stop calling everything -gate?), to a great extent, reminds me of the gaming gate we mentioned recently – and I think the videos we linked there apply really well here too. Even to the point of there being a more mild group that’s being used, and an extreme and strategic group using them. Which worked out kind of like this:

Wired Quote 2

I think it’s pretty awesome how many people turned out, and how many awards were actually not awarded. That there were people who declined their nominations. Because new ideas matter. Because representation matters. And because quality matters. And spiking a ballot – in any direction – doesn’t help with those things. It’s science fiction – a diversity of ideas is kind of the point.

Or, to close out with one more Wired quote:

Wired Quote 3

That would be Martin, George R.R. Who held a losers after party, because he’s that awesome.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Cloud Connected Vehicles

Every year we see new technology growing in leaps and bounds. One of the areas that has not moved as quickly – but is still progressing – are vehicles, in particular cars. In today’s world you almost need to be a computer programmer or engineer to work on a car anymore. No longer is it simply about an engine, but now a computer runs the entire system. Not only does it run the entertainment, air, and windshields it also helps you park and warns you when you almost hit another car.

Weren't we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

Weren’t we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

While not fully functional we are not far off from being able to have driverless cars as a viable option. Now on one hand this seems like a a great idea, on the other you could easily raise issues with a computer being able to control all the features on a vehicle. Particularly the question is: how do you protect the vehicle programming that makes it run correctly?

Recently an article in Wired magazine shows that these questions are actually issues that currently exist. The problem seems to be the fact that the cars are not closed systems, but connect wirelessly, presumably to the manufacturer somewhere. This means that someone can access the vehicle remotely and mess with a large number of functions that could cause serious problems. Continue reading

Not Everyone’s a Dick All the Time

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.

-Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy

A couple weeks ago I read an article from The Mary Sue discussing the fact that cultures of harassment can be changed. The article was a quick reflection on a larger article from Wired magazine about Curbing Online Abuse, and discussing how some of the same ideas can apply to harassment at San Diego Comic Con. I have been wanting to write an article about the findings from the Wired article for a while, but just had not gotten around to it. With the occurrences of Saturday and the #yesallwomen movement, it seemed like a great time to discuss my reactions to this article and what it means for online harassment.

The study mentioned in the Wired article displayed some interesting statistics. Now they did not mention any specifics about the behavior that they considered negative, so it is not necessarily just abuse targeted at women. In some ways this makes sense because we should not just focus on ending abusive behavior towards women, but all abusive behavior. The most important take away is the fact that abusive behavior is not just isolated to a small number of players who are always abusive. The truth is that a large portion of abusive behavior is done by players who normally do not act that way, but something sets them off, which sets someone else off, and so on and so forth. This means it is not just about taking care of those people that are always abusive, but changing the culture of the community as a whole.  Continue reading