Thursday, October 24, 2013

Geek Funnies

I've needed a good laugh recently and these two videos stepped up and delivered.

First, a bad lip reading of Game of Thrones that turns the show into a medieval theme park.

The next is the wonderful people of Improv Everywhere reenacting a dramatic moment from Lord of the Rings.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bad Logic

One of the things that bugs me is faulty reasoning. If there is one thing I don't think gets taught enough, it's logic and how to clearly think about a problem.

There are, of course, countless examples of this, especially if one spends anytime in comments sections (the bane of good thinking) of any number of websites. One of the more frequent arguments I come across, not just online but in the Real World, is from atheists who say something along the lines of, "There is no proof that God exists, therefore he doesn't."


This is a fine example of argumentum ad ignorantium often phrased as "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." If you want to have a serious debate with someone, you should at least attempt to formulate a well-reasoned, logical basis for your proposition. Otherwise you're just shouting nonsense. And, yes, I realize that thinking people might use more reason and logic is, well, illogical; but I think it's a worthy cause. There's nothing wrong with not believing in God, but you can certainly make your case using good logic. Teachers, I know you're just sitting on your lazy butts, so how about adding some logic to the curriculum, eh?*

*I'm just kidding, teachers. That was an example of sarcasm. Maybe you could teach your students how to detect that after the logic lesson.

How Long Should a Movie Be?

I was watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog the other day. If you haven't, stop reading this and go watch it. Now.

Done? Good. Read on...

Anyway, one of the things that occurred to me as I watched it was how it's only 43 minutes long, but that's okay because it's perfect that way. Sure I would have like to have seen more because it truly is awesome, but at 43 minutes it is lean and mean and just glides along without any filler. Perhaps Whedon and crew could have made a traditional two-hour film and made it just as brilliant. But perhaps not. Some stories don't have 90-120 minutes of material. I think comedies are often the worst offenders here. Someone comes up with some clever sketch or situation that might be 10-15 minutes long, but then it gets saddled with a lot of extra material to make it fit into a traditional movie format. The whole movie then suffers and the viewer leaves the theater thinking, "There was a few funny parts, but there was a lot of extra crap that just wasn't funny. Or entertaining. Or worth watching."

To be fair, I don't think that's entirely the fault of the writers and directors. We don't have a system that makes room for filmed entertainment that doesn't fit into the traditional style. Well, until now. One of the exciting promises of the Internet is its potential to allow for more variety of opportunities, especially of those that are outside the norm. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was released on the Internet. As such it didn't need to be 120 minutes long. It could be just 43 minutes and a near-perfect 43 minutes. Of course I loved it and would be excited at the prospect of more, but it is perfect just the way it is and I'm glad no one had to double its length just to fit a cookie-cutter recipe that isn't right for every tale. Not all stories are two-hours long or novel-length and a story should be allowed to be just as long or short as it needs to be.