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I think you are closer to the mark HMS Goose. NDT is a nerd, like, not the “cool” kind of nerd that hipsters like to claim for themselves. NDT is a genuine dork and all of a sudden people think he’s cool because he’s smart and does a good job of being a science booster.

The more you listen to StarTalk (his podcast) this comes across. It’s a bit endearing over time. He’s so enthusiastic he gets carried away sometimes and I think all of this attention he’s been getting may make him think he’s cooler than he actually is. Which just makes him that much more fun to watch or listen to. Actually Eugene Mirman is a perfect foil for him. He’s good at deflating NDT in these moments in a good natured way in which everybody comes across as people you would like to hang out with.

Professor Bryan Cox of CERN is the UK’s answer to NDT. His show The Infinite Monkey Cage is similar to StarTalk ( think it predates StarTalk). Without the comedian Robin Ince to temper Cox’s tendency to condescend the show wouldn’t work as well either.

 +1Posted on Apr 3rd, 2013 | re: Game Of Thrones Season 3 Premiere Open Thread (56 comments)

Did miss the credits swooping up beyond The Wall to show where Mance and Snow are?I really like how this feature gives us a sense of close or far the different centers of on are. I was a bit frustrated to not see that.

 +5Posted on Oct 27th, 2012 | re: Thursday Night TV Open Thread (120 comments)

I gotta say, that was a good look for her. Super hot! I am so not kidding.

 0Posted on Oct 26th, 2012 | re: This Week In Movie Trailers, You Guys (37 comments)

I know that movie looks dumb as fuck but I just don’t care. I have to see that one. I’d almost say it looked like a Tarsem movie what with the wackadoo headgear but the animation stuff suggests otherwise.

 0Posted on Oct 11th, 2012 | re: The Petting Zoo: The Week's Top 10 Animal Videos (6 comments)

How could Sail Cat not make the list today? Is it old or something. The whole high school I teach at was watching it all day.

 0Posted on Oct 5th, 2012 | re: 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread (100 comments)


You won’t lose the right to birth control. You may have to pay for it out of pocket though.

 +1Posted on Oct 5th, 2012 | re: 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread (100 comments)

First, I swear I’m not trying to be contentious. I just want to track down some sources. What are you basing the point that there’s been no change in food stamp rules for? I’ll admit I’ve read some stuff (other than what Romney said) about how food stamps are being encouraged and changes have been made. I’m willing to be convinced that no changes have been made.

Second, none of what Romney said last night was a surprise to me. I’ve read all of his claims many, many times in lots of places in right leaning publications, etc. This trope that Romney lied is a bit tedious at this point. Politifact is not a credible source (yeh, yeh, Pulitzer, whatevs). They are not some neutral org. Anyway, we should look at as many different sources and arguments as possible and see which ones are most convincing.

“He lied!” is just an excuse to not actually engage in the debate on the merits of the arguments being made. Most of the “lies” are only lies if you look at it through one perspective.

Example: $716B taken from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Politifact and the Obama supporters say it’s not a cut to Medicare. Just a reduction of payments to unscrupulous insurance companies and healthcare providers. OK, you can think of that as NOT a cut. However, Healthcare providers, are doctors. Insurance companies reimburse doctors for treatment to patients. The proposal is to reduce (cut) the amounts that medicare will pay to reimburse insurance and doctors for these treatments. As we see with MedicAid already, the reimbursement rates do not cover the cost to the healthcare provider (doctor) to treat MedicAid patients. The result is doctors stop taking MedicAid patients.That is a reduction in the amount of healthcare available to low income people. I know this happens for a fact because I see it in my own family. Romney and the GOP are saying that these “reductions” in payments to insurance companies and healthcare providers ends up cutting services to patients.

Therefore, this is not a lie. Now, one can debate whether or not these two takes on the idea are more or less valid. But just calling it a lie is a cop out because it is avoiding, rather than engaging in the argument.

So are you saying that the numbers Romney cited ($2B) for the size of the tax break (subsidies) that oil companies get are made up? Because that is a number Obama uses to say that oil companies do not deserve the breaks. (I actually agree with Obama on this point). Or is the $90B paid out to green energy companies (many of which failed) made up? If so, what are the real numbers? Romney just (correctly) pointed out that this wasted money could have been spent more effectively to meet Obama’s own goals if put into hiring teachers.

So anyway, obviously all of this stuff depends on your point of view. I do respect that you’ve made a cogent argument, fondue cheddar.

 +1Posted on Oct 4th, 2012 | re: 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread (100 comments)

I’ll continue with a serious reply (a bit) fondue cheddar.

Romney’s point about food stamps was precisely that the Obama economy sucks.

re: position changes: Romney only changed positions from what Obama’s campaign and other have been saying his positions were. Obama has laid out a strawman and obviously his campaign thought it was true. Obama seemed unprepared to debate the guy who showed up. That’s not because Romney changed, it’s because Obama’s people didn’t bother to really research his positions.

Whenever Romney says something sensible the other side automatically calls it a lie. Obama will continue to loose debates if he and his people don’t get on the ball and look at what the other side is actually trying to do and say.

With all that said, I actually think Obama did fine if all you count are zingers or bazingas.

 +1Posted on Oct 4th, 2012 | re: 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread (100 comments)

This is anecdotal evidence so take it as you will.

My Dad is totally pro-abortion. I’m not even kidding. He’s a doctor so mainly, it is because he doesn’t want non-doctors doing it.

But, more than that, he figures there’s too many babies being born to people that shouldn’t; that adoption is not so great (on account of my 2 adopted cousins are fuckups). On top of that, there are more babies than people willing to adopt them.

I totally disagree with him but he has thought it through.

 0Posted on Sep 28th, 2012 | re: New Fall Television Open Thread (30 comments)

The Last Resort pilot was decent. Andre Brauer is always great, Speedman is fine in it. Not much but setting up the premise for the whole episode. Oh, and the premise is ridiculously stupid. However, I’ll keep watching it ’cause some interesting stuff could come up we don’t see on TV. re: International Relations

 0Posted on Sep 28th, 2012 | re: New Fall Television Open Thread (30 comments)

I kept involuntarily yelling, “Bad Wig!!!” every time she came on screen. Who did they think they were fooling? That was amateur hour. Enjoying the new season well enough though.

 +1Posted on Sep 18th, 2012 | re: A Completely Unsurprising Fact About Gwyneth Paltrow REVEALED! (36 comments)

This is nice because, clearly, she thinks the kids will somehow pick up French and Spanish from watching cartoons. It doesn’t work that way stupid! Possibly, she has them tutored in French and Spanish? This would be a great time for them to do it. But passively listening to a language does NOT imprint in the brain or whatevs without actual language instruction going on in the cartoon.

Being a grad student for teaching makes one a pedantic dick (me).

 +3Posted on Aug 17th, 2012 | re: Paul Ryan Isn't A "Lyrics" Guy (49 comments)

Economic philosophy is not necessarily lock step, 1 to 1 ratio predictive of theological beliefs. Being an atheist does not make you a capitalist. It helps to be atheist if you’re a communist (see Soviet/ChiCom oppression of religion).

I guess it’s legit to make fun of Ryan for liking Rage’s music but not what they say. I used to like Rage despite their idiotic, bumper sticker, reactionary “radicalism.” But the weight of their self-important, sanctimoniously ill-informed mantras did finally make them a pain in the ass to listen to.

But in Ryan’s defense (That’s right, I’ll defend him) for a conservative to like music beyond classical and Pat Boone or the Nuge you kind of have to put blinders up to the philosophical bent of musicians. If you’re lucky they’re not political, or if they are they don’t have lyrics (i.e. Godspeed You! Black Emperor) or you can’t understand any damn thing they say anyway (black metal). Not a whole lot of center-right rock bands out there.

 +5Posted on Aug 7th, 2012 | re: Breaking Bad S05E04: Mr. Hat's Got His Hat On Again (162 comments)

I don’t know about a Hank/Jesse teamup. Seems highly unlikely. Mike and Jesse, sure. Hank wouldn’t need Jesse so much unless he came to testify against Walt and that would not need any drawn out scheming. At most Jesse wears a wire one day and Walt is done.

I could totally see Mike talking sense into Jesse if he can get to a point where he (Mike) doesn’t have to kill anybody for a while. Jesse just doesn’t like murdering people, he’s not a psycho/sociopath like Mike and Walt. He just wants Daddy and Daddy to stop fighting/murdering and be nice so they can cook meth and make boucoup money. Mike’s pragmatism is bound to have more sustainability than Walt’s hubris and that is more likely to coincide with Jesse’s desire for nicey nice down the road.

 +4Posted on Aug 7th, 2012 | re: Breaking Bad S05E04: Mr. Hat's Got His Hat On Again (162 comments)


 +1Posted on Aug 7th, 2012 | re: Breaking Bad S05E04: Mr. Hat's Got His Hat On Again (162 comments)

There’s definitely a sound but I heard it more as an old timey 60 Minutes stopwatch being stopped. Similar meaning but less over the top. Plus, a gun cocking makes a more distiinctive sound. You don’t really need to cock a hand gun these days and that doesn’t really make much of a noise. You do cock a pump shot gun but that’s a much bigger two part noise.

I should have added. F for Fake shows that Welles has gotta be at the top of the list of famous people dead or alive that would be awesome to hang out with. Most famouses I don’t think I’d want to have dinner with but Welles and select few I would. Ultimate dinner party guest list of famous people.

1. Orson Welles
2. Tom Waits
3. Bill Murray
4. Winston Churchill
5. J.R.R. Tolkien
6. Neal Stephenson
7. Stephen Fry
8. David Mitchell (Peep Show not the novelist)
Maaaaybe Paul F. Tompkins

F for Fake is pretty great! I love that scene where Welles is having dinner with some pals. Not only does he order steak au poivre but clearly he’s eaten an entree already! Round 2! Plus the fact that he’s totally messing with you throughout the the film.

 +1Posted on Jul 1st, 2012 | re: The Curse Of Being Very Good (107 comments)

It’s interesting to me that you hate Life Aquatic so much, Gabe. Your reasons do make sense but it feels like you maybe hated it and didn’t give it a second view. I was a bit disappointed coming out of the theater on LAwSZ but on repeated viewing I’ve come to love it.

Anderson’s movies, with the exception of Darjeeling (which I liked a lot) all feel like they were may by supremely competent 12 year olds. That’s part of what I love about them. I’ve heard of an interesting theory that Life Aquatic is the movie Max Fischer would have made, given the resources, for Miss Cross. Also, watch some of the old Jacques Cousteau films and Zissou is even better. I also love the cross section sets of Life Aquatic and Moonrise Kingdom.

It is true that this is VERY Wes Andersony. But how could he make something that’s not? I’ve heard hatred for Brothers Bloom for ripping Anderson but I loved it for it’s own merits without seeing that. I for one love the obsessiveness. I guess he could let go of the Daddy Issue stuff though.

Anyhoo, now I’ll get to my real point. Moonrise Kingdom felt closer to Fantastic Mr. Fox to me than anything W.A. has done. The caper to free Sam, Scout Master Norton saving HQ, etc. It was pretty full on whimsical if you ask me. I loved how every character took themselves SO seriously even when doing silly things. Plus, it’s really hard for me to get bent outta shape about kids free dancing to Francoise Hardy. She is awesome!

Possibly I was primed to like it more after reading the interview in pitchfork with W.A. and Randall Poster (musical director on all the W.A. movies) about the meaning of music in his films generally and Noye’s Fludde/Hank Sr. particularly in Moonrise. Gave it a personal quality I liked. I used to listen to a Peter and The Wolf, Disney record that explained all the instrumentation and orchestra stuff so it really hit home for me. Not that that should mean anything to anyone else. But the Britten music has a real significance for Anderson, so. . .

Again, your reasoning is sound I just didn’t react to Moonrise or Life Aquatic in the way you did.

 0Posted on Jun 15th, 2012 | re: The Videogum Movie Club: Prometheus (158 comments)

Oops Donna Darko, I’m stupid

 +1Posted on Jun 15th, 2012 | re: The Videogum Movie Club: Prometheus (158 comments)

Except it wasn’t This weapon and That weapon. It was all the same goo but it did whatever to whoever according to what they wanted to happen next in the movie.

 +2Posted on Jun 15th, 2012 | re: The Videogum Movie Club: Prometheus (158 comments)

Totally spot on Patriot.

Also, David hates everybody secretly but after he gets his head torn off he wants to help not-Ripley all of a sudden?

It’s kind of a shocker too when David calls out the movie itself for being stupid and not making any kinds of sense.

Why the fuck does Not-Ripley want to go to palien home planet to find out why they want to kill her? They just gonna kill her! Why does she want to know so fucking bad?

“I guess that’s cause you’re a robot and I’m a human.” NO I call shenanigans!

David is confused because Not-Ripley makes no damn sense! Not ’cause he’s a robot!

One last thing. After her alien abortion, sometimes Not-Ripley is in intense pain and can’t move. But she can jump across an increasing gap and outrun the bitten doughnut ship that she could have just sidestepped. Fucking Wile E Coytote shit!

 +8Posted on Jun 7th, 2012 | re: IS New Girl The First Post-Post-9/11 TV Show? (33 comments)

I’m conflicted about this show. I genuinely enjoy it and think it’s pretty well written. The guy who plays Nick is for realz funny. But, I also feel like I’m being manipulated by having ZD do all her “adorkable” (I HATE that word) shtick but I’m a sucker for it. It’s sorta like when they put Arcade Fire on the Where The Wild Things Are trailers. I know you are pushing my emo/hipster buttons and damn you it’s working!

I’m guessing what dude is hamfistedly trying to say is that the show presents the idea that we don’t have to be ironic about liking dorky shit? Happy Endings has an episode that acually plays this out with insufferable hipsters that wassherface rejects in favor of unironically loving tap dancing or something.

 0Posted on Jun 6th, 2012 | re: We Stopped Dreaming (Episode 2) (13 comments)

There were times when people cared about stuff. Actually, I suspect Charlie Brooker cares about stuff now. His special on why we should watch The Wire is especially effective. At the same time he is aware that he’s just a big goof compared to guys like Jacob Bronowski, whom he sites for the exact reasons Gabe so rightly gives for why Degrasse Tyson matters so much.

The Ascent of Man is pretty moving. Bronowski knows from what he speaks. He was a big wig mathematician but quotes William Blake to eulogize a brilliant physicist. Others like James Burke of Connections, Desmond Morris with The Human Animal and David Suzuki with The Nature of Things are also quite compelling.