petek, 21. marec 2014

The trouble with trolls, nowadays

Dman, I like Terry Pratchett's style.
She was impressed, despite herself. You didn't often see proper dwarf halls these days. Most dwarfs were off earning big money in the cities down in the lowlands, where it was much easier to be a dwarf - for one thing, you didn't have to spend most of your time underground hitting your thumb with a hammer and worrying about fluctuations in the international metal markets. Lack of respect for tradition, that was the trouble these days. And take trolls. There were more trolls in Ankh-Morpork now than in the whole mountain range. Granny Weatherwax had nothing against trolls but she felt instinctively that if more trolls stopped wearing suits and walking upright, and went back to living under bridges and jumping out and eating people as nature intended, then the world would be a happier place.

From: Witches Abroad, page 67.

Bennedict Cumberbitch err ... Cumberbatch. You know, Sherlock.

Let's get it on: Bennedict Cumberbatch (link here)
:D Quietly, you'll thank me, ladies.

Cumberbatch talked for a long time about the tragedy of Turing’s life and about what has been a series of very intense roles, heavy on iconic fictional characters and real people. “I am so ready to play a really dumb character,” he said.

I like this two excerpts below:
'As good a sport as Cumberbatch is, he sometimes finds it a bit too much.

Filming “Sherlock” last year in Cardiff, Wales, he had an awkward interlude when he had to walk from his trailer to his car wearing a costume that, had anyone seen it, might have become a major plot spoiler. When he failed in his efforts to get a particularly persistent paparazzo not to photograph him, Cumberbatch shrouded himself in a hoodie (“I looked like Kenny in ‘South Park’”) and held up a sign he had hastily fashioned that said: “Go photograph Egypt and show the world something important.”

The move was lampooned by the British newspapers, particularly when, to the delight of hundreds of fans massed on the street in London for another shoot, Cumberbatch did it again, this time with signs printed with provocative questions about democracy, government intrusion, journalism and the battle between liberty and security in the war on terror.

“These are very complex questions and very difficult arguments to be very clear about, so to ask the questions is to stimulate the debate,” he explained. He has not done it since, though, he said, “I felt really strongly about it at the time.” '

This sounds positively like Ms. Granny Weatherwax* of Terry Pratchett's Discworld!
For a moment, he sounded positively Sherlockian. “There is a way of just shadowing through,” he continued. “The higher the walls, the more dark the windows, the bigger the sunglasses — the more people are going to look. The greatest disguise is learning how to be invisible in plain sight.”

*She has the ability to fade into the background of a room, see Powers, here.

četrtek, 20. marec 2014

Unhappy tree logs

So, I won't talk about deforestation, much like . I won't really delve into how discoveries like this newfound "gecko-bat" species wouldn't be possible anymore, if forests disappear. Also, I won't say anything more about cultural significance and indigenous people, nor relevance for medicine (Mark Plotkin's (wiki) quote "every time a shaman dies, it is as if a library burned down", see also (2), (3)).

I actually just thought it would be nice to store this photo somewhere.
So here you go.

(1): Source of pic: Got it from Carla, on FB: link here.

(2): Shamanism, By: Mark Andrew Ritchie. I use it as a source of the quote. Found by google.

(3): This book seems interesting: Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest; Mark Plotkin (Amazon).

(4): This one is also actually pretty scary/cool: face on the side of the tree trunk.

nedelja, 02. marec 2014

Scaremongering in public debates

Word of the day: scaremongering.

scare·mon·ger (skâr′mŭng′gər, -mŏng′-) n.
One who spreads frightening rumors; an alarmist.

scare′mon′ger·ing n.   (from: the Free Dictionary.)

Example of usage: 

"The leaders of the local protest group spent a significant amount of efforts to galvanise local opposition, using rhetoric which pro-development stakeholders might call ‘scaremongering’ (it should be pointed out that we noted comparable ‘scaremongering’ tactics coming from a developer; Borders Biofuel first tried to ‘sell’ their fast pyrolysis plant in Wales on the basis of new  employment, but when public opposition became stronger, they began to argue that jobs in the existing sawmill were likely to disappear if the proposal was not accepted).
  It would be hard to prove that the initiators of the local protest do not fully believe their own rhetoric when they start off, but as they learn about the novel technology, these protest leaders must review this list of potential impacts and decide which ones are more ‘scientifically robust’ and/or more consistent with planning  regulations, thus providing more powerful arguments in the formal planning debate.
  However, these arguments may not be as powerful in the continued harnessing of public support to put pressure on elected local councillors. These leaders may thus end up in a situation where they are singing from two different hymn sheets." (van der Horst, 2007: 2711)

van der Horst, D. (2007). NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voiced opinions in renewable energy siting controversies. Energy policy, 35(5), 2705-2714.

There you go.