April 7th, 2003



Apparently Yahoo aims to make its search service simpler and more useful than Google. How you can be simpler than a single box on a white background, I don't know. How you can be more useful than displaying the most popular match for a search term, I also don't know.

More here.


Ten bands/artists you couldn't live without:
[1] Pink Floyd
[2] Nine Inch Nails
[3] Covenant
[4] The Beatles
[5] Radiohead
[6] U2
[7] Faith No More
[8] Mike Oldfield
[9] The Prodigy
[10] Sisters of Mercy

Nine albums that are important to you:
[1] Pink Floyd - The Wall
[2] Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
[3] Radiohead - The Bends
[4] The Beatles - Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
[5] Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
[6] U2 - Achtung Baby
[7] U2 - Zooropa
[8] U2 - The Joshua Tree
[9] Mike Oldfield - The Songs of Distant Earth

Eight movies you'd watch over and over:
[1] Natural Born Killers
[2] Fight Club
[3] Brazil
[4] The Emperor's New Groove
[5] The Lion King
[6] Pink Floyd's The Wall
[7] The Princess Bride
[8] South Park - Bigger, Longer and Uncut

Seven things that annoy you:
[1] People who take pride in ignorance
[2] Drug laws
[3] Belief
[4] Lack of compassion
[5] Idealists
[6] Rules for the sake of rules
[7] Lack of understanding of the fact that people are different to each other

Six of your favorite songs
[1] U2 - Acrobat
[2] Pink Floyd - Us and Them
[3] U2 - Lemon
[4] Nine Inch Nails - La Mer
[5] Sisters of Mercy - Flood II
[6] Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod

Five TV shows you watch regularly:
[1] Buffy The Vampire Slayer
[2] Malcolm in the Middle
[3] Futurama
[4] CSI
[5] Scrubs

Four of your all-time-favorite books:
[1] Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
[2] It (Stephen King)
[3] Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
[4] The Schroedinger's Cat Trilogy (Robert Anton Wilson)

Three albums you've bought recently:
I've downloaded all of my music for the last couple of years. The last album I bought was Apoptygma Berzerk's Welcome to Earth

Two Musicians/Actors you would like to do the NASTY with:
[1] Sarah Chalke (Dr Elliot Reed from Scrubs)
[2] Kirsten Dunst (I may have liked Virgin Suicides far too much)

One Band whos music would be described as writing the soundtrack of your life
[1] Pink Floyd

Not just PC

There's some compelling research evidence arguing that these concerns are not mispaced or frivolous. Remember those children in Chapter 4 who thought women would be better wudemakers when they heard a description of the fictional job of wudgemaking that used "she" instead of "he" (Hyde, 1984a). Parallel results are found for women undergraduates reading job descriptions using masculine pronouns (Stericker, 1981). In Chapter 4 we also saw that high school seniors were more likely to apply for gender-atypical jobs (as linewomen and as male telephone operators) when the ads avoided fender-biased language (Bem & Bem, 1973). Similarly, more students who read the "Ethical Standards of Psychologists," altered to use masculine-typed language, thought psychology was a less attractive career option for women compared to undergraduates who read gender-neutral versions (Briere & Lanktree, 1983). These studies combine to suggest that language can shape our perceptions of the gender-appropriateness of occupations — certainly not frivolous stuff!

Gender biases in language can even influence how women perform on comprehension and memory tests. Women remembered more of a science fiction story when it was read using unbiased language compared to masculine forms (Hamilton & Henley, 1982). A similar outcome was found when women were tested 48 hours after reading essays (Crawford & English, 1984).

— Janice Y. Yoder, Women and Gender: Transforming psychology

Solaris (1972) - First Half

Ed rented the original Solaris from Blockbuster on Saturday and I was rather looking forward to seeing this classic of the sci-fi genre.

I was expecting something slow and short on adrenaline, but also long on intellectual engagement. Something which would draw me in and latch onto me in a way that big-budget blockbusters generally can't.

What I got was 10 minute long driving scenes where nobody says anything, long conversations which (due to either bad translation or bad original dialogue) failed to actually make much sense or explain anything - at one point I wasn't sure if the subtitles had somehow gotten out of synch with the movie itself.

The basic idea seemed pretty good - alien world interacts in strange ways with its observers, raising questions about the human mind itself. Sadly, the sets looked like something out of Blakes Seven (or maybe Space 1999) and the general effect was of a Twilight Zone episode stretched out to three hours by adding 10 minute driving scenes (yes, it got to me).

Fortunately, an hour and a half in Erin got up to go the toilet and when she came back nobody could actually bear to press the play button again. So, if people want to host me and tell me that the second half is actually worth watching, I'll consider it, but as it stands I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

Score: 3/10 (for a couple of nice special effects and some nice cinematography)

ObQuote: "Is he still driving?"