Battletipjar Galactica

by John Holbo on January 14, 2006

Amazon just slapped a 35% off sticker on Battlestar Galactica, season 1. That means I finally get to learn what the fuss is about. Right after Belle and I finish Lost, season 1 (also 35% off.) Strictly to boost my Amazon associates revenue, let me note a whole bunch of DVD’s marked down 50%: Anime series and Anime feature films. Was Steamboy as bad as they said? Does anyone know anything about this intriguing little fella? You can get quite a bit of Disney Pixar stuff. Plus other stray goodness: Close Encounters plus 2001: A Space Odyssey together for less than $20. But if you’re like me, it’s good TV you crave …

Lots of folks have declared this the Age of HBO, admitted to watching Lost on the train (their eyes were watching pod.) Beauty is all well and good, but after my crassly commercial lede, let’s talk economics. Jim Henley has a post about an article about a BSG-inspired BitTorrent ad epiphany. The proposal: producers could embed a tiny ad where the broadcaster’s station ID usually squats, then let the stuff run free.

Seems relevant to Henry’s bleg for P2P-is-bad stuff; except it’s yet another P2P-is-good piece. Henley’s post didn’t garner so many comments, but I’m genuinely curious what people think. It sounds like a pretty good rebuttal to the ‘yes it works for music, but couldn’t it kill TV and film?’ One possible objection is that "the simple fact that people do not expect to pay for television programs" is not so simple. (See first paragraph.) Does anyone know how significant the revenue from DVD sales is for TV series? (If you check out DVD bestsellers, it seems about half are for TV.) Maybe BitTorrent giveaways would kill that.

Anyway, please feel free to enrich me by buying TV through the above links.

A flag in every garden

by Chris Bertram on January 14, 2006

Britain’s Chancellor (and PM-in-waiting) Gordon Brown seems to have succumbed to a serious degenerative condition (dementia blunkettia?), symptoms of which include giving “speeches promoting Great British patriotism”: and commending Americans for flying flags in their gardens. I’m all for cheering on England and football and cricket, but the Britishness stuff is taking things a bit far chaps. Anyway, as it happens, I read “a few lines from Tocqueville”: last night on the difference between American and English patriotism. The English don’t exactly come off well in de T’s text, but if forced to choose between complacent Podsnappery and flying the union jack in front of my house (something only done by loonies and fascists), I’d have to plump for Podsnap:

bq. If I say to an American that the country he lives in is a fine one, “Ay,” he replies, “there is not its equal in the world.” If I applaud the freedom that its inhabitants enjoy, he answers: “Freedom is a fine thing, but few nations are worthy to enjoy it.” If I remark on the purity of morals that distinguishes the United States, “I can imagine,” says he, “that a stranger, who has witnessed the corruption that prevails in other nations, would be astonished at the difference.” At length I leave him to the contemplation of himself; but he returns to the charge and does not desist till he has got me to repeat all I had just been saying. It is impossible to conceive a more troublesome or more garrulous patriotism; it wearies even those who are disposed to respect it.

bq. Such is not the case with the English. An Englishman calmly enjoys the real or imaginary advantages which, in his opinion, his country possesses. If he grants nothing to other nations, neither does he solicit anything for his own. The censure of foreigners does not affect him, and their praise hardly flatters him; his position with regard to the rest of the world is one of disdainful and ignorant reserve: his pride requires no sustenance; it nourishes itself. It is remarkable that two nations so recently sprung from the same stock should be so opposite to each other in their manner of feeling and conversing.

Bad hair day

by Chris Bertram on January 14, 2006

bq. It is the fashion, as much in France as in Britain, to focus on Bernard-Henri Levy’s celebrity lifestyle and friends, his designer clothes, his “sumptuous” apartment in Paris, his palace in Marrakech, his celebrity, his beautiful girlfriends, even the immortal headline to an article about him which began “God is dead but my hair is perfect” – and so endlessly on, because neither country (how different from the US) can tolerate anyone who is simultaneously too clever, too successful and too good-looking.

The author of these words? “A.C. Grayling”: in the “Financial Times”: (behind a subscription firewall).


by Belle Waring on January 14, 2006

While cooking dinner tonight I was doing my usual intuitive translation between celsius and fahrenheit (i.e., roughly correct and I can’t be bothered to go look at the computer), and I thought, “I wonder if the US is ever going to go metric?” When I was a kid I assumed it was just a matter of time, since everyone had to learn about it in school. Now, though… Still, it would seem really stupid if in the year 2642 people were saying things like “that asteroid is nearly 1,000 miles away”, and then the robot would be like “I think you mean 1,609 kilometers, sir”, and then the captain would get all mad and start muttering about Euro-weenie AI’s. Then again, that whole French revolutionary 100 minute hour never really caught on (though the watches are amazing(scroll down)). Will the US never capitulate to the one-world-government types pushing the metric system? We eventually submitted to the flouridation of water, after all, and that was a threat to our bodily fluids. What would the Englishmen of the 19th century novels, caught up in the mysterious minutiae of l, s, d, and guineas (none of which I have ever bothered to fully understand), make of the looming euro?