excellent analysis

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In which John Green compares the tax proposals of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and looks at what the tax system and budget would look like for different families. There’s also a brief introduction to federal income tax here in the United States, and some discussion of the candidates’ budget proposals.


The Tax Policy Center’s excellent and detailed analysis of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s tax plan
The Tax Policy Center’s analysis of Republican Donald Trump’s tax plan
Much of the information in this video came from the Tax Foundation’s analysis of Clinton’s tax proposals
And of Trump’s
Lily Batchelder’s paper explaining why Trump’s tax plan would result in tax increases for 7.8 million households
and a politifact story on the same topic
Donald Trump’s tax plan would boost the debt much more than Clinton’s, and would put U.S. debt held by the public over 100% of GDP in the next decade according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
The CRFB explains Trump’s budget cut proposals here  and his plan for increased defense spending here
Chart of our publicly held debt to GDP ratio came from here
The Tax Policy Center has an excellent chart explaining effective tax rates by income size that you’ll enjoy if you’re into this kind of stuff

So here’s the result of a little fiddling around in Excel.

I wanted to have a look at the populations of various homeworlds, using the codex numbers from Mass Effect 3. (Said numbers are described, somewhat creepily, as ‘pre-invasion’. How pre-invasion that is, is never specified, but I’m going to quietly ignore that little ambiguity.)

I’ve had to leave aside two planets with numbers. Heshtok has a very uncertain population, with a low end of 6 billion and a high end of 9.3, so it’s not clear which number is more reliable. Khar'Shan has a claimed population of 15 billion, but apparently this is considered dubious even in-universe. Since that would make Khar'Shan more densely populated than anywhere else in the galaxy, I’m inclined to agree. However, not knowing what the real number is, I’ve chosen to leave it off to one side.

Also neglected are the awkward cases like Rannoch where not only do we not have a number, if we did have it, it might not mean anything. (What exactly is one geth program by itself? Not a lot, really.) There are also the usual suspects like Kahje, Rakhana and Turvess, for which we have no data. So this is not a complete sample, and shouldn’t be thought of one.

Still, it is an intriguing plot.

First off, the median for this lot is 6.1 billion, so Palaven is apparently statistically-normal. I was surprised by how small Tuchanka’s population is, in comparison to anyone else’s. Apparently there just aren’t that many krogan left. Dekuuna is also surprisingly small, particularly given that it’s one of the biggest planets in terms of actual physical size. A lot of it must be quite empty - but then apparently the elcor are a largely nomadic society, so actually, this fits.

Lastly, the big surprise was Earth.

In raw numbers, Earth has more people than Thessia, Tuchanka and Dekuuna combined. It puts the galaxy’s nervousness about humans in a different perspective; it seems we’re rather numerous.

It would also be interesting to see what the numbers are for total galactic populations by species. We don’t have those numbers, although some of the dialogue in ME1 implies that the average might be somewhere in the hundreds of billions. Humanity’s total is presumably much smaller, on account of the more recent start of the colonial era. In fact it’s probably still mostly Earth.

(It’s also interesting as Earth’s value suggests there’s been another demographic transition at some point. IIRC the current population trends are expected to top out at something like 9.5 billion, sometime in the 2050s, and then gently decline afterwards. Apparently that trend didn’t stick.)

Asahi/Tsukishima Appreciation Post

Originally posted by asahiis

The sequel to the Tsukishima/Nishinoya Appreciation Post because these dynamics need more attention (and because these two interact a lot more than I thought omg).

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Meanwhile, teenage girls continue to be one of the world’s prime targets for being held up as a social example of something alien, foreign, and overtly sexualized, a writhing primordial mass of orgiastic emotions waiting to be tapped by adult men who treat their identities as a bizarre spectacle.

- The teens on Tumblr are alright

excellent analysis on the not-new-at-all sexist poo-pooing of the fangirl.

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Lex Luthor Explained – Man of Steel Answers Insight Commentary
Lex Luthor leaves many confused. What follows is an explanation of Lex’s motives and machinations, then exploded and examined with in-story support. Inspired by episode 42 of MOSAIC.

So someone recommended this site to me today and all I can say is, I am mindblown. This is an excellent analysis of Batman v Superman’s Lex Luthor and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Slightly peeved DW musing

You know, the more I see of the frankly excellent analysis of various monsters that’s currently on my dash, the more I dislike the assertion in that post tillthenexttimedoctor copied and pasted, that we should find River malevolent and disturbing for the fact that a Dalek was afraid of her.

I mean, the Daleks—they’re a void.  Daleks are defined by the things that they don’t have: compassion, individuality, a face to talk to.  When you think of all the things that humans spend their days on—art, conversation, work, food, saying, “Ooja booja wooja,” to largely indifferent cuddly animals—for all the myriad things that humans do with their time, Daleks substitute thinking about killing you, planning to kill you, or actually killing you.  To make a Dalek, you start by subtracting things.  Daleks are smaller on the inside.

Which is, of course, why being the enemy of the Daleks has become an incredibly important part of who the Doctor is.  But the Daleks are not just the enemy of the Doctor; they’re the enemy of the universe.  You could even say that they’re the enemy of the show; everything that Doctor Who is, from intellect and romance to weirdness and silliness, are all things that the Daleks want to shoot dead and replace with more Daleks.  So I hope it makes sense that I’m bothered when someone declares the act of opposing and intimidating a Dalek to be frightening and horrendous—at least, so long as that person is a middle-aged woman and not the Doctor.  Antihero, sure.  (So is the Doctor.)  But horrendous?  Really?

Plagiarism claims against BuzzFeed Video: a complicated tale of internet originality
People are accusing BuzzFeed Video of stealing from YouTube creators. But it’s complicated.
By Aja Romano

@ajaromano​‘s excellent analysis of the BuzzFeed Video plagiarism accusations. Fav bit here:

There’s one obvious, major problem with all of these accusations: On an individual level, none of them are really plagiarism. A 2013 video by a vlogger known as Maddox, called “I Hate Buzzfeed,” summarizes BuzzFeed’s approach to producing “original” content as a mix of “stolen images, exploited pop trends, and shitty jokes that use worn-out memes.”

But that descriptor essentially sums up not just BuzzFeed but the entire nature of publishing on the internet: Just about any content can be aggregated, reposted (with or without attribution), remixed, and built upon in just about any way. All of the videos mentioned in this post so far could be said to fall into the broad category of “pop trends and worn-out memes.” Those aren’t actually something you can steal.

Most of the content creators BuzzFeed is accused of plagiarizing didn’t remotely originate their idea, either. For example, many of the other videos have nebulous origins; you can see this in Jenna Marbles’s stream of consciousness–style of humor, which BuzzFeed is accused of thieving even though it has clear roots in Jack Handey’s famous “Deep Thoughts” meme, which predates YouTube by more than two decades. Even Hemmig’s video comparing physical and mental illness is an outgrowth of decades of similar comparisons.


Basic ideas that do have an origin point, like “100 Ideas of X” and “Will It [X]?” have essentially become internet memes far larger than their original focus; many of the creators BuzzFeed is accused of stealing from have created their own iterations of other videos on the list.

And many of the ideas BuzzFeed is accused of “stealing” don’t even appear to have a definite point of origin. The idea of pitting cats and dogs or waffles and pancakes against each other isn’t exactly new; neither is the image of an introvert sitting at home with a blanket over her head.

I think Aja is spot on in all of this. 

Be sure to click through to read the bit about other accusations of exploiting groups for ideas – something a *lot* of media is doing nowadays.

What I would add to the conversation is that perhaps some online creators are looking for evidence of plagiarism to back up a larger feeling of being disenfranchised by the asymmetrical nature of market-based digital media.

While individual creators treat ideas (memes) as sacred, the rest of the internet treats them like commodities since the cost of sharing replicating an idea is near zero. As Aja points out, it’s what has allowed meme culture to thrive. But it also clashes with centuries-old expectations of how artists should be compensated for their work.

Now layer in the idea that a well funded corporation can take advantage of economies of scale, producing (and monetizing) more content for less cost. 

Suddenly, being an individual creator feels less like being at the vanguard of a new creative class and more like a working class being left behind by hypercapitalism.

3. “Outlander,” “The Wedding”
There’s so much to say about this seventh episode of Starz’ historical romance—where the accidental time traveler Claire Randall has to marry an incredibly hot Scotsman for her own protection, and then proceeds to get down. Mo Ryan wrote an excellent analysis of “The Wedding,” observing that the episode is entirely from the perspective of the feminine appreciating the masculine—not the other way around, as cinema and television usually are. But the important thing here, really, is that it is sexy as hell; “The Wedding” combines drama, romance, sexual chemistry and loving camerawork to create the kind of nudity that female viewers can get behind.
Why Donald Trump Gets Away With Lying So Easily

This video is an excellent analysis of why Donald Trump is so effective at convincing certain voters to the point of slavish devotion. I highly recommend watching the whole thing.

The New York Times has an analysis of what he’s said in his speeches, which arrives at the same conclusion as the video maker does.

The most striking hallmark was Mr. Trump’s constant repetition of divisive phrases, harsh words and violent imagery that American presidents rarely use, based on a quantitative comparison of his remarks and the news conferences of recent presidents, Democratic and Republican. He has a particular habit of saying “you” and “we” as he inveighs against a dangerous “them” or unnamed other — usually outsiders like illegal immigrants (“they’re pouring in”), Syrian migrants (“young, strong men”) and Mexicans, but also leaders of both political parties.

In another pattern, Mr. Trump tends to attack a person rather than an idea or a situation, like calling political opponents “stupid” (at least 30 times), “horrible” (14 times), “weak” (13 times) and other names, and criticizing foreign leaders, journalists and so-called anchor babies. He bragged on Thursday about psyching out Jeb Bush by repeatedly calling him “low-energy,” but he spends far less time contrasting Mr. Bush’s policies with his own proposals, which are scant.

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Elvish Blades of the Middle Earth Movie-verse

So I saw hsavinien‘s excellent analysis of that picture comparing the various bows from the Hobbit series, and felt inspired to put this image together. It’s all the various Elvish (or Elven-made) blades seen throughout the Hobbit and LOTR movies. Feel free to let me know if I missed any.

Interesting note here is that if I did this right, they should all be to scale. I basically took the overall lengths of the props listed on United Cutlery’s website (in inches) and multiplied by 10 (in pixels), so the relative sizing should be accurate.

Also interesting to note the varying styles over the Ages. The swords made in the First Age (Sting, Orcrist, Glamdring, Anduril/Narsil) all tend to be straight, whereas Second Age swords (Hadhafang, the High Elf military sword) tend to be more saber or katana (or in the case of the HEM sword, naginata)-like. The sylvan blades (Tauriel and Legolas’ knives, the swords of Thranduil and his army) seem to be a combination of both aesthetics, gently curving in one direction or another, but still with a mostly straight profile. The sylvanfolk also apparently love 'em some blade cut-outs.

Edit: Some later thoughts I added on Facebook:

Also kind of cute how the High Elvish and Sylvan Elvish militaries have “standard issue” swords of almost exactly the same length, but the sylvans’ actually has roughly 30% more usable blade length.

Handguards seem to have become less important as time went on, as well…

What happened during Isla Nublar’s intervening years?

The following is an article by friend of the site Neelis and discusses the chain of events occurring on Isla Nublar between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. As such, there may be minor spoilers, but it provides an excellent timeline and analysis of events. Be sure to give Neelis a follow on Twitter.


What happened to Isla Nublar between the accident in the park (circa 1993), and the construction and opening of Jurassic World (circa 2000 - 2005)?

The Book: Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel Jurassic Park presented us with an unprecedented prospect: a theme park housing living dinosaurs, brought back from extinction through the (then) miracle of cloning. As expected, predatory dinosaurs and human interference are never a good idea, and soon trouble would arise, putting the human characters in jeopardy.

By the end of the novel, the survivors (including Grant, Gennaro, Sattler, Tim, Lex and Muldoon) are airlifted off Isla Nublar by the (fictional) Costa Rican Air Force. As soon as the entire island has been evacuated, it is destroyed by bombing it with napalm, making sure none of the dinosaurs survive.

From the epilogue we learn some dinosaurs did make it off the island, having moved across the country and eating agama beans, soy and chicken (rich in lysine), before disappearing into the dense Costa Rican jungles, never to be seen again.

The Film: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park’s film version saw quite a different ending to the story. While having passed away in the books, Hammond and Malcolm survived the film’s events, while Gennaro and Muldoon perished on the island.

The film was deliberately left open-ended, leaving room for a possible sequel to take place on Isla Nublar. Director Steven Spielberg remarked he had expected Michael Crichton to come up with an idea for the story revolving around Dennis Nedry’s lost Barbasol shaving cream can containing the stolen dinosaur embryos; Spielberg was quite surprised when this plot, elementary in the first film’s depiction of the park’s demise, was ignored, instead focusing on another island entirely: Isla Sorna.

The Book: The Lost World

The Lost World, written after Jurassic Park’s box-office success, presented Michael Crichton with a problem. In the original novel he had made sure Isla Nublar was cleared of dinosaurs. Universal and Steven Spielberg were hoping for a new (bestselling) book to base the second film on – Crichton, never having written a sequel to one of his books before (or since) reluctantly agreed.

The second novel saw the miraculous return of Ian Malcolm; though pronounced dead in the first book, Jeff Goldblum’s performance on film had made Malcolm an unexpectedly popular character, and Crichton resurrected him – turning the book in a hybrid sequel to both its paper predecessor and the celluloid version based off of it.

After bodies of mysterious animals start washing up on Central American shores, Malcolm and his former girlfriend Sarah Harding, an animal behavioral expert, learn InGen leased a second island off the Costa Rican shores, where the company experimented in secret, recreating dinosaurs and perfecting them before shipping the animals to the theme park on Isla Nublar. “Hammond’s dirty little secret,” Site B, had eluded all media and thrill-seekers’ attention.

The island, abandoned after the incident on Isla Nublar, is home to a host of different dinosaurs. Old favorites such as Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor return; and there is a new predator on the block, the fearsome Carnotaurus, an animal with camouflage abilities stalking prey around the ruins of the former worker village, striking fear in not just human explorers, but other dinosaurs alike.

In a race against time, Malcolm and a small crew try to find paleontologist Richard Levine, who is stranded on the island. Lewis Dodgson, the man who bribed Dennis Nedry in the first novel (and film) to steal dinosaur embryos for rivaling company BioSyn, is no longer a supporting character but the full-on antagonist, this time hell-bent on not simply stealing embryos, but snatching eggs from the dinosaurs’ nests.

By the end of the novel, a small group of survivors makes it off the island, taking the secret of this Lost World with them. What happened to the animals and the island itself in the novels’ universe is anyone’s guess; though several of the dinosaurs fell ill with the mysterious DX disease, it’s unclear if Malcolm’s predicted “second extinction” took place, or if the former InGen operation on Isla Sorna was ever uncovered by the authorities.

The Film: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Deviating greatly from the source material, The Lost World: Jurassic Park eliminated the novel’s main characters (Doc Thorne, Richard Levine, Arby Benton), seeing the return of Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum reprising his role) and the appearance of Sarah Harding and Eddie Carr; Nick van Owen was introduced as a member of the protagonist’s team .

Rough elements from the novel can be found in the film; Isla Sorna as a location; the rescue mission to find Harding (instead of Levine) who’s alone on the island; the abandoned worker village; the Tyrannosaurs attacking the trailer after the protagonists take care of the injured baby rex; Velociraptors stalking people through tall grass.

Dodgson, however, is gone, replaced by Peter Ludlow, head of InGen and cousin of John Hammond (their family relationship isn’t entirely clear). The hunt for eggs is replaced by a much greater objective: to capture dinosaurs and display them in a zoo outside San Diego.

Much to the dismay of fans, the Carnotaurs never make an appearance (ironically, the toy lines for both Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park included Carnotaurus action figures and even an adorable, though cranky-looking hatchling); instead, the focus lies primarily on the Tyrannosaurus couple and their cute-as-a-button baby. As expected, everything goes south, but hunter Roland Tembo succeeds in downing the male Tyrannosaurus. Here is where the film strays furthest from the book; InGen brings the bull T-rex to the mainland. As expected, this last desperate attempt at making profit goes spectacularly wrong too. Peter Ludlow pays the highest price; he falls prey to the infant Tyrannosaurus, the young animal practicing its killing skills on him.

The film ends with a much clearer idea of the state of Isla Sorna; it is to become a sanctuary for the dinosaurs, to live undisturbed and isolated from the rest of the world.

No return to Isla Nublar (?)

With the exploration and attempt at exploitation of Isla Sorna comes a most peculiar question: what happened to Isla Nublar? Why does the original island go largely unmentioned in both sequels, and why do none of the returning characters seem concerned about its fate, and more importantly, the dinosaurs that roamed it?

First, there’s something of interest John Hammond mentioned while trying to convince Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant to come inspect his park on Isla Nublar:

”I own an island, off the coast of Costa Rica.” John Hammond

”I’ve leased it from the government.” John Hammond

Jurassic Park (1993)

Now, Hammond, the flamboyant and likeable showman, says two things. One; he apparently “owns” the island. But next he downplays it a bit and explains he has leased it from the Costa Rican government.

There’s an interesting distinction. Would InGen have the funds to indefinitely acquire not just a plot of foreign land, but a complete island? Despite seeming very successful at what they do, this is a far stretch.

Then there’s the matter of Costa Rica (or any nation, for that matter) willing to sell land. A lease would mean a steady, hefty income, considering the Isla Nublar resort and Jurassic Park theme park’s expected financial success. I will not pretend to be an expert on these matters, but there seem to be some far-reaching legal implications when it comes to a country parting with home soil by selling to a corporation.

This could all be a slip up in the script, but both options ended up in the film’s spoken dialogue. Let me get back to this in a moment, and first take a look at an infamous deleted scene from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, in which Peter Ludlow informs InGen’s board of directors of an incident that took place on Site B (Isla Sorna), in which a young girl was injured:

”Damaged or destroyed equipment: seventeen point three million. Demolition, deconstruction and disposal of Isla Nublar facilities, organic and inorganic, one hundred and twenty-six million dollars.” Peter Ludlow

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (deleted scene)

Here we have it: the answer to that earlier question. The island’s facilities have been dismantled and the animals eliminated. Nothing is left.

Why is this of importance? As Hammond said, he leased the island from the Costa Rican government. Now, would the park have been a success, Costa Rica no doubt would have made a profit as well, seeing an increase in tourism, money spent in both the country and at Isla Nublar (part of that money flowing back through the mentioned lease contract); but with the failure of the park, the lease ended and Costa Rica took possession of the island again, forcing InGen to clean up and restore the island to its original state.

Obviously, this presents us with a new problem. The scene was cut from the film either for reasons of pacing and a better flow of the narrative (The Lost World: Jurassic Park is already slightly longer than Jurassic Park); it might have been considered unneeded, given Hammond informs Malcolm on the state of Isla Sorna in the scene that is present in the film, which sees Ludlow and Malcolm clash as well; or it could have been taken out because the information presented within that scene leaves no room for a possible return to Isla Nublar in a future installment.

As we know by now, that installment is coming: Jurassic World (June 2015) presents us with an open, fully functioning park located on Isla Nublar, having been in business for a decade, receiving thousands of visitors every single day. It’s a huge success. And it harbors some secrets, hidden in the island’s jungles…

”Something Has Survived”: Continuity

Returning, for the moment, to that scene in John Hammond’s bedroom, where Ian Malcolm finds himself shocked when he learns there is another island that is home to dozens of dinosaur species – all thriving.

”Thank God for Site B.” John Hammond

”Site B?” Ian Malcolm

“Isla Nublar was just the showroom, something for the tourists. Site B was the factory floor; that was on Isla Sorna, eighty miles from Nublar. We bred the animals there, and nurtured them for a few months and then moved them into the park.” John Hammond

“Really? I did not know that.” Ian Malcolm

“Now, after the accident in the park, Hurricane Clarissa wiped out our facility on Site B: call it an act of God. We had to evacuate of course, and the animals were released to mature on their own. ‘Life will find a way,’ as you once so eloquently put it. And by now we have a complete ecological system on the island, with dozens of species living in their own social groups without fences, without boundaries, without constraining technology and for four years I’ve tried to keep it safe from human interference.” John Hammond

”Well, that’s right, that’s right, hopefully you’ve kept this island quarantined and contained but I’m in shock about all this. I mean, that they’re still alive. You bred them lysine-deficient. Shouldn’t they have kicked after seven days without supplemental enzymes?” Ian Malcolm

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

Nowhere in this dialogue does Malcolm express any concern over Isla Nublar. Neither does Hammond bother to mention it. The focus in both The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III lies solely on Isla Sorna.

It begs the question, too, why InGen wouldn’t send a team to Nublar. Why wouldn’t they? Nublar had reasonable infrastructure, there were detailed maps of the park’s layout, an idea of what species of dinosaurs would roam there. Most importantly, the biggest threat, the three adult Velociraptors, had all been killed during the 1993 incident. Would it not have been far easier to capture dinosaurs on an island with reasonable infrastructure and knowledge of the assumed amount of animals roaming there?

Malcolm does mention the lysine-deficiency fail-safe Dr. Wu built into the dinosaurs’ DNA. Does the tagline of the film, Something Has Survived, hint at the animals surviving due to them eating lysine rich vegetation? (The notion in itself is flawed - all vertebrate life forms need to consume lysine-rich foods, non can create their own.) This could be an interpretation, considering the boardroom scene and its exposition, clearing all doubts, was cut from the film.

But when we do keep that cut scene in mind (and realize how it is the catalyst for the film’s events in the first place), the tagline can’t refer to anything else but the clean-up operation that took place on Isla Nublar. As Hammond says, he tried to keep Isla Sorna safe from prying eyes and exploitation by his own company.

And there’s something else that strongly hints at a now barren Isla Nublar; while on his way to meet John Hammond, Malcolm is confronted with an obnoxious passenger on the subway. We learn that Malcolm has spoken out about the incident on Isla Nublar and InGen’s capabilities of resurrecting extinct animals. Yet people do not believe him. If Malcolm made such a fuss and went public with his knowledge, wouldn’t it have been fairly easy for an investigative journalist or News Corporation to hire an aircraft, fly over the island and see if all Malcolm’s allegations are true?

In the novel The Lost World, there actually is mention of this (although the journalists are flown over the wrong island and never were the wiser for it); it would be reasonable to assume the same thing would have happened in the film’s universe.

Is this conclusive then? Was Isla Nublar indeed cleared of all technology, infrastructure, construction and dinosaur-life?

The answer, surprisingly, comes from the third film.

Lessons from Dr. Grant’s audience

Trying to convince his audience more money is needed for research, Dr. Grant is confronted with a lecture hall full of people wanting to know about the, as he calls them, “theme park monsters” created by InGen. Facing a sea of raised hands, Grant asks if there are people who do not have a question about Jurassic Park. Hands drop, and Grant realizes all too well there are people in the audience who want to know more about the infamous San Diego incident. He denies involvement. This leaves only a few eager arms up in the air:

“as soon as Costa Rica and the UN know how to handle that second island, scientists will just go in and look for themselves.” Student I

”Are you saying you wouldn’t want to get on Isla Sorna and study them if you had the chance?” Student II

”No force on Earth or Heaven could get me on that island.” Alan Grant

Jurassic Park III (2001)

Again, the focus is solely placed on Isla Sorna by all involved. Everyone within Jurassic Park’s universe seems to be aware Isla Nublar is no longer home to dinosaurs. Isla Sorna is the place to be if you want to see eye to eye with living, breathing dinosaurs!

Retconning established events: the rise of Masrani Global and a preliminary conclusion

Though having been kept a surprise for a long time, the cat came out of the bag with the release of Jurassic World’s newest global trailer and word from director Colin Trevorrow; the original Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic Park will make a glorious return – now shrouded in more mystery than the already much debated Indominus rex, fans still haven’t had a good look at Isla Nublar’s ruler.

The website for Masrani Global, having bought-up InGen and setting up shop on Isla Nublar to start their own park, has nothing but praise for all those involved, and gives us a, very global, muddled timeline of events:

The acquisition of InGen by Masrani in 1998 hasn’t changed the scientific focus placed on the company, and CEO Simon Masrani has looked to experienced geneticist Dr. Henry Wu to guide the company ever since - with results often exceeding expectations for investors. Thanks to Masrani, InGen has been reinvented and is bringing tomorrow’s science, today. Masrani Global’s website

In 1997 Simon Masrani began talks to acquire International Genetic Technologies after the passing of Dr. John Hammond in order to reshape and restore the company to a level of satisfaction once sought by the former founder. By 1998 InGen was under the Masrani umbrella and the years from 2002 to 2004 would help lead the Masrani company on their biggest adventure yet: the construction of Jurassic World on Isla Nublar. Masrani Global’s website

After the unfortunate incident at Jurassic Park, Dr. Henry Wu returned to Isla Nublar in November of 1994 to assist the clean up teams in cataloging specimen numbers, and to identify exactly how the animals were breeding. Despite the island’s presence of seemingly same sex animals, it was the inclusion of amphibian DNA which he himself had underestimated. Masrani Global’s website

By May of 1997 Dr. Wu and his research team at a financially struggling InGen had successfully combined several species of plant life together giving birth to the Karacosis wutansis (or Wu Flower) which gained world-wide media attention, including the attention of Simon Masrani - who incidentally acquired InGen the following year. The son of a close friend of the now late John Hammond, Simon Masrani promoted Dr. Wu within the ranks of the InGen company in December of 2000 and brought the scientist onto the Jurassic World project. Dr. Henry Wu was instantly looked at as a valued member of the Masrani company, proving his unique skill not only as a successful scientist, but a great visionary. Masrani Global’s website

Established in 2002 for the purpose of construction on Jurassic World, Timack Construction have since gone on to specializing in renowned commercial building constructions. Masrani Global’s website

Simon Masrani used subsidaries Axis Boulder Engineering and Timack Construction to work on the preparation and planning prior to construction on the island. Construction workers were protected from native wildlife by InGen security over the course of the three years from 2002 until completion in 2004. With over $1.2 billion alone spent in concrete and building materials, this project was never underestimated. Masrani Global’s website

Step into the prehistoric era and come face to face with some of the greatest animals to ever walk the Earth, the Dinosaurs! Soak in the atmosphere and visit an ecosystem like nothing experienced before. With technologically advanced ride systems, five star restaurants, and a high class golf course, it is full of excitement, spectacle, and will leave an everlasting impression on everyone who visits.

The Masrani company is proud to present the greatest theme park ever built: Jurassic World.

“The most gratifying feeling of the Masrani Company is the global appreciation of our visions and ideas. We have brought together the world’s top minds all under one roof and since 1973 we have conquered things previously thought impossible. We’ve established ourselves in many areas from telecommunications, to genetic research, and defense organizations, landing as the number one in terms of innovation and success. Jurassic World is the sum of everything that came before it.” Masrani Global’s website

Impressive as it may be, Masrani does not clarify how thorough Isla Nublar’s clean-up operation was, or what local wildlife construction crews needed to be protected from. From everything that came before, we would have assumed it was executed with the utmost care and consideration, especially given the price InGen paid for the entire operation.

”one hundred and twenty-six million dollars.” Peter Ludlow

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (deleted scene)

That’s a lot of dough, which should have ensured a conscientious, precise operation that was set up specifically not to leave a trace of InGen’s presence on Isla Nublar.

This leaves us (well, me in particular) with a most burning question: does Jurassic World retcon establish canon regarding the fate of Isla Nublar as presented to us in the original three films (in particular the two sequels), or will it offer an explanation as to how the original Tyrannosaurus still roams the island, and why the ruins of the old Visitors’ Center remain, now covered in vegetation and out of view of tourists visiting the island?

What happened to Isla Nublar between the accident in the park (circa 1993), and the construction and opening of Jurassic World (circa 2000 - 2005)? Why was this clean-up operation not successful, or if it was, why are the filmmakers deviating from the original explanations and previously established conclusions?

Of course, as a dedicated fan that wants every detail of the story to be correct, a possible retconning of years-old canon would be a somewhat bitter pill to swallow. But keeping in mind that these films are not just made for hardcore fans, but a much broader demographic, casual film audiences who come to have a good night out and see a film about dinosaurs running amok, and who aren’t necessarily fans of the films or have interest in, or knowledge of, all details, it won’t matter much if the island was properly dismantled or not.

Jurassic World might not offer any satisfactory answers. The film could gloss over the previous events (sidetracking The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III), ignore them or give the most limited of nods.

Ideally, a satisfactory explanation could be worked into the film. This would require some exposition, which could either work gloriously or fail horribly.

In a few weeks time my questions might be answered – but I’m well aware my search for a solid, well-rounded conclusion could leave me empty handed and disappointed.

Whatever the case, a return to Isla Nublar is a thrilling prospect. The island where it all started for Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler – and us as an audience -, the place John Hammond envisioned would enthrall children and adults alike, where dinosaurs would roam once again; we’re going back, and we’re going to see it as never before.

”You know the first attraction I ever built when I came down south from Scotland? It was a Flea Circus, Petticoat Lane. Really quite wonderful. We had a wee trapeze, and a merry-go… carousel and a seesaw. They all moved, motorized of course, but people would say they could see the fleas. ‘Oh, I see the fleas, mummy! Can’t you see the fleas?’ Clown fleas and high-wire fleas and fleas on parade. But with this place, I wanted to show them something that wasn’t an illusion. Something that was real, something that they could see and touch. An aim not devoid of merit.” John Hammond

Jurassic Park (1993)



ABC’S Classic “TV Is Good” Campaign:

I found an excellent analysis of the campaign from Francesco Bozza, who is the ECD and CEO of BCube in Milan. Here’s what he had to say on his blog:

Traditionally, every summer the broadcast television networks launched marketing campaigns to spotlight their program offerings for the coming season. The campaigns were often uneventful and run-of-the-mill, with viewers and the media paying little notice. In 1997, however, ABC, unveiled a different kind of campaign created by TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles. The campaign, called ‘‘TV Is Good,’’ was designed to help ABC break out of the traditional confines of network slogans and logos, and it created a stir… [more]

Thegingerbatch wrote a great little meta about interpretation that got me thinking, but my thoughts wandered off her points so I thought I should post separately. “Your interpretation can be just as valid as mine,” she said, “as long as it is text-based.“ Yes. But there are two kinds of interpretation, analytic and creative. For instance, a literary critic’s interpretation of Hamlet is one thing, and an actor’s interpretation of Hamlet is another. There is meta, analysis of the source text, and fanfic, creative extrapolations, reinterpretations, and additions to the source text. Thing is, every interpretation is a retelling; analysis can be creative expression in its representation of the text, and fiction can depend on and do excellent analysis. The difference between a meta and a fic isn’t always that clear.

I think it might be helpful to realize that for better or worse, we seem to have developed a new genre, the fanfic-as-meta, where people create elaborate new stories and tie them to the source with textual clues. (LSiT’s “M-Theory” is a good example of this.) I’ve come to appreciate that there’s actually nothing inherently wrong with this. It’s another marvelously creative game we play with the text. The problem comes when we downplay the creative aspect and insist on the analytical, that is, when we insist that our retelling is a deciphering–when we start reading symbols as codes. A symbol is indeterminate, having many connotations that can be in play at any one time. That rose could be a symbol of love and/or nature and/or mortality and/or purity. Then again, that rose could be code for the House of York. In that case, all its many connotations are eclipsed by the one codified meaning.

That’s the thing about mysteries, the detective “puzzle-stories” that ask the reader to join the detective in solving the crime. These stories depend on things having one determinate meaning: that ash on the mantle is a clue that a smoker’s been there, not a symbol of mortality or destruction or a concentration camp. (Side note: Michael Chabon’s Holmes/Holocaust novella “The Final Solution” uses it as both.) This is where I think some readings, especially TJLC readings, go astray: they read symbols as codes, clues hidden by the writer as part of a single hidden message. The train tunnel, which could be a symbol of the unknown/danger/the subconscious/the history of London, becomes a code for anal sex, and one of the many tip-offs from the showrunners to the viewers that yes, this show will be explicitly gay at some point. But there’s the tricky cool thing: the train tunnel could carry all those meanings at once. If sending the two men into the tunnel implies something about their relationship, it could be that there’s an unconscious homoeroticism that’s unknown, dangerous, part of the hidden history of London. But to catch those connotations, and I do, doesn’t mean that the characters are or will be gay. Maybe. Hopefully. But not certainly, and for me to see the connotation and disbelieve the conspiracy doesn’t mean I’m deluded/blind/homophobic etc. Here’s the long and short of it: it’s sketchy as hell for me to insist that my reading precisely reflects the author’s intentions and says something conclusive about the real-world meaning and politics of our shared source text. And even sketchier to say that if you don’t agree with me, there’s something wrong with you.

Excel Spreadsheets are the coolest things ever

I freaking love them.  I make all my character sheets in Excel, because it’s a really efficient way to organize your stats and you can set it up to do most of the math for you.  Here’s part of Alia’s sheet from our current homebrew Pathfinder game.  There’s also a tab just for her spells and another one for campaign notes.

I also learned to to statistical analysis with Excel in gradschool, because it’s cheaper than going out and buying a program.  For the short time in which I was unemployed a couple years ago, I started my own research project on X Box 360 games and gender representation of protagonists.  That involved plugging in several variables for over 1300 games.  It got overwhelming after a while, and I never completed everything I intended to look at.

I did find that only 4.2% of games on the 360 have an exclusively female protagonist/playable character.  A little less than a third of games let you select your gender (which is skewed, since I included every game that had even one woman/girl as an option.  For example, some Dragon Ball Z fighting games have like 30 characters on the roster and only one is a woman, but it still counted).  44% of the protagonists are exclusively male, and 21% of the games don’t have visible protagonists.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I compulsively feel the need to collect and organize data sometimes and Excel is like a drug for me.  

@kijilinn feels me

2015 FRC Game Theory:

“Change is coming” The second word, is, has two letters. It is also the second word in the sentence. Coincidence? I think not. Do you know what also has two letters? The word up. The opposite of up is down. Down is also associated with under. Under is the first word in the title of the 1989 Disney song, Under the Sea. What is in the sea? Coral. Coral has a hard exoskeleton that is partly formed by six ridges. Do you know what also has six ridges? The wonderfully crafted cup of water that is currently not existing but is being imagined by the reader of this excellent excellent analysis. The cup is full of water, a liquid that is required by all life on earth. Do you know what is living on earth? Harmful bacteria. Guess what harmful bacteria sometimes do? They sometimes live in water. Sometimes when people drink that water, they die of horrible diseases. When they die, they decompose, and release many gasses into the air. Argon is a gas as well. Argon is element number 18 on the periodic table of the elements. You will not beleive what I have 18 of right now. That’s right, WATER. WATER GAME CONFIRMED.