some more comics from xkcd.com apologies in advance for the coarse language
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
I have never been a fan of Shia LaBeof the actor. However, Shia LaBeof the plagiarist is a very interesting specimen.
Earlier this year he apologised to the actor Alec Baldwin by cutting and pasting text from an Esquire article. More recently, his applauded short film HowardCantour.com turned out to be a complete, uncredited rip-off that was passed off as his own work. He then apologised with a plagiarised apology. The original artist is considering legal action. A commenter in the linked article highlights further plagiarism in LaBeouf's description of his film.
Elsewhere, I read in an MTV article that LaBeouf self-published a comic titled "Let's F---ing Party" in which he steals lines from a Bukowski poem. Furthermore, the "About" section of LaBeouf's website "thecampaignbox.com" is a rip-off of the about section of another publishing company called Picturebox. His tweets have also been called out as being unoriginal copies of other journalists, critics, etc. Perhaps as a self-parody at being called out, he has gone on to tweet several more plagiarised apologies.
Of course, we are all plagiarists to some extent, since our thoughts and work is influenced by what we absorb from our environment. However, most folk do not copy and paste the work of others or steal ideas without giving credit where it is due.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
For the next few days, I will be bringing you some comedy content courtesy of "beret guy", the wonderfully life-affirming, philosophic surrealist who lives over at xkcd.
- float the mouse cursor over the comic for some often useful, additional text (this won't work on my blog so I have added the text below, where it is useful to do so).
- If you want to know more about a particular comic, there is a great wikisite called explainxkcd.com, where a few dedicated fans spell out exactly what is going on.
Monday, December 16, 2013
I just learned that the once ginormous, single play, hedge fund FX Concepts is no more. At it's peak, I think it managed well over 10bn dollars. However, poor performance combined with customer withdrawals has left the company insolvent. These guys had been around for some 32 years.
Their fate serves as a reminder that the market has a way of catching up with so many of us who go boldly searching for outsized returns.
Friday, December 13, 2013
This show can be really vulgar and crude, so much so that some episodes make me want to stop watching. Indeed, some times I do stop watching. However, most episodes are sheer brilliance, hitting the mark in terms of comedy and in terms of the unique cultural commentary they provide. Also, they are only just over twenty minutes long so there is little time for filler. The series doesn't seem to have a particular political leaning and instead pokes fun at grown-ups beliefs and behaviours and at society in general. The show's broad subversiveness is refreshing, with nobody and no concept off limits for a good mocking. If you can withstand the filth, and there is a lot of it, then this really should be on your watch list.
With my Netflix subscription due to expire in a week or so (it's a great service but I only really took it out for Breaking Bad), I have been piling in South Park Episodes over the past month. Here are my favourites from Seasons 13 & 14:
- The Coon (Cartman turns superhero)
- Magaritaville (great commentary on the economic collapse)
- Fishsticks (contains a nice lesson on ego and warped memories)
- Flatbeard (Cartmen goes to Somali to become a pirate and show them how its done)
- WTF (the crew attract a following with their back yard wrestling shows)
- Whale wars (a great episode, with a moral lesson as a finisher)
- It's a Jersey Thing
- Coon 2: Hindsight
- Mysterion Rises
Below are a couple clips from the above episodes. I look forward to returning to the show in the future.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Monday, December 09, 2013
A US government satellite was recently launched into space with this terrifyingly, dystopian logo emblazoned on its side:
Sunday, December 08, 2013
“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.” - Gustave Flaubert
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”- Joseph Brodsky
“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” - Francis Bacon
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” - Mortimer J. Adler
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” - Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
Thursday, December 05, 2013
I may post some rough notes from the course in future, but if you want the details I can do no better than point to the blog of Louise Taylor, whose note taking and presentation skills are scarily good.
At the end of the course, Harari reminds students that if ten different historians taught the course, we would have ten different versions of events. The aim of the course was not to land on a definitive truth but to raise questions and prompt students to ask questions about our past, present and future. In the final e-mail to students, Harari explains why he thinks history is important:
People often ask, what is the purpose of studying history? They sometimes imagine that we study history in order to predict the future, or in order to learn from past mistakes. In my view, we should study history not in order to learn from the past, but in order to be free of it.
Each of us is born into a particular world, governed by a particular system of norms and values, and a particular economic and political order. Since we are born into it, we take the surrounding reality to be natural and inevitable, and we tend to think that the way people today live their lives is the only possible way. We seldom realize that the world we know is the accidental outcome of chance historical events, which condition not only our technology, politics and economics but even the way we think and dream. This is how the past grips us by the back of the head, and turn our eyes towards a single possible future. We have felt the grip of the past from the moment we were born, so we don’t even notice it. The study of history aims to loosen this grip, and to enable us to turn our head around more freely, to think in new ways, and to see many more possible futures.
I hope that by introducing you to the history of humankind, this course has helped loosen the grip of the past.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” - George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
“I read like the flame reads the wood.” - Alfred Döblin
“People who say they don't have time to read simply don't want to.” - Julie Rugg, A Book Addict's Treasury
“Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.” - Paxton Hood
“I go back to the reading room, where I sink down in the sofa and into the world of The Arabian Nights. Slowly, like a movie fadeout, the real world evaporates. I'm alone, inside the world of the story. My favourite feeling in the world.” - Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
“Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.” - Stéphane Mallarmé