Friday, March 30, 2007

DVD CCA vs. Kaleidescape

Slashdot reported the great news that Kaleidescape delivered a TKO to the DVD CCA in the case brought by the DVD CCA regarding Kaleidescape's media server business. If you've been reading long (yeah, like I have regular readers), you'll know I first blogged about the battle over 2 years ago. Unfortunately, the judge only decided this based on the fact that the contract was poorly worded and ommitted an important part of the Content Scramble System specification. This basically means that the DVD CCA just needs to modify its agreement to eliminate future media servers. I don't believe the article linked by Slashdot when it says more companies will enter the market.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Merck Vaccine Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

Nope, I'm not talking about that vaccine. I'm talking about the Chicken Pox vaccine the government has been pushing on us since the mid-90's. It turns out it may be doing as much harm as it is good. Read more over at Yahoo:

Effects of Chicken Pox Vaccine Fade Over Time

From the article:

And with fewer natural cases of the disease going around, unvaccinated children or children in whom the first dose of the vaccine fails to work have been catching the highly contagious disease later in life, when the risk of severe complications is greater, they said.

So if none of us were getting the vaccine, we might be a lot safer. Interesting stuff indeed...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Anti-300 Petition (Spoilers)

Over at Filmstalker, Richard tells us that a certain Dr. Nasab has created an online petition against the movie 300 for its portrayal of Xerxes and the Persian army. Let's take their objections one-by-one.

They write:

It is a proven scholarly fact that the Persian Empire in 480 B.C was the most magnificent and civilized empire. Established by the Cyrus the great, the writer of the first human right declaration, Persians ruled over significant portions of Greater Iran, the east modern Afghanistan and beyond into central Asia; in the north and west all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), the upper Balkans peninsula (Thrace), and most of the Black Sea coastal regions; in the west and southwest the territories of modern Iraq, northern Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt and as far west as portions of Libya. Having twenty nations under control, encompassing approximately 7.5 million square kilometers, unquestionably the Achaemenid Empire was territorially the largest empire of classical antiquity.

Now, does this have anything to do with the movie? No. The only part of Persian history addressed in the movie is the Battle of Thermopylae.

Moving on:

Based on the Zoroastrian doctrine, it was the strong emphasis on honesty and integrity that gave the ancient Persians credibility to rule the world, even in the eyes of the people belonging to the conquered nations (Herodotus, mid 5th century B.C). Truth for the sake of truth, was the universal motto and the very core of the Persian culture that was followed not only by the great kings, but even the ordinary Persians made it a point to adhere to this code of conduct.

In reading a little about the Zoroastrian Doctrine, it does not appear that killing to expand an empire and rule its people meshes with its core ideals. But again, it's nice to know these things about Persia, but they aren't part of the movie.

Finally something on-topic:

We did not expect Warner Bros. Picture company, as one of the world's largest producers of film and television entertainment to ignore the proven obvious historical facts, and damage its own reputation by showing the Persian army at the battle of Thermopylae as some monstrous savages, and thus create an atmosphere of public mistrust in its content, and hurt the national pride of the millions of Persians while doing so.

So the only relevant grievance we see in this entire letter is that Persians were represented as "monstrous savages". It's obvious Frank Miller took some creative license with the appearance of the Immortals along with a couple of deformed, monster-like Persians. In both cases, though, the appearance was to an extreme that seemed fictional.

Who did the movie really portray as monstrous savages? It seemed to me the Persians kept trying to reason with the Spartans, and all but once, the Spartans bloodied them for it. We also saw deformed people living amongst the Persians whereas the Spartans discarded them as infants. The Spartans also tolerated and followed religious figures who seemingly kidnapped and raped Spartan women. Spartan law required male children to leave their parents and go out into the wilderness to kill or be killed.

So, who left the movie thinking the Persians were the savages? I didn't. I think the real problem here is that the movie sets it up for the Persians to be the bad guys, and you know what? They were. As savage as the Spartans were, it was the Persians who were the goliath trying to conquer Greece, and most of us are wired to root for the underdog.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

IF Update: At it Again

I've started fasting again. It's been long enough now that I know my injuries are unrelated, and quite honestly, my digestive system felt like garbage. That's not to mention the massive sinus infection that hit me and the couple extra pounds of fat I managed to find.

So at this point, I'm looking at a Tuesday-Thursday schedule, and I lost 2 pounds yesterday. But, I may end up changing my mind and doing something like Monday-Friday. We'll see what happens.

If you're reading this and have been fasting, how have you been doing? Muscle gain? Fat loss?