Forgotten toys. Forgettable films?

I’m not convinced about this:

Having already had enormous global success with their Transformers franchise (G.I. Joe, not so much, but that’s stopping a new movie from getting made) Hasbro/Paramount are bringing another – although somewhat lesser known – toy franchise to the big screen with Micronauts.

I remember having Micronaut toys back when I was young… which almost certainly puts me in a very small minority, especially given that the toy line was quite short-lived.

The Den of Geek article notes that these are characters that aren’t deeply embedded in the pop culture landscape, which opens up the creative potential, but I suspect that this advantage — if any — will be minimal. Micronauts may have a minor nostalgia appeal to a minority of middle-aged adults, but for most it’s a long-forgotten brand and I find myself struggling to see why anyone would bother with it.

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Resolutions

If you are stuck for a resolution for next year, PZ Myers has a suggestion:

Just so you know, 31 December is #TwitterEvacuationDay, when many people are making the jump to alternative micro-blogging media, or just throwing up their hands in disgust and giving it all up. It’s the only way to make Twitter wake up, I think…or at the very least, to personally escape the toxic trap.

I’m recommending that everyone make the leap to Mastodon — or, I hope, that at least some of my friends get an account there. Really, it’s just like Twitter — the interface is exactly like Tweetdeck, if you’re familiar with that. The big difference is that, instead of one giant central server for everyone, it’s distributed among many smaller servers, or instances.

I had abandoned Twitter, and was happily using GNU Social, long before Mastodon was a thing. But Mastodon and GS instances can talk to each other, so which platform you prefer really is just a matter of personal preference.

But if you are still on Twitter, December 31st is a good time to join the Fediverse.

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I’m forever selling bubbles

Long Island Iced Tea Corp renamed itself to Long Blockchain – and its shares went bananas

Non-alcoholic beverage slinger Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which is publicly traded and wasn’t performing particularly well financially, decided to rename itself this week to Long Blockchain – and its share price soared 289 per cent.

I should start a company called “The e-Cyber Blockchain Business”. With a name like that, I won’t need a product.

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Happy Metamas

From XKCD

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Superficial, pointless and wrong

There has already been plenty of response to the news that British passports will[ be dark blue after 2019. For me, this story underlines wrong with the various claims made by the Brexit lobby.

Firstly, of course, there is the fact that this is yet another case of ignoring reality in favour of a bunch of symbols of a world that no longer exists — and probably never did.

Secondly, the claim that the burgundy passport was imposed on the UK is flat-out wrong. There is no requirement for passports to be burgundy and no-one would have batted an eyelid had the UK decided to issue dark-blue EU passports, just as no-one bats an eyelid Croatia’s dark blue EU passports. Indeed, Charles Powell has confirmed that it was the Thatcher government that chose to ditch the blue passport.

This Brexiter obsession with superficialities like passport colour sums them up perfectly. It is a pointless and illogical obsession based on a complete failure to understand where we are today and why. The previous passport layout was determined by the League of Nations back in 1920 and the size and layout of modern passports is determined by the needs of international airports (as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the UN).

Brexiters have nothing. Everything they have promised has been shown to be a lie and they are reduced to either clutching at nonsense like this or pretending that a referendum result is somehow inviolate and unchangeable.

As David Davis once said, if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.

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Darth Maul: Apprentice

It’s that time of year again, when we eat, drink and celebrate the release of another Star Wars film. We shall be seeing The Last Jedi this afternoon, but in the meantime I stumbled across a rather good fan film from German company, T7 Production.

Darth Maul: Apprentice is a 17 minute film that speculates about where Darth Maul came from and how he became the character that we see in The Phantom Menace.

The first minute or so sets up the premise and, to be honest, this part felt a bit clunky. This is primarily because — for me — the technologies on display didn’t really feel sufficiently consistent with what I tend to expect from the Star Wars universe.

That said, though, when the film gets going it really is spectacular.

Obviously, because this film is set before The Phantom Menace, it isn’t hard to see how things will end, but watching Darth Maul reach that ending really is gripping. This is especially true of some of the scenes involving Svenja Ju as the Jedi Apprentice. She puts in a particularly strong performance which makes for a genuinely powerful ending.

But that’s enough waffle from me. Darth Maul: Apprentice is available on YouTube, or you can watch it below.

Darth Maul: Apprentice

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Another Uber protest

Brussels taxi drivers protest against Uber

Around 200 Brussels taxi drivers staged a protest against the private hire app Uber on Tuesday morning. The drivers are unhappy about what they see as unfair competition from the app posing a threat to their jobs.

I find that my sympathies tend to be with the taxi drivers when it comes to disputes about Uber.

Ultimately, Uber is nothing more than a minicab firm with an automated dispatcher and underpaid drivers. I don’t really see why people keep getting so excited by this.

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Trust, once lost, is difficult to regain

In a surprise to no-one, the EU27 have “hardened” the language of a proposed Brexit resolution for this week’s European Council summit in following David Davis’ remarkably stupid comments on Sunday that last Friday’s Brexit deal with the EU was “more a statement of intent than a legally enforceable thing.”

The text now also says the U.K. will stay in both customs union and internal market for the time of a transition period, which includes the whole acquis (the body of EU law) and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. While that has always been clear to the EU side, it will be made explicit in the summit resolution “to avoid any ambiguity,” according to one diplomat.

Spelling out what transition means also include making it explicit that the UK will have no representation in any EU body or agency, “neither as a member nor as an observer,” the diplomat said.

And it doesn’t stop there. The European parliament’s main parties have drawn up an amendment to their Brexit resolution, on which MEPs will vote today, condemning the Brexit secretary personally for damaging trust.

Michael Roth, Germany’s minister for Europe, told German media he was “taken aback” that the language May had used in Brussels “differed somewhat” to what the prime minister had said in London since her return, referring in particular to the suggestion that Britain would only pay the final bill to the EU once a trade agreement had been reached. “She needs to be taking the same line in Brussels as in London,” he said.

The arrogance, incompetence and stupidity of the Brexit fantasists in Theresa May’s cabinet are undermining the future of the the UK and putting at risk the economy, jobs, services and the status of British citizens around the world. Their actions are liable to torpedo any deal with Europe and leave the rest of the World wondering why on Earth they would talk to us.

It’s way past time for some adults to step in, take charge and call a halt to this whole farrago.

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