Philip Berne

Are Premium 3D Glasses Worth It?

Are Premium 3D Glasses Worth It?

I was going to review Harry Potter this weekend, but I realized that would be a pointless endeavor. I try to review films on the edge of good taste, to either save my readers from a horrible film, or recommend a surprisingly good one. Harry Potter is a no-brainer movie. If you have seen the first six movies, you must see this one. If you haven't seen them, you have about 15 hours of movie watching to do before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I will make any sense. So, instead of reviewing the obvious blockbuster hit, I decided to try an experiment.

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Cut, Copy and Hate

Cut, Copy and Hate

Digital culture ran smack into politics this week when celebrity gossip site TMZ published what it claimed (uncontested by those involved) were screen shots of a Facebook conversation had by Willow Palin, the daughter of the controversial political figure Sarah Palin. I remember the days when a politician was stabbed in the back by a gruff, anonymous source who used a fake name and passed dossiers in a dark parking garage. Reporters would work for days to verify the claims just to make sure they were true. Now, all you have to do is press shift-cmd-4, and you can make a perfect copy that you can distribute to the entire world in an instant. It's still easy to fake information, but it's even easier to pass along the raw data.

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A Modest Travel Safety Proposal

A Modest Travel Safety Proposal

It is a sad day when I board a plane and all I see around me are potential terrorists. And I'm not just talking about the obvious terrorists, the disgruntled white Midwestern men. Remembering that most successful terrorists look just like us when they fly, it is impossible to feel safe and secure on an airplane. These potential enemies are all wearing underwear, in which they could smuggle explosive devices (or large sums of cash, if you live in Md). They all have shoes on, with thick soles that could easily hide weapons or bomb-making material. They bring with them luggage, certainly large enough to carry a mass destruction device. Everywhere I look, all I see is danger.

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The Social Tide Receding

The Social Tide Receding

There were a few instances that made me realize my social networking habits had gone too far, for too long. One of them went something like this. I would say to my wife something like: "Hey, my friend Gina is pregnant."

"Who's Gina?" My wife would ask.

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Movie Review: Skyline

Movie Review: Skyline

I've heard the movie Skyline compared to Cloverfield, as the same movie but with better camerawork. It's true that Skyline takes concepts from obvious influences, Cloverfield being one, but in many ways it also comes across as fresh and new. It isn’t a very good movie, though it is mostly an enjoyable ride. But the best part about Skyline is that it's a fair benchmark for just how far special effects have come in the decade or so.

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Wired Makes a Boob of Itself

Wired Makes a Boob of Itself

Thank you Wired. Thank you so much for the boobs cover. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I was racking my brain trying to think of a lighthearted topic for a Friday column, and there you come, smacking me in the face. At first I thought it was just silly, but with all the attention the cover has been getting, I couldn't look away. So I'm going to tackle this topic head on. I'm going to grab it with both hands. Motorboat. Sorry, couldn't think of a stupid pun so I just stuck that in.

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Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake

It is inevitable. A columnist will post a thoughtful article on a polarizing topic, and the comments section will explode. Whether the column was sensationalizing one side or the other, or if the columnist took a more moderate stance, it doesn't matter. Often, the commenters have obviously not even read past the headline. They see the word that sets them off, that raises their blood temperature to a boil, and they have to attack. Or they see their side being razed, beaten down once again by the mindless cretins who are always on the attack. They charge into battle, swinging blindly and hitting whatever stands in their path. In the end, the same thing always happens. The argument goes meta, and becomes about arguing itself. Then, someone brings up Hitler.

No, wait, not Hitler. I meant Linux. Somebody brings up Linux.

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The Swiftness of Internet Justice

The Swiftness of Internet Justice

In 1988, Michael Dukakis was asked a question at a debate that probably helped end his career. Moderator Bernard Shaw asked him if his wife were raped and murdered, would he favor the death penalty? You can see a video of the exchange on YouTube, but needless to say Dukakis' answer is completely unsatisfying. He talks about how the death penalty is not a deterrent. He talks about Massachusetts and the drop in crime there. He never talks about his wife, even in the hypothetical. I've thought a lot about this question. I am not in favor of the death penalty, and this seems to be the sort of question that always pops up to challenge people who think like me. Here's how I would have answered:

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Movie Review: The Millennium Trilogy

Movie Review: The Millennium Trilogy

The final movie chapter in Stieg Larsson's so-called Millennium Trilogy books finally came to my local independent theater, and I decided to see it before I actually read this book, since I knew it would not be around long enough for me to finish reading. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" actually wraps up the ongoing story of Lisbeth Salander in a very neat and tidy way. There aren't loose ends, so much as there is the possibility of more to come, and in fact Stieg Larsson, who died at the age of 50 before seeing any of these books published, left an unfinished book behind, and possibly synopses for more.

Actually, I haven't even started the last book in the trilogy, though I've read the first two. I probably won't even buy it, now that I've seen the movie. All of the movies stayed relatively true to the plot and the spirit of the books.

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iVote Therefore I Am

iVote Therefore I Am

If you're living in the United States right now, chances are you're sick of hearing about elections and politics. That's why I'm writing this today, instead of last week. I want to ride the coattails of that nausea and make a suggestion for the future of voting. The problem, I think, is that politicians do not care about you. They are ignoring you, and right they should. You don't matter. Your issues don't matter. Your concerns don't matter. Politicians only care about one type of person, and it's not you, because chances are, you didn't vote.

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