Stephen's blog

Rogue One - The Ending That Wasn’t Meant To Be

SPOILER & SPECULATION Heavy - Read at your own risk.

As most people know by now, the third act of Rogue One was extensively reshot. The earliest trailers for the film have loads of shots that not only aren’t in the final version, but contradict what we all saw on the big screen.

Putting together what could have been, and may once have been is purely to speculate with very few clues. And that’s what the rest of this article is going to do, without attribution.


Accept it or stop reading. SCREW IT, READ MORE

The Evolution of Christmas Songs

The passing this week of Greg Lake, singer and songwriter of one of my favourite Christmas songs, made me realize that there are still a lot of new Christmas songs being written, ones with staying power.

For most of us, the Christmas songs that we hear year in and year out, even those done by modern artists, are songs from the 1950s and 60s. Whether it’s The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, White Christmas, It’s beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas or Santa Baby and Christmas, Baby Please Come Home, a lot of what gets radio airplay is old.

It was in the 1970s that new Christmas songs started to appear, songs that weren’t written for kids or as disposable ditties. READ MORE

A Review of The Wind-up Girl

Science Fiction set in non-Western cultures can be very interesting, and lately I’ve been lucky to find two that are very immersive, The Wind-Up Girl and Three Body problem. This review will focus on the former.

The Wind-Up Girl (by Paolo Bacigalupi) take place in post-apocalyptic Bangkok. The story is about cultural and character clashes, even among those work towards the same goals. Ths story has been called eco-punk, as it looks at (among other things) the effects of genetically hacked plants, animals and people.

The story involves a power struggle between the Thai government and foreign interests as well as within the government as two ministries vie for power and influence. However, none of the point of view characters are powerful figures in the Thai government, giving that internal struggle less prominence until much later in the story.  READ MORE

The Hubris of the Echo Chamber

Like many, I was not only surprised, but shocked by the recent US elections. Michael Moore warned us back in July, but he was ignored. Nate Silver told us, and was ridiculed for that.

Many academicians have been warning people that more and more we live in echo chambers, self-reinforcing patterns and opinions, because we aren’t made aware of the alternatives. Google will show you different results than it will your co-worker, in each case trying to appease whatever expectations Google assumes you each have. Likewise, Facebook learns what you want to hear and who you want to hear it from, and dutifully refuses to challenge your preconceptions. This reinforces the idea that you are well grounded in reality.

Tuesday’s election should be a wake up call against the echo chamber effect. Read on