Archive for the ‘breaking news’ Category
This video keeps disappearing from YouTube, but given its inevitable place in popular culture, modern history, media studies, the news cycle, and the fact that it was first broadcast free-to-air and that no money is being made by reposting it here, its hosting is justified, imho. Sorry for the fact that it’s not smooth playing, I think it’s about 1FPS. It’s a shame to not see his full facial expressions, but it’s worthwhile for the audio and to know what was actually said, rather than just what was reported, again, imho.
Have been trying to upload actual video but WordPress wants paid upgrade before allowing any video to be part of the 3GB upload limit. Oh well. That sucks.
You’ll just have to check out the hyperlink before it gets taken down there as well.
Happy creepy viewing.
Given its nature as a graphic novel, it is more than fitting that Watchmen is a similarly graphic film. Anybody familiar with Watchmen, the book, is most likely enamoured of it, and sure to have an idea of which elements of the richly layered text matter most to them.
The good news is that the characters are mostly well cast and recreated in a manner true to the novel. Promotional material is already out, spruiking the end of the superhero as we know it. But rather than ending anything, Watchmen – both as a book and as a new film – is about creating a necessarily new approach to the modern hero fable.
Rather than the appalling candy floss of Spiderman or Superman, and even less ‘moral’ than Hulk or the Dark Knight, Watchmen’s mostly well-drawn characters are multi-dimensional and as ambivalent as they have to be. Even with the elevation of some modern concerns like energy sources and the geopolitic of Afghanistan to a prominence they lacked in the graphic novel, Watchmen honours the original work of Alan Moore in a way that the Waukoski brothers’ molestation of V for Vendetta did not.
Matter-shifting Dr. Manhattan has all the power needed to save humanity from itself, but lacks the desire to use it. The Comedian is an alcoholic misogynist sociopath who wants to see the world burn, but shudders fatally when that possibility becomes certainty. Rorschach is almost as psychotic and unforgettable as on paper. In almost any other film, he could be the standalone supervillain.
Ozymandias/ Veidt lacks some of the impact he should have, simply because he is not portrayed in any sympathetic way, he looks more like a blonde Ken doll or Flash Gordon extra than the more rugged and wise comic book depiction of his character, and because the casting decision for this character who simultaneously achieves total heroic and villainous status is perhaps the worst in an otherwise well-played film. Other than Veidt, the Richard Nixon character is probably the closest to caricature in the film, contrasting pointedly with the far less thinly drawn characters driving the story.
And let’s face it, how few action movies of the last decade – whether transposed from comics or not – have offered anything substantial or challenging by way of character development, let alone done much more than sermonize Brady Bunch values thinly veiled in bloodshed?
Even at around 150 minutes and using the graphic novel quite faithfully as a storyboard, the filmmakers were never going to be able to transfer the entirety of such a complexly constructed book to screen. So the question really is one of what they left out and how they managed what was kept in.
A number of the vignettes and side stories not involving the Watchmen characters don’t make it into the movie and this is something of a shame. The directors and screenwriters likely made the decision that to do otherwise would crowd the work and add confusion to an already agile film which does – to its credit – faithfully use the soundtrack laid out in the novel, augmenting it with some clever pop culture inserts and beautifully constructed media montages and character backgrounds. Similarly, some of the book’s more extreme supernatural elements are excised, traded off instead for more ‘real world’ scenarios. Again, this is probably a choice based on what the film’s structure can solidly support and what audiences can comfortably absorb.
But the choice is also made to give the love and lust relationships of the novel greater prominence than they originally had. In a way – and like some of the costuming – this choice reaffirms the stereotype of the comic book fan as frustrated middle aged virgin. But the notion is fleeting, mostly offset by an avalanche of great ideas, explosive violence, and dark philosophical observation. Fans of the novel may scowl at the ending, but at least it offers a surprise for everyone.
The big question: is Watchmen a film release worth looking forward to?
Absolutely – catch it on the biggest screen and biggest sound system that you can. It’s really quite a movie experience which, despite some annoyances and absences, isn’t to be missed.
Unless you’d rather be watching Australia.
Watchmen gets 8.2 out of 10 (on a scale where V for Vendetta gets 6.5, X-Men 1.5 gets 8 and The Dark Knight gets 9)
In an unexpected breakthrough, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has confirmed new steps in addition to the humanitarian aid corridors and three-hour daily ceasefire announced in the last 24 hours.
“Under the 6 month truce with Hamas,” said Livni, “increasing numbers of weapons have been smuggled into Gaza, forcing Israel to defend herself. For this reason, convoys into Gaza are a security problem. But we do not want ordinary Palestinians to suffer, so we will increasingly handle delivery of humanitarian aid – particularly medical supplies – to Gaza.”
The announcement from Livni further detailed Israel’s plans to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the people who need it most. Using new delivery technologies, the Israeli military will work together with U.N. relief organizations to improve conditions for ordinary citizens of Gaza.
With the benefit of knowledge gained from resupply of US troops in Iraq, the UN and Israeli forces will fasten hardened carbon fibre packages containing antibiotics, anaesthetic, surgical tools, bandages, and saline solution to munitions aimed into Gaza. The new approach will ensure that medical supplies reach the Palestinians who need them most, at the time they are most needed.
Named META – Medical Emergency Targeted Attachment – the containers detach from missiles just moments before impact. The packages are clearly marked with a red cross and emit a series of short siren bursts to allow easier recovery by survivors within the immediate blast zone. Encapsulating nanotechnologies have produced a 93% average survival rate for META contents in field testing.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is still upset by Israeli attacks on U.N. schools in Gaza, which killed more than 30 refugees, but he sees hope in this new targeted delivery of humanitarian aid.
“We do not approve of the wanton destruction of U.N. property,” said Moon, “but Israel knows that this senseless violence cannot continue. We are encouraged to see some sense in their latest steps toward creating a more humane situation on the ground in Gaza.”
Livni insists that the latest move is not just a cynical stunt suggested to Israel by Washington as a way of projecting a more caring image even at a time of unregulated and unjustified slaughter.
“Here in Israel,” said Livni, “we have already forgotten more about efficient management of civilian populations than most countries have ever had to learn.”
Sea Shepherd have just reported their first encounter of the “season”, locating a Japanese harpoon boat inside Australian waters off Antarctica. Obviously, some people will take the notion of ‘Australian waters’ off Antarctica to task. The economic exclusion zones off Antarctica are recognized by a relatively small number of nations, but they are also well established and well known to Japan, whose whaling fleet has been deemed to have a legal case to answer in Australia for killing whales there previously.
Will Peter Garrett break into his holidays (which began in November 2007) to register his official concern with the Japanese government, or, more strongly still, will he ask them to order their government-sponsored whaling fleet to stop breaking Australian law? Or, even strongerer (!? yeah, sure) will he go with the plan that he announced when he was simply trying to win votes and send Australian naval vessels to intercept returning whaling vessels and board them for the purpose of documenting evidence of their illegal whaling activities.
Time will tell, but don’t hold your breath. At most, it’s likely that he will aim to deliver 5% of a rebuff by 2020, with the possibility of demanding 15% of an apology if whales can be heard dying from marginal electorates.
From Sea Shepherd
Captain Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin now has the entire Japanese whaling fleet on the run.
At 2345 G.M.T. the Steve Irwin intercepted the Japanese harpoon vessel Yusshin Maru #2 inside the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone at 64°26 South and 132° 40’ East.
The encounter took place in dense fog and in dangerous ice conditions. The Steve Irwin launched a Delta boat with a crew to attack the Yusshin Maru #2 with rotten butter bombs. Unfortunately the wind increased to fifty knots with blizzard conditions. Captain Paul Watson called the small boat crew back for safety reasons when they were halfway to their target some three miles away.
The Yusshin Maru #2 then headed due North to lead the Steve Irwin away from the whaling fleet. The decoy did not work. The Steve Irwin is now in pursuit of the whaling fleet.
They have ceased whaling operations and they are now running from the Sea Shepherd crew.
The Yusshin Maru #2 was the same vessel that the Steve Irwin crew boarded in January 2007. This year the crew observed that the Yusshin Maru #2 has set up large netting to be run along the side of the ship to prevent boarding parties from going over the side. When the whalers realized that the Steve Irwin was onto them, they immediately ran on deck to deploy the netting.
“It looks like Whale Wars, season #2 is officially underway.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We’ve got them on the run. They are not in the Ross Sea where they said they would be. They are in Australian waters. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is officially calling on Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to order the Japanese fleet to comply with the orders of the Australian Federal Court and to cease and desist from killing to whales in Australian waters.”
Captain Paul Watson
Master – The Steve Irwin
Master – The Farley Mowat
Founder and President of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Massive extinctions warned about by academics over the last decade seem set to start within the next. Updated science since the diplomatically framed IPCC reports of this year and last indicate that the planet has already begun processes that are almost too grand to halt, let alone reverse.
The escalating scale of human emissions could not have come at a worse time, as scientists have discovered that the Earth’s forests and oceans could be losing their ability to soak up carbon pollution. Most climate projections assume that about half of all carbon emissions are reabsorbed in these natural sinks.
Computer models predict that this effect will weaken as the world warms, and a string of recent studies suggests this is happening already.
The Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide has weakened by about 15% a decade since 1981, while in the North Atlantic, scientists at the University of East Anglia also found a dramatic decline in the CO2 sink between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.
A separate study published this year showed the ability of forests to soak up anthropogenic carbon dioxide – that caused by human activity – was weakening, because the changing length of the seasons alters the time when trees switch from being a sink of carbon to a source.
Soils could also be giving up their carbon stores: evidence emerged in 2005 that a vast expanse of western Siberia was undergoing an unprecedented thaw.
The region, the largest frozen peat bog in the world, had begun to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago. Scientists believe the bog could begin to release billions of tonnes of methane locked up in the soils, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The World Meteorological Organisation recently reported the largest annual rise of methane levels in the atmosphere for a decade.
Which means you can take your 5% carbon reduction and your 2 degrees of manageable warming and stick them up your arse. We’re headed to a place that will make Children of Men look like comedy.
It is now almost impossible to believe that the first official act of the Rudd Labor Government was to sign Kyoto. Barely a year after that act, now reduced to almost empty symbolism, Kevin Rudd and his climate change and environment ministers – Penny Wong and Peter Garrett – must own responsibility for a complete surrender on Australia’s carbon reduction. Against all economic, scientific, and even best political advice, Australia has announced a target of 5% carbon emission reductions by 2020, with the possibility of aiming for 15% reductions if other nations work harder.
With this 5% target, Australia has very deliberately given a gift to cloistered anti-action interests the world over. Up until 2007, the argument by opponents of climate action was that to move without commitments from China, India and America would be unproductive and disadvantageous. Now, forced into action globally, major corporations and lobby groups will certainly resist credible targets of 20% or more by pointing to Australia.
Professor Ross Garnaut has consistently described climate change as one of the most diabolical policy problems possible. Australia, however, even after clear warnings about disappearance of water sources, destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, and economic impacts on crops and ecosystems has just created a similarly diabolical problem for the world. We have not just waved a white flag on massive biodiversity loss and global suffering. We have ensured that those who think nothing of worsening the situation will be well-armed at post-Kyoto negotiations in Copenhagen next year.
The only reason to create the possibility of a 15% target barely makes any sense. It does mean that the Rudd Government can aim to come through the financial crisis and their first election as incumbents before doing something that will upset corporate lobbyists. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t have that long. The major climate talks ate the end of next year will certainly be distorted by this inept move. And to think that any developed economy will try to move toward a 25% target in order to get Australia to aim for far less than that is simply narcissistic.
Disgusted. And angry. And ashamed. The most energy-resource rich nation on Earth has just thrown the planet in the ‘too hard’ basket.
Amazingly, business groups are already complaining that the target is too high!!!
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Peter Anderson says reducing emissions by 5 per cent will be difficult for the business community when it is also dealing with a financial crisis.
“There are transition costs involved, there is a need for investment in technology and all of that involves costs, particularly at a time when the focus of the business community is on trying to get through the storm that we have around us,” he said.
These greedy sociopathic pigs don’t grasp the fact that chemistry and ecology don’t stop because their Christmas bonus is a bit light. To think, the Rudd Government has copped out on climate change to keep people like this happy is to wonder when democracy became the tool of the few rather than the servant of the many.
A real bloody disgrace.