The Mummy: “You only have to watch the trailer to know that Producer-Director Alex Kurtzman’s reboot of Brendan Fraser’s once-charming mummy movies is full of embalming fluid.” — David Sims, The Atlantic
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: “The subtitle of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales.’ The moral of the movie, alas, is that the same cannot be said of dead franchises.” — Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
Baywatch: “Thank heaven for Dwayne Johnson, whose foot-wide smile will not be switched off, and who saves the life of the movie. Whether it deserves to be saved is another matter.” — Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Snatched: “Snatched is a trip very much like the one it portrays: one that, in the end, does a pretty poor job of putting the ‘fun’ in ‘unrefundable’.” — Megan Garber, The Atlantic
I highly recommend The Waking Up podcast, and particularly episode #71, in which the host, Sam Harris, holds a conversation with Tristan Harris an ethicist for design. If you’ve ever gone to Facebook to look up something quickly and then wondered how you found yourself caught in a vortex of wasted time, this conversation will surely enlighten you. Recommended listening for everyone that uses technology and especially those that build it.
From Tristan’s bio page:
Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left the company to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology hijacks our minds, and to demonstrate how better incentives and design practices will create a world that helps us spend our time well.
Tristan is an avid researcher of what persuades our minds, drawing on insights from sleight of hand magic, linguistics, persuasive technology, cult psychology and behavioral economics. Currently he is developing a framework for ethical persuasion, especially as it relates to the moral responsibility of technology companies.
His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, PBS NewsHour, The Atlantic Magazine, ReCode, TED, 1843 Economist Magazine, Wired, NYTimes, Der Spiegel, NY Review of Books, Rue89 and more.
Previously, Tristan was CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations across a vast publisher network.
Listen to the conversation as Sam and Tristan talk about the arms race for human attention, the ethics of persuasion, the consequences of having an ad-based economy, the dynamics of regret, and other topics.
(or use Overcast to listen at a faster speed — that’s what I do)
Here’s a taste of what Tristan’s all about:
The battle over “Stairway to Heaven” will rage on for at least one more chapter as the copyright infringement case heads to a federal appeals court. Rolling Stone Magazine has the details.
At the crux of the “Stairway” lawsuit is the accusation that the IV classic copies a riff found on Spirit’s instrumental “Taurus,” which predates the 1971 single. In his appeal, Malifoy wrote that the jury did not find the two songs “substantially similar” because they were not permitted to hear the version of “Taurus” that Jimmy Page allegedly ripped off.
Rings: “First you watch Rings, then you die…of boredom. And it might feel like seven days before the end credits too.” — Don Kaye, Den of Geek
50 Shades Darker: “Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, boring.” — Liz Braun, Toronto Sun
A Dog’s Purpose: “It might be one of the most cloying and aggressively irritating films that I have ever been subjected to.” — Josh Kupecki, Austin Chronicle
Monster Trucks: “What if ‘monster trucks’ actually meant – wait for it – that there were monsters in the trucks? From an idea by a four-year-old (really), and it shows.” — MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
Gold: “Gold is more of a bronze.” — Peter Howell, Toronto Star
2017 is the University of Lethbridge’s 50th anniversary. In celebration, the Faculty of Education has produced a series of videos that tell the story of the program through personal memories. This collection reveals what makes the U of L’s teacher education program one of the finest in Canada — community, relationships, pedagogy, research, and heart.
I feel lucky to have been asked to participate:
A lot of people on social media couldn’t wait for 2016 to be over because, they believed, 2016 encompassed more than the usual number of unfortunate events for one year.
I haven’t checked but I’m pretty sure 2016 wasn’t worse than any other year. Of course, last year there were a couple of pretty impactful events. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America (Endpire1) are, no doubt, going to have lasting consequences.
However, for me, 2016 was one of the best years of my life and it flew by so fast, I can hardly believe it. The biggest highlight of course being that in 2016, Andrea and I got married.
Here’s a quick recap with links to a few of the blog posts I made last year:
- Teaching in Brocket for Alberta Works — I loved that job and feel a real connection with my students
- Presented at SWATCA — my first time presenting at a conference, was very happy with the glowing reviews.
- Sascha — after a long and happy life, sadly, Saschi had to be euthanized.
- Hutterite Colony — rounding out my Southern Alberta teaching experience, my time on the colony won’t soon be forgotten. I felt a great connection with the kids and the rest of families there. They treated me both as family and as an important part of their community. I felt bad leaving them for…
- Teaching New Media in Taber at W.R. Myers — Even though I was hired to continue next year (temporary) at the colony, my dream-job (probationary turning to permanent) came up and I had to take it.
- Drone Fair — attending the first Drone Fair in Calgary with my brother was a chance for us feel more like we did when we were kids. I loved hanging out and chatting while learning about remote controlled aircraft. It was a super fun weekend and he even came home with a new drone.
- As a summer job, I was thinking about door-to-door sales for the home security/home automation company, Vivint. I did a bit of training with them and though excited about the product and the opportunity, in the end some cultural differences gave me second thoughts.
- Summer in Waskesiu (Prince Albert National Park) — great time on the lake but I only caught one fish all summer.
- Our riverside wedding — Nestled in next to the gorgeous South Saskatchewan River, we said our vows and got married in front of friends and family.
- Started my new job at Myers — teaching New Media, Finance, Animation, Computer Science, and CALM. I feel so lucky my teaching career is finally taking off.
- New Teacher Conference — travelled to Calgary for some professional development. First time travelling for work.
- Adobe Education Exchange Classes – honoured to be recognized for my artwork
- Visiting family in Medicine Hat and Saskatoon for the holidays
Here’s hoping 2017 will bring many more great memories (and more blog posts).
1. As far as I know, I just coined the term “endpire” — meaning the end of an empire. Hopefully it catches on.
Each and every day over the last four years, I’ve been recording short videos, cropping them down to one second clips, and compiling them into yearly summaries.
Here is the one from 2016:
Lately, I’ve been taking part in online courses from the Adobe Education Exchange. My latest class, Graphics and Illustration, asked us to represent a movie using just four simple icons. Here’s my attempt:
This assignment was a lot of fun. At first I wondered what I could possibly make but then instead of worrying about picking a story that would be too hard to make icons for, I just thought of a story that I really liked and went for it.
I wanted to keep all of the line sizes the same but when I got to the dragon in the forth icon, I ran into issues with such thick lines in a small place and decided to have secondary lines at half the thickness. I like how it turned out.
I was just recognized with a “Special Mention” award for notable artwork in this week’s class. I’m very excited because it’s something that I’ve been striving to achieve.
Just in time for Halloween, a fantastic article by Bryan Gardiner on the history and belief in backmasking, The Fight to Save America From Satan’s Subliminal Rock Messages.
After circulating pamphlets with the “backward masked” declarations spelled out, that’s precisely what Assemblyman Phillip Wyman and panel witness William H. Yarroll II did. The relevant portion of the eight-minute classic was first played forward for committee members and then reversed. Here’s what Wyman claimed could be heard: “I sing because I live with Satan. The Lord turns me off. There’s no escaping it. Here’s to my sweet Satan.” Yarroll, who identified himself as a “neuroscientist,” noted that a teenager need only listen to “Stairway to Heaven” three times before these backward messages were “stored as truth.”