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Aemon Stark

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Everything posted by Aemon Stark

  1. Or maybe just because Doug Ford is a loudmouth asshole? Or that - less than 2 weeks out - the PCs still have not released a costed platform? Or any platform?
  2. Aemon Stark

    Unpopular opinions

    It's decent, but I've never understood why Guillermo del Toro gets so many accolades. Yes, he has a great visual style and very cool productive design, but his characters are flat and stories simplistic. Pan's Labyrinth is actually unpleasant and depressing. I do enjoy Hellboy and its sequel though... I also enjoy Ewoks, even with their fairly incredible victory over an "entire legion of (the Emperor's) best troops". And I like Episode III a lot. Star Trek III is actually a pretty good movie. Drake is a fairly shitty rapper/"artist" and he will only ever be known to me as Aubrey Graham, aka the wheelchair kid "Jimmy" from Degrassi: The Next Generation. It's been said already, but I don't really get love for the Beatles. All very meh.
  3. Aemon Stark

    SOLO: A Spoiler Story (contains spoilers)

    Just came back from seeing this. While it was kind of fun, this movie was something of a disaster in execution. It shows a lot of evidence of production and writing problems and above all being rushed. The highlights were some of world-building details like the Corelia spaceport scene and the brief thing with the Imperial recruiter (though the Solo name origin bit was all too cute) and Donald Glover. He completely pulled off Lando, almost emulating Billy Dee Williams voice. I also liked all the little EU callbacks like sabacc and Kessel and the like. The idea of big crime syndicates that seem heavily embedded with the Empire (all those officers at Vision's party) was pretty interesting too. Unfortunately, I thought the Solo actor was utterly unconvincing and he looked far too old for the part. Ehrenreich almost seems older than Ford in A New Hope (certainly his face is more creased). It's jarring and weird. If his appearance weren't a problem, his performance is still problematic. There was far too much smirking. Nothing about it seemed natural. But then he also had no real narrative or emotional arc to work with. He's a cocky orphan who becomes a cocky soldier (what happened at the Academy??) who becomes a cocky smuggler I guess. But I didn't buy any of it, didn't feel like anything had any real stakes, and felt almost no tension about anything about his character or his emotions. That's a big problem. He's the main character. The title character! Yet I don't feel we really figure out anything about Han here other than how he got his name. His relationship with Qi'ra feels underwritten and I found myself uninterested in their relationship even from that opening scene - little to no chemistry between Clarke and Ehrenreich and they never have any "normal" moments in which to show more about their time together. I thought Emilia Clarke was okay, but her range is kinda limited and it shows. This would have been less of an issue had her character been better written. It would have been way more interesting to *see* some of the apparently ruthless/terrible stuff she did to survive. Instead she talked about it repeatedly and then killed Vision (who I did kinda like simply because Paul Bettany is capable of doing a lot with little) as if we'd seen prior evidence of her as a true femme fatale. Everyone else was fine. I liked Chewie and Harrelson - even if his character was an inconsistent mess - and I was surprised that they killed off Harrelson's friends to early on (Thandie Newton didn't get to do much at all sadly). I still didn't feel much tension about anything. The reveal about the Marauders was fairly bizarre and random. Didn't work for me at all. L3 wasn't bad as a droid character but was kinda too ridiculous for me to take seriously at all. I never watched Clone Wars so I actually had no idea that Darth Maul was still alive through some harebrained explanation. (The Internet told me after the fact.) Buddy was cut in half in an almost comical fashion and careened down a classic Star Wars exhaust shaft. Maybe his resurrection could be sold in animated fashion but in a live action film I thought it was RIDICULOUS. And since I didn't and don't have any interest in watching Clone Wars it made for a fairly laughable ending. But at least there was a little callback to "Duel of the Fates" and the relevant Williams music for that scene. But that brings me to my last complaint: the music. I like John Powell but I can only assume that this movie was almost entirely temp-tracked with pre-existing Star Wars music. The whole Kessel/Maw sequence was comprised of direct reprises of the "Asteroid Field" and "Here They Come" cues from Empire and A New Hope, respectively. A bit of reuse is okay but it's sad that (evidently) there wasn't time even to write/record something halfway original. Otherwise Powell just used existing themes haphazardly throughout the rest of the movie - the rebel motif without the presence of any rebels, Luke's theme without Luke. I'm not always a fan of Giacchino but he did good work with Rogue One. Williams's themes are leitmotifs and as such relate to specific characters and specific moments, but they're used without any care here. Very disappointing. I'm sure this reflects time constraints more than anything else, but it's inexcusable all the same. But I did like the kinda major Imperial March for that recruiting video. @Werthead I'm surprised you liked this as much as you did! I'd certainly put this one welllllll below Rogue One (which I like best of all the newer ones). It gains some points over the new trilogy instalments with nice world-building details but really fails at any kind of emotional core or compelling character arcs. I suppose it's better than Episodes I and II, but Revenge of the Sith worked on an emotional level that Solo absolutely faltered on. Episode III is fairly flawed but generally earns its self-seriousness. I give it two Picard facepalms out of five (though Picard would argue there were only ever four possible facepalms).
  4. I do enjoy some improvisational comedy.
  5. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/toronto/gallery-van-hits-pedestrians-in-north-toronto/ Picture no. 8 shows the southwest corner of Yonge & Finch, including a Korean restaurant (NakWon) I once went all the time along with the former Crazy Wings right at the corner. My best friend lived across Yonge less than a block away. I don't even know what to say.
  6. Aemon Stark

    Gamergate? Toxic masculinity? Ready Player One?

    It's pretty hard to imagine anyone really caring *that* much about things from decades ago, even though I do think pop culture things like movies and TV and games have more longevity now than they once did (which is to say very select items since there's a vast amount of stuff that has been rightly forgotten). All this reminds me of Star Trek TOS fans arguing with fans of TNG or DS9 about minor (and irrelevant) inconsistencies or changes. Of course, these were taken as heresy against a sacred text, and evidence of the irredeemable apostasy of DS9. The movie wasn't quite on the nose with that attitude, but certainly brought it to town when Director Krennik was deemed to be a "poseur" of pop culture knowledge. I mean, I love Back to the Future too, but I'm not in love with all pop culture from when I was a little kid, let alone to the extent that I get most of Seth MacFarlane's 80s sitcom references. I don't have any interest in reading this book, but from the movie alone it's fairly clear that the "nostalgia as guiding ideology" aspect doesn't sit well with me.
  7. Not exactly a simple question! The time for training piece is not very different overall, but in many countries all postsecondary education is highly (or even wholly) subsidized. There's also a lot of variation in US training. Health outcomes, of course, are driven mostly by public health initiatives and social determinants. But the US is also a country where the main public health authority is banned from researching gun violence, so things are a good deal more disorganized and fucked up then even the surface suggests. The evidence that does exist is very low quality and subject to a lot of selection bias. To take the examples of nurse practitioners in a lot of settings, they work fewer hours, see fewer patients, make $100-150k with full benefits, and don't provide call coverage or after-hours care. We're starting to see some more physician assistants in Canada, but all they have is an abbreviated med school training without any residency. Classic example of people that "don't know what they don't know". In any case, nurses do a lot more procedures now that once were the purview of physicians only (e.g. IVs, bloodwork, etc.). Those are pretty simple, though. The issue is that a lot of assessments and plans look simple but are underpinned by a whole lot more.
  8. "Europe" has a lot of variations in medical education. Generally speaking the initial medical school +/- undergraduate degree stage there is shorter, but postgraduate training, whether called residency or housemanship or whatever tends to be longer. Credentialing foreign-trained physicians is challenging given substantial variations in what happens throughout the world. I would say the US has generally gone too far in giving "mid-levels" responsibility at the expense of quality (and sometimes cost effective) care.
  9. Well things like Bortezimib (for myeloma) or Rituximab (for various lymphomas, vasculitis, various other immune diseases) were developed by industry. Cancer research facilities are not lacking for industry connections either. "Nonprofits" often assist in raising money for research and other aspects of care but drug design and research is big business because it's expensive and (yes) risky too. Uh, thanks I guess... The problem with health care delivery trending in the more corporate/for-profit direction is the shift in power toward MBA types don't know much of anything about front-line work.
  10. Yeah. Sorry if I seemed to be nitpicking. The thing about Gleevec is that it's at this point an "old" drug that has been superseded by "better" BCR-ABL inhibitors. The problems with drug company profits vs prices arise from poor and/or insufficient regulation, since at some point they become rent seekers that "innovate" only insofar as they have a marginally different drug than the nearest competition. The device industry if anything has less robust regulation than pharma. Not to say that devices aren't safe (some aren't!), but the evidence underlying their use is often a lot poorer and even more industry-driven. But you're not going to get non-profits to manufacture anesthetic machines or endoscopes. The reason we need regulation is not because "profits" in themselves are problematic, but the market imperfections and failures in health care more broadly create such intractable problems of information and "demand".
  11. Well, ether had long been isolated before it was ever used as an anesthetic. But that doesn't mean that volatiles like halothane on down were generic to start. And who do you think makes those anesthetic machines? There is a vast number of companies involved in cancer treatment; even aside from usual cytotoxic chemotherapy, there are ever more "targeted" receptor therapies. Lots of curative therapies exist for various maligancies. Most myeloma patients, for example, died within about 2 years of diagnosis. Now survival is often more in the range of 15-20 years. That's just one example. Yes, for many things there are ongoing adjuvant therapies that continue for a long time to maintain sustained remission, but there are lots of cancer cures via some combination of chemo, surgery, radiation, and now "targeted" therapies. Perhaps. Drugs like Harvoni have revolutionized hepatitis C treatment in the last few years, rendering it an effectively curable infection and no longer a chronic disease. CML hasn't generally been a death sentence at diagnosis, but did progress inexorably without treatment. It has always had curative therapy available - stem cell transplant. Unfortunately that carries a lot of risks in itself. You're not going to get benign treatments for severe systemic diseases.
  12. Aemon Stark

    Star Trek: Discovery #2, set phasers to stunned.

    Season 2 has a lot more than just "tolerable" episodes. Many episodes tend a bit more to do "slow burn world-building", but the opening three-parter with Bajor on the brink of civil war was strong, "Necessary Evil" (Odo film noir with depictions of Terok Nor) was great, as were "Whispers" (O'Brien's a replicant?), "Blood Oath" (TOS Klingon reunion), "The Maquis" two-parter, "The Wire" (Garak's first big episode), and "Crossover" (the first, best and most "serious" Mirror Universe episode). What's more, while Discovery is all over the place in terms of its character arcs and big picture storytelling, DS9 manages to be consistent, continuity without serialization, and slowly setting the stage for the emergence of the Dominion at the end of Season 2.
  13. Aemon Stark

    Am I Ready, Player One?

    Saw it in IMAX 3D on Tuesday. It was enjoyable, but I felt it was heading down a dark path early on when that first race scene made me think of the pod race. Not good. But it improved and held my interest. The references ended up being a fair bit subtler than I expected too. I liked Alan Silvestri's numerous callbacks to his Back to the Future scores. All the same, I don't really get why anyone in 2045 would remember anything about Atari...
  14. Now the NYT is into it: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/22/opinion/doug-ford-populism-canada-trump.html#story-continues-2
  15. Rob was another lying asshole who occasionally exhibited a sort of "charisma" (not for me) that some know-nothing idiots came to appreciate. And I don't care about how some of them were immigrants or working people or whatever. He was an asshole who I wouldn't have trusted to watch my cat for a weekend let alone, say, solve minor low-level neighbourhood issues (not that he ever did). I don't much mind "speaking ill of the dead" either - he was a liar and a bad person, an awful mayor, and an even worse father. What kind of dad of young children goes around all night pissing outside at gas stations, getting wasted at civic events, and hanging out with gang-bangers and drug dealers while smoking some crack with them? His legacy is one of worsened transit dysfunction, the mediocrity that is John Tory, and of course the now-candidacy of his more polished and even more awful brother (to say nothing of his do-nothing hack nephew who's done nothing of consequence in life to inherit a safe council seat). And I don't even live in Ontario let alone TO.
  16. Aemon Stark

    Black Panther Spoiler Topic -- because someone had to do it

    After the experience with the endless impenetrable Klingon subtitles in Discovery, I'm quite glad to stick with accented English. Of course, perhaps by an amazing coincidence, Wakandan and English are exactly the same...
  17. I'm listening to a Doug Ford interview and it's just so painful. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/03/13/doug-ford-sure-disliked-a-lot-of-questions-in-this-cbc-interview_a_23384590/ He's a "grade A" asshole who needs to be called on his BS. He actually starts questioning the interviewer as if she was a political opponent.
  18. Aemon Stark

    Academy Awards 2018: Oscar Night

    Can't say I did either - though to be fair I was 12 or 13 when I originally saw the movie. And that's another knock for Ridley Scott's awful Robin Hood.
  19. Aemon Stark

    Academy Awards 2018: Oscar Night

    Braveheart does have that great James Horner score though.
  20. The most ridiculous part of this leadership election is that Ford only won thanks to a bizarre weighting system. Christine Elliott actually won more votes and more ridings but still somehow (narrowly) lost. I just wish we lived in a world where it was easy to write off a loudmouth asshole.
  21. Some of the visuals were utterly haunting and stayed with me long after I'd left the theatre. The premise might have been familiar but the execution felt fresh - even in how the members of the expedition get picked off one by one (it was easy to expect but the "how" was interesting). Certainly a lot cooler than that Han Solo trailer... Woody Harrelson in Star Wars?
  22. I saw it in theatres here (Canada). It was pretty trippy, though maybe I'll hold further comments for now.
  23. Ugh: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/doug-ford-leader-ontario-canada-1.4571558
  24. Aemon Stark

    Uh Oh for Paleo

    But what do you mean by "nonspecific" inflammation? Complement-mediated? Cell-mediated immunity? Humoral? Gas and distention are uncomfortable but they are not inflammatory. It's not all that clear really. Impaired glucose tolerance can develop in pregnancy and in the context of dietary/lifestyle factors. There's also late-onset autoimmune cases that can get confused with type 2. Hmm, I tend to think it's the fibre that's the key there. But diet drinks inasmuch as they're carbonated involve a fair bit of gas that might have something to do with it. Plus things like aspartame actually do get absorbed and metabolized. But those examples aren't really inflammation at all. They're hypersensitivity reactions, anaphylaxis vs a mild allergy. So I don't know. The types of things I see people buying at the grocery store (e.g. tonight, a 2-4 of Pepsi) surely have considerable effect on how we eventually enter disease states. But pro-inflammatory vs anti-inflammatory foods generally? It's still more speculative and some of the discussion here needs more precise terminology.