Archive for February 2010

Sword of the Stranger Review

February 25, 2010


I first came across this at AnimePlanet because of user recommendations linking this movie to Guardian of the Sacred Spirit. Both have similar initial plot devices and are set in a feudal esque era, with physically capable body guards as main characters.

Both series have excellent fight scenes where action is action rather than stage drama in the form of speeches. Some speeches are fine as a form of portrayal for internal motivations but it helps to separate the two into clear and decisive lines. It also plays into my own view of social vs asocial violence, which is another topic.

Centrally, the idea of warriors as protectors harmonizes with my own belief systems. It’s interesting to see Japanese authors take on this segment of life philosophy.

The introduction of the Ming in Sword of the Stranger, I found to be particularly interesting, since I could understand a few words in Mandarin though the accentuation seemed to part of an obscure dialect of Mandarin. The written forms of Chinese have not changed, but over the centuries the words changed in sound. Similar to Old English, perhaps.

The villains, of course, were not as interesting as in Moribito. In Sword of the Stranger, the villains had various motivations ranging from “good intentions” to “personal self-interest” to “fighting for the art of improving fighting”. Since this is a movie, what you get is a condensed form of characterization and plot line, but it doesn’t lose its impact just because it is concentrated.


Deliberate Engineered Failures

February 20, 2010

Courtesy of Suek

Grassroots does work. Which is why it was worked at. Obama is a manifestation of the result, but he himself isn’t the source of the problem. Thus his competence or lack of competence is not really going to determine the fate of this country one way or another.

As I see it, the relationships problems of people today, the economic system, the inequality between rich and poor, all were not just simply mistakes made. It was all engineered to fail. The suffering we see didn’t just happen because of human nature. Somebody engineered it so that the consequence would be more suffering rather than less suffering. It wasn’t just an accident or a result of human fallibility. It was intentional. This the divide between a “mistake” and an evil act.

Ethics: Root of the Problem

February 19, 2010

Every dog owner knows a pooch can learn the house rules—and when she breaks one, her subsequent groveling is usually ingratiating enough to ensure quick forgiveness. But few people have stopped to ask why dogs have such a keen sense of right and wrong. Chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates regularly make the news when researchers, logically looking to our closest relatives for traits similar to our own, uncover evidence of their instinct for fairness. But our work has suggested that wild canine societies may be even better analogues for early hominid groups—and when we study dogs, wolves and coyotes, we discover behaviors that hint at the roots of human morality.

Courtesy of Grim.

Saiunkoku Light Novel in English

February 11, 2010

Now this is an interesting poll. It’s a sort of “gauge the interest” in a product type production.

Saiunkoku, the country of many colors, is a historical romance utilizing fantasy elements and political machinations. Everything else is self-explanatory in the link.

The important element I make note of is the difference between Yes and No answers to the question of buying the book in Amazon/Kindle format vs trade paperback, at the same price of 10 dollars. You can notice a drastic shift. From some other things I have heard from protected/secured ebook formats, unlike Baen’s unlocked ebooks, is that the value just isn’t there compared to a paperback that can be loaned to others or carried everywhere. The ebook doesn’t need to be produced on paper, so the production and material costs should be far less. But it isn’t. And why isn’t it? probably because the money goes into the copyright protections, which isn’t there to benefit the user at all. So the companies produce ebooks, which have a less production cost than mass paperbacks (especially if you count in the fact that you don’t need to produce more than will be sold, so no retail warehousing over costs).

Businesses that tries to protect itself with semi-monopolies, rather than extend themselves to provide greater service to the customer, is stuck in the government regulation pit, popularized by companies such as Fannie Mae and French’s Airbus.

I’ve recently been watching anime: Heroic Legend of Arslan, Legend of Lodoss War OVA, Blue Submarine 7, Sword of the Stranger, Guardian of the Sacred Spirit (Seiri no Moribito), Cromartie High School, Banner of the Stars, Scrapped Princess, along with some old titles like the Macross movie. Hopefully, I can write up reviews for them soon.

Music Appreciation

February 5, 2010

Obama’s Bunker Bubble

February 5, 2010

I thought this was a particularly good take on Obama.