"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Links of the Week

DC Comics Rebooting 70 Year History
DC has announced that it is rebooting its universe almost from scratch after their current "Flashpoint" story arc end. The relaunch will have 52 #1 titles come out that month starting with Justice League #1 (to left is the cover). The origin story, back story, events, costumes (including more clothing for the woman) and more will be altered to "modernize" the characters. While DC is being silent on specifics, it seems that the goal is to simplify the universe and make it easier to adapt to movies, television and video games. An example is from the art here which shows Green Lantern Hal Jordan using the ring to create a Gatling gun. Until the movie, that would have never done that, created preferring hitting hit opponents over shooting them. The tendency for creating guns was left to former Marine, Green Lantern John Stewart. Another example is Superman being de-aged to late 20s and more than likely no longer married, again aligning with the upcoming movie. The examples will probably continue with characters losing more complicated or "messy" portions of their past like deaths, marriages, offspring, and more. I am betting the directive is if the story arc or character can't be explained in less than two minutes, then that aspect will be removed from DC's new continuity. If you are a long time reader of comics, this news is probably bad but if you are looking to try them out (or hop off the collecting merry go round), this is good news. As a long time collector familiar with DC Comics history, I find the idea full of story potential but DC's execution over the years has been sloppy at best as Warner Bros executives ultimately make the big decisions and that often doesn't lead to good storytelling.

The Men Who Made Zelda
Hit the link to reach an interesting article from 1991 that discusses the creation of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the best Zelda game of all time. If you are a fan of the games, it is cool to read some of the unexpected things the game creators are proud of. This was written before all interviews became extended sales pitches that get processed through the PR filter.

The Reason for Spam
If you want to know why you get so much spam, here is a figure that explains it. According to a New York Times article, it takes 12.5 million spam emails to sell just $100 worth of Viagra.

GOP's Job Creator's Myth
See that chart to the left? That was created by Eric Cantor's Joint Economic Committee. Cantor is a Republican. Notice a very important pattern about that chart. When it comes to creating jobs, Republican's are consistently very bad at it. Republican's Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Bush I and Bush II have the worse records in the last 75 years. Bush II is the second worse but that is only because we didn't have an actual Depression despite his best efforts. What do all of them also have in common? Why believe that making the rich richer, to hell with the rest is the best economic policy.

For 10 years now the GOP has been selling the belief that the only reason things are not better is because of taxes. Despite taxes going 10 every year for the last 10 years, it just isn't enough. This, of course, is the basis of trickledown economics. If the rich have money, they will "trickle" that money down to the rest of us by spending and investing. The problem with the theory though is what happens when the rich don't spend, invest, give raises, or anything else? Well we are living it every day now. Wall Street and big business are doing better than ever and flush with cash while the middle class and poor continue to struggle and worry every day if they will be the next victims of downsizing.

The GOP solution? Why more tax cuts of course! 10 years of it just wasn't digging deep enough despite the now 7 trillion in debt it has caused. It is times like this I wish history was taught better in school and the average American knew how to think critically. For nearly 30 years, our economy has been mostly based on the GOP way of thinking and for nearly 30 years the rich has got richer and everyone else has enjoyed stagnation. The facts don't lie. These are not "liberal" facts (again the graph above is from Eric Cantor, #3 in the GOP) as is much of the other graphs in the link above. If you want things to improve, if you want the economy to get better more has to be done than just handing over checks to the rich. Tax cuts are fine...as long as they have incentives tied to them like creating jobs here in the states, investing in the company and more. The GOP plans is "give more money; they will eventually do the right thing." When in all the history of mankind, has the rich and powerful done the right thing just because? Exactly.

By the way, what happened to the GOP's campaign promise that the number 1 priority was jobs, jobs, jobs? Six months later, with lots of anti-union, anti-abortion, anti-healthcare bills later, have yet to see a single bill or even discussion of anything to do with jobs. As always, the GOP - "Make the rich richer, to hell with the rest."

What College Degrees Are Really Worth
A depressing article that demonstrates that while the cost of getting a degree has gone up, the value of that degree has gone down. I personally have had direct experience with that as my Computer Science degree is barely worth using as toilet paper. It has had so little value to me that I gave it to my mom as I knew I would burn it out of frustration. Sadly, at this point in history, a bachelor degree is what a high school degree was 30 years ago. Nowadays at least Master's is required to separate you from the pack or having the right connections of course.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 TV Spot
A new TV spot of my second most anticipated movie of the summer behind Transformers 3.

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