Space:1999 design aesthetic merged detailed miniatures with curvy Euro-futurist interior design

Clearly influenced by Kubrick’s 1969 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1975-1977 British TV show Space:1999 features our protagonist riding a gleaming off-white almost empty shuttle to a gleaming off-white space station and then on to a gleaming off-white moonbase. A delightfully consistent design ethic created a seamless connection between the sets where the actors performed and the miniatures that did the space stuff… little things like an unusually shaped…

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Rightful Heir (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 23) Worf’s quest for the return of a fabled Klingon threatens the Klingon Empire’s status quo

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf is uncharacteristically late for a shift because he was distracted by a ritual to invoke the fabled warrior Kahless. He tells Picard that since meeting the young Klingons who grew up with no knowledge of their heritage (s6e16&17 “Birthright“), he has felt “empty,” and feels the need to test his faith. Picard is simultaneously strict and empathetic, calling Worf’s actions “Inexcusable… and understandable.” He grants him a…

In one small prairie town, two warring visions of America

Great writing and great photography in this story about a small Minnesota town where conservative Lutheran pastor Jason Wolter denies that COVID-19 vaccines work. “You’re lying to people,” he says, “You flat-out lie about things.” Wolter is speaking of Reed Anfinson, his next-door neighbor, who is the editor of the Swift County Monitor-News, “[a] contemplative man who casually quotes Voltaire, he loves newspapers deeply, and mourns the hundreds of small-town papers…

The eagles in Lord of the Rings are a plot hole, but also an us problem

Part of my enjoyment of genre franchises is looking for and appreciating continuity. The other side of that coin is, of course, pointing out continuity gaps. But a plot hole is just a plot hole, and means nothing without context. A logical inconsistency in a tense psychological courtroom drama would be more serious than a logical inconsistency in a jukebox musical. I don’t read Larry Niven for his dialogue, and…

Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Emotions

A history of the beginning of the pandemic, oragnized around emotions. More recently, the Museum of Contemporary Emotions—a project of the Finnish government’s Finland Forward pandemic communications initiative—picked up Ekman’s work as its scaffolding. The Museum, really an interactive website, is a kind of digital archive of experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, styled with the sans-serif aesthetics of a direct-to-consumer startup and the haunting, echoing soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic Catholic Mass.…

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The Chase (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 20) Planet-hopping archaeological DNA mystery

Rewatching ST:TNG A well-done mystery that could have, *should* have, redefined our understanding of intelligent life in the Star Trek storytelling universe, but did not. Picard’s beloved archeology professor shows up after 30 years to invite Picard on a mysterious expedition.  I respect that the writers don’t ask us to believe that Picard is seriously tempted by the offer; instead, Picard is worried about having to say no, once again,…

I Cannot Begin to Tell You How Proficient I Am in Microsoft Word

Is this satire? It doesn’t matter. It gave me feels. For me, though, it was Word Perfect and Broderbund Print Shop that were there for me as a teenager finding my voice. Bold and italics are the oils that grace my palette. Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Fonts, bullets, columns, indentations—these stubborn materials are no match for the alchemy with which I extract meaning and impose order.…

He dedicated years of his life to QAnon. One day made him question it all.

Thoughtful analysis structured around one man’s personal journey away from QAnon. No single online platform is responsible for QAnon’s rapid rise. YouTube hosted the videos that many members credit with their “red pilling,” the favored term for a supposed enlightenment or exposure to conspiracy theories. Facebook allowed for easy conversation, meme sharing and organizing. Twitter, Justin’s favored platform, provided fertile ground for QAnon influencers and their lies. “It was an amplification machine,”…

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Lessons (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 19) Picard and a new officer bond over their shared interest in music

Rewatching ST:TNG When Picard is up in the middle of the night amusing himself with his archaeology hobby, he’s annoyed to find that Stellar Cartography has taken communications, library systems, and the replicators offline.  When he heads down there, the officer in charge is taking some sensor readings that are so delicate they can be totally ruined by a 3am meet-cute. Lt. Commander Nella Daren is intelligent, focused, witty, well-rounded,…

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Media Bias Chart (Ad Fontes, v. 9)

Objective news reporting is an ideal. Wherever humans are involved, there will be bias. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with journalism that reports with a particular slant, but informed consumers of news who want to understand a complex issue aren’t served by one-sided media coverage that flatters and amplifies their world view. This chart sorts popular news sources on a left-right axis according to political slant, but also on a vertical…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article…

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Birthright, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 17) Worf teaches traditional ways to young Klingons in Romulan prison camp

Rewatching ST:TNG The Klingon captives tell Worf they had no chance to fight their Romulan attackers at Khitomer. After the Klingon leadership refused to acknowledge any of their warriors had been captured alive, and the Romulans leadership had no further use for them, the Romulan Tokath spared them. Over the years, they formed a new community where Romulans and Klingons live in peace. The leaders of both factions warn Worf…

Academics want to preserve video games. The game industry is fighting them in court.

For decades, champions of the video game industry have touted gaming’s cultural impact as the equal of literature, film and music. Traditionally, the classic works from those mediums have been preserved for study by future generations, and amid gaming’s global rise in relevance, a group of video game scholars and advocates is pushing to preserve the game industry’s historic titles and legacy in a similar fashion. In the process, though,…

Fact Check: No, an NPR story on the Trump supporters’ attempted coup dated January 6, 2021 9:33 AM ET is not a sign of a conspiracy theory

A conspiracy theory featuring a news story that NPR posted early on Jan 6 2021 and then updated after the pro-Trump demonstration turned into an anti-democracy riot was shared widely last year. My meme explaining the concepts of time-stamps and updating a breaking news story didn’t get shared nearly as much. People who already believe journalists regularly lie to make Trump look bad will share viral memes that confirm that…

Grappling with Genocide: Fostering Empathy and Engagement through Text and Image (NEH funded education summit, Seton Hill University, July 11-22 2022)

Some of my amazing colleagues have collaborated on an amazing NEH-funded summer institute that provides teachers in grades 6-12 with resources for teaching about genocide. The event, scheduled for summer 2022, includes units on the erasure of Native Americans, an empathy-building Narrative 4 storytelling workshop, and more. There’s a stipend for participating in this event, and on-campus housing is available at a very modest cost — about 10% of the…

Happy Winnie the Pooh Public Domain Day

WINNIE THE POOH PUBLIC DOMAIN JANUARY FIRST — Jason Scott (@textfiles) December 24, 2021 Thank you to the 500,000 people who have visited this tweet. I'm delighted to see so much interest in the public domain. We take a one day break every year to celebrate the hundreds of thousands of works that become locked open. Here's a great overview:https://t.co/yMCzHkRDtw — Jason Scott (@textfiles) December 25, 2021

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In December 2001 I was blogging about

In December 2001, I was blogging about Changes in Online Culture The End of Free (chronicles services that used to be free but that now cost money) Is the [Technology] Revolution Over? Imagine Silicon Valley Buried Like Pompeii Wil Wheaton While the character of teen wonder Wesley Crusher was annoying because weak scripts had him saving the ship too many times, I wrote this blog page that traced early references…