In praise of the sci-fi corridor

Corridors in science-fiction movies. I love them. I wasted too much of my childhood and youth imitating and developing the superb production sketches of Ron Cobb, Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie and many others. I walked round Elstree studios collecting precious vacuum-formed sections of cloud-city corridor from The Empire Strikes Back, some months after principal photography stopped. I had reams of sci-fi corridors worked out. Corridors make science-fiction believable, because they’re so utilitarian by…

The Internet Archive Is Digitizing & Preserving Over 100,000 Vinyl Records: Hear 750 Full Albums Now

These people do important, amazing work. While shiny, digitally mastered vinyl releases pop up in big box stores everywhere, the real musical wealth lies in the past—in thousands upon thousands of LPs, 45s, 78s—relics of “the only consumer playback format we have that’s fully analog and fully lossless,” says vinyl mastering engineer Adam Gonsalves. Few institutions can afford to store thousands of physical albums, and many rarities and oddities exist in…

“I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” — midterm reflection from college freshman

“It has made me more confident in myself, and I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” –freshman student reflecting on the first half of my “Shakespeare in Context” course. In lieu of reading comprehension quizzes, I have students post informal responses. They respond to an orientation lecture and each act of the play as they read, and finally they write a brief synthesis paper. That cycle usually takes about…

The Measure of a Man (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 9)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data’s autonomy is at stake in a taut, character-driven courtroom drama that resists pandering — no distracting fist-fights or space battles. This episode not only succeeds as a stand-alone meditation on the human condition, it meshes narratively with events from past shows and offers affordances for future story arcs at a time when most TV was purely episodic. “The Measure of a Man,” by…

A tale of two headlines: CNN and Fox shade their reports of UFC crowd’s reaction to Trump

Headlines from CNN and Fox shade in different directions, but both articles agree in substance that Trump got a mixed reaction from the “Ultimate Fighting Championship” in New York yesterday. The Fox reporter carefully cites the phrasing of other journalists who saw the reaction as mixed, as opposed the CNN reporter who confidently describes the boos overpowering the cheers.