This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Where did all the UFOs go?

Posted by: James Lileks under Praise, Technology Updated: April 5, 2013 - 1:17 PM

Or rather, why have we stopped seeing UFOs? This article wants to know. The author has a theory:

The visible and the invisible, the material and the spiritual, the phenomenal and the noumenal are no longer the distinct realms they once were. They have become mutually permeable to their mutual diminishment.

Well, duh, you might say. (“Noumenal” is something you know without using your senses, if you’re wondering. I had to look it up.) The author discusses the rise of skepticism, the onslaught of unreal things from every angle - TV, billboards with enormous faces - and some other things. A French Marxist is cited. The comments make some pertinent points: people might not believe in UFOs because the evidence is scant, and now that everyone carries a movie camera in their pocket there’s no excuse for the dearth of good UFO footage.

Possibly. But the author asks why we stopped seeing them. Whoever “we” is. My own theory: fascination with UFOs has become one of those things in which we indulge when times are good. In the 90s, the old world was winding down; we’d reached the end of history, threats were scant, and hence there was a need for something to give us a tweak, something mysterious and fascinating. Hence, the X-Files. Hence, all the UFO / Alien fascination.

Or they are real, and they’re just leaving us alone for 10 years because they have some observation to do on Alderaan IV, and those guys are much more interesting. They sing in colors.

Then again:

  

 

It's not always convincing when the "Insect-like" craft is brought to you by Mr. BeePeeOilDisaster, but on the other hand, the music is certainly convincing. And you have to love the return of the old favorite, the Cigar-Shaped UFO. 

 

BEST KOREA The Norks have managed, alongside other enormous acts of inhumanity and cruelty to all things living, to completely screw up the environment. One of the reasons they have famines is because they lack some essential elements of farming. Like dirt.

Before ecologist Margaret Palmer visited North Korea, she didn’t know what to expect, but what she saw was beyond belief. From river’s edge to the tops of hills, the entire landscape was lifeless and barren. Villages were little more than hastily constructed shantytowns where residents wore camouflage netting, presumably in preparation for a foreign invasion they feared to be imminent. Emaciated looking farmers tilled the earth with plows pulled by oxen and trudged through half-frozen streams to collect nutrient-rich sediments for their fields. “We went to a national park where we saw maybe one or two birds, but other than that you don’t see any wildlife,” Palmer says.

“The landscape is just basically dead,” adds Dutch soil scientist Joris van der Kamp.

All this so the Inner Party can keep themselves in Courvoisier and Marlboros.

 

MOVIES Among the eulogies for Roger Ebert, there’s this: Buzzfeed has a list of his ten favorite films. “Citizen Kane” is number 3. I mention this not to add to the Ebert memorials, but to help anyone who can’t figure out why “Kane” is great. Ebert did a commentary track for the most recent DVD / Blu-Ray release, and it’ll explain everything. He knew that movie frame by frame, and his explanation is one of the best primers on film you’ll ever get.

By the way, I’ve never figured out why the marketing for the movie was so lame.

 

It’s Terrific? That’s all? As for “Everybody’s Talking About It,” that was repeated in the trailer, which I won’t embed because every fargin’ one of them has a 31 second pre-roll ad. The premiere had a neon marquee that repeated the “terrific!” idea:

 

 

His hands rose up and he got bigger. Okay. Perhaps they had no idea how to sell it, and thought they’d pretend it was something exciting and inspirational.

TECH Silly Apple rumor of the day: the iRing.

 

Furthermore, we believe “iWatch” will be an important part of the “iTV” ecosystem, tapping into “iTV” services in a much more mobile friendly manner, complementing the “iRing”. The interaction between “iTV” and making phone calls will be an important feature of this experience, while the “iWatch” and “iRing” will provide increased mobility around the home, supplanting the need to carry a smartphone around the house. Finally, we believe consumers will pay approximately $1,500 to $2,500 for the “iTV” package.

You'll have a ring that will control the Apple HDTV set, and a watch, and a smaller screen as well for watching TV when you're in another room. So you'll point the ring at the watch to pause? You'll dump your iPhone around the house because the iWatch duplicates all its functions? You'll put the ring on when you want to watch TV? Let me repeat that question: you'll put the ring on when you want to watch TV?

And people don't have enough trouble finding the remotes?

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