Entries Tagged 'review' ↓

An excellent article on diet and nutrition

Unhappy Meals by MICHAEL POLLAN

It starts with the simple advice and conclusion of the piece:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I’m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words.

And more evidence of how capitalism fucks with policy:

Naïvely putting two and two together, the committee drafted a straightforward set of dietary guidelines calling on Americans to cut down on red meat and dairy products. Within weeks a firestorm, emanating from the red-meat and dairy industries, engulfed the committee, and Senator McGovern (who had a great many cattle ranchers among his South Dakota constituents) was forced to beat a retreat. The committee’s recommendations were hastily rewritten. Plain talk about food — the committee had advised Americans to actually “reduce consumption of meat” — was replaced by artful compromise: “Choose meats, poultry and fish that will reduce saturated-fat intake.”

A subtle change in emphasis, you might say, but a world of difference just the same. First, the stark message to “eat less” of a particular food has been deep-sixed; don’t look for it ever again in any official U.S. dietary pronouncement. Second, notice how distinctions between entities as different as fish and beef and chicken have collapsed; those three venerable foods, each representing an entirely different taxonomic class, are now lumped together as delivery systems for a single nutrient. Notice too how the new language exonerates the foods themselves; now the culprit is an obscure, invisible, tasteless — and politically unconnected — substance that may or may not lurk in them called “saturated fat.”

Lucky for me I’m mostly vegetarian.

Besides which, it makes sense. The spoils of a meat kill were somewhat of a luxury for our ancestors, and our bodies are evolved to be sustained mostly from foraging fruits, nuts, and veges.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

I picked this book up cheaply since it was a tacky version with George Clooney on the cover that came out for the related movie. I had it sitting on my shelf for a while since when I saw the movie, despite it being excellent, I associate it with some pretty bad times. One day I’ll be ready to appreciate it again though.


The book was a bit of a let down and reminded me a lot of a Dostoevsky novel. Lots of grim internal commentary going on. Unfortunately I couldn’t relate to the characters very well, the most human one (Rheya) is ironically not really human, which I can say without really ruining the plot. Although perhaps that is an ironic point that the author was trying to convey. I found the main character a passive-aggressive asshole more often than not, and unfortunately the book is written in the first person.

The plot itself was also a little lacking, nothing really happened, and there was a lot of history on Solaris and its research to read. History is great, but in this short novel it seemed to be a little excessive. Maybe I’ve been ruined by reading pulp sci-fi with at least a little action.

It did however invoke atmosphere – loneliness, isolation, and being in the clutches of unfathomable alien entity. Glad I read it since it is a classic, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.

Warcraft in Southpark

I just recently have been watching the 10th season of Southpark – which I’m finding pretty entertaining after not originally being drawn to the show. The last episode I watched was “Make Love, Not Warcraft” which, as you might guess, is a episode about World of Warcraft. It’s pretty damn funny, and awesome that Blizzard collaborated with them on it.

Back to Gnome

After spending the last year or so in KDE land, I’ve decided to come back to Gnome and see how I feel.

It’s refreshingly simpler – the other bonus is that it’s the default Ubuntu desktop, so seems to be integrated much better.

GEdit is can be made to look similar to Kate (I wanted to learn VIM, but I don’t have time and I’m probably too lazy) which is nice for me.

I’m going to miss amarok. Although not as much as I thought anymore. People always said amarok was one of those killer apps that are for showing off linux. Well, I recently searched for a replacement for winamp in windows and came across mediamonkey (winamp just wasn’t keeping up with the 220 gigs of music on my server). Mediamonkey is the best damn player/library manager I’ve seen. The only thing I miss is being able to auto view artist’s wikipedia page within amarok, but that’s easily solved with a plugin or script.

Anybody know something that rocks and integrates well with Gnome? It needs to have lots of library management tools and allow libraries to be browsed by directory (using a backend database and without actually searching the directory so that offline drives can be in a collection).

Also, hopefully Feisty Fawn is seriously improved before release, as it isn’t in a state for an general home user to make use of. Either that or I’m doing everything wrong because I’m used to the command line.

Again I will say it

The new Nine Inch Nails album is superb. Even though I’ve only heard 5 of the leaked/radio broadcast songs (the album has 15):

Me, I’m not
My Violent Heart
In this Twilight
The Beginning of the End

I feel a NIN obsession rising within me again, eek!

Did someone tell me that NIN was playing in Sydney soon? I may have to rob a bank to steal the money I need for this.

Children of Dune Miniseries

I just finished watching the 5 hours mini-series entitled the Children of Dune. The only Dune book I read was the original, which I really enjoyed but haven’t gotten around to reading anymore – thus I have some background on Dune, but can’t compare how the series relates to the book.

It’s a good thing I had read Dune, otherwise I’d have been a bit lost. They really don’t explain much about what is going on and I didn’t quite understand exactly where everyone was, but I at least had the background story so could still enjoy it. The casting of characters in my opinion was excellent, particular Lady Jessica, Duncan Idaho, and Gurney Halleck – since they matched how I envisioned them while reading Dune.

The story itself seemed very rushed, and I felt I only got a small amount of the experience of actually reading the book.

Apparently the series won a visual effects award or something. While the scope and amount of effects needed to portray Arrakis, the worms, etc. properly is immense, the are not that great. Some of the scenes felt like they were created for an FMV adventure video game.

So I’d give it 6.5/10 tonnes of spice. It could have been MUCH worse, and I still enjoyed the overall experience.

Crank and The Departed

A week ago, in a fit of escapism, I went to see two movies in a row: Crank and The Departed. Which I will review very briefly…

The Departed

This follows two undercover agents, Matt Daemon (bad guy playing good) and Leonardo de Caprio (good guy playing bad). It’s pretty awesome, and quite brutal. A longish movie, but definitely worth it.


Crank was a lot more light hearted. Still violent and actiony, but not quite so serious. Right at the start, the main character is been poisoned with a slow acting drug that will eventually kill him. The only thing that delays this is adrenaline which keeps his heart pumping. This results in him running around killing people with the goal of finding his poisoner, ingesting many drugs to keep him going and having sex in front of a crowd with his girlfriend (’cause otherwide he’ll die ya know).

Neverwinter Nights 2 re-assessment

I still hold that NWN2 was a bad release, and had many bugs, not least of which was being unable to install the game! However, I managed to get around that by getting a registry file from a NWN2 forum member, which let me then run the update program, which as it turns it fixes alot of the bugs, including being unable to save ones game!

Below are the entries for my x64 install. For 32 bit windows, you’ll have to alter the Program File paths and remove the \Wow6432Node from the registry paths. You’ll also need to find the GUID that windows is using for NWN2 (you might not have to, but I did it just to be sure). Find the NWN2 GUID from the uninstall entry (search reg for neverwinter or something related), as this somehow WAS succesfully entered into the registry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Obsidian\NWN 2\Neverwinter]
"Installing Name"="Neverwinter Nights 2"
"Location"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Atari\\Neverwinter Nights 2"
"Path"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Atari\\Neverwinter Nights 2"
"StartMenu"="C:\\Documents and Settings\\All Users.WINDOWS\\Start Menu\\Programs\\Atari\\Neverwinter Nights 2"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Obsidian\NWN 2\Neverwinter\NWUpdate]
"Ping Timeout"="1000"
"Internet Connect"="0"
"Window Position"="203,147"
"Window Size"="618,447"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Obsidian\NWN 2\Neverwinter\SecuROM]
"ADMIN_RIGHTS"="No administrator rights. Please logon as an administrator."
"ANALYSIS_DISCLAIMER"="Dear Software User,
This test program has been developed with your personal interest in mind to check for possible hardware and/or software incompatibility on your PC. To shorten the analysis time, system information is collected (similar to the Microsoft's msinfo32.exe program).Data will be compared with our knowledge base to discover hardware/software conflicts. Submitting the log file is totally voluntary. The collected data is for evaluation purposes only and is not used in any other manner.
Your Support Team
Do you want to start?"
"ANALYSIS_DONE"="The Information was successfully collected and stored to the following file
Please contact Customer Support for forwarding instructions."
"AUTH_TIMEOUT"="Unable to authenticate original disc within time limit."
"NO_DISC"="Please insert the Neverwinter Nights 2 Play disc."
"NO_DRIVE"="No CD/DVD-ROM drive found."
"TITLEBAR"="Neverwinter Nights 2"
"WRONG_DISC"="Please insert the Neverwinter Nights 2 Play disc."