Monday, September 30, 2013

Review of Riddick

In 2000, writer/director David Twohy scored a surprise hit with “Pitch Black”, better known as the movie that made Vin Diesel a star. Fueled by the hit, the studios gave Twohy a truckload of money which became the muddled “The Chronicles of Riddick” in 2004.

The would-be franchise looked dead in the water but never underestimate star power in Hollywood as action-star Vin Diesel pushed to get this third Riddick movie made. He even decided to remortgage his house to get the movie made! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

So to the surprise of no one, most people hoped that “Riddick” would be a success. Starring Diesel and written and directed by David Twohy again, the results are mixed.

In this third installment in the series, we find Riddick marooned on a desolate planet after being betrayed by the Necromongers. I found this first part of the movie to be extremely enjoyable as the injured Riddick slowly worked to survive and then thrived on the dangerous planet.

Needing to get off-world however, Riddick found an empty mercenary station and then activate an emergency beacon in it. His identity and presence on the planet broadcasted to the galaxy, two ships promptly arrive in answer to the beacon; both looking to get Riddick for his bounty.

This bought us to the second act of the movie where the two groups of mercenaries first worked against each other, and then decide to join forces against Riddick. This second part of the movie was strange but also highly enjoyable. The various mercenaries may be stock characters but their interaction with each other lifted the movie as they gave the movie some fun beyond the always gruff Riddick would be able to. Credit must be given to the actors for this, especially Dave Bautista (yes, the wrestler) who shown some good comic timing as Diaz.

However “Riddick” was let down in the final part of the movie when Riddick and the mercenaries teamed up to fend off an endless stream of mud monsters. Frankly, this part of the movie looks like a remake of Pitch Black. Worse, it doesn’t gel well with the far superior front two thirds of the movie. It was as if Twohy suddenly became worried that there wasn’t enough blood, guns, monsters and death in the movie and decided to shove everything into the mix at the end.

It was a disappointing end to what was till then a very good sci-fi survival movie. Till then the movie did a good job keeping you involved in the struggles of the characters. Whether it was Riddick’s battle to survive on the planet, the mercenaries battle with each other, or their battle against Riddick; everything from the action to the story moved with ease.

Then suddenly mud monsters came out!

Sigh! Riddick could have been great, but in the end it became a case of “what if”. However it is still a highly enjoyable sci-fi movie and I would still recommend it. It’s not the best movie you’ll see this year but it’s a good fun ride.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Useless Framwork

What is an E pass holder? I found myself asking that question when reading the latest “initiative” from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The MOM had announced the “Fair Consideration Framework”.

This framework basically “asked” employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders”. At first I was wondering to myself why the MOM only decided to use this framework only for Singaporeans competing for jobs within the monthly salary range of $3,050 to $12,000. 

To me, it seems stupid because most Singaporeans earn less than $3,050 a month. Some put the figure of Singaporeans earning less than $3,050 at around 70% even. However as I read on about this new MOM framework, I decided that I shouldn't have bothered. 

I shouldn't have bothered one will. This new "Fair Consideration Framework" is really a “framework”. It is not a “law” so there will be no penalties if an employers flout or ignore the rules. Wait, there's not even rules; it's just a “framework” so even if they want to, the MOM can't enforce anything. There are no rules to enforce!

No rules, no penalties, no enforcement. Yup; I just wasted my time reading up on it. The “Fair Consideration Framework” is for all intent and purpose useless.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Comics this week

Avengers #20- Taking place after the victory of the Galactic Council in Infinity #3, this issue plays up an issue most comics ignored. What do you do after scoring a victory in a losing war? Most other comic series would ignore this problem and have their heroes charging up before their enemies. To his credit, writer Jonathan Hickman did not do this and have the Council straining against the problem. This frankly put this issue a step above most. Hickman has put a lot of thought into the series so far and even have time to put in a potential counter to the Builders. Excellent! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Terror Or Counter

It’s always sorrowful when people die and this is the case in Kenya as the country begins a 3 day period of national mourning for the victims of the four-day siege by al-Shabaab militants on the Westgate Shopping Mall. There is no justification for the killing of innocents but I’m going to say something very controversial here; the attack by the militants is not a terror attack.

Most governments and new agencies are calling the attack a “terror attack”, but I personally find it hard to think it in that way. To me, the attack is more of a “counter-attack” than a “terror attack”.

The reason is due to the background of the military conflict in the area. In 2006, Ethiopia, a neighboring country of Somalia, invaded the country and overthrew the then rulers of Somalia, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). In 2008, Somalis kicked the Ethiopians out. In 2011 the Ethiopians re-invaded.

This time, they didn’t come alone. Under the auspices of the African Union, armies from the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Burundi went into Somalia. In fact, Kenyan forces loudly declared victory when they took control of the port city of Kismayo from al-Shabaab in 2012.

Of course like most Islamist militants, there’s no give in al-Shabaab and a stubborn insurgency continues on in Somalia to this day. Also since the second invasion of Somalia in 2011, al-Shabaab has on many occasion threaten to bring the fight to the doorsteps of the invading countries.

This was what happened at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Lives were regretfully lost in the attack but can we truly call it a “terror attack” when Kenya was the one who invaded Somalia? I'm sure many people will say "yes" but I personally find it hard to say that. To me, people who threw the first punch can't complain when the other guy throws back.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dan Tan Arrested

Last week, news agencies throughout the world, from CNN to the BBC to Al Jazeera, blared out the news that Singaporean businessman Tan Seet Eng, better known as Dan Tan, has been arrested by Singapore Police.

Mr. Dan Tan is the alleged head of a global football match-fixing syndicate based in Singapore which is suspected of fixing hundreds of games worldwide, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers. Last week he, along with 13 others, were arrested by the Singapore Police.

The arrests have been hailed by news agencies as the Singapore police has been under pressure to make the arrest for months. The Singapore police had been under so much pressure that in May, they had to announce that Tan was "assisting investigators in Singapore" even as he was charged in Hungary over the alleged manipulation of 32 games in three countries.

Those charges came after five-country probe by Europol in February which identified 380 suspicious matches in Europe targeted by Singapore-based betting cartels. Then again earlier this month, six men in Australia (of all places) were charged over a multi-million dollar scam in Australian state soccer. Of course, Singapore was suspected as the source of the fixers. So you can understand why people hailed the arrests.

Now if only we know what they are been arrested for?

Since news of the arrest broke, the Singapore police has been very quiet on the charges faced by the 14 arrested people. Almost no news have come on what charge Tan is currently facing. Now some people will say this is not unusual in Singapore as our penal code allows the police to detain someone up to a year without trial, but that law is for gang activities and since Tan's crimes were all committed overseas...

Now I'm all for cleaning up football but I hope to hear news on the charges Tan is facing. I hope the Singapore Police has a solid case against Tan, and they didn't just arrest him due to outside pressure. That will not help anyone. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vettel Is Too Good?

Yesterday, German Sebastian Vettel took a huge step towards his fourth straight world title with a victory in the Singapore Formula 1 (F1) race. A race he won by over 30 sec…and boos from the crowd while on the podium.

The 26-year-old 3-time world champion laughed it off and the F1 Supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, even compared Vettel to 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher (who was also booed on occasion) as been too good for his own good. Sorry but I have to disagree with Ecclestone. I don’t think Vetttel is booed for being too good, I think he’s booed for the direct opposite.

Yes, Michael Schumacher has suffered boos on occasion but even then everyone (including his own rivals) agreed that he was the best driver in F1 then. Vettel do not have that. If you ask fans who is the best driver currently in F1 is, fans will say Spain's Fernando Alonso, followed by Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen and then maybe, U.K’s Lewis Hamilton. Vettel comes in third or fourth in the standings.

That is why he is being booed. Not for being too good, but because fans think he is winning only because he got the best car and with the full support of his Red Bull team. Remember earlier this season when he disobeyed a direct order from his team not to overtake his team-mate Mark Webber? After Webber had switched down his car? What happened to Vettel then? Nothing.

Fair or not, that’s why fans boo Vettel. Fans think he wins only because he got an advantage over his rivals. Fans think if he is in the same car as everyone else, he might not even beat Webber, much less Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Hamilton.

That’s why fans boo Vettel, Not for being too good, but for being not good enough!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Comics this week

Infinity #3- Remember when I said in my review of #2 that you really need to collect New Avengers and Avengers to fully understand the full story of Infinity? Well, Infinity #3 did nothing but put the emphasis on my point. Writer Jonathan Hickman put together a very good story but frankly Infinity isn't really a mini-series but a crossover. I mean you won't even know what happened to Black Dwarf unless you pick up New Avengers #10.  It's a very good crossover but it is a crossover so pick Avengers #19 and New Avengers #10 to fully understand the whole thing. It's worth the investment.

New Avengers #10- Just like what I said about the main Infinity mini-series, collectors of New Avengers of New Avengers need to collect the main Infinity series to understand what's going on.  Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Mike Deodato put together an engaging read for readers but same as  Infinity; pick up the main series. This thing is a crossover.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Goodbye WAR

The main selling point of MMOs is the fact that you will be playing with other players in an environment that will always be there. Of course that’s not quite right as games will close down if not enough players are playing it.

This is especially the case for older MMOs. So as Warhammer Online (WAR) reaches its fifth anniversary, it comes as no surprise to players that Mythic, the studio in charge of WAR, will be shutting WAR down as of December 18th. The official reason is that the studio’s licensing deal with Games Workshop has come to an end, but we all know better.

After a big launch, WAR has been having difficulties maintaining players. However this is not a post on the problems of the game, but a celebration of it. WAR may be gone in a few months but it will leave behind some legacies for all MMOs. The game introduced 2 great systems that almost every new MMO has to have in their games.

These 2 systems are the “The Tome of Knowledge” and “Public Quests”. Almost all new MMOs have their version of these 2 systems in their gameplay and for this alone, I think players would remember the game fondly.

Goodbye WAR! You will be remembered! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GTA V Release

Yes, it's finally out! Grand Theft Auto V has just been released and you know what that means...parents and their media enabler are going to go nuts again on a game that allow that precious little tots to shoot, kill and main characters in a video game.

Not helping matter is the fact that in Singapore the game is rated M18 but kids younger than that have no problem getting their hands on a copy of the game. Now it’s worth mentioning that yes, when it comes to sex, drugs, and violence, the GTA series pushes boundaries. It's part of the fun of the GTA series. However before the morality police comes out with their pitchforks, let's get this straight; if your kids have sex, do violence, and swears, chances are it's not because of a video game. Chances are it's because kids are kids. It's what we all do when we are young.

As a guy who had played all the GTA games since GTA II, I can say this; if your kid do harm to other people due to a video game, then you have a kid with problems on your hands. You need to help your kid with his/her problems, not go blame a video game for it. After all, it's just a video game for god sake!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Living Legend Turned 90

Mr Lee Kuan Yew has turned 90 yesterday. Singapore’s Prime Minister from our independence in 1965 to 1990, LKY is often, correctly, referred to as the “Father of Singapore”. During his 25 years as Prime Minister, the Republic of Singapore went from a relatively underdeveloped island to an Asian Tiger.

Even after stepping down as Prime Minister, it was open knowledge that he was the most influential political figure in Singapore having a hand in the appointment of Singapore's second Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, and third Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who happens to be LKY’s son. His intelligence, vision, boldness, drive, and (let’s admit it), stubbornness, has served Singapore well and made Singapore the prosperous country it is today.

Of course no man is perfect and there are many valid criticism of the man, including his perceived inability to accept criticism from others, but on the whole Mr Lee Kuan Yew has done wonders for Singapore. He is considered a living legend and that is something I don’t think anyone, friend or foe, can argue against. 

Happy 90th Birthday sir! Singapore would not have been the same without you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Purchase And Refund

On Thursday, BioWare gave a promotion to all players of their MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The promotion is that if you are a subscriber of the game on 12 Sep, Bioware would give the first (and thus far only) expansion of the game, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, to you for free.

What if you already owned the expansion? Well for such players, Bioware announced that these subscribers will receive 1050 Cartel Coins. The Cartel Coins are credits used in the game cash shop and 1050 Cartel Coins roughly equal in value to the price of the expansion. Basically, players who already have the expansion are getting a refund.

Maybe it’s because I never bought Rise of the Hutt Cartel; I thought this promotion by Bioware to be extremely fair. If you don’t have the Rise of the Hutt Cartel, you get it for free. If you bought it, you get a refund. I thought this to be amazingly, shockingly fair.

Not accordingly to some players who already own the Rise of the Hutt Cartel! Some of these players are complaining about this deal on the Bioware forum because…well, I’m not actually sure why!

Bioware is giving the expansion free to players who don’t own it, and is giving a refund to players who do. For players who feel shortchange on this due to the fact they already own the expansion; sorry but I don’t see why you should feel this way because it’s up to Bioware to decide on whether they should compensate you. I mean if Bioware don’t offer a refund, who can blame them?

If you go into a shop and buy something today, you pay for the product at the price it is currently. If the same product goes on sale tomorrow, say 50%, can you go back to the shop and ask for 50% refund? Yes, but most shop would say “no” and there’s nothing you can do about it.

You already agreed to the price for the product when you bought it. You can’t go back and ask for a refund just because the price of the same product goes down in the near future.  You may feel it’s unfair but you are the one who made the deal to buy the product at the agreed price in the first place. The seller is under no obligation to refund you.

Bioware did! They offered a refund on their product to people who had already bought it. That’s incredible and they should be applauded for it. People who think Bioware giving away the Rise of the Hutt Cartel for free is unfair, well that’s too bad. The game and the expansion belongs to BioWare, they can give it to whoever they want. Just be glad they are giving you a refund for it. Most companies would not. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Low-Cost iPhone

You know how trendy fashionable stuff are almost always more expensive than normal plain items? Make sense right? You want to follow the trend, then you pay a premium for it.

So when news came that the new Apple’s iPhone 5C will go on sale in Singapore for $848, $988 for a top-end model, I wasn’t hardly surprised. However Singaporeans are upset about the prices because the new model of iPhone was marketed as low-cost iPhone.

I am greatly bemused by these Singaporeans. I mean the term “low-cost iPhone” is an oxymoron. I have a suggestion; if you so unhappy about the prices, then don’t buy the new model! Is there a shortage of hand-phone models on the market right now? No! And what’s more is that if enough of you don’t buy it, Apple may lower the price in the future.

Simple right? Don’t need to get upset over it, just don’t buy it. What? You need the iPhone immediately? Then my friend, you have no one to blame but yourself. Suck it up and pay!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Comics this week

Avengers #19- Note to readers; read the Infinity main series before reading this or it will make little to no sense. In fact, read Infinity, Avengers and New Avengers together! If you do not, you are in trouble because you may miss out on some key aspects of the story. #19 focuses on Captain Marvel’s captured team and her interrogation by the Builders. Though it was fun to note that the Builders has some ties to the Starbrand. Nightmask and company, I wasn’t all that impressed. I found the other half of the story to be much better. Writer Jonathan Hickman scored a homerun with the intergalactic politics of the Galactic Council as they tried their best to come up with a counter strategy to the Builders. Captain America, the Supreme Intelligence, and the conniving J-Son all have their moments and artist Leinil Francis Yu drew everything with aplomb. It wasn't perfect, but this issue continues the story of “Infinity” very well. In the end, that’s all you can ask for a tie-in.

Astro City #4- With the story of Marella over and done with, writer Kurt Busiek now decide to write about someone most comics writers ignore; the ones who has superpowers but no interest in being a hero or villain! Martha Sullivan has telekinetic powers and is extremely powerful but instead of being a hero or villain, she use her powers to make a living as a special effects specialist. It shows her life story and how she came to be the way she is. More importantly, the story make readers question just how important heroes and villains are in the world, and why some people, like Martha, believe there are more important things in the world than punching bad guys. The story fits perfectly with the quirky style of Astro City and artist Brent Anderson looks to be having great fun showing off the many ways people with superpowers can make a living. Great issue! 

Ballistic #2- Anyone want to read Singlish in an American comic? If the answer is “yes”, pick up Ballistic #2 right now because nowhere else will you read a story in a comic that has characters saying “kena” and “chee-bye”! The crazy minds of writer Adam Egypt Mortimer and artist Darick Robertson created this dark world where there are awards like “Thug of the Month” for its residents. At times things went into the realm of parody,  but hey, this is different and that’s always fun. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Russian Masterstroke

Despite what U.S President Barack Obama has publicly said about how he “have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions", let’s tell it as it is; anything less than an attack on Syria by the U.S would be a climb-down from their earlier stated intentions.

Yet with most of the world against a strike on Syria and, according to media reports, most of the U.S Congress as well, President Obama may have dug himself into a hole he can’t come out of. So if I am him, I would be on my knees thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for giving me a way out of the mess that is the Syrian civil war.

Taking advantage of a mistake by U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, Russia has proposed that in return for the cancellation of strikes by the U.S, Syria will place their chemical weapons under international control. Despite all the American talk about how the threats of strikes made the Syrian agree to the Russian proposal, let’s us tell it as it is; President Putin just saved President Obama’s bacon.

I’m sure there are still a lot of wrangling for all the parties involved, but everyone wanted a face-saving way out of the mess and the Russians gave a proposal that satisfied everyone. Russia, Syria, and the U.N averted a military strike; the U.S, U.K, and France do not have to support an attack on another country without U.N approval, and President Obama have avoided a potentially painful defeat in the U.S Congress.

All these potentially embarrassing pitfalls have now been avoided by the Russian proposal. Say what you want about the Russians, this was without question a diplomatic masterstroke by them and the world should be grateful. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CMPB May Be Right

In Singapore, all male Singaporeans need to go through National Service (NS). Depending on how fit you are, physically and medically, you will go to the army, police, or civil defense forces for at least 2 years.

This means that in Singapore, being unfit is not a bad thing for some people. After all, the more unfit you are, the easier your posting in NS will be. So naturally for some young men, being considered unfit is a good thing as it means an easier time during NS.

That’s why I was not surprised when I read that a young boy by the name of Sky Lim was very happy to be “PES E”. It means he is considered unfit and would probably be given some admin posting like being a clerk. Mr. Sky Lim also say he will be able continue running his business as he would be able to book out of camp everyday due to his posting.

This has many Singaporeans up in arms because the young man bragged about his PES status on Facebook!

Now I don’t know if he really has some medical condition that gave him his PES E status or how he knows he will be able to book out of camp everyday, but Mr. Lim is one stupid, stupid boy. It’s one thing to be happy about a low PES status (that’s understandable), but it’s another thing to brag about it on Facebook!

I mean I was PES C9 during my NS time. I was very surprised because I didn’t think my poor eyesight was that much of a problem but hey, I wasn’t going to argue with them about it. However, as socially awkward as I am, I know not to brag about my PES status even to my friends. Mr. Sky Lim not only did that, he did it with the whole of Singapore. 

I personally don’t think Singaporeans should be that upset about it because Mr. Sky Lim is hardly alone about his pleasure about being considered “unfit”. Also Singaporeans need to think of the fact that the CMPB may have made the right decision here. After all, does anyone really think someone as idiotic as Mr. Lim should not allowed anywhere near a rifle?

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Common-Sense War?

Does the U.S government has proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered the chemical attack on Aug 21 outside Damascus? Do they even have evidence that the attack was done by the Syrian military? They say "Yes", but the U.S government has not shown any of it yet to the world.

Now, we know why. It seems that their so-called evidence depends on..."common-sense".

Over the weekend, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said during a public relations blitz that a  "common-sense test" dictates that the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical weapons attack. He admitted that the White House do not have "irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence" but "common-sense" says that President Assad was responsible for the attack.

Really? That's the best the U.S government got? They want to launch an attack on Syria based not on evidence but on "common-sense"? Look, common-sense may have a place in this world but no one launched a war based on common-sense! After all, common-sense says that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we all know how that turned out. If common-sense is the best the U.S government has, then I am totally against an attack on Syria.

If the U.S government want support from the world for an attack on Syria, then they need to come out with "evidence". Common-sense is just not going to cut it. Hell, it's not even close!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The AYE Closure

How do Singaporeans know that the raining season is upon us? In the past, we look at the sky to see if it's raining. Nowadays, that's not necessary because we can just look at the ground to see if it's flooded.

Yesterday, Singapore was faced with a torrential downpour that mostly hit western Singapore. As like the past few years, Singapore now faced the problem of flooding. However, the problem of flooding has now become worse than ever before because yesterday, a major expressway had to be closed due to severe flooding. The AYE (Ayer Rajah Expressway) has to be temporary closed due to the flood and this has gotten government ministers out to put out the fire of criticism.

As this falls under his ministry, the Minister for the Enviroment and Water Resources, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, has become the frontman of the government on the issue. He was quoted as saying that it's "not acceptable" for a major expressway to shut down due to flooding. He is right, it is not acceptable, but frankly he need to take some blame for the problem.

Now I heard all the talk of monsoon, once in 100 years rain, and all the other excuses, but what I personally found unacceptable was the simple fact that the flooding problem in Singapore has gotten worse and worse! The flooding problem we faced yesterday is not new. Remember the flooding of Orchard Road in 2010? That was bad but this is worse. Now instead of a shopping belt getting flooded, an expressway had to be closed due to flooding! Tell me if that's not an escalation of the problem? 

What is not acceptable here is the fact that 3 years after the Orchard Road floods, instead of solving the problem, the issue of flooding is now worse than ever! Maybe Dr. Balakrishnan can now spend less time talking about cleanliness of hawker centers and do something about a problem Singaporeans really care about, the issue of flooding. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Comics this week

Forever Evil #1- After the disappointing finish to Trinity War, I personally was very interested to see if Forever Evil was worth the trouble. After reading Forever Evil #1, I have to put off deciding on the answer to that question. Although I found that Forever Evil #1 was an engaging read, I also find that writer Geoff Johns got into the same problems he had in Trinity War; he was far more interested in setting things up than telling the story. The story starts not directly after Justice League #23's, but after the battle which show the Crime Syndicate as the victors of their battle against Justice League. Now I know this is to offer accessibility to readers who don’t collect the various JL titles, but even then I felt that the story was a disappointment. It was fun to see so many iconic and obscure villains but what about the Crime Syndicate? This is the first time the Crime Syndicate show up in the New 52 but instead of being the stars of the show, the issue was spilt between them and the various villains of the New 52 like Lex Luthor, the Rogues, the various villains of Gotham, and a few dozen others. Frankly, Johns tried to do too much and what saved the issue was the art of David Finch. His dark style is perfect for a series like Forever Evil and more importantly, it seems that he is having fun! His giant spread showing the meeting between the Crime Syndicate and dozens of New 52 villains was the highlight of the issue. A couple of more spreads like that and no one will care about the story.

Infinity #2- For the past few years, the best Marvel event is (in my humble opinion) “Annihilation”. The event that made Nova a star shows an interstellar war that had the various space empires of the Marvel working together against an invading enemy from The Negative Zone. More importantly, outside Richard Rider, almost no Earth superhero was involved in the war (No, Starlord is NOT human). It seems writer Jonathan Hickman learned something from the event because in the space part of this issue, Earth heroes like Captain America and Thor are an afterthought. The main man (or alien) is Gladiator and his Shi'ar warriors. And that’s why it works! I'm a firm believer that aliens works better than Earthlings in space. Unfortunately, this issue was bogged down by the battle of Earth between Thanos and the remaining heroes of Earth. Outside the struggles of Black Bolt, the rest of Earth battles were weak. Outside some glimpses of struggle, before we know it, Earth has fallen to the Cull Obsidian. Worse was the fact that Thanos' immediate victory was pushed aside at the end when Black Bolt revealed a twist to the invasion of Thanos. Frankly, this twist was a stupid move by Hickman. Thanos is a villain that should works as a force of nature. He don’t need a stupid reason to attack Earth, he is THANOS! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Great Ice Wall of Japan

Since the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, the problem at the Fukushima nuclear reactors has been an albatross for Japan. After over 2 years of doing little to nothing, the Japanese government has finally decided to act.

The Japanese has unveiled a plan to stem radioactive water leaks at Fukushima by…building an ice wall beneath the plant? Seriously? After 2 years and at a cost of US$470 million, that’s the best plan Tokyo can come out with?

Sorry, I may be no engineer but a wall of ice underneath the stricken plant to plug the leaks sounds insane. What happen when summer arrives? Will it melts?

All joking aside, I have to say I am disappointed at this plan of Tokyo. I mean after 2 years of study and planning, surely the world can expect something better than the “Great Ice Wall of Japan”. I know Japan and China are historic rivals, but a rival “Great Wall” is just too much.

At the price of US$470 million, surely all the engineers in the world can come out with something better! You know like…fixing the problem. Instead what we got is the world’s most expensive plug.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hayao Miyazaki Retires

In the world of animation, one name stands above all; Hayao Miyazaki. The 72-year-old Japanese director is known for his wide collection of works that include classics like Lupin III and NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind as well as his modern works like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away among many, many others.

So for fans of anime, the news that the world-renowned anime filmmaker will now "retire from the production of feature-length films" is something that we greet with great sadness. This is a man who has been around since the 70s and has won honors throughout the world, including an Oscar for animation with Spirited Away. It’s not much of a stretch to say that this man was the one responsible for making Japanese anime the global force it is today.

Of course in the announcement of his retirement, Miyazaki left an opening for works on shorter projects like short films and series, but works like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke will now be a thing of the past for him. Still, with his age and great works, I don’t think anyone can fault the man for his well-earned retirement. 

Thanks for your great work, Hayao Miyazaki-sama. You are a true master of your art.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Senseless Rush To War In Syria

As U.N. experts are still investigating the poison gas attack in Syria, the United States has left the world that there is no doubt they are going to launch military strikes against Syria. They will be doing it alone.

For all the talk about a coalition, outside America, no one is actually rushing to help the Americans attack President Bashar al-Assad. Russia and China will stop any resolution at the U.N. Britain cannot attack after Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in parliament over it. Turkey and the Arab states have no real military power to attack Syria, and France don't have any real power in the region to help in any meaningful way.

Not only that, U.S. President Barack Obama is going have to drag the United States of America into another Middle Eastern war against the wishes of Americans. One poll showed that less than 40% of Americans support an attack against Syria.

So I have to ask; what's the rush? The U.N. are still investigating, there is no support from any other countries, so why is President Obama insisting on attacking Syria before the U.N. finish their investigation? It makes no sense.

It makes as little sense as President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against Syrian rebels. The man was winning. The Syrian rebels were on the backfoot for weeks already; why would the man use chemical weapons now when he didn't use them earlier when he was actually losing the civil war? It makes no sense.

Also what is this plan of a "limited, narrow" military action to attack Syria? Qassim Saadeddine, a former Syrian army colonel and spokesman for the rebels' Supreme Military Council, has openly crowed about how the rebel groups had been sent a military plan of action and that they will "take advantage" when the strike happens. He even told Reuters that their military plans include preparations to attack some targets that are going to be hit in the air strikes. Sure sounds like he know something, doesn't it?

Could it be that this rush to war was because...well the rebels needed some serious help or they would be swept from the field? That makes far more sense than anything else so far in President Obama's argument.