Did I drop a spoiler last week when I talked about Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’? According to my younger brother, I did. He thought my revealing the name of the character played by Ben Kingsley and who he was spoiled the moment of discovery in the film. I don’t like thinking I’ve done a spoiler, so I’m sorry.
But! Then I remembered that I knew who the character was before seeing the film. That got me thinking, “How did I know that?” I looked into it by checking the reviews. First up was Roger Ebert’s review. And right there in the fourth paragraph, “Yes, this grumpy old man, played by Ben Kingsley, is none other than the immortal French film pioneer, who was also the original inventor of the automaton.”
I also checked ten other critics’ reviews of ‘Hugo’ and eight of them made mention of Kingsley’s character. That got me remembering my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Malmstead. He taught us that when talking statistics 8 out of 10 is 4 out of 5. 80,000 out of 100,000 is 4 out of 5.
My pedantry centered around the tendency of the last few years to call those sorts of rates using the base 10. So I’ll hear, 4 in 10, 6 in 10, etc. Mr. Malmstead demanded that we call those as they really are. 2 in 5, 3 in 5, etc.
The long-awaited return of TMT finally stopped being awaited for. Chris Brown of Meet The Skeptics! returned to talk to me about a trip to India, math, his son Ethan, Ethan’s math blog, and soccer. Soccer? Yep.
We didn’t talk much skepticism, but it was good to hear from Chris again.
I hadn’t heard of Mark Lynas before yesterday, but I spotted a Slate.com article on my Facebook page. Apparently, Lynas was a prominent environmentalist who, for nearly two decades, had decried the dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods. Turns out he studied the science of GM and found that he had been wrong. And at the Oxford Farming Conference on January 3, 2013, he apologized for the damage he had done to the environmental movement by vilifying those greatly beneficial and safe crops.
It’s not always easy admitting you’re wrong. And so publicly. That is one of the great things about science and people who take science seriously – admitting an error and correcting it.
Here is Mark Lynas’ entire speech at the Oxford Farming Conference.
Each film gets it right. The villains are excellent, especially Heath Ledger’s Joker. Thomas Hardy is almost as good as Bane. The gadgets are believable, along with the situations we find the Batman getting into. Extreme? Yes, but believable. And Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman? MEOW!
Second ad break bumpers: ‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire‘ by Urban Guerrillas & ‘Infected‘ by TheThe
Closing song: ‘Angler’s Treble Hook’ by $5 Fiddle